fmr Netflix VP of PM on Product Strategy
Gib Biddle is the fmr Netflix VP Product Management and is currently the NerdWallet Board Observer and Executive-in-Residence for Product. He joined Netflix as VP of Product in 2005. In 2010 Gib became the Chief Product Officer of his next startup, Chegg, a textbook rental and homework help company that went public in 2014. Today he’s an adviser, speaker and guest lecturer at both Stanford and INSEAD.
He recently spoke at a Product That Count hosted webinar and discussed three different strategy frameworks to enable product leaders to define their product strategy. It’s a great presentation for anyone who likes to learn from real-life examples.
In this webinar, Gib brought all three frameworks to life, as he presented a mock 2020 product strategy for Netflix.
Gib showed how strategy influences day-to-day decision-making through two modern Netflix cases, including a special COVID-19 question: should the company launch “Netflix Party” to enable worldwide members to engage in shared viewing experiences?
You can view Gib’s entire engaging presentation above. The highlights are detailed below.
On the importance of strategy
It’s important for great product leaders to remember that there are only so many hours in a day. That’s why you need a great product strategy.
“As product leaders, we can build anything. We just can’t build everything. So, imagine those hundred things that you think might be helpful. Strategy lets you get focused on maybe the top five or 10 of those items. And then if done well, a strategy can communicate a plan. This is a plan, this is what I think will happen. But, over time, things will change.”
This is the first framework discussed by Gib.
“This stands for getting big on something, initially, say the first five years. Then, leading a next stage. And then expanding further. It’s really trying to get product leaders to think in the long term.”
This is the second of the three frameworks that Gib discussed to help you define a product strategy for your company.
“It’s there to answer a simple question: how do you prioritize these three forces of growing of engagement and engagement? I use that as a proxy for product quality? Is my product engaging or not? Is it a high-quality product or not? And then the third is the monetization. Am I able to create financial value? Profit so that I can reinvest and build an even better product in the future?”
Gib dug into this framework the most. He shared how Netflix does this with a few examples.
“It’s all about forming hypotheses by trying to answer the question: How will you delight customers in these hard to copy months margin enhancing ways?”
On how Netflix’s product strategy delights customers
Keeping your customers happy is important. Doing it by delighting them works wonders.
“For Netflix, it’s all about convenience, selection, and value. You can click a button, you’re instantly watching a movie and you can play anytime, anywhere. And Netflix has worked hard for decades to make it easy to find and play movies and TV shows. In the last 10 years, it’s been a lot about the original content that’s been working to be a source of delight.
And then the margin enhancing: Netflix started as an a la cart DVD service. You pay four or five bucks. It would take like eight days for the DVDs to show up in the mail. And it was slow but then you got everything you want. They’ve also worked to create more value through original content, but also through ultra high def stuff that looks great.”
Why product strategy matters
Embrace the chaos, but meet it with a sound product strategy.
“Product strategies are about these hypotheses about how you will delight customers and hard to copy margin enhancing ways. These frameworks enable you to combine discipline, which is required with the chaos. And chaos is required for invention and building cool stuff, and you can marry the two. At the end of the day, these are the tools and frameworks you need as a product leader to communicate an inspired vision of the future. And that’s one of the most important things you can do as a product leader.”