Thomas Fredell is the CPO at Merrill Corporation. He’s a passionate product innovator who brings MBA thinking, a cognitive science background, design thinking and deep engineering experience to the new product innovation pipeline.

He recently spoke at Favor Delivery/H-E-B Eastside Tech Hub in Austin and set out to help product managers to understand and put into practice two key principles that lead to product success: Bringing the Future into the Present; Don't Guess - Test!

Winning products make successful companies and Merrill Corporation CPO, Thomas Fredell, had a lot to share with the attendees at his Speaker Series event in Austin. We suggest watching the entire video of his presentation.

The highlights of his Speaker Series presentation are detailed below.

Stop Guessing!

When a disagreement arises between members of your product team, stop assuming which of you is correct. What truly makes a great product manager is knowing when it’s time to run a test.

“If you’ve got an idea, or if you’re in that conversation that starts spinning, where you go, ‘hey, you know my ideas better than your idea.’ Stop! Don’t guess. Just figure out a way to test that. And the fastest and the easiest way you can test it, the more quickly you will learn.”

Bring the Future into the Present

Since we don’t have a time machine (yet) to know if we’re building winning products, simulate the future, with an idea of minimizing your effort and maximizing your learning.

Some great way to simulate the future:

  • Concierge Prototype: Also called a Wizard of Oz prototype. There’s someone that is doing things in kind of a bespoke way. Not automated. Totally not scalable, but you can learn a lot from it.
  • Clickable Prototype: It’s something that people can click on that simulates the use of software, you know, pretty simple.
  • Draft Press Release: An exercise to make sure that you’ve truly articulated the customer problem and how you’re going to solve it.
  • Design Studio: “It’s a ‘greatest hits’ of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.”

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About the Speaker
Thomas Fredell
Merrill Corporation Chief Product Officer
Thomas Fredell was the founder of a successful startup that pioneered the first “virtual dataroom” for Mergers & Acquistions (M&A). This product transformed the way dealmakers get deals done globally by providing a very robust, yet highly intuitive approach to conducting M&A transactions in a never-before-seen manner. Most recently, he’s played a key role in building a world-class organization from the ground up and refactoring a platform that’s enabled the radical transformation of a 50 year old company into an award winning SaaS powerhouse which services the needs of the titans of Wall Street and beyond. He’s a passionate product innovator who brings MBA thinking, a cognitive science background, design thinking and deep engineering experience to the new product innovation pipeline.

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