We recently sat down with SoFi VP of Products & Data, Amir Hermelin, to discuss his own experience building winning products and whether the best product always wins. It’s a great perspective on what it really means to build great products.

Amir Hermelin and Christina Lucey get into building winning products and more in this awesome conversation on what it takes to win in product. You can listen to the full episode of Product Talk above. Otherwise, the highlights are detailed for you below.

On the superpower that helps him win

Christina asked Amir what his product superpower was. His outside the box answer should have been an indicator of the answers on building winning products that would follow.

“Platform thinking [as a product superpower is] not thinking of one-off solutions but taking a platform mindset where you can take a solution and re-use it and make it scalable and resilient and transferable to other problems – looking at problems holistically and taking an API-driven approach.”

On the challenges of winning in a market with an established leader

To be an industry disruptor, you need to have a plan on how to dethrone the current leader.

“[As a new entrant in a market where the competitor had a head start] it took us a long time to figure out what we wanted to do … the first challenge was figuring out what are we trying to accomplish and how do we want to measure the success, then how do we construct the team, the products, the efforts.”

On what defines a win

When focused on building winning products, it’s important to understand that winning has different KPIs.  It also has different meanings to different people and companies.

“Experiences told me that not necessarily the best solution to the problem, or the best UX, or the best price is always what wins. When we talk about how a win is measured, a win can be measured in user satisfaction. Your win can be measured in adoption rate or in revenue. You could have products that win with fewer audiences but gain more revenue. Or you can have products that are amazingly delightful and get very high NPS scores but are free or you can’t charge for it. It’s hard to monetize them.”

Building the best product doesn’t always mean you win

You may be focused on building winning products, but great PMs understand there are factors outside of the product itself that can determine if you win or not.

“There are other key dependencies on the win, even if you’ve defined what winning is. In addition to adoption, monetization there’s also the distribution channels. Also, marketing which plays a very key role in successful products.”

About the speaker
Amir Hermelin SoFi, VP Products and Data Member
About the host
Christina Lucey Podcast Host

Christina is a product leader with a passion for crafting. After six internships and four years studying computer science at the University of Waterloo, she found product management. After a few years of building a foundation in execution, she launched her first product at BlackBerry in 2011. Since then she been hooked on crafting new digital things ever since. Her efforts on growth and mobile helped propel Yammer towards acquisition. Following that, Christina headed up product at early stage companies twice. Currently she’s at Credit Karma where she is the leader for new product initiatives. When she’s not crafting products or podcasting, you can find her reading, cooking, working on her fitness, or channeling her inner Martha Stewart.

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