We recently sat down with Managed by Q CEO, Ron Feldman, to discuss how he found his way into product and the importance of customer-focused product management. He shared many great thoughts about product management and how important it is to keep everything customer-first.
Customer-focused product management wisdom shared by Ron Feldman that he has earned over his career:
How do you find your way into product management?
Feldman dug into more detail on his episode of Product Talk, but he summed it up nicely with this quote.
“Be curious about everything. Have any desire to make the world better in both small ways and big ways,” says Feldman. “Actually having ideas and then wanting to make those ideas happen and come to life, which I think relates to being an entrepreneur, and also relates to being a product manager.”
Seriously, just take the challenge on yourself.
Sometimes, to be a great product manager you just have to be the hero that everyone needs.
“People ask me for advice on how to get into product management. What I say is that when I go into any company when I look out at the office, what I see virtually is that everywhere you look, there are literal balls dropping on the floor everywhere. There’s opportunity for anybody to go and say, I’m going to pick up a bunch of these balls and try to solve a particular problem.”
On customer-focused product management.
Be honest with yourself about your motivations.
“Constantly ask the question, how does this benefit the customer? I think that gets lost in many scenarios, where you get so far down a path of a particular feature or a product and somebody has some motivation that, again, tends to be something around a particular metric or increasing some particular thing. Always ask yourself the question, is this actually beneficial to the customer? If we’re adding five fields to a form because it helps with some sort of internal attribution or compensation or credit or something like that. Is it actually helping the customer or are we actually making the customer’s life harder to make something for ourselves easier? Are you solving problems for your customers, not doing things to your customers?”
Great products are customer-focused too.
There’s a reason why customers love great products. It’s because they’re made for them!
“I think that the only thing that makes a product great is if customers love it. It tends to be something that is incredibly easy to use, very reliable, solves a pain point. That is a critical point. And it does it in such a visceral way that it sparks emotion.”
About the speaker
Ron Feldman is the CEO of Managed by Q, the first tool designed for workplace teams. Feldman joined in November of 2018 as the Vice President of Product and was promoted to CEO in the Spring of 2019. As VP of Product, Ron led the team to focus on simplifying existing features and adding new tools for workplace teams. Since becoming CEO - Ron has led the transformation of the business - defining a new category of workplace tools and and a new SaaS go-to-market. Prior to Q, he was both Chief Product Officer at TSHQ by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Vice President of Product at GameChanger Media (acquired by DSG in 2016) for 3.5 years, where he led product, design, product marketing, and customer experience teams. Ron led the efforts at GameChanger to focus on the mobile app experience. This resulted in sustained record growth for the business. Previously, Feldman spent 3.5 years at Quidsi, an Amazon subsidiary, as Director of Product Management & Technology and eventually Senior Director of Product Management. He led the creation, development, and launch of dozens of mobile applications, owned the full product roadmap and product processes, and managed product work for major re-platforming and integration with Amazon technology, including navigation and keyword search. Feldman has over 20 years of functional experience in product development and management, strategic planning, marketing, business development, fundraising, press relations and recruitment/management of lean, scrappy teams. He received his BA in Finance & International Business from Georgetown University and his MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.
About the host
Thomas Daly is Principal Product Manager at Samsung NEXT leading zero to one initiatives. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Product Officer for Spacious.com, which was later acquired by The We Company (WeWork). Before that, Daly was at Samsung Electronics by way of an acquisition of BOXEE, a TV-connected streaming device. He has worked in various product roles for nearly 15 years.