How can product leaders personalize the user experience? In this episode, Neha Shah meets with Topps Digital Director of Product Rudy Saldivar to discuss his career journey from investment banking and private equity into gaming product management. Rudy speaks on his early role helping bring analytics to Blizzard and how his personal gaming experiences shaped his perspective. He also covers how he considers accessibility and diversity in product design today, and sees potential for AI to help people with disabilities through personalized experiences.
- Rudy Saldivar has experience in investment banking, private equity, and the gaming industry.
- He was one of the first analysts on the strategy and operations team at Blizzard who worked on Hearthstone.
- He brought analytics and finance skills to the gaming industry, which was new at the time.
- He read forums and joined guilds to understand player experiences.
- He had a disability with their left hand as a child and found gaming accessible.
- Gaming experience gave Rudy a unique perspective on product design.
- He worked make data accessible and not intimidating at Blizzard
- Product leaders should consider diversity in product design, including accessibility.
- Examples of accessibility features in games include colorblind modes.
- AI has potential to help people with disabilities through personalized experiences
- AI could help customize learning.
- As a product leader, follow your passion and lean into your strengths.
- Product management combines creative and quantitative skills.
- The concept of “easy to learn, hard to master” makes games accessible to all levels of players
- Games should have difficulty settings and customization options to accommodate different abilities
- Data science allows product teams to infer broader conclusions and identify opportunities through limited datasets on accessibility.
- Data privacy, governance and protecting user information are crucial.
- Directly playing games helped Rudy intuitively understand metrics and player behavior to personalize the user experience.
About the speaker
Results-driven product leader with deep experience managing cross functional teams to maximize audience and revenue growth. I excel at identifying and optimizing key drivers of product performance, developing and executing against long-term strategic priorities in partnership with executive leadership. I have 9+ years of experience combining data with hands-on operational insights to deliver substantial KPI growth for both new and mature businesses, and nurture a lifetime passion for products-as-a-service economics and design. Consistently positive net cash flows are critical to product sustainability; I prioritize this by delivering best-in-class products while focusing on long-range customer retention. The art of product management relies heavily upon connecting emotionally satisfying experiences with data driven insights; I take an immersive approach to these nuances in my assessments of key indicators of performance and the behavioral elements that drive them. My focus is on developing gamified systems that foster long-term customer retention. The areas in which I have made the greatest professional impact are product monetization, economy design, and product strategy. I leverage an analytical framework based on my experience as an investor to develop and implement measurable solutions to product challenges, specifically with consideration of experiential consequences for my users. My management style is defined by empathy, integrity and accountability; I believe that intellectual honesty and a genuine sense of ownership are imperative to developing ultra-high functioning teams.
About the host
My experience covers the trifecta of B2B Product Management, Sales, and Marketing. I also co-founded a B2C startup focused on family and education technology. I believe technology can be a creative and powerful driving force for change, and am passionate about building products that improve every day experiences.