Category Archives: Product Strategy

Product Power Breakfast with Chris McLaughlin on Big/Small, US/Euro, and Marketing/Product

This week’s episode of the SaaS Product Power Breakfast is Thursday, June 10th, at 8am Pacific and we welcome a special friend and unique guest, Chris McLaughlin, currently CMO at France-based powerhouse LumApps, a collaboration and communications platform backed by top European investors including Idinvest and Goldman Sachs.

I got to know Chris by working together in his prior gig as joint CMO and CPO at Nuxeo, a France-based content services platform that had a great exit earlier this year to Thoma Bravo / Hyland Software, and where I sat on the board of directors for the past 4 years.

Chris has a unique background because of its dualities, working:

  • As a senior executive for both US-based and European-based companies.
  • At both growth startups and large megavendors (e.g., EMC/Documentum, IBM/FileNet)
  • In leadership roles on both the Product and the Marketing side.

In this week’s episode we — and the audience — will ask Chris many questions, including:

  • How to get product and marketing working together, especially when they aren’t under a common boss.
  • How European startups should organize their go-to-market functions to enter and grow in the US market
  • The role of both the product and marketing leaders in startups with either a technical founder or business founder
  • When is the right time to hire your first CPO and/or CMO
  • How to align product, marketing, and sales around a strategy — and dealing with the normal challenges in focusing that strategy

See you there, Thursday 6/10 at 8 am Pacific — and bring a friend.

As always, the room will be recorded and posted.  We think of the show as a podcast recorded in front of a live, studio audience.

SaaS Product Power Breakfast: AMA with Me

Last week’s episode of the SaaS Product Power Breakfast was, to paraphrase Jerry Garcia, “crackling with energy” as we interviewed Stephanie McReynolds on category creation.

In this week’s episode, Thomas is out (I guess he’s getting another degree as a result of his latest mid-life crisis), so I’ll be flying the room solo.  Moreover, I haven’t lined up a guest (see How’s Work Going for an indication on why), so I’ll be doing an Ask Me Anything Session on strategy, product marketing, and product management.

I’ll open the room with a few opening comments on:

  • What I think makes for greatness in product management
  • What most often interferes with that
  • What to do about it — i.e., how to execute a strategic job strategically

And then we’ll cut to an open mike Q&A / AMA.  Please don’t leave me alone — and please do bring some questions!  We’ve not yet run the room in this format — and a big part of this project is to experiment with and understand Clubhouse as a new medium — so I’m excited to give it a try.  Please join in and learn with us (or, in this case, me).

Fear not, by the way, in response to some outreach I have been doing, I have some great candidate guests in the pipeline, including:

  • Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting
  • Evan Kaplan, CEO of InfluxDB
  • Nick Mehta, CEO of GainSight
  • Heidi Vasconi, noted Analyst Relations consultant
  • Chris McGlaughlin, CMO and CPO of Nuxeo

Several folks have requested Lelya Seka (don’t let it go to your head), but last I checked with her that might have to wait until (and if) we ever move to Spaces.

I know Thomas has a great pipeline as well.  So, tell a friend, block your calendar Thursday mornings at 8:00 am (pacific) and join in the fun!

See you Thursday for the AMA session with me on product.

The Product Superpowers That Few Flex: Join Special Guest Brett Queener on the SaaS Product Power Breakfast

Please join Thomas Otter and me this Thursday, May 6th at 8:00 am Pacific for the SaaS Product Power Breakfast on Clubhouse with special guest Brett Queener, partner at Bonfire Ventures, former President & COO at SmartRecruiters, product-line general manager at both Salesforce.com and Siebel, and member of the board of directors at Aforza, Atrium, ClearedIn, Cube, Invoca, Lytics, Pendo, SmartRecruiters, and Spekit.

Our topic will be The Product Superpowers That Few Flex:  Intention and Conviction.

We aim to cover the following questions:

  • What was it like running product for Marc Benioff?  (Or, for that matter, Tom Siebel?)
  • What do you look for when evaluating products for seed-stage investments?
  • Cadence:  daily / monthly / quarterly releases — which is best and why?
  • What in your mind is a world-class product manager?
  • How is the role of product decisioning changing?
  • In a product-led growth (PLG) world, does product own growth?
  • What’s a feature and not a company?

With Brett, the action is sure to be cutting, frank, insightful, fast-paced — and funny.  Content warning:  when Brett and I get together, the errant F-bomb has been known to drop, so this may be our first R-rated episode.

Bring a friend — it should be a crackling session.  If you need a Clubhouse invite, ask.  And for those who can’t make it live, the SaaS Product Power Breakfast is now available in podcast form, so it will be recorded and you can always listen to it later.

See you there!

The SaaS Product Power Breakfast Now Available in Podcast Form

As many of you know, Thomas Otter and I have been hosting a weekly Clubhouse room on Thursdays at 8:00 am Pacific which we’re calling The SaaS Product Power Breakfast (TSPPB).

After struggling to record them [1], we (or I should say the Thomas part of “we” who did all the work) succeeded on our most recent episode [2], which features a dazzling interview with entrepreneur, former Salesforce executive, and now venture capitalist (VC) Scott Beechuk of Norwest Venture Partners.

Thus, we are now starting to release the recordings as a podcast, The SaaS Product Power Breakfast podcast.  Think of it like a TV show filmed in front of live studio audience.  You can also find it on podbean here.

Or, for your convenience, I’ve embedded the episode with Scott below.

 

See you Thursdays at 8:00 am Pacific for our future episodes.  Block your calendar, please.  And tell a friend!

# # #

Notes

[1] Clubhouse, like Snapchat, is built around a philosophy of ephemerality so recording is deliberately not a feature and the app seems to disable the iPhone’s recording ability as well.  (The app also has other quirks, like refusing to connect to and play over my Bluetooth speaker.)  That said, some people record rooms on Clubhouse and the protocol, which we follow, is to both put a red ball in the room title and announce that the room is being recorded.

[2] Ask Thomas about the gear he had to buy and how he’s now setup as a world-class podcaster.  He’s got a pretty cool setup.

SaaS Product Power Breakfast 4/22/21 with Norwest Partner Scott Beechuk

Thomas Otter and I are having a great time running our series of enterprise SaaS Product Power Breakfasts on Clubhouse on Thursdays at 8:00 AM Pacific time.

Thus far, we’ve had sessions with guests:  Thomas; Dave; former Hyperion, Oracle and Planful EPM product leader Mark Bauer; and former Oracle and Salesforce product leader and Skyflow founder and CEO Anshu Sharma.

In response to both our experience and listener requests, we’re now starting to conceptualize these sessions as “podcasts recorded in front of a live studio audience” so we can get the best of both live audience engagement and Internet-scale reach.  Ergo, we should shortly (hopefully starting with Anshu’s episode) be posting (potentially lightly edited) recordings of the sessions in podcast form.  More later on that.

Which brings us to our next session, 4/22/21 at 8:00 AM Pacific,  where we’ll be interviewing special guest, entrepreneur, ex-Salesforce product leader turned venture capitalist, Scott Beechuk, of Norwest Venture Partners.  Scott and I worked together at Salesforce almost a decade ago and work together today with Bluecore.  This should be a great session!

Areas that we plan to touch on:

  • What VCs look for in product teams
  • How to hire top product talent
  • How to accelerate the roadmap
  • How Scott made the transition from product leader to venture capitalist
  • What Scott takes from the world of music to the world of product

Product Power Breakfast: Mark Bauer on Product Management in Early vs. Late-Stage Companies and More

Join Thomas Otter and me for Product Power Breakfast #3 this Thursday, April 8th at 8am on Clubhouse.

Our special guest is Mark Bauer, a career product leader who started on the end-user side as a business planner at Pepsi, flipped to the vendor side at OLAP category creator Arbor Software, which was acquired by Hyperion Solutions which in turn was acquired by Oracle, and then quit a perfectly good job at Oracle to do it all over again as one of the earliest employees at Host Analytics.

In the middle of Mark’s tenure at Host, he took a sabbatical to lead a non-profit (LaunchCode) which provides free education to help people launch their careers in technology.

So Mark really has  done it all:  from Pepsi to Oracle, from behemoths to ten-person startups, from category leaders to category creators, from corporates to non-profits, Mark’s been there and done that.

In this episode, Dave and Thomas will talk to Mark about topics including:

  • What makes for success in product management?
  • Scaling an organization with proper PM ratios
  • The biggest differences between PM at small and large companies
  • Working effectively with offshore development and PM teams
  • Difference he’s seen in PM across different countries (e.g., US, India, Israel, UK)
  • How to best serve the constituents of PM?
  • Inbound vs. outbound PM?
  • Maybe we’ll even sneak in a conversation about technical debt

I look forward to seeing you there!

Quick Takeaways From our Second Product Power Breakfast

Thanks to those who joined us for the second session in our enterprise SaaS Product Power Breakfast series, Thursdays at 8AM.  The link to our third session is here.

Takeaways:

  • Dave shouldn’t use airpods (and won’t henceforth).  And we need to follow mute/unmute protocol better as these devices pick up the slightest noise and jam the audio of the speaker.
  • We covered what I see as the number one risk in product management as expressed by the all too frequent epitaph:  “they weren’t strategic.”  That is, in their quest to keep everyone happy too many PM leaders end up steadily advancing in small increments across a broad front.  In their effort to keep everyone happy, they make no one happy.
  • We discussed the bicycle wheel problem in PM:  the PM sits at the center of a wheel with lots of spokes and hardest part of the job is managing the pull from each of them.  Spokes, e.g., include:  sales/AEs, sales/SEs, product marketing, analyst relations, customer success, customer support, professional services, existing customers, prospective customers, the CTO, engineering (e.g., technical debt), and more.
  • We had a great discussion of technical debt and types of it:  platform-driven (e.g., built on an outdated one), shortcut-driven (e.g., deliberately took shortcuts), architectural (e.g., designed it the wrong way, overlooked redundancy), and execution-driven (e.g., wrote bad code).
  • We touched on the notion of internal platform, a topic worth a session in its own right.
  • We discussed technical debt vs. legacy code.  (See this for a great discussion of the latter.)  We discussed legacy org vs. legacy code (i.e., with a legacy org there’s little point in refactoring legacy code as you’re likely to repeat the same mistakes).
  • We touched on Trust Releases as a great strategy for managing technical debt, and the role of architects in them.
  • We talked a bit about the challenges involved in adding a second product — a topic large enough to warrant a future session on the transition and associated pitfalls, or as Thomas calls it, the (perilous) second album problem.
  • We discussed the difference between existing core product, new potential core product and bright shiny object (BSO) product/features designed to keep the company at the front of the industry conversation.
  • We discussed strategic vs. opportunistic customers and the CEO’s ability to force sales to “sell what’s on the truck,” particularly to opportunistic customers — if it’s a clearly expressed and enforced ground rule.
  • We (barely) touched on the concept of “holistic PM” and why/how PMs should avoid becoming feature addicts and think of themselves more as GMs, even if the company is years away from having an actual GM structure.

We hope to see you on session 3, Thursday, April 8th, and 8AM Pacific.