Series Wrap Up + Series Kickoff: Behind the Product at Etsy
This past series we focused on telling stories of bets gone wrong and the ones that went right, while pulling out the things product leaders from Forbes, Hubspot, Wildbit wish they’d known along the way.
While you heard from leaders across the country, we prompted listeners to ask themselves, what big bets are you taking — or what big bets should you be?
As we wrap the series, we’re asking that question again, this time to our newest member of the better product show: Meghan Pfeifer. Take a listen to hear her answer while getting a sneak peek at our next Better Product series.LISTEN NOW
This past series, we focused on telling stories of bets gone wrong and the ones that went right while pulling out the things these product leaders wished they'd known along the way. While you heard from leaders across the country, we prompted listeners to ask themselves, what big bets are you taking or what big bets should you be taking? As we wrap up the series, I'm asking that question again. This time to the newest member of the Better Product Show, Megan Pedifer, as you all were introduced to her on the last episode. So Megan, what big bets are you taking? Or what big bets should you be taking?
Well, one time I lost a hundred dollars on $5 blackjack. So I probably shouldn't be taking that one again.
How do you lose that much money on $5 black? Like you have to be uniquely bad, right?
Yeah. You do more rounds than your should.
But no, actually, I mean, I moved to New York and in the middle of the pandemic. So I've been here for about a year now. I decided to do this podcast with you, Christian. That was a pretty big bet. Hopefully that one works out.
I don't love the ominous way you ended that, but okay. I think it's going to go okay, Megan. But I don't know in your head... I could, I actually, I do think I could destroy your reputation. I do have that ability to just like really bring you down with my dad jokes and just general dad-ness. I'm not very cool is what I'm trying to say. So yeah, it is a risk for you.
Okay. Well, I will keep that in mind then. But back to into our world, our guests here at a few big things on the show. Here's a quick mess up for our listeners.
What do you exist for? Like what, what is the actual motivation behind the work and these products? They can't be the driving force, right? They're not real. So you have to go always pass the product. Who's actually driving here and it's not the product. So it's founders, it's egos, it's investors. It's that... Insert all kinds of things, right? But it's never the actual product. That's human beings. They're making those decisions and they're making those choices to say, "no, keep going.". Or they're making the choices to pull the plug too early, or they're making the choice to pivot or whatever that is, but there's always other motivations behind it.
I saw during my time there, just incredible benefits from the ability of developers to manage their own feedback process, to ask for feedback early and often, but also for everybody to kind of have this capacity to sort of transparently see what was taking place. To know that if you and I were both getting feedback, we had the ability to see each other's feedback. It wasn't just one-off conversations in isolated silos. And so I think there are a lot of parallels from that world, that were really exciting to think about bringing into design and kind of giving designers the same sort of platform for review and feedback on their work.
In general, people think ads is intrusive. And this is basically that, you know how we keep the internet open and free, right? People have to read it. You pay what do you see in that way. But I think the best advertising experiences is not just like. Just sending something that you don't want to see. The best part should be, you see these pieces is as a part of the information you're getting from these campaigns. So to me that how does serve the best relevant content to the user, regardless if it's a ad or no ads is very important. So that's basically what we're doing here.
The minute you're trying to sort of tack on features because you think they're going to lead to growth and money, short-term, there's a good chance that you're just sort of corrupting the product. And what you should really be doing is going back to first principles, really focusing on what is the core value that we're serving. What is the market that we're serving? What is the core value that we're building? And revisit the core assumptions that you've made instead of sort of trying to put a lipstick on a pig.
I think product as a term, as a career path, has been thrown around a lot. It's very like in Vogue right now. It's very cool and trendy to be in product. And I'm teaching entry-level product to people that want to go into that direction. So what is product and really what we do on the product side is worth the intersection between our users and our advertisers and our business needs. We help protect the end user while also thinking of ways to evolve our current product lines, to be optimized on the revenue side. And I think in that way, we listen, we're problem solvers, we're creative thinkers. We fill the gap between traditional departments at companies. And I think it's really important because you need someone in the room that's thinking and protecting your end user and building opportunities for them to engage with your brand.
And I think right now, so many new companies popping up because of the growth of technology. And so how do you stand out? Like you have a lot of clout with your name, but how are you evolving to meet the demands of this new sort of demographic that is emerging? That's where I think product comes in is where the people that kind of continuously remind everyone in the room, that's really what we should be focusing on.
Design and QA is so, so, so, so, so important. You can have the best product manager and product strategy in the world, but if it doesn't look good, it's not easy to use, and it doesn't work well because it's got bugs. It's not going to matter of course, right? So we definitely were plagued by some of those issues before.
Content Marketing is an extraordinary way to be able to tell the story of why you have a product, how people can use it, and why it is valuable. At HubSpot, we use a technique called inbound. Not... instead of going out to find people creating valuable content that will actually help them be successful. And so that they can use that content. And therefore also find your product. So it's really a way to be helpful to your customer base. It's a way to tell your story a way to share the story behind your brand, your mission statement, the things that you stand for as a company, and why you even created this product. So we all create products to solve problems, but if you're not explaining what the problem is, the challenge and how you are solving that and helping your customer base really follow that story and believe in that story and also want to use your product. I think that that is the goal of Content Marketing is to be just as valuable as the product is itself.
Ending the series with a lot of sharing the HubSpot announcement was pretty cool. It's a medium we clearly believe in it and we appreciate her coming on the show to share with you all, as we officially wrap the series, Christian, I'm going to put you on the spot and ask you, what big bets are you taking? Or what big bets should you be?
I'm doing this podcast with you. I don't know how it's going to go. That's one big bet.
I might ruin your reputation.
Yeah, that's a risk I was always aware of. Totally fine. My reputation isn't... Isn't really high to begin with. So it was okay. I got a lot of room. What big bets should I be taking? I think like with the show, I think having you on the show and sort of like grabbing a new type of product. You and I have talked about, which we'll have more on that in coming episodes on finding new products, new domains. Like, I'd love to cover some of the stuff going on with Blockchain and Crypto, a lot of these new sort of lifestyle products. A lot of it coming out of New York, I think is really interesting. And then I think just staying ahead of where technology is. It's always moving fast.
I don't know that it's moving faster, but I think right now, as we're coming out of the pandemic, there's a lot of little small bets we have to make on like what we think is going to stick around and what's going to be new. So, I felt like last year, we didn't know what we're going to do. And now we're back still not knowing what we're going to do. Cause now we all like to go back to the office, like what, what do we do? So there's a lot of stuff there. So, and as I mentioned, new stuff coming on the show. Rolling out the next series, we're going to do things a little bit differently and I know it's shocking, but we do like to experiment with our content. So the next series is an in-depth product spotlight. So over the next, how many is it?
Four weeks, Christian. Four?
Okay. Four Weeks. We're giving you access to Etsy. Yes. The one and only, Etsy. And to help us take the conversation into action, their head of product design and a good friend of mine. Mike Hardy is joining us after every interview.
We've got different perspectives from all different product disciplines for this exclusive series. But Christian, why Etsy?
Well, because my friend works there. No. Other reasons are you and I actually, I think both are fascinated by marketplaces because there's buyer and sellers as users. From your perspective with branding, I think it's like, how do you message things to different audiences, when it's the same thing. From me, from the user experience perspective, I've always been interested in like how you have to balance those things to make things better. So, but I think Etsy does it really well. There's a million marketplaces out there, but we know Etsy. They were like a cute creative, sort of E-commerce company over a decade ago. Now they're a publicly traded company with a really, really strong team. And I will be honest. I love that the teams based out of New York. So that's, it's interesting to see a different flavor there.
Yeah. I'm excited for it too, because I both buy and sell on Etsy. So it'll be great to hear these different perspectives.
And with that, join us starting next week for our latest. I'm Megan.
And I'm Christian, and this is Better Product.