Our Best Podcast Episodes of 2021

One of the biggest ways we explore news in product is through our podcast. And in its third year, the Better Product podcast made several big moves.

We introduced a brand-new co-host in the spring, Meghan Pfeifer. She brings her insights on product marketing, brand design, and life in NYC to her conversations with long-time host Christian Beck.

We also responded to the evolving product industry by introducing a new kind of episode format. You may remember hearing us experiment with Slack conversations, as inspired by the conversations Meghan & Christian have daily as product professionals.

If you need a podcast episode (or three) to keep you company on your holiday travels, we hope you’ll consider hearing this year’s best of Better Product. Here are some of our 2021 favorites.

The List

1. Brand Skitching: What Postdates Shows Us About A World Of Pop-Up Tech

  • Big Themes: What it means to be a satirical product; how to define “brand skitching”; and what to consider about the power of your product brand.
  • Why We Love It: The episode emerged as our first Slack conversation episode after Meghan & Christian reacted to the Postdates launch in real-time. We think it’s a great example of how to unpack breaking news and see what it can teach us about wider movements in the product industry.
  • Listen Here 

 

2. Establishing Generational Health For Black Families With Tiffany Whitlow, NOWINCLUDED

  • Big Themes: How founders close to a market can create ideal products; what it looks like to leverage a community as a digital product; and how digital products can be the bridge between consumers and industry leaders.
  • Why We Love It: Tiffany Whitlow’s exploration of what inspired her company’s recently launched digital product, NOWINCLUDED, is raw and connected to real issues in Black health, because Tiffany’s experienced them firsthand. This episode also added a new dimension to our series on Health Tech. While many of the health brands we know and love cater to consumers, NOWINCLUDED offers a critical resource to the industry leaders who need diverse data to make fair decisions.
  • Listen Here

 

3. Staying Curious And Examining The Failures Of D2C With Ben Clark, Casper

  • Big Themes: How products can uncover and solve industry-wide problems; why the best products are often the simplest, especially in the D2C world.
  • Why We Love It: While you may have never ordered a mattress from Casper Sleep, all of us in product can learn something from Ben Clark’s stellar reflection on how to keep your product fresh in a stagnating industry. This idea resonates throughout Casper, which remains a top D2C brand despite many industry inefficiencies. As Chief Technology Officer, Ben says he believes ideas for product innovation can (and should) come from anywhere. We couldn’t agree more.
  • Listen Here

 

4. Intersecting Business Value And Customer Needs With Christina Goldschmidt, Etsy

  • Big Themes: Why product teams, and especially product designers, need to understand business strategy to create the right solutions; how to embrace a design culture to evolve products.
  • Why We Love It: Christina Goldschmidt offers excellent advice to anyone tasked with improving a product: You can’t go it alone. Great product design doesn’t and can’t operate in a silo; your designers must understand the broader business impact of their work. Christina speaks to how to achieve this through the power of feedback and a collective design culture.
  • Listen Here

 

5. A Product Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts With Kate Donahue, Pitch

  • Big Themes: How to distinguish your product in a crowded market; what makes a great collaboration tool; why founder intuition, product data, AND user feedback should guide product development.
  • Why We Love It: We love Kate Donahue and her lively presentation tool Pitch for many reasons, but this episode is a sampling of product thinking at its best. This episode was published in our Future of Work series—admittedly, a challenging topic because it’s speculative and always up for debate. But rather than ask questions about what’s ahead, Kate’s exploration of Pitch shows how good product thinking should stay with teams now and tomorrow if they want to succeed.
  • Listen Here 

 

6. Should You Start With Product Design Or Brand Design? The Answer Depends.

  • Big Themes: How to plan for launching a product; what to know about the distinct roles product design & product brand play in building a business.
  • Why We Love It: This is Meghan & Christian at their best, reflecting on the lessons they know from experience. They’ve “been there, tried that,” and use this conversation to share their perspective with product leaders. And while they don’t arrive at an answer, that’s OK! This episode reminds us that building a product—and a successful business around it—is complicated. The answers aren’t universal, but there are best practices we can follow and adapt to our needs.
  • Listen Here 

 

Coming Soon

It’s been a big year for podcasting, and we want to keep the momentum going in 2022.

Do you want to hear anything from us? Let’s make this a two-way conversation. Email me at erica.irish@innovatemap.com to share your thoughts, whether it’s a question or series idea.

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