Productwise

Alexandra Marshakova

Join the executive Headhunter Alexandra Marshakova in Productwise Podcast as she and her guests unpack the secrets of what it takes to build and grow a successful products users love, build diverse teams, and the journey of becoming a C-level executive. read less
BusinessBusiness

Episodes

Diversity and inclusive culture as a solution to building better products, with Roxy Stimpson - Head of Innovation, VP of Engineering @F5
Sep 21 2023
Diversity and inclusive culture as a solution to building better products, with Roxy Stimpson - Head of Innovation, VP of Engineering @F5
Our guest today is Roxy Stimpson, Head of Innovation, Vice President of Engineering in the Office of the CTO at F5, who leads a charter to accelerate the pace and impact of innovation at F5. Before F5, Roxy was the CTO of IoT World Labs leading global teams to create, build, and launch an innovative digital data transformation SaaS platform serving various industries, including transportation, manufacturing, and supply chain. Her mission is to inspire and empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.  She advocates leveraging technology, lean-agile processes, and machine and human connections to deliver tangible positive impacts. This awesome episode is filled with golden nuggets on how to crate a culture of inclusion and support, where asking questions is welcomed. In this episode we talk about: The importance of mentorshipDiversity as a solution to building better products The ripple effect of good and bad leadership Importance of the right set up when getting higher in your careerTrain the trainer modelCreating the muscle - calling out things that are not right. The “Yes and” tacticBeing the first anchor: if you in minority - does not mean you do not belong. Means you can create the tribe.  Soak in the learnings and approach to leadership from Roxy! Lucky enough to be in Washington state? Check out Women's Leadership Academy in University of Washington
Bridging physical and digital - IoT product management, with Geraldine Corrales, CPTO x CityTaps
Nov 23 2022
Bridging physical and digital - IoT product management, with Geraldine Corrales, CPTO x CityTaps
Geraldine Corrales is a Product Management professional with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of industries from consumer to high-tech products. She has spent most of her career working for multinational companies in France, the US, the UK, and Mexico and speaks French, English and Spanish. In 2019, she joined CityTaps, a French startup dedicated to bringing running water into every home by supporting water utilities in emerging countries. She was recruited to drive the Product Management activities but soon extended her responsibilities to lead the entire Product Development team composed of software developers, electronics engineers and telecommunications experts. She currently resides in Mexico and works for CityTaps remotely. Today we are going to talk about: Product management as a career pathReinventing oneself through different industries, countries and products andOvercoming the imposter syndrome Episode highlights [7.30] Product management as a hub of the wheel - the valuable experience you can bring from other industries [11.30] Transferrable skills and Geraldine’s core learning [17.50] Overcoming the imposter syndrome and owning your role [28.45] Overcoming the biggest challenges in customer insight collection [38.15] Geraldine’s advice to her younger self Related Links Connect with Geraldine  https://ucesco.org/donate/ (This is a charity that Geraldine supports in Kenya. She had the opportunity to volunteer with them and she is still supporting them through donations as well as organizational advice. ) PS I’ll be taking a leaf out of Geraldine’s book - expect a New Year themed email from me!
Creating the future with quantum computing with Leonie Mueck, CPO at Riverlane
Nov 10 2022
Creating the future with quantum computing with Leonie Mueck, CPO at Riverlane
Leonie is a Chief Product Officer in Riverlane and is responsible for building, commercialising and marketing Riverlane's product lines. Leonie is passionate about helping Riverlane's customers move quickly and easily to quantum advantage. She brings eight years’ experience in quantum technologies and business development, with a PhD in quantum chemistry from the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz in Germany. After her PhD, she held senior editorial roles at Nature and Nature Communications where she was responsible for covering quantum computing and other topics in physics. An ardent supporter of Open Science, Leonie then joined PLOS ONE, building and leading a physical sciences and engineering division in a fast-paced environment. Leonie is a huge supporter of diversity in STEM and has previously served on NumFOCUS’s diversity and inclusion committee. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the violin and spending time with her family. Today we are going to talk about: The importance of product management in deep techQuantum computing and understanding who the users are for deep tech productGetting to “fail” fast and benefits of such approach Episode highlights [2.00] Introduction to quantum computing [5.30] Experimental applications of quantum computing to propel the innovation in selected fields [10.12 ] Customer discovery in quantum computing [14.49] Leonie’s journey into product management and her mindset of embracing failures and learning from them [20.05] Getting the timing right: closing or parking products  [27.30] DE&I: inclusion as a place to start Related Links Connect with Leonie on Linkedin and Twitter
Disrupting traditional sectors through product mindset, with Namrata Sarmah, CPO x INTO University Partnerships
Oct 17 2022
Disrupting traditional sectors through product mindset, with Namrata Sarmah, CPO x INTO University Partnerships
Namrata is the Chief Product Officer at INTO University Partnerships - a Higher Education company that works with top Universities in the UK, US, and Australia, and a student community from all across the world. Previously, she was the CPO at iPlato Healthcare where she led an expansive portfolio of digital products and worked closely with NHS Primary Care. She has worked in product leadership roles at ViacomCBS, Babylon Health and a number of other exciting global companies. Namrata is a strong supporter of Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace, and is a popular voice in the Women in Product & Tech community. She sits on the board of The Open University Business School, and is an Advisor at Antler - an early stage VC firm. Namrata is an alumni of Manchester Business School and is trained in global leadership from Harvard Business School. Today we are going to talk about: Building scalable high performing product teamsClimbing the career ladder in product managementAnd diversity and inclusion in the field Episode highlights [1.49] Nam’s start of the career in product management as a product owner [9.12] Her experience of being a CPO and going through the acquisition of a Healthtech venture [13.37] Differences in approaches to the market and metrics of b2b and b2c products [16.54] Positive disruption in traditional sector: helping to define future for today’s students both on academic and non-academic side [27.00] Nam’s take on diversity and inclusion in the workplace [34.00] Nam’s advice to a younger self Disrupting the traditional sector Nam shares her experience in the role of a product lead in the healthtech space where the product served a sector disruptor. She found the journey extremely rewarding and the transformation necessary for the field. Nam shares that every day she learnt so much, and the impact in fields of education and healthcare is massive as these products form the pillar for the everyday consumer and form a fundament for actually changing all of our lives and the way we live each day. Nam shares that for a product person challenges is what keeps you awake and energised and both these sectors offer these types of challenges. When disrupting the traditional sector, a transformation related opportunity is a dream and being a change agent is a gift in itself. Going through acquisition in healthtech In this experience Nam shared how a lot of structural and process related changes needed to happen, most centric to it is product mindset. Moving to become a product led organization and focusing on user problems - embedding the different mindset, also, s a result, corresponded with different structure of the organization. As iPlato had b2b and b2c products, she learnt the full scope of product journey from consumer to enterprise and the differences in approaching the market. Nam outlines the difference in experience when working in company of 20, a scale up and the corporate - the learnings, challenges, and journeys are very different. Nam’s take on diversity and inclusion in technical field Nam shares that D&I and product goals go hand in hand. People who build the product and people who use the product need to be in sync. Individuals with different points of view, experience and sectors help build superb products. Multi-sector knowledge is very powerful. She also reflects that now there are thankfully more women in product and engineering than 5-6 years ago and its more motivating for junior PMs and engineers to see the way forward when you see someone who resonates with your values, background, and identity. Nam on Linkedin
Enjoying the journey of scaling product teams, with Alexandra Lung, CPO x uptime.ac
Oct 3 2022
Enjoying the journey of scaling product teams, with Alexandra Lung, CPO x uptime.ac
Alexandra is a Product leader and a current CPO @ uptime.ac with over 14 years of diverse global ecosystem, working in start-ups, scale-ups, consultancy and enterprise. Alongside founders and exec teams, she builds a vision and an inspiring story, and breaks these down into actionable steps for the product and design teams she manage. She is a big fan of Lean, different forms of Agile and User Centred Design when it comes to solving user problems and delivering business outcomes. She uses a mix of quantitative & qualitative insights in order to de-risk product direction fast and create a learning organisations that drive product led growth. As a people manager, Alexandra believes coaching, mentorship and constructive feedback are key aspects of good management today. Today we are going to talk about: Building and growing products teams at different stages of the organisation growthThe importance of post talent acquisition work for new hires, specifically onboarding and mentorshipAnd empowering your team to create the best products out there  Episode Highlights [2.30] Coming into the role of a CPO from engineering background [7.48] Cross industry product management skillset transfer [11.30] Learnings from different stages of product maturity [15.20] Keeping everyone aligned on the same vision when in high growth mode [18.40] Successful onboarding in the remote environment [23.00] Mentorship of Junior PMs [27.50] Alexandra’s 3 core learnings Cross industry transfer of product management skillset Product mindset and being strategic are two competencies that remain to be central in working with any product organization, irrespective of product maturity and focus of the product itself. Every product ad product organization will face different challenges, even if within the same industry, making your journey as a CPO/Product lead unique every time. And your product organization grows and matures, CPOs need to keep the clear direction of the product and communicate the vision and next in line priorities for the team. That affects the product organization structure and hiring plan, allowing you to focus on the skillset in the incoming PMs that will allow you to get to that next stage of the product growth. Alexandra took time to define the global strategy and define the roles in detail. Alignment of product teams in period of growth As a product leader, Alexandra shares, that you need to keep a high level vision in sight at all times, the North Star should always be visible. What is more tricky is managing the “in-between” moments of team growth, keeping in mind the onboarding time for new hires and managing the transitions. Alexandra shares the importance of the onboarding process. Some things she saw working well are : Managing expectations from the role from Day 1Mandatory attendance of client meetings/demosUser research and discovery to help understand the user base better Connect with Alexandra on LinkedIn and on her site
Scaling right - growing your team and maintaining focus on value creation with Audrey Pedro, CPO x Scaleway
Sep 20 2022
Scaling right - growing your team and maintaining focus on value creation with Audrey Pedro, CPO x Scaleway
Audrey Pedro is currently the Chief Product Officer at Scaleway, a complete cloud solution trusted by more than 25k businesses. Audrey’s experience spans over 10 years in product management, overseeing the company’s product roadmap, from strategy and design to general distribution, as well as quality of execution. Prior to Scaleway, Audrey held product management positions at DocuSign, as well as serving as lead product manager for P&C fraud detection at Shift Technology. Today we are going to talk about: Joys and learnings from working with startup foundersBuilding product mindset in early stage venturesAnd hiring and creating a great product team Episode highlights [6.33] Evolution of product management in French product startup ecosystem [13.20] Series B raise as a pivoting time in a product journey and the skill of letting go of product team as a Founder [22.00] Scaling up journey and managing expectations from product leader [29.46] Building product culture - identifying the impact points and centring the view on the value to user [40.00] Building high functioning product teams that are diverse and equitable Importance of trust between the incoming CPO and Founder Audrey outlines the need for the alignment between the expectations of founder from the incoming CPO and the CPO him/herself already at the role definition process and interview stages. Audrey advises to have the tough discussions early on, preferably in the interview process to gauge the understanding of expectations. When growing, creating space and doing gap analysis will help identify the widening gaps in the company and product offer or product service, which will allow to focus on the user and centralise the efforts of all teams. As you grow and doubling in numbers, Audrey brings the example of how product management can be the saviour in helping one to focus on right features, therefore not wasting the time and effort of engineering team, aligning everyone to the same goal - this journey, Audrey says, starts with observation and communication. M&M’s dilemma - coating vs peanut; Big picture, then details Audrey shares that focusing on the end user and challenges you are solving for the user, rather than processes first is the approach she takes with her teams. This allows to focus on user experience and core value creation, ensuring the loyal user base and supporting all facets of the organization from product teams to engineering to customer success. This is a key for businesses relying on community and retention, and in situations where you need to have a strong value based differentiator to grow in the market. Connect with Audrey in Linkedin and Twitter View Scaleway's offering
Building sustainability focused products for Gen Z, with Anushree Sharma
Sep 7 2022
Building sustainability focused products for Gen Z, with Anushree Sharma
Anushree is a running CPO at NUW, the world's first clothes sharing and swapping app. She is a passionate product leader with experience across a range of product roles at various early stage start-ups. Her experience is spanning across e-commerce, healthcare, travel and fashion in America, India and now in the UK. Today we are going to talk about: - user centric design - learnings point from building products across a variety of countries - and sustainable future Episode outline and highlights [2.00] Anushree’s start in product management [3.50] NUW’s mission and creating the sustainable world [10.50] Insights on Gen Z consumers and their shopping behaviours [19.20] User centric design [28.20] International experience and core learnings of building products in the US, UK, and India Building products for Gen Z How do we achieve the sustainable future when the main consumer base has less purchasing power? How do we follow the data driven approach to catch the rising needs of the Gen Z consumer? NUW is expanding into b2b segment, allowing the secondary market of large clothing brands to create the loyal crowd of consumers and focus on sustainability element, pushing for the quality of the produce up. Gen Z consumer base differ in the way they find information, how aware they are of the composition, materials and consequences of their purchasing choices. Transactions in NUW are happening faster, spurred by the “first upload, then swap" logic on the platform. That way the coin is spent faster, allowing the users to change their wardrobes faster. Key learnings from Anushree’s experience Anushree worked across multiple geographies, yet outlined India as the most fast paced, demanding and price sensitive market, that makes the challenge of building products for that market extremely interesting. That experience, she found, was very rewarding and dynamic. That pushes the product leader to prioritise rigorously and keep the eye sharp on the consumer. As a comparison, in the US the process of bussing early stage startups was structured and mature. Anushree on Linkedin  NUW on Apple Store
How to stay user centric and build with success 0-1, with Christiane Demgenski
Aug 22 2022
How to stay user centric and build with success 0-1, with Christiane Demgenski
As a product leader in a highly regulated market, how do you continue with testing and refining the solution before the product goes live? How do you balance up the role of the CPO in an early stage startup and a 4 month old? Christiane's experience shows multiple times that its possible to land your successful role in product no matter what field you are coming from. Christiane is Franco-German, 31 years old and is a graduate from Sciences Po in Paris. After first experiences working for a UNESCO-sponsored NGO she joined Swiss largest bank, UBS, where she spent 5 years building innovative digital banking products in multiple roles – often as the only woman in the room. From playing rugby in university to putting out literal fires as a volunteer firefighter and also being the only female in the room with 30 men in the IT department: she doesn't take no for an answer, and opens the door to females in other ways such as mentoring, developing and running webinars and leading a workshop for the University of St. Gallen. In 2019, she joined Awina as CPO with the goal to use her newly acquired knowledge and tech skills to effect positive social change. She brought the company from a vague idea all the way to its first concrete product in the heavily regulated Swiss financial market. Awina launched in the fall of 2021 and aims to guide families through the Rush Hour of Life by providing a variety of products and services. Today we are going to talk about: - working as a female in traditionally male fields - moving from a non-tech background into tech / product - building product in young vs mature companies Episode outline and highlights [2.08] Finding a balance as a new mom [5.56] Moving from IT in banking to product in a social impact field  [16.50] Following a journey of your customer and how that translates into product and relevant product features [27.00] Christiane's path to product management and her experience in Israel [39.18] Christiane's 3 core advice points The learnings from building a product 0-1 in a heavily regulated FinTech  Think customer centric all the time. It's a natural thing to want to shy away from your customers - because they bring uncomfortable truths. The core is not to delay talking to your customers, even if you are in the regulated market and cannot launch within a short period of time.  You are not your customer. Especially if you build something that you may be using, you may fall into the trap of "thinking for the customer". As a PM you need to focus on the actual use case, continue with a discovery, and remove the layer of thinking of that pushes you to make shortcuts in developing the product. The worst thing that can happen is that you are building a product for several years that noone wants or needs. Christiane outlines the essential (and difficult) skills to keep your mind sharp on the needs of your consumer base and test all hypothesis before entering the "build" mode. 3 key take-aways from Christiane's experience 1. Trust yourself, it will all work out. You can set a certain path by your early life choices but you can always move and tint it to what you want to be 2. Stay open to possible opportunities- its good to know where you want to go, and also keep in mind that the world changes at a tremendous pace so we may now have new technologies in the 5-10 years period 3. Make space to make fun and for things that are not just work Christiane on Linkedin  Follow Awina on Instagram