Welcome to another exciting episode of the Data Gurus Podcast! Today, Sima is happy to have Tiama Hanson-Drury, the Chief Product Officer of Minna Technologies, joining her!
For Tiama, a product is all about understanding customer pain and solving it in a way that works well for her business. In this episode, she talks about her journey and explains how she discovered her sweet spot and reached the point in her career where she is right now. She also dives into product development, monetizing a product, reducing uncertainty around a new product, and best practices.
After graduating from college, Tiama planned to spend two years in a small business and two years in a medium business, followed by two years in a large business. Then she planned to go back to college to get her Ph.D. After that, she wanted to become an executive coach and work with CEOs because she loves business. She spent two years working for a wine business and then moved on to a fast-growing tech company called Global Market Insight (GMI). She stayed there a lot longer than two years because she kept asking for promotion opportunities and getting them. That led her to her current career in product development.
Making a move
After working at GMI for six years, the company got acquired by WPP Kantar, and Tiama began to consider making a move. She wanted to make informed decisions based not only on what someone had said but also on what they had done, and she wanted to have all that data in one place.
Building a product
Then Tiama started working with the company’s chief scientist, a data science team, and a marketing team, and they built a product.
Monetizing a product
More and more clients started asking for the product. Tiama realized that if something was built for multiple people with multiple perspectives, and it was built to be repeatable and scalable, it could be monetized. Because after the first sale, the gross margin on all the other sales is much better.
Moving into the product space
Tiama told the CCO and the company’s new CMO that she was interested in the new discipline and asked if there was anything she could do in that line or else she might consider leaving to do it. So they gave her a chance to move into the product space. She started in product marketing because she had a degree in communications. Since then, she has constantly been moving from one product to another.
For Tiama, a software product is about understanding customer pain and knowing that they, as a business, can solve it in a way that also works for the business.
Invest now for a return later
People in service businesses considering experimenting with a product line need to understand the reality of launching their new product. 95% of new products fail, so they have to be willing to invest now for a return in a year to eighteen months.
Reducing uncertainty around the success of a new product
Gaining insights, doing market and customer research, reading white papers that support trends around what you want to do, and knowing that you have realistic expectations and the DNA to do it, will help reduce uncertainty around launching a new product.
As an industry, we need to look into adjacent areas to see what we can learn about building a product. Many product leaders within the industry know that. They also understand the practice of building a product for one persona at a time.
Think about using best practices, and learn from those who have built products well.
Three fundamental parts
For Tiama, a product has three fundamental parts:
Don’t sell vaporware
You have only one chance to make a first impression. That’s why you should never over-promise or under-deliver.
Bringing a client into the co-creation
It takes a skilled navigator to bring a client into the co-creation of a product. Do it in the discovery stage. Ask your client about their pains. Ask them whether they would value the solution you have in mind and what they would consider a fair price to pay for it. Remember that you need to work with the right person and the right set of targets and a strategic way to guide that kind of conversation.
Minna Technologies helps people manage their subscriptions. They are driven by the two biggest jobs in that space- making consumers aware that they have subscriptions and the ability to cancel them. Their software product serves both of those needs. They sell it to banks.
The Accelerate program has been dedicated to helping women accelerate in their careers. Tiama is the product owner within the WIRe community, and she has a super product team behind her. The program was designed by women and built to provide inclusive content structured specifically for women. It will work for anyone from C-suite level down to entry-level. It has been a phenomenal success!
Email me your thoughts!