54 / Navigating Complexity and Uncertainty
About Giff Constable
Giff Constable is a product leader, entrepreneur, and author. He was most recently the Chief Product Officer at Meetup, and earlier was the CEO of Neo, a global innovation consulting company acquired by Pivotal. He is the author of two books on how to test new business ideas, which are used as core curriculum in top university entrepreneurship programs and accelerators around the world. He has two headstrong children, an extraordinarily lazy dog, and publishes science fiction when life permits under the pen name GW Constable. To hear more from Giff, check out his blog, giffconstable.com.
Talking to Humans: Success starts with understanding your customers, by Giff Constable with Frank Rimalovski.
Testing with Humans: How to use experiments to drive faster, more informed decision making, by Giff Constable with Frank Rimalovski.
In This Episode
As a product leader, it can be hard to work within a multitude of constraints: profits, product-market fit, time, customers’ needs; the list goes on. Giff tackles the tough questions and elaborates on the product leader’s job as “chief synthesizer.”
In this episode of the Product Momentum Podcast, Sean and Paul welcome Giff Constable, a self-proclaimed “healer” within the product community. He has a vast breadth and depth of knowledge pertaining to testing new ideas, innovation, and teamwork.
Giff’s experience in many roles such as chief product officer, CEO, and consultant in “messy situations” has given him unique insight into the role of product within organizations and how product leaders can advocate for their products in ever-changing markets. All in all, he stresses the importance of “looking uncertainty in the eye” in everything you do.
Listen to hear Giff’s thoughts on:
- Sacrificing short-term gains for long-term success in business models, research, and continuous improvement.
- Asking the hard questions and challenging your assumptions as a product leader.
- Experimentation and user research strategies for both new and seasoned product managers.
Sean [00:00:19] Hello and welcome to the Product Momentum Podcast. This is a podcast intended to entertain, educate, celebrate, and give a little back to the product leadership community.
Paul [00:00:31] Hey, Sean how you doing today?
Sean [00:00:32] I’m having a good day, Paul. How about yourself?
Paul [00:00:35] It’s better now that we just got done talking to Giff. I think there’s going to be a lot to synthesize in this conversation.
Sean [00:00:41] There is, for sure. It’s easy to get excited about ideas, but you have to teach yourself to ask the really hard questions. That’s a quote I captured from Giff.
Paul [00:00:38] For sure. I think the way that we’re approaching problems as project leaders is at a turning point in our industry. We’re going to get into that in this conversation.
Sean [00:00:58] Yeah, we are. Let’s get after it.
Paul [00:01:00] Let’s get after it.
Paul [00:01:03] Well hello and welcome to the pod. Today we are excited to be joined by Giff Constable. He’s a product leader, entrepreneur, and author. He was most recently the chief product officer at Meetup and earlier was the CEO of Neo, a global innovation consulting company acquired by Pivotal. He’s the author of two books on how to test new business ideas, which are used as a core curriculum in top university entrepreneurship programs and accelerators and he has two headstrong children, an extraordinarily lazy dog, and publishes science fiction when life permits under the pen name GW Constable. Giff, thanks so much for taking the time. Welcome to the show.
Giff [00:01:34] It’s a pleasure to be here.
Paul [00:01:36] You know, I’ve admired the way that you’ve described your role within the product community. I feel like it’s a different niche than many others have carved out. You’ve described your contribution to the product community from the role of healer. In the way that I’ve felt the impact of your work in reading and listening to how you think, you’ve described how product and engineering organizations can break from time to time. And I’m just curious, at the outset, what are some of the more susceptible ways that product teams can break? What are some ways that product leaders can be on the watch for?
Giff [00:02:07] Well, you know, it’s funny. I’ve been pulled into a number of messy situations, sometimes business turnarounds, sometimes these sort of broken organizations. I’m not sure that everyone always agrees with that term healer. Sometimes in the moment, they feel like I’m not. When you’re going through some of the rougher stages and having to make hard decisions, it doesn’t always feel like that. But then you start getting through it and it all starts to come together.
Giff [00:02:31] You know, within what I’ll call the product organization, specifically engineering, design, and product management; a lot of times it just comes down to trust breakdowns. Between any one of those three spokes, you could have a trust breakdown. Common ones are that design and engineering think that product management is acting as a tool, and I use that word as a pejorative, of the business, as opposed to a partner. Other times it’s that there’s no room for iteration or there’s huge conflicts over tech debt. You could tell things are broken when you see an imbalance in who’s speaking in the room and who feels like they’re being heard and how debates are getting resolved. But it really comes down to mutual respect of these partners in crafts and how, actually, how debates and big decisions where there is disagreement get escalated or how they get resolved.
Paul [00:03:23] Yeah.
Sean [00:03:24] What I’m hearing you talk about is what I consider a big part of any great product team, and that’s the culture of the team, right. And I think a culture that’s founded in trust is critical, especially if you’re building a big product over a long period of time. And you talk about this a lot in your work too, the different stakeholders. And to pull on the direction that we talked about pre-call, like, pricing is a feature and the stakeholders of the business and how they play a role in the development of the product and the product in its lifecycle.
Giff [00:03:55] It needs to be a big tent. You know, really good product leaders are synthesizers, right? They’re thinking across the entire business model, not just the silo of product. Product is how we create value for our customers. That value has to manifest in financial results. But to be a successful chief product officer, you’ve got to be thinking about the whole thing. You have to have a big tent. All the different competencies and skills within the company need to feel respected and heard underneath that big tent as to how the whole thing comes together in a holistic way that makes sense for the business, for the results, for the customer.
Sean [00:04:31] So Paul, have you ever felt like a tool?
Paul [00:04:35] The only response that I have to that is probably something that’s not going to make it to the final cut. So I’m going to move on and ask: you’ve started to tip your hand a bit in terms of your thinking on the hard business facts of product and how revenue models are treated in the current state of the equity class, the startup, the venture. The way that we’re buying and selling products has become, to jump the gun a bit, very subscription model heavy. It’s sort of the de facto model that most products are bought and sold through because it’s understandable. It’s a known quantity, but it doesn’t always convey the most value to the user to just slap this model on just because it’s the norm. So before I ask a few more pointed questions, I’m curious, you know, in defining these terms, one of the more definitive marks of an organization comes down to whether they’re marketing-lead or product-lead, and being a product-led organization has become sort of an in vogue term, but not everybody means the same thing when they use this phrase. Can you describe for us, what is the difference between a marketing-led versus a product-led organization?
Giff [00:05:41] In some ways, it should be less of a tussle as to who has power and more of a mindset as to what’s getting pushed on. There’s an oversimplification that can happen where people see product-market fit as a line in the sand. You cross it and then you go, right, and then you scale and then you become a coin-operated machine. You pour money in and the rest of the play becomes go-to-market. That’s not really how the world works anymore, at least not very often. And that’s increasingly changing as software eats the world. Everything gets more malleable, everything gets more complex. And so we don’t live in this world where you create Gatorade and that’s unchanged for decades. And really, it’s about, how do you position that? How do you communicate that?
Giff [00:06:32] Our products and our business models have gotten much more complicated and so go-to-market is as important as product and product is as important as go-to-market. The challenge that I see, however, is that venture capitalists understand the importance of business model and product and how you think about pricing, to sort of loop back to that original part of the conversation because they know that disruption comes from those areas. But as companies get a little bit later stage, the focus starts to shift so much to go-to-market. And I just have gotten pulled into situations and have seen a lot of situations where that leads to short term results and long term problems. And so if you look at a lot of the private equity world, they’ve got playbooks for financial engineering and they have playbooks… You know, Visa Equity, for example, famous for their playbooks around go-to-market, and a lot of other people have copied those. Product is harder to have playbooks on, but the people inside these companies understand that realm less. They have fewer operating partners that understand that realm. And I think that’s creating vulnerabilities. I think it creates short-term wins, but longer-term and medium-term vulnerabilities within these companies. And so there needs to be more balance of constantly reinventing how you are creating and delivering value to your customer.
Paul [00:07:55] Hmm. That’s really, I think, revolutionary stuff. And it doesn’t often make it to the top of our minds as we’re considering backlogs and user testing and we’re thinking about how to make the best product we can, but not necessarily how it behaves once it’s on the shelf, so to speak. And what it means is that product leaders need to be able to talk to the CFO. They need to be able to talk to the sales team and say, you know, “just because this is a desirable feature doesn’t mean we need to necessarily charge for it,” which is anathema, right. Not recouping value from the effort that we’re building, that flies in the face of any modern product invention. But what the flip side of that leads to is what you’re talking about before, where there’s sort of this oversubscription model where we’re charging for value that we don’t deserve.
Sean [00:08:42] It’s no secret that private equity, in particular, loves recurring revenue models.
Paul [00:08:47] Absolutely.
Giff [00:08:48] Yeah. You know, it’s funny, I actually don’t think of it in terms of deserve or not deserve. To me, it’s just much more about, what’s the smartest way to create a flywheel that makes your customers successful and your business really successful? And it is true that I believe that we’re in a little bit too much of a one note, you know, you’ve got a hammer, everything is a nail kind of situation around subscription models. It used to be that you sort of thing, right. There was this upfront fee and that’s completely changed. Subscription models renting digital goods, whether it’s a free-to-play game or whether it’s software as a service, has transformed and disrupted a lot of industries. And that’s not a bad thing unto itself. The problem is when that’s the only way to look at things.
Giff [00:09:38] You know, there’s a really interesting case study when you look at HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List. These are two companies in a space of helping people hire contractors and designers and things to work on your house. HomeAdvisor had more of a transactional model. You know, they were getting paid by the service provider for every lead that was delivered. Now, in terms of the product that was delivered and the actual customer experience, there were some pros and cons to both models. And people loved the recurring revenue nature of Angie’s List’s business. But HomeAdvioer as a marketplace, that they were able to know exactly how much money they made from any given lead and any given kind of lead in any given market meant that they could build this machine, this customer acquisition machine, with really tight economics top to bottom. And from my perspective, they ate Angie’s List’s lunch. Right, now, the company, the public company, I think is traded, under ANGI these days, but it’s HomeAdvisor. That’s who the CEO of the business is, right, that’s who won that battle.
Giff [00:10:42] I ran into this also twice personally, both at Axial, which was a fintech marketplace and at Meetup, which a lot of people out there know, been around for almost 20 years now, where they were both subscription businesses and that led to some really nice recurring revenue elements. But it was not creating effective flywheels that made it easy to invest in benefiting the customer and having that come back and benefit the business. It was these broken feedback and incentive loops because there was too much thinking of, well, subscription models are best. Well, sometimes they are, but they’re not always. And I think it’s really important for people to really think in innovative terms around, how do you make money with your product, not just what is your product.
Sean [00:11:30] Yeah. You had mentioned in the pre-call too, this concept that pricing is really a feature and product needs to be involved in that. And there should be a significant amount of testing and experimentation that goes along with that. And I think, like really understanding who is the core customer that you’re trying to build a relationship with. And the pricing plays a key role in targeting. You’re solving problems for customers and one of the problems you’re solving is, “how can I afford to be able to use this tool in my ecosystem.” So that’s important.
Sean [00:11:58] Let’s shift gears a little bit. I want to bring it down to earth and make sure that we talk about some of the other incredible contributions you’ve made to our field. You’ve written some incredible books like Talking to Humans and Testing for Humans and I just want to give you the opportunity to share some of the things you’ve learned while writing those books and since writing those books. After they’ve gotten out into the market I’m sure you’ve gotten lots of feedback, that might be useful for our community, and then we can take it from there.
Giff [00:12:22] You know, those two books, I spent a lot of my life trying to figure out how to put new things into the world and how to do that better. And I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way and I still make lots of mistakes along the way. One of the things that I realized about myself early on in my career was it was easy for me to get excited about an idea and jump in with two feet. And I realized that I needed to balance that out with rigor and asking really tough, ruthless questions about ideas. Because in product and in entrepreneurship, the devil’s in the details. You could get the big picture right, but if you get the timing wrong, if you get some of the details wrong, you’re toast.
Giff [00:13:01] I need to think of a new metaphor, but I think of creating a startup or putting out a new product. Instead of having one radio station, you’ve got multiple dials and you’ve got to get all these things right. You’ve got to get the target customer, the team, the go-to-market strategy, the product itself, your timing, all these things. You’ve got to get them correctly. So how do you ask hard questions about what’s going on? How do you ask hard questions about your belief system, your assumptions? And I think there’s two good ways of doing that, especially early stage when you don’t have lots and lots of data. But even when you have lots of data, you still need to do this stuff. One is through qualitative means, talking to your customers, listening deeply and trying to understand deeply who your customers are, and the other is running experiments where you actually try to observe behavior and see what people do and their complementary activities that are really important to run alongside all the work that we do to actually ship something and put it in the world.
Giff [00:14:02] And there’s lots of things that I’ve learned about those two topics as I’ve tried to get better at them myself. I’ve tried to teach them. I’ve watched folks use them. Probably the most important one around qualitative research is teaching people how to ask follow-on questions. This, I think, is my biggest ah-ha in the last couple of years, is that really, the art of interviewing somebody is those follow-on questions. It’s going as deep as you possibly can in why. And so you go into these interviews and you try to limit the number of questions you have on your script to just four or five. But you’re actually going to ask 30, 40 questions and it’s all in a moment. It can’t be robotic. It has to be because you’re really listening to what someone’s saying and you’re constantly asking, “why, why?” It’s a bit like kind of the five whys, except you sometimes can’t do it quite so explicitly or it feels obnoxious to the person you’re talking to. But you’re just trying to really go deep as to why. So getting good about chasing truth, chasing reasons, chasing motivations is the big thing there.
Giff [00:15:11] With experiments, it’s all about making them smaller but still believable. I had this myself and I see this over and over and over again, which is that everyone’s first experiments, especially from product people, are too product-centric. So the first ones are like three to six months long and then you get them down to two months and then one month, then a week, and then eventually like a day. But it takes practice. It takes letting go of our product and engineering natures and just saying, “OK, if I just prioritize learning and I ask myself, “how can I learn just as much with half the effort and half the time?” And then you ask that question again and then you ask that question again, you’d be amazed at how compact you could make these things. I mean, people go wrong with this stuff in all sorts of different areas. I’ve seen people and they can’t stop running experiments. And you’re like, “Woah, woah, hold on, like you’re overthinking this. It’s time to ship something, like get going.” So it’s always about balance in the forest, right? A lot of people struggle to run experiments. Some people run too many. It’s all based on, what do you need at the moment? There’s a few takeaways for you.
Sean [00:16:16] Yeah. I mean, think about it, as product people, our job is to take this chaos of unknown and turn it into something that’s predictable. And we have to manage and orient a bunch of people to go and do this. I think those are two key and brilliant pieces of insight. So thank you for that.
Paul [00:16:33] One of the themes that I’m detecting is that, whether we’re talking about revenue models or go-to-market strategies or determining product-market fit and what that means for the users who we’re building for, it’s all about constraints. We often work with an engineering team who wants to build a technically perfect product, and we work with design teams who want to build an aesthetically perfect product. And in order to achieve both of those goals, we need infinite funds and infinite time because perfection is unachievable. So we have to determine, what are the constraints that we’re willing to absorb? What is the opportunity cost that we’re willing to accept? And I feel like a lot of the times in product teams, it’s striking this balancing act that becomes really the crux of the decisions that we make.
Paul [00:17:19] You know, when you were talking about analytical rigor before… I’ve joked with my wife that I haven’t ever pulled the trigger on getting a tattoo, but I think if I were to get one, I might get like analytical rigor across the top of my back. You know, the way that we look at problems is often through this lens of perfection when it really should be through the lens of constraint. And what that means for us as product leaders is making better decisions with limited resources as opposed to limitless resources. So I’m curious, as we’re talking to new product leaders in the audience, what are some of the ways that you can sort of encourage this thinking where there is a desire for the perfect product, but there’s a need to balance it? What are some frameworks or conversations that you think an early product manager can have to get them started down this path of thinking in ways that will help product teams achieve what they need to achieve?
Giff [00:18:11] That’s an interesting question. You just used an interesting phrase, which is taking chaos and uncertainty and making it predictable. I hadn’t heard that before. I like that, but I believe in looking uncertainty in the eye. You just, you look it dead in the eye. And I think that as a product leader, you need to help your company come to grips with that concept and it’s not something that people always want to hear. For better or for worse, I’ve multiple times had to manage engineering teams as well as product and design teams. And one of the common conversations I have with younger engineers, by the time you’re grizzled and older, you’ve kind of learned these lessons, but there is this desire, as you say, certainly among younger engineers, and that’s understandable, to build the bulletproof system. And I’ve often had to say, or have my engineering managers have this conversation where you say, “that will never happen.”.
Giff [00:19:00] We’re rebuilding what we build every two or three years, constantly. It’s inevitable. I’ve never seen it work otherwise. It doesn’t matter how brilliant the engineering is, it’s that our environments are changing constantly. The technologies are changing constantly, what we’re trying to do… And so I often say you need to design and think about one turn around the bend, but not three. You could be casting your kind of crystal ball forward. But in terms of how you’re actually executing on things, don’t get too far ahead of your skis because you’re going to solve problems that don’t actually turn out to be problems. You’re going to have different problems that emerge.
Giff [00:19:38] Now, the counter to that, and maybe I’m veering off your question, but the counter of that, this is something you have to do with the non-product part of your organization, is carving out space to iterate. A disease that I see constantly out there is you ship something, you move on to the next thing, you ship that and you move on to the next thing, and it drives everyone crazy because it just means that you’ve got tech debt piling up. The design stays mediocre, the results stay mediocre because you’re not actually putting the product out there, learning from it, iterating it. Now, native tech companies tend to do this really well. It’s the companies that are either newer at this game, CEOs that are newer at this game, or companies that are having to become software companies that don’t understand this. But it’s really something critical is that you have to have the conversations of, “Hey, let’s not get too far ahead of our skis and build the perfect thing that actually ends up solving the wrong problem.” You also need to create space in the near term to allow iteration to happen so you can learn and have that then be reflected in the product as opposed to constantly jumping from thing to thing where nothing improves.
Paul [00:20:44] Yeah.
Giff [00:20:45] Not sure I answered your question, but that’s where my mind went.
Paul [00:20:47] No, you did, for sure. I think that the way that you sort of led the conversation, it really does speak to this balancing act. And I think that you hit the nail on the head. The way that product teams are attacking this as bulletproof as possible solution, but not necessarily boiling the ocean, getting to the point where we have a good scenario that we can produce an impact on a user’s life, but also knowing it’s a baby, right. We have to nurture it. We have to create this iteration after iteration mindset and not get it all right the first time on the first launch. And I think it really is a challenging conversation to have because not everybody has the same interests. Back to the big tent, right. And all the stakeholders need to understand. And I think one of the things that I’ve applied in my practice is the product leader as the keeper of the vision. It’s not necessarily engineering-focused or design-focused, but keeping all of those stakeholders looking in the same direction.
Giff [00:21:49] Yeah, I think it’s often right. Again, you’re the chief synthesizer a lot of times. That allows other people to do their job really well, but someone’s got to be pulling the pieces together. Sometimes the CEO can play that role, but oftentimes they can’t. They don’t have time. And so it’s only becoming a more and more critical role.
Paul [00:22:07] I love that.
Sean [00:22:08] But we all know that finished trumps perfect every time. But the people who really care about their craft have a hard time grappling with that concept that it has to get out there imperfect or it doesn’t add value to the world. Which leads me to my next question; you’ve said frequently that we don’t have a decade to become digital, right? So there is an inherent need for speed, so to speak. How do you communicate that to the people above? How can we do a better job of communicating this need for speed and this need to get things out?
Giff [00:22:39] I may have to flip this question back to you two because I don’t have an answer here and I’m actually a little cynical about it. I’ve run into multiple situations. I saw this a lot at Neo, where we were working with a lot of companies that were trying to come up with new digital business models to test them, build them, scale them. And I saw over and over again that the people in the ranks, for lack of a better phrase, were hungry for it, wanted to work in new ways, but senior leadership really struggled. You know, it’s the classic dilemma. What got you here won’t get you there. And I’ve gotten a little cynical that you can lead horses to water, but you can’t make them drink.
Giff [00:23:17] Certainly this year, as awful as it has been for a lot of people, has been a forcing function. It’s been commonly said that covid didn’t change the world, it just accelerated things. I’ve seen that happen in a lot of different circumstances. There have been some winners and losers, and some of that will settle back down once we’re past this. So I think this year has probably been a useful wake-up call. But honestly, I mean, when did Andreessen write “software is eating the world?” Was that like a decade ago? I mean, it was ages ago. We’ve been talking about this stuff, there have been countless books written about this stuff, and still people, they can’t see it until it’s too late. So what do you think? What’s your answer to this? Because I don’t have a good one.
Sean [00:24:02] Well, this is something I struggle with building a software development company. I agree that software is eating the world. We have no choice. Like, the world’s going to move in this direction. It’s not going to slow down. Moore’s Law is a thing and it’s applicable to all sorts of different aspects of digitalization. Obviously, I’ve invested my entire life in it. That’s what I do. So it’s harder for me not to see it coming. But I still struggle with that challenge of, how do you communicate that out to the world of how critical, how essential this is, and how to balance it? Because I’ve become cynical of a lot of things as well. And one of the things I’ve become cynical of is that software can solve all problems.
Giff [00:24:43] Yep.
Sean [00:24:43] And I believe we’re actually going to see it start to move backward. I believe a lot of what you say in your books about the humanity of the things that we’re doing and the things that we’re building and I tend to see software, in general, as a thing that should be used to enhance humanity, not to just push the needle on how much profit we can extract from our society. But that’s going very philosophical.
Giff [00:25:09] No, I’m with you, Sean. I actually think it’s really important because there’s a lot of fear right now about artificial intelligence and how it’s going to replace things. There will be pain and there will be disruption, but what software is really good at is enabling human beings to do what human beings do really well. And I think there’s still a long runway in that. And we will constantly be opening up new things and new opportunities. So I’m a real optimist when it comes to that.
Giff [00:25:34] Back to your original question. While I do think it’s very difficult to get someone who really doesn’t see it to see it, I think there’s ways that product leaders can act and engage that make it a little bit easier. One is the old sort of almost trite expression of, speak the language of who you’re speaking to. So, for example, if you’re talking to boards, don’t talk in features, talk in spreadsheets, talk in financials. Or if you’re talking to your CFO, if you’re talking to, you know, your go-to-market team, you need to talk in their language. There’s ways to be exposing the challenges that are coming down the pipe as well as the opportunities that you see. And you’ve got to really think, just like you think carefully about how you package and position your product for the market, you got to think about how you package and position your ideas. Now, that’s easier said than done, but as you get more senior in the organization, you’re not on the line anymore. This becomes a really huge part of your job is this communication, this alignment, all that effort. So, you know, you can’t start practicing that too early in your career as a product person.
Paul [00:26:40] I want to come back to one thing when you flipped the question on us. I think the drive towards complex systems and complex solutions is real. I am more in the camp of, through software all things are possible, but I think there is still room for, you know, analog intelligence and some of the decisions that we’ve made. I don’t think it’s all about finding the more sophisticated. Sometimes it’s just finding a more human solution. As we’re sort of coming up on time, I want to wrap up with a couple of questions that we ask all our guests and I’m going to start out by asking, how do you define innovation? What is innovation to you?
Giff [00:27:16] It’s pretty simple for me. I’m a pretty practical person. It’s a new idea. I think there’s interesting twists that people say, “it’s a new idea that’s useful,” and all those things like that. But it’s almost as simple. Some innovation is not useful. I think it’s a new idea.
Sean [00:27:32] Interesting. All right, well, what about thought leadership, what are you into these days? We always ask our guests to tell us what they’re currently reading or what they would recommend. Obviously your books, and we’ll post them on our blog article. What are you reading? What do you recommend to our listeners?
Giff [00:27:47] So this will be an unsurprising name, but I’ve been really enjoying going back through some of Gibson Biddle’s archives right now. I find that so much of what he hits upon is inspiring. It reminds me of things that I should know, already at one point, sometimes forget in the moment. I am trying to explore different podcasts. I love these long-form conversations where you go deep. And I also run a lot of experiments on Twitter where I try to follow lesser-known people, newer voices, and sometimes I stick with them, sometimes I don’t. But I try to be really open-minded to newer voices on Twitter and see what’s coming.
Giff [00:28:31] I used to, well I actually still kind of have this belief that in terms of process improvements, a lot of times the best ideas in our world come from the boutique consulting firms. Now, to a certain extent, that’s where the Agile Manifesto came from. I saw this running Neo and looking at sort of our colleagues and peers at Carbon Five and thoughtbot, things like that. So right now I’m on the hunt for, who are the new boutiques that are trying to push the envelope of how we do this craft of product design and engineering.
Giff [00:29:07] And the reason why is that consulting firms can’t lean on culture and mission the way that companies can. You’re throwing teams together more ad hoc, you’re changing areas, you’re changing focus all the time and so you need to lean on process and guardrails more. So I haven’t found the next group that’s publishing what they’re trying, but I’m still on the hunt for it. And then I really try to look outside of product. I mean, obviously, Gibson Biddle is very much within product, but I think I’ve learned the most in my career from the non-product stuff. I learned it being an investment banker doing M&A back in the day. I’ve learned it from my engineering partners. I’ve learned it from my design partners. Those have expanded my horizons and made me a much, much better product leader rather than just sticking to my lane. Long answer. Sorry, but there you go.
Sean [00:29:55] No, I agree. I think seeing the patterns that exist in other places and reapplying those patterns to the space that you’re in, I think is an incredible skill and it’s the future of everything. That’s where innovation comes from in my opinion is the idea sex, so to speak.
Giff [00:30:10] Yeah.
Sean [00:30:11] All right. Well, we’ve talked about idea sex, we’ve talked about the tattoos that Paul wants to get, and we’ve talked about some pretty profound things in our space. So I think we’re in a good spot to wrap this up, Giff. Thank you so much for giving us this time and some immense knowledge and thank you for your contributions to the product space. You’ve been an inspiration to Paul and I and to our team, so thank you.
Giff [00:30:33] Oh, that’s very kind. I really appreciate what you two are doing to have these conversations, to get knowledge and ideas out into our world to help people grow. I think it’s really important. So thank you.
Sean [00:31:45] All right.
Paul [00:31:45] Cheers.
Paul [00:31:49] Well, that’s it for today. In line with our goals of transparency in listening, we really want to hear from you. Sean and I are committed to reading every piece of feedback that we get. So please leave a comment or a rating wherever you’re listening to this podcast. Not only does it help us continue to improve, but it also helps the show climb up the rankings so that we can help other listeners move, touch, and inspire the world, just like you’re doing. Thanks, everyone. We’ll see you next episode.