Down to my core, I will always be a maker, take pride in my craft, and enjoy creating. That said, my professional focus over the years has shifted from creating, making, and doing, to strategy, management, and operations. Thereby, leading and supporting my team that is responsible for the work itself, rather than being the doer doing it.
Building and leading a function is an honor, but isn’t without its stresses. That said, it’s very rewarding to be the driving force that enables the right conditions to make something bigger than yourself. Developing processes, creating tooling and resources, providing mentorship, support, and guidance to your team so they can do incredible work has been extremely rewarding on a personal level.
I enjoy the challenge of complex problems and the journey of defining the path to the ideal solution. Note that “ideal” doesn’t imply “perfect”. My approach to problem-solving will vary depending on the problem, the product, and the business goals.
I favor a lean, user-centered process that starts by building an understanding of user needs, market conditions, and relevant sources of data, as quickly as possible. The goal is to uncover a signal or northstar based on the research, that can be qualitative and/or quantitative, that enables a direction and fuels the ideation process. At that point, we iterate and validate before spending valuable Engineering resources building something we aren’t certian meets our users needs or our businesses goals.
When I use the term “audience” I’m speaking broadly, beyond just the users of a product. I like this definition of audience:
People giving or likely to give attention to something.
In relation to product, this includes users, but is also inclusive to others that are as essential. People that support the product and are key to the success of the business and the health of its relationship with the user. Also prospects, people that might eventually become users of the product. Their needs also matter and are key to the growth of the product.
Regardless of nomenclature… empathy through listening and representing everyone that uses, might use, and supports your product, is essential to a successful business. That is your audience.
That audience-focused mindset carries over to my approach around growing and developing brands. When building a brand, it is essential to understand:
I lean heavily on these 3 key aspects to inform the growth of the brand. This of course rests on the foundation of any previously established brand direction. This inevitably leads to a strong brand that resonates with its intended audiences across the various touchpoints and channels.
By definition, systems are built on patterns. Every business has a different set of patterns specific to their product that’s informed by the product itself, the audience, and their behaviors. Systems should be flexible, but also consistent and communicated using the familiarity of the brand. This ultimately creates the best end-product for the intended audience. It also creates systems that make it easier to provide guidance, resources and tools to support the teams building the product, so that we as a team can create a consistent experience.