June 1, 2022

Challenges of Getting Alignment in Product With Jonathan Cordeau of Peek

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Product management needs to be aligned with its organization to succeed. But, sometimes that's a challenge. In this episode of Product Chats, Jonathan Cordeau of Peek explains how to tackle that challenge. We chat about product's role, building alignment between teams, earning permission to lead other teams, and more.



Time Stamped Show Notes

Taking your product to international markets [03:18]

Building relationships in new markets [05:06]

Hiring with internationalization in mind [06:57]

Outcome driven innovation  [09:53]

Finding unmet needs in a market [10:55] 

The importance of understanding “why” [13:47]

Avoiding the feature delivery treadmill [14:26]

Aligning customer feedback with company goals [15:06]

Working collaboratively with sales teams [18:48]

Product management’s role in organizations [20:59]

Getting alignment between teams [22:23]

Earning permission to lead other teams [24:12]



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Kayla: Thanks for tuning in to Product Chats. On today's episode, I talk with Jonathan Cordeau who is the VP of Product at Peek, and we talk about the challenges of getting alignment in product, launching an international product, and also understanding customer needs. So hope you enjoy the show and don't forget to leave us a review.

Kayla: Hey JC. Thanks so much for coming on today.

Jonathan: Awesome to be here. Thanks for having me.

Kayla: Yeah. Well, in a minute or less, can you tell us about yourself?

Jonathan: So JC Jonathan Cordeau, I live in Colorado Springs. I've been here for about 18 months after a long career in Tampa, Florida. So different weather. I've been in product for about 15 years, partially as a entrepreneur and then partially as a, what I call traditional product person.

Jonathan: So I've got an interesting background that I know we'll get into. Super good to be here today.

Kayla: Yeah. Well, let's hop into it. Tell us about your background, how you got into product and what those past 15 years have looked like.

Jonathan: Yeah. So, you know, many years ago I had the crazy idea that I felt like I could build a company.

Jonathan: And so, I was just young enough to try that and had a little bit of success in doing that. Most of my experience has been payments and payments data and payments data security, and internationalization, which is a lot of what I do now, which I think we'll get into.

Jonathan: What's interesting about my kind of journey from a product standpoint would be that because I started so early in my career with quite honestly, not a whole lot of understanding what to do, I had to figure out really what customers wanted, because if you start a company and you don't build a product that people actually care about, you don't have a company very long.

Jonathan: And so I was really fortunate to be able to really kind of be thrown into listening to customer needs and understanding how to build towards those and was fortunate to have some great technical talent alongside me to help me do that.

Jonathan: Over the course of a few years in a few startups, had a couple exits and through that, moved into what I'd call the corporate world. And so kind of jumped the fence, no longer an entrepreneur and moved into more traditional product roles. And that was really when I started to learn how to actually be a product manager, I would say, and I had a good opportunity to work alongside some great people that helped me to kind of up-level my skills from figuring it out as an entrepreneur to actually having some discipline as a product manager.

Jonathan: And so now I'm the VP of product for a company called Peek. Peek's an activities and experiences company. We connect the world through experiences, been around for about 10 years.

Jonathan: We're probably on that soonicorn path, which is pretty exciting, growing like crazy. And it's been really fun from that standpoint, but what's really neat is I get to take all this experience that I've gathered both as an entrepreneur and as a product person over the years, and really apply that to this very specific kind of opportunity we have at this company, which is, has a lot to do with the needs of our customers, as it relates to their financial technology, you know, read payments and things of that nature.

Jonathan: And then also get ourselves ready for really massive international expansion. And so when you think about international, there's just a tremendous amount of work that is related specifically to payments and financial technology alongside, you know, mixed bag of all of the localization and contextualization as well.

Jonathan: And as I go back through that kind of looking through the career, the opportunity to have worked in many different countries, with many different types of brands and obviously many different types of payment processes along the way, it's really helped to hone me a little bit and maybe give me some of this gray hair that I get to show off as a part of this as well.

Kayla: So I kind of want to dive into something. You mentioned like listening to your customers. So let's kind of dive into that, like going international and what that looks like and how you listened to these different customers in different markets and making sure you're meeting the needs of different customers and different needs.

Jonathan: Yeah, that's a great question. I think, especially for businesses that are being built here in the US we tend to have a very kind of Western centric view of the world. You know, we think that the way that the way that we work and we operate is the same way that everyone around the world operates. And while we might know that that's not true.

Jonathan: It's hard to really understand the individual kind of challenges to bringing a US-based product or any, you know, geo-based product into, you know, an international or globalization. And so when you think about listening to customers, as product people, we listen to our customers every day. That's hopefully a really important part of what we do.

Jonathan: How do you listen to a customer that's in a market that you don't speak the language, or maybe in a market that you've never visited, or maybe there are challenges to even visiting those markets? As we all know, there's different, you know, areas where we might want to do business, but we may not want to actually physically go and visit those locations.

Jonathan: And so I think a couple of, kind of key things to be thinking about in the idea of globalization or internationalization, you know, kind of interchangeable, would be specifically understanding, like ,how can I understand the local context? How can I understand the things that are unique to people that are, that are buying products and hopefully your products in those specific markets?

Jonathan: And it's easy to think about things like translation, right? Can someone come and consume our content or maybe make a purchase from us and understand what they're looking at? Right? Are we translating languages and how do the translation of those languages, how does that look from a UX and a UI standpoint?

Jonathan: You know, some languages read from left to right. And some read from right to left. And so there are major challenges even to thinking through that. And so how do I get that local context that we'd really need to understand in order to bring a product to market.

Jonathan: And so really building relationships in other markets, building relationships with both your prospective customers, you know, maybe you have current customers in those markets. Hopefully you've done some, you know, extensive research and maybe you have some folks that you connect with to really understand what is different about that market. And I'll give a really a good example that I've been working on recently.

Jonathan: Here in the US we use our cell phones. We text message all the time. That's just the way that we communicate for the most part. In other markets, and that might be a key part of your product, right? Communication through text message in some way. Or maybe providing support even through those kinds of channels, but in certain markets, you know, there is no text messaging.

Jonathan: WhatsApp is the generally accepted way that customers would communicate, or you maybe even communicate with your prospects. And so really working hard to understand that local context is super important. And then another piece of the puzzle obviously with my background in payments is really understanding what the payments landscape is in different markets.

Jonathan: And it's incredibly complex. We won't fall down the rabbit hole of cryptocurrency and potentially how that solves some of these issues, but just looking at an, you know, the idea of how do I take a payment and how do I remit a payment? There's a tremendous amount of providers out there that do a great job of allowing you to do that.

Jonathan: The Braintrees, the Adyens, the Stripes of the world that do a wonderful job of that. But then as you move into different markets, different payment methods become really important. And you create this crazy matrix that you need to really consider as a part of that. So as product managers, we need to be really organized and thinking through which markets accept which payment methods and what are the currency regulations and what are the requirements that we need to be thinking about? And so really understanding kind of this big picture of all of the different primitives that kind of are pieced together in order to be able to launch a product internationally is really going to start with understanding that local context that you're going to get from great conversations with customers and prospects.

Kayla: Something, actually, that I'm really curious about, right? You mentioned that you're kind of trying to do this localization and international expansion. So how does that affect or does it affect the way that you hire and the way that you structure teams?

Jonathan: Yeah, great question. So we're hiring right now, and this is something that we're really looking at is. It's interesting for payments and for internationalization. It's one of these interesting areas within, I would say within product, but probably in other areas within organizations as well, that you've either done it or you don't understand it. And so it's a little bit of that like how do you get the experience if you've never done it before, you know, kind of challenge.

Jonathan: When I'm looking at hiring for roles, like the ones that we're hiring for right now, looking at internationalization specifically is, you know, people who have gone through and managed or launched their product internationally have had the challenge of trying to understand all of the different nuances that are needed to be considered as a part of bringing a product into a new market.

Jonathan: So again, you know, internationalization is a collection of context and UX and UI decisions that need to be made. There's obviously translation. We talked about regulation. We talked about payment methods, right. And there's just kind of a laundry list of those items that unless you've been exposed to those previously, it's hard to kind of know what you're getting yourself into.

Jonathan: And so if you're a product manager that's looking to, you know, get into managing a product on a global scale, like looking for an opportunity to even be exposed to a few of those items as a part of the role that you have right now is a great way to really kind of build that resume and build that discipline.

Jonathan: Or maybe build that muscle, if you will, to understand kind of what you're getting yourself into. And if you're someone that's done this before, the landscape is changing continuously. And so if we look at, even just to look at companies, you know, using companies like Stripe or Braintree, you know, they're always changing the company or the countries that they actually do business in.

Jonathan: And maybe the way that you would think about choosing a vendor is going to change because of the way that the vendors are evolving. I mentioned cryptocurrency, but that, you know, that will become part of, I think, the global standard for how we think about money movement from an international standpoint.

Jonathan: And then regulation is a huge part of that as well. So if you're someone that's in you know, that's already in a product management role or you know, working in some way related to globalization, regulation isn't slowing down, right? Each individual country and now even in the US here, each individual state is looking at different ways to really protect consumers and that creates new regulation and creates new requirements.

Jonathan: And so if you're looking to really up-level yourself, as it relates to globalization of a product, really understanding the way that regulation affects what we can and can't do. The kind of data that we collect, how we collect it, how we need to manage the relationship with our customers is something that's going to continue to evolve and a great opportunity for someone to really continue to increase the value that they can bring to an organization by getting better at that side of their discipline.

Kayla: And I think something you mentioned, right? Or it runs through is listening to your customers, right? Listening, especially on this global scale, listening to what they each need. So, especially as you like scale globally, how do you prioritize and figure out the different things that you're going to build?

Kayla: Because there's now there's such a bigger market and how do you actually prioritize and figure out, okay, this is what's best?

Jonathan: Yeah, I love this idea of, you know, kind of what customers want. So there's a book called What Customers Want. I would highly recommend it. It's built around something called outcome-driven innovation which is really a framework that's kind of on top of jobs to be done framework.

Jonathan: So we just went through a bunch of acronyms. And if you haven't been exposed to those things before, I would highly recommend looking into it, you know, Google, ODI, Google JTBD, and you'll get lots of information on it. But the basic premise of those frameworks is to really help create more of a science out of what typically has been looked at as an art.

Jonathan: And so we think about doing a customer interview and there's this kind of art to the types of questions you ask. And there's an art to building a relationship and a rapport through that to gather information. But the reality is, is that there's also a real discipline and a science to gathering information in a structured way.

Jonathan: Being able to leverage that information, to find effectively what are called unmet needs in the market. And so that's what this ODI process really helps you do. And what that means is we're looking through the process of talking to customers, we're not just looking for this like general feedback. And the example is always, if you ask, you know, if Henry Ford would have asked his customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse, right?

Jonathan: But if you look at the outcomes that people were looking for, they were looking for speed. They were looking for convenience. They were looking for, you know, less waste in the streets and, and whatnot. And so what we're looking for during a customer interview is what are the unmet needs that have a high value to a customer, right?

Jonathan: What are the things that a customer really wants? They don't have access to, or if they have access to it, they're really expensive. Right? And using a framework like ODI gives you the ability to literally chart the answers that they're giving and identify where the opportunity really lies. Just to use the example I gave before to follow that thread of the way that people communicate around the world.

Jonathan: As we think about products like mine, which enable operators to connect with their customers, we have a marketplace model, a big part of that is how we allow our customers to communicate with their customers.

Jonathan: And so here in the US text messaging is a great solution for that. But if we look out in the global landscape, our competitors, maybe they're not addressing the fact that outside of the US there are other communication methods, right? And that would be a really good example of if we want to move into Latin America, Latin America is going to really demand a solution like a WhatsApp, right? That's going to show up in our research really clearly that there's a high need.

Jonathan: There's a high value and an unmet need in that market. And so this idea of listening to customers. It's a really sexy thing to talk about, right? And no product manager or anyone in the product space is going to say like, no, you shouldn't listen to your customers. But I think there's actually another level of sophistication here where we look at, it's not just about listening to our customers.

Jonathan: It's about asking our customers really leading questions, really understanding how they're thinking through making purchase decisions so that we can pull out those key differentiators that we can really own.

Kayla: And I think you bring up such a good point of it's getting to the why, right? Of like, why do you feel this way?

Kayla: What are those deeper questions? Because a lot of times I hear, oh, well, if you want to build out a bad product, just build out all the features. Right? A customer says, Hey, I want X, Hey, I want Y Hey, I want Z. Right? And so you're building it out rather than keeping it alligned. And I think to tie it back to like the hiring piece , like that's something that's so important as a product manager is to say like, rather than, oh, you want this feature? It's why do you want this feature? And being able to look at your customer base as a whole and see, okay, does this actually affect multiple of our customers or is it just this one customer that wants a band-aid to some bigger problem?

Jonathan: Yeah, it's a great point, Kayla. I think specifically the idea that our customers are going to tell us, you know, the feature that they want, right? They want the button to be red or green. Right? But what's really important is for us to understand why, and really pull that thread, continue to ask the why's right.

Jonathan: The five why's to be a great example of that, to really understand, you know, why do you want this feature? And more specifically, what are you trying to achieve? Because it's really our job to be able to take that request from the customer, interpret it, and say all right I understand the outcome that they want. Here is a better way for them to achieve that.

Jonathan: Or maybe a different way to say that will be a way that is unique, that we can deliver as a business that creates a lot of high value or that we can deliver that at scale. So that if, so that it's a benefit to our entire customer base, right? Kind of all boats rise if you will, from that standpoint. And so one of the traps that we get into as product managers, particularly if we're in an organization that is a little less product led and maybe a little more sales led is just falling down that kind of feature delivery. Falling onto that feature delivery treadmill, right?

Jonathan: Like every week you have to deliver a certain number of features and, you know, look, we all know that that's a part of what we have to do. We have to fix bugs and, you know, maybe sometimes, you know, deliver immediate value to save a deal or something. But the reality is we want to be really careful as product people, not to fall down that trap and really focus on.

Jonathan: What is our unique perspective that we can be bringing to the table to achieve that outcome that the customer is asking for?

Kayla: So with that you mentioned, right? Like salespeople are kind of saying, Hey, I need this to close a deal. So how do you balance like that customer feedback directly from the customer, what sales and probably success and support are saying, and then also making sure that that aligns with the company goal?

Jonathan: Yeah. Great question. So I think this is the challenge of we talked a little bit about alignment. Here, I think this is the challenge of making sure that we as product people are always kind of fighting for and contributing to alignment across the organization.

Jonathan: We need to be great listeners. We just talked about being listeners to our customers, you know, sales and support and other areas of the organization, legal and finance might also be a part of this. You know, they're going to give us feedback and we need to be great listeners, right? If we just dismiss the feedback because we know what we need to build and you know, we're the smartest people in the organization or something, that's not going to create a good rapport with these other departments.

Jonathan: What's really important is to acknowledge the feedback that's coming in, make sure that we engage in it and that we do a good job of coming back to either why or why we aren't working on that right now and use that as a way to pull people into the broader vision of what we, as the product team are doing to achieve the goals of the organization.

Jonathan: And so on one end, we have just listening to our internal stakeholders and our internal customers, if you will. On the other end of that spectrum, we have come to the bridge between the top-down goals of the organization.

Jonathan: What are we trying to achieve? You know, over the quarter, over the year or over the decade, if you will, as a company? And how do we make sure that's really clear across the organization so that if we need to go back to the sales team and say, look, the reason we're not doing this, you know, feature request right now is because it doesn't align with our short-term or long-term strategic objective.

Jonathan: We can do a really good job of building that bridge between, you know, the vision, which doesn't necessarily sell the deal today and the request, which may actually keep us away from achieving our vision. And so that's aligning to the top-down mission and then really building the bottoms up product plan to actually chart the course for us to build what we need to do in order to execute on that vision.

Jonathan: And that's where we can really hopefully use all of that feedback that we're getting from sales and support and other areas within the organization to really build up what we should be addressing within our product and within our product development life cycle, so that we're meeting the needs that we're seeing from the market today, right?

Jonathan: Our go to market teams are bringing us that direct feedback on the way to achieving our long-term vision. And so there's this real balancing act that we need to manage as product managers between long-term vision, short-term strategy and the continuous requests that we're going to get from the general day-to-day operations that we have within the organization.

Kayla: So I think you bring up a really great point, right, about sales and success. What we talk a lot about as like building these relationships, making sure you're communicating. And I think it gets down to that point of like at the end of the day, yes, a salesperson could feel very strongly about their future being built or a support person, or success.

Kayla: But if you communicate with them about why or why not, that kind of creates some peace of mind for them because they're not just like, I've never heard about this. I shared this feedback with you. Why am I not hearing about this? It's now I kind of have some peace of mind to say, okay, I understand or have some understanding, or I can move on from this idea rather than, and I think that's like best practices.

Kayla: Keeping these teams right in the loop about what you're building out, what you're not, if you're not why not? And then it allows, like creates space so your salespeople aren't bugging you, like me. I wouldn't go to my team and have to bug them about why haven't I heard back about this. If I got an answer that's clear.

Jonathan: Yeah. If I can give an example of kind of what this looks like when it works. And we can talk about a little bit, you know, we've talked about before the challenges of product management and kind of where you sit within the organization. When done right, what this looks like is sales comes with a request from a customer that's about to churn, right?

Jonathan: And the customer has made a request for, you know, if you build this feature, then we'll stay. When this works really well, when there's great relationship between those teams, when there's a lot of alignment between what we're trying to achieve as a company, and then also what we're trying to achieve, maybe over the next quarter or two quarters as a product team.

Jonathan: When all those things work really well, the sales team comes to you and doesn't say, I need this feature, or we're going to lose this customer. The sales team or the go to market teams say, look, this customer is going to churn. I'm not sure how hard it's going to be to build this. Here's the exact dollar value of this customer. It looks like they're really small. And so unless this is really easy, then it's okay that we lose this churn.

Jonathan: The idea that there is actually okay, or even positive churn within the organization. I think a lot of that can be driven by just having a really good relationship with these different teams and alignment around what we're trying to achieve as a company.

Jonathan: And so the sales team knows that we might lose a couple of thousand dollars in revenue, but in reality, that's a really good loss because it's not going to pull us off of our strategic roadmap that we've all aligned on.

Kayla: Yeah. And I think a big piece of that, like you mentioned, right? It's just alignment and keeping people in the loop of saying, Hey, this is what we're going to build out or not. And also having that data to back it up of saying, Hey, we know that this deal is worth X amount versus, Hey, I'm a small or an SMB rep and Hey, I want this deal, but then you have someone who's coming from an enterprise, right?

Kayla: And they're this enterprise rep and they're saying, Hey, we need this, probably that enterprise would outweigh way the SMB deal, and just having that understanding.

Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's the challenge of product management is that in that case, you're kind of leading across multiple teams, but you're leading with no authority there. That can be a real challenge. And so that might be something we want to kind of dig into are the specifics there.

Kayla: So I want to kind of dive into those challenges, right? Some of the challenges that you run into a lot and kind of some solutions or best practices that you follow.

Jonathan: Yeah. So I think the challenges are really easy to understand if you think about it from individual motivations.

Jonathan: So you think the sales team they're motivated, they've got to close their deal. They've got their quota, you know, they've got to feed their family. You know, CS is looking at churn and they've got, C-SAT scores and they're trying to make sure the customers are happy. And then you have engineering, you know, needs to be paying down technical debt and maybe they have compliance they're working on. You have obviously leadership is maybe working with the board or maybe they're looking to raise a new round of funding and, you know, that's their motivation.

Jonathan: And somewhere in the middle we're like caught between all of that, because most of that ends up coming to us and saying, we need to build something.

Jonathan: Are we building the right thing? How do we build the thing that serves the needs of all of these individual stakeholders that I just mentioned?

Jonathan: So should we build it? Should we be focused on building things for compliance? Should we be building something to reduce churn? Should we be building a new feature to acquire a customer so the sales rep can close the deal? Or should we be working on some longer-term initiative that's going to allow us to raise around a funding?

Jonathan: And that's like the worst case scenario. If I gave the example before of great collaboration, this is an example where everyone effectively is rowing in their own direction, right?

Jonathan: Everyone's, you know, someone's going this way and someone else is going this way. And again, we're product managers can be the ones that are really caught in the middle because sales doesn't work for us. And, you know, engineering, you know, might work with us, but typically doesn't work for us. And so there's a real challenge here where we need to start thinking about how can we lead without authority within these groups.

Jonathan: And maybe a really clear way to kind of visualize this is there's a great book and movie called The Boys In The Boat. You know, a lot of people have heard this analogy before, but the idea that if we're all in a row boat and we're all rowing in unison in the same direction, we're going to be super efficient. I'd really do a good job of, you know, achieving our goals and creating progress, et cetera. But if we're all rolling in our own direction, it's a disaster, right? Like someone fell out of the boat and you know we're going in a circle or something. We're certainly not making any progress.

Jonathan: And I think for most of us that have worked across different organizations, you've probably seen both sides. Sometimes it feels like you're just treading water literally. And it's because everyone is rowing in their own direction. And so as product people, what we can really try to fight for is that alignment.

Jonathan: How do we make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction? And this idea of ruling without authority is, or influencing without authority is a better way to say it, is one way to really think about it. And so how can we really invest across these teams to really try to get us all aligned?

Jonathan: Right? So the short-term win of building a random feature to acquire one customer. That's certainly not going to allow us to achieve the reason that we all joined a certain company, which is the long-term vision.

Jonathan: So, how do we get people kind of rallied around that long-term vision? How do we make sure that we're as product people that we're not just thinking about our immediate team, right?

Jonathan: So in a product team, we're thinking about, you know, it's me, it's maybe an engineer I'm working with, maybe it's a project manager in some way, and like have this really closed view. When we really should be thinking about who's on our team. How do we broaden that to include more people into the process? How do we make sure that that customer success rep that brought us that feedback from last quarter feels really involved in the development of a new feature to address the need that they came up with, or really has good visibility into how we're developing our roadmap so they know why we did or didn't include their, you know, their feature requests in that. And so really kind of thinking more broadly about who's on our team, not just product centric, but company centric.

Jonathan: How do we make sure that we're earning permission to lead in that, in that scenario? Again, this is a lot about relationships and I think that's a big part of success as product managers is how we're managing relationships.

Jonathan: How do we make sure that we're not building really thin relationships like, Hey, I'm your friend when I need something from you, but how do we make sure that we're investing in really deep and collaborative relationships across these departments? How do we make sure that we're participating in design reviews even if our specific product isn't something that we're talking about, right? How can we be a good participant in those types of things? And then how do we, maybe, just last minute would be, how do we make sure that we really give a lot of praise and celebrate, you know, wins across the organization that aren't just about what we're working on?

Jonathan: One of the challenges I think within product is we can be really focused on, you know, some widget that we're building. And obviously we want to really champion that and we want to stay focused on that. What that can do is really create a lot of silos within organizations as well. And so how do we make sure that we're not, you know, only kind of focused on the thing that we are working on or the thing that we care about, but that we're celebrating wins across the board.

Jonathan: Because again, those wins across the board are going to get us to our company mission, right? It's going to allow us to make that progress for longterm, which is really what we all should be working towards.

Kayla: So with that alignment and communication, how do you like in practice, right, for people who are listening, who want to become product leaders, how are you changing the way you communicate potentially, or it could be the same with like the CEO versus sales versus engineering versus success. What does that look like?

Jonathan: Yeah, it's a great question. I think the challenge here is that different organizations have different communication styles, you know? And so you've got to kind of figure out how you work within those constraints.

Jonathan: But in general, I think a couple of just key principles that would apply anywhere. Number one, the idea of assuming best intent. You know, a lot of times we can have really challenging conversations and really trying to invite healthy disagreement in a way that look, we're all, you know, we're all, we all have the same vision.

Jonathan: Again, it goes back to, you know, agreeing on the mission. We're in this together, you have a perspective and I have a perspective. Let's assume the best intent in the way that we're going to engage in, you know, whatever we're going to be talking about, I think is, is something that, you know, kind of gets you off on the right foot.

Jonathan: As product managers we should be, you know, we should be excellent communicators or at least hopefully good communicators. And so really working on your writing style, working on your clarity of communications, I'm a big fan of reading, as you can tell behind me. And so, you know, I think that really helps to uplevel the way that we communicate with clarity.

Jonathan: I don't know if I'm doing that now, but hopefully that's something that we're all working on. I think again, a big part of, and I ended this kind of last thing we were talking about, really championing and supporting other people is a big part of that.

Jonathan: And again, not just the people on your team, not the people that you maybe interact with only on your project, but really being able to reach across the, you know, kind of across the lines, if you will, across the video chats nowadays with remote work to be able to say, Hey, I saw what you're doing and I really think it's great. And I think, you know, here's something I really want to champion about that.

Jonathan: And that's going to be building, you know, kind of the equity in those relationships so that when something comes up and you want to talk about, maybe it's something that you disagree with, you have the opportunity to be able to say, Hey, I noticed this thing was going on. Can you help me understand why we're doing this?

Jonathan: Or why are we doing that? And not just assuming that your approach to a problem is correct, but really being open to the fact that this let's just chop it up, let's understand what's going on here, because if you're assuming best intent, then you know, you assume that person knows what they're doing and you give them the benefit of the doubt.

Jonathan: So when you have that conversation, it's more of a collaborative conversation versus, Hey, I noticed this thing, here's what you should change. Here's how I would do it or, you know, something of that nature.

Kayla: So on the subject of championing, right? Obviously that's something that's especially important as a leader. I want to go off to a piece of advice. What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring product leader?

Jonathan: Great question. Gotta think about this one for a second. So number one I, again, I've said it I'm such a huge fan of reading. I think we have the opportunity to continue our education path if you will, by just absorbing good information, podcasts, Medium articles. There's just a tremendous amount of ways for us to continue to better ourselves and in a way that you can manage.

Jonathan: So you don't have to go get an MBA. You don't have to go spend a bunch of money to take certifications. Not that those things are bad. But you have an opportunity to really self-serve your way, and to continue to level up.

Jonathan: And I think that's a great opportunity.

Jonathan: I think the second thing, and I really love, I think this trend that's happening within the product management space, specifically as it continues to grow, is just the willingness to connect for mentorship.

Jonathan: So whether it's within your organization and you have the opportunity to really specifically enter into a mentorship relationship and really try to define that or go outside the organization, if you don't have that opportunity and try to find someone within the community that you really want to connect with. You like their writing. You like the product that they're working on. Maybe it's something that you're just interested in generally, or maybe they're in a place now where you want to be in a few years.

Jonathan: And I think that the space so far has done a really good job of saying, yeah, let's talk. Let's set up time to really understand, you know, what you're doing now and what maybe you can be doing to uplevel your career you know over the course of the next few years.

Jonathan: And then the last thing is a lot of people talk about, you know, how technical do I need to be?

Jonathan: I don't think you need to learn to code to be a product manager. But I do think it's really important to be technical enough to be in those conversations. So if you're having conversations about how to do an integration and you have no idea, you know, what an API is, like, that's going to be a challenge.

Jonathan: It doesn't mean that you can't be a good product manager. It just means that you're going to have a real limit to how you can participate in those conversations. And that at some point will become limiting to your career. So to the extent that you can really understand the technical components of the domain you're in.

Jonathan: So in my space, I'm in, you know, in payments and things of that nature. Like, it's really important for me to be able to read technical documentation, you know, that payments companies are producing so that I can understand what we can and can't do. If you're in a space that's highly regulated, spend the time to understand the regulations.

Jonathan: You're going to be able to bring a lot of value to the organization and a lot of value to how you think through solving problems for customers if you understand those technical components of it.

Kayla: Awesome, and then on the subject of leadership, what roles are you hiring for?

Jonathan: So we're hiring right now across our product team, lots of different areas, core development, expansion.

Jonathan: But for me specifically, I'm hiring FinTech product managers. So product managers that have experience working with FinTech integrations, embedding FinTech, launching, building and launching new FinTech products. And then international, obviously we talked a bunch about that. So we're hiring PMs specifically that have experience focusing on building and launching products internationally and then managing those through success.

Kayla: Awesome. And then where can people find you?

Jonathan: So you can Google me is an easy way. I'm on LinkedIn and pretty active there. So really happy to connect on LinkedIn. I'm also on Twitter but not super active, but it's a great way to find me as well.

Jonathan: And my name I'm sure will be in the show notes, but just Jonathan Cordeau, @JonathanCordeau is an easy way to find me.

Kayla: Awesome. Well, thanks for coming on.

Jonathan: Super happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Kayla: Thanks again to JC for joining us on today's episode of Product Chats. If you want more product management resources, head over to Canny.io/blog. I will see you next time.