It was insightful to be at the Unpluggd 2019. With my experience during the previous editions, I was confident that the Unpluggd team would pick up speakers with great quality and they didn’t let me down. Below are the notes I made:
Sachin Bansal (Founder of Flipkart) had a chat on building Flipkart, Thinking Big and Next India Opportunities. He said growth hack for the first 1000 customers at Flipkart, when social networking was just picking up was SEO and word of mouth. They gave ESOPs to people which they didn’t appreciate that moment but only later when it grew in value. He said he learnt management skills as he built Flipkart, learnt from mistakes and moved on. Cash on delivery, returns were easy because Flipkart had its own logistics.
When asked on what the other Indian competition missed, he said, they could have built better tech. He also said that technology changes break monopolies.
In his opinion, spaces which has opportunity for technology to transform are grocery, healthcare, education, and electric transportation. When asked, what Sachin looks for while evaluating an opportunity, he said: market size, is the market available for disruption, people and their commitment. He advised to think big to build a big business, build a great team, keep the bar high and create trust.
Praful Poddar’s (Head of Product, Olx) talk was very appealing. He spoke on how to fail fast, early and cheap and gave the BIRA mnemonic for product experiments.
Kunal Shah (Founder of CRED & Freecharge) in an AMA session gave some great insights:
- 95% of credit cards or car loans are by men
- Only 5% of credit card users have enabled auto debit enabled
- Only 12% of women in India are part of the workforce
- Instead of fail fast, research and plan well
- Easiest way to know product market fit is the measure of organic growth
- People want to pay for content if they are short of time, which is not the case is here. Ex. when Tiktok and pubg are being banned means people are doing nothing all day
- In India people have the tendency to give sugar coated feedback.
- People who understand applause or crowd empathy, training pets are good at product management
- Any product that is of high value and infrequent purchase needs high trust building
- In India people buy education like insurance
- Nobody enjoys fueling the car or working out but enjoying vacations or playing with kids
- Boring transactions to interesting transactions
- Countries with multiple ethnicity have trust problem
- Education, dating have a premium scope, where Indians can spend money.
- There is not a great platform for investing in fixed deposits, which Indians love
- Apartments, apparels have foreign names because we trust less of Indian
- Most customers didn’t know the interest charges on their credit cards
Anuj Rathi (VP, Products at Swiggy) while speaking on effortless prioritization and how to focus on what really matters, gave the below framework:
- Focus on customers 50%
- Focus on competition 10%
- Focus on economics 20%
- Focus on future 20%
He also advised on how to prioritize using ICE- Impact, Confidence, Effort.
Anshuman Bapnaa (Chief Product Officer, Goibibo at MakeMyTrip Group) while talking on Scaling Products beyond product-market fit phase said Alignment eats strategy. You want autonomy. You earn that through alignment. How do our partners, customers feel about what we are doing. goCash, a wallet which earned when you upload your address book and you earned money when your friend travelled is an example of alignment.
- Be explicit about your beliefs. Ex. Spotify Rhythm: Taxonomy
- Choose the right metric and then obsess about reporting it.
- Set up autonomous, x-collab teams & give them missions
- Overlap missions so teams reinforce each other
- Finally, create an alignment rhythm that works for you.
Aakash Dharmadhikari (Director Products, GOJEK) spoke on takeaways from 100x growth and the challenges for that are growing team sizes, complex market dynamics, broken communication, and frequent misalignments. He also said lean works, even at a unicorn and told to treat your company as product, and internal stakeholders as customers. He also stressed on the importance of everyone sharing the big picture, transparency around prioritization for which dashboards and showcases for teams helped. He advised to use OKRs.
Reference: GO-JEK OKR FAQ
Rahul Malik (Head of Product, Atlassian, Bengaluru) said, we should learn to set up OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) in your company. Clearly articulate company strategy, communicate. There should be a sense of belonging in team.
David Zabowski (VP of Engineering, NerdWallet) on going from 0 to 1, 1 to N. The 4 stages of 0 to N
- Finding initial product market fit
- Scaling the discovered product
- Expanding to adjacent product areas: 1 to N
- Scaling, iteration and leverage
Ranjeet Pratap Singh (CEO & Cofounder, Pratilipi) born in a small village in UP, looked inspirational.
Ashish Sinha (Founder of Nextbigwhat) spoke on 7 Sins of Product Managers
- Lust – strong desires. Obsessed with PR, cool tech no one is using, desire to be seen as disruptive business.
- Gluttony – over consumption of anything to the point of waste. More features, more options, more options. Reverse example- Why Netflix does not have short films.
- Sloth-stay in the comfortable a/c office and build what you think is right, without talking to the customers.
- Wrath-when launch fails, blame game.
- Envy-too obsessed with competition. Competition driven. Reactive.
- Pride-too obsessed with self.
To be a good product manager, one should have business and analytical skills, customer understanding, influencing skills and the ability to criticize your own ideas.
Arvind Pani (CEO, Reverie) which was acquired by Jio said, not every startup needs to aspire for billion dollar valuations.
Vivek (Cofounder of BOUNCE) was full of confidence when he spoke on finding Product-Market Fit in a Brand New Category. He said behavioral shaping is happening in India and shared mobility will pickup.
Anandamoy Roychowdhary (Director – Technology, Sequoia Capital India Advisors) while speaking on how to hire and grow team as you scale said, look for passion and grit