Digital products don’t just live online. They are made up of people, experiences, and awe-inspiring innovation. This show shares the stories of industry-leading companies whose products have a soul, a mission, and a vision. Through engaging conversations with CEOs, entrepreneurs, and innovators, hosts Christian and Meghan explore the notion of what it takes to build better products. Better Product weaves a narrative story about the good, the bad, and the ugly of ideating and activating the digital products that have launched businesses and changed the world. Listen weekly to understand how digital products are created, how design influences adoption and ultimately, why product means everything.
Unpacking Dollar Shave Club’s “No B.S.” D2C Approach with Tsega Dinka
28:35You might remember Dollar Shave Club skyrocketing to popularity after they released a viral video and embraced a “no B.S.” approach to business. As one of the first major D2C brands, the company used insights they gained at the front of the pack to pioneer a budding industry. In many ways, how we understand D2C today is thanks to DSC. Tsega Dinka, recently vice president of digital product at Dollar Shave Club, was there for it all as one of the company’s first product managers. On Better Product, he reflects on how the experience taught him to align product and non-product teams and what’s required to build an inclusive brand people will remember.
Boardable’s Krista Martin on Representation & the Future of Non-Profits
21:28Non-profit boards are experiencing a culture shift. For the first time, many boards are leaning into virtual formats, creating new opportunities for more people to get involved. Krista Martin, vice president of growth at Boardable, examines these changes every day in her work. She explains how the movement to online will make boards more accessible, and more accountable, to the communities they serve. Takeaways: Non-profit boards are entering a period of transition. Transparency on boards often comes down to making the right info available. Boardable is evolving as a product to help boards rethink how they operate. Things To Listen For: [0:55] What Boardable is and why the product focuses on non-profits [1:54] The traditional way boards meet [3:05] How going fully virtual forced boards to change [4:00] How Boardable’s internal experiences with hybrid work informed the product [5:35] Why boards today are facing a “culture shift” [6:10] Boardable product features that level the playing field for involvement [7:08] Why context is everything in virtual board meetings [7:40] Virtual board meetings create opportunities for community engagement [8:40] Krista’s personal experience serving on a board as a young mother [10:00] Why non-profit boards should reflect the communities they serve [11:30] How to create a “board culture” [14:10] An exploration of Boardable’s product features [17:30] The challenges to creating diversity on non-profit boards [18:10] Technology can’t solve all problems, but it can introduce change faster
Creating a Frictionless D2C Experience with Liana Herrera, Bottomless
27:39Solving your own problems can be a shortcut to discovering a need in the market. Liana Herrera, Co-founder of Bottomless, recognized an opportunity to disrupt the coffee industry while working through her own frustrating experiences. She joins us to share her journey and how her team is transforming the world one cup of coffee at a time. Liana’s learned several critical lessons that can apply to any tech company, from the importance of the customer experience in shaping your brand to keeping your vision simple. Takeaways: Solving personal problems can lead to a market opportunity Your brand is more than your product – it’s the experience. Stay focused on your goals Things to Listen For: [02:00] The problems that inspired Bottomless [05:30] Differentiating from other coffee subscriptions [07:30] Early problems in the business [09:30] Opportunities to improve D2C engagement [10:30] Creating a frictionless experience [12:00] Customer experience influences your brand [13:00] Removing negative emotions [14:00] Imagining the perfect experience [16:00] Experience-oriented tech [17:00] Staying focused on your goals [17:45] Building a sensor-enabled marketplace [19:00] Measuring success through retention [20:00] Experimenting to grow [21:30] Surprises throughout Liana’s journey [23:30] Trends in growth channels [26:00] Looking toward the future of Bottomless
Staying Curious and Examining the Failures of D2C with Ben Clark, Casper
26:08Ben Clark is the Chief Technology Officer of the leading D2C mattress company Casper Sleep. As a senior tech leader of a popular D2C brand, Ben says it can be difficult to stay ahead of the curve and set trends. For him, the key to success in D2C is simple: stay curious and examine your failures. A lot of context switching comes with managing digital products for a physical products company. To navigate it, Ben and the Casper team embrace elegant simplicity, both in their products and strategy. Ben shows us that great ideas can come from anywhere. At Casper, he’s seen that true innovation involves cross-functional collaboration and open conversations.
Monkeying Around with Product Brand
25:57From Mailchimp’s humble monkey beginnings to a huge acquisition and SurveyMonkey’s recent rebrand, we’re talking about brand glow-ups & grow-ups in this episode. Consider it a “what not to wear” for brands. Meghan and Christian explain how MailChimp and SurveyMonkey have used their brands to connect with customers. The takeaway? Brand leaders should go all-in on any decision. Email Christian with design questions: firstname.lastname@example.org Email Meghan with brand questions: email@example.com
Should You Start with Product Brand or Product Design? The Answer Depends.
18:24After getting many questions from startup founders about starting with product design vs. product brand, Christian and Meghan take on the debate. Of course, they’re both important, but when you’re tight on cash and talent, which should you prioritize? We won’t spoil their conclusions, but here's a hint: it depends Don’t worry - Meghan and Christian explain exactly what “it depends” on. Whichever path you choose - design or brand - don’t neglect collaboration. Your brand and product need to stay connected as you iterate. Revisit to our conversation with Dominik Zane, CEO of Around, for more about how to stay connected: https://betterproduct.community/better-product/a-new-wave-of-collaboration-with-dominik-zane-around/ Email Christian with design questions: firstname.lastname@example.org Email Meghan with brand questions: email@example.com
Tech-Enabled Retail with Mel Cummings, Fabletics
23:02Since 2013, Fabletics has been doing things differently. They created a membership program for shoppers, which goes beyond a subscription model to build a relationship with shoppers. They also built their own tech solution because the market wasn’t mature enough to meet their needs. Their custom-built tech solution allows them to blend in-store and online shopping unlike any traditional retailer and collect data that sets them up to better understand and serve their customers. Mel Cummings, VP of Product at Fabletics, joins us to share how her team is elevating the entire shopping experience in a way that wouldn’t be possible without their unique approach to technology. Mel also discusses using data to uncover opportunities, enabling deeper customer connections, and the importance of knowing your “why.”
D2C Series Kick-Off: The New Way We Buy
1:30D2C is becoming the new way we buy anything. From groceries to furniture, brands are cutting out the middleman and selling their products directly to the end consumer. Next-level products are what make this D2C transformation possible. In this series, we’re talking to the people behind a few of those products: Melanie Cummings, VP of Product at Fabletics Ben Clark, CTO of Casper Sleep Tsega Dinka, VP of Digital Product at Dollar Shave Club Liana Herrera, President & Co-founder of Bottomless We also take an inside look at building products at a company that doesn’t identify as a tech company. And of course, Christian and Meghan will share the mic in exploring the brand implications of a D2C strategy. How does this impact the retail industry as a whole? We’ll explore that too. But mostly, this series will make you want to open up your phone and start shopping.
The Minute: Rigorous Design Decisions with Kate Donahue
3:04Meghan continues our The Minute conversations around how to start with design. Kate Donahue, Head of Product Marketing at Pitch, talks about how they were rigorous about the design decisions before they even had a product in the market.
From Fashion to Software: Product Drops Can Surprise Your Customers
22:41You’ve probably seen consumer brands drop a new line of footwear or clothing, but have you considered using the same approach with your product? We’re exploring the impact ‘product drops’ can have on your business in this episode of Better Product. When it comes to fashion brands, these product drops generate excitement and create exclusivity helping brands break through the noise. . Meghan and Christian explain the phenomenon while sharing examples of how brands can apply it for themselves. Resources Product ‘Drops’ Aren’t Just for Sneaker Brands: https://builtin.com/marketing/product-drops-digital