My Biggest Product Challenge of 2018

by Dominic Gadoury

This year has been an amazing year for my product work.  I’ve been so lucky to work with an amazing Ventures Big Data team.  While we all have different experiences and backgrounds, our team has made quick and tangible moves to help prepare our business for client success.  

So, what’s the downside and product struggles I have experienced this year?  The largest one is running a startup inside a large corporate structure.  While we do still have to sing for our funding each year, we don’t have the day to day stress of appeasing multiple revenue sources like most start-ups.  That’s the good news.

The downside is having to navigate all corporate requirements when building MVP products, even for pilot. This includes overhead items like procurement, legal, security, multiple system and data owners, and the like.  Now, let me be clear that all of these things are ultimately critical for business success (and our brand integrity thrives as a result), but it is an overhead that takes significant time and resources even before we have validated the products in the market.

How do we manage that?  First, having a team with members who have the experience in navigating those paths is very helpful.  Second, communicating the Venture’s goals and opportunities to the business partners helps them help you.  Having clearly defined objectives that inform business partners in an elevator or board room allows you to build alliances that benefit everyone.  Finally, having business champions make things smoother.  For instance we have a wonderful legal representative assigned just to our Venture to bring her expertise to all the details.  We also are able to help prioritize where we need her help in advance so she knows what’s in the pipeline from a product, sales and business development perspective.

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