The challenge of Strategy Formulation in Products with very wide Markets

An interview with the CPO of Sherpany, a meeting management app with a very wide set of opportunities for expansion

My 5 takeaways from my conversation with Nina

  • Sherpany has a very solid annual strategy process, with clear steps, deadlines, and resulting artifacts. While sometimes this level of formality can affect the innovation of breakthrough ideas, I believe strong cadences help you gain momentum and avoid “hiding away” from the strategic work that is required regularly.
  • When discussing positioning, it was very interesting the mix of approaches used (defining a meeting category, a target user -meeting leaders-, the customer journey with 22 touchpoints, and the ones they wanted to excel on). Sounds like a complex analysis, but resulted in a very clear focus.
  • Nina tied her current example to the current growth stage of the company (scale-up) and made very explicit the importance of selecting with a very clear focus on the user and need in mind (only executive meetings) to grow and scale the product impact.
  • While the vision goes in the direction of reaching all users and use cases, their strategy was very focused on a type of user and type of meeting, making a more narrow product scope that helps them excel and grow strengthening their core capabilities. They leveraged the most “natural” growth path.
  • When talking about the longer term, Nina mentioned how the understanding of a longer horizon strategy was built over time. I think this reflects on our growing understanding as leaders and teams, making Strategy is not a set and forget process but continuously evolving as we learn, giving us a better understanding of how we can play in the future.

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Nacho Bassino

Working on online products, currently as Director of Product at XING. Passionate about technology and amazing web/mobile products.