PODCAST #9. How to Succeed in Product Development: Advice from a Product Manager
Our guest today is Prabha Dublish, Senior Product Manager at Grow Therapy. She’s doing some very important things that are hard to overstate. It’s making mental health care more accessible through technology and helping women of color make their way into the product.
Dublish’s example was her mother, who was involved in nonprofits, so board meetings were something that little Prabha took for granted. That’s where she learned how important it is to help people. And how important it is to be able to speak publicly persuasively.
Empowering women entrepreneurs
After completing her first university year, Prabha decides to travel to the remotest corners of India and talk to women who manage to start and successfully run businesses in the face of gender discrimination – sort of like a documentary.
Prabha created a crowdfunding site to help these women raise funds: We built it around the Pay It Forward model, which meant that when women succeeded, they got money. They would pay it forward and give money to someone in their community to start a business with the money they had earned through the effort.
You give five dollars; you eventually get that money back. Many people will reinvest it anyway, so we wanted to sort of create this like chain of women mentoring other women and supporting other women.
The organization came up with over $50,000 and helped over 50 women in seven different countries.
From product marketer to manager
Prabha describes her product marketing experience as follows:
“I first became a product marketer, someone described it to me as being the center of a wheel, and I feel like that’s such a good way of thinking about the feeling that like you’re in the center, and then there’s like your advertising counterparts your creative agencies your analytics partners the product management team, but you’re sort of like that person at the Center.”
A product manager is also a “center” job, but on a larger scale – the difference is the area you own. The type of skills of a product marketer and manager are similar. One of the biggest strengths of a product marketer is also some of the things about user insight that are important to a successful product manager; as a product marketer, you do a lot of research to figure out what the unique values are that we have to position.
No product will be successful if you don’t have a good go-to-market strategy and think about how you will measure it.
While working at Meta, Prabha changed her major from marketer to product manager when she saw many shining examples of such professionals around her. A product position came her way there on Facebook, and Prabha didn’t pass up the opportunity. It was the height of the pandemic, and many people were struggling with various mental illnesses. Despite working for such a high-profile company, Prabha saw it as a start-up.
Prabha’s journey to Grow Therapy
And now, she’s at Grow Therapy, which is unsurprising due to her desire to help people. The main mission is to make mental health accessible (whereas Facebook focuses on the positive) because, as we know, psychotherapists don’t like to mess with insurance. So the product helps find a metric between the patient, the therapist, and the insurance terms – like a marketplace. The measures of success are conversion and retention metrics.
About the Facebook interview:
In the world of product marketing and product management, there are no right or wrong answers in an interview; it’s all about your thought process and how you communicate your thoughts. The biggest thing we look for is structured thinking. The second is communication, whether it’s easy to follow, whether I understand what they’re saying, and the third is creative thinking.
It’s very important to be close to the client to understand their struggles. You can’t create something that everyone will love all the time. Without a clear understanding of who you’re making a product for and the critical things that need to be addressed, even in this segment of problems, it will be very difficult to create a product that solves problems.
Navigating healthcare innovation and team building
In health care, in particular, Prabha follows many different companies. In addition, there’s a fabulous newsletter called Health Tech nerds with many great ideas for the healthcare industry.
Creating a cohesive product team is one task, but building and keeping it together and ensuring there’s not a lot of friction in its growth is another task.
You don’t want to be someone who introduces Facebook-level processes in a B-series company, you will slow down the team, and it won’t be helpful; you have to find that balance, how to add enough processes to make it worthwhile.
A product manager has to be able to ask the right questions. You won’t be a technical expert by the end of the day, but you don’t need to be; you have to be able to identify problems with the right questions. And find solutions to them, help the team determine what’s most important.
The APP Solutions launched a podcast, CareMinds, where you can hear from respected experts in healthcare and Health Tech.
Who is a successful product manager in the healthcare domain? Which skills and qualities are crucial? How important is this role in moving a successful business to new achievements? Responsibilities and KPIs?
Please find out about all this and more in our podcast. Stay tuned for updates and subscribe to channels.