Back to resources

Pivoting a Product Market Fit

Innovation / Experiment
Product
Leadership
Strategy
Users

28 March, 2022

Killian Brackey
Killian Brackey

Co-founder and CTO at Sezzle

Killian Brackey, Co-founder, and CTO at Sezzle, describes his journey finding the proper product-market fit and scaling his team.

Dealing with Many Priorities

A few months after I joined my company, I found an issue with the prioritization within the organization. At that time, we were doing a significant amount of testing to try and find the correct product-market fit. The most priorities were listed from most important to least: increasing sales and impressions were at the top while increasing cost savings for merchants was towards the bottom.

Our company wasn’t seeing the growth we wanted to, and we kept coming back to a single data point: that users preferred credit to debit due to the rewards. We initially thought it was a preference issue but later started thinking about it in terms of accessibility. We had a unique opportunity to test our product where users would receive a certain percentage of cashback if they used it.

Experimentation with Specific Merchants

Innovation Provokes Answers:

We partnered with a few of our merchants, asking them if we could put up different installment options to test our product. Once we received the go-ahead, we implemented these changes and found that the impressions were night and day. Although we didn’t have a product yet, seeing the large increase in traffic to our platform was strong validation that we needed to pivot.

It was difficult to make the decision to shut our company down for a few months to replatform and rebuild our product. We knew that we needed to come to the market with a new strategy – so we did. Those two months were difficult, although very productive. After they passed, we launched a new product that worked with installment payments. We marketed it to our current customer base, and the company continued to grow.

Technical and People Management:

After we relaunched our product, we noticed that we nailed the product-market fit. Our job was no longer to find that, but instead, to scale it. From that point on, the job of leading the team changed around every six months.

At one point, I was developing code, managing vendors, expectations, and the people side of things. The growth, organization, and values of the team were probably the most important part of the process moving forward. I approached people management in a similar way I built a product: by testing, applying, and then iterating.

Wearing Many Hats:

As my company grows, I’ve worn many hats and performed many roles. At one point, I spent much of my time answering support tickets and conducting the accounting. When I began to grow my team, it was empowering to hand these roles off to others that were far better than I was at it. It also meant that my job broadened and narrowed at the same time, focusing on specific details while managing the larger org.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Leaving Room to Say Things Suck — Leadership Lessons from “Ted Lasso”

17 August

A major sign of trust, comfortability, and vulnerability is for someone you lead to be able to say something sucks.

Building A Team
Company Culture
Leadership
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
John Hartley

John Hartley

Senior Engineering Manager at Curology

How to Maintain Happiness: The Underrated Aspect of Creating Team Dynamic

2 August

Jonathan Ducharme, Engineering Manager at AlleyCorp Nord, encourages the importance of a workplace environment that cultivates mental wellness.

Personal Growth
Company Culture
Leadership
Internal Communication
Psychological Safety
Jonathan Ducharme

Jonathan Ducharme

Engineering Manager at AlleyCorp Nord

Scaling a Team in Two Parts: The Product and Manager

2 August

Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti, Sr Engineering Manager at Instacart, walks through his experience scaling a team, product and his skills as a leader.

Managing Expectations
Product
Scaling Team
Leadership
Meetings
Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Sr Engineering Manager at Instacart

Congratulations you're an Engineering Manager! Now What?

29 July

Congratulations, you have just been promoted to an engineering management role. Once you are done celebrating the promotion you have worked hard to earn you might start to ask yourself, now what do I do?

Leadership
New Manager
AJ St. Aubin

AJ St. Aubin

Director Software Engineering at The RepTrak Company

How to Organize, Manage, and Grow Your Team

12 July

Vineet Puranik, Senior Engineering Manager at DocuSign, discusses the impact of roadmaps, organization, and proper management for your teams to procure growth.

Managing Expectations
Delegate
Collaboration
Roadmap
Strategy
Vineet Puranik

Vineet Puranik

Senior Engineering Manager at DocuSign