Back to resources

Seeing What’s Out There


24 September, 2021

Scott Jones
Scott Jones

VP of Product at Real Eyes

Scott Jones, Senior Product Manager of Cloud Data Services at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise, shares his approach to market research.


I do a lot of interesting consulting work with a particular fintech company in New York. It’s been a pretty open-ended partnership; they have a reasonably junior-level team, so there is plenty of opportunities to mentor.

They had a Head of Product who had left, and I was introduced to their CEO by a former colleague. He brought me on as a consultant on a preliminary basis in order to get a feel for whether or not we liked each other. The new, de facto Head of Product has been doing really well. I’ve been working a lot with them.

They’re super young and did not have a lot of experience at first. For about six months, they have been leaning on me to solve problems where they aren’t sure about the right solution.

Actions taken

We discuss strategic ideas and look into them in order to identify a possible opportunity. This can include building financial models to work off of and research on what’s out there currently. A possible project may be redoing our enrollment process. We do our homework and figure out what needs to be done.

We actually did this recently, taking ten fintech and insurance tech products and documenting how they do their enrollments on a very granular level. We can then codify this collection of data, cherry-picking the absolute ideas, and how we might carry those ideas forward into our own enrollment process. It’s a curated set of ways that our team could potentially differentiate themselves in this market.

There is an art to taking ambiguous information like this and coming to a conclusion on how to interpret it and what exactly to do with it. It’s a rinse-and-repeat approach to the work that we do together. Here is the five-step model that one company used, and this is the seven-step version that another company tried. Which one is superior?

You take from these stories and make a case for each part of the puzzle. Does it make sense or not? How might your team do it better? The marriage between thorough research and the technical skills to meet your goals are all that it takes to get your idea off of the ground. If you have the capacity, you can build the product.

Lessons learned

  • Gathering a lot of data is the best way to come up with an opinion that takes you places. You can look into the pros and cons of what your predecessors tried. After taking them all into consideration together, formulating your own strategy becomes much easier.
  • Everything really ties back into communication and evangelism for the product. None of this happens in a vacuum.
  • What works in one case may not work in another. There is this idea of carrying a bag of tricks with you. I’m hypothesis-driven in everything that I do. Being dynamic in this way has proven to be vital to my success.

Discover Plato

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

Related stories

A Day in the Life of a Product Lead in FinTech – A Series

31 January

Discover the daily struggles, challenges, and moments of delight encountered when delivering banking products around the world. I will share my story candidly and honestly, without filter as much as I am allowed, and offer insights into my approach while providing retrospectives of the results.

Embracing Failures
Cultural Differences
Career Path
Loussaief Fayssal

Loussaief Fayssal


How I failed at my startup

14 October

There are nine specific building blocks and functional areas every org/company need to work to launch the product and provide services to customers. How effectively founders tackle them determine the destiny of the company.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Scaling Team
Building A Team
Praveen Cheruvu

Praveen Cheruvu

Senior Software Engineering Manager at Anaplan

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
Scaling Team
Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Sr Engineering Manager at Instacart

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
Vineet Puranik

Vineet Puranik

Senior Engineering Manager at DocuSign

Bootstrapping a Startup While Working Full-Time

23 June

Lucjan Suski, CEO & Co-founder of Surfer, relates how he started a company as a side project and shares his insights on bootstrapping tech startups.

Innovation / Experiment
Lucjan Suski

Lucjan Suski

Co-founder, formerly CTO and CEO at Surfer