Podcast Transcript Episode 2: Product Thinking For Entrepreneurs With Mr. Praveen Udupa, Co-founder, eedge.ai

Mr. Bhaskaran, Chief Academic Officer, UNext Learning   

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Many of you who are entrepreneurial by nature, practice product thinking in day-to-day life. And yet, I get asked many times, is this, the job of an entrepreneur? Is it the job of the entrepreneur to think, like, a product manager to think, like, a product owner, or to think like a business owner? 

I hope that by the end of this podcast, you will have some answers and get you to think a little differently about the job of an entrepreneur and that of a product manager. To do this, I have a guest in the studio, who is immensely talented in both these disciplines and you will get to know this when he introduces himself. At the end of it, if he can’t answer a question, I’m pretty sure nobody else can.  

My privilege to talk with Mr. Praveen Udupa and a greater privilege to ask him to introduce himself. Sir, over to you.  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

Thank you, thank you very much, Mr. Bhaskaran. Thank you very much, sir. It’s my privilege to be engaging in this collaborative discussion with you. I think I’m here to learn more than speak. So I will speak of my experience. So I started my career after my MBA in 2001. I went to TA PAI Management Institute, Manipal. Before that, I did my electronics engineering and as soon as I completed my engineering, I then figured, hey, I don’t think the technical line is something that is up my alley.  

It’s probably not my cup of tea. So, thinking about what I should do next, right? Because the entire country was rat-racing toward its industry. I said, what can I do to avoid it? There are many other Industries. Hopefully, somebody will employ me and I said, let me do my MBA.  

So I gave my CAT and then, you know, got through the interview process selection process at the API Management Institute. And the reason why I did my MBA was to get away from the IT industry and in 2001, when we got through our placement season, by the way, I did marketing and a little bit minored in systems. So, in 2001, when the placement season approached, unfortunately, for me, the dotcom burst had happened. And we were supposed to go through the selection process of any company that picked our profile, right? We had no choice in that. So, you know, unfortunately, I said, okay, that’s fine. Whoever picks my profile. And I had my fingers crossed to say, hey, let’s let an MCG industry or somebody pick my profile. Sonata Software Limited came into the campus and picked my profile first and I had no choice, but to go through the interview process.  

Now, let me preface it by saying, looking back right now, I am so glad that Sonata Software Systems Limited picked my profile because this is what I want to be continuing to do not only in this life. If there is another life, I want to do product management, right? But this became a foundation.  

So they selected me. I had no choice but to join Sonata software limited and I asked them very clearly, hey I am not a techie I can’t write code with my right hand. So what are you going to do with me? They said, “Don’t worry! Come on board, we have a plan for you.” And then they did have a plan. I joined and then they said, “Hey, you need to engage with clients. Right! Try to speak their lingo, understand their needs.” And on this side, we have people who have absolutely, no knowledge of the business. So you have to be a translator in between. I said, “Okay, as long as it’s talking I am game, sir!”  

And then I started doing that job. At that point in time, the role had no specific bike, right? That it is called Business Analysis became apparent to me and probably to the entire world 2 or 3 years later. And 2-3 years later, I moved to another company called IT solutions, which then became Caritor. Caritor acquired Keen and this got acquired by Entity Data. And I for nine years, spent a good amount of my career in Entity Data. That is where I learn on the job everything that’s got to do with Business Analysis and Product Management.  

2012 was when I got bored of my career in the corporate world and by 2008, the second recession during my career, I had An opportunity to bring people from other streams in the IT industry, like testing design, you know, and also higher fresh MBA graduates from B-schools and then coach them in Business Analysis and make them client-ready. Because there was a lead time, I created a curriculum at a three-month long workshop, right, where I wear took people through this educational, you know, hopefully for me, it was educational for them too, Business analyst client-facing business mileage out of them and that is something that I enjoyed a lot.  

2012 is when I introspected a lot and thought, “Hey, what do you love doing the most? Do you want to be another brick in the wall in the IT industry, or what do you want to do?  

So I said, oh no. These are the two things that I have – absolutely great passion for Product Management, Business Analysis and coaching, and competency development. So, that is when I co-founded value base and we, we specifically focused on MBA institutions, created a curriculum, and offered programs in MBA institutions between 2012 and 20-19 pre Covid, about 6,000 to 7,000 students roughly, I have had the privilege, opportunity, and good fortune to coach and educate. A lot of my students are still in touch with me.  

So that was what I was doing right. And I was earning a fraction of what I would have earned had I continued in the corporate world but I had quadrupled the happiness, right? So I said, okay, so this is, this is great. God has put me in this stream and in 2017, another opportunity came our way, right? Netflix and Amazon Prime were peaking slowly. Streaming was becoming mainstream, but we saw a hole in the market. We said, “Hey, there is no experience in watching streaming content on a mobile phone or a laptop. There are some movies that require that large-screen spectacle, right? Why don’t we create a theater for streaming content? 

That was the initial idea. So we started that. And that took off really well and more stories on the way I’m sure for other questions. It took off very well until Covid killed it in 2020 and 2021, I had to make a choice, right? “Praveen, do you want to give it all you got then at the cost of your family and their future or do you want to look at it?”  

So, you might say I’m a little bit of a risk-averse. I said, “Okay, I’m not going to do this. I’m going to move on to my family.” I went back to my so-called original business of education training, and competency development and moved into Product Management. And here I am sitting in front of you, sir, today.  

Mr. Bhaskaran  

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Super impressive. Listeners, now you know, why UNext requested Praveen to join us on this discussion. A beautiful blend of corporate experience, and entrepreneurship product thinking, perhaps one of the first players in the world of Business Analysts.  

So pleased to have you with us today. Thank you very much. This is a beautiful segue to my first question, right? So entrepreneurs constantly struggle with this idea. Do I make a great product or do I get my first customer? Basically, the time from a prototype in the lab to a customer who’s willing to pay for it and start using it. What’s your thought? What should this journey feel like for the entrepreneur, how rapidly should they do this? Should they follow a process? What has been your experience in this?  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

So, I don’t know that I’m qualified to give advice to other people, but I’ll tell you my experience, right? Before we started, TERIFLIX, a theater for streaming content, I was a customer myself of that idea, right? My brother, owned a proper home theater at his house, right? And then almost every week or every other week, the entire family would gang up at his house and we would watch streaming content. And before that DVD, you know, Blu-ray content on the large screen, right?  

And we never ever got the thrill of watching those movies on a smaller screen. Not even the TV, right? So, we got into the discussion right. Prashant, my brother, and I were customers of our own idea before the idea, even germinated in her head, right? So I think that’s very important, right? As a CEO, as a Founder, you got to be sold on your own idea so much so that you have to be your own customer first, right?  

If you think twice before buying your own product, then maybe the market won’t buy your product, right? So, that’s how I think of it, sir.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

So that’s an interesting thought, right? To one of these struggles, we have with this is, as an entrepreneur, obviously, I think my idea is great. I hope my idea is great and then I skip the market survey piece. Hey, I love my idea, right? And I skip the market survey piece and I try and take my idea into the market. How important do you think understanding the market out there is in this process?  

The textbook answer is, of course, it is. But let’s take your example, right? You said, yes, you know the home theater experience is different and the large screen experience is different etcetera. So, is there something more to it than just that? 

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

I think it is right? So it has, a quick answer is it depends, right? It depends on how much disposable income you have at that point in time to kind of create your first prototype, not just mock-ups kind of a prototype but actually a working prototype, right? It depends there.  

So, with regards to TERIFLIX, we owned a farm family property in Bangalore and it was a commercially, declared space already. My father constructed it, it was there and we said, “Hey, in this property, we don’t have to pay rent, right? And we have no other recurring income expense here other than a little electricity water and AC and other things. So how much would it cost to stand up a full-fledged, proper mini PVR with about 15 seat capacity? Is it about 10 lakhs? Okay, so you got five lakhs Prashanth? Yeah, I got five lakhs, too.” We invest and built it, right?  

Let’s just do it, right? Suppose it did not work, right? We both thought, hey, if it doesn’t work, we’ve got a family room theater was, right? And that’s a good investment for us to have a family home theater, right? If it does work, then the upside is more than the downside, right? So, For us that work. But should we have done a market survey? Probably, right. Probably. But then taking care of the confirmation bias, right?  

We go around and ask people and we question, you know, we phrase our question in such a way that we want to hear what we already want to hear, right? So what is confirmation bias? Sure, you should go and talk to people and we did talk to people while the construction was in progress, right?  

So we talked to, a lot of people, we are doing something like this and how do you feel? Hey, provided the this price is right, this seems amazing, right? We want to really do it and the market kept its word, sir, right?  

So, we launched on September 17th, 2017, you know, we launched the product and we soon had free media coverage – Radio City, Radio Fever, lots of newspapers, TV studios came and gave us free mileage. We did not spend even one Paisa on marketing. The market found it so original in terms of free media coverage but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. When the customers came in, they came in droves. Initially, we wanted to create this a, as a family business, so to speak, right? We had not Incorporated TERIFLIX at all. So, Prashanth and I, owned it as individual proprietors, we said, let’s see how it goes, right?  

So the market took it up, and people were coming in from Whitefield. If you know Bangalore, Whitefield to Girinaga, Banashankari is farther away from Delhi. Yeah, right. People were coming in, students were coming in. They were logging into their own, you know, Netflix accounts. We were asking people to remove their footwear at the door. Yeah. People were happy to do it. Who does it in a theater, right?  

They were happy to do it. So the market gave us everything that we wanted and more.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

Oh, this is so good to hear! Well, let me put you on the spot here. You’ve invested, let’s say, 10 lakhs in this venture. Suppose the same thing had been 10 crores. Would your thinking and behavior have been different?  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

Oh, totally! 100%  because we weren’t we wouldn’t be able to fund 10 crores. So then we would have to go through the normal rigmarole of the star tab, create their pitch deck, go to investors, convince them, get initial seed funding, and create a prototype, which created MVP. So, we’ll have to have to go through the same rigmarole.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

So, do you think from an entrepreneur’s perspective, that is an unnecessary overhead? Because, because you’re going to go out there for a loan and you do all this paperwork from a loaning perspective, but would it have been required from a business perspective otherwise? You love your idea, right? You think it’s a great idea. It is just that you don’t have the money out of your pocket to invest there for you, going for a loan and the person giving you the loan is asking you for all this documentation.  

So is that why you would do it? Or is there a more business reason for doing that?  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

See, first of all, 10 crores are unaffordable, right? So we have to raise 10 crores from somewhere. And if 10 crores, the people who have the money are asking, right, “Boss, you’ve got to show me some traction, you got to show me prove to me that this idea is good.” You’ve got to do what the people holding the money ask for, right? No matter how much I loved my idea, the markets got to love it, right? And the investor, I believe, it is a prudent investor, the investor also has got to love the idea as much as the customer also, right?  

And only then this will continue to work.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

Do you think this process would also reinforce whether my idea is good, bad or ugly? Just just going through this rigorous process of the business idea, the market surveys, Etc. Do you think it helps me reinforce my own belief in the idea?  

Mr. Praveen 

I think if the process would lead you to question your idea, that idea is not good from in the first place. But this process will help you communicate the idea in such a way that it develops, the same kind of thrill in the Listener as much as you already have. Right.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

That’s a completely different, more interesting concept. So, if the, if the process created doubt in my eye, in my mind, the idea was not worth it in the first place.  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

Or maybe I am not worthy enough to implement the element that idea.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

All right, whereas, if it reinforces what I believe, then you’re saying it’s an easier sell to anybody else who should – who would – become a potential stakeholder.  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

Absolutely. I believe this very strongly that if I’m not convinced in something that I’m saying, It’s very difficult to convince somebody else.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

Absolutely. Absolutely bang on there. This is another mindset challenge, right? So the entrepreneur is really then, living in two words – he’s living in a world of chaos. Right? He is living in a world of risk management. He’s a, he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. He gets up in the morning at his house and thinks what’s today laid out for me?  

That’s one part of what an entrepreneur’s life is. And yet, you are now saying the other part of the entrepreneurs life is also to be process-oriented, right. You must have a structure in place. You must behave like a business person. You need the documentation. You need the data and facts and more. How difficult do you think it is for a person to wear these two caps simultaneously? 

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

I don’t think there are two caps here. Honestly, I see this as the reality. What is so the truth for an entrepreneur is there is chaos, that is the truth. And I think the entrepreneur’s job is to establish clarity in chaos. The chaos is already there, right? If it is not chaos, if it is not chaotic or too structured, somebody else is already solving the problem, right? So my belief is that we have to, we have to fall in love with chaos as an entrepreneur and as a product managers, and establish clarity within the chaos, not only for yourself but for other stakeholders in water.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

This is amazing! Entrepreneurs out there – if anything is significant from today’s talk, it is this. The job of an entrepreneur is to light a path through the chaos that they see in front of them. This is an amazing thought and an amazing concept. Thank you. Thank you so much for bringing that out.  

Do you think this would be, you know, should there be a catalyst who helps the entrepreneur do this? Should there be somebody else who’s helping them create order out of this chaos or is it truly the job of the entrepreneur?  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

So I would look at this question in two ways. One is should an entrepreneur have a coach, right? So to speak are or somebody the entrepreneur can use as a sounding board, right? Sure. That would greatly help, right? But if the entrepreneur is looking at somebody else to help clear chaos and establish clarity, it would be useful. But if the entrepreneur is looking for somebody else to do the clearing of the chaos and maybe that person is the entrepreneur. 

Mr. Bhaskaran 

Yes (laughingly), that’s another way of thinking about it. Yeah. It’s truly at the end of the day, it’s my job to make sense of what’s out there. And if I’m depending on somebody else to do that, I’m still not wearing an entrepreneur’s hat, right? So in my mind, I’m not an entrepreneur, which then has another interesting thought, right?  

One of the roles that you’ve played is of training other potential Business analysts, Project and Product managers, and so on. How important do you think formal knowledge is for an entrepreneur? Understanding what product management is all about?  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

I’ve read in several places when we talk about product management, right? So they define a product manager as Ken Norton, right? So Ken Norton in his famous and Immortal essay, How To Hire A Product Manager – when he was in Google, right? He says, “Hey, buddy, Mr. Product Manager, nobody asked you to show up. Right? The engineering team is creating the product. The marketing team is marketing the product. The design team is actually creating the design element and the user experience. What the hell are you doing, right? What’s your role as a product manager, right?  

So and then they in the other literature, say a product manager is truly the CEO of that product, right? While do I believe in that definition wholeheartedly or not is debatable, but the other part is to a CEO, foundationally, a product manager first. Right?  

A CEO up until the product is up and running, the ability of a CEO to hone that mindset and then inculcate, and cultivate the disciplinary right of collaborating with the right set of stakeholders, right? Identifying the need accurately co-creating with them and is very important work. Co-creating, the solution of the product, along with the stakeholders, making sure that it is solving a real problem that the stakeholders, the customer, the stakeholders have and ensuring that, the product is delivering value for all stakeholders, including yourself, right? That’s I think the job of a CEO in the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey and that is precisely the definition of a product manager. According to me.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

So what I hear you say is that it is not enough for an entrepreneur /product manager to just be technically competent, to be functionally competent. And I think it reminds me what Sonata told you when they offered you the job. “Hey, we want you to connect people together. We want you to connect the customer with our technical guys. They don’t understand that language. And vice versa.” 

Is this really true? And if so, how important are the other competencies of a product manager of a product manager?  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

Oh absolutely! A Product Manager has to believe that he or she is a problem solver foundationally right. Back in the day, when I was focusing on business analysis, which by the way, is subsumed under product management, right? I would, I would ask my students, “Hey, what do you think this business analysis is?” They would give me a definition that a Business Analysis is a bridge between business and technology.  

I would say no, not really, not at all. You sure they are are connecting Business and Technology, but you will have to believe that you’re a problem solver first. And that’s, extremely important, right? A product manager is a problem solver, right? The ability to spot a symptom, dig deep to identify all the root causes work together with all the stakeholders to identify a solution that works for that set of stakeholders. Right? And you know, defining the solution in such a way that the solution which is purely in are, get some amount of concretization on paper, it’s not developed yet. At least on paper, people are able to visualize what the solution will be later on. That is the job of a product manager, right?  

And making sure that all other teams come in, right? Not just design team, not just development team, not an engineering team but the marketing team, the senior management team, right. The legal team, all of them come together and the product managers responsibility is to get them excited about the product and the value that it will add. For example, when we did TERIFLIX, there was a big legal angle to it right? Can I offer my infrastructure for somebody to come and stream content on the large screen? I am I abusing somebody’s, you know, terms of use, right? So there’s a legal angle to it.  

We went and took legal consulting from a specific qualified lawyer who said, “Hey, listen, as long as people are dialing in or logging into their own streaming accounts, you’re just giving the infrastructure for them to enjoy their own streaming content in a specific way.”  

But then later on, we moved into a space, where filmmakers became the another customer segment. The artists and filmmakers would come in to use TERIFLIX for previewing their own movies, right? And they say, “Hey, I want to show these movies to distribute. I want to do this and that.”  


We had to change our legal because you’re not screaming anymore. They’re bringing a hard drive. What if somebody is bringing a hard drive that had copyrighted content of somebody else. So legal has a very significant aspect and somebody has to own it. Who else but the product manager has to hold it.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

You  know, this is a very interesting example and this triggers a completely different thought in my mind. Both the entrepreneur and the product manager are CEOs. But to be the CEO here means Chief Everything Officer. They are responsible for the full nine yards, there’s nobody they can really say that’s not my job. That’s that’s really what we say.  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

It is amazing and I’m going to steal that from you.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

Absolutely. It’s a great one, right? I love this. My last question. This is something that has been bugging me for a while. I’ve personally worked in very large organizations, right? I started my career in BHEL and moved to Bosche and then to Phillips. And now with the UNext group. The Challenge has been that in these large organizations, they have a very robust stage-gate review process you. At UNext, we have something called the 5i Process, where we talk about Ideate, Innovate, Implement, Industrialize and Improve. a typical product life cycle.  

How important do you think adopting a robust formal semi-formal stage-gate review process is for an entrepreneur / product manager? Now, I’m kind of merging both the rolls into one because the entrepreneur has to play both the rules. Do you think they have the luxury of incorporating a robust forma or semi-formal stage-gate review process before they take their idea to the market? 

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

That’s a, that’s a great question, right? As much as process facilitates growth, if implemented at the wrong time, it inhibits growth also. So long as the product manager, I’m sorry, the entrepreneur is owning  product management. The process is running in their head. Right? And they are the decision makers. But when the organization starts growing you bring in other people, you want to create a certain culture within the organization. You want to make sure that you set up the organization for Success.  

You want to make sure that you give the people within the organization authority to make decisions and Implement on them and own those decisions. And you have to make sure that those decisions are more often than not correct than wrong. That is when process has become very important, right?  

And a stage-gate process is extraordinarily important at a time, when we’ve got more and more people working on more and more things, specifically when more and more parts or dimensions of the same product, Right, when one team working on that product has an impact and dependency on other teams, the stage-gate process becomes extremely important so that everybody within the organization is kept on the same page with what is going on.  

But the same stage-gate process, implemented much early on at the time of let’s say a conceptualization of the idea, it starts inhibiting it. Why don’t I go through fast iteration Cycles, right? And maybe it’s not necessary for the entrepreneur at that point in time because formally because it is running in with their head informally, right?  

If they’re two three co-founders, they’re sitting will same other at the same table and different places, right? The stage-gate is getting involved by collaboration. When is that process important? When collaboration has to be insisted, mandated, then there needs to be a stage-gate process.  

Hey, has your entry criteria been met? Has this that and the other person reviewed your entry criteria? Have they signed off on that entry criteria? Fabulous! Your job is done. Then they are taking over.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

So let me come back to an earlier, thought you had. You said, “You know what, maybe entrepreneurs need coaches just to bounce off ideas and stuff.” Do you think, so you even in the case when they have two or three co-founders working together, do you think it’s still a good idea to have two or three external people come and ask them all these funny questions like like a shark tank situation, right? So just to challenge the thinking of these three co-founders. Honestly, the three co-founders all love their idea.  

Like why would they say by idea doesn’t work, right? They love the idea. So would it help? So that’s why I use the word semi-formal stage gate, where these three co-founders tell the coaches what they think they’re going and that the coaches challenge them, ask them, those funny questions.  

And if these people are able to test and stand up to those challenges, then maybe the idea still deserves to go.  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

Wonderful idea. I would have loved to have a people and in fact, you know, come to think of it. I did have people who are challenging us on our idea, right? I, you know, the CMO of Adobe – the X CMO of Adobe – now, the CEO of Resolve, Sundar and I we go back a long way to TAPMI, right? We were roommates in TAPMI, right? I would once have all the ideas too Sundar Sundar’s wife is an accomplished entrepreneur herself, right? She runs five different businesses. You know, we’ll need another session to talk about Sundar and her. So, we bounced off the ideas with Sundar and they said that it was a great idea and you’ve got to do this that and the other two to refine it.  

To deliver it and they say that. Yeah, we did have coaches durable in fact, It helped and I would, you know, I don’t think all entrepreneurs would have that luxury, but if they do get it, grab it with both hands. Coaching is extremely powerful.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

Thank you, thank you. Thank you. That’s I think that makes a lot of sense. There is this one thing that people love more than their own children, it’s their idea. So, criticizing my own idea, you know, trashing my own idea requires a lot of maturity, and I think that’s when these coaches help us do this.  

So that kind of brings our semi-formal stage-gate to the whole process. And I think that’s fantastic.  

My last question, just to round off all of this. If I did want to know when I should get a coach in, are there logical points in time in the entrepreneurial Journey, when I should bring a coach in and get the get those external views into the picture?  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

This is a tough one. When can I get a coach. See, initially, the entrepreneur loves the idea but it’s full of doubts as to whether their execution is correct, right. Am I doing the right thing? So here is experiential part that’s coming through right? My brother and I we always had this tussle, right? Should we allow Hotstar as a streaming platform? Such that people come in and log into their own hot star account stream content. Right? My brother was absolutely against it. He said, “No. Hotstar’s terms of use does not allow it. So let’s not do it.”  

I would say, “Hey, do you think Uber has a license to run in India? They don’t have license and laws were not made for it, right? Laws will catch up but you’re leaving money on the table because Game of Thrones, we’ve got over 100 requests to come and stream Game of Thrones. But we were leaving money on the table. we’ve got 150 requests to comment stream IPL.  

But has against doing it because it was against the terms of use. “I don’t want this point to come and bite us on our backside three years later, when we are ready to take off. At which point in time, I would have loved to have a coach to come and settle this difference right saying let’s do it or not do anything.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

Would it also be fair to say, “Guys, get a coach when you are upping the investment either, in terms of market size, in terms of just my monetary investments, in terms of investments in your brand and when you’re making those kinds of significant decisions, get somebody to come in?”  

Mr. Praveen Udupa  

Yeah, that that kind of makes sense and my humble submission would be to go after investors who will double up as coach. Do not take money from investors and do not take only money from investors. If the investor is not playing a role in your growth, like a Shark Tank Shark does, right? They pay the money and they don’t back off, they bring their whole infrastructure and might of execution behind them to make sure that you’re successful find such investors. Otherwise the investors who say boss, I won 100 thousand dollars extra on my last trip. I have that, you know, money I’m going to give you and they will vanish.  

And they’ll come and ask for their money back. So, please, you don’t need those investors. You need coaches as investors.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

That’s a fantastic idea. Brilliant idea! I love this one. So, folks out there, just to summarize our conversation for the day, I’m hearing a couple of things that I’m going to ask Praveen to reinforce whether my conclusions are right. An entrepreneur, by nature, must have the ability to take risks. The second conclusion I come to is that the level of formalization of the processees that an entrepreneur uses is dependent on the Investments and the riskiness of the business that they are entering. Smaller Investments : less formal processes and larger Investments : definitely more formal processes required.  

Number three is – to make the decision on how formal the process ought to be, it’s important for the In order to also understand the competencies and the processes of a product manager. It’s never either, or you might not require the rigor of the complete stage-gate review process, the product management challenges, but you need to know that you don’t need them which implies, you know when to apply it.  

So you need to have the competencies of a product manager and you need to use your own judgement on when to use this. Fourth conclusion is, you are the CEO of the product. The word CEO, just means Chief Everything Officer. You have to be responsible Lock Stock and Barrel for everything that happens. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and to keep you on the straight, to help you sleep at night, it’s always good to get a coach that can challenge you. That can ask you those funny questions. And if Required. tell you that you’re not doing what’s right.  

Praveen. Do you think that’s a decent summary of the discussions?  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

That’s a wonderful brilliant summary. I just want to reinforce one point about how do you know, you know, you love your idea and we said that. Whether you love your idea for the merit of the idea or you love your idea because it’s an idea, that’s a vast sea difference, right? And the trait, the competency that you are talking about that, I would call it a trait in that individual, and that is called Product sense. Sometimes called as Product Thinking right? Product Sense and the definition of product Sense – the ability to make decisions that has bearing on the product, right? That has some bearing on the product, making sure that the decision will impact positively on its users, and you make the decision even in the in face of a lot of ambiguity and chaos, right? 

That’s a definition of Product Sense and it applies at the macro level and at the micro level. So macro level, for example, if Amazon Prime music, right? If somebody is giving you feedback, saying, “Hey, we want to build social networking angle into Amazon music.” Somebody comes in and gives you that idea, right? Should you implement that idea or not? The ability to evaluate that idea, your product sense, comes to bear – the product managers. As well as at the micro level, should we add a nickname field to the profile page? It cannot get any more micro than that, right?  

And it’s important for a product manager to keep honing their product. Now, it’s very vague right products else? Nobody can say how do I know I the making the right decision. So let me take and draw inspiration from two people that I follow on social media Shreyas Doshi and Lenny.  

The product sense has three specific, imagine a Venn diagram right, and there is the intersection of three circles. The first circle is empathy, right? Do you know your users well? Do you know your users so well that you can actually feel their problems? That’s empathy, right? Empathy is like an antenna, which sucks in signals, right? So you got to have that empathy antenna up and keep sucking those signals right?  

And what does it mean? It, sucks signals of users’ problems. Doesn’t matter whether they are in the context of your product or general problems, right? To see if to filter. For those signals coming through, it is important to have a filter called domain knowledge. Market knowledge and domain knowledge, are extremely important, right? So having that empathy signals coming through constantly using domain knowledge as a sieve, things trickle down and you’ve got to solve those user problems. And to solve those, your proposal from the third circle, the Venn diagram is creative thinking.  

So, empathy, domain knowledge, and creative thinking keep honing these three things. The intersection is what is product since. Right. And the and product manager needs to non-stop constantly, hone this ability like honing your muscles in the gym.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

Folks, you heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. Amazing, amazing conclusion to this session, and if you can put all of this into practice, I had a mentor and I’d like to quote them on this. He told me, “You’re condemned to Succeed.”  

All the best. Thank you very much, Praveen. It was a privilege and a pleasure to have you talk to us. I’m hoping the listeners have gotten something out of this.  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

Hey, thank you for having me. I enjoyed it immensely, you know, I’m a teacher by heart. So when I’m talking and the dope about a topic that is my passion.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

You know that passion is obvious.  

Mr. Praveen Udupa 

Thank you so much, appreciate it. Thanks for having me.  

Mr. Bhaskaran 

Thank you, thanks a lot.  

Thank you, listeners, for tuning in to the Porta. Before we sign off, let us remind you that the Portal is powered by UNext. We have transformed companies from across diverse domains and helped them propel towards growth and profitability through meticulously-structured and customized programs for 360-degree workforce transformation.  

We are bringing you more incredible conversations on emerging technologies. So, make sure you stay connected with us on major podcasts streaming platforms, like Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon podcasts, and more. Also, if your enterprise is looking to implement workforce transformation strategies, do reach out to us. You will find us to be the perfect Partners till then, goodbye. 

*Outro Music* 


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