Weeknotes (1) — finance for product leaders, is Google broken?, why the financial downturn is impacting SAAS

Finance acumen for product leaders

This podcast from Melissa Perri (in conversation with Giff Constable) is absolute gold. It feels so relevant to me right now, joining a small company in a product leadership role where ‘the business’ and the product are really one. It’s a massive growth area for me. They talk about how financial skills are the glass ceiling in product. When you become a CPO, your cross-functional team becomes the other exec members, and that means you need to start learning the language of finance, not just the language of technology. But don’t worry if finance is not your wheelhouse — they argue that interest is more important than expertise.

Is Google getting worse?

This Stephen J. Dubner/ Freakonomics Radio episode is really interesting. Stephen is clearly personally invested in the conversation, which always makes for a good podcast. Plus he’s managed to speak to some serious Google folk, past and present, to help give a balanced view. It’s always good to get a reminder of some key market stats…Alphabet still makes 81% of its total revenue from paid search, Google have 90% of the global search market and the Chrome browser is used by approximately 65% of people (with Safari being only 20%).

Why the economic downturn is disproportionally impacting SAAS businesses

This is actually a sports podcast, but the second half (from about 46 minutes) is a discussion with Derek Thompson about tech economics. I love Bill Simmons. He’s such a smart guy and has a great way of explaining complex stuff. He’s also refreshingly opinionated. If you haven’t quite wrapped your head around why the interest rate increase is impacting technology companies then this is for you. TL:DR debt isn’t cheap anymore and VCs want to see profits. They are less willing to fund a race to become the biggest player. Hence social networks, in particular, are needing to rethink their business models. He talks about how news sites have embraced online subscription models as an example of this type of sea change. And then floats an idea for social media monetisation — metering! By which he means a freemium option, with charged tiers for super users! Interesting in the context of anxiety around overuse of social media…could this be an example of a business model that also encourages moderation?? Or is it just sin-taxing your own product?

Notebook and coffee



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Philippa Peasland

Philippa Peasland


Product Lead at Coop Digital. Previously of GDS, DWP Digital, Department of Health, Unilever, the Science Museum and Ogilvy & Mather.