Product Love Podcast: Hubert Palan, CEO and Founder of productboard

Published Jul 10, 2019

Hubert Palan wants every product to be both functional and delightful. He’s constantly thinking of ways to optimize experiences — he even says it the core of who he is. Sounds like a natural product manager if you ask me. 

Before becoming the founder and CEO of productboard, Hubert was the VP of product management at Good Data. He relied on spreadsheets and powerpoints to do his job because no other system existed. Enter productboard, a product management tool that helps teams understand what users need, prioritize what to build next, and earn buy-in for their plans. 

This week on Product Love, I talked to Hubert Palan about how product management has redesigned companies and about the two parts of products. 

Product Redesigns Companies

Product management is changing the way we design companies. We’re entering the age of product, leading to a rise in titles such as chief product officer, and an increase in interest of product management certification programs.

While the craft of product management is sweeping the industry, it’s important to realize that matters in your individual organization as well. Product decisions can no longer exist in the mind of the product manager — they need to be shared throughout the organization. Hubert recommends that product managers conduct internal workshops to share what they’re building, what they’re not building, and the personas they’re targeting. 

When product management is heavily evangelized within the organization, then conversations surrounding sales change. Typically, sales might be fielding requests from prospects just to make a transaction. But if the product is thoroughly communicated to them, then they can align requests with the actual roadmap. Sharing product information with the rest of the company opens a whole new stream of feedback.

Delight and Functionality

Hubert breaks products down into two parts: design and functionality. Each product has a functional use — it solves a problem. It gets you from point A to point B, and it’s the main reason why we buy any product. But the other part is related to your feelings about the product. When you were using the product, did you feel happy? Did you feel a sense of accomplishment? Did you feel celebratory when it solved your problem? The delight aspect is just as important as the functionality portion. 

Tesla is one product that succeeds at both. Like CrossFit enthusiasts, Tesla owners always feel the need to tell me that they own Teslas. But their diligence in maintaining both functions has elevated their brand and earned their customers’ loyalty. By delighting your customers, you position your product as a necessity and build user enthusiasm. 

Hubert believes that heavy investment in delight brings about sustainable differentiation for the product. What are you doing to ensure delight in your product?

Listen to the rest of the podcast to hear what Hubert’s favorite product is, and how to differentiate all the kinds of feedback product managers get. Remember to subscribe to us on iTunes.