Sandra

Episode Overview

What goes into a good product?

Today we deep dive into the world of Sandra Pereira, Product Owner of Voice at Voyager. We discuss the many hats of the Product Owner role, the differences between the various flavors of Product Ownership, versus Product Management, and also the challenges she faces everyday.

This is our very last episode of the Growth podcast, and we are excited to be bringing this to you for the last time. We hope you've enjoyed listening to us, and who knows, maybe we'll come back in the future to a podcast near you!

Transcript

Christian Espinoza:

So what goes into a product? I mean, a good product? A great product? What is that, you know, kind of secret? I don't think there is a secret, you know, I think what it comes down to it is to understand your customer and what do they want? Well, what do you think they want? Do you think they know what they want? There's a lot of questions, a lot of questions out there, but to really boil it down then you've got to go to the source. So today I'm interviewing Sandra Pereira. Now Sandra is a product owner here at Voyager looking after all the products in our voice network. And she's really walked the walk. She's being product manager, product development manager, and now product owner, and she discusses a little bit about her job and the challenges she faces. You know, last year we launched this podcast and we really delved into the agile transformation that Voyager has undergone. But it's really interesting to see how people have fed back into the show and the comments that we've received in the, in the letters it's actually been really rewarding to hear. So today we're going to treat you with a little bonus episode and and we hope you enjoy it.

Christian Espinoza:

Tell me product owner and product manager. What is the difference?

Sandra Pereira:

Very good question. Because in a lot of companies, there is no difference. I've seen in the last couple of years, the two getting merged, where beforehand it never used to be. So the old fashioned product manager used to be, you know, looking after the kind of product, not really doing a lot of the development is more the maintenance of that type of product. You know, what's the P&L doing? How can we add growth? How can we make changes where you'd have a product development manager that would actually focus more on the development of new products. We've gone into an era where agile has become, you know, the, the next, I wouldn't say buzzword, but it's the next way of, of doing things, just getting things a little bit quicker, and that's where the product owner kind of terminology. So if you, if you go towards textbook answer, you know, they kind of control the backlog. They're the voice of the customer within the tribes, within the squads. But I have seen a mixture of product manager, product developer and product owner all rolled into kind of one particular person, because you don't get the voice of the customer with changing the product with that, you know, being closer to it. Or if you, you don't understand what, what you should be changing, if you don't do a bit of management on that. And, and same as new product development in, in that mix as well.

Christian Espinoza:

Well. So are companies still running product managers as well?

Sandra Pereira:

Some companies do. And it depends on the organization. So some companies will still have a product manager and a product owner. And in that sense, the product manager will still have the old versioning of product management, right. But it's still a bit of a flavor of product development management and the product owner only really controls what's happening on the backlog and, you know, kind of the team management area and the voice of the customer comes from the product manager, right? So they work hand in hand. So there's a lot of organizations that do it that way. There are also organizations that might have a product manager / product owner, but they don't have a business analyst to help facilitate. So the product owner becomes a little bit of a business analyst flavor within the squad.

Christian Espinoza:

I see. But traditionally it had always been the product manager or combination of product development manager. And yes. Now with you mentioned the backlog managing the, the product owner managers, the backlog

Sandra Pereira:

In the traditional sense. Yes. So what does that mean is by right. Textbook answer again. You shouldn't have more than probably eight weeks worth of backlog items into a, into a sprint or into the backlog, right?

Christian Espinoza:

Why is that?

Sandra Pereira:

Just for clutter. So the more clutter you have in the less focus the teams have. And it's just too much, so that what is the priority? If there's 150, 300 items in the backlog, if you keep it shorter then they know, ah, that's the focus. I know what I need to bring in, depending on the cadence of the teams. You know, and each team is kind of different. You're working with a whole raft of different personalities and different way of how they like to work. But ideally the way I run my backlog is we have the main items there, they can't know what the focuses are for that particular sprint or for the quarter. So I try and break it down a little bit on a quarter aspect. And they, you know, they'll bring in the work that they know that they can get to, but the other ones stay at the top of the backlog and they can pull in where need be. We've got a bit of an interesting mix because we still do, you know, defects that come through. And so we keep a little bit of that space available for the team to do

Christian Espinoza:

That. When you mean that you mean like fixing bugs?

Sandra Pereira:

Fixing bugs. Yeah.

Christian Espinoza:

So, the combination of the backlog can be fixing the defects plus a new product, new features...

Sandra Pereira:

Plus a lot, some maintenance operational stuff they need to do, right. Like super upgrades or changes or, you know, firmware updates or code fixes. So there's a combination of a whole bunch of different things. And it all depends on, you know, I wouldn't say who's shutting the loudest, but the it's what's needed right. At that point

Christian Espinoza:

In time in terms of what gets prioritized?

Sandra Pereira:

In terms of what kids prioritized.

Christian Espinoza:

Yeah. Right. So you're working within the tribes?

Sandra Pereira:

So working within the tribes. Yes. as well as in the squad.

Christian Espinoza:

Oh, so what's the difference?

Sandra Pereira:

The, the tribe is a bigger area for a whole bunch of other people within the business subject matter experts to come within the sort of arena of say a voice space or a network space or a connectivity space. To add some value into that kind of arena, the squad is more on a technical side and that's where your technical developers or engineers will sit to do, you know, their kind of cadence and work and pieces. The squad could run at a cadence like we do as a two week cadence, but the tribe may not run at the same sort of cadence it depends. And it also depends on what, what we are doing at this stage. Right. So you could have mini squads within the tribe, take arguments like the, you know, the migrations that we did that we went through. Yes. We didn't have the whole squad involved, but there were elements of squad members that were involved depending on what we were doing on that migration path.

Christian Espinoza:

Right. It can be quite selective then?

Sandra Pereira:

Yes. Yes. And we going through an era that we, you know, this is an ever evolving kind of way of working and there's different things that we're trying to introduce and see which way works a bit better and how to bring the rest of the tribe members involved. So I don’t know if, if, and I know you spoke to Alf, but I don't know if you spoke about the direction where potentially the tribes are going with regards to the P&L and all that type of stuff. So that's kind of the next reiteration of what we're trying to do in bringing the rest of the organization and all the subject matter experts in the tribe members along that journey.

Christian Espinoza:

Yeah. No, you're right. We did speak about that in kind of the vision for that and what that looks like for the tribes and the, and the teams. It's really, it's very evident that the product owner is really the voice of the customer. Now that may be within everyone, but the product owner is really that designated key person. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Sandra Pereira:

Yes. It's the heart of it. Right. So the way I always view any products that we launch or any changes or whatever is, you know, I, I try and put my myself in the customer's viewpoint. Like they talk about walking the customer's feet or when their tracks or walk a thousand miles with them.

Christian Espinoza:

It's that empathy factor right?

Sandra Pereira:

Right. Exactly. And you're really trying to think, well, how many times do we communicate to them? Or what do they need now? You can develop a product. No, product's going to be a hundred percent perfect to anyone because every customer's slightly different and they use things slightly differently, right? But what makes you really stand out is how do I handle the negative on a product? Or how do I handle the positive on a product? And what does the customer see that? And how do we handle that type of in information? And that's the lens that I always trying and try and see is how does this affect the customer? And if it does affect the customer, what would the response be?

Christian Espinoza:

And how do you go about creating that for yourself? How do you walk in the shoes? Because once you, when you're developing the product, you're, you know, it's, it's not yet created, it's not, not yet built. So how do you get there?

Sandra Pereira:

Speaking to people. Speaking to people, so, you know, speak to the salespeople because you know, they've actually, they speak to customers a lot. They year it from the cold face often, the trick is trying to harness, is it a, this is a need just for one customer? Or is this a potential need for multiple customers? And can we actually sell it and make money from it? You know? Yeah. That's kind of where the, the little bit of the trick comes in, but you know, speaking to the customers, they often tell you what they need and require. Wholesalers, dealers, direct customers, they'll tell you what they need.

Christian Espinoza:

And they definitely tell you what they don't like. Right?

Sandra Pereira:

And they tell you exactly what they don't like or where you can make some changes where you can make some tweaks. Sometimes some of their tweaks are great ideas. Technically we can't do it right now. So you know how best to facilitate that or, you know, with a particular product said, technically that product can't do it. You may need substitute it with a third party or how does that integrate or that type of stuff. So it's always thinking about, you know, you don't always have to build it because technically you can, but it's, is there a quicker way of doing it potentially to go to market, to test the waters, make sure it is a viable product and people like it that might be a quicker, you know, timeframe to get to market or is it something you want actually want to invest and just build on your, your existing capabilities? And it all depends on there's, there's a triangle that I always talk about the quality time, you know, that type of stuff, right. Time to market quality of the product. And how long is it going to take you to build it and, and cost, let's not forget the cost always comes at a cost.

Christian Espinoza:

You're sitting at this kind of trifecta business, tech and customer. When you're working with the squad and, and the tribes trying to develop this product, how do you balance that?

Sandra Pereira:

It can be challenging sometimes you know, to get the best out of any team. It it's, it's a two way street. It's like being in a relationship. You're not going to win all the arguments <laugh> you have to concede sometimes. And it's very similar to that. If you can see that the, you know, the team is really high strung by something that they do consistently and it's, you know, tearing them down, you know, to take a sprint and let them fix that. Does, you know, it's, it's a huge booster long term wise as well. Yeah. Same sort of thing for a customer. If you can see something that's affecting customers continuously and you can change that, you know, makes a huge difference. Look, from a business angle, it's always about, you know, we can, are we getting the revenue in? Are we saving costs? That's going to be in no matter what industry business you are in, that's, that's always going to be the drivers. But one thing, you know, people always have to remember as much as you save costs or drive new revenue, you've got to make your existing customers happy.

Christian Espinoza:

Absolutely.

Sandra Pereira:

Yeah. So the more you do that and the more you keep them on board, that lifetime value is a lot more than actually sometimes getting a new customer on board. Mm. But it's a fine, fine line. Fine line. As in, we want to, you know, reach for the stars versus just carrying on with the mundane. Yeah. from a tech angle, you know, you always want to stay ahead otherwise you get a lot of vulnerabilities or you get left behind the market. So it's a fine line of, you know, that balancing of keeping tech, good, keeping customers happy, bringing in new products is always going to be a bit of a struggle. I've always found that if you focus on one or two things at a time, you get the cadence up, therefore you can, you know, you can move a little bit quicker and you can get things a little bit quicker and you can respond to customers a little bit better. The better the morale, the easier it is to respond to customers.

Christian Espinoza:

Tell me about MVP?

Sandra Pereira:

Another term that gets thrown around. Love that term. MVP textbook answer is, you know, "minimum viable product". So if you read the textbooks, it's like, what's the minimum that you need to do. That'll make it of a viable product for customers to buy. I see it from a different angle I see it from what will make a, a good quality product, that won't take as much time, but we can still get it into market to get it revenue as quick as possible. Some items take a while others don't and that's where the conversation will happen. Go. If we had to go with the third party instead of develop it, in-house because you know, they've already got a product they've already tried and test it at there's some elements that that'll work. It might not, you know, it might not achieve 10 of the item points, but achieves eight item points. Why not give that a crack, give it a go. That'll get arts into the market pretty quickly. And you can test it within your customer base. If you get to a tipping point where you, like, we actually got a number of these customers, it makes sense to develop it ourselves, but it gives you that time to do your own development if need be versus being in the market with something. And I don't think a lot of customers mind, whether it's an in-house built product versus a third party product, right. They they're just trying to solve a problem. And if you're solving their problem and you can support that problem and you can support them through their process, it's irrespective if you've built it yourself or not, they just want the customer experience. So if there's something that goes wrong, it's that response to something's gone wrong. How you going to help me fix it?. I'll give you an example. I'll get WOOP boxes for meal. Times just saves me time because I don't have much time. And I'm sure we'll get into that later. <Laugh> but you know, we get the meal boxes up. I go through WOOP. We only get a three, three nights a week. And on Sunday they're supposed to deliver the box between 2 and 8:00 PM. That's kind of their time period. Right. Right. Anything can happen on a Sunday, right? Let's be honest. That's weather's terrible. Yeah. Somebody's sick. Somebody's got to get a new driver. Whatever the case may be, half past eight last night, my box hadn't arrived. I was like, okay, this is not normal. They're normally here by 3, 3:30 PM the later. So eight o'clock it's past the time. It's been a weird, yeah, this is not right.

Sandra Pereira:

I gave them a call eight o'clock on a Sunday night. I didn't expect them to answer my call. I was expecting, okay. I was probably going to, you know, leave a voicemail or something. I'll follow up with the email. Five minutes later, they phoned me back. I didn't even leave a voicemail. They phoned me back and go, oh, I see. We've missed your call. How can we assist? I told them, look, this is the story. We haven't received that in mailbox. It's now eight 30. I don't want to get into anybody into trouble or anything. But you know, I'm a little bit concerned about the quality of the products. It's fresh produce. I mean if it's in a van or something, it's stuff and go sour. The lady goes, no worries. I'll cancel the order. So we'll reject the order. I'll do a new box for you and it'll get delivered tomorrow.

Christian Espinoza:

Wow.

Sandra Pereira:

So no questions, like no, totally understand. We'll cancel that order. Don't ask me what they'll do with their food. Cause I have no idea. I didn't want to think past that point. Yeah.

Christian Espinoza:

Yeah. But you just wanted to make sure that your food was going to come to fresh.

Sandra Pereira:

A hundred percent. Of course. You know, and they were like, I had totally understand that canceled the order, got the SME saying order's canceled and the new order's being,

Christian Espinoza:

They updated you with a text with an SMS?

Sandra Pereira:

Yeah. And, and now that is like great custom service in my view. It's, it's something that something's going to go wrong. It's always going to go wrong. But how do you respond to that? It's the same as if something goes right. How do you respond to that? And if you respond to the good debt, what creates loyalty? So for me, am I going to really go choose a new food box because they're cheaper? Well, I don't think so. I'll stick with them because you know, they didn't have to do that.

Christian Espinoza:

And do you find that I mean, customer service is another word that these days is getting or customer experience is really getting battered around a lot. But what really, in your opinion goes toward making up great customer experience?

Sandra Pereira:

If you look at a customer journey, it starts from pre-marketing type stuff, awareness of a brand, investigation of a brand. So customer experience drills from that angle, the angle of how do they interact first up? What do they, what do they remember about your brand? Or what are you trying to tell them? Whatever you're trying to tell them, be it be a premium brand or something that's, that's already a picture that they've already had in their mind of how this company's going to react to them, make a decision or buying decision or that type of stuff. They come onto an onboarding process. So it's the sales process. They go, how did the sales people interact? Was it easy? Was it the quality there? If you're living to a brand value of premium, you know, you kind of got to view the whole process on that. So the sales process, the collateral that they're giving or the information that they're feeding, they want to feel like they're the main person, same with onboarding experience.

Sandra Pereira:

So what I'm trying to say is it's every single touchpoint within that experience, you've got to have that view going. The customer has a preconceived idea based on what we're telling them, for what they want. The onboarding needs to be of that premium quality. When you have a support query, it's got to be of that premium quality, you know, get back to the customers, phone them, explain to them sometimes just an email back doesn't always cut it. And it depends on who you're dealing with. Every customer would prefer, you know, people prefer to communicate on different levels, but it's that making sure that level, that you're communicating on is of the same flavor, same quality.

Christian Espinoza:

Right. And it's on brand

Sandra Pereira:

Yeah.

Christian Espinoza:

And what brands in your opinion, do you think really meet that great customer experience in, from, from your experience?

Sandra Pereira:

From my experience, I'd say apple. Definitely. I'd say, you know, like Whirlpool products or Fisher and Paykel kind of products. I think fish and park is also quite, quite unique in that aspect because a, the products lost in my view that they really go the test of time. But if you do have a problem and you phone them up, they'll send a technician out.

Christian Espinoza:

So good aftercare?

Sandra Pereira:

Good aftercare. So as, as much as you've got a, a good onboarding sales thing, but it's also good. If something goes wrong, how do we respond. The good support on that and the level of support that you're going, ah, I've paid a lot of money for this, or I've got this expectation of a quality or a high brand or a premium brand. I'm expecting the customer, you know, the people to get hold of me onto my calls. But if they can't fix a problem, at least keep me informed on what's going on. You don't want it to go into a black hole and go, "and now (what)?" Cause that's when people start shopping again. Or if you, if you can't get back to me and you can't help me, then I may as well look somewhere else. And, and it's quite key. It's not only on, we can sell them a good product. Look, the best customer is the customer that never gets a hold of you again, because then everything works to the quality that you expect. But you know, the world's not like that <laugh> . So the next thing is how do we support them? Right. You know, and bring them on their journey. Also, you don't want to flood them with too much information, but you want to know that you're still there in you care.

Christian Espinoza:

So when you have to retire a product, if a customer's got a product, they absolutely love then suddenly one day and you know, we all get this, they stop making it, or there's a limited, you know, supply because they're ending it. How do you take that product into its sunset phase?

Sandra Pereira:

Another very interesting question. Because a lot of people don't get the sunset phase, <laugh> it doesn't get a sunset ever. It's still linger as long as somewhere. Yeah. Because you can't move a customer. It's all, once again, it's all about communication. And we've kind of seen that with the migrations that we've done.

Christian Espinoza:

Right. So these are the voice migrations after legacy voice platforms.

Sandra Pereira:

Yeah. A hundred Percent onto the new platform. Yeah. So we've, we've gone through, you know, a whole bunch of different kind of versions of platforms and we've moved everyone onto one platform. And as you know, when you're going from an iPhone seven to an iPhone 12, there's, there's going to be features that you've lost, that you've loved and there's going to be new features that you don't know about that you will love, but you don't know about them and it's, and it's that journey. And for me, I've found communicating with the customers, giving them lead time, explaining to them what, you know, as, as best as possible, what's going to change. What's going to be great. You know, that, that helps that transition phase. Another thing that also helps is, you know, try and we are in a digital world where you're getting a lot more features for the same price, if not cheaper and is really that reassurance that you're not always going to increase their, their monetary value if it does increase. There's good reasons for that. But try and keep them as, as best as possible.

Christian Espinoza:

How do you draw the line between charging more and, and having, and having that value to charging the same, but adding more value and that balance between

Sandra Pereira:

A hundred percent a lot of the times you'd have to have a look at, you know, your cost models and have a look at what actually costs you and see if that cost is worth the extra value or non, you know, let's talk about value for the customer. So if there's extra value for the customer, but you find that that value should be a standard kind of feature. Yes, it might cost the company more, but you know, the long term effect for the customers better because they go, ah, that's great. You know, I would be paying, you know, five, 10, whatever dollars for that particular item. You guys have included it. That's an awesome value add, right? That's an awesome bundle if you want to call it that way. But then there are certain things that you're like, you know, you can create a product that's sort of a lighter product.

Sandra Pereira:

It's got all the things that the customer really needs from, from that aspect, all the basic information, maybe one or two extras in that, which will serve, you know, 80% of your market, maybe even 60% of your market. Great. But you create that sliding scale of, you know, where to next? Because everybody wants to know, oh, I can get this base product, but you know, where's the premium product. Yeah. You know, humans are conditioned to kind of see three options or two options at least. So to create the next option, a level up, you want to add extra level to that. And then it makes sense for the custom mind to go, ah, I don't mind paying the extra $10 for that because yes, I'm at the premium level or I'm at the next level up and I might not need that feature now, but I know that the path is there. You know old fashioned selling a cup of coffee, you know, you've got three different sizes of coffee. Most of the time people go for the middle one

Christian Espinoza:

Of course. And I think because being in the, you know, being, working for an internet company and selling broadband, selling voice services, that's a utility that you can get in many other places. So what do you do towards differentiating the service behind that product, for Voyager?

Sandra Pereira:

I think it's around people to be honest. We've got small enough teams that actually care. You're not just a number that falls into the, into the ether. You do speak to you know, most of the times our customers, without them realizing, speak directly to our engineers.

Christian Espinoza:

It's a rare thing.

Sandra Pereira:

It is A rare thing Yeah. look, I mean, we've, we've obviously do have the, the front line and the second line support type stuff, but if it gets to a point, you know, in the voice space, you can speak to the engineers and they'll try and help you out or, you know, try and guide you as best as possible. I think in the voice space, especially there's, there's been a negative connotation and it's been around for years and years in multiple countries as well. I can speak from the South African expect experience as well is you had guys that were in the PBX land. You also had the printing guys, they used to sell you massive machines at a lot of money up front and walk off and sell the next one. <Laugh> now some of the PBX people out there going to go, that's not the case. We didn't sell it like that,

Christian Espinoza:

that was the wild west!

Sandra Pereira:

It was, it was the perception that was created. Yeah. Yeah. Whether all of them did that or not. It was the perception that was created going. You've sold me this massive thing that now I've got to, you know, wait five to 10 years to pay the thing off before I can get into something new or something to that. And that was the perception. It's the same as your printing. This was the perception that was created with cloud services and cloud service becoming more prevalent every single year it's, it's increasing more and more. The flavor of cloud changes from private cloud to a public cloud, to a more public cloud, to a hybrid of a public and a private cloud to, I need to own my equipment, not own my equipment, lease my equipment, when those flavors have been there for many, many years. And you go through cycles on that, but we've seen the uptake of cloud more and more, whether it's private public, doesn't sort of doesn't matter.

Sandra Pereira:

And with that uptake, people are going, oh, this benefit you. So I don't need to have a physical PBX on site. It can be in the cloud and we've seen that with COVID as well with just any pandemic going, oh, my people need to work from home. Oh I've got this monster of a machine in my office, but there's no one in the office now, what do I do? Same with schools, you know, they're like, oh, I've got this new way of working. We were only used to working with a PBX or, you know, some sort of equipment at the school, but now my teachers are not at the school. How do I get hold of them? And it's just created extra reaffirming or, you know, an extra wave of going, we need to think slightly differently. Yeah. but like you, you say it's, it's becoming a commodity type product. How do we step away from that being a normal commodity product and add the value on that? And I think services is one of them, their customer experience that not everybody understands tech, nobody, everybody understands how PBX works.

Christian Espinoza:

Definitely not.

Sandra Pereira:

You know? And there's a lot of features on PBXs that people never ever used ever, but it was on a feature list and they, they expect that, but they never used it, you know? And it's trying to get that. What do you actually require? You don't need all the bells, you know, those bells and whistles that the PBX did, it was bells and whistles. You need these, you know, key things that, that keep pure communication alive. The other phase to that is we're moving into a, you know, digital age of communication where, you know, you've got your teams, your zooms, your Google Hangouts, there's a whole raft of different collaboration, kind of suites with PBX functionality in it with, you know, IM (instant messaging) chat always on top scenario. But I do feel that a lot of people are getting, you know, computer fatigue, internet fatigue. And I, you know, I, I get a sense that there's going to be more and more of these shut, shut, you know, time periods where you're going to have to

Christian Espinoza:

Right. Get off the computer, get off the screen.

Sandra Pereira:

A hundred percent. Yeah. and I think it's going to become more and more apparent with our kids because they're living on devices consistently and it's going to become vital for them to get off the screen for a bit, you know, experience outdoors, indoors, reading books, doing something else than behind a computer screen consistently. I also feel that there's probably going to be a, a more emphasis on security. And with a more emphasis on security, not only to protect yourselves, your family companies, because you're going to get, there's going to be more attacks. There's going to be smarter attacks out there.

Christian Espinoza:

Cyber attacks, Online attacks?

Sandra Pereira:

Hundred percent, online attack, you know whether it's personalized to try and get your banking details or your personal information or whatever that exploitation or if it's a company exploitation it's going to happen more and more. I think there's going to be a sense of a, I wouldn't say rebellion, but think of as a rebellion, right. There'll be a sense of going, how can I get off a digital platform? So how can I get away from Facebook and Twitter, and any social media, right.

Christian Espinoza:

Just quit, quit the whole thing?

Sandra Pereira:

Completely. Yeah. Yeah. Cause if you, if you, you're not on that spaces, you know, how you going to get attacked. It's a very similar thought process to when people go, I need to get off the grid. I need to get off the, you know, immune municipality grid, the water grid, the power grid. Yeah. Self sustain.

Christian Espinoza:

You know, people's awareness and really fundamental understanding of their own privacy online has really gained momentum. And especially since COVID, you know, we've had to adapt everywhere from, you know, schools to, to government, to everything. And the tech industry, you know, people look into the tech industry, in a lot of ways it's complex. How do you feel that the technology and the products that are coming out can better service consumers who are now moving into this new era of always being online and then helping them balance their time away from those same products?

Sandra Pereira:

It's, it's going to be a challenge to be honest. I think that there's a lot of education that needs to be had. There's still a lot of people out there that don't understand the real dangers of the internet. And the real dangers that can happen. A lot of people are too blasé. I've see it with some of my, my child's friends. Like,

Christian Espinoza:

So what, when you would say real dangers, what do you mean?

Sandra Pereira:

Well, they have no idea that, you know, 11 year old can get access via a PlayStation to the internet and who, who blocks that. If the parents don't are not unaware of it and I'm, it's part of the journey of the internet, the parents, aren't aware of the fact that your child can get to an internet website via a PlayStation or an Xbox, you can lock their phone down. Great. But if you haven't locked that done they're out, and they'll find a way, they clever were they very clever.

Christian Espinoza:

Very adaptive. In fact, I find that you know, my 15 year old is just such a digital native and can maneuver his way, and he doesn't do this, you know maliciously. It's just there, it's almost obvious in front of him where I might not see that. And even though I work, you know, within the technology space, I, I still don't see what he sees.

Sandra Pereira:

Yeah. I mean, they just, they, they adapt really, really quickly and they learn really, really quickly. And you know, they all talk to each other at school going, Hey, you know, there's this wonderful thing called the internet on the Xbox. You can get onto it. But if, if parents aren't aware of that and it's, let's be honest, it's, it's draining to try and keep a track on it all the time. You know, you've got to have a profile for, if you have a PlayStation, there's a PlayStation account. There's an Xbox Microsoft account. There's an Apple account. There's a Google account. Now you've got already four accounts. And those are just the main four devices that your, your kids on. And each one have their own way of doing family control or parental control, you know, and that's not even talking about the Wi-Fi and that's going to have something else on top of that to try and restrict some of that you know, that type of stuff and becomes complicated.

Christian Espinoza:

And do you expect Do you expect that the parents should be, is it that they should be, be more educated in...?

Sandra Pereira:

I think it's a lot to do with education, just being aware, but there's also a lot of, you know, open communication and dialogue with children and making them aware you know, gone are the days where we used to worry about you can't go play in the, in the street because you know, some don't accept tweets from strangers, this is stranger danger. Well, we haven't come up with a term that says stranger danger on the internet because everybody they're friends. Yeah. You know?

Christian Espinoza:

And it's hard to tell who's a, even who's a real person, who's a bot, who's your friend.

Sandra Pereira:

Not correct. And it's navigating kind of those waters and just giving those real life experiences, but in the digital form. And I think we all are trying to adapt towards that. And we are all trying to see how best to navigate the waters around that. And it, and it's challenging, but, you know, it's all around communication. I think schools could also play a little bit of a role just to teach more in the school level about technology and the dangers of what is out there. And, and most schools do it. I mean, look, New Zealand do a really good job around that, but there can be a lot more that that happens in that space.

Christian Espinoza:

I want to touch on back to the balance and getting off the screens, but more importantly with you. As a mother, as a someone who has a family, how do you balance, you know, everything that you do at work, how you're fully immersed in, in the product, in, in technology, and then at home, how do you shut down?

Sandra Pereira:

I try and shut down. <Laugh> I try and leave my phone away, but it all depends on what's happening. I've got a busy home life. I've, you know, the family's busy. We are really into our sport and that busy at work. I try and I wouldn't say compartmentalize, but it's, you know, when I get on the ferry, I catch up ferry home, which is great because it gives you a half an hour to actually decom. I wouldn't say decomposed, but there I think about other things

Christian Espinoza:

Some time away Physically and maybe mentally?

Sandra Pereira:

Exactly. Some people will go to the gym, you know, just to put a pause in that. My trip is pretty much a ferry trip and if I am working from home, I try and do a walk or something. Just you go, yep. That's shut. If I'm working from home. I try. And when I leave my office and that's my day done, close it all. It's just a mental block going "Yep. Work is done" while I'm home now and, and try and focus at home. When I'm at home, we are busy every night of the week. Pretty much either on some sport field or some training, something. So, I mean, it's getting the family ready, get ready for sport rush, ad, go do your training.

Christian Espinoza:

Two full-time jobs!

Sandra Pereira:

Pretty much, pretty much. And some get home. So hence why I do the meals because 20 minutes, there's a long time to cook a meal when your son's hungry or for rugby field. Trust me. <Laugh> you'll out a house and home

Christian Espinoza:

The meal. So the, what is it called?

Sandra Pereira:

It's WOOP. Yeah. There's a few different meal boxes

Christian Espinoza:

Oh, like my food bag or Hello Fresh?

Sandra Pereira:

Correct. And one of them is WOOP. I just find it easier. It is a little bit more pricey, but the value to me it's quicker. Everything's pre-done it makes my life a lot easier. We do it three days a week, which is your main training days. <Laugh>. And then very important. Food's done. Yep. Food's done the others, you know, you can make a make meals as you go. My view for, for my son is I try and, you know, he's got his school time. He catches the bus home, so he's got his, you know, deload kind of time as well from school. He's got a couple of chores that he has to do has to get done onto the sports field. You know,

Christian Espinoza:

Is he good about doing them?

Sandra Pereira:

Some days are better than others, you know? Yeah. The trying times of a teenager <laugh> or almost teenager that he thinks he's a teenager. But you know, we've got like a pocket money system in place, so he knows if he doesn't do it, he doesn't get his pocket money

Christian Espinoza:

Very important, wise. Yeah. That's a good, that's good for teaching the value of a dollar and value of a good day's work I guess.

Sandra Pereira:

a hundred percent. Yeah. And I've, I've done it slightly different, so he doesn't get it weekly wages or weekly pocket money. I've done it in line with my salary. So when I get paid a couple of days later, he'll get paid and it's also in advanced, you know, like the work you've done this month is the work you're getting paid for. Yep. It's not I'll get paid and then I'll do the work. And it doesn't work like that because, you know, we don't work like that. We don't operate like it, you work first, then you get paid, same, same concept saying if you haven't done your chores and you haven't kept your things neat and tidy and too standard, you don't get the money. Yep. Bottom line. He does throw in a couple of others going, well, if I wash the card, do I get extra? Oh, if you want to do overtime, you get extra.

Christian Espinoza:

<Laugh>, you know, I don't want to put ideas in his head if he's listening, but he could work off a subscription model, pay monthly a certain fixed fee and then he'll give you X amount of chores. So...?

Sandra Pereira:

Yeah. That'll never happen! <Laugh> you'll do that. And he'll go, oh, but I've done my four hours to that point no further, you know? Typical. But yeah, he tries and gets extra money in that. But one thing I did state because now I'm paying him at the end of the month. So the, he sees more money. So he's thinking this is great. I'm getting more money. I was like, ah, but of which, you know, more than 50%, you have to save, you have to save for something bigger, put a goal out there, even if it takes you the whole year, but you're putting that in new can touch at money. Mm. Which has been working out really, really well that's wise. Yeah. Every now and then he tries and taps into that and I'm like, oh, but it's gone. See it as an expense. You've really paid for that. You can't use that money anymore. Until he, you know, accumulate something and you can either buy himself something for the PlayStation or Xbox or something bigger. I think the last time he bought himself a skateboard and the helmet and the pads and the whole bang shoots, you know, and you know, he was like, that's so awesome. I can it's that gratification

Christian Espinoza:

that gratification, that reward factor

Sandra Pereira:

I've actually saved up and, and look at all this stuff that I can get. I really try not let him, or allow him to spend too much on virtual money. Because even, even with him, he'll buy a V bucks voucher today.. Two weeks later, he's like, oh, I need another VB voucher. I was like, you've just bought one because that tangibility is not quite there. And that's why I've gone, you know, more than 50% of your money. I think it's probably to be about 60% of your money does not go on... (A) you save it. And (B) it does not go on a virtual thing.

Christian Espinoza:

If we look beyond into the future, perhaps one of those where the lines could get blurred is the difference between that tactile product and that product that you can't touch, but you, but it's really there. and it's adding value in your life in some way, but I'm interested. What does that future look like? Knowing what we've been through in the last year and a bit, where do you see us heading in that product space, from the customer?

Sandra Pereira:

From the customer? I think we are heading into a space where, you know, customer's going to want to speak to people by their means, whether that's a phone call or WhatsApp chat or something trying to get a response from that. I know there's a lot of bots you know, help this kind of bots and that type of stuff. I think that maturity's going to get a lot further down the track with AI, with AI. Yeah, definitely. We're going to have more interaction, like a humanized way of interacting. So the bot's going to sound more human. We've already got people out there. That've got these kind of products already. Your interaction is, is with a digital human. I think you're going to see more and more of that. Because you know, as much as I like to make sure that my question are answered from a consumer point of view is between a specific timeframe because that's the timeframe I can fit in.

Sandra Pereira:

And that may be between 9 and 10. You can't expect everybody to work in those particular hours. So that's going to facilitate some of that. I think we're going to get a lot cleverer in, in the way we deliver certain things. And the Tech's going to get a bit, a bit easier as well. So things are going to be a little bit easier to just go click like an app, download self provision, try it out. Where you're going to see also a wave is, you know, more and more people are going to being a, I would say humans are going to become the professional services. So you're going to see a wave of, yes, there's technology that'll drive there, but the human element of somebody understanding, or, or, you know, doing the professional services is going to ramp up a lot. And you're going to start seeing pockets of this.

Sandra Pereira:

So you may not be working for a particular company, you know, like almost like a consultancy type environment whether that's going to become a bit of a trade off going, I've got this expertise in a field that may not be related to technology, but it can help something else like farming, or podcast, or something. And you're going to stop doing more and more of those professional services outside of the realm of technology to try and smooth that type of stuff around because the technology's just going to become easier to do. But it's going to be a lot more AI a lot more machine learning. We are going to, yes, everybody's going to be nervous going, that's going to take my job away. And that's where I think that's professional services is going to fill the gaps on those. Especially in the, in the long term thing, kids, you know, even if I have a look at my son, try and go, what are you going to be doing? It's, it's going to be interesting for them because a lot of the type of things that we used to do is going to be handled by machines, robotics, that type of stuff.

Christian Espinoza:

Maybe he could be working, you know, to develop the machines or, you know, anywhere in between, I guess it's, it's up for grabs?

Sandra Pereira:

Pretty much, pretty much so. Yeah, you might, you might be able to, I mean, look at, you know, Amazon and them delivering things via drones and stuff. So you're going to see more and more that you're going to have more and more connected people. You're going to have connected cities. That's why I think there's going to be a wave of getting unconnected, disconnect from that, you know, living on your little farm somewhere, no technology off the grid. <Laugh>. Staying in the mountains <laugh> yeah. Live off the earth type stuff. But I mean, in, in, in bigger cities, you're going to have, it's all going to be connected. It's all going to be watched. There's going to be waves of surveillance that will come out, you know, facial recognition, all that type of stuff. It's, it's definitely there. It's just going to be fast tracked a lot more. And it's around the children, the new future generation is trying to find a view or where they're going to fit into that.

Sandra Pereira:

Yes. They might be able to go into coding and that, and I think that's going to become a standard of, you need to have a base level just of understanding. So you understand how the things work, but you still won't be able to get away from that professional service element. Like El you know, electricians. Plumbers, the basic needs, it still needs to be catered for, but also to help you set up these type of things, you're going to have a smart home, you know, not many people know how to set it up properly that doesn't create vulnerabilities. So you're going to have that vulnerability.

Christian Espinoza:

Right, because the more you connect, the more vulnerable and risk you bring...

Sandra Pereira:

a hundred percent more risk you bring in for somebody to break into your network to get information out of you.

Christian Espinoza:

So you're going to need to employ somebody's services to come in really tidy that up for you and make sure that you're safe.

Sandra Pereira:

To evaluate your digital footprint and go, how secure can we make this digital footprint for you? You know, I think that's going to be a, a really interesting wave and that's where people should be focusing on because you know, WIFI’s are vulnerable, your devices are vulnerable, how to create that digital footprint that you know is secure.

Christian Espinoza:

Sandra. I could talk to you for hours on this and I wish we had more time. But I want to, I want to just leave off with one last question if I could. If you had any words of advice for anyone who wants to get into product, whether it be product owner or any variations of that what would that be?

Sandra Pereira:

If you really want to get into product, I'd say start living a day in life in, in the customer's footprints and try and understand what they require and then based from what they require, have a look at, you know, how can you, how can you look at bringing a product into that? A product manager touches every element of a business, which is why I love product management so much, you know, one day you'll be dealing with a customer problem. The next day you'll be dealing with how to price up and do financial models, to the next day, working with marketing going, how can I, how can I release this? So you touch every element of a business, which is great, which is fun. And you know, it really makes you think every day is different. And it thinks of how can we get the best value from customers. That's what I enjoy about product management. So if you want to get into it, go ahead, come and gimme a shout and now we can have conversations and see how we can track along these many avenues to, to

Christian Espinoza:

Go. Sandra, thank you so much. I want to really thank you. I appreciate you being on the show and yeah, I wish you nothing but the best.

Sandra Pereira:

Awesome. Thanks Christian. Enjoy.

Christian Espinoza:

Well, that was our very last episode of the Growth podcast. And I have to say I'm so, so grateful that we've been able to bring this to you because we've had great, great people on our show that have been giving of their time and so generous. And I just want to thank them and thank everyone. And thank all of you for listening. I think it's been real. I think it's been a buzz and I hope that, you know, along the way, you've, you've gained some insights and you've come along the journey with us. So thank you. And until next time, peace.