Shrinath speaking at Google Dev Fest 2018

Keynote address at Google Developer Fest 2018 at Bangalore, India

The Better Product Studio helps firms improve their product thinking and business metrics using a mix of consulting, design & coaching.

Hi!

I’m Shrinath, founder of The Better Product Studio.

Over the last twenty years, I have worked with Fortune 500 firms as well as innovative startups across the world, as an employee or a consultant, on building products, teams, processes and cultures.

I have advised business leaders, startup founders and product teams on their ideas, products, ventures and businesses.

I know building products is tough, so I take a jargon-free, practical approach to help you solve key business problems. I have seen good product ideas fail due to bad planning or due to ignoring fundamentals.

I have worked across diverse fields like mobiles, location services, economic research, smart homes, products for Next Billion Users, machine learning, renewable energy, customer experience, automotive and e-commerce.

I bring the knowledge from these broad, diverse experiences across B2B and B2C domains to my engagements.

Brands I have helped

Brands we have helped

The long story behind The Better Product Studio

I started The Better Product Studio in 2020, but the idea has been around for long.

I have worked in the world of products for almost two decades now.

In the first part of my career, I held leadership roles at Nokia, MapmyIndia & Motorola. I worked closely on business strategy, product strategy, portfolio management, partnerships and led product & marketing teams across multiple sites and countries.

During this time, I worked closely with engineering, design, sales and marketing teams to build and launch products designed for the ‘next billion’ that were used in over 100 countries.

I quit my last corporate role as Head, Product Management of Maps for a division of Nokia. I didn’t have a clear idea on what was coming next, but decided to experiment with being a product management consulting. At that time, it was still a novel idea, and I had given myself one year to try things out.

Finding the first few clients was difficult. People would either say product strategy was too critical for them to bring consultants in and shut the door, or ask me to join them to work as an employee. Also, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how the role would shape up.

My first couple of projects also gave me pause to analyze what I knew and didn’t know. Most of my product experience was with B2C firms. But I had only a high-level idea about B2B firms and how they operate. So I decided to collaborate with firms that consulted in the B2B product space and learn from them.

Over the next few years, I spent some time as an external consultant with a firm that did this. I also was a partner at two firms – Auspin Ventures (a boutique firm that provided product leadership and consulting bandwidth to CXOs driving product businesses) and Questellar (a design thinking consulting firm).

Independent consulting let me work and mentor across various domains, specializations and geographies. Over the last seven years, I have:

  • been a Google Developer Expert (Product Strategy) between 2016 and 2019
  • been an anchor mentor for Google for Startups accelerator program in India
  • helped a crowdfunding product raise money on Indiegogo
  • helped a client win their first few customers for an ML solution for renewable energy across India and the US
  • helped design UX solutions for domains like smart homes, renewable energy, survey management, rural India (Next Billion Users) and more (with UX partners)
  • coached NGOs on storytelling across Myanmar, Africa and India
  • mentored startups across India, Turkey, Africa, South America and SE Asia
  • taught product management for some of India’s leading B-schools
  • run product workshops (in-person and remote) for senior teams at firms like GE Digital, Volkswagen and Flipkart
  • spoken at multiple events
  • and more

It’s been a wide and varied experience, and I’ve enjoyed the journey. I look for projects in areas that are new for me and love the process of discovering and creating solutions.

In 2020, during an idle period between projects, I decided to organize the work I was doing (and hope to be doing in future) and hence started The Better Product Studio.

 

Q: What is The Better Product Studio all about?

I have been consulting on product management and product strategy for over 7 years now. Along this journey, I have been working with established firms and startups across various geographies.

Along the way, I noticed that many firms struggled with the core product and business issues.

Many of the challenges revolved around thinking through product strategy that balances user & business needs, crafting the right experiences for impact, and working on storytelling, messaging and go-to-market plans.

As a consultant and mentor, I have been part of multiple product and go-to-market journeys across different B2B and B2C domains, and for products across various geographies. This has helped me build a unique view on factors affecting product success.

I have also had a unique view of product organizations from the outside. I have observed and learnt how good teams operate, common mistakes teams make, and challenges they face.

I bring this breadth of knowledge into engagements for The Better Product Studio. I handle some projects on my own, and for others, bring in a network of talented, trustworthy partners with specific experience as required. They often work on clear deliverables like designing user experience, marketing collateral or strategies, etc. or in an advisory capacity.

I have run product teams earlier, and know that product strategy is critical for firms. It’s a privilege when they ask us to work alongside them. All projects are dealt with the highest level of confidentiality and respect.

Q: How is product strategy different for startups vs. large firms?

Startups try balancing building something fast with getting customers. Getting early customers can also slant the product roadmap towards what they need, and startups may find that there is limited traction when they approach other prospects.

Product strategy for startups has a lot to do with pace and working with limited information. It requires getting foundational assumptions sorted quickly, and then working quickly on iterations towards a solution that is a market fit.

In contrast, large firms struggle usually have established product lines and ways of working. Product teams often have limited access to end customers. Product strategy needs a clear understanding of the impact of proposed changes on existing, and prospective customers. Product strategy is a lot more collaborative with other functions, as buy-in is important.

Testimonials

Honestly, I always thought of Product Management as a difficult discipline of making Science, Engineering and Art meet and more of the later driving the other two. That is only until I met Shrinath and attended his brilliant workshop on Product Management.

Refreshingly a very different style of engaging the class with practical drill rather than just theory!

Hands on, meticulously planned practical sessions combined with instant feedback and engagement. Shrinath’s style of coaching didn’t leave anyone with any ambiguity throughout the program. Ideation till GTM, I bet you will come out with something your own solid!

I strongly recommend anyone who wants to deep dive in Product Management to engage with Shrinath

Radhakrishnan Rajagopalan

Global Head - Customer Success, Data & Cognitive, MindTree

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