Bronwyn: My name is Bronwyn Yam, Director of Product at Tyro Payments.
Suzanne: We're here in Australia at Leading The Product Conference. Are you based in Australia?
Bronwyn: I am based on Australia, but not in Melbourne.
Suzanne: Okay, in Sydney?
Suzanne: What's better? Melbourne or Sydney? You can tell us in the audience. That's okay.
Bronwyn: I've been in Australia for only about 14 years. I grew up in the States. For me, I settle in Sydney and I love Sydney, but I don't mind coming to Melbourne. Kind of giving you that political correct answer.
Suzanne: Yeah, yeah, because you've got friends here and you don't want them to turn on you. What I keep hearing is Melbourne has better coffee, but Sydney's got better beaches.
Bronwyn: That is very true, but Sydney coffee is getting better.
Suzanne: What is Tyro Payments?
Bronwyn: Tyro Payments is a fintech in Australia that has been granted a full banking license about two years ago. We pretty much service Australian businesses from small to the medium end. We take care of their working capital needs, be it card payment ticking, lending and transaction banking.
Suzanne: In your capacity as director of product, what are the products that you manage within the portfolio or if there's one?
Bronwyn: There are four product lines that I manage within Tyro, our debt product, deposit or transaction banking product, payment product, and we have a new product called Platform, which is all about creating connectivity for businesses' systems to applications they may be using.
Suzanne: Got it, four products. Tell us a little bit about the structure of your teams that cascade down from your leadership role.
Bronwyn: I have the four leads that look after these revenue-generating businesses. They are then supported by three other colleagues. One looks after digital channels because we are a digital bank. We don't have any branches or footprint in the market. Everything is about communicating with the customers via the app, via the portal. There's a lead that looks after digital channels. There is a person that looks after data science and analytics. This is all about the way that we can optimize the portfolio outcome for Tyro.
The third support function is process transformation. Being a startup, about 10 years ago, we did not really look into processes. It was a company that was about 10 people and then grew into 40. We're now over 400. Processes are important. Process transformation becomes a critical component of product.
Suzanne: Each of these product teams has a dedicated process person?
Bronwyn: No. I have a central process team within product that supports the for-revenue generating product teams if that makes sense.
Suzanne: Oh wow. I love that. How did you get into product?
Bronwyn: I got into product first through more in consulting. Once I graduated from college, I got a job at one of the big firms in doing consulting and had the privilege to work across many different industries from ... My first client was Dole Pineapple, so I got to fly to Hawaii and look at the pineapple farms, which was very interesting to government type clients. What intrigues me about product is I feel that gives me the best ability to solve problems for customers, whether that's businesses or customers, consumers, I love the fact that we're able to understand their pain points, understand their needs, come up with the right solutions whether that's a product or a service to help them address those pain points.
Suzanne: I recently heard a framing. One year in consulting is equivalent to two years on the job. Have you heard that before?
Bronwyn: I have heard that.
Suzanne: Do you agree with that?
Bronwyn: I do agree with it. I would actually say depending on the client that you're servicing, it could be one year in consulting equals three years in industry. I have about 10 years of consulting experience and servicing so many industries around different geographies in the globe, I do feel that there is quite a bit of experience and scars and more stories than I can tell.
Suzanne: If that metric holds true, then you've got something like 50 years of product management experience under your belt by now?
Bronwyn: That is hopefully true and hopefully I don't look anything like that.
Suzanne: No, you look fantastic. What is it about consulting that you think allows for that sort of accelerated learning that you're describing?
Bronwyn: I think the consulting piece is really every new client, every new industry you go into, it's almost like being thrown in the deep end. You need to understand why you're there. Most companies pay pretty big dollars for consulting firms to be there to do projects. There's not a lot of time to ramp up your knowledge to then deliver value. Those are the training that we get as consultants is the ability to decide and filter through the noise and really get to the core of the problem so that we can start adding value and consulting and giving advice for the clients and trying to help them solve their problems.
Suzanne: This is a question that comes up. In fact, we speak about this on the show. So many of our listeners are either contemplating coming into product or they're making a shift. I think that they enjoy getting the different perspectives. What's the benefit of being a consultant? What do you think is the trade off or one of the most significant trade offs?
Bronwyn: The benefit of being a consultant is the variety. You meet so many different stakeholders and the great things about being a consultant is that you're an outsider. You don't necessarily need to play the politics of the company. Let's be realistic, every company, big or small, will have politics, but by being a consultant, you can actually stay away from it, but you can be a very close observer. Through that, you get to understand how to work with different people, different stakeholders, what are everyone trying to achieve. That learning is just amazing. The trade off though is you do feel quite frustrated at times because you may have delivered something great and then the next thing you know is that you have to wrap up the project and you're shipped off to the next client. You actually don't get to see the results of your consulting advice to the client. You may not be able to see to the end of that implementation. That could be very frustrating.
Suzanne: I think it's super well articulated. Again, it's neither good nor bad, but for people contemplating the choice, getting connected with what's important, what I'm always struck by when folks ask me for career advice is how they forget to bring what's important to them to the table a lot of the time. That's the first reflection back is to say, "Well, do you want to touch a lot of different things or do you want to touch one thing and really get to know it over a period?" It is a different cadence for sure and a different set of skill sets that it tugs on.
Bronwyn: It's very similar to people who come to me and ask, "Oh, you've done consulting. You've done strategy. That is so amazing. What got you into product?" I want to do strategy. My first question to mentees that come to me and say, "I want to do strategies," please describe for me what you mean by strategy without using the word strategy or strategic. That's their first homework assignment because it does sound like it's a glorious job to be able to strategize. The question for me to many of these individuals would be, "What do you want to do? Do you really just want to remain at the strategic level to maybe articulate a concept to solve a problem and then you duck off to the next one because you don't want to see through it? You don't want to see the results of it or you're the one that says, 'Actually, I want to crack that problem and I want to implement it. I want to own it. If there's failure, I want to learn from it.' Then that's not really a strategy role. That's more in terms of an operational role that has an ounce of strategic thinking into the role."
These are the things that I always ask people, "What do you mean by strategy? If you love the doing, then strategy may not be the right role or consulting may not be the right area or right jobs or right industry to go into."
Suzanne: Yeah, it brings up so many things. One of the things I'd say in my classroom somewhat facetiously is that strategy is just guessing. I like to take some of the puffery out of it because it is a word that's like strategy, "I'm a strategist and here's my card." It's like, "Oh, so you're just in charge of putting together a bunch of guesses about what may or may not be right and depending on the organization being accountable to making sure. It speaks to this ... We did a product women panel here just leading up to the conference and one of the themes that emerged was this notion of the distinction between being a conceptual thinker and being able to execute and a lot of the times the man behind the curtain type of thing, where people who can talk a lot of talk about stuff don't actually have the skills to get it done. Do you have a way of sniffing that out when you meet people that purport to be really great or senior or capable and you're like, "Hmm"?
Bronwyn: I do. If it is around say job interviewing and I'm hiring and there are obviously great interviewers. They practice so much in terms of how they present themselves at a job interview. What I usually do is, yes, we go through the usual questions that they may anticipate, but then I would usually throw a curveball. I would sometimes apply my five whys type methodology and say, "Why do you do that? What happened then? Why did it happen?" Just to try to drill down to the detail to assess whether they've really had that experience. Sometimes I ask them rather than all the positive stuff, I will be asking them for all the war stories like, "Tell me why that happened. Tell me what the bad things your stakeholders will say about you."
Most people come in prepared for all the good stuff to make them look good, so I try to just think through different ways to have them articulate to that level of detail that gives me the comfort knowing that they truly have those scars and truly have those war stories. There are times that it's just about chemistry. Some people may come across as they're the talker and I'm not getting any ounce of feeling that they know how to execute. It just won't be the right team for them to join.
Suzanne: That kind of divisive questioning I enjoy as well because I think it also ... I'm really assessing self-awareness. I don't even actually care as much what the actual answer is, but do you have enough self-awareness to say, "Yeah, there's probably some people that would take this perspective on me, and this is why they would think that."
Suzanne: Should I turn that on to you then and say, "You've been a leader for a long time. If you were to round up all the people out there that didn't love being under your leadership, what would they probably say about you, Bronwyn, as a leader?
Bronwyn: All the people will-
Suzanne: All the people you pissed off through the years.
Bronwyn: That I've pissed off over the years will probably say that I come in thinking that I know so much and I'm not seeing the value of what they are delivering, that I'm not really spending my time with them and I'm not really getting to know them as a person. Funnily enough, the people who have stuck around and have enjoyed working on my team will say exactly the opposite. It goes back to I'm the type of leader that doesn't like to be brown nosed to if that makes sense. I love to be down in the trenches.
What I tell the team is, "Don't sell me the good news story. My job as the leader is that I am your safety net. Why I'm asking you a lot of questions on the details of what they are working on isn't necessarily about micromanagement, but it is more for me if they need my help and, bluntly put, if crap hits the fan and I'm there to help them to support them to be the sounding board. I don't want it to be at that emergency moment where then I try to get the background to what they've been working on so that I can add value to the conversation."
Many people who did not enjoy my leadership or who felt that I wasn't spending time with them or that I wasn't really listening to them is they didn't want to tell me the details. They just wanted to tell me the good stories. I keep on going back. It's like, "That's fantastic, but what are some of the not so good stuff that's happening?" They felt I wasn't thinking that they were capable of handling the not so good stuff. It's a mismatch of intention and perception and I think that will be one of those things that I am still working on is making sure that what I'm intending to do is perceived in as an aligned way as possible by the person that I'm trying to actually help.
Suzanne: When you crossed over to the dark side, ie you went internal ...
Bronwyn: In industry, yeah.
Suzanne: In industry. You went to banking.
Suzanne: And you've been in banking now well over a decade. Are you a masochist or you really just love banking? What is the drive of that? Do you love that industry?
Bronwyn: I do love the banking industry in particular my most recent roles have been more in payments. I'm very fascinated by the payments area of banking. Part of that is because I love technology. There's so many things going on with technology that is impacting payments and it's impacting customer experience. I travel around the globe and I see how different people have different payment behavior. Some areas like the US are still writing checks and it's very interesting to go to a supermarket lining up and you see a lady in front of you that is pulling out the checkbook for $1.05. Others, like in Asia, where they're all now using QR code. I do love technology and how that's converging with banking and payments. I am there because of my passion and because of the enjoyment.
The story behind of how I got into banking, though, is that was also the time when I exited consulting. I then moved countries from Asia here to Australia. When I arrived in Australia, the question was, "Hmm, do I really want to go back into consulting or do I want to try something new?" I felt that was a sea change and let's try something new. Given an island nation that we are in Australia, the market is pretty small relative to Europe, US and Asia. It really came down to, "What are some of the industries that will be least impacted by outsourcing?"
I came down to natural resources, which is a very strong sector here in Australia, banking and telco because no matter what you do, the engine room still needs to be onshore. You can't really outsource a bank to support your customers onshore. For me, I have no passion nor knowledge nor background in natural resources, so that was ruled out. It was pretty much between, "Okay, whoever offers me a job first, whether it's a bank or a telco, that's where I'm going to give it a go," and it was the bank.
Suzanne: Great. Tyro is exclusively in Australia or there's a reach beyond Australia at this point?
Bronwyn: Tyro's currently exclusively Australia.
Suzanne: Are you doing a talk here at the conference or did you do a talk already?
Bronwyn: I did a talk already earlier today.
Suzanne: What was your talk?
Bronwyn: My talk is about the end of customer journey, are we there yet?
Bronwyn: There has been a lot of discussions and obviously a lot of fascinating methodologies in the way that people do customer research. There are many new terminologies that's come about in the last decade. 10 years ago, more than that, companies will be looking at, "Ah, I've got this great idea. We came up with it in the war room. We're just going to build it and the customers will come." Now, I feel the pendulum has swung completely to the other end, where every single thing that I hear from my product team every day is we need to do research. Have we done research? Can I get some money for research?
The dollars and the business cases that I sign off on just racks up and the question is about, "Is there really an end to this customer research phase or do we just continue to spiral into this money draining vortex and never seeing the return?" That's a bit of my passion of talking. It's not that understanding customers is not important. It is extremely important because that's what we're all in businesses for, but there is different ways, smarter ways of doing customer research and that's what the talk was all about.
Suzanne: Can you, for the benefit of our listeners, who may not be here, just leak a couple of the juiciest data points from your talk?
Bronwyn: One example that I highlight are personas. Everyone talks about personas, and it's fantastic. You are able to understand the needs, the pain points, the emotional drivers, but at the same time, not a lot of companies are really making them come to life. One of my tips for the audience was what we're trying to do at Tyro is by having the personas at every single meeting that we have. What I mean by that is many people might have practiced the seven hats methodology. In a meeting, you assign everyone different color hats. If you wear the black hat that day, your job is to be the challenger.
We try to make it so that within the meeting that we're at somebody must wear that persona's hat. One of our persona's is Theo. In the meeting, you're Theo. It's not a cardboard that you see, but you are actually Theo. That's helping to bring the customers to life within the organization. It's not just about the product team meeting to do that. It's about every single team within the company doing that. We've actually introduced personas even into our induction for new employees coming into Tyro.
We're still at the beginning of the journey, but many of the meetings that I've been at, where I throw out the question of, "And what's Theo going to think about that?", "That feature, is Theo really going to resonate with that? Is that going to make Theo want to switch to using Tyro?" This is actually having impacts to people pausing and thinking about, "Oh yeah, that's a good point. Haven't thought about that." It's like, "Well, let's think about it before we go into implementation and launch a product or go into further research because we haven't used the existing materials that we have."
Suzanne: I love that. Of course the famous anecdote that comes up is the Jeff Bezos, the empty chair in the room, but I like the idea of replacing the empty chair with somebody who has to play Theo. This is a theme I've spoken about a lot in classroom and probably on the show as well that when we are also users of our product, it gets even harder to separate from the product manager mindset or the internal team mindset and that end user because we start to think we know what's best, we're already there.
Bronwyn: Yeah, my take on that, though, is, yes, when used in extreme, it becomes really bad because you pretty much swing the pendulum back to, "Oh, we know best, so we'll build and they'll come." At the same time, there are companies not necessarily leveraging on the resources that they have in terms of employees. There are products and services that we could be developing whereby we are the users. If I was operating more in the retail banking side, I am a retail bank customer. I have my credit cards. I use the ATM, so I have an opinion about our own products and service. It is all about the balancing, making sure that you're not overusing what you think you know, but at the same time, make sure that you do use what you know."
Suzanne: You, I think, intimated some of these aspects when I asked the question in the inverse, which is what would all the people you've pissed off say about you sitting around in a bar, but I'm curious if you could describe your leadership style?
Bronwyn: My leadership style is more leading from behind. I believe in the concept of more followership than the leadership in the front. What I mean by that is I'd like to be in the details, in the trenches with my team. I'd like to remove the sense of hierarchy with the team. I want to create an environment where people feel that they're uniqueness, their experiences, their different way of thinking, that diversity has a good contribution to what makes a great product team. I am just a element of that.
By fostering that type of environment, I feel that the team doesn't necessarily always need to be looking to me for guidance, for direction, but they feel that they can be part of driving what that is and I always tell the team I'm part of their safety net. That's where my experience and that's where my leadership comes in is if things aren't going right and they feel that they're stuck, I want them to know that I'm there to support them. That's how I'd describe my way of leading from behind as herding my troops to make sure that we're heading the right direction, but that they don't feel constrained by a top-down type leadership style.
Suzanne: You've spoken offline about supporting women in particular as part of that journey. I think everyone listening ... We all know about the problem and the challenges of being a woman. How do you do that specifically? Can I send all women to you for this after the interview?
Bronwyn: I would love to talk to a lot of women about my own career journey and learning. The key advice I will have is follow your passion, follow your gut. Be bold. I know many female, myself included at times when I'm trying to think about career change, you come up with a checklist of what skills you've got. You match that to what was on the job spec in the advertisement and just go, "Hmm, seven out of 10, no I'm not going to go for it."
Suzanne: That's if you have a framework-
Bronwyn: If you have a framework. If you don't have a framework, you may just go, "No, that job's too senior for me or they're not going to look into my CV. My advice to everyone listening out there is just give it a go. There is nothing to lose by spending the 10 minutes to prep your CV, to prep your cover letter. Apply for that role. If they don't give you a chance, then you've gone for it. There's no regrets. If they give you an interview, fantastic, be yourself and own that interview. Follow the passion and be bold.
Suzanne: What this reminds me of, earlier you spoke about the privilege that consultants get of being able to say and get away with a lot of things. One of my clients recently challenged me on exactly that and I said, "Yeah, I'm not employable at this point." I think this is also relevant for women as well because there's always that duality around men can behave a certain way and it's kind of rewarded and then women behave a certain way and then it's feedback about how they can improve and soften. What are the kinds of communication tactics, stakeholder management things that you would advocate for or advice somebody on, whether it's for women or not? This role is so much about aligning people or leading without actual leadership jurisdiction a lot of the times, so much about persuasion. How do you survive that and internally where there's all those politics you spoke about?
Bronwyn: I think one is do make sure you're aware of all those politics before going into any conversation. Number two would be use the relationship building skills and the rapport that you have with people to your advantage. What I mean by that is as you get to know the people, allow them to really understand how you operate. There are many people, female or male, that may not feel comfortable to provide their feedback or input right away at a meeting where all the stakeholders are around and being in product, you are the glue to every single stakeholder around the company.
It is about building that one on one rapport and allowing people to know that if you're not the type of person or personality that will likely provide an input on the spot, let them know that you'd like to operate in the way that you want to absorb every opinion around the table. You would like to take it away and you'll follow through and come back with an opinion. It's okay to let people know that that's how you want to operate so that they don't second guess why you're so quiet around the table per se. These are the things that I would advise people and these are some of the tactics that I've certainly used earlier on in my career when either I have just stepped into a client I don't know really who they are, but I am the consultant and they are all looking at me expecting me to say stuff.
Through time, as I build the relationship and I guess in a sense is the experience, you need to push yourself to feel comfortable, letting people know how you operate. You need to push yourself to feel comfortable to own your opinions and state it in a constructive manner. I have seen previous leaders that I've worked for where they feel that they just need to become that alpha female and you're like, "But, you just completely lost who you are as a person. The authenticity of a leader or of any individuals around the table for me is also very critical.
Suzanne: Yeah, what I've been struck by ... I've had the great fortune of sitting down with so many amazing female leaders as part of this series, yourself included ... is there's been a really ... Calm is one way of describing it, but there's an energy to it that feels soft. Would you consider yourself to be soft?
Bronwyn: That's a very interesting question. I don't see myself as soft, but I don't see myself as aggressive or hard either. What I've been told is that people around me feel that I have a presence and that I'm able to command the room and the conversation in a constructive way, not in a nasty, loud, dictatorial way. In a sense, for me, reflecting on that, it's like, "Well, I do want people to know that I have a role to play in that meeting or in that room or to drive the conversation." It is okay to own the room and have that presence. I'm kind of like in the middle. I don't see myself as soft because, one, I know I'm a pretty loud talker. I've actually been told one time when I'm in a workshop where a lady sitting next to me in my work stream was like, "Can you just stop yelling?" I was like, "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm not yelling. This is just my normal way of talking." Then funnily enough, when one of the senior executives came through to be the coach for the cohort of what we were doing ... It was a leadership training course. She's known me for quite some time, and I was trying to tone down my voice. The senior executive came in and I started talking to her. First thing she says like, "Bronwyn, are you okay? Are you sick? Why are you talking like that?" I said, "No, no, I've just been told that I was yelling in the room so I'm just trying to tone it down." I'm definitely not a soft person.
Suzanne: That's funny. Do you have a scary side?
Bronwyn: I think I do have a scary side particularly when I get frustrated. When things aren't moving along or when I feel I'm not getting the answers that I need, I tend to get into my frustration and I don't hide it well. Maybe play poker with me because you can always tell what kind of hand I've got. I'm still trying to manage through that. I'm trying to continuously be very consistent in the way that I deal with my team or my stakeholders, but balancing that with the authenticity of who Bronwyn Yam is, many people who knows me will say, but that's what we like about you is that bluntness. We can always tell what's on your mind. When you're frustrated, we can tell. That's how we can get robust, candid, honest conversation going. Still working on it. There is a scary side because I can get quite frustrated. That then gives off a sense that I'm very demanding because I just want the answers or whatever I'm looking for now because I've been waiting.
Suzanne: Being Italian, I just put the euphemism of passion around that. I say, "I'm just passionate. This is only because I care so much." I don't know if everyone believes that or not. Is there anything on your career road map that you haven't yet done in your 30 years equivalent of product management and consulting, and then another 10, 12 years as you've been doing industry, where you're like, "You know where I want to go next," or, "You know what challenge I haven't had the opportunity to dive into"?
Bronwyn: I don't know because I've kind of lost track, or I should say, "I've given up on this road map of ... I feel sometimes that constraints people in the tick the box exercise. Earlier in my career, they would be like, "Oh, I want to develop strategy skills and I want to be able to run an operation. I want to run a P&L. I want to do this. I want to do that. Then every opportunity that comes across, you go, "Oh, is that going to tick that box"? Where I am at at the moment is I've worked for relatively large multinational organizations when I was in consulting, have worked for one of the big four banks here in Australia. I'm now in a fintech, which is smaller. There's a lot of learning and growth for me in a much smaller organization and understanding how that operates.
For me, it is about understanding the opportunities that are in front of me and if it, in a sense, floats my boat and I feel like, "Ooh, yeah, I can feel my passion going," then I just go for it. There's always going to be learning no matter what it is even if it is another strategy role or another consulting chapter that I want to open up again. I'm sure that the way that we do consulting today and what the clients requests are will be very different from how consulting was done 20 years ago. For me, it's no longer about what else is missing from my career, it is all about being open minded, never say no to anything that you feel you are going to be passionate about.
Suzanne: We do a segment on this show, Bronwyn, called Get The Job, Learn The Job, Love The Job. I think our audience can benefit from your wisdom on this. Let's start with getting the job. Here's the frame. "I've been working in product management for some handful of years and I feel that I'm ready to make the next jump into leadership. How do I go from senior PM to VP or director level?"
Bronwyn: Firstly, would be doing your homework and reflecting on the why. Is it because you feel you've been operating at the same level and you want that career progression? Is it because you are chasing a title? Is it because that you truly want more responsibility, more experience? One thing about people wanting to jump into leadership position is they need to think about there are a lot more people management issues, challenges that come with leadership. As a senior product manager, you may still be very much product focused, stakeholder focused, customer focused, but when you become a leader of product, it's no longer just about the product, but the people that you're leading. Is that really where your passion lies? When you have a great team and all one on ones and the conversations is colorful and fantastic, awesome because everyone has a positive day, but you have to think about that there will be times that you need to have those tough people conversations, whether it's somebody's not really doing the job to your expectation? How are you going to give that feedback, do you feel comfortable giving that feedback? There will be times that in the reality of businesses today, you may need to make some roles redundant. Are you ready for those conversations? Thinking about more of a senior leadership position, it is about evaluating what is it that you really want out of that and making sure that you are very well aware of all the additional aspects of the role. Once you've thought it through, go for it. You've got the experience as a senior product manager, so until you try, you don't know.
Suzanne: What does go for it look like?
Bronwyn: Go for it would look like having the conversation with your managers, having conversation with your stakeholders or the senior executives at the company. Be upfront about what you're looking for. Articulate about why you want to have a career change, why you're aspiring to be in a more senior position. Let people know. If you don't sell yourself, if you don't let people know that these are your career aspirations, people won't know. If people don't know, they can't help you.
Suzanne: Great. What about ... I'm just going to say it ... fuckups? Have you made any?
Bronwyn: I have made so many.
Suzanne: Have you made a few hundred?
Bronwyn: I've made so many fuckups. It's hilarious. Back to in a meeting, where at one point in time, I felt I always need to have the answers like, "I just don't shut up and think." When I hear a question, I jump to the automatic mode of answering and that pissed off a lot of people. That has been probably a learning of a good 10 years to know that it is okay to not provide an answer at a meeting, particularly if you're presenting to the executive committee or the board. You just feel like, "I need to know my shit. You're asking me a question. Of course I need to have the answer." It's okay that sometimes you don't have the answer. It's okay that you tell them, "I'm going to come back to you on that," and that's it. No buts. I've made those mistakes.
Then the other one is probably earlier days I let my ego get in the way. What I mean by that is in my consulting days, I was working for a Japanese company. When I showed up, they thought that I was the translator. They didn't think that I was the consultant. One because I was female and second, because I look Asian so they just go, "Oh, you must be a translator," because they were waiting for a Caucasian person to come in to be the consultant. On that, I allowed my ego to get in the way to like, "I'm going to show you, client, that I am the consultant."
Then that didn't help drive good dialog with the customer to understand what it is that I was there to consult on. It was a one-way conversation, where in my mind it was just like, "Yeah, I'm going to tell you and show you that I am the consultant." I've completely missed the boat on what they wanted me there for.
Suzanne: So powerful and honest, that's amazing. What about for people that you lead? Speaking from the leadership lens, where do you see more junior product people, which could include senior product people, struggle in the practical aspects of product management?
Bronwyn: I think in the practice is prioritization. I think there's so many things and different expectations of product managers. I now always call them product people because in some people's eyes it's product managers. In other people's eyes and it could be the same company, but just a different department that they are product owners. Now they are all these different expectations and definitions of what are product managers versus ... Who are product owners. For me, product people.
Product people's jobs are getting increasingly complex. The challenge is whether it's the more junior product managers to even the more experienced ones, it's prioritize. Prioritizing from what feature do I go next, what research do I need to do next to how am I going to talk to the engineers and drive the agile methodology and the scrums and the sprints to which stakeholder do I meet with first and do I make sure that account management is happy first or do I make sure that customer support is happy? All of that is just always noise. The ability to filter all of that I believe is an increasing challenge for many of us in product.
Suzanne: I had this conversation with an associate the other day and just said, "Trust yourself." There's a moment and you're asking questions and those answers are within your reach.
Suzanne: Great. Love it. What do you think is so great about product that you just keep signing up year over year over year to keep doing it?
Bronwyn: For me, product is about solving problems. You could be solving problems in many different ways. It's the freedom and the ability to have that playground to solve maybe the same old problems differently using different tools, different methodology, different inputs, different markets. I love it. I'm not sensing any tiredness around product. It's also being able to see your product come to life to make an impact for your customers. Right now, with small businesses that we're trying to service and target in Tyro, hearing from the customers on how we've saved them time, how we've saved them money is such a rewarding complement that I feel being in product is where my calling is. That's why I'm signing up for more and more in product. I always say I'm not a salesperson, but I love supporting our sales colleagues to go and speak to customers because it's identifying those problems, those issues and being able to think through with my team, "We can tackle that. I think we can solve that for our customers and then be delighted about it once that we do help them achieve their goals."
Suzanne: I love that. Are there any resources ... At 100productmanagers.com/resources, we have this robust list of recommendations from all of our guests through the years. I'm wondering if there's any books, blogs, podcasts or other that have been especially impactful to you recently, historically. It doesn't have to be product specific.
Bronwyn: I've got one book that I would definitely recommend, and that's by Brené Brown, Growth Mindset.
Suzanne: Yeah, she's got a new out too, Dare To Lead.
Bronwyn: Yes, but Growth Mindset, if you get your head around that and allow yourself to have that growth mindset, then everything else will have a different perspective to how you approach things. The second one for me is probably around a tool that I use. I use an app called Flipboard, where I can just capture all the various topics that I'm interested in and fascinated by. I just go through that and flip through it every night. Through that, there are amazing articles that come through whether it's on payments, whether it's on fashion, whether it's on travel. That's another tool that I recommend for people who are time poor just so that you can have one consolidated, I guess in a sense, news clipping of everything that you're interested in.
Suzanne: How much time do you spend reading those article on clipboard?
Bronwyn: I probably spend maybe half an hour to 45 minutes a day. That's like my wind down time.
Suzanne: At a set time mostly?
Bronwyn: Before I go to bed.
Suzanne: For me, I feel like if I sat down and did 45 minutes of absorbing knowledge, I wouldn't be able to sleep.
Bronwyn: There are times where it happens, but then other times, you are flipping, flipping and then you're dozing and it's like, "Yes, time to go to bed."
Suzanne: Last question for you, is there a personal or professional mantra that you use to guide who you are in the world that you would like to share with our audience?
Bronwyn: For me, my personal mantra is until I try, I will never know whether I like it or not and always live your life with no regrets.
Suzanne: Can't say it better than that. Bronwyn Yam, thank you so much for being a part of our show. It's so great to have you.
Bronwyn: Thank you for having me.