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Emerging Technology is Product Management

Phillip Easter, Director of Mobile Apps & Wearables at American Airlines, shares how he’s leveraging emerging technologies and partnering with startups to reshape customer experience.


Why is one of the largest airline companies building mobile apps and artificial intelligence products?

After a $40B+ merger with US Airways, American Airlines committed to innovating and improving customer experience.

It’s Phillip’s job to execute on that vision. He’s working with mobile, wearable, machine learning, and artificial intelligence technologies to fundamentally reshape how customers travel.

The challenge, however, is that new product ideas often fail to achieve significant customer adoption. This is in part because of a lack of user testing and iterative development.

So Phillip created a “customer beta group” - a small group of American Airlines customers who opted in to provide feedback on new products and features. It’s helped Phillip and his team gain meaningful customer insights throughout the product lifecycle.

However, even with a customer beta group, it can be challenging to move quickly when building products at a large organization. That’s why Phillip leverages partnerships with innovative startups. These partnerships have helped him and his team deploy innovative technologies, faster.

Phillip shares advice for making partnerships with startups successful, how he started his customer beta group, and the emerging technologies that he’s most excited about.

Here are the highlights:

  • Phil describes why American Airlines works with emerging technologies (3:15)
  • American Airlines’ product development methodology (8:00)
  • How Phil ensures partnerships with startups are successful (11:10)
  • How Phil leverages customer beta groups to get feedback on products and features (13:45)
  • The technologies Phil is most excited about right now (16:15)
  • How Phil overcomes the challenges of building digital products in a large organization (20:15)

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