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Scaling New Ventures is Product Management

Prabhdeep Singh, Global Head of WeWork Labs, shares his insights on how to uncover product ideas, and how leaders can build and guide new ventures at fast-growing companies.

Prabhdeep Singh is the global head of WeWork Labs, startup accelerators and coworking spaces for early stage startups and enterprise companies.

Over the course of his career, Prabhdeep has spent time business building at venture-backed startups and companies such as UberEats. Along the way, he’s learned that there’s no shortage of exciting product ideas or potential new ventures to be uncovered at existing companies — teams just have to do the hard work to discover them.

What is Prabhdeep’s suggested approach to product ideation?

In his career, he has found that customer feedback is frequently the source of new and marketable ideas, either from employees who are customer-facing, or existing customers who tell you other ways your product or business can infiltrate the market, or even from leadership teams themselves doing user research work.

“Every good idea and every disruptable idea at a company is sitting there right in front of you. You just have to find it,” he says.

Once you’ve landed and ideated on a new business idea, Prabhdeep says the next step must be to get as close to the customer as possible. “My approach is don't build anything until you've talked to a customer,” he says, citing casual conversation, testing and learning, and prototypes as just a few examples of how to get customer feedback on a new product or business idea.

But he also stresses that one round isn’t the end of the process. Let what you learn from customers inform your next round of product development. “When we do tests, we’re not trying to get confirmation bias like, ‘Hey, some people liked it, it was a good idea, it matched the vision. This is a great idea, let’s do it.’ It’s, ‘Okay, that’s just the first step. Now let’s see if someone’s going to pay for it.’ Let’s try to get someone to open up their piggy bank. And if we can do that, then we really know there's something there."

When it comes time to scale products, Prabhdeep says by day 1, you need to have both executive leadership and board member buy-in, as well as a clear strategy for establishing the product as an essential piece or growth need for the business, not a bolt-on solution.

“If you don’t have buy-in for this initiative you’re doing, it’s very hard to get it to a place where it can actually scale in the first place,” he says. “And having a really clear understanding of where this business fits is super important.”

In this episode, you’ll learn a lot about product ideation, scaling new businesses, and successful leadership strategies.

Here are the highlights: 

  • Why employees are often the best source of ideas (4:00)
  • How to use customers to narrow down ideas during the product ideation process (6:23)
  • Best practices Prabhdeep shared for exploring new markets (13:36)
  • How to scale products that aren’t part of a company’s core business (20:04)
  • Prabhdeep’s advice for working at fast-growing companies (22:44)

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