My best advice is to focus on quality over quantity. Be fully engaged when you work, and actually take the time to listen and hear others. If you put the phone down and close the laptop, you’ll be surprised at what you can learn when you are fully present. I recently reconnected with a very good friend from my time at Microsoft. Previously, we had both been “too busy” with young families to make time for one another for a stretch. We now see each other every weekend, even it’s just for a quick coffee or short lunch. It adds so much to life to spend time with people you care about and you can’t lose sight of that, given work can be all consuming.
I had the pleasure to interview Josh Platt, Chief Product Officer at RetailMeNot. As chief product officer at RetailMeNot, Josh Platt leads product and design strategy. He brings more than 15 years of experience in product to the company, along with a product philosophy rooted in solving customer problems. Prior to RetailMeNot, Josh served as vice president of product for Nordstrom.com. There, he was responsible for all digital customer experiences across desktop, mobile web and apps, in addition to omnichannel experiences. During Josh’s three-year tenure leading product at Nordstrom.com, he helped grow its digital sales by more than 65 percent ($2 billion+). Josh also spent 12 years in product at Microsoft, focused on products such as Windows Server, Visual Studio and Azure, as well as digital properties such as Microsoft.com. Josh holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Denver.
Thank you so much for joining us Josh Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
What I’m most excited about product at RetailMeNot is the opportunity to improve people’s lives through digital products and deliver superior customer experiences. I first got this “product bug” while working for Arthur Anderson Business Consulting implementing packaged CRM software. I was fortunate enough to have Microsoft as a client while at Anderson, which was my first exposure to the world of software development and tapping into technology to shape customer experiences.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We have a wonderful mission at RetailMeNot! The ability to enhance consumer lives through savings is really what drew me to join the company. Occasionally we hear from our customers about how they use those savings to do something nice for a friend or family member. That never gets old!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m really excited about the personalization work that RetailMeNot has been doing that’s starting to bare fruit. Specifically, it’s always a great feeling when you can help customers discover and evaluate offers that are relevant to them. We also have the opportunity to help our retailers better tap into the audiences that will be most valuable to their business.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?
When I started at Nordstrom I was really able to see the power of how a/b testing served as the foundation for data-driven decision making in ecommerce. In most corporate environments, there’s lots of qualitative debate about ‘the right approach’. That time is better spent testing and learning with real customers. Customers will tell you what they like and don’t like with their clicks. This was a big takeaway that shaped how I viewed the entire customer experience.
What advice would you give to other product managers to thrive and avoid burnout?
My best advice is to focus on quality over quantity. Be fully engaged when you work, and actually take the time to listen and hear others. If you put the phone down and close the laptop, you’ll be surprised at what you can learn when you are fully present.
I recently reconnected with a very good friend from my time at Microsoft. Previously, we had both been “too busy” with young families to make time for one another for a stretch. We now see each other every weekend, even it’s just for a quick coffee or short lunch. It adds so much to life to spend time with people you care about and you can’t lose sight of that, given work can be all consuming.
You are a Chief Product Officer. How would you define “A Great Product”? Can you explain what you mean?
While “product” is technically about building digital experiences, its ultimately about being obsessed with solving customer problems. It’s really easy to fall in love with your own ideas, rather than how you can solve a customer problem. Keep the customer at the center of your work and you can build really powerful digital experiences.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am very grateful for Brian Saltzman, my first manager at Nordstom. Brian took a chance on me when I had very little consumer ecommerce experience and, as a result, I really found my life’s work. His behavior taught me to be open to people with non-traditional backgrounds — I was really lucky he was open to hiring a guy who had spent 12 years at Microsoft mostly focused on b-to-b products, which wasn’t the traditional background we looked for at Nordstrom. I look to hire with that same open mind today because different perspectives can bring new ideas to the table and help identify gaps.
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners?
One of the greatest “tools” any business has in their arsenal is customer feedback and related ways to really understand who your customer is. Every company or product has to pay attention to where their consumers are — and where they would like to be — to sustain success.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Stoicism is cast as a great virtue in the workplace, but I’d argue all we really have in life is our emotions. From that, come passion, enthusiasm and commitment. I’d encourage folks in the workplace to really show up with their emotions and use them as tools to perform at your best in the workplace.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Gandhi once said, “a nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” We would do well in America to reflect on that quote, especially as we witness expanding poverty and homelessness in our urban centers. We would be well served to be more compassionate to those who are struggling in America.