Jeff Lesser, Hemal Shah & Michael Ducker

Twitter Product Managers behind GNIP, Fabric, and Embedded Tweets

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON October 23, 2015

Discussion

Jeff Lesser@jefflesser · Product Marketing Manager, Twitter
Hi everyone! Hemal, Michael and I are three of the Product Managers behind GNIP, Fabric, and Embedded Tweets. We work on the growth of Twitter's platform and building tools developers love. We also like plaid. Ask away!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Really impressed with Twitter's willingness for change and speed of execution over the past ~6 months. How do you come up with new ideas and prioritize? Does it diff between teams (e.g. GNIP vs. Fabric)?
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
@rrhoover Great products are built by teams and not by one person. As a product manager, I view my role not as the creator of all ideas, but the curator of great ideas. I love that everyone on my team: support, engineering, design...etc. is entrepreneurial and has a customer-first attitude which leads to amazing ideas that we can discuss as a team and prioritize over what we want to do and how that helps us achieve our goals which is to ultimately keep customers happy and excited!
Jeff Lesser@jefflesser · Product Marketing Manager, Twitter
@rrhoover We do a number of things to come up with new ideas for Gnip and Fabric, each team has their own process but they are generally the same. We do lots of brainstorming and getting our really talented people from all roles together in situations that inspire innovative thinking. We also do lots of listening to the developers who are using Twitter as a platform to build upon. We make trips out to meet with customers and we find excuses to bring people into Twitter to give us feedback. We base what we will build and how to prioritize it based on the combination of new, green ideas and lots (LOTS) of customer feedback.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hey guys! Thanks for being here. What has been the best thing about working at Twitter?
Michael Ducker@miradu · Cofounder of @pinchrent with @maiab
@ems_hodge A few years ago, as emoji use exploded on iOS, I was leading the team behind Twitter.com, and we noticed that the people who used Web didn’t get to see the emoji in Tweets (Native browser support is still hit or miss!). In response to that, lacking a public option, we built the open source TwEmoji set - a gorgeous complete color set. I’ll never forget the day that we shipped emoji on twitter.com, seeing the surprise and joy upon millions of people tweeting out and realizing that they had been missing the punchline of all their friends Tweets!
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
@ems_hodge Hands down the people and the culture. I work with the smartest people on a daily basis and I'm incredibly grateful for it. Not only are they intelligent, but they strive to make each other better in a productive and collaborative nature through constructive feedback. Find a company that promotes this type of culture and stick with it.
Michael Ducker@miradu · Cofounder of @pinchrent with @maiab
Hi everyone! Thank you for joining us! I lead the teams here at Twitter building Twitter, off of Twitter, things like our Twitter API, Embedded Tweets, Twitter SDKs, TweetDeck, Curator, Publish, and Digits. I've had the opportunity to build Twitter for the past four years, and couldn't be more excited to answer your questions about what we shipped at #TwitterFlight: https://blog.twitter.com/2015/we... 💥🐣✈️
Russ Frushtick@russfrushtick
@jefflesser What change to Twitter's platform made the biggest overall change to the company/product?
Michael Ducker@miradu · Cofounder of @pinchrent with @maiab
@russfrushtick I think Moments is one of the biggest changes we’ve ever made to Twitter, and we’ve been floored by the feedback we’ve gotten on Twitter about the feature. A lot of people have been really surprised that all of these great Tweets were already on Twitter, but which they had missed! We continue to build into Moments, for example at Twitter Flight last Wednesday, we launched the platform of professional tools that we use to create moments, as well as the APIs to build curation tools, and we’re really excited to see what people come up with.
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
If you were responsible for making one major change at Twitter to propel the business forward, what would you modify/build and why?
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
Hey guys, super excited to chat with the Product Hunt community! I am responsible for product on our crash reporting team (woo Crashlytics!) and developer tools at Fabric. Happy to chat about all things mobile :)
Nick Creegan@njcreegan
Where do you get your inspiration and knowledge? Do you have any favorite books, movies, speakers, blogs, etc?
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
@njcreegan I’m not sure if this is inspiring or a source for knowledge, but I have a few movies that get me pretty fired up and make me want to build things: - Glengarry Glen Ross - ABC! - Wall Street - Boiler Room - Poolhall Junkies What are your favorites?
Nick Creegan@njcreegan
@hemal On the topic of entertaining, but motivating: - Exit Through the Gift Shop - Pursuit of Happiness - Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Chef I also really enjoyed the documentary Objectified, as well as Don Norman's TED talk on design (https://www.ted.com/talks/don_no...). Can't wait for the upcoming InVision documentary (http://www.designdisruptors.com/) p.s. GGR makes me cry a little bit inside...
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
@njcreegan P.P.S - Chef & Jiro Dreams of Sushi make me really hungry.
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@jefflesser working with products at Twitter if twitter could acquire and incorporate any startup and product into the Twitter offering, who would you like them to acquire and why would it be good to integrate into the current Twitter offering?
Lejla Bajgoric@lejlahunts · Intern, Product Hunt
Thanks for being here! Twitter is my fav amongst social media choices, partially because TONS of social and political activism happen on Twitter, most recently and notably the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Why do you think this is the case, as opposed to somewhere like FB? Any relation to products like Gnip, embedded tweets, etc? And if anyone has personal thoughts to share on the power/impact of these movements happening specifically on Twitter, that'd be great to hear :)
Michael Ducker@miradu · Cofounder of @pinchrent with @maiab
@lejlahunts It’s really humbling working on a product that has such a powerful and public impact on people’s lives. I believe deeply that Twitter is the world’s microphone, and we work hard to build in features like embedded tweets that amplify people’s voices, even ones who are not sanctioned by official governments or media. So, I don’t think it’s any one feature, but really the platform of Twitter that makes these conversations about our world possible, and it’s a responsibility everyone in the company takes seriously.
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · VC at Shrug Capital
@jefflesser when will myself and the two other people without access to Twitter Polls be able to experience the wonder of yes or no questions? 😈
Michael Ducker@miradu · Cofounder of @pinchrent with @maiab
@nivo0o0 soon! we're still in the process of rolling out polls to everyone.
Michael@dukejl · Product Manager, Real Magnet
@jefflesser Besides your partnership with Techstars any other plans to offer reduced GNIP fees for startups?
Jeff Lesser@jefflesser · Product Marketing Manager, Twitter
@dukejl We are really excited about our partnership which TechStars and the opportunity to help startups build amazing businesses on Gnip. While we would love to help every startup that wants Gnip get the data they need we are currently focused on this TechStars partnership.
Arpit Gupta@arpitgupta · Product Manager
@jefflesser Have you guys considered a feature to do push notification (or email) for when someone tweets questions related to your search criteria? ex, Alert me when someone is looking for food options in Boston. TweetDeck is a great platform to stay on top of what people are talking about... But I am wondering if this feature could be a way to stay on top of real time events happening in people's lives especially when you aren't paying attention to everyone's tweets.
Jeff Lesser@jefflesser · Product Marketing Manager, Twitter
@arpitgupta That sounds like an awesome product, it’s not one that I have personally considered but what’s great about the Twitter platform is that our APIs could enable you, or anyone, to build that!
Melissa Joy Kong@melissajoykong · Content, Product Hunt
There seems to be a separation at many tech companies between the product/engineering and marketing/sales sides of the business. In some ways, the groups speak completely different "languages." Do you think businesses thrive more when product/engineering and marketing/sales are kept separate—or more collaborative? And why?
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
@melissajoykong What a timely question, I really enjoyed this post on HackerNews yesterday: http://firstround.com/review/exp...
Corley@corleyh · COO @ Product Hunt
Thanks for joining. There was a great piece recently by one of the Slack PMs talking about ways to prioritize qualitative and quantitative feedback. How do you think about prioritizing feedback? And what are some of your favorite ways / methods / tools for getting user feedback?
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
@corleyh Great question. Feedback is one of the most invaluable things you can get as a product manager because it’s coming from customers who care to shape and mold the product in a way that makes it even more valuable for them. Prior to being a PM, I was a developer advocate and spoke with every customer through our support channels, spending hours learning the ways the product worked and didn’t work for them. I find this to be the most valuable asset I bring to the table as a product leader for my teams. That said, you need to be cautious about implementing everything a customer asks for because it may change the direction of the product which may not make sense for the strategy of your product. Talk to your customers in person, through email, or even see what they tweet about or post on forums! If you don’t get feedback directly, go find your customers and actively seek it out :)
Pedram Daraeizadeh@pedramdara · Product Management and Marketing
Who are the people and teams you interact with on daily basis and how much do you play a role in the product vision and roadmap prioritization?
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
@pedram92d I interact with everyone in our company: our customers, support, sales, engineering, design, legal, comms, marketing, other product leaders, execs...did I forget anyone? Everyone should be encouraged to share their ideas, and as I posted to @rhoover above, it’s the responsibility for the PM to be the curator of ideas, not the creator for all of them. PMs should be the voice of the customer, communicate the current market position and where they think it will be headed in the future. If you help smart people understand the problems that are worth solving and why you care to solve them, you can come up with some pretty amazing products.
Pedram Daraeizadeh@pedramdara · Product Management and Marketing
@hemal thanks a lot for your detailed answer and doing the live chat. I'm happy to see that PMs are working pretty much with everyone. Now who do you think PMs should report to (VP of product, CTO, CMO, CEO, etc) and what department should they be in (R&D/Tech, Marketing)?
Jeff Lesser@jefflesser · Product Marketing Manager, Twitter
Thanks everyone for showing up. Really excited to chat with all of you! I work on the Gnip team and we bring to market the enterprise APIs that unlock the power of social data for businesses. Let's talk about data!
Vadi@vadivelk · Craftsman
I run a product team, we are really looking to move towards daily releases. The problem we see is discussing through use cases takes longer than we expect and we end up in slowing down the whole dev process. How you start on ideation to implementation? Any specific approaches you follow given the distributed product teams you have. Thanks
Michael Ducker@miradu · Cofounder of @pinchrent with @maiab
@vadivelk If the team’s aligned to the same strategy and outcome, and is listening to customer feedback, the daily “what should we build” will likely be obvious as you strive to solve customer pain. Perhaps you’re not getting enough customer feedback, or perhaps there isn’t consensus yet on the strategy. One exercise we like to go through as a team is to write the blog post/press release for where you want to be in a year, and use that to tell the story and align your team.
Kevin Ayuque@kevinayuque
Hey guys, I see Twitter doing a lot of stuffs lately. How do you avoid procrastination?
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
@kevinayuque Find problems you’re obsessed to solve. Better yet, find customers you care about and help them become successful. Mix that with a work environment that makes you feel challenged and where you think you can grow and it’s easy to stay focused!
Nick Creegan@njcreegan
Hey guys, thanks for doing this! It seems that "stickiness" is the term of the day. We shoot for features that will attract repeat and frequent use in our products. However, for some products, daily use is not achievable or desirable. Do you think there are other ways we can measure and shoot for that "stickiness" besides visit frequency?
Hemal Shah@hemal · Product Manager, Twitter
@njcreegan Our friends at Periscope also had to ask themselves a similar question. Find metrics that work for you: https://medium.com/@periscope/pe...
Nick Creegan@njcreegan
Awesome answer, @hemal. Thanks!