A little bit about me, I am JZ, and I rap about machine learning and design thinking. I’m a product manager who’s launched over ten products. The job title that I have now is Chief Product Officer and Co-founder at DoTheRainbow.com.
I left my job last year to take a sabbatical and learn how to no-code. My co-founder and I created a product for boosting color creativity. It’s a social product. You post a different outfit each day in a different color. For example, magenta will be posted on Sunday, when we always post wearing or seeing something pink.
The company has gone through many pivots because it’s super risky to be a founder. It’s like throwing darts, and wherever it lands, it’s never in the middle. Along the way, I’ve learned so much about creators, social media marketing, and AI — a lot from the PLA community.
Even though we might pivot into an AI product, I want to stay in the creator economy to find a creator platform that increases engagement or a marketplace that increases conversion to sales and pays creators so they can make a living.
I worked in Fintech and social media startups in New York. I love shopping, so in fintech, I’ve always worked in e-commerce and the shopping space.
Motivation for joining PLA
I think it’s very rare to have a CPO conference because it’s a relatively new role. And product is still very nascent, as most companies are tech-led. To advocate for product-led is a sticky job because there’s a lot of alignment the CPO has to do. I wanted to join the community to see what CPOs were founding. With all the problems that I had with marketing and product market fit, I wanted to see how other CPOs were dealing with it.
I liked the CPO conference PLA put on, especially the AI class. After that, I reached out to Zoe Kendall and Ofir Natan. I continued to watch their content and see all the amazing videos and recommendations on the AI tools they used. It wasn’t just about the product journey but their founder's journey as well.
There was this amazing video on the ten steps in the product journey with all the different tools that Ofir rated, and I ended up using three of them but didn’t like them. Then I found other tools I did like, and it grew my confidence in using AI tools.
I had been very against AI even though I worked in machine learning. I thought it was all hype, but now I see the value in doing things I don’t want to do. AI does it for me. It can also create things that I wouldn’t be able to create on my own. Now I can generate videos on a discord channel in minutes, whereas years ago, I would have to create cells and vectors. It would take too long. I really enjoy the confidence that the AI community in PLA has given me.
How PLA has helped
I think in the AI realm, scoring tools have been really helpful. A lot of the tools are junk. The video editing tool I’m using now is probably the oldest AI video tool. With all the junk that’s come since then, I’ve been able to confidently evaluate with the help of the AI community at PLA and cut through the hype.
The conference is the most helpful because I can block my calendar and focus on the content. The Slack channel is difficult for me because I spend so much of my time on LinkedIn. I would rather the community be on LinkedIn than Slack.
I have a podcast, and Dan Blumberg came on, and we talked about demand tests. It’s a concept of getting users to sign up for the marketing of your product before you do any user testing, before code. Having him on my podcast, showing examples of how he did it, and being able to message him the experiments I’ve run on AI website aggregators has been results-producing.
Now, I’ve tested five concepts and iterations. Every couple of weeks, I’ll run a new test and see which one gets me those beta subscribers. And even though social is expensive, the demand tests are costing me two cents per click which is really cheap. As a founder, I appreciate getting that data before I no-code, which is time-consuming because the UI is so bad.
Impact of professional growth
I want to continue in the creator economy. The growth comes from knowing if I have a question, I can always reach out to the community, and someone will have an answer or at least let me know no one has answered it yet. That’s also exciting because, as product managers, we want to find the blue ocean where no one has been, be highly differentiated, and win.
Even though I come from a marketing background and I like marketing, as a founder, I've spent more than 75% of my time on marketing and 25% on product. Overcoming the growth hacking statistics and trying to figure out what numbers I should be achieving, which social networks to start with, and what kind of content to post now that everyone has migrated to music/videos like TikTok can be a headache.
As an experienced professional, I’ve found it hard to break into music/videos. But now, with the support of the community and other communities, I’m pretty confident about it.
Contributions to PLA
I’ll be podcasting a couple of other members. I would love to offer podcasting to anyone who’s a little scared of public speaking and for whom this would be their first time. The reason is that a podcast is just like a Zoom call. It’s just a conversation, a lovely way to build your public speaking because it is not nauseating or pitching your product. It’s an honest conversation that's deep and deeply personal — a kind of depth you don't see on social media. I’d love to contribute podcasting and more testimonials to the community.
PLA is for product folks, so we all understand the trials of stakeholder management and trying to get to product-led. It’s rare and not easy, so it's nice to have people where I know they understand my language, and I don’t have to bring them up to speed. They’re already there with me, which is just a comfort knowing all these people have the same experience.
Start-up founders, entrepreneurs, and C-levels, in addition to product professionals, should join the PLA community because it’s where you can get the latest answers and make connections fast. Having people who are willing to jump on a call and give you a list of resources is really important.
As a founder, you have a community that acts as a study guide with people who can help you navigate frontiers. That makes it really fun to learn. Also, you have people interested in your expertise. There are a lot of opportunities to skill-share. When people help me with AI, I like to help them with research, persona definition, branding, and public speaking, all the things I have experience and results in.