Product Strategy 101

Product Strategy 101

A conversation with @katiabanina from Bebop.

No Nonsense Growth is a Twitter Spaces series dedicated to all things marketing, product, and analytics. These are some highlights from the first episode.

For the first episode of No Nonsense Growth, we hosted Katia Banina, the CEO of Bebop, to talk about product strategy and product building.


Katia has held product leadership roles across a variety of orgs — both big and small, and in both web2 and web3. Before assuming the CEO role at Bebop they were headed product at Wintermute — one of the largest global algorithmic trading firms and the incubators of Bebop.


What according to you are the major differences in working at a startup vs. at a big corporation?

I come from a corporate background so I can understand the stigma associated with that. However, at the end of the day, you are always working in a team no matter where you are. And the range of team dynamics isn't much different at either of the places. So your experience depends on your team. Having said that, being in a startup is a lot of fun!

What are the major differences when you compare working in web3 vs. in web2?

Well, I'd say the biggest difference is hiring. Working for a web2 organization is fairly common in society, so there's a larger pool of people who are open to and are interested in web2. We can't say the same for web3 yet. There a lot of folks whose skills would perfectly translate to web3, yet are really far away from it. Getting this talent — and the unique perspective they get with them — makes hiring really different.

What do you think when we I say the words "Product Strategy"? What should go on in the mind of a PM when they are building and launching a new product?

When you think of product strategy, you must keep a few things in mind. The first and foremost is to be clear on your core values, and really making an effort to stick by them.

Overtime, it's your values that ultimately guide you because things like mission statements and vision statements evolve (and sometimes need to as well). So values are important.

Second, and at the cost of sounding like a broken record, is to listen to your customers. And by listening, I mean holding a mutually beneficial conversation and really understanding where they come from. In B2C, these conversations can be informed by your analytics and the feedback you get. But in either case, knowing what your users really want is key.

Lastly, I'd say that knowing proven use-cases for your product makes development easy. Proven use-cases can prevent a lot of wasted effort because it reduces the amount of guesswork and gives your team a certain confidence to execute well.

When you say "listen to your customers carefully", where do you draw the line and say no?

Listening to your customers does not mean doing everything they are telling you. It means filtering what they say based on the following parameters:

  • Who is asking?

  • How often are they asking?

  • Why are they asking?

  • And how much would it cost to implement, maintain and then remove this feature?

The first three questions are relatively easy to answer. But it's the fourth one that requires careful thought. There are many cases where the cost of implementation and maintenance is less but the cost of removing the same feature can be high. So you really need to be careful before introducing new features.

Building is one thing, but launching is a different ball-game altogether. What’s your approach to creating a go-to-market strategy?

Action creates information. The most important thing is to go and do it. Setting up frameworks is not very effective. When you go and do it, you learn quickly. You succeed, you fail and that creates the framework in your head and then you can communicate to your team.

How do you go about measuring the success of a product?

You want to have a couple of key metrics and then make them visible. The idea is to move the needle on a few key metrics that everyone knows and understands. For us, it's volume. And don't get lost in measuring metrics too much. Teams always when they are doing well and if they could be doing better.

What are some of the key mistakes that most PMs make?

The biggest mistake is giving yourself, the product person, too much credit. This goes for both success and failure. Things like luck, external market events, etc. — they all play a certain role. In crypto, we see so many people rising to the top and then going doing swiftly. That's one.

The second is isolating yourself too much from the outside world. By outside world I mean competitors and customers. It's good for a while for sure, but you always want to keep a finger on the pulse, as this may unearth opportunities that are massively beneficial for your product.

What are some of the things you have been working on with Bebop? What new features can users expect in the future?

We've had an interesting December. We launched an expanded liquidity platform and some great partnerships. Today, Bebop can support tokens of any size. We also launched a new UI in beta which will be released to everyone. We in the process of finalizing a couple of features, including a better liquidity model which allows onboarding new chains much more easily. We’ll bring the best liquidity, best pricing, multi-token trade, single token trade to those ecosystems.