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1:1 - Yoav Nir, Product Marketing Champion and Founder of Yofi Consulting

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on Unified Communications & Collaboration


1:1 - Yoav Nir, Product Marketing Champion and Founder of Yofi Consulting

By: -
2 May 2017

I met Yoav Nir at an industry trade show about 5 years ago where he was demonstrating a prototype of Barco’s ClickShare.  This was a new product in an entirely new direction for Barco and was destined to take the Belgian company into WR’s collaboration space.  It was the first time I experienced such technology enthusiasm from a Belgian national. 

WRB:  Is it true that people in Europe consider you to be the godfather of ClickShare.  And how does that reputation affect your personal life.

YN:  Well, the byname “the godfather of ClickShare” that I received from the original ClickShare team summarizes it quite well. I was the one that came up with the idea and the vision to share one’s desktop through a single click of a USB dongle / button. I championed that concept and protected it throughout the full development process from idea to product. As unbelievable as it might sound today, at the time of product conception many people didn’t get it. 

WRB:  So exactly what was your job – details please

WRB:  What did you come up with

YN:  At the time we were developing the product, Barco had little or no channels into the meeting rooms.  I decided on a two-tier distribution model for ClickShare, identified and signed up the distribution partners that helped make ClickShare the success it is today.  Finally, I also secured the first large projects with major corporations in oil & gas, energy and telecom.  

WRB:  Last question on ClickShare, before we move on to what you can do for our readers.  How successful is it.  Didn’t I read something in Barco’s recent annual report

YN:  Yes.  ClickShare is an unprecedented success for Barco. Sales more than doubled in 2016.  It is now installed in over 200,000 rooms. 

WRB:  Let’s go back to product marketing.  What can you share with our readers.  What are the top 3 concerns that need to be identified before a product plan gets tossed over to engineering.

YN:  There are a few excellent books about the subject.  “Running Lean” by Ash Maurya describes the concepts of problem / solution fit and product / market fit. The first concern is for the team to identify a problem worth solving for their product.    

It is interesting that you use the term “tossed over”. This is indeed the “old school” way where things are passed from one group to the next.  A second concern relates to this point. It is key that there is no longer a “passing on” operation but a “team work” by a cross-functional team. Typically the team will work through many short iteration cycles. These type of teams are also referred to as “scrum teams”.

The last concern is to make sure that there is an on-going validation process with the market. The so called validated learning loop as mentioned in “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries.

WRB:  How would you describe the ideal relationship between product management and engineering at the early stages of a product’s development?

YN:  There must be a relationship of trust and mutual respect.  If Engineering says something can’t be done don’t question them but figure out together on how to deliver value to the customer with what can be done. Vice versa, if product management comes back with market feedback, accept it and figure out together how to address it in the best possible way.

WRB:  So, you’ve left Barco and set off as a product marketing and innovation consultant.  Good Luck, what exactly will you do for your clients?

YN:  Basically I am eager to share all the skills and knowledge I acquired over more than 20 years of B2B innovation and business development.  While every customer and project will be different, there is a common challenge to many.  I can help companies develop a total product concept from design to manufacturing to sales.  I’m talking about hands-on experience that includes making sure the voice of the customer is reflected in the product and market strategy.

WRB:  You mentioned Steve Jobs earlier in our call – do you think his methodology was consistent with your own?  Did he solicit customer feedback, or was his philosophy more like “you don’t need it until I have it”?

YN:   I really appreciate Steve Job’s genius in recognizing the importance of simplicity and design.  To quote Jobs: “design is not just how it looks and feels; design is how it works.”  The statement that “you don’t need it until I have it” is a little unfair.  Customers are happy to tell you about their problems. But it is product marketing job to come up with the right solutions.  And it is really hard work to devise great solutions.  The help of a good consultant can sometimes make a difference.  Ask Apple.

WRB:  I know you’re just getting started in this new venture, but is there a success story you can share with us.

YN:  Yes, I have my first deal.  I will be helping Cyviz with product marketing and strategy development for some exciting and innovative collaboration room concepts and products they are working on.