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Technology products today collect billions of signals from users, and Product Managers are increasingly responsible for shaping features based on a dynamic flow of data — as opposed to traditional static UI design. How can we most effectively build for the content and data that flow into our products? What is the right way to design machine learning features to jump the expectation gap users experience?
Keren Baruch answered key questions about building products in a data-rich world derived from her experience running growth for Yahoo Mail and leading LinkedIn Salary.
Provide access to opportunity at
scale through data and technology
Keren’s WIP Mission Statement
Marketing —> Product
Became a leader
Ate Kale for
the first time
Became a data nerd
Fell in love with
Grew up, tap
playing the cello
• First time PM
• Solving “Growth” for Yahoo Mail, a mature flagship product that has been
around for 16 years
• 8 engineers + designer + analyst
• Complete autonomy
…what do you do first?
How can you set up to fail quickly?
• Build experimentation infrastructure
• Learn great experiment design
• Start with hacky designs and UX research
• Have a decision making framework
• Keep your learnings together
Doubled experiments every quarter for a year
What did we test?
• Can we get new users to use the product more by having them import
their contacts and see cool features?
• Can we get existing users to use the product more by showing them the
awesome tools we have for writing and organizing email?
= Lift in Days Visited, Compose,
Send, Read, Reply, and Delete
for users who interacted
The first test…
Olympics medal counter
Help people add content
= Material improvement in new
user activation rate, leading to
Questions to ask:
• What kind of data or content is flowing into the product?
• What parts of that content are members already interacting with?
• What rhythms to members already have around that data?
• How can we create new rhythms for that data to get members to come
Focus on the number that you
are trying to move and the value
that is created from it
What Yahoo Mail Needed
• Content-based levers that separate signal from noise
• Machine-learning based features that serve content-based
• Content experimentation platform for testing dynamic features versus
tool-like static features
Questions you should ask yourself
• To what extent is a technology product a function of its creator?
• How are the products that I use every day underpinned by a flow of data?
And how is that data flow being curated for a particular purpose?
• How am I, by being here, changing the character of this product or
Sent an email to a relative -
opened up a coupon