TALKING TO HUMANS with Giff Constable

Audio production by James Ede, Be Heard

My guest today, Giff Constable, is a product leader, entrepreneur, and author who has sold three companies and helped build many others.

We cover a lot of ground in this wide-ranging interview: from developing great products, leadership, designing an HR function that actually works for the business, creating psychological safety, taking on creative pursuits that scare us, and much more.

Episode Highlights

Here are a few highlights from this conversation:

  • What tango, interviewing people and customer research have in common.
  • Cognitive biases and how they can mess with our ability to create great products and services.
  • Why large organizations still struggle to instill innovation.
  • The importance of testing ideas and understanding our customers’ underlying goals and needs.
  • The stories that quantitative and qualitative data tell and how to decode them.
  • Dealing with cultural scar tissue – the process of healing culture.
  • Why it’s so common for HR to be out of touch with the rest of the business and what are the questions human resources professionals should be asking to design a better HR function.

Listen to the interview in the player below or on iTunes. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, and it may be featured on a future episode.

Audio production by James Ede, Be Heard

More about Giff Constable

Currently, Giff Constable is an adjunct professor at NYU Stern School while balancing family needs, writing, and consulting projects. He is also teaching and mentoring at Product Faculty and the CPO Accelerator. Most recently, he was Chief Product Officer at Meetup leading a team of over 100 product managers, designers, engineers and data scientists. Prior, he ran product and engineering at Fintech marketplace Axial, and before that, was CEO of Neo, a global digital innovation consulting company that was acquired by Pivotal.

In 2014, he published the book Talking to Humans as a practical guide to customer discovery for aspiring entrepreneurs. The book went on to win a special award from the National Science Foundation and is now standard reading in university and accelerator programs around the world. In 2018, he and his collaborator Frank Rimalovski followed up with the sequel Testing with Humans, which is all about running effective experiments. In 2020, he published his first science fiction novel, Becoming Monday. He is currently working on a new book, First Principles Product Management.

Going back further, there are more startups (Trilogy, Envive, The Electric Sheep Company, Aprizi) and even stints as an investment banker at Broadview / Jefferies.

Books and resources mentioned in this episode

Talking to Humans: Success starts with understanding your customers by Giff Constable

Testing with Humans: How to use experiments to drive faster, more informed decision making by Giff Constable

Becoming Monday by Giff Constable

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

Additional resources 

The Culture Strategy Bootcamp

Scaleup’s Guide to Creating a Culture Playbook

Personal Core Values Discovery Guide

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