How to Incorporate User Research in Product Building with Mark Stephan, Boom Writer Media | Pragmatic Talks

Mark started his early career in engineering, but soon after, moved into human computer interaction. Mark has spent the last 17 years in technology, serving as a Product Manager or a Product Lead. He has created several start-ups over the past several years. Currently, he is the SVP of Product Management and User Experience at BoomWriter Media, situated in Dallas, TX. Throughout his career, Mark has been able to understand and leverage user research to create profitable investments and progress.
Therefore, we invited Mark for a talk with Pragmatic Leaders to understand the depth and importance of user research, and data-driven business models.
We began the session with a question regarding the different ways one could break into a product manager’s role. Having taken a non-traditional route to becoming an established Product Manager, Mark reiterated his journey into Product Manager. He began his career in Engineering and technology, and was intrigued by Product Management when his friend made casual suggestion during a chat. He then decided to take the Pragmatic Marketing for Product Managers course. It was during this course that he realised he was already performing the tasks a Product Manager does. That was his humble beginning into Product Management.
We then moved onto a question that revolved around being aware of latest trends in user experience. As a SVP of Product Management and User Experience at BoomWriter Media, he gave us an insight into his routine on keeping up with the latest trends. He is an ardent follower of Flipboard. He ensures that he keeps aside one hour everyday to go through his Flipboard and keep himself up-to date with the latest trends in User Experience.

He further went on to recommend Full-story as an effective tool to conduct User research. Through FullStory, one can view a user’s behavior in real time. This helps in developing a deep sense of empathy for customers that translates easily into creating better product features.
Check out our video of this exclusive AMA for more

Mark’s final thoughts on user research, before we closed the session for the night, was to perform user research in the simplest way possible. He could not emphasize the importance of user research in product building more. He realized his mistake of not leveraging user research to improving his product, and that was a valuable lesson he conveyed to the audience.

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