Building an AI-based product as a Business Development Leader

My journey and learnings in launching a live AI-based product in 10 weeks







Abot Loqui

Loqui is an AI-based speech coach web app that provides private and on-demand insights after video presentations that enable professionals to improve their video communication skills.


Check out our live product here: https://loqui-mvp.bubbleapps.io/


Team Presentation




Introduction

My name is Ebrahim and I joined PMDojo to update and enhance my Product Manager skills. My background is in sales, marketing, business development and entrepreneurship and I had the chance to develop two products over the past two years- one that is in use as an internal solution in my company and the other which was a theory-based assignment for a project I was working on. The past ten weeks have definitely been valuable and I look forward to using these new skills in my career.


My core product team comprises Adrienne Moench, Bhagyashree Deokar, Gerrard Lai and Rhenita Brade with Hari Prasad offering his services as our developer. Each of these individuals is exceptional at what they do and it has been a pleasure to be partnered with them. Working across five time zones and three continents has resulted in a lot of time being spent with this team, so much so that they seem more like family than just colleagues!


Background


In a post-Covid world where approximately one in five individuals work from home, a significant majority of our interactions on a professional level are done via video conferencing. Whether the interaction is early-stage like an interview for a job, or late-stage, like pitching a deal to clients, chances are that physical face-to-face meetings are not the initial interactions anymore. Therefore, communicating confidently via video to your interviewer/boss/clientele will be the reason why someone is hired/promoted or wins the deal. At PMDojo, I was selected to join the Industry Track and paired with a company (name withheld due to NDA) that aims to improve personal and professional communication using AI.


Problem Statement


Professionals currently practice their verbal communication in an often costly, manual and time-consuming way and aren't often aware of how to improve their communication.


Why does this matter?


Before breaking into why this matters, I’d like to introduce you to Sam. Sam is a bilingual, non-native English speaker, an early to mid-career professional, about 28-30 years of age, and an extremely talented and hard-working individual. His chosen profession expects him to communicate in English. Sam has faced some difficulty in moving up in his company and he feels it is because of the way his communication is interpreted by his manager, who because of it feels Sam is not ready yet for a senior position. Sam in turn feels dejected and overlooked. His work and deliverables seem to meet or exceed expectations but his communication style is holding him back from achieving his goals of senior management.


Research into our industry track problem suggests that the market for professional

development and speech coaching is already above $15bn yearly and is only projected to grow. More people are working from home and investing to improve their communication skills to be attractive hires for a global economy. Our consumer research has identified that the pain points that must be solved are:


1) The ability to ensure feedback is discreetly given to the user whilst they are presenting or soon afterwards

2) that the feedback is humanized and empathetic, and

3) that the feedback is useful and actionable


What is the most valuable asset your company has? Over my career, I have asked six CEOs across various industries this question and the ones that have answered ‘my employees’ or something to that effect are the ones whose companies are doing the best. This is why solving this issue matters - Loqui enables businesses to better understand their employees and nurture the talent they already have.


Validated Prototype


Live Feedback while presenting:


Detailed Emailed Insights:



North Star for MVP Release


The North Star Metric is the one measurement that’s most predictive of a company’s long-term success. For our North Star Metric, we selected the repeated use of our product. The way we plan on tracking this would be by measuring the percentage of users that enable the auto-on function that allows Loqui to record and analyze user verbal communication each time the tool is used.


Data that shows high repeat use of Loqui illustrates that the product is ‘sticky’ and embedded into our users’ lives. It means that Loqui is not only being used for high-stress situations like interviews or client presentations; rather, our target customer is using the service to improve their communication and presentation skills for whatever situation may arise.


We have also chosen three supporting metrics that we plan on using to measure Loqui’s

success. These are:


1. The number of times used whilst presenting,

2. The average duration used per week per user (time),

3. The percentage improvement of AI-powered insights per the user’s historical usage. The MVP tracks word pace and fillers and a reduction in filler words, for example, over a set time period would show that the user is communicating more confidently and concisely.


Use Cases


For the MVP, we are prioritizing our Use Cases as the number of times the product is used and the number of times reports are viewed. This data will give us insights into what our users think of the quality of the product and secondly, whether the reports and the way they are displayed are useful.


The main purpose of the reports is that they quickly and concisely show a synopsis of the

presentation that just took place. The data is displayed in easy-to-understand snippets so that the user is able to efficiently view, digest, process and incorporate the learnings


For future consideration, we would like to integrate Loqui into other video conferencing tools such as Google Chat and Discord. Additionally, we would like to make Loqui accessible via Mobile in future releases.


User Stories


User Story

Acceptance Criteria

As a job seeker, I need a way to impress

hiring managers in remote interviews

so that I may land my next big

opportunity.

Sounding more confident on video

calls.

● Speaking at an easy-to-understand

pace.

● Keeping filler words to a minimum.

● Landing a greater amount of

interviews

As a professional who is trying to climb

the corporate ladder, I want to know

that my communication skills are

improving so that I can get that

promotion.

Speaking at a pace that ensures my

manager understands what I’m trying

to say.

​As a manager overseeing and being involved

in multiple meetings throughout the day, I

need a way to ensure my teams are

understanding what is being asked for them

so that my time is not being wasted and my

efforts duplicated.

Using less filler words

● Receiving feedback that tells me my

audience is engaged with what is

being discussed

● Speaking at an easy to understand

pace


MVP Release Plan


● Build and launch landing page for potential users to sign up for product waitlist

● Build & launch product simulation page based on finalized MVP use cases & share with

signed up users

● Collect feedback from signed up users

● Track the following analytics to gather user feedback & understand users’ preferences:

  • Number of people who watched the product simulation video

  • Number of people who watched the product simulation video & submitted

  • feedback via the survey page

  • Number of people who opened the email summary insights

  • Number of people who opened the email summary insights & submitted feedback via the survey page


Key Outcomes


The Key Outcomes we wanted to see from this MVP Launch were:


● Consistent use of the product by the target market,

● New User Attraction,

● Achieving a rising NPS Score Goal that can showcase validation of our product

across different iterations




Our user feedback from the MVP launched allowed us to populate the following data.

Aggregated, 70% of the respondents thought the Live Feedback helped in presenting. The Quick Summary, which is the report that is generated after each meeting, along with the Detailed Insights Email Summary were each found to be useful by 88% of the respondents.


Based on these results, it appears that the Key Outcomes we set out to test were validated based on the positive feedback.


Product Roadmap



Footnote: Our roadmap does not show the real-time feedback integration till Phase 2 but the MVP does simulate this feature. We felt the reason to include this in the demo was to clearly display the path we intend to take Loqui.


Individual learnings over the past 10 weeks


I can say (with confidence!) that the past 10 weeks have been some of the busiest I have faced in recent memory. Along with PMDojo, my personal and professional obligations during these 2.5 months seemed to converge together all at once to the effect that I have had to really push myself to stay organized and keep everything moving. Over the past 10 weeks I have sold my house, bought, remodelled and moved into a new house, been on multiple business trips, taken the top sales position in my day job, and tried to be a good father and husband to my family and somehow completed the Spring 2022 Cohort at PMDojo. Oh, and my wife is expecting our third child in September. Like I said, busy busy busy.


I had done a Product Development course at another institution in 2020-2021 and that

knowledge helped to cover the basics and some practical aspects of PMDojo. Where I really felt I benefited from this program was Bosky’s ability to peel back the curtain and share real, practical and day-to-day knowledge of what life as a PM is like.


The first learning that I’d like to share is the need to fall in love with the problem. Only after reading and rewatching the resources that dealt with this mindset did something click in mine. Falling in love with the problem means digging deeper to identify the Why. Why is this a problem worth solving? Why does it matter? Traditional thinking makes us uncomfortable with problems and comfortable with solutions but only when you take the time to revel in the issue to be solved can you find the most suitable solution. I’d like to think I’m more comfortable with being uncomfortable now than I was 10 weeks ago and that has formed the foundation of my Product Sense.


This program has helped me with the ability to more confidently say no in a professional setting. By nature I am non-confrontational and Sales 101 is that the customer is always right. However, the point of a Product team is to work cross-functionally across all levels of the hierarchy to help the company build their best product yet. ‘No’s’ in product help prioritize and align the product team on a common goal and are a part of the process when creating something. Today, I do not see the word ‘No’ as a door shutting, rather, I see it as a step to get you towards that final yes.


Prior to PMDojo, I had never worked on a Product Requirements Document or PRD and it

became apparent near the start of the program that this is what our client was looking forward to receiving most of all. A product requirements document (PRD) is an artifact used in the product development process to communicate what capabilities must be included in a product release to the development and testing teams. In the course of launching Loqui, we created an in depth PRD to help identify and guide our companie's engineering team as to the most efficient and effective way of completing this project.


This report covers everything from data analysis on research performed to user journeys, user stories, capability studies, feasibility analysis and more. Our mentor Rakshith has been a great resource in compiling this and I would like to thank him once more for helping us create this excellent deliverable.


My last takeaway is about dealing with imposter syndrome. Anytime you try to do something new or land a new role, there may be a point where you think that you dont belong in that position. This has been something I have struggled with immensely in changing my mindset to a more Product focused outlook and I cannot explain how therapeutic it was to hear from some of the mentors about the need to believe in and take a chance on yourself. They talked about challenging themselves, launching products, improving companies, switching careers and

improving lives, most of all the experiences they shared, along with tips and

strategies that help to land that next big opportunity are truly priceless. I began executing on this knowledge during this class and surely but surely began to believe that I was a Product Manager.


Now, at the end of the program, I find myself looking at challenges through the eyes

of a PM which is exactly what I am. In conclusion, I would once again like to thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to join, learn and benefit from PMDojo. To my team - Adrienne, Bhagyashree, Gerrard, Rhenita and Hari- I truly could not have done this without you. To Bosky, Rakshith and the mentors - you guys have been amazing and I appreciate your wisdom, guidance and confidence in me throughout this journey. Lastly to my wife and family, thank you for your love and support every

second of my life.


Now let's go launch some products!

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