Perxels' Olabanji Ewenla on Growth Product Managers vs. Product Managers - and why Experimentation is important to both Experiment Nation

Perxels’ Olabanji Ewenla on Growth Product Managers vs. Product Managers – and why Experimentation is important to both

Home / Interviews with Experimenters / Perxels’ Olabanji Ewenla on Growth Product Managers vs. Product Managers – and why Experimentation is important to both

Rommil from Experiment Nation: Hi Olabanji! Thanks for taking the time to chat. Could tell our audience a bit about yourself.

Olabanji Ewenla: I am Olabanji Ewenla. A Growth Product Manager, who is passionate about delivering consistent value to end-users and ensuring a product’s success in the marketplace. I currently work with a Start-up based in Texas, US while working part-time with Perxels Design School, a design school that trains and mentors UIUX designers to grow and thrive in the industry. I am based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Wow, you’re quite the busy person. I’d love to hear how you ended up being a growth product manager.

I transitioned into product management from being a communications manager. My journey into product management is one that I literally stumbled into. There was a point in my life where I was stuck regarding my career path; I felt I could do much more than I was currently doing at that time. More pressingly, I also wanted to improve my finances, I wanted to be earning more. Coming from a background where I am the first born of a family of six without a father – my dad is late, I have numerous financial responsibilities. 

My mentor advised me to do research on other tech skills I could learn, and during my research I found product management. I chose product management because I saw that it aligned with who I am and it had a great earning potential both today and in the future.

I started out in product management learning from online resources on YouTube and LinkedIn Learning. I also took courses at Product School in the US and ProductDive in Nigeria to further expand my skills.

As I was improving as a Product Manager, I discovered I particularly loved the idea of growth – discussions around growing and scaling a product fired me up from within. So I began to expand my skills to help products grow and succeed in the marketplace. 

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This is the stage I currently am in my career path as a Growth Product Manager; ensuring the products I manage are consistently delivering value to its end-users while at the same time driving business goals and objectives.

Very cool. As someone with experience as a Product Manager as well as a Growth Product Manager – could you tell me what are the main differences between the two?

The difference between a Product Manager and a Growth Product Manager is simply the area of core focus. 

A product manager focuses on being an advocate for the user. He or she ensures a product is built to solve the user’s problems and the product provides value to the user. The focus here is on building the right product for the right user.

A Growth Product Manager on the other hand is focused on driving business goals and objectives. He or she is not heavily involved in the product development process like the regular product manager. He is more focused on making sure the product is successful from a business standpoint via solving the user needs. 

This above is the main difference between the two roles.

I love that distinction. In short, a Product Manager represents the voice of the customer while a Growth Product Manager represents the needs of the business.

In your opinion, do Growth Product Managers and Product Managers leverage Experimentation differently?

From my personal experience, Growth Product Managers do more experimentation than regular Product Managers. This is because when trying to achieve specific goals and objectives for growth, you would need to run experiments very often while testing different ideas and strategies to see what works and what should be implemented. 

On the other hand, regular Product Managers may be involved in experimentation from the point of A/B testing feature ideas or during the process of user research. 

Both roles definitely leverage experimentation differently.

Have you ever run an Experiment that changed your roadmap? How did you communicate that change?

Yes I have. All I just did in communicating the change with my team is presenting the data from the results of the experiment to back up my decisions.

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That was a lot simpler than I expected, I love it.

As someone that has achieved some meaningful results, could you share with us your favourite Experiment-related story?

My company at some point earlier this year was stuck at a revenue and we wanted to really break the ceiling and increase our revenue. Alongside my team then, we created a price differential strategy which I had to run multiple experiments to implement the strategy. 

The end result of that entire process gave us a 200% increase in revenue within 2 months.

Wow! That’s incredible – congratulations!

As someone who trains entry-level PMs, what lessons do you share with them about Experimentation?

I particularly like this quote, “Evidence is far more compelling than opinion”. So while training entry level PMs. I share the importance of being data driven as a PM and making decisions backed with data. I help the students I train understand that at the heart of being data driven is experimentation which helps us PMs discover what is working and what is not working thereby improving the quality of our results.

“I help the students I train understand that at the heart of being data driven is experimentation which helps us PMs discover what is working and what is not working thereby improving the quality of our results.” – Olabanji Ewenla

That is a great lesson. If only more folks understood that.

Changing gears a bit, I noticed that you are an author! Very cool Could you tell me about your book, “The Blood Money in Tech”?

The Blood Money in Tech is a book written to help people who are currently transitioning into tech and those who are newbies (people with less a year experience) in the industry get the most important insights they need to thrive in the tech industry. 

Download it here: https://www.thebloodmoneyintech.com/

In our part of the world Nigeria, the tech industry is just beginning to gain traction; a lot of startups are launching products everyday to solve problems for our unique market, these start-ups are also getting funding from investors thereby creating more opportunities for people with the tech skills to help these start-ups achieve their goals. 

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There is an increased demand for people in the tech space in Nigeria, however, with that comes heavy competition and if one is not strategic about positioning oneself, one might be stagnant in their career path. 

I wrote the book to help tech talents become more valuable with their skills, fast track their career growth in tech, earn as much money as they want and enjoy the freedom and fulfilment to do more good to themselves.

Very very cool. I’ll check it out – and so should our readers!

It’s time for the Lightning round! Describe yourself in 5 words or less.

Tall man doing great things.

Big words. Big words. Frequentist or Bayesian?

Frequentist.

If you couldn’t work in Experimentation, what would you be doing today?

Content and communications.

What do you have going on that you feel our audience should know about?

If you are looking to expand your career in tech regardless of your field, my book “The Blood Money in Tech” is a great resource that will show you the most important insights you need to thrive in the tech industry. 

Don’t just get it for yourself, also share it with every young person who wants to start a career in tech in 2022. It is a simple, easy to understand book that I know can make all the difference in the life of anyone who implements the insights therein. You can get the E-book version here – www.thebloodmoneyintech.com

Nice. And finally, who should we interview next and why?

Oluwatobi Bamidele. He is an amazing product manager who challenges the status quo and is always seeking for better ways to solve problems.


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