Welcome to Year One
Feb. 20, 2023

#028 - Gerry Caron // Caron Product Management Consulting

#028 - Gerry Caron // Caron Product Management Consulting

On this episode of YearOne we speak to Gerry Caron, Principal at Caron Product Management Consulting, where he works with senior executives of small to medium-sized tech firms to develop strategies that strengthen product outcomes, processes, and organizations.

We speak about

Scaling a consultancy
Product design pitfalls

If you are building a product this is one worth listening to. Sit back, buckle up and enjoy the show.

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Summary of our conversation

  • I can tell you one thing, I've learned through trial and error. I've made every mistake known to man, but it's the way to learn things, right? I'm an idea person, so I start thinking about how I can make things better and then I try things and sometimes they're crazy and sometimes they're dead on.

  • I was working at Bose, when I thought spinning a speaker around would make the reflection sound really good on the room. So I go in there with my technician and he puts the speaker on a drill press to get it spinning, and the speaker goes out of control and flies right at me and hits me in the stomach. I was crestfallen after taking the speaker in the stomach, but I didn't realize it empowered me to do a bunch of crazy product ideas that ended up making the company a whole bunch of money.

  • For me, I've always envisioned myself as the man behind the curtain, the one that says, okay, we're going to do this next, we're going to do that next. I don't know if it's shyness or anxiety, whatever, but I almost fall into it because I have to. I'm now the product, so I can sell myself, and I know how to talk about myself. So I've fallen into it, but I'm comfortable because I know the product and the strategy.

  • Caron Product, helps founders and senior executives of growth stage companies and oftentimes private equity firms with their product and helping them to meet their product objectives by working on product strategy, their product organization, or improving their processes.

  • A lot of times, it's a product equity, private equity company that wants to do due diligence on a company, or maybe they've already invested and want to make sure that their investment is going to be successful.

  • A great advisor taught me an important lesson: help people get where they're going and good things will come back to you.

  • When I first started the business, I talked to many people including potential competitors, and I started to productize what I was offering. This allowed me to get traction and eventually peel off business and give it to someone who was maybe a little bit more junior, but still very bright.

  • Many people have been very successful, but a small percentage have not done well. These people are not self-aware and often get frustrated when they are told they need to improve in certain areas. Certain people can't take criticism.

  • Companies that charge customers without testing things often times cram it down the customer's throat. Get super close to the customer and understand them better than they understand themselves, and then you're gonna be heading down the right path.

  • Lack of alignment is a common problem, and it's important to have that visibility so that everybody knows what's going on. If there's a lack of alignment, just hammer it out quickly, and don't kill yourself trying to always get everyone to say yeah.

  • You should really think about where you want to be when you grow up, where are we today, where are the gaps, and what are the strategies to address those gaps?

  • When you do any activities, they should align with the strategy. Don't run around in the dark, not talking to each other, doing whatever falls in your play.

  • If I were to do anything better, I'd be smarter about how I'm selling, so I'd say right now, LinkedIn is my main marketing tool, and my contacts and also trade shows.

  • There are probably other things I could do, like write more blog posts, but I don't want to be that guy that suddenly hasn't written anything and then suddenly appears and writes a blog post every day. So I'm reticent to suddenly start bombarding people with posts on LinkedIn.

  • I am using chat GPT as of the last few weeks and I don't view it as something to be afraid of. It can tell you all you need to know about horseshoes but it won't tell you how to make a good decision about horseshoes.

  • Entrepreneurship has taught me a few things, such as karma, to be true of heart and help people out. Never burn a bridge because you never know when you might need someone you were not a good person to in the past. You're going to try a bunch of things, some things will stick, some things won't, but the overtime is going to be a statistical hit rate that you're going to have because you're out there and you're doing things.