Dan Scholey | Interview
Dan is a true Product Person. Starting his career as a developer, he soon realised he wanted to be more focused on helping the end user and so transitioned into the product side of things: working first in the telecoms industry before cutting his teeth in financial services with Experian.
A strong consumer-centric focus has been Dan’s driving motivation throughout his career. As he puts it, “I have a real passion for doing things in a way that delights and helps end consumers. If you put the end consumer at the heart of what you are doing, you will end up with a better result.”
What is Moneyhub?
Moneyhub aggregates people’s financial data into one single place: current accounts, investments, pensions, loans, mortgages, savings, and credit cards. We then use machine-learning algorithms to analyse this data before offering up financial insights and prescriptive recommendations off the back of this analysis.
By providing our own finance management app directly to consumers, keeps us honest and focused on consumer outcomes. This closeness feeds straight back into our B2B white label offering. Businesses can integrate our functionality into their own products and solutions before leveraging it with their existing customers — we work with technology companies, pension providers, financial advisers, asset managers, banks, building societies, and more.
In the long term, we want to provide a bank’s functionality to companies that aren’t banks. We believe that every company will eventually have its own financial services component — so we are currently busy at work building an all-round financial services plug-in.
How important is mobile for your business?
Mobile is critical, we’ve recognised that for a long time now — we were mobile-first before apps had even been invented and we were one of the first companies in the financial services industry to have its own app.
When it comes to checking daily financial habits, people just use their mobile, but for longer sessions like long-term financial planning or filing their tax returns, people prefer to sit down at a computer with a cup of coffee.
However, we would be nowhere near as successful if we didn’t give consumers the ability to check-in on their finances any time, anywhere, using their mobiles.
Building positive habits by setting goals
When it comes to personal finances, the first thing to recognise is that you can’t just tell people what to do — this doesn’t work. That being said, you can help them set specific goals and work out different ways that they can get there.
For example, if they’re planning for retirement, then our retirement calculator will break down how much money they’ll need to retire comfortably and how that translates into daily, monthly, and yearly savings efforts. We’ll also subtly suggest different cost-cutting methods that they can adopt: bad habits that they can break and good habits that they can pick up instead.
We find that if you present people with all the relevant data and then give them the freedom to make their own choices, they’re far more likely to get (and stay) on board.
At the end of the day, we help people set the right goals and accompany them along their journey — that’s it.
How do you personalise your experiences?
One of my friends was always complaining about not having any spare money. We plugged him into Moneyhub and found that he could actually afford all the holidays that he wanted to go on if he just stopped taking an Uber everywhere!
Everyone has different daily habits, spending behaviours, and goals. We have different ways to get the data, using both open and closed APIs — all of this is consent-driven, of course. From that, our in-house algorithms and proprietary analytics help us crunch this data to come up with our own personalised insights at scale.
How do you build products that people understand and keep using?
Product and marketing are beginning to converge. If you fail to think like a marketer when building your products, you’ll likely end up losing large swathes of users.
One of the most important things for both product and marketing is making sure that users understand what you do and start using your services as quickly as possible. Life moves so quickly and people have a short attention span. You have a very short window to convince people that what you are building is useful, important and secure. To achieve this, our marketing team actually sits with our engineers so that they can truly understand our data and analytics process.
Everyone we recruit is passionate about the end consumer, and therefore, the product. It used to be that everyone was a salesperson. These days, everyone is a product person.
What is a Product Person (Product Owner or Product Manager)?
What is the difference between a product manager and a product owner? Is a Product Manager the same thing as a Product Owner? In short, product owners and product managers are not simply the same role. They are two unique functions. Product Managers are generally more focused on Strategy (Vision, Business) where as Product Owners tend to be focused on the Tactical side (Backlog, Priorities).
We have seen these roles vary and merge depending on the size of the organisation or project. We will refer to them as Product People for this section. Product People ensure cross-team collaboration and make sure that everybody is aligned with the overall vision, keeping projects successfully moving towards completion.
In the past, Product People occupied a fairly task-focused role in many companies — they helped teams build and work through their to-do lists. They kept everyone on the same page. Today, companies often use their expertise to help with strategic thinking: defining how the product (or products) contribute to wider business objectives and the long term growth.
You can find Product People in all industries (not just software development). They act as key liaisons between different internal teams, the organisation’s stakeholders, and external clients — they have become critical to most fast growing organisations. They tend to understand all areas and stakeholders surrounding the business., allow companies to make decisions rapidly, prioritise roadmaps and optimise for the right growth metrics (read more about the north star metric here).
Ownership of the end-to-end success is what defines great Product People.
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