Mauricio Geraud M.
Product Manager /Owner
What better way to show a sample of what I’ve done by attaching my personal story & work portfolio page onto the first webpage I built by myself, without ever pretending to be a developer?..
I simply love building stuff that delights users. I have done that for over 20 years in over 9 industries.
One evening in 2014, I was coming home late, tired, and my flatmate was in our livingroom with one of his friends whom I’ve met and briefly chatted before. But before I even had a chance to say hello, he jumped at me and told me: «I got myself into a mess, and you’re the guy that’s gonna help me get out.»
-«What did you do??» I replied.
–«Oh, I sold a giant piano, and you are the only person I know that can make something crazy like this happen.»
–«A WHAT NOW??!! Dude, I am a mechanical engineer, so come on! Anyway, listen: What were you thinking right when you were saying yes to your client?»
-«About you getting it solved. As you always do».
–«Yeah, sure, thank you for that, but, What… How.. What were your first thoughts as to how we can approach this…??»
He pulled a tiny midi-keyboard interfase out of his pocket, and said: «well, we can pull the buttons out of this, and….»
Not-that-long-a-story-short 2-weeks-later, here’s the video of the first of 3 that we were asked to build, one success after the other.
Hi, my name is Mauricio and I am a 20+year Product Manager with a specialty in New Venture product development and delivery. I have successfully led and delivered over 100 full-lifecycle product initiatives within a wide range and some quite complex projects, in over 9 different industry domains for clients up to Fortune 500 companies, in manufacturing, consulting, and since 2014 right after the piano, I transitioned into successfully developing Digital industry products. PMI-ACP certified, in early 2022.
How has it been that I have found success in all of that? Here’s a story I wrote about How do I approach product building, and what does Agile has to do with deep-sea diving.
But also, approaching everything as the piano incident: Researching whatever we may have at hand, either with data, or no data, and asking as many, on-point-questions as possible. Simply because I am so passionate in simply making sh**t happen.
How did I come to that, you ask? Well, as all product people know, every good product has at least one good story. This is my story. Don’t worry, the digital stuff will come in good time, just a few paragraphs below.
Table of contents:
|Manufacturing Days 1997-2018|
|Digital Ramp-up 2014-2019|
|Digital Experience 2020-|
Product Management in my Manufacturing and Consulting Days 1999-2018
I graduated college in 1997 as a mechanical engineer, but my Product career truly started when I was a New Product Engineer in the appliance industry in 1999, shortly thereafter in packaging. And although the term Product Management was first coined in 1931, was nowhere nearly widespread as now. Agile as we now know it wasn’t even born yet, and Lean was some fad word from the TV infomercials (yes I’m kidding, Toyota and Lean Manufacturing were already huge but still kept within the automotive niche, as far as I knew of them back then anyway.)
The good product-stuff started when I was promoted in 2003 at I.M.Guismo where I was told my mission would be to figure out whatever was needed to grow their exports within their asset limits, which by the way the leash was extremely short (AKA: badly understood-what was suposed to be an old form of Lean-Agile…), but even shorter was their export-market knowledge (AKA: Null).
So I drove off like Don Quixote with just a small a clue as to what I would find, with a somewhat clear mission to sell, I created Guismo Furniture inc. but soon enough I found stiff rock-hard walls of people kinda-sorta-liking the products we had, but already buying from Asia at less-than-half under our bare-bone-costs, ergo my focus became and what I was unknowingly achieving was Market/Product discovery through User Interviews. Quoting Henry Ford: I was dead set into getting them something to go faster.
With that, I went back-and-forth the factory, talked extensively with engineering, higher-ups and stakeholders about what could be done to the folding sheet-metal furniture products without incurring into humongous steel-tooling costs but still be able to match and exceed User Needs and Expectations into that very coveted export target market .
However, the best, most positive answers I got were shrugged shoulders, because they were following their Data-Driven minds, instead of becoming Data-informed, and taking the leap we needed to take as a team. Again, as Elon Musk, or Henry Ford said above: If I’d ask your data-driven mind’s output... you get the picture.
Despite some harsh higher-up and stakeholder resistance, over 200 steel-based prototypes were field-user-tested, over 60 were fully developed into B2B2B2C products for some of the largest brands out there, even a few Fortune 500, achieved 30% avg. revenue growth YoY for 8 years, exceeding the 25 country presence and $10Musd export unit cumulative revenue marks. Here are some relevant documents, including a Texas Newspaper report (yup, that’s me on the top photo) and almost all of the scanned catalog history, where you may be able to spot the product, the copy, the photos and the marketing evolution efforts I designed completely based on experimentation and iterating upon our user feedback, (AKA good, empirical Agile) : 1990s, 2000 and 2002 were printed before I joined with the 2002 was heavily modified by a new designers’ hand, however something crucial was missing…: 2005, you’ll notice I pivoted the whole corporations concept and image around but we had no photos to brag about, so I pulled some virtual rabbits out of the hat to fill up the gap of what our target market customers desperately needed: Customization.
It was through passion, disciplined commitment, research and plenty of foot work, minding the iron-triangle, started by making an alliance with a designer‘s college and told them: «design away, just one rule: NO new tooling.» Then through relentless Agile-type iterations between Supply Chain Analysis, Vendor Development, Business Asset Analysis, Core Competency Analysis, MVP & prototype User AB & Field Testing*, Ansoff Matrix, AB pricing strategies, and many other tools and practices application, I started designing, engineering, adding padding, dozens of colors, full-color imprints, braces, rivets, moldings, wheels, ice… Just because I was learning about Feature Prioritization empirically, I somehow managed to keep the kitchen sink out, and no bells nor whistles were ever involved… With all that I was able to tap into the custom-made promotional product industry by getting into two 70K specialty distributor networks, where 3rd and 4th degree User Empathy was the law of the land.
2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 which are evolving until the last one was filled with actual product photos we manufactured. Finally, a draft catalog with all the future projects we had in the works that same year.
By that time some of the biggest players started copying our stuff, the steps we had taken, what I was doing…. Some of those had over 20x our size and revenues…. However, disaster struck the company when the owner’s wife suddenly passed away and he, understandably but just out of the blue, decided to close up shop in late 2011.
For the following years I craved and gathered many new skills, scope and knowledge, I figured I had enough to help clients find the way out of their product/operations labyrinth, so I got myself into freelance consulting where I was able to get involved in dozens of different products and industries. Whether it be onto B2B, B2B2C, consumer/retail, complex eco-technologies, agroindustrial, marketing, music, BTL, entertainment, even 2 huge scope corporate-pivoting re-engineering projects, MVP, prototyping, creation, testing, etc.
Digital Industry Ramp-Up: How I pivoted into the Digital Industry 2014-2020
Owning a computer and coding Basic since 1983… yes, seriously.
On the more serious Digital Product Development professional note, Starting in 2014 I slowly but surely transitioned into the Agile-SCRUM digital product management on webpage, e-commerce, event management, and a music industry SaaS.
Product manager for Nowlatinmanagement.com and artists’ co-manager, plus being in charge of editing, feeding and managing the marketing efforts, materials, promos and videos. The website was an artists’ showcase and booking service portal until April 2018, offline just a few months after my departure.
Whilst being Product manager for Panda Creativo, we created Championshoes.com.mx for a client, I was in charge of the e-store and its overall upkeep. Collaborated with programmers, designers and sales. Here I share a memo (in Spanish) on which I have analyzed the KPI‘s and tell the store’s owner that the website is having foot traffic, but the empty store prevent people from actually buying – by having barely any inventory seldom were they ever going to have a successful conversion rate. Covid-19 related reasons caused our departure, and site has been offline shortly thereafter, aparently since early 2021.
And also for themusicship.com, which was designed as a SaaS 3 sided marketplace/music-tech design with crossed-over roles relying in AI and specialist-in-house human operations -Plan. We as a team decided the evolutionary route to be taken, as it was to transition from full Wizard-of-Oz into a hybrid and eventually a majority-AI. Here are links to 2 PDFs (in Spanish) vendors, musicians, and venues, that include the original wireframes, product map and operations overview I co-designed, and the original promo video. That’s me @minute 2:14. I created the first 2 wireframe mockups, user journey flows, user interviews and prototypes, but launch was never officially performed and indefinitely postponed on June 2020 by the CEO for Covid-19 financial related reasons.
Digital/Tech experience: 2020 – present
However, back to the products: In November of 2020 I was hired by bairesdev.com for a project to help our client client’s, K-12 teachers create engaging, interactive and fun lessons out from their content. So we were commissioned to build a full interactive lesson builder, manager and teacher-led synchronous interactive lessons and activities web-app for the American education system, industry where our client is a big player.
I was part of the First Five, as we liked to call ourselves because we were the first hired: the QA,UX, Architect, Scrum Master, and myself the Product, leads; to build what would become a solid 45 member Scrum team. We took their brainstormed ideation list and conducted our full discovery into delivering the prioritized and chosen 7 out of a 30 their wish-list/PRD items and delivered the MVP in 10 sprints spanning only 5 months, and fully working beta version just over a month later. And might I add, it looked and worked beautifully.
Well over 2000 Jira stories sprouted out that were created, implemented and delivered a: fully device-responsive, 3-way linked microservices SaaS, including AWS, Google Sheets’ and the Google marketplace Add-on, anchored to our client’s monolith’s and API protected PDPA and behind a paywall. Here I link the full version user flow diagram, a NDA-limited version of the kickoff document that includes part of the initial discovery, and two videos, the first one a demo video of the first completed delivery, and another short demo of the a few of the last improvements just weeks prior to final delivery.
We followed the client’s discovery, MVP definition, delivery rules and managed their expectations. So much so that our creation, codenamed «The Tangerine» was handed off and received with huge fanfare and we were told it was a huge success. Did I mention it was all discovered, built, done, delivered, tested and launched within a 6 month period, with zero bugs?
Because it was such a success, they decided that for a handful of the following months we would be partially absorbed into their ranks. Within, I was an interim PO/PM lead for a new lesson scheduling web-app, where I was an essential part of the prototype design, user research, user story creation, prioritization and alignment. I was also commissioned to draft an Agile adoption initiative, which implementation was ultimately postponed as the company was, in their own simple words: «not mature enough to take that road yet». Anyway, shortly there after the whole thing was halted for budgetary reasons.
Here’s what my BairesDev Boss has to say about what I did over there. If you want to skip the reading the whole thing, the short of it is: «in my 35 year career as a project manager, Mauricio is the probably the best Product Manager I have ever had the pleasure to have worked with.»
My contract ended in February 2022.
Soon thereafter in 2022 I joined KingTide, a Software Design Start-up consulting Studio based in Los Angeles, CA where I got involved in the development of 5 diferent projects at once, starring an NFT comic-book character launch and developed the early-stage framework for a NFT character-based Game. Also a 3-sided marketplace Concert Building & Management tool for artists and promoters to efficiently book venues and vendors. The third project was the Agile methodology framework and mindset coaching, implementation and adoption for the company. On all 3 I created their product roadmaps and identified previously unseen major blockers. The other 2 were essentially e-commerce sites.
Here’s what KingTide’s CEO has to say about my work there. Also a high-level «situation» map for the NFT-P2E game: What they had thus far when I joined, and what I believe should happen to make the game happen, which would be solve the big «red square» blockers. Then, a video where the old V1 team demos the new team members (I was one of the new ones) what they had accomplished thus far, their findings and their blockers. We also discuss next steps and how should we approach them. Here’s the new full, next 5 version user journey and a next 5 versions’ roadmap I sketched out including warnings an major blockers (red squares), in 2 days time. I was kind of surprised regarding their rather old-fashioned un-agile methods, but I was hired exactly for that reason: to help them become Agile.
Unfortunately, the Crypto crisis crashed upon us way too soon.
Soon thereafter I joined Golden Section, a Venture Capital firm which provides Product and Development team full consulting support for their clients.
There I got early involvement in 3 projects, the first one I was lead-point is a full SaaS greenfield development for the US-fintech industry focused on minority mortgage lenders. Our client had a very clear picture of the industry needs and shortcomings as her early manual-intensive ventures had proven, but lacked the technical product acumen to accomplish those ambitious goals. Here’s where we came in: To build it from scratch for her and her industry.
So yes, I guess I white-knuckled myself into being a very capable Senior Product Manager, as I have gathered strong business acumen, user empathy, technical sense, adaptability, learning and scope capacity, taking the most advantage possible over any Cognitive or Survivorship Biases that may have existed, always giving the project a huge differentiation leverage and head start, taking the best advantage out of The Edge Effect possible. All because I’m just passionate about Developing Products and delivering them with a laser focus closest possible to the Product Vision, that is why I never back off from a Worthy Challenge.
You can find more KPI’s and other serious data here, on my Linkedin profile.
And a couple of articles I’ve written along the way:
In Product Management as in life: what is the key difference between impostor syndrome and a true fake impostor, how can we spot them, and why should we?
How do I approach products and what the h*** does agile have to do with diving?
Hijosaltamentesensibles.com Feature highlights:
This page was created in early 2020 to help out my customer with her requirements by creating for her small business webpage (she has zero time and zero knowledge about digital platforms) – Her request was: «I want to post my articles, sell my related books and catch more clients by posting my events – all the appointments I want to make them personally, please.» That was it.
- As I understood the client‘s need for fast, easy, anywhere blogposting, I coupled 2 plugins with a small code modification, I managed to create a 2-step Blogpost automation by email-input-to-Mailchimp-output:
- write the blog entry on any email and click send to a determined email account
- ->The email is automatically published as Blog Entry
- click «update» inside the blog page
- -> The blogpost is sent by email to newsletter subscribers
- Secure Woocommerce e-store with buttons as category filters and Stripe merchant service (pretty standard)
- Yoast SEO
- WhatsApp messenger
- Simple true/false test as a first approach diagnosis
- The website’s MVP was up and running within 72hrs
- Online paid courses fully integrated with Woocommerce
- Full Youtube integration with Youtube channel creation and created and edited the custom intro & credits on every video posted.
- First successful and completed sale was within 30 days after MVP publishing date.
Here are the links (live G-Drive) to the project control documents I created for and along this webpage:
- In this simple, excel-based product roadmap/Kanban board I listed the needs as they arise, and differentiated from my customer (admin) and her customers (user) by expressing each their own (likely) needs and creating their «user stories».
- User story product roadmap/kanban board:
- I also include the PDF (in Spanish) where I pitch my first idea as to what the website should include, the overall architecture, basic routes and wireframes (most changed a bit through development, as it normally happens):
- Pitch, Wireframes, & kickoff plan
Thank you for your kind reading and consideration.
Link to some photo evidence of some diplomas, certificates and recommendation letters I have gathered along the way, including the one from my last boss at BairesDev.
SOME INTERESTING EXTERNAL RESOURCES I FIND RELEVANT TO MY CASE:
*Please do keep in mind that the GitHub codes’ purpose is to showcase my Product Management related and relevant knowledge. They are all sourced from the courses I’ve taken.
*Please do note that the video linked to the Field Testing is NOT meant to be serious testing of any kind, it was meant to show one key advantage of the product over other, as a fun way of showing a product surviving the «testing» by kids.