What I learned in my 3 years at Clio

I recently left my job at Clio, where I was a Product Manager for 3 years. I joined Clio in July 2018, at a time when there were only 5 PMs and 225 employees, and today there are over 25 PMs and 575 employees. Clio also recently became Canada’s next unicorn, with a $1.6 billion USD valuation.

During my time there, I worked on our flagship mobile app, our first-party email integrations, and our first consumer-facing product.

Needless to say, it was an exciting 3 years with lots of learning — especially since it was my first PM job.


It’s time to say goodbye to email

Earlier this week, Slack announced the launch of Slack Connect DMs.

Here’s how it works:

Any Slack user will now be able to direct message any other Slack user. The new system is called Connect DMs, and works a bit like the messaging apps and buddy lists of old: Users send an invite to anyone via their work email address, and if the recipient accepts, their new contact is added to their Slack sidebar. Connect DMs turns Slack from an app for chatting with co-workers into an app for chatting with anyone.

This is a massive shift for Slack’s product…

The future is participatory and social

The traditional sports media business model is broken. We know that. It happened with newspapers, and this week, we saw radio suffer the same fate.

But here’s the thing: the downfall of sports media isn’t due to a lack of consumer interest (market), nor an issue with the media themselves (product).

There’s clear product-market fit; it just suffers from a flawed business model.

Enough is enough; it’s clearly time for this model to change.

In this post, I’m going to outline:

  • How radio’s traditional business model is broken
  • Why the future of sports radio is participatory & social
  • A playbook…

Unlocking the future of work

Earlier this week, Salesforce acquired Slack for $27.7 billion.

It’s a seismic move in the workplace collaboration space, which has surged with the rise of remote work and virtual communication.

So, why did Salesforce acquire Slack — and more importantly, why did Slack decide to sell to Salesforce? It’s clear this was not about ‘bailing out’ a company; this was a strategic partnership to build the operating system for work.

In this post, I’ll dig into the three areas of opportunity that a Salesforce + Slack acquisition unlocks:

  1. The system of record for work
  2. Distribution to the enterprise
  3. Streamlined external…

Your product is not just the UI.

I recently had the opportunity to help build and launch a consumer-facing product: Clio for Clients.

It’s the first time in my (short) career that I’ve worked on a consumer product. To date, my work has been B2B-focused, building for the likes of lawyers, service professionals, and knowledge workers.

Clio is now a B2B2C company, which means we sell our software to law firms, who also provide our software to their clients.

So, with this product, we were building for legal consumers; ordinary people like you and me who were experiencing a legal matter. That could be anything from a…

A new product idea to discover places to go + things to do

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become a cornerstone of cultural impact across many industries — tourism, entertainment, food, and so on.

Take this example: in the year 2010, only 800 people visited Trolltunga, a beautiful scenic rock in Norway.

But by 2018, 87,000 people were visiting it a year. That’s an 1,100% increase in 8 years!

What changed? Instagram.

All those scenic photos of Norway you see on your Instagram feed & on friends’ stories? They drive the discovery of places & experiences — for both tourists and locals.

Norway isn’t alone on this. Restaurants and coffee shops…

Getting more users to use more integrations, more frequently

Integrations are a pivotal component of Slack’s business. It’s a core element of what differentiates them from other chat-based apps; as evidenced by their shift in positioning from a messaging app for teams to where work happens. In order to increase retention with its customer base, one of Slack’s biggest competitive moats is its App Directory — with hundreds of integrations across over a dozen verticals.

But an existential challenge for Slack remains; if integrations are what truly set it apart from its competitors (including alternatives like email), how can Slack increase adoption of integrations by its users?

Why is…

The competing products we don’t talk about

When building a product, or starting a company, we tend to focus only on direct competitors.

If you’re building for a specific vertical (i.e. legal), this could be a competing product in that market, or if you’re building a consumer product, this could be an app that offers mirrored functionality (i.e. Instagram / Snapchat).

However, I believe this is short-sighted. While direct competitors are no doubt a legitimate threat, the products that offer the most threat are the ones your users don’t even have to think about adopting.

At the end of the day, every user has a job to…

Actionable ways you can step into your customers’ shoes.

It’s a common refrain nowadays that companies need to be customer-centric. This often manifests itself in routine activities such as user research, customer interviews, and surveys.

However, I believe product teams can go much deeper than this.

Being customer-centric isn’t just about talking to your users; that’s table stakes. To truly be customer obsessed is to fully immerse yourself in your customers’ world.

And there may be no company that better operationalizes this than Amazon, who is highly renowned for its list of Leadership Principles; a set of tenets that guides its overall strategy and decision-making process.

The most important…

People often debate what the best course for your career is — take a stable job at a large company, or take a risk and join a promising young startup. Stability and prestige versus a high risk, high reward pipe dream.

There’s certainly no right answer — it depends what you value more, and what type of learning you want to engage in. If you want to weigh the pros and cons of the risk and reward, you can read more on that here.

I’m here to make the argument that if you want to optimize for learning, joining a…

Samir Javer

Product @Grammarly. Ex: @GoClio, @Thumbtack, @DoMeetings.

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