VP, Product

Location: San Francisco, CA
Date Posted: 09-28-2017
  • Evolve and codify a short and long-term strategic product vision
    • Translate the company vision into a technically feasible plan for execution, managing tradeoffs, capabilities, risks, and ambiguity inherent in a “new category” offering
    • Build and incorporate market and competitive understanding to ensure vision is forward-leaning, differentiated, and commercially viable
    • Be product evangelist on company’s leadership team
  • Create product strategy and roadmaps to ensure effective product development with the product team to align the team around what we are building, why, and in what order
    • Anticipate strengths weaknesses of technical solutions and align with product vision
    • Develop and prioritize features and add-on services that generate repeat revenue and increase subscription revenue
    • Balance current needs (stated by existing customers) and future needs (based on competitive and market environment)
    • Drive full feature delivery lifecycle: research customer/user needs; oversee creation of user stories; partner with UX to design and prototype; work with engineering to develop, test and deliver offerings on time
  • Drive cross-functional execution and process improvements across the company:
    • Partner with Sales and Marketing to bring new capabilities to market, convey the value and differentiation of Protagonist, understand buyer needs, and have a clear vision for how the product answers that need
    • Partner with Customer Success to engage with current customers in order to understand their needs, deploy / test new product concepts, and capture and institutionalize innovation from ongoing customer engagements
    • Partner with Engineering and Data Science to execute the product roadmap, develop, prototype, and test new technical offerings and build a customer-facing portal based on input from the market
    • Partner with Data Science to develop and prioritize the data science roadmap (which is focused on building differentiated technology to identify, measure, simulate, and ultimately predict Narratives in public discourse) based on technical and market judgment
  • Work comfortably at all altitudes – from presenting product strategy to investors or the company, to defining acceptance criteria for scrum teams
  • Manage a growing team of Product Managers 
  • Deep understanding of marketing and communication buyer and their underlying needs
  • 3+ years of experience as a VP of Product in a B2B organization
  • 7+ years of experience in Product Management roles leading talented teams
  • Demonstrated proficiency working with Sales and Marketing leaders to bring clarity to the marketplace on offerings, value, and vision
  • Demonstrated technical fluency and effectiveness working closely with engineers and data scientists
  • Demonstrated leadership on company leadership or executive team
  • Strong communication, influence, and cross-functional collaboration skills, able to craft clarity and drive execution and focus in complex and dynamic contexts
  • Ability to lead teams and work cross-functionally in highly collaborative environment
  • Experience with agile development methodologies like scrum
  • Experience building “new category” offerings is a plus
  • Exhibits core values of drive, exploration, generosity, and joy
About Protagonist
Protagonist is a high-growth company focused on Narrative Analytics.  We mine beliefs in order to energize brands, win narrative battles, and understand target audiences.  Protagonist uses natural language processing, machine learning, and human expertise to identify, measure, and shape narratives. The Protagonist platform was built on 10 years of narrative science that was initially developed to improve the American brand around the world for the US Government. Today, it’s used by dozens of the world’s leading CMOs, business leaders, and foundations.  Protagonist has offices in San Francisco and Washington DC, and is backed by experienced investors led by Sir Ronald Cohen and Sir Harry Solomon. 
What are we building and why does it matter to the world?
Protagonist has been analyzing narratives (i.e., beliefs) for nearly a decade.  We started on that journey using qualitative social science methods, and built a content platform for the Obama Administration that captured the critical narratives in over 40 countries around the world, so that the government could more effectively communicate and engage with foreign audiences, and understand “what makes people tick” in different cultures around the world.  Three years ago, we shifted to serve corporate and foundation customers, and began to leverage the innovation in natural language processing and machine learning to build the Protagonist platform.
Our history has informed our approach to building our product and our technology.  Many companies that analyze social and traditional media produce analytics that are defined by what the technology (often off-the-shelf algorithms and methods) is capable of rather than what is truly valuable for the customer.  Because of this, most media analytics and social listening companies tend to be indistinguishable from one another; they all deliver the same commoditized insights: sentiment analysis, categorization, entity extraction and other basic NLP algorithms. The market is saturated with these metrics and in recent years the industry has made an effort to shift towards “deeper insights.” The challenge is that very few players know what these deeper insights are, and even fewer know how to build them. Therefore, in their efforts to go beyond the superficial NLP techniques, most of these software companies struggle not because lack of effort or investments, but because they are not anchored in the insights that drive customer value.
Rather than starting with available data or available off-the-shelf algorithms, we started with the unit of analysis that we believe to be most powerful and high-value: the Narrative.  We believe that Narratives are the root drivers of people’s attitudes and behavior – they are beliefs that guide who we vote for, what products we are loyal to, and where we stand on controversial issues.  We’ve built a platform that deploys proprietary and best in class algorithms to automate processes around narrative filtering, identification, classification, patterns, and measurement, and leverages human expertise to validate, refine, and create data-driven recommendations for our customers.  Our “human in the loop” approach also builds a body of valuable training data that generates a self-learning cycle to boost accuracy and competitive differentiation and defensibility with each passing month.   
Today we work with a fast-growing set of blue chip corporate customers as well as many of the world’s leading foundations to understand, analyze and ultimately shape the beliefs that drive their marketing, communications, and strategy.  Narrative Analytics has a range of commercial applications.  To begin, we have been focused on the Marketing and Communications buyer, using Narrative Analytics to win a narrative battle (PR / communications), energize and protect a brand, and understand a target audience in order to launch better products, deploy content that resonates, and better segment customers.  We also see a number of future applications for Narrative Analytics including HR and employee engagement, political campaigns, and more.
Right now we are evolving our product from services to a platform, and in the future that platform will serve as a foundation for more self-service-oriented offerings that will vastly increase the market reach of the company.
What we’re building also operates in a broader context, which is deeply motivating for us as a company.  Facts are losing their currency, propaganda is being weaponized, and people and institutions are searching for a deeper understanding of why people believe what they do, and where to go from there.  At Protagonist, we believe that the best way to tackle these challenges is to surface and analyze people’s beliefs with data and without judgment – so that they can be discussed, evaluated, and facilitate better communication.  The path to greater empathy, connection, and trust as a society is through understanding one another’s point of view – we aim to be a part of that solution through Narrative Analytics.
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