Name: Matt Stratford
Job title: Senior Product Manager
I’ve had rather a lot of jobs, from teacher to barista to salesperson to conference organizer. I found a way into technology and that led to consulting and from there I was able to make a start in product management.
When did you join Mendeley?
I worked on account for Mendeley from May 2015, but I liked it so much I joined as a full-time employee in September 2016.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that product management is so wide-ranging in terms of what it demands you know about.
What book did you most recently read?
Usually, I have a small handful on the go at any one time. At the moment I’m on a user experience design kick. I finished UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein last week and I’m part-way through Sprint by Jake Knapp. Away from work, I’ve just started The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses by Jesse Schell and I can tell already it’s going to be excellent.
What’s one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?
I read all the feedback you send through the feedback widget on Mendeley Feed, even if I can’t respond to everything individually.
How would you explain your job to a stranger on a bus?
I work as part of a team which makes tools to help academic researchers discover and access information. My job is to identify problems that researchers have and to set the direction and priorities for the solution. But the thing about product management is that actually it involves a bit of everything. I talk regularly with customers and users, conduct user research, write software acceptance tests, evaluate web analytics, help out with interaction design, contribute to technology choices, support marketing campaigns, establish operations requirements, conduct analysis for business strategy… the list goes on! And the only way I can possibly do all this is to be super-organised and super-flexible and to invest lots of time in making day-to-day team processes work really effectively. It certainly keeps me busy!
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
I’m a pretty excitable person so there’s usually something most days that gives me some energy. But the most satisfying part of the job is when you hear first hand from someone that you’ve made their lives better by solving a problem they had. That feels worthwhile.
What keeps you awake at night?
Work doesn’t keep me up at night. I compartmentalize pretty well.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned this week?
I learned that depending on how market demand is structured, it is theoretically possible that copyright holders profit from some levels of piracy. For instance, the existence of pirate copies of Microsoft Word helped it to become a de facto standard, which created more demand for legitimate purchases.