Yana Welinder on helping PMs build better products with an interface to AI
Product State Q&A
EC: Kraftful’s website describes it as ‘ChatGPT but for Product Research.’ What was the insight behind the product, and what’s the mission for the company?
YW: We’re building a unique solution for product teams to help them connect with users in new ways. Our mission is to help everyone build better products.
Before starting Kraftful, I led product at different companies, most recently IFTTT. Having millions of users, one of my product team’s biggest challenges was gathering feedback from various sources and acting on it in the dev process. Not only is it a huge timesuck, it’s really hard to see all of the crucial customer perspectives and act on them quickly.
So when I started experimenting with GPT technology in early 2020, I naturally tried using it to solve this problem. I built an early prototype, but the technology was better for text generation than summarization back then. We then built the first MVP in 2021, as part of a broader analytics solution. As our product assistant got better and better, we got much more demand for it and took it as a cue to focus on it as a standalone solution.
EC: As the role of the PM becomes more strategic, what skills and capabilities will they need to continuously sharpen?
YW: With the rise of AI tools to handle processes and more menial tasks, it's more important than ever for PMs to have strong product thinking skills, the ability to translate insights from users and the market into a product vision — and an intuition for how to ship products quickly without going in the wrong direction.
Most immediately, learning how to effectively leverage AI in every part of product development is crucial.
At Kraftful, we're working on building the best interface between PM and AI to make this process as seamless as possible for product teams.
EC: With generative AI getting so much attention, what are some of the technological, ethical, and social considerations you keep top of mind?
YW: As AI technology improves, it's crucial to determine the appropriate relationship between humans and AI — and consider the ethical and social implications of this relationship.
At Kraftful, we keep these considerations top of mind and ensure that our solution surfaces user feedback in a balanced way to avoid overlooking certain user needs.
We’ve found that analyzing qualitative feedback using AI can actually uncover issues that may have been missed by traditional analytics to ensure all voices are heard.
To give one example, as we applied our solution to app store reviews for various apps, we discovered that dating apps tend to get complaints from racial and ethnic minorities getting less good matches. Since they are minorities, their usage patterns were likely lost when the product teams studied analytics to try to optimize the product. But an analysis of qualitative feedback can pick up on those sort of issues to help mitigate them from happening in the future.
“With the rise of AI tools to handle processes and more menial tasks, it's more important than ever for PMs to have strong product thinking skills, the ability to translate insights from users and the market into a product vision — and an intuition for how to ship products quickly without going in the wrong direction.”
- Yana Welinder
Thanks for reading Product State! Subscribe for free to receive new posts.