We had the immense pleasure of catching up with Gerisha Nadaraju, Head of Business Operations at Dojo and a Founder and Host of the Product Ops Podcast.
Here are some insights into the podcast, why it’s important to have access to more Product Ops content, as well as the challenges when creating a podcast.
Hello Gerisha! 👋 Could you give us an intro about you and your podcast?
Hi! I’m Gerisha, an experienced Fintech Operations leader working in London. I’m currently the Head of Biz Ops at Dojo, and before this, I worked at TrueLayer for 3 years where I joined Biz Ops and went on to set up a Product Ops function at the company. I’m originally from South Africa where I worked as an accountant and investment professional before coming to the UK in 2016 to do an MBA at Oxford.
While setting up a Product Ops function, I realised that there wasn’t very much information and practical advice available on this emerging function. I was invited to speak at the Product Ops Summit organised by Product-Led Alliance (PLA) earlier this year and that’s where the seed for Product Ops Podcast (POP) was planted as lots of people reached out to me afterwards to connect and share learnings and get advice on challenges they were facing. I found I was having lots of useful 1:1 conversations with people across the world and wanted to create a platform to share this knowledge and amplify the voices in this space.
How did you get into Product Ops?
I had been working in a Biz Ops role at TrueLayer where a lot of what I did was trying to solve key business problems relating to scale. Given this experience, I was asked by the CEO to get closer to the Product team to see if I could support them from an operational point of view as they sought to scale internationally for the first time. I initially led an internal team called Catalyst which was effectively doing product ops work without the title of product ops yet. I used the learnings from this team to establish Product Ops formally and hire a team that was embedded within product pods focusing on scaling product knowledge, strengthening feedback loops and process improvements.
I wrote about my move from Biz Ops to Product Ops here.
What made you commit to producing a podcast?
I’d wanted to start a podcast for at least a year before I launched it as I love creating content and uplifting the voices of others. I’d told friends about it, thought about different themes, bought a microphone and even registered some website names on Namecheap. So the intention was definitely there! Moving from idea to action on a side project can be difficult though.
I made a commitment to myself for 2021 to DO THE THINGS I’ve been talking about and a friend of mine got me a Goals journal for the year which I’ve been using to keep myself accountable. I didn’t know that the podcast would be focused on Product Ops though until a week before I booked my first guest in. But, taking that action of reaching out to someone and scheduling them in when I wasn’t ready was exactly what I needed to kickstart this.
What’s the mission behind creating the podcast?
To share knowledge on a nascent function where people are very much still figuring out how to define and structure it. To do this by spotlighting diverse voices and points of view across the tech industry. To help contribute to and build a sense of community in this space.
Is there one moment you can pick from your episodes so far that has left an impact on you?
Each episode leaves an impact in different ways. I think chatting to the fantastic Kevin Sakamoto*, the Director of Product Ops at Dollar Shave Club, was enlightening in that he has such a wealth of product knowledge and leadership experience yet remains so incredibly humble, down to earth and eager to learn from others. We need more leaders like that in the Product/Tech space (or at least more visibility of them!).
ON note: you can find the POP episode with Kevin Sakamoto here.
Can you give a sneak preview of what we can expect next?
Well, my next guest will be Hugo Froes, Product Ops Lead at Farfetch and we’ll be exploring how he transitioned from a career in UX design into Product Ops.
And finally, some bonus questions on behind the scenes of creating a podcast. Which transferable skills from your day job help with the production of a podcast?
Multitasking, being comfortable communicating with cross-functional stakeholder, empathy and active listening.
What are the new things you learned while setting up your first episodes?
- How to edit on Garageband!
- Making sure the audio/technical setup is decent and how to mitigate if it’s not.
- That some free music sites still include a watermark in the song.
An overarching lesson has been that DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT! My advice is to start before you’re ready, you’ll learn and iterate along the way!