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David Subar    

Founder & CEO of Interna; Product Development Thought Leader & Consultant

A known product and engineering thought leader, David Subar in the managing director at Interna, a company dedicated to helping technology companies build better products faster. Began his career in research and development on AI and machine learning at a military-owned think tank in Washington, DC and has served as Chief Technology Officer and Chief Product Officer of start-up and mid-market companies and since then advised The Walt Disney Company, Lynda.com, on its way to a $1.4B sale to LinkedIn, PlutoTV, now a division of Paramount, Reify Health a B2B clinical trail SaaS unicorn, and many other companies.

By focusing product management and engineering teams on outcomes for customers, Subar and his team at Interna are able to help start-ups and Fortune 500 companies achieve growth and use capital more effectively. His strategic implementation of the lean start-up method has led to major valuation increases for over 30 technology companies. His strategies have become transformational for how technology companies scale while continuing to deliver products that impact the lives of their customers.

Subar's experience spans over 25 years, working with clients that ship products for tens of millions of customers. He has built products with over 600 billion monthly page views, built hardware and the operating system for an augmented reality device, assisted Lynda.com in their $1.5B sale to LinkedIn, founded two companies, sits on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles CTO Forum, and served as an advisor and executive for three unicorns. His passion for building products reflects in his motto, "Better products, faster."

Speech Topics

Culture Clash: How to Make Product and Engineering Work Together Effectively

The misalignment between Product Management and Engineering teams due to separate and inward-facing measures of effectiveness is a widespread challenge faced by the tech industry. This misalignment can have adverse effects on the company as a whole, such as a lack of coherence among executives and recruiting difficulties.

We will delve into the common evaluation metrics utilized by Product Management and Engineering teams and explore the reasons why they often fail to align their objectives effectively. Subsequently, we will recommend a superior framework that unifies these two teams and aligns them with the broader organizational objectives. By working collaboratively and assessing team effectiveness jointly, we can create a more productive and cohesive work environment.

Given my extensive experience in both Product Management and Engineering, I am confident in my ability to offer valuable insights and perspectives on this matter. I am passionate about fostering collaboration between these two critical teams and believe that our discussion would be advantageous to your audience.

Pain to Profit: How to Make Product Management Strategic

Many product groups find that they are feature factories - they are forced to do what they are told when they are told to do it, and they become slaves to the next requirement. Feature factories are cost centers, every year the executives will ask them to do more with less. Worse, they are not in control of your own destiny. They take orders from sales, from marketing, and from the CEO, and people will never be satisfied with what the product does.

Real product groups fulfill the company strategy. They are Product aligned, and empowered. Because they push the company forward and fulfill strategy, they have a seat at the decision table. They are asked how to grow the company rather than being told what to do.

In this presentation, we are going to talk about how to transform a group from a feature factory to a proper product management group, how to create roadmaps, how to align them to the company strategy, and how to have product management and engineering become as a profit center and a driver of the company.

Commander’s Intent

History’s most notable military commanders, including Helmuth von Moltke, Napoleon, and even the ancient Romans, all shared a common problem: organizing large numbers of people into an effective force. The size of the armies made quick, widespread communication difficult, and constant change and the fog of war made communications to and from a central command with the soldiers inaccurate and ineffective.

Perhaps surprisingly, there are many similarities between the needs of battle and of product development. Like a military commanders, CEOs, CTOs, and Chief Product Officers may lead groups of people that are too large to readily centralize every decision. Executives cannot be expected to understand all the nuances or always be available to make decisions for their teams.

The typical alternative to centralized command and control is to have independent and empowered teams. Without proper coordination, this too will fall short; independent and empowered teams pulling in opposite directions add cost and produce little value.

Commander’s Intent is a way for teams to function independently but remain coordinated. It is a powerful technique to align empowered teams to common goals and foster innovation. It allows an organization to scale to any size with minimum communication overhead.

In this presentation, we discuss the five steps to implementing Commander’s Intent and the advantages of doing so.

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