Ever ask yourself the simple questions: “Who built this product? Why did they build it this way?”
As Matterport works to further develop our technology and roll out new features, we want to maintain a level of transparency with our supporters. That’s why we want to offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what our product development process is like, from the initial concept phase to the actual feature delivered. To that end, this week’s blog post is a Q&A featuring Damien Leostic, Matterport’s VP of Product.
Damien has been working in product development and management for over 15 years, with a focus on managing scalable software platforms for consumer oriented services, IoT systems, core networking architecture and video delivery infrastructure.
Q: Damien, you were one of the driving forces behind pushing for greater rich media support - which came in the form of Multimedia Mattertag™ Posts. Why was this feature so important to you?
A: Adding more support for multimedia content - like video and photos - has been part of our ongoing strategy to keep adding significant value to 3D Spaces for our customers. Storytelling through content-rich models is an important aspect to providing users with an experience that is rich, informative, intuitive, and results-driven -- all while still being fun. One of the most requested features was being able to include video in a 3D model, and we’ve been really impressed with what people are doing with it so far. In a recent contest, one Matterport Service Partner submitted the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway which really represented the type of storytelling some of our customers could achieve, and for a really great cause.
Q: What are the key product features Matterport is focused on in the near and medium term? Why?
Matterport has a solid core product. We’re always working to improve the technology, but in coming months our product and engineering team will be focused on expanding our platform’s capabilities to ensure what we offer is in every way an end-to-end system - from capturing, to editing, and even distributing a Space. We are working on new features across all fronts which will really transform the customer experience at any touchpoint with Matterport. Beyond that, we are also working to create SDKs which strategic partners and developers in our ecosystem can use to build complementary tools and experiences for our customers. We truly believe in the creativity of our ecosystem and customers, and are looking forward to what we can achieve together.
Q: How are product decisions made at Matterport?
We have worked hard to keep a finger on the pulse of the community in terms of our customers’ needs. To ensure what we’re building and developing is useful, we conduct surveys, focus groups, and work closely with active users to get feedback and input. Of course, building a good product also means having vision to evolve and build the product in ways which continue to push the envelope. We continue to make important investments in our core technology and are also investing substantially in computer vision and deep learning expertise capabilities. It’s important to ensure our platform continues to be cutting edge and provides maximum value to our customers.
Q: What is the best way for customers to provide input on product features?
We have thousands of Matterport Service Partners, realtors and companies spanning multiple industries with very unique needs - including real estate, travel and hospitality, and architecture, engineering and construction. The best way to communicate product requests or suggestions specific to your vertical is in the Matterport Community. You can join and easily post by going to community.matterport.com.
Q: As the head of product vision at Matterport, what is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?
A: One of Matterport’s core values is passion - which I take to mean as a passion for innovation. We operate in a fast-paced and very driven environment which can be both rewarding and challenging. I really enjoy working closely with our customers and partners to understand their business objectives and build a product strategy that contributes to long-term growth for everyone. Even though there are hurdles that come with developing an emerging technology like 3D and VR, we do our best to keep our customers’ interests at heart. We realize we cannot satisfy everyone’s aspirations at once, but we prioritize our efforts to support our business and customers the best we can.
Q: What has been the most formative experience in your career to date that has led you to where you are today?
A: I started my career building next-generation networking solutions, and I’m proud to have delivered some of the first IPTV services in the North American market more than fifteen years ago now. I realized my true passion lied in building solutions that make a difference in people’s daily life, and I quickly gravitated towards consumer products. That’s why I’m so excited about Matterport -- because we are changing the way people experience places daily, from anywhere in the world.
Q: Is there a particular feature you are extremely excited about building?
A: Growing our product means fostering progress - not only in terms of new product features, but within our platform itself. Managing the moving parts requires quite a bit of context switching, which can be challenging, but it brings awesome diversity in my everyday life. In one minute, I’ll deal with long-term strategic initiatives for the product lines we manage, and by the next minute, I’ll deal with very tactical decisions which are fun to make. Helping shape the direction of the product and the company is what gets me excited.
Q: If you were able to share your philosophy behind product management, what would that be?
A: Be bold. Drive for big changes that will make an impact. I like being creative and having fluidity and flexibility in the approach to drive product lines, all while maintaining operational boundaries which adhere to the company’s business objectives. Managing a product team has a serious impact on the future of any organization, so you have to be both bold and considerate when making decisions.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working on the product team at Matterport?
A: Product Management impacts every department at Matterport which allows me and my team to work with all the awesome teams here. Matterport is at the forefront of technologies like computer vision, immersive web technologies, virtual reality, and deep learning. What is really exciting about working at Matterport is the ability to build products and solutions which provide valuable new experiences for customers and their clients. And this is only just the beginning.