#LifeChangingConnections with Greg Le Sueur | Brisbane’s Product evangelist
Something that is very important to us at Hunt & Co. is sharing the career stories and journeys of the life-changing connections our team make every day. After all, no two career paths are ever the same. Welcome to another Hunt & Co.’s #LifeChangingConnections feature with Teach Starter‘s Head of Product, Greg Le Sueur.
Chances are, if you work in the product space in Brisbane or the Gold Coast, the name ‘Greg Le Sueur‘ is familiar to you. He is a friendly face in Brisbane’s product scene and is actively involved in the community. For us, he is also a long time industry friend of the Hunt & Co. team. But for those looking for some context before we dive into our Q&A, here’s a little introduction about Greg Le Sueur…
Greg Le Sueur is an ex-designer, now Product leader with over 13 years of industry experience in Brisbane, Queensland. He is also the co-host of Product Tank Gold Coast, Product of BNE Meetups and was an industry judge for the 2021 Women in Digital Awards UX Leader of the Year category. Safe to say, he’s built himself a reputation as a multidisciplinary product evangelist and knows his stuff. Outside of work, Greg is a husband, father of two beautiful boys and recently moved from Brisbane to the Gold Coast where he has recently taken up surfing. But… we think he’ll stick to his product career for now.
After an impressive nine years at Jumbo Interactive, Greg was ready to take on the next challenge (and product). *Enter the Hunt & Co. team*
We knew that Greg wanted more than ‘a new role’ – like so many accomplished and driven product people, he wanted to find a new purpose to drive him. He wanted to have the ability to drive product decisions. He wanted to work with a cross-functional team and he wanted to have a strong and lasting impact on the product he was working on.
So, we put our heads together, pulled together some options for Greg and got to work.
Teach Starter, a key partner of ours, is in a scaling phase and needs key strategic hires to facilitate this growth. And yes, they needed a commercially-minded, experienced and driven Head of Product. Can you sense a #LifeChangingConnection coming?
For those just learning about Teach Starter, they provide teaching and educational resources for busy teachers around the world in one beautiful SaaS platform. Founded in 2012 by the tech-savvy Scott Tonges and teacher Jill Snape, their key purpose is to ‘make every classroom buzz’. It has now evolved from a small passionate team into the powerhouse of nearly 50 specialists working across the world to achieve their vision. This year Teach Starter, as part of their scaling plans, brought on seasoned scale-up leader Liz McMillan as CEO. Liz brings with her a wealth of experience scaling digital companies for over a decade in the US. During her time there, she led the growth of Ask.com and most notably, was the CEO for Dictionary.com.
When we introduced Greg to the Teach Starter team, it was a perfect match and it’s safe to say… the rest is history with Greg now in the Head of Product role and gearing up for a busy 2022.
But before he disappeared into the Teach Starter product, we wanted to talk to Greg Le Sueur about his experience with Hunt & Co., joining Teach Starter, his career in Design and Product, plus his advice for job seekers and aspiring leaders.
So, let’s hear from Greg…
Tell us, how did you end up working in this industry (Product)?
I knew I wanted a career at the intersection of creativity and business. I didn’t understand what ‘product’ meant after high school. Instead, I studied marketing and advertising to become a Creative Director. Graduating, I learned you can’t just walk in and be Don Draper; you need to work your way up from an Art Director or Copywriter position. As someone who paints for fun, and has a problem with spelling, design seemed like a logical next step.
After graduating from design, I started working at various digital agencies designing and building websites. After several years I joined Jumbo Interactive as their first Product Designer. Within a few years, I was responsible for end-to-end customer experience as Head of CX. But the customer insights I raised were not always prioritised. Initially, Jumbo had no Product Managers, only Scrum Masters. We optimised for delivery, not outcomes. When I realised there was a better way, I proposed the Product Manager position and cross-functional teams. We ran a small experiment to launch a customer-focused innovation, and it was a huge success.
Having proved the model I moved into a Head of Product role at Jumbo and grew the product discipline. For the first six months, we were flying blind, reading what others were doing and testing new processes rapidly. But after a year, we had made real progress, we were measuring outcomes, thinking in terms of bets, and, most importantly, delivering real value to customers and impact to the business. We grew the team to 25 people before I was ready for my next challenge.
What is it about your current role that made you transition?
There are four things that stood out to me about Teach Starter:
Teach Starter contributes to the social good.
Teach Starter saves teachers time by not having to spend hours each day creating the materials they will need for class. Giving teachers more time to help kids learn, and ultimately give the kids the tools they need to create opportunities later in life. This means I get to work at a company that can be both economically successful and do good in this world!
Our buyer is our user.
By marketing directly to teachers, we keep the price low for maximum impact, and the value exchange is clear – the teachers themselves tell us what works and what doesn’t. It’s a pure B2C efficacy product.
Leaders enable autonomy.
Liz (CEO at Teach Starter) shares my leadership style – she inspires the team with a vision, gives them plenty of autonomy to execute, and aligns them along the way. Being CEO at dictionary.com, you know she’s been through this before because every interaction we’ve had so far has been helpful and insightful.
We’re on the verge of hyper-growth.
Over 60,000 Australian primary school teachers are already paying for Teach Starter, which is a third of the market, and the growth rate is high in several large markets like the UK and US. All this growth is organic. Clearly, we’re solving teachers’ frustrations, and introducing some product growth strategies will have a multiplier effect on what’s already working. Teach Starter will be 10x in the next 5 years, and I’m excited to be part of it.
How did you enjoy your experience overall working with Hunt & Co.?
I really enjoyed it! They presented options I hadn’t thought of. I was initially unaware of Teach Starter and wanted a larger, more well-known brand. Without them, I probably would not have applied; I’m glad I did now. Beyond just the initial introduction, Carly and Holly helped set up meetings, answered questions, and negotiated on my behalf at every stage of the process. It was an easy process and I felt like they understood what I was looking for and landed me with the perfect job.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
“The quickest way to kill a horse is to put two people in charge of feeding it.” It was about structuring an organisation for success. People need to be aligned to what their focus should be in an organisation by having clear accountability. The other quote I love is “You ship your org chart.”
What is one tip or word of advice you would give to someone looking for a new role?
Understand what you’re looking for, then assess each role based on the following factors:
Manager – Is this person going to boost your career?
Resources – What are the resources you will have and how well does the team function?
Scope – How broad is the scope of decisions you make or influence? You should aim a little higher than what you’re capable of but not so high that you have trouble executing.
Funding – Are you getting paid well? Are the people you rely on also getting paid well?
Advancement Opportunities – Is the company growing? Can you advance within the company?
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your role?
Product Management ≠ Project Management. It’s not about delivering the output, it’s about achieving the outcome. AND Product Management ≠ Product Leadership, the leader should focus on the inputs to maximise the outcomes of the team.
What advice do you have for a product specialist aspiring to a leadership role like yourself?
Find yourself a strong product leader to help coach you, read a lot, experiment a lot, and meet with peers to discuss learnings.
Thanks so much to Greg Le Sueur for chatting with us. Don’t forget to connect with Greg Le Sueur on LinkedIn.
If you’re looking for your next role or team member in the Product space, reach out to Technology & Product Account Managers, Carly Shearman (email@example.com / 0488 721 180) or Emily Conaghan (firstname.lastname@example.org / 0403 726 487).