Senior Director, Strategy & Product @ Adobe: Loni Stark – Digital Disruption & Tackling Decade Long Problem

As product leaders, you might be looking at road maps for 1-3 years from now, but our next guest is someone who seeks a challenge that takes a decade to solve. Loni Stark is the Senior Director of Strategy and Product at Adobe; fittingly, she works for Adobe; she is both a technical product leader and a creative artist with hobbies like a painting. She was inspired by her mother, who was the only woman in her job and pursued engineering, eventually landing at Stanford, where she focused on product management.

At Stanford and in her early work, she learned how many critical components there are to a product’s success, like the right partners, vendors, timing, and market need. She discusses the bittersweet challenge of solving long term problems, and she dives into how switching to the cloud was one of those challenges for Adobe and how they came out successfully.

More on Loni’s story, including how she made fake product one-pagers to get advice from other product managers, how she’s trying to make enterprise onboarding as easy as consumer products, and more on this episode of How I Grew This. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and more.

[00:00:00] Host: Hi, everyone. We are so happy to have our next guest Lonnie Mark. She’s currently the senior director of strategy and product at Adobe. Lonnie has been at Adobe for more than 20 years, and also co-found the stark insider, a leading West coast digital brand that explores the creativity that happens at the intersection of technology, culture, food, and wine.

Stark insider provides an original firsthand perspective into technology and culture Lonnie. So excited to have you here. Welcome to the show.

Guest: Well, thanks for inviting me. And you forgot to mention how I started at Adobe when I was five years old, you know, so that’s that’s

Host: then I was wondering that makes a lot of sense now.

Well, you’ve had such an incredible career so far, you started as a software engineer, then you could the digital brand, and now you’ve been at Adobe for a while. Before we get into that, I kind of want to understand what makes you, you, are there [00:01:00] any experiences outside of your professional life that have translated in your success so far?

Guest: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think one of the folks that influenced me most when I was growing up with my mom, so I immigrated from Shanghai, China, actually her profession she’s a machinist, so she makes parts for airplanes and everything else. And so, yeah, so she was the only woman in her, uh, factory here, uh, when she immigrated from China to Canada.

And that was for me, really inspired in terms of being able to be an engineering, being in a field that has traditionally, maybe, and more, I feel that as attractive, um, guys, and also, I think she really instilled in me a view that I could do anything I wanted to, in fact, to the point where one time when I had it.

Slight issue with my car when I was still in my teenage years and the hood got a little dented. She was like, even like, well, can’t you repair it yourself. So she [00:02:00] really had this

Host: amazing

Guest: idea that I could do anything I wanted to. And I think that well, sometimes brought it to an extreme was also really empowering for me.

Um, so that was definitely one of my first experiences that really. Really shaped me.

Host: That’s really awesome. So, you know, you started with that and then tell us about, you know, like your career journey. How did you end up in product? How did you end up at Adobe? Did you start as an engineer?

Guest: I did start as an engineer, but I started actually at a telecommunications company.

And it was a company that you may or not, may not know, but. From Canada, a company that was based in Ottawa called Nortel networks. And I was an engineer helping really build out the network of false alarms. So if you think about this internet and you think about all the traffic that runs through this internet, that allows for you and I to talk part of that is these network elements that some of them would sit in the [00:03:00] desert where nobody would go to.

And that was the whole idea that they would be in a stable environment. Where it would really make sure that all the bits and bytes flowing through the intranet would, would flow properly. And so I worked as an engineer on something called Fallston alarms, which is essentially using software repair the system so that someone didn’t have to fly into the desert and basically push a reboot button on a network element.

And I. Really enjoyed that experience because it was the closest I ever got to. All of the things I learned in computer science in my computer science degree, right. Debt work, you know, semaphores garbage collection, you know, at the time it was C plus plus like all of that stuff. But I also quickly realized that I wanted to work on technology that people saw that people interacted with.

And that’s what really was a major deciding factor for me too. Pack my bags from, from kid. I [00:04:00] moved to Valley and start working for Adobe was that I was. Able to work on technology that the purpose of it was for people to actually touch and

Host: interact. That’s cool. But you went to school in the Bay area, right?

Guest: Actually I did. So my bachelor’s was done in Canada, in Hamilton, Ontario, and it was a combination was a double major in computer science and, uh, what was sort of like liberal arts. So it was writing and it was, uh, logic and all of those, um, the more the arts element. My master’s was done in the Bay area.

It was done at Stanford. I’m in management, science, and engineering.

Host: We have that master’s as well.

I was like, yeah, somebody said,

Guest: yeah. So my master’s was done in the Bay area, but yes. So that’s awesome.

Host: So with that, that was, and then you went back to Canada and then you came back for Adobe. Is that kind of how the story was or did [00:05:00] he,

Guest: so part of this is time shifting, you know, cause you guys do time shifting here.

So what happened was that this is, you know, um, you’re Mada you’re, you’re getting me to really kind of get into and people are going to start to calculate my age and all that. But, um, so no, I’m just joking. I don’t, I don’t care. I, I do not base. My worth on my age. I started as a bachelor’s in Hamilton and then I went to Nortel and then I started my career at Adobe.

And then I did my masters while I was at Adobe.

Host: It makes sense. So the reason why I was asking about MSN is because for me personally, I think when I going into MSNE, I made a huge career shift from engineering into like product and later on marketing. So that’s why I was kind of curious how, you know, maybe even at Adobe and what are the things that kind of propelled you towards becoming a product leader?

Guest: I would say that part of doing my master’s at [00:06:00] Stanford was because I felt like there were core knowledge and things that I want to get a better handle on as an engineer to really then move into a role as a product manager. So that was definitely also my shifts. So it sounds like that was a shift you made as well.

Host: Tell us about your journey to becoming a product leader. You were at Adobe, were there specific projects that you enjoyed working on? Were there specific things that you kind of followed? How did that journey translate and what were your most favorite parts of it?

Guest: What was interesting is at Adobe, I didn’t start my career working on one of the big products, right.

So I didn’t start my career working on Photoshop or Acrobat or some of the larger products. In fact, the products that I first. Started earlier in my career on were more like one dyo initiatives. And because of that, as an engineer, I got to work very closely with the design team, with pride management and [00:07:00] also had the opportunity to speak to a lot of first time customers.

Right. Because a lot of times with a one dot Oh product, no one understands it as well as the engineer. So they would occasionally cart me out into hugs. Explain to a customer, what this product actually does. When I was doing that, I realized there was a lot of things outside of what an engineer does is that leads to the success of a product.

And that’s where I became really interested in the whole, how do you take a product to success, especially in the, the space. Why are the partners you need to have the pricing, packaging, just the market timing and all of those factors were things that. Really influenced me to want to become a product manager.

The other part of it was I felt like as an engineer, I could, my impact was limited for why I was able to do to what I could build. And I thought that as a product manager, I could be in a role where I. Had [00:08:00] more influence on the definition of the entire product and the way that it gets introduced into the market.

Good. So that was my first shift. Um, it was from engineering to product management, and then I also spent time in product marketing. So more of the outbound pride management, outbound pieces of the products. And that was really interesting because that helped me understand more in practical terms, what the business relationships were and what the competitive and market dynamics were.

And yeah. Also how to think about product innovation, right? Not only thinking about what you could build in the product, but what were the more macro trends that were in place and the needs. So that’s sort of the three, I would say, if you were thought about my career and the three big buckets, those would be it, it would be engineering, product management, product marketing.

And I think having that breadth has helped me in my role as a product leader.

Host: That’s awesome. And how did you make that [00:09:00] transition? I think many people wonder how do I transition from a product manager? To actually get my first opportunity to actually the team. How did that opportunity come? And then for others that are looking for opportunities like that, any advice,

Guest: the way I started my career, I always thought that some, you know, I would just work really hard.

And then at some point someone would tap me on the shoulder and say, Lonnie, hi, see, great potential in you. Here’s a new opportunity of grand Durham, bigger scope. I will say that in my career, I’ve had some notable mentors and people who did see that potential in me, who did invest in me or, or take a leap of faith in something that maybe I hadn’t yet proven that I could do.

And so I’m eternally grateful for those folks that gave me a chance when I may have not been fully there. However, I have found also that as I’ve moved in my career, [00:10:00] To really think about and reflect on what it is that you, I want to be able to do. So what is the new wall or a new direction that you want to take your career and then figure out ways to get there yourself?

So nothing, no one ever stops you from doing something else as part of your role. So when I was an engineer and I. thought I wanted to be a product manager. I would write these and maybe laughable one-page product requirements, documents. And yeah, I would, I would come up with an idea as an engineer and I would pretend it was a product and I wrote out a document and then I would shop it around to product managers that I really respected.

And I would say, well, you know, what do you think? Give me feedback. And so that’s a piece of advice I give to. Folks that come to me for career advice like that want to make a change. Is no one ever stops you from doing what you want to do. And if this is something you do figure out [00:11:00] how to do it in the job you have, or volunteer or find a hobby where you’re able to.

practice it And I think that also plays well when you, when the opportunity does come, because then you can show that you have a passion for it because you have actually done something even outside of the scope of your work.

Host: Awesome. I think that’s really, really great advice. I think there’s a lot of people who always wait for someone else.

And I think just being more proactive, going and trying to test things, I think it’s, it’s really good advice. So you’ve started with some of the boy earlier products, and then you’ve worked on probably more mature products. Tell us, you know, maybe your favorite. And then if you have any kind of like stories about features introduced that drove growth

Guest: or, um, my favorite and just always sounds interesting because you could ask, you know, someone like you can ask me musician, what’s their favorite album, lawyer.

And they’ll probably say it’s the one they’re currently working on. So I feel a little like I’m punting on this, but it is. [00:12:00] It is what I’m currently working on. And I’m a product leader for which is Adobe experience manager, and it fits all the things we talked about before. It’s a product that people really use.

So it’s not in the middle of some desert, right. Number one and two is I love the creative process and this ability for humans to create. And so experience manager is also a way to help brands, um, businesses really be able to build out great experiences. And the reason why it’s my favorite is because I feel like I grew up with it is the product that Adobe I’ve been the longest on in some ways.

So I’ve been responsible or contributing to experienced manager for the last 10 years. So I’ve seen it grow up

Host: like your baby. It’s kind of like how branch is my baby, because I’ve, I guess this hasn’t been, it’s been like seven years, but stuff.

Guest: Yeah. You see how it’s evolved, you see [00:13:00] how it continues to grow.

And I think that everything around you is a reflection of you. And I don’t mean that in some narcissist way. I mean, it, in the sense that if you really think about the impact you have, if people around you are happy, right. It’s because you’re also feeding. That to them. And if you have teams that are productive and you have a product that people see value in that to me is a constant sure.

A reflection on what I strive for and what I want to be in a, in a strange, strange way. And you asked about the features yeah. That are most interesting. I would say that. A big area we’re working on, obviously that every tech company will tell you they are, is around machine learning AI. And I hate the term artificial ones, intelligence.

I like to think of it as augmented intelligence. Right. It’s saying, how is that collaboration across. Teams as well as technology. So [00:14:00] one of the sets of capabilities we have is around being able to take machine learning and AI to tag content, because what happens in a company is that you have lots of people creating really great content.

And every time there’s a new campaign or new website, everybody’s a short on content. They’re like, we have to wait this person, puppy, dog, I’m running on a beach. We’ve got a creative. This image. Right. And what became clear as I talked to companies was that it wasn’t necessarily always a lack of content.

It was being able to, to find that contact. And so some of the machine learning AI technologies we introduced was really that helping companies better tag their content so they could find things easier. And it’s been amazing how quickly that grown into a feature that people use or use without even knowing that.

They are using because it just makes life simpler. And yeah. Also means that people are creating stuff. That’s actually new that you’re [00:15:00] not creating the 100, you know, hamburger with Sesame seeds on it because your company decides they’re going to run a campaign on burgers. So really excited about seeing how experienced magic continues to evolve.

And how much I’m able to grow because of it.

Host: Do you guys, when you think about new features and new features that will drive growth, how do you decide. You know, what, what features to build next fall is kind of being curious. I know how we do it at branch with them. I’m always so curious to see how others do it.

Guest: First of all is definitely customer feedback. So we have something called customer advisory boards or just conversations with some of our customers I’d might have a monthly conversation with them, right. And others is from the team and we gather all that. And I think we look for. Like I look for two things, right?

One is sometimes it’s just go and fix this or add this feature. It’s pretty straightforward. It makes sense. It’s something that just augments the use of [00:16:00] the product. But I also look for areas where there is a. Particular challenge the customer or the user might say, Hey, here’s how I want you to fix it.

Or here’s how I want you to develop something around it. And that’s great input, but sometimes they’re telling you that because they have a need and going back and looking at that and say, how do we. We designed something or how do we make it even better than what they are asking for to be something that they really want is an area that I always find really interesting because oftentimes the feedback we get from customers are how to expedite what they’re doing right now, because they’re busy.

They’re not thinking about how do you reimagine it. And an example of that was when I mentioned with smart tags, right? Not even maybe coming up with, Hey, instead of just coming up with better ways to metadata tag stuff, which is important, how do we just use technology to make it so that it alleviates some of [00:17:00] that issue as well?

And then finally, I think looking at ideas across industries, right? I think that. I’m with enterprise software. A lot of times there’s this idea that it takes a lot of effort for it to stand it up, to implement it, et cetera. And one of the areas that we’ve been really challenging the team to think about over the last three, four years is how do we make it as easy as training on why of your favor consumer apps, right?

How do you make something as powerful and yet something you can. Quickly get access to spin up and just start to innovate and create with. So that’s something that is another sort of direction that we’ve been thinking about.

Host: Okay. That’s a lot. I think the other thing that I thought was very interesting about your profile and background is that you are also an artist, you know, I was looking you up and I found your website and I started looking at all your drawings and paintings and videos.

And I would love to hear more about how you do develop that. And how do [00:18:00] you think that. Plays into your role as a product, if you think they like Mary at all,

Guest: they do in many ways. And I always think it’s interesting how different patterns you see in technology and arts kind of. Pulled together. And I’ll give you a couple of thoughts around here.

The first is that I really like hard problems that take time to evolve and to grow, which means I’ve been working on experience management for 10 years and there are problems and there are trends and things that take time for you to solve or for the market to be ready, et cetera. So I really liked the long game, you know, I will definitely.

Care about releasing features every month, six months, you know, just that pace. But I love thinking, about something that I want to be there in 10 years from now. And how do you get there? Like that excites me and I [00:19:00] love. The idea of the commitment you need to put into something to get there. Cause it’s not for everybody.

They, and it’s really, you gotta find something you love and you’re passionate about. And art is the same way. There’s this belief that somehow someone’s born and there are great artists. And they just know how to draw or, you know, they just know how paint, and it’s not the case. I do think some people are slightly more talented she’s in others, but it’s really about putting in the mileage, the breath, someone calls it, the brush mileage.

It’s just how many miles you put into paint. And so I want to get better embarrassed and artists. And I also see that as a. Long journey that is in decades. And it’s sort of interesting because what it means is for art, for my art, it means that there are certain things that I will say I want to do. And I will just commit that I will do it every day.

Every week. I will find the time I will squeeze it in and I [00:20:00] won’t evaluate. Whether I’m getting better or not until like three years from now, I’ll just be like three years from now. I’ll just keep doing this every day or every week and three years from now, I will then kind of evaluate now my husband who’s walking around.

Cause we’re all children. I always say liar. She looks at her stuff and she agonizes all the time. Right? I do. But I. Do it because I’m critical and I’m, you know, type a at times, but I also am committed to it. So even if I think that the way I deal was crappy, one day I will go, no, you have to continue because you may commitment that you’re going to at least do this for three years.

And so I think from a pilot perspective, it’s the same idea. There’s things that you commit to now that you can deliver on a monthly basis and you can get out and other things. You’re doing a transformation. Like our transformation of experience manager into the cloud was an eight year journey to [00:21:00] where we are.

And now we’re into our next, and I look at it and I go, okay, we’re signing up for five more years. We’re signing up for eight more years. And to some people that might be scary, but to me, it’s exciting. It’s exciting because I don’t think you can accomplish great things without that kind of commitment.

Host: That’s three days, by the way, you are inspiring me. I feel like I’ve, since I started branch, I feel like I used to also paint and take photos and I just haven’t done it this much. And just hearing you talk makes me like. I’m like, okay, I’m going to do it. I’m going to start today. Just draw something every day.

This is amazing.

Guest: So found for me at least, you know, technology uses a lot of your left brain and where I started to paint again, which was about 10 years ago. I, art was my first love. It was my first love. I was born into an Asian family. So let’s just say I, so R was not going to be something. I did it with

Host: my parents.

Same here. [00:22:00] It’s the new European doctors or engineers, right? The only 12.

Guest: I love engineering. I love solving problems when my art was my first love, but being born into an Asian family, I can, I can say that confirmation. And then two is, um, being born to immigrants. Parents who, you know, were blue collar workers and had to really work hard.

I was not going to be a, somehow a financial burden to them. So I, I made a decision early on. I was going to be self sufficient and I was going to do something I loved, but it wasn’t necessary. You’re going to be like fine arts because that’s a hard business to be in. Right. So, yeah. 10 years ago, I just started.

And what I found was, um, that it starts to open up my right brain more like I really fell. Like I, when I started to really do the arts motto, I found that I start to think with my whole brain and what I mean by that is art. There’s a certain amount. You have a blank canvas, right? And every time you approach the canvas, it’s a journey.

It’s an adventure. And that piece of [00:23:00] canvas can be anything you want it to be. Right. And first of all, you’ve got come up with composition, which is strategy, right. And you can execute like hell. But if your composition sucks, strategy sucks in business. It’s really hard to recover from that. So there’s that commonality of kind of understanding you got that blank canvas white space, right.

And you’ve got to figure out what the composition is and then figuring out how to then work on the different pieces. Right. But I’ve found that my perception of my ability to perceive how people are feeling and how, um, people are motivated was enhanced. When I started to really exercise the right side of me.

Host: That’s awesome. So inspiring. I’m definitely. You definitely changed someone’s mind today. So you don’t. The other thing you mentioned when we are talking about Adobe, you are talking about the digital transformation and how that was for you. Any [00:24:00] lessons? That you’ve learned that you have for other people working for companies going to digital transformations, based on your experience with Adobe,

Guest: Adobe went through a digital transformation of our creative business, into the cloud, and we’ve also done a digital transformation of experience measure.

It’s still offered on prem, but we also have. The growing number of customers in the cloud. And I think one of the challenges with anything that is disruptive and digital transformation absolutely is especially this year. People said that digital transformation has been accelerating. Is that with anything that’s disruptive, it’s hard to map.

Between where you are today and where this new thing is. Right. If you do a business case, you’re going to find out that most of your business is in your traditional mode, right? There’s, there’s nothing in this new way area. So it’s, you can’t come up with a logic business case in that way. [00:25:00] I think one of the things that Adobe did well, and I’m saying this as an observer as well, because there were many people involved in that transformation is flag planting.

And what I mean by that is looking at what’s happening in the world and setting a goal that may be crazy, right? Like the first time. Um, I think Sean knew our CEO said we’re going to drive this much business in right now. It sounds, of course, people buy stuff off all the day, all the time they buy cars, they buy homes.

Right. But back then, it was like, nobody was. Buying anything off of, off of a website, set that, and then set a goal of how much revenue would be driven from that. Everybody thought like, how, how are we going to get there? So flag planting is, is one thing, and it’s not, not completely without logic, but it’s, instead of looking at where you are, And then trying to map out [00:26:00] plan to where you get to, to look at where the world is heading and just plant a flag there and then figure out hi to kind of get there.

So that’s, I think one thing that is important, I think the second part of it is, um, Leadership and commitment, right. And back to this idea of multi-year journey and, um, being consistent with a focus. Uh, I think that’s something where Adobe, I think has been fortunate. We’ve had really longstanding leadership and people who have been at Adobe for quite some time.

I, every time I have someone new come. To Adobe, they always make the observation. Like there’s quite a number of people that have been at this company for awhile. And I think that creates a certain ability to invest in longterm strategies. Okay. I think that’s paired up with a learning culture, but you also don’t want a bunch of people sitting around and, and being the status quo.

So it’s almost like you want people who have been at [00:27:00] the company for a while and have also commitment to it longterm, but who are also connected. Continually learning and shaking things up and wanting to reach beyond that, that status quo. So I think those are important ingredients for digital transformation.

And of course, obviously the technology, the people skills, et cetera. But I think that those elements have really helped Adobe

Host: switching gears from all the way to a company like Adobe to say, small companies that I know you advise. In your free time, I’m going to ask you for a very different type of advice.

What kind of advice would you give our listeners? I know we have a lot of that are actually starting companies. How do they build good product where they’re at that stage zero. And how should they think of their go to market when they don’t have the type of resources that the lb does?

Guest: One of the things is when I started advising startups, I was interested because I felt like I had a live experience, but I was also curious [00:28:00] about, I know, shocking life outside of Adobe.

Right. So it was my way, I honestly admit, I wanted to kind of understand what was different, what was the same? And one thing that’s interesting is this idea that okay, I accompanied like Adobe, there’s lots of resources. There are more resources at company like Adobe than at a startup, but story ups have one advantage, not or many advantages, but one of the advantages is a singular focus, right?

Whereas large companies might have more resources. They have lots of different priorities, lots of different things that they need to optimize for. So with startups, I think one is that one of the sort of advantages. It is a singular focus. And that gets to my point about a piece of advice I give to founders and people that are starting is that don’t go after the entire world first day.

Right. Everyone’s trying to come up with, here’s my big [00:29:00] opportunity. And I’m going to, you know, you start to build any go kid and this is what we’re going to do. And then we’re going to take over the world, right? Like that’s kind of story. Instead, pick a problem that people have in an underserved market.

And figure out how you’re going to do that really well and how that. Solution is going to be something that’s valuable and people are willing to pay for. And one of the things that I think is a trap or is, or something that I see it as a common, I won’t say misstep mistake, but something to watch out for is, do you really understand your customer?

And you might roll your eyes and go, okay. I really needed to listen to those podcasts to learn that one, but. It’s actually really important because, um, I am in a lot of meetings, both at startups, as well as, um, within Adobe where there’s an assumption of that understanding of the customer, but not [00:30:00] necessarily having talked to enough of those customers.

To understand, and also to position it way, way of what you, how much would you pay for it? Right. There’s a lot of problems out there that people have that nobody will pay for. And I think that’s really important is understanding the customer workflow, understanding if this is a. Pain point that they’re, they’re willing to pay for, and that there isn’t any alternatives or if there is, what are they, it’s similar to, you know, I’m in art.

One of the challenges that people that are starting off have is when you start a lot of people learn from life. Right. You draw a painting, you paint or you draw and he look at something and go, okay, draw that person or draw that plant or whatever’s in front of you. And one of the challenges that people have is they rush into drawing what they think.

It, it looks like the actually not what’s in front of you. They’d go, Oh, nose. I know I nose looks like right. And they use almost like an icon of a nose that’s in their head. And I think [00:31:00] when you’re building product, a similar thing happens where. You jumped to what the solution is. Cause you’re like, Oh, I, I know what that looks like.

It looks like the other things I bought. I, you know, guilt or this other thing I am used to versus really observing what the customer is doing. And that happens in art. It’s like, you know, draw this person’s face. And misstep people make is taking what’s in their head. And drawing what they think our nose looks like as opposed to really looking at what that person’s face looks.

Host: I think that makes a lot of sense. And you know, what’s really interesting. The more you talk about this, I, I’ve also invested in advise startups. And I think you’re right. Even, even a branch, we dispatched our first company. We failed a bunch of times and every time we thought we knew what the customer wanted and the only reason branch worked is because we built something that we actually needed ourselves.

And then we had to learn how to, like, I think it’s actually, as you said, I think it’s the biggest mistake founders make they’ve become so in love with their original [00:32:00] idea. And the way they see the world, that they have a hard time understanding how, what they’re see the world. So I don’t think it’s, I think it’s very good advice actually.

And I think it’s one that is very hard for people to hear. And if it, if they hear it, they don’t really hear it. Right.

Guest: Yeah. And I love the way you put it, that it’s how, um, people see the world. And I think both in business and in art is kind of trying to figure out when you’re crazy and when you’re, when you’re onto something.

Right. And sometimes it’s very hard to know that because there are times when you guys stick to your guns and you got to like this, this, this is where it’s going. Um, and then other times where. You know, it’s like, are you really listening to what the market wants and what the customer wants? And I think, you know, as a pricklier you spend quite a bit of time reflecting on that, especially in the areas of innovation where you don’t have a lot of users and you say, okay, is this something that is really going to happen?

Or am I I’m going [00:33:00] down the wrong Brown path?

Host: I think you can think of both, right? You can think of companies. You can think of a time when rich and there are products that would change the world. But even those products that like take a vision of someone changing the world, like, let’s say, you know, the iPad, there’s something.

Yeah. Even those kinds of, they were still based on a need in the market. Right. There were a lot of MP, three players and people like had to switch. And so you’ve most innovative products are built on like someone understanding the users, the customer, and then take it to the next level. This was super, yeah.

Interesting. I think your advice was cool. I’m pushing it. They a lot of advice from this. So before we end, we always do these three fun questions in our lightning round. So are you ready?

Guest: I think so. I actually, this is an area where I totally, yeah. Okay. I think I am, but I wish I was more prepared for it.

Host: Well, this is the whole point. It’s the first thing that comes to mind. This one, he shouldn’t be prepared for it. I [00:34:00] said, if you had to delete all the apps on your phone and you only could keep one, what would you keep?

Guest: Um, it would be the text messaging ability to text message. I think with new form, are you an extrovert?

I’m an introvert.

Host: Interesting. Cause usually people quite extroverts usually pick something to communicate with others and introverts speak something like I’ve definitely had the answers. I want to look at the stars the different way.

Guest: Nope. What I think my introvert gets it from what I have here, which is my art studio, my home art studio.

So I now I’m. Uh, you know, I paint a lot, so that’s kind of, I guess my app in that way, but I definitely use my phone to communicate. So I would say that. And then if it was my watch, it would be in find my, find my iPhone

Host: same here. Okay. Totally get you on that. Okay. If you had an app to talk to one animal and one animal alone, Why would you pick?

Guest: I would say, you know, I would think of a whale. I think I’d want to try talk to a whale. [00:35:00] And the reason for that is I was thinking about animal that lived a long time and was also in a completely different environment. So would be really, yeah, I could pick a bird, but I flown in airplanes before, but I don’t, I have the, yet, you know, traveled into the depths of the ocean.

So I think it’d be really. Interesting to talk to a whale.

Host: That’s super interesting. I don’t think who’s had a whale before, so very cool. I think it’s kind of in line with, you know, your idea of seeing the world from, from other people’s eyes. It’s like, I’m, I’m sensing a pattern here. Okay. So lastly, uh, an unlikely yeah.

On your phone that people would be surprised, especially people who know you well,

Guest: Oh my gosh. Um, let me see. What’s you know what? I have different apps, but the latest one that I’m really into right now is politics

know unlike unlikely or, you know, it [00:36:00] depends on, I guess I do. I’m one of those pandemic Peloton folks. I literally visit the Stanford shopping mall store. The day before it closed, it was like, I, you know, I’ve been a gym goer for the last 15, 16 years. And then when Adobe sent out a notice that, Hey, we should work from home.

I was thinking probably it wasn’t a good idea to be sweating next to someone, you know, at the gym. And so that Sunday, I remember. I made an appointment to go into the Peloton store. And that was the last day they were opened. I got on a bike. I’ve never cycled before I’ve, hadn’t done any spin classes before.

And I was like, okay, this is, this is what’s going to carry me through. And at the time, I didn’t know how long this thing was going to be. Um, yeah, we had on socially distant, right? But I sensed it. I went with my gut as a product leader and I bought the bike.

Host: That’s awesome. [00:37:00] That’s amazing. So, um, I think you’ve inspired all of us into working out more, being more artistic and building better products.

So with that, thank you so much, Lonnie. It was really awesome having you on the podcast today.

Guest: Thanks, Moto. Appreciate all those cold questions and love the conversation.