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A Day in The Life

Troy Burton, Head of Product

Minneapolis, Minnesota

6:30 a.m. (CST) 

I generally wake up around this time, starting my day typically with some kind of workout like yoga, a walk, or weightlifting. I’m learning to speak Japanese so I usually devote some time to those lessons as well. 

7:15 a.m.

I make a double espresso. Sometimes I add water, sometimes cream, but always with 2 shots. 

7:30 a.m.

I check on the latest news across tech, sports, and anything related to our practice areas of healthcare, cyber, and national security. I come across interesting content that’s been posted to Slack or sent directly to an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). One of my main goals as Head of Product is to assist EIR’s in transforming their business plans and visions from slideware to software. 

7:40 a.m. 

I help resolve any scheduling conflicts with my family and summarize everything for them in a text message. Honestly, my wife Heidi does this every day. I only help if there’s an issue. This is an effective way for us to see what key activities are going on for the day. 

7:45 a.m.

I check on the homework that my daughter Sunni completed last night and inquire about her test today– she says she’s ready! I make breakfast. It’s always something quick. 

8:00 p.m.

I say goodbye to Sunni as she heads off to school. She’s a senior in high school now. While she’s very cool; she’s also a little stressed. She’s feeling the pressure as she awaits responses from colleges. She is very excited about her options, and we enjoy being on this journey with her. No matter where she goes, we believe her experience will be amazing! 

8:20 a.m.

Some days, I drive my son Carter to school. He’s currently in 8th grade. He thinks he’s the big man on campus, but I know he’s got a long way to go. I chat with him about school and what assignments he’s working on. We also talk about basketball or football or any upcoming games he has. 

8:25 a.m. 

Since espresso is one of my favorite things in the world, I order an Americano from the Starbucks app on my drive. This Americano lasts me through the morning, and it also increases my Delta SkyMiles – classic Win/Win. 

8:30 a.m.

I’m back at my desk catching up on all the things that have happened since I logged off last night. I check my inbox, review the latest designs provided by Chris, Red Cell Partners’ Senior Product Designer, and confirm my schedule for the day. Typically, Chris will crank out some cool designs overnight and I am always excited to share my thoughts. Chris and I are focused on designing seamless, and intuitive user experiences that produce value and a return on investment to our customers. We enjoy iterating and testing our assumptions in an effort to improve effectiveness and product usability. 

10:00 a.m.

I conduct product research based on topics that emerged from a recent customer meeting or from content highlighted in the latest news. At Red Cell, I often collaborate with talented Ops team members like Nathan and Sophie on this essential task. My approach involves analyzing the research using a product perspective, raising questions such as: 

– Can this technology be leveraged to significantly enhance or streamline a process? 

– How are our competitors approaching this, and how can we set ourselves apart? 

– Is this a novel idea, and how easily can it be replicated? 

– Does it provide value, usability, or a return on investment? 

– How can it be further refined or developed? 

11:00 a.m. 

One of my first scheduled appointments today is an interview I’ll be conducting with a prospective candidate for a lead product position. While I have a regular set of interview questions, the candidate’s resume has piqued my interest. Based on their resume and a recent post they made on LinkedIn, I’ve prepared some additional, tailored questions. I’m very excited to meet them and explore if they have the potential to join our product team. 

12:00 p.m.

One of the amazing aspects of Red Cell’s work environment is an emphasis on a communicative culture that keeps everyone informed and involved in key leadership decisions, actions, and progress. To contribute effectively to this culture, I ensure I participate in our internal stand-up meetings. These meetings are an opportunity for me to provide updates and to stay informed about the initiatives my colleagues are working on. This communicative culture enhances team collaboration, increases transparency, empowers employees, and provides a forum for fast problem resolution. 

1:00 p.m.

Much like our Red Cell stand-up meetings, there are focused strategy sessions for our healthcare, cyber, and national security practices. During these sessions, leaders present their strategies and plans, from which I obtain objectives, key results and insights into their vision and roadmaps. These meetings foster a spirit of collaboration, each with their own unique terminology and cultural nuances. My role is to take key action items for the Product and Engineering team, so we can direct our research and development efforts to support their goals. 

1:45 p.m.

I’m brewing my final double espresso of the day and it’s whipped up sweet and frothy. I guess if I’m going to do caffeine this late, it might as well be a treat! 

2:00 p.m.

Our product and engineering teams have worked with the Ops team and an EIR to finalize a prototype tailored for a potential client. We have a presentation later today to demonstrate the product’s effectiveness in addressing their specific problems. This meeting will confirm product-market fit, functionality, and measurable outcomes are in line with the client’s needs. 

This approach is essential for the product team as it allows us to incorporate feedback to improve our overall solution, ensures cross-functional collaboration and provides us with evidence of concepts that validate the prototype or proof of concept. 

We are thrilled about the opportunity to present our innovative solutions to prospective clients and are confident our efforts will ultimately result in a strong collaboration and partnership with our customers. 

4:00 p.m.

In the customer meeting, the EIR and Ops team lead the discussion, while the Product and Engineering team provide support and capture key points. As Head of Product, I am there to directly absorb the customer’s feedback, understand their issues, and pinpoint their needs. Attending these meetings is crucial; it ensures that product development aligns precisely with customer expectations and streamlines insight gathering and our response to customer requirements. 

5:00 p.m.

After the meeting, the EIR, Ops, Product, and Engineering teams debrief to confirm our understanding of the customer’s feedback. We align on next actions, prepare summaries for communication, and share our enthusiasm about the discussion. These meetings often leave us feeling that we’ve advanced our product and met the customer’s expectations. This often boosts morale among those involved in preparing and presenting to the customer. 

And although we have taken a step in the right direction, we know and appreciate that there is still a tremendous amount of work to do before we can celebrate. 

We are standing at the launch pad, our plans are clear, our spirits are sky-high, and we are ready for the journey that lies before us.

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