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Episode 138 - From Product Leadership to CEO and Saving the World from Stupid Smart Stuff (with Yana Welinder, CEO & Co-Founder @ Kraftful)

Women in Product

Episode 138: From Product Leadership to CEO and Saving the World from Stupid Smart Stuff

Yana Welinder, CEO & Co-Founder @ Kraftful

21 Aug 2022

21 Aug 2022 Yana Welinder head shot

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Content Warning - May Contain Adult Language or Themes
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About the Episode

Whatever her job, Yana Welinder has always had a passion for improving broken experiences. She did this as Product Lead at Wikimedia, she did this as Head of Product at If This Then That, and now she's here as CEO of her own IoT firm, Kraftful.

Here are some of Yana's insights on IoT & startups:

Usability in IoT is broken & someone needed to fix it

Yana was Head of Product at IFTTT & they have an important mission - to make IoT devices interoperable. Yana wanted to solve an even greater pain - how to make them work well at all. She started a company to do this

The IoT space is full of passionate early adopters & moving to the mainstream is hard

Early adopters have very technical needs & want more features. Mainstream users want good quality & ease of use. Early adopters are your biggest champions but you need a plan to scale past them

Fundraising for IoT was hard, even more so because she's a woman

Many investors have been burned by hardware projects and people want to knock you down. Also, not everyone is Adam Neumann - underrepresented founders can barely raise off the back of successes, let alone failures.

It's important to have an eye on product misuse

AirTags have been in the news for stalking, but Apple have at least made an effort to fix that. Not everyone has their resources, but it's important to at least keep an eye on digital rights groups and try to stay clean

The most important thing as a founder is to validate you have an actual problem

Don't just throw yourself into something cool - make sure there's appetite for what you're building, go as lean as possible to start with and leverage No Code tools to help you get started quick

Listen to the episode for this and more!

Contact Yana

You can reach out to Yana on Twitter.

Yana Welinder and me before the recording