Join a Data Product Mastermind Pod

Next Enrollment: 2024

My small-group coaching and peer-to-peer learning pod for senior data leaders seeking to create impact by scaling data product management practices in their organization.

4 dolphins outside the water

Are you convinced data products are the way to go, but worried about your ability to scale their impact across your org?

Are you a senior data leader tasked with scaling data product management practices within your org? 

Wondering if you're the only data product leader on this journey having the same challenges?

Now, imagine if:

  • You could tackle your data product scaling challenges with help from others who are ahead of you, or on the same journey
  • You had a small, quiet, private place to share your biggest challenges around data products with a small group of leaders like you who you could trust
  • You had some regular outside accountability, perspective and support from me—and a group of peers walking the same path—so that your data product scaling efforts had the best chance of being successful
  • You had confidence when reporting back to your executive leaders about your strategy and progress around scaling data products
  • When you ran into obstacale, or had a win worth celebrating, you had a place to share it, vent about it, or get recharged—all with people who "get" what you're doing

Introducing: Mastermind Pods!

My intimate, private support group for experienced data product leaders seeking help from me and their pod around scaling data product practices across their organizations.

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What is a Mastermind Pod?

A Mastermind Pod is my exclusive, 4 to 6-person peer-to-peer learning group and coaching service for data product leaders in senior/executive management tasked with scaling data products, data product management, and human-centered methods for designing ML and analytics solutions. All prospective pod members are screened by me personally, and each pod is designed to avoid industry competition and give you a wide diversity of perspectives. Mastermind Pods run on a semi-annual   (6-month) subscription basis, with an option to extend at the end.

Benefits of Enrolling

Large, free, open chat communities often have very little active conversation, and it's hard to form a good relationship in that environment when there is no curation. I am curating each Pod personally with the hope that you will form lifetime professional relationships with your Pod-mates. Over the 12 month period, being in a Mastermind Pod has several benefits that include:

  • A diverse group of people that I personally curate so that you have a creative hive-brain to tap when you need help, ideas, or feedback on your journey to build more useful, usable data-driven products. Pod members will be intentionally mixed by industry to avoid competition.
  • Monthly topic-driven discussions hosted by me: Over the year-long subscription, myself—along with possible guest hosts to be discussed with the cohort—will lead 12 monthly topic-driven discussions related to human-centered design for data products. Topics will likely vary based on the composition of the pod, their experiences, and your backgrounds—the data for which will be captured during the intake process. Subjects could include:
    • Human-centered design
    • Ethics in AI and thinking beyond the customer
    • Problem-driven, product-centric approaches to design
    • Design as as team sport (diverse teams; cross-functional collaboration)
    • Interface design + data viz
    • Design research and validation methods (e.g. usability studies, ride-alongs, collab. design) for uncovering unarticulated needs and pains
    • AI for external vs. internal customers
    • Leveraging empathy as a core skill
    • How to define success & quality
    • Model interpretability and XAI
    • Creativity, innovation, and improvisation
  • A safe place to ask honest questions…and to guide others with your own experience: Between the monthly video discussions, Pods are a place to get safe, outside, neutral advice from a close-knit group of like-minded people who share your aspirations around developing human-centered data products. This conversation takes place via Slack…and your own 1:1 conversations with your Pod-mates.
  • Get a handful of opinions on that new bold strategy…before you commit to it.
  • Learn from others' missteps…and help prevent your Pod-mate from making their own:  turn their advice into a career-boosting step inside your company.
  • A chance to help others when you have the greatest expertise - you may think you know little about XAI or data viz, but there's always somebody who may benefit from your story and your experience. You may find at times you're the pod's expert on a topic and the person with the most ability to elevate the group's knowledge.
  • Get a gut check from the Pod…before taking a risk: Gather a bunch of outside opinions on that product idea or design…before you go spend money building it.
  • Share a win...or a frustration...privately and turn the Pod's feedback into the support you need to skip the cautious step and instead, go for the giant leap.
  • Get a referral on a hire…or find your next career move - tap your Pod for leads, ideas, and networking when it's time to look for your next career move. If you're a leader who's hiring, tap your Pod's network for advice and help.

I'll be there too, throwing gasoline on your Pod's fire, contributing my opinion in the Pod Slack channels, occasionally seeding topics to warm things up at the start, and generally trying to help each Pod make the most of their 12-month journey.

What is a Mastermind Pod?

Who are Mastermind Pods for?

If you consider yourself an advocate for designing and building human-centered data products, and believe that the work to do this goes beyond the tools, math, and technology, then a Pod could be a good choice for you. I am envisioning Pods containing leaders from:

  • CxOs including CDO/CAO/CAIO/CPO
  • Data Science, BI, Analytics & Informatics Leaders
  • Technical Product Managers
  • AI Product Managers, Data Product Managers and CPOs
  • ML and Software Engineers
  • Design / UX / Data Visualization Professionals
  • Digital Experience/Transformation Leaders

What It's Like - Your Pod Experience

  • After you enroll, you'll go through a short intake questionnaire so I can match up the Pod members.
  • You and I will have a brief Meet/Greet Zoom call to make sure there is a good fit for you, and for the community. This is mostly a formality to ensure you understand the guidelines for participation and what is expected. While unlikely, I do reserve the right to deny your participation if I don't think it is in the best interest of the community (and you'll receive a full refund immediately if this happens).
  • Introduce yourself via a short video: Your private Pod Slack channel will be where you introduce yourself via a "selfie" video. The video is not required, but it is encouraged over a text based introduction.
  • Join the kick-off call: The first month's discussion will be a kick-off where you get to meet your Pod-mates and have an initial chat about people's goals for the year, and how the group can help itself.
  • Schedule 1:1 meet-greets:  while not required, I will encourage all Pod members to set up brief 15-min meet/greet calls with each other after the kick-off call, so that all members have met each other in a 1-on-1 capacity prior to the second month's discussion.
  • Participate in the monthly topic-driven discussions:  these are not slide-deck driven webinars featuring one talking head. While visuals are welcome, the goal here is to listen...and contribute. These will be via video using Slack. Keeping your video turned on at all times during these conversations is highly encouraged.
  • Between the monthly discussions, tap the private Slack channel for help, inspiration, and to provide advice. Members are also free to contact each other outside the Slack or via DM, but in general, I encourage people to keep as much conversation in the main channel for the benefit of the group. On special occasions, if you're looking for help from outside your official Pod, I am happy to try to arrange a discussion between you and a subscriber from another Mastermind Pod one-on-one—assuming that subscriber has special experience relevant to your situation, and is willing to chat with you.
  • At the end of the 12 months, gain priority access to join a new pod: if you liked the program, you can be first in line to join a new pod with new perspectives for the coming year (optional).

Is this a course or seminar?

No. I do offer a Self-Guided Video Course and Instructor-Led Seminar if you are looking for formal curriculum on how to apply human-centered design to data products.

Online Format

Mastermind Pods take place entirely online. Your pod will have it's own Slack channel. We will use Slack's text chat and Zoom for monthly discussions and email only to send out calendar invitations for calls.  You are free to DM/contact individuals in your Pod, but I encourage Pods to share as much to their channel as is possible.

Important Dates, Schedule & Time Commitment

  • Next Enrollment: Fall 2022.
    Notify me about future enrollments...
  • Membership Start Date and Pod Assignment: All members of a Pod will begin their annual 12-month membership period on the same date —aka the Pod start date. I will contact you with this date once your intake is complete, and I have placed you into a Pod, but it's typically around the first of the month following the enrollment period.
  • Schedule for Monthly Calls: The only formally scheduled commitments are the monthly talks I host with each pod. To accommodate a wide variety of time zones that applicants may be located in, the 1-hour talks will usually fall on Tues or Wed starting between 11am and 1pm ET, typically in the first week of each month. You will be notified of your precise time and date after our intake call and receive a calendar invitation for calls. In general, your monthly date/time for these calls will repeat (i.e. "always Tuesdays 11am"), however this is not guaranteed. In some situations, monthly talks may need to be rescheduled, and Brian will provide the pod with multiple options for rescheduling (majority rules). I will not be rescheduling calls due to absences although you may request a call be recorded if you have a planned absence.
  • Time Commitment: Beyond the scheduled calls, the rest of the time commitment is up to you and your pod as to how much you choose to engage with eachother. I find in similar groups I have been in that I probably spend ~1 hour/week of non-contiguous time in Slack asking questions/getting advice from my peers and find this helpful. You may find that you will use your pod to ask questions in "spurts," but keep in mind that your podmates are hoping you'll be there to assist them when they need help or have questions.

Pricing & Pod Types

Pricing is annual. You may choose from (2) pod types as described below.

WaveRider Pod Membership WaveMaker Pod Membership
Note: Space is very limited: I will only be offering (1) WaveRider Pod and (1) WaveMaker Pod in the Fall 2021 cohort.
Anyone can apply, however, these Pods are designed for people with one or more of these characteristics:

  • You have some fiscal or business responsibility—not just technical, engineering, or data duties
  • You may be an internal data product manager, a SAAS/software product manager, or responsible for a smaller line of business or enabling capability (i.e. AI/ML platform or single aspect of a larger product)
  • You probably have several years of experience behind you and want to move from making outputs to creating outcomes for your users
Anyone can apply, but these Pods are designed for leaders and executives who typically:

  • Have a CxO or SVP/MD title, or manage a major line of business
  • You manage a team of technical leads who need to improve their business, UX or customer empathy skills
  • You are responsible for scaling adoption of data products (AI, ML, analytics) or digital transformation
  • You lead a data team that is now being tasked with innovation (e.g. ideating on new products/services/digital experiences as an active partner to the business)
  • You lead a major design/UX organization that needs to upskill in the area of ML/AI/Analytics

Enrollment is currently closed.
Want a reminder when enrollment opens and the ability to register before the public?

*While I expect it to be rare, if I feel a WaveMaker pod may not be the best fit after our meet/greet call, you'll be refunded in full, or may choose to downgrade and join a WaveRider pod if space is available.

100% Money-Back Guarantee & Refund Policy 

After your Pod's kick-off call, you will have 60 days to cancel past the Pod start date and get a full refund, no questions asked.

If I cannot assign you to a Pod within 60 days of registering and payment, you may request a full refund with no questions asked.

If a Pod member leaves during the first 60 days and your Pod drops below the minimum Pod size, I will notify the Pod and you will have 7 days to request a full refund. If this occurs, the entire pod may continue meeting (if everyone agrees to), otherwise the pod will be paused until a new member joins. Once your Pod reaches the minimum size again, we will have a new kickoff call, and you will be entitled to a fresh 12 months of access.

Who is Brian (the guy running these Pods?)

My name is Brian T. O'Neill, and I turn ML and analytics into indispensable data products using human-centered design. I'm the founder and principal of Designing for Analytics, a designer, and I host the Experiencing Data podcast. You read my bio page and see what I'm up to now.

Qualifications / Requirements to Join

There are no formal qualifications around job titles, education, or anything else to participate in a Pod—just an interest in designing more human-centered data products. That said, networking is a social activity, and so much of what you get out of the Pod will be based on what you put into it through your own questions, responses, and contributions.

Policies, Participation Rules & Confidentiality

  1. Mastermind Pods adhere to the Chatham House Rule. In short, this means you are free to use the information shared in Pod text chats or live discussions, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. Do not share confidential information in your Pod unless you understand the risks and are aware there is no guarantee of your information remaining confidential.
  2. You are expected to contribute to conversations and the advancement of the Pod's knowledge. In short, this is not the place to just join and then just "lurk." If you are not participating actively in the calls and chat discussions, and your Pod-mates alert me that the Pod's value is diminished as a result, I will review your participation in the pod. If necessary, you will be removed from the pod without a refund—pro-rated or otherwise.
  3. To everyone, but especially participants who work for software companies, consultancies and services firms: you will not solicit members of your Pod—period. Pods are not the place for marketing or sales activities. If you Pod-mates request information about your services, by all means, feel free to have a discussion. If I find out your are soliciting your Pod-mates, you will be you will be removed from the pod without a refund—pro-rated or otherwise.
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