Meet the Team: Jordan Ho, VP of Product
Welcome to Meet the Team, a monthly series that introduces you to the great talent and leadership at Label Insight. This month we’re excited to introduce our VP of Product, Jordan Ho.
Jordan Ho - VP of Product
So Jordan, you lead the product team here at Label Insight. Tell me a little about how long you’ve been with the company and what your role entails?
Well, I’ve been with Label Insight since December of 2014 so, coming up on two years. The product team’s role is to work to set a clear roadmap for our products and make sure the rest of the team builds and executes to that roadmap. We also focus on aggregating all of our customer feedback across various channels so we can help our product continue to evolve in a positive way. My role specifically is primarily around the strategy and helping the team focus on our top priorities.
What is a typical day like for you?
On a typical day I spend as much time as possible sitting in on stand up meetings to understand what's being worked on. (Do you actually sit in the stand ups? Ha, I sit and stand, it depends on the day.) I try to help the group answer any questions that are holding them back from progress or unblock any issues that have come up.
I also try to connect with the customer success and sales teams to understand customer feedback and the opportunities we’re hearing in the field. I also like to sit on a customer call when possible to hear the questions our prospects have.
What’s your favorite thing you get to do at Label Insight?
I like getting in deep with our cross-functional teams to help them uncover a problem. Even more than that, I love when in the process of exploring the problem we determine that what we thought was the problem isn’t….and it’s something else entirely. We get to the point where we’re about to figure it out and we’re like oh, wait, it’s actually this! That’s always a good feeling because I know we’re accomplishing something important to our success. That’s probably my favorite part - or playing werewolf to get to know the team.
What would you say is your most valuable skill when it comes to your current role?
I’d say my most valuable skill is either communications (I’ve got people skills!) or being an objective sounding board. Whether it’s in the context of product owners, UX, design, engineering, or something else, both are really helpful. Being a good sounding board for all those other groups and helping them consider things through a different lens is important to ensuring that we’re being intentional about all our decisions.
What’s your favorite memory from Label Insight so far?
Well, the day we got the cold brew coffee keg in the office definitely stands out in my mind! But I would say the first time we got an inbound call from a large customer might be my favorite. It was this amazing moment where we had spent so much time trying to find this type of customer and here an SVP reached out to us on their own. They called our main number and asked “is someone from sales available?” He really gave us a lot of insight as to how a large CPG company would think about the things we do. It was just such a great moment. It was like we’d been looking for sasquatch and he just walked into our lobby and sat down. It really validated what we had been doing and that we were right about where the industry was headed.
What do you think interested them and got them to call?
It was the early days of our strategy and we had spent a lot of time with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) so they knew a lot about our solution and how we were approaching it. That was one of the most helpful things because it helped us get to know the people who are interested in our solution and helped them get to know us too.
Why is what we’re doing at Label Insight important? Why does it matter?
The consumer demand for information is only going to increase. Where we come in is we provide the ability to scale and understand that data to be able to satisfy consumer demand. It’s not just the fact that we have this technology but the way that we approach problem solving using it that makes us valuable. Sure, we have a lot of data but it’s about what you can use the data to do and what problems you solve with it that matters.
What do you think the future of transparency in food looks like? How about consumer demand overall?
We're tackling really interesting product problems right now around how to manage massive amounts of data. Fulfilling the consumer demand for transparency takes a lot of time and attention and our customers rely on us to help them with their customers. I see the future including the ability to personalize the in-store shopping experience for each individual customer. There’s only one physical layout a store can have but that shouldn’t limit us.
If consumer gets access to data presented in a way they can understand, they don’t have to rely on the physical placement of the product to find what they’re looking for. For instance, there’s no “Whole30” section but, with our deep attribution, people could be directed to the exact type of products they’re looking for regardless of where they are in the store. They would no longer need to rely on the physical placement of items to identify the things they want. I think of it like when you’re shopping online and you can search and filter and then different results are displayed for you. Plus, there are recommended items based on things you already like or based on your search criteria. This can’t happen in a physical store but if we could direct people to what they’re looking for and use technology to point out the attributes they care about most, it’d be a really enhanced shopping experience.
What are the most common questions you’re asked?
Internally, I’m often asked about the roadmap of our products. People want to know where we’re going and how it all fits together. Though I do also get asked why the cold brew keg is empty.
Externally, it’s more like “how do we utilize this in our business?” But then, when people start to connect what we offer with what they need, the lightbulb goes on. They see what else they could do with the data and ask questions like “so can we do this with it too?” I really enjoy when we get to that point.
Those have been some pretty deep questions. Let’s talk about some fun stuff. What’s a fun fact about you? Or better yet, what’s up with your Twitter handle @sneakstar?
I love sneakers - I’ve always been into them and in early days when I registered for a Twitter account I was like “do I pick my name or my ‘screen name’?” By the time I wanted to switch to my name, my name was gone. The name still fits though; I’ve got over 100 pairs of sneakers - a lot of Nike and Jordans. I’ve been a sneakerhead since 4th grade. Another fun fact: I’m a villager, not a werewolf.
What gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning?
I don’t actually like to get out of bed in the morning... But when I do drag myself out of bed every day it’s usually because I’m working on solving an interesting problem with our product or I’m going to eat somewhere cool Chicago has so many great places to check out.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Chicago?
Kai Zan is probably my favorite. Eating is an activity for me - I prefer to live to eat versus eating just to live. I like to think I help my friends who are more “eat to live” enjoy food as an experience.
That’s great, food is the best! So, what is an item on your bucket list? Any specific restaurant you want to try?
Actually visiting Antarctica is pretty high on my list. While I love traveling to places where I can experience the culture, the people, the food....I think it’d be really cool to go someplace where it’s not so much about the culture and more just about the planet. Not a lot of people go there and it’s so foreign it’d really put everything else I know into perspective. Not sure what they eat there tho. Whatever it is… I’m game.
Finally, what makes you proud to work at Label Insight?
As a company we’re really passionate about transparency - it goes beyond just food. It goes into how we run the company, how we interact with each other, the decisions that are made and why we’re making them as a company. Transparency across the board is part of the Label Insight ecosystem and that is important to me. Oh, and we’re really good at werewolf.
Want to learn more about Label Insight’s approach to product data? Request a quick consultation call to get started and ask any burning questions you may have.