At AlphaSights, an Innovative Product Culture Drives Growth

by Olivia McClure
March 31, 2021
AlphaSights
AlphaSights

Coming up with the idea for a great product is only half the struggle. Putting those ambitious designs into action is where the real heavy work comes in. 

That’s why strong, scaling companies need product leaders. While their day-to-day work often involves defining a roadmap, performing product demos or working cross-functionally with other teams, their true role, in a sense, is to safeguard the dreams for a product and see them reach fruition. 

These are all things that AlphaSights Global Head of Product and Strategy Alexei Kalveks knows very well. Since joining the knowledge services firm in 2017, Kalveks has witnessed the company broaden its product capabilities and define a powerful culture built upon innovation and collaboration. 

Kalveks credits the success of their product culture to what he calls “aligned autonomy.” He said it’s this combination of shared ambition and unrelenting focus that helps drive the company forward. 

As the product team remains trained on diversity and technological transformation, Kalveks said he’s sure AlphaSights will continue to refine its product vision — and make an impact on its clients. 

Built In NYC checked in with Kalveks to learn how AlphaSights’ innovative product culture is key to its continual growth. 

 

Alexei Kalveks
Global Head of Product and Strategy

What role do you play on AlphaSights’ product team?

As AlphaSights’ global head of product and strategy, I head both our product and our strategy teams. The product team’s role is to understand how we can better serve our clients, translate this understanding into a product vision, and ultimately ship technology solutions that deliver an impact for clients and the business. On the other hand, the strategy team is focused on problem-solving and planning for the commercial and operating aspects of our business. 

The great thing about leading both teams is that we can collaboratively set a coordinated strategy spanning both technology and business operations. This coordination drives faster growth and a stronger client experience.

 

A Commitment to Understanding

“At its heart, our product vision is to combine the best of human intelligence and technology to connect our clients with the knowledge they need comprehensively, quickly, seamlessly and safely,” Kalveks said. 

 

What do you think makes AlphaSights’ product culture unique?

At AlphaSights, we are executing and building on a hugely ambitious product vision spanning a number of different user groups and domains. The foundation of our product culture is “aligned autonomy,” and without this, we wouldn’t be able to push ahead on multiple dimensions simultaneously.

The “alignment” aspect is achieved via our product vision and the clear success metrics defined and agreed upon for each pod. My academic background is in mathematics and I place massive value on metrics and analytics. I’ve worked hard for years to embed analytically-informed decision-making practices at AlphaSights within product and across other functions.

The “autonomy” aspect refers to the fact that our product managers are, and must be, firmly in the driver’s seat for product development in their domains. They focus keenly on their products, become experts on their clients’ needs and draw on this to discover and plan out the roadmap for their pods.

 

AlphaSights
AlphaSights

 

How has the product culture as a whole evolved during your time with AlphaSights?

When I started at AlphaSights in 2017, our product team was nearly nonexistent and we were primarily executing feature requests from within the business. Alongside other senior hires on the data and engineering side, we set about redefining our product and tech strategy and architecture. As a result, we now have substantial and highly-active product and product design teams and have established a product- and client-focused technology innovation culture. 

Additionally, we have brought significant structure to our technology organization, setting up technology pods spanning product, product design, analytics and engineering. Our pods now work as closely-knit, autonomous teams that collaborate regularly with clients and other business stakeholders. It’s amazing to see how much innovation can happen when technology pods are empowered to drive the innovation in their domains while still operating within a collaborative macroculture.
 

I have total confidence that our culture will only become stronger over the years ahead with our team’s persistent learning and adaptation.”


AlphaSights is scaling. Besides the more than 40 open roles across the company, what else does scale look like at the company?

AlphaSights’ core business is scaling rapidly, which alone creates an energized and exciting baseline working environment. On top of this, our technology scope and capability are scaling even more rapidly. Overall, the result is a very fast-paced and interesting product environment with an enormous level of opportunity to set up new domains and drive a positive impact for our clients. We are discovering and solving new problems every day, experimenting with bold product innovations and learning a lot. I personally find the day to day at AlphaSights fascinating.

 

Culture And Growth Go Hand in Hand

“We believe our aligned autonomy model will continue to support us well through our scaling journey,” Kalveks said. “Our aim is to continuously de-bottleneck our innovation processes so we can maintain and even increase our growth trajectory.”

 

As AlphaSights continues to scale, how do you ensure your product culture stays intact?

I have huge confidence in our team and other colleagues at AlphaSights. The company is filled with extremely smart people who are driven and laser-focused on results for our clients. When I reflect on our scaling journey over the past four years, it appears to have been entirely positive for our product culture. Culture is naturally something that evolves as you add more diverse individuals to your team. We carefully consider whether applicants share our values, such as drive and continuous learning in particular, and as a result, our culture has improved with our team’s growth and the new perspectives we’ve brought in. I have total confidence that our culture will only become stronger over the years ahead with our team’s persistent learning and adaptation. 

 

AlphaSights
AlphaSights

 

Why is right now an exciting time to join AlphaSights? 

Honestly, there is going to be an avalanche of technology-based innovation in our industry over the next few years. AlphaSights is not yet a household name, due in part to the fact that it’s B2B. But the company already is and will continue to be a huge growth story, which creates an enormous opportunity for those involved. We were recently highlighted as one of Europe’s unicorns by Sifted (backed by the Financial Times) and are incredibly excited by what lies ahead. If you are smart and driven, want to be at the forefront of innovation within a rapidly growing and evolving industry, and wish to work with other driven individuals focused obsessively on providing value to clients, then AlphaSights is the company for you.

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