Cornerstone Careers — Product Strategy and Ops 2022
This will serve as the basis of discussion in terms of how we approach this year as an organization / principles we abide by / how we measure and keep each other accountable.
Our mission is to build a one-stop career preparation center to allow all Indonesian students especially from underserved demographics to be able to reach their full potential in their early professional journeys.
Objectives and key results
What are the three key goals that we must PRIORITIZE — based on INSIGHTS on what we’ve learnt over the past year about our customers, the reception to our programs, and our unbeatable advantages over competitors?
- To further expand our end-to-end pipeline to not only prepare students for the job search process — but to also strive to expand their networks and build their skills to be successful on the job itself.
Why is this important?: Thus far, our DJBC has had the opportunity to be a place where students can develop their job search skills. This is important but it’s not nearly enough if our vision is to prepare them to be great in their early careers. From market research, we’ve assessed that soft skills development is still crucial as this is something many students in our demographics are behind on. And from our students, we’ve realized that the barriers to be connected to companies even if they’ve developed great job search skills is still often very high.
What does this mean for us?: Success in this objective lies upon three key results: (1) a successful beta + first launch of ETTC, and (2) a differentiated offering for our Link+Match product (specific metrics to be discussed with the team later)
What roadblocks can we anticipate?: In regards to ETTC, our major roadblock will be to build out a cohesive experience for students that touches upon the problem of soft-skills development. We need to constantly assess whether or what we’re building is actually beneficial for them and for hiring managers. We can anticipate / plan for this by learning as much as we can from the Beta phase and potentially prototyping this with a hiring manager.
In regards to Link+Match, the major roadblock is the discovery phase for what makes this a product that is beneficial as a tool for our students. Link and Match cannot be a feature of DJBC / ETTC but has to be a core product in the Cornerstone experience and offering. It is our job to really dig in and attempt to understand the value proposition.
2. To “expand the pie” and capture student demographics that previously could not participate in our programs due to program bandwidth or lack of exposure. We still maintain a focus this year towards more ambitious third / fourth year university students.
Why is this important?: As of last year, there were approximately 300 students that we had to reject from our DJBC due to lack of available capacity. This number will grow as we continue to expand. If our focus is to build equity for all students — our current system will end up being exclusionary by nature if we don’t make an effort to address it. In addition, there are many students throughout Indonesia who would be strong candidates for our programs who simply don’t know about Cornerstone or are steered away by our messaging. This is what it means to capture student demographics that previously could not participate in our programs.
However, we must maintain a certain level of focus without spreading our wings too thin. We must tackle the low-hanging fruit first of serving ambitious students who already fall into our target demographic before — for example — tackling students who are not in that target market (e.g. students who are not yet ambitious / don’t care about career yet). This is important because while the second target market is needed to tackle our long-term goals in the long-run, the effort required is different and thus will require a strategic effort to tackle that we do not yet have the bandwidth to accomplish.
What does this mean for us?: Success in this objective lies upon three key results: (1) conducting discovery and launch for an asynchronous DJBC-like program that students who are not accepted to DJBC / don’t have time for DJBC can do, (2) increasing awareness and retention of Cornerstone through successful marketing / growth efforts, and (3) successfully completing our rebranding of Cornerstone to be more targeted towards our demographics of students
What roadblocks can we anticipate?: In regards to the asynchronous DJBC program — one roadblock we need to anticipate is the design of the program itself. This is likely not going to be a simple copy and paste solution. Thus, effort needs to be placed on making sure we understand what a good asynchronous product looks like as well as how to structure the delivery in a way that benefits students.
In regards to marketing / growth efforts, the main roadblocks that exist will be on retention and sustainable growth in reach. First, how do we create a platform where students can continue to get value even outside of our programs? And second, are we able to continue finding new ways to reach student demographics that are not aware about Cornerstone?
In regards to branding efforts, the main roadblocks that exist is regarding inertia. Branding will have to work with marketing / growth to ensure that our messaging and our positioning of Cornerstone is aligned to what our customers want + our vision.
3. To continue to focus on outcomes, quality, and capturing end-impact for students after taking part in our programs
Why is this important?: By far the most important metric is whether or not we’ve actually helped students or not. It doesn’t matter how many Instagram followers we have or how many participants join our program. What matters is simply whether or not our students were better off than they were and are able to capture “great outcomes” (however we define it) through what we do as Cornerstone.
What does this mean for us?: We need to put in place systems to understand whether students are actually successful or not post-programs. While proxies like NPS (satisfaction of program) might help to assess in the short-term as a way to get feedback, we also need to find ways to keep track of students and where they go.
In addition, a huge part of outcomes and quality is also making sure our programs are as good as possible. In our last iteration of DJBC, due to being overloaded with 200 students and 40 mentors — we noticed a lot of churn and attendance problems with both sides of the network. DJBC / ETTC will need to ensure that this is something that is addressed going forward.
Potential roadblocks: Creating the right operational infrastructure to support a certain # of students and mentees will be hard work. We need the right team to do this and the right automation to prevent unnecessary large work (for example, making sure mentees stay the 4 weeks, making sure mentors are engaged)
What are we not prioritizing:
- Building overly complicated solutions (e.g. a tech platform) for company growth. While this is a “nice-to-have” this is not a priority at the moment. Only build this if it serves a purpose (seamless for companies — if a tech platform; not just a platform / tech for tech’s sake)
- Getting revenue; for now, Cornerstone will not be focused on making a monetization model for our programs unless we find the right way to approach it. We will still be approaching developing Cornerstone from a non-profit / equity-centered angle.
- Community — not necessarily a priority at the moment. We don’t really have to put so much effort into building events for DJBC students that have been through our programs before. Acquisition and activation is more important for us. Any student that we’ve touched before is the one we track for success metrics.
Roadmap for 2022 (Tentative timeline of programs)
March — April: DJBC #4
April — May/June: ETTC Beta
By June: Deploy beta of the asynchronous version of DJBC
June/July — Aug: DJBC #5
August — Sep/Oct: ETTC #1
Nov — Dec: DJBC #6
- Team structure and objectives
Executive Board: Nathan Gunawan (CEO), Madeleine Setiono (COO), Elaine Indra (CSO), Gavin Adrian (Co-CPO), Sabrina (Co-CPO)
- Each member of the Executive Board will directly support each team as a strategic advisor. The goal of the Executive Board is to provide decision-making support for the organization but also to (1) build up great team leaders, (2) support each part of the organization, and (3) ensure that we’re ruthlessly aligned to our strategy and objectives.
DJBC Live Product Team (supported by either Gavin or Sabrina): Deron (Lead); will likely need to recruit more people — aka dedicated Ops people, PMM. Objective for this year is to refine and not scale but rather address the operational challenges we faced in objective #3. To talk later.
DJBC Asynchronous Product Team: Still in discovery phase — Gavin and Madeleine to build out initial prototype by June 2021. Might require additional support (Diaz?)
ETTC Product Team (supported by Nate): Jen (Lead), Andrew S., Winston, Vida; likely will need 1–2 more people supporting Ops; objective this year is to use the beta as a test-and-learn for the launch
Link and Match Product Team (supported by Elaine): Noah (Co-Lead), Jeremy (Co-Lead), Timotius H.; objective to be discussed with the team
Growth (supported by Elaine): Nathan K. (Lead), Beatrice (Lead — CA); objective to be discussed with the team
Branding (supported by Madeleine and Nate): Giovanni (Lead), Archie, Sato, Aktsa; objective to be discussed with the team
Marketing (supported by Sabrina): Olivia (Lead), Natasya, Dwi, Joana, Adrian, Nathan, etc.; objective to be discussed with the team
- Meeting cadence and goals
- Biweekly meeting ; 30 minutes — high level updates on what people throughout the organization should care about (vs. nitty-gritty things)
- One person presents (someone in our Executive Board) — before the meeting itself, whoever presents gathers exactly what needs to be presented from individuals
Connection Dinners / Events (Social Chair — Archie?)
- Intentional meetings designed to foster connections throughout Cornerstone; once in a while you could invite cool people to speak
- Monthly basis
- Everyone eventually has the chance to meet and connect with everyone in the organization (e.g. Marketing team has an event with DJBC team, and rotates, etc.)
Team Leadership Meetings
- Who’s who: Exec Board + Team Leads
- The purpose of this: Allowing us to dig into granular, specific things with the entire leadership team and to problem solve together; of course, it’s better if things are addressed outside of this meeting as well
- Biweekly (on weeks without All-Teams) — 1 hour meeting
- On a monthly basis we will look at OKR’s
Exec Meetings / Impromptu
- Who’s who: Impromptu
Quarterly Strategy meetings (Town Hall)
- Everyone listens in — 1.5 hours quarterly
- At every quarter (every 3 months) we need a time that the whole Cornerstone meets together and we look at everyone’s OKR and see where it lands and where we are in terms of accomplishing our objectives
- And if necessary, we refresh our objectives and funnel out that vision
- The purpose is to rile people up and get them re-excited about the vision and what we’re accomplishing
- Every team (not lead) prepares 3–4 slides on what their progress / objectives are (speed dating mode) — this should be a fun event! What they’re most proud of.
- Executive Board members in charge of teams will set up a 1–1 meeting time to meet together next week (if you haven’t done this yet with your team please do it ASAP before meeting with Exec) and go over the document you all should have created. In this meeting, you all will flesh out — similar to this document — a coherent strategy and quantifiable metrics for YOUR individual team that is aligned to our organizational strategy and priority for the year.
- Our next meeting (January 30) — we will go over everyone’s built up objectives and key results for this year. Team leads be prepared to present 5–10 minutes each on this.