AMA with our Chief Product Officer, Fernando 🎉

I’ve been toying with the idea of upgrading to Premium. I think if it included a number of free airport lounge visits, I’d definitely do it.

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Choripan has been voted best recipe ever! :slight_smile: This Argentinian Choripán Recipe Wins Summer | Saveur

Peter_G, think is a combination of two factors. First, we are accelerating pace of innovation so we have increasingly more exciting things to share. Second, definitely keen to engage as much as possible so you will see more from us here, that is very much on purpose.

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It’s the simplest, yet most delicious of inventions: sausage in bread.

Of course that description does not do it any justice! It’s an incredibly tasty Argentine chorizo inside a beautiful, fluffy and fresh bread stick.
The Argentine chorizo is unlike any sausage I’ve ever tasted - and I have been far and wide!

Ones from a street cart in Hurlingham, where my hangout was during my stay there. But I had them in other places too, including the choricampi somewhere in Palermo I think, now that was a whole new take on it! (Bread made and baked around the sausage)
The price sounds good (Google gives it as £1.50), about what it used to be ish. I would so love to visit again.
Thank you for indulging me!!

Well, my wife and I have a joint Nationwide FlexPlus account. For £13/month it gives us both worldwide travel insurance, worldwide mobile phone insurance, and UK and European breakdown cover (the top tier of AA, including home start and all that - we’ve used it twice and the service was fantastic), plus unlimited commision-free cash and purchases worldwide.

I’m afraid Monzo would either have to match this or do better to be considered, plus it would also depend on the quality of service when you actually used any of the benefits.

(Or you could throw in a weekly choripan delivered and I would sign up today :heart_eyes:)

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They’d have to add plus/premium to joint account first :eyes: :see_no_evil:

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Great, another AMA! I’ve been reading plenty before, time to get some questions in this time.

How do you manage setting priorities?
Bonus: how do you balance new features and maintenance / updates of existing ones?

What is the current flow for a new feature in Monzo to be released? (If not too confidential)

How much do you expect Monzo to change in other regions like the EU?

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Ooooor extend insurance cover to immediate family members, whether they are travelling with the account holder or not.

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I would love this! I think the ombre looks cool, but practically speaking I find it really hard to use the colours when there are two different colours in each one. I’d love to be able to make the normal categories and the custom ones the same colours, so I can group them using colour too.

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Yes this is something that would get me to sign up to plus. I had Nationwide FlexPlus for many years though stopped it recently as haven’t been travelling as much and saving to move house. Insurance to cover UK travel that covers for users when tannins go wrong and you are staying with friends and family over a certain distance/travel time away would be nice. Most only cover you if you are staying in paid for accommodation in the UK.

We don’t have a car so breakdown cover is not relevant to us.

Mobile insurance is more a nice to have them a requirement, but needs to cover all family members in the household (same planning ahead students in their university accommodation).

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Why is there so much feature disparity between the Android and iOS version of the apps?

It’s not something I notice in apps from other banks (suggesting to me it’s something to do with the way Monzo operates). Is it viewed as something that needs to be addressed?

Aside from being irritating for many users, I imagine it must create issues from a customer support perspective.

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Thanks for your questions! Thought I’d answer these together.

I see Monzo becoming a financial control centre, which to me in simple terms means the best place to get the most out of your money. This is something you’ll be really familiar with and we’ve spoken about since the very start of Monzo. I’m definitely on board with that strategy. A simple way to think about this is “the more I use Monzo, the better I do”. It should encompass the entirety of the financial products that matter for our users.

There is a story our founder Jonas always talks about which resonates with me. The fact that his partner Leah did much better than him financially, even though they have the same income, because of a series of small decisions she made over time about her money.

We truly want to make sure using Monzo means you maximise your opportunities like Leah did, so you actually end up better off.

What resonates with me most is the opportunity to get credit (which to this day is non-existent in Argentina) and invest wisely, while always being in control. The impact of people investing wisely, particularly at a young age is massive. Even if you put aside a small amount every month.

So, how can we help you do all those things? Well, first they need to be easy for you to discover and try. Second, you need to trust we have your best interests at heart. Finally, we should help you learn what to do next.

For example, we need to help you stay on top of your bills, share some expenses with your friends, save some money while you spend, and get on top of your monthly budget. Plan properly for life events, like vacations, buying a car, or a house. We need to help you save for these events and get credit when it actually helps, and build your credit history if you need to. These are all things we are working on!

Then, you will start to see a lot of these automated “helpers” to enable you to plan better, like Safety Nets. Adding a savings product was clearly a much-needed building block. And one we’ve now started to build on top of with further innovations like this – something that makes it way easier to ensure you set enough aside for a rainy day while continuing to earn interest. Expect to see much more of these innovations for each building block.

We’ll also definitely do more to help you save some money when spending, like fun and meaningful rewards. And we’ll continue to do more on savings and wealth/investments.

What this also means for Monzo though, is that we shouldn’t rush any of this stuff just so we can say “me too”. The most important thing is we do this in the “Monzo way”. Always on your side, being honest and transparent, helping you learn, taking stress out of it, no gimmicks. If Monzo suggests you should do something, there’s no catch.

Our focus so far has been on doing a lot of the foundational work that will enable us to do this. That includes product work that will let us launch more things rapidly, as well as things like governance, risk and regulatory work to make sure we’re doing it all safely. Which is definitely a key building block for serious players in this industry who are here for the long run.

When you bring all of these together you can expect many new innovations at your fingertips through Monzo. Thus I think we’ll deliver more innovations over the next year than the last 2-3 years combined. So I am pretty excited about that personally.

Also – I am definitely enjoying lots and lots of steak. Pretty sure I’ll need to run a few miles per day once I return to get back into shape :slight_smile:

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For Monzo, it all starts with understanding the current user’s pain points or needs. We do tons of user research (both qualitative and quantitative). We go through thousands of bits of feedback every month for each area. I personally talk to customers directly almost every week and so does the team.

Once we have a clear idea we obviously interject it with our mission and principles. This gives us a good indication of “themes” we want to pursue. One of those themes for example could be “frictionless payments” or “meaningful rewards”.

Then we work together to understand where they fit. Is this a ‘metric team’ whose job is to move a metric (could be any metric really, including NPS/retention) or more like a “feature” team? Do we need to build a new team for it or can an existing team handle it?

It’s a very iterative process which obviously involves the engineers, designers, product managers, etc. At one point in the planning cycle we are ready to commit. Generally we make commitments on a quarterly basis. However, since we are still in the disruption/startup phase we keep things light so we can change them on the fly.

To reiterate, Monzo is both a mission and “user first” type of company, so we always anchor our product strategy on two things:

  1. How it supports our mission
  2. How it meets our customers’ needs or solves their problems

More often than not, the decision is obvious, so there are not many instances where a “final decision” is required. There are some cases where a decision might require the executive team’s formal signoff if it has bigger implications. But for most things, any decision would lie with me :slight_smile:

Argentinian food is amazing! Steaks “parrila” in Argentine lingo, dulce de leche, and mate are by far my favourites!

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Thanks for your answers - they’re really interesting!

Can I follow up on one thing? Do I infer a bias therefore towards first party products rather than aggregating your financial life across different providers?

I ask because I think this is the downside of the control centre analogy. In my head I see Monzo like a platform, or hub and spoke model. But I didn’t get that from your reply.

It would great to hear how you think about it! :pray:

Thanks again everyone for all your questions – I’ll be back to address more of these soon.

In the meantime, enjoy your bank holiday weekends! Thanks also to anyone who has voted for us in the British Bank Awards this week. Voting closes in Tuesday so I’ll just leave this here :eyes:

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Firstly thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed reply :grinning:

This really intrigued me that you split teams either by metrics or features. How do you find this works if they start in one route and then move to another?

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Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the plans for Joint accounts :crossed_fingers:

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Thanks for the reply. Let me clarify it a bit further.

We first think of addressing the user need. When it makes sense to provide a first party solution we’ll do so but on many other occasions it will be via other providers, or even both. If we can provide a great solution with other providers we’ll definitely do so. You can see a bit of that with savings already (we have both options) and that principle applies to most if not all foundational blocks.

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I’m still waiting for any response to the question I asked in post #6

Not a biggie tbh. In the end they always learn as they go which is the most important thing. One classic example is a team who is setup to move a metric but later realises they need a broader scope to do so. Thus, we can either expand the team accordingly or keep it as is but redefine the scope towards narrower pain points or features.

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Thanks David for posting and please remember to vote! The more votes the more questions answered! :slight_smile: (kidding)

I’ll be answering as many as I can over the weekend and hopefully get to all the popular ones if not all by Tuesday. Pls keep voting and sending questions/feedback our way

Some might disagree with this especially plus/premium interest rates not keeping up and even the IASP starting to slip down the ranks.

Understand there is more to the Monzo value than just the interest rates but it helps :wink:

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