108. Joana Cardoso: Startup-like growth, working in the “backstage” and managing emotions

3 min readJul 25, 2022

In this episode, João was speaking to Joana Nunes Cardoso, Head of New Product Development at Cofidis and one of the speakers of the first Product Weekend event.

Joana has a long experience in the personal credit space as well as in managing the development and launching of innovative products. Besides being the head of new product development she is also a theatre and gymnastics lover, a mother and an enthusiastic person with strong convictions.

Time notes:

[0:10] Introduction of Joana

[0:55] Theatre as the most magical place of Joana’s childhood

What I enjoyed the most about the theatre was not the show itself, but it was the backstage.

[6:20] Joana’s experience in gymnastics and balancing between other disciplines

It took my youth years. But I felt it wasn’t enough.

[8:55] Professional experience at Cetelem and Cofidis

I see them as the first disruption in banking.

[13:05] Ending up in a financial institution while studying communication

That was a surprisingly hard part for me to up-skill my knowledge.

[15:20] First contact with product and transition from marketing to product

What we were calling product was to take good care of the good old 4Ps of marketing.

[21:20] Challenges caused by a lack of a technical background

What a game changer it is when you stop talking about “we” and “them”.

I really like to understand the “why”. But back then, I couldn't ask the questions.

[25:18] What would 18-yer-old Joana choose to study instead?

It makes sense to complement the subjects. Sometimes maths or physics is boring because you don’t connect them with the real world.

You have to assume that you know almost nothing.

[27:45] Putting customer experience first and having the mindset of failure and the main learning

[34:33] The biggest challenge as a PM and the impact of emotions

Having this relation within the team in different disciplines is really teamwork.

[38:43] Favourite things about working in product — from ideas to feedback

[39:47] Lessons people can learn from the product management

Accept that you can fail and it could be wrong. But knowing what is the plan B is important.

[41:15] Advice for starting a career in a big company

Understand the why. Because in most cases the answer is “because we always did like that”. Don’t stop questioning.

[43:00] Coffee with a historical figure — which one?

We complain about not having the tools. They were creating the tools.

[45:45] Recommendations.

📚 3 favourite books

📕 The Lusiads by Luís de Camões

📕 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

📕Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling

🏙 2 favourite cities

🇵🇹 Lisbon

🇺🇸 New York

🎙 2 favourite podcasts

💁🏽‍♀️Mulheres do Producto

🍴Product Lunch


This podcast was hosted by João Moita from Product Weekend, with sound edited by Miguel Sousa and production help by Productized, André Marquet and Evelina Bogdiun.




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