Yoni Balkind, Product Manager in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
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Yoni Balkind

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Location
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Toptal Member Since
May 20, 2019

Yoni is a commercially minded product manager with a legal background and a passion for productized services and online information tools. He is a certified Agile product owner with a business management diploma. His expertise includes market research, customer discovery, and business modeling, as well as the successful launch of MVPs. As a systems thinker and growth marketer, Yoni excels at automating workflows, building audiences, and generating sustainable revenue streams.

Project Highlights

GoLegal
Launched an online legal publication. Grew the readership to 150,000 per month with over 15,000 email subscribers.
eCommerce Store in Magento
Oversaw the development of an eCommerce store in Magento.
Alternative Student Financing in South Africa - Market Research
Conducted a research project to investigate the viability of introducing an income share agreement (ISA) financing model in South Africa. Interviewed industry experts and reviewed global case studies and research.

Expertise

Work Experience

Founder and Principle Consultant

2022 - PRESENT
Onyo Marketing
  • Founded an advisory firm for the legal and professional services industry. Assisted law firms with service design, productization, pricing, lead generation and management, client onboarding, content marketing, and online platforms.
  • Built a team of remote legal researchers and content producers to service legal clients.
  • Designed best practices around content strategies and lead generation for law firms, centered on alternative legal services.

Operations and Product Consultant

2021 - 2021
FlatFee Corporatiom
  • Helped get the product to launch through extensive iteration and design sprints, business modeling, and customer validation.
  • Conducted market research by identifying competitor products, reviewing and testing these, and defining a market position strategy for FlatFee Corp that addressed its strengths and weaknesses relative to competitors.
  • Worked with CEO to design pricing and GTM strategy.

Senior Product Manager

2017 - 2021
LexisNexis South Africa
  • Supervised the portfolio of legal information products spanning 30 areas of law.
  • Managed a distributed team of developers and content providers.
  • Oversaw the product life cycle across the web and mobile platform.
  • Initiated and drove a product UX redesign and relaunch.
  • Designed and implemented a workflow process for a distributed team.
  • Architected the pricing and marketing strategy in conjunction with sales and marketing function.
  • Promoted the product through speaking engagements, client demos and PR articles.
  • Achieved company leading annual revenue growth over a 4 year rolling period.

Product Manager

2014 - 2016
MultiChoice Pty Ltd
  • Launched a portfolio of country websites with country-specific marketing, self-service functions, and TV guide API integration.
  • Launched Android and iOS apps for leading sports news brand.
  • Managed the production of an eCommerce store built in Magento.

Product Portfolio Manager

2012 - 2014
CQS Technology Holdings
  • Oversaw a portfolio of software products for the financial services and corporate governance industries.
  • Produced tax software suite enabling accountants to bulk load, calculate, and e-file tax submissions for hundreds of clients at a time.
  • Supervised the transition from desktop legacy software to a browser-based solution.

GoLegal

Launched an online legal publication. Grew the readership to 150,000 per month with over 15,000 email subscribers.

Founded and deployed a thought leadership site for the legal industry and grew it organically into one of Africa's leading online legal information portals. Golegal was a profitable, largely automated business and was eventually sold in 2018.

Lexafari.com

http://lexafari.com

Founded and built an online marketplace for alternative legal services.

Lexafari is a first-of-its-kind global legal information platform helping business owners and legal counsel obtain legal information and find relevant legal services for their needs.

As a research platform, Lexafari provides legal guides and checklists for startups, business owners, and in-house counsel. Our global guides are designed to help readers with company formation and maintenance, global hiring, and IP protection, among others.

While our legal guides may attract our readers, our purpose is to help them find services that match their research topics.

eCommerce Store in Magento

Oversaw the development of an eCommerce store in Magento.

I managed a project centered around an eCommerce store selling TV hardware and optional installation services. It required an unusual sales and checkout flow to facilitate combined product and service sales and after-sales tracking.

Legal Heavies

http://www.legalheavies.co.za

Created an MVP/prototype for a lawyer directory. The concept of the directory was that it only listed individual lawyers, not law firms, and would allow users to contact lawyers with legal queries directly.

Legal Heavies was an MVP/prototype directory for lawyers. Its purpose was to showcase individual lawyers and their specific areas of experience and expertise. The premise is that people who need legal help will be dealing closely with a specific professional. Most directories list law firms, but potential clients are more likely to send an inquiry when there is a specific individual lawyer whom they can contact. Legal Heavies has been placed on hold. Although it is incomplete, the prototype is still live and can be viewed. It contains a lead form to contact individual lawyers. The subsequent feature set that has not yet been developed is to have built-in scheduling, online consultation, and payment services to facilitate client-lawyer interaction and onboarding smoothly.

The site is custom-built in WordPress, utilizing custom post types and fields.

Alternative Student Financing in South Africa - Market Research

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dmEjv9qwx0Dnd9FTE79Hgsym3qghpcbj8SA3vdeajCI/edit?usp=sharing

Conducted a research project to investigate the viability of introducing an income share agreement (ISA) financing model in South Africa. Interviewed industry experts and reviewed global case studies and research.

I partnered with a local financial services fund interested in launching an alternative student finance operation. They required an investigation into the potential business model, revenue projections, competitor analysis, operating plan, and go-to-market plan. Over several months, I reviewed the leading global industry players and met with several thought leaders and experts in the alternative student finance field.

The completed 40-slide deck can be seen here https://tinyurl.com/yckkzwas

I also produced a thought leadership article after that, proposing a public-private co-operative model to address student financing - https://hackernoon.com/can-government-income-share-agreements-fix-higher-education-ih383yrp
2011 - 2012

Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Business Administration)

Wits Business School - Johannesburg, South Africa

2001 - 2007

Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Laws Degree in Law

University of the Witwatersrand - Johannesburg, South Africa

2005 - 2005

Diploma in Web Design

CityVarsity - Cape Town, South Africa

OCTOBER 2014 - OCTOBER 2018

Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)

Scrum Alliance

Tools

Trello, Asana, Balsamiq Mockups, Figma

Paradigms

Agile Product Management, Scrum, Design Thinking, Agile Workflow, Rapid Prototyping

Industry Expertise

Marketplaces

Platforms

Blockchain

Other

WordPress, Project Delivery, Project Planning, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Product Strategy, Operations, Social Media Platforms, Business Operations, Product Ownership, Digital Product Management, Digital Project Management, Product Development, Product Management, Business Analysis, Requirements, Product Roadmaps, Go-to-market Plans, User Research, Business Models, Product Design, Product Marketing, Product Frameworks, Innovation, Product Discovery, Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Legal, B2B, Content Marketing, Feature Roadmaps, Roadmaps, Business to Business (B2B), Feature Prioritization, Legal Technology (Legaltech), Lean Startups, Prototyping, Theory of Constraints, Product Research, Startup Consulting, Lean Project Management, Lean Development, Project Management, Strategy, Digital Strategy, Contract Management, Law, Mockups, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), User Experience (UX), SEO Tools, Legal Research, Jobs to be Done (JTBD), Compliance, Regulatory Compliance, Startups, Business Processes, Business Process Optimization, Product Requirements Documentation (PRD), Product Consultant, Early-stage Startups, Lead Generation, Business Cases, Pricing Strategy, Go-to-market Strategy, Two-sided Marketplaces, Growth Strategy, Customer Insights, Business Process Automation, SEO Content, Fintech, Windows, Knowledge Management, Process Design, Process Modeling, Process Optimization, Publishing, Reports, Business Strategy, eCommerce, Budget Modeling, Aha!, ClickUp, Customer Discovery, Content Management, Wireframing, Business Model Canvas, Email Marketing, Product Growth, MVP Design, Business Modeling, Market Research, Software as a Service (SaaS), Process Improvement, Business Process Analysis, Alternative Investments, Pitch Presentations, Discovery, Capital Raising, Consulting, Service, Web Services, Content Strategy, Directory Submission, Customer Acquisition

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