For this month’s employee interview, we had a chat with Niko Paijola, who is the Junior Product Manager at Finoa and one of the key players in ensuring that we bring the highest value to the customers. Niko talks about what pulled him toward the ecosystem, his Finoa’s journey so far, and the challenges when building a crypto product.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello, I am Niko, Junior Product Manager at Finoa.

I am Finnish, and I completed my bachelor's in the university of applied sciences in Digital communication in Helsinki. Before joining Finoa, I worked as a UX Designer for Talon.One, a B2B company. After leaving that role, I started to work on a SaaS project. Even though the experience turned out to be quite insightful, I soon realized that interacting with a long and corporate-focused sales process wasn’t exciting for me. I got back in the ‘product game’ with Finoa.

How did you get into crypto? What attracted you to Finoa?

I will be honest and confess that I had never invested in crypto before starting work at Finoa. The investing side is fascinating but the potential of blockchain technology is what pulled me into this industry. I believe we have seen only the first phase of blockchain experiments. Only time will tell what blockchain technology will enable in the future.

Back in 2017, it was a bit difficult for product-minded professionals to enter the market. I remember going to blockchain events and meet-ups but the demand was considerably low for product-specific roles then. So, I ventured into user experience design and later went on to work on my entrepreneurship skills.

As the institutional adoption of crypto increased, I decided to get back into the field. Finoa was the first crypto company I applied to. The rest, as they say, is history.

What’s it like to work at Finoa?

When I first joined Finoa, the current Product team was still finding its ground. Paolo, our Head of Product, joined just a few weeks after me. It would be fair to say that we started from scratch. It’s been a tough road but the results have been worth it. The knowledge I have gained has been beneficial and I got the chance to work with very talented people. So, I would say it’s been a success.

What does your typical work day look like?

Due to the nature of my work, I interact a lot with the Tech Department. As a product manager, I engage with different developer teams and QA to make sure that our product brings the most value to customers.

On the customer-facing end, I collaborate with the Customer Support and the Account Management Team whenever a client requires a product overview or troubleshooting is needed. As Finoa is expanding and onboarding new protocols and validators, the legal team and the product team work together regularly to ensure that we are compliant with the regulations.

On rare occasions, I also end up doing interviews with the Marketing team.

What's the most complex aspect of building a crypto product?

There are a lot of factors at play when dealing with cryptocurrencies and providing the highest level of security to our customers. What many people don't know is that the customer interacts with the blockchain directly which creates some new UX challenges for the product team. And every protocol works slightly differently which brings an extra layer of complexity. However, it is this intricacy that makes crypto so fascinating to work with.

What does the rest of the year for Finoa look like?

2022 for Finoa has been quite exciting. We built a staking functionality for Audius, improved user experience with a unified address feature, added new tokens, and launched our staking unit, Finoa Consensus Services. This is, however, just the start and we have no plans of stopping.

We are onboarding more clients and launching new products. Soon, we will be enabling custody and staking for new tokens, and providing support for more networks. We are revamping our web UI and updating the mobile app to enhance user experience. There are a lot of new developments in work and the rest of the year looks truly promising for Finoa.

Thank You for talking with us, Niko. Let’s end the interview with a Rapid Fire:

What skills does a fresher in product need?

Agility. The industry is fast-paced and you have to be able to keep up with it.

An interesting fact about you: 

After high school, I did mandatory military service.

Describe life at Finoa in three words:

Challenging. Rewarding. Thrilling.

Interested in joining Finoa? Check out our open positions