About Us

Connected is an end-to-end product development services firm.

We partner with our clients to build better products; products that delight customers and drive business impact.

Connected was founded in 2014, built on the belief that a new category of professional services firm was needed to help ambitious companies build impactful software-powered products; a firm that solved for feasibility, usability, desirability, and viability together – not separately; a firm that helps its clients build right, and build the right thing. We call this approach Product Thinking. The approach is designed to reduce the commercial risk of product development and lead to products that delight customers – because we know that the success of our clients’ businesses depend on the success of their products. It’s why we made it our mission to build better products.

Since our inception we have built a team of 135+ agile engineers, human-centered designers, and product strategists who have applied our Product-Thinking approach to help over 50 organizations across the globe discover and deliver world-class products.

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Our Approach

Product Thinking is our unified approach to product development, an innovation and execution approach that combines the technical excellence of agile delivery, the focus of human-centered design, and the rigor of management consulting to enable cross-disciplinary teams to build the right things right.

Our Mission

Build better products.

Our Values

Our values not only guide how we work and who we hire, but also who we work with. Meshing seamlessly with our client partners is critical to long-term product impact, so it’s important that we share a set of values as we navigate the complex, nuanced craft of product development. A true Product Thinker embraces, celebrates, and champions our values with like-minded people to achieve long-term product impact.

Smart

Impact is the result of a million small decisions made wisely. We prize informed and considered judgment before all else.

Kind

Our discovery service covers initial product explorations for new products or the evolution of existing products, but discovery doesn’t stop there. Even in the delivery phase, our teams will test and validate using the four product risk areas – desirability, usability, viability, and feasibility – incorporating up-to-date customer, market, and technical insights. Our aim is simple: to ensure that we’re not just building right, but that we’re building the right thing.

Reliable

Knowing someone’s there to catch the ball makes you more willing to throw it. Reliability makes work go faster, smoother, and smarter.

Teachers

Knowledge transfer is the name of the game. Teaching and learning ensure that you, the team, and the product are continuously getting better.

Learners

Knowledge transfer is the name of the game. Teaching and learning ensure that you, the team, and the product are continuously getting better.

Our Services

01

Discovery

Discovery serves to derisk, validate, and accelerate new product development. By viewing customer jobs, pains, and gains through the lens of product, we are able to identify opportunities in both new and existing categories, before testing concepts through prototyping.

02

Delivery

Delivery allows us to partner with our clients to build and release high-quality products to market, as well as optimize and scale existing products. Because software products are never finished.

03

Strategy & Enablement

Strategy & Enablement is designed to embed a product DNA into our clients’ organizations, educate them on the Product Thinking best practices, and empower the creation of their own long-term systems of success through workshops, product clinics, and training sessions.

We Build with the Best

Our People

Mike Stern

Mike Stern

CEO

Mike upholds the vision and mission for the organization, where he focuses on building world-class products for the team and customers. Previously, Mike helped grow Xtreme Labs to 350 people before it was acquired by Pivotal in 2013. He has worked with dozens of well-known brands including AMEX, Facebook, Salesforce, MasterCard, and the NFL. His work has been featured in the Financial Times, the Globe and Mail, and on CBC.

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Damian McCabe

EVP, Product & Technology

Damian is a respected technology executive and entrepreneur. He is passionate about the power of cross-discipline collaboration between design, product, and engineering to build better products through Product Discovery and Delivery. Damian’s career in software has taken him across industries and around the globe shipping products at Instagram, Uber, Facebook, and more. His work has received numerous accolades and has been featured by TechCrunch, WIRED, BBC News, Business Insider, CNBC, and The New York Times.

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Tammy Chiasson

Global Managing Director

Spearheading the Growth & Client Experience team, Tammy leverages her 15 years of accomplished brand and client strategy for world-class organizations to help Connected’s vision reach ambitious product builders. Prior to joining Connected, Tammy was at Tangerine leading a project to reinvent the banking experience after having worked on their brand transition from ING Direct during her tenure at john st.

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Nicole Ballestrin

CFO

As Connected’s CFO, Nicole brings over 20 years of financial leadership experience across a wide variety of industries including technology and professional services in the public and private sectors. Prior to Connected, Nicole was CFO at McKinsey & Company Canada and several start-up and growth-stage companies where she built strong finance functions leveraging the right talent, processes, systems, reporting, analytics and external partnerships. Nicole is a CPA, CA, with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto.

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Jonathan Savage

EVP, Product Development

Jonathan joins Connected from theScore, a global sports app with over 9 million users, where he led the product, engineering, and design teams for over 10 years. Jonathan’s mission at Connected is to work collaboratively with clients in order to deliver true product impact and foster an understanding of how to build better.

Annette Van't Spyker

Annette van’t Spyker

EVP, Talent

Annette brings over 20 years of experience as a Talent and Human Resources leader to Connected. She has expertise and hands-on experience in all functional areas of HR, and across multiple industries in the public and private sectors (services, consulting, manufacturing, healthcare. academia, etc.). Her past work includes leading teams and designing programs aimed at engaging leaders and employees. She is also on the board of the Human Resources Professional Association.

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Joel Zien

Managing Director, Growth & Client Experience

Joel leads the Client Experience and Growth teams at Connected. Leveraging over 8 years of experience in software, consulting, and client management, Joel started his career helping Fortune 500’s realize the power of mobile at Xtreme Labs and Pivotal. Today, Joel is focused on helping Connected’s client’s realize and achieve their business objectives by equipping them with the strategy and tools to build better software driven products.