Applying Product thinking to the smallest things — the story of my course thumbnail

Dr Bart Jaworski
4 min readAug 11, 2022

Today, I’d like to tell you how to apply Product Management thinking to the smallest things! If you can do it on a small scale, no case study will be as scary later! I am talking about my course thumbnail! Keep reading!

When I launched the course in mid-march 2021 I had an uphill battle ahead of me. I was sure I correctly identified my niche and was able to produce content that was unique enough to appeal to aspiring and upskilling Product Managers. However, I first had to convince future students that this is the case. Amongst other elements of that, the course’s thumbnail was to play a vital role.

After going with 2 attempts I do not show them below as they are now lost to time, I knew I am working with the following guidelines:

- I know my students see the FAANG/MANGA/Big Tech Product Management companies as their eventual career goals. Thus, my being a part of such a company was an asset I needed to use

- Based on the market scope, having your face on the thumbnail is a must

- A plain, simple design looks to be dominating — what works for others, will work for me

- Udemy doesn’t allow text on their thumbnails

So, with that came the white version, the MVP, which followed the lost alpha and beta thumbnails.

I decided to play with body language and make sure to make a welcoming open pose. I wanted to appear as a relatable, joyful person, ready to share what I know. The white color also looked like it could stand out from other thumbnails and also played well with Udemy aesthetic. Since I couldn’t use text, I decided to use logos of my previous and current employers to stress the “Big tech experience to share” element.

Known issues? While at that time using those logos was OK, it was a clear risk that the companies might get upset (though I did test the waters to make sure I’m not doing anything obviously wrong) one day and eternally rely on them in the logo wasn’t good. However, there was a risk someone may think…

Dr Bart Jaworski

I am a senior Product Manager at Microsoft. My online courses have helped thousands to develop their Product Management careers. I would like to help you too!