What brought you to Domino?
Since its inception, I’ve had my eye on Domino—first as a competitor, but then as an inspiration. For more than a decade I have been doing artificial intelligence and machine learning at some of the largest tech companies in the world. I joined Domino because I really like the vision of having an open data science platform where people can collaborate, and the fact that Domino is the leading hybrid, multi-cloud MLOps platform.
One of my favorite aspects of being at a startup is speed—it’s fairly easy for us to decide to invest in something because there’s no red tape we have to fight against. We can just identify a need, have enough customer evidence that something is important, produce our roadmap, and then go execute. For us, the time it takes to make a change is shorter, which is a huge advantage. After all, we compete against pretty formidable competitors, so it’s a fun challenge.
In bigger corporations, people tend to focus a lot on their own career trying to become a big fish in a small pond. Whereas in a startup like Domino, we are helping our company become a big fish, so we need to be successful together or we fail together. Being in an environment where there are no politics, and we’re able to just focus on delighting our customers and making the company successful overall is a good change for me.
How is product management different at Domino?
It starts with understanding your customer. We have more than 20% of the Fortune 100 companies as customers, and they’re evolving in very complex systems and processes. How do we build something that meets their needs? It’s very important for us to understand this, and we do that by talking with our users and having a deep understanding of the context in which they evolve. We have a great field team deeply involved with our customers, and we have a lot of insight and understanding of the challenges they face.
Product managers are at the intersection of engineering, sales, marketing, and customer success—so we want to make sure we’re able to prioritize the work we’re doing and build energy and innovation around the features we’re trying to ship. Since we have an open platform, it’s fairly easy for customers to bring their own tools or new tools. However, sometimes we want to go above and beyond just connecting technology and being an open platform. We want to really integrate and make it seamless so that we’re adding even more value for our customers.
We have an iterative process where we present an idea for a new piece of software or update to our customers. They provide us with feedback, and based on their input, we start coding or continue iterating. After six weeks, we release the product, and again, we implement their feedback. This process continues like this every six weeks, with a lean approach. Our biggest challenge is making sure we’re always doing what’s most critical for the customer. For example, are we able to identify the right pattern in our usage and our customer feedback to make this prioritization?
Everybody on the team has a deep knowledge about what we’re doing, but by bringing innovation to our product from the outside, there’s a forward-thinking aspect to what we do.
Who thrives as a product manager at Domino?
To be a product manager in a space that evolves as quickly as machine learning and machine learning operations (MLOps), you have to be passionate and patient, because every five minutes something new is happening. And if that’s not something that excites you, it’s going to be a burden to stay afloat with all the different changes. The discipline of product management itself is not that hard, but it’s an art. To do it correctly, you have to bring clarity to chaos. Having the skill of feeling comfortable in chaos and making steady progress step by step is very important.
Domino is a very collaborative company, we enjoy evaluating ideas and advocating for our convictions. For somebody who’s not comfortable with ambiguity or having debates with people over different perspectives to come up with a solution together—it might be challenging to be successful at Domino.