Growing AI & ML

Ahmet Gyger on AI & Machine Learning Products at Domino


After working at large public companies, Ahmet Gyger was eager to join the agile culture of Domino

As the Senior Director of Product Management for AI and Machine Learning, Ahmet shares his views on the role of a product manager at an enterprise AI company, the impact it has on bringing this technology to life for his customers, and turning their requests into actual features.

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.

Pictures of employees throwing axes.

How do you support your teams?

I’ve learned that the best managers are the ones who are catalysts for their team’s ambition. What I commit to do with every person I’m working with—either on my team, a sister team, or even outside of Domino—is to help them think about their career and objectives and build a framework on how to achieve those goals.

For me, that doesn’t mean giving a solution to team members when they’re trying to solve a problem. It means listening, asking more questions, and hopefully together coming up with different ideas to approach challenges.

I also want to be a manager who cares. At the end of the day, we are all individuals working together to try and have a meaningful impact on our customers. But we also have lives going on outside the office. We have families, and we need to be able to work in an environment where all of this is part of the consideration.

And lastly, I want to model Domino’s values in a day-to-day fashion like speaking truth, being thoughtful, being curious, and being customer-obsessed.

In order to fully support my teams, it boils down to trust. I want to build a relationship with the people on my team where we have mutual trust. They all have very impressive backgrounds and experiences, so they’re extremely insightful. I want to be a catalyst and empower them to be successful. I don’t want to micromanage. That’s not how I operate, and that’s not what we need here at Domino. We need people who are able to fly by themselves, and I’m just there to put a little bit more wind under their wings.

What excites you now and about the future?

There’s this saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” If we’re all successful, we’re going to make our customers successful, which is going to make Domino more successful. We’ll be able to take on bigger challenges, which helps us all grow. If we compare Domino to a large corporation, the scope that we have as individuals is much bigger.

I want to keep Domino as a leader in machine learning and enterprise AI. I want to make sure we delight our customers when we talk with them. We have one of the strongest net promoter scores I’ve ever seen for a machine learning software company. I want to make sure we keep making an impact by building these great products as quickly as possible for our customers.

I’m excited to work at a company that operates in the world of AI, which is probably one of the hottest areas that exists in software. Even during a global economic crisis, Domino is still growing. Customers still love us and want us to continue developing a lot of new capabilities.

I wouldn’t have joined if I wasn’t convinced that Domino is in a unique position to become one of the largest players in the AI and machine learning space. It’s going to be a journey. It’s not going to be a one-day thing. But the vision that we have and the executive team that we have make me feel very convinced that we can get there.

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