Austin Wheat, Senior Product Manager – May 12, 2015
When I started my new job on the product management team at OpenMarket, I quickly learned that I would become a contributor to this blog. So, here I am – hello! Keeping this in mind, over the past few weeks I’ve been asking myself, “What does the newbie at any company really have to say about the job, after only 30 days in?”
I’ve worked at a lot of companies, especially in areas of technology and mobile. My last several jobs have been specifically related to mobile messaging and SMS, so I had developed some preconceptions about what my new colleagues would expect of me. I expected that, as the “new guy,” it would take several weeks before colleagues would ask for my opinion on product direction. I also expected to hear the usual analogies about drinking from fire hoses with that all-knowing smile that means, “You won’t remember anything that we talked about this week, will you?”
So far, nothing like that has happened. Nobody has mentioned the fire hose, and not one person has asked any softball questions. Instead, I’ve found that the folks at OpenMarket have set a very high bar in terms of what their expectations are of each other – the “new guy” included. I was immediately engaged with product road-mapping, developing pricing models for prospective clients, and go-to-market strategies – often during the very first conversation I had with a new colleague. So far, this experience has set the tone for what I imagine will be a fast-paced, energetic, and high performing work environment.
Word had also spread that I’d come from “the other side of the fence,” as I’d previously worked at a company that was a major client of OpenMarket’s during the peak of Premium SMS. Having already worked with OpenMarket for years, I had other notions about how their technology platform worked and how certain processes functioned “behind the curtain.” Nevertheless, nothing had really prepared me for the scale and scope of OpenMarket’s technology platform, the sheer volumes of messages that are processed, or the continuous level of support that OpenMarket provides its enterprise clients globally.
Over the first few days, aside from the usual pressing topics for newbies, such as “What is the quickest route from my office to the rest room?!” (it’s not obvious) and “Wow, look at all this free food!” (picture below, emphasis is mine), I met with folks across the global team to introduce myself, in person, via phone and over videoconference. I learned about some exciting new products – my products! – such as Text-Enabled Toll-Free Numbers (you can text a toll-free number now?!), our events line-up (OpenMarket participates in panels at SXSW?! (can I go next year?!)) and other very exciting initiatives at OpenMarket.
During my second week, I travelled to San Francisco to meet some of the folks from our London and NYC offices who were meeting with prospective clients in the Bay Area. I was brought up to speed on our Global SMS product, and learned more in detail about the roadmap to bring additional reach (carriers in countries) and capacity to our clients. Having very little experience with UK and Australian Premium SMS in the past, I discovered how SMS works outside of the US, and was again amazed at the different ways our platform can reach just about everyone in the world . It was also pretty great to have a meeting with my new colleagues at Ocean Beach (obligatory selfie below).
I could go on and on about other first impressions of OpenMarket as a new employee – but the rest might be better served in a future post. For now, suffice to say, I’m excited to be here and contributing to this team. Feel free to comment anytime to check in on how this adventure is shaping up!
March 2015, Ocean Beach, San Francisco, California. From left to right, Chris Wilson (Principal Technologist), Giovanni Benini (Director, Product Management), and yours truly, Austin Wheat (Senior Product Manager)
Recruitment literature – I was obviously excited about the prospect of free tacos.