First 90 Days at Social Tables

Posted: February 16th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: SaaS, social tables | 1 Comment »

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Gut check time. It’s been three months since I left my job as Director of Engineering at Jibe and started working as a Senior Product Manager at Social Tables — did I make the right move? Do I enjoy Product Management? Do I enjoy Social Tables? Do I enjoy the people I work with?

Yup, Yup, Yup and Yup.

For me, Product Management is the shit. I’m enjoying getting in the head of our users — performing customer interviews, making surveys, observing their behavior through tools like Heap and FullStory. I’ve (kinda oddly) really enjoyed making product-tradeoff decisions. As an engineer, I many times felt the features we were working on were half-baked and I questioned the prioritization. I’m now the PM being questioned by bright engineers and it’s been a fun exercise to be able to diligently score each feature, prioritize them in as an objective-way as possible and convey my reasoning to my team to ensure buy in. I think I’m doing pretty good here but I hope to get much better.

I’m not sure what I’m enjoying more, the new role or the new company. Social Tables embraces transparency – weekly updates from Marketing, Sales, Product, Customer Success and Engineering, rich updates filled with no-bullshit metrics. We do a monthly “Global Takeover Meeting” where the founder and CEO, Dan Berger, covers a wide range of topics, including numbers that reflect the positives and negatives (room for improvement?) of the company during the previous month. After each board meeting, the memo to the board is available for all “Tablers” to read. I love that we’re trusted with not-so-encouraging information at times and treated as adults. The transparency has made me trust the Exec team (called “Staff” at Social Tables) more than I have at any other company.

My plan is that Social Tables will be my last job. Not because I want to be like my parents and work at a company for 25+ years, but because I hope I will have the courage to start my own company after this Tour of Duty. Social Tables is training an army of entrepreneurs. All of this transparency has allowed me to see behind the curtain, to understand much more intimately what it takes to run a software company. Dan not only gives us access to numbers that most CEOs keep behind lock and key but he also does a great job training us on the SaaS business and walking us through his decision making and thinking. This, along with the Social Table’s adoption of the Deliberately Developed Organization philosophy, make me feel like I have a job where I’m getting paid to learn, which is a hell of a bargain.

All of that is fine and dandy but if you don’t like who you’re working with it’s hard to get job satisfaction. I’m digging the peeps I work with at Social Tables. You can read about the makeup of the company here (more transparency FTW). The company’s average age is 28, making my 33yo ass the old guy :). The youth brings a certain level of eagerness and passion that I relate to. It’s tough to generalize 100+ people but I can say that I’ve been impressed with how welcoming/friendly everyone has been (I think Dan does a good job setting this tone and hiring with culture at the forefront of his mind) and I’ve been most impressed with how much people want to do well at their job. In the past, I’ve been discouraged by co-workers focused on appearance of doing well and not always having a passion to succeed. It’s been a joy to work with people that can meet, and many times exceed my intensity.

I’m happy and grateful to be a Tabler.