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We give presidents 100 days to prove themselves. Phileas Fogg made it around the world in 80 days. Here at Optimizely, we like to move even faster, so I am reporting back on my what I learned in my first sixty days as Chief Product Officer — and where I am headed next.   

When it comes to product, some things are universal. 

I’ve led product development for 20 years — but martech is new territory for me, so I’d braced myself for the steep learning curve. While it takes time to master the finer points of any industry, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to realize how the fundamentals of product management and customer focus I developed in my pre-Optimizely days have come in handy. 

Whether your product is marketing software or an experience management platform, value to the customer trumps everything. Technology is often assisting an overall transformation that a customer is trying to achieve, so it’s critical that we introduce technical innovations not for their own sake, but for the sake of adding value to the end user. I’ve started applying these principles in leading our product team, and kept them front-and-center as I help shape the next growth phase for this amazing company.  

We may be 1,500 strong, but we can still move like a scrappy startup. 

I’m proud to join an organization that has seen such tremendous growth in recent years — 21 offices and 10,000 customers across the world make for quite a footprint. But these numbers don’t mean we need to move like yesterday’s enterprises.  Getting bigger does not mean slowing down. Our solutions empower marketers to act quickly and confidently — it’s imperative that we do the same to keep ahead of their needs.  

In my first two months, I’ve prioritized getting to know the team and spending time with our customers in order to lay the foundation for fast-moving innovation. I’ve simplified some of our processes to help us go to market (and deliver value to our customers) more quickly. I’ve also focused on fostering a culture of experimentation by creating a safe space to take small bets and use their success or failure to inform bigger ones. I believe this culture has always been key for product teams, but is even more critical as we navigate the age of AI. 

Our products still have new heights to reach. Luckily, we have the talent to get there. 

I was drawn to Optimizely because of all that the team had contributed to the industry, from creating the web experimentation category to enabling truly streamlined marketing workflows. What excites me now is the next horizon of innovation. For example, how might we further leverage AI to automate common workflows and make the marketer’s day just a little bit easier?  Or create a data fabric layer that allows personalization at scale? 

These questions may take time to answer, but there’s no question about the brilliance and creativity of each member of the Optimizely family. Call me biased, but in just two short months, it’s become clear to me that we’ve got the best team in martech. With that kind of talent, our suite will only grow more integrated and powerful. 

My first 60 days as the CPO of Optimizely were nothing short of inspiring. Now that I’ve seen our team’s passion and the value we bring to our customers, I can’t wait for the endless possibilities ahead.   

Make sure to join us at Opticon in San Diego this fall to find out how! To our Optimizers and customers, I look forward to seeing you there.