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Welcome to One Year Wiser
I’ve started this newsletter because I’m fascinated by how products evolve to meet the needs of their customers. So much of startup and tech culture is focused on celebrating launch day. We often forget about all of the hard work that goes into iterating the product after launch to find the proverbial product market fit and sustainable growth. The year following a launch is usually quite challenging, and most products don’t go gangbusters with exponential growth. Instead there are countless tweaks, features developed then abandoned, marketing techniques tested, and long nights spent stressed about the future.
This newsletter is dedicated to that first year. I’ll be interviewing founders and product makers one year after their product launch to learn how their products and businesses have evolved, their ups and downs journey along the way, and what their experiences over the past year have taught them.
A little about me, I’m a product manager at Reddit. I lead the Community Safety team, which is focused on equipping moderators and our internal community team with the tools they need to prevent community abuse and increase community safety. I’ve been with Reddit since 2017, when I first joined as a PM on the desktop redesign initiative.
I got my start in product management at Ancestry, where I led the Growth team's efforts to optimize purchases of AncestryDNA kits and the up-sell of Ancestry subscriptions. I also was a lead PM for a travel startup.
I’ve experienced that post-launch year countless times. I had the thrill of launching a product on Product Hunt and within hours having it splashed across the web on various news outlets TechCrunch to Business Insider. I built Bar Roulette in 2015 as my first web app after learning Ruby on Rails from a part time coding class at General Assembly. The highs of the launch were quickly followed by a crush of traffic, not knowing how to scale the product, and quickly realizing that it needed additional features to truly satisfy and retain users. It was a tough year, very few people returned to use the app, and most people I met at tech events or job interviews just wanted to know how many people were using it.
I’ve also worked on larger, more complex products. I’m forever grateful that I was able to contribute to the redesign of Reddit. While it officially launched in April 2018, it wasn’t until 2019 that it was fully rolled out and became the default experience for new visitors. It was a very complex and challenging year where I learned what it takes to not only launch a product, but to evolve it and market it to ensure long term success. I spent many hours talking to long time redditors to understand what needed to be improved to make “new Reddit” more appealing to them, while at the same time balancing their feedback with our philosophy to design a more inclusive product so that Reddit appealed to a broader consumer base.
This is why I'm launching One Year Wiser, to hear and learn from founders and product folks about what actually happened behind the scenes following their product launch.
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