I started as the first Product Manager at Tonic in early 2021. I want to share my story, the three questions I used to focus my search, and how Tonic measured up.
The Problem - Could I obsess over it?
After a dozen years of helping large companies navigate change, I know my strengths lie in the realm of enterprise technology. I wanted to build on my technical foundation where I worked closely with data and developers, but I wasn’t sure what problem I found most compelling. When I learned about Tonic’s focus—providing safe and useful data for development—I immediately empathized.
Tonic is situated in a sweet spot to address a confluence of current trends: proliferation of data, rising value of technical teams, and increasing concerns about data security. Providing tools to responsibly enable developers was a challenge I could get behind. I was looking for a problem that was ubiquitous, that I could dive in and spend years thinking about. I knew firsthand the diversity of situations where Tonic could add value—I’ve worked across healthcare, insurance, and financial services. Plus, I love working on B2B problems. The deeper into the business model and technology stack I go, the more leverage I have to make a big impact.
The Company - Does it have that blank canvas energy?
I love all aspects of creating: giving form to new life. I was seeking an energetic startup environment where I could contribute to the early shaping of a product and company culture. As Tonic’s first product hire I would get in on the ground floor of a high-growth startup.
Tonic already had a product in the hands of customers and had achieved an impressive level of success as a young, Series A company. The combination of momentum and opportunity was attractive to me (and hopefully to some of you as we continue hiring at a rapid pace!). My favorite career experiences are the figuring-it-out parts, changing the wings while the plane is flying. Tonic is certainly flying, and it's great to be a part of its can-do crew.
The Role - What does a PM do, anyway?
The set of responsibilities I was taking on were right up my alley—customer feedback, product roadmap, and organizational focus. But the secret to Product Management is that it’s all about the people. See, product managers don’t do anything in a vacuum. My favorite metaphor for being a PM is being the coxswain of the crew team (which I actually did in college!)—you work through and with others.
Product Management is firstly about the users you serve. Tonic felt like a place that treated its customers humanely—high service levels, partnering on innovation, and truly listening. The proof was in the market traction that was already taking off before I joined.
Internally, it’s about the engineers I get to work with on solving problems, and the cross-functional teams with whom I bring the product (and customer value) to market are no joke. I’ve settled right in and am ready for the growth ahead.