Team Snapshot: How Our Product Lead Drives Our Creative Community Forward
By EyeEm Team - 4 min read
We caught up with long-standing EyeEm team member Adrienne Ossko about how she drives forward innovation and uses technology and design to fuel the creativity of our global photography community.
Having been a critical part of the EyeEm team for five years our product lead, Adrienne Ossko, continuously strives to utilize EyeEm’s unique technology and team of designers to drive forward community initiatives and new product releases.
From day to day, Adrienne works across various teams and brings together critical elements that lay the foundation for our community to share their creativity, inspiration, and talent.
Today Adrienne shares her story of how she came to know EyeEm, what it really takes to work on product management, and some of the features that she’s most excited to see launched for our community in the coming months.
We’re hiring! If you’re searching for the opportunity to drive innovation and creative solutions alongside our design, development, and support teams then we’d love to hear from you. Head to our jobs page to apply for our various open positions.
Bringing Together Tech And Product to Fuel Creativity
You’ve been at EyeEm for over 5 years now! What inspired you to join EyeEm?
When I first heard of EyeEm in 2012, I was immediately hooked by the wonderful creative community that seemed to be growing each day and I continued to follow everything happening at EyeEm with curiosity.
After learning more about EyeEm Vision, a deep learning computer vision framework designed not only to recognise objects in a photo but also rank the aesthetics of an image, I knew that I wanted to join the EyeEm team. I was driven by the opportunity to leverage that technology for user-facing features and help improve the EyeEm app.
During your years as part of the team, what are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen to EyeEm?
When I joined EyeEm, it represented a creative community of talented photographers around the world using this platform to connect with other photographers and find inspiration.
Over the past few years our creative platform has diversified to better connect photographers with brands in need for visual content. This has involved adding new product lines such as EyeEm Market, personalized search for image buyers, EyeEm custom photo and video productions and The Collective, and further developing EyeEm Vision.
What makes the EyeEm platform unique?
In one sentence I would say it’s our passion for photography. EyeEm is not just an app where you can share your photos with others, instead the EyeEm team truly cares about good photography and helping our community take their creativity to the next level and get exposure for their talent.
Our commitment to the community has always required a user-centric approach and since the early days we’ve always run community initiatives and actively sourced insights and feedback directly from our users.
How does your role as Product Lead contribute to our users’ creativity?
The main reasons photographers consider using EyeEm is their desire to find inspiration on what to shoot, improve their skills, and gain exposure. In my role as a product manager I am responsible for figuring out how our product can help users achieve these goals.
How do you think the choice of EyeEm’s technology fosters creativity among our community?
Alongside our EyeEm Vision technology which is filtering and sorting content based on visual aesthetics, we also have amazing photo curators constantly searching for great talent to be featured on our social media or on EyeEm Magazine, or selected for commercial image curations that get sent to our largest clients. Our product acts as the mediator between the two making sure that our communities content is visible and shared whether it be on the app’s Discover Feed, our photo Missions tab, or EyeEm Magazine.
What upcoming new feature or recent change are you most excited about?
One feature most frequently requested by our users is a way to better manage and curate the photos on their profiles. We take our user’s requests seriously and are now about to kick-off our product development project for building the all-new portfolio feature. I’m super excited about this project as it will open up whole new ways how photographers can present their work and also how image buyers and brands can browse content.
The first step for us as a team is to conduct user research to understand our user needs, then we will begin prototype testing with some of our community members.
Which three EyeEm photographers have caught your eye recently?
You’ve been working on product teams for over a decade, what interests you about product and technology?
I’m fascinated by the way that technology can mean that people are impacted at a level and scale that would never be possible without it. Technology surrounds us in almost every aspect of our lives and I find it incredibly exciting to discover new opportunities and build products together with engineers, researchers and designers to solve specific needs of people that are not adequately solved yet.
As a product manager I have countless roles and responsibilities which means that everyday is different. That’s what I really love about this role. One day I’m working with our UX designers to draft some prototypes of a new feature, the next day I’m working with the engineers to prepare an upcoming release, another day I’m working with the management team on the quarterly strategy, and another I’m talking with photographers to learn more about their needs and pain points when using our platform. For me personally it’s the most exciting and interesting role I can imagine.
How were you able to adapt your previous experience in the corporate and technology field to the creative environment at EyeEm?
There are huge differences in working in a large corporation versus a small startup and I’m really glad I’ve had the opportunity to experience both worlds. Working at a larger company with fixed structure and processes meant that I was able to learn how to communicate across different teams, manage a variety of stakeholders, and coordinate large software projects. This alongside the mentorship opportunities I received, made Fox Mobile the perfect place to start my career as a product manager.
When switching to the creative environment at EyeEm, my previous experience gave me the confidence to shape our processes and align them to individual needs and requirements.
You recently gave a talk about EyeEm’s migration to Flutter at OnProduct. Can you give us some basic insights into what Flutter is and tell us a bit about your experience doing the virtual talk?
Flutter is an open-source cross-platform framework that enables developers to build beautiful, native-looking mobile, web and desktop applications using a single codebase. For us at EyeEm this means we are able to develop our iOS and Android apps with one codebase and with one developer team instead of building two apps in parallel with two developer teams.
OnProduct is about bringing the Berlin product community closer together by exchanging knowledge, product experience and lessons learned. One of their organisers asked me if I wanted to give a talk for their next edition focusing on mobile app development.
Due to COVID-19 precautions I hadn’t seen my colleagues or other tech folks in weeks and it was challenging to stay connected. I saw this as a nice opportunity to actively move a bit closer again and agreed to the offer. Infact, this was the first remote talk that I have given directly out of my living room!
What advice would you give someone wanting to start a career in product management?
Learning is an ongoing process, so always stay open-minded and curious. Try to figure out your strengths and work on them. Use as many opportunities as you can to speak to other people who have more experience than you. For example, join product meet-ups, read case studies, and books. Another tip that helped me immensely is to get out of your comfort zone.
Although it’s not always easy, try to surround yourself with people that push you and put you in challenging situations that you might not feel comfortable with initially. It’s more than ok and even necessary to make mistakes along the way, but try to learn from them in order to improve.
Last but not least it’s important to be open for feedback and ask for it as much as you can. Oh yeah, it also wouldn’t harm if you had some kind of background in a product related field - computer science, business, UX design… whatever you’re passionate about.
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