In this employee spotlight interview, I sat down with Milan Thakker, an early member of the Jellyfish team, and discussed what it was like in the early days of the company. He shares why his role is unique and what is required to thrive in a cross-functional environment when working with so many teams.
Where are you from, and what brought you to the Boston area?
Milan: I grew up in New Jersey, about an hour outside of NYC. I was right in between NYC and Philadelphia. I’ve bounced around a bunch. I went from Jersey to Indiana for school. At Indiana, I had an internship in Austin, TX. The internship was at Texas Instruments, but I worked with an external partner. That person I was working with happened to become the CTO at PTC right around the time I was graduating, and he called me to ask if I wanted to come work with him in Boston. When the CTO of a company says you should go work with them, and you know the person, you don’t turn them down. So, I packed up my car, graduated on May 28th, and started work on June 1st in Boston.
Tell us about a cause you’re passionate about.
Milan: From a social perspective, I’m passionate about underrepresented minorities in technology. I know I am in a super privileged and fortunate position as an Indian guy in Tech. But I’d love to see more women, Latinx, and Black people in Tech. I mentor for a program called Hack Diversity which is a fellowship in Boston that’s based out of the New England Venture Capital Association. They make a specific effort to get Black and Latinx individuals into tech as much as possible. They match people with internships and mentors.
The other cause that I’m passionate about is cancer research, and Dana Farber, in particular. I think they’re a fantastic institute. I’ve done the PanMass Challenge 3 years in a row. I didn’t last year because of COVID, but I will be volunteering this year to make sure everything goes smoothly.
What first drew you to a role at Jellyfish?
Milan: When I joined Jellyfish, it was kind of like the stories of tech startups that begin with eight people in a garage. I was going to be the 9th person joining, and that was super exciting for me. At my previous company, I was in field engineering, and that role was all about making the product work for the customer no matter what you had to do. Then I went through product management. That was about building a product from scratch and making it work for the most amount of customers. I was looking to leave my previous company, and I wanted to do both of those things. Jellyfish offered a great product, and it was the right opportunity for me at the right time. So I said, let’s go and do something new.
What’s been your favorite part of the role on Jellyfish’s Product Success Team?
Milan: Product success is very oddly shaped. That sounds like a bad thing, but it’s a really good thing! There’s an opportunity to do sales engineering, customer success, and professional-services-level consulting with our customers to help them solve specific problems. No two days are going to be the same or even look the same. Because I work so closely with customers, there’s also an opportunity to bring feedback back into the product as quickly as possible. By trade, I am a product manager, and one of the biggest mistakes in product management is not talking to customers enough. That’s not a problem here on this product success team.
What have been some of the most significant changes since you’ve joined the team?
Milan: Growing from 9 people to 40 people has been an enormous change. It’s been really nice to have an actual sales team come in. We went from founder-led sales to having a sales team of real sellers. I think most of the change has just come from growing and maturing as a company. We certainly had our fair share of growing pains, and we’ve had our ways of getting through it. But we always could be candid with each other through those periods and continue to grow through everything.
How would you describe the Jellyfish culture?
Milan: We’re very transparent and open. The Jellyfish product is about transparency, and our teams are super transparent as well. Everybody in the company has a good idea of what’s going on and our strategic perspective. Also, our people are super talented and hungry. Everybody wants to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and pitch-in directly. That’s my favorite part of working at Jellyfish; no job is too small.
If you only had three words to describe Jellyfish, what would they be?
Milan: Transparent, transformational, and customer-centric.
Fill-in-the-blank: When you grow up, you want to be _____?
Milan: Founder of a tech startup. So my end goal is to found a company at some point, and Jellyfish is the best place for me to learn how to do that right now. And hopefully, I can meet people with who I will be able to found a company with in the future. I don’t know if I want to be the CEO. I would like the job of being one of the leading tech executives, or a chief technology officer, or something similar.
If you are interested in learning more about a role in product success, or other positions at Jellyfish, be sure to visit our Careers page. We’re growing and hiring across several departments.