Meet Alex, a Product Manager based in Australia, who listens to customers and figures out how to make Fastmail work for them.
Fastmail’s product team works to build features that deliver a great experience to our customers. Find out what their day-to-day job looks like when you meet Alex, a member of Fastmail’s product staff.
Name: Alex Perkins
Role: Product Manager
What do you work on?
Product feature research and execution! I also provide advice to other teams about customer perspectives.
How long have you been working at Fastmail?
Since February 2018, so for four years! My mum saw the ad for a support role in Write the Docs, a global network of people interested in documentation, and said, “I reckon this would be a good job for you!” So I applied. And that seemed to go alright, though I can’t remember the interview — I was nervous!
I was on the support team for about 18 months, and then Helen, our COO, offered me a role as a project coordinator. I’ve recently stepped into a new role as a product manager, and it’s great. I get to do all the really fun projects like Scheduled Send, a feature that allows you to schedule emails to send later. ?
What’s a project that you’ve worked on that you’re proud of?
Scheduled Send was great because a lot of people liked it, and the project went really smoothly. I loved being able to share the nice feedback we got from users who had been wanting the feature with people on the team.
The domain wizard to help users set up their DNS was one of my first projects, and I’m still really proud of it. It helped reduce really hard tickets coming into the support team and helped customers bring in their domains much faster. I’m getting a chance to make some additions to it soon!
What inspires you?
I love the movie Paddington 2, which I have forced many of my colleagues to watch. It’s a great movie, pure excellence in every department. It makes me happy.
I’m inspired by people who know a lot of languages. I want to be able to talk to a variety of people, not just English speakers, in their native language. I like to learn more perspectives from people around the world.
What are your favorite Fastmail features?
Catchall aliases — it was masked email before we made Masked Email. I give out a unique email address to every business I use, and it’s the one that gets me the most attention when I use it.
What’s your most used piece of technology?
The off button on my router — I’ve started turning the internet off at home every weekend, and I love it. Spending long chunks of time disconnected from the internet makes me more deliberate about how I spend time.
What are you listening to these days?
We are starting March Madness at work, which we turn into a music competition! Our March Madness uses brackets for everyone at work to pick a top song, and then we see whose bracket best matches the average, like a fantasy sports league. I am happy this year, because “November Rain” is in the competition twice.
What are you watching these days?
Derry Girls is really funny and really relatable, and I love watching that with my mum.
Also, I just finished Borgen: Power and Glory. I was a big fan of Borgen, a Danish political drama, when it first aired, and was very excited to load Netflix one day and discover a new series nearly 10 years after the original concluded.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I love to cook. I make dumplings — usually pork, spring onion, ginger, and sesame — and my own wonton soup. Lasagna when I have a lot of people coming over. Affogato, when I have enough room in my freezer for ice cream. It is usually stocked with dumplings.
What’s your favorite animal?
I like elephants. They’re peaceful and thoughtful. They have been my favorite animal since I was old enough to choose one.
Any Fastmail staffers you want to brag on?
We’ve set up our Slack so we can hand out virtual high-fives for a job well done. I am the high-five queen at Fastmail, so I could write something about almost everyone. But some of my faves are:
Anna, the Project Coordinator in the Philly office. Anna started about six months ago and has been a huge help to me and to everyone in that office!
Helen, the COO, without whom I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today! Helen has been instrumental in helping me fulfill my potential and keep things positive, and always has creative new ideas to solve problems for our staff and for customers.
Nicola, the Chief of Staff, is also a huge help to me and everybody else! Nicola is always willing to talk out a tricky problem and help find a solution.
What do you like the best about your work at Fastmail?
The ability to talk to and learn about every single department at Fastmail. I went to the developers’ call for Cyrus (our open-source mail server) last night. It’s great to have access to firsthand experts across the board. I like learning new stuff and incorporating what I learn into our product!
Are you involved in any other groups or projects? Tell us about them.
I am the world’s best auntie and have taught my niece to bake a cake from scratch. I’ve been going to the Product Anonymous meetup, which is great.
I love learning new languages — my most recent language is Ukrainian. I really wanted to try this new language learning software, LingQ, but it was quite expensive. They were offering Ukrainian for free! But the app is targeted at rather advanced learners. So, I learned the basics of Ukrainian on Duolingo and then jumped over to LingQ to try it. It was great, and I became a paying customer. I now use it for all my other language learning endeavors.
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