Get to know the people of Cloud City. In this regular (and sometimes irregular) series, we sit down with our designers, engineers and other team members to talk about development, consulting and life in general.
Today, we’re chatting with Britt Fritsch, a new member of the Cloud City product team. Read on to learn more about their passion for product management, animals and gardening (especially uniquely colored produce).
Lead Product Manager
Currently caring for: Three cats and two dogs
Currently growing: Purple corn, green tomatoes
Currently reading: Braiding Sweetgrass and a couple of bell hooks’ books
Currently binging: Seinfeld
Currently listening to: Beyonce’s Lemonade
Tell us about your approach to product management.
At first, we all think we’ve thought through our ideas. Then, we share them and realize we’ve missed a couple (or a lot) of things. That’s how human brains work.
I think of product management as an art and science around structured conversations. Between the CEO, salespeople, marketing team and engineering team, we all come from different perspectives and tackle different activities. You need a shared vision to keep everybody coordinated.
How do you find out what the client’s business team really needs?
People often say they’re either detail-oriented or focused on the big picture. Product managers live in that in-between space and help those two sides talk to each other.
In my opinion, product management is about openness. I listen to all of the different perspectives. And then, I bring the information together and synthesize it. That’s where the ideas come from.
What inspires you about product management?
I get to work with amazing people. During our conversations, the right ideas often become obvious to me. But these were never my ideas. When we combine different experiences and expertise, that’s when the best ideas come to light.
How did you get started in this field?
After I earned my MBA, my partner and I started a company. We built eCommerce websites for brick-and-mortar companies.
We noticed a repeat problem where we built exactly what the customer asked us for, but it didn’t match their intentions. So I researched how other companies figure out what their customers actually want. That’s when I discovered product management.
The product management techniques I learned made us more effective and our customers happier. I fell in love with helping people articulate exactly what they aim to accomplish, their aha moment.
You’re an animal lover. How many pets do you have?
Totally. We have three cats and two dogs. I used to volunteer with the SPCA a lot. We also fostered kittens and puppies.
Now I volunteer at a food pantry in our neighborhood.
And you love to garden?
I love to be outside, get messy in the dirt and stare at my plants.
My love of gardening crosses over with what I do at work. I like to create repeatable, self-sustaining systems.
What are you growing right now?
We grow a lot of tomatoes and a corn called Martian Jewels. It’s an old heirloom sweet corn with purple ears. So we have a section of our yard that’s all 10-foot tall purple stalks of corn. It’s very fun.
You seek out unique colors for your garden?
I’ll grow any color of eggplant that’s not purple. If tomatoes are red, I grow every color of tomato that’s not red.
I might as well grow something different. This year, we grew green tomatoes. Now, we have shelves full of green tomato sauce.