Deepa Subramaniam is the Director of Product at Hillary for America. Previous to that she was Head of Product at charity: water, a non-profit bringing clean water to people in need. Her first job out of college was with Macromedia which was eventually acquired by Adobe, where Deepa spent the first 10 years of her career. She took time out of her insanely busy schedule to talk about how she came to be on the Hillary for America campaign, what her role is like (it's as crazy as you might imagine) and how she keeps herself firing on all cylinders.
Tell me a little bit about the work that you're doing right now and what your role looks like?
I joined the Hillary for America campaign at the beginning of July 2015 as Director of Product, just a few months after Secretary Clinton officially announced her presidential campaign. It’s been an amazing, fun, challenging and inspiring ride so far. I am a part of the Tech team which is a fantastic group of front-end and back-end engineers, product designers and product managers.
The purview of the Tech team is to use technology to do a variety of different things: raise money, spread our message, engage with supporters, and of course ensure people go out and vote! And of course, Tech is all about helping the campaign run more efficiently.
In short, it's a really exciting job where I learn so much every single day, especially how to produce at a high-volume and quickly. It’s funny, I used to think I needed a full few days to put a presentation together and now I can do it in an hour. At past jobs I would be so proud if an idea went from concept to execution in a couple of weeks. Here you can have an idea on Monday and it can be live on the site on Wednesday. That kind of speed is exciting and invigorating though it also poses all these different challenges that I haven't had before.
I used to joke around that I wished there was a reality competition for product management, and once I joined the campaign I thought: “Oh, this is it!”
I'd love to know more about your role as Director of Product and what your responsibilities are within that role?
In many ways it’s classic product management. I’m ideating with my design and engineering team, writing requirements and specs, working closely to make sure what we’re building is going to be successful, and satisfy requirements, yet can also evolve as time passes. My main focus at the moment is online fundraising and how we get people to sign up and engage with us in the variety of ways possible.
Of course, once we ship a new product or feature, I make sure everything is performing as expected and end-users are happy. That means looking at data, tweaking the product if it isn’t satisfying the original goals or maybe completely pivot the product to tackle an area we weren’t initially thinking of.
I also try to pay close attention to what’s happening outside of the campaign in order to stay connected and generate new ideas for things we could build.
A campaign is a series of amazing moments that make up this very deep and relevant experience. Some of these moments you can control and some happen more fluidly. I find that my time is best spent thinking about how technology can be used to make these moments even more impactful.