Meet… Stephen Earl, Guardian Product Manager
When did you join Cloudhouse?
Tell us a little about your career up to this point:
I first started work back in 1994 at the first internet service company in the UK – PIPEX. I’ve held various technology-based roles in my career starting as a dial-up support engineer, then moving on to webmaster, NOC Systems Manager (so I’ve done some 24/7 stuff and been woken up by pagers and mobile phones more times than I like to recall), through to Directing Service Management Engineering at Blackberry and then onto what I call the ‘accidental profession’, which is where I am now in Product Management.
Prior to Cloudhouse, I held Principal Product Manager roles at the likes of BMC Software, ServiceNow and Ivanti, joining the team here at Cloudhouse in October 2022.
What really drew me to Cloudhouse was the team and the potential of the product I now manage being industry-leading, delivering real value and solving problems in organisations.
What do you do at Cloudhouse?
I product manage. Essentially, I take input from the market, competitors, and customers and look at how our products can fill a gap in the marketplace, meet specific customer needs and provide value for customer use cases. I am also in charge of steering the product direction in conjunction with senior management.
What’s the best thing about working at Cloudhouse?
The team. They are a great bunch of people, with great ideas, enthusiasm, and they really are passionate about solving problems for customers.
What do you get the most satisfaction from in your role?
Solving the problems that customers have. It’s what Product Managers look for and do.
Most embarrassing IT moment (e.g. hitting reply all when you really shouldn’t have, deleting something VERY important, leaving your laptop on the train…)
I once deleted an entire server by accident. I was in the wrong place and I deleted it from the root. It was one of those things where the second you press ‘enter’ you realise what you have done but it’s too late, you can’t stop it.
What’s your view on AI? Friend or foe?
Somewhere in the middle. Used responsibly – friend. It is a useful tool and as long as it is used as a tool, it has great possibilities. The challenge is people thinking it is a magic bullet fix to lots of problems – it isn’t. Without direction or governance, it is a problem.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Over the years it progressed from astronaut, to policeman, to lawyer (which I am educated in) and somehow I accidentally fell into Product Management which I absolutely love, and I count myself lucky for having a job I enjoy.
What would you choose as your last meal?
Fish and chips.
Is a Jaffa cake a biscuit or a cake?
If you had a choice between being able to fly or being invisible, which would you choose?
It has to be invisible. I hate heights.
Cats or dogs?
If I have to choose dogs – but I like them both and have had both.