Josephine Liu, Sherry Huang on June 9th 2021

Our latest feature, Journeys, empowers teams to unify touchpoints across the end-to-end customer journey.

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Peter Reinhardt on October 6th 2020

We're about to enter the era of the customer data platform. How did we get here and where are we headed?

Nicole Nearhood on September 8th 2020

Today we’re excited to announce the launch of Segment Data Lakes, a new turnkey customer data lake that provides the data engineering foundation needed to power data science and advanced analytics use cases.

Andy Yeo on August 5th 2020

Let’s say you're looking to break into product management but your experience to date has been limited to support or other customer-facing roles. What's the best way to become a product manager?

I can't promise you that the path isn't challenging, but there are some fundamental steps that worked for me that I'm sure will make your transition much easier.

Make sure your motivations are clear

Success in any career transition relies more on your motivations and less on your experience. There are days as a PM where you feel absolutely invigorated by what you're shipping to customers. But I'd be lying if I didn't mention the days where it also feels thankless and stressful. That's why it's important to ask yourself honestly, "Why do I want to move from customer support into product management?" and align this with what fulfills you in a job.

For me, I had led a career traversing various customer-facing roles — from sales -> customer success -> sales engineering -> support engineering. Each time I made a move, I was motivated by my passion for solving customer problems.

When I decided to transition into product management, this passion was combined with a desire to drive business growth at a strategic level by influencing what and how products were launched. These motivations haven’t changed, so no matter how nerve-racking my week gets, I have no regrets.

Focus on your transferable skills

Customer support reps often perceive themselves in a second-class role. They see themselves as someone who spends their days answering ticket after ticket, with no end in sight. If you feel this way, don't.

Some of the best product managers I know come from a customer support background. The role trains you to be empathetic with the customer, exposes you to the most relevant customer problems and teaches you to juggle many tasks at once with the same level of quality.

These are all attributes that make a brilliant product manager.

In fact, I specifically moved into the support role at Segment after reading this blog post so that I could gain the customer exposure necessary to make that transition smooth.

If you’re looking to make the jump into product management, focus on the portable skills you’ve developed as a customer support rep. There could be few candidates that have your depth of customer empathy.

Build relationships with the product team

Never take for granted how much relationships help in your career. This is especially true if there isn't a formal internal transfer program available in your company.

Get to know the whole product team, understand what they do, how they do it, and potentially how they may have made their own transition happen.

When I first arrived at Segment, I arranged coffee chats with every PM on the team, the colleagues who I'd one day be on the same team with. They shared their journeys, their advice, and more importantly, anecdotes about their job that helped to confirm my original motivation.

In particular, get to know the product leader. Depending on the size of your company and its management style, this would likely be the VP or Director of Product. Share your aspirations with them and make them your executive sponsor so they can help steer you in the right direction, offer advice, and ensure you’re top of mind when the next opportunity arises.

I built a solid relationship with our Director of Product when I first joined Segment and attribute a lot of my own transition success to the guidance he shared with me and the doors he opened. While he has since moved on, I still consider him both a friend and mentor.

One word of caution. I've spoken to a number of customer support reps who shy away from sharing their aspirations of becoming a PM in their company for fear of failure or judgment from their team. As long as you're performing in your existing role in support, your transparency makes you top of mind to be considered when PM roles do open up.

Don’t lose focus while trying to transition

While no one expects you to stay in one role or team forever, and great managers will actively support you in your career development, the caveat here is that you must excel in the existing job that you were hired to do.

In support, this typically means consistently answering a large volume of tickets at a high quality and receiving positive NPS scores from your customers. This gives you repeated opportunities to learn how to investigate the true pain points for customers and also the various ways that these issues can or cannot be resolved with the existing product functionality. This provides a holistic perspective on what and how you build a product once you become a PM.

Remember that the manager of your current team is just as involved in any potential transfer process as your future manager will be. Your performance in your support role helps translate into a recommendation for the transition. In my case, my manager was incredibly supportive of me exploring potential opportunities, but it helped that she trusted that I could deliver results.

Learn by doing

The best way to demonstrate your interest and to hone in on the required skills of a PM is to take on suitable projects. While this might seem overwhelming on top of your existing responsibilities, juggling multiple workstreams in itself is great practice for becoming a PM.

For most organizations, there's never enough people to do everything that needs to be done so the challenge isn't about landing a side project, but about choosing the right project to work on. Your evaluation should first be based on the level of impact on the business and then how well it allows you to demonstrate and practice core PM skillsets.

The gaps or areas to focus on will differ for each person but I worked with our Director of Product (remember how important this relationship is?) to whittle down the projects which allowed me to build empathy and communication, practice product execution, learn how to effectively distill data to make decisions, and formulate an effective way to manage multiple workstreams.

Over the course of the year, I completed 3-4 projects which touched on all of these skills and more. I conducted research interviews with both internal and external customers, analyzed data sets to inform the recommendations and proposals that I presented to our leadership team, wrote out mini product requirement documents, and worked with engineers and designers to implement them.

Each project you complete brings you closer to the finish line and before you know it, you're being considered as your company's next product manager. The projects you’ve shipped will set you apart as a driven and motivated individual, and the skills and knowledge you've gained make you an irrefutable choice.

When an opportunity came up at Segment, I had graduated from working on side projects to informally being embedded on the Platform team where I had first shadowed the PM and taken on smaller parts of the roadmap to execute upon.

Thanks to this, I was offered a position on the same Platform team as a product manager creating products that allow our customers and partners to build their own integrations on Segment.

Parting words

Though I've moved on from the support engineering role, I'm still heavily involved through regular meetings with the team and jumping into our support ticket system to make sure I have all the latest on-the-ground customer insights.

Transitioning from support made being ‘customer-obsessed’ second nature to the product decisions that I make now. Looking back, while the process was tough, it was also rewarding and set me up with the necessary foundations to succeed.

If you’re looking to make a similar move, I’d recommend the following:

  1. Understand why you want to become a PM

  2. Believe in your ability to go from support to product

  3. Build deep relationships to help you along the way

  4. Outperform in your current role

  5. Show that you can do it

If you're starting your own journey of transitioning into product and you're curious to hear more, don't hesitate to reach out on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Or if you’re curious about a career at Segment, check out our open positions! We’re always looking for more driven, collaborative people to join the team.

Tayler Mehit on July 30th 2020

Product leaders must build strong cross-functional relationships grounded in reliable data. We've created a guide to share best practices from industry leaders.

Geoffrey Keating on July 28th 2020

What are the most popular types of data fed into a CDP? We tallied up Segment’s most connected sources of customer data to take a look.

Andy Yeo on July 16th 2020

More of the customer experience is online than ever before. While this offers your business new opportunities to tailor each user’s journey, it also creates a lot of complexity below the hood. Most companies are using 80+ vendor tools to run their business, and half of the enterprises we surveyed maintain 7+ disconnected islands of customer data.

With so many tools both generating and demanding customer data, your business needs a flexible way to unlock new use cases without reinventing the wheel at every turn. Last year at Synapse, our user conference, we announced the developer preview for Functions to allow early users to connect any tool to Segment using custom JavaScript. And since that introduction, more than 200 companies have built almost 2000 functions.

Today, we’re proud to announce that Functions is generally available to all customers, and you can start building now. If you want to learn more, here are a few of the most common ways customers are using Functions.

Build your own sources and destinations

While Segment already supports 300+ sources and destinations, you can use Functions to create your own sources and destinations directly within your workspace to bring new types of data into Segment and send data to new tools:

We’ve seen customers primarily use Functions to build a more complete customer view, with a specific lens toward connecting an internal service or an industry-specific tool to Segment. For example, Adversus is an outbound call center platform that used Functions to create a new data source and destination for their new financial automation tool, Fenerum

By integrating Segment to Fenerum using Functions, the Adversus team is able to keep track of changes in user subscriptions and related invoices in real-time. These integrations have also empowered their Finance team to use their data warehouse as a source of truth for their own analysis. 

At Adversus, we need the freedom to control our data and Functions lets us do just that. Integration projects are now done in a few days instead of weeks, and our development team can focus on the core product development instead of internal IT projects. We’re now looking to move even more of our data integrations into the Segment product. Mads Jepsen, Co Founder, Adversus

Balance data quality and flexibility

When your business has multiple business units or products, it can be tough to balance keeping data clean and reliable across the company, while also making it work for every tool your teams use.

For Adevinta, a marketplace specialist with over 30 brands, this had led to serious data inconsistencies in order to optimize their ad performance.

One of their real estate brands, Fotocasa, wanted to advertise to users via Google, Facebook, and Criteo with personalized ads based on whether users want to buy or rent. Their data team wanted to keep the data clean with a single event for House Lead, with properties for type: sell and type: rent to help them avoid reporting on redundant events. However, their ad tools required them to send two separate events for Sell House Lead and Rent House Lead for personalization.

In order to better balance data quality and ad performance, Adevinta created a Source Function to collect a single House Lead event and create separate events downstream so their ad platforms could properly use the data. This quick solution helped them keep their global analytics clean while unlocking better personalization for Fotocasa.

Not only does this save them hours of engineering and reporting time, but it also helped them further optimize their ads to create a 4-5x improvement in campaign performance.

Automate away complex workflows

With Functions, you can go far beyond implementing new tools by creating functions that allow you to automate away complex workflows. This is especially true for industries like consumer packaged goods where offline and online data need to interplay to create great experiences.

A multinational CPG business is using Functions to provide delivery visibility for the store owners who distribute their products. They use Foxtrot to manage deliveries in Latin America, and every time a delivery is about to go out, Foxtrot triggers a route created event that contains the IDs of all the stores that are going to get hit on that route.

By plugging that same data into Segment using a Source Function, they can use Segment to match Foxtrot data, customer ID, and store ID. They can then pass that data from Segment to Braze, which triggers a message to the store owners informing them their items are out for delivery. 

Even more impressive is that they were able to complete the entire project within four days, giving them a huge personalization win in less than a week. 

Ready to take your data pipeline to the next level?

Functions is built on AWS Lambda, and we’ve continued to rapidly expand the feature set since our developer preview. We’ve partnered with early users to build in more ease-of-use and reliability to ensure the functions you build can truly become core to your data pipeline. 

Here’s what we’ve improved over the last few months:

  • Error tracking: You can find useful information about errors triggered within your function in both our debugger and in event delivery.

  • Advanced permissions: You now have more control over who can create, edit, or deploy functions in your workspace.

  • Data replay for Source Functions: We’ve built a tool to help establish more reliability for your event pipeline and to help respect GDPR/CCPA compliance.

  • Custom settings for Destination Functions: You can now include configurable fields either required or encrypted for things like API keys, secrets, and event mapping.

  • Autofill for Destination Functions: Test your function with real events from any of the active sources within your Segment workspace.

Functions is a paid product, but every customer is granted a generous set of compute hours to build, test, and use Functions for your business. We invite you to start building within your workspace today

If you want to learn more first, check out our docs, request a personalized demo, or sign up for our upcoming webinar

Calvin French-Owen, Geoffrey Keating on June 10th 2020

In our new data report, we take an inside look into how tech stacks have evolved since the onset of COVID-19. 

Calvin French-Owen on March 18th 2020

Each year, I like to reflect on what’s now different about Segment. Thinking back to a year ago, there’s an incredible amount that we’ve managed to accomplish. 

In many ways, I see the Segment of 2020 as a new company, with fresh challenges and lots of new opportunities. 

But as the famous saying goes—the days are long but the years are short. Without further ado, here are the major highlights from Segment over the past 12 months. 

We helped customers connect anything to Segment

Segment helps businesses connect and use reliable customer data to fuel product experimentation, marketing, analytics, data science, and so much more. And in 2019 we doubled down to ensure that companies could truly add data into Segment and use the data wherever they needed.

With Functions, customers can now build their own sources and destinations with just a few lines of JavaScript. After just a few months in beta, we’ve already seen hundreds of customers building functions which adapt to internal systems and customize to their specific tools.

Simple code editor to build a function

We grew the Segment Catalog to 350+ integrations

While we’ve made it possible to build any connection with Functions, we’ve also added more than one new integration per week in 2019 to our integration catalog.

That means our customers can more easily set up 350+ tools (37% growth from 2018) to connect new sources and destinations. About 1 in every 3 customers has already tried one of the newest tools in our catalog.

We helped customers with privacy compliance

Since the early days of Segment, we’ve stood for privacy and responsible data handling. We’ve tried to avoid dealing with sketchy data brokers and third-party cookies, and instead make it easier for companies to comply with privacy-first legislation like the GDPR and CCPA.

At Synapse, our annual user conference, we launched our new Privacy Portal that allows organizations to automate detect and classify information flowing through Segment, and control where it is sent. It’s currently used by hundreds of customers to help enforce data standards at their companies. 

Aliya Dossa and Tido Carriero announce our new Privacy Portal at Synapse

 We deepened our commitment to privacy

One of our core values is karma, and we want to make sure we treat our customers’ data in a way they would expect. Privacy isn’t just a big deal for our customers. It’s a big deal to end-consumers as well.

We went beyond being ready for CCPA when it became effective on January 1, 2020. We also stood up a Privacy Program and a Public Policy Team in 2019.  We made multiple trips to Washington to help campaign for privacy rights.  We’ve also been very active in California around the CCPA.

We offered unparalleled control over your data

Data needs to be high quality to be valuable. In 2019, we helped customers achieve a new level of data quality with two new features: Destination Filters and Protocols Transformations.

Destination Filters are being used by more than one out of every three business plan customers. They are key in helping customers control their API costs and instrument basic privacy controls. Protocols Transformations allow users to alter their events without changing their code. We’re seeing companies use transformations to help standardize event names between new and old systems, connect previously siloed data, and more.

Simple UI to build a Destination Filter in a few steps

We grew our global team

In 2019, we grew from roughly 350 employees to 500+. In March 2019, we launched our Denver office as a new hub for our Customer Success org with a plucky landing crew of 3. Since then, we’ve grown the office to 17 strong, and made 24/7 customer support possible.

Segmenters around the world

We saw similar growth across our other offices too. In April, we expanded our NYC office to a high-rise right next to Times Square. In November, we expanded the SF office an entire floor. And in November, our EMEA team in Dublin made its 50th hire! There’s never been a better time to join!

We launched the Segment Startup Program

In February 2019, we launched the Segment Startup Program, to give early stage startups access to $50,000 in free Segment, and more than a million dollars in free software from companies like Intercom, AWS, and HubSpot.

We’ve onboarded 3,000+ startups into the program, and continue to add hundreds each month. More importantly, we’ve helped the next generation of startups make data-driven decisions powered with good customer data.

We held our biggest Synapse yet

This year, we expanded our customer conference, Synapse, in a big way. We hosted a record-breaking 1200 attendees. We had two full days of talks from experts and customers, as well as a partner summit.

Main stage audience at Synapse 2019

Synapse was an opportunity to learn from the best, and we continue to be impressed by the level of depth and expertise that customers shared. 

For example, it’s humbling to hear that Segment played a meaningful role in helping Allergan increase revenue by $250 million. We hope to share many more stories like this over the next year.

We told the world that CRM is not enough

Full-page Wall Street Journal advertisement

We have come together with over 100 partners to cut through the noise and make sure that businesses know that there is an entire alternative ecosystem outside of their CRM suites. 

There are alternatives that meet the demands of today’s customers, are flexible, and work together seamlessly, so that businesses can build customer technology stacks that are unique to their needs, versus a one-size-fits-all approach.

We rebuilt our documentation site

Our documentation is one of the most-visited parts of our website, and while it had grown organically over time, it was starting to show the strain. In late November we released an entirely new docs site, with a fresh, readable design, greatly improved information architecture, and better navigation. We also released new content in the form of an all-new intro to Segment, and some introductory guides tailored to different user roles.

We told the world about bad data

In August 2019, we launched one of the more iconic startup campaigns on the market: “What good is bad data?” To highlight the importance of clean, accurate data, we staged a series of mixups that found their way into billboards across Austin, New York, Los Angeles, and more. You can read more about it here.

Our billboard in San Francisco

The campaign created quite the storm, as we saw tweets and Reddit posts shared from celebrities, friends, and customers. 

We got SOC 2 Type 1 attestation

Segment has the privilege of working with many different types of clients, including Fortune 500 enterprises to industry-specific small businesses. In every case, we want to build trust and show every customer our commitment to security.

Throughout late 2019, we completed our SOC 2 Type 1 attestation. I’m excited to share that this is one of many steps we are taking to continue to build trust with our customers.

Thanks to all who made the above possible. If you’re interested in helping us build the next wave of progress, we’re hiring!

Alexandra Agnoletti on March 5th 2020

Updated on March 12, 2020

Our focus remains on three main priorities: keeping the Segment team and families safe, helping contain the spread of COVID-19, and supporting our customers who depend on Segment. Below are the measures we’ve implemented toward these priorities:

Remote work

As of Monday March 16th, all Segment employees in all global offices are either strongly encouraged to work from home or are mandated work from home. This recommendation follows the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus in every region where a Segment office is located. 

We are also restricting all business travel, not just travel to certain locations. We continue to discourage all personal travel. 

Our people

We recognize the period of transition that Segment is undergoing as we adjust to a fully-distributed workforce — we are providing manager workshops on how to manage remote teams and resources for our employees on how to stay healthy while working remotely. 

Business continuity

As a cloud-based platform supported by a flexible, globally-dispersed team, we are able to continue supporting our customers with minimal disruption while transitioning to a remote workforce. Our internal tooling and business systems are comprised of industry-recognized cloud solutions that allow our team to effectively communicate and collaborate both inside and outside of our offices. We are continuing to evaluate our business continuity plans to best support our customers during the developing situation with COVID-19 and to further strengthen our resiliency for future unforeseen events. 

This post will be updated as new developments occur. Original post published March 05, 2020.

Given the current developing situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Segment is acutely aware of its responsibility as corporate citizens to employees, customers, and the broader community. Here is how we’re approaching our responsibility to slow the spread of the virus and to keep conditions as safe as possible in all our global offices. 

Segment has implemented the following precautionary measures, effective March 5, 2020:

Encouraging working-from-home, wherever home is

We are allowing all employees to work remotely at this time and encouraging all SF-based employees to work remotely in accordance with the increased pace of the spread of COVID-19 in the region. 

We are also requiring employees who have been to a CDC level 2-3 country within the past 2 weeks to work in self-quarantine for the amount of time recommended by the CDC.

Moving live meetings to virtual and restricting travel

For the safety of our customers, partners, and those in the interview process to work at Segment, we are moving live meetings to occur over video. In tandem, we are restricting all business travel to and from San Francisco and any CDC level 2-3 locations, as well as discouraging personal travel.

We are dedicated to ensuring business continuity for our customers while we take precautions to keep our employees and broader community safe and secure. Due to the nature of our business, we aren't expecting any disruption to the Segment service. We welcome any and all feedback you may have.

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