Listen to the Crowd

June 30, 2017 Gemma Angelina

This week for Pivotal Voices, we’re featuring Gemma Curl, Product Manager at Pivotal D.C.

I started DJing when I was in college. I went to Carnegie Mellon—where I majored in electrical and computer engineering and minored in music technology—and we had a turntable club where people would meet on the weekends to learn and practice together. From there, I went from casually watching to shadowing, and the next thing you know — I was investing in equipment and doing a few gigs on my own. It grew from a hobby to a part-time job. I worked my way up to getting “residencies” which basically means having a permanent gig that you DJ every night on a weekly basis.

After graduating, I went to work for Lockheed Martin as a software engineer. I started moving up in my career and decided to transition from doing clubs — the Red Bulls and coffees couldn’t keep up with the late nights — to different types of weekend events. I DJed at weddings, baby showers, amusement parks, sneaker stores, and anywhere else people would let me play music.

Like product management, being a DJ is about being user-centered. When you’re DJing, it’s not really about what you like to listen to. It’s about making the crowd enjoy their experience, so you really have to observe the room, watch the crowd’s reactions, and make adjustments in response.

As a DJ, people will make song requests, and that’s relevant in product management as well. You can’t come into a client engagement with the expectation that you know everything and are walking in with the ideal solution. You need to hear and understand the user’s wants and needs before jumping into solutioning.

Like product management, being a DJ is about being user-centered. When you’re DJing, it’s not really about what you like to listen to. It’s about making the crowd enjoy their experience, so you really have to observe the room, watch the crowd’s reactions, and make adjustments in response.

The thing that stands out at Pivotal is the emphasis on craftsmanship and understanding the why behind the things we do. As a consulting PM, it’s been interesting to learn facilitation techniques from other people in my office and watch how they lead effective meetings where they efficiently drive to decisions and clear next steps for meeting attendees.

Given our location and client base, we have the opportunity to impact people at an extremely large scale at #PivotalDC. If you think about how many people are affected by government services, it’s critical that they work — in some scenarios, those services represent life and death. By transforming how the government builds software, we can impact people nationwide.

Change is the only constant, so individuals, institutions, and businesses must be Built to Adapt. At Pivotal, we believe change should be expected, embraced, and incorporated continuously through development and innovation, because good software is never finished.


Listen to the Crowd was originally published in Built to Adapt on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Previous
Using Pivotal GemFire/Apache Geode with Lucene Indexing for Application UI Typeahead
Using Pivotal GemFire/Apache Geode with Lucene Indexing for Application UI Typeahead

This post examines how to use the new Apache Lucene text search feature in Apache Geode and Pivotal Gemfire...

Next
How We Harden a Cloud Foundry Stemcell (So You Don’t Have to)
How We Harden a Cloud Foundry Stemcell (So You Don’t Have to)

Stemcells help you embrace immutable infrastructure while improving your security posture. Here's how stemc...

SpringOne Platform 2019 Presentations

Watch Now