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Meet the…product manager

Qwilt's Tamar Polachek explains why it's important to do your research if you want a job in the media industry, and why it's a dynamic industry to be involved in

Tamar Polacheck, product manager, Qwilt 
Talk us through an average day in your role

Much of my time is spent collaborating with internal teams at Qwilt – from sales to R&D to engineering – and talking with our customers and partners to understand their requirements and needs. Day-to-day I’m continually assessing Qwilt’s products and thinking about how they can help address our customer and partner’s challenges while also briefing them on any new features we’ve added. I also ensure I’m continually researching and reading up on the latest trends and technologies within the content industry and ensuring our product line is utilised optimally. 

 What I like most about my role is how dynamic it is. Every day is special and unique, in that I get to meet different people, talk about various subjects, and I’m regularly exposed to a whole range of thoughts and opinions. 

How did you get started in this industry and in this role? 

My background lies in information protocols, like HTTP and TCP, which led to me getting the role of video analyst at Qwilt. I then got the opportunity to lead a team of video analysts, which eventually led to me reaching my goal of becoming a product manager. I highly commend Qwilt for always taking on board my professional ambitions and giving me the opportunity to achieve them. 

What training did you have before you entered the industry? 

I had done several courses covering transport layers and the application layers of the internet, which was the knowledge I came with to my initial role. But I gained most of my knowledge on open caching and edge content delivery while working at Qwilt. 

I have two science-based degrees, although they’re not directly related to my role now. My first degree is in biology and cognitive science, and my second degree is in biology. But while they’re not directly connected to the world of open caching, they did give me exceptional critical thinking skills and an understanding of how to extrapolate data that I use in my work today. 

The most important thing is to gain some form of experience, even if it’s not directly related to your desired role. You can bring expertise from other adjacent industries to the table wherever you are. 

What do you enjoy about working in the industry?

Firstly, it’s a fun industry! Everyone watches video, so it’s nice to work in a field people can relate to. Qwilt works specifically in open caching and content delivery at the service provider edge, which is a complex concept to digest for those outside the industry. However, everyone knows what Disney Plus and Netflix are, which makes it easy to break down the work I do in laymen’s terms. 

It’s also an incredibly dynamic industry to work in. It moves so fast, meaning I’m continually learning new things and adapting to keep pace with the industry. It keeps changing, and so many companies that didn’t exist four or five years ago when I started are now incredibly interesting players. The dynamism of it all is great.

What piece of advice would you offer to someone who’s looking to jump into this industry? 

You must do your research and be involved. There’s so much information out there, and knowing who the leading players are, what they do, and what added value they bring is invaluable. The media industry is multifaceted in many ways, and it consists of a plethora of players – from CDNs to content providers to service providers to the backbone infrastructure. With so many elements, it’s important to read about it and stay ahead of the curve. 

My philosophy for product management comes from a Hebrew saying, ‘big headed’, which means being open minded and proactive. You must state your own ideas while still being open to other perspectives. 

And finally, imagine where you want to be, and say it out loud! Communicating what I wanted to my managers and colleagues was the best way to help me get there. If you keep it to yourself, no one will help you get where you want to be.