Javier Reyes, product programme manager at Pixotope
Talk us through an average day in your role
The product programme manager role sits in the middle of the whole organisation, interacting and working directly with product development, sales, marketing and customer success. That means that every day I have to be ready to switch between a huge variety of decision-making discussions and meetings. Working with product development, I focus on the roadmap priorities, user stories, product requirements and specification, and follow-up on how our new product releases are evolving.
Working with sales requires understanding customer needs, processing feedback, providing product presentations, clarifying and explaining product features, and providing assistance on what products, licenses or items customers may need based on their requirements. Within marketing, I work with the team on product messaging and positioning, ensuring that the value of our products and our unique selling points are clear and consistent across our website and outbound communications. Working with customer success I receive feedback from our existing customers as well as ensuring that our demos to potential customers deliver and focus on what products they will need. Last, but not least, we work in a very competitive industry and so it is important to continually keep an eye on our competitors: analyse their product offerings and how they compare to ours, and to be able to map that back to the developments taking place across all departments’ activities. The workload is high, the activity is frenetic, but it’s worth it.
How did you get started in the media industry?
I finished my Master’s in telecommunications engineering studies back in 2012 in my hometown, Málaga, in the south of Spain. The economic conditions at the time weren’t great and the job offerings didn’t appeal to me, so I decided to try my luck abroad and moved to Oslo. As a fresh graduate, my preferred area of work was radiocommunication and wireless technology, but having completed and enjoyed a number of modules around software engineering, I also applied to different software engineering positions. After a few interviews, I found myself making software for a high-end technology company, Appear TV. As years passed, my interest progressed from making software and closer to understanding the business, the market, and how the products we made fit in with the customers’ needs. In 2016 I had the chance to move internally to pre-sales engineering, then product management and finally to product strategy. After 10 years at Appear TV, I decided that it was time to find new challenges and luckily I met Pixotope in a joint business opportunity at the beginning of 2022. When I saw the job opening for product programme manager at Pixotope, I didn’t hesitate to apply, and here we are!
What training did you have before entering the industry?
I have a Master’s in telecommunications engineering from Universidad de Málaga, Spain. My studies weren’t particularly focused on media and television technology because of the wide area of knowledge that “telecommunications” covers, but I was able to focus my modules on radiofrequency, radiocommunication and software engineering.
I would say that I’ve learnt a lot of what I know on the job though. During my time at Appear TV, I had the chance to learn a lot about the technology behind television and media and to understand the inner workings of a business. In turn, working with Pixotope has introduced me to a different area of the media industry, so every single day there is something new for me to learn.
Why do you enjoy working in the industry?
There are two main reasons I enjoy working in this industry. The industry and the work we do has such a wide reach and impact. Everyone watches TV, everyone knows that by pressing a button or a screen, they get a huge selection of entertainment in the shape of moving pictures and sound that just magically reaches their TVs or devices. But I love understanding how things work, and I love seeing how the technology I work with directly contributes to people being able to enjoy those amazing experiences, such as watching movies, their favourite shows, the Super Bowl or any other live sporting event. And, why not? I get such enjoyment out of telling the people I know: “Do you see that thing on screen? That’s our technology”.
The second reason is that this industry is extremely dynamic. Technology is changing all of the time. You need to keep up to speed; you’ll never say “now I know it all” because there are another three new ways of doing things or ground-breaking technologies already around the corner. I am always learning and that never gets boring.
What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?
Working in “product” requires versatility. Being able to get into technical discussions and understanding, to a certain level, what the products are doing and how they are doing it; but also being able to see how that applies to the real world, and communicating it with those that don’t necessarily need to know the details on how exactly those products and technology work.
You definitely need to have a genuine interest in technology AND business, because being a product manager is like working as a technology-business translator. You must speak both languages: the business and non-technical language, and the technical engineering language. That involves being pragmatic, practical, and being able to modulate your conversations, discussions and decisions based on who you’re working with at every moment.