Coherent Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Alex, Product Manager

Our Team

This week we dove behind the scenes to shine a light on someone very important to us here at Coherent. 

Q. Can you give a brief introduction to who are you, and what you do here at Coherent?

Hey, I’m Alex, and I’m the Product Manager at Coherent. As we’re a small team, I oversee every aspect of our product from customer support and research, to product design, scoping, and QA. I work closely with our development team to make sure we’re building solid features that our customers will love.

Q. Where do you live?

I’d been based in Bath, UK for the last 8 years or so but moved to Munich in Germany in September 2019.

Q. What do you love about it?

Munich is one of my favourite cities on earth; the city infrastructure is laid out really well and puts a lot of emphasis on pedestrians and cyclists. The city is quite well spread out and there are very few skyscrapers so it never feels too dense or cramped (plus, on a clear day this means you get a really cool view of the Alps on the horizon!). There’s plenty of parks and open, public spaces dotted all around the city, and you don’t have to travel far outside of it to get to lakes, forests and mountains. I think, generally speaking, it just feels like a very healthy place to live.

Q. How long have you been with the company?

As of writing these answers, I’ve been at Coherent for 4 years and 2 days! This was my second job after graduating from university in 2015. It feels crazy that I’ve already been here for 4 years. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Q. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Like most young boys I went through the phases of wanting to be a spaceman, a Pokémon master, supercar driver etc. I certainly don’t remember going through a Product Manager phase though…

Q. What is your favourite thing about Coherent?

I love the way that it just works away in the background without needing constant manual intervention. By automating mundane admin tasks, it allows workspace hosts to really focus on their members, which is great for their community, and for their business.

Q. What’s one thing that surprised you about working at Coherent?

Coherent has a fully remote team and flat hierarchy, the management style is very laissez-faire and there’s a lot of focus put on self-management. Having studied Management at university, this all sounds like a recipe for disaster, so it’s been really interesting to see that things still work – we’ve got a well-functioning team, an ever-developing product, and a successful business.

Q. What are you most looking forward to in the future with Coherent?

I’m really looking forward to our international expansion; for the first few years we were focused on UK workspaces but we’ve recently internationalised the product to support 30+ countries worldwide. I’m looking forward to working with workspaces around the world and learning more about how they operate and how they differ from country to country.

Q. What’s your go-to productivity trick?

I’ve recently started using a Pomodoro timer to break up my tasks throughout the day. I set myself 6-8 tasks to complete each day, each one lasts 30 minutes. I work for 30 minutes and then no matter what, take a 10-minute break and then repeat the process. It’s been a great way for me to manage some of the bigger tasks that I need to complete as I can break them down into smaller, manageable chunks. It also gives me a deadline which helps to keep me focussed, and seeing an empty to-do list at the end of the day is very rewarding.

Q. How do you prefer to start your day?

I wake up around 8:30 am and start with a small breakfast and some green tea, just to kick myself into action. I browse social media and catch up on missed messages until 9 am and then work through 2-3 tasks before I do a home workout.

Q. What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend? 

If the weather’s nice at the weekend, I’ll be outside on my bike, exploring the city and its surroundings. If the weather isn’t so good, I’ll probably stay in bed for most of the day playing video games or watching Disney movies. I also try to go bouldering a couple of times a week. I’m quite new to it but I love the blend of physical and mental exercise that it has to offer.

Q. What’s the top destination on your must-visit list?

I’d love to travel around Japan. I’ve wanted to visit Tokyo for a while to see the flashy lights and wacky, anime-infused everything, but I think the whole country is quite varied and has a lot of different experiences to offer.

Q. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

Probably the ability to fly. I love seeing birds-eye views of locations that you know so well from ground level. Plus it’d make it much quicker to get around the city, and would make international travel significantly cheaper!

Q What’s your favourite quote?

I don’t have any motivational quotes that I live my life by or anything like that so I’m going to choose a pretty iconic movie quote – “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” I suppose I could say it inspires me to think things through, do my research, consult others before I make a decision, but in reality, I’m just a big fan of Jurassic Park.

Enjoyed this interview and looking to read more? Check out one of our other interviews where we catch up with Simon, from Loft Co.