Meet Elate: Phil Tarnowski
Phil Tarnowski is the Director of Product at Elate. We chatted with him about his role and how he found his way to Elate.
How did you end up in your role at Elate?
I have been involved in the Indianapolis tech scene for a little over 6 years now. As part of that, I met our COO through a program in Indianapolis called the Orr Fellowship.
She reached out to me and shared Elate’s vision of how the product they were working on could solve a gigantic problem for growing businesses and Ops professionals. I met the team, it seemed like a great fit, and here I am!
What’s your favorite thing about your role?
I love working in Product. Getting to think through customer challenges and work cross functionally to bring solutions to life is very exciting to me.
Product is a position that works with every department in some shape or form. It challenges me to learn new things about the company, business, and market every day.
What makes being an Indianapolis tech company unique?
The Indianapolis tech scene is incredible. People are solving big problems and the community just keeps getting more momentum. Those who have had success in Indy tech are very generous and keep giving back - in the form of mentorship, guidance, jobs, investments, and new programs. It’s a great place to make your mark.
What does your average workweek look like?
As I’m sure most people will tell you in a startup, there is not really an average work week. Things move really fast!
First and foremost, I work on defining features and making sure we are building the highest priority initiative that is aligned with our company strategy. This involves listening to users and buyers, team members, researching the market, and looking at product analytics. When we have our priority set, I then work with our design and engineering teams to bring those features to life.
Additionally, I work with marketing, client services, and sales to help communicate what we are building, why we are building it, and who we are building it for.
If you weren’t in this role, what would you be doing?
Starting a tech company. I love building things and solving problems. Entrepreneurship allows you to wear many hats and grow something from nothing, which is thrilling to me.
I’ve lately been interested in health & fitness technology in my personal exercise and life routines, so I think I would try to do something in that domain.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Elate?
We are solving a big problem at the right time with a great team. We are aiming very high in a focused way.
The future of work is continually being redefined as technology and remote culture are becoming more normal. Companies want to move fast, and need easy to digest data to do that. It’s exciting to provide something that can help people sustainably grow their dream companies.
What’s your go-to office/home snack?
What's something your co-workers don't know about you?
I want to see all seven continents. I have been to 5 so far, and I’m just missing Australia and Antarctica!
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start a career in Product?
Start a mini project defining a product that solves a problem from scratch. You can do this by finding a problem in your daily life, making wireframes to solve the problem, and getting feedback from people you think would use the product.
Research potential competitors that are trying to solve that same problem. From this, revise the idea. Think about what you would build first if you were actually going to build this, and about how you’d communicate that with engineering.
If you have vetted the idea, believe in the product, and know engineers that can build it - great! You’ve got a potential company. If not, you now have great experience in product management interviews that will help you stand out.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Exercise, play video games, read, and hang out with family, friends, and our golden retriever.
Who has inspired you to get to this point in your career?
I was lucky enough to have a great product mentor, Jared Owens, in my first product management role. I ended up in the product department after a rotational program. And he showed me how product management should be done, at a strategic, departmental, and tactical execution level. I was lucky enough to have his guidance to really dive into a career in product.
At Elate, our coworkers are one of the top reasons we love what we do. The Meet Elate series spotlights real Elate employees across the company. Stay tuned for more from the series!