58

It was announced today that Teresa Dietrich will be joining Stack Overflow as a Chief Product Officer. When reading the website, there seems to be little to no information regarding this function.

Next to a welcome, my question is: What will be their role at SEI?

  • 61
    Don't waste your breath asking here. Tweet the board or executives to have a better shot at getting an answer. – Magisch Jan 15 at 17:31
  • 41
    Probably doing Chief things with Product things to generate more money from their paying customers – rene Jan 15 at 17:32
  • Do you think Teresa Dietrich will take action regarding the termination of Monica, Shog, and Robert? – Ṃųỻịgǻňạcểơửṩ Jan 15 at 18:36
  • 1
    @MulliganᛜReinstatingMonica What sort of action and why? – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 15 at 18:41
  • 5
    @MulliganᛜReinstatingMonica No. It's possible (speculation alert) Shog and Robert were let go to afford to hire Teresa. – wha7ever Jan 15 at 18:43
  • Action to reinstate Monica, who was unfairly terminated and then follow the new moderator removal guidelines. – Ṃųỻịgǻňạcểơửṩ Jan 15 at 18:44
  • 7
    @MulliganᛜReinstatingMonica that seems so highly unlikely that we could be certain that the answer is "no" – Lamak Jan 15 at 18:47
  • 5
    I highly speculate their decision to terminate Shog and Robert is a massive blunder. SE will not be the same without them, as they have supported the community for so long, and the community is still important to make products sell. – Ṃųỻịgǻňạcểơửṩ Jan 15 at 18:49
  • 1
    @MulliganᛜReinstatingMonica Why would a new Chief Product Officer try to do that? – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 15 at 18:53
  • 1
    @MulliganᛜReinstatingMonica "the community is still important to make products sell" I mean, it's not, really. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 15 at 18:53
  • 1
    We will see what holds for the future – Ṃųỻịgǻňạcểơửṩ Jan 15 at 18:55
  • 32
    Unrelated: nice to hear that SE Inc. still has a CEO, and that he finds time to comment on important announcements. And I am wondering if anyone told Teresa that SE Inc. is working really hard lately to disconnect itself from the IT experts ... she is supposed to sell products to. – GhostCat salutes Monica C. Jan 15 at 19:21
  • It will probably not be getting an account here and interacting in any way with the MSE crowd. :-( – Reinstate Monica - M. Schröder Jan 17 at 14:06
  • 5
    Shouldn't Teresa be a she/her, not a they/them following the usage on the linked article? "What will be her role at SEI?" – Cool Fool Jan 17 at 23:25
65

Complete speculation:

Money has been diverted from paying people to work with the community (Robert, Shog) to paying people to help build sellable products.

That is, Teams and whatever other monetisable output Stack Exchange is / will have.

I think it unlikely that there's much hidden meaning behind a fairly standard job title.


Editorial:

Interesting how literally none of it was covered by the company on Meta or the blog, though. Very underhanded. The CEO's press statement is also rather telling:

"I'm thrilled that Teresa is joining our leadership team to help define and execute on our product strategy for this new era of Stack Overflow,” said Prashanth Chandrasekar, CEO of Stack Overflow. “Teresa is an incredibly talented technical leader who has a deep understanding of our core customers - developers and technical workers. Her excellent execution skills and understanding of the developer workflow make her a great fit for our organization."

This isn't an accident, friends. Every single action taken by SE over the past year or so is a clear signal of a fundamental pivot. I do believe, though, that this is the first time it's been spelt out, and so spelling it out here may have been by accident. (In the press again, naturally. 🤣)

I would be remiss, however, to omit Dietrich's statement:

“I have long been fascinated and impressed by the community and collaboration platform that Stack Overflow has built for technologists,” said Dietrich. “I am eager to leverage my passion and experience with the amazing team at Stack Overflow in the next stage of their journey. I am so excited and energized by Stack Overflow’s huge potential to expand the scope and scale of their impact on technologists’ careers, and champion community growth and inclusion due to the ever-increasing demand for technology talent.

My interpretation is that this alludes to the various communities out there (read: business employee pools) that can be grown and made more inclusive by following Stack Overflow's lead.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 36
    Why do I have a hunch that new era will be way shorter than the previous one? – Frédéric Hamidi Jan 15 at 17:56
  • 5
    If you don’t get at least one down-vote on Meta, you haven’t been as interesting as you should have been. When down-vote are unexplained, you may make up any interpretation you like for them. I tend to think “tragic mouse-clicking accident” (TMCA) – ColleenV parted ways Jan 15 at 18:05
  • 5
    Nope, the downvote is because I don't think "complete speculation" is useful. – Em C Jan 15 at 18:06
  • 1
    @EmC Alright, fair. I think I'm overstating the "complete" part though. I mean a Chief Product Officer is a Chief Product Officer. They hold the office of being in charge of products. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 15 at 18:13
  • 1
    You missed the bit where she says "and champion community growth and inclusion" – DavidPostill Jan 15 at 18:14
  • 1
    @DavidPostill You're right I should add that for balance (edit: fixed, thanks) – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 15 at 18:14
  • 1
    @DavidPostill Just realised she's not talking about this community though. actually now that I think about it I think I misinterpreted your comment lol ah well – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 15 at 18:19
  • 5
    This speculation does make sense. – wha7ever Jan 15 at 18:30
  • 11
    If they cared about community growth, they might as well have kept Shog. – S.L. Barth - Reinstate Monica Jan 15 at 18:54
  • 1
    I mean, lets not forget that "Stack Overflow" (to them) refers to their collection of products, of which Q&A is only one. Pretty slimy way of opening up all of your messages regarding SO as most users know it as having multiple meanings depending on who's reading it. – user400654 Jan 15 at 19:43
  • 4
    @GhostCatsalutesMonicaC. I have several answers that escaped unscathed either due to the question having few views or my answer being so bland readers couldn’t find anything so wrong it was worth moving their mouse to down-vote them. And to anyone that is planning to “fix” that for me, thanks in advance for reading my answers lol. – ColleenV parted ways Jan 15 at 21:39
  • 5
    Bingo. – Eric Duminil Jan 16 at 8:03
28

It appears that SEI is pivoting their focus towards Stack Overflow for Teams in an attempt to increase revenue. The press release has this line,

There, she served as Global Head of Product & Engineering and played an instrumental role in creating and scaling world-class B2B SaaS products

Which leads me to believe that will be their focus as Chief Product Officer. In terms of the pivot, recall what Spolsky said at the end of the Series D funding,

Spolsky says that two-thirds of its revenues today come from recruitment services, via its Stack Overflow Careers site, and one-third from advertising.

Most likely the revenue from recruitment has been fairly stagnant along with ads leading the new leadership to focus on new product lines.

|improve this answer|||||
19

The completely speculative answer makes extremely valid points, I don't have much to add about that, besides: yes, it looks like SE Inc. is "re-focusing" on its "core business" to increase ROI for their investors.

Yet, this is tagged discussion, so let me add this:

When reading the website, there seems to be little to no information regarding this function.

I think that is the really essential core of everything. Sure, there also seems to a bit of incompetence around and politically motivated over-welcoming-issues. But in the end, it might be all about a company trying to find strategies that lead to long-term business success. There are people who put in their money to get this company going, and some day, these people want to see results. A business needs to make profit, or it is doomed.

And honestly: I think that is okay. Everything changes, and old promises don't get employees their paycheck. But the essential element here: transparency!

Assume SE Inc. had just stated something like this:

We think we can't get to robust roadmap while upholding "promises" given 5 or 10 years ago. We think we need to ramp up on the stackoverflow side of things, and reduce efforts for all the smaller communities. We know this will be painful to many, but we are willing to sit down with the communities to find solutions that work for all of us. ...

in 2019. Sure, we would have wept, and screamed, but hey: there would have been a chance to work on that together.

I think: you can even make such announcements in a way that convinces external business people, analysts, and shareholders. Whereas the "communication strategy" that SE Inc. decided for has a high potential of achieving the exact opposite. I would hope that any decent analyst figured by now that SE Inc. managed to drive away the expert-content-providers in masses.

|improve this answer|||||
8

Note the focus on "technologists", not programmers. This implies to me raising up server fault/super user/etc, rather than stack overflow.

This aligns with that incredibly ambiguous question on the stackoverflow meta: What does "Should we add technical Q&A sites like Server Fault, Super User, and DevOps to Stack Overflow?" mean?

|improve this answer|||||
  • 5
    Because the target audience (other companies' C-level employees, board members, tech investors and startup founders) identifies as "technologists". – OrangeDog Jan 16 at 17:53

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for?Browse other questions tagged .