Descent Into Hell: A Q&A Inside Our Product Manager’s Evil Lair

I stand nervously in the elevator as I watch it descend – elevator muzak versions of Celine Dion echo in my ears on an eternal loop and I realise I am on my way into Hell.

Buried deep beneath the Peepl Fortress, the Product Manager’s Lair is a mysterious networks of caverns filled with mysterious projects, it is a place where deadlines come to life and the souls of damned developers are laid to rest. It is the home of our new Product Manager Hafsa – and I have been sent into this pit of evil to speak with her.

“Hello?” I call out nervously as the elevator door opens and I step into darkness. “How’s it going?”

It has only been four weeks. Four weeks into her role and new product manager Hafsa’s sanity hangs by a thread. The engine that keeps Peepl going, she is not one to be trifled with.

Street Thug turned Product Manager Hafsa

For a woman of her exceptional experience and talents, joining tech start-up Peepl was supposed to be easy. A former biotechnologist who went on to earn a Masters in Business as well, Hafsa perhaps thought she was overqualified for the position at growing Liverpool-based tech firm Peepl.

A month in, Hafsa is the only one capable of grappling with the multi-headed hydra that is Peepl’s output.

“There’s just so many innovative projects underway!” She growls from the darkness as I approach. “Peepl is at the forefront of the Web 3.0 boom, how am I supposed to keep track of everything?”

And she’s right. With Peepl quietly exploring various opportunities (some still under wraps) it’s shaping up to be a huge 2022 for the company, and Hafsa is at the centre of it all. As Product Manager, she has to stay on top of all of our projects: shining light in to the dark dwellings of our deeply delicate and damaged developers, flying out to a mysterious and unnamed island to pester our enigmatic CEO as well as putting together colour-coded roadmaps to ensure Peepl achieves world domination by the mid 2020s.

I irritated our Product Manager this week by interrupting her important schedule, ignoring the ‘Keep Out’ signs to bother her with questions for this Q & A. 

“Everything okay?” I turn on a lightswitch and she only hisses slightly.

“Really great!” She grumbles. “We’re working on so many cool things right now!”

Eventually, she glances away from her immense workload and tells me about how she ended up working at Peepl. “I was searching on LinkedIn for tech startups in need of a product manager, and a big thing that attracted me to Peepl was the blind resumes.”

We’ve posted before about the use of blind resumes in our hiring process, where all identifying aspects of an applicant’s CV are redacted to enable us to hire the best candidate. And it works, Hafsa was the best candidate. 

“Did anything surprise you about working here? What were your expectations?” I ask her.

“I was expecting to be given one project to oversee, not four!” She laughs, only a slight involuntary twitching hinting at the pain and suffering within her. “I knew it would be fast paced, but I wasn’t expecting this speed!”

And she’s right. I take a look around the office at the team around me. One coder is typing so fast that smoke is coming from his keyboard. 

“How are you settling in with the team?” I ask. “You finding everyone alright?” 

“Yeah, everyone’s been helpful and open-minded.” She tells me. “Everyone here has a lot of autonomy so there’s less of a hierarchy.”

It’s true. Everyone here is good at what they do, and they’re allowed to get on with it — Some of us manage four projects at once, some of us are developing cutting-edge technology and some of us write mediocre blog posts. It’s a good balance. 

“I know we’re not allowed to say too much about the exciting projects we’re working on at the moment.” I glance nervously at the Peepl-Tron, an excitingly branded laser-eyed ray gun that monitors our every move. “But is there anything you can tell us about what’s coming up next for Peepl?”

“Disrupting! Innovating!” She tells me. “There are lots of opportunities to support local economies coming up this year and we want to be at the forefront of that.”

The Peepl-Tron ray gun begins charging its lasers threateningly. Perhaps we have said too much. But the important thing is that we are still here and working hard to bring you a positive community-oriented future. And I think I can speak for most of us when I say — no matter how many hours it takes her, no matter how many upcoming projects there are for her to manage, no matter how many times Hafsa has to stay late and miss our office end of the week drinks, it’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make. Good luck Hafsa, we’re all counting on you.

Product Manager and Personal Hero of Mine