VP Product at ClickHouse
Pricing is a topic more human than we realize. Sure, pricing is defined, iterated, and updated based on data. But the decisions on either end of the computer screen are made by humans: It’s people who do the negotiating and make the final choice to buy or not to buy. And on the seller side, a team of people make the decisions of how to price their product, based on data, customer feedback, industry experience, and market research. Their choices have a significant impact on the trajectory of their products and companies.
But who are the people behind the pricing? Here at m3ter, we work with them daily. So in our new Pricing Pioneers series, we’re showcasing the individuals behind pricing transformations – across diverse roles and organizations – and finding out about their career journeys, pricing expertise, advice for those just getting started, and much more.
Our first Pricing Pioneer is Tanya Bragin, VP of Product at ClickHouse. Here’s her story.
Tanya did not exactly spend her childhood immersed in technology - the only computer she had access to growing up was at her parents’ workplace, a science lab, and it was mostly off-limits, save for a few games she was allowed to play.
When she started college at UCLA, she began as an undeclared major, taking a broad range of classes to see what might pique her interest. This was the height of the dot-com bubble: networking was blowing up and Tanya was fascinated. Digital networking suddenly filled the dorms, as students constantly shared music and files. Exciting changes were happening and Tanya knew she wanted to be a part of it - she’d found her passion for technology. She switched her major to computer science and started looking for ways to connect her technical knowledge with business problems.
Tanya started her career in consulting with Deloitte, but realized after a few years that implementing a technology that someone else built for a business wasn’t what she wanted to be doing: She wanted to work on the innovation side, to build the products that were transforming these environments.
To get to the next level, Tanya went back to school and got her Masters in Computer Science from the University of Washington. While studying, one of her professors asked if she’d looked into product management. At the time, Tanya didn’t even know what a PM did, but set up a few meetings to learn about their work and thought it might be the right path to get on the innovation side of the business. Her plan was to get a job with one of the big tech companies in Seattle… that is, until she was introduced to a new company coming out of stealth, and her love affair with startups began.
Tanya started as a Sales Engineer at a startup called ExtraHop. “That’s where I really grew up as a product manager,” she said. “The most important thing I learned is that you should strive to understand what you want to build and why, but also balance the technical and practical constraints. You should never be at odds with Engineering. Ultimately, being a PM is making sure everyone is aligned on a vision, weighing the pros and cons, and making decisions.”
Tanya has now worked in product roles at ExtraHop, Elastic, and ClickHouse. She loves the early stage, with its buzz of building something new, and so often solving a problem that people didn’t even know they had.
As pricing is an expected piece of new product introduction, Tanya has worked on a number of pricing projects through her career. However, at both ExtraHop and Elastic, she didn’t get the chance to do a true pricing transformation, as they were working on incremental changes, or the pricing model persisted into the next iteration.
The building of ClickHouse Cloud in under one year – a giant undertaking to meet high customer demand and bring a cloud offering to market – was her first chance to get in at the ground floor and create an entire pricing and packaging model from scratch. “The zero to one pricing introduction, especially with a usage-based product, has been a whole revelation to me. Now you’re free to charge by value and any dimension of usage you choose. It’s been really exciting.”
Because Tanya started out as a Sales Engineer, she often gets asked for advice on how to transition into a Product role. She says there are two paths that work really well:
For anyone seeking this transition, Tanya recommends working with the hiring manager to see what you need to demonstrate on your way to becoming a PM.
If you have a champion who’s willing to vouch for you, and the company is open to you making that transition, do it there. You already have the relationship, so it’s easier to make the jump from the inside.
To end all our conversations in this series, we’re doing a rapid fire round of questions to get to know each Pricing Pioneer better.
Thanks to Tanya Bragin for being our first Pricing Pioneer. You can follow her on Twitter, Medium, and LinkedIn, where she shares advice on product management topics and news about products she is building. To learn more about how she and her team set up pricing and billing for ClickHouse Cloud in just two months with m3ter, head over to our Customer Success Stories