Allen Yang is Bubble’s VP of Product and has been with the company for more than four years — and before that, he worked on product teams at companies like Google and Better Mortgage. As part of Bubble’s leadership team, he’s responsible for not only driving the product and business forward, but nurturing a team and strategy that enables Bubble’s vibrant user base to thrive.

Don’t miss Allen’s fireside chat on Bubble’s product roadmap on October 25 during #BubbleCon2023. Register to attend here.

We sat down with Allen for his behind-the-scenes perspective on all things product leadership, the future of Product at Bubble and beyond, and what makes successful product teams tick.

How did you get your start in product leadership (and at Bubble)?

With Bubble, it was a great fit from day one. I enjoy working on things like productivity tools, SaaS, and creation tools — the general space that Bubble’s product is in — and Bubble happened to be looking for their first PM. I also love the pace and energy of working at a smaller company! At a startup, you get to wear many hats — it’s really “all hands on deck” working together to accomplish our goals. Plus, you get to directly see the impact of your work on the company and product.

To some extent, finding my way to product leadership involved doing the product manager (PM) job and working my way toward a greater scope — and to some extent it was opportunities that popped up along the way. Since Bubble was still a relatively small team when I first joined, I had the good fortune of being able to really stretch and help out across the company in a lot of different ways. As the company grew, our co-founders, Josh and Emmanuel, entrusted me with growing out the Product organization.

In your opinion, what makes a product team and/or product manager successful?

One part of it is figuring out how to make the decisions around what would be most impactful for Product and Engineering to work on, and then actually making those decisions over time. Another part of it is doing whatever it takes to “get stuff done,” i.e. helping out however we can toward our goals.

What is it like leading a product team that includes Bubble Developers working on Bubble itself? How is it different from working on a team with only traditional devs?

This is one of the unique aspects of Bubble’s structure — the fact that we have a function of full-time Bubble Developers who work on the part of our product that’s built on Bubble (quite an example of dogfooding!).

These folks are power users in the Product team, so they can give very quick feedback to the rest of Product and Engineering. That kind of near-real-time user feedback is a luxury not all companies have. Plus, our Bubble Developers are passionate about the product itself and excited to stretch the limits of what it can do. This is a source of inspiration in many ways for all the folks on the team — we get to watch the product come to life in their hands. (Plus, they’re just all super nice people to work with!)

What’s been your favorite product feature/development that we’ve released so far?

This is like choosing a favorite child, so I will cop out by highlighting a few features:

  • New responsive engine: This was a big overhaul of our feature to help users design the responsive versions (i.e. for different screen sizes) of their app’s pages. At the time, this was the biggest feature we’d launched since I joined — kudos to the team working on that!
  • Experiments to best teach users how to use the product: Bubble can be complex to learn, and we have teams working on the early user journey. They run experiments trying out different ideas about what to have new users do during onboarding. I like the spirit of learning about the pedagogy of Bubble and of running experiments to see what works.
  • Cloudflare protection: A few years ago, we started offering Cloudflare protection for all Bubble apps. It was a big project and provided massive value to our users, but because this was before we had a fully built-out Marketing team, we were pretty understated about it. The fact that we host all Bubble apps and essentially take care of devops for them — allowing them to scale and providing features like Cloudflare coverage — is pretty darn awesome.

Where do you think the future of product management is going?

Big question! There are a few trends I see happening:

  1. As product management becomes an increasingly established role, I think we’ll see more specific “flavors” of PMs and folks will specialize in their careers. This may be along the lines of industries (ex: healthcare PM, adtech PM) and/or specific parts of the stack (ex: artificial intelligence PM, infrastructure PM).
  2. More non-tech companies are going to adopt the same kind of software development capabilities and practices that tech companies have, namely hiring teams of PMs, engineers, and product designers to build software. These companies are starting to realize that the older way of treating “IT” as a cost center isn’t really cutting it.
  3. I think the nature of PM work will shift to focus more on unique problems and on the “core” PM responsibility of figuring out the most impactful priorities. This relates to the maturation of the function itself: More PM tools are being built, more best practices are being shared, and more resources are being invested to take on more interesting bets. The tools PMs have to make more data-informed decisions have gotten much more sophisticated over the last few years.

What excites you about Bubble’s future trajectory?

Thanks to the years Josh and Emmanuel spent bootstrapping, Bubble’s product is much more widespread and mature for the stage of company we are. When I joined, the company was 20 people, with five engineers working on a product that at any bigger company could’ve easily had an engineering team of hundreds. Today, we’re a size where I feel — more than ever — we can ‌ throw our weight behind different investments and move the needle. We have so much potential to make huge changes and impact, so I’m really excited about the next couple of years.

Interested in joining the Bubble team? We’re hiring! Read more about what it’s like to work here and check out our open roles.