Santiago Pliego

Hey! I'm Santiago. 👋 

I'm a Product Manager & Designer and enjoy building products that people love to use. I love to work—especially with people that are more talented than me!—and constantly strive to learn about the world. When I'm not building stuff, I'm probably reading, doing sports, cooking,  and spending time with my family. 

My Work

During my junior year of college, I co-founded ConsignCloud, a tech startup that solved the complexity of running a resale store. My team built ConsignCloud into one of the top resale systems in the world, serving clients spanning three continents and five countries. I wore a variety of different hats, most of them focused on product strategy and implementation, sales, customer service, and overall runway of the company.

A few years later, I joined Emsi, a labor market data company, as part of their effort to launch an Enterprise vertical. Part of the initial three-person group, I helped Emsi to grow into the best-in-class labor market data platform in the world, surpassing giants like LinkedIn and Gartner. Our customers spanned the entire range of Fortune 500 companies, with companies in the single digits. Eventually, I had the privilege of leading the design and development of Emsi's enterprise product suite, designing and launching Emsi's Staffing, Global, and CRE analytics tools, as well as working on the release of our open-source Skills Library.  

Product Philosophy

I move fast and get things done. I communicate constantly with teammates and users to understand the problem at hand and its solution. When considering a solution, I know when to gather more data and when to make a decision with only a bit of knowledge, but I always strive to be neck-deep in the customer's mindset. Failure is part of building products, but it's important to know why something failed, own it, and quickly move forward.

I believe great design is design that makes customers and companies successful—as such, great design solves problems and is not necessarily the fanciest or the most expensive to build. Sometimes the best solution requires a complete overhaul; sometimes it's best to polish what you have and meet expectations quickly.

I care little about job titles and politics but deeply about good products, knowing my customers, and exceptional teams. While I've worked in some well-known software development methodologies, I'm not married to a particular one—I put a premium on work over processes and successful products over a standardized approach to building them.

I love to work with smart, talented, and friendly people, and seek to return the favor every step of the way.  

"Taking over the role from a senior product owner who left the company, Santiago exemplified the same passion for customer experience, empathy for development concerns, and relentless attention to detail that we had come to expect from his far more experienced predecessor. Throughout our interactions, Santiago demonstrated a deep knowledge of client needs and consistently advocated for the user...Santiago was a model product owner in many ways, and was always a delight for my team to work with."

- Kaleb Trotter · Engineering Lead, Emsi Analyst Development Team 

Frequently Answered Questions

Outside of Product, what other experience do you have?

I have done customer support, sales, and business development (I was even a librarian at one point 📚). What I love about Product is that it allows me to bring all of my past experiences and skills (like writing and art) into a single role. I am just as comfortable negotiating a contract or running a high-stakes sales pitch as I am pushing pixels and establishing a product roadmap.

Interests outside of work?

Outside of work, you’ll find me spending time with my wife Kate, reading tons, traveling, learning more code, and competing in Olympic Weightlifting.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently working through: 

  • The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Super Pumped by Mark Isaac  Finished it! Great read 🙌.
  • Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The Reading Life by C.S. Lewis.

Favorite products these days?

I love Bear for writing—it takes me back to the things that made me fall in love with Medium. Alfred is an example of an incredibly simple user interface with massive upside. I recently discovered Universe and was blown away by how laser-focused the whole experience was. Loom is the next big thing in team communication. 

How do you feel about remote work?

I love it.  I started doing remote work in my early teens: most of my middle-school and all of my high school years were remote. Growing up in Mexico City, I attended an online school based in the US—we had live lectures, presentations, homework, team projects, all of it remote. From an early age, I learned to work asynchronously, take work seriously despite being decentralized from an “HQ”, and develop and foster relationships via long-distance collaboration. I was especially good at that last one: my wife and I met via this online high school and got married in 2014 🙂.

Let's chat!

Coffee, tea, FaceTime—you name it. If you want to learn more about my projects or there's something I can do to help you, shoot me an email. 

Coffee, tea, FaceTime—you name it. If you want to learn more about my projects or there's something I can do to help you, shoot me an email.