Get to Know Bluesky Founding PM, Jianyong Zhang

Jianyong Zhang

I’m excited to announce that I’m joining Bluesky as a founding Product Manager. I could list many reasons why I wanted to join Bluesky, but if I had to pick my top, they would be the product, the people, and the incredible potential I see for our customers and our business.

My journey to Bluesky

I started my career as a software engineer and transitioned to product manager after getting an MBA at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business. I’ve been lucky to work for some of the most innovative, web-scale companies on the planet, like Amazon, Airbnb and Uber. (Uber is also where I met and worked with Zheng Shao, Bluesky’s co-founder.) Each company is extremely data-driven and a market leader in its respective category. My contributions centered around building the platform and infrastructure to increase the productivity of data engineers, data scientists, analysts and ultimately to help each company get the most out of their data.  

Leaving Amazon to a join seed stage startup 

At heart, I’m still an engineer. I love deep technical discussions and solving super technical problems. Bluesky brings me closer to technology than ever before. I have in-depth discussions with the engineering team on a regular basis. And more than once, these discussions brought me back to my experience 20 years ago, sitting in the classroom studying computer systems and distributed computing. I’m reminded of what excited me about computer science in the first place. It is a great feeling to geek out and collaborate with super smart engineers who go deep into the technology, before I get back to PM outputs like requirements and a roadmap. 

Bluesky provides the freedom for me to be hands-on and to take my work to the next level. The open environment along with being small (for now), also means that every single drop of creative juice I generate, gets a fair share of attention. It also means a unique opportunity to define and shape a product from ground zero. Building something from scratch and being part of a product’s DNA from inception is a super exciting and rewarding experience. And these opportunities don’t come along that often. I just had to jump in.

The people at Bluesky were also an important reason that I joined. The team here is super driven and deeply knowledgeable about workload optimization, yet humble and fun. Many of them are friends and former colleagues that I enjoyed working with in the past.

Last but not the least, big data is an area that I am passionate about. I’m inspired by the opportunity to truly democratize the power of data, analytics, and machine learning for any organization that wants to improve workload cost efficiency of cloud-based data platforms. It feels great to continue learning and making an impact in the big data field. Needless to say, this is just the beginning of a long, exciting journey. 

What I do as a founding Product Manager (PM) at Bluesky

In my role as founding PM, I’m responsible for all the typical product management activities such as collecting requirements, maintaining a roadmap, working with designers and engineers to deliver the solution and aligning with sales & marketing on go-to-market. As an engineer turned PM, I love listening to customers, solving complex problems for them and ensuring the end product solves the relevant business challenge. 

When I engage with customers to understand their business challenges, my approach centers around listening closely and empathy. At the end of the day, the real impact of my work comes from putting the customer first, not the technology. Keeping that prioritization clear helps me focus on delivering a solution customers will love and truly rely on to run their business.

What makes Bluesky special

The deep focus on technology, product vision, the collective experience of the team and market timing uniquely position Bluesky to become a category defining company. The dual trends of increasing cloud consumption and vast data scale provide a huge opportunity for Bluesky’s product, which goes beyond mere cost visibility to provide deep insights into how data is used and the wider implications. Organizations that have chosen Snowflake can now optimize their cloud spend and turn their data into business value, faster with Bluesky. 

The company is also well-funded and growing fast. Bluesky recently raised a $8.8M seed round from Greylock and various angel investors. Here are a few articles about the company so far:

  1. Snowflake Optimization Startup Bluesky Launches with $8.8M in funding
  2. Startup Spotlight: Bluesky
  3. Bluesky Built Cost Guardrails to Help Cut Snowflake Spend

We’re hiring !

If you are looking to make an impact and inspired to build the future AI-driven data infrastructure then take a look at our job openings.