The Engineering Leadership Podcast · Episode 92

Growth & mobile engineering post-strategic transformation

with Atish Das Sarma & Shannon Ma

Jul 12, 2022
Building growth & mobile eng teams from the ground up is never easy – but the right frameworks, guardrails, & strategic conversations will set your org up for success! We cover the intersection of growth & mobile engineering with Atish Das Sarma (Head of Growth Engineering @ Patreon ) & Shannon Ma (Director of Engineering, Mobile @ Patreon) discussing how to balance short & long-term growth demands, strategically aligning new features & growth, and what it’s like making the transition into an established company with room for impact!
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Atish (@atishdassarma) leads the Growth Engineering team at Patreon. The Growth team at Patreon is responsible for holistically improving the product surface to help creators build and grow their businesses. Specific areas of focus include working across the full funnel to drive member acquisition, member retention, and creator acquisition.

Previously, Atish led iCloud subscriptions growth initiatives which is part of the broader Services organization at Apple. In addition to accelerating revenue growth for iCloud, Atish was also responsible for various data and ML initiatives across Cloud Services. He also held roles at Twitter and Google. Atish is passionate about working in areas with a broad opportunity & scope from the early stages, defining long-lasting themes, and building the corresponding teams to execute on them. He particularly enjoys leading organizations that are directly accountable for key business outcomes.

"For growth, you need to sort of think holistically in Patreon’s world, both from creators’ and potential members’ side and truly understand what is perhaps preventing some creators from getting started. So how do you sort of think about that holistically and then start building solutions that will empower them longer term.”

- Atish Das Sarma   


Shannon (@shannonma)is the Director of Engineering for Mobile at Patreon. Shannon and the entire team are diving in to create a world-class mobile experience built to best serve creators, so they can showcase what they do best. He previously supported consumer product teams at Instagram and Facebook for nine years. Prior to this, he got started in mobile at Apple helping build iOS.

"Our goal as a company is to be the best memberships product for creator. Our hypothesis about how we can get there is by really kind of like coupling content around community. In order for us to do this really well, the community almost has to feel like it's part of the content, like it helps kind of like elevate the content.

- Shannon Ma   

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  • Patreon’s major strategic transformation (2:30)
  • The role mobile plays in Patreon’s vision (5:27)
  • Integrating a growth strategy holistically throughout your product (6:11)
  • What it’s like transitioning into an already well-established company (7:48)
  • Defining a framework for an early-growth organization (11:41)
  • Guardrails to balance short-term and long-term growth demands (14:16)
  • Habits & rituals to inspire strategy-focused conversations in your team (18:00)
  • Shannon’s decision-making process – and why the focus is on mobile (19:22)
  • The intersection of growth and mobile engineering (22:07)
  • Why being a “ruthless” prioritizer is key (24:28)
  • Prioritization conversations between mobile and engineering (27:05)
  • A sneak-peek into Patreon’s next big bets (28:32)
  • The implications of new features on growth engineering (32:07)
  • Start with targeting your high-intent users (34:08)
  • Rapid-Fire Questions (35:05)
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