Meet the Grafana Labs team: Grafana Cloud product manager Richard Lam
As Grafana Labs continues to grow, we’d like you to get to know our team members. Check out the latest of our Friday team profiles.
Name: Richard Lam
Current location/time zone
I’m currently located in the Washington, D.C. area, so I work ET hours. I’ve been here about 6 years now and am previously from Atlanta, Georgia.
What do you do at Grafana Labs?
I’m a product manager for Grafana Cloud. At the end of the day, my desire is to build an awesome product that our users love and want to continue using. This means I’m deeply interested in understanding how users interact with our software, what brings them happiness, and perhaps most importantly, what causes them headaches. This is an empathy that I’m always seeking and what drives every decision I make. So to the best of my ability, I want to validate that everything we put into the product is stuff that helps our users and makes their lives easier.
At a high level, this means product vision, strategy, and roadmaps (a.k.a. buzzwords), so that we’re able to articulate how we’re trying to grow our product long-term, alongside the investments we’re making now. Day-to-day, though, this translates into a lot of talking and collaboration with many different groups across the company and directly with customers, too.
It starts with our Engineering and UX teams, where I’m always looking at the pulse of our development progress and ensuring that we’re still building the right thing for the right use case and that it all makes sense. Beyond the design and development teams, you’ll find me working with our Sales and Customer Experience teams to prep everyone on our roadmap and upcoming features, while also intently listening to them to get a ton of value feedback from our existing customers. Finally, when it gets closer to release time, I’ll be huddled together with our Marketing and Writing teams to line up various communication, website, and documentation updates, so that the public never misses a beat on what cool things we’ve recently put out!
I fell into this role at Grafana Labs because the opportunity was the perfect intersection between some of my biggest passions. I personally love being able to take complicated data and distill it into easy, actionable information for users. At my previous company, where we built a low-code PaaS product, I was the product manager responsible for building out more visibility into system health and application performance metrics for our developer personas. In addition to the customer-facing experience, I also was the product manager for our engineering observability team and helped roll out and evangelize our own Grafana/Prometheus/Thanos/Loki stack internally. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the OSS observability product, but it pained me to not be able to interact and build products for our external customers. As such, Grafana Labs was the perfect pivot for me. :)
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love everything there is that has to do with food, from buying ingredients, to cooking, and even perusing through grainy iPhone 4 photos of menus on Yelp. I could spend hours wandering around a grocery store, especially random local ones, and methodically walking through each aisle just to see what’s new – I don’t even need to buy anything, and I’d still be happy. I live in a studio apartment right now, but my pride and joy is my massive kitchen island, which is an absolutely godsend for cooking and food experiments!
What’s your favorite new gadget or tech toy?
With the ongoing pandemic and switch to being full-time remote at Grafana Labs, I’ve had a lot of time to research and dive into the deep dark arts of coffee brewing. I’m a big fan of cold coffee and recently bought a Chemex and quality gooseneck kettle to try and perfect Japanese iced coffee to pair with my (also recent) coffee subscription, which lets me try a lot of different kinds of beans/roasts. I’m currently eyeing an electric burr grinder, but my crowded kitchen counters are screaming at me in protest.
What’s your favorite food?
It’s a tough question and one that often keeps me up at night. I love elaborate meals and complex dishes layered with flavors as much as the next person, but I think I’ve landed on an answer that really satisfies me: steak.
It’s such a simple thing that really comes down to just the basics of food. You can have an absolutely extraordinary steak at home by just finding a nice quality cut of beef (grass-fed and free-range; bone-in ribeye is my favorite), seasoning it with just salt and pepper (liberally), and properly cooking it (hello medium rare). That’s it. No extra marinades, fancy sides, or excessive condiments necessary!