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Welcoming Maria Thomas as Buffer’s Chief Product Officer

In July, we shared that we were looking for a product leader to help us take Buffer forward in our next phase. After speaking to an incredible group of talented folks in product, I’m happy to share that Maria Thomas has joined us as our new Chief Product Officer.

We’re now a 10-year old company, and in the past year, I’ve done a lot of reflection on the purpose of the company and how we can set ourselves up to reach our potential and have the most impact. Buffer’s mission is to provide essential tools to help small businesses get off the ground and grow.

Maria brings with her a breadth of experience working in SaaS and working with small businesses. Her most recent roles have been as the VP of Product at Bitly for the past two years and Insightly for the prior three and a half years. These are both SaaS companies that served small businesses and navigated the ups and downs of all that comes with that segment, including having a large free user base. Maria also spent seven years building products for SMBs at Intuit.

The opportunity to bring on an executive is rare, especially at a company like Buffer, where we have some very loyal and long-tenured people and are striving to create a decades-long sustainable company. There’s much we can learn, however, from someone with experience of where we’re trying to go, and with Maria we have found a great blend of significant experience and expertise we can learn from and an excitement for the unique type of company we are. In particular, Maria and I connected and had great conversations around the freedom and creativity that can come with being unconstrained by VC investment and how that can help us have a more pure focus on the customer, and ultimately more compounding long-term success.

In Maria’s own words:

I am inspired and humbled to join Buffer. You have quite a following in the product management community. Several of my peers revealed that they’d had a long ‘crush on Buffer’ once they learned that I joined you as your CPO. I am thrilled to join a product-led company focused on helping SMBs, a profitable, transparent, sustainable SaaS business, and a majority female executive team.

We’re lucky to benefit from all of Maria’s great experience in product as well as her many years as an executive of similarly sized companies. Maria joined us late last year and has already had a significant impact, helping us to shape our goals and strategy for 2021. I’m confident that within the next few months, customers will start to see the positive and tangible results of her contributions.

More announcements from Buffer

Team announcement

Tyler Wanlass is Buffer’s VP of Design

I’m happy to share that Tyler Wanlass recently became Buffer’s VP of Design. 🎉 Tyler has been on the Buffer team for over five years now, initially joining as a Product Manager before he transitioned to our first Head of Design. Throughout 2020, while we were hiring for a new Product leader, Tyler took on that role in the interim and did an incredible job. I’ve been impressed with how he’s juggled so much, operated at a high level, and contributed at layers from the leadership team down to the individual 1:1 level with product team members. He’s lead Product excellently, introduced new processes and alignment, and put things in a fantastic place for Maria, our CPO, to come and take us to a new level. Since working with Maria, he has formed a strong partnership and they’ve already achieved some incredible milestones together as well as jointly brought new energy to how we approach Product overall. A key reflection I had over the past six months is that at Buffer, we’ve always spoken about Product being at the core of Buffer. We’re a truly product-led organization, putting the Product at the center of everything we do. We don’t have a sales team, and much of our growth comes through word of mouth based on our customers’ experience. With this in mind, it started to occur to me that having two Product leaders, both Maria and Tyler, within the leadership team would be the most appropriate structure going forward and help us to create the right balance and approach to strategy over time. VP of Design is not a role we previously had at Buffer, and in these first few months, it has felt completely natural and highly impactful. This decision reflects the importance we place on product innovation and quality, which is fundamental to a lot of the outcomes we are pushing for. I’m so grateful for everything that Tyler does for Buffer and our customers. Tyler has been an awesome partner in some big decisions this year. I believe customers and all of us at Buffer are better as a result of Tyler’s significant contributions.

Team announcement

Caryn Hubbard is Buffer’s VP of Finance

I'm happy to share that Caryn Hubbard was recently promoted to Buffer's VP of Finance. 🎉 Caryn has been on the Buffer team for over five years now and has made huge contributions in her time on the team, both as the leader of our Finance team and as a member of our Executive team. She was instrumental in our $3.3M buy back of VC investors, in helping us navigate the turbulence of the financial impact of the pandemic, as well as in launching Buffer's annual charitable donations. She has also piloted several projects that advanced Buffer's transparency around compensation, including multiple versions of our salary formula. Beyond the Finance team, Caryn has overseen Buffer's legal and compliance focus through industry changes and Buffer's expansion. She continues to be a strong leader for the financial team and most recently has been working on our approach to liquidity and equity. I'm so grateful for everything that Caryn does for Buffer and our team. Buffer's financial future is more secure, and we have a more sustainable business as a result of Caryn's hard work. She is a trusted and calming presence who is relied on to provide regular thoughtful updates on Buffer's finances to our team and investors. You can see the most recent report here.

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