Where vision meets empathy: How Benchling product managers are shaping the future of science
Tina Arantes’s lifelong love of biotechnology has led her from academia to industry and from bioengineering to product management, working with startups and large enterprises alike along the way. With a decade of experience as a product manager and product leader for enterprise SaaS, Tina is now at the helm as a Director of Product Management at Benchling, where she works to further our mission of bringing cutting-edge technology to scientists at the forefront of their fields. Tina and the Benchling product management team are solving pressing product challenges in order to bring this mission to life, and they do so through their dedication to customer empathy, dynamic approach to problem solving, and shared vision.
Solving pressing challenges
For Tina, Benchling is perfectly positioned at the intersection of her interests in building software that users love and the biotechnology revolution. Tina saw an exciting opportunity to make a difference at Benchling, which she thinks is making a profound impact in the world beyond software. As she puts it, “[Benchling’s] customers have the potential to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges, such as disease, renewable energy, clean water, and hunger.”
Benchling users range from scientists at the cutting-edge of basic research to companies developing next-generation cell and gene therapies, RNA therapeutics, crops resistant to climate change, the biomaterials of the future, and much more. And for Tina, she and the rest of the Benchling product management team come to work every day driven by the mission to empower these scientists to bring their breakthroughs to the world faster than ever before.
“Our customers have the potential to solve humanity’s most pressing challenges, such as disease, renewable energy, clean water, and hunger.”
—Tina Arantes, Director of Product Management @ Benchling
At Benchling, the product manager’s role is to help build tools that radically improve the way these scientists do their work, which in turn shapes how their discoveries impact the world at large. To that end, Benchling product managers are solving unique, pressing challenges that are three-fold: How do you create products that increase scientists’ productivity and enable collaboration so they can innovate faster, while at the same time stay ahead of the latest trends in science as new discoveries and workflows emerge? And lastly, How do you scale to meet the explosion of data generated by these emerging scientific discoveries and methodologies?
Rely on empathy, problem solving, and prioritization
To answer these questions and make Benchling’s vision a reality, Tina knows that a successful product manager has to be driven by customer empathy, have a sharp mind for problem solving, and constantly prioritize for the largest impact
As in many enterprise SaaS companies, Benchling product management is the puzzle piece that ties the whole picture together. Tina believes her team’s role is to, “Deeply understand customer needs and market dynamics in order to prioritize, build, and launch products and features that delight scientists.” But what distinguishes the work of a product manager at Benchling is that they find themselves at an inflection point across three major areas. As Tina puts it, “Benchling is at the center of three transformations happening all at once: biotech, data & AI, and cloud,” and product managers play a crucial role in coalescing these momentous transformations in the Benchling platform.
“Benchling is at the center of three transformations happening all at once: biotech, data & AI, and cloud.”
—Tina Arantes, Director of Product Management @ Benchling
To capture all of this and make Benchling’s product a successful one for its users, Tina’s team relies on empathy to connect with the customers’ needs and deeply understand the challenges and workflows across many cutting-edge scientific domains. Product managers also partner with Engineering and Design to develop solutions that elegantly solve those problems and improve scientists’ day-to-day experience. And finally, prioritization is key for product managers on Tina’s team as there are infinite ways to improve users’ lives yet limited time to actualize those improvements—so they need to focus their efforts on making the biggest impact possible for scientists.
A dynamic product needs dynamic PMs
The work for Tina and Benchling’s product managers is dynamic and highly collaborative. In her role as a Director of Product Management, she works on the product strategy for Benchling, as well as its planning, implementation, and release to customers. Tina and her team work alongside Benchling’s customers in order to better understand each user’s unique needs. Her team collaborates with the Benchling engineering and product design teams to build and optimize Benchling’s current and future products. And they also work closely with teams like Product Marketing to build understanding and excitement for the product among users.
In 2021, Benchling saw a glaring need in the RNA Therapeutics space. So last year, Tina and her team built and launched Benchling’s RNA Therapeutics solution—software that was the first of its kind on the market. RNA Therapeutics is a novel, burgeoning modality in the life sciences, and it previously lacked modern software that met its needs. The solution that Tina and her team created enables scientists to design, develop, and characterize RNA, which Tina sees as an exciting example of the work for product managers at Benchling.
When it comes to the ins and outs of a typical day for the product management team, their activities are quite varied, and each day looks a little different. A Benchling PM might start their morning by catching up on the news in biotech to stay on top of the latest trends. Then, they might work with the design team to run a customer discovery session for upcoming products, followed by Agile sprint planning with engineering. After a break for lunch, they might prepare a webinar with product marketing to support upcoming product launches, before spending their afternoon triaging feature requests from customers, presenting a roadmap to Benchling customer support, or reviewing product metrics.
A Shared Vision
With a schedule as varied as that comes a strong emphasis on cross-functional collaboration and support. Teamwork is a vital component of the culture of the product management team in order to help individuals succeed and to support the success of Benchling’s mission. Tina says of her team, “We are as dedicated to helping each other grow as [we] are to helping the company grow… Everyone at Benchling is empowered to grow as an employee and help their colleagues grow in turn.”
While many on the Benchling team bring a unique background and perspective to the company, there is a communal sense of dedication to a shared vision. Every day, Tina and her team are inspired to come to work knowing that they are realizing Benchling’s mission to accelerate cutting-edge science that will radically change the world we live in.
If you are excited by Benchling’s mission and the work that Tina Arantes and the product management team are doing to empower scientists, we invite you to explore our open positions.