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Meet This Week’s Humans of Product: Liz Blink

By Rebecca Dorsay
Humans of Product Liz Blink

Meet Liz Blink. She loves “fantasy fiction, hiking the streets and the trails of Melbourne, and then talking about all that over a glass of wine and a platter of cheese with good friends (in-person or on zoom!!).”

Liz is an ex-academic turned product nerd who never turns down an opportunity to ask why. To her Product Management is “a place for dreaming the dream and understanding where the day-to-day can take you… and then it is rising above and asking for the dream anyway.”

Liz wound up in Product when she ran off to Amsterdam after doing her PhD in immunology. Aptly namely this adventure her “first life crisis” she reminisced on the experience of finding her love for Product,

“For my first life crisis I was very lucky to land a temp role at a company that was building a product for scientists. I got hired to help with some boring old data entry and then started helping with some UX testing and some validation of how their search worked (in my discipline). From there I did the customer service after the product launched, and loved talking to the users and the product team as we worked on the answers needed for the customer problems we were finding. Eventually, it clicked that the product role was the one I was drawn too and I landed my first product gig on that product.”

Liz Blink with Husband

After her ‘life crisis’ led her to the Product world she dove right into the bustling community as well as ticked off some notable career achievements along the way,

“I stick my nose in all sorts of places nowadays. I nurture the product community in Melbourne via Product Anonymous with my co-founder Jen Leibhart. We have a great group of volunteers who are helping us keep the conversations and meetups vibrant and fun each month while on zoom. And there are still plenty of stories to share so it’s wonderful working with fellow product peeps to bring their stories to life to be shared with the community. I also feel very fortunate that there are a number of amazing experiences I can reflect back on – being part of the team that built online reporting for Yellow Pages, launching a completely new service on Scopus that saved scientists hours of their day by enabling them to download the articles they needed for their research in just 3 clicks and being part of the transformation work at Sensis and ensuring we get off the burning platforms.”

With years on the Product scene under her belt, Liz has come out with some war stories to make you laugh and cry depending on the day. But her funniest laugh out loud moment in her career was way back when she wasn’t even a Product Manager yet,

“I got a phone call on our customer service line about how to resource “Scopus”. Our product was an online Abstract and Indexing database and I was speaking to someone in the middle east who needed a product from us. As I muddled through the question and did some frantic googling I discovered there was a company of that same name based in that region that provided telecommunications hardware. This customer had somehow gotten our number and called us for help… I gave him the number of the actual company he needed to reach and made him very happy! Almost as good as all the customer queries we got at Sensis when the Census went down that time…but that’s a story for another day!”

Liz hiking

As of today, Liz is taking in the the everyday highlights around “how we do product work as a team and working with folk coaching them on more fun and effective ways of working together.”

Oh, and she’s waiting to win the lottery. Liz laughs and explains that she needs to start spending half her year in Amsterdam, “My Dutch is starting to wane after so long away from home…”

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