Coworking

Coworking: Alexis Baird helps make homeownership less onerous

The head of product experience at Thumbtack says the app is “designed for today’s generation of digitally native homeowners.”
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Alexis Baird

· 3 min read

Coworking is a weekly segment where we spotlight Tech Brew readers who work with emerging technologies.

How would you describe your job to someone who doesn’t work in tech?

I lead a team of product managers who have to balance the needs of our users, both pros and homeowners, with business goals and technical constraints to decide what and how to build the best possible experience.

What’s the most compelling tech project you’ve worked on, and why?

We recently launched the biggest product update in Thumbtack’s history, which includes 30 new features that help homeowners care for and improve their homes. We discovered that homeowners were uncertain about how and where to start, which led them to procrastinate on home projects. To help them move past this uncertainty, the team completely redesigned the Thumbtack app experience, introducing features from personalized guides to project plans to AI search to DIY tools and more.

This new app is meant to simplify the process of homeownership and provide guidance on what projects to do, when to do them, and who to hire to get the most value out of your home. It was designed for today’s generation of digitally native homeowners who want to manage everything from their phones, but weren’t able to until now.

What technologies are you most optimistic about? Least? And why?

Can it be the same thing? As someone who studied computational linguistics many years ago, the last year with generative AI has been absolutely stunning. For years, I’d get questions about robots being able to take over what humans do and I’d laugh it off and tell people not to worry: The technology was nowhere close to replacing humans. My younger self would be blown away at how far (and fast) generative AI has come.

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I truly believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what AI can do, and there are going to be incredible applications we haven’t even considered. That said, the pace of the technology is moving faster than societies, governments, and international bodies can, and I worry that, like all prior technologies, there will be upsides and downsides. In this case, I fear, as a society, we’re not even remotely ready to handle some of the downsides.

What’s the best tech-related media you read/watch/listen to?

I actually think it’s really important to read non-tech media as well, so that’s a lot of my consumption, but for tech-related media, I really enjoy listening to Lenny’s Podcast. It’s hosted by a former product manager, and the guests are often really impressive people discussing a variety of topics.

What’s something about you we can’t guess from your LinkedIn profile?

I’m a stubborn Android user. I started using a Nexus One 14 years ago and have never owned an iPhone. I have to endure endless trash-talking from my friends and colleagues, but throughout my career it’s also given me the chance to “dog food” the Android experience when most people working in tech only ever see the iOS experience.

What do you think about when you’re not thinking about tech?

Most of the important people in my life are not in tech (and arguably not interested in tech), so it really forces me to think about other things: world politics/travel (my husband), music (my mother), history/education (my brother), running/social justice/pop culture/literature (assorted friends), dragons and dinosaurs (my kids).

These are often the conversations that allow me to think more broadly and find inspiration for my work. Some of my biggest professional insights and breakthroughs have come from these conversations.

Keep up with the innovative tech transforming business

Tech Brew keeps business leaders up-to-date on the latest innovations, automation advances, policy shifts, and more, so they can make informed decisions about tech.