Featured on Nov 15, 2011
"We wouldn't have instagr.am without goatse.cx. #thanksgoatse"
While other kids were building forts, Dom was building computer interfaces. During his time at Razorfish, the Digital Innovation Group, and as a consultant across the Fortune world, he's been involved with projects for web, mobile and touchscreen.
His current role at Jetsetter combines his love of all things cutting-edge and, thankfully, dismisses his relative inexperience with the world of fortification. Most recently, he and his team were responsible for the company's award-winning iPhone and iPad applications.
- Title: Product Manager, Mobile @ Jetsetter
- Age: 25
- Location: Williamsburg
- Contact: @dominikhofmann, dominikhofmann.com
What’s the daily routine for a Product Manager of Mobile at Jetsetter?
The great thing about this type of role is that the daily routine isn't much of one at all. You start with a problem that your customers need you to solve, and you just sort of follow that all the way down the rabbit hole. It's a bumpy road, and along the way you encounter obstacles.
So perhaps you find out that there's a bottleneck in the system that needs to be addressed before you can build feature X that you're so fired up about. Maybe there's a licensing fee that you need to pay to use that custom font. Sometimes, one of your ideas requires the sales department to adjust the way they've been pitching to partners. Or maybe your customers just aren't that thrilled about the product at all.
What's neat is that much of the work that you're expected to do is really just a side-effect of your commitment to truly understanding the problem. You keep one foot in front of the other, and the rest works itself out.
At Jetsetter, we have these wonderful discussions every day, and they force us to really get to the bottom of a problem. Eventually we reach an agreement, and then we do it all over again. As it turns out, if you do that enough, one day it all just falls into place. Specifications, designs, a launch strategy, success metrics, partnerships, whatever you can think of, even the product itself. It's really cool, and it's one of the best jobs in the world.
In terms of projects that you’ve worked on with teams and things that you’ve built yourself, what is your proudest achievement?
I've been with Jetsetter for most of its life, and it has been exhilerating to watch it turn from a couple of people with great ideas into the company that it is today. At a high level, what I'm most proud of is what we've done with Jetsetter itself — as a business and as a brand. If I were to look a bit deeper, I would say that I've been very fortunate in that every new thing I've built with this team has made me prouder than the last. Only time will tell if the next one will continue the pattern, but I'm optimistic.
You wrote in your blog about five months ago that you own over 25,000 songs. How do you go about discovering new music? What’s currently at the top of your playlist?
If you're looking for it, you can find great music everywhere. That's always been my philosphy, and I try to stick to it. It's funny to me that we hold a mantra like "I'll try anything once" with such high regards, and yet we tend to be so close-minded with our musical tastes. It's so easy to fall into one or two publications or genres. Sometimes it's less about the music and more about the movement. You wouldn't be wrong if you said that music seems to follow the same basic trajectory as fashion. I make these mistakes as much as anyone, and I don't know if there's one magic answer.
What I would say is this: if you see the name of music that you don't recognize, listen to it. If you're at the record store or on Spotify or iTunes or eMusic or whatever, pay attention to the album art and trust your gut. If something jumps out and grabs you, it's worth the listen. If you're free and your friend invites you to a show, just go to it. Listen to the radio and watch MTV. There's a million ways to discover music, but the proposition is always the same: you might not like it, but you owe it to yourself to give it a chance.
Personal favorites right now: The Beach Boys' Smile Sessions, Buraka Son Sistema, Adrian Younge, U2's Achtung Baby reissue, the new Crookers record, Aphex Twin '85-92, Steve Reich's Double Sextet, and pretty much the whole party rock/arena dance/whatever thing taking over mainstream music