We’re excited to introduce Jeannie Liou who joined Nightfall as our Director of Product Marketing. With an extensive background in product marketing, Jeannie has a storied marketing career working with companies such as Apple, Rubrik, and Snowflake. She brings with her a deep knowledge of building out product positioning and messaging that resonates with customers, as well as a passion for technology that improves the way we work, transact, and collaborate.
Can you share a little bit about your background? How would you describe your journey up until this point in your career?
I started my career in technology in 2010 at Apple, where I worked in new product development. My first assignment was on the v1.0 iPad, and this experience piqued my interest in technology. I witnessed how a mainstream product is built from the ground up, dissecting the guts of the product–from the connectors, processor, and camera, to the glass. I learned how everything is engineered, sourced, priced, then marketed.
Although my first foray into technology was through product development, I always had a passion for customers. It was a puzzle for me to solve why a person chose a certain solution for their specific problem. This interest led me to product marketing.
Now, at this point in my career, I have 12 years of product marketing experience, and I absolutely love this function. I believe it is the most foundational work required to market any product, especially a tech product. Product marketers are measured on their ability to drive product adoption, which requires crafting strong positioning to shape market perception, working with Sales to figure how we can get a product into more customers’ hands, then working with Product Management to iterate on the product based on customer feedback. I guess at the core of it, I am always looking for a challenge. Getting a product from product-market fit to mainstream adoption fits the bill.
You have an impressive background across a variety of technology companies, like Rubrik & Snowflake, that were on the cutting edge of data management. What is it that got you into this space specifically?
If you look at data security in general, there is quite a bit of activity in that space. You see consumers searching and learning as much as they can, and companies building products to solve complex problems. Regardless of size, vertical, and product it sells, all companies must protect their data because of heightened risk of a breach, small or large, occurring daily.
This makes data security, data analytics, and all data-adjacent spaces exciting as there is constant activity and change. What I found the most interesting is that breaches aren’t necessarily due to bad actors, but that employees, even with the best of intentions, inadvertently expose sensitive data which can lead to large scale breaches. This is a pervasive problem that is only growing, and I am thrilled to be part of a team that is solving these complex challenges.
Is this interest part of what drew you to Nightfall?
Yes. There are three main components of what drew me to Nightfall: the market, the people, and Nightfall’s impressive technology.
The market today is being shaped by Artificial Intelligence, and I believe that will only grow over the coming years to every industry. The impact that AI will have on our future cannot be underestimated. To that end, they said “Software is eating the world,” and while I think it’s still true, I believe it has changed to “Intelligent Software.” Nightfall is the leader in ML-driven cloud data protection.
Second, the people. It takes a lot of courage to start a company, especially a company that is creating breakthrough technology in a crowded space dominated by giants. Everyone I met both inside the company, as well as outside advisors held themselves and each other to high standards, were passionate about their craft and wanted to win together.
Finally, the technology. Using ML detectors that are trained to surface a company’s most sensitive information, and doing that accurately and at scale, is a radical step forward. I believe Nightfall is on the path to becoming an enduring company that is redefining how companies think about data security, embedding ML-based detection into every cloud service.
You’ve been working at your own consulting firm for about two years? How was that, and how is the transition?
During the pandemic—between 2020 and 2022—I had consulted with a number of Series A founders in the Bay Area. They were leaders of high velocity, high growth startups, much like Nightfall, and I saw that their teams were facing similar challenges. One of the main ones was coming to consensus on messaging and how to position the company.
Working full time for a startup has been a natural transition for me, and it’s been great. I’ve been looking forward to working with a team rather than being a solo practitioner. And of course, the learnings from my consulting practice have given me both breadth and depth of experience needed to thrive in a fast-paced startup.
As a product marketer, what motivates you the most? What gets you excited and out of bed each morning?
It’s hard to say this without sounding inauthentic, but I am genuinely driven to do my best work here at Nightfall. The ambition and dedication of my teammates inspire me. In terms of the day-to-day duties, seeing a product from inception to launch is exhilarating. I love understanding how we can most efficiently solve a customer’s most urgent problems, building the messaging and marketing engine to scale, then evangelizing customers to be as excited about the product as I am.
What do you think your childhood self would say or think about your current job?
She would love it! My job requires focus, creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving, which are all things that I enjoy. As a kid, I spent my time writing stories and using my imagination to create fantasy worlds and products. That creativity has translated well into marketing.
Are you reading, listening to, or watching anything interesting?
I’m an avid reader, especially of books about business and leadership. Right now, I’m reading a book called Loved: How to Rethink Marketing for Tech Products by Martina Lauchengco. I am a fan of Marshall Goldsmith, Simon Sinek, and Brene Brown. I hop on my Peloton bike daily and listen to the “All-In” podcast while cycling. To those who made it this far, thank you for reading.