Meet the Herd: Customer Success Manager Anne Hathaway

Anne explains the ethos of Customer Success at Bison Trails, learning by doing in the blockchain space, and the industry’s shift towards increased usability

Meet the Herd: Customer Success Manager Anne Hathaway

By Bison Trails · Dec 18 2020

Each profile in Bison Trails’ Meet the Herd series is the story of a member’s professional path: how they started their career and made their way to the world of blockchain. Interview by Mark Forscher.

Q: Hi Anne! What is Customer Success at Bison Trails? What do you do?

Customer Success at Bison Trails is centered around relationship-focused account management. We lean into our company values and stay aligned on our customers' goals in order to build long term relationships. Transparency, empathy, and trust are the foundation of Customer Success and relationship development at Bison Trails; excellence in our products and services, and creativity in the solutions we provide are what differentiates us.

More specifically, Customer Success at Bison Trails encompasses supporting our customers' journey with us at every stage, from onboarding to our platform, to keeping them informed about protocol developments and helping them measure their success.

As Customer Success Manager, I'm excited to be growing the Customer Success team so that we can continue to support our customers at scale. We are a team of Account Managers—every customer gets a dedicated relationship manager. We are also building out a Billing Support function to ensure that customers blockchain reporting and invoicing needs are met. From day one, our Customer Success team has partnered closely with our Product team to ensure that customer feedback is relayed to inform our roadmap, and to consistently advocate for our customers needs, which continues to be integral to our strategy.

Q: You worked with Bison Trails’ founders (Joe and Aaron) before. Can you tell us about your journey to blockchain and what convinced you to join Bison Trails?

I was new to the blockchain space when I joined Bison Trails, and what a wild ride it's been. It's very exciting to work in a nascent, innovative and constantly evolving industry with so much potential. I minored in Personal Financial Planning in college and had a deeply rooted interest in traditional finance and investing. Learning about crypto and blockchain has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for me.

Joe had remained somewhat of a mentor figure to me over the years and I knew from experience that Joe and Aaron care deeply about the culture that they create and building meaningful products, so it didn't take much convincing for me to join Bison Trails. After over five years working in Community and then Product at Etsy, I was looking for something different, and I'd kept a pulse on what Joe and Aaron were up to since they departed Etsy.

Even though it was a new domain for me, I trusted that they would make the right decisions on behalf of their employees and customers, so I was excited at the opportunity to join the team. It's no secret to them that I'd always planned to work with them again 😉 so it was serendipitous that the opportunity presented itself when it did.

Customer Success at Bison Trails encompasses supporting our customers' journey with us at every stage, from onboarding to our platform, to keeping them informed about protocol developments and helping them measure their success.

Q: What are the unique challenges of Customer Success at a blockchain infrastructure company?

Where do I begin? The overarching theme here is how many externalities there are, which impact everything from what the onboarding process will look like for our customers across different protocols to events that take place within these ecosystems that are often beyond our control.

A tremendous amount of work goes into every protocol launch and ensuring customers are onboarded successfully—understanding unique terminology, what tools will be used to onboard, tracking external deadlines, and communicating with customers around what they need to do in order to come prepared.

After onboarding, there are important milestones and protocol developments to track and communicate, which sometimes require customers to take action and our team to act quickly.

Every Account Manager straddles multiple protocols and must become intimately familiar with each one they support in order to develop a strategy for customers to optimize. Infrastructure is also a very technical product to understand and support, so it's a constant learning curve and there's never a dull day.

Q: What was your first crypto “ah ha” moment?

It's honestly hard to remember. When I was new to blockchain I felt like I was learning a new language, but at some point you start speaking it and it becomes second nature, and those little milestones get harder to pinpoint. It was almost a bit mind bending at first but everyone used to say that one day I'd look back on those days and realize how far I'd come, and that couldn't be more true. We've created a strong learning culture and I couldn't have made it this far without the willingness of everyone on the team to educate and uplift others.

What I can say is that I learn by doing. One of the earliest “ah ha” moments I can recall is when we were planning out a swag drop we did at DevCon 2019. We encoded riddles into Ethereum transactions that we posted on our Twitter account, which had clues to the booths where our swag could be found. Whoever was able to decode the message, figure out the riddle, and make it to the relevant booth first, won some limited edition swag.

I was charged with sending these transactions with encoded messages, and, although we’d planned out how to do it, it was my first time really transacting with a blockchain. In true fashion, I couldn’t get transactions to send through Metamask with these messages encoded. I was running out of time with the first tweet scheduled, so I solicited the help of one of our engineers, and we sent the transactions through the command line using what I believe was a very early version of Bison Trails’ QT infrastructure on the backend.

It was my first experience with blockchain trial by error, and how I was able to familiarize with Ledger and Metamask. The way we ended up doing it was also the first time I was exposed to how people interact directly with blockchains.

Anne Hathaway

Q: Which protocols / projects are you most excited about? Why?

They're all different and they're all mission driven which I think is what excites me the most day-to-day. That said, I believe most people in the blockchain space can relate with the sentiment that usability and user experience present one of the biggest areas of opportunity.

In the year and a half that I've been here I've observed some major shifts towards lowering the barrier to entry and increasing usability, like wallets and custodians offering products that token holders are comfortable using, some that integrate directly with staking providers to offer staking to their user base. In my first six months it was more common that tokens were held in offline wallets and staking happened over the command line.

Similarly, I've supported a lot of protocol launches and am admittedly always a little nervous about what the onboarding process might look like as we prepare for launch. I can’t help but feel extra excited about some recent protocols that have launched with easy-to-use custodial options and staking interfaces, like Keep and Flow.

We've created a strong learning culture and I couldn't have made it this far without the willingness of everyone on the team to educate and uplift others.

Q: What do you like most about working at Bison Trails?

Trick question! All of the above. Building for the future, being on a team with some of the smartest people I've had the pleasure of working with. Constantly learning new things and exposure to some of the most cutting edge developments that I believe are taking place in the modern world. Always feeling accomplished but also like there is so much more work to be done—we've made it so far but we're only just getting started.

Q: Anything you’d like to share about your other interests outside of work?

I have to admit I spend a lot of my time thinking about investing and am a power user of apps like Robinhood, Coinbase, and Republic. I'm starting to explore real estate investing and am very interested in ways that I can get my family and friends more invested.

I wasn't always this way though. 😅 I grew up in a musical family playing the clarinet and music remains a passion of mine. I've always been interested in how things are made and do a lot of crafting, namely candle making and embroidery, but I may have a cupboard full of craft supplies from random projects I've started over the years but not quite mastered. I also grew up in a rural area outside of Austin, TX, where the woods were my playground, and moving to NYC I've developed a longing for nature that has manifested in one too many plants to care for in my Brooklyn apartment.

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