Why I joined Asana: Thi Dang, Product Manager

Welcome to our monthly “Why I joined Asana” series! Every month, we talk with Asanas across our teams and offices—from Dublin to Sydney—to get to know the people inside the company and learn why they chose to work here.

Meet Thi Dang, an Associate Product Manager at Asana. He is part of a two-year rotational program, which allows him to join various Product teams in different offices to work on a variety of projects. Thi believes in embedding laughter and positivity throughout his work and draws inspiration from nature and human connection. Get to know Thi and why he joined #teamasana.

What was your journey to joining Asana? 

My first interaction with Asana was at Out4Undergrad Tech (O4U), a LGBTQ+ undergraduate conference for students interested in technology. Every conversation I had with an Asana there was delightful–every person I talked to embodied passion for their work and deeply believed in the company mission. I felt inspired to work at a company that’s making team collaboration easier. Here I am two years later, and I couldn’t be happier!

What was your journey to becoming a product manager? 

I made my first foray into the world of technology when I was in high school. I’d spend my time after school designing and developing a website called PKMNs. It was like “Neopets for Pokemon” and it had over 200,000 registered users within the first year. This was my first experience doing product manager work and I loved it. 

I went on to study Mathematics at UC San Diego and embedded myself in the design community. One of my favorite experiences during undergrad was serving as a teaching assistant for DSGN 1: The Design of Everyday Things, an intro class for the human-centered design program founded by Don Norman. This is where I discovered how similar mathematics and design really were. Both disciplines require an individual to take a problem, explore a bunch of ways to solve it, and then craft an argument for your solution. 

Before coming to Asana, I spent some time at Hulu as a design PM exploring how Hulu could serve short-form content to viewers.

What team are you currently on, and what are some of the most interesting aspects of your role? 

I am a part of the two-year Associate Product Manager (APM) program at Asana. When I first started, I joined the team in San Francisco that launched the Portfolios feature. Today, I am on the Individual Experience team in New York. We focus on making Asana the best tool for individual team members. 

The switch from San Francisco to New York also meant developing new muscles and skill sets. Each office has its own microculture, but fundamentally they all embody the same Asana values. I feel lucky to have been able to experience two different offices so early in my career. 

What are you most excited for as you grow in your role at Asana? 

I’m inspired by the sheer amount of talent my Asana teammates have! Every interaction I have at work is an opportunity to empathize, learn, and grow. I’m deeply excited about the problems we are starting to tackle this year as a product organization. Asana isn’t just a product for project managers, we’re developing a solution for an entire company—from team members doing the day-to-day work all the way up to  executives trying to understand how the company is progressing on their goals. I get to learn something new everyday because even though individual product teams are tackling a wide range of problems, we get together to share insights. 

What’s it like to use Asana the product everyday? 

It’s so motivating to work on a product that your entire company uses day in, day out. Asanas are extremely enthusiastic about testing new features and are keen on giving productive feedback. This makes being a Product Manager so fun! Additionally, having all my work consolidated into one central location in My Tasks is so calming. I feel confident that nothing will accidentally fall through the cracks. 

What principle or value have you carried with you along the way, and where did you first hear it? 

An Asana coworker once told me, “We’re all on the same team going the same direction. We just might have different assumptions of how to best get there.” I think this speaks to Asana’s incredible culture. There will always be differences in opinions when it comes to an ideal solution, but we’re all in it together. 

In my most recent growth and impact conversation with my manager Paige Costello, I mentioned that confidence was an area I’d like to work on developing. She said “Confidence?! Be real. That is all anyone could ask for.” This struck me because it rejects the notion of what we stereotype as success. Candor is powerful. It enables others to easily trust you or even openly disagree. Both lead to having a big impact on your team and beyond. 

If you could give a new Asana one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be excited and prepared for new challenges! Asana is growing quickly. The company has almost doubled in size within the last year. Processes are evolving and people are taking on new responsibilities to scale the company. What you are doing today will look radically different next year. You’ll look back on your one year anniversary and be amazed at what you were able to accomplish at Asana. I know I was. 

Now that you’ve been here and working at Asana, what is your best Asana tip?

As the PM working on My Tasks, I would kick myself if I didn’t use this as an opportunity to make a plug for My Tasks. Put all of your work into Asana! Having a single source of truth for all your work (collaborative and individual), makes your life so much easier. It’s much better to consciously acknowledge “Yeah, I won’t do this task” or “I’ll change the due date” than to forget to do something at all.

Come work with Thi and the rest of the Product team. We have open roles in San Francisco, New York, and Vancouver!

Special thanks to Thi Dang

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