Product manager, Landscape

Remote

About Tlon

Tlon Corporation is a design and engineering company building simple and beautiful digital environments on Urbit —

— Urbit is a reimagination of the networked personal computer built from scratch. Urbit's goal is to be a simple, understandable computer for an individual to own and control completely.

Overview

Tlon is looking for a product manager to manage and direct the future of Landscape. Landscape is at a critical juncture in its development, as it transitions from being a singular product experience to a catalyst for the creation of an ecosystem of diverse product experiences.

The product manager will be responsible for working with a team of engineers and designers to bring to life a new product experience on top of an entirely new computing architecture (Urbit). This position will be dynamic and challenging—but how many chances do you get to build the interface for a new OS?

Role

As the product manager of Landscape, you’ll be working with novel peer-to-peer technology to bring about novel product experiences, and supporting not only end-users of Landscape, but a growing community of developers that depend on the APIs made available to them. Our ideal candidate possesses significant experience in product management across multiple platforms, and has both launched and maintained products that target end-users and developers.

This is not a technical position, but we think that having a technical background would be very helpful. Landscape is an interface to a new computer that works very differently from other tech stacks, and being able to at least understand how it works at a high level will be an important factor in working with the team.

This is an important role that will report directly to Tlon’s Chief Product Officer. Tlon is a globally distributed team, but still largely US-based. While this is a remote position, it’s expected that you make time in your schedule to overlap with US working hours.

Landscape, like Urbit, is also an open-source project. You’ll be working in public and interfacing with a variety of contributors outside of your direct team that raise issues, contribute code, and generally care a great deal about the product you’re building.

Responsibilities

Requirements

Background

Landscape is Tlon’s flagship product built on Urbit. Landscape is primarily a tool for Urbit operators to talk in chat channels, write posts in micro-blogs, and share links in collections, all within the context of groups.

As the first product built on Urbit that’s seen market adoption and, therefore, a significant degree of development iteration, Landscape has also acted as a ground for experimentation in Urbit application development. As a result, a number of useful design patterns and APIs suitable for a wide range of different applications have emerged.

Urbit is meant to be a platform in which a wide range of applications/products can be built by an equally wide variety of different developers, but Landscape is still the only widely-used application, and Tlon the dominant developer within a very small pool. There are multiple reasons for this to be the case, but a large one is strictly technical: Urbit has had no native mechanism for safe1 distribution of software. Tlon has worked around this limitation by shipping Landscape with Urbit itself, effectively punting on the question of how to distribute software independently of what’s shipped with the system.

This is about to change with the upcoming addition of software distribution capabilities to Urbit, and as a result we’d like to transform Landscape to support it. Our plan is to evolve Landscape along a few different dimensions.

First, it will be extended to support discovery and management of existing software present on an operator’s Urbit. This means that the current experience of Landscape, group-based communication, should become an application that can be distributed independently from Urbit.

Second, we’ll want to extract those APIs and design patterns that have emerged over the course of development as more general tools for Urbit application development and expose them to other developers. This implies not only a good deal of refactoring and documentation, but more importantly a commitment to supporting application developers as primary users of Landscape.

Finally, we’ll need to work with existing developers within our community to transform their work-in-progress applications into distributable, discoverable software within Landscape, and encourage many others to build applications of their own.

This shift in direction represents an important milestone in Urbit’s evolution, as it marks the beginning of a period in which Urbit can be treated as a proper platform for developers to build upon.

Your role is to usher in this change and ensure its success.

1

There's two meanings of safe: safe against malicious developers, and safe when developers are acting in good faith. Notable OSes which are not safe against malicious software include Windows, Mac, Linux. Notable OSes which are mostly safe against malicious software include Chrome, and to a limited extent iOS and Android. The version of safe we’re referring to is the latter: safe against developers acting in good faith.


Apply

Send an email to apply@tlon.io with a cover letter and resume.

Tlon is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, or any other non-merit factor.