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layout: markdown_page
title: "Eric Brinkman's README"

## Eric's README

Hey there, my name is Eric and I'm a product director here at GitLab. This README is meant to tell you a bit more about myself and to serve as a way for what it might be like to work with me.

I joined GitLab in 2018 and created this [README deck]( during my first week. While some of it is focused on ramping up, most of the information in the deck still holds true.

## About me

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- I grew up mainly in a small town in Iowa, along the banks of the Mississippi river. I was raised to value hard work, honesty, and kindness and I attempt to live out those precepts each and every day.
- I have been married for over 12 years and have three children. Family is incredibly important to me and I try hard to be the best father and husband I can be, though I fall short at times.
- I live in San Antonio, TX where I enjoy the warm weather, attractions like Six Flags and Sea World, smoking meats, reading, coaching little league, riding bikes, and playing the occasional video game.
- I attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and despite our track record of ending up in the bottom half of the standings nearly every year in both basketball and football, I watch most games on TV.
- I've got an interesting professional background that spans hardware, software, cloud, cybersecurity, dev tools, and DevOps, but I've always worked in the tech industry. For a full background, you can check out my [LinkedIn profile](
- My Barton StrengthsFinder top 5 strengths are:
    1. Analytical
    1. Belief
    1. Harmony
    1. Responsibility
    1. Maximizer
- My Meyers Briggs profile is ENTJ

## My role as a Senior Director of Product

As a Senior Director of Product at GitLab, it's my job to build and lead a high functioning team of product managers. The [job description]( for product directors is well defined, however, there are a few responsibilities that are near and dear to me, related to building our team. I really get excited by:

- Sourcing, recruiting, and hiring the best talent we can find for any open roles we have.
- Ensuring fantastic onboarding experiences in order to ramp up team members as quickly as possible.
- Meeting with directs via regular 1x1s to build relationships, get to know team members deeply, and unblock them.
- Ensuring I am helping achieve career goals, and working with team members proactively to do so.
- Empowering team members to make the best decisions for their products by being a servant leader and removing any roadblocks I can.
- Serving team members by helping them work through tough issues.
- Collaborating with team members on important product strategy initiatives.

In June of 2020, I was promoted to Senior Director of Product. For more information on why I was promoted, check out my promotion [doc](
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## Communicating and working with me

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- I love getting to know people personally and deeply - if this is not your desired style/interaction, please let me know and I will adapt to you and your communication style!
- I love to work through problems together. Don’t feel like you need to always bring a solution with a problem, though it can be helpful if we have a proposal to discuss.
- I tend to listen first, and then contribute to conversations. I really love to gather as much context as possible. I would rather think about what you are saying, rather than wait for the next available space where I can say what I had planned to all along. I will even listen with respect to viewpoints that I disagree with. It's not always feasible to respond point by point to something I disagree with, so I will typically concentrate on the bigger picture. Please do not interpret my active listening or lack of point by point response as implicit agreement.
- I desire for decision making to be at the level closest to those who are most familiar with the subject are. I will make suggestions and ask probing questions, but at the end of the day, product managers are the directly responsible individuals for decision making and prioritization.
- I strive to work on harmonious teams in highly collaborative environments. I do not enjoy conflict, but will address it head on in the attempt to drive a better outcome for all involved. I enjoy working in open and honest environments rather than environments that are highly political or where there are ulterior motives.
- I will make mistakes, but I am typically quick to own them and apologize. I try to understand what I could have done better in every situation and ask the same for my team members.
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## How you can help me

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- Do your best, every day.
- Keep the big picture in mind - always attempt to connect your activity and output to customer value and outcomes.
- Assume positive intent from your co-workers and aim to work collaboratively with them.
- Live out the GitLab core values in everything that you do.
- Prioritize for fantastic business outcomes. We have an amazing opportunity to do what very few companies have done, so let's make the most of it!
- Have a bias for action. Don't let things sit if you can move them along. Don't wait for consensus decision making on 2 way door decisions.
- Provide me feedback on things I can do to improve. I view feedback as a requirement for growing both personally and professionally.
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## Work practicals

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- As I mentioned earlier, family is incredibly important to me. As such, I will typically finish my work day around 5PM central in order to maximize the amount of time I have with my children each day. In the mornings, I'm usually online around 8AM central after getting kids to school, working out, and getting ready for the day.
- I desire to be approachable, please let me know if I ever come off as opposite of that. If you need to chat outside of a scheduled 1x1, feel free to drop an ad-hoc meeting on the calendar, even if it’s the same day.
- I am typically very quick to respond to Slack/Text/Email during working hours. At times, I will turn off notifications to get deep work done, but will typically check in once an hour if I'm in that mode.
- I go back and forth between having the Slack app installed on my phone and not. If it's installed notifications are turned off.
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## Eric's favorite things

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Here is a list of my favorite things! I would love to discuss any or all of these with each of you.

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- [The Bible](
- [Inspired]( - Marty Cagan
- [Pillars of the Earth]( - Ken Follet
- [The Hard Thing About Hard Things]( - Ben Horowitz
- [Ready Player One]( - Ernest Cline
- [Principles]( - Ray Dalio
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**Video Games**

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- [Final Fantasy 3](
- [Chrono Trigger](
- [Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild](
- [Super Mario Odyssey](
- [God of War](
- [Fortnite](


- [Braveheart](
- [Interstellar](
- [Moneyball](
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- [St. Louis Cardinals](
- [University of Illinois Sports](
- [Sous Vide cooking](
- [Star Wars]( (pretty much everything about it)
- [Legos](
- [Playing Trumpet](
- [Magic: The Gathering](
- [Crypto currency and mining](
- [Camping](
- [Beach Vacations](
- [Peloton bike riding]( (username is ecbrinkman)