We’re excited to announce that Liz Hamren is joining Discord as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing our go-to-market teams across marketing, business development, and operations.
Liz is coming to us from Xbox at Microsoft, where she is the Corporate Vice President for Gaming Experiences & Platforms, running product and engineering for all of Xbox’s consumer products and services. Before Microsoft, she led Global Marketing and Sales for Oculus at Facebook, where she launched the industry-defining Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
Liz’s extensive management experience at world-class companies, expertise leading marketing, product and engineering teams, and deep understanding of how software and subscription products are built will be invaluable as we grow our company and continue to introduce millions of people all over the world to our service.
We sat down with Liz to hear a bit more about her experience and what drew her to Discord — check it out!
Q. Tell us about your background and some of your experiences before joining Discord.
I’ve spent my career in technology with an emphasis on consumer tech products, primarily running product management and marketing. I love launching new categories (consumer VR headsets with the Oculus Rift) or reinventing existing ones (Dropcam as a way better IP camera).
I’m joining Discord from Xbox at Microsoft where I’ve been leading engineering for consumer products and services, including Game Pass and all hardware such as the next generation consoles Series X|S. Prior to Xbox I ran marketing and business for Microsoft Devices, including HoloLens and Surface.
Q. What drew you to Discord? Anything in particular you’re excited about?
I was drawn to Discord’s mission and the people behind it – the founders, the employees, and all the people and communities who use the service. I discovered Discord working in gaming but then quickly I saw it transition to becoming part of everyday life. From friends to coworkers to people I meet day to day, it seems that all of them are on Discord and it’s become central to how they hang out. There is nothing more exciting than working on a product you love, that millions of other people love too, with a charter to help make it even better for all of us.
Discord’s mission is simple – to create space for everyone to find belonging. But making that a reality is challenging, particularly as we continue to scale and grow. I’m thrilled to work with the team to help develop solutions to this challenge, and I’m excited about bringing the magic of Discord to more people around the world. There is so much opportunity for us to continue to evolve the service to be even more useful for even more people and communities, and I can’t wait to get started.
Q. What will you focus on for your first 6 months?
My first job will be to get to know my new colleagues. When joining a new organization, I find that there is deep knowledge and insights within the team, and I get the benefit of hearing and synthesizing them with a fresh set of eyes. I like to give myself the time to do this before defining the details of my short-term roadmap. But I am excited to further the Game Pass - Nitro partnership just from the other side.
Q. You have spent your career working across marketing, engineering, and product management. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned and how will you apply it to Discord?
The biggest thing I have learned is that there is no set formula that will guarantee results. It’s natural to want to apply the same strategies and tactics that worked before to something new, but so much of success is situational. You always have to evaluate why something worked and how it applies to a new situation. This isn’t to say that there aren’t best practices or learnings you can bring – there are many. It’s knowing how and when to use them, when to adapt them, and when to build from scratch.
Q. As someone who has risen through the ranks at a number of tech companies throughout your career, how are you thinking about building and leading teams at Discord?
My job as a leader is to create an environment where everyone can do their best work and grow. That means knowing our team, aligning on our goals, and setting up the organization so everyone has the tools they need to drive impact towards those goals. Those things are easy to say but hard to do. To help make that a reality, I have found being extremely transparent, always user-focused, and immersed in data (qualitative and quantitative) are critical.