Thomas Phinney, Senior Product Manager for Font Solutions, Extensis, a division of Celartem, Inc.

Article ImageName With The Face:
Thomas Phinney

Job Title:
Senior Product Manager for Font Solutions

Extensis, a division of Celartem, Inc.


Job Function:
In his role as senior product manager for font solutions at Extensis, which develops font management and DAM software, Thomas Phinney is responsible for the company's font management applications. "Essentially, font management is a specialized form of digital asset management, except that the asset is also a system-level software resource," Phinney says. "Our font management applications help people-mostly creative professionals-preview, organize, search, and activate/deactivate sets of fonts." As a product manager, Phinney works with engineering, quality assurance, tech support, and marketing staff as well as colleagues in product management.

In A Day's Work:
Phinney has a unique way of getting energized for his day. "I drive to and from work with the convertible top down, even in winter, unless it's actually raining or below about 45 degrees," he says. Once he's in the office, an average day might find him performing research and writing a product requirements document, reviewing problem escalations and gathering information from his team to address them, meeting to discuss a new product feature with engineering, and reading and responding to email.

Most Memorable Customer Encounter:
A relative newcomer to Extensis after more than a decade at another employer, Phinney recalls a recent meeting in which a customer shared a list of three suggested product enhancements. "I was able to tell them that the release we'd just shipped addressed two of their three suggestions, and that the third will be the focus of our next upgrade," Phinney said, pleased at the confirmation that his new employer was correctly predicting the needs of its customers.

View From the Desk:
"Extensis is on the fifth floor of a building in downtown Portland, Ore., about three blocks from the Willamette River. My office is lucky to have a river view, which includes the 1959 USS Blueback submarine, permanently parked outside the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the Interstate 5 bridge, with the snow-peaked Mt. Hood in the distant background."

Outside Interest:
"I have several hundred board games and a Honda S2000 convertible whose license plate reads ‘FONTS.' Many of my outside interests are font-related, including font forensics-does the font choice or how it was printed prove that document is a forgery? But mostly I do things with my family."

If Not Econtent, Then What?
"I'd be doing something else with fonts, whether designing them myself or managing their development and technology for a major software or OS vendor."