Karin Zilberstein joined Wix a few months before the pandemic to lead our new Funnel group. We talked with her about her job’s impact, learned that stories can hide in menus and found out why she works hard to diversify her team
As head of our Funnel group, the people who identify each new user’s needs and then direct them to the relevant Wix products for them, Karin Zilberstein is in a unique position. She leads the teams in charge of helping our users through their first steps of creation and setting up online businesses. At the same time, these steps provide valuable data and insights that her team shares with all the other groups within Wix. Why is this a big deal? Well, because this data and those insights are essential to our mission: to develop the best possible products and tools, and to help our users succeed online.
The Funnel group is a “company” within Wix, the way we call groups and product lines that are self sufficient and have all the functions they need: developers, product managers, business analysts, writers, UX, QA, and more.
The Funnel Company has a critical role in user onboarding, Karin explains. “When users arrive to Wix, they interact with products that are developed by my team. We ask users questions that help us better understand who they are and what they are trying to achieve and then tailor the best solutions for them; “When a new user signs up to our platform we know little about them and in that process we have two very important roles: we have to understand who the user is so we can make them feel the most at home; and we need to bubble up Wix’s value for the user. We need to understand everything that’s happening within Wix, so, as an example, we’ll be able to say ‘Hey user! You came here to build your personal training site? Well, we know exactly what you need for it!’”
Karin says that what was most appealing to her about this role was the unique marriage between product and marketing. “I’m a product person at heart. This is what I’ve been doing for over a decade. I always gravitate towards products that are at the core of a company’s business. I also like the fact that the Funnel Company is like a hub of collaboration. Because we go throughout the user journey, we collaborate with most of the other teams within Wix. Last quarter I counted at least 30 'companies’ within Wix which we have collaborated with, which is on the extreme, but I love it”.
QA to MBA
Karin started her career in tech while she was an Information Systems Engineering student at the Technion (Israel’s Institute of Technology) in the mid-2000s. Throughout her studies she held two and sometimes three jobs, but the position she had at Intel opened a new career path for her. “I got to do two things which I really like: Quality Assurance and Project Management”, Karin recalls.
After her graduation Karin and her family moved to Seattle, where she worked (and then managed) a QA team at a local startup. Later, while she was studying for her MBA at the University of Washington, she moved to Microsoft and took a Project Management role in which she led 200 engineers spread over three countries. Her next role, post MBA, was as a Product Manager on the Xbox team – a job that taught her a lot about consumer behavior and advertising. It also left her with two impressive souvenirs: a life-size avatar of herself and a white special edition game console with an engraved “You Made This” on it.
Upon her family’s return to Israel, Karin took a role with Google, on the Waze team, eventually leading the Waze Advertising Product team. In late 2019 she decided to join Wix.
I love that Wix is user-facing. That you can touch so many users and impact their lives
“I adore Wix!”, Karin laughs when she’s asked how she feels here. “I think Wix is aggressive in the most wonderful way because it has bold goals. It’s ambitious and growing and running forward. It’s exciting to be a part of that and to lead a team. It’s also real. There are real conversations, real problems. I love that it’s user-facing. That you can touch so many users and impact their lives. During their onboarding we tell our users that we are there to help them achieve their goals. We mean it, and that's what makes it so cool!”
Can you share with us something you did here that made you proud?
“Well, building the Wix header, and I’ll tell you why. The Wix header is the menu that you see on the top when you go to Wix.com. That menu was a few years old and it didn’t tell the Wix story anymore. My team and I were privileged to rebuild it and it was a ‘wow’ project for me, because it was essentially retelling the story of Wix to the world through a menu”, she says.
“When you go to websites and you want to know more about a company you hover over the menu and this is how you learn what the company does. It tells you everything. It tells you which products they are working on and what types of clients they try to address and what’s their business model and who works at the company. The cherry on top was that the new menu we launched increased signups to Wix”.
After almost a year and a half in her role, Karin remains convinced that great opportunities still await the new employees who are just joining Wix or talented people considering joining us. “I have an R&D team leader in my team who started managing people this year and now has a team of six people reporting to him. Only this year our team grew with two Product Leads and one Data Lead. Wix is growing at such an insane pace that the opportunities just keep coming. It’s not only people growing from a contributing role to a managerial role. People who are not interested in a managerial path are challenged in other ways – from building great infrastructure for our growing data needs, to working on diverse projects, building new ideas, inventing and innovating. These are not things you get to do at every company”.
Being the always-beaming constantly-smiling person that she is, we weren’t very surprised to learn that Karin declares that the people she works with are the most important factor for her at any workplace. “Providing the right atmosphere for people to succeed and challenge themselves, get business results and feel that they’re a part of something big and important, while smiling – are the most important things for me”, she says without hesitation. “I also make an effort to diversify my team. Diversification of opinions brings diversification of products and the people they relate to. I hire people that can bring their opinion to the table. I always say to my team that if they didn’t voice their opinion on a particular day they didn’t come to work”.