Michael Sippey is an ideas guy. As Medium’s vice president of product, he spends his days collaborating with the company’s editorial, design, and engineering departments to improve the online publishing platform for its 75 million monthly visitors.

1. Those tools on Medium? He builds them.

Sippey works on software that people use to write stories on the platform, but his role comprises more than that. “We build personalization and social tools that will help people discover the stories they’ll love to read.”

2. He learned on the job.

“I grew up loving computers, but I got all of my experience in building software on the job since graduating from Colgate. I’ve had a successful career in tech with a bachelor’s degree in English because a lot of what I do is understanding people and being able to tell stories.”

3. A sampling of his posts on Medium:

“One highlighted passage from every book I read in 2017”

“What will happen in season 8 of Game of Thrones, a list”

“On the remixed Sgt Pepper

4. What got him started publishing online:

“Curiosity about the web and realizing something about myself… I learn what I think about something by writing about it. You really don’t understand what you think about a subject until you try to put 500 to 1,000 words on a piece of paper.”

5. The most important lesson he’s learned in his career:

Talk to users before writing a line of code. “If you focus on the user and understand their life, their needs, their goals and aspirations, it makes building software for them a lot easier.”