Colin Lernell has spent nearly a decade building online services to give people marketable skills and earn incomes while leading product, design, and growth teams at Udacity and Noom. Now he’s excited to bring everything he’s learned to Patreon, where he can give millions of creators a chance to live on their own terms.
What excited you about the team and ultimately led you to join?
A massive creator economy is inevitable and Patreon will accelerate it. The growing product and engineering teams here are impressive, but Patreon’s mission and opportunity are what resonate most. People anywhere can gain creative and financial freedom in ways that weren’t available before and I can’t help but get excited about that.
Before working in tech, I spent time in niche rock and metal bands where veteran musicians had to start businesses on the side to fund their passions. They couldn’t make a living off of their art, but they were scrappy and driven. There were surprising similarities between the musicians I knew and the entrepreneurs I met working in Silicon Valley.
Creators were just starting to empower themselves online, but this next generation is savvier and has more opportunities than ever. We haven’t seen a fraction of creators’ potential and there are still so many creators who underestimate what they can do when they own a direct relationship with their fans.
What stands out to you about the people you’re working with?
Caring about creators is one thing – I mean, we are all superfans of some podcast or artist – but the team is going above and beyond to delight creators and their audiences. Behind the scenes, I am excited to see the team crafting products that will push the envelope.
The team is building for creators and their fans, not advertisers, so they have the chance to create entirely new experiences. It makes sense that creativity and craft would be a part of Patreon’s culture, but it is impressive to see it in action. I’m excited to see creators benefit from what’s to come.
What’s different about building for creators?
It’s way more fun and you get to meet some very cool people! More practically, creators are passionate about many things, but most of all about their work and their fans. The team spends time with a large and diverse set of creators and members from concept to rollout. The product has to serve the creator’s business, but also their creative integrity and trust with their fans.
What would you say to a future teammate considering joining Patreon?
Patreon is honestly a dream scenario for a growth-oriented person. Do you want to build for a growing market? The creator economy is the next economic wave. Do you want to work on innovative products? Join top talent in building new and boundary-pushing experiences for underserved markets. Do you want to grow and learn fast with autonomy? Top talent is joining Patreon from the best companies in the world. You will be joining lean and fast-growing teams that are getting better every day. You will have impactful work available wherever you look.
Outside of work, how do you spend your time?
I love hiking, camping, and enjoying a good game night with friends and family. On my own, I consume copious amounts of podcasts, YouTube and TikTok videos, and amazing TV. Everything from pop culture to science and history. I still pick up the bass and guitar from time to time, too.
Who’s your favorite creator on Patreon?
Hard to pick! Coming from my education days at Udacity, it’s got to be Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell. Their animated educational videos are just so high quality and entertaining that it’s irresistible to learn. I’m thankful that they can do what they do with the help of Patreon.
Who’s your favorite creator not yet on Patreon?
I enjoy Messed Up Origins, a YouTube channel and podcast dedicated to ruining your childhood favorite films and fairy tales by exploring the original classic stories that inspired them. It’s a rabbit hole of fun. Jon Solo should be on Patreon (and he definitely shot first).
Are you interested in working with Colin? Check out opportunities to join our team.