Former boarding school runaway Varun talks about the unique opportunity to make a huge impact on local communities worldwide alongside engineers who make each other better developers.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?
It was the first viewing of our new Engineering space in Chicago. From standing desks to pairing stations to state-of-the-art conference rooms, it visually articulated how deeply the company was invested in its engineering and software development teams and processes.
Tell us about your job! What do you love about what you do?
I currently support the consumer web engineering group that is responsible for search and discovery, engagement, and the conversion experience on both the desktop and touch platforms. A good portion of my role involves working with stakeholders to align our deliverables with our mission. The thing I love about my role is building solutions that delight our consumers, helping our engineers learn and grow, and providing value to the business. Another thing I love about my job is having 1-1’s with my team members. We have really talented individuals in Groupon Engineering and I always learn a lot from those meetings.
So what was your first role here and how’d you get to where you are today?
I joined Groupon as an Engineering Manager for the web deal page team. I got to my current role by following three principles:
- Creating and fostering a collaborative environment
- Learning from others
- Solving problems the right way
“Although we connect local communities, the scale and impact of the engineering and product teams’ work are truly global. Not many companies provide a platform where you are exposed to this sheer volume of users.”
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve worked on?
When I first came to Groupon, there was a big focus on improving the latency of our web platform. Our web experience was great but just wasn’t fast enough. In the last 18 months, we have improved our numbers to match and in some cases exceed industry standards and we added more rigor around best practices related to performance. Working through these improvements was challenging, but the team’s focus was amazing and the results were worth it.
Tabs or spaces?
Tabs for sure.
Smart people, interesting work.
What do your parents think you do?
I come from a family of medical practitioners, so I am not sure they completely understand what I do. If my mom has any trouble with her mobile, she calls me thinking I can fix anything just because I told her a while back I make mobile websites.
What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?
We feed off each other’s successes. This creates a very collaborative environment where everyone is rooting for each other to succeed. It also allows each individual to make a bigger impact.
What’s been most surprising about Groupon Engineering?
Although we connect local communities, the scale and impact of the engineering and product teams’ work are truly global. Not many companies provide a platform where you are exposed to this sheer volume of users.
What’s your favorite local business?
It has to be India House in Chicago. It has awesome Indian cuisine and desserts, plus they run deals on Groupon+ from time to time.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
I once ran away from my boarding school (I was in second grade and feeling homesick). Luckily the school guards caught up with me, otherwise I was heading home. 🙂