“That’s great, it starts with an earthquake…Birds and snakes, and aeroplanes…And Kristi Angel is not afraid…”
What was your first role here? How did you get to where you are today?
I started as a Contract Tableau Analyst while in graduate school. I left that position to focus on finishing my M.S. in Statistics. I had fallen in love with the culture at Groupon. Having made some great connections during my brief tenure, I was able to find the perfect role for myself doing challenging work on a super smart and supportive team with incredible leadership.
After I graduated, I returned as an Experimentation Analyst. The needs of my team shifted and I grew into taking on more complex projects. Here at Groupon, I’ve been given a lot of autonomy in developing my career and identifying projects that are right for our platform but also aligned with my own professional development goals. After eight months, I spoke with my manager about a change in title to Data Scientist to more closely reflect the work that I was doing. I was humbled by the support I received from my peers and leadership across Groupon to make that happen!
What did you do before Groupon?
Blood, sweat, tears, and a lot of eraser dust! (That was a math joke.) Fun Fact: I was a waitress for 20 years before I joined Groupon! I worked while studying Physics as an undergrad and then while completing my M.S. in Statistics.
So tell us more about your job! What do you do every day? What do you love about it?
I am a Data Scientist working in the Experimentation space. We are a team of Developers and Data Scientists and together we build Groupon’s A/B Experimentation platform.
In my role, I work with Product Managers and Engineers to help develop sound experimentation design, to interpret results, and to debug experiment configuration (and occasionally, our platform 😉 ). I also research methodology for new features on our platform and help develop and validate our data pipeline and import process. Additionally, I help guide the roadmap for our team, partner with other organizations within Groupon to grow relationships and improve operational efficiency, and advocate for sound statistical practices and data literacy for all!
I love that I get to stretch my leadership skills, make mistakes, and learn from my peers. Above all, I love that every now and then, a great idea strikes and I get to make someone else’s job a little easier or I find a novel way to increase the value my team delivers to Groupon. I owe this to my coworkers who have trusted my perspective and skill set, elevating my voice from Day 1.
What’s your favorite part about your team’s Software Development process?
We are very democratic and thoughtful about process. Also, we have a lot of say in the features we work on. We work closely with our customers and are best positioned to assess the impact a new feature can bring. If anyone on our team has an idea about a feature or improvement they would like to see implemented on our platform and they are willing to really advocate for it and prove its value, there’s a good chance s/he will be able to see it through to production.
You’re involved with PRIDE@Groupon, Women@Groupon, and Groupon Volunteers. Why do you participate?
I joined because I care. And there’s so much power in joining forces with others who care! Interestingly, one of the unintended side effects of joining Groupon’s Employee Resource Groups is that I have made some of the strongest connections through participating in ERG events. The camaraderie that develops through participation means you always have your own personal cheerleading section. And everybody needs one of those from time to time!
What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?
Everyone here is incredibly kind, helpful, empathetic, super smart, and fun! I’ve learned so much about being a person in the past two years and I owe that to my peers, my mentors, and strong leadership all around.
What’s something that would surprise people to learn about Groupon Engineering?
Our people genuinely care about people. This is a place where we encourage an experimentation mindset, failing fast and moving forward. We really value the process of giving and receiving feedback at all levels. It’s how we grow.
Name your favorite programming language.
I’m a statistician by trade so, R.
How does your work connect to Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?
We provide tools for Product to rapidly and iteratively make improvements to our mobile apps and our website. Building tools to help guide efficient and effective product development helps Groupon to capitalize on optimizations that drive the daily habit.
Tell us about the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here.
I just rewrote our experimentation platform’s stats libraries in R. The goal was to create experiment metadata for a project I am working on. It’s a rather complex system with nuance and so validating my model with our platform has been trying at times. But, I was able to identify a few places in our platform where we could improve our methodology. And the metadata that I have created will serve our Data Science team on a number of future projects.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?
This past September, Groupon participated as a sponsor at Chicago Women In Technology where our VP of Engineering Operations, Erica Geil, spoke. Later that same beautiful late summer day, the Women @ Groupon Employee Resource Group hosted a happy hour on our roof top deck where Silvija Martincevic, GM of Health, Beauty, and Wellness, spoke about her own career path. It was just an incredible day, taking in the sunshine with strong, successful, empowered women and learning from everyone’s unique journey.
What’s your favorite local business?
Can I have three? (Yes, you can!)
Lombard Skate Shop: Steve is super knowledgeable about getting a person into the right skates and gear for them.
Play: A children’s toy store in Logan Square with really unique and smart gifts for kids of all ages.
And Wasabi: It has been a pleasure to watch my favorite ramen shop grow over the years. I used to be one of a few in there weekly. Now there is a line out the door nightly.
What do your parents think you do?
my_family <- ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What keeps you fulfilled outside of work?
I can generally be found cooking, eating ice cream, checking out new restaurants, roller skating, chilling with my cat-dudes, traveling, or seeing live music.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us!
What about me would surprise people? That I love The Muppets? I was in the Army for 6 weeks? I attended 9 different colleges and universities? I was an undergrad for 14 years? I was a waitress for 20 years? I know all the words to “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”? I’m just throwing things at the wall here.