LEANDRO ARIEL DE OTO

Engineering Manager at Consumer Web
Palo Alto, CA
Joined: 2012

Rainbow Flag on Apple iOS 11.3

When he’s not leading an Engineering team that builds solutions for a frictionless customer experience, you can find Leandro practicing his dance moves in the gym…channeling his love for the Backstreet Boys.

Why did you join Pride? What do you get out of it? Any notable highlights or memories?

I am very passionate about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and I felt this could be a great opportunity for me to contribute to the community. I led Pride Latino at Groupon LatAm a few years ago and I wanted to bring my experience to the US by actively working with the group and learning new things from them. Pride@Groupon gives me so much energy every day because they remind me how much we can achieve if we all work together by leveraging the values and principles we all share. It’s fantastic to have an email or a chat from them every morning where each member gets to be who they want to be.

Why is it important for Groupon to champion and support Pride@Groupon?

Innovation is key for any company to survive in their field. A company that supports not only the LGBT community but diversity, in general, will be more likely to succeed. Exploring new segments of the population that may have a different vision of the world, of the business, and our customers will bring the company a new spectrum of opportunities never discovered before.

Have you ever worked for a company that accepts, champions, and supports the LGBTQ+ community before? 

Groupon is definitely the first company that takes concrete action on the matter. I worked for other companies that were ok with it but I never had the chance to speak up my mind in relation to diversity and non-discrimination the way that I do here. Not that these other companies didn’t support it, they just didn’t talk about it. At Groupon, we have a dedicated space for this and full support to bring these type of topics to the table.

What makes Pride@Groupon unique?

Authenticity, passion, and respect. Pride@Groupon truly believes in changing the world. We truly understand the challenges that the LGBTQ+ community faces every day and that many people just don’t notice. Every person in the group has a unique strength that we leverage to make an impact. We respect each other and everybody gets to be themselves 100%.

How are you celebrating Pride Month this year?

Personally, I am still deciding whether I want to celebrate in San Francisco, Chicago, or Seattle. All their Pride parades are so fantastic that I haven’t decided yet which one I want to go. Such a hard decision! Professionally we are working on multiple initiatives within Groupon to make June a very colorful month.     🙂

Who are some notable figures you’d like to recognize for Pride Month?

I have to say, Freddie Mercury. I wish he could have lived his short life more openly and freely as we all deserve. I love his music (as we all do) and I wish I could sing like him 🙂 #GodSaveTheQueen.

What was your first role at Groupon?

My first role at Groupon was as a front-end developer back in Chile. I was hired to be a front-end developer for the LatAm countries and after a year or so I joined a global team to maintain the front-end for Checkout and My Account web apps worldwide. After a few years in that position, I was promoted to Engineering Manager of the same team. In 2016 I moved to Palo Alto. I have been managing the Checkout and User Sessions web teams for about 3 years.

Tell us about your job! What do you do and what do you love about it?

My teams and I are responsible for optimizing the login and checkout experiences for the web platform. We have to build solutions that provide our customers with a frictionless and usable interface customized to their needs so that they can proceed to log in and purchase their favorite deals with confidence and no confusion when using a web browser. I love being a manager because it gives me the opportunity to work on building teams who build great products for millions of users. What I love about my teams is that we all share the same passion for front-end development aimed to solve common problems in the e-commerce industry. Having an impact on so many people is sincerely rewarding. We truly want to build a daily habit for our customers and make local businesses accessible to them.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

2012 Groupon holiday party contest: Made a Gangnam Style-like video and we won 1st place.

What’s been most surprising about working at Groupon?

How flexible a big company can be to promote career opportunities among its people. I learned this from my own experience too. I’ve spent half of my professional career at Groupon 🙂

Are you involved with any Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)? 

I am an active member of Pride@Groupon. I led Pride Latino back in Chile before moving to the US. It’s great to see so many colleagues and leaders fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion among our people. That definitely makes us stronger. I have also recently joined Groupon en Español.

What’s your favorite programming language?

Javascript and its allies.

How does your work connect to Groupon’s mission of being the daily habit in local commerce?

If your checkout and login experiences are full of blockers and rocks in the user’s road, there is no e-commerce platform that can survive. We work every day to implement new solutions that would streamline this process based on rigorous analyses and customer feedback. All of these using modern technologies to improve the overall website’s performance so our customers can get their favorite deals with just a few clicks.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I like taking hip-hop classes and using the gym’s studio to practice some moves.

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here?

In 2013, we had to redesign the whole web platform to improve the usability and user interface for our new online marketplace. It was the first redesign since Groupon’s launch in 2008. We had to learn new technologies, work with a lot of new people, all this in a language that I wasn’t too familiar with (no, not Javascript but English!). I learned so much during those days and we worked really hard to deliver a project that millions of users would face. The results were successful and very well taken by our customers and merchants.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

“Will I be able to make an impact in such a big company?”

What do your parents think you do?

According to my mom: “You program the operation of the website using codes” and I can also “remove viruses from her computer.”

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

Authentic diversity. Groupon Engineering culture is very diverse and that’s what makes us different because we truly believe that our multiple nationalities, cultures, genders, styles, and accents make Groupon a better place to work at where we all can learn from each other.

What did you do before Groupon? How did you get here?

I worked for some media companies as a front-end developer in Buenos Aires, Argentina. One day I got an email from a Groupon recruiter to interview me for an open position in Chile. I had my interviews but my profile didn’t fit the back-end positions available at that time. Three months later, they contacted me again with an offer for a front-end position. I accepted and I moved to Santiago de Chile three weeks later.

What’s your favorite part of your team’s Software Development process?

When we deliver our features to Production is when I feel most proud about my team’s work and impact in the customers. We call our new features “our little babies.”

Tabs or spaces?

Tabs

What’s something about you that’d surprise us?

I am a big fan of Backstreet Boys.