MINNIE LAI

Software Development Engineer, Groupon API
Seattle, WA
Joined: 2015

Curiosity is Minnie’s best friend at Groupon: when she sees an opportunity to try new things and meet new people, she takes it. The result? Joining a new Engineering team and forming a Culture Club at our Seattle office aimed at bringing teammates together.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

When the entire Getaways Engineering team went curling at the Granite Curling Club of Seattle for a team event. It was my first time curling and everyone signed a foam hat in the shape of a curling stone.

What was your first role here? 

I joined Groupon as a Software Engineer for the Getaways Inventory team. I was surprised at how supportive everyone (on Getaways and GAPI) was when I proposed to transfer to the GAPI team. I wanted to transfer to GAPI team because I wanted to learn more about how our backend services work together to serve consumer requests. I also wanted to try something new and meet more people at the company. The process was simple for me: I found out that the GAPI team was hiring in Seattle and approached my then director and manager of the Getaways team. I told them that I was interested in pursuing this opportunity and they supported my decision and worked with the GAPI manager on my transfer. After wrapping up my project on Getaways, I started with the new team several weeks later!

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

A bit of everything! That’s what I love about it. There’s never a dull moment. I’m either troubleshooting/working with another engineer across the world or across the aisle, developing awesome customer-facing features, or scaling up our platform. Also, when I’m not developing software, I’m leading our Employee Volunteers initiative in Seattle.

You obviously have a life outside of work..what are your hobbies?

I’m either quilting or hanging out in nature.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

Cats! Lots of green cats around the office.

What do your parents think you do?

“Stuff with computers”

What’s something you think candidates would be surprised to learn about Groupon Engineering?

Grouponers are forgiving and supportive. I was the hardest on myself when I made a mistake. While the stakeholders definitely acknowledged the miss, we also didn’t dwell on it or point fingers and instead focused on getting the issue fixed ASAP.

What’s your favorite programming language?

Python

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

Our beautiful mobile and web platform talks to GAPI’s services to ensure customers are delighted each day.

What’s your favorite local business?

There are tons, but I enjoy visiting Ballard Market which is my local grocery store.

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

We are a split team (half of us in Seattle and half in PA) so a majority of our communication is done via instant message. We take extra care to make sure everyone knows what’s going on with our systems and our work.

What’s your favorite view from the Seattle office?

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

My partner and I summited Mount St. Helens this past summer.

Tabs or spaces?

Spaces

You’re a member of Groupon Volunteers; what do you enjoy about participating?

I joined because I love volunteering! In fact, if you have a great volunteering idea for the Seattle team, please get in touch! Several of us from different ERGs and Groupon Volunteers have formed an informal Seattle Culture Club and work every month to plan events and volunteer opportunities for the office. It’s been so rewarding and I’ve met so many other Grouponers in completely unexpected capacities.

Photos courtesy of Stacey Lo