Chris – Sales Manager in the UK

Chris – Sales Manager in the UK

CHRIS 

Sales Manager
United Kingdom
Joined: 2010

From blushing brides to trampoline parks, Chris is always on the lookout for the next big trend to make Groupon the hippest habitat for local businesses.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

Getting the first-ever wedding package deal featured is my favourite memory. My managers were not so sure how well the offer would sell, so I personally worked with the couples to ensure the process was smooth for the soon-to-be newlyweds, the business involved, and Groupon. The offer sold 31 weddings for £2000 in just a weekend and made national and local press.

What do you do? What do you love about it? What does a typical day look like?

I work in the Midlands region bringing new businesses onto Groupon’s local pages with great offers ranging from restaurants, hair and beauty salons, and leisure activities like adventure golf and trampoline parks. A typical day involves face-to-face and telephone meetings, sourcing new businesses on the ground, and perusing social media to ensure my recent signups are happy and have been on-boarded successfully.

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

The beauty industry! I need to work on understanding all the options involved in beauty and hair deals when I’ve never dealt with the industry before. I don’t know how women deal with all the different options, salons, and services. Makes my head spin!

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

I thought the business model was so simple it’s crazy it hadn’t been thought up before. I knew I had all the skills to perform excellently on the job and I just needed the business to take a chance on me.

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

I’m always searching for the next fad or trend; getting these onto the Groupon platform will ensure the end user comes back time and time again.

Describe the proudest moment you’ve had at Groupon.

When the national sales figures were released in 2011, I was the UK’s #1 for the quarter.

Have you won any awards? 

I’ve been in the President’s Club three times!

That’s awesome! What advice would you give to a future Groupon Sales rep to have the success you’ve seen?

My advice would be to stick to the basics and don’t overcomplicate things. Keep doing the daily activity of phone calls, emails, lead sourcing, and knocking on businesses’ doors while remaining resilient, and the results will come. You need to remain confident in your own abilities, listen to what business partners want, and match a Groupon offering to theirs to achieve their goals.

What do your parents think you do?

When my mum calls me while I’m working from home she thinks I have the day off. (I genuinely am working, really, even when the Spurs are playing, I swear…)

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

I didn’t have a job, per se. I had recently left my job selling confidential waste disposal to businesses…yawn.

Your role probably exists at other companies aside from Groupon…so what makes your role at Groupon unique? 

Groupon is the world leader at what we do. Any move would be like a side step or demotion. I’m really happy here.

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work? What are your hobbies?

Keeping fit going to the gym, watching the Spurs (almost) win trophies, playing golf, traveling around European cities with the odd long-haul location thrown in and drinking gin…sometimes at gin festivals, sometimes wherever I am.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be and why?

I’d be an astronaut! I’d take a picture to dispel all the flat earth rumours, plus I’d like to experience weightlessness.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

I’m Chris of Groupon – –

Selling great deals since the start – –

Cut me I bleed Green

Milton Inostroza – Software Engineer, Groupon+

Milton Inostroza – Software Engineer, Groupon+

MILTON INOSTROZA

Software Engineer, Groupon+
Remote
Joined: 2012

Groupon has a solid culture of internal mobility: engineers can change locations, teams, and roles. During my time here, I have worked in four locations, two countries, on four teams, and have held three different roles! Management has always been supportive and they even encourage me to find the career path that makes the more sense to me, even if that means changing teams.

Santiago, Chile (2012 – 2013)

A recruiter contacted me through email and told me that she was recruiting for Groupon. At that time, I wasn’t really sure what the company did. After learning about Groupon’s mission, I was convinced that I wanted to work for a company that wanted to help local business thrive. So, I joined Groupon in March of 2012 as a Backend Software Engineer (PHP, Java SE) on the Financial Data Team.

While working on that team, I led and implemented two important projects for the company: integrating the LATAM Financial Systems with Netsuite and then integrating the payments system with CitiBank. After working for a year or so on this team, the Engineering Manager told me that the Global Finance Engineering Team (FED) was looking for people willing to join the team and that he thought I would be a good fit. He connected me with the Director of Engineering at the time, Shinji Kuwayama. Shinji offered me to fly to Chicago to pair with the team for a week to see if I was a good fit for the team and if I like them. After a week or so, Shane Stanford, Engineering Manager for FED at the time, notified me that the team wanted me to join as soon as possible. Groupon then extended me an offer letter and I started in early May.

Chicago, USA (2013 – 2016)

Four days before moving to Chicago, I felt a very acute pain in my lower back. I couldn’t walk. I was diagnosed with having two herniated discs in my lower back and the doctor recommended me to have an immediate surgical intervention. It was a tough decision: undergo surgery in Chile or travel to Chicago and have the surgery there. I ended up taking the first decision even if that meant losing the offer of joining the FED team. I contacted the managers of the team to let them know what was going on. The FED team was willing to wait another two months for me to join them. I finally joined the team that August as a Backend Software Engineer (Ruby, Clojure, JavaScript). The team greeted me with open arms.

I struggled a lot the first three months. My English at the time was very basic, and I had trouble understanding some members of the team. I decided that I needed to improve on that, so I took some ESL classes. Shane was very supportive of this, and he let me adjust my work schedule so I didn’t miss my classes. While working on this team, I lead and designed two important projects: Vat Invoicing service for all the EMEA countries at the time and Adding Geo-Redundancy support for all the services that are part of the Financial Infrastructure.

I learned so much while working on this team, like how to build architecture applications to support traffic at global scale; how to build applications that can heal themselves; how to express my ideas in a structured way; how important culture is to have a healthy team; and also how to have fun while chasing down issues in production. Among all the good things that I learned my favorite one was how to build a standing desk out of moving boxes. Todd Webb you have been very influential in my professional career, thank you. After a solid 3.5 years, I decided that it was time for me to chase down new challenges. Todd supported my case and he helped me find a couple of different engineering teams in Chicago, Palo Alto, and Seattle.

Seattle, USA (2017)

After pairing with different teams, I decided that the most fun thing to do was to join the Things To Do Team as a Full-Stack Software Developer (ES6, CoffeeScript, Node.js Ruby). It was a pretty big change for me, but my new team was very supportive and put a plan in place for me to ramp up on these new technologies. While working on this team I lead the project to improve the throughput and latency of the fetch units endpoint so the Things To Do Inventory Service could be onboarded on Deckard. One of the happiest moment on this team was when I celebrated my 5-year Groupon anniversary. As the tradition mandates, I was awarded the black Adidas track jacket. My coworker in the picture and I joined Groupon around the same time in Chile, so we both received this award together, which was great.

After a year working on this team, I decided that I needed a change. My wife had a crazy commute to her work and also we wanted to live somewhere we could be in touch with nature. I discussed this with my manager at the time, letting him know that I wanted to try a remote team, and the internal mobility process was kicked off again. You can see a pattern emerging here, can’t you?

Remote, USA (2018 – current)

The Groupon+ organization had some openings, so I decided to join the CLO-Card Interaction Team as a Backend Software Engineer (Java 8, Ruby). I was really excited about going back to the backend world but more importantly to work as a remote employee. While changing to this team something interesting happened: the hiring manager was someone who I worked with on FED! He was, in fact, my manager for some time (you ran away from me, but I found you, ha!) More proof that internal mobility at Groupon is a real thing. On this team, I am the lead engineer of the sub-systems that are responsible for receiving network transactions and sending statement credits to the Credit Card Network Providers.

Take away

Internal mobility at Groupon is real. At least three people that are in the pictures have changed teams and location at least once. Isn’t this awesome? If you still don’t believe I can show my ID cards. The white one is for remote employees –nah, I am kidding, I use that card to go to the gym though.

Eric Levy – Software Development Engineer, iOS

Eric Levy – Software Development Engineer, iOS

ERIC LEVY

Software Development Engineer, iOS Consumer App
Remote
Joined: 2015

Eric is probably the only iOS Engineer at Groupon who was previously a high school principal -and- is currently a teacher of Ancient Near Eastern History. When did he decide to make the jump from education to engineering? That fateful day the iPhone hit the markets.

What are your favorite Groupon memories?

Too many! Geekons (Groupon’s annual internal hackathon); finding out the Groupon app made the top-20 list; sailing excursion in the San Francisco Bay.

What was your first role here?

iOS developer. I was impressed with iPhone hardware and software pretty much as soon as it hit the market. “That’s a device I want to code apps on!” I said. So I did.

What do you love about what you do?

I help code the iOS Consumer app. I love everything about it: I love that millions of users use it daily. I love the great team of brilliant programmers, QA-ers, PM-ers, et al. whom I work with. I love the free candy and cereal (a little too much) when I’m in the office.

You have an interesting career journey! Tell us about what you did before Groupon.

I took a job teaching at Kushner Yeshiva High School (yes, THOSE Kushners), and after three years, I got a Masters and decided, “hmm software management + teaching = principal.”  So I did that for 5 years in Toronto and New York. But I didn’t love it. There were so much politics and so little education! I ended up taking a teaching position again in a high school in Atlanta and did that for a few years. Around that time, the iPhone and iOS hit; so cool and so fun to develop for.  So I dusted off my coding skills, started developing iOS apps, took a work-from-home programming gig with the Nerdery in Minneapolis, then CNN in Atlanta, and finally Groupon (yay!). I still teach one class in AP Computer Science (Java), and I teach adults, mostly Ancient Near Eastern History and Literature, which is what my Masters is in.

You also worked at a startup in Israel…what was that like?

I joined an Israeli company, called Fundtech, as a C++ programmer in 1993. It was a tiny office with about 6 people or so in a building in Tel Aviv overlooking the Mediterranean. It was a wire transfer system running on Windows NT. The software went live in 1994, and it’s still used in hundreds of banks worldwide. If you wire money from one bank to another in the US, there’s a good chance you’re using that software. I spent 7+ years with the company and in the end, I was the Manager of Software Development of the Funds Transfer Systems, FEDplu$ (US) and PAYplu$ international). It was fun, but I love teaching, so I wanted to give that a try.

What was your first impression of Groupon as a workplace?

Friendly, open, and collaborative. Cutting edge!

What’s your favorite part of your team’s software development process?

I love the way we collaborate, starting with the kickoff, the review of the requirements, documenting the internal specifications, discussions with the designers, code reviews. It’s all great.

What’s your favorite local business?

Anytime Fitness!

Where can we find you outside of work?

Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle, sail…and bicycle. And spending lots of time with my family (bicycling and sailing)!

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

We tried to rewrite a large part of the iOS app in React-Native, so, among other benefits, the code would be largely cross-platform: iOS and Android. I had to master the language (JavaScript) and the foundation (React-Native). In the end, it was too risky legally, and the project couldn’t get off the ground. But it was fun and challenging while it lasted.

What do your parents think you do?

They think I’m a doctor. Shhhhh.

What’s your favorite programming language?

I like ’em all–each language for its proper place. The more languages, the better.

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

I help code the main consumer experience, trying to make the experience a bit more attractive, a bit more responsive, and a bit more intuitive to use. 

Tabs or spaces?

Tabs!

Vim or emacs? Why?

Cuneiform on baked clay. It’s somewhat more modern than those two.

Lauren ‘Lo’ Jozefat – Corporate Recruiter

Lauren ‘Lo’ Jozefat – Corporate Recruiter

LAUREN ‘LO’ JOZEFAT

Senior Corporate Recruiter
Remote
Joined: 2011

Sales Recruiter Lo values transparency and open communication during the interview process…and cake doesn’t hurt, either.

What teams and locations do you primarily hire for?

Sales in Phoenix and Chicago

What are some best practices for candidates to keep in mind while they interview here?

Don’t just tell us what you think we want to hear! We truly want to make sure you are a good fit for the role and that this role would be a good fit for you. Honesty is a policy that goes both ways when interviewing, and we might even find a position that could be a better fit!

What should a candidate know about how to work with you during the recruiting process?

I appreciate transparency and know that interviewing can be tough if you currently have a job. Make sure to communicate clearly so we can move things along quickly!

What’s the #1 thing you wish all candidates did?

Accepted job offers to work with us!

What’s something that candidates are sometimes surprised to learn about Groupon?

The variety of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) we offer and how we encourage everyone to get involved outside of their day-to-day!

Time to brag a little. Tell us about your proudest accomplishment here so far.

I’m really proud of my career path at Groupon. I was a fashion major in college and if you would have told me I would be working for a tech company as a recruiter I would have balked. I was hired to help Groupon launch a fashion channel, which never came to fruition. During my first week of training, I was pulled aside and told that my job was now to help launch a project that “doesn’t have a name yet.” The project was Groupon Now, and while that endeavor isn’t around anymore, it was an incredible learning experience that took me from Sales to Account Management to Recruiting. I started recruiting for the positions/departments I used to work in and I can honestly say, I can’t see myself doing anything else now!

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

The employees I hire into sales are mainly on the front lines. By hiring the right people, we have an immediate effect on the local businesses that are featured every day. Without the amazing deals, our customers can’t keep shopping!

What are some of the most memorable things you’ve seen at the Groupon office?

I joined Groupon when there were a lot of crazy activities going on. I saw a mini horse in the lunchroom one day (I think they had dyed its mane green?), the return of “Groupawn” when one man lived off of only Groupons for an entire year, and a children’s choir walking around the floor singing pop songs.

Tell us about your involvement with Women@Groupon and the Employee Volunteer Program.

I joined Women@Groupon to find a mentor. I always heard stories about women growing from the mentors they had, and I did not have that experience yet. I have participated as both a mentor and mentee a few times! I also have been a major participant and advocate for the Employee Volunteer Program; I even lead a team during our Volunteer-a-thon competition in 2015. My favorite volunteer organizations are Dress for Success, Anti-Cruelty Society, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

To wait for my interview to start, I was brought to sit in a lunchroom where there was a baby shower going on. Everyone was having so much fun eating cake and taking time to enjoy each other and celebrate. It was exactly the type of place I wanted to be [eating cake].

What’s your favorite local business?

Cooking Fools! I bought a Groupon for a pasta-making class with my mom and it was one of the best experiences EVER. We had so much fun that I ended up buying her a pasta machine for Mother’s Day and we now make homemade ravioli as a family for the holidays.

Tell us something about you that might surprise us.

My great-great (maybe -great?) grandma was Miss Norway. My family lives in Chicago because she participated in the Columbian Exposition “Chicago World’s Fair,” fell in love with the city and never went back!

Eric – iOS Engineer

Eric – iOS Engineer

ERIC HYCHE

Staff Engineer, Core iOS Team
Remote
Joined: 2014

When he’s not working on the local school board, whitewater rafting, acting in community theater, or taking photos as a Google Trusted Photographer, he’s traveling the country with his father to visit every baseball stadium. Oh, and he’s also helping build Groupon’s top-rated iOS app.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

My team and I went whitewater rafting in Coloma, California and also visited Sutter’s Mill, where gold was initially discovered, kicking off the California Gold Rush. The best part of the trip was watching one of my teammates sneak up on another teammate and pull him off the boat. A good time was had by all.

What was your first role and how’d you get to where you are today?

When I first joined the company, one of my first assignments was to help merge the Groupon iPad app into the main Groupon app. At the time, the Groupon app was a separate app in the iOS store and we wanted to “go universal” and have a single app. I learned a lot about refactoring during that time.

What do your parents think you do?

I think they believe I wrote every line of the Groupon iOS app. It’s hard for them to understand how many people are involved in writing an app like ours.

What’s unique about Engineering here?

It’s definitely the most fun Engineering organization I’ve worked with in my career. I mean “fun” in the sense that Groupon does things on a regular basis that make work enjoyable. It doesn’t just “happen” – it’s intentional.

Tell us about your favorite part of your team’s Software Development process.

My favorite part is the open, honest, and friendly debate we have about code style and architecture. Name your favorite language! Swift: I really like the expressiveness and the type safety of it. Of course, if you had been working with Objective-C for years, you’d probably be happy with just about anything else.

What was your first impression of Groupon?

Working at Groupon was my first exposure to the work culture of Silicon Valley. I had worked for RealNetworks in Seattle for 14 years, and the culture in Seattle was still very much one of cubicles and offices. Getting used to open workspaces took some time. The other first impression was one of fun: I loved the Polaroid pictures on the wall, the funny conference room names, and the jokes on the exterior doors at the Palo Alto office.

What’s the story behind all the baseball pennants in your office?

My dad and I started a quest about 10 years ago to visit all 30 of the major league baseball stadiums. So at every stadium, I buy a pennant and put it on the wall in my office. My dad got his 30th pennant with me last year when we visited Fenway Park in Boston and Rogers Centre in Toronto. I have been to 28 major league ballparks, and still have 2 more stadiums to go to: Arizona Diamondbacks and Minnesota Twins. So yes, I have 28 pennants on the wall in my office.

What’s something surprising about you?

I’m an elected official. I was appointed to the school board of Kingsport City Schools in 2014, and then successfully ran for re-election in both 2015 and 2017. Being on the school board of KCS takes most of my free time. Prior to being on the school board, I used to do some acting in community theater. I’ve attached a photo from the last play I was in a few years ago. I played Fagin in the musical Oliver.

Also, I am listed as a Google Trusted Photographer, and I frequently upload pictures to Google Maps and Street View. My pictures on Google Maps have over 1.5M views.

If you could do another job for a day, what would it be?

I think I would be an economist. Being an engineer, I never really studied economics in college, but in the last few years I have started reading all these books about economics and listening to several economics-related podcasts. I like the territory that economics occupies – between math and the social sciences.

Now for the important stuff: tabs or spaces?

Spaces, all the time, everywhere.

….and Vim or emacs?

Emacs: mostly because of inertia. I learned it well in college and never saw the need to learn a different tool.