Groupon Intern Blog: Anna From Social Innovation Talks Volunteerism, Philanthropy

at October 8th, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and working with our teams. Anna, who was a summer intern on our Social Innovation team, talks about her experience working with passionate, purpose-driven teammates.

Anna 1mb

I entered my Groupon internship with an amalgamation of feelings. I was certainly elated to have the opportunity to work in Tech, something I didn’t think was feasible with my career trajectory towards pre-medicine and plastic surgery. I wondered how “corporate” my environment would be; I’ve had jobs at restaurants, labs and studios, but I’ve never sat at a cubicle for 8 hours a day. I was also admittedly hesitant: how does a corporation attempt to generate social change? Are not the ethoses of corporations and social justice activists inherently antithetical to each other?

It was not three days before my close friends accused me of being “obsessed” with Groupon. I couldn’t really be blamed for it, though…I was surrounded by the types of people I previously thought could only be found in the non-profit sector. They seemed to value and take me seriously from the start and there was a literal pit of free candy steps away from my desk. How could I not be obsessed?

At the heart of Social Innovation are three very compassionate employees. Bill is the most vocal, possessing the ability to infuse every remark with a note of authority, but he is also genuinely approachable and hilariously unpredictable. Nick has a peculiar knack to zero in on precisely the heart of the issue of discussion with a single critical comment, usually after his co-workers have talked themselves into exhaustion trying to figure out how to say the same thing. Alicia always has encouragement and a contagious laugh for everyone – seemingly completely unfazed and dedicated even as she stays at work past 7 pm and hosts company volunteer events virtually every weekend. Together, the three feel more like family than colleagues, protective of each other while unafraid to argue generously and honestly about the next new venture. They seem to belong more in a social service sector preoccupied with the welfare with humanity than they do at the headquarters of a tech giant, yet somehow it works. They have grand dreams for what the company can do for the community and local business.

I entered Groupon at a fresh beginning for the Social Innovation team only two weeks after the new Head of Social Innovation, Matt, started. I was afraid I started off on the wrong foot with Matt after I made a blunder and spoke out of turn, but he turned out to be very approachable and levelheaded. It was from him that I learned the value of reigning in one’s hubris.

I probably learned the most, though, from Matt Pennetti, who was patient and helpful with virtually every anxious inquiry I pestered him with. I was exceedingly grateful that the team let me tag along with someone technically not from Social Innovation so that I could learn hands-on the ins and outs of commercial design, typography, and even a little bit of filming. All along the way, I met more talented and enthusiastic people.

The Social Innovation team’s work dips in and out of many other departments as they embark on each project, whether it’s educating and encouraging Girls Who Code, helping host a book drive to deliver over 10,000 books to local Chicago teachers, or running marathons of volunteering with the Employee Volunteer Program. Aside from hoping they can continue steamrolling their vision, I also hope to see them gain more recognition for their accomplishments. Every single person at Groupon (not to mention the public at large) would benefit from understanding how deeply invested the company is in not only helping the surrounding community of each of their locations, but also in pioneering different and unexpected ways of doing so. I’m honored that I was able to contribute a small chapter to the Social Innovation story.

Tech Spotlight: Shane Stanford, Team Culture & Ownership Advocate

at October 5th, 2015

Today we’ll get to know Shane Stanford, a Senior Engineering Manager who leads three Tech teams in Chicago and Berlin.

Name: Shane Stanford

Title: Senior Engineering Manager

Start date: 4/11/2011

What do you do? I lead an Engineering organization that consists of 3 unique teams: Finance Engineering, Voucher Inventory Engineering, and Financial Data Engineering. I spend a majority of my time coaching team managers and senior engineers and guiding those teams through strategic planning and delivery processes.

Finance Engineering – When I started at Groupon, the Finance Engineering team did not exist. Across the world, Groupon paid its merchants using spreadsheets. There was no common way to do this and there were few systems to help. I was one of the founding members of the Finance Engineering team that took on the mission of automating merchant payments globally. Today, this team ensures Groupon merchants all over the world get paid accurately and on time with a payment platform that sends hundreds of thousands of payments to our merchants every month.

That rainbow looks familiar…

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Voucher Inventory Engineering – This team develops the platform that keeps track of the deal options you could buy on Groupon and the vouchers that you actually purchase. So, when you pick an option under the buy button or go to look at “My Groupons,” that’s the stuff this team cares about. Our platform tracks hundreds of thousands of inventory products and millions of purchased units.

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Financial Data Engineering – The Financial Data Engineering team is located in Berlin. Hallo! They work on ETL processes and reporting for our international accounting team. They make sure our business has accurate and timely numbers to report and understand.

What’s challenging about the work your teams do? In a single word: scale.

  • 10,000,000+ requests to our services
  • 300,000 requests to inventory service a minute at peak
  • 100,000+ merchant payments
  • 100,000+ inventory products for consumers to purchase
  • 50 services talking to our services from all kinds of different teams at Groupon
  • 30+ countries relying on our reporting and accuracy

…no big deal.

What do you love about what you do? I really enjoy working with people and helping them reach their goals, both with engineering skills and career planning and advancement. I also like simply being in front of a whiteboard with a bunch of people and solving a problem as a team.

You’re a big advocate of culture; can you describe what your team’s culture like? One of the most important factors in developing a strong team culture is ownership. We do a lot to try to own our culture and talk about our values. For example, we hold quarterly and weekly culture retrospectives where we discuss what’s working and what isn’t. We also conduct a retrospective anytime someone joins the team, as we believe our culture evolves with every new team member.

Something I’m also super passionate about is inclusion and diversity. Over time, we’ve developed some best practices that have helped us better celebrate diversity, such as:

  • Individualizing and tailoring our onboarding process to reflect that every new team member is unique
  • Discussing team culture with new team members so they understand its value
  • Recognizing colleagues’ emotions as important signals and finding ways to address any issues that arise
  • Calling out problematic words and actions and discussing appropriate team behavior and language

How much direct impact can your teammates have on the business? All three teams have significant and broad impact on the business, from internal operations to merchants and consumers. Most consumer purchases and merchant payments are handled by our services as they pass through Groupon.

Is there a lot of ownership? Yes, and not only with culture. I believe engineering ownership is the key to innovation.

Favorite Groupon memory? When the Finance Engineering team rolled out our merchant payment platform internationally, we bought a giant 20’ banner that read “Mission Accomplished!” and hung it haphazardly above our work area. It was a reference to a certain presidential speech… well, you can probably figure it out. Of course there was still tons of work to do but it was great to celebrate the accomplishment. We now use the phrase, “When can we raise the banner?” when we want to talk about what success looks like at the end of a project.

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Groupon Sales: Phoenix and Chicago Sales Team Up, Potluck Ensues

at September 22nd, 2015

Written by: Peter Schirripa, Regional Sales Director in our Phoenix office

The key to success, borrowed directly from SVP of Groupon Sales, Darren Schwartz, is activity x skill. Here in Phoenix, activity is our strong suit. Where we have opportunity to grow and improve is skill.

For the past five weeks, four Chicago-based Business Development Reps have been working in our Phoenix office as part of a newly-piloted transfer program to help with skill development on both the team and individual level. The results were fantastic! Kevin Hahn, AJ Roskin, Shane Bradley, and Mike Lampariello all took a selfless trek to the desert to help grow the ever-expanding Phoenix office.

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Once the Chicagoans arrived, they were assigned to work with specific teams. Each of the four Chicago reps has been at Groupon for at least two years, and their background and Groupon experience proved to be a tremendous resource. Having seasoned mentors in the office helped to expand the Groupon knowledge of every rep here. We decided to throw a potluck to show our gratitude, and more than 60 teammates chipped in by bringing homemade delights (that’s a lot of goodies), but the main focus was sharing memories from their time here.


It was quite apparent that having Chicago and Phoenix reps join forces was incredibly beneficial to the team here. One final thanks to AJ, Kevin, Mike, and Shane as well as everyone who helped contribute to the program (and potluck) in both Chicago and Phoenix!

The Design Depository: Elissa Darnell, VP of Design Talks Leading & Inspiring Creatives

at September 13th, 2015

Elissa Darnell

VP of Design

Elissa groupon design XXUX

Above: Elissa shares insight at the XX+UX event hosted at our Palo Alto office.

When did you start?

Nov 3, 2014

What brought you to Groupon?

After 10 years at eBay, I was excited to join Groupon to focus on the local space. Local is a challenging space and Groupon is a leader in it. I’m excited to learn more about it and help develop our experience for consumers and merchants.

What has surprised you about working at Groupon?

The interesting mix of Technology and Sales enables us to really build a local community of merchants. I’d like to see us use technology even more to help scale this further.

What is your favorite aesthetic and/or design inspiration?

I love Houzz for it’s beautiful and rich content and creative approach to advertising. The “swinging price tag” is actually a paid advertisement but it is so relevant to the content and adds value to the user experience that consumers ask for more of them. It’s rare to find a place where ads are seen as value add to the consumer.

What inspires you? 

I’m inspired by things that make peoples’ lives easier and changes what we think of as the norm. Breakthroughs like DVR (Digital Video Recording) and streaming TV have dramatically changed the way we consume content. The smart phone has further changed how we communicate, stay connected, and access information. Newer innovations like Uber have further reduced friction in peoples’ lives. That’s what fascinates and inspires me.

How do you drive creative inspiration?

I think we are inspired by all sorts of things not just other e-commerce sites or marketplaces. I encourage designers to look at other physical and electronic domains for inspiration.

Anything else about Groupon Design that you’d like to add?

Designers are not all the same – just like not all engineers are the same. We have a variety of skills on our team from visual design, interaction design, information architecture, to prototyping and user research. All contribute to the design of a great User Experience.

Follow @Groupon_Design on Twitter for the latest updates from the Design Union and check our jobs page to see what openings we have that might suit your fancy.

Employee Spotlight: Ella & Goods Photography

at September 9th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 10.23.20 AMName:
Ella Mouria Seet

Title: Goods Custom Photo/Video Coordinator

Start Date: July 1st, 2013

What did you do before Groupon? Acting and voice work mostly…I still do both. I lived and performed in both my hometown of Indianapolis and New York City before coming to Chicago. In between acting jobs, I had ongoing work doing everything from social media consulting to copywriting and writing/designing walking tours. While I was in NYC, I worked at both a high-end toy company in Gramercy Park and a tourism website in SoHo. I was a lounge singer for about a year—it was a fake lounge in a museum exhibit, mind you, but still.

When I first relocated to Chicago, I was working as a concierge in a building on Jeweler’s Row and it wasn’t really my bag. A friend of mine gave me the number of her temp agency, and a few days later I got a call offering me an assignment at Groupon.

How did you get into your current role? I first began temping in the tax department, and after a seasonal job there, I switched over to temp in Goods, where I was placed in what would become my current role. It was a great fit, and after a couple of months I was asked if I would like to stay on permanently. There are quite a few creative aspects of the job that intersect with my background and training, and I really felt like I would be able to bring some expertise to the role.

What does a day in the life of a Goods Custom Photo Coordinator look like? I don’t know if there necessarily is a typical day, which keeps things interesting! Goods Custom Photo is a tight-knit team of three, so we work closely with one another. I’m usually in the office, but I do regularly attend shoots with the photography studios we work with.

When I’m in the office, I spend the bulk of my time:

  • Communicating with photographers and talent agencies
  • Receiving and organizing submissions from the Goods Merchandising team
  • Processing our final imagery to be passed on to Editorial
  • Making sure everyone is on the same page for upcoming shoots

There is a lot of planning involved, and we work closely with Goods Merchandising to get their input throughout the imaging process. We manage submissions for Goods items that will go into production with Groupon’s video team, and we add product videos that are submitted by Goods vendors to the site. Our team also worked with Groupon Grassroots to develop the Goods In-Kind Donations Program, which enables us to provide Chicagoland charitable organizations with Goods donation items.

Can you tell us more about the In-Kind program? My manager Michelle Dunmars and I worked with Grassroots last year to develop the program as a way to match Goods items that are suitable for donation with local charitable organizations that can use them to raise funds through a silent auction or raffle. I’ve really enjoyed running the program and hearing back from organizations who have benefited from the donations. It’s one of my favorite parts of the job for sure!

Favorite Groupon memory? I have a lot of great memories from working with my awesome manager Michelle. We accomplish a lot every day at work, but we also help each other out outside the office when we can. She took me to get groceries after my emergency appendectomy a couple of years back. Before she had her daughter, she was having trouble deciding on baby names, so I suggested looking at Shakespearean character names (she went with one from Twelfth Night, my fave). We make a pretty killer team.

Groupon Intern Blog: Product Management Intern Kavya

at September 8th, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and working with our teams. Kavya is a Product Management intern in our Palo Alto office who got to work on Groupon’s app for Samsung’s new smartwatch.

Kavya Groupon InternWho am I? My name is Kavya Gundavaram and I’m a senior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying Computer Science with a minor in Business.

What do you do? I am a product manager (PM) intern on the mobile team in Palo Alto.

And what does a Product Manager do, exactly? Think of a product manager as an orchestra director. An orchestra is comprised of musicians who are each good at one instrument; so, as a director, you need to define what is going to be played and give high-level instructions so they follow your lead in synchrony. If you provide unclear signals, then you get a bad output and you’re responsible for fixing it.

Just like an orchestra director, product managers are mini CEO’s of a product area and take on various roles: they are responsible for identifying profitable opportunities in the product area they are working on, launch products to market, oversee them and analyze metrics to ensure the products are successful. Product managers work with a variety of people in the company ranging from other PM’s to engineers, designers, QA, and marketing.

What are you working on this summer? As a product intern on the mobile team, I have had the wonderful opportunity of working on a variety of projects. One project was a secret until a few days ago. I, along with one engineer and a designer, worked on building the Groupon app for the new Samsung Gear S2  – Samsung’s new wearable device that launched a couple weeks ago. This project truly made me feel like a mini CEO! The watch app allows users to browse nearby deals, view details, and purchase…all from the watch! As a PM working on a standalone project with little knowledge of new technology, I had a great learning experience. I learned to juggle various priorities for features, engineering roadblocks, and manage multiple timelines.

I also worked on several other smaller projects relating to proximity notifications; geo-fence based push notifications about relevant deals that are sent to users when they are near merchants. I was able to learn how A/B tests work and what data a PM can analyze and how it affects the success metrics of a product.

What’s the best part of interning at Groupon? My summer at Groupon has been amazing! The combination of real world projects that will impact millions of users, strong mentorship, smart co-workers, and passion for the product has made this internship the best one yet. Never would I have imagined I would be able to work on such impactful projects as an intern and have full ownership through the release cycle. I was able to meet with my manager and discuss what I was interested in at the beginning of the internship and I was given full autonomy and flexibility to work on things I enjoyed.

The best part of my internship has definitely been the people. Everyone is extremely smart and passionate about the product and being a PM on a consumer product means we can directly see the impact of our work! I cannot thank my team enough for everything they have taught me – all the way from defining a product to successfully launching it to market.

What was the highlight of the summer? The highlight of the summer has to be our mobile PM team offsite. We went rafting on the American River near Sacramento. It was awesome hanging out with the team outside the office and getting to know each other better while crushing rapids on a raft!

To end on a fun note, here’s a comic of how a product manager can get their code featured:

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Groupon Intern Blog: Sally, Self-Proclaimed Data Lover & Engineer

at August 24th, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s post features Sally, a data-centric Engineering intern from UIUC who has been working on the Fraud Prevention team in Palo Alto.

Who are you? I’m Sally Zhang and I’m a rising 2nd year CS Masters student specialized in Information Retrieval and Text Mining at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). I also received my BS degree in Statistics & Computer Science from UIUC in May 2014. I’m a data lover as well as a data-oriented engineer.

Sally Groupon Engineering Intern

[Love my bobblehead and the swing chair at Groupon Chicago HQ]

How did you get the internship at Groupon? It was my first time presenting at Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) last year in Phoenix, and I was contacted by #GrouponU recruiters a month before the conference. First, I had a phone screen with a Technical Recruiter, followed by a technical phone interview with a Data Scientist in Chicago. I passed both. :)

Next, at Grace Hopper, I talked with several Grouponers about projects, teams, and life at Groupon. Props to Groupon for being a GHC Gold Sponsor and sending so many wonderful Grouponers in green jackets to the conference to support Women in Technology! After I flew back to campus, I finished a couple more technical phone interviews with Groupon. Although it was a thorough interview process that tested my coding, design pattern, project management, leadership and communication skills, I didn’t feel frustrated or tired at all! Everyone I spoke with was really friendly, helpful, and made me feel at ease. Three days later my offer from Groupon arrived, which made my day!

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 12.25.20 PM

What do you do at Groupon? I’m a Software Engineering intern on the Fraud Prevention team in Palo Alto. My team and I strive to become “Fraud Busters.”

What happened in your first week? Two days before my internship started, my manager called me asking if I’d like to join the team on a business trip to Chicago. I of course said, “YES!” So, on my first day, I received my work equipment, had onboarding and orientation, then booked my fight to Chicago. At Groupon headquarters, I spent the rest of my first week meeting with the Fraud Operations team! It was a great adventure because I learned more about Groupon’s architecture and teams, observed the team’s manual review processes, met more Grouponers, and had a lot of fun. I love my team; they’re always welcoming and patient when answering any questions I have. After successfully setting up the development environment, I was ready to start pushing code in the following week.

What are you working on? This summer, I worked on two data engineering projects. The first project touched the backend data infrastructure of the anti-fraud platform where I not only learned a lot about how fraud detection systems work at Groupon, but I also learned to work with Ruby on Rails for the first time. I was so excited to see that my code had been pushed to the production codebase and set a foundation being built upon by other members of my team. The second project was on the fraud data analysis side where I evaluated two models for classifying Groupon Local purchases as fraud/non-fraud. I used various kinds of ETL frameworks, tools and languages including Splunk, Hadoop, Teradata, Accertify, Python/Bash/SQL, etc. Besides my main projects, I also worked on a GeekOn project with several interns and full-time employees. Our project was one of the local finalists!

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[At Lean{in}tern Summer Kickoff event with Groupon girls (Amanda, Bria, Kavya)]

What have you done outside of work? Groupon had a lot of cool events for us interns this summer! We went to a Giants game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, visited California’s Great America Theme Park in Santa Clara, volunteered at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, went to ComedySportz in San Jose, etc. Aside from those events, I also hung out with other interns and participated in a lot of events for Bay Area interns, especially those supporting Women in Engineering.

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[Women@Groupon Volunteer Day at Sunnyvale Full Circle Farm]

In June, I went to the huge 2015 INTERNAPALOOZA event in SF and spent two days hacking at Summer Hack Day 2015 at Dropbox HQ, which was the first hackathon for women interns in the Bay Area. In July, I attended Lean{in}tern Summer Kickoff at LinkedIn HQ with three other interns to represent Groupon and show Groupon’s efforts in increasing workplace diversity. I also took part in Taking Flight: An Evening for Women in Engineering at Airbnb HQ where we listened to a really inspiring panel that highlighted the career paths of multiple women who had taken different routes in their technical careers. I had a really productive, inspirational and fun summer!


Employee Spotlight: Analysis & Haikus With Joe

at August 24th, 2015

Name: Joe Attard

Title: Senior Revenue Management Analyst for Groupon Getaways

Start Date: February 2014

Joe AnalystWhat did you do before Groupon? Before joining Groupon Getaways as a Senior Revenue Management Analyst, I was a Strategy Consultant in the Financial Services industry at IBM’s Global Business Services practice.

What brought you here? At my previous company, I got tired of solving the same problems over and over with the same solutions. I quickly learned that I needed to work for a company that fostered new ideas and independence. Groupon encourages innovative and creative approaches to finding solutions that will yield positive results, which is something I’m really passionate about.

How would you describe Groupon’s culture? Rewarding. Groupon’s ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality rings true. High expectations are set for everyone in the company and the benefits are two-fold: you learn a LOT and you’re recognized for your hard work while doing your part to make the company an integral part of local commerce.

How has your career grown in the past year and a half? When I started, I got acclimated by spending a lot of time in Getaways’ day-to-day operational processes and manual data analyses. I’ve since moved on to larger strategy-focused projects that directly impact the sales team and the business’ bottom line and I’m consistently utilizing what I learned during my first six months on the job.

How does your work contribute to Getaways’ bottom line? My work directly focuses on making Groupon Getaways’ sales team more efficient. If our sales team can put more travel deals up on our site, we’re continually providing our customers with new vacations and driving incremental guests into our hotel partners’ properties.

Can you write a Groupon haiku, please?

Deals, trips and much more

Also there’s a candy pit

Groupon, love Local.

Thank you. 

Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. Why, yes, we are hiring in Getaways! We thought you’d never ask. 



PrettyQuick: Talking Empathy with Peggy, a PrettyQuick Developer

at August 20th, 2015

This summer, Groupon expanded our e-commerce family with the addition of PrettyQuick: an on-demand booking service for all things beauty. Founded by Coco Meers in 2012, PrettyQuick has connected salon-ready Chicagoans with over 500 hair, nail, and body boutiques. Today, we’re chatting with Peggy Fox, a developer who applies her eclectic background to the work she does on PrettyQuick’s internal tools, marketing, and analytics.

Peggy Pretty Quick Developer

You have an interesting background! From Peace Corps to Chicago Public Schools to Dev Bootcamp, can you tell us about what inspired you to make those professional leaps? Like any other International Studies major and Environmental studies minor graduating from college, I wanted to save the rainforest! Well, not exactly, but I did want to spend some time immersing myself in a different way of life and hopefully be of service in some way while doing so. My undergraduate interdisciplinary studies also left me wanting a more technical and quantitive skill-set in the natural sciences. So for about 5 years after college I did a Peace Corps Masters International program, through which I got a Masters of Science in Forestry and spent two years in the Peace Corps in the Ecuadorian Amazon…so I got to hug trees in the rainforest after all!

By far my favorite class in grad school was GIS (Geographic Information Systems). I learned about databases (one-to-many relationships! inner joins!) for the first time and really loved this quantitative-spatial-visual approach to natural resources management.

My role as a Data Strategist at Chicago Public Schools allowed me to continue growing a quantitative skill set in a way that directly contributed to helping improve an underperforming high school. My work at CPS often involved creating spreadsheet tools tailored for school staff so they could pull a csv of data and refresh their “user interface” (pivot table). Ultimately, the data transformations and calculations I had built in would provide them with relevant information to do their jobs more effectively. I really loved the combination of problem solving, building tools, working with data, and thinking about user experience, so when I heard about DevBootcamp, I immediately knew it was my next step!

What else sparked your interest in going the Dev route? My job at CPS taught me that building tools is more exciting to me than crunching numbers. I love the ability to be creative, to think about a problem space and end user experience, and then all the exciting technical details of what needs to happen to execute a solution. I really like looking for patterns and thinking hard about a problem, both things I get to do everyday as a developer.

How has your varied professional experience helped you in your current role? Empathy is an important skill in any profession, especially when thinking about user experience. In both the Peace Corps and CPS, empathy is one skill I would definitely say I got some practice in. While in the Peace Corps, I often became frustrated by the cultural divide because it was something I encountered in almost every interaction, from social and professional, to just buying tomatoes! The more I was able to understand where my friends, coworkers, and store keepers were coming from, the more enriching the experience we’d have. I draw on empathy when thinking about how PrettyQuick customers will interact with our product and how PrettyQuick’s staff utilizes our internal tools.

What are you working on right now? Right now I’m working on improving our internal tools and analytics, and on email communication and marketing. PrettyQuick is focused on providing an awesome on-demand beauty booking service to our customers, but it requires some manual work on our end to make sure everything goes seamlessly. We’re juggling a lot at once: managing every user and salon interaction from the moment a booking is requested, cashless checkout at the salon, and anything that may come up in between. Since coming to Groupon, I’ve been putting a lot of work into our administrative portal so our team not only doesn’t drop any balls, but is able to provide a fast a delightful experience to our customers. I’ve also been building robust metrics tools so we can track how our projects are affecting progress towards our goals.

How does your work impact the goals of the business? We have a lot of metrics that we track that align with our business goals. I’ve created a daily tracker and an admin dashboard so our team knows where we stand against those goals at all times. Right now we’re focused on providing metrics that are tied to delivering a seamless customer experience and increasing usage. The improvements I make to our admin portal and email and push marketing efforts are directly affecting these goals.

What do you enjoy about working for Pretty Quick/Groupon? I really love coming to work everyday – I love my job and team. It’s awesome to work with people who are dedicated to building something great that also challenges us everyday. I really enjoy development and I’m constantly learning something new. Everyday is full of small wins!  :)

Anything else interesting about you or any favorite memories of working at PQ/Groupon so far? This is such a hard question to answer because I have so many great memories! There isn’t really just one that sticks out because everyday is a great day to come to work. From team lunches and Friday morning doughnuts, to feedback and strategy sessions and celebrating our the growth of our business, working with the PQ team is…if I had to choose just one word: fulfilling. This is also my first job as a web developer and I am so grateful to know I’ve found something I love doing and the chance to do it everyday on a team that has been immensely supportive in growing my career.

Thanks for reading the People Blog—a blog about people at Groupon. Interested in joining a startup within a startup? Check out our current PrettyQuick openings!

Groupon Intern Blog: Andrew Project Manages for Groupon & Shakespeare

at August 17th, 2015

The #GrouponU Blog is back for 2015! We’ll regularly feature a Groupon intern or recent college grad telling you about their experience tackling challenging problems and getting to know our teams. Today’s post is from Andrew, a student at Stanford who brings a unique educational background and a love for Carly Rae Jepsen to Project Management.

Andrew Project Management Intern

Who are you? I’m Andrew Whipple, a soon-to-be senior at Stanford studying Symbolic Systems (aka CS + Philosophy + Linguistics + Psychology) and Creative Writing.

What do you do at Groupon? I’m a Technical Project Management intern on the PMO (or, “Project Management Organization”) team. The PMO is a fun, small organization within Groupon (16 of us, including the one intern!) who are tasked with stepping in on important projects that can’t be handled by one team. We coordinate between all the various team members and stakeholders to make sure stuff happens.

Personally, I help out the PMO when needed: filling in for PjMs who are on vacation, helping plan/organize/tech support a Project Management Summit, and doing various tasks to support the busier PjMs.

I was also given the reins to my own project, which in true PMO fashion involves a lot of coordination between a lot of people, all over the world.

Pro tip: when working with an international team, turn your phone off at night. One person’s perfectly reasonable 10 am email is another’s 2 am wake-up call.

Overall, Project Management requires having a broad knowledge of how the company works since it involves working cross-functionally with a lot of different teams. Spoiler alert: it’s hard to have a broad knowledge of Groupon after two weeks. Fortunately, this is where the expertise of a PMO comes into play, because while I may not know who in Europe to talk to about QA tests for the Payments system, there are six other PjMs who have worked on projects with said person and can easily put us in contact.

Now that I think about it, that could definitely be expanded to a general piece of Groupon advice: always ask questions. Groupon is big but also very startup-y. That’s great most of the time, but it does mean that some things like accurate organization charts and up-to-date documentation can be hard to come by. So don’t count on your research skills alone to help you navigate; ask your manager, your mentor, your coworkers, your recruiter, your other interns, the appropriate HipChat room, or just shout.*

*Maybe don’t just shout. That would be kind of disruptive. But the other ones, yeah do those.

Getting back on track, what super rad technology do you use? Like any engineer or designer, there are tools of the trade for PjMs. But instead of IDEs and CLIs and ETCs for l33t haxxors, our tools are focused on organization, communication, and documentation.

I love using Google products like Google Drive, Docs, Gmail, and GCal (although for mail and calendar management I use the Spark and Sunrise apps, respectively. Personal preference.)

Other PjMs swear by Smartsheet over Google Sheets for project planning/tracking, since it’s more feature rich. I personally love the look, feel, and ease of use of Google Sheets, plus the ability to quickly comment and have discussions in the document.

Jira is used for both tracking bugs and the progress of action items. The engineering side of Groupon also uses HipChat extensively for IM-ing, which can range from daily check-ins to sending gifs. Plus, I love writing in Markdown syntax and since I used it to write this blog post, I’ll give a plug for MacDown (for Mac) and Editorial (for iOS).

What about when the work is done? Do you surf or run or stuff? Besides working at Groupon, I’m also one of the co-artistic directors of the the Stanford Shakespeare Company, so a lot of my time is spent reading, thinking about, and, to be honest, project managing Shakespeare. (Plug time: If you’re at Stanford in February, come see our production of Antony & Cleopatra, or in May see our Henry VI and Richard III.)

I also listen to over 100 podcasts. And I write a fair bit, mostly either internet stuff (like this blog post!) or plays. And I play guitar. And I tweet. But my Twitter is mostly me saying all-caps nonsense about our greatest living musical artist Carly Rae Jepsen, so I’m not going to link to it (if you know me well you know I’m 100% serious about my love for Carly Rae Jepsen. She’s the best.

Do you have a good way to end this blog post? Nope!

Me neither. How about a gif?

Hard “G” or Soft “G”? Well, both are technically correct, but I personally go for either hard g, or the Idea Channel pronunciation /ʒaif/.

Nice. Thanks.

No problem. Anyway, here’s a /ʒaif/ of aforementioned greatest living musical artist.