Overseeing multiple Engineering groups focused on improving the Groupon customer experience is no easy task, yet we think Aileen’s non-smartphone-owning parents do a good job of summarizing her work.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?
I have great memories from a week-long off-site with a group of great product, design, and engineering folks aimed at coming up with a new mobile product strategy. It was challenging but amazing, the end result was awesome, and we all ended up so much closer to one another. The vision from that off-site has come to fruition in the award-winning mobile app we have today.
How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of being the daily habit in local commerce?
Connecting consumers with local businesses is the ultimate goal of everything we do. I tend to be very mission oriented, so I want everything we do to tie in with that goal. Whether it is broadening our local inventory, improving customer reviews, helping local business price their deals optimally, or ensuring we have the scale and redundancy we need to make it through our peak holiday season with confidence, it is all about connecting customers and local businesses.
Where were you before Groupon?
I cut my teeth at Amazon and learned a tremendous amount about how both productive teams and great e-commerce applications get built. I spent some time at a FinTech startup where I learned about grit and ownership and keeping your eye on the big picture. When I had the opportunity to scale mobile at Groupon, I couldn’t turn it down: it was already a premier mobile property and it was so exciting to help take it to the next level.
What was your first role at Groupon and how did you get to where you are today?
I was hired as Senior Director of Engineering, focused on scaling mobile development at Groupon. I got to where I am now by taking it one day at a time, trying to always remain focused on making progress against our most important goals and challenges. As mobile shaped up, I added Consumer Web and GAPI (Groupon API) to my scope where I had a big focus on improving latency. After that, I added GAPI (Groupon API), where improving process and documentation has been a big win, and we have some exciting things in the works on the engineering front. Most recently, I have added important backend consumer services to my scope, including Relevance, Orders, Payments, Identity Services, Financial Engineering, and Data Science.
What’s your favorite part of your team’s Software Development process?
I love it when the team gets into a shared flow state: exchanging ideas and solving problems with everyone contributing, not even aware of the passage of time. A team can only get in that state if they have trust and mutual respect, so it also means you have the foundation for a high-functioning team.
What was your first impression of Groupon?
As a customer, I very much enjoyed the Lady Gaga dance class I took — my first Groupon! I loved that Groupon got my friends and me out experiencing new things.
What’s your favorite local business?
ZombieRunner, a running store/coffee shop in Palo Alto that also sells specialty licorice and chocolate. The coffee is AMAZING — my favorite drink is the cold brew, but you can’t go wrong — and I love that the owners use their business to share their eclectic passions with the world.
What do your parents think you do?
My parents don’t even own smartphones, so this one was tough! Rather than guess, I just asked my mom. She initially responded to my text message with, “We know u r Vice Pres of Engineering, excellent in what is called ‘coding’.” Later, they followed that up with, “You mentor computer programmers, are excellent in coding, analyzing data, creating websites, striving for quality, team-building, leading by example. Sorry, we don’t know too much re technical language/details. We do know u r working very hard and love you so much!” Aww, thanks, Mom. And not too bad on knowing what I do after all.
What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?
Groupon’s engineering culture is fast-moving and everyone can have a big impact. I love that about Groupon, and know many others who do too. It keeps things exciting and engaging.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us.
I once bungee jumped off of a bridge in South Africa while pregnant. Oops! It was during an around-the-world trip with my husband and I didn’t know I was pregnant yet! I now have a healthy and bright six-year-old daughter, so thankfully, the bungee jump doesn’t seem to have done any harm! I also have a four-year-old daughter. While travel isn’t as easy as it once was, I love being a mom and the trade-off is totally worth it!
What’s been most surprising about working here?
Groupon loves cats, and animated cat gifs feature prominently in our presentations. I love it.
Tabs or spaces?