About a month ago, I started working at Groupon. It has been a pretty exciting month since then. Here are some random observations based on that time:
1) Groupon is working on exciting technology problems. Big scale, big data, multi platform, etc. The problem space is straightforward but the scale and importance of every part of the system makes it a worthwhile challenge.
2) Groupon has a principled approach to software development. Pair programming as needed, small, focused teams, meaningful code reviews, sensible testing, operations and deployment options, etc. The team is a mix of permanent employes and long-term consultants, and they support each other. It helps that the consultants come from one of the most excellent companies in Chicago. The product roadmap for the coming year shows a legitimate need to balance short term business needs with building a platform to support continued growth into the future.
Groupon’s technology work isn’t bleeding edge or particularly innovative. It is extremely well done application to a profitable problem and has scaled from a team of inital whiz kids to a medium sized team better than any place I’ve worked or know of, and signs are that it will continue into the future.
3) By a quirk of seating, I sit right behind the CEO, Andrew Mason. I occasionally overhear him talking so I have a tiny bit of insight into the higher up business decisions. Let’s just say that if you’re competing against him an the rest of the exec team, good luck to you. I think a lot of people are fooled by how he comes of as a goofball in his interviews. Don’t get me wrong, he is a goofball, buthe is also a savvy business leader. He knows what’s going on with us, our competitors, the technology, the business, etc. If you still insist on getting into the deal space, build a small niche based on personal relationships, because the chance to be a big player in the deal business is gone and it will not be relinquished.
If you’re interested in more about what it’s like to work at Groupon, leave a comment or email me. If you’re a talented developer interested in working here, email me now.