Not too long ago, we moved into a brand new habitat in the Bay Area. As we continue to grow our troop of hardworking and curious monkeys, the need for a bigger space to flex our survey creating muscles became pretty clear. We love our new office and feel incredibly lucky that we get to share it with so many smart, driven and fun-loving people. It certainly makes coming to work pretty great. Getting the opportunity to share our beautiful new habitat with our neighbors in tech? Even better.
After networking on our beautiful new rooftop deck and noshing on s’mores it was time for the Lightning Talk round and a panel discussion led by our President and CTO, Selina Tobaccowala. The topic of both discussions revolved around what it’s like working for a metrics driven online business, career advice and how qualitative and quantitative data is used to make decisions across the company.
Our monkey girl geek speakers came from a wide range of disciplines—engineering, development, business intelligence, user experience and product marketing. In their own words, here are brief highlights of what they shared with the Bay Area Girl Geeks.
Samantha B, Product
When rolling out a new product, data is crucial to the process. A Product Manager must always balance business opportunity and risk with improving the customer experience. Qualitative feedback from customer support reps is a particularly important data point we look at. We’re constantly asking for qualitative feedback: with in-product surveys, from our customer support team, as well as through customer interviews in order to measure the customer experience. And, of course, NPS is a critical part of the process for our team.
Johanna E, User Experience
In the early stages of building SurveyMonkey Audience—a product that helps survey creators access millions of on-demand survey respondents—we didn’t yet have any Audience customers to help us inform the important decisions we needed to make to shape our business. Luckily, we did have plenty of SurveyMonkey customers. So, in the absence of quantitative data, we leaned more heavily on qualitative research. I worked with our Business Intelligence team to identify a set of SurveyMonkey customers who would be a good fit for our Audience product, sent them surveys, and was able to develop usability studies that helped us build a functional prototype.
Louise F, Engineering
I talked about SurveyMonkey’s efforts in moving to a continuous delivery workflow. This is a series of steps that releases coding in a rapid, repeatable and reliable manner. Moving to continuous delivery involves cultural and technical changes including transitioning to a test-driven culture. Technical changes such as making automated scripts to deployment and rollback code to all, or select customers, were also addressed.
Dee G, Engineering
I switched careers while working at SurveyMonkey, making the transition from finance to engineering, which has been an awesome experience. I wanted to share with my fellow girl geeks the questions I had to consider before taking the leap and what this career shift was like. Hopefully, it was helpful for anyone else thinking of doing the same. I advised the group to first figure out why you want to switch roles. Then, back up the “why” by collecting data about the role, work on transitioning into it, and continue to measure your progress once you’re started.
Diane K, Engineering
Whether you’re speaking for a business meeting or giving a presentation, there are three things to keep in mind based off my personal experience—content, presentation, and audience. What you’re talking about, how you’re talking about it, and finally, who you’re talking to are important points that you should prep for beforehand and have in your head while you’re presenting. Speaking clearly and confidently to your audience and providing clear context for your content makes a big difference in terms of how people will perceive what you say.
Deirdre N, Product
What are things to think about when launching a new product feature? Besides designing and building something that’s delightful and useful, here are three things to consider–who should get the new feature and when; how do you measure the business impact; and what’s the communication strategy for rolling it out. Once you have answers to these important questions fleshed out, then comes the fun part–building and designing the product!
Ada R, Product Online Marketing
Before coming to SurveyMonkey as VP of Product Online Marketing, I co-founded Connected in 2010, a contact management startup. We wanted to validate our product development ideas with customer data but didn’t yet have the traffic or number of users to justify them. Like most startups, we decided to build a product based on what we wanted and before our public launch, tested it out to people as beta users. Those beta customers became our litmus test for the product and that data helped to dramatically change and improve our product. Here at SurveyMonkey as we do new product development, we approach it in a similar way using market validation, interviews and quantitative/qualitative feedback.
Elena V, Growth & Business Intelligence
In a data-driven culture like SurveyMonkey, we rely heavily on our own data to make critical business decisions. In order to maintain and cultivate this culture, our data must be trustworthy. This includes having all relevant tracking in place, a well-defined set of business metrics that everyone in the company uses and the infrastructure needed to have all of this data be connected and actionable. Data must also be accessible to everyone and analysis should be shared across teams in order to promote data unity and knowledge transfer. Once these fundamental blocks are in place, data can help make businesses make better decisions.
We had a great time meeting and getting to know so many other amazing women in tech. Thanks for having us, Bay Area Girl Geek Dinner, and don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions for any of our monkeys!
To learn more about Girl Geek Dinner and find out how you can get involved at their next event, please visit their resource page.