DAY IN THE LIFE INTERVIEW: MELISSA WEISS
We are very happy to introduce you to Melissa Weiss, Head of Product at Helpling, the leading marketplace for cleaning services in the UK!
They’re not a cleaning agency or cleaning company – they’re an intermediary platform that matches customers with self-employed cleaners. Through this platform, you can book a cleaner in only 60 seconds!
1. Being Head of Product, what teams / job titles do you work closely with?
I could list every department in the company. As Head of Product my first responsibility is my team of Product Managers and UX Designers. However, the Product Manager role by nature, is collaborative. This is especially true at Helpling. It takes IT, Operations, Marketing, Communications, Legal, Finance, etc. to create products customers love and this is the core function of a Product Manager.
2. What is the career path you took to become Head of Product?
Growing up in the heart of Silicon Valley I didn’t think there was any other career path. I grew into Product Management at my first startup (a B2B Saas), where I was young and eager to work my way from Account management, Quality Assurance to Product Management.
3. What brought you to this area, what’s your background?
I’m an American, living in Berlin, by way of Amsterdam. Before moving to Berlin I worked at Booking.com HQ in charming Holland.
4. What time does your day start, and what does your typical work day schedule look like?
Thankfully I work in an industry tolerant of late birds. I’m not a morning person, 9:30 is the best I can do. I can’t say what my day to day is, but week to week my time is split between: Analysis (looking at qualitative and quantitative data on how the product is performing, what is happening in the market and what our customers want), planning short and long term objectives, collaborating with various teams, and communicating for alignment.
5. What kind of projects are you currently working on?
As always, we’re focused on improving the experience for our customers and service providers. Helpling strives to create the easiest way for people to work together. Especially in letting someone enter your private sphere – your household – it’s essential, that the platform provides you with trust.
6. What do you consider the greatest achievement?
Growing the Booking.com’s user generated content program into one of the company’s major assets. We collected a wide array of content, used machine learning and natural language processing to give it structure and found endless use cases and customer demand for display. The quarter I left about 30% of conversion improvements were attributed to user generated content.
7. What is the one app you could not live without?
8. What’s the best thing about working at your company?
Helpling is at my favorite stage. We’re the market leader, with product market fit validated and achieved. However, there are still several interesting challenges to solve for and endless opportunities for growth. My colleagues are the cherry on top.
9. Where is the after work hangout?
Unlike Amsterdam, Berlin doesn’t seem to have a Happy Hour culture. However, I’m new here.
10. Who is your professional role model?
My Father. He’s a now retired Engineering Manager who taught me team cohesion and morale is key. He cares about his people as much as the business. Magic happens when my teams are happy and high performing. When I’m able to empower people to do their best work I have achieved my goal.
11. What makes Berlin a good city for technology, startups and diversity?
It’s a fairly new and less crowded tech scene, therefore competition isn’t as fierce. Also, Berlin is an attractive city for young talent due to its quality of life. you don’t have the 12 hour days of NYC or Shanghai, you don’t have the high cost of living of Silicon Valley and Berlin is way more fun than Dublin.
12. Which tech trends are you most excited about?
Autonomous vehicles will save lives and reduce need for personal car ownership. Hopefully we can then turn roads and parking lots into to public spaces and reduce environmental impact. I’m also secretly excited about the athleisure fashion trend, I’m not sure if it’s socially accepted at the office yet?
13. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employer?
A collaborative and growth mindset culture, good product development practices, and great colleagues.
14. And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to a tech professional starting out?
Think more about your users and their needs than your technology and your solutions.