Why I chose Duolingo: Finding purpose and happiness as an Engineering Director

I started a casual job look at different companies November this past year. After four years at Spotify, It had been felt by me was time for a fresh challenge. Being in a fortunate position to be happy and used in my job, I began to get in touch with my network to meet up with as many folks as possible and obtain a feel for that which was on the market (remember pre-Covid?). Being happy within my job also meant that there is an extremely high bar for me personally to consider creating a switch.

A couple of months later I had narrowed down my options and was getting into the interview stage with three companies. These were all completely different sizes and at different stages within their journey. I was worked up about them all genuinely, but a fourth contender arrived of left field then.

Severin Hacker, Duolingo’s CTO and co-founder, and I had met in 2015 while I was at SoundCloud. Union Square Ventures can be an investor in both SoundCloud and Duolingo, and we got paired up within a peer mentorship program they will have for portfolio companies. I enjoyed our conversations at that time really, and I recall having an excellent impression of both him and Duolingo.

We stayed in contact since ever, and I was happy when he reached out inviting me to go to Duolingo’s new NYC office. He explained concerning the growth plans for NYC and how these were looking for visitors to make it happen. It had been a interesting opportunity really, and before it had been known by me, I was on a flight to Pittsburgh to meet up the united team.

And that’s as soon as when Duolingo jumped to the very best of the list.

The interviews weren’t easy. Individuals were very friendly and warm, however they definitely didn’t ensure it is easy for me. I recall using every break to walk around and make an effort to clear my check out focus on another conversation. I kept reminding myself that it had been an excellent sign that the united team cared about keeping the bar high.

Second, and important equally, in line with the vibe I acquired from everyone and from the conversations I was having, it had been clear that folks liked working there genuinely. Each of them had good answers when I asked about things they didn’t like concerning the company, but even it had been easy to see they were happy there then.

On the flight back I was feeling tired but worked up about the chance of joining the team really. Morning the next, I was in the home talking to my partner concerning the trip and remember telling her: “I haven’t seen all of the offers yet, therefore i don’t know which would be the best financial decision, but I know that Duolingo may be the one where I’ll be happy.

Thankfully everything went well and I joined Duolingo at the ultimate end of March.

The Duolingo NYC crew, and how exactly we go out these full days

Today I lead an certain area called New Initiatives as Engineering Director. We are several four engineering groups exploring product concepts that can expand the existing Duolingo offering in brand new directions. A few of our items include an app centered on teaching kids how exactly to read, a platform to greatly help learners connect and practice together, and tools to aid teachers and students who wish to use Duolingo for language understanding. I really like that i reach participate in the complete lifecycle of an fundamental idea, from whenever we envision a remedy, to when we’re scaling it to all or any learners. On the engineering aspect, that means plenty of experimentation, iteration fast, and focus on exactly what will deliver probably the most value.

Looking on the final seven months back, I feel excellent about my decision. The merchandise is helping a whole lot of people, especially through the entire pandemic when most are spending more period in the home and schools want to adapt to the brand new reality. The ongoing organization includes a data-driven engineering culture, where every noticeable alter is tested and contains to demonstrate effect on business metrics. And finally, I found that many people are compassionate and supportive extremely. I joined right once the lockdown began, and from onboarding to Parliament (our weekly All-Hands conference) to your HR policies reflects an organization that is carrying out their best to provide for employees.

Every working job could have bad and the good days, so by the end of your day what I wanted is really a place where Personally i think like I can impact, I love the social individuals who work with, and I trust leadership and their choices. I came across all that right here and can’t wait around to see what another seven a few months – and beyond – have waiting for you.

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