Monday, April 13, 2015

Meet the Engineers Behind Polyvore: Lisa Liang

Get to know the Polyvore engineering team! Here, Lisa talks about the values of our engineering team and how we’re using our data to understand personal style.

What do you do every day?
I work on the Consumer Services team, which builds scalable, flexible and efficient backend systems for our web, iOS, Android and client teams.

How does Polyvore’s scale affect your daily work?
We’re still a relatively small company, but we serve a ton of people, and ingest A LOT of data, so you really have the opportunity to work on a ton of different stuff and be exposed to parts of the business that you normally wouldn’t at a bigger company. We’re also transparent in why we make decisions, so it’s much easier to keep the rest of the company updated on what each team is doing.

Polyvore is known for caring about our community, how do you think those values spill into engineering?
We always, always listen to our users. One thing the community should know is that we monitor and use all your feedback, whether it’s left on the blog posts, tweeted at us, or submitted through the app. Your opinions matter and factor into what we decide to work on every day because without you, there would be no Polyvore. We’re so thankful that the community is so passionate about the product we wake up everyday to work on.

How does your eng team decide what to work on?
My team exists to make our client team’s job easier, so we start by looking at what the web, iOS and Android team decide to work on for the year, and figure out how we can best build what they need under the hood, so we can focus on giving our users the best experience.

What is a technical problem that Polyvore is in a unique position to solve?
Style. We have so much valuable data on what our users like, clip and create sets/collections about. That data reflects how current trends in the fashion world impact your average consumer as well as their individual style. We can analyze that data and work with it so we can create a different style profile for every different one of our users, that gets smarter as you use it and make better recommendations on sets, collections and things we’d think you like.

How would you describe the Polyvore engineering culture?
Our culture is super relaxed. Everyone leaves their ego at the door and there’s a great atmosphere of sharing knowledge and going out of the way to offer support so that we can all build the best product for our users. We try to proceed carefully by weighing the pros and cons. We deploy multiple times every day and work hard to be an agile team that iterates quickly while still making sure we’ve covered pros/cons in everything we do.

Any fun facts we should know about you?
Lisa keeps the secrets of the world in her hair bun.