A facilitator always looking for the best solution
Coupang Pay is continuing its journey towards delivering the most convenient payment experience to customers even as we speak. This time we met Theo, the leader of the Front-end team whose mission is to improve customer experience by organically connecting highly complex payment services offered across various platforms and device environments.
Hello Theo. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your current role?
Hello, this is Theo from Coupang Pay Front-end. I joined Coupang in 2019, before Coupang Pay spun off from Coupang. Encouraged by one of my acquittances who told me that Coupang’s FinTech group is planning a new service with an ambitious goal, I decided to apply for a position available at Coupang. Now I work as the manager of Coupang Pay’s Front-end team. I find myself very fortunate to land a job here, because I get to work with very smart, talented colleagues alongside me.
A few days after joining the company, when I was still adjusting myself to Coupang’s culture, I came across a blocker issue due to a code error. It was thanks to the active support of my colleagues that I was able to quickly troubleshoot the issue. To be honest, I hadn’t got a clue about Coupang’s troubleshooting process and what caused the issue back then. That was when I truly felt what it was like to lose one’s mind. But through this experience, I was also able to see it for myself what Coupang’s leadership principles and culture are really about (the culture of diving deep into problems is truly embedded in every single one of Coupang’s employees without an exception).
My responsibilities include supporting and facilitating collaboration among stakeholders of different domain expertise such as POs, UX designers, back-end engineers and QAers, making technical decisions for the front-end side of payment services, resolving issues to achieve team objectives and building my team’s capacity with one clear goal, which is to deliver an excellent user experience for our customers. Above all, the most important role as a facilitator is to create an environment where the team can unleash their abilities to their full potential for their craft, and support and facilitate collaboration among the team members to help them find the best solution.
As a manager of the front-end team, can you explain to the readers what your team does?
Coupang Pay Front-end team develops to deliver great user and interface experience in all the areas and businesses under Coupang’s ecosystem requiring payment services, such as Coupang Eats, Rocket Wow, and Coupang Play. So basically, our mission is to create an online payment experience that customers would find most convenient and fast, by organically integrating and connecting highly complex payment services running on many different platforms and device environments.
While developing and running a payment service for a large number of people may be an exciting thing to do, it also requires a tremendous amount of hard work.
Coupang Pay is currently preparing to roll out another new service, and I believe it will become one of the core services of Coupang Pay, as important as our simple payment service, soon after it launches. Hyped up with the thought of customers using our service with a big happy smile on their faces, the Front-end team is developing this new product/service.
What is the biggest perk of working at Coupang Pay as a front-end engineer?
While back-end code can be extremely complicated, in most cases it runs in a controllable environment. On the other hand, front-end code runs in an environment where things can be quite unpredictable because users are involved. Because we cannot predict what awaits ahead, we need to use some methodologies and tools to overcome unforeseen challenges. At Coupang Pay, we do have highly sophisticated AB testing methodologies and platforms in place, and they allow us to conduct testing on user experience whenever we want. As a front engineer, I find myself very lucky to be able to make use of such great infrastructure and take part in projects that spearhead our campaign to improve user experience and grow our services.
I want to also say that my team does not just seek to exploit the latest technologies only when developing a new product. In fact, we seek to capitalize on tech stacks capable of improving user experience and driving service growth only when developing a new product. For upcoming projects which can be challenging, we also identify technical capabilities that we as a team needs to build and areas requiring improvement when it comes to operating the current system. To that end, we select topics to study and dedicate some time everyday for a study session.
Any interesting projects currently going on?
I would say the web accessibility improvement project. Because of our security policy, I cannot give you the specifics, but to give you just a simple overview, we defined user stories based on feedback from users who had difficulty accessing Coupang’s payment services and approached from different angles to study ways to improve web accessibility through this project. Among many difficulties we had along the way, QA testing was most challenging. TTS tests had to be conducted by platform and device, and more time was needed for testing than when it is conducted for general users. But because we knew from the beginning such challenges may arise, we moved quickly and as a result had no trouble completing the project on time. It was great to see access to Coupang’s payment service significantly improve not just for customers experiencing troubles but also for customers in general through this project.
Any word of advice to those wishing to join Coupang Pay as a front-end engineer?
I prefer working with a person who is more interested in understanding and tackling the difficulties end customers are experiencing from their point of view than those who are highly skilled yet interested in dealing with services that only look fancy. To make accurate predictions and substantial outcomes, you should tenaciously seek to understand customers’ needs and the heart of the problems they experience.
We welcome anyone who would never give up and find joy in a repeated cycle of development, which will continue until we finally wow our customers.
It’d be great if you have excellent communication skills that go beyond your technical capabilities. It takes more than one person and a day to deliver a new feature that can satisfy our customers. It requires effective communication and collaboration with stakeholders. You should be able to effectively combine your technical skills with your interpersonal skills (communication, collaboration, leadership).
Can you pick the next interviewee? Any particular reason why you chose this person?
I would like to learn about the Fintech ERP team because my team and I haven’t had a chance to work with them though we share the same office space. So I would like to toss this to Jessica. Thank you.
We are hiring.
If you are interested, find out more about the positions available at Coupang Pay.