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Uber product lead Daniel Graf explains Uber’s shifted approach to building tech

Uber’s Head of Product Daniel Graf thinks that the corporate’s fresh issues would possibly finally end up being just right for the trip hailing supplier’s product building in the long run; in many ways, it’s introduced collaboration to the fore in an organization construction that in the past most popular paintings being performed in moderately discrete silos, walled off from the possible to do extra by way of combining the efforts of the maps crew with, say, the driving force product crew.

Now, alternatively, Graf says there’s numerous cross-functional paintings occurring, and an effort to herald individuals of different groups on product building no longer essentially of their number one house on every occasion it is smart to achieve this. Uber is basically converting its approach to the way it operates, Graf says, and that adjust would possibly by no means have came about if it hadn’t had to take a just right lengthy take a look at its personal trade and practices within the wake of Susan Fowler’s sexual harassment allegations and Travis Kalanick’s final departure as CEO.

Graf has been at Uber for just about two years now, after becoming a member of in December of 2015 and at first heading up product for Marketplace at Uber, which handles go back and forth pricing and comparable trade. He then moved up to lead product around the corporate briefly, prior to changing into everlasting within the position as of March this 12 months. His background features a lengthy stint at Google in addition to a temporary time at Twitter prior to making his method to Uber, and he turns out actually happy concerning the adjustments that Uber is present process on the subject of its product route finally the organizational adjustments.

“At the end of the day we’re a tech company and the focus has to be on shipping product,” Graf mentioned in an interview. “Actually I think, especially in the last few months, we’ve done a really good job on turning the ship on that front.”

The adjustments are most commonly to do with a shift in focal point, clear of the speedy enlargement and enlargement that fueled Uber up to now, and in opposition to a extra considerate analysis of product – you’ll see the proof of this in Uber’s willingness to roll again a few of its much less a success efforts, like its Xchange Leasing trade, or the short rollback of its altered motive force vacation spot restrict when that wasn’t figuring out. Increasingly, there’s emphasis on planned motion as an alternative of simply enlargement for enlargement’s sake.

“Internally, it’s exciting to see what’s happening,” he added “We’re growing so fast, faster than most companies ever before. When you’re growing at this speed, it’s easy to forget what it means to work cross-functionally, to collaborate, to leverage each other, and I think that’s one of the big changes we’ve seen this year where teams are actually collaborating much stronger together.”

Graf cites Uber’s 180 Days of Change marketing campaign for instance of that newfound focal point on collaboration. The marketing campaign, which sees Uber revamping its driver-side product and products and services over a half-year deliberate rollout, concerned other people from motive force crew, rider crew, maps crew and market crew all operating in combination. This isn’t the type of effort you’d have noticed on the corporate prior to, Graf says.

“That’s the big change we’ve been going through,” he instructed me. “It’s so much more important than just ‘Let’s grow, let’s do a feature here and add a feature here,’ without really thinking holistically about the customers. You have to prioritize really, really carefully.”

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 21: Daniel Graf accepts a Webby award for Google Maps for Iphone on the 17th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on May 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by way of Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The Webby Awards)

Uber’s enlargement is what caused its technique shift in opposition to collaboration, in accordance to Graf. The trip hailing corporate has plenty of other person teams now, throughout all facets of the trade, and it simply wasn’t going to paintings to proceed to paintings in most commonly closed off person groups on each and every other product line and person serve as.


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