Head of development of technological Gett on the wrong side of the company and the specifics of recruiting. Head of the unit for research and development (R&D) service to order a taxi Gett Boris Korenfeld as the founder of the company Dave weißer (former name Shahar — ed. Ed.) came to Israel as a teenager, not knowing the language.
Before 15-year-old immigrant from Korenfeld had a choice. In high school in Israel, you need to decide on a specialization. And he not having at that time no idea about computers, decided that this is a promising industry. The teacher has tried to dissuade the young man.
In addition to many advanced courses, to learn was unfamiliar Hebrew. To enlighten Korenfeld, it invited a Russian teacher of mathematics. “She had to convince me not to go to class Computer Science, but in the end I persuaded her that I need to study there,” laughs Korenfeld. After high school and graduate, Korenfeld went to work at the Israeli company Comverse, which develops solutions for mobile market.
There in the early 2000s, he met the future founder of Gett. Then they for several years went. Weißer engaged in the creation and development of the project Loyalize in the United States, and Cornfeld went to HP and worked for this company for 10 years. But in the beginning of 2016 weißer thinking about the strengthening of the technical and the grocery component of their own company Gettaxi and invited old friend to lead the direction of research and development (R&D).
So from the beginning of 2016, Korenfeld became Vice-President Gett, responsible for the technical development of the service. In an interview vc.ru he told me how technical the wrong side is popular in Russia, application for call taxi, how to Gett teach talented programmers to new technologies and what is the Israeli company has more chances of success than Apple. Alena Sukharevskaya.
Why Shahar weißer called you in Gett. When I came to Gett, it was already a fast-growing, dynamic company c business in four countries around the world. But weißer knew that if we aim to build a global business, to maintain a high growth rate, we need a strong from a technical point of view, the product is resistant to further scaling.
Weißer set me the task to develop the direction of R&D, which was very small. It is now only in Israel almost 100 developers. And then we needed to Gett the most talented engineers to succeed in our business is impossible.
Lets face it, what is business Gett. Its not just a taxi service, and a dynamic marketplace more like Amazon or eBay. We are in constant motion and close to demand (passengers), and supply (drivers). Add the fact that this is a highly loaded system. Tens of thousands of drivers and millions of users.
Our main product is the platform to which they are connected are located in the cloud, for the vector of its development, is in the grocery Department. And thats how this system is resilient to withstand the simultaneous requests of millions of users, meet the experts from R&D Department. For me the market of smart transportation (smart mobility) which makes Gett, was entirely new.
But Shahar explained to me that it combines two of the most relevant technological trends. Order of services at the request of the user (on-demand) and sharing of expensive things, in this case car sharing. According to estimates Gett, the global market for smart transportation (taxi and car-sharing) is about $10 trillion a year. While the turnover of the company is growing at 300% and global revenues in 2106 year exceeded $500 million.
In General, weißer then just lit me with a job offer. What were you doing the year and a half. What technologies have appeared at Gett during this time.
When I arrived, we immediately focused on development of directions for the analysis of big data (big data) and artificial intelligence (AI) without them will not work to solve the problem of long waiting taxi and optimize your drivers. These commands work in the field of machine learning, as well as the area that is called “induced learning” (reinforcement learning).
It is good that the car cant even teach, they do it independently using previously mastered algorithms. On the basis of these technologies we teach the system properly to keep drivers and users. It analyzes what orders, in which areas and what range want to take certain drivers, define user preferences. For example, the person who orders a taxi from the office, maybe even longer to wait for the car than the one that calls it via the app while standing in the street.
To understand and correctly to reduce demand and supply, and the necessary AI. But the neural network needs to be smart enough to react to sudden conditions. Changing traffic, weather conditions or some major event (concert, festival) that we dont know. The system must be able to adapt to any unexpected factor.
These commands solve the problem of shortage of cars on Friday night. The problem is called the reliability of the system.
We decide jointly with the Department of product and marketing together determine the time when the system should be particularly responsive and flexible, for example, the evening of the day. To for you even during peak hours was the car, the whole team of the global R&D solves this problem. Hopefully, by the end of the year will seriously move forward in its decision. How much Gett spends on R&D.
What all this means for the Department of business of the company. I can tell you that for us R&D is the main part of the business. Product development is impossible without the development behind it.
If to speak about the place of R&D in the structure of our costs, it accounts for approximately half. A significant portion of R&D inside the company, but sometimes attract third-party developers to solve some specific problems. For example, cooperate with a Russian team of engineers “Evil Martians”.
At the same time, there are business areas that we believe are key for themselves, and their development is only concerned with the internal team. For example, the engine dynamic marketplace, service Gett Together (car-sharing, analogous to Uber Pool, it works only in London – approx. Ed.). Such a large company, like Gett, can not have its own design.
After all we create product is not a standard solution, which can be “buy in the supermarket”. Therefore, a strong R&D Department gives us an important competitive advantage on the market. Who comes up with new features for Gett?.
We have marketing that sends your wishes to the team responsible for the grocery part. The standard scheme is that the product managers come up with on the basis of these applications is a new feature and then “lowered” it to us in R&D. But it is a scheme prescribed by the regulations. In fact, our engineers often do offer new features to the app.
As they are using the service Gett, think not only as developers but also understand the product, how users. This creates greater involvement in the fate of their product, how it needs to evolve and so on. We are very proud that the new product “chips” up with the engineers, this gives the company the power. After all, there are many examples where the developers just do what they said the product Manager, no questions asked.
They do not use the product youre working on, and therefore can not understand the pain and needs of its user. How work is organised in the R&D Department.
Gettaxi is a global company that manages its business in four countries (Russia, Israel, UK and new York, USA), and all of our customers use the application, which makes the R&D office. My goal is to make the operating part of the business and the development has been closely integrated with each other. To do this, every two weeks is the so-called R&D-talk, which involved all the global development office and local engineers of a few people in each country where we do business. Thanks to these meetings, the developers understand where we are going, how is the company and business point of view, and from the product side.
Periodically hold meetings dedicated to some specific issues. For example, interaction with the marketing Department. In this case, the call beyond developers invited its representatives.
In November of 2016, you announced the opening of global office development in Moscow. Why was this necessary?. At some point I realized that our product is growing very fast and we need more engineers. But in Israel, a very competitive market, almost like in Silicon valley, so here is to gain just a lot of talent we have would not work.
In the US, too high competition, exorbitant cost engineers and a large time difference. Russia was perfect. There are so many talented programmers, they are not very expensive compared to the US and Israel, besides, its for us the largest market. Weve already hired some number of people, and yet extremely satisfied.
We will continue recruiting. How long are you planning to increase the R&D team this year. And, most importantly, why?.
We are not limited by the number of new engineers. In Russia, recruitment is still ongoing. The only thing that holds us back is the level of training and qualified candidates. Gett ready to take on the work of all professionals who find. I believe that R&D is one of the things that most quickly can make the company growth.
Therefore, to save on developers we cant afford. Any Russian programmer who is reading us, maybe try your hand and go to work at Gettaxi?. Again, we are limited to only one condition — we recruit the most talented.
At the same time, the company has four core values, and everyone who wants to work in Gett, need to separate them. First, you must be a professional, the best in their field. The second sounds like “Gett the things done” (literal translation. Go do things, play on words and get Gett — Prim.
Ed.). You can be creative, its great to think strategically, but if you dont implement in reality — we are not on the way. The third quality you have to be optimistic. We believe that our market and the way our company is full of challenges.
So we need people who are willing to solve these problems, not talk. “we have nothing, thats impossible”. And last – be humble. The engineer may be very smart, talented, but people with a big ego poison the situation in the team, and with such people to work is not worth it.
If I am a talented programmer, but dont know something, take me to work. Do you train your employees?. Gettaxi is a company that is not afraid to implement new technologies. For example, recently we have started to transfer the system to a new programming language — Go.
Initially, the platform Gett written in Ruby, but Go better cope with high load, which is inevitable when the number of users increases. In Russia, and in Israel, very few programmers who speak the language — it is quite new. The company therefore believes it is right to take talented people who do not speak it, but able to relearn. For these purposes, established an internal “Academy Gett”.
New employees to be retrained under our standards and the technologies used. Everything from the development of backend and mobile applications to the areas of big data or AI. In addition, we are very closely involved in the development of people within the company, offer them different opportunities for career growth within. For example, in our Department understand that not all programmers are comfortable to grow into a Manager (to become team lead).
So for techies who dont want to manage people, was invented by the position of tech lead, it is in fact equal to the head of the team, but its more technical work. I deliberately made this distinction when he joined the company. For many talented programmers, a managerial path and management issues just dont fit. Lets move on to the most interesting topic.
Does Gett and your Department developments in the field of unmanned vehicles. We do not “iron” — that is, the design and construction of the machines themselves. In this direction we think is more correct to conclude partnerships with companies that already know how to build them.
In may 2016 Gett entered into a strategic partnership with Volkswagen that will work for them. In turn, our Department decides how these machines manage. They will not be the same driver, so someone needs to tell them where to go, whom to take, whom to pick up.
I think in the foreseeable future we will see whole fleets of UAVs that will perform various functions, for example, the main for us passenger transportation. And to control these machines need the software, its the creation of R&D unit is engaged. Who will own cars in the future.
It does not matter who owns the car, we make software that will allow her to manage. Now drones do everything, even not related to transport company. Apple, Google.
Wouldnt it be easier to buy from someone ready-made solutions?. Apple has stopped working in this direction, Google still does something, but we believe that we have to work with those who have expertise in the automotive industry. This was chosen as a partner of Volkswagen.
And what in the field of UAVs is now engaged in Volkswagen. Unfortunately, I can not reveal this information, this secret development.
Lets finally take a look completely to the future. How do you see the product Gett in a few years?. This is probably more a question for the Morning, as the visionary of the company. But from my technical point of view, it should be a product with the same user experience to customers, using our application, dreaming of the next trip by taxi.
Its not just a question of design, but also the health system as a whole. Taxi should always come, in spite of the rush hour, the whole service should be incredible. If we achieve that, I would consider that knowingly came in.