Previously, I Didn’t Care About the Business. Then I Care as a Software Engineer.
Hi there! There are many times when we don’t get along with so many things. We are too busy with ourselves until, at some point, it changes. This point can be different for many people. As for me, in this post, I will talk about the transition from the growth phase to the profit phase in my company.
I worked with a team of 10 engineers at a multinational company. This company spans three countries and has a huge user base. They already have their system in place, so I just follow it. But when we started to expand our team and business, COVID came along. Raising money became difficult, and investors quit. We were doomed to close.
However, the upper management chose another path. They decided to close operations in other countries and keep the one in Indonesia. They even closed some operations in another city. The team underwent drastic changes in its goals. Previously, we aimed for growth, but then we shifted our focus to profitability. We started to implement tactics to increase user basket size, reduce operation costs, reduce overhead costs (that was the first time I got in touch with financial terms), make deals with our partners, and so on. Our efforts were not fruitless; we started to see growth.
And this is the story of how I started to care about the business. Upon seeing the struggle of businesses to increase their income while having to pay a huge amount of money for employees, I now understand how that burden feels. Businesses should make money, and engineers should help them by building and maintaining products. Previously, I didn’t care about it. All I cared about was being paid as an engineer; I built products as specified by my manager, made optimizations, and designed systems that allowed many engineers to work seamlessly. Then I realized this: I should add another variable to my success story to make an impact on the business.
Now I see that my code should be designed to provide fast insights for the business. It may not be part of the application that generates money, but the amount of data we can obtain from that part is also useful for making business decisions. Those decisions will steer the business goals for the next half-quarter, next quarter, next year, and beyond.
We conducted many A/B tests (which I previously didn’t care about). I started to see how product analysts make suggestions and request changes regarding the data we should send to the analytics platform. Observing how our platform and marketing team fight fraudsters also opened my eyes to something I had missed before: security is also a part of the business. You may run fast, but when security kicks in, you can get stuck for a long time because your money, efforts, data, and many other things can evaporate to nothing. So engineers should always keep security in mind.
Those are long processes. I started to care after I felt quite satisfied with my engineering skills, though I should always keep learning more. As engineers, we debate which frameworks or programming languages to use. We should also start debating what impact we can have on the business.
Should we debate? I think we should work together. We assess, we analyze, and we do. Together? Absolutely, together.
Hi, thank you for being with me until the end. I no longer work for the company. We parted ways amicably. Yes, it was a difficult decision for both of us. I had started to get along with my team, but now I have started my own venture. It began as a side project, but now I am fully committed to it and I hope to release it next year. Initially, I wanted to release it this fall, but it will be an immature product.
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