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My Journey From MIT to Uber APM and Beyond!

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@snmishraSudhanshu Nath Mishra

MIT CS | ex-Uber PM | KPCB Fellow

TL;DR

After graduating from MIT, I moved to San Francisco to start out my activity at Uber. I right away discovered a group amongst my fellow APMs. We began in combination in an intense however unifying orientation. Then, we dispersed around the corporate for our first rotation. Over the process the APM program, I had the privilege of operating in three other PM roles.

I advanced income for tens of millions of drivers, scaled the rider loyalty program globally, and introduced Uber’s first-ever advertisements trade.

Along the way in which, I amassed many fond reminiscences. I traveled to four international locations throughout the APM day out, witnessed Uber’s ancient even supposing anticlimactic IPO, and hosted a fireplace chat with Dara, the CEO. What I’m maximum thankful for, on the other hand, used to be discovering mentors who deeply cared about my expansion. They come with Justin Bleuel (my APM good friend) and Phil Ho, Holly Ormseth, and Aaron Berger (my managers). If you’re a brand new grad fascinated by PM, I extremely really useful this system — ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ to be exact.

The Story Has Four Parts

I’m penning this weblog to percentage the point of view I want I had earlier than my first activity as a PM. Specifically, I didn’t know what to anticipate from an APM program, how you can make a decision between Eng and PM, what it’s if truth be told love to paintings as a PM, or how you can get ready for PM interviews. I’ve structured the tale into four portions accordingly. Whether you’re in school or early to your occupation, I’m hoping my learnings can assist you make a decision if a occupation in PM is a great have compatibility for you.

📸 My APM Journey in Ten Snapshots

🚗 From Eng to PM in a Self-Driving Company (Coming Soon)

💡7 Surprising Lessons I Learned as an APM (Coming Soon)

🤓 Cracking the APM interview (Coming Soon)

If you’d like to stick up to date at the subsequent tales or have any comments, please let me know right here. I’d deeply respect it!

About Me

I’m Sudhanshu Mishra. I grew up in Bangalore and moved to Boston in 2020 to wait MIT. Over four freezing years, I finished a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence.

During my senior yr, I discovered myself on the crossroads of various occupation paths. One choice used to be to stick technical. I had an be offering from Uber to enroll in as a tool engineer. The 2nd used to be to additional my hobby in Business. I used to be fortunate to have every other be offering from Uber to enroll in as an APM and one from McKinsey to go back as a specialist.

The 3rd used to be to take the entrepreneurial plunge. Two pals and I were operating on an EdTech startup for a yr and regarded as pursuing it full-time. I used to be lucky to have those alternatives however the choice used to be daunting however.

Ultimately, I selected Uber’s APM program. I used to be attracted to Uber’s undertaking in addition to the chance to paintings as a PM, an entrepreneurial position that sits on the intersection of generation and trade.

📸 My APM Journey in Ten Snapshots

Founded in 2020, Uber’s APM program is a rotational PM program for brand spanking new grads. Each yr, this system welcomes a small elegance of ~10 APMs. The APMs whole three fast moving rotations over a yr and a part.

chicken, they’re promoted right into a longer-term position on their desired group. Now in its seventh yr, the APM group boasts 50+ present and previous APMs who’ve labored throughout Uber in ride-sharing, meals shipping, self-driving, and extra.

This article is a part 1 in a 4 section sequence.

1) The First Supper

On August fifth, 2020, the Sunday earlier than our first operating day, my APM elegance and I eagerly confirmed up at a cafe in San Francisco known as Lahore Karahi, the place earlier APM categories have been inducted.

The dinner used to be our first time in combination however it used to be transparent our ties ran deep. Kevin and Andy went to school in combination and so did Jason and Claudia. Andy had noticed Jason in a gymnasium years earlier than. Jason and Parth have been from the similar place of origin. Parth and Revati had interned in combination — two times.
That night, we confronted our first check of teamwork. Alex and I have been discussing startups when the cashier interrupted us. Strangely, he stated the waiter used to be too busy to take our order and urged we assist ourselves. I took his scratchpad and set to work.
A gourmet of Indian meals, Adi herded our personal tastes right into a family-style order. Jeremy clicked our reactions to every dish on his DSLR. We left with our stomachs complete and our wallets empty; a passing grade.

2) Surviving Bootcamp

The subsequent morning, we started APM Bootcamp. Our days have been filled with classes and our nights busy with assignments. Some classes have been tactical, like studying how you can take efficient notes; others have been strategic. We met with Directors of Product to talk about their imaginative and prescient for Uber. We stayed up overdue fixing buyer reinforce tickets, together with an absurd grievance from a motive force who felt his rider used to be too overweight to make use of Uber Pool.

Bootcamp culminated in a hackathon. We got 48 hours to unravel an issue confronted through Uber. In my few days in San Francisco, I had noticed a number of scooters force recklessly and felt there used to be a want to inspire more secure using. I constructed ScootRoute, a device that detects sidewalk violations through scooters the use of laptop imaginative and prescient.

Over two grueling weeks, my elegance realized about Uber in addition to the nuts and bolts of PM. Somewhere in the ones sleepless nights, we additionally changed into pals. Having survived Bootcamp, we have been able for our first rotation.

3) Doing What’s Fare

My first rotation used to be at the Marketplace Fares group. My activity used to be to enhance drivers’ delight with their income. The drawback stemmed from a quirk in Uber’s pricing set of rules. Uber units riders’ fares in line with their predicted routes. But because of laws, it units drivers’ income in line with their precise routes.
Due to variations between prediction vs fact, drivers earn a variable share in their rider’s fare that fluctuates from trip-to-trip. In uncommon circumstances, drivers would really feel they didn’t earn sufficient in comparison to what their riders paid. They would submit indignant Tweets and bitch to regulators.

My records scientist and I brainstormed an answer. What if we gave drivers top-u.s.in such circumstances? This would value Uber cash however our speculation used to be that making improvements to drivers’ delight can be advisable. We designed an A/B experiment to determine. I wrote product necessities, starting from the top-up common sense to UI adjustments. Once the experiment concluded, the problem used to be calculating an actual ROI.

Would our effects maintain at some point? How must we quantify the affect of diminished regulatory lawsuits? Even as Uber’s maximum data-driven group, we needed to depend on a mixture of records and rules — like what used to be the honest factor to do — to reach at our solutions.

Ultimately, we introduced Share Adjustments, top-u.s.given to drivers every time the variation between a rider’s cost and their income used to be upper than estimated.

4) La La Land

At the top of our first rotation, my elegance launched into our much-awaited APM day out. Each yr, the most recent elegance travels to four towns around the globe to collect native insights about Uber’s trade. They meet with town leaders, communicate to shoppers, and enjoy Uber’s merchandise first-hand. On returning, they write an in depth day out document about new product alternatives.

Our first forestall used to be Los Angeles aka Scooter Land, a sprawling town with restricted public transportation and nice climate. It used to be no wonder the town used to be infested with scooters. To be informed extra in regards to the trade, we visited one of Uber’s scooter warehouses. Its supervisor informed us about three demanding situations.

The first used to be law. Cities had positioned strict caps on scooters. This restricted their expansion however thankfully additionally avoided an oversupply (like that of motorcycles in China). The 2nd used to be robbery. Scooters have been incessantly vandalized or stolen regardless of being GPS-tracked. The supervisor pointed at a purple dot on her observe. One of her scooters used to be stolen — and brought to Arizona.

The 3rd used to be recharging and rebalancing. Riders merely picked the closest scooter, with little regard for its logo. To win, Uber needed to place well-charged scooters in the appropriate spots. In reality, all of the warehouse served that function. It housed loads of scooters in charging docks that hummed in combination in unison.

After our consultation, we roamed the town in mini-trucks to assist with rebalancing. I used to be stunned to look that Uber and its competition deployed scooters on the identical spots. Didn’t we’ve an information merit? It seems, we did.

We used difficult tactics to position our scooters in optimum spots. Competitors used not-so-sophisticated tactics to position their scooters proper subsequent to ours.

5) CDMX

Our 2nd forestall used to be Mexico City, fondly referred to as Ciudad de México (CDMX). LatAm is one of Uber’s greatest markets. For years, Uber used to be the undisputed king. That modified in 2020 when Didi entered the battlefield. Didi is China’s greatest ridesharing corporate and a pressure to be reckoned with. In 2020, after a duration of ruthless festival, Uber famously bowed out of China in alternate for a minority stake in Didi.

By the time we arrived in CDMX, festival with Didi had intensified. While visiting Uber’s Green Light Hub, a bodily middle the place drivers got here in for reinforce, we noticed Didi brokers camped outdoor the gate able to poach our drivers. We knew LatAm had a top crime fee. But our conversations with drivers stunned us.

One informed us about getting mugged at gunpoint on a experience. Another shared a tale a few couple who deserted their child in his automotive. It grew to become out to be an twist of fate, they usually got here again for her quickly after. I used to be prepared to determine what saved those drivers going. I realized that using for Uber used to be more secure and introduced extra standing than their subsequent most suitable option — using for taxis. Now, they have been additionally taking into consideration using for Didi.

We spent the remainder of the day in a scavenger hunt. We break up up and explored the enduring town thru its many modes of delivery: scooters, buses, metro, taxis, and tuk-tuks. We knew the oldsters again at HQ have been doing their jobs when two groups on their technique to the similar vacation spot matched with the similar Uber Pool.

6) Venice of the North

Our 3rd forestall used to be Amsterdam, the town of motorcycles. We have been fortunate to fulfill with Pierre-Dimitri, the top of Uber’s EMEA trade. He used to be a residing legend at Uber. As one of the corporate’s earliest staff, he introduced its trade in France and used to be even arrested for it in short. He spoke about Uber’s meteoric upward thrust in addition to its cultural struggles. He introduced some memorable recommendation.

“If you take a look at the arena as a spreadsheet, you pass over what can’t be quantified.” — Pierre-Dimitri

One afternoon, we set out to be told about UberEats through handing over orders. We downloaded the Courier app, created check accounts, and grabbed our motorcycles. We took to the streets in pleasure. Ten mins in, we hadn’t won any orders. Thirty mins later, we nonetheless had not anything. We have been satisfied the app used to be glitching. Perhaps, the check accounts have been misconfigured. We in spite of everything understood the issue after we spoke with different couriers at the streets — just about no one orders meals between lunch and dinner.

To elevate our spirits, we determined to boat down the town’s canals. Midway thru our experience, we changed into the hungry exceptions. One people joked that McDonald’s must ship to our boat. There used to be a second of silence. We right away pulled out our telephones and started mapping our trail.

Based at the boat’s pace and the shipping’s ETA, we predicted which bridge we have been prone to method. We in moderation set our shipping location and positioned our order. With a little bit of good fortune and a few suave steerage, we ended up intersecting with our courier completely. He used to be camera-shy, sadly, so I did the honors as a substitute. That day, we orchestrated what we imagine is the arena’s first land to water McDonald’s shipping.

7) The City of a Thousand Minarets

Our ultimate forestall used to be the traditional town of Cairo. On our first morning, we collected on the lodge foyer as consistent with regimen. We have been about to name an Uber to the workplace after we learned the ETA’s have been too lengthy. We have been going to pass over our first assembly. I scrolled throughout the app and asked an Uber Moto, the product with the bottom ETA.

A couple of others adopted swimsuit. Within mins, my motive force pulled up on a motorbike. I hopped on and we have been off to the races. He delicately swerved thru Cairo’s jam-packed streets and dropped me on the workplace very quickly. Those who took Uber X’s arrived 45 mins later.

Cairo’s morning visitors wasn’t an anomaly; it used to be a day by day ritual. While Uber Moto labored for the ones with quick commutes, Cairo’s sizzling warmth made it impractical for almost all. These folks depended on a mafia-like community of personal buses.

To create a secure, inexpensive, and dependable selection for day by day commutes, Uber introduced Uber Bus in Cairo in 2020. During our discuss with, we took a experience in Swvl, one of our bus competition, and met a lady who used to be an IT employee. She used Swvl religiously as it used to be no longer handiest secure but additionally five occasions less expensive than Uber X. She used to be excited to listen to about Uber Bus however didn’t wait for making an attempt it for a couple of months; she used to be locked into Swvl with a subscription go.

On our ultimate day, we visited The Great Pyramid. I selected to decorate in a Galabeya, a standard Egyptian apparel, and inspired many locals. One even requested for my telephone to take a selfie; he didn’t go back it till I paid him a ransom.

8) Loyalty Without Borders

On returning to fact, I joined the Uber Rewards group. Historically, ridesharing riders were price-sensitive. They take a look at any provider when introduced enough reductions. But competing on reductions is a race to the ground.
One successful technique is to engender long-term loyalty. In overdue 2020, Uber Rewards introduced in america as a first-of-its-kind loyalty program. It rewarded riders no longer just for using with Uber but additionally for attractive with the remainder of its ecosystem: food-delivery, scooters, motorcycles, transit, and helicopters.

The function of my rotation used to be to scale this system globally. My first function used to be to permit riders to earn issues outdoor their house nation. After consulting with stakeholders in Operations, Legal, and Accounting, I determined riders must earn issues in line with their global spending transformed to their house forex.

For instance, a US rider who spends Rs. 1,000 in India will earn issues on ~$13. A clothier and I created a lightweight UI enjoy. A product marketer and I introduced the function thru an e-mail marketing campaign.

I additionally labored carefully with a behavioral scientist to simplify how customers tracked development against their objectives. The premise of any loyalty program is understated. You inspire incremental engagement from customers through surroundings achievable objectives for them and providing compelling rewards.

We redesigned the Rewards Hub to explain what objectives that they had completed, which function used to be subsequent, and the way some distance they have been from it. Research displays that folks grow to be exponentially extra motivated against a function the nearer they’re to it. So, we experimented with push notifications and e-mail campaigns to nudge customers once they have been just about a function. As of May 2020, Uber Rewards is reside in america, LatAm, portions of Europe, and Australia.

9) A Moving Billboard

My ultimate rotation used to be at the Driver group. I introduced Cartops Ads, Uber’s first-ever advertisements trade, commissioned through Dara. Cartops are virtual presentations put in on peak of automobiles. They permit advertisers to create virtual, geo-targeted advertisements and supply drivers with supplemental source of revenue.

The undertaking used to be distinctive in numerous techniques. First, it used to be scrappy and 0–1. We constructed the most simple imaginable MVP to permit drivers to control their Cartops within their app. Every person used to be hard earned; I needed to cold-call our first batch of drivers to sign up them in our pilot.

Second, I had by no means labored on {hardware} earlier than. I had all the time taken as a right how tool will also be allotted freely and immediately. This time, I had to consider carefully in regards to the provide chain, from sourcing our virtual monitors from providers to putting in them on peak of drivers’ automobiles. Third, I labored carefully with exterior companions. At occasions, I negotiated offers with the CEOs of providers on my own.

The rotation used to be particular on account of how carefully I were given to engage with customers. I flew to Atlanta, our release town, a number of occasions. I were given to grasp our drivers carefully and won common comments from them. I nonetheless consider seeing the eyes of our first motive force illuminate when he noticed his put in Cartop for the primary time. On my ultimate day out to Atlanta, I landed overdue at night time and known as an Uber. A motive force — who I had by no means met earlier than — arrived with a Cartop.

10) Coming Full Circle

In August 2020, Alex and I got here complete circle because the organizers of Bootcamp. We endured its layout however made it extra interactive. Inspired through our scavenger hunt in CDMX, we created one for the brand new APMs. They explored San Francisco, from iconic spots like Pier 39 to quirky spots like a digital fact gymnasium. We additionally organized a excursion of Uber’s secretive self-driving facility.

Bootcamp all the time guarantees an excellent line of audio system. This time, we have been fortunate to have Dara. In August 2020, Dara joined Uber when the corporate used to be in turmoil. He took at the herculean job of adjusting its tradition and steerage it against profitability. During our consultation, he walked us thru his choice to depart his comfy activity at Expedia to take at the problem at Uber.

We requested him what he discovered sudden about being a CEO. He stated when you’re CEO, your global begins to warp round you. Everyone prepares earlier than they talk to you. As a end result, they are saying what they assume you need to listen to however no longer essentially what you want to listen to. He stated what excited him about classes like ours used to be the chance to have an unfiltered and unrehearsed dialog with the formative years of the corporate.

At that second, I debated whether or not I must inform him that Alex and I had rehearsed all of our questions for him. Instead, I determined to invite him one off the cuff. I requested him to remark at the rumors that he works out at Barry’s Bootcamp at 6 am each morning. He showed the timing however wouldn’t verify the site.

Bonus

Conclusion

Starting a brand new lifestyles after school isn’t simple. Neither is transferring around the nation. There are such a lot of unknowns, from juggling new tasks to discovering new pals. Uber’s APM program used to be the easiest new starting. Work used to be…a laugh. I’d by no means labored as a PM earlier than however loved being thrown into the deep finish of impactful tasks.

I all the time had my pals and my mentors for reinforce. Frankly, I by no means anticipated to seek out shut pals at paintings. Now, it feels bizarre to name my fellow APMs anything.

These ten snapshots be offering a glimpse into my experience as an APM. The adventure leaves me with little to be desired — excluding for a better inventory payment. But as one Uber alum famously stated all through the IPO,

“Maybe the actual fairness we made used to be the friendships alongside the way in which.”

Thanks to Tyson Chen, Arjun Gandhi, Manu Hegdekatte, Ahilya Mehta, Sam Huang, Apurva Shrivastava, Jason Cui, Prapti Mishra, Justin Bleuel, and Saguna Goel for studying drafts of this.

Up subsequent, From Eng to PM in a Self-Driving Company (Coming Soon). I’ll speak about what it used to be love to intern at Uber all through its maximum turbulent occasions and the way the chaos resulted in my fortuitous transition to PM.

If you’d like to stick up to date at the subsequent tales or have any comments, please let me know right here. I’d deeply respect it!

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