Apr 5, 2023
Diving into the world of Product with Sissi Ye, Director of Product at Wolt
Our product team acts as the voice of our customers, making sure we build outstanding products, consistently. Product leads at Wolt embody our product vision and bring our teams together to build world-class products for all our customer groups.
We interviewed Sissi Ye, our Director of Product, to hear a bit more about working at Wolt. Sissi joined Wolt three years ago as a product lead, and during the past three years, she’s worked in multiple teams, moved from Stockholm to Japan, and taken on multiple roles. What a journey!
Let’s hear more from her...
Hi Sissi, could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do at Wolt?
I work as a product director and am part of the product management team at Wolt. In my role, I’m responsible for leading the teams in Japan that build our product for our customers. I manage the product leads in my team and work with our product development teams to focus on solving customer problems, supporting our business, and also making sure our teams are happy and high-performing.
This is one of the first product teams where we’re bringing together members from both Wolt and DoorDash to work closely together as one team, which has been a great experience. It's a great opportunity to learn from each other and to bring together the best of two worlds.
How did you end up in the tech industry?
When I was younger, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I grew up. I ended up studying electrical engineering and business, which turned out to be a pretty good foundation for product management. Honestly, it was sort of by luck and coincidence that I landed my first job at a tech startup in China after university, doing product management, without having any prior knowledge about the job.
I had to learn a lot on the job, and it turned out to be a good fit for me. I liked the nature of the role: being surrounded by engineers and designers, interacting with a lot of different functions, solving problems, and having to think about the users and the business. That's pretty much what I've been up to in the last decade. It was my first "real job," so I've always stuck with product management and worked mostly for consumer tech companies or startups.
Tell us about your journey since joining Wolt.
When I interviewed with Wolt, the company had around 400 people, and when I started, there were already 700. Three years later, we’re over 8,000. What a ride it’s been!
I started as a product lead in a team that built products to drive the acquisition of new users, from our referral program to different tools for running marketing automation campaigns.
You were also building up our retail business from scratch. How was that?
When the COVID pandemic hit, the last-mile delivery industry was growing rapidly, and we were entering new business verticals to offer convenience beyond just food delivery. We set up a dedicated product team to help accelerate our retail business, which I was leading at the time. Our mission was to build products to help transform Wolt from a food delivery service into a service where customers can discover and get things delivered from their favorite stores and restaurants. Equally important was making sure we had the right products for the stores to run their operations efficiently. Going around a supermarket picking and packing products is a very different process from preparing a restaurant delivery order, so there were lots of interesting problems for us to solve.
What’s been your biggest lesson here?
We give teams a lot of ownership and autonomy at Wolt, which I appreciate. We trust you to make the right call and help us figure out where to go next. I believe that’s the best approach to leadership. If you have a team with motivated and smart people who want to contribute, as a leader, your job is to provide them with the right context and direction, empower them to make their own decisions and create an environment for them to test things out and continuously learn.
It's also been really interesting to work in an organization where we have operations in 23 different countries. It comes with its challenges because every country has different cultures and contexts, and the means to get to a result can be different as well. When you work on the product team, you need to build products with a global mindset, in a way that can serve all countries. Learning how to collaborate with people from different cultural backgrounds is very rewarding.
What do you enjoy the most about working at Wolt?
It's different from many other tech companies I’ve previously worked with because there is this big operational aspect of the business where physical products need to be delivered from one place to another with a high degree of efficiency and accuracy. Compare that, for example, to the music streaming industry, where I worked before Wolt. When everything is software and you don't have the same physical considerations, it means that almost everything happens within the app. I've always enjoyed working with complex problems, so adding these physical and operational layers makes it all more complex, which makes the challenge more fun!
Coming to Wolt, I had to rethink what defines the consumer experience because you need to consider other aspects beyond the consumer app itself and think about it end-to-end. The quality of the food, the customer’s interaction with the courier, and the interaction with our customer support, all affect a customer’s experience of our service.
What would be your advice for other women who are aspiring to get into the tech industry?
My advice is to not feel discouraged and to dare to try! Having a can-do attitude, grit, and willingness to learn can get you far. Sometimes people might feel a bit unsure, for example, if they haven't studied computer science, they didn't go to that particular school, or they don't have experience from a specific company. But at the end of the day, many things can be learned on the job.
Want to join our team to build Wolt together? We’re hiring!
Check out our open roles from here 🚀