At Duolingo, we pride ourselves on hiring individuals who are passionate about our mission and want to use their expertise to change the world for the better. To help give you a peek into what it’s like working for Duolingo, we’ve asked our team members to share more about their experience at the company! Today, meet Haifa: a Product Manager at Duolingo based in New York. Haifa joined Duolingo in 2019.
Why did you choose Duolingo?
I was initially drawn to Duolingo because of our mission to make education universally accessible. My mother never had the opportunity to go to college and since a young age, she ingrained in me the power of education for achieving financial freedom.
By the end of my interviews, I knew that this was a team I wanted to build with. Everyone I met was intelligent yet humble, and clearly passionate about what they were building. Duos are also quirky in their own ways which signaled to me that I can bring my authentic self to work.
What are three words that describe Duolingo’s culture?
Curious. Mission-driven. Kind.
What would you tell us about the work culture in the NYC office?
I love our NYC office culture! It’s been incredible watching the NYC office grow over the years to more than 100 Duos now.
The fun part about being in a smaller office is that you get to shape the evolution of its culture. Duos have started so many clubs in the NYC office, from supper club, to a classical music club, to a plant club. We also often have social events (including movie nights!) for Duos to get to know each other better.
Describe a typical week in the life as a Product Manager at Duolingo.
Any given week, I’m spending my time doing a few things:
- Planning for current and future projects
- Collaborating and communicating with team members and stakeholders (on Slack or in meetings)
- Identifying what to invest in building next (research and ideation)
- Analyzing our metrics and experiments, and making decisions based off of results
What are some challenges you face as a Product Manager?
A challenge I think about often is how to carve out dedicated time for creative play. On any given day, I’m switching between multiple projects, meetings, and tasks which requires heavily leaning on my execution and project management skills. Coming up with new product ideas requires a headspace that is more creative and exploratory, not necessarily trying to reach a certain outcome by a certain time. I’ve found that dedicating team meetings to brainstorms is a great way to not only carve out time for creativity but also make it a team effort. I also tend to carve out time in the mornings as that’s when I focus best.
Another challenge that is top of mind right now is prioritizing building out a longer term strategy than our quarterly one. We started my current team almost two years ago and we’re now maturing to a stage in our team life where we can plan further ahead.
What is unique about working at Duolingo?
Especially working in our Monetization area, I love how principled we are when it comes to our monetization philosophy. We’re very clear on wanting our learning content to remain free and our Product Review Committee will very often turn down product ideas that don’t align with that philosophy—even if tangentially.
What is your favorite feature on Duolingo?
I may be biased but I love our Side Quests feature. Side Quests are bite-sized games that you can access by tapping on characters along the path. Not only are they fun, but they also help you review content you’ve learned in lessons!