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 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 Liz: Director of Product Management at Duolingo based in Pittsburgh.
What's your background, and what did you do before Duolingo?
I’m a career PM!
I started out building streaming and mobile payments products in Disney Labs, an innovation arm focused on creating new experiences from 0->1. I got my MBA at MIT Sloan, where I dabbled in startups, B2B products, interned at Amazon, and taught Negotiations and Economics classes. When I graduated, I landed at Duolingo, and was there for roughly two years before moving to the Bay Area to be with my partner and to work at Meta. Just one year later, I boomeranged back to Duolingo (and to Pittsburgh!)
Why did you choose Duolingo?
I chose Duolingo because it allowed me to apply my tech/PM skillset on mission-driven work that matters to me. To this day, this feels very rare in the industry!
What team do you work on? Can you tell us about any exciting current or past projects?
When I first joined the company, I was tasked with acquiring new and dormant users: I worked on projects like onboarding, referral, SEO, and login flows. I then created a new Social team to improve and create social interactions in the product. I redesigned the profile, created interactions for friends to congratulate each others’ learning accomplishments, and made it easier for users to find their friends. Seeing the impact of social to drive engagement, I started another new team to grow Time Spent Learning, where we invested in deepening existing mechanics, like Leaderboards, to encourage users to do more lessons.
Since returning to Duolingo, I became co-lead in our Growth Area, where we focus on creating features that drive both learner growth and engagement. In addition to the features mentioned above, Growth oversees a bunch of other gamified mechanics, like the Streak, Quests, and Achievements that get people to come back to the app everyday.
What are three words that describe Duolingo’s culture?
Fun, smart, mission-driven
What do you like most about Pittsburgh?
I’ve found Pittsburgh to be really charming! It's got a nice, diverse mix of people because of schools like Carnegie Mellon and UPitt, and there are plenty of restaurants, bike trails, and bars that I’m uncovering each week.
What is unique about working at Duolingo?
There are so many things that make Duolingo unique! Here are a few:
- Access to leadership, like our CEO Luis, in Product Reviews or our weekly Q&A. He’s an inspiring leader, and we’re able to leverage these forums to get direct feedback or answers to our burning questions.
- Our company principles, like ensuring our free product is truly excellent and that all learners can get to the same level of proficiency regardless of subscribing.
- The product. The company’s mission (to make learning universally available and fun) is baked into the product—and we have the fun job to apply game mechanics and other best practices to hard concepts… like learning the past participle.
What is your favorite feature on Duolingo?
I’m a sucker for Duolingo’s world characters and love when they show up in our features. I like seeing their personalities in Stories, how they celebrate my progress in lessons, their themes in Monthly Quests, and when they remind me to practice in our push notifications. They make the app feel alive. My favorites are Junior and Zari!