Employee Story: Vijaya Koneru
GoodSeeker's Olivia Schwartz interviewed Vijaya Koneru on her experience interning at GoodSeeker, what she learned, and what she’s up to now.
A story in a workplace can make all the human difference possible. - Vijaya
Olivia: It’s so nice to meet you, Vijaya! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. How about we start with your background. What did you go to school for and how did you find out about GoodSeeker?
Vijaya: Yes, you too Olivia! I’m a mechanical engineer originally. I got into tech by working at Oracle for two years. That’s when I realized that business and solving problems is what excites me. That’s when I began my masters at The University of Maryland College Park. I began looking for different internships to get my hands dirty into the industry and understand the problems. As part of this process, I applied to GoodSeeker and I got a summer internship there! I started learning a lot and it was an amazing experience.
I traveled 3 hours total to get to the job and do the work - that’s how much I loved what I was doing at GoodSeeker.
After the internship ended, I continued working at GoodSeeker through a co-op, which was awesome. In total, I was able to gather 8 months of valuable experiences at GoodSeeker. AS the co-op came to an end, I began looking for product jobs since I knew that was what I was most interested in. That was when I got a job at Wal-Mart as a Product Manager. It’s been 1.5 years and I’ve been learning a lot; I’m looking forward to all of the amazing experiences ahead.
Olivia: When you interned at GoodSeeker back in 2018, what was it like?
Vijaya: I’ll start from the beginning. I applied for a lot of internships and the response from GoodSeeker was very prompt. It was very encouraging to hear from Erik [GoodSeeker’s CEO] right away. The interview was very smooth - it was more of a conversation rather than an interview. That’s how the journey started for me. I began my responsibilities on the product marketing side. I was focusing more on product marketing and sales, asking questions like: What is the product market fit? Who are we marketing this to? Who are our competitors? Are CEO’s the users for this product? Hiring managers? It was a puzzle to solve. I was sending in surveys but also focusing on the customer side as well. I was looking at the customer journey on the website to see what was of interest to them, where they were dropping off of the platform, etc. Understanding that pattern and seeing which of the features were of interest and which were not was of so much value. Then, I’d sit with the designer and see what designs needed to be completed. I was really working on all aspects of the company which is the beauty of a startup.
As a manager, Erik gave me all of the support I needed. All of the little things that mattered, Erik took care of for me, which I’m very thankful for.
Olivia: In what ways has GoodSeeker changed since you were part of the team in 2018?
Vijaya: When I was working there we were in the exploratory phase discussing what is the pricing model and what is product/market fit. Recently, I spoke to Erik and it has changed a lot! Erik really takes the learnings and he implements them rapidly, which is great. So, I expected that the product would change because that’s part of developing something new.
Something I observed about Erik is that he takes the feedback as it is and doesn’t apply any drama to it, it’s pure improvement and that was a great lesson for me.
Olivia: How do you view the value of GoodSeeker now that you’re working at a big company?
Vijaya: GoodSeeker taught me a lot about company culture. Since I started working at Wal-Mart, I’ve been observing its great company culture and how it’s moving.
At a big company, it’s so important that employees feel appreciated because that can easily be lost just considering the magnitude of the staff.
Too many employees work hard but then the realization or the appreciation can be lacking. At big companies, they’re continuously trying to figure out the tools to do that so the value of a product like GoodSeeker is amazing for big companies, especially if the product scales.
Olivia: In your words, what is the importance of a product like this GoodSeeker?
Vijaya: Products like GoodSeeker are super important in today’s workforce. The main reason being it is very difficult to motivate your employees every day. You see that meetings are happening virtually all the time and employees are working day in and day out. The position is one thing that keeps the employees motivated and working hard and adding to the value of the company. GoodSeeker’s proposition is to ‘promote the good stories’. Many good stories are just buried under the woods. You have to blow them out and that’s what GoodSeeker is doing.
I believe that such a meaningful value proposition with GoodSeeker is definitely useful for a product and for all of the industries.
Olivia: How would you describe the power of an employee story?
Vijaya: I got the taste of what a big company is like from working at Oracle and Wal-Mart. I have learned that a story in a workplace can make all the human difference possible. You wake up, you log onto work, you do work, you enter meetings, you complete the work needed for the day and the cycle repeats again each day until the weekend and then repeats again. Once you see a story, for instance let’s say Ron has helped his co-worker on a project, it’s a small story but it’s a powerful character trait of Ron which would be hidden to others. In the robotic cycle of each and every day, stories like these are very important to remind all of us that we are human. We have amazing humans around us and at our company who can uplift us. That’s what keeps each and every employee glued to the company’s vision and to ensure they help each other achieve the vision. It’s so important to have that human touch each and every day. Now when you look at Ron, you will remember the story, not just him or his title. Stories humanize everyone in the workplace.
Olivia: I read on your LinkedIn that you’re a champion of women in technology. How do you think GoodSeeker can help with this?
Vijaya: That’s an interesting question. It’s not just women in technology but also any minorities striving to get into the workforce.
Any minority story that you have at a workplace that you want to share and show the impact they are making - that can change stereotypes.
You have stereotypes at every company. Maybe you have lots of stories about how women are causing a lot of positive change in an enterprise. If there is a shout out of that story in each of these companies and a lot of companies look at it - then their perspective will start to shift. That is the start to the change. Then it just snowballs! There needs to be a platform where these stories also have the power to change and shift a company. Women in technology is a great direction that goodseeker can take because it’s directing hitting that problem statement and other problem statements.
Olivia: Any closing thoughts or other points you wanted to add?
Vijaya: My experience at GoodSeeker was amazing and I want GoodSeeker as a company to succeed. The value proposition is so good. You give out good vibes to each and every employee of each and every industry. The barrier to entry and which market to tap into is challenging. Once that happens, I think I think it will explode!