We all work hard. That’s a given. We all get the work done. That’s also given. We all get appreciated — OK, every once in a while — and this cycle goes on. That’s also given. But there are some things that aren’t given and shouldn’t be taken for granted either. Being a techie at Zomato, I know this perfectly well. Why? Because Z is not your run-of-the-mill place. It’s special for a lot of reasons.
First thing first, let me introduce you to my ‘job’ profile: Own your work and do it your way, put your best foot, heart or soul (or all three) forward and nail it. Not so easy as it sounds but one hell of a ride; that’s for sure. Not the clichéd technical profile you hear otherwise, either.
But then, that’s how it works at Zomato. There’s no other way to be frank.
Since the time I joined Zomato 2 years ago, I’ve got two things going for me: challenging tasks and insanely-inspiring Zomans who won’t settle for anything normal and will extract the best out of you. And these are the two factors that have motivated me throughout.
To give you an example, a couple of months back, Aniket and I were building a tool to automate the email marketing process with a brand new email format designed by Charu. Our tool was nascent at that stage but gained decent popularity across the teams who were part of email campaigns. But the sail wasn’t going to be smooth and maybe that’s why this makes a good story.
On top of that, the festive season was on and we were to roll the promotional emails to the Zomato users. It was an high-octane environment because we had to get the tool right asap. Without which, the emails won’t look awesome. To give you a timeline, we were at it, with a lot of adrenaline-work-rush for over 24 hours, and there were many hiccups on the way.
Let me break down the episode:
Why is this happening?
A request arrived from the Marketing team late evening to send promotional emails the next morning. Now that the process was partially automated, we could send it like a pro. At least that’s what we thought. Turns out festival season comes with a bonanza — a new User Interface (UI) module has to be added in the email. We were bit clueless whether we would be able to build the new module and ship it along with testing in all devices of different shapes, sizes and operating systems within the 12 hours. Fingers crossed. May the fork be with us!
Aah. It can get better
Stretching is advisable as per yoga experts and something Zomans inherently believe in, thanks to which we were able to complete the unexpected module in around 2 hours. The story does not end here though. Marketing team wants the module to be a bit bold and colorful. This kind of alterations happen in a creative field so can’t blame them although thoughts like “Why can’t they mention everything at once?” do revolve inside a techie’s head. Well, welcome to war zone. You can’t have all the insights beforehand. You learn to deal with stuff on the battlefield.
This is it
After bombarding the Marketing team’s inbox with a lot of sample emails, they eventually agreed: The final message being “Boys, Jai Mata Di!” — Akshay’s trademark green flag. And we scheduled the emails for the next morning and went home with a happy sign of accomplishment.
Morning arrives. Turns out there are technical glitches. The new design was skewed in some of the devices — users started complaining on social media and colleagues gathered around my table to show the bad UI that we had sent to so many users. We had to stop the email campaign. At that moment, it felt like the previous night’s labour and celebration were in vain. But our developer buddies, Lalit and Harshit, saved us from the disaster. They helped us fix the email UI and continuously bugged us to make sure every possible minutest thing goes well this time around.
Peace at least
Second attempt went as smoothly as it possibly could. So much so the emails dispatched to the remaining users were highly appreciated on Twitter and other feedback platforms. And at that moment, the previously complaining colleagues came along once again to give us a high-five. I still can’t forget what Akshay said: “This is one of the best email ever…” It was overwhelming. At Zomato, we believe it’s our responsibility to ensure nobody has a bad meal. That day, we ensured nobody had a bad mail either!
There have been many such events in my Z journey so far where I’ve realized that the only way to grow is to stay open to learning. With fellow Zomans, I’ve tasted the thunder and then enjoyed the feeling of satisfaction of what we’ve accomplished. I can do things my way, fail in some, succeed in others, then start afresh or improvise on existing stuff, that’s how my cycle works here. Where else can you expect the camaraderie that one enjoys at Z? My best guess: Nowhere.
PS: Aniket still keeps a record of all the email-appreciation emails and tweets in Achievements folder in his laptop thanks to that unforgettable night-day.