Before joining Gojek, Dian Rosanti spent nearly 15 years of her life in California and the San Francisco Bay Area, where she worked in several notable tech companies.
The Stanford graduate who specialized in human-computer interaction, was drawn towards working on products that serve under-represented communities when she took on the role of product manager at Flipboard Inc., the California-based news aggregator and social network aggregation company in 2011.
Fortunately for Rosanti, the person who hired and introduced her to product management was a woman. There were also women leaders at Flipboard, hence it made a big impact on her as a woman developing her career in the tech industry. She then took on a product manager role at Change.org, a social movement petition platform in 2013, and later became a senior product manager at solar Off Grid Electric [now Zola Energy], which provides off-grid solar storage solutions.
Despite having a brilliant career in Silicon Valley-based companies, she returned to Jakarta and joined Gojek in January 2018, for the simple reasons of becoming closer to her family and a desire to contribute to Indonesia’s digital ecosystem.
“I came back to Jakarta because I was looking to contribute more to the digital ecosystem here. I’ve been away for so long and there are more opportunities here. I was doing work that made a very visible social impact in a foreign country for almost 15 years, and now I’d like to implement this in my own country,” Rosanti told KrASIA in a recent interview.
At the time, she managed five product managers overseeing 70 product managers for ten product groups in Gojek. Today, this ride-hailing firm has more than 120 product managers, spread across Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangalore, and Silicon Valley.
As a senior vice president of product management at Gojek, the cat lover’s achievements include establishing the product management function’s center of excellence, scaling global talent, and systemizing product operations and best practices for Gojek’s offices in Indonesia, India, and Singapore.
While Rosanti does not focus on a specific product line, she is responsible for delivering product software and solving problems related to consumer products. Therefore, her role involves planning, strategy, and deciding which consumer products suit Gojek customers. The most important things are solving problems and delivering the best solutions to customers.
However, she realizes that product management in Gojek differs from San Francisco, where products in most markets are over-saturated. “The products are very focused on optimization and have very specific user bases. For instance, if I’m renting out via Airbnb, there’s a whole suite of products that helps users, with a concierge and everything. It’s a very different set of problems that we’re trying to solve here at Gojek. I think an advantage of being in Silicon Valley is that you have many more people who have experience at companies with scale. Whereas, at Gojek, we’re all trying to figure out how to scale this very fast-growing company into something more stable,” Rosanti explained.
The other thing that she has faced is the challenge of recruiting talent experienced in product management. “Finding people with more than a few years of experience doing product work here or from abroad that are willing to relocate; that’s not super easy. It’s not like engineering that has a very clear-cut role, whereas product management is very cross-functional and multidisciplinary,” she said.
Hence, using her talents at designing solutions and nitty-gritty problem solving, Rosanti created a training module and framework that would teach hiring managers to interview without bias. She created 16 different competencies for interviewers to define which attributes they need to index for the role and what Gojek is looking for, and what kind of person is the right fit. This method has helped the organization to reduce bias or the exclusionary effect. This has also created more opportunities for people who have talent, but not necessarily the right connections.
“It’s helped a lot. We reduced our overall hiring time from several months to 40 or 50 days, from finding a candidate to making the offer. We also use a lot of data within the hiring process itself to ensure we’re making the right choices,” Rosanti said.
Gojek has successfully adopted its growth framework using 16 competencies to define product management roles and also rolled it out to other functions as well; from engineering and business intelligence, to data function roles.
Rosanti also emphasized how important it is for a company to set a clear path and long-term view, because Gojek as a large ecosystem has many types of customers, such as merchants, drivers, and consumers. Therefore, the team needs to set the plan for the entire year rather than just for a shorter period.
“Within the consumer group, there are so many product verticals. So we explored how to structure the organization to be able to meet those very different customer needs while still being able to act quickly on them,” Rosanti said.
She spends her time traveling back and forth every one or two months between Jakarta and the San Francisco Bay Area, where her husband and cat live. She works remotely and manages her team, whose members are located throughout the Asian region.
Commenting on the equality of women in the tech industry, she feels that Gojek has quite open access and equality for women working in the tech industry. Female employees make up 33% of Gojek’s total staff strength in its offices in Indonesia and in all the other countries that Gojek operates.
She has discovered that gender diversity is a problem everywhere, either in the US tech giants such as Apple and Google, where the numbers of women employees are not great either. She said that one of the biggest problems for women in tech especially women founders is not just access to funding or opportunities, but also mentors and role models. Therefore, she is developing a mentorship program next year for her team so that they can build the community.
“Find a role model wherever you are and remember that everybody starts somewhere. Many people, especially women, have imposter syndrome, so don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t feel like you’re not good enough, we’re all women here trying to support each other. If you try first, and that’s a failure, at least you tried,” she advised.
This article is part of “Women in Tech,” a series by KrASIA that highlights the achievements of women who are a driving force behind South and Southeast Asia’s tech startups.