For this month's employee spotlight, we sat down with Christian Planck, Duuoo’s new CTO, for a coffee and a chat. We asked him why he chose to work at Duuoo, why he thinks what Duuoo is doing is meaningful, and how he envisions the technical future of the platform.
So what made you decide to join Duuoo?
It was a couple of things really. First of all, meeting the team - getting to know the people - won me over. Secondly, it was the product; I can really relate to the product that Duuoo is building, both as a manager and an employee. Having been part of running an organization, I know how important it is to have your people engaged in order for them to perform well, so I could deeply relate to the problem that Duuoo is trying to solve.
I’m also super excited about organizations being data driven in everything they do. And of course they need to be data driven on the people side. They need to have the data available that allows them to make good, informed decisions about how they manage their workforce. Making sure they not only have the right people, but also that the people they have are working towards the right goals. So I’m aiming at evolving Duuoo into a more data oriented platform that we can use to inform people decisions.
Why do you think what Duuoo is doing is important?
I think a lot of employees suffer from a lack of guidance in their daily work life. I’ve experienced that myself, having a boss that was working on a very high level and never really talked to me about where I was going or what goals I needed to achieve in order to get there. In that situation, I felt like I was missing the dialogue with my manager that I needed in order to have a clear idea of where I was headed in my role and in my career. So I’ve felt that need as an employee.
Then when I moved into a leadership role, I tried very hard to give that guidance to the people who worked under me by doing 1-on-1s and having that dialogue. And although I felt that I did better than my boss had done, I really believe I would have benefited from having a tool that would have helped facilitate the process.
At Duuoo, we’re in a position to use technology and automation to make a it a breeze to have these important conversations; to make it as easy as the manager and the employee as possible so that they actually occur. More than that, we can give them the tools to make it a truly rewarding experience. And that’s vitally important, because as soon as it becomes a hassle, then it doesn’t happen.
How do you envision the technical future of Duuoo i.e. How do you see it evolving in terms of technology?
There is definitely huge potential on the data side, making sure we get out the data that we want so that we can give companies the insight they need in order for the manager and for the organization to have a high level view of what’s happening. So making sure we collect the data necessary in order to build that kind of product will be very interesting going forward. Overall, I’m keen to build a very intelligent solution, and that could involve using machine learning as well. There’s some really great things we could do in terms of making recommendations to our users on what to focus on in the conversations and follow up actions.
I also anticipate us moving into the mobile space in the near future. I can see employees having a mobile app where they can easily interact with Duuoo when they’re on the go. So for example, after a 1-on-1 conversation, there could be an afterplay on a mobile device where the employee could provide some quick feedback on how that conversation went, perhaps giving insight into if they were happy with the conversation, if they felt like they got what they were hoping out of it. In that way, we can collect some quantifiable data. Because some of these data points have to be anonymous, I think, because, as an employee, you can’t always say absolutely everything to your manager. So there could be an anonymous layer of data that is facilitated through the mobile app that bolsters the features of the web platform. That would be very exciting to explore.
A lot of what’s already been built in Duuoo is perfect for desktop use - actually sitting together in a room having the laptop standing there, having the conversation and writing down notes, etc. But other interactions with the system could be had on the mobile in the future. Even some of the preparation - say an employee entering notes on the metro in the morning on their way to the office. I can also see some really cool options with using voice to dictate the notes, rather than typing them.
How do you feel your experience and skill set fits in with that future?
I have over 10 years of professional experience building web and mobile products, so I’m a very technical guy and I’m also a very product oriented guy. So I think that combination will allow me to ensure that Duuoo does the tech in the right way, and I’d also love to influence the product, leveraging my experience building product. I’ve done some advanced stuff with machine learning in my previous work and I’m very interested in that subject and the possibility of using it in Duuoo. And someday, I envision us building a machine learning team to take full advantage of all this data that we collect.
A huge focus in my previous job, where I was creating a mobile app for young football players, was that they would use the app on a weekly basis and they would give us their performance data. And in order form them to do that, to keep coming back to the app, we needed to give them something back, so we thought a lot about how to give them recognition and rewards and great user experiences on that app so they would keep using it week in and week out. So I’m totally in the mindset of how to keep a user engaged.
And that’s extremely important for Duuoo because an organization can decide to use Duuoo, but in order for Duuoo to be sustainable in the long run and really add value, it’s up to the managers and the employees actually using the product on a daily and weekly basis. If they don’t like it, if it doesn’t provide them with a great experience, then it’s ultimately not going to be a success. I think it’s important to focus on making sure the employee and the manager love using Duuoo, and that they always get something out of it. They shouldn’t have the feeling that they’re using it simply in order to feed in data that’s only used on a higher level. The manager has to feel that they’re getting better at being a manager, and likewise, the employee needs to feel that they’re getting better as an employee and that they’re on track towards their career goals.