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Richard Chang

I work for Mobiata whose headquarters is in Nickels Arcade off of State Street.  We have a ton of fun and get to spend our time making amazing travel apps for mobile devices (iPhone/iPad, Android, Palm, and BlackBerry) which have been featured in Apple commercials, CNN, and other media outlets. Our main goal is for our applications to delight and help travelers by being visually stunning yet user friendly.  We also pay particular attention to customer feedback - good and bad.  We have a  fanatical philosophy in regards to customer feedback and respond to every customer who contacts us, whether via Facebook, Twitter, email, or other channels -- typically within an hour.  We feel this is a core part of our culture and everyone in our company -- the developers, QA, design, marketing, and of course, our support team -- appreciate and follow this mantra.  

For me, because I am responsible for QA, Support, and Project Management, I have a pretty wide swath of responsibilities in regards to our app development starting from the very beginning of the cycle through release.  At Mobiata, one of the really cool aspects about our company is that everyone has a say in our product design.  We all use our apps ("eat your own dog-food") and don't believe that the product manager should have all the power in the design of our applications.  Our QA and Support teams have an extremely important and vocal role in the product design process based on their own experiences and also because they make sure we are including new features and bug fixes that customers have requested or run into.  In my opinion, this is a big difference from how many other companies view QA and Support.

With my project manager hat on, one of the challenges I face is that we let our employees live and work wherever they want.  As a result, we have teams in San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Austin, and Boston.  However, everyone is extremely reliable and our communication is top-notch which makes project management much easier.  Our biggest challenge is that we can't hire engineers fast enough to help with our work load, which makes resource allocation and release timelines especially difficult.

Overall, I greatly appreciate and feel I am extremely lucky that I get to work every day with such a spectacularly talented team.  We have a ton of fun, have many similar interests, and are one big family.  We even go on trips (a group of us recently returned from snowboarding in Lake Tahoe) and play intramural sports such as soccer and kickball (yep, kickball).

Job Title: Director of Operations
Company: Mobiata
College: University of Michigan, Engineering, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering, Ann Arbor, MI

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