I’m really excited to announce a big change. I’ve started a new job here in Tokyo. I’ve accepted a new position at Toyota Research Institute Advanced Development (TRI-AD). I’m a product manager working on the Arene Platform. I’m super excited. I’ve always been a huge car guy and have always wanted to work in the automotive industry. This is my chance to combine my experience in product design and software development to bring big improvements to how software is developed in the automotive industry.
Before I give more detail I wanted to briefly cover my career to date to explain why I made this change.
In university I studied Industrial Design. The program really focused on learning the design process and how to solve problems from a wholistic perspective. After university I was a UX Designer at Riverbed Technology.. There I worked on really tough problems involving complex networking technologies and device management of networks with worldwide scale. During that time I was getting involved with the iOS development community in San Francisco and teaching myself iOS development. After a few years of doing both full time I got a job as an iOS developer at Topology Eyewear. We were working with really cool Machine Learning and 3D technology and it was a great way to get my feet wet as a professional iOS developer. I left that job and San Francisco to travel for about 10 months. While traveling, I visited Tokyo and I liked it more than I expected. After I finished traveling, I was looking for jobs. I wanted a change. I wanted a bigger city than San Francisco. After a bit of searching and interviewing I had a job offer in New York and a job offer in Tokyo. Because I wanted a change and because I really liked Tokyo when I visited for 2 weeks, I decided to give it a shot.
Working at Mercari was great. I was an iOS developer working on an app with 30+ million users in a place where I was surrounded by amazing and diverse people. Everyone was so supportive there and I was able to be mentored and to mentor as well. Eventually I decided to go for Engineering Manager. I led a great team working on really cool internal tools. That said, not everything was perfect. There are many reasons I started looking for new jobs, but one of the main ones was that Mercari in Japan is a very mature product. Depending on the day you look at, 25% of the population of Japan is using the app and that doesn’t leave a lot of room left for growth or experimentation and I got a little bored.
In this time I had also really learned to love Tokyo. This place is polarizing for sure. I mean there’s the easy positive things to mention; incredibly safe, incredibly clean, best food in the world, best trains in the world, etc. There’s also the easy things dislike; incredible bureaucracy, hot-humid summers, language barrier, difficulty integrating into society, etc. But I really love it. The above things aren’t really even the reason. I mean, of course I like those things. But there is something deeper, something harder to point at that I love so much. Maybe I’ll do a post in the future to try to explain what exactly draws me to this place. Anyway, I wanted to give it more time. I learn more every day that I’m here and every day that I learn more about life in Tokyo, the more I like it.
So yeah, I accepted a product manager position at TRI-AD. Its kind of a risk because, for better or worse, companies tend to look at your resume and they want to see X number of years as Y. But instead I have worked for 8 yers in the tech industry under 4 different roles; UX designer, iOS developer, Engineering Manager, and Product Manager. But I don’t see it that way. I see it as 8 years solving problems in Silicon Valley style tech companies from many different angles. I hope, in the future, I can continue to convince prospective employers of that, instead of the traditional way of counting experience. And in any case, I see many years ahead of successful and rewarding work at TRI-AD.
As mentioned before I’m working on Arene Platform.. I can’t talk about what I’m working on exactly. But its something that combines my experience in product with my experience in developer tools experience to create something great for future developers using Arene. I started about a month ago and so far everyone is extremely talented and kind. The vibe around the office is exactly what I expect in a Silicon Valley style tech company. Everything is going smooth. The office is in the heart of Tokyo in Nihonbashi. The area is one of the nicest in the city and the office is one of the nicest in the world (I’m sure). While work from home was always an option (even before COVID), I still try to go a few hours a week just because its so nice, and I’m honestly sick of work from home. But most importantly, I’m excited again. I’m excited about what I’m working on and I’m excited to continue learning everything that is great about Tokyo.
I expect things to unfold slowly because things move more slowly in the auto industry… for very good safety reasons. But as things do unfold, I intend to provide information here. In the mean time, enjoy a promo video that shows our office and some photos I chose from the website.
Also, obligatory shoutout, we’re hiring. If you come from a non-traditional tech background or from an underrepresented community in tech and you’re passionate about amazing technology, contact me.