IT Businesses 101: What they’re doing now
How I spent my summer as a Platform Product Management Intern at RingCentral
I still remember the very first day I walked into the office feeling both intimidated and excited. Engineers and developers were surrounding me in my cubicle, and I honestly felt like a laboratory rat that was thrown into the wild only to be eaten alive by these predators. Then I met my mentor John Wang, who was very sharp and intelligent, almost a little too much at times. This guy knew just about anything related to his job as a Director of Product Management.
So let’s get a little technical. Most software companies today have developer’s platform where developers can use the company’s APIs and SDKs for their software integration. The platform product management department’s job was to research and ship products to clients that were developers from a different company. Having no experiences with APIs, this was a major struggle for me from the start. All these new terms like OAuth, permission scopes, sandbox mode and subscriptions confused the hell out of me initially but after playing around with RingCentral’s API’s I began to understand the idea. You can literally make phone calls in your terminal using curl method and RingCentral API, meaning you could program this to be whatever you want!
I had a few hands-on projects (Webhooks UI and Glip API req), but most of my time spent here was researching the hell out of other companies and figuring out what they’re best at. Why? So we could just copy other company’s product features and use it. Ever since the Oracle vs Google lawsuit, pretty much all the companies are legally “stealing” features from another company.
One of the best lesson I learned is being aware of various software industries and understanding the technology trends that businesses are using. Before coming to RingCentral, I had no idea what Salesforce or Box was, only to realize later that these were billion dollar companies that so many businesses rely on. I begin to realize that integrating your software with these companies actually bring more customers to your table. Integration is a major trend in software companies. RingCentral was already integrating with many softwares themselves. Salesforce, Box, and Office 365 are some of the integrations that RingCentral has already implemented. You can check all 42 integrations here. As far as the popular technology trend goes, bots were the new players. RingCentral was in the process of creating bots on their chat system Glip as well. So you ask, what are bots? Are they robots? Well yeah, in a sense because they’re AI’s that respond to your commands and do things for you. So how do bots help these businesses? By simplifying unnecessary workflows and creating delightful experiences in collaboration space. Let’s say you’re in a chat talking to your manager about a Salesforce prospect, you could type something like “show me the last prospect” in the same chat, and your Salesforce bot will pull out the data from Salesforce and display it on the chat. Pretty neat right? Since bots are programmed, you could have it do anything. Ideas and possibilities are infinite with bots.
The work culture of Silicon Valley companies is amazing. Everyone that works here is open-minded, friendly and welcoming. When I tell you the first day I walked in, some employees here have Cîrocs and IPA’s on their desk, I was telling myself, “I like this place already” because that’s when you know the company is easygoing and likes to have fun. Drinking at work is fun but that’s not what stood out to me. Everyone is treated the same and equal regardless of their position hierarchy. As an intern, I was talking with different directors and Vice Presidents daily, asking them questions and learning from their experiences and opinions. I mean who’s a better person to talk to if you want to be and think like them?
It’s honestly been one of the best and important summers I had. After working hard but also having tons of fun with the interns, the memories here will be difficult to forget.