Why stepping into the shoes of users is the only way to effect real change at Cookpad

From cooking users’ recipes, to visiting their homes, Dilla Anindita Purnawan, a Cookpad Product Manager, discusses the importance of empathy in identifying and solving the right problems for Cookpad’s global community of home cooks.

Cookpad Team
Oct 14, 2020 · 4 min read
“Relentless focus, fierce prioritisation and the ability to have fun” — three things that Dilla expects from all members of her Product team.

Dilla, what attracted you to Cookpad?

I was attracted by the mission — “make everyday cooking fun.” It’s a simple, yet important value that I believe can make a huge difference.

What did you do before joining Cookpad?

Before Cookpad I was a Product Manager at Grab, the Southeast Asian ride hailing service, and LINE, the messaging app. LINE is very popular in major Asian countries like Japan and Indonesia.

How did those experiences prepare you for Cookpad?

Working at both Grab and LINE opened my eyes to the differences in product behaviour across markets and cultures — people can interact with the same product in many different ways. This awareness has enabled me to develop real empathy towards users, which is a vital skill at Cookpad given the product is available in over 70 countries globally.

How do you handle the different needs of users at Cookpad?

We experience things for ourselves! We put ourselves in the shoes of our users and never rely solely on user research or market trends. As a PM, I find myself going to users’ houses or having video calls to see how they cook. I look at their recipes and recreate them myself to build an understanding of how they use Cookpad and the pain points they suffer.

What’s unique about being a PM at Cookpad versus anywhere else you’ve worked?

The first thing is that at Cookpad, making incremental changes is not enough. We’re trying to shift people’s attitudes and behaviours towards cooking which requires relentless focus on solving one complex problem at a time, rather than making small changes for the sake of moving metrics. That’s not to say that making incremental changes doesn’t work in other companies, but at Cookpad, it just isn’t enough.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day at Cookpad is a lot more focused than previous roles I’ve had and I believe it’s because all of the Cookpad team are self-starters and take active ownership of what they do. This means I don’t have to micromanage my team. I can trust them to get on and do their jobs which enables me to spend more time identifying, prioritising and solving problems, engaging with users and participating in design activities.

Dilla’s team, post design sprint, at Cookpad’s global headquarters in Bristol, UK

What would you say are the most important traits / skills needed to be a successful PM at Cookpad?

Firstly, you’ve got to be a problem solver. But, it isn’t as simple as looking at a problem and finding a solution, it’s about taking ownership for identifying the right problem to solve, and solving it in a focused way.

“At lunchtimes you’ll find us in the office kitchen cooking together”

How would you describe ‘life’ at Cookpad?

Our mission is ‘make everyday cooking fun’ and we try to live this everyday, in the office and in our personal lives. We’re a truly global team and everyone brings their own cultural differences to work each day which makes our business and culture really diverse, exciting and unique. At lunchtimes you’ll find us in the office kitchen cooking together, sharing our creations and discoveries, and we regularly hang out together outside of the office too. We truly embrace the fun of everyday cooking at Cookpad.

Finally, you mentioned that you regularly cook together. What’s your signature dish?

It’s got to be Dendeng Balado, an Indonesian favourite. It’s basically thinly sliced crispy beef with tonnes of chilli! Check out the recipe here.

From the Cookpad Team

Life at Cookpad by the team across the world @CookpadTeam.

From the Cookpad Team

Life at Cookpad by the team across the world @CookpadTeam. We like to talk about all things food, cooking, eating, tech, and company culture. More from our engineering team at https://sourcediving.com/

Cookpad Team

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We're a tech company, working to make everyday cooking fun. We believe that cooking is key to a happier & healthier life for people, communities & the planet.

From the Cookpad Team

Life at Cookpad by the team across the world @CookpadTeam. We like to talk about all things food, cooking, eating, tech, and company culture. More from our engineering team at https://sourcediving.com/