Meet Leonard, our Product Management Intern.
Insights into the US travel market and what makes the Product Department at Mapify so unique.
In today’s article, we introduce you to Leo, our Product Management Intern. We talk about how he first met Patrick, Mapify’s CEO, and how he ended up working for the company. We also dive into his experience in the US tech state and how his time there made it possible for him to gain important travel insights of the US market. If you are interested in knowing more about Leo and understand what makes working at Mapify so special for him, keep on reading.
Tell us a little more about yourself: where are you from and what did you do before starting at Mapify?
I am Leonard, 21 years of age and I grew up in a small village close to the German city of Bielefeld. I have a business background and will receive my bachelor from the WHU — Otto Beisheim School of Management shortly after the end of my time at Mapify. During my bachelor, I was already able to pursue my passion for traveling by doing a semester abroad in gorgeous New Zealand and working at another Berlin-based travel start-up.
How did you end up working at Mapify? What intrigued you the most about this StartUp?
The reason for me to work at Mapify was a combination of my overall personal interest in traveling and two aspects that relate to my studies. This interest in traveling and visiting exotic countries like Ghana and Burkina Faso led me to do an internship at the travel start-up Tourlane. During this internship, I had the first glimpse into the tourism industry and led a small product team to create the internal business systems of Tourlane. With my second internship, I wanted to follow up working in this fascinating industry and deepen my experience in product management. When my studies came to the point of writing my bachelor thesis, I chose entrepreneurial funding negotiations for which I, among others, interviewed Patrick, one of the founders of Mapify. On that day, Patrick and I sat in a cafe for two hours and interviewed each other for both my thesis and a summer internship which led to me working at Mapify a couple of months afterwards.
You spent some time in LA, why?
Los Angeles is an important city for Mapify due to the offices of two important supporters of the company who are based there. Furthermore, many popular travel destinations are located in the West Coast of the US. The first important person to be based in LA was Damian Bradfield, CMO at the dutch start-up Wetransfer and personal mentor of Patrick and Mapify itself. The second character is Phil Haus, the Managing Director at LayJax Ventures which is one of Mapify’s investors. Both of these men support Mapify in various ways and play an important role in us further understanding the US market. A combination of these aspects required a Mapify employee being personally present in Los Angeles, which is why I was assigned this very interesting task.
What did you like most about the experience?
It was really exciting for me to start my own analysis of the American market! Obviously, I was not starting from scratch, but there were so many new things and American customs to learn from that were related to traveling and therefore to the Mapify product itself. Furthermore, as a travel enthusiast, I enjoyed visiting cities like San Francisco, San Diego or Denver on the weekends. These were places I’ve always wanted to explore, and by meeting other travel enthusiasts as well as posting and planning my trips with Mapify I made amazing connections and gained a lot of new insights.
What main differences do you see in the US market compared to the European?
I think the main difference I was able to observe during these four weeks, was the travel behavior of US citizens. Of course, traveling itself and the planning of trips stand in the focus of Mapify and therefore plays a significant role in the product. Interestingly enough and due to the enormous size of the North-American continent, it is far more usual for them to be traveling domestically or within the continent and also more usual to be traveling by car or some form of a caravan. They tend to spend shorter vacations and if they leave the continent, invest more time into seeing several (eg. European) countries at once. While it is relatively normal for many Europeans to have visited 1 or even 2 continents apart from Europe, it is not the standard for Americans. Two factors adding on top of that are overall higher price levels for both domestic flights within, and intercontinental flights from America as well as fewer vacation days per year compared to Europe. Hence, it is just easier for Europeans to take 2 weeks of their 3–4 weeks of annual vacation and buy a cheap flight to a distant and completely different country like Turkey or Greece. On the other hand, Americans would rather use their vacation to extend public holidays, visit other US cities or states and save some money for a single large vacation they do every 3–5 years. These structural and cultural differences are crucial for Mapify and our strategy, meaning that travel planning has to be provided in different ways as our consumers have contrasting goals and usage intervals.
What do you do for Mapify and what is the part of your job that you enjoy the most?
As already mentioned, my prior experience lies in product management which is why I started my time at Mapify in this area of the company. Compared to larger companies, the content of my position at Mapify is less about pure management of an already existing product, but rather a process of constantly challenging and redesigning the product. The app, the planning process and all its sub-features are constantly improved to give the best support in traveling and spread as much inspiration as possible. This mindset and aspiration, paired with incredibly capable programmers create an amazing “everything is possible” atmosphere which I absolutely love!
Aside from this, I am a big fan of the constant challenges and personal but also professional growth opportunities that Mapify gives me. In fact, during my internship, I started working on data science, which is a completely new field for Mapify as well as for me personally! To be part of such innovative projects and integrating them into the company’s strategy is very enriching and exciting.
To end: What are three things that make working at Mapify special?
The first thing that’s really special to me about Mapify is that all employees are unified in their passion for traveling. It sounds so trivial at first but this common passion creates a different and better cohesion within the team and sets everybody up to work for a vision that goes beyond single features or product ideas. What helps in this matter, and represents a second special thing about Mapify is how incredibly relatable the product is to the employees. When working at Mapify, you’re not thinking about abstract or purely imaginal coherences, but instead about the real-life phenomenon of traveling and trip planning. In my opinion, a close connection to the business subject enables a great level of comprehension and ensures not to lose track of what actually matters. The last aspect that makes working at Mapify so special, is the connection I have with all my colleagues! The team accounts for a unique combination of self-taught skills, creativity and a great sense of ambition, which creates an atmosphere like nowhere else. It doesn’t really feel like working — it feels more like old friends meeting up, talking about a common passion and enabling others to do what we all love: Traveling!
If you are as well a passionate traveler who enjoys working in a young and energetic environment together with like minded people, don’t hesitate contacting us regarding open positions. We are always looking to qualitatively expand our team and would love to find out more about you! Send an email to email@example.com with your offer and we will shortly get back to you :)