Peter Morelli

VP of Engineering, Lyft

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON August 08, 2016

Discussion

Peter Morelli@pmorelli
Hi- I’m Peter Morelli, VP of Engineering at Lyft. I’ve worked in high-growth technology companies in engineering for the past 15 years. Excited to be here- ask away!
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Seeing as #firstsevenjobs just went around on Social Media, what were yours? Would love to hear about your path to VP Engineering?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@bentossell Hah, I had a number of jobs, about half not in engineering, from waiter to farmhand to painter. My professional career has been half coding and half management, and I've worked in payment, enterprise, consumer and now transportation. My last three jobs were Salesforce.com, Twitter and now Lyft.
Mohit@mohitify · Developer - Product - UX - Mobile - SF
Does Lyft has plans to grow internationally?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@mohitify We're focused on the US right now, but have a number of international partnerships.
Mohit@mohitify · Developer - Product - UX - Mobile - SF
How is engineering organisation structured a Lyft in terms of backend, front end teams?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@mohitify We tend to have 2 types of teams at Lyft: vertical and platform. A vertical or feature team is structured to move as quickly as possible, with minimal dependencies. They typically have iOS and Android devs, a few server devs, a PM, designer, and potentially a front end web engineer. We'll add team members as needed for the features they're working on, like data scientists. But, everyone is embedded and works closely together. Platform teams tend to be more homogenous, and are teams that have formed in areas that would be expensive or wasteful for every team at Lyft to re-implement. Payments or our Marketplace teams are good examples. They tend to have internal customers, and we're careful about the dependencies we introduce with them, since they can slow you down.
Uhma@deleted-594972 · Brr
Hello Peter, Are there any comparison charts/studies showing dollar value benefits of using Lyft vs owning a car? What are the advantages of using Lyft vs using Uber? Thank you.
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@victorpolyushko I don't have any charts at hand, but I think as a company we're definitely trying to replace individual car ownership with an efficient, fun alternative. As an engineering challenge, it's a really fun problem. We're creating a transportation utility, like power, with the attendant reliability and performance requirements. When you open our app, we want that car to be there as soon as you press a button (or before). We work harder every day for our passengers and drivers, and we have a long list of features we've come out with, from Lyft Line, Express Drive, Express Pay, Scheduled Rides. We're coming out with Add a Stop today. ;o) http://www.recode.net/2016/8/8/1... , and I expect our pace to increase.
Vijith@vij2288
Hi @pmorelli, I am so glad to hear about that new feature. I am an aspiring product manager, and I was working on a new feature request and it was exactly that, to add a stop in your route. All the best :)
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What is your favorite tool that most engineers might not know about?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@andrewett It's not an engineering tool per se, but I do a ton of writing now and I love iA Writer, both on the mac and iOS. Really allows me to focus on what I'm trying to convey. I think good communication is critical to high performing engineering organizations.
Abhishek Kandoi@kandoiabhi · SDSLabs
Hey Peter, Technology guy here. I have just two questions: I want to know what kind of visualization tools, or interactive tools, does the team at Lyft use for rapid development of software? Also what tools are used for the purpose of analyzing patterns in data across all teams? Cheers
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@kandoiabhi From a BI perspective, we use Looker and Mode. For engineering, we use Wavefront, Grafana, and a number of custom tools we've built internally, using libraries like D3.js For analyzing patterns, data scientists use a mixture of IPython and R, and many custom modeling tools.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@bentossell Do you mean this Q&A? At Lyft? In life?
Ahmed Ali@ahmed_hasanali · Country Operations & Expansion-Delhivery
How do you get better at Data analytics? And whats your go- to strategy on handling employees?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@ahmed_hasanali For data analytics, you need to treat it as one of your main core competencies. People like to say they make data driven decisions, but it's really hard to do that well. It's not just the sheer quantity of data modern systems and phones can generate, but how to process it quickly and surface information to the right people, maintain high fidelity, and have the experimental rigor to make good decisions quickly. As for your second question, I'd start by not handling them. ;o) You have to like people to do this job, since to do it well, you have to invest a ton of your time and energy into them. I always approach conversations as a learning opportunity, and people never fail to surprise me (in both good and bad ways.)
Daylen@askdaylen · Student and Wikipedian in Vancouver
Lyft only has two apps (iPhone and Android phone), as well as some integrations (Amazon Alexa and Facebook Messenger). This is a major difference compared to Uber, which also has apps for Windows 10, Windows Phone, Apple Watch, Android Wear, and Pebble. Does Lyft plan to expand their range of apps to include more platforms? Do you think smartwatches have enough users to justify their app development costs?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@askdaylen We're pretty careful about where we spend our development resources. We also think about the long term maintenance of these integrations; we want our customers to always have an amazing experience. So, while we're always looking to be where our customers are, we look carefully at the data before we make the leap. We've done a lot to make these types of integrations easier and cheaper (from a time perspective), so I expect you'll see a steady increase.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Peter, thanks for being here today. What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in engineering?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@ems_hodge Learn voraciously. It's the best skill you can develop, especially since our industry is changing so quickly.
Nikola Novakovic@novica93 · Loves Business And Code
Hi Peter! Thanks for taking the time to be on PH Live! :) What are you best tips for productivity ? Do you have some sort of morning routine ?
André de Albuquerque@andredalbuq · Business Developer Social Media and MKT
Hey Peter! Thanks for taking the time to be here. I have one question that has been on my mind for a long time: 1 - How do you guys try to differentiate yourselves from competition (i.e.: USP)? Once again, keep the work ;)
Kenny Pate@kennypate · VP Product at Deliv
What's Lyft's approach re: routing and map data? Does that need to be a core competency, or can you partner for what you need?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@kennypate It's definitely a core competency for us, we're spending a lot of engineering resources here. We have a lot of rich data to work with just from our own platform, like real time traffic, but we also use data from 3rd parties where it makes sense.
Harini Subash Chandra Bose@harini_bose · Analyst, Tring to enter Product Mgnt
What is the plan to integrate autonomous cars into your fleet?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@harini_bose In January we announced our work with GM to bring autonomous vehicles on the Lyft platform. We're moving quickly here, so look for updates soon. It's pretty cool to work on this. ;o)
What's your favorite part about working at Lyft? Also, what's your favorite activation Lyft has done (Biebermode, Prank Mode, etc.) Thanks!
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@natsaw10 The Shaq and Richard Sherman Undercover Lyfts were pretty funny, as was the Warriors prank.
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@natsaw10 I love coming to work every day at Lyft. I get to work with some amazingly smart people in a fascinating technology space, and what we do affects the real world. The culture here is awesome, with a minimum of BS or politics. We focus on building things, as fast as we can.
Trevor@tvandt
What would be your best advice for someone working as SWE on their 30s?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@tvandt Don't get comfortable. Too easy to get in a rut, which is when you start to stagnate. Either go deeper where you're working now, or branch out. Or both. If you're not uncomfortable or scared, you're probably not learning.
Naveed Hedayati@naveedh · Associate Product Manager, Indeed Labs
Hey Peter. Will you be releasing an API functionality to allow ride subsidies? Meaning - can I pay for someone else's ride programatically?
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@naveedh We've had our Concierge product for about a year, which allows partners to book rides on their customers' or employees' behalf. It works through APIs, so we'll be opening that up more broadly.
Marcos Ortiz@marcosluis2186 · Co-founder at Capital Latino, LLC
First, let me thank you Peter for taking time to answer our questions here. From my perspective, Lyft is one of the most interesting companies to be as a Product Manager today; and based in that statement, I wrote a post with some ideas to make a good impression as a new PM at Lyft, focused mainly in the Lyft for Enterprise group. One of the ideas I shared in the post would be the integration with AirBnB and OpenTable. From an engineering perspective, What do you think about it? P.S: You can read the post here: https://medium.com/a-data-driven...
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@marcosluis2186 I think these would be great! We currently have many integrations (and are working on more) like Facebook Messenger, Alexa, Slack, Siri, etc. We're big fans of open apis, so come sign up at https://www.lyft.com/developers
Alva Christeen@alvachris · Alva Christeen is famous beauty writer
Need help
Peter Morelli@pmorelli
@alvachris Don't we all.