In this episode, Jay and Theo are joined by Herman Widjaja, CTO at leading marketplace platform Tokopedia, to learn more about its culture of customer-focused innovation. Tokopedia’s recent merger with Southeast Asia’s leading mobile on-demand services and payments platform Gojek to form the GoTo group, made headlines as Indonesia’s largest business deal. 13 years ago, Tokopedia’s two founders set out to solve the problem of transparent pricing for Indonesians, regardless which of the 17,000 islands they may live on, while also helping merchants to be successful without relocating to Jakarta. Today, 12+ million merchants use the platform to sell 638+ million products. Herman outlines six priorities for Tokopedia’s technology team over the next two years. These include strengthening the platform, increasing security and privacy, focussing on consumer technology innovation, AI-first and data driven transformation, financially optimized execution, and ultimately, building a world-class technology organization. Platform stability, reliability and quality are of maximum importance for Tokopedia. While five minutes of downtime might only shave a tiny fraction of a percent off the platform’s uptime record, every second has an impact on the lives of customers and the income of merchants. Tokopedia is also keen on expanding their use of AI and ML to solve problems and provide more powerful data-driven features for customers and merchants. Central to Tokopedia’s vision is customer empathy. Every new feature or build is guided by the question ‘What’s in it for the customer?’ Herman talks about how this has led to a cultural shift within the technology team that doesn’t seek to simply deliver on a PRD or BRD. By talking to customers and understanding their pain points, the team reveals new opportunities for innovation that solve genuine problems.
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