Groupon Hosting Palo Alto iOS Meetup on tvOS

at November 9th, 2015

We are excited to host the lastest Palo Alto iOS Meetup next week. See details below and hope to see you there!

What: Palo Alto iOS Meetup on Introduction to tvOS
When: Tuesday, November 17
Time: 6:30-9pm
Where: Groupon Office, 3101 Park Blvd, Palo Alto

Details: Eric Hyche from Groupon will be giving a talk on tvOS. Eric has been on the team investigating a possible Groupon tvOS app, and will share his experience with the new platform. He will focus on the differences between tvOS and iOS, and will build a sample tvOS app during the talk.

About the speaker:
Eric has been with the Groupon iOS team since April 2013, and prior to that was a Principal Engineer with Seattle-based RealNetworks. Eric holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University and a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech.

Groupon adds Redis support to the open source Presto analytic engine.

at October 22nd, 2015

Groupon recently added support for Redis to Facebook’s Presto exabyte scale SQL query engine.

Presto is an open source distributed SQL query engine for running interactive analytic queries against various data sources. Redis is an open-source in-memory key-value data server.

The Redis connector allows querying of live data stored in Redis via SQL queries. This can be used to join data between different systems like Redis and Hive in a single SQL statement.

The Redis/Presto capability allows Groupon to provide value for both consumers and merchants by providing real-time insights via matching real-time customer data such as store foot traffic against historical data stored in Apache Hadoop.

Last year Groupon also added Kafka support to Presto.

Groupon Hosting Meetup on Networking in iOS

at October 20th, 2015

We are thrilled to be hosting this month’s Meetup on Networking in iOS NSSURLSEssion and NSStream. The featured speaker will be Manjula Jonnalagadda and she will go in depth about NSURLSession, how it works as well as NSStream APIs and when to use them. There will be plenty of time for questions, networking and tasty drinks and snacks. Please join us! Festivities start tonight (October 20th) at 6:30pm. Meetup Invite, here.

Celebrating Women in Engineering at Grace Hopper

at October 14th, 2015

2015 marks the third year of Groupon’s attendance at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC). Each year, we have encouraged women within our Engineering and Product teams to participate in the conference, which brings together attendees from across the globe in a forum that celebrates diversity and women’s achievements in tech.


Groupon has sent over 60 employees to GHC in Houston, including some who are traveling from as far away as Santiago, Chile. We’ll be on the lookout for new recruits, we’ll be meeting colleagues we’ve only ever seen via video conference, and our employees will be expanding their minds by learning from other individuals who all appreciate the positive impact that diversity can bring to tech.

In a blog post I wrote for Groupon last year, I spoke about the impact that male allies can have in encouraging more women to pursue paths in technical fields. I’m happy to report that we are again joined by several such allies, who will be side by side with us at GHC, supporting their female colleagues and actively listening for ways in which they can help diminish the unconscious bias that exists for women who pursue technical careers.

This bias was recently summed up by a male student of mechanical engineering, who expressed a sentiment that continues to resonate with women who choose to enter STEM fields: even in 2015, women still face sometimes subconscious efforts to dissuade us from these paths. Overcoming those efforts requires public consciousness, including events such as GHC.

I am especially honored to represent Groupon this year at the Student Opportunity Lab. I will be speaking about my own career path, one that has taken many twists and turns. I, too, was a victim of the mentality that girls aren’t as technically gifted as boys, and only once I found myself working for a tech company did I realize the error of my ways. I’ve now spent nearly a decade working in tech, learning from women who are just as successful as men, and discovering my own ability to understand, appreciate, and contribute to technology.

Grace Hopper is a forum that enables us all to think about ways in which we can make tech more inclusive. Groupon’s participation is a testament to our dedication to improve our own diversity and to encourage our employees to constantly strive to be their best. My colleagues from Groupon will certainly be leaving Houston with renewed enthusiasm for innovation, and the knowledge that they are not alone in choosing a career in a technical field. That alone is cause for celebration!


Give a Girl Scout access to technology, and she can change the world

at October 12th, 2015

Today, we opened our doors to welcome eighty-five of Chicagoland’s best and brightest fifth and sixth graders from the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana for our third annual Scout Out Engineering event.


Thirty-five of Groupon’s technical employees joined in on the fun as volunteers and worked with the girls in a hands-on bridge-building activity to practice iteration and mechanical engineering, walked through beginning and intermediate level coding and software engineering activities on, and took the girls on a scavenger hunt through our headquarters where they spotted such hits as a cat in a space ship, a former Girl Scout working in tech, and even Groupon’s CEO Eric Lefkofsky.

Each year, we are constantly amazed by the girls’ enthusiasm for solving problems, building solutions, and learning all about the careers that women pursue at Groupon; but this year, in particular, was a unique one. This year, we welcomed girls who arrived with a prior knowledge and understanding of the basics of engineering and had already been involved in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs before coming to Groupon. Year over year, we are seeing more programs emerge for young girls, and we could not be more impressed with what these scouts are learning so early on in their pursuit for passion projects and careers in STEM.


In addition to hosting Scout Out Engineering, this week we will be sending sixty women from Groupon to the Grace Hopper Conference, the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. We hope that one day these scouts will join Groupon attendees in celebrating women in computing!

Groupon is excited to be a part of the community of technology companies working towards inspiring lifelong builders, makers, tinkerers, and innovators – all while earning merit badges and hearing about the latest and greatest cookie selling strategies.

Prepping to ‘Scout Out’ with Groupon!

at October 5th, 2015

For the third year in a row, Groupon is proud to partner with the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana to Scout Out Engineering. This fall, we’ll be opening the doors of our Chicago headquarters to 75 of the Scout’s best and brightest 5th and 6th graders to join us for a morning of learning about engineering through presentations from our female tech staff, hands on activities and an intro to coding.

Groupon is taking planning as seriously as rationing the last box of thin mints, so this one is going to be good. This year we’re also expanding the program! The Groupon Scout Out Engineering Planning Team is happy to announce that we’ll be welcoming some of the Pacific Northwest’s coolest troops to participate in the Scout Out program at our Seattle office.

Groupon is committed to supporting women in technology at every age, and we’ve designed this program specifically to help spark girls’ interest in engineering through 5th and 6th grade. We know these are the years when there is the highest potential for girls to lose interest in STEM as compared to their male counterparts. We want to show the future innovators and policy makers that technology is not only cool and fun, but also a world where they can thrive … and is so much bigger than typing at a computer in a row of desks.

This effort is largely supported on a volunteer basis, and we’ve got some of the best staff in the biz. Our tech teams donate their time, energy and resources every year to make sure this event goes off without a hitch. It’s a team effort to make sure that the girls leave our office with their Scout Out merit badge in hand, a comprehensive list of resources to continuing their learning and an excitement about pursuing a career in technology. Don’t let the calm, cool and collected demeanor fool you — the Groupon volunteers are equally as excited to be working alongside the scouts and will be earning their merit badge as well.

We’ll let you know how it goes and can’t wait for another action packed day of merit badge earning and super fun tech learning.

4 Reasons GEEKon (Our Global Internal Hackathon) Rocks at Groupon

at September 21st, 2015

Generic_GEEKon_logoI’ve long been a supporter of facilitating creativity and innovation within the workplace in Tech. Shortly after coming on as Groupon’s CTO, I created our own internal hackathon that occurs every six months and is open to our development offices across the globe…we call it GEEKon. GEEKon celebrates technology at Groupon by giving our teams the chance to innovate bottoms-up and unleash their creativity and passion for collaboration on new and useful solutions for the company. GEEKon lasts for 5 days; 4 days of hacking with a final day of presentations.

Here are 4 reasons why GEEkon rocks at Groupon:

1. Collaboration – GEEKon gives employees the opportunity to work with new people and form new relationships. During the week of GEEKon, teams assimilate from across different areas of the company. People in roles that might never interact normally are thrown together and start building with one another. Not only does this give people a chance to make new friends but gives them a broader view of our company and their connection to the individuals within it.
Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 11.19.12 AM
2. Good Times – We take the FUN part of GEEKon seriously. Whether it is late night catered dinners, passionate external speakers or rocking out to energetic tunes (each Geekon is musically themed), we all get into the spirit. Employees come to understand that it’s important to work hard at Groupon but it is also vital that they enjoy themselves along the way.
Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 11.17.22 AM
3. Encourage Outside the Box Thinking – It is easy to get lost in the day to day. GEEKon gives employees the chance to step outside of their normal routine and think in a fresh way about how to solve problems. This results in good things for Groupon but also (hopefully) for the employees, personally.

4. Real Results! – We run GEEKon every six months so employees can have fun, meet new folks and get creative but we also have real products that come out of it. People present projects that improve internal pain points, solve issues that bother them or propose brand new external facing products. We commit to following through on the winning projects, getting the business ideas funded through Groupon Labs or connecting the teams to the right product and engineering people to make their prototype a reality.

This past GEEKon we had more than 100 projects worked on across 8 offices in 5 countries and the projects were fantastic. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next one, coming in February 2016!
Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 11.14.24 AM

Groupon’s New Green!

at August 28th, 2015

It’s not easy being green… even at Groupon.

Groupon is approaching 4 years as a public company and there have been many changes and updates to the site over this time. Recently, we have decided that an update to our signature green color is needed.

As Groupon becomes a true marketplace housing a full variety of inventory, the need to revamp the brand has arisen. The first step we are taking in this effort is to update the brand color, green. New - Pantone Green #53A318The new green (#53A318) is deeper, richer and crisper than the old green (#82B548). The new green will bring a fresh look to the site and make the value proposition more legible.

This effort originates from a desire to offer brand consistency. Groupon’s current header is black on desktop and green on native mobile app. This discrepancy occurred mainly because their design system and UI frameworks were built at different times. Now with the new green on both platform headers, we’re excited that our customers will experience a more unified look and feel across platforms.

So, keep an eye out for a new, crisp and fresh color green on Groupon this fall and be sure to tell us what you think! (tweet @groupon or follow us at

desktop green

Groupon Hosts Girls Who Code

at August 17th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.24.33 AMThis summer, Groupon has been hosting Girls Who Code (GWC) in their Chicago headquarters for a 7-week summer immersion program that aims to increase the number of women in Engineering by teaching high school girls the skills they need to be successful in college and beyond. GWC is a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. As a woman working in technology, this non-profit caught my eye when it launched back in 2012 as something that would really make a difference in closing the gender gap. Throughout my career, I’ve been asked to participate or advocate for a large range of efforts focused on improving diversity and culture as it relates to gender in technology. While these efforts are important and necessary, I’ve always felt they weren’t addressing the source of this trend in the US. When thinking about starting this non-profit, Reshma Saujani (the founder and CEO of GWC) looked at the data and honed in on addressing the problem when the drop outs occur (sweet spot 8-9th grade).

While campaigning for the NY seat in the House of Representatives in 2010 and running for New York Public Advocate in 2013, Reshma started seeing a trend of little to no girls in robotics labs and computer science classes as she toured schools in NY. This brought her to the conclusion that this is the biggest domestic issue of this time. Regardless of whether or not you agree with that statement, the numbers are hard to ignore. In the 1980’s 37% of computer science graduates were women. Today, it’s 12%. She points out Steve Jobs probably had more women on his initial Apple team than Mark Zuckerburg has at Facebook today. What’s happening?

Saujani compares this phenomenon to the medical and law fields in the 70’s when 10% of doctors and lawyers were women. Today it’s 50%. What happened? Popular television shows in the U.S. like LA Law, Grey’s Anatomy and Law and Order have arguably altered the perception of these professions for young women. Just like Reshma experienced, if young girls are indoctrinated with images and messages of women who are smart and successful, they say “I want to be that too.” It’s subtle and often subconscious, but it makes a real impact. So why is the opposite happening in technology? Constantly, girls are receiving the message that this is not for them. They are listening, and they are opting out.

Today GWC has 57 programs in 8 cities nationwide and is embedded in companies like Facebook, Square, Twitter and Amazon. Companies don’t see this as charity, but a recruiting effort.

All of the girls in the first GWC cohort majored in computer science, were at the top of their classes and received internships at big tech companies. Today only .4% of girls in high school want to major in CS. Only 7,500 women graduated in computer science last year. 95% of girls leaving the GWC program want to major in CS. As this program grows, we can turn this number around in the next 5 -10 years. That’s an impressive start to this initiative.

When asked what people can do to help, Reshma advised women in the industry to be advocates for one another and give back by mentoring or volunteering for GWC. She strongly states, “I have committed my work and life to mentoring women. We all have an obligation to do that.”

For those not in the technology industry, most people have young girls in their lives. She advises us all to encourage girls into STEM fields. This can be accomplished by buying them a Goldiblox set or talking to them about the interesting problems they can solve with technology. We all need to be evangelists on this issue. I was recently having a conversation with my 6 year old cousin and I asked her what her favorite subject was in school. She proudly announced it was Math. Remembering what Reshma said, I went a bit overboard telling her how awesome that would be and all the interesting problems she could solve. I’ll have to remember to have that conversation again when she reaches 8th grade.
Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 11.24.48 AM

Groupon Releases Its New Apple Watch App!

at June 29th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.41.23 AM

Groupon iOS App version 3.12 went live this week and our mobile team packed it full of whiz bang features. Most notably, the new Groupon Apple Watch app was included and it has generated a bit of buzz. Partial though I might be, I am proud to say it’s my favorite app on Apple Watch today. But, don’t take my word for it. Check out the video we made to show it off.

One of the most challenging aspects of working on this app was that the team started prototyping it back in January, long before the Apple Watch was available to the public. You can imagine that the use cases for a watch app are vastly different than those for a mobile app and developing this with only the use of simulators (which have their own set of limitations) took much hard work and ingenuity.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.41.37 AMThe team figured out some cool features just by being bold and trying things. For example, without much Apple documentation, they determined how to access a users location on the watch when the phone is in background mode. Our team decided to wait to release until the Apple Watch was out and they were able to do some final fit and finish work. This resulted in being able to separate ourselves out from the pack in terms of having an elegant and functional working app from the get go.

We are just getting started, though. The team has a few main areas they want to focus on for future iterations. They are supporting the next version of Watch OS, nailing proximity location and redemption and further refining the purchasing process. As I said in our recent press release: “We’re very excited about the potential of this new technology to increase the buying power of our customers and drive even more business to local merchants.”

Kudos to our hard working and talented mobile team and the larger Groupon tech community that made this all happen! I am proud to be part of this organization!