Q&A with Mohamed, Product Manager

ProductLondon

Our company values really matter. I didn’t believe this before. But here, autonomy is really important. We get things done and there’s no drama. We always put our customers first, before individual or team needs. In many companies I’ve worked for, nobody knows the values. Here it guides us in our day-to-day work and how we do everything.

Why did you join TransferWise?

I’d been working in location services, and I didn’t feel like I was changing anything in the world. I wanted to get into a company that’s disrupting an old-school industry like finance and where I could have a positive impact on customers. 

I was also intrigued about the autonomy you get at TransferWise. I haven’t worked in a place like this before. Whereby your team can have full autonomy to decide what should be prioritised and worked on. Often companies claim they have a flat structure, but here it’s on a new level – you can challenge everyone’s views, and there’s no ‘going to someone’s manager’ like in a lot of places.

In a nutshell, what do you do at TransferWise?

I look after our Plastic product, which is our debit card. As the team Product Manager, I make sure our card transactions are performing well. This involves working with the team to make sure our transactions go through, and down-time is minimal, working with our payment scheme (Mastercard) to make sure our setup is compliant and with the payment processor (Carta) to make sure our payments work correctly. So in a nutshell, my goal is to have our card work seamlessly for our customers.

What’s the biggest challenge working here?

Our autonomous culture. If you need something from another team, the only way to get it is to convince them of your viewpoint and priorities. You can never go to a manager above someone to ask for something. It can be a lot of work trying to create momentum with other teams.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on? 

At TransferWise, we promise customers a fair market rate for foreign exchange. However, in the payments industry, there’s dynamic conversion where people can choose different merchant prices to pay in local or foreign currency. It often misleads customers who end up paying more than they should. 

We’re trying to stop customers falling into this trap by trying to change the payment setup and educate them about the rates. It’s something I’m really proud to do as it’s all about helping real people avoid paying fees.

What’s your team’s fun tradition?

We always have lunch together. For our last team planning event, we rented a cottage in a forest in Estonia, that was a cool experience.

What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever done?

I founded my own startup in Egypt. I was chatting with someone I knew who owned a shop, they were explaining how difficult it was to find manufacturers in their market. So my goal was to build an eCommerce B2B platform to bring businesses and manufacturers together. I did lots of the groundwork researching the market, built the platform and got both client and manufacturer signups. Sadly, I couldn’t continue due to lack of funding, but it was an interesting learning experience to build something from scratch.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at TransferWise?

Kayaking on the Baltic Sea during Summer Days. I’m not a good swimmer, so there was lots of adrenaline as I was scared to have the kayak flip!

What’s your favourite slack group?

#travelchat because I love travelling!