Last month Mercari and SmartNews organized a Global Engineers Meetup with the theme “From Tokyo To The World”. Designed specifically for Japan-based engineering teams that develop services for the US market remotely, the event allowed engineers to share the initiatives their companies are implementing, as well as the innovations devised and difficulties encountered in collaborating with teams based in the US. In this article, we will highlight what happened at the event and share presentations given by Mercari US members.
Even though Mercari US and SmartNews are different in terms of the way their development teams work, people from both companies were able to relate to each other because both businesses were initially established in Japan and expanded to the US.
Not only does Mercari US have engineering teams in the American cities of Palo Alto, Portland, and Boston, but also in Tokyo. Each office has its own strengths that people at Mercari leverage for developing our services. One of the major releases in 2020 was a same-day pickup and delivery service. It was developed by Mercari US by partnering with a community-based delivery service and it took the US by storm (launch page here).
Since this is a collaborative project with a third-party company that is active in the US, the business owner is also in the US. We built a team in a way that would allow us to take advantage of the knowledge and skills on shipping that people in the Tokyo office have.
Anurag, one of the developers of this feature, gave a presentation to introduce this new shipping service and talk about how they managed to get this challenging job done across two or more time zones hours apart from each other.
Overview of topics covered:
The Mercari US mobile app is embarking on a new stage right now. In recent years, cross-platform frameworks (which allow you to write code and run it on multiple platforms) have been growing in significance. This fact sparked some team discussions about whether or not we can maintain a competitive pace of growth while still developing apps for two different platforms, especially when compared to some competitors who are already using multi-platform frameworks to ship their apps.
After discussions, we came to a "Go Bold" conclusion: rewrite the entire app with ReactNative (if you don't know, Go Bold is one of our core values at Mercari). This is an ongoing project, so we cannot share concrete results or lessons learned just yet, but please take a look at the presentation to learn more about how we reached the decision.
Overview of topics covered:
The last presenter was Nick from SmartNews.
Similar to Mercari, SmartNews is growing rapidly in the US, and they have developers in Japan and the US working together on their service. Nick talked about the development structure and good practices.
A lot of participants also said that they had experienced issues with the time difference and communication, and they agreed with the points Nick covered. They also talked about these issues during the networking time after the presentation.
This brings us to the end of the event focused on teams venturing into the US market from Japan.
The US market is different from the Japanese market in multiple ways, including very different sizes and cultures. These differences give us the opportunity to take on exciting challenges that will bring us new insights every day. As mentioned at the meetup, there are different kinds of difficulties, but we believe that utilizing our engineering skills to open up a new world by collaborating with people overseas is one of the most exciting aspects of being an engineer.
Mercari US provides this unique opportunity to take on such a challenge either from Japan or from the US. So if you’re interested in this cross-cultural environment and want to challenge yourself working across the US and Japan, take a look at our open positions below.