Greetings From China: Product Management & Peking Duck

Hello, my name is Rustam Lalkaka, and I’m Spire’s Head of Product Management.

I’m currently working out of Spire’s Beijing office with the talented software engineering team based here. I call San Francisco home, but love the change of pace and perspective that working from Beijing provides. This is my thirteenth trip to Beijing, dating back to when I was four years old. I’ve grown up with Beijing, and Beijing has grown up with me; back in my day, the Beijing subway only had two lines. It now has seventeen!?!!

Working with a remote team is often challenging, despite everyone involved’s best efforts. Timezones are a nuisance, language barriers are tough to fell, and at the end of the day, face-time is impossible to replace. My month-long trip out here is in part intended to address some of these issues as Spire rolls toward ship.

As a PM, especially at a small company, your job description often defies easy explanation. I am at turns web designer, metallurgist, kernel hacker, customer support, etc., etc., but above all, always an advocate for our customers.
I’m currently focused on a few projects:

  1. The mobile app “yin” to our device hardware “yang”.
    We are going to ship the best-in-class app to complement our cutting-edge device hardware.
  2. The backend services to power our user experiences.
    We’re building our stack so our users will always be able to get the information they want, when they want it. All that, with a deep respect for our users’ privacy and data security; we want to ensure no hacker takes our users’ breaths away. (Spire has a strict one-breath-pun-per-post quota. Consider it hit.)
  3. Eating as much Peking Duck (pictured below) as possible.


On that note, I’m going to wrap this post up and decide where I’m going to eat (a surely delicious) dinner. Will have more from Beijing soon!

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