The RentJuice Insider: Meet Alex Leary, Director of Product

 

Alex Leary

If Alex Leary never survived a sinking boat off the coast of South America, RentJuice may have never had a Director of Product. We’re extremely thankful he survived!

Leary has come a long way since the days of hanging out with drunken sailors. He’s gone from hopping through South American countries, to working at a travel-based startup company, to working with RentJuice. Overall, he’s brought the team a wealth of knowledge from his experiences and dedication to advancing our product.

Learn more about Alex Leary in a recent interview we had with him.

Q: What attracted you to working at RentJuice?

When I learned about the challenges in real estate and how data was collected, I called it the “evergreen amount of information.” I liked that it was a fixed target—like we know that there’s a fixed quantity of apartments—and it being a big industry.

Unlike the travel industry, where there are flights change all the time, we can invest more time collecting data and understanding the industry. This research becomes an asset to us so that we can build really smart things.

Q: What do you do around here?

The way I think about it I get to work in three important areas with really talented specialists in each area:

Understanding the market — often working with operations and sales to identify the next great feature like Online Applications or improve important tools (example: custom columns), we already have.

Product design — talking with visual designers to make sure things are easy yet powerful, but also working with partners to integrate useful tools like GBREB forms.

Technology — making stuff actually work with our engineering team by creating cool tools and solutions that work in and advance the real estate ecosystem

Q: You went from one startup to another. What’s the appeal of working at a startup company?

You spend more time doing things rather than talking about doing things.

What I like about a startup is that there are more agile teams on a connective platform.

Q: What keeps you coming in to work everyday?

Creating stuff and the excitement of seeing someone use it for the first time. Also, making things so easy that people will never want to go back to how it was before.

For example, seeing someone submit an e-application using our Online Leasing feature was awesome!

Q: What’s your favorite RentJuice memory?

It was when David opened his Christmas present from his Secret Santa last year. He got a Juggalo kit, and it was really well-executed and detailed.

The story behind it was that there was a documentary about the American Juggalo. Most people had no idea what a Juggalo was, so we watched it together.

For a while after that, when someone did something right at work, they’d get a Faygo prize for accomplishing something.

Q: What’s a little-known fact about you?

I was a travel writer right out of college. I went to Argentina and Chile.

I spent two months in the southern most tip of South America. I tried to hop a ride with the Chilean Navy to get to one of my destinations, but I got stuck on a boat with a drunken sailor. We almost sank in a boat crash and crossed 3-4 different borders. I just remember waking up the next morning at my destination and the sailor handing me my passport.

Q: What must you have while you work?

A whiteboard.

I always need to articulate on a whiteboard, especially when we’re articulating ideas. Words are too linear.

Whiteboards help outline a problem, and it also helps outline the solution.

Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?

I love spending time with my daughter and son.

That means a lot of time at the Academy of Sciences. Sometimes, we just go there to say hi to the penguins. It’s a great way to get out for a little bit.




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