Flight Crew Series: Carlo Melisi Talks Engineering for the Future
Welcome to The Flight Crew Series where we sit down with our team members around the world to get to know them better. We talk about the careers that led them to TripActions, what their roles look like on a daily basis, why they believe in their teams, and even their favorite travel memory. The participants were selected by their peers for the incredible work, team spirit, and how they embody TripActions values. Read more from the series here.
Just as Europe gets back to business and starts crossing borders again, we sat down with an integral member of the TripActions team in Amsterdam. Originally from Italy, Carlo Melisi is a lead software engineer who recently celebrated his one-year anniversary with the company.
Before coming to TripActions, Carlo gained experience working with several travel technology platforms and a fintech payment provider gaining experience in the two worlds that TripActions seamlessly combines with its travel and expense solution.
“TripActions is truly making a difference in the business travel market. It is very innovative and brave...and I wanted to be part of that,” explains Carlo about his decision to join the Amsterdam team.
As lead software engineer at TripActions, Carlo focuses on the chat feature -- an integral part of TripActions that gives our customers access to our global travel agent support team 24/7 with the send of a simple message.
“Writing our chat and support product from the ground up was and still is a great coding adventure for me. The company needed a tool that could scale fast, be easy to use, and customisable to our needs,” explains Carlo.
“We slowly migrated all our customers to our new tools that were written using the powerful Twilio products. I took care of developing chat from the travelers’ and agents’ perspective. When we reached 100% adoption of our customers, it was a very proud moment for me and for my team.”
Carlo explained how the process of understanding what users need in order to build and develop the right product comes down to data. Carlo and his team consider the data when coming up with new ideas. A great example of this is the new contextual buttons, which allow users to press a button that provides some background for the agent to have before the conversation even starts. Carlo is able to continually customize the product based on customer feedback.
Even in a leadership role, Carlo spends 20% of his time on managerial tasks and the other 80% on coding, which is just how he likes it.
“Coding is my passion, so I like it this way. I wouldn't like to only focus on managerial tasks,” he says.
A Diverse Team with a Global Mission
TripActions is a global company with 8 offices worldwide, which means that building a product like our chat function requires collaboration across teams and timezones. This way of working became even more important when our colleagues started to temporarily work from home.
“I try to get information asynchronously as much as I can. I focus on all the questions that might be needed to get things done in the next working day. It works well most of the time, but, of course, if this approach is slowing me down then I set up meetings in a time that works for teams across time zones,” says Carlo.
But the diversity within his own team is an asset that adds to the final product. The Amsterdam office is particularly diverse. There are team mates from Turkey, India, Romania, and nationalities around the world. This kind of diversity brings different ideas, perspectives and opinions to the drawing board, which Carlo says pushes the business and product forward in a way that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
The Path Forward
Although business travel was paused in Europe for the past four months, the EU borders opened last week allowing businesses to get back to making the connections that lead to growth and success. Despite the temporary pause, Carlo’s team never stopped working to improve the product for the travelers that are signing on today.
“These times were proving for everyone, but I noticed that TripActions didn't stop. We actually built more features since the virus started, because we were always thinking about what the user would need tomorrow,” says Carlo. “Going forward, we will continue to find new ways to build a customized chat experience for our travelers. We are really trying to raise the bar every day, as one of our core values.”
TripActions is built on the foundation of six values. Each resonates differently for employees, but almost all our team members have one that stands out among the rest.
“I see myself in a few of them, but if I have to choose the one that resonates the most then I’d go with ‘Challenge the status quo.’ Just because things have always been done a certain way does not mean that they are done the right way. I always like to question and be questioned on processes that we follow daily or even features that we are implementing. I’ve found that many times just talking through them once again can improve things a lot,” says Carlo.
Culture is an integral part of what makes TripActions who we are and allows us to work together to innovate quickly for our customers and users. To learn about how we’re supporting travel managers, finance leaders, and HR professionals during this unprecedented time, see here.