Software Engineer III, Customer Acquisition and Retention
Born in India, Jagannath Putrevu completed his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering but quickly realized he wasn’t interested in pursuing an engineering career. He worked for a U.S.-based airline technology company in India doing schedule optimization and passenger behavior modeling, and loved the idea of optimization based on algorithms. He came to the U.S., got a master’s in operations research, and pursued a career at @WalmartLabs, which was coincidentally formed from a startup founded by two alumni of his university in India.
What surprised you the most about @WalmartLabs?
The dichotomy of the company. It’s a unique alignment: You have a huge company backing you, but you’re working in small teams on complex problems, similar to a startup environment. We’re based in Silicon Valley, and follow the pizza rule for team sizes: Teams shouldn’t be bigger than the amount of people it takes to eat two pizzas!
Can you give an example of a project you’ve worked on?
During my internship, I studied customers’ shopping habits to understand the value of maintaining them as a customer throughout their lifetime. If you know how much a customer will buy a year from now, you can decide how much you need to invest to make sure their shopping needs are met in our store, increasing profitability. You can show them targeted ads or create email recommendations so they know Walmart is a one-stop destination for the products they love. It’s closely tied to digital marketing.
What does innovation mean to you?
To me, innovation is anything that is entirely new or different from what already exists and makes a positive improvement. You can come up with something that impacts people, but if it’s not useful and doesn’t make life easier, that’s not innovation. One innovative project we launched out of @WalmartLabs is our Savings Catcher mobile app, available later this summer, which allows you to scan your receipt’s barcode and compare our prices to competitor’s prices. If they beat our price, Walmart gives you an eGift card for the difference. All our innovations go back to Sam Walton’s vision of helping customers save money while making their lives better.