Product Manager - Marketplace

Uber Overview

What is Marketplace Dynamics?

The Marketplace Dynamics group builds the platform, products, and algorithms responsible for the real time execution and online optimization of Uber’s marketplace. We are building the brain of Uber, solving NP-hard algorithms and economic optimization problems at scale, in real time, making all of the decisions for Uber’s marketplaces based on up-to-the-second data as well as forecasts of the future. And we’re not just talking about designing algorithms – we also build robust production systems to power these algorithms from the ground up.

Our group’s systems control the dynamics of all of Uber’s markets, from our core personal transport business with UberX and UberPool, to Uber’s emerging markets such as UberEATS and UberRUSH. We focus on areas like dynamic pricing (surge pricing, upfront pricing), intelligent dispatching (matching algorithms, dispatch paradigms), and supply positioning (optimal positioning of drivers in anticipation of demand patterns). The goal of these systems is to dramatically lower cost & ETAs for riders, increase revenue for driver partners, improve the overall efficiency and utilization of Uber’s fleet of supply, and enable products in entirely new marketplaces.

Our group is continuously deploying a variety of system configuration and algorithmic changes that affect how we respond to and attempt to balance supply and demand in different markets – any given week could involve deploying a new real time dynamic pricing algorithm, testing a set of new dispatching features, and launching a supply positioning recommendation system to drivers. In addition to all of the changes that the teams in the Marketplace Dynamics group are constantly making in order to optimize Uber’s marketplace, there are scores of other changes external to our control happening in each city’s markets: rider growth, driver growth, trip growth, cyclical daily/weekly demand patterns, special events, weather, and even Uber promotions like Kittens and Ice Cream.

Introducing Marketplace Health

Marketplace Health is a brand new team inside the Marketplace Dynamics group that will own ensuring that the Uber marketplace – riders’ ability to reliably, cheaply, and quickly get a ride and drivers’ ability to find riders – is functioning like a well oiled machine.

The Marketplace Health team is the network operations center of Uber, with its finger directly on the pulse of Uber’s millions of beating trips per day.

Its job is to understand all of the changing variables in the market – internal and external to Uber – and ensure that Uber’s marketplace is efficiently and optimally balancing supply and demand through its execution of real time pricing, matching, and positioning decisions.

This team owns proactively and quickly identifying both systemic and geospatially/temporally specific symptoms of sickness that indicate Uber is any less reliable than running water and driving clear diagnosis and resolution plans with the appropriate teams.

This team also owns identifying and measuring where Uber falls short of even more optimal health – times and places where ETAs and prices could be even lower through more intelligently tuned decision making algorithms. This team’s learnings and recommendations will directly drive the product development plans for the Pricing, Supply Positioning, and Intelligent Dispatch teams inside Marketplace Dynamics.

Introducing Dynamic Pricing

Every transaction on Uber’s platform is centered around prices at which drivers and riders agree to exchange transportation services. Uber employs a dynamic pricing system known as ‘Surge’, which allows prices to vary by location and time in response to market conditions. The Dynamic Pricing team is responsible for building systems and algorithms which determine optimal pricing levels and structures which create the maximum amount of value for partners and riders on Uber’s transportation network. In this PM role, you have complete vertical-stack responsibility and autonomy to build the entire dynamic pricing experience. This includes everything from the UX down to the algorithms, data pipelines, and both real-time and offline informational systems.

Dynamic pricing deals with translating economic and pricing theory into products which directly impact the real-time marketplace choices on Uber’s entire network. You will build large-scale econometric and data systems which quantify rider and driver sensitivity to price, ETA (waiting time), and other relevant variables. You will lead the development of the real-time, highly-structured optimization systems which efficiently set prices in every city, in every neighborhood, and in every minute of the day. These systems are a critical to ensuring riders can always find a reliable ride when they need it, and driver partners can derive the most value from Uber’s suggestions on where and when to drive. These systems and their decisions connect the idea of economic value to every part of Uber’s logistics optimization platform.

Through developing systems which incorporate this real-time economic/pricing framework together with longer-term understanding of user behavior, you and the Dynamic Pricing team are also responsible for influencing the strategic economic decisions in Uber’s marketplace. This includes developing the data pipelines and algos for influencing base pricing levels, promotions or other incentives, completely new pricing structures/ideas, and new UX that can be used to further improve the effectiveness and value of Uber’s transportation network.

Introducing Intelligent Dispatch

At the core of Uber’s business is a centralized and automated dispatching system which is used to optimally assign nearby driver partners to riders’ requests for transportation services. Uber employs a set of informational and real-time decision making systems to determine optimal assignments between all users on our transportation network platform. The Intelligent Dispatch team is responsible for building these systems and algorithms which enable the optimal pairings and execution of trips. In this PM role, you have complete vertical-stack responsibility and autonomy to design and build the entire matching and routing experience. This includes everything from the UX down to the algorithms, data pipelines, and both real-time and offline informational systems.

Intelligently dispatching Uber’s network of driver partners involves an intricate combination of computational optimization based systems. We are dealing with a set of classic network optimization problems at a very large scale, with a heavy real-time focus. This includes business applications related to almost every one of the most significant problems in the Operations Research space. Particularly, the Intelligent Dispatch team is focused in developing the engineering and mathematical technology to optimize assignments of riders to driver partners. Outside of single rider assignments, the team is also responsible for fleet-wide routing optimization when assigning/sequencing multiple riders or jobs to our network of driver partners. As you can tell, this is a critical task in ensuring riders can always find a reliable ride when they need it, and driver partners can derive the most value from using Uber’s transportation network.

Through developing the systems which deliver the ability to optimize assignments and routing over our entire network, you and the Intelligent Dispatch team are also responsible for influencing the the strategic vision for the variety of products in the Uber ecosystem. This includes routing and assignment optimization for UberPOOL, UberEATS, and UberRUSH.

Introducing Supply Positioning

The Supply Positioning team, within the broader Marketplace Dynamics group, works on algorithms and systems to intelligently place our fleet of supply throughout the city in anticipation of demand patterns, with the goal of increasing efficiency and lowering ETAs and prices across all of Uber’s marketplaces. Where should driver partners go while online but off-trip to increase earnings and reduce ETAs? Uber is moving from a passive supply positioning model of visualizing ambient surge values, to an active positioning model with specific location recommendations, giving us a new level of control over the efficiency of our network.

In school, you may have learned about NP-hard problems like vehicle routing and assignment problems – how would you like to solve even harder versions of these problems, at scale, in realtime? And we’re not just talking about designing algorithms – you will also be building robust production systems to power these algorithms from the ground up.

We power our core personal transit business by enabling UberX and UberPool drivers to earn as much money as possible, while lowering ETAs and prices for riders at the same time. We also enable Uber’s emerging marketplaces like UberRUSH (package delivery) and UberEATS (food delivery), which introduce new challenges around inventory, flexible time windows, and high capacity.

With the understanding of how this optimization technology affects end-users, your role also includes product and design leadership to create a world-class user experience that may have to be unique to each one of Uber’s products.

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