Meet the Team: Ayala Rosenbaum
Professor and writer Shlomo Maital interviews Product Manager, Ayala Rosenbaum, about her position and journey to Waycare. The two discuss Ayala’s background in Cognitive Science and how it brought her into the field of Product Management. They also talk about the upcoming release of the next generation of the Waycare platform: Waycare 2.0.
Ayala, you have a really interesting background. You’ve completed a journey from cognitive science to artificial intelligence, traffic safety and product manager. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey.
“Yes, it’s true. I studied Cognitive Science and I also studied in a special program at the Hebrew University in the Humanities and Research. And I think my journey led me to product management because I’m really interested in how people think and how they react to the world. This is the reason I studied cognitive science. And I think my job in product management is about understanding the human behavior and trying to make products and features that will bring people to maximize their enjoyment — to take technology and bring it to people in a way that will be most usable and fun for them to have.“
So, Ayala, you had a vision from the start, that you would be making things for people to use, but you needed to understand how people think in order to do that properly, is that right?
“I’m not sure that I thought, right from the beginning, that I will create products for people. I wanted to understand them and how they think and how they behave. And I really love technology, and when I finished my studies everything came together and I found myself in product management. Which is an area that I really love and enjoy. It brings everything together and you can add some creativity and design to it. So, I took a direction that I didn’t think of in the beginning – a direction that I’ve come to enjoy. I was fortunate to find this path and I’m really excited to continue this journey.”
You’re a product manager for Waycare and you’re working on Version 2.0. Tell us about the new release that you’re working on.
“I joined Waycare as a Product Manager at a very exciting time. We are working on what we call Waycare 2.0, which is the new version or the next generation of our platform. And we took all of the capabilities and the amazing features that we gave our customers already, and we redesigned and rethought them in a way that will improve them and give additional advantages to our customers — both from the technological perspective, and also the infrastructure, and the way the system behaves behind the scenes. And also in the experience the users have when they’re using the system. It was a very fun time for me to join Waycare. What we’re doing, is like I said, we’re taking the value that we already bring and we are improving it and making it even more valuable and more friendly for users.“
So perhaps you could give us a clue. I’m picturing the Waycare screen on the dashboard of a police cruiser, with the police officers watching this single screen, you’ve taken all these multiple screens and gathered all the information and compressed it into one screen. What more can you do? How can you improve on this beautiful, simple screen?
“So take, for example, police interaction with our system. Police troopers are normally using tablets in their day-to-day work. For example, in the old platform, we had an interface for the tablets that was derived from our web interface. We took the tablet interface and we redesigned it completely in order to maximize the tablet capabilities and to have the interaction with users much more suitable to the tablet and to the work that they need to do in the field. And this is just one example. So we took the same information and the same capabilities and features and interactions that they had and need to have in their system, but we redesigned it and we made them even more suitable to their needs. And again, this is just one example. We did the same for the web interface.
For each one of the features, we had a lot of feedback from our customers during the time that we worked with them. We integrated this feedback and improved each feature. And as I said, this is only from the product and design perspective. We also did a lot of work on the infrastructure to make the system more solid and scalable, less lagging and much more smooth interaction with our data interfaces. So even from the backstage, we had a lot of improvements that the user will feel, even if they will not necessarily know how to put their fingers on what exactly changed.
A great many of us are working from home, how in the world does a Product Manager interact, interface, talk to people, gather information from your lovely apartment in Tel Aviv?
“It’s definitely a challenge. I work with a lot of people in different positions in the company. I have a slight advantage because I live in Tel Aviv and I work here in the offices of Waycare in Tel Aviv, while a lot of our customers are in the US, so I have a little bit of experience with working and overseeing people and creating communication, even from afar. But it’s very difficult. We try to have a lot of Zoom conversations and phone calls and try to create this human interaction, in spite of the distance and the isolation that we have at this time. It’s not easy, but we do what we can. And I think we’re doing pretty well despite these difficulties.“
Ayala, it’s been interesting to chat with you, even briefly. I wish you great success. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your journey and your function at Waycare. Thank you.