Last November, we gathered 5 Toss Team members that recently joined the Team, and had a discussion about the culture and way of working at Toss. In fact, this was how the video ‘Rumors of rumors of rumors about Toss’ was created. They delivered their honest thoughts on the company, but that was back in their honeymoon phase.
9 months have passed, and we met with those members again. Let’s take a look and see whether anything has changed over the past year, and how much they’ve grown in a culture of freedom and responsibility.
🎤 Jiyoung Yoon / Product Designer
Q. In the last video, you mentioned 5 things that don’t exist in Toss: inefficient processes, untrustworthy colleagues, non-performing teams, non-competent leaders, and unacceptable decision making. Now that you’ve reached your one-year mark at Toss – Have you discovered more things that don’t exist in Toss?
I still think that those 5 things don’t exist in Toss, and thanks to that, I’m doing great at Toss. If I could add one more thing – there’s no ‘barriers to communication between silos/teams.’ Our culture enables members to ask help from other silos/teams easily. Such communication is possible, because everyone thinks it’s ‘our job,’ and we celebrate together when the outcome is good. Toss Team members value the achievements of the entire Team, not their own or their own silo/team.
Q. What are you working on these days?
I’m doing product design in the Card Silo, as I was in the previous video. Early this year, we launched the Toss Credit Card, which we’ve prepared since last year. I’m constantly trying to provide a better experience to our users. I feel like I’ve expanded my view on products, because I talk a lot with the PO (Product Owner) about the business, and the composition of credit card benefits, etc. I am now designing not only the UI, but also the UX.
Q. It sounds like you have less time to focus on design.
I thought that would be the case, but now I realize everything is part of design. It feels like putting together a puzzle. I believe that design today is about considering the complete user experience when we change the service flow or location of a certain phrase.
Also, Toss has a process that enables fast, quality design. We have our PPs (Product Principles), which are our principles in creating products, and TDS (Toss Design System), which helps maintain our design quality. The well-established process at Toss and the business perspective of our Product Designers create great synergy.
Q. What do you love most about the Toss Team?
Responsibility, which is the reason why I’m working at Toss. We always think deeper, like ‘How can we do better?’ – because individual team members have the decision making power.
To tell you the truth, that sense of responsibility gave me a hard time in the beginning. My heart would pounce with just a simple reaction from the user. I used to believe that every negative reaction was my fault. However, as time passed, I became more objective. By looking at those negative reactions, I could detect areas that need improvement, and eventually learned how to grow through failure. In fact, ‘Learn from failure’ is actually a Core Value of Toss. Also, our culture is that we don’t criticize or blame anyone for failing.
Now, I love working with that sense of responsibility, because I no longer fear failure. Also, what my colleague told me during my most difficult times truly became a motivation to me. “Tomorrow’s design is always better than today’s.”
Q. It’s been 13 months since you joined Toss. Tell us how you’ve grown professionally.
I recently took the MBTI test again, and it turns out I’m the entrepreneur type (ESTP). I used to be the executive type (ESTJ), but I think it changed after joining Toss. In the past, I would always worry about things like, ‘Would I look stupid if I ask this question?’ And those thoughts would always come back and bother me before I go to sleep. However, the Toss team is always open to ‘stupid questions.’ Thanks to this, I’m less afraid of disagreeing with other peoples’ opinions. The way I work and my behavior towards work have changed a lot. I’m happy that my MBTI changed from a strict executive to an entrepreneur that loves adventures.
🎤 Minsoo Cho / Data Engineer
Q. As a Data Engineer, you probably see the growth of Toss in numbers. Please share an exciting moment where you really felt Toss’ growth.
It’s really exciting when I see real-time data that shows the increase in active users. When we have over twice the usual number of concurrent users or data, we get a notification via Slack (messaging platform). It’s music to my ears. I feel extremely proud when the service is successful, as my job is to support processing data for services created by our silos.
I can also feel the team growing in terms of size. When I first joined, there were less than 250 people. But now, we have almost twice as many. Silos and teams are constantly evolving so that they can work more efficiently. My team, the Data Platform Team, has also been divided so that each member can focus more on their tasks. Now we have the Data Platform Team, which supports the infrastructure and develops the platform for processing and utilizing big data, and the Data Service Team, which provides the data environment that allows safe management and easy utilization of data. This enables us to complete tasks in a more efficient way.
Q. What are you focusing on right now to help the Toss Team grow?
These days, I’m processing real time data. Data constantly comes in, and we aggregate that data. Data processing is gaining traction in other industries, too. For example, Netflix recommends content for users based on their viewing history. Likewise, we determine meaningful data in which users can respond to immediately, and help silos utilize that data.
Q. Tell us about a memorable moment in which you reached a common goal.
It was last April, when we broke even. At first, I didn’t have a strong reaction. But I was deeply moved when my colleague talked about his thoughts when Toss was launched as an Android app. I’ve never set up a business, nor did I launch an app before, and I was just a new member of the team, but I could empathize with that team member. Because the team is working towards a common goal, we can really celebrate the great achievements we make.
Q. It’s been 14 months since you joined Toss. Tell us how you’ve grown professionally.
The job I have at Toss is not that different from my previous company. However, I get to think about many more things at Toss. Sometimes I need to understand the business, participate in service development, and even think about how we can provide a good experience to users. This is possible, because all information is shared transparently. Most conversations occur in public Slack channels. We are able to freely express our thoughts and ideas without having to put effort into obtaining information.
🎤 Minsoo Choi / Brand Designer
Q. In the last interview, you gave a strong impression by saying you’re the ‘Toss furniture (someone who’s always in the office).’ Even now, you’re taking on a lot of projects. Why do you work so much?
Because there are ‘opportunities.’ At Toss, a designer can do many more other than drawing. They can lead a product starting from planning, and join a project that’s already started. Colleagues welcome us and thank us when we help out with other projects. I never feel like I’m taking all the responsibility, because we work as one team, have fun and work hard. Of course, we try to get as much rest as possible during the weekends and get a lot of sleep. I’ve also started philates to manage my stress and health.
Q. Tell us about a project that’s unforgettable.
The most memorable project was designing the Toss Credit Card. This was my very first project at Toss. I wanted to do a good job in order to earn my colleagues’ trust and fit in well with the team. I thought of a design for a whole week and finally uploaded a draft design on the Slack channel. But SG (Toss Team Leader) gave me detailed feedback, saying that my idea doesn’t seem likely to produce positive results. (laugh) I read the feedback, went to brush my teeth, and ran into him. We talked for 20 minutes, with our toothbrushes in our mouths. We casually shared our ideas, and it was surprising for me that we were having a really natural conversation. Based on our conversation, I revised my draft, and things worked out smoothly. That conversation left a very strong impression on me, and even today – I try to communicate with team members in a casual and comfortable way.
Q. When you’re fully immersed in work, it’s easy to face limitations or discover your weaknesses. Tell us about something you struggled with.
Selection and concentration. I always feel like I could’ve done better in practicing ‘Focus on Impact,’ which is one of the Core Values of Toss. I wanted to do everything well. But when you try to do everything, you meet a physical limit. Some projects end up being launched with low quality, because I’m unable to devote my full attention to them. My concern was that people might think this was the standard quality of Toss. Toss has a culture where there’s no giving orders or managing. Thus, I realized I should make the right decisions and concentrate on the right things.
Q. Do you have your own standard for selection and concentration?I try to set priorities based on the size of impact the project can make. I select and concentrate on projects that can impact more people when they’re launched. For low-priority documents or visual material, I create templates so that team members can respond to them easily.
Q. You’ve been a Toss team member for 12 months now. Tell us how you have grown professionally.
Before coming to Toss, I worked in a large company. At times, I would feel unappreciated at work. But at Toss, it feels like I’m more valued. It could be that I have a larger role, and I think I’m influencing my team more. I have a bigger sense of responsibility, too. My goal is for Toss to become more than just a ‘service,’ but a ‘brand’ – just like when you’re wearing Nike shoes, you feel like a champion. Brands enable people to dream big and have great expectations. I want to make people think “I’m experiencing a completely new financial life” when using Toss.
🎤 Seryeon Park / Payment Settlement Manager
Q. I heard that you moved to a different team.
Recently, I moved to Toss Payments. I used to be involved in the entire vendor payment process, but now I’m in charge of policy management of payment methods and improving the payment environment at Toss Payments. I’m both anxious and excited to learn and challenge myself.
Q. In our previous interview, you introduced the concept of DRI (guaranteeing independent decision making power to an individual team member). We all work hard to make ‘good decisions.’ Do you have your own way of making better decisions and improving execution?
At Toss, there’s something unique that I appreciate: everyone is interested in what I do. DRI refers to independent decision making, but I realize every moment that this is not an arbitrary decision. Team members make good decisions based on sharing information and listening to others’ opinions. Even when they don’t know something well, my colleagues always make an effort to seek information and ways to improve our service. They consider everything part of their work, because all members prioritize our customers and service. When it comes to improving our service, Toss team members are always ready to take part.
Q. Tell us how you try to help coworkers.
One day, I suddenly found myself reading the inquiries that came through our customer service. I wanted to know the difficulties users are facing when using Toss payments services, and I would read comments like, ‘I can’t cancel my order,’ or ‘I’m not getting discounts during the promotion period.’ I really wanted to help solve their problems by communicating with our vendors.
To be honest, I wasn’t like this from the beginning. In the past, I would ask myself, ‘Is it okay for me to be involved?’ But I think I’m developing a stronger attachment to our service. In the past, ‘calculating the exact settlement amount’ was my no.1 priority. But now, I want our service to be the go-to service for users. Because of this, I think we work as one team to make our service even better.
Q. Now that you’ve been at Toss for 13 months, tell us how you’ve grown professionally.
Now, I’m interested in the overall payment services. I even look at how teams are operated. I think the reason is because Toss team members never forget to say ‘thank you’ to each other. Regardless of experience, everyone is able to give their opinion, and colleagues are open to those opinions. This allows our members to grow.
🎤 Sangho Wang / Server Developer
Q. In the previous interview, you said it’s great working at Toss, because you can focus on development work, and design the way you want. Are you enjoying doing a lot of development work these days, too?
The point is that I’m ‘having fun’ while developing. I’m a developer, but I pitch a lot of my own ideas, because work isn’t given to developers in a top-down way. We form a consensus on how we’re going to do things. Anyone can provide ideas, and we can immediately execute once our team is aligned. When I develop based on my ideas, I’m more confident that this will succeed. I’m more motivated, and ‘enjoy’ working, even if it means long hours.
Q. ‘Time’ isn’t the only factor in creating impact. What are some other prerequisites to creating good services?
Competent colleagues. I love that I can grow with my coworkers. I’m currently participating in two study groups – one on data design (DDIA), and one on library utilization (JPA). We usually pick a book and read one chapter every week. When we read together, we can improve our understanding, and actually put what we learned into practice. At Toss, we have developers with different experiences, so we find answers quite easily when we have discussions together.
But there was one time where we couldn’t figure something out, even if we put our heads together. It was about databases, and we actually invited an expert from the outside. Thanks to a 30-minute lecture, we could understand the subject. I think we’re able to create great services, because we have colleagues that we can trust.
Q. You’re known as the social butterfly at Toss. I see you’re enjoying your time at Toss – what’s your secret?
I spend a lot of time at work. So, when that time isn’t enjoyable, my life becomes difficult and miserable. I feel happy when the service goes well, because the company’s success can lead to my own success. I enjoy thinking about our service, so I naturally take part in discussions with colleagues and company events.
Q. You’ve been working at Toss for 15 months now. Tell us how you have grown professionally.
At Toss, I’ve been working in an environment in which I need to know a wide range of things, from service planning, authentication, security, to infrastructure. Operating a service on my own means that I, a server developer, need to know everything from A to Z. I think I have a wider perspective now. I can freely provide my ideas about the service, and give meaningful feedback to my coworkers’ opinion. I think I’ve grown to become a better ‘maker.’
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