Today we’re talking with Ria Garg, a member of our Platform team!
Platform is integral (pun intended) to our mission at Merge. Ria is the perfect person to provide insight into the team’s function as well as her personal role!
Some quick facts about Ria…
She grew up outside of Chicago, Illinois.
She’s a passionate part-time seamstress!
And while her handstand’s a work-in-progress, she’s got her headstand down, or up? And she's still working on the handstand...
But when it comes to her job, there’s practically nothing she can’t do!o
Welcome to 5 Values, 5 Questions with Merge.
Hey Ria! Thanks for sitting down to chat. How would you describe what the platform team does?
Merge’s core product is our Unified API categories and the integrations that power them. Platform is the team responsible for managing and building these integrations at scale! We now have 120+ integrations across 5 categories, and each team member owns a particular category and is responsible for the growth of that particular vertical.
Platform as a team is unique to Merge. We handle everything from speaking with customers about what they want out of their integrations, to scoping and writing the specs for new data models and fields, to determining what a brand-new Unified API for a given category looks like. Our team sits at the intersection of engineering, product, and GTM strategy, and we do whatever it takes to move the needle and propel Merge forward!
What's your favorite part about working with Platform?
I would say that the evolving nature of my role at Platform is my favorite part. When I started at Merge I mostly dealt with customer facing solutions and building new integrations. As time went on I started focusing more on our Accounting Unified API and our long-term integration strategy. I spend a lot of time talking to potential accounting customers to understand their need for integrations. I have to ask the right questions to figure out what models are important to them, and what data is crucial to building their product.
What type of experience did you have that led you to the Platform team?
I studied computer science at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. After my graduation in 2020, I took a position as a software engineer at Microsoft.
At Microsoft, I was able to hone not just my technical skills, but gain valuable customer facing and collaboration skills: two key strengths needed for Platform. After Microsoft, I knew I was looking for similar opportunities for diverse learning. I wanted a role where I would still be technical, I could still talk to customers, and where I had a direct say in product vision.
Safe to say, I found that at Merge.
What was a time a coworker really went above and beyond for you?
Carolina [Valverde, Platform Team member] is literally always helping me. There was a week where I spent countless hours trying to figure out authorization for a single integration. It was a SOAP API, which is absolutely not my favorite thing to work with. Carolina saw me struggling, so she pulled up her rollie chair next to mine, opened up our Postman collection, and decided she was going to see it through that we figured out that authentication method together. A million request body configurations and Postman requests later, we had a successful auth flow!
Favorite team outing?
My first week at Merge was actually our Miami offsite. I know. I was nervous it was going to be an overwhelming week, but the team was so kind and welcoming! When we did karaoke the second night, I really felt like I was a part of the team. Something about scream singing Wonderwall in a dive bar really brings people together :’). Miami will always hold a special place in my heart!
Bonus question time! How do you relax or focus on yourself?
I’ve gotten really into yoga since starting at Merge! It’s been really helpful in maintaining mindfulness living in a crazy city like New York. Also, I’m admittedly a big TV watcher, so I love to unwind with an episode of basically any sitcom at the end of the day. It’s all about balance.
Favorite office snack?
Jalapeño potato chips for sure!
Cold brew or hot coffee?
Hot coffee, but I love an iced latte in the summer.
Thanks so much for your time, Ria!
See you around the office!
If you’re interested in joining Ria on Merge’s Platform team - check out our careers page! We’re always looking for talented and driven people to join our team.