Co-founder Marcus Tan spent some time with us to talk about Carousell. Here’s what he had to say.
What is your company’s mission?
Carousell’s mission is to inspire every person in the world to start selling and buying to make more possible for one another, on a global scale.
What’s a favorite inspirational/motivational quote?
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” — Jack Ma
What characteristic of your team has contributed most to your success?
We have five values here at Carousell –
1. Solve Problems – Lucas, Siu Rui and I started Carousell because of our belief in using technology to solve problems at scale, and we continue to anchor every opportunity and challenge around problem solving to deliver bigger impact to our users and to stay ahead
2. Be Mission First – There will always be tough decisions with many attractive options. Do we focus on monetizing a market, or expand to another region? Do we fix that persistent bug, or push out the exciting new feature?
3. Be Relentlessly Resourceful – We grew our community by being relentless resourceful and we are always determined to work around constraints and find creative ways to solve for challenges.
4. Care Deeply – Carousell is a company that cares for our community by always asking how we can do better, and how we can go that extra mile to deliver an amazing experience and positive impact for our users. We believe that our users can sense care and will in turn reciprocate by being committed to our community.
5. Stay Humble – We might have come a long way since our early days as a small start-up, but we firmly believe that we are still less than 1% done.
Surprise us with a little-known fact about your team.
Carousell is a very diverse company! We now have offices in eight markets with over 20 nationalities. With video conferencing, we are able to talk to each other regularly to share updates and best practices.
What does your team enjoy doing together outside of work?
Before the pandemic, we would engage in team activities like playing basketball or soccer after work. I’ve also organised a few sessions of outdoor photography with a few aspiring photographers in Carousell. Since stay home and social distancing measures kicked in, we’re pretty focused on serving the community but I’m looking forward to playing a few matches of Counter-Strike with my team!
What is the best piece of advice you were given when just starting out?
That you don’t need to have the perfect plan to start because as LinkedIn and PayPal co-founder Reid Hoffman once said, ‘If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.’”
What is one piece of advice you wish you were given when just starting out?
Start small. It’s a counter intuitive advice. In our early days, we spent the first 3-6 months building something for everyone which led to nothing for anyone. It took us a while to figure out that we needed to focus on a narrow and smaller segment of users. That was our early adopter of female fashion users who have used us regularly and since grown to mass adoption.
Which future technologies (other than yours of course) are you most excited for and why?
Due to the pandemic and until we have a vaccine, I believe we will see the emergence of exciting technologies that will transform the way we work, learn and consume things. Specifically, at work, Carousell is constantly evaluating new tools to make work from home or telecommuting or discussions or video conferencing more intuitive and cost effective. In addition, how we learn has transformed. There are more personalised; innovative ways of learning online and more content creators providing the materials for consumers. Lastly, how we consume things is changing quickly; from physical retail to online commerce. And in fact online commerce in some developed markets are basic and consumers are looking for options where they can save money or reduce carbon footprint as consumers are more socially conscious and emerging technologies that address that.