Maya Aravapalli

Just get started, and you will learn as you go

April 26, 2023

You are a data Scientist in Finance. Can you talk a bit about it and why data scientist and why finance?

I got into data science when I was studying abroad in Lisbon, Portugal. It was first an “excuse” to get my parents to let me go to another country. I was taking a data science course, which taught me the foundations of data analysis and machine learning. I also had the chance to intern at a company, and that’s where I really saw the power of using data to drive business decisions. After that summer, I realized that I enjoyed data science as much as the 3 scoops of ice cream I would get every day, so ended up applying and getting into a data science master's program in my final year of university. I was a business major in college and focused on Finance, so it was a good choice for me to learn more about data science in the financial services industry, and that’s how I ended up here! 

Where did the passion to start creating your own products come? 

My father is an entrepreneur, so I have watched him go through the ups and downs of building businesses ever since I was 5 (or when I was old enough to remember). I think I have always had a passion for building products, but I think for a large part of my life, I didn’t know how to get started. My passion for creating my own products is rooted in the positive impact that the product could have on other people. But for the longest time, I did not know how to get started. When I discovered no code, it was a total game changer. Just being in such a flow state when creating something I am passionate about makes my interest in building so much stronger. 

Interview Jam is your recent product? What is it and what problem are you trying to solve? 

InterviewJam is my first product. It is a platform to help streamline your job search and accelerate your interview preparation. I have been in both the position of interviewing other people and interviewing for roles myself, and have seen firsthand how hard it is to come up with effective and impactful answers to questions, especially if you are applying for many roles at the same time. Sometimes, it used to take hours of research to feel fully prepared for an interview, and I knew there was a better way to prepare. Hence, I created InterviewJam with the goal of making interview preparation faster in mind. The idea was further validated when I interviewed other people and saw extremely talented people miss opportunities due to a lack of preparation or not telling their stories well. I wanted to build a tool to help people craft their message and make their job search process easier. 

How Interview Jam was built? What is the technology behind?

InterviewJam is built entirely on Bubble. For AI, we like many other products, use Open AI. 

How did you validate your idea? 

I first validated my idea by interviewing students from my alma mater. I gathered some initial feedback about the current process and how it could be improved. I had initially just created a notion template, however, it evolved to something more when I spoke to my mentor, advisor and friend, Renee, who is a career advisor at a university. She told me that this is a common problem with a lot of her students, which prompted me to build a full-fledged solution. Upon building the product, I tested it with a few people who were looking for a job and got good feedback, so I decided to launch on product hunt. 

I tried Interview Jam and was happily surprised at how easy, helpful, and fast it is. How was your process to reach the product you have now? 

It was definitely a lot of iteration, and there is still a lot of work to be done. I had originally started off with a simple notion site, which then evolved to a single-page bubble app with prompts and responses. Once I validated the idea, I went on to build the other features including the Chrome extension. The biggest thing to mention about the process is that I was learning how to use Bubble while building InterviewJam, so it was a lot of trial and error to see what worked and what didn’t. In hindsight, there is a lot I could have done differently, but it was a fun process, and excited to see where it will grow as I learn more and iterate on the latest version. 

Do you plan to monetize it at some point? 

Yes, I do plan on monetizing at some point, but they will likely be for premium services. 

You have a Youtube Channel, launched Interview Jam on PH, you did volunteer work, and you still have your work. Time management is important to you. How do you manage your time? 

Time management is something super important and something I am still trying to figure out. I think one big thing that has helped me is writing out all my tasks and goals at the beginning of the week, then reflecting on which of those actually will contribute to my long-term goals, and crossing out the rest. Of course, there is never enough time to do everything I want to do, despite waking up very early and working late. I think the best thing to do is to prioritize aggressively (something I am working on) and learn to say no to things that might not be beneficial at the current moment. 

What marketing strategies did you use for the launch on Product Hunt? And what marketing strategies do you use for Interview Jam in general? 

I wish I had done more marketing for the Interview Jam launch on the product hunt. I think a big one was benignly active on the platform before launch and participating in discussions. I joined Twitter a couple of weeks before the launch and was lucky to make some friends who gave me good advice regarding outreach, content, etc. I think post-launch is where I have started building in public and spending more time thinking about marketing moving forward. 

What is your take on the boom of AI lately? 

I think the AI boom is exciting due to the numerous opportunities it opens up. However, there are ethical and practical concerns. I think right now, it's very new, and everyone is thinking more about UI and prompt engineering, but I am more curious about AI on the backend and the long-term role it will play in so many industries. With the pace at which it is developing, I think our future will be very different and much more efficient. 

Do you have THE product that you really want to build, Interview Jam the only one or are going more with (your) flow? 

I am really passionate about Interview Jam, but I am really excited to build more products as it is my passion. I am currently going more with the flow of things and soaking in as many lessons and learnings as  I can along the journey. At the end of the day, I know this s my passion, and I am in this game for the long run, so I am sure you will be seeing many more products I will create. 

Favorite tool and why? 

Screen Studio - recordings are absolutely stunning :)

Word of advice 

Just get started. I spent nearly 2 years reading books about building products and learning, but over the 6-8 months when I actually started taking action and building, my learnings multiplied. Just get started, and you will learn as you go. 

One book, one person to follow on Twitter, and one music?

The Power of Now” to read, @thisiskp_ to follow, and S.G Lewis to listen

Latest Posts