Meet the Team: Daniel Burnham

Jul 5, 2023

3 min read

There's a surprisingly creative side to our team's work since we have to recreate the joy and hopefulness of booking travel across our e-mail, web, and soon-to-be mobile products.

Tell us about you! (Where are you from, hobbies/interests, things you do outside of work!)

I'm from Indiana, and on paper, that's where I live; however, there's a lot of traveling to be done. I spend several months on the road each year and generally orbit between the Midwest and Southeast Asia.

My hours are filled with tabletop RPGs, pet sitting, the occasional video game, and long urban hikes in cities with inadequate pedestrian infrastructure. I'm quite the aviation geek, but I secretly like trains and public transit even more.

What does a Senior Product Operations Specialist do anyway? How did you get into Product Ops?

My team switches back and forth between two very essential (but very different) roles at Going. On the one hand, we're managing content and publishing the airfare alerts our members receive daily. That means we have to be experts in the travel and aviation space while keeping an eagle eye on live airfares throughout the day in case something interesting happens. On the flip side, we're product thinkers who lead research initiatives to understand our members' travel habits. We work closely with our engineering teams to develop new tools and improve our members' experience across all the Going products they interact with.

We all come from very non-traditional backgrounds, but to thrive on our team, you have to be intrinsically interested in travel and aviation and also a strong advocate for members to the rest of the Going team.

What's your favorite thing about your role here at Going?

Working at Going is inherently a cross-functional exercise, and it's constantly evolving. While the company has grown significantly since I started, we're not so large that you can live solely within your own functional team. I'm a knowledge worker first, meaning I get to impact our product, engineering, and marketing teams through my understanding of the travel industry, aviation trends, and research-based approach to defining a good airfare deal for our members.

What advice would you give to a candidate interested in working at Going?

I admire new employees who join the company and take ownership of their domain, particularly people who enter roles that didn't exist at the company before and build out smart processes for getting things done more efficiently. We still have a lot of scrappiness from our bootstrap days, which means there's a constant process of evaluating what works best for our teams and what's essential to our company DNA, but also identifying places where it makes sense to develop new structures or ways of working more suited to a larger company.

What brought you to Going in the first place? What's kept you here for 5+ years?

Even though we're a fully online and remote company, I first learned about Going in a distinctly analog way—I read a profile of our founder, Scott Keyes, in a copy of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine all the way back in 2017 at the Bishan Public Library. I was living in Singapore then and winding down my previous job in curriculum design at a Chinese edtech startup. I applied for a part-time job at the company, thinking it would be a perfect 10-hour-a-week side hustle while I started my "real" job search in higher education. The proof's in the pudding, though—I'm still here, working full-time, and loving my work life at Going more than five years later. I joined the company at the perfect time to make the jump from bootstrapped startup to a maturing tech company and develop my domain expertise in aviation and product design skillset alongside the company's growth.

Where is the coolest place you've worked from, and why?

It's a tight race within the company as to who's worked in the most countries around the world, but I guarantee I'm the only person on our team who's published an e-mail to a million Going members from the pointy end of an airplane—last year, I was flying home on an award ticket from Vietnam, where my wife's family lives, to the United States in ANA first class. The wifi was free and shockingly fast on the flight, so I searched out and sent a fare deal for our members in midair, mainly to see if it could be done!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid, I wanted to become a successful author so that I would be commissioned to write licensed Star Wars novels. The relationship between that and my current work is self-evident—I research complex, lore-heavy subjects like travel and aviation and distill them into actionable stories for our product and engineering teams. There's a surprisingly creative side to our team's work since we have to recreate the joy and hopefulness of booking travel across our e-mail, web, and soon-to-be mobile products.

Published July 5, 2023

Last updated December 28, 2023

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