Meet the Marketing Manager of GooRoo, Hermany Niu!

School & class:  VISP program at Barnard, Spring 2013; Teachers College Columbia University Class of 2016  Major: undergrad major: Interpretation and American Studies; grad school major: Applied Linguistics Hometown: Jiangsu, China

1. Tell me a little about yourself. What are you favorite hobbies and interests?

I love swimming, listening to classical music, and playing the piano. I started swimming at the age of 5 and I've been trained to swim for performance for a few years when I was much younger :)  Though not a professional swimmer (actually far from it haha), I still keep doing it. As for classical music, my favorite composers are Tchaikovsky and Schubert. 

2. In September 2016, you started working for Gooroo as their Marketing Manager. Would you mind elaborating on what Gooroo is?

Gooroo provides a connection between students who want to learn, and tutors who can help. Through our mobile or web app, users are able to browse, book, and review tutors without the hassle of a typical tutoring service.

3. How can students at Columbia and Barnard benefit from the app?

We want to encourage academic achievement among the Columbia community by making it easy to book tutoring sessions without the hassle or inflated cost. And by providing access to reliable tutors around us, we are able to connect not just students and tutors, but people who share a passion for learning. For good measure, we always want to meet new people, make new friends, and expand our connections. There is a lot of socializing and networking behind this app.

4. What lead you to start working for Gooroo? 

I'm always curious about new technologies, designs, or even just ideas around us. When I rode on subway and saw an advertisement like Airbnb, Oscar, or Seatgeek, I wondered what it would feel like to work at a posh startup like that, building something from zero and seeing it growing into a full-fledged product.

Coincidentally, my former classmate from a class at Barnard four years ago, Scott Lee, reached out to me and invited me to join Gooroo and I accepted the invitation! 

5. In your opinion, what is the best thing about working for a start-up? 

Working at a startup will allow you to try on a lot of different hats, even that hard ones that you didn’t think you would like, but find out that you actually did. I've worked on quite a few things since I started at Gooroo- product management, marketing, sales, hiring, customer service, etc. I've found what I'm passionate about and what I'm not so good at. All these experiences in different fields make me who I am right now. In the short term they help me improve me my work efficiency and cooperate with my colleagues better; in the long run, they're all helpful for reaching my career goal.

6. Since you joined the company only a few months after it began, do you have any advice for people looking to start a company? 

Probably our founder Scott would be the person to answer this question :):):) I've seen part of his journey as an entrepreneur, and I have friends who are building their own business from scratch. Three very important qualities: a. execution- don't just let the thought linger in your head, b. flexibility- listen to what other people say, and c. team building and team culture cultivation

7. As Gooroo's Marketing Manager, what are some of your responsibilities?  At Gooroo, I'm in charge of advertising and digital marketing strategies for our app, and I oversee the marketing campaigns on multiple social media channels. I also organize and host events for Gooroo among college and high school students. Besides that I'm also in charge of tutoring management. I'm in close connection with our top tutors and loyal clients at Gooroo.

8. What are some challenges (if any) that you have faced during your time at Gooroo? 

Starting something new is often intimidating in the first place, especially for what I have never learned. There have been small challenges along the way, like when I first monitored a marketing campaign involving a rather high budget, or when the tutoring market is at its low season, but we as a team managed to face it together and tackle them one by one.

9. As Marketing Manager, what are your biggest goals? 

My hope is that, when people want to learn something, either in need of school subject help or a new non-academic skill, they would come to the Gooroo platform and connect to someone instantly!

10. Are there any particular social media accounts that have inspired your work as Marketing Manager? 

Absolutely. I look at social media accounts of all types of companies. Among the bigger ones, I really watch everything Coca Cola makes, especially the Moments of Happiness film. We can learn a lot from how the company plays around with the design of the bottle, the cap, the mascot polar bear. They make these designs so interactive and visually-appealing that consumers would buy the "happiness" behind the brand. Same for Starbucks actually.

I focus on what kind of user experience these social media postings convey to viewers. I like Hoteltonight and Lululemon in particular. Usually people spend less than 3 seconds on each post, but for these two, I'd stop to read the story because it makes me feel very relevant and cheerful.

11. How can people join Gooroo? 

Currently we are recruiting summer interns in app development and marketing & sales. If someone is interested in working with us, he/she can directly reach out to us at [email protected].


*Check out GooRoo in the app store or online at