Bringing it all together: A conversation with Jake Lyman
Here at ZapLabs, everyone brings a little something different to the team—and Jake Lyman, ZapLabs’ Chief Product Operations Officer, helps bring all of those different ingredients together.
When we stepped into Jake’s office to interview him, he had next to nothing on his desk—and a little bit of everything on his wall. “I like to keep a clutter-free workspace,” he said, “so I put everything on the wall.”
From a limited edition Star Wars poster to name badges from countless real estate conferences, Jake’s got a lot to display—and he’s had time to accumulate some décor.
How long have you been with the company?
“19 years—since July 20th, 1999,” he recalled. He was the company’s tenth employee—and started out as an office admin back when ZapLabs was ZipRealty. “If someone had to drive the branded car in a parade, that person was me,” he told us.
He’s come a long way since his days answering phones with “You’ve reached ZipRealty!”. When describing the many departments he’s worked in, he told us “I took my dad’s advice: never pass up an opportunity to learn something new.”
Tell us a bit about what you do here.
“I manage all of the operational stuff—everything that’s not product development or engineering. That includes marketing, engagement, support, business development, and general operations.” Jake heads up efforts to communicate about our product, support our product’s many users, and create a good environment for the team to build and innovate.
Why do you like what you do?
“I like pulling people together, identifying projects, and moving those projects toward success,” Jake told us. “I’m a process kind of guy.” But the subject that really gets Jake going: “The thing I like the most here is the people.” In fact, before long, Jake ended up telling us more about his colleagues than about himself. Michael Davis (Chief Architect and Vice President of DevOps) and Arpan Dalal (Vice President of Engineering), if you’re reading this, know that Jake appreciates you.
What inspires you about Zap?
“The people—and the idea of wanting to try something new,” Jake told us. It harkens back to his dad’s advice about learning new things. “The people here are always finding creative solutions to the problems we’re facing.” Jake appreciates that the decisions we make at ZapLabs are driven by research and data—and that we know how to establish a vision and work hard to get there.
What role does real estate play in your life?
“It’s a huge industry—everybody needs a place to live. For a lot of people, it’s the biggest investment they’ll make in their lives,” Jake told us. Buying or selling a home is also a memorable experience—Jake told us about his own experience of buying a home, and renovating to make more room for his growing family.
What role does technology play in your life?
“It’s pretty big. My wife works in the tech industry as well. I want to be sure that I keep up and become an adopter of new technology, but strike a balance and not let it rule my life.”
His latest tech adventure? Nest technology for his home. “I like to mess with the temperature,” he tells us, pulling up the app to see what the thermostat’s set to as of 9:45 am on the last day of January.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Life is like a grindstone—whether it grinds you down or sharpens you up depends on what you’re made of.”
What do you like to do for fun?
“I spend a lot of time with my family—the kids play a lot of sports. I like to get outdoors and go backpacking and mountaineering,” Jake shared. “I really enjoy scuba diving, when I can go.” There’s a photo on his wall of one of his scuba diving excursions—in fact, many of his hobbies come together in a visual collage on his wall.
ZapLabs itself feels like a collage sometimes—with plenty of pieces and elements that are essential to who we are. Those elements are as different as they are necessary—and Jake helps bring them all together.
As a Senior Product Content Strategist at ZapLabs, Bria creates content frameworks and product narratives that help real estate professionals navigate Zap’s CRM platform, while driving usage of Zap’s consumer-facing mobile apps by home buyers and sellers.