Finding Inspiration in AppFolio’s People, Product, and Potential: Meet Jay Choi, Chief Strategy Officer and General Manager, Growth

Last modified on November 16th, 2022

AppFolio is growing! We recently welcomed Jay Choi, Chief Strategy Officer and General Manager, Growth to AppFolio, and we’re thrilled to have him onboard. 

In his role, Jay will lead company strategy development and inorganic growth across AppFolio. Jay is a powerful addition to our leadership team, bringing extensive growth strategy experience, strong leadership skills, and a commitment to our AppFolio values and culture.  

Here, we get to know Jay, why he chose to grow his career with us, and his outlook for AppFolio’s future.

Why was AppFolio the right choice for you?

Jay: When I look at an organization, whether to work at or advise, I always try to focus on people, product, and potential.  

What initially drew me to AppFolio were the people. It’s very rare to find a team who is not only intelligent but also humble and cares deeply about culture. Every company in the world talks about its culture, but what I have found at AppFolio is a startup, in-it-together vibe even at an established, successful public company. 

Building upon the people at AppFolio, the AppFolio product is a clear leader in the space. Once a customer tries AppFolio, they stay. I saw notes of customers saying “AppFolio changed my life and allowed me to spend time with family that I couldn’t before.” There’s a really powerful emotional connection to the brand. That type of product loyalty is simply unheard of.  

And finally, the potential. Today we are focused on success in the real estate industry, but we are also leveraging our growing footprint to expand both within the property management market and adjacent markets. This focus allows us to deeply understand the challenges of a buyer and create purpose-built solutions. I believe the sky’s the limit for AppFolio’s long-term growth strategy. 

What have you observed during your first few weeks at AppFolio that surprised you?

I tend to view strategy as “what we choose not to do.” One of the most surprising (and refreshing) things about AppFolio is that we spend just as much time talking about what NOT to do as much as we spend time talking about what we will do. For most organizations, that type of focus is really challenging and strategy usually ends up as a go-after-everything/do-everything approach.  

I specifically recall one meeting at AppFolio where we spent a lot of time talking about potential opportunities we did not want to pursue because they were a distraction from our long-term strategy. That takes a lot of courage when you are trying to drive growth. I walked away from that meeting with a lot of respect for how strategy is followed through at AppFolio for the long-term vision and is engrained deeply in the culture.

At Qualtrics you helped lead the Employee Experience business. What have you learned about culture and employee engagement that you hope to bring to AppFolio? 

One of the areas I have a personal passion for is diversity, equity, and inclusion. I view DE&I as not an HR initiative, but a business strategy, and truly believe that diversity and representation make us a better company.  

To illustrate my point, there’s a well-known story about an automatic soap dispenser that could not detect darker skin tones. The organization behind the soap dispenser eventually realized that the lack of diversity in their development and testing teams resulted in their product failing to dispense soap for darker-skinned individuals. Imagine airports and restaurants installing these soap dispensers only to learn they did not work. This happens every day and the best companies realize that diversity is not just a hiring metric or feel-good activity, but absolutely critical to attract and retain customers and employees.  

Lastly, what is a hobby or passion you enjoy outside of work?

My problem is that I have too many interests! Overall, I love fitness and sports. My favorite sport is basketball by far, but I also love skiing, snowboarding, and I recently picked up boxing.  Everyone in the Santa Barbara office hub tells me I have to try pickleball…so I guess that’s next on the list!

AppFolians love where we work, and you can too. We’re always looking for talented individuals to join our team; apply to become an AppFolian today!

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