Welcome, Tessa Taylor, Vice President of Technology & Product

I’m passionate about building great products and great teams, and believe the two are inextricably connected. I believe in people management as a practice and that people are at the center of everything we do.

Before joining Shoppable®, Tessa was an engineering manager at Wirecutter, where she built the team charged with deepening relationships with readers, and managed the team in charge of connecting the products on the website with their means of purchase.

Prior to Wirecutter, Tessa spent several years on The New York Times CMS team, which is charged with building products that help journalists address their audience with accuracy, speed, and insight. As an engineering manager, Tessa built diverse, inclusive, and high functioning teams and focused on management as a practice. Prior to The Times, Tessa worked as a software engineer at a variety of companies in New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco.

Where are you coming from? – 

Prior to joining Shoppable, I was in the engineering management group at Wirecutter. There, I built the team charged with deepening relationships with readers and managed the team in charge of connecting the products on the website with their means of purchase.
As an engineering manager at The New York Times, I managed a team of engineers building software for the newsroom. Our main project was building out a system to keep track of stories as they move through their various editing stages (think Jira for a newsroom). This system is central to how the newsroom works and has to be flexible enough to support both print and digital production while being opinionated enough to be useful and time-saving.

My previous projects touched many, many aspects of the newsroom, website, and paper. I worked on a project to integrate A/B testing into the CMS, where I learned about the unique needs of the homepage editors, as well as the power and the drawbacks of data. I also worked on a project to re-platform the creation tool for The New York Times Index books. This project was incredibly satisfying because I acted as both the engineer and the product manager, working closely with users to figure out their needs and then re-platforming a system that had previously run on a mainframe computer. 

Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to sit on the corporate boards of two financial companies (wealth management and private equity). 
I began my technical career as a software engineer at a variety of companies in New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco.

I’m originally from Seattle, WA, and have a B.A. in Computer Science from Smith College.

What are you now doing at Shoppable®? – 

I have the privilege to work with a wonderful team of people, and as the leader of the product and technology departments, my job is to set this awesome group up for success and then get out of their way. My role is to set high-level goals, introduce and create ways to work, and identify (then remove) roadblocks. 

On the product side, we’re leveraging our data to continue to make our products a pleasure to use and a snap to integrate with. On the technology side, we’re building extensible, solid systems that scale as we do!

What are you most excited about for eCommerce in 2020? – 

Honestly? A particular partnership. But we can’t talk about that yet 🙂

I’m excited about how commerce, in general, is shifting. “Going shopping” is almost becoming a thing of the past – shopping now comes to you. At Shoppable®, we’re in an amazing position to become the vehicle for this new shopping methodology. Shopping is becoming about a purchase at the point of inspiration, rather than traveling to a store or mall to get inspired. We’re excited to be able to facilitate that commerce.

Commerce is really moving away from basket-building and into a place where people can buy the individual products that most enhance their lives – right at the point of discovery.

Just for fun: tell us three things about yourself! – 

I believe in building extensible, configurable systems that evolve with the users. As an engineer, I used to say that my job was to build a product that put me out of a job, and I’ve brought this belief into my work as a product and engineering leader. On my teams, I “pave the road behind me” and create and/or document the processes for everything that we do. For things like deployments and troubleshooting – this ensures that I’m never a bottleneck.

I also work to create and document team norms, such as expectations around how we use slack, what is expected for code reviews, and remote culture. This ensures that the entire team feels bought in and is on the same page about what to expect of themselves and each other. 

I am passionate about changing the makeup of the tech industry. Technology is powerful, and the people who create it should represent the people whose lives are impacted by it. I love building pathways into tech, and changing the industry so that people from different backgrounds can stay.

Outside of technology, I love skiing, surfing, paddleboarding, running, biking, and pretty much every other means of self-propelled transport.

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