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One of the coolest web developer jobs around!

Balsam Brands needs a talented Director of Ecommerce Web Development to establish and own the firm’s technical vision to help meet its aggressive growth goals. The new Director will manage, coach, and develop a small, high-performance team of web developers and be responsible for driving improvements in technology, processes and tools that contribute to the overall growth and profitability of the company’s ecommerce businesses, including Balsam Hill and Backyard Ocean.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: As ecommerce industry matures, truly “reputation enhancing” roles are getting harder to come by. Ten years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to see an ecommerce resume where the candidate had taken a small ecommerce company from humble beginnings to huge success. Especially in percentage terms, it wasn’t outrageous to see candidates report KPI improvements of 200-300% in some cases. Nowadays, those opportunities are rare.

Most of the low hanging fruit has been picked.

Such is not the case with Balsam Brands – a company with a bright past and an even more promising future. Balsam Brands is a multi-brand ecommerce retailer with roots in holiday and home décor. The firm manages a collection of branded online businesses that sell specialty products, and it has successfully rolled out brands such as Balsam Hill and Backyard Ocean.

The company has been the recipient of multiple awards, including:

  • Inc. 5000: America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies (2012, 2013)
  • Internet Retailer: Top 500 Retail Websites (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • San Francisco Business Times: Fast 100 – Fastest Growing Bay Area Companies (2012, 2013)
  • Silicon Valley Business Journal: 75 Fastest Growing Private Companies (2012, 2013)

Balsam Brands’ focus on building trusted consumer brands is what makes this role so promising for any A-player who wants to build out their resume by evaluating and installing a slew of new tools in the next few years to create a scalable foundation for Balsam Brands’ ecommerce growth.

Naturally, it’s essential that you have written code at some point in your career.

This is not a “nice to have.” This is a MUST. In any direct to consumer ecommerce business, there are a million moving parts, each connected through software. The level of complexity can be stunning: As a company seeks to align its values, vision, mission, strategy, and tactics around a specific value proposition, each functional area (marketing; finance; logistics; AP; AR; procurement; CRM; etc) must be integrated in a way that makes it EASY for customers to buy.

There is a law of unintended consequences at work here.

Tiny glitches in software code in one functional area can have ripple effects across the rest of the company. Small hinges swing big doors. Therefore, it’s imperative that the new Director of Web Development know how to troubleshoot these issues when they arise and solve big problems with simple solutions. Additionally, it is vital that the new Director know how to write elegant code. Truly, there is such a thing as beautifully written code, and the right candidate for this role knows exactly what I’m talking about.

We don’t expect you to spend your days writing code. You’ll lead a team of five. Having said that, Balsam Brands runs a lean environment filled with smart, resourceful, can-do people who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get stuff done. Also, the fact that you will be leading a team underscores the importance of your having a “teachable point of view” on how to build a scalable technology platform on top of which the firm can build its business. Some technologies are more future oriented than others. You should understand what those technologies are and incorporate those into your five-year roadmap. Obviously, where your team lacks the relevant skills, you will need to close that gap.

The company has a roadmap of nearly 20 projects, large and small, which you will be responsible for prioritizing and driving based on their impact on the firm’s profitability. You will need a fair and firm hand in the area of vendor management (Omniture, Akamai, Volusion, et al), and you’ll need to be strategically literate enough to lead the development of Balsam Brands’ technology roadmap going forward.

Left brain + Right brain = You’re hired.

There is a strong project management element to this job. There are tools that need to be selected and integrated and deadlines that need to be met. There are people to be led, and an ecommerce platform RFP that needs to be completed. Moreover, like every online retailer, Balsam Brands has a constellation of vendors who need to be managed. And then there’s the issue of the technology roadmap. That will be your baby. Meaning, the right candidate for this job will be that rare bird who can think both creatively and logically about how technology can be used to bring Balsam’s brands to life across hundreds of far-flung customer touch points.

This role is perfect for …

… anyone who loved Legos, Lincoln Logs, and Erector sets as a kid and has written software code at some point in their career. We’re looking for someone who is detail oriented and can create the architecture for its build-out from a small company (with small-time tools) to a major online retailer (on enterprise tools). The ideal candidate will love studying and understanding problems, brainstorming solutions, and choosing the right tools for the job. The job is about building solutions using well-developed project and people management skills to make any project a big success.

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Responsibilities include:

  • Help drive the technology choices for the Ecommerce team; create requirements and evaluate potential vendors against them. In 2014-2015, this is expected to include a new Product Information Management (PIM) tool, a new Ecommerce platform, and new ERP and CRM tools to support the firm’s rapid growth. Own the design, integration, testing and maintenance for these new tool installations.
  • Lead technical web development projects, ensuring collaborative engagement between the development team and other cross functional team members. Scope projects; plan timelines/dependencies as well as setting and monitoring to milestones.
  • Analyze and improve performance, scalability, and stability of websites.
  • Manage relationships with technology partners, including performance monitoring services, tag management service, and platform partner.
  • Provide direction, coaching, mentoring and technical guidance to developers. Ensure that assignments are efficiently distributed across the team in a manner that optimizes team throughput and builds skills and capabilities.

Skills and Experience Required:

  • 5+ years of experience in Ecommerce Web Development, ideally in a high-traffic, high-availability environment.
  • 2+ years of demonstrated leadership of development teams with proven ability to build, grow and motivate teams both in the U.S. and overseas.
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills with ability to interpret technical ideas for business teams. Strong communication skills.
  • Detail oriented, well organized, and able to multi-task. Strong project management skills.

Strong hand-coding skills:

  • HTML, CSS, JQuerry/Javascript, AJAX, XML, JSON, Some back-end (PHP, ASP)

Web technology:

  • Strong knowledge of the current and emerging web technology and frameworks landscape
  • Strong debugging, security, and performance analysis

Experience with data management technologies:

  • Required: Strong Excel data management skills
  • Desired: MySQL, writing SQL queries
  • Experience with eCommerce and CMS platforms:
  • Required: WordPress
  • Desired: Volusion, Magento
  • Helpful: Demandware, Hybris, Oracle/ATG
  • Experience managing an eCommerce re-platforming project strongly preferred
  • BS in Computer Science, IT or equivalent.

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERECandidates, please be sure to email Harry for additional information that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the competitive nature of this search, preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.

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