Keir Whitaker

Who Am I, Anyway?

A Little Bit of History

Hello! My name's Keir Whitaker, and I'm a UK based coach dedicated to helping Shopify focused founders to become better leaders and build exceptional businesses. If you'll indulge me here's a short bio.

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A Lifetime in Technology

I'm a self-taught developer from the Web 1.0 days. I started out fixing printers and installing CAT-5 and graduated to building intranets for the NHS. As well as the technical nuts and bolts, I'm fascinated by business and entrepreneurship. I've worked in startups and agencies and was one of the first 100 people at Shopify!

7 Years at Shopify

In 2012 I was made an offer I couldn't refuse — would I like to join the Partnerships team at a small Canadian company called Shopify? I had the privilege of meeting and working with the best in the business and added my mark through content, education, and events — an unforgettable experience.

3 Years a Consultant & Coach

Today I work closely with solo founders of Shopify focused businesses. My 1-1 coaching supports founders with everything from personal development and team building to the six P's (positioning, pricing, promotion, product, partnerships and people), I'll help you get clarity and move forward.

The Short Version

Read on for the full (back)story!

The Longer Story

I've earned my living in the technology, web, and SaaS sector for over 20 years. I'm a self-taught developer, and although I can no longer bring up a LAMP stack in under 90 seconds, I keep up to date on the latest developments.

MC Duties at Shopify Pursuit London 2018

MC Duties at Shopify Pursuit London — 2018

Whilst all my experience has been in the technology sector, the roles I have held have been varied. Previous positions include product marketing, technical content, event curation, team leadership and partnerships.

I live in Bath, a city in the South-West of England, with my wife, two children and cat. Don't worry — the cat won't appear on my team page even if she rules my world.

I am an avid reader and have an embarrassing stack of "to read" books by my bed. I am fascinated by the Cold War, Modernism, and advertising history. I like a strong IPA and occasional cocktail. All in all, life is good!

Michael Salvo

Founder Whitecap SEO

1-on-1 business coaching with Keir has been a godsend, and has really accelerated our ecommerce marketing agency to the next level. Keir is thoughtful and dedicated, and the strategic guidance, insights, and direction he provides is incredibly valuable. I believe every Shopify Partner can benefit greatly from working with Keir.

Chathri Ali

Former COO Recharge

Keir was instrumental to the success of our third annual user conference, ChargeX Summit 2019. His ability to curate our speaker list, as well as prepare speakers for each keynote and panel, was invaluable. Adding Keir to our event was like adding a superpower boost to our team. I wouldn't plan a conference without his insight and support.

Björn Forsberg

Founder FORSBERG+two

Keir brought his wealth of experience and knowledge to help plan the marketing strategy and roadmap for my Shopify apps. His insights have been invaluable in growing the business, and in a way that was perfectly tailored to my goals. Keir not only brings his wealth of knowledge, but his great personality and humour. A pleasure to work with.

That Shopify Thing

Before starting my consultancy, I worked at Shopify for almost seven years. I was one of the first 100 hires globally and the first in the UK. My work in the Partnerships team brought me into direct contact with freelancers, agency owners, and app developers every week — I learned their struggles, challenges, and paths to success.

The Shopify Unite Team 2016 (yours truly top right)

The Shopify Unite 2016 Team (yours truly top right)

I worked on educational and content-focused marketing campaigns, including the Grow series of books, technical and business webinars, online courses, and the Shopify Partner blog.

I gave away thousands of beautifully designed t-shirts, worked on conference stand designs, ran Liquid and theme building workshops, presented at conferences including Unite, and MC'd numerous conferences including Pursuit. I was also lucky enough to build and lead a team of highly motivated and talented individuals who helped bring these ideas to fruition.

Transition to Coaching

After leaving Shopify at the end of 2018 I consulted widely and helped Shopify focused agencies and app companies with product development, marketing, team building and business strategy. After working 1-1 with a number of founders, particularly solo founders, during this period I felt that this was an area I'd like to do more in.

Today my principal offering is my 1-1 coaching service. It's ideal for founders and leaders of Shopify focused app companies and agencies and is designed to help you move forward each week.

Whether you're struggling to position your app or agency, dread working out pricing and proposals, or need support growing your business, our 1-1 working sessions will help you get clarity and give you a way forward. You can learn more about how it all works in my detailed client FAQ.

Reserve Your Free No-Obligation Consultation

If you'd like to learn more about how I can help you and your Shopify foucsed business grow and develop, why not book a complimentary no-obligation 60-90 minute consultation? Start by completing my new client survey, and I'll get back to you to arrange a convenient time to meet.

A Timeline of Sorts

I've been fortunate to have a wide and varied "career". Here's a potted history of previous positions, projects and other stories from circa 20 years at the "code face".

  1. I kicked off the year with two aims — to double down on coaching and advisory work and launch a project that I had been sitting on for far too long. So far, so good — watch this space for more on that side project!

  2. COVID continued, but thanks to the ability to work with clients around the globe, I forged new relationships with Shopify focused agencies and app companies. Good work was done, and I was happy to see clients prosper. 2021 marked a strong transition from product marketing to coaching and advisory work.

    I finally got to MC an event that had been in the works for two years. Ecommerce Unlocked, hosted by Swanky was much welcomed and a fun day out.

  3. Friendship, compassion, and laughter all proved to be essential tools in the arsenal for 2020. A year like no other and one that has shown that human relationships are more powerful than we knew. Work was done, good work and all from the comfort of my own desk. That said, I long to sit in a sweaty conference hall someday soon.

  4. Started my consulting business with the goal of helping Shopify foucsed agencies, developers, and technology partners. Since then, I've had the privilege to work with amazing companies and individuals.

    In association with long time friend Cat Hunter, we launched a Shopify Partner community event called De:brief. This took place after Shopify Unite in Toronto and was attended by over 150 people. It was a good day.

  5. After almost 7 years, I decided the time was right to move on and venture out on my own once again. Working at Shopify was a life-changing experience that set me up well for the next adventure.

  6. Launched A Day with Shopify in Bristol, UK. Over the next two years, we grew a crack team and took the show on the road. Later morphing into Pursuit we were lucky enough to host events in Bangalore, Melbourne, Seattle, New York, London, Berlin, and many other cities.

  7. Launched The Back to Front Show (site no longer active) podcast with Kieran Masterton. Over the next five years, we somehow manage to dispatch 50+ episodes of varying audio fidelity to an unsuspecting public. To our amazement, people listened and appeared to enjoy our banter.

  8. Started work as one of the first 100 hires at a small Canadian ecommerce company called Shopify!

    Learnt quickly that growing up in the UK does not prepare you for a Canadian winter. This didn't put me off and after dropping some serious coin on an insulated jacket began to relish my trips across the pond. That said, you'll never get me to enjoy a Ceasar!

  9. For three years, I worked on a number of side projects with Elliot Jay Stocks under the banner of Viewport Industries. These included Insites: The Book (Free PDF Download), Digest (Free PDF Download) — a one-off lifestyle large format magazine, and Insites: The Tour — a four cities in four days tour chatting with web industry pioneers about their work journey. Our book launch party was something else, happy days!

    Attended web conferences, made new friends, and learnt from the best in the business. Today I reminisss fondly about the pre Brooklyn Beta Clover Club get togethers, Marc's wonderful Beyond Tellerrand series, Jonny's Brighton late summer fun and heading to the land of grids and concrete cows for pizza and mighty yarns courtesy of the geeks of MK.

  10. Attended web conferences, made new friends and learnt from the best in the business. Today I reminisss fondly about the pre Brooklyn Beta Clover Club get togethers, Marc's wonderful Beyond Tellerrand series, Jonny's Brighton late summer fun and heading to the land of grids and concrete cows for pizza and mighty yarns courtesy of the geeks of MK.

  11. Moved from London to Bath, had children, and accepted that I was now an adult proper!

    Worked in a variety of roles at Carsonified (acquired in 2011), the UK based company known for web-focused events such as The Future of Web Design and The Future of Web Apps.

    Additionally, I hosted and produced the podcast Think Vitamin Radio (check out the zesty freshness of the logo). The show made the shortlist for the annual .net awards two years running, which was nice. If asked, I say it came joint second in 2010! We were beaten by Zeldman, I'll take that!

  12. Built my first Shopify theme for a client!

  13. Got an education in code thanks to mentors Chris and Craig, whose development agency focused on large scale data-driven web applications. Started to dabble in WordPress and undertake a variety of freelance projects. Around this time I managed to be banned by Heart Internet for consuming 70% of their FTP bandwidth, but that's another story.

  14. I held a number of mostly web-related positions in the NHS (National Health Service) in East London, UK. In addition to fixing printers, installing Exchange servers, and helping local GPs understand the benefit of the internet we built an intranet (rememeber them) using Dreamweaver and Microsoft Access that was used by thousands of users for many years!

  15. Before my first tech job proper, I spent two years working at the famous London venue The Royal Albert Hall. I have many funny tales from this era. Feel free to quiz me if we meet.

    Built my first web site thanks to hosting that came free on the front cover of a magazine. From HTML 4.1 to stolen scripts and Classic ASP the journey had begun.

    Sent my first email proper using Pine in a Terminal window on a Radius Mac clone. Downloaded more guitar tab than I could ever learn courtesy of free and untracked university internet.

    Had my first taste of AOL and slowly realised that what I had seen in War Games in 1983 was becoming a reality. It wasn't long before I was playing online Tic-Tac-Toe with a stranger in Wisconsin and thinking about the possibilities this "internet" thing offered.

Reserve Your Free No-Obligation Consultation

If you'd like to learn more about how I can help you and your Shopify foucsed business grow and develop, why not book a complimentary no-obligation 60-90 minute consultation? Start by completing my new client survey, and I'll get back to you to arrange a convenient time to meet.