A Little Bit of History

I've been called a Shopify OG — I'll take it!

Hello! My name's Keir Whitaker, and I'm a UK based coach working with solo founders of creative businesses — with a particular focus on the Shopify ecosystem. If you'll indulge me here's a short bio.

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 National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. 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!

MC Duties at Shopify Pursuit London 2018
MC Duties at Shopify Pursuit London — 2018

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.

Today I work closely with solo founders — many of which run 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).

Personal Stuff

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.

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!

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 row one from the 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 focus on.

Today my principal offering is my 1-1 coaching service. It's tailored for solo founders of creative businesses and is designed to help you move forward each week.

Projects & Other Work

In addition to my coaching practice, I have a number of other projects I work on and/or invest in.

  • Work With Shop — A niche job board for the Shopify ecosystem. My goal is to attract top agencies, app companies, and Shopify-related businesses to use the site, making it the one-stop shop for Shopify-related recruitment.
  • Smart Order Notifications — I am an investor in a simple but powerful Shopify app designed to reduce the overhead of manually filtering and passing orders to suppliers, vendors, staff, and customers.
  • We Worked at Shop — During the summer of 2022, I hacked together a "quick and dirty" site to support the 1000+ individuals laid off from Shopify. Over 100 profiles were listed, and in addition, multiple companies reached out to share their relevant job listings. Since July 2022, the site has had over 22,000 unique visitors and over 80,000 page views. Feedback was extremely positive and I have heard reports of people being hired as a result of being listed — which is very pleasing.

Free Coaching Consultation

If you'd like to learn more about how I could help you and your business grow and develop please complete my new client survey. This will give me deeper insight into you and your challenges. Once received I'll be in touch to book a convenient time to talk.

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