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Caitlin Teed

Monday 12th December 2022


This article was originally published on Work With Shop as part of the "Humans of the Shopify Ecosystem" interview series. Work With Shop was a project I started in 2022 and closed in August 2023. However, I wanted to keep the interviews online and have therefore repurposed them here.

Caitlin Teed — Partner Manager at Ryder Ecommerce by Whiplash

Caitlin Teed — Partner Manager at Ryder Ecommerce by Whiplash

In this interview I chat with Caitlin Teed — a cat-loving Ontarian and Partner Manager at Ryder Ecommerce by Whiplash.


General

Q: Where are you right now?

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, for Shopify Unite.

Q: Where are you based?

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!

Q: When asked, what do you say your job title is?

Partner Manager. Or I manage relationships and strategic alignment for some of the best ecommerce technologies our 3PL customer's leverage.

Q: Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?

It's typically unpredictable.

Q: How did you get started in the Shopify ecosystem?

I started at Shopify in 2015 on the support team and made my way onto other teams like partnerships, community, experiential marketing and program operations.


Partnerships

Q: What led you to become a partner manager at Ryder Ecommerce?

The leadership. I thrive working with great leaders and people who value their team and their work. I am also so intrigued by the world of warehousing and fulfilment. It's the behind-the-curtain work of ecommerce that is decades old but fused with the new ‘need it tomorrow' demands of online shopping.

Q: What does a partner manager do day to day?

We have a couple of partner managers on our team. I am focused on integration partnerships, which means any partner that has a technical integration into our warehouse management system (WMS) falls into my domain. I manage a lot of relationships with returns platforms, inventory and forecasting tech, as well as international shipping conglomerates.

Much of my day is focused on communicating with my group of partners, identifying ways we can run marketing activations together, and working with our team in-house to identify who we want to integrate with next and our best practices around that.

We also have a director of partnerships that overlooks our entire strategy and manages some key relationships. Additionally, there's a strategic partner manager focused on companies that are highly aligned with our ideal customers.

Q: How do partnerships deliver long-term mutual value to a business?

I think the key there is long-term mutual value. If you look at partnerships as a short-term quick-win strategy, you're not looking at it correctly.

For our team, we look at a series of OKRs that align with the company's business objectives and also investments in activities we know will build that long-term mutual growth.

"I love hugs and have missed them so much — I'm a hugger, not a handshaker"

We look at the number of leads we send to partners and the number of leads we receive from partners. We also look at influence and how a potential new customer was influenced by our partner (perhaps as an integration requirement, an endorsement or some co-selling activity). We also look at the value we create as a result of introductions.

Q: Can you share some examples of a successful partnership?

We score partners based on a health check to see if they are a mature, stable or developing partner. It indicates various factors, such as our relationship, account mapping, mutual goals and market presence. I also look at the technical adequacy of the platform and our integration.

Here is an example of the health card we use here. We've weighted each category differently because we see the most success in relationships, sales enablement and mutual KPIs.


Lessons & Learnings

Q: Being a remote worker can get a bit lonely — what does your support network look like?

I'm very fortunate to work with a few folks who live in the city, so we've attempted a few co-working days. I also try to get out of the house to enjoy time at coffee shops to feel the energy of a bustling environment.

"It never hurts to have a pet in the house"

I also get the chance to visit our warehouses, and when we get together as a team, that always fills my cup for the weeks and months to come. It never hurts to have a pet in the house, and a dedicated studio space that you can unplug from after work.

Q: What's the biggest challenge you face in your business/work today?

In a work-remote environment, I can't tap someone on the shoulder and ask them to explain something to me as I used to in an office. I find it very challenging to work with folks with poor or misleading communication skills. It's also a challenge to get in touch with someone if they are unresponsive, and you can't just go and nag them at their desk.

Q: How do you get "stuff" done? Are you a proponent of a particular productivity method, or do you prefer a "Post It" note on your monitor?

It depends on my habit of the week. We use a tool called Monday.com to manage our tasks, providing transparency for leadership into what we have going on. I find that helpful sometimes, but I'm also old-fashioned and love my paper and pen and the satisfaction of crossing something off that list.

I also have a timer on my desk and set it for 15-20 minutes to focus on a singular task, so I don't get sucked into a million different rabbit holes!

Q: What's the one bit of advice you would give someone starting out in the Shopify ecosystem today?

Stay curious. Stay kind. And most of all, find your tribe. This ecosystem is vast. Find the people you can lean on to help guide you and answer your plethora of questions. Be kind to those new to this space, and offer them support and guidance. And never stay complacent. If you don't thrive on change and new ways of expanding ecommerce, then this industry isn't for you.

And also, stay critical! It's not all roses and sunshine. It's not all billionaire dropshipping clubs! Ask the tough questions, and don't be afraid to stand up and speak up when you have something to contribute.

Q: How do you approach getting better at your craft, development, leadership etc.?

I can't just take a course and walk away feeling confident in my skill set. I need to practice and live in a tactile space. I learn best when I'm trying and doing the things I need to.

I browse Linkedin. I take almost every coffee meeting that comes my way, and I ask questions. I explore new tools and new habits, and I skim books (I don't read books, I don't have that attention span)

Q: Please share any influential books, blogs, authors etc., that have helped you in your work life.


Shopify

Q: What's the one missing Shopify feature you wish existed?

Shop gift cards. The ability to give someone a gift card for any store you can check out on Shop with.

Q: How do you keep up to date on what's new, what's outdated, or those pesky deprecated API calls that just might break your app?

We're very fortunate to work with an iPaas called Pandium that helps us stay up to date on some of the new integration APIs we plan to build with or leverage.

We also have some great ex-Shopifolk on our team who know how to keep their ears to the ground for those things, but it's not always perfect and things slip through the cracks.


Let's Get Technical

Q: What does your personal tech stack look like?

  • Apple Airpods Pro
  • Apple keyboard
  • Bonlook bluelight glasses
  • Macbook Air
  • Magnetic timer
  • Thunderbolt Display
  • Whiteboard, paper and pen!
  • Yeti Microphone

Q: What about apps that you can't live without?

  • Apple Music
  • Apple Notes
  • Chrome
  • Duolingo
  • Giphy keyboard
  • Monosnap
  • Planta — Helps me keep all my pandemic plant purchases alive
  • Slack
  • Spotify
  • Text Expander

Q: Do you have any funky/cool hardware you'd recommend?

A standing desk is honestly just a must these days. If you also take calls in low-lighting areas, get a LumeCube. I moved my desk to a window and didn't need it anymore, but it was perfect when things were darker.


And Finally

Q: What do you do for fun and relaxation?

I teach spin classes, I read trashy fiction books, I dream about travel, I reorganize the house, I host dinners, and go on long walks in our neighborhood.

Q: What's your favourite album/book/magazine/event of 2022?

Q: Share three of your favourite Shopify stores (if you have one, please include it)

Q: Where can people find out more about you?

My web site caitlinteed.com and Linkedin.


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This is the web site of Keir Whitaker — I'm a UK-based marketing consultant, business coach and founder of Craft+Work working with creative, digital, and ecommerce businesses.

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