Since my work laptop arrived Wednesday and I cleared the I-9 hurdle this morning, I’m incredibly happy to announce that I have accepted a Web Marketing Operations Manager role at Zillow Group, starting next week!
What will I be doing? From the job description:
- Partner with the website marketing team and program managers to define and execute on the web technology stack with the goal of supporting marketing initiatives
- Build and handle web pages and merchandising placements within the content management system (CMS) based on business requirements
- Work with marketing and development teams to coordinate requirements and govern website tagging and tracking
- Drive and configure integrations of tools such as customer data platform, A/B testing, forms, and other technologies with the CMS
- Build and maintain a high level web technology roadmap
- Coordinate the selection and management of agencies and third-party vendors for web consulting and platform execution
- Collaborate with other marketing operations partners to ensure website solutions are in alignment with other channel approaches
- Stay plugged into emerging technologies/industry trends in the web technology space and apply them to strategies and tactics
A few of the many things that attracted me to the role are that Zillow Group is in the midst of shifting their business model from essentially selling ads against their inventory to a vertically integrated real estate solution in a sector that is ripe for disruption, the ability to learn more about the marketing discipline, and that everyone I talked with just seemed like good people. Zillow Group has also embraced flexible work, so I won’t have to commute every day and they score well for gender equality. They’re also hiring, so come work with me!
And to answer the question, “Heather, what the heck have you been doing since you left IMDb almost five years ago?” – it’s been a ride.
When I left IMDb I had resolved to take six months off to just be a mom for my kids after a turbulent year and feeling burnt out on tech. Around month five, just when I was getting the itch to get back to work, my mom unexpectedly passed away. It hit me hard, and with the object lesson of life being short I decided to take more time off to support one of my kids who needed some extra help, settle my mom’s estate, and figure out what was next for me. One year turned into two and then bled into a third before realizing that spending down my retirement fund wasn’t the smartest financial move.
Prior to my mom’s death I had visions of doing user/customer experience consulting, but freelancing is hard and requires a lot of hustle, and I just didn’t have it in me at the time. So, I turned my attention to a side project that I’ve been incubating for a few years, Alluvial Lux, designing and fabricating custom freshwater aquarium sculptures. Throughout 2019 I worked to get the business structure set up and start work on my first design. As my money started to run out, I realized I needed another job and started looking in September 2019.
My 2020 plan was to work full time in tech and use weekends and nights to get Alluvial Lux up and running, using my living room as a gallery showroom for the sculptures, and see what happened.
I was intentional in looking for an all- or mostly-remote gig, and interviewed at WordPress VIP (VIP), a subsidiary of Automattic, a remote-only company for an Enterprise Technical Account Manager role. Hiring in there took about six months(!) and my first day of work in March 2020 coincided with the first Covid lockdowns in the Seattle area. My Alluvial Lux plans were put on pause because the whole world changed and I wasn’t about to have people I didn’t know over to the house.
On the surface, VIP seemed like a perfect fit; it’s managed WordPress web hosting at scale and was very digital.forest-like. I’d be able to marry my web operations background with my experience in supporting enterprise customers. The reality turned out to be not so great for me.
The 7/24 nature of the business gave me stress flashbacks to digital.forest, there was more technical support than I realized or wanted (my bad for not realizing that beforehand), and over time I realized I didn’t fit well into their technical operations and business cultures. But ultimately I lost faith in leadership over a business decision they made that I was morally opposed to and their dissembling and condescending justifications for making it is what drove me to seek a new job.
I did make some great friends there and I wish my former colleagues at VIP all the best.
Onward to the future!