First Movers: Meagan Bowman
MEAGAN BOWMAN is founder of STOPWATCH™ by Stonehenge Technology Labs.
Coding since age 11. Earning a paycheck since age 13. Mom since age 23.
Moved from Seattle/St. Louis to Bentonville, Arkansas upon the announcement of Walmart’s Jet.com acquisition. A student of Amazon’s technical operations, the prospect of multi-player competition within an under-developed game space was just too exciting to pass up.
Why did you choose to pursue eCommerce in your career? My kids were selling more through their online accounts than the billion-dollar corporation I was working for. It started as a competition with my 13-year-old – seeing who could make the most money selling random items via Amazon 3P.
What is your biggest strength, and how have you used it for your success in eCommerce? I’m relentless and I love broken systems, because people don’t take the time to unpack things that are messy… it’s like a big game. And I’ve learned over the years… I’m pretty good at games.
What is the weirdest skill or talent to come in handy in your eCommerce experience? I can write fluently using the Greek alphabet. Good for code.
How have you most successfully influenced change within your organization (or with your clients)? Making the shipping floor as trafficked by C-suite executives as the board room.
What was your most “valuable” career failure, and why? When I was 14, I was working at the GAP and my store manager got called to an all-Mall holiday preparation meeting. She gave me the keys to lock up and told me I was in charge of the evening closing procedures. Another employee didn’t get all the dust bunnies up off the floor, so I told her she was fired. I had no authority to do this (little did I know). And we worked together for 3 summers after that. Big difference between leading via influence via position.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life? Saying “thank you” to at least 10 people every day. Whether it’s my kids, an old mentor, someone on my team, one of our members, even someone we ‘compete’ with. Those are two words no one hears enough.
What are you learning right now? 12×12 Rubik’s cube… so many zoom meetings got me like….
What are the 1-3 songs that would make up your career soundtrack today?
- Sk8er Boi by Avril Lavigne… it’s the ultimate “work hard, buck the system, and make something big happen when no one thinks you can do it” song.
What are the 1-3 books you’ve gifted the most or that have greatly influenced your life, and why?
- The GOAL by Eliyahu M. Godratt.
Required reading before your first day on the job at Amazon back in the early 2000’s.
Required reading before your first day on the job at Stonehenge Technology Labs.
I give this book for every occasion: high school graduation, college graduation, quinceaneras, bar/bat mitzfas, first communions, wedding showers, baby showers, block parties, teacher gifts, retirement, baptisms… Heck I have even given edition updates to my husband for more than one anniversary.
The book is essentially an operational soap opera where the main character, a plant manager within a small town, journeys to preserve the livelihood of over ¾ of the town’s population by avoiding shutdown of the plant. He, and his below-average management team, break down the manufacturing process one step at a time and, in the end, earn the company more money in one year than thought possible over a decade. This book was written back in 1984 and is single-handedly the most important book business schools never teach. Ironically, the book titled 1984 written by George Orwell is a highly controversial social-political novel describing a dystopian future ruled by a televised ‘big brother’ is another one of my favorites. Apple rooted the launch of its Macintosh personal computer in 1984 as a juxtaposition to Orwell’s imagined state.
If you could have a gigantic billboard for the world to see with anything on it, what would it say, and why? “STOP PRETENDING.”
What are the worst recommendations or advice you have heard related to eCommerce? Spend more on advertising.
It’s all about content, images, reviews.
Use legal means to protect your brand and MAP pricing.
We don’t need to really focus on _____ (enter long tail .com site that no one hears about) because we don’ t do any business with them.
What advice would you give to a future leader of change about to enter business, or specifically the eCommerce field? Have fun! Know yourself… if you don’t enjoy no-code/low-code hands on keyboard type stuff make sure you have a team around you that can knock those things through while you focus on your pieces. Also spend a lot of time with teenagers. They’ll blow your mind.
What specific, industry-related change do you believe will happen that few others seem to see? Peer-to-Peer shopping/shipping/consignment.
What is the last thing you bought online, and why? No lie – Jason Alexander hoodie off some random Amazon 3p seller 24 hours after Superbowl. Mike Black (Profitero) got me pretty amped to track it and I ended up drop shipping one to Don Brett too. Not sure if we’ll ever actually see the sweatshirts, but it was a fun order!
First Movers is a change leader interview series featuring select industry pioneers who are boldly driving the evolution of digital commerce, the consumer and everything in between.