West Stringfellow

West Stringfellow's career has focused on driving innovation and product management at scale. He is currently Founder and CEO of HowDo.com, his effort to teach the world how to innovate.

Prior to founding HowDo West successfully led innovation at Target, PayPal & VISA; founded the partnership between Target and Techstars; served as Chief Product Officer at RosettaStone & Bigcommerce; and was a Senior Product Manager at Amazon.


EXPERIENCE

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BIO

 
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Prior to starting HowDo.com, West Stringfellow spent 20+ years launching products and leading innovation at both corporate giants and startups, holding executive-level innovation and product management roles at Target, PayPal, VISA, Rosetta Stone, GraysOnline and BigCommerce and spending 3 years at Amazon as a Senior Product Manager. 

As Vice President, Innovation at Target (joining Target in March, 2015 as the company's first Entrepreneur-in-Residence) he founded a company, codenamed “Goldfish,” which he built inside Target. In December 2015, he was promoted to VP after proposing the creation of Target’s Internal Innovation and Operations team to explore, develop and scale company-wide innovative growth opportunities. West also proposed, created and led the Techstars Retail Accelerator, in partnership with Target. West was selected as a 2016 Minnesota Business Magazine’s “Real” Power 50, an honor that is awarded to “The linchpins in their company. The connectors in their industry. The heart of the operation. The ones who make things happen.”

As Chief Product Officer at Bigcommerce, West proposed and opened the San Francisco office hiring 60+ people in 4 months. To accomplish this aggressive hiring plan, West proposed and executed the #Poached recruiting campaign that resulted in over 13MM+ social media impressions – the largest PR event in the company’s history. West also refocused the engineering and product teams to improve product performance, stability and quality by creating a dedicated bug squad that killed 500+ bugs and took platform availability to 99.9%+. Ultimately, West led the development of a new strategy which enabled Bigcommerce to secure $50MM in Series D funding. 

As Chief Product Officer at Rosetta Stone, West helped Rosetta Stone accelerate from a company that hadn’t launched a new product in three years to launching six products in one year. Among the product launches was Rosetta Stone’s first targeted product lines for business, which is now the primary focus of the company. West’s team also launched Rosetta Stone’s first bespoke kids product – Lingo Letters – which achieved iTunes #2 in downloads for Kids Free apps and was awarded “Best Learning App (Smartphone)” at the 2013 iKids Awards. To accomplish the new launches, West proposed an aggressive acquisition strategy and led due diligence and the M&A process for Rosetta Stone's purchase of Live Mocha and Lexia Learning, 

As Senior Director, Emerging Opportunities at PayPal West led the design and launch of PayPal’s point of sale platform, which won Pmynts.com “Most Innovative” at the 2013 Innovator Awards at Harvard. He also built and led the Global Product Platform team, strategy and business function. In his role leading Product and Customer Experience for PayPal Australia, West and his team retained 3MM+ AU customers by successfully developing new compliances products and procedures which successfully remediated an enforceable undertaking with the Australian government. 

Prior to PayPal, West was Vice President, Innovation and eCommerce at VISA Europe where he proposed and built a online payment method that VISA Europe positioned as a competitor to PayPal. Before VISA he spent three years as a Senior Product Manager at Amazon, where he ran European Merchant Risk and reduced fraud loss by 98%, launched Amazon’s digital video platform and operations, proposed and championed Amazon’s first billable web service and proposed and built Amazon’s first fraud office in Bangalore, India. 

West Stringfellow graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2001 (Go Buffs!) with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

West ♥s data, innovation, products, platforms, startups, America, Earth and space. He has a strong ability to rock.

 

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS  

Below please find some of the highlights of West Stringfellow's experience:
 

BUILT & LAUNCHED

Target: Proposed and built Target's 1st Internal innovation team and program

Target + Techstars: Proposed and built world’s 1st Retail Accelerator and partnership with Techstars

Rosetta Stone

  • 1st kid’s products. Ranked #2 iTunes Free Kids. Won iKids “Best Learning App”
  • 1st SaaS learning platform and B2B product line, now primary focus of company
  • 1st micro-lesson app: Travel
  • 1st Seattle, Austin and San Francisco offices, hired 70+ employees

PayPal

  • Built 1st point of sale product and platform
  • Point of sale product won 2013 “Most Innovative” from PYMNTS.com
  • Proposed and built the platform strategy; then platform team and program

Amazon

  • Built and launched 1st digital video platform
  • Proposed, built and launched 1st fraud office in India, hired 20+ employees
  • Proposed and ran 1st Marketplace Merchant conference resulting in $6M+ incremental sales
  • Proposed the 1st billable web service: Historical Pricing

Bigcommerce: proposed and built the 1st San Francisco office, hired 60+ employees

REBUILT

Rosetta Stone

  • Rebuilt the core Android and iOS mobile apps, lifting iTunes feedback from 1 to 4.5+ stars
  • Corporate strategy; then product, engineering and design teams and programs

PayPal: Rebuilt Australia’s compliance infrastructure, retaining 3M+ AU consumers

VISA: Rebuilt Verified by VISA in Europe, increasing usage by 130% YOY

Amazon: Rebuilt the European Fraud program and team, reducing fraud by 98%

Bigcommerce: Corporate strategy; then product, engineering and design teams and programs

INTERNATIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE

West worked and lived overseas for 7 years:

  • London, England: 4 years working as Vice President, Innovation and eCommerce at VISA, Europe and Senior Product Manager at Amazon UK
  • Sydney, Australia: 3 years working as Director, Product and Customer Experience at PayPal, Head of Marketing and Product at GraysOnline, and Chief Product Officer at Bigcommerce
  • Bangalore, India6 months designing, developing and staffing Amazon's first fraud analytics facility in India - now the largest such facility for Amazon.

WRITING

View West's writing on LinkedIn and Medium. Selected posts include: 

SPEAKING

West has been invited to speak at G100, ShopTalk, BrandGarage, Intrapreneurship Conference, F.ounders, and Grow2012

 

AS FEATURED IN

 
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Fast Company

Can Target And Techstars Turn Minnesota Into The Next Silicon Valley?

With its first retail-oriented program, Techstars and Target are hoping to turn Minneapolis into a hot new destination for entrepreneurs.

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Fortune

Meet the Entrepreneurs Trying to Get Target to Think Like a Startup

After spending years as a product manager at Amazon, PayPal and Rosetta Stone, West Stringfellow, 37, decided to take a 10-month vacation and travel. 

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Mashable

5 Tips for Improving Your Ecommerce Revenues

Online shopping has created an efficient and enjoyable shopping experience for its users, and now, brick-and-mortar shops are trying to do just the same — by moving the online experience offline.

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The Next Web

10 guidelines to help you innovate and get stuff done

Innovation is simple. You don’t have to be a genius, or boast an MBA from Harvard, or carry some McKinsey strategy in your back pocket. You don’t even have to have an original idea. You simply have to be able to get shit done.

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Business Insider

A Tech Startup Is Literally Poaching Google And Facebook Employees While They Wait For A Ride To Work

The tech world is certainly competitive. Some companies in the Silicon Valley have even been accused of shady practices when it comes to recruiting from other companies.

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Forbes

Rosetta Stone Launches A Digital Learning App For Preschoolers

Rosetta Stone's first foray into the consumer kids learning app market includes “activities that promote English phonetic awareness, pronunciation of letter sounds, and a grasp of everyday Spanish phrases.”

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The Wall Street Journal 

Rosetta Stone Acquires Livemocha to Decipher the Cloud

The language learning company hopes to accelerate its transition to the modern era by acquiring a rival with its roots in the cloud rather than the stone age of CDs.

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