Perhaps no Seattle startup is moving quite as fast as Zulily, the daily deal site for moms which just scored $85 million in funding at a whopping $1 billion valuation. The company has hired hundreds of employees; opened warehouses in Ohio and Nevada; launched service in Europe; and topped more than 10 million subscribers — and it has done all of that in under three years.
Growing at that rate is no easy task. And making sure that the trains run on time at Zulily is Chief Information Officer Luke Friang, a Seattle technology veteran who previously served as CIO at drugstore.com and senior director of e-commerce technologies at Costco.
When Friang joined the company 20 months ago, it was teetering, with a fragile Web site that was struggling under the traffic load and package delivery times that were angering customers.
Friang and his team had to overhaul the back-end system in real time, otherwise Seattle’s fastest-growing company would grind to a complete halt.
As part of his management philosophy, Friang has adopted a “fail fast” mentality, one which pushes the growing team of developers to innovate at what the company dubs “Zulily Time.”
“You can’t be an online retailer without amazing technology, and be ultra successful,” Friang told GeekWire earlier this year. “You can be average and make due and plug along, but if you really want to be the best in your space, if you want to be out in front and innovating and bringing amazing new features to your customers every week, you better have a pretty talented technology staff, and you better focus on it.”
We’re pleased to name Luke Friang to our list of GeekWire Newsmakers of the Year for 2012.
We’re spotlighting all of our Newsmakers on GeekWire this month, leading up to the GeekWire Gala Dec. 6 at McCaw Hall in Seattle. Many of the newsmakers, including Friang; Madrona Venture Group’s Matt McIlwain and Greg Gottesman; and Concur CEO Steve Singh, will be joining us and the rest of the tech community that night to mark a remarkable year of news. Tickets available here.