My Journey

 

Mike Lipman

E-Commerce Business & Technology Leader

Mike Lipman Professional Profile Picture Mike Lipman Professional Profile Picture

With over 15 years of E-Commerce & IT background and a Kellogg MBA, I offer a unique blend of technical expertise and business savvy.

For the past 10+ years, I've led the team responsible for all digital user experience, graphic design, and front-end web development for a multi-billion dollar company.

My passion for the web manifests itself in crafting dynamic E-Commerce ecosystems that utilize the latest techniques & standards to exceed business objectives.

With over 14 years of E-Commerce & IT background and a Kellogg MBA, I offer a unique blend of technical expertise and business savvy.

For the past 8+ years, I've led the team responsible for all digital user experience, graphic design, and front-end web development for a multi-billion dollar company.

My passion for the web manifests itself in crafting dynamic E-Commerce ecosystems that utilize the latest techniques & standards to exceed business objectives.

My Journey

My Journey: Commodore 128 + BASIC

Commodore 128

I'll never forget that ubiquitous green and gray screen...

Commodore 128 BASIC Screen

My earliest memory of computers was around age 5 with our Commodore 128. It was fairly state-of-the-art at the time owing to its massive 128k of RAM, double that of the aptly named Commodore 64.

Touchdown Football

I already loved playing games like Touchdown Football but what really started my love for computers was a game my Dad built for me using BASIC.

Flukys

It was a crude, frogger-like game based on a popular hot dog restaurant near our house named Fluky's. I was fascinated that he was able to enter in commands and get the computer to do what he wanted it to. This effectively shaped my career path as I've been playing around with programming ever since.

I'll never forget that ubiquitous green and gray screen...

Commodore 128 BASIC Screen
Touchdown Football
Flukys

Structured Programming + PASCAL

Linked List

To prepare for a computer science focus in college, I took my first formal courses in computing during my junior and senior year of high school.

Pascal Book

First was Structured Programming, where I learned the basics of writing code (conditionals, loops, etc.). Looking back, I appreciate the strategy taken by my instructors in using PASCAL — given its natural language syntax, it reduced the learning barrier for students getting their first exposure to a computer language.

Big-O Notation

I followed that up with AP Computer Science which was focused less on code and more on computational theory. While I didn't appreciate it at the time, learning the nuances of how a language is compiled and taking execution time into consideration was quite valuable as I moved into college.

Pascal Book
Big-O Notation
Pascal Syntax Snippet
Another Pascal Syntax Snippet
Recursion
Linked List

University Of Illinois

C++ BookJava Book

Majoring in Computer Science in the College of Engineering at The University Of Illinois, I took a variety of computing courses including languages (C++, Java), operating systems, computer architecture, and software engineering.

Software Engineering BookComputer Organization & Design Book

My experiences in this rigorous program solidified my desire to pursue a career in computing, though ironically it wasn't until my last semester that I was exposed to the possibilities of javascript and the web — there were very few formal classes in web programming at the time since the internet was still in its infancy (1998 – 2002).

Psychology BookBusiness Book

Almost as valuable as the classes in my chosen major were electives in other, unrelated disciplines. A course on the psychology of happiness had perhaps the most interesting subject matter of any class, and I continue to seek out articles on the topic to this day. A random Quantum Mechanics course paved the way for what will be a lifetime of interest in that amazing field (see about me). And a series of courses in Marketing set the stage for my later venture into business school.

C++ Book
Java Book
Software Engineering Book
Business Book
Quantum Mechanics Book
Psychology Book

U.S. Cellular

PowerBuilder

I joined U.S. Cellular's IT department a week after graduation in 2002. My responsibilities included the consturction and maintenance of screens in the company's billing system, specifically around Point of Sale and Inventory Control.

C Programming

The technologies were older, even for the time. I used PowerBuilder to construct the UI with C and COBOL in the background to enable services that utilized Oracle PL/SQL scripts to get information from the database. I also gained experience in working with testing and presenting screens + functionality to business users.

Oracle PL/SQL

Though I enjoyed the work, I decided within a couple years that I wanted more out of my career than being restricted to the world of information technology. That led me to pursue my MBA.

 
PowerBuilder
C Programming
COBOL Programming
Oracle PL/SQL

Northwestern University

Living in the Chicago area, I was fortunate to have my pick of world-class MBA institutions. I decided on Northwestern over the University of Chicago due largely to its leading Marketing program.

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a bit intimidating at first — I was one of the younger students when I started (25) and worked full-time in a job that had little to do with my studies. But I persevered and finished as one of only 8 students out of a graduating class of over 1000 with a perfect GPA.

Along the way, I learned invaluable lessons in finance, advanced data-driven marketing techniques, and leadership, to name a few. The knowledge gained and relationships formed during that grueling 3+ year experience were well worth the effort.

U.S. Cellular (cont.)

Web Technologies

Halfway through my MBA program, I transferred into the Marketing department at U.S. Cellular to manage the external website (www.uscellular.com). At the time there were just three associates building and maintaining pages and I was the only one with technical know-how. It was decidedly Web 1.0 with table-based layouts using HTML4, CSS2 and just a hint of javascript. Most display logic was encapsulated in the Java layer.

HTML4
JavaScript
CSS2
jsp
php
Coremetrics
Domain Management
Google Anaytics
SEO
jQuery
Web Technologies

With the help of the two graphic designers on staff I re-designed and re-coded all pages of the buying flow from the ground up, on both the front and back-ends. Gone were the array of tables, replaced with a standards-based div layout and increased javascript responsibility for display logic. Daily orders immediately doubled and I was then given responsibility for the analytics, SEO, and domain management.

Web Technologies

As E-commerce grew in importance for the organization, I was named manager for the team responsible for all UX, graphic design, front-end coding, and interfacing with Accenture, who now managed the back-end and servers. Since then, I've led the addition of numerous site enhancements and several ventures into mobile-optimized sites.

sass
haml
coffeescript
requirejs
android
html5
css3
grunt
bower
yeoman
phonegap
iOS
Web Technologies

The channel has experienced double-digit growth in activations and overall transactions every year since I began. For the past four years, the buy flow that my team designed has been evaluated by independent analyses as more usable and intuitive than sites by Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. I'm also honored to have won two company-wide leadership awards.

Web Technologies

I've now fully transitioned from developer into manager, focusing on E-commerce strategy, technology assessment, and resource management. Though I'm excited to take my leadership to the next level, I'll always have the expertise and passion for the technical side of making e-commerce experiences both usable and enjoyable for customers.

mocha
phantomjs
backbone
emberjs
angularjs
bootstrap
zurb foundation
nodejs

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