In our latest tech profile, I chat with Ellie Kingshott, senior eCommerce platform technology advocate. That’s really a long title for awesome. She’s one of those special people who connects teams across the company to make sure our technology operates and enables us to move toward the same goal. Ellie also has an amazing English accent, so be sure to read with that in mind. Enjoy!
Tarran Street (TS): How long have you worked at Expedia and what made you want to work for the company?
Ellie Kingshott (EK): I’ve been working at Expedia, Inc., for three years and have been lucky to work within the travel industry for more than 15 years, holding various business strategic roles. When I moved to Seattle from the London, I asked myself, where do I want to work? And there was no better company to dive in with!
TS: You have a wordy title. Describe your day job for us in layman’s terms.
EK: Oh yes, the title. On a day-to-day basis I manage the strategic relationship between the eCommerce Platform (eCP) Tech organization (essentially Expedia’s internal service provider) and our largest brand, Expedia.com. This means I get to work with all the cool cats to ensure we have their technology infrastructure needs addressed, and I get to drive the relationship forward from a strategic mindset.
TS: What is one of your proudest accomplishments at Expedia?
EK: Just being able to work for Expedia, obviously! On a more serious note, I have had the honor of working on some special projects. I manage the open source process for Expedia, Inc., and over the last year we have successfully launched a handful of new software items (products and libraries) back out to the Open Source community. There were a bunch of us who were really intent on giving back to the community, so we prioritized it and made it happen. It felt like a huge accomplishment and there also will be more exciting things to come!
TS: Nearly all companies these days have IT support in some sense or another. What is Expedia doing that’s different?
EK: Expedia likes to push boundaries, we like to live on the edge. We are not a traditional IT support organization, as in, we are not the only tech team within the company. Each brand has its own technologists, meaning internal tech-to-tech partnership is high on the list of how our company works differently than others in the industry.
TS: How do you measure success?
EK: Measuring success comes in all forms; for our eCP Tech group—customer satisfaction ranks high on the list. When we talk customers we have two objectives. First is how we support our internal partners. Second is how the value of what we do impacts our real customers (yes, the folks booking on our websites around the world)! We all know that in business, speed to market is incredibly important. So while our Expedia, Inc., brands around the world are focused on driving more customers to our sites and building features that make us stand out, my team is making sure they are equipped with the right tech to make it all happen. On top of that, we also have to manage the cost of doing business in a way that doesn’t slow down our brands’ innovation. It’s a delicate balance but a highly rewarding one to manage.
TS: Gotcha! So what are your favorite tools you get to work with on the job?
EK: This is the sales and marketing geek in me, but I love confluence pages.
TS: Tech product you’re most looking forward to this year?
EK: Amazon Echo
TS: Really? Most people lately have said the Apple Watch.
EK: Oh no, I am an Android girl. And Alexa, I mean, the home of the future is coming! I’m a Brit, so it’s perfect for me when I need to order my tea – I just tell Alexa.
TS: Devices you rely on personally?
EK: MacBook Pro and my trusted Android phone. I wouldn’t (and couldn’t) go anywhere without my phone!
TS: Favorite travel destination?
EK: Anywhere! Past favorite places include Australia, Mexico, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Seriously, I love travel so much just the chance to travel to a country I’ve never been to and soak up the culture works for me.
TS: Where will your next trip be?
EK: Well it’s not planned yet, but I’m thinking about planning an all-inclusive vacation to the Caribbean. Can’t go wrong with that!
TS: Complete this sentence: A vacation isn’t complete without…
EK: Cocktails. And all the amazing local cuisine, I am a serious foodie.