Swire Coca-Cola | Cover Letter

To the Hiring Manager

Julie Simmons (Swire Coca-Cola’s CIO) recently forwarded me the job descriptions for two different roles: VP, Commercial Digital Strategy and Product Management, Emerging Technology.  Having read the overview and responsibilities of both roles, I can confidently say that my experience, competencies, and temperament align well with the needs as described.

My depth in digital marketing, product development, team building and leadership, make me uniquely qualified for the VP of Digital Strategy role but those who know me are keenly aware of my history building tools for retail merchandise audits (Whirlpool, LG, HTC, Samsung, Verizon), as well as my involvement in emerging technology that helps operationalize manufacturing, fulfillment & distribution (where I built tools for some of the largest printing companies in the world).  I have added a few images of products that I believe have some alignment with both the VP of Digital Strategy role as well as the Product Management role. 

Very recently(this past week) I finalized the sale of my current startup (Entori.com) and am eager to step into a new and fulfilling role where I can add value as a leader.

Regarding product management and leadership, my skills cover the spectrum as I have gone from ideation and problem refinement to full GA launch (0-1).  I have also stepped into organizations that had an existing portfolio of well-established products with regular release cadence.  I am equally comfortable managing up as I am managing down and thrive in both multi-billion-dollar public companies as I do in venture backed startups that have aggressive growth expectations.   I have owned and managed budgets in many of my prior roles and have had as many as 8 direct reports and dozens of in-directs rolling up.

I generally build and manage B2B SaaS products but have also built several consumer products for clients. I have vertical expertise in Retail, Fintech, SalesTech, IT & SecOps, Automotive, Entertainment, Aerospace and Heavy Industries.  From ICP and Persona refinement to Buyer and User Journey mapping to Directed Discovery and ultimately Requirement Definition(use-cases, epics, user stories), I have refined my craft to ensure features are properly validated (quantitative and qualitative) and effectively communicated to the engineering org.

As a product leader, I spend a considerable amount of time with the users of my products (observations, understanding preference, environmental or situational considerations). In addition, I spend significant time with the GTM teams(Marketing, Sales, Customer Success) and believe it sets me apart from other product talent. I establish customer advisory boards and regular feedback loops with sales to keep a pulse on traction, friction, and gaps that create churn. I build bridges between the GTM silos to ensure product takes a holistic approach to the customer journey and crafts a seamless product experience.

I have a deep understanding of the Software Development Cycle and have architected applications and managed developer operations (Agile Scrum & Kanban) with teams ranging from 4 to 20+.  This technical expertise grants me the ability to write granular ticket and requirements, oftentimes including code snippets or solutions to expedite the completion.  I have built projects in React/Node, Angular, Node, Php (Laravel & Fatfree), .net, and have expertise in serverless and microservices architecture as well as monolithic apps. I know how to build efficiencies in agile product pods and have a knack for pinpointing gaps in the delivery process.

On a personal note, I am an adventure seeking husband and father of 3.  Our home base is near Salt Lake City, UT but we also have a residence in Costa Rica where you can occasionally find us in the surf lineup.  From being a sponsored skateboarder in my teens to being employed by Michael Jackson in my 20s, it is safe to say that I have not followed a traditional path.  My ambition, hustle, tenacity, and growth-mindset have served me, my teammates, and employers well.

Before I can raise my hand confidently as a candidate, I would hope to learn a bit more about the maturity of your product organization, your ideal customer profile, and the general vision or established roadmap.

I am eager to have conversations with your team and even if I am not your final selection for the job, I feel the discussions will be enlightening for both parties.

Looking forward to next steps,

Ian Barkley