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9 Questions with Elliott P., Software Engineer and Co-Host of the Shipt Show

From shoppers to members to engineers, marketers, and our shopper appreciation team, it’s the people who make Shipt, Shipt. In this series, we get to know the members of our diverse community, from their shopping list staples to their dream deliveries.

If you’ve ever watched the Shipt Show, then you’ve seen charismatic city-launcher-turned-software-engineer Elliott P. in his element. Throughout his three years at Shipt, Elliott has worn many hats – from creating launch party guests lists to learning to code, to Shipt Show host – his story is unlike any other. Elliott started his career at Shipt, forging his own path from bright-eyed college graduate to established software engineer while discovering his passions along the way. Keep reading to learn more about Elliott’s journey, his obsession with hot peppers and love for Matthew McConaughey.  

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1) You have a really unique career trajectory here at Shipt. Can you tell us a bit about how you started with Shipt and transitioned from a City Launcher to now a full-time Software Developer?

I had a music degree from a small liberal arts school and was on my way to Nashville to be a music producer after graduation. Meanwhile, my buddy had just started as the third employee at Shipt, and kept saying how I needed to interview there. When I finally gave in and interviewed for a customer service position, they actually made a new position for me called “city launcher.” All I knew was I would start the next Monday and figure it out.

During my first two years, I worked on city expansions and traveled to the launches. In between, I would work on figuring out how to help streamline the labor-intensive, manual workflows involved. By necessity, I had to wear a million hats – it felt like I was drinking 12 espresso shots a day just to keep up with how fast we were growing! I ended up dabbling in code and came to realize how much I loved helping out that facet of the business.

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One day, I had an epiphany that I was ready to take on engineering full time. The next day, I asked Bill (Shipt’s CEO and founder) if I could go to a bootcamp to start my transition to becoming an engineer. Just like that, he said yes – if I were to find one, Shipt would pay for it. By the end of that day, I had found a 9-week bootcamp in Copenhagen, Denmark and was on my way to my new career path. When I returned, I went through the same interview process as the other engineering candidates, took the engineering test, and got the job!

2) In addition to your roles as a City Launcher and now Engineer, you also are a host of the Shipt Show! How did that come together?

In 2015, our marketing lead asked me and our head developer, Patrick, if we wanted to do a show together. The original idea was to film something once a month that would tell our customers about new app updates. I had done singing performances in college, but never any public speaking so I was nervous. The first episode was a bit of banter between Patrick and I, followed by a series of awkward product updates. The next one we did was more casual – we had a beer and talked about our favorite breweries. The series has turned into something really representative of our internal culture: shared love for our customers and shoppers with a light-hearted and joyful attitude.

We film episodes at city launches as well as “local love” segments. It’s been awesome getting to meet people across the country and showcase the diverse places our shoppers call home. It’s truly been one of my favorite parts of this whole job. It’s something fun people here value and I’m honored to be a part of it.

3) What’s your favorite Shipt Show episode?

Two shows ago, we did an episode at a conference here in Birmingham called Sloss Tech. We had a lot of fun getting to meet a wide range of passionate people and being back in our hometown was uniquely special.

4) What’s the most unexpected item in your fridge right now?

I’m weirdly a huge pepper head! I have some Carolina Reaper hot sauce from a local farmers market here in Birmingham made from one of the hottest peppers in the world. I love to put it on my omelettes every morning. Just like they tell super spies to take arsenic in small doses to build up immunity to poison, it’s my immunity training to peppers!

5) What excites you most about your job?

The autonomy of it all. Everyone at Shipt is a decision maker. That applies to anything from deciding which software to buy, to pitching in to help a Shopper in need, to making a career change. If I feel like something is the best decision, I’ve been empowered to make it happen. You truly can make your own destiny here.

6) What’s the last book you read?

“Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, one of my favorite authors. When I was first interviewing for Shipt, Bill actually asked me this same question! He started the interview by asking about my college hobbies – the first thing I said was reading. He asked me about the book I was reading and how I would apply it working at Shipt. The book was also by Malcolm Gladwell, called “Tipping Point”.

7) What’s your favorite place in your city?

Canvas Church – it’s a source of comfort and peace. My dad’s a pastor here in Birmingham and I’ve always loved going to his church.  

8) If you could deliver groceries to anyone in the world, who would it be?

A tie between Elon Musk and Matthew McConaughey. They are two of the most accomplished people in two fields I’m interested in and have the utmost respect for. There is so much to being an actor. I see movies as one of the most powerful mediums we can communicate with (on top of Matthew being one of the coolest dudes of all time). Then Elon is the stuff of legends – sending rockets to space while also changing the auto and payments industry?! There is no limit to what he can do. He will be remembered as one of the most interesting people of all time.  

9) Complete this sentence: I love working at Shipt because….

It doesn’t feel like work at Shipt. Every day I get to come in and explore, play, learn, grow and spend time with my favorite people.

Got a burning question for Elliott? Share it in the comments!  

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