Shapers: John Mulliken

Show aired on 29th August 2015

Transcript

John Mulliken is Senior Vice President of International & Strategic Initiatives, Wayfair.

At Wayfair, one of the world’s largest online retailers of home furnishings, John sits on the senior executive team and leads all international business. He splits his time between London and Berlin, as well as traveling to trade fairs around Europe to work with the world’s best designers and manufacturers of home furnishings to source the products Wayfair offers every day. He founded Joss & Main, Wayfair’s curated flash sales site for the home, as well as Wayfair’s media business. Prior to Wayfair, John worked for a decade in strategic management consulting, most recently at The Boston Consulting Group, where he was a leader in the Multi-Channel Retail practice and the Global Center for Consumer Insight. He was lucky to live in the San Francisco area during the first round of dot com businesses, where he built novel e-publishing business at companies like BePress.com.  He has also worked as a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank and edited a newsletter on superconductivity. Originally from New York City, John earned his M.B.A. from London Business School and holds a B.A. from Reed College. An avid sailor, skier, and Lake District fell walker, John lives with his wife and their two children in Belsize Park, London.

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“I think that, if you are a New Yorker in London, everyone thinks you are gregarious – and it is probably true of me.”

“Keeping everyone laser focused and not making it too complicated is the big challenge as you move from being a start-up to a fairly large company.”

“To be very honest, when I started out, I had a lot of difficulty shooting from the hip”

“The speed of hiring that we are going through is kind of staggering, even to me.”

“I have more fun in my career today than I ever did.”

“When you see that someone is interested in a brown sofa, if you try to sell them more brown sofas once they have purchased one, you look like a fool.”

“Folks come into our office and they will say ‘that was an amazing meeting but I couldn’t tell you who was in charge’ – and I will say, ‘well that’s just the point'”

“I was knee deep in spreadsheets and statistical analysis and I thought it was great fun. I am a bit of a nerd.”

“At Wayfair we sell furniture, and that’s just hard. It’s harder than slipping a book or something in an envelope and putting it through the mail slot.”

“I do love inventing. I think I am never going to be able to stop that.”