David Wallace

Senior E-commerce Analyst, Kohl's
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What do you do for work? Give us a few reasons why you love it.
I’m a Senior E-commerce Analyst for a national retailer. I’m responsible for managing our digital profitability tools. I enjoy the work because the e-commerce landscape changes month to month. The methods, procedures and technology that was effective 6 months ago isn’t necessarily going to keep you competitive in the future. So there’s a constant need to adapt and move forward, and that’s energizing for me, personally.
 
Your current company aside, name two other companies that you admire and explain why.
Zappos – They’re willing to challenge conventional wisdom at every turn. They test new ideas and are comfortable dealing with the outcome – good or bad. They set the bar for online customer experience.

Tesla – Because they challenged an industry with massive barriers to entry. The reasons to not build an auto company from the ground up are innumerable, but they’ve found a way to build and sell cars that resonates with people.
 
In your opinion, what is wrong with the corporate world and how would you fix it?
The biggest problem I’ve experienced is that success is often measured by short-term growth in revenue and margins with a secondary regard for long-term strategy. Corporations are too eager to appease Wall Street and drive shareholder value at the expense of long-term positioning. Corporations succeed over the long run because they create, take risks, and innovate – all of which are more difficult for public companies. Fixing this is easy in the sense that a privately held company doesn’t experience this pressure. They’re free to pursue the long-term strategy they think best without penalty.
 
Which is more important: talent or work ethic? Why?
Work ethic. I’ve been fortunate to know a few truly talented people, and each one worked extremely hard – to the point where I wondered if they were a true natural talent, or if they simply worked at their craft to the point that their work ethic began to masquerade as talent.

Curiosity + Work Ethic = Talent (or something closely resembling it over time).
 
How do you want the world to be different because you lived in it?
I hope the world is a little more gracious. Life is hard, and being a person who is benevolent and compassionate can have a lasting trickle-down effect that spreads beyond my little sphere of influence.