A Week in My Life: Alex O'Byrne, Co-Founder and Director of We Make Websites

Josh Peachey's picture

International digital commerce agency, We Make Websites, has been creating best-in-class sites on Shopify Plus since 2009.

We caught up with Alex O’Byrne for a glimpse into his recent working week, hopping between the company’s London and New York offices.

Monday

I’m over at our London HQ today—tend to get here around five times a year. We’re kick-starting our week by rounding up the gang in the kitchen for the usual, company-wide, Monday breakfast meeting (and with my body clock thinking it’s 4am, I’ve got to say, I’m welcoming the caffeine boost). Such a great vibe this morning, having just launched the new BBC website, alongside a refresh of Skinnydip’s Shopify Plus store. Claps all around the kitchen.

Weekly meeting done, my Co-Founder, Piers, and I get together with a few team members and start planning ahead for 2020 growth. 2020, yep. Sounds like the future. The decade has flown by and it’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for more than 10 years.

Before I know it, I’m heading out of the office for a late lunch with long-term client, Lightbox. It’s late by the time we finish, but onto Cittie of Yorke on High Holborn for a pint. I miss London pubs and I’ll always try to squeeze in a drink with friends while I’m over this side. Though just the one—I’ve a back-to-back Tuesday tomorrow. Maybe two...

Tuesday

It’s my last day in London before I head back to New York, and most of it’s filled with meetings.

I pencil in some time to catch up with the department leads so I know everything’s running great. Plus, it gives us an opportunity to discuss anything that needs tackling together. There are a few new faces around the UK office since my last visit too, so I grab coffee and make sure we’re introduced.

This aft, I’ve a get-together with the marketing team about Brands of TMRW. This is a local community we’ve been running for the last two years in both London and New York, for e-commerce leaders building the “brands of tomorrow”—think the likes of Eve, Glosser, and Calvin Klein. We have a number of new members who’ve recently joined the network, so I’ll be throwing a welcome dinner tonight at The Hoxton for those guys. Really looking forward to hearing everyone’s stories and listening to some fresh perspectives on digital commerce.

A successful evening with great conversation before hitting the hay at a semi-reasonable time—super early flight home tomorrow to get me back in the NYC office for midday.

Wednesday

A smooth flight across the pond and a relatively smooth journey from the mind-numbing chaos of JFK has me back catching up with the NYC team by lunch, right on schedule. I’m very proud of this new team. Since opening our doors here in Nomad less than a year ago, we’ve become a bunch of 10. We’re hiring, by the way.

Expanding over this side actually made us the first Shopify-only, international agency. And New York’s proving perfect for us—huge economy, the primary market for Shopify Plus, and a city full of exciting brands and talented people. There’s a real buzz, especially around DTC brands.

This afternoon, we get our heads down. We’re prepping for a very important pitch we’ve got tomorrow for a potential new client. Exciting stuff.

For 5 pm meetings, it’s too late for coffee, so I prefer to go for a pint. This week, Tom Goodwin and I meet for one and discuss the terrible design we’ve seen recently—and all that’s wrong with the world.  

Thursday

Big day today, I’m heading to a huge pitch alongside one of our Sales team, Grace. The VC firm of the consumer brand we’re pitching to will be coming along to this one too, so it’s pretty important I be there. The added seat for an investor is becoming the norm.

After that, my afternoon will be spent flying to Toronto, ready for business tomorrow. Had a fair bit of travelling this week, which is always good in allowing me a little time to catch up on emails and the odd bit of admin. 

I arrive in time to attend the launch party of another Shopify Plus agency’s office in Toronto. We’re a friendly bunch in the Shopify world.

Friday

Wake up in Toronto. 

Lots of meetings on today’s agenda with consultants, some tech partners, as well as our friends at Shopify. I’ll actually be dropping by Shopify’s new digs for our chat this afternoon, over in the King and Portland Centre. It’s like being in Elysium.

Across the company, in either office, we always stop at 5 pm on Fridays for a wind-down. In the NY office, that means heading to a twee British pub off Park Avenue. I appreciate the team helping me feel at home.

And that’s a wrap—a busy week of travel, meetings… and more meetings. Going to head upstate New York to camp this weekend. I like to hike and end up in a good brewery. Not the worst way to see off a busy week.