Full–time Position

Product Development Director

Blackbox is hiring a product development director to manage products that enable independent artists to sell and ship their creations to their customers.

About Us

Blackbox is a nascent shipping company. Our mission is to help people sell and ship stuff directly to their fans for a fraction of the cost and effort of doing it themselves.

We're looking for someone to manage product development: To make determinations about what's needed for the business to succeed, and to oversee the process and people that build the systems, software, and technology needed to serve Blackbox's business needs.

This is a full-time position based in Chicago. You'll report to the Chief Operating Officer.

Philosophy

The guiding philosophy of our team is this: Be nice, and try hard.

What does that mean? “Be nice” means everyone is expected to be compassionate, supportive, respectful, and collaborative; that pertains to the way we interact with our colleagues, vendors, customers, food servers, mail carriers—everyone. You should always be on good behavior; frustrations are part of any life and any job, but we should all approach the situations with a sense of humor and humanity. “Try hard” means putting your best effort into the work, upholding your responsibilities, helping your colleagues, and carrying your weight. Do what you would hope someone working for/with you would do. Make your work and your approach something that you (or anyone) can be proud of.

The role and the team require a positive, “can-do” attitude and approach. You'll need to get into the details, solve problems, and make things happen—the buck stops with you. Nobody on the team is above any task—we all pitch in to get things done, we collaborate, we communicate, and we help each other.

About the Role

What will you really be doing in this job? You'll be guiding the Product Team to build the software and systems that Blackbox uses—you'll be determining what needs to be built, and how to organize the people and the building process. You'll be the conduit for communication among all parts of the business, to make sure your decisions about what to build are serving the needs of the overall business.

Responsibilities

Building Software, Systems, and Processes

  • Be the keeper of the process(es) for creating systems and features. (This includes iterations/sprints, or whatever methodology is used.) Improve and monitor the processes.
  • Based on business needs, determine the priority list for building systems software.
  • Work with all the business units (Operations, Accounts, Customer Service) to improve their systems.
  • Document systems, processes, and technology.

Management

  • Manage the Product Team (designers & developers) to achieve business goals, optimize output, and build esprit de corps.
  • Reorganize and recruit as necessary to create the best team.
  • Model the right behaviors, and coach the team to help them develop and improve.

Ascertaining Business Needs

  • Communicate with Accounts/Operations team and Clients to understand needs, desires, and obstacles.
  • Determine what software, systems, or processes can be utilized to address goals.
  • Identify and analyze new business opportunities.

Experience We'd Like You to Have

  • 5+ years of successful product/project management experience.
  • 5+ years of line management.
  • Experience with Agile process.

Skills & Qualifications

Kindness & Compassion

The value of these things should never be underestimated. A lot of your job will be problem-solving, making decisions that won't satisfy everyone, and dealing with annoying and potentially stressful situations. The ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes, and to foster understanding and cooperation, will be invaluable and will make life better for everyone. Really.

Professional Demeanor

Maintain a sense of perspective, even when situations (and people!) get aggravating. Exhibit professional courtesy at all times, and a sense of good humour. Be respectful of everyone at all times.

Communication

Answer questions, fix problems, communicate updates internally and externally. Write and speak clearly and coherently, but just as importantly, connect with people: understand and extract their thoughts and concerns; and even help them disentangle their own thinking.

Improve Things

Find ways to make the business better—more useful, more efficient, more organized, more successful.

Get Things Done

During work hours, be engaged in company work. Maintain focus and get things across the finish line—projects, decisions, implementations.

Organization

Keep documentation and materials organized.

Open to Feedback

Able to understand and absorb feedback.

Reason/Problem-Solving

Apply reason and rational thinking to analyze situations and problems, and come up with answers, ideas, and solutions. Be able MacGyver some stuff when necessary.

Systems-Minded

Employ “systematic” thinking: don't just address a problem in a vacuum—think about how to best address the root cause and the general case, within the framework of the business and systems that exist or could be built.

Sense of Humor

This has nothing to do with writing jokes or doing stand-up comedy. Rather, it indicates the ability to maintain a sense of perspective, even when situations (and people) get aggravating—which they will. It means understanding—as my dad used to say—that “It's all part of the fun.”

What's in it For You?

Money, health insurance, vacation time, and other benefits. You'll be a key leader of a small company and small team, so you'll really be in the mix. There's a lot of opportunity to grow, and to experience variety and challenge in your work. It's a casual, informal (but professional and hard-working) work environment, and interesting projects and people are often crossing our path. You'll have freedom to shape the team and the company.

Ready to join the team?

If this sounds appealing to you, please get in touch.

To apply, please send the following to hr+productjob@blackbox.cool:

  • A brief introduction to yourself.
  • Your work history.
  • One life lesson you've learned the hard way.

This is a full–time position based in Chicago, IL.

Must be legally authorized to work in the United States.

Apply for this Role