Skip to main content

My background: why I’m passionate about retail, search, and technology

Peter Messana's headshoot
By Peter Messana - CEO

I’ve been writing this weekly (albeit not always weekly) blog for a little over a year and it has been a wild ride. From writing about personal experiences, opinions, and other random things, I realized that almost no one reading this blog even knows who I am or knows my background.

This probably should’ve been one of the first blogs, but better late than never.

I graduated from the University of Arizona with degrees in Finance and Entrepreneurship. Growing up, I always wanted to own my own business. I entered the working world in France, but that lasted just one year when I saw what was going on with the internet and technology. I ended up working at Home Depot and did so through the dot com boom, where I was building applications to support their ecommerce initiative.

I fell in love with retail and everything about it. I got invited to a management rotational program and traversed the organization learning how new stores are built, how companies are acquired, how accounts payable work, and so on. 

All this experience allowed me to leave the corporate world in 2005 and own my own business, finally realizing my childhood dream. My brother and I went all in on retail by owning an outdoor retail company, mainly kayaks at the start. We bought a tiny one-store, two-employee business because of our passion for both retail and the outdoors. Although, a little secret, neither of us had kayaked much and neither really enjoy it today.

We ran this business the way we had learned how retail works. By putting the customer first. We were obsessed with the customer. We also saw the power of the internet and launched our online store in 2005. Over the next 11 years we watched the internet and our business explode to the point we sold it to a Private Equity company.

After a short year with the PE firm, running the sold/merged company, I left to get into ecommerce technology, specifically into ecommerce search. I knew the power of search and the complexity and difficulty in building a search engine. I had built our first website and tried to build a site search for it. It was horrible. I tried a second time. It was better, but still bad. It turned out that search was the only technology that we didn’t build ourselves and I loved the challenge.

Now I get to spend my days putting the customer first and solving the difficult problem of ecommerce search for all of our customers so that they can provide the level of search and merchandising their customers want and need. Having been in our customer’s shoes I also have empathy for what they are doing and all that goes into it. Over 20 years in retail and/or technology I’ve also seen the evolution but also know that those successful still follow the same basic path. This is why I don’t think retail is difficult, people make it harder than it really is.

So, with that all said, I am always happy to talk about retail, ecommerce, and/or technology!