Michael Poythress, Product Manager in Portland, OR, United States
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Michael Poythress

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Portland, OR, United States
Toptal Member Since
March 12, 2019

Michael excels at engineering technology, interacting with colleagues, and at developing processes to solve everyday problems for people and organizations—both large and small. As a proficient Agile product manager and design leader, he has been planning and delivering web and mobile projects for business and end consumers for the past 18 years. He also has extensive experience in strategic architecture and end-to-end solution creation.

Project Highlights

Multi-channel Online Sales Platform
Produced an eCommerce marketplace sales-and-data platform for small and mid-size businesses.
ANS: Business Management Platform
Transformed manual business processes (paper, email, phone, fax) into a completely digital workflow.
Custom CRM for BBVA Compass
Led development of a complex, internal CRM for tracking accounts and leads in a high-security, enterprise bank environment.


Work Experience

Product Manager | Product Owner

2014 - 2019
RetailMakr (eCommerce Platform)
  • Created a web-based, mission-critical business platform used by thousands of businesses.
  • Set project strategy, direction, and priorities based on extensive user and stakeholder interviews.
  • Managed the development roadmap and a team of engineers to enhance and support a web-based software platform with 99.999% uptime.
  • Architected a machine learning system to automatically update product selling prices based on massive amounts of data from many sources for millions of products daily.
  • Defined company-wide tools and processes to implement Agile methodology across all teams using tools including, but not limited to, Jira, Aha!, Asana, Trello, and Slack, as the company grew from processing 0 up to 10,000 orders per month.
  • Grew the company from 1 to over 25 remote employees in two years and drove the development of associated processes and organizational structure for lean, continuous improvement.
  • Selected and trained new team members, establishing an employee onboarding process that got new employees productive within two weeks.
  • Raised outside investment successfully through authoring and presenting business overview materials and due diligence documentation.
  • Maintained business awareness of the board of directors and company executives through regular progress and timeline reporting.
  • Led the creation of real-time data dashboards to support all aspects of the business, using visualization tools such as Mode Analytics.

Digital Product Manager, CTO

2013 - 2014
Brickstr (Cause Marketing Application and Network)
  • Documented project features and requirements, user profiles, and user stories through in-depth business analysis and discussions with founders.
  • Built an agreed-upon project plan, timeline, and budget in coordination with business owners.
  • Designed overall platform and system architecture, and produced an interactive prototype of the mobile app.
  • Deliver a native iOS app and web application and API server from concept to beta within three months, via two remote development teams working simultaneously.

Project Manager | Owner

2008 - 2014
Company 52 (Web Development Agency)
  • Led more than 70 web and mobile projects to completion for 50+ clients in a variety of industries.
  • Created and launched six online SaaS products.
  • Built and led a team of designers and programmers (all remote) to execute on multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Collaborate with client visionaries and technical specialists to deliver project estimates, proposals, and plans.
  • Handled all of the operational aspects of the business, including strategy, resource management, team development, and customer contacts.
  • Coordinated closely with clients and engineering team to complete each product on spec, on budget, and on schedule (often with tight deadlines).

Product Owner | Founder

2007 - 2009
Glarity Media Store
  • Developed a business model and web application from the ground up to produce an online media store—similar to iTunes—for a niche market.
  • Produced an operational prototype, with a remote team of ten developers.
  • Recruited the team and managed team culture, leading a team of ~ten people.
  • Set up and maintained the physical server infrastructure required for the project.
  • Raised seed funding.

Multi-channel Online Sales Platform

Produced an eCommerce marketplace sales-and-data platform for small and mid-size businesses.

This product was created to provide a simple, painless, full-service and no-cost option for retail businesses to get online orders.

Our team developed an elegant and user-friendly interface for a very complex set of tools used to do a variety of tasks:
• Manage products.
• Publish product listings on marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.
• Provide customer service at scale
• Manage all aspects of shipping and product return logistics

Customers are acquired through a distributed, commissioned direct sales team.

This business now successfully handles all aspects of eCommerce sales for hundreds of companies, using algorithms, machine learning, APIs, financial processing, security, reporting, and big data; additional features and capabilities are also being continually added.

ANS: Business Management Platform

Transformed manual business processes (paper, email, phone, fax) into a completely digital workflow.

Created an internal business management tool, for a product merchandising company with a staff of over 250 people serving a major US retailer.

• Increased efficiency of a completely distributed staff by more than 50%
• Reduced costs and mistakes by at least 25%
• Grew revenue and profit by removing growth bottlenecks and offering new client services enabled by the new digital workflow

The project was a success—meeting or exceeding every goal the client had, and is still in use today.

Custom CRM for BBVA Compass

Led development of a complex, internal CRM for tracking accounts and leads in a high-security, enterprise bank environment.

Delivered features on time, to meet business-critical contractual deadlines for a large national bank.

The application tracks thousands of data points for each of 7 million+ accounts and passed a SAS 70 (now SSAE 16) audit.

As the product manager, I coordinated the efforts of multiple teams and vendors as we prioritized and delivered a long list of mission-critical features.

There were numerous stakeholders and expectations to manage—in a high-stakes, high-stress scenario—but we did it successfully and launched the application on time.

Inventory Management System

Introduced mission-critical inventory management capabilities to an existing enterprise platform—overnight.

With no prior "large warehouse" or fulfillment center inventory management experience, I was assigned to lead a team in inventorying all the products in a 100,000 square foot warehouse and obtain data that had been integrated to an eCommerce platform for immediate sale and fulfillment.

I led programmers to rapidly deliver a functional MVP and the stock-taker team was able to begin using it in the warehouse the very next day.

This inventory management system has been continually enhanced and is still in active use, now serving multiple warehouses with a unique high-speed and efficient system.

Bonlavi Products

Brought two brand new physical products to market for a new consumer brand.

In my role, I led the design, testing, manufacturing, import, marketing, sales, and distribution of brand new consumer products in the home-goods industry.

The products were a profitable success, selling out multiple production runs, and company was ultimately hand-picked by Amazon as a back-end supplier.

To Your Success: Business Management Application

Removed barriers to growth by replacing seven separate software tools with a single custom web application.

A mid-size customer appreciation gift company was unable to grow further, due to using a series of time-consuming manual processes to transfer information between completely disconnected software tools—for accounting, inventory management, CRM, shipping, surveys and responses, product customization, and order processing.

I led a team to design and build a custom web application to streamline the business processes—all within a firm budget—using Agile methodologies.

The new application met and exceeded the owners' goals, and has enabled a new wave of growth and profitability through new products and services. Five of the previous software tools were completely replaced, and the remaining two are now tightly coupled with the main application through API integrations.

Rainmaker Tweet2Give—Social Giving

Launched Twitter-based financial transaction processing.

Our team successfully created and launched an online service that could be added to a user's Twitter account and connect with the user's PayPal account and/or credit card to initiate payments by posting a tweet including a hashtag (#makeitrain) or username, and an amount.

Designed as an alternative to "text to give," specifically for social cause marketing and raising awareness for needs, we coordinated a roll-out with a handful of non-profits and celebrities.

52 Deals Flash Sale Platform

Launched and operated a multi-city "flash sale" platform, similar to Groupon.

Created and managed an independent Groupon-like flash sale application, used by local marketing agencies in several cities.

This platform served email lists of approximately 200,000 addresses, and successfully processed thousands of financial transactions per day.

Real Estate Advertising Website

Created a leading regional real estate advertising website and network (precursor to Zillow and Trulia).

Created and operated one of the largest regional advertising websites for 7 years, serving over 10,000 customers/real estate sellers.

Private Pilot


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