The Joy of Gifting

For this 9th post in our corporate values series, Product Manager Michael Kellar shares what it’s like to spend all your time thinking about gifts and how it’s helped him become a better person. 

Most of my best work happens behind the scenes. As a product manager, it is my job to make sure we’ve delivered a product enabling sales to have the best chance to close deals, to present a great product experience to our customer success team and customers, and give our operations team all the information they need to help keep the Alyce gifting engine humming. 

Watching the team at Alyce, and seeing the focus on giving first, makes me consciously think about what it means to give.

Product managers normally watch the world move around them, thinking about what matters and why. As our head of product, Josh Herzig-Marx loves to say (I’m paraphrasing for effect), product managers only exist because our engineers time is too valuable to be spent writing Jira tickets. But that’s not really how we work. What we’re really doing is acting as a conduite between people who love to give in every sense of the word, and people who want to receive (everyone). Thinking like that changes a person.

I knew Alyce was going to be different when on day one, in addition to the standard computer, desk, and paperwork new employees get at every company, I also got my allocation of credits to purchase gifts for friends and family. I’ve always struggled with giving great gifts. Occasionally, I’ll get lucky and find something perfect, like a music box for my mom or a t-shirt for a friend showcasing their love of meat (yes, I consider these comparable events). But, these are the exceptions. Generally, I end up just asking if someone wants me to get them something, which while leading to some good outcomes, kind of defeats the point.

The best gifts are spontaneous, exciting, and liberating. They surprise and delight, while showcasing a connection between the gifter and recipient. No one expects to get a great gift, but they become so much happier when they get one, and that’s the power of Alyce. I have never been happier in a job than when I first got to describe what I do to someone and came up with the line, “I give gifts for a living.” It’s corny, but basically true. I spend almost all my waking hours thinking about how to enable people to give and receive gifts and create personal connections with otherwise virtual strangers.

 And let me say from the experience working on that over the last several months, it is a joyride, like sitting in the passenger seat of a Tesla in plaid mode. A couple examples of my favorite responses to gifts I’ve given since coming to Alyce:

“How does this work?!?! Thank you!”

Thank you so much for your generosity here. It certainly is a memorable experience going through the steps of choosing a gift.”

THANK YOU SO MUCH! This is an AMAZING service and I love the mug!”

From friends, to partners, and customers (of course) Alyce enables me to consistently be the one providing surprise and joy to others, which is about as close to becoming Santa Claus as I had ever dreamed.

Alyce has made me think a little differently every time I go into a store or explore a new place, wondering if this is an opportunity to get a friend a great gift, not because of a special event or a birthday, but just because it might brighten their day. It’s gotten me a little closer to the person I want to be, and at the end of the day, that’s a pretty great product-market manager fit 🙂

July 3, 2019
Stacy O.