An intersection on Market Street in Downtown San Francisco, with the sunset on the horizon.

Make a Difference Every Day

Ron Pragides
4 min readAug 31, 2016

At the end of this week, I’m switching to an advisory role at BigCommerce. I’ve led the global Engineering team since early 2014, and I’m proud of everything that we’ve accomplished together for our product, our customers, and our industry.

Customers First

In early 2014 we recognized the need for a dedicated security function. Our customers were becoming more sophisticated and more demanding of the security features and countermeasures of our product. We also enlisted the help of industry experts such as Bob Lord (CISO, Yahoo!) and Robert Fly (former CISO, Salesforce) who is now an advisor to the company.

We dramatically improved our platform availability and performance over the past 3 years, and have delivered 100% uptime during the critical “Cyber Five” holiday season in 2014 and 2015. I’m confident the team will make the 2016 holidays equally successful for our customers.

And as we made these improvements, our customers have come to share their success on our platform. Among the many satisfied customers that have addressed our team are: StyleRocks (in Sydney), Cigar Hut (in Sydney) and Man Crates (in SF). These are just a few of the many successful merchants that rely on the BigCommerce platform every day.

Team on a Mission

I joined BigCommerce as the inaugural hire in SF, with the mission of building an Engineering team in the world’s most competitive hiring environment. Our first SF office was typical for a technology startup: an open warehouse space in the SOMA district. We embarked on an audacious campaign to hire engineers at the tech company bus stops, which generated a ton of press. Hiring engineers from Apple, EA, Facebook, Google and others wasn’t necessarily the point — what mattered most was making a name for BigCommerce. And it worked.

Within a calendar year, we outgrew our initial SF office and moved into the current BigCommerce office on Market Street. In addition to providing ample space for growth, the office also has a purpose-built common area for company all-hands meetings, meetups, and conversations with tech luminaries such as Douglas Crockford, Steve Souders, and Max Levchin.

We also unlocked the creativity of the Engineering team by instituting bi-annual Hackathons. Many of these projects have gone on to become additions to our product or infrastructure roadmaps. We also extended our Hackathons to include the entire company; the most recent event had winning submissions from our Client Success team!

Think Big

BigCommerce has always had large ambitions for the team and the product that we want to build for the industry. As part of our path to growth, we made our first acquisition to accelerate our product capabilities. This eventually led to us opening yet another Engineering office in Downtown Austin. It’s our newest and fastest-growing office — in fact, we’re looking for a bigger space for the team!

Our team growth reflects the size of the global e-commerce opportunity. We are enabling commerce integrations with social networks (such as Facebook and Pinterest) and industry-leading marketplaces. BigCommerce customers are becoming more successful as a result of these capabilities — growing “up-and-to-the-right” in industry parlance. It seemed natural for us to update our branding to reflect our big ambition: “powering commerce success, one brand at a time”.

The industry is starting to notice as well, as demonstrated by the recognition of BigCommerce in the “Leader” and “High-Performer” quadrant of the G2Crowd Grid for E-Commerce Platforms. Up-and-to-the-right, indeed!

Act with Integrity

All of this change and growth in 3 years is disruptive, but we managed to grow our team in each of our offices in a way that makes us proud. BigCommerce has won accolades for being a great workplace in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

What makes me especially proud is that we’ve been cited as a great workplace in SF and Sydney, where the majority of employees are from the Engineering team.

Make a Difference Every Day

But now it’s time for a new chapter for the team that we’ve built in SF, Sydney, and Austin.

I’m more confident than ever in the business fundamentals of the company, and I’ll continue to support the team in any way I can.

Although I may no longer be a BigCommerce employee, I am an investor, shareholder, and the biggest cheerleader the company will ever have. I’m looking forward to all the amazing things that this team will achieve, and I’m proud to have been part of the journey.

I’m looking forward to the next chapter in the BigCommerce story.


“Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson



Ron Pragides

Led pre-IPO teams at @BigCommerce @Twitter @Salesforce. Follow me on twitter: @mrp