So it’s goodbye from me… and à demain from dekrazee1

January 29th, 2010 § 7 comments § permalink

So it’s my last day at Tangler. That’s right, I actually resigned from my position. Who woulda thunk it?!
Occasions such as these tend to trigger reflections, and I’ve had a fair few running through my head. Gotta get em out before brain implodes.

First up, a beeeg Thank You to my awesome team – everyone I had the pleasure of working with. (I shan’t name names right now, they know who they are!) You’ve become my teachers, my friends, my mentors, my supporters. I’ve been thinking back to my first day at work, and the thing that stands out to me is what an incredibly educational journey the past 3+ years have been. Turned a N00b into a semi-geek, you did. 🙂

I also have to acknowledge all the amazing people I’ve met through my stint at Tangler. There’s a special group of cool, crazy and charming people I couldn’t imagine life without – my fellow Tangler and TanglerLive addicts. [See ya in our forums ;)] Also, the ever helpful and generous Sydney and beyond startup/geek/web community. So many people have gone beyond the call of duty for me. I owe many a *insert cold/hot beverage of choice*.

The immediate question I get when I tell someone about this is “What’s next?”. The simple answer – another startup: Me!
I’m not completely done with Tangler; I’ll be consulting with them on an ongoing basis. And I fly to San Francisco in about a month. The long term goal is to work and live there.
~Flashback~ I remember a couple of weeks after I started working at Tangler, I turned to Marty and said, “This is it. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’m a startupper!”
Nothing’s changed. I love the startup life, it’s what I wanna do forever and ever and ever. I love the roller-coaster ride that it is, the teamwork it requires, the innovation and improvisation it lets me indulge in.
Hence San Francisco. Can’t wait to being smack in the middle of Startup Central! 😀

We’ll see what happens. It’s both thrilling and terrifying – what in the world am I getting meself into?! Egads!! – but I’m chuffed that I’m giving it a shot. After all, that’s what matters doesn’t it?

Community management is a thankless job no more! #CMAD

January 27th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

I saw it two days late, but still the declaration by Jeremiah Owyang to make the fourth Monday of January Community Manager Appreciation Day warmed my cockles. Someone out there cares!! *fist pump*

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit… 😛 It isn’t entirely thankless. There are times when you address an issue for someone, and they’re so happy they’d jump on you and kiss ya if you were both in the same physical location. But it is a tough gig. Community managers are the ones who get yelled at in CAPS LOCK IN SUPPORT E-MAILS, the ones who have to face the Twitter-blog-comment wielding mob, the ones who have forgotten what after-hours and weekends are because issues and interactions wait for no CM.

They also happen to have a very misunderstood gig. How many Community Managers out there have had to explain “No, banning people and deleting posts are a just a tiny part of what I do… there’s much more to it…”? C’mon, don’t be shy, put them hands up! Many people I meet in the industry still dismiss it as ‘lower’ or non-technical and therefore a ‘soft’ job. Attitudes to the role are changing, but slowly.

So to all Community Managers out there – I appreciate you. Respekt! *bows* And if ya ever need some backup or just someone to listen to you rant, drop me a line! It doesn’t have to be a lonely job 😉 Finally, a big THANKS to Mr Owyang for advocating this. You are appreciated too!

Why little features matter

January 15th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Last night I ordered some takeaway, and after paying and being handed the dishes, I asked for “the chilli in the chilli oil”. I’ve learnt to be specific, because I’ve been handed just a little tub of chilli oil in the past, when what I really want are the flakes. (Them be yummy) I watched as the restaurateur proceeded to fill the little tub with chilli oil, so I said “Could I have more of the chilli flakes please?”

He proceeded to tell me that he couldn’t give me more because everyone likes it and wants it, and they never have enough and so he had to ration the portions. I looked at the big tub of chilli oil+flakes they had and said, “That’s not enough? Maybe you should get more!”
He gave me this blank look and went on ranting about how everyone asks for the chilli flakes and the chilli oil is just as spicy etc. I said “Yes, but the flakes are really yummy, and go with your dishes well. It’s why I come here!” So he grudgingly popped in half a teaspoon more. It was a friendly exchange overall, I smiled and thanked him and he sent me off with warm wishes. No issues.

But as I walked out of the restaurant, a thought popped into my head. “Might not come here again. It’s always such a hassle with the chilli flakes.” Followed the very next moment by: “Hang on…. stop eating here because of the condiment??”

I considered the situation for a bit. There are at least half a dozen similar restaurants on the block, most with similar food at comparative prices. Actually, that restaurant is a slightly pricier one. Their food is good, but the main reason I pick it over the others is for the chilli flakes. I can’t seem to get em anywhere else, and their dishes just aren’t the same without it. Judging by what the restaurateur said, others share my tastes. Why not just up the stock of chilli flakes?

I looked at it from the restaurant’s point of view. Their main product is their menu. As in their main dishes. Hunger is the need they fulfil and that is what they get paid for. The chilli flakes, those are just a feature. Like good service, clean plates, a phone-in order system. Secondary to the menu. There’s no obvious reason they should stock up on chilli flakes, especially when they have to give it away for free.

Turn it around to my (the customer’s) view. I am hungry, but I have a dozen options. I chose this restaurant because I’ve been there before and have been craving to return to its tastes. And the chilli flakes are essential to the experience for me. I’m willing to pay slightly more for that experience. My need isn’t just hunger. It is satiating the tongue. I considered never returning to the restaurant because that feature was getting hard to access. Would I pay for the chilli flakes? Nope. Do I want it? You bet!

And just like that, I get a lightbulb moment about my role as a product/community person. When I was only a community manager, it was easy to take feature requests. Every suggestion I saw was a great idea, a ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that’ exclamation, a ‘now-that-you-mention-it-I-really-really-want-it-too’. I wasn’t responsible for product decisions then, and I never understood just how hard it is to make the decision about which requests should be put in, and which had to be left out. (In fact, there might be testimony to the fact that I fought hard for every request a member made. :P)

Now that I’m that person, it is one of the things I struggle with most. I’ve caught myself groaning at new feature requests! (dek hangs her head in shame at this) One of the things I’m most wary of is feature creep, and by association feature requests. If not given due consideration, feature requests can lead to a never-ending road map, feature creep, which then leads to a loss of focus (and I learnt focus from the best – Dr Focus himself!), which then leads to a bloated product…. Before you know it, you’re designing a ‘lite’ version of the behemoth.

But it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
So modified rule – Focus on the core. But always be on the look out for the chilli flakes.

Some thoughts on the KFC racist ad brou-ha-ha

January 11th, 2010 § 5 comments § permalink

Sometime last week I read somewhere that KFC pulled their annoying ad due to accusations of racism. First thought – Yay, I don’t have to put up with it any more. I’m a cricket fan, and watched every match through summer. The ad was annoying the first time they aired it. Couple it with the whole series of ads, and the sheer number of times it airs in a day, and you’ll understand my pain. (Plus I’m against fast food sponsoring sports. I’m also against fast food. Anyways…) Second thought – Yeh, it was off-putting, but I didn’t think it was racist.

Oh, in case you aren’t a cricket fan, and haven’t seen it even once:

Today I saw a tweet by @MashableOur most retweeted post right now: “Is This KFC Ad Racist? – and I groaned.

I kinda feel sorry for Australia right now. It’s been on the receiving end of a lot of racism accusations over the past couple of months, some just, others not so in my opinion. (And to everyone who’s been asking – Yes, I’m fine. No, there isn’t more racism here than there is anywhere else.)

So, back to the ad. Some thoughts –

  • It is annoying. I’m glad they pulled it.
  • It made sense in the context it had been airing in – during cricket matches, when Australia and the West Indies were playing. (I can’t say for sure if it was aired outside those hours)
  • It was personally off-putting to me because it was targeting the Aussie white male. As most ads during sports events do. Because I guess only Aussie white males watch sport on that channel. (The ‘us vs them’ context of the ad irked me more than anything)
  • I’ve come to welcome the targeted ads. It means I’m not being marketed to. I like that. Leave me alone.
  • It’s endemic of the ad industry. Either I’m a super-minority, or they generally do a poor job of making ads that speak to me.
  • (from an earlier tweet) Is KFC halal in Aust? If it were, would they have made the same ad, this time with the guy sitting amongst Pakistani supporters?
  • If such an ad were made for the Aust v Pak matches (or Aust v Ind for the sake of argument though the Indian team doesn’t play here this summer), would the people crying foul still be crying foul?
  • Ads these days aren’t local. Even if specifically made for a local audience. Marketers need to keep that in mind. (This actually makes me feel sorry for them. *gasp*)
  • If the local needs to keep the global context in mind, shouldn’t the global keep local contexts in mind?

  • The last two points I find the most troubling. Audiences are global now. We’ve all seen cute/funny/quirky local ads shared on Twitter, forums, Facebook, blogs, via e-mail etc. But if I were making an ad, just how much consideration would I need to give to sentiments of the global audience before I lose all context for my local audience? And is it reasonable to assume that I will be able to avoid the localised rules of the global audience? (I needed an explanation for the racist angle of the KFC ad.)

    The ‘global’ audience can only make meaning of a piece of content within their own frames of discourse (the ‘localised rules’ mentioned earlier). Once the meaning is made, is it then reasonable to level accusations of racism and expect others, with their own frames of reference, to defer to their interpretation? Doesn’t that then lead to those with a louder voice being heard more? Swapping different meaning-making references is how we educate each other, but where do we draw the lines between sharing and insisting one is more correct than the other? Should there be lines drawn?

    The questions never end, and I have no answers, so I’ll leave it here. The only thing I know is that KFC pulling the ad in Australia worries me more than the ad itself.

    Google – fair competitor?

    January 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

    I was reading Techcrunch’s Nexus One review in my Google Reader, and as I got to the end, this is what I saw:

    Targeted advertising working well. LOL!

    While on the subject, yes, I want a Nexus One… ‘cept what’s with the name?? Why not the godphone, so gfone for short. Better brand tie in, no? ;P

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