1000 Days of Glazed
It’s been exactly 1000 days since I’ve joined the Glazed team.
Let me start by saying that I’m not a writer, nonetheless, I don’t walk away from a good challenge and when I was dared to write how it is to work in an industry that was unfamiliar to me I’ve started pinpointing all the challenges, tips, and skills that helped me overcome it.
Take in consideration that I’m the only person at Glazed that’s not a programmer, maybe that’s why the idea of writing this post was so enticing — a personal post about my day-to-day work, behind a computer, surrounded by programmers.
I’m Maria and today is my second day at the ripe age of 34. I’ve studied Management and Production of Shows, and with some minor detours along the way, I’ve always worked within my area of expertise.
Not long ago (three years ago to be precise) I started working at Glazed as a manager/administrator. Not knowing anyone or their routines was hard at the beginning but now I can say we're a big, united and happy family, sitting comfortably behind the screens.
As time passed and I got to know everybody, I've learned what everyone wants and needs to feel at home in our office.
Everyone has their own nits and preferences but we place a high value in being together: having lunch together, company dinners (that flow through the night), weekend getaways, trips, jokes, challenges. There’s a preference for filtered water as opposed to tap water, bananas, and tangerines win the fruit war, while apples are the last ones to leave the basket.
No one lives without coffee, while sweets and chocolate biscuits boost productivity.
I remember my first day experiencing the office. The atmosphere was amazing.
I was surprised there was a PlayStation, ping pong table, an absurd amount of Rubik cubes and nerf guns. It reminded me of a children’s playroom. Super laid back. From then on I knew I would have no trouble being part of the family.
Little did I know that for software companies this type of atmosphere and activities are pretty common. This is something you know if you’re from this area, but I was a complete stranger.
Everyone focuses on their own screen, listening to their music, only to be paused by a guitar, a ping-pong match, small talk with the person on the next desk or even the casual game of Fifa.
But what makes a difference at Glazed isn’t the ping pong table nor the PlayStation but traits like: everyone’s professional and flexible; have independent schedule management; diversity and other interests that go beyond programming (I think we have enough instruments to form a band); the constant incentives for growth and professional challenges and lastly, the family bonds that have been created.
The Journey and Evolution
Management vs Production
Producers are multi-faceted, and I don’t say this to toot my own horn.
I say this because production requires knowledge in a plentitude of areas: budgeting, accounting, team and activity management, scheduling, conflict management and problem-solving.
So there’s a bridge between my work as a producer and as a manager, since both have a strong basis in management and both require organizational skills and a hustler mindset.
At the start, I was just responsible for the financial and office management. That meant taking care of all the billing work and making sure that the office is stocked with everything needed for a great work environment.
The office management entails making sure that coffee, fruit and water never run out; that cleaning is done regularly; that plants don’t die; that sweets sometimes appear on the common area; making sure that any supplies needed are not missing; being aware of everyone’s needs; planning and promoting activities such as team lunches/dinners and weekend retreats.
After stating all the similarities between my area of expertise and my management work at Glazed, the biggest challenge still is getting to know the concepts of the software development world, or at least understanding the conversations around the office.
During these 3 years there was always an incentive, and therefore, an evolution in the tasks and responsibilities I assume.
1. Getting to know the tech world
The fact that I was the only non-programmer is curious and challenging. Initially, I couldn’t understand a single sentence. It seemed code also applied to verbal interactions. It was an all-new language and I was afraid to ask — for fear of sounding ignorant — and out-of-touch with the tech world.
For programmers, this may come naturally but from an outside perspective, it’s not that easy. It’s like learning a new language. In the beginning, everything sounds weird but giving time things start to sink in it becomes easier.
All in all, my work didn’t require code knowledge but it required me to be able to identify the programming languages and associate them with companies that were suitable as Glazed clients, in order to find new projects. This made me dive into Marketing and Sales.
2. Marketing and Sales
This was and still is the most challenging area for me. My debuts were a little frustrating, which I think is a normal thing when you’re stepping out of your comfort zone. Initially, I was nervous because it was difficult for me to identify and understand what each company did. The list of companies seemed infinite.
In practice, it encompassed the following tasks:
- Search, identify and classify a tech company that works with the same technologies we do or find companies looking for external consultants
- Search LinkedIn for the ideal person to connect with and find a way to reach him/her
- Getting in touch with the person
- Guarantee the person received an offer and ask for a reply
Besides this initial search, there’s a whole area of Sales and Marketing that’s also completely new to me but since it’s something that I don’t fully grasp yet, let me suggest some reading: “The Personal MBA: — Master the Art of Business — The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business.
This year I’ve made my debut at the WebSummit, a world I thought I would never find myself in. The most relevant part of the experience for me was learning that it’s possible to sell even when you’re not from the sales nor tech areas. It left me full of energy to invest more in this area.
As a final statement, remember that it is good to challenge yourself.
For instance, my next challenge is to plan, schedule and grow Glazed’s social media presence and although it might not be my area of expertise I’m up for it. If I’ve done tasks out of my comfort zone such as decorating the office, editing videos and writing blog posts I definitely see myself doing it!
If you’re looking for a TL;DR, I will leave you with the following advice: organize, plan, set goals and tasks, don’t ever feel ashamed of saying “I don’t know” and read, read, read.