Handling Negativity in Customer Support

Hi! I hate your product

Currently, I’m at the first ever SupConf, a conference for support professionals. I gave a talk about dealing with negativity in customer support. Here’s a complete recap of everything I discussed. The full slide deck can be found here.

Talking about negativity with a bunch of support professionals is a bit weird. We’re a pretty positive group. After all, we got into this profession because we wanted to help people.

Still, one constant with building things (particularly online) is that your customers are going to tell you what they think good or bad.

Continue reading

Building a Simple React Todo List and Timer

Theodoro—A React todo list and Pomodoro Timer

One of my goals for 2016 was to ship stuff, quite a few things in fact. We’re close to half-way through the year already, but I finally shipped a thing—a simple React todo list!

GitHubProject PageGIF

On Friday, I put some finishing touches on Theodoro (I know—terrible name) a React-based Pomodoro timer and todo list project I’ve been working on. It’s not perfect, and I’m sure there are some improvements I could make. The goal of the project was always to learn about React (with everyone’s first project—a todo list). At this point, I’ve gotten what I wanted out of the project so it’s time to put it out in the wild and move on.

I wanted to breakdown some of the trickier elements I ran into along with some next steps that I’m taking in particular.

Continue reading

Leaders Adding Too Much Value

Leaders shouldn't have all the answers. They'll end up adding too much value.

I’ve been in the team lead role over at Automattic for just about a year now. One particular weakness I’ve noticed over the past year is my desire to provide answers to people on my team.

Need help setting a goal? I have a few examples I’ll toss your way.

Not sure what to do next for a certain project? I have some opinions.

In my mind, my primary job as team lead is to make my teammates’ lives a bit easier by removing obstacles, solving problems, and setting a clear path forward for the team. So, when someone approaches me with a question or problem, my immediate thought is, “Alright, I have to come up with a solution.” This can be helpful, but when it happens all the time, it’s a problem.

In What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith, describes this as “adding too much value.” Here’s a bit about how I’m trying to combat the issue.

Continue reading

My Approach to Learning JavaScript

I discuss my current approach for learning JavaScript
I shared a variation of this blog post on learning JavaScript internally within Automattic a few weeks back. I thought it might be helpful so I’ve adapted it here for a blog post. I’m also asking for some accountability help at the end.

If you’ve read my blog, project posts, or weekly updates over the past year, you’ve probably noticed a heavy focus on learning JavaScript. About a year and a half ago, I decided I wanted to move more towards doing more development-oriented work at Automattic.

I’ve never been shy about talking about this. I’m a bit believer in sharing goals out in the open versus keep them close to the chest. I thought I would share my initial thought process and how I’m currently approaching the goal for anyone that might be interested. One warning before we begin—this is just my experience. Your mileage may vary.

Continue reading

Monthly Review: April 2016 (And 2016 Goal Checkin)

Two Happiness teams take a selfie after our barbecue in Austin
Each month, I publish a monthly review, a sort of public accountability report, looking at goals, reading, habits, etc. You can find all previous months here.

April was a pretty fantastic month. I took a trip down to Austin to hang out with Sparta, the Happiness team I’m on at Automattic. We ate some great barbecue, listened to some live music, and even managed to get some work in. Our home renovation project was started (and almost completed). I felt relatively productive all month.

Since we’re a third of the way through the year, I’m going to tack on a little extra this month and review the previous month’s goals as well as how I’m doing for my yearly targets thus far.

Read more