Archives for May 2009

Sometimes, Social is Messy

Below is a job posting from my employer.  I didn’t see it until it was already posted – and customers showed it to me.

We screwed this posting up in a couple of ways (at least).  We wrote it like we were hiring someone impersonal and or detached.  And we didn’t consult the people already doing this work.

We’ve made great strides in Social Media/ Customer relations over the last months – but this shows we have a bit to learn.  We don’t have an overall corporate strategy on social media (yet).  We haven’t driven the message internally on who “owns” this (yet).

These are the things I get to help with.  This is why I think I have one of the most awesome jobs ever.

This is why 100 hours a week doesn’t feel like work.

I work for a company that is letting me influence these things – and they are listening, and giving me not only a voice, but a mandate.

In fact, they think I am moving too slowly 🙂

How cool is that?

Rackspace Hosting Named #43 on FORTUNE 2009
List of “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America

Rackspace is the world’s leader in hosting. We deliver enterprise-level managed services to businesses of all sizes and kinds around the world. Serving more than 31,000 customers in eight data centers worldwide, Rackspace integrates the industry’s best technologies and practices for each customer’s specific need and delivers it as a service via the company’s commitment to Fanatical Support®. We serve as an extension of our customers’ IT departments, enabling them to focus on their core business. We started in 1998 and since then Rackspace has grown more than 50 percent a year. There are currently over 2,600+ Rackers around the world serving our customers.

Our Cloud Hosting division is seeking a System Administrator II – Social Media to help monitor communication on various social media sites and blogs.  This position is critical to the Cloud’s customer loyalty initiative.

The responsibilities of the System Administrator – Social Media are:

  • Must love to talk/engage with customers.
  • Monitor several feeds on Twitter (Rackspace Cloud, Mosso, Cloud Sites, Cloud Files, Cloud Servers) and provide a timely response to customer comments.
  • Be a voice in the community – pro-actively tweeting interesting and insightful comments
  • Respond to customer’s issues, this person will need to own the problem – no matter what it involves – and work with the right teams to get the issue solved.  If it’s a technical issue, it would be expected that the individual would rely on their system administration skill set to solve the problem immediately.  If it’s a development, billing, sales, or systems related issue, this person would engage the other teams and take point on the customer communication side.
  • Monitor and respond to our internal forums.  Post insightful/interesting articles, responding to customer concerns, working with the right teams to make sure the correct answers are given in a timely manner.
  • Must have a strong “community voice” – always keeping things positive, informative, and helpful – as the responses will be seen by thousands.
Requirements
The most competitive candidates will have the following skills:

  • Strong knowledge of social media outlets – Twitter, Industry Blogs, etc.
  • Basic knowledge of servers/computer hardware and software. Basic knowledge of DNS.
  • Basic knowledge of Network fundamentals. Basic knowledge of RedHat Linux and Windows OS.
  • Basic knowledge of system services (i.e., Apache, Mail transfer agents (sendmail, postfix, qmail), FTP, SSH and DNS).
  • Continually expands knowledge in the areas of new developments and trends; may make recommendations to management on desirable additions and developments.
  • Requires approximately 1 – 2 years experience working in a computer technical field.
  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or engineering related field or equivalent work experience, preferred.
  • Technical certifications (i.e., RHCE, RHCT, A+, CompTIA, MySQL or CCNA,) are a plus.
  • Able to touch type 50 – 60 wpm. Good ability to handle multiple tasks and prioritize work in order to maintain required productivity levels.
  • Must be detailed in documenting information and practice good follow through techniques.
  • General problem solving abilities, coupled with a desire to take on responsibility.
  • Possesses good written and verbal communication skills; bi-lingual skills is a plus.
  • Due to the 24×7 operations of the business, must be able to work a flexible work schedule, may include nights, weekends, holidays, etc.

Building Something?

Every time I have found myself boxed into a very narrow role, I have both failed at my job, and hated my job.

I like a lot of diversity.  Some say I thrive on chaos.  Fine – I agree with them.  But it isn’t exactly chaos I enjoy so much. Chaos is chaotic!  I do like things to be in some control, but I also like to change things up often.  I have a short attention span, but I can have very sharp focus when I need to… just not over a lot of time.

I love the fact that in my current role I may be planning an event, or talking to a large new customer.  I may be helping a current customer, or discussing Cloud Computing on a podcast.  I may be acting as an evangelist, or courting a new one.

The fundemental thing that never changes though is that I love learning and teaching.  That’s why I find Building43.com to be such an intersting project.

Our goal is to teach real companies, real businesses, and real people how to use the Internet “for the win”.

You run a small business?  Have a web site?  Does it suck?  I bet the answer is yes.  Most do.

But what if you could bring your site to life?  What if you could populate it with real people.  With your customers?  What if you could make it truly “alive”?

Is that hard, or expensive?  Turns out it isn’t.  It isn’t even complicated.  It IS a bit confusing.

Building43 aims to clear that confusion – to show you how simple it can be to turn your static website into a dynamic community for your customers.  We want to help you make more money.  We want to help every business grow.  Lofty goals, I realize – but if you fail to shoot high, you will fail to deliver much.

This won’t be easy.  At first, some won’t trust us – fine, we will earn that trust.  Some won’t believe us (and some never will).  Won’t waste time on them.

But if you want to join us – in a community of teachers and learners – stay tuned.  We’re close to launching!

Rob

At this point, I don’t care about making money

Yes, I work for a public company, and yes the economy sucks.  I’ve been through a lot of public companies – one used to trade for over $100 and now trades for $1.33.  Been there. Done that. Got the options at the bottom of the bird cage to prove it.

I care about building a great company though – I care a great deal.  That is why my focus is on how to serve customers.  My role at my employer has changed a lot over the last year – but I have increasingly built an infrastructure that lets me help customers.  It is just what I am good at.

The last company I worked for was arrogant – the one I work for now is completely different.  The company I work for now both values the customer and LISTENS to them.

That’s all I want to do.  It is all I care about.  I figure that if I make customers happy, we’ll make money off of it. Sooner or later.  And if we build  a great company, later is good enough.

And really – that is all I want to do – and being empowered to do so at my current employer has made me very engaged, and passionate about what I do.

I just want to stay that focused, even as I have a ton of other things going on.

And there are some very fun other things going on 🙂

But my heart is with the customer – and exceeding their expectations.