Ryan Rutan needs no introduction, but I'm going to give him one anyway!
In the Jive Community, he has acted as the Community Manager, key app developer, and general rockstar Jiver. People flock to him to get his autograph at JiveWorld and his all-night hack-a-thons have changed lives (at least that's what the legends say). And while we won't go into his personal life here, I have proof that he is an overall amazing human being.
If Jive were a kingdom, Ryan would definitely be the crown prince.
Let's find out what a day-in-the-life of Ryan looks like below.
Libby Taylor: Hey Ryan, you've had a huge impact on the Jive Community. My endless thanks to you! Let's get down to business, we know you work for Jive, but where do you conduct your magic?
Ryan: I live (and work) in the greatest city in the world. Austin, TX. Where technology instinctively flocks like the salmon of Capistrano!
LT: And what is your current gig (besides being amazing)?
Ryan: Currently I am Jive's Developer Evangelist, which allows me to work with some of the best customers, partners and prospects to talk about social business problems and how to build solutions using the Jive Platform. #winning
LT: How do you use Jive at work (internal, external, etc)?
Ryan: The easiest answer I can give is the number: 118. That is the average number of tabs of Jive that I have open on my computer at home on any given day (for realz). Jive allows me to execute on work at a pace that rivals the speed at which I think. So how do I use Jive? Ever-presently!
LT: I'm almost afraid to ask because I can only imagine your work space, what computer system do you use?
Ryan: Fully Loaded 3.4Ghz Quad-Core Ivy Bridge iMac with 3 x 27" Monitors. When I travel, I have to use my laptop, an iPad and iPhone in tandem to feel as though I'm not being 1/3 less productive.
I don't know, I think I see space for at least another monitor or maybe a few more devices. #multitasking
LT: I can almost answer this question myself by looking at your desk.. what is your current mobile device situation:
Ryan: It is no secret, I am a Mac addict. I am currently rocking an iPhone 5s, and have plans to reintroduce a wrist watch to my arm when the iWatch is released. A bit much? Probably, but I'm OK with that. =)
LT: And don't forget your iPad too...
LT: What one word best describes your work style?
Ryan: Efficient. When it comes to work, I find that doing one thing at a time is boring. If I don't have multiple things in motion, I lose track of what's going on. Fun fact: I've set the high score on every Speed of Light machine I've ever played. =)
LT: What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Ryan: First on the list is definitely multiple monitors. I don't care what people say, but square footage of monitor real-estate trumps any multitasking software. Next would definitely be a solid Terminal window implementation with transparent background, because sometimes you just need to see what's going in the background. When it comes to software, there's a tie for 3rd between the OS X's spotlight launcher (can't wait for Yosemite!!!!!) and Google Chrome, but to throw one more piece of hardware on the list ... it would have to be my split key natural keyboard(s) by Microsoft. (That last one is hard for me to say aloud, thank you for listening).
LT: Not to beat the tech topic into the ground but besides your phone, iPad, multiple screens and computer, what gadget can't you live without?
Ryan: That's pretty hard, but I think I would have to say my WiFi/Router, but a close second is my Apple TV. I remember back in the day running coax cables for token ring networks, tripping over tangled cables and installing clunky network cards. Nowadays, I have to worry more about channel interference and what to name my WiFi hot spot so my neighbors think I'm cool. My neighbor has his named "FBI Surveillance Van" ... I'd love to get suggestions on how to top that!
LT: Maybe Jive Community members can add name suggestions for your WiFi hot spot in the comments below!
LT: You seem to get a lot done in a little time. What's your favorite to-do list manager?
Ryan: Hands down, it is Evernote. Usually my to-do's are so scattered, but Evernote makes it super simple for me to record notes via text, pictures or even sound ... and I can easily follow-up on said items and knock them off the list. Besides that, I would have to say my brain, as I tend to process and retain most of my to-do's there for a while before they make it to Evernote (and I like it that way).
LT: Although we've already seen a picture of it, would you like to comment on what it's like to work in your workspace?
Ryan: In any given day/week, my workspace goes from immaculate to cluttered, to stacked to unbalanced, to messy to just enough room, to time to push it all off into a box, to digging through the box, to putting things from the box in their right place and back to immaculate. It's a vicious cycle!
LT: What's your best time-saving trick?
Ryan: Don't solely rely on asynchronous communication to get things done, like approvals. Most times, time spent waiting and tracking down people to get approvals on their own time wastes time and keeps things in the forefront longer than they need to be. Take the extra minute, track the person down (by IM, phone, carrier pigeon) and let them know that you are reaching out to them. If the person isn't there, find someone in the office that you know works on their team or sits near the person and ask them to let that person know you are looking for them. The time you save in back and forth missed connections adds up fast!
Ryan: Also, trust your instincts and don't second guess. Don't be afraid of being wrong or putting your thoughts out into the open for others to see and contribute. The more we share, the more we work better together!
LT: Besides the hum of all those monitors, what do you listen to while you work?
Ryan: It depends. If I'm doing creative writing, then I can't listen to music by my favorite artists; otherwise, I would bust out into song and rock the mouse like a microphone all too often. So I tend to listen to disposable interchangeable upbeat modern artists during the day to keep my brain firing, and when I want to relax...I chillax to the Counting Crows! (Side note: I've got back stage passes to meet them on July 30th, so that will be awesome.)
LT: What's your sleep routine like?
Ryan: Minimal. Plenty of time to sleep when you are dead. Prior to marriage and family life, I averaged about 4 hours of sleep a night, I'm up to a solid 6 now, but I only do so for the safety of others. =)
LT: I'm fairly sure I would die on 4 hours of sleep a night. Six would still be tough.
LT: Personality-wise, are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Ryan: I've been clinically tested as both an introvert and extrovert, and I have the sticker(s) to prove it!
LT: What's the best advice you've ever received?
Ryan: Ask big ... get big. There is no harm in going big on an ask, the worst that can happen is that they say no. Be confident and do not shy away from something you want, especially if you know that you are capable of putting in the work to achieve it.
LT: Thanks for a great interview, Ryan! Who would you like to be interviewed next?
Ryan: Weird Al Yankovic (the most versatile and talented musician of all-time)
Yeah... sorry Ryan, interviewing Weird Al is just not going to happen. Fun idea though.
To thank Ryan Rutan for his responses to this interview, I've made him a magical montage of the people, things, and terms that capture his workstyle. And it's in a handy dandy Twitter header photo-size in case he wants to highlight his workstyle there. I know it looks gigantic, but it'll look great once he pops it into Twitter and sizes it...
If you would like to participate in the How I Work series and get a cool #workstyle graphic like the one above, just let me know!
I think all of our folks in the Jive Developers group should see this too!