It was a true pleasure to interview Daniel Marotta, Community Manager at Penn Foster Education. Daniel caught my eye in the Jive Community because he's been a member since June of 2008 and he has quite a lot of connections. But, most importantly, he's got a great sense of humor which shines when he shares how he works in the correspondence below:
Leigh: Where do you work?
Daniel: I've been a Jive customer and community manager for 8+ years working across a half dozen industries. Currently, I work at Penn Foster Education. We are an online education provider headquartered out of Scranton, PA. We started out as a correspondence school helping coal miners receive on-the-job training. When the Internet came to be, we evolved our curriculum to take advantage of modern technologies. This year marks 125 years in the distance learning space.
Leigh: How would you describe your current job?
Daniel: I am the community manager here at Penn Foster. I execute on the overall strategy of our Student Community; which is to give our students a destination to meet their instructors and classmates, and provide them with resources to help them progress through their coursework. You can see how important a virtual campus can be to our students when compared to traditional brick and mortar institutions. I also dabble in our social media strategy.
Leigh: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkType (Archived)s? If so, what was your WorkType?
Daniel: I am familiar with Jive WorkTypes. According to the quiz, I'm a Planner / Explorer. Is that accurate? Well...yes, yes it is.
Leigh: How do you think your WorkType plays into how you get work done in Jive?
Daniel: It's fairly dead-on in how I approach my work on Jive. Every request for a new space or how content is served up or organized goes through a vigorous planning process on my end. I want to make sure it's user-friendly and scale-able. From there, I look (or explore) for ways to optimize the experience.
Leigh: Did your team have a chance to take the WorkType Finder quiz? Have you all talked about your results?
Daniel: After we got back from JiveWorld, the whole team took the WorkType quiz. Our results were all over the place; which I think is a benefit. We all have our own role within the team and complement each other well.
Leigh: What was your favorite part of attending JiveWorld this year?
Daniel: My favorite part of JiveWorld last year was seeing Adam Sadowsky of Syyn Labs demonstrate his Rube Goldberg Machines and the collaboration with OK Go; not to mention actually seeing and hearing OK Go perform on stage. Very cool.
Community & Social Team at 2014 JiveWorld's end-of-the-conference party in Las Vegas
Leigh: So how do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.)?
Daniel: Penn Foster has both actually; an internal and external community. Our internal community is used to traffic marketing and creative requests. Collaboration is an important part of this process. Our external community, the Student Community, is how I describe it above; for students to meet and interact with their classmates and instructors, provide them the resources they need to be successful students, and give them a platform to form study groups and find study buddies.
Leigh: What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?
Daniel: I live two lives as far as my computer situation. My work life is on a PC. My personal life is on a Mac.
Leigh: Tell us what you use for your mobile device?
Daniel: My mobile device is an extension of my personal life. You'll see me with my iPhone or iPad
Leigh: Do you have a favorite editing tool?
Daniel: I'm the idea guy. So when it comes to being creative, I let the designers and producers lead the way.
Leigh: Who’s your developer hero?
Daniel: I can't say that I have a developer hero. What about the guys on HBO's Silicon Valley? Can Richard and his Pied Piper team be my developer heroes?
Leigh: I'm with you on this one!
Leigh: Pick one word that best describes how you work.
Daniel: Reckless! I'm kidding, it's actually the opposite; carefully.
Leigh: Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Daniel: There's no one tool I can't live without, but I do enjoy demo'ing mobile apps. No specific category or genre. I just like to see what's happening across mobile.
Leigh: Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?
Daniel: My favorite non-computer gadget? Hmmm...is my AppleTV considered non-computer? I don't know, this is a tough one. I do have a drone. I haven't mastered its flight but I'm practicing.
Leigh: How do you stay organized? What's your favorite to-do list manager?
Daniel: I use Wunderlist to stay organized. It's a great tool that shows a birds-eye view of personal to-do's and across a team so you know what your colleagues are working on.
Leigh: What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?
Daniel: My workspace has a minimalist look; two monitors, wireless keyboard, mouse, and headset. The most important thing? My mini desk fan.
My work-space, sorry for potato.
Leigh: What do you listen to while you work?
Daniel: Due to the openness of our work space, I listen to a lot of co-workers chomping on food and their personal calls. BUT, if you mean what music I listen to, then it's my iTunes playlists and Pandora; a little bit of everything.
Leigh: What's your best time-saving trick?
DanieI: have two friends that are doctors. They are absolutely the best when it comes to time management. Sometimes Doc (Emmett is his real name), will pick me up in his Delorean and we will go for a spin. When I'm in that car, it's like time stands still. My other doctor friend is kind of a space shot. I don't know if he's coming or going. But when we hang out, times seems to not matter.
Leigh: Everyone should have time-saving friends like this!
The DeLorean with Penn Foster mug for scale
Leigh: How do you balance work and life?
Daniel: There's always work that needs to get done, right? But there's always a chance of burnout. So, I give myself specific "time to unplug" deadlines each day. Peppering in vacation days during long stretches between holidays also helps.
Leigh: What's your sleep routine like?
Daniel: My coffee addiction doesn't allow me to have sleep.
Leigh: Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Daniel: You would think that since I am a community manager, I would be an extrovert. But in actuality, I would classify myself as an introvert. Sometime I just can't wait to spend quality time on my couch.
Leigh: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?
Daniel: "Don't eat any Chinese food today or you'll be very sick." -my fortune cookie
Thank you so much, Daniel, for sharing how you work with us. Keep us updated on your drone piloting!