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Let's say you're on the IT Team for Big Rock Trading Company and you're looking for ways to improve case deflection for your company. You want to implement a Help Desk that will allow employees to ask questions, receive answers in a timely manner, and get technical guidance. In our latest "Tips and Tricks" video, we walk you through the basics to set up a thriving Help Desk with Jive.



Building a Help Desk


Step 1:

Plan. What are the main use cases for your Help Desk? These could be anything from Q&A spaces with IT experts to a knowledge base of "How-to" documents for employees to find answers to technical questions.


After deciding on these use cases, you can develop a content calendar and start creating content. For Big Rock's needs, they may want to consider things like:

  • Q&A Forums = Feature "Ask a Question" tile on Help Desk landing page, allows employees to ask/answer questions and access previously-answered questions
  • Application Training Webinars = Monthly webinar tailored on specific topic, announced within Jive
  • "How to" Series = Knowledge base of documents, created by IT experts to walk through popular questions like changing one's password, requesting a program, connecting to a printer, etc.
  • Top 10 Helpful Tips of the Week = Weekly blog run by IT experts


Step 2:

Designing your Help Desk.

Keeping in mind the key calls to action that we decided on in Step 1, here's how that might play out in Big Rock's overall design for their Help Desk. Notice they included:

                        1. Ask a Question tile (main use case, featured at the top to ensure easy access)

                        2. Unanswered/Answered Questions

                        3. Key Dates (for upcoming Webinars)

                        4. Knowledge Base (For How-to documents)

                        5. Help Desk Experts (Featured IT Experts as main contacts for the place)



Step 3:

Launching your Help Desk, spreading awareness.

Before launching your new Help Desk, designate specific people to maintain the Q&A, making sure questions are answered in a timely manner and new resources are created based on the agreed editorial calendar. When you are ready to launch your Help Desk, spread awareness across several different channels in your community.


To create a system announcement as shown in the video:

  • Click on your profile picture in the top navigation header and select System Announcements under "Manage."
  • Select a title and picture (optional) to include with your announcement
  • Choose the timeframe for how long your announcement will be displayed in the community
  • You can also select Send Inbox notifications for the announcement to be sent to everyone's Inbox in the community


Step 4:

Manage and grow, review your metrics.

Maintaining and tracking the progress of your Help Desk is crucial for continuing its success. Make sure you:

  • Meet with stakeholders periodically to discuss metrics, create benchmarks, and continue to refine your engagement plan
  • Continually develop your editorial calendar, staying consistent with creating resources, scheduling programming, answering questions, etc.
  • Cultivate popular questions in the FAQ; ensure correct answers are marked accordingly (Marked as Correct, Marked as Final, etc.) so results can be measured


Consider creating metrics from the topics in the video to measure your growth and plan improvements to your Help Desk over time.


Have other suggestions about best practices when setting up a Help Desk in Jive? Tell us in the comments below!

Welcome to the latest installment of the How I Work series for the month of August! I am excited to present as our next guest, Tracy Maurer, a Jive guru with several years of Community Management experience under her belt. Tracy is an integral part of the JiveWorks community and always asks great questions in addition to helpful recommendations on how we can do better. Thank you for taking the time to help us out, Tracy! Keep reading to find out more about the wonderful, passionate Tracy Maurer and how she works!


Where do you work?

Right now, I'm working for Commvault as a temp. I work from home, which is in Solon, OH. I have a basement office. Lots of people ask me if it is hard to work from home. I actually find it easier to stay focused when working from home, because I don't have the typical office distractions. And it also allows me to work odd hours to support global employees.

How would you describe your current job?

I'm working as a Community and Knowledge Manager. As other CMs know, much of what we do supporting community is about capturing and sharing knowledge. Helping people understand how to do that can help keep your community from drowning in disorganized content. I also do a lot of troubleshooting, documentation, videos and enablement. It's funny - when I first started doing troubleshooting, like running, I hated it. Now I love both running and troubleshooting - go figure!

How did you get into Community Management?

We added a Jive community at work, which at first I was very unexcited about. I was a product manager, and we decided to move all of our content into Jive (from a Lotus Notes DB) to help employees find it and it make it more useful. In the process, I found that I loved community, and kept looking for an opportunity to "join the dark side." Ted Hopton gave me that opportunity in 2010, and I've never looked back!


How do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.); what use cases does it serve for your company?

Internal community; sales and sales engineering enablement and internal communications are currently the primary use cases, and as we begin our second year of having a community, we are expanding beyond these initial use cases.


What about your community/communities are you most proud of?

The amount of employee engagement we've got in the community; and how Keeley and the team still manage roll-outs of spaces and groups to ensure less overlap and confusion. I think these two things go hand in hand.


What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

PC all the way. I'd be too sad without my Jive for Office and Jive for Outlook.


My HP laptop and extra screen


Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

Apple iPhone. I also couldn't live without my iPad. This is me reading on my iPad, with my constant companions Bella (foreground) and Blaze


Pick one word that best describes how you work.

Thoughtful. I struggled to come down to one word. I don't mean "thoughtful" only in the sense of helping others, although there is that as well. More broadly, I mean thinking about what is being asked instead of responding off the cuff. This is a skill I've had to continue to hone over time. For example, when someone says, "I can't edit documents." I don't assume that Jive has suddenly stopped working for people. I ask for clarification - is there an error message; what happens when you click the Edit link at the top of the page; what is the link to the document you are having trouble with. Sometimes it is user error (they didn't see the Edit link and thought they should just start typing on the page); sometimes the author has restricted editing; sometimes it is a bug with a specific browser. Understanding more about the problem they are having helps me provide a quicker and better answer for them. And reminds me to provide more detail when I'm reporting problems to others. 


Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

For software I use Snagit, Camtasia, Chrome (or FireFox), Gmail. For apps: NPR One, Starbucks, Garmin, Words with Friends


Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

Does my Garmin 230 running watch count? It tracks steps, sleep and running, so is a constant companion of mine. Here's a collage of running photos while wearing my watch There are just so many beautiful places to run in Cleveland that it is hard to choose where to run, let alone what picture to show. This doesn't begin to scratch the surface!



Or how about my new SkyBell? I work from home in my basement, so knowing someone is at the door and whether or not I need to answer it is great!


Outside as seen from my SkyBell


What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

I'm an "outta sight, outta mind" person, so many would refer to it as cluttered. Don't judge! I also have lots of photos of friends and family, my running medals, and books.


Some photos and about half of my running medal collection

What do you listen to while you work?

The dehumidifier, since it has to run all summer long. In the winter, or if I really need to focus, I listen to classical music on Pandora.


What's your best time-saving trick?

It isn't specifically a work trick, but when I've got a morning meeting or some other morning thing I need to do, I set out my clothes the night before. Then I don't have to think about that and distract from getting ready and in the right frame of mind for whatever is on deck.


How do you balance work and life?

It changes all the time. I'm not the one to offer advice, other than to make sure you take care of yourself. You should not be last on your list of priorities. I do like to spend time with my kids, one of whom is an amazing artist.


One thing that I did in 2016 was to travel with a Community Manager friend to Zion National Park the weekend before JiveWorld. We had an AMAZING time!!



What's your sleep routine like?
With rare exceptions, I average 7.5 hours of sleep a night. My husband snores, so I use ear plugs and sometimes white noise. And I sleep with a stuffed animal my family gave me for Christmas one year. It is a nice reminder of them, and also helps keep my arms elevated so they don't fall asleep.


Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?
Ambivert, leaning toward introvert.


What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?
I can't choose 1.

  • "What would you do if you DID know how?" Although at first read it might sound dumb, it does help you refocus. It was from a boss I had 17 years ago when I was learning a new role and doing a lot of things that really had not much to do with that actual role and that I had little or no experience with.
  • "Assume best intent" from my boss at my last job, and also reading about it in a business book (probably the one where she learned it). We tend to take things personally and jump to worst conclusion about people's words and actions. What if there was an opposite meaning?
  • "Choose laughter," from Keeley Sorokti


Thank you for your time and showing us more about your work style, Tracy! It was great getting to know you. I'm glad to hear someone else lays their clothes out the night before! I find that I'm so lazy in the morning I just throw on whatever is easiest to grab which sometimes turns into an interesting fashion statement.

You've probably heard of the world's largest cloud platform, Akamai. If not, I'm sure you've seen Kirsten Laaspere and Judi Cardinal make their way around JiveWorks because they are both fabulous champions who are always eager to help!  This time, they agreed to answer a few questions for us in our latest Customer Q&A, How Akamai Powers Employee Collaboration and Enhances Customer Support!

As you can see from the title, we had the opportunity to chat with them about what issues pushed them towards adopting Jive, what goals they have, and results they've seen so far in their journey. The best part? You get to hear from both Kirsten and Judi talk about what this means for both their internal AND external community! You'll also see how the internal community is breaking the process down into steps – first migration and now working on making the best use of the community with thought leadership and champions. On the external side, Judi is working on an array of ways to drive customer engagement. Since launching, each community has achieved some incredible results including 93% active users in their corporate sub-divisions (internal) and 141% increase in total annual users over the span of a year (external). Kudos to you, Kirsten and Judi!


It's always helpful to see what other people are doing to solve for company issues, so if you want to see why other people chose Jive and how they take advantage of the solution (regardless of whether you are a Jive-x or Jive-n community) take a look at the Q&A!


Thank you Kirsten and Judi for taking the time to help others see how you use Jive!

Are you looking for an easy way to share content with a group of people? @mentioning is a great way to target individual people, but what if you want to share with your entire team?


A great way to accomplish this is using labels. You can read more about labeling here: Labeling Your Connections / Cloud:  Labeling Your Connections.




If you plan to share with the same group of people over and over (i.e. your team), you can create a label and then add individuals to that label. This allows you to create your own personalized groups of any size.



Creating a label

  • To be able to use Labels, you must first be Following other people within your community. You may only apply labels to users you are following.
  • Under the Browse top header, select People.
  • Click on Following in the left-hand navigation menu.
  • Under Following, click on Create Label.
  • Select a color to represent the label and then name it.

Now you can start adding users to this group/label. Click on the gear on the bottom right corner of the tile of anyone you are following and you can click this button to add the person to your label.



Go ahead and add everyone at this time.


Now that you're done with that, you have your sharing group set up and it's time to start creating and sharing content.



Sharing content using labels


Existing Content

Now that you have labels, you can easily share existing content with your specified groups of people. For existing content, simply go up to the right corner and find the Share button.

Then in the dialogue box that pops up, start typing the name of your label and it will appear under Labels.


Everyone in your label group who has access to the space where this content lives will now get a message in their Inbox that you have shared this content with them.



Brand New Content

For brand new content that you are creating to share with a select group of people, you can also use your new label. When publishing content, instead of publishing it in a place, or for your entire community, use the Specific People option, then start typing the name of your label:



What do you think? Let me know in the comments whether you have any other tips and tricks for

Imagine you're on the product team for Big Rock Trading Company, a company that produces hiking equipment. Your team is looking for a solution that would allow them to brainstorm features for your latest hiking bike, gather ideas from company employees for the latest line of hiking backpacks, and regularly communicate progress to stakeholders.


Not sure how to get started? In our latest Tips and Tricks video, we walk you through how Big Rock uses Jive to build both a company facing portal and a private work groupthe perfect functional collaboration solution to fulfill their needs.




Building a Company Facing Portal


Step 1:

Plan. Figure out the intended purpose and main goals for your use case; this could result in one or several Jive places. Think about your intended audience and main stakeholders—what are their needs and what is important to them? A product collaboration place will have different priorities than say, an HR collaboration place.


You should also determine the structural requirements of your place(s) based on your goals. For Big Rock, they have decided on the goals stated above which would result in the following place structure:

  • Communicate progress out to the rest of the community = Open overview place with blogs activated and featured, would recommend open Q&A activated as well
  • Foster collaboration for product development = Private group where the product team can have discussions and develop features before release
  • Crowd-source ideas from other employees = Idea Jams in Project sub-spaces that are activated quarterly

For more information on the different types of places in Jive, visit Introduction to Places.


After determining your goals and structural requirements, you should start developing content. Before a place can be designed, it must be pre-populated with content.


Step 2:

Design. The design of each of your places will be driven by the calls-to-action.

As shown in the Big Rock's example below, here are some things you may want to include.

                  1. Buttons for your key calls to action (shown prominently)

                  2. Key Links/Place Navigation

                  3. Featured Products Team members


  • Be sure to keep your place a secret until your design is complete. When you are ready to launch your place, you can invite members.


Step 3:

Launching your place, developing a communication plan.

  • Think about ways to raise awareness through multiple platforms and incentives.
  • Announce your new place a few weeks before you launch (via newsletter, meetings, swag, etc.).
  • First few weeks after launch, use a game to provide incentives to encourage people to use space, reward desired behavior.
  • Make sure executives and key people know best practices, how to utilize place.


Step 4:

Manage and grow, maintaining governance structure and roles.

  • Ensure there are place owners to monitor activity and update content.
  • To measure the value of your place, look at the impact and reach of specific documents and blogs (views, likes, web analytics, etc.).
  • To view your community analytics, go to your place and select the Reports section.


Creating a Private Work Group

If you're still reworking designs and want a private place for your Product team to collaborate without engaging the rest of the company, you should create a private work group. The video walks you through how to set one up!


Have other suggestions about best practices when collaborating around a function? Tell us in the comments below!

Welcome to the latest installment of the How I Work series for the month of July! This month we are featuring a Director of Customer Community... Jamie Battin!  He just finished up in Q2 as our awesome Peer-to-Peer Community Manager for External Communities. If you are looking for someone who has been through the whole Community Manager experience, Jamie Battin started with an open source initiative for customers and ended up with Jive, and is still leading the community several years later! He also has a NASA control center setup with three monitors, just like I do! The only thing I'm missing is the view of a gorgeous pool from my office. Oh well. Let's move on to the interview!


Where do you work?

Ellucian - We are a software and services company solely focused on solutions for higher education. We are the leader in higher education technology and provide the software and services institutions need to help students succeed. You can find out more about what we do on our website:


How would you describe your current job?

My title is the Director of Customer Community, but my responsibilities are wide ranging (something I'm sure most can relate to!).  In addition to being the business lead for eCommunities (our branded version of Jive), I am responsible for our entire Unified Customer Experience (UCE).  The concept is bringing together all of the solutions that our customers use as they do business with us.  We have a CRM solution that manages our support center, Jive, we use, Zoomin, Bitbucket and we bring all that together with our enterprise search by Coveo.  I work across the org to bring the solutions together in a seamless way offering our customers an effective and easy to use environment.


How did you get into community management?

In 2009/2010 I was leading an effort to launch an open source initiative for customers to share and collaborate with one another and we needed a tool to support the program.  We tried using a homegrown solution, (for a few months)  but it was not effective.  Then we launched a hosted solution that met some of our needs, but in the process we began to realize the potential to use for many different kinds of collaboration.  So in addition to the open source initiative I became the owner of the community.  The community grew quickly and in 2015 we launched Jive and we have not looked back.  So while the position evolved, it is one that I am thrilled with and feel satisfied each day.  Here is a screenshot of our landing page.


*Our implementation was 3 months and needed to launch quickly with the basic functionality on V7 hosted.  This summer we are upgrading to V9 hosted and looking forward to re-designing our space and leveraging tiles!


How do you use Jive at work and what use cases does it serve for your company?

Today we use Jive for our external community of about 35,000 users and it serves a variety of purposes.

  • Peer to peer interaction
  • Customer to Ellucian
  • Ellucian provides important roadmap and strategy information
  • Ellucian provides important product updates and release notices
  • Overall multi-channel communication


What about your community/communities are you most proud of?

Our customers are happy.  They love the solution, it is easy to use, intuitive, but most important, it works!  It is a valuable resource for them to share and collaborate.  They use it to help resolve business issues quickly and at the end of the day it is all about improving efficiency.


What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

I use a PC during the day, with an additional two monitors, so with my three displays in my office I am really productive! In the evening I settle on the couch in front of the tv with my iPad.


Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

iPhone and iPad.


Pick one word that best describes how you work.



Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Password today's tech world with logins and passwords everywhere, without an effective way to organize it all I would be lost. All other apps and tools make life more fun and interesting, but there isn't anything I must have.....


Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

My Vitamix!  I use it to create lots of fun and great tasting pool beverages, healthy smoothies and you can even make soup!


What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

As I mentioned I have 3 monitors, (like a NASA control center).  My home office overlooks my pool, which is a great view, but very tempting on hot summer days!

What do you listen to while you work?

I alternate between quiet, TV, Spotify and Pandora.

For music I am all over the dish, love the 80s, Classic Rock, Current top 40 along with Classical... it just depends on my mood.  No heavy metal or rap.


What's your best time-saving trick?

It's going to sound weird in this age of online collaboration, but I still heavily rely on my email dist lists.  It continues to be the one thing that everyone has.  Not all of the people I communicate with are on Jive, not all in the company, Linkedin, or Facebook.  So if I need to keep a common group updated, I add them to contacts and build a dist list.  Saves me a lot of time and avoids having to look through emails to use "Reply All."


How do you balance work and life?

I tend to work throughout the day.  I am up early and like to get a jump on the day, but if I need to take care of things midday it is nice to be able to do that.  Conversely, I will work later catching up on mail etc.  It's a split schedule so to speak.  Here is another balancing aspect in my world.  This is Brady, a soon to be 8 year old Jack Russell.


What's your sleep routine like?

I like a routine.  Not much of a night owl, so 10:30 to bed and up around 6.


Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?

Ambivert for sure.  If you review the classic characteristics, it fits me to a T!


What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

A former boss once said, "We are not doing brain surgery, nobody will live or die by what we do."  This was in the context of performing well, delivering excellence etc.  We want to do our best, but keeping it all in perspective is important.


Thank you for the wonderful interview, Jamie! It was great to learn more about what you do and how your community has grown. I can personally relate to the best advice you've ever received. Libby Taylor says "nobody will live or die by what we do" to me all the time, particularly when I'm trying to work overtime on an issue that can wait until the next day or a few days. It's good to keep things in perspective – it reduces stress and helps me keep my work/life balance... balanced.

I'm in love with the Jive product because it has the potential to create a community where users can build relationships, inspire each other, and do so much more with cross-functional teams without regards to geographical borders or time zones. I say "potential" because you can’t have a community without members, you can’t be inspired if there is no one to inspire you (self-inspiration can only take you so far), and you can’t work in a cross-functional team if there is no team. Jive merely provides the framework and tools, but the real driving force behind our product is you – our customers.  You study the tools, test out the framework, and think about what you want to accomplish before you start building a community from the ground up that is unique to you and your company’s mission. We love that.


We always want to celebrate the unique and impactful mission and success of our customers, which is why I want to give a huge shout out to Truth Initiative (I'm looking at you – mjacobs, Mark Schwanke, dragraham, Nicole Dueffert, and the rest of your team!). Truth Initiative, America’s largest non-profit inspiring people to live tobacco-free, has announced that they have teamed up with Jive to create a platform where those looking to turn away – and stay away – from tobacco can connect, thrive, and stay informed about the latest studies. Specifically, they are helping “increase engagement amongst new members by promoting norms around cessation and providing practical tips, strategies and encouragement.”


In only four months since making the move to Jive, nearly 8,500 new members have joined the BecomeAnEX® community and are 32 percent more likely to contribute on their first day, which will lead to a longer commitment to the community. When making difficult changes, we all know how important a support network can be and Truth Initiative has made a huge move toward making help and support even more accessible, user friendly, and interactive!


I admire Truth Initiative’s push toward “how can we do this better? How can we reach more people?” and pushing the boundaries of what they can do. As technology advances and unleashes opportunities that have never existed before, it’s important to rethink our approach to achieving our goals. Truth Initiative found through research that "online interventions where smokers connect with experts and peers are as effective as face-to-face interventions, but at far lower costs” and saw the chance to make a bigger difference in an economical way.


Read the press release on the Jive Software blog to learn more about Truth Initiative’s decision to move forward with Jive and how they decided to use the platform to create something that will make a huge impact for those struggling with tobacco.


Thank you Truth Initiative for your fight against the leading cause of preventable death. You help save lives!

Jive 9.0.2 is now available for Hosted and On-Premise customers!



For more information – including known issues and what was fixed – please check out this document posted by our Senior Product Manager, Maureen Byrne: Jive 9.0.2 for Hosted and On-Premise is now available


To avoid duplicate conversations, please comment on that document if you have any questions!



The automotive industry has come along way in the past hundred years, and it's only picking up speed. John Schneider, VP of Product at Jive Software, addresses this change in Solving for industry-level collaboration in automotive. He explains how innovation is happening so quickly that "the latest 'must have' feature can become obsolete, making a new vehicle a 'have not' before it even goes into production." For car manufacturers, trying to create value for their customers is as much a technological problem as it is a traditional automotive one. Staying ahead of the curve is going to require better collaboration, communication and predictive analytics to assist in making smart decisions.


This isn't just about cars anymore – it's about technology, alternative energy and catering to demographics that will require cross-collaboration between teams and industries to make themselves relevant in today's world. Lyft has partnered with GM, Mercedes-Benz manufacturer Daimler AG is partnering with Uber, and Porsche with Audi.  What better way to achieve the end goal of self-driving vehicles, increasing the attractiveness of ridesharing, or new vehicle architectures for future mobility than by connecting through a Collaboration Hub where information can be shared, utilized and collaborated on regardless of area of expertise, industry or geographic location?



Read the article to find out how:

  • Universal ID and borderless search is seamless at any scale
  • the Collaboration Hub can break down silos to eliminate redundancies and pull together the best team across the organization
  • Predictive Analytics help leaders visualize interactions, identify new opportunities faster than competitors, and more


This is the age where collaboration across industries is a crucial step toward better innovation and creating value for the customer. Without a Collaboration Hub to provide a place to collaborate, preserve corporate memory, and effectively connect teams together, organizations will find themselves falling behind in automotive industry where innovation is key.


I don't know about you, but I'm excited for my self-driving car, alternate energy options to fossil fuel, and even better ridesharing options innovated by the collaborative effort from multiple industries!

Welcome back for our June installment of the How I Work series! I'm very excited to introduce Rob Shapiro, who is a seasoned community manager with his own business to help people with community management! Rob came to mind when I was thinking about our next interview because he does such a stellar job in the community and totally rocked at being our Peer-to-Peer External Community manager earlier this year. I also thought it would be awesome to hear from someone who is trying new things as a community manager because it's such a diverse job. It should come as no surprise that Rob gave us an awesome interview, so keep on reading!




Where do you work?

Shapiro Cloud. I just started this business after almost 20 years at Oracle and 6 years at Sybase and I'm simply loving it! A very loooonnngg time ago I actually had my own business called Dynamic Solutions in the 1980's where I developed accounting applications and many things I learned then I have brought forward to Shapiro Cloud. It will certainly take a lot of hard work, but I am very happy with the freedom and flexibility. Shapiro Cloud will focus on idea exchange, online communities, strategy and support. This will also let me develop 2 dreams I have: an idea exchange product (I've started putting together mock-ups) and a community-for-the-community called Community Gecko (community thought leadership and practice expertise).


Something else I can do here without hand-cuffs is blog. I enjoy blogging and have years of pent up ideas. Just recently, based on a recent discussion with a prospective customer, I blogged on a revelation I had about the relevancy of community replies and content. Community Relevancy is only the beginning of a new blog series on the topic and something the industry should seriously consider.


How would you describe your current job?

Well, as described I am just starting and with that comes the uphill road to secure new customers or work, setting up and a ton of learning on topics such as promoting what I do (or want to do), legal, accounting, etc. While doing all of this, I continue to participate in communities like here in JiveWorks, CMX and others. I also continue mentoring in those communities as well. Please ask me this question again in 1 year!


I also want to mention that I was the Jive Peer-to-Peer External Manager for a 3-month rotation and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Great people and really interesting topics will do that to anyone. In fact, I could not resist a blog to answer a question in more detail. See Glass Door To Gated Communities (link is a cross-post from the original I wrote here in Jive).


How do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.); what use cases does it serve for your company?

Haha – I am currently platform-less. For my last 6 years at Oracle I was immersed in Jive full-time. I founded My Oracle Support Community, a gated community for paying customers. At the same time, I helped Oracle at large employ internal communities for all kinds of work whether it was for a specific purpose, a specific team or group, a specific location or a specific project/purpose. An important use case involves spearheading the effort of all external communities under one umbrella, Oracle Community. While I can't say it was completely successful, I can say that we convinced executives it should be done and that led the way for marketing, support, user groups and acquired product areas to join the party.


What about your community/communities are you most proud of?

Innovation and integration. I'm an avid and passionate fan of getting away from all who continue to call communities "forums or discussion forums." In my humble opinion, a great community, one I hope everyone would strive for, is an engaging platform that is tailored and optimized for the customers and audience. On the one side, this means culling the pieces that make sense (i.e. discussions, document sharing, ideas, blogs, polls, etc) and is meaningful. Don't enable a feature just because it is there. On the other side, it is realistic (and we proved this at Oracle) that you want to try to make the community Grand Central Station in anticipation of user needs, expectations and simplicity of use and for that to be realized you need to look deeply at the other things users are doing and find a way to bridge that to your community.


Great examples of the innovation and integration we did at Oracle included implementation of idea exchange (see Your Idea Counts!), patch reviews, support calendar and integration with support portal (search, ask a question) – all leading edge, even today.


What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

PC. I go kind of very far back to the dawn of micros and minis and have fundamentally tried them all from Commodore to Altos to DECmate to Rainbow to Apple/Mac and now PC since Windows 95. I was on a Mac at Sybase originally for the graphics, but after a series of "green screens" (and re-installing the OS as many times to fix it) as well as more software availability on a PC I switched and never looked back. Sure, I traded green screens for blue screens but ever since Windows XP then Windows 7 and now Windows 10 I have never had blue screens, there is still more software on a PC than a Mac and we could argue this many ways but PC's have fundamentally have caught up to Mac in many regards (Mac is still better for some sound and graphics stuff, but not by much).


Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

Samsung Galaxy 7. Like many, I really only use it for texting, phone and games at the airport. I'm a bit cautious (wary, even) about how secure the device is so I'm not a fan of many apps available (with one exception, that being my iWindsurf app so I can see if it's windy and where to go). As a previous huge fan of Blackberry, my next upgrade might go in that direction as they appear to have Android OS on it. The biggest reason for this thought is that I have always loved a keyboard I can touch and work easily (not to mention memorize to help my poor eyes).


Pick one word that best describes how you work.

Honesty. This is a curse and blessing, but the blessing outweighs the curse and, hey, I'm from NY where truth is king and queen. No BS – we don't tolerate that! Seriously, honesty is really, really important in all walks of life be it family, friends, peers, customers, suppliers and even people you don't know (first impressions can be everything).


Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Oh gosh, this list is big.


Just on my PC alone, I would say (alphabetical, and links for the lesser known ones): Adobe Bridge, Astroburn Pro (burn DVD for backup), Affinity Designer (bye-bye Adobe Illustrator - I have a local license and it's as good or better), Axialis Icon Workshop, Balsamiq (mockups), Ccleaner (best utility for Windows and it's free with a few other good ones they do), Camtasia Studio, Corel MotionStudio 3D (used to be Ulead Cool 3D!), Dreamweaver, eM Client (the poor man's Outlook, but better), Everything (best Windows search), Freeraser (best secure delete), Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), PDF Creator, Photoshop (but starting to look at Affinity Photo), Readerware (for my massive record and book collections), Sound Forge Pro (have been using this since the Sonic Foundry days, was bought by Sony and now, recently, bought by Magix), SureThing (CD/DVD labeler including laser), SWiSH Max4 (flash development, made by ex-Macromedia people - yes, I still use it even though they are now out of business), SnagIt, VideoLAN, WordPress and Webroot Secure Anywhere. What's remarkable about this list is that I pruned what I use so that all the above works well together (this after many years of trial and tribulation!).


I was going to spare you the internet list but I think it's too important and want to spread the good news (and the list is shorter)! So, here we go with what I consider the most important ones: NoMoRobo (stop those calls at dinner!), Zoom (I like it better than Skype and others), LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Meetup (lots of great meetings/events to attend), Simbi (the "symbiotic economy" – I love using this site!), Lorem Ipsum, HTML Color Codes, CSS Gradient Generator, Pure CSS, Font Awesome, Google Fonts, CSS Menu Maker, iWindsurf (again ) and Hualalai Estate Coffee (with all of the above going on, you need this "tool" – best coffee in the entire world!).


You asked .


Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

Does Mr. Bill count? Gadgets are things you play with or use (or in the case of Mr. Bill - abuse), right? I saw every SNL Mr. Bill show and have all his VHS tapes (which I converted to DVD). When things aren't going well, I become Sluggo doing terrible things to my pliable Mr. Bill and .....


Ohhhh Noooo!!!



What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

I am immersed in musical artists. In front of me are posters and mementos from the ChickenFoot and Joe Satriani concerts I attended. To my left is a print of Nash The Slash:

Behind me is my very large library of LP's (1,000's) and CD's (1,000's more). Above these 2 bookshelf stacks of LP's and CD's are photos of Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai and collage of ticket stubs of the many concerts I have attended.


What do you listen to while you work?

Never while I work, way too distracting to me. When I listen to music I really listen as opposed to being in the background. One of the toughest questions on earth, IMHO, is who are my favorites? Here is a sample of what I like so you get the idea (and I would add that I am listing bands I have seen in concert at least once!): Tears For Fears, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, DreamTheater, Buddy Guy, Jethro Tull, Peter Gabriel, Santana, Heart,  Boston, FM (with Nash The Slash), The Doors, Joe Satriani, Larry Coryell, Ten Years After, Foghat, Blue Oyster Cult, Peter Frampton's Camel, Joe Walsh & Barnstorming, Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Doobie Brothers, Iron Butterfly, Frank Zappa, The Marshall Tucker Band and Steely Dan.


Don't ask for more, there isn't enough storage at Jive.


By the way, I went to school with Daryl Thompson (Black Uhuru) in the 70's (his father was the famous 50's and 60's jazz musician Lucky Thompson).


What's your best time-saving trick?

It's not so much a trick but rather a philosophy. You start with good organization, you continue with good maintenance and you end with completion. Sounds simple, but it requires discipline. I always hear about someone being so busy they can't answer a simple question in an email in a timely manner. To me, that person is not as well organized and/or disciplined as they could (or should) be. When at both Sybase and Oracle, I dealt with 100's of emails daily. Pacing myself, no email ever went unheeded or unanswered for more than a few days. I love lists, tables, templates and other organization aids and I think this helps to keep me organized (and my ability to be responsive).


How do you balance work and life?

It took a while, like years, but I discovered there is really a switch inside and you just have to learn how to turn it off. Having passion for something outside of work helps distract you and find that switch. When I go windsurfing, if I am not thinking about wind, waves, swells, other windsurfers/kiters, water or land hazards, etc. I'll pay the piper. This actually helped me turn the switch inside in almost all other regards. Having said that, I have to admit that when going on a plane for vacation work is not so easy to switch off right away and it takes me the better part of 1-2 days. Thereafter, I am fine and it's turned off. Coming home from the same trip, again I have to admit, you can't help but start thinking of what you are coming back to.


What's your sleep routine like?

Sleep? Sleep?? What sleep??? Despite being here on the west coast, I go to bed early and wake up early. I partially blame it on Sybase when I had to work all kinds of technical support shifts until settling down to the 6AM-3PM shift. Once I established that routine, it stayed with me to this day. The side benefit of such a routine is that during the windsurfing season, I am sailing at 3PM! By the time I come home and eat dinner, after a work day and all that exercise I am ready for bed only to wake up the next day and do it all over again.


Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?

On average, I'm probably an extrovert but it's one of those things that is very situational. Socially, I'm a talker for sure but I'm also very private. Does that make me an ambivert? Possibly. In some situations I'm clearly an introvert. When you sum all of this up, to use something from the Dune series (I'm an avid sci-fi buff), perhaps behaviorally I'm a "shape changer"?


What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

My manager from when I was managing the Sybase MPP (massively parallel processing) sustaining engineering team, Stuart Thompto, gave me the best advice ever through his actions. Namely, learning how to be pragmatic! I have always, to this day, considered this the best advice anyone has ever given me. My wife Susan is also very pragmatic, so it's a constant reminder of what I learned from Stuart.


Can you share a few photos with us?

One of my passions in life, not to mention the best stress reliever,

is windsurfing which I have been doing since 1985,

Here, fun in Maui where I go every year!



My wonderful and beautiful wife, Susan.

Here after giving birth to our son Aryien.

My fantastic daughter, Aja.

Here are a few of her (with us) at graduation ceremonies

just a few weeks ago from Colorado State University.


My incredible son, Aryien.

He's the lead guitarist (known as The Professor) for a local

rock'n'roll band here in the SF Bay Area called Chronic Vitality.

Photo on the upper left - they won Battle Of The Bands

about 5 years ago at the DNA Lounge in SF.



Thank you for sharing, Rob! It's awesome to see how you've branched out and are setting off on a path to do what you love and help build better communities. As a side note, I've bookmarked all the software and tools you use. I never realized what I was missing out on!

Given the sophistication of the consumer apps we use in our personal lives, it’s shocking how far behind many companies still lag with these experiences.


Too often the focus of corporate intranets and other enterprise tools are on pushing one-way content rather than enabling vibrant multi-directional engagement between employees.


If your disengaged employees outnumber your engaged employees, or if your digital workplace lacks executive involvement, you may want to reassess what you need improve so you can start taking things to the next level. If you do nothing, it won’t be long before your organization’s productivity and strategic alignment suffer — if they aren’t declining already.



6 Signs of a Flawed Digital Workplace

Tackling a big challenge like this often comes easier by finding small wins you can achieve quickly. What follows are six common digital workplace shortcomings you should take on sooner rather than later:


1. Static Intranets

Putting information out there with the hopes that “if you build it, they will come” no longer works — if it ever did.


If that’s still your digital workplace approach, switch to a more interactive solution that drives engagement and collaboration through a network and activity hub. Make sure it integrates across applications to bring employees’ work into a common experience that captures corporate memory and makes it visible and searchable across the entire organization.


2. Siloed Search

Given that the average worker wastes nearly two hours a day looking for information, and the average enterprise has data spread across 329 business applications, enterprise search should be a top area for improvement within most digital workplaces. A collaboration hub can help with this by aggregating data across systems, analyzing work behavior patterns and then ranking content based on the relative strength of people’s interactions throughout the workgraph.


3. Lack of Reporting or Analytics

All your digital workplace improvements will go to waste if you don’t put in place tools to effectively measure and monitor adoption and engagement. By uncovering insights about community health and your organization’s employees, you’ll know whether your company is realizing the full potential of its digital workplace.


As a bonus, employees will gain better visibility into the impact of their work.


4. One-Size-Fits-All Experiences

A successful digital workplace's ability to target relevant and contextual information to the right people should constantly be improving. Each and every individual should receive a deeply personalized experience which offers up valuable information — even when employees aren’t explicitly seeking it.


Thanks to artificial intelligence, many workplace solutions are finding new ways to surface timely and useful content, connections and places right within the context of the worker at the moment.


5. Old-School Interface

No one wants their work slowed down by clunky circa-2000 business applications. Make sure your company provides employees with user experiences that offer intuitive workstreams and simple interfaces so they can more easily get work done.


Consider solutions that cater to specific functions or industries (i.e. internal communications, HR, customer support, healthcare and government) to deliver broad and strategic impact on employee engagement, worker productivity and organizational culture.


6. Desktop-Only Access

It goes without saying that today’s employees are mobile. They want access to their work information anywhere, anytime, on any device and delivered by a UX that’s as delightful as any consumer app. With the rise of remote workers, companies should prioritize making their digital workspaces available in enterprise-ready, purposeful mobile experiences that help people stay productive.


Achieving Digital Workplace Maturity

Now that we’ve gotten an initial to-do list out of the way, let's put your digital workplace within a broader context using the digital maturity scale below. As companies start to improve employee tools and applications with the latest and greatest technologies, their digital workplaces will advance through several phases:



This kind of technology evolution can dramatically increase the business value your digital workplace delivers. When employees increase their digital communications, knowledge sharing and collaboration skills, they’ll ultimately drive greater innovation and impact to the bottom line.


Of course, if this was an easy process, every company would be at the top right of the scale. But before you can reach those heights, consider these points:


Typical Barriers to Communication and Knowledge Sharing

Static intranets based around content and information fail to effectively uncover employees’ true expertise, experience and knowledge. This missing people element is exacerbated when intranets generate too much information, most of which is irrelevant to the end user.


In order to cultivate a healthy digital workplace, don’t just give people more content, focus on encouraging employees to leverage social tools — like commenting, discussions, liking, ratings, etc. — that capture their intrinsic knowledge, enrich the content, enable bi-directional communications and drive engagement.


Another opportunity is to analyze an individual’s content consumption, contributions, searches and community membership in order to provide helpful visibility into that person’s interests, skills and previous customer engagements (while at the same time personalizing their own digital workplace).


The Next Frontier: Spurring Innovation through Borderless Collaboration

Moving even further along the digital maturity scale, enterprise collaboration technologies are crucial for fostering the exchange of expertise and knowledge across your organization’s network. Break down the all-too-common information silos that result from most companies’ fragmented applications, systems, teams and locations.


Most employees conduct their day-to-day activities across a multitude of technologies, which by integrating into a single digital workplace hub, allows a 360-degree view of business activity. This makes collaboration more efficient, across communities within the company and beyond.


Many of today’s business activities cross corporate boundaries into partners, clients and other entities. As digital workplaces mature, they should support borderless communities to encourage collaboration between internal experts, customers and other third parties across an expanding business ecosystem. If your company wants to compete in today’s economy, it must engage with these broader networks in order to create new value chains, share knowledge or improve existing business activities.


Businesses that deliberately focus on moving up the digital maturity scale can achieve a state of continuous innovation. And that will impact metrics like productivity, employee and customer satisfaction — and even shareholder value.



About the Author

Sean is Vice President and Head of Solutions Consulting at Jive Software. Previously, he led Jive’s strategy and business consulting practice for the East, South, Federal, Latin American and Canadian regions focused primarily on the implementation of Jive in Fortune 500 companies.

At the age of six, I knew I was going to be novelist and horse trainer. At the age of 14, I knew was going to be a flight attendant. At 17, I was definitely going to be a screenwriter. At 19, a teacher. At 21, I was definitely, definitely going to be a Japanese/English interpreter. Now I've found my dream job as a community manager.


While it's incredible to look back and see how far I've come, it's also discouraging to think of time "wasted" writing unpublished novels, screenplays, creating curriculums and learning a language that I don't seem to utilize. However, it's also easy to put a finger on the pulse that continues to drive my career and proves every branched path, obstacle, and scenic route were all part of the same path  –  a passion for helping people and making a difference personally no matter where I work.


Throwing myself into a new dream is easy for me, it's the limbo in between that's difficult... that tough time when my path forks or I'm approached by an opportunity that could be better (or worse). It's the uncertainty of letting go of one dream and starting a new one.  Did I make the right choice? Your career is a life-long journey where sometimes you feel like you've made an improvement and other times you feel like you backtracked several years. And then there are the times when it's completely out of your control and you need to start over. I strongly believe it's not about the job – it's about the experiences and the pulse that shapes your path.


That's why I love hearing stories from people who are further along in their journey. One of my favorite threads in JiveWorks is the comment section of Community Manager Appreciation Day where many of our community managers in JiveWorks shared their background. The variety of experiences that have brought us all to the same place is astounding! Connecting the dots and seeing where unrelated experiences connect are an encouragement for me when I face similar crossroads. This is why I'm so excited to share Elisa Steele's interview with New York Times. I've posted a few interviews with Elisa before, but this one is hands-down my favorite. You can truly trace her journey from scooping ice cream to CEO of Jive Software and pinpoint the pulse that has driven her from helping people while scooping ice cream to helping people as a CEO. How her passion and desire to treat everyone as a valuable customer – regardless of status – played its role in every (seemingly) unrelated job she held throughout the journey to becoming the head of a company.


Check out Elisa's interview to see how obstacles she faced in early management shaped her career and how she works. One of the key points in her career was taking initiative to help out smaller customers of the company who were largely neglected and the opportunity that grew from there. Elisa also shares what she looks for during the hiring process including asking about experiences, decision making, and provided candidates with the opportunity to share about themselves. She wraps up with advice to college grads starting out on their journey - "Don’t let anyone else tell you who you are or what you can do. Follow your instincts." Find your pulse and run with it – you'll see how it connects further down the road.


What about the JiveWorks community?  What's the pulse that drives you throughout your career journey? Why do you do what you do?

We love to see you succeed. One of the reasons I fell in love with JiveWorks is because this is the place where ideas are born and inspiration is shared selflessly between all of us regardless of where we are and where we work. We all team up to make things better for people – our customers, our employees, our users. I wanted to share a few customer stories, two Q&A interviews and one article about how Viavi is using Jive to make a difference, that were published in the last couple of weeks. All three of these customers were recognized as Digital Transformation Award Winners for 2017!


Jive Customer Q&A: Powering Collaboration at Western Digital

Western Digital needed a way to connect and engage 75,000 worldwide employees that had been fragmented across multiple intranets. With Jive, they were successful in creating a "virtual office" which allowed top-level leaders to communicate with employees and employees to leverage Jive for business use cases. We had the honor of interviewing Western Digital's Chief Information Officer – Steve Phillpott – to talk about employee engagement, changes to the workplace, and what he was looking forward to at JiveWorld17.

You can also see his main stage presentation during the opening keynotes on Tuesday: JiveWorld17 Main Stage Day 1: Western Digital.




Jive Customer Q&A: Commvault Transforms Work with Communications

Commvault joined us last year and has made incredible progress in improving employee collaboration and communication. We had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Wohl, Commvault's chief communciations officer, about employee engagement, changes to the workplace and what he was looking forward to at JiveWorld17. Bill Wohl left us with a great piece of advice, "Before you can put out any fire (in business or elsewhere), you have to get agreement on the approach, you have to collaborate, and you need access to the right people and equipment to do the job."

Check out Bill Wohl's main stage presentation on Wednesday: JiveWorld17 Main Stage Day 2: Bill Wohl



Viavi Solutions Launches Jive's Collaboration Hub Across Entire Business Ecosystem

Viavi spent the past year rolling out Jive both internally for its employees and externally for its partners and, more recently, exploring how Jive can help improve customer loyalty and retention to create the biggest business impact. Working with Jive, Viavi talks about how they have changed the way they work - "we've increased agility, improved knowledge capture and benefit from intelligent workgraph analytics that tell us where our networks are working well and where we can improve." Find out how Viavi has boosted partner engagement and fosters holistic employee collaboration with Jive and became a 2017 Digital Transformation Award winner for their through their hard work and dedication to making a difference!

Today marks two weeks since JiveWorld. With all the excitement surrounding seeing old friends, meeting new friends, and learning how to make your community even more successful - we want to make sure the important highlights don't slip through the cracks. For those of you who were not able to join us at JiveWorld17, we want to make sure you don't get left out! Here are the Top 5 highlights from JiveWorld17 that you need to know:


1) Jive Labs Unveiled

On Wednesday, May 3rd we announced the first inter-organization virtual research lab that connects network science researchers in the industry, academia with Jive. On stage we revealed an organizational network prototype designed to make measurable impact on business operations. Read the press release to find out what features Jive Labs' includes and how this will make an impact.



2) Jive Teams up with TemboSocial with Integrated Polls and Surveys

On Tuesday, May 2nd we were excited to announce a new partnership with TemboSocial to offer their surveys, forms, and polls add-on to make it even easier for businesses to collect feedback in a seamless integration. Find out more in Jive's press release for what key features to look out for.




3) Day 1 and Day 2 Recaps

Want to know what was going on each day without all the fluff? Check out the Day 1 and Day 2 recaps to learn about the highlights each day.





4) Jive 5 Winners of the Digital Transformation Awards Announcement

We narrowed the winners down to 25 companies for our 8th annual Digital Transformation Awards and the final 5 were announced on the last day, Wednesday May 4! Congratulations to Carlson Wagonlit, Citi, Providence St. Joseph Health, Trane and U.S Department of Veterans Affairs!



5) Complete Index for ALL Main Stage Events and Sessions

Regardless of whether you missed a session, want to review a session, want to take a closer look at the slideshow notes or were unable to attend JiveWorld17, we got you covered. Check out our handy JiveWorld17 Recap Videos and Presentation Index - In Progress.

I know we're all sad that JiveWorld17 is over, but this next installment of How I Work should cheer you right up! This month I am so excited to introduce Kirsten Laaspere from Akamai Technologies. You should know her because she's our current Peer-to-Peer Internal Community Manager in JiveWorks! She was also a speaker at JiveWorld17 (check it out: How do I prove my value? Measuring the Community Manager and making the case to grow the team), is a Jive Champion, a hockey fan (even if it IS an inferior team to the San Jose Sharks ), a fabulous community member and much, much more. Want to know what "much, much more" means? Read her interview to find out!




Let's start with a photo album of adventures. Photos are fun. And I am particularly biased towards my particularly excellent adventures.


My brother got married in Cinque Terre, Italy... it was pretty nice.

jivechampions swag

My mom and I look NOTHING alike.

I MET THE BRUINS! (There are three more photos like this one with other players. I'm like, you know, a bit of a fan... or whatever.)

Oktoberfest... the real one. Surpasses the hype.


I may have scared a few people...

Overlooking Barbaresco, Italy.

So. Much. Wine.

Switzerland made me a rainbow!



Where do you work?

Akamai Technologies. I am based out of our Cambridge, MA office, also our headquarters, but I interact with incredibly smart people around the globe.  Also, if you don't know what we do, check out our website. I'm seriously not trying to sell you; Akamai effects literally all of our lives and I find it immensely fascinating. nerd


How would you describe your current job?

I was recently called "Supreme Overlord," and I find that pretty apt. Not really, but it's still fun. I do have a lot of power. I manage the social intranet for a global company with thousands of people; and since social intranets are largely people driven, I essentially manage thousands of people. So, Supreme Overlord may not be too far off. People come to me with complaints - and sometimes chickens for my table - and it is my responsibility to listen and take action on behalf of my people. Even though I'm in charge, I work for the community, and everything I do is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our employees. I have an absurd amount of freedom with my responsibilities, which is absolutely divine. I am trusted to do what's best and what's right, and while I align up to the greater department and corporate initiatives, my day-to-day decisions and my larger priorities are usually my own to decide. This is awesome and is part of our company culture - we hired you because we trust you, so do your job. It's great.


How do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.); what use cases does it serve for your company?

Akamai uses Jive for both external and internal communities, but I'm purely internal. We launched our external community (October 2014) about a year before we launched the internal community (August 2015). Externally, our community is focused at customers, partners, prospects, and guests, serving as a knowledgebase, support system, and discussion forum. Internally, our community serves as a social intranet, having replaced our legacy static intranet for a DIY self-service intranet model. I am lucky enough to sit within our Corporate Communications team, which means I get to run the collaboration side of the intranet in direct parallel with the communications side. We also have a phenomenal relationship with our IT team, which makes us a wholly rounded team and a well oiled machine!


What about your community/communities are you most proud of?

I am most proud the underdogs. We all have a general understanding about who is going to easily learn and adopt social tools and who might be more difficult to onboard, but every once in a while a person or team just hits the ground running and defies expectations. The Legal team at Akamai is one of those cases. We did not target them as an early adopter, but they went ahead and became one anyway. By actively pursuing this new way of building a living knowledgebase and soliciting questions (employee-facing department spaces) as well as developing a super active, multi-faceted private collaborative community (team-only group with many projects), the Legal team became one of our top three divisions very quickly and has remained a shining example of successful social intranet adoption and engagement. If Legal can do it, so can you!


What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?

I am a Mac convert (and it's an excellent story.) I still don't like iPhones, but I used to be 100% PC (largely due to the fact that there was a delete AND a backspace)... until I joined Akamai. A lot of the Akamai Helpdesk in Cambridge used to work at Apple, so not only are they Mac fans, but they know more about them.  I am friends with most of the wonderful people who work at our Helpdesk and so when my computer blue screened the first time, they made fun of me, but came to my rescue... when it happened the second time (3 months later) they gave me the stink eye and told me that if it happens one more time, they're just taking my computer and giving me a Mac. To prove how serious they were, they provided me with an external hard drive and helped me back up my content just in case. The third blue screen happened when I was at the physical Helpdesk getting something updated for my mobile email and they literally just went in the back room and requisitioned me a Mac. After some OS training and a print out of the shortcuts, I haven't looked back since.


Tell us what you use for your mobile device?

Technically it's a Samsung S5. But I'm not a huge technophile. I use my phone to check and reply to email - both work and personal, scan through social media occasionally (but not regularly, and I rarely post), and do things like call an Uber, deposit a check, or pay a friend for those tickets she bought us. If I left my phone at home, I'd be bummed and would absolutely try to avoid all possibility of an emergency situation, but I would not freak out. Other than for texting (which is pretty much everyone's life blood at this point), It's a convenience more than a necessity.


Pick one word that best describes how you work.

Honestly. I tell it how it is. That might be in regard to what Jive can/can't do for your use case, what I can/can't do for your use case, the fact that I absolutely and totally forgot about the action item I had for you, the fact that I really don't know when the roadmap item will actually be rolling out, the fact that our navigation/training/process is not perfect... you name it. I also treat everyone the same. I don't care if you're an intern or an executive - I'm going to send a quick and thorough reply and give you a straight answer, probably with a little humor in it. People see me as reliable, and I take great pride in that.


I am also honest with myself. If I'm being aggressively unproductive, I'll take a walk or just simply go home. It's of no benefit to anyone for me to stay at my desk and stare blankly at my screen. I also get a lot of credit for replying super quickly to emails; this has nothing to do with how responsive I am and everything to do with the fact that if I don't reply to you right now, I probably never will. I know this about myself and so I work around it. But hey, I'll take the compliments.


Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?

I could not survive (hyperbole, of course) without my Chromecast. I watch A LOT of television. It's usually intelligent, witty, and engaging (no reality tv) with the occasional dumb show thrown in for fun (usually something marketed to teenagers - I'm looking at you, Pretty Little Liars). I don't watch a lot of live television, so I have the smallest cable package that still allows me to watch major sporting events and awards shows. I watch most TV through my parent's online xfinity account, my Hulu account, and my grandmother's Netflix account (sharing is caring) but because of Chromecast, I can watch it on my egregiously large television. TV is one of the things I use to unwind and detach, which is super important within the "always-on" life that all community managers lead, so having this glorious tool to connect me to essentially any show or movie I want to watch is life changing.


Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?

My wine opener. A) It's an awesome wine opener. All you do is twist and the screw goes into the cork, then you just keep twisting and the cork comes out of the bottle. It's so low effort (without being one of those total cop-out rabbit devices that don't make you feel like you're actually taking part in opening the bottle, which is part of the fun). B) I really, really love wine.


What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?

There are a lot of snacks. Mostly healthy foods (right now I have natural peanut butter, an apple, pretzel crisps, honey, salt (for the hardboiled eggs I bring from home) and 2 boxes of high protein cereal on my desk and a whole drawer full of things like nuts and granola bars). I always have one "live" notebook at hand with my current To-Do list right on top and my set of colorful pens ready for annotations. I have a reusable water bottle with me at all times and usually an empty mug left over from my morning coffee (which I either reuse in the afternoon or throw in our office dishwasher - save the planet!). If I have some extra papers or notes I'm working on, they'll be around as well, but I generally try to recycle any papers when I'm done with them to keep things from getting cluttered. I also always have my 12-month calendar available - even though I have my Outlook calendar for work events and my Google calendar for live events, I still love to write everything down so I know what's going on this week/month in my life. I have a sit to stand desk, which I move up and down multiple times through the day, so I don't keep much on the part of the desk where I'm actually working, which helps with organization as well. One of my walls has lanyards from all the conferences I've been to over the past few years as well as all the work-related cards and thank you notes I've received. There is another wall for personal memorabilia (Bates pennant, Bruins sticker, etc.)


What do you listen to while you work?

Everything. I don't have a go-to work music; it depends on both my mood and the kind of work I'm doing. Usually, listening to music at work either serves to improves my mood or help me get through tedious tasks. Soundtracks are very often in the rotation: Finding Neverland, Hamilton, Moana, Pride & Prejudice, Out of Africa... and I often listen to music to prep for the many, many concerts and shows that I go to (I absolutely love live events... tickets are probably in my top 5 favorite things in the world.


I have a great story where I was listening to Childish Gambino - a particularly not explicit song - and my SVP at the time came up behind me to ask me a question. He startled me and I whipped around in my seat, pulling my headphones out of their jack and blasting very loud, very NSFW rap music to the entire office (at an upstanding Financial institution, no less).  It was HILARIOUS.


What's your best time-saving trick?

Short, simple, no frills videos. There are always things that we just keep explaining over and over again, and which usually need to be demonstrated to be understood, so I suggest creating simple videos - just screen recordings with voiceovers that you record in one take like you're doing a live demo (and if you mess up, don't worry about it - just go with it... like a live demo). Write down a bunch of topics (how to edit the home page, how to use the Document Viewer tile, how to add images and make them links to create basic buttons, how to use the Table of Contents feature, how to use quick search, how to add a bio to your profile... I could go on), go into a quiet room and just bang out a bunch of videos (never longer than 3 minutes, try for 30-60s). Then you can just point to them instead of scheduling a demo session with someone.


How do you balance work and life?

I follow the yin-yang theory for work/life integration. There's a little bit of personal in the work and a little bit of work in the personal, and that's totally fine. Do I need to call my hairdresser during the work day or take a 10 minute break to do some apartment hunting? Totally fine. Do I want to finish a deck in the evening while watching TV or check in before bed to make sure users in other time zones get answers at a convenient hour? Totally fine. Some people are big on drawing a line and having work stay at work, but I would rather bring my life to work and allow some flexibility for my work to flow into my life.


What's your sleep routine like?

I require a lot of sleep... and I make sure I get it. I've always been a fan of sleep and do my best to make sure I'm getting 7-8 hours a day over the course of a week. This means that if I have a 5 hour night, for whatever reason, I will take a nap later in the day or have a 10 hour night on the weekend to catch back up. I try to be in bed by 10:30 and asleep by 11/11:30 (usually depending on how good my book is). Wake-up is usually between 6:30 and 7:30. I like to have a decent amount of time in the morning to ease into my day, make breakfast, pack lunch, etc. but I also have PTSD from my years as a competitive rower and cannot stand to see anything earlier than 6 on my alarm clock in the morning. I exercise regularly, so sleep is especially important for rest and recovery. I also make sure to drink water right before bed and right when I wake up. I'm really big on hydrating.


Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?

Ambivert, with a strong lean towards extrovert. Essentially, I am an extrovert 90% of the time, but when I become an introvert, I go FULL introvert. My personality means that I'm "on" all the time and that isn't sustainable for too long, so I have bouts where I need to totally disconnect. I sustain throughout the week by watching TV... a lot of TV... and reading, using that time to escape into other worlds for a while, but I also try to take self care days about once a month to make sure I reset my batteries.


What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?

Be curious, not judgmental. This is probably the most valuable sentence in my life. It's very personal and introspective; if you are stressed or upset or running at a lower speed than usual, be curious about that - What might be going on? What can you do to support yourself? - instead of getting upset with yourself for being totally normal. (Everyone gets stressed. Everyone has bad days.) You don't need to have the answer to why you're feeling the things you're feeling; not all emotions come from something specific. The important thing is to be open to the fact that something is happening and not judge yourself with "I should" or "I shouldn't" statements. For example, if you wake up in the morning and are just dead to the world, be curious... "Am I sick? Am I burnt out? Do I just need another hour of sleep? Do I need a mental health day? What's best for my self care?" instead of judgmental... "Why can't I manage my time better? I can't afford to take an extra hour to sleep! If I work from home and don't have a good excuse, people will think less of me."


Real talk, I got this gem from a therapist. Mental health is just as important as physical health and going to therapy or needing therapy is nothing to be ashamed of.



Thank you Kirsten for your open, honest and funny interview. It was great getting to know you more! Thanks for being awesome!

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