My job here at Safari is a unique and multi-faceted one, which suits my personality and work history well. I’m basically an experienced project manager who is deployed on internal projects that are of important strategic value to the company. This means that I can be working on basically anything! A built-in part of the job is to quickly immerse myself in topics about which I may initially only have a passing familiarity. My background prepares me for some of this gear switching – I have worked as a web and print project manager, financial advisor, classical musician, bartender, and am an avid multi-disciplinary fiber artist. But invariably I have a lot to learn about whatever projects I’m currently working on. I recently got rid of plenty of outdated physical technical books from when I was learning to build websites, but now I have access to a much larger and more up-to-date digital collection in Safari.
Last year, I was involved in a project to rebrand our company, to better represent our evolution into a modern technology company. (You can see some of the output here.) I’ve had experience with branding at a few previous jobs, but in those jobs I was on the vendor side, not the client side. And, my colleagues and I had to keep in mind a lot of stakeholders: our executive team, our board, our employees (including many company veterans who were happy with our existing branding), and our customers. I needed some help to get us to a completed (and accepted) rebrand in a fairly quick timeframe in order to support many of the big product and organizational changes we implemented in 2014. During this process, I looked around and asked around for recommendations, finding a few useful books, including Debbie Millman’s Brand Bible and Mike Montiero’s Design is a Job. Lean Branding is also a great resource for quickly learning about branding and how to quickly get a branding project rolling.
I provide research and support to our technical team’s work to keep us up to date on data privacy practices, and I found the Privacy Engineer’s Manifesto to be seriously informative. One of the authors, Michelle Finneran Dennedy, gave a really great talk (“Why Should Anyone Care at All about Privacy, Privacy Engineering, or Data?”) at Strata+Hadoop World New York 2014 – one of our first events that we streamed live during the conference.
Office design and culture
Now I’m knee-deep working to design and build out our new office, in downtown Boston (in addition to being knee-deep in snow), and I’ve found several titles in Safari to be really helpful in quickly getting me up to speed with the lingo required to swim in the world of commercial real estate, architecture/interior design, space planning, and construction. These two books gave me some great information and insight to really get immersed in this project quickly: Change Your Space, Change Your Culture and The Facility Management Handbook (specifically chapters 5, 11, and 12).
I’m really lucky to have access to Safari’s extensive, and current, library as part of my job, and I’m always finding things there to help me better understand my current area of focus. I am a pretty random learner, and Safari accommodates that well. Sometimes I just want to read a few sentences, find a definition of a term, or dip into a video, but other times I really need to absorb many chapters or read an entire book. Now that we have streamed a few live events, I love the serendipity of picking a talk that looks vaguely interesting and jumping right into the live video.
It’ll be fun to see what my next assignment is, and to challenge Safari to prepare me for it!