Show # 44 - [ profile] marta - Anything Else and Closing

Oct. 15th, 2008 02:18 am
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Marta: okay, back
Marta: I couldn't find an ad right off, but here is the front page to the Cyrillic-language LJ
penpusher: oh ok.

penpusher: Hi!

Marta: hi!

Marta: one more interesting Russian fact:

penpusher: Da.

Marta: "LiveJournal" is abbreviated ЖЖ Russia. It's pronounced "zhe zhe" And the literal translation is "AliveJournal"

penpusher: That's very cool.

Marta: I'm still waiting for my t-shirt with the ЖЖ logo haven't gotten one yet!

penpusher: I'm still waiting for my t shirt with the American one! haha.

Marta: I'll send you one.

Marta: I have very, very few powers, but it is probably within my reach to send you out a t-shirt.

penpusher: haha well, thanks. Actually, what I really wanted was a baseball cap with the little username embroidered... I thought at meetups, people would love wearing those.

Marta: I have the last hat of that kind that I know of, though, so unless I need to do a charity auction one day, I'm not letting go of that! I found it in the basement!

penpusher: Maybe the marketing team can redevelop it.

Marta: I sure hope so!

penpusher: I don't know how much it would cost to get the little username created for the cap. maybe it's not cost effective.

Marta: hopefully, we'll have some new things coming out in the next year!

penpusher: those of us with perm accounts would like that I'm sure.

penpusher: Anyway...this segment of the discussion is called "Anything Else," and we usually discuss something we haven't talked about yet or go back to reexamine something we did.

penpusher: We've kind of had some intense scrutiny about LJ generally... maybe now you can talk about all the fun stuff working for the company holds.

Marta: well, I'm acutely aware of how very lucky I am to actually work on LiveJournal. so that's one!

Marta: I love to see how the systems work, from designing a new feature, to working on it, and seeing everything that goes in to it

Marta: I work a small amount with some of the product and engineering folks, and they're fascinating

penpusher: What's your typical day like? Or is there one?

Marta: there is no typical day, not at all. While I can plan out a week by knowing which two or three days I have a regularly scheduled meeting or conference call, and maybe a particular one with a department or person on a project, every Monday morning I have no idea what the week will bring

Marta: my life kind of revolves around the every-other-thursday code releases, because we generally make news posts then so the week of a release, I might spend talking to people about what's going out, how to describe it, how it works

penpusher: Are you one of the main people who crafts those news posts?

Marta: no, I've never been the one who has done that, but I do provide support to the people who do it mostly to make sure that we've communicated correctly - describing things in ways that are in LJ-speak, and stuff like that

Marta: I am a bit of an organizer, so I do kind of keep a list of what's coming up and what might be coming up and help with that too

penpusher: That's a useful skill when things are coming at you from literally every direction on earth!

Marta: I work at least a little with every department, so it is exactly that - every direction when something breaks, or when there's a new feature, or things like that I often can't solve the problem, but I'll usually be involved in some way or in the communication

Marta: it helps that I'm a total and complete internet addict and therefore always seem to be around

penpusher: That's essentially what a team is all about, so that I think is encouraging to all users. And your addiction of course.

Marta: our whole team is that way, the working in other areas, although I think partially the internet addiction too...

Marta: as I said before, I think most people don't realize how few people work on LiveJournal everyone has a job to do, but the lines blur about exactly what the duties are and there's always something to do or a deadline

penpusher: I think people don't have a sense of much of anything about the dynamic of the LJ staff. But there is a dynamic.

Marta: yes! the seven of us who are kind of "continuing" LJ employees are broken down by department

Marta: [ profile] janinedog and [ profile] henrylyne are in engineering

Marta: [ profile] chasethestars is design

Marta: then there's the support team, [ profile] coffeechica in tech support, [ profile] markf in Abuse, [ profile] arie in all things relating to Accounts, payments, store, etc. but one of the engineers might help out in support when there's a bug, working with people to troubleshoot or fix it

Marta: [ profile] chasethestars is a graphic designer, but she's been using LJ forever, so when there's a change to something that involves where you click or how you interact with LiveJournal, she works really well with engineering to make it happen everyone on the teams can help in at least one or more areas

penpusher: This almost sounds like an Oscar acceptance speech!

Marta: and although we have product managers who investigate and design new things, they generally circulate the plans, solicit feedback, and any of us might add something or suggest something too

penpusher: *applauds*

Marta: they're awesome, I swear.

Marta: when I went from user to staff, one of the biggest great parts was that I found out that staff was awesome I mean, I suppose I knew a little, but I wasn't prepared for what I got. I'd work with any of them, any time, anywhere

penpusher: Right. I think the staff is, and probably rightly so, in everyone's peripheral vision, unless something happens to make them the focus.

Marta: hopefully, that won't be happening in the future. and I admit that I'm acutely aware that it's a risk I walked into, and one of the hardest things was the decision to take the job

penpusher: Now, the one area that I haven't talked about at all is the advisory board elections.

Marta: sure, that was a fine segue

penpusher: Originally, I had intended to have candidates come here and discuss their positions, and then have the winner as a guest. What happened was kind of the fish that got away. Maybe you can shed a bit of light on the whole thing for me.

Marta: sure, whatever I can.

Marta: the time was a very intense one for a period there and it was all very fast to work with and work on, so extremely surreal

penpusher: It seemed that the election came along quickly and maybe not everyone in the LJ community at large was prepared for it.

Marta: as with so many things on LiveJournal, it happened not fast enough for some and not slow enough for others.

Marta: the concept of this Advisory Board was explained to us the weekend of the sale.

penpusher: So this was like a part of the package?

Marta: yeah, I think it was part of the news post to the community that happened that weekend - December 2nd.

Marta: Andrew Paulsen was very aware that he wanted the best advice going forward, and I think he was very much a visionary on what might happen in the future

penpusher: It's clear he wanted to reconnect with the user base in a way that hadn't been done in a while.

Marta: so over February and March, the initial plan came together - it had never been done before, so there wasn't a blueprint or anything to go by and, at the same time, I believe he was meeting with the appointed members, and talking to them about coming to be part of it

penpusher: I guess my initial question is why have an LJ Advisor when you're here?

Marta: haha, no, because that's not the point. staff is there to do a job, so it's different.

Marta: I think what he wanted was, as planned, a kind of informal, small group who would have different viewpoints, and therefore be a guide on the Big Things

penpusher: Ok, sort of a think tank. I think there were some clear snags about the voting rules, and about how the various candidates ran their campaigns and that caused some controversy.

Marta: it did, and I think that we learned a lot to be put into place for next year. which sounds so odd to say, because so much has changed since then that it certainly will be a completely different thing.

penpusher: So this will be an annual event.

Marta: as far as I know, yes.

Marta: I'm a little out of the loop on the actual discussions, so can't shed any light on future plans, though

penpusher: To me, the oddest element of all of this was that the winner, [ profile] legomymalfoy, became completely incommunicado during voting and after claiming the victory. Maybe you know a little bit about what happened there?

Marta: there were some unfortunate instances that complicated the time right after the election. it really made me sad to see, and sorry for those it affected - including the communication between users and the rep

penpusher: I understand that people got caught up in the "war" element of it, but I wondered about taking such an extreme position of not being able to be reached by anyone was the way to go for someone who is supposed to speak for the user base?

Marta: honestly, when some people whip up others, the attempts at honest communication can get lost in the signal/noise ratio

penpusher: I had wanted her to come and talk about her experiences, but it was impossible to even get a message to her about that. So, I felt that maybe things were out of hand.

Marta: I think in some ways they were, although, again, this is the first time we've ever done anything like this, and LiveJournal is an extremely unique microcosm to do something like this in.

penpusher: No, I can't argue that point!

Marta: even without the other things which might have complicated this, and doing things slightly different next time, I think that may perhaps be an issue that will be solved only over more time

penpusher: To the good of it, I sent out a questionnaire to all of the candidates (the ones I could reach, that is) and nearly all of them had positive things to say about how the LJ staff helped and handled everything.

Marta: I think that really speaks more about the fact that staff and users really are on the same page.

Marta: the candidates were awesome, and I think there were some really excellent things going on then too so hopefully we can incorporate even more of the positive in the cycle next year - that was a very great bright spot

penpusher: How is [ profile] legomymalfoy doing now? Have things settled down? I still haven't heard.

Marta: I think so! There will be more going on in the next month or two, so I hope you'll be able to see too!

penpusher: So, this time, there will be plenty of lead time for the election. Has the team hashed out the changes you want to make?

Marta: well, I'm not in charge of that, and only peripherally involved - but there will be plenty of lead time, and I'm sure that many changes will be made

penpusher: Do we have a date of the election yet?

Marta: we're really less than 1/2 way through this year, so I imagine that after the new year that will be decided but, no, I haven't heard of a date at this point although that may be part of what they'll be working on in the next couple of months, too, so maybe I shouldn't pretend to know!

penpusher: That should be good. Are there any other elements we haven't discussed that you feel we should? Any things you think people should know generally or about you specifically?

Marta: about the election, or in general, you mean?

penpusher: No just in general

Marta: hm. on the election, I just want people to know that while I'm really disappointed in some of it, I'm also really proud of LJ - for getting together and trying something really new and not previously defined. but about me, I can't think of anything

penpusher: I'm guessing you're much more selective about who you add to your friendslist than you were a couple of years ago.

Marta: hahahaha! yes.but not on my work account, so much. I keep my private account separate, and don't really feel like sharing that with the world - because I'm not a very public person, and I don't think it's vital to my job

Marta: but on my work account, [ profile] marta, I mostly eventually friend everyone back, so I'd love friends!

penpusher: I think you're going to get some adds.

Marta: that's great! I don't have much in there, only posting every so often. But I always read!

penpusher: That's a great place to end it, because I can talk about reading this journal and about upcoming episodes and guests. Your participation is what helps move and guide this journal and makes it what it is. So, if you have a question, a comment for me specifically, or a suggestion for a future guest, you can always email me. I'm at ljpenpusher at gmail dot com.

penpusher: And if you want to comment about this episode, ask a follow up question related to Marta, or make a statement of your own about something in this episode, you may do so at the Viewer Comment post that immediately follows this interview. You may post anonymously if you wish, but please don't spam it with unrelated material. That will be immediately deleted.

penpusher: It's great to be back and thanks very much for reading along. We'll talk again, soon.

penpusher: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat!
Marta: thanks for inviting me to chat!
Marta: it's been a great time!
penpusher: I really appreciate the comments.

Marta: here's a russian ad on a bus stop. I had it in my email, so put it on scrapbook to show you!
penpusher: And it's green... how trendy!
Marta: I'm getting bombarded with emails and IMs, so will need to get back to them, but where can I send a t-shirt to, and what's your prefered color and size?
Marta: I'm going to be in the office briefly this weekend and I have free reign to dig around in the basement
penpusher: oh I'm a size large and I guess I don't know what colors are there?
penpusher: haha
Marta: there USED to be all kinds of colors, but now I have no idea.
Marta: these are the t-shirts that were left from the old store before 6A bought LJ.
penpusher: oh... well, beggars can't be choosers!
penpusher: anything is fine! haha.
Marta: we found boxes and boxes when we moved!
penpusher: nifty.
Marta: so they totally let me go wild with them for a little while
penpusher: Cool ok thanks again!
Marta: I'm seriously always here, so ping me whenever

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