I’m excited to announce I’ve joined Patreon as their Head of Marketing. It’s an amazing company and this opportunity is nothing short of a dream!
One of my goals in looking for a new role was to find a place that was as mission-driven as Nima and one where I had a deep personal connection. I’m really passionate about helping creators, whether it’s buying pieces of jewelry from an up-and-coming (now established) designer Vanessa Gade, watching my own dear husband Jeff Rider create comics, or supporting various creators via online platforms or supporting their creations in person. Creators broaden our minds, approach the world in novel ways, and help us to forge our own connections with larger events in the world. I can’t wait to help creators engage with their fans and build their ability to have sustainable creative lives.
So what is a soft launch when it comes to work?
Things came together fairly quickly at Patreon and I wanted to start right away, but there were two personal trips I’d already planned: one to take our daughter to college and the second to go to New York during ComicCon. I didn’t want to delay the start date forever though because getting up to speed in an existing business takes time and it’s tricky to get into the rhythm of any new organization. Given that it’s already October and in about 8 weeks we’ll be hitting the holidays, and in the midst of that lies Patreon’s annual conference PatreCon, I wanted to get going right away.
In speaking with Adam Fishman, it was clear that there was a way to do both: a soft launch. Come in for a few days before getting a really robust start, taking some time to think about all the things I really wanted to know before that momentous all-in time. I could dig into all manner of historical documents, have 1:1 meetings, review current product and marketing plans, and really begin to understand the culture and all things Patreon. Once you’ve had the time to be a sponge, you can start “officially” start work well informed and energized. In this soft launch time period, I asked for a bunch of documentation and background from Adam, the rest of the team spent a ton of time pulling together all sorts of current and historical information for me, the new work computer got set up with access to key tools (and you know that stuff takes a while), and I am learning even more about the fantastic culture the company has built. It also gave me a few days to spend in the office so I know where things are – bathroom locations, how people know when lunch is served, and which Slack channels are the most relevant for work and amusement. Most importantly, it gave me a chance to sit with all the members of the marketing team and observe how they’re working through some things, and helps me to think about how we can talk all these awesome people and their experiences to bring the Patreon story to even more creators, so they can live the creative lives they’ve earned.
From the team perspective, this also gives them time to think about how we can best work together, what they need from me, and to begin absorbing how my perspective and experiences bring some different experiences to the team. Plus a little breathing room.
Trying new things in onboarding for the team
One thing I did do in the eight days before starting was to send an email a day with random stories and facts about me, just so they could get to know me. I’ve never done anything like this before, but the idea just sort of popped into my brain and it wouldn’t shake loose. Just like online dating, when someone new joins a company, you know something about them, but you have no context. You have no shared history (unless you worked with them before) and it’s hard to know what a person does outside of work that influences their work. So everyday there was a note (sometimes a missive). It covered everything from stories about friends to stupid facts about the Hogwarts house Pottermore assigned me. I’ve decided to put some of these into a TinyLetter with a goal of sending one every 2 – 3 weeks. You can sign up at TinyLetter.com/urban_mermaid, with the first missive going out this Friday, which talks more about my own path to patronage and why. One interesting thing about this project was that I realized I was sharing stories I hadn’t shared with people who have known me for years, so maybe now is the time to rectify that. It was a good practice and it also gives the team a chance to share their stories with me as we begin our work together.
So onward for creators of all types!
P.S. We’re hiring at Patreon, come work with me!