Chapter 2: Social Media-Obsessed Cat Lady
Assistly is a customer support platform that allows companies to streamline all channels of customer interaction — traditional channels like email and phone, but also newer channels like Twitter and chat — into one unified and prioritized list. It also makes customer support agents more efficient by allowing powerful macros, autosort rules, and other tools, leading some beta customers to refer to agents equipped with Assistly as “ninjas”.
Assistly is currently in private beta, but I must say I was floored by the caliber of companies that are beta testing the product with an eye towards adopting it in the future. The team is planning on launching the product a few months from now.
My projects at Assistly range far and wide, but last week I concentrated on making a demo environment for client presentations. Prior to my work, Assistly had been using placeholder examples with titles like “test 1 2 3″ and “akldsfhsaf”. So I created a fictitious company called Ninja Supplies, “purveyors of fine weaponry and ninja apparel,” to center the demos around.
In short order, Ninja Supplies had a knowledge base (a collection of articles on frequent customer issues, which clients can use as an internal resource, or make public as an automatically organized customer FAQ) and an active Twitter and email presence, all of which Ninja Supplies (me) was using to respond to a flurry of questions from their customers (also me).
If all this environment-building makes me seem like a social media-obsessed cat lady, it was all worth it to hear from one of my bosses, Dan, that when he presented to a big potential client last week, the Ninja Supplies demo environment made a huge improvement in how well he was able to showcase Assistly’s abilities in a real customer service setting. This week, I’ll be working on product videos that potential clients can view in lieu of a presentation, which will become increasingly important as Assistly’s client base grows.
Meanwhile, Thursday TEC meetings are the highlight of my week. We get superstar guest speakers from the True family — you’ve heard about them from the other intern posts, but I want to share a quote from Om Malik, founder of tech blog GigaOM and partner at True. Om was one of my favorite speakers because of his frankness and at times cheeky irreverence as he shared his opinions on the future of tech. Listening to Om speak, it’s clear that becoming an influential leader in the tech space doesn’t have to entail sacrificing your personality or viewpoints, which is very refreshing and encouraging to me.
“A lot of people were upset about Facebook’s releasing instant personalization. [Facebook] made a mistake packaging it with the privacy thing. But it’s the wave of the future. And if people don’t get that, they’re…just straight up stupid.”
– Om Malik on instant personalization
I’m also really enjoying getting to know the other interns more; we set up an email chain and are planning trips from the hipster-laden Mission District to the snow-covered peaks of Yosemite. So far, we’ve been to last Friday’s TechCrunch meetup and 1/2 off Thursday at the SFMOMA. It’s a great group of people and I can’t wait to see what we do this week.
Finally, to wrap things up, Adam asked us to talk a little bit more about ourselves and our web presence, so here goes. When I’m not discovering that a startup’s normal hours are 9:30 to 7, I’m pursuing my interests in swing dancing, cryptography, design, and cooking.
As for my web presence, I do have a design portfolio, Twitter, and Tumblr, but the bulk of my internet notoriety stems from 117 periodic table cupcakes my sister and I baked for her birthday party, which frontpaged on Reddit, Digg, and more. Funnily enough, the entire experience has come full circle, because it turns out that fellow TEC intern JP, an avid Redditor, saw the cupcakes while at school in Boston. And after reading Gary Erickson’s Clif Bar story this week, I’ve been inspired to perhaps open my own cupcake catering business.