Four years ago, I made the best decision of my life. I packed up my apartment in Colorado and moved to San Francisco – a city I had fallen in love with the year before. Little did I know, it wasn’t just the city I’d continue to fall in love with.
I joined Context Optional (CO) in the summer of 2009. At the time, CO was mostly a custom development shop, building custom Facebook applications for big brands. I joined the team as their first “Community Genius.” A role that hadn’t been defined quite yet.
One of my first clients was a large automobile brand. They had just launched their social media presence. And one of my tasks was to create a process around moderating their newly minted Facebook page. At the time, there weren’t any tools to help with the moderation, so I relied heavily on Excel (yes, a Journalism school grad used Excel!) and copied and pasted every post and comment that appeared on the page. I color coded the comments according to what action needed to be performed on it – red was to remove, yellow was to respond, green was to leave it as is on the page. I would send this spreadsheet to the client, wait for their approvals, and then Command+F until I found that comment again.
Many times, I was accused by the highly intelligent developers and engineers that I “just played around on Facebook and Twitter all day.” To some extent, they were right. But, it wasn’t just playing. It was figuring out how these brands could use social media to build relationships with their customers. I was the direct line between a brand and their customers, speaking on behalf of these brands, building relationships for them. So, I asked one of the engineers to come shadow me and watch what I did all day.
Needless to say, he was appalled by my Excel spreadsheet. “That is so inefficient!” He exclaimed. I nodded in agreement – the spreadsheet took me hours and hours to complete. “I’m going to build you something that’s going to make your life easier.
And he did. He built the first iteration of what we then called the Social Moderation Console.
This tool grew exponentially throughout the next six months. It grew to incorporate application templates (everyone wanted contests and quizzes!), Facebook analytics (you know, for data-driven recommendations), and publishing/scheduling content.
I began developing and growing my Community Engagement team so that we could service the customers that purchased a license to our tool. We defined and redefined our offerings. We worked late and on the weekends to make sure that our clients were covered on social because, you know, social media never sleeps. We moderated and created content and published and CO even paid for my wifi on a family cruise so I could continue Tweeting for one of our clients.
In 2011, we were acquired by Efficient Frontier – a search, social and display advertising platform. And in November of the same year, we were acquired by Adobe. It was a year of change, that’s for sure. But we continued to grow.
Our little Social Moderation Console has now become Adobe Social and that, my friends, is pretty remarkable.
Man, has it been a ride. Full of excitement and nervousness and change. Rubber ducks and costume parties. Hackathons and barbecues. Bowling and happy hours. And that time we almost had a holiday party at Supperclub on BDSM night. I could never recap all of the incredible memories I’ve had over the past four years – there are just too many. Too many incredible people who have touched my life in indescribable ways. Too many inspiring clients who have taught me about who I want to be professionally and as a manager.
In the past (almost) two years at Adobe, I’ve learned that big companies aren’t so bad either. That the culture here is innovative and fun and creative. And that the people are just plain awesome. I’ve learned that even if I do feel like a little fish in a big pond, even the little fish have voices. I’ve built a wonderful network here full of especially intelligent people.
And it’s through that network, that I was presented with a new opportunity at Adobe.
As of December 2nd, I will be heading up all of Adobe’s Global Social Business Enablement. Yes, helping Adobe be better at social. We have directive straight from the CEO that he wants us to be the best at social – so, that’s what I’m going to help do. Be the best.
I’m thrilled for the opportunity to move into an internal role – client-facing has been fun for the past few years, but I’m excited to get my hands dirty on one brand. I’m ecstatic to work with the rest of the team in the Center of Excellence. I’ll be working cross-functionally, touching almost every other team at Adobe (because, you know, social media should live everywhere).
So, while I say a “technical” goodbye to the amazing Adobe Social team, don’t worry, I won’t be too far away. Thanks for all the memories and I know we’ll be creating many more.