What do you do best?
I get this question sometimes. What I do best is engineer solutions. Often projects start out as a technical writing role. Then they evolve. If you could hire one person to get 3 different dynamic skill sets, wouldn’t you want to cut costs?
Round pegs never fit into traditional, square business roles. Too many companies make the mistake of hiring for one skill set. Hybrid positions are a new trend. Yes, employers pay more for these recruiter magnets.
For many years I’ve seen poor decisions made in technical documentation and authoring systems. Why? Traditional roles.
One FinTech company I collaborated with were led down some odd solutions mandated by the VP of DevOps. Instead of engineering scalable solutions, the VP went with what always ‘worked’ in former positions.
Or worse. A-quality decision-makers often don’t like hiring other A-quality solution fanatics. Not always but I see it. Embracing all options is far more viable long-term.
Are you interested in client-facing API solution projects?
This was actually a question I had recently from a recruiter.
Although he was young and had little understanding of API technology, his intentions serving his client were admirable.
After we spoke about the position further, it seemed to me the client actually needed a relationship manager. Someone who could engineer solutions in market meeting with the customer. Then rely on the technical team to walk them through the process. I told him so.
I’ve seen many API help systems. Most miss the mark (excluding Google, Stripe and Paypal) representing end-users. It’s a tricky beast because you have two sets of users:
- Semi-technical people who need to understand the authorization access.
- Developers and programmers tasked with making the request and response connections work.
These two groups offer very different skill sets. Therefore, I’m passionate about building gateways to succeed for all stakeholders. Ideally, this person should have experience walking-the-walk of API integration procedures. But also have enough programming experience to sort through the code.
Lastly, this person should be available to the relationship manager for support to provide a seamless integration plan.
Do you prefer contacting or direct-hire?
It depends. I’m at a point in my career where the situation is more important to me than the payment process.
Let’s talk about your project and then determine a mutually-agreeable arrangement.
Which project are you most proud of?
Talk about an open-ended question. When coaxed to answer, I usually resort to the passion of life. My kids.
In 2007, I left a lucrative position to become a stay-at-home dad. For nearly the next nine years, I became a profoundly committed diaper-changer and super dad.
Professionally, I also carved out a unique consulting business during that period. Initially, it was purely search engine optimization combined with technical writing. Then the big bang of online services caught my attention. I’d been building websites and doing consulting with customer relationship marketing management. But technology always had my attention.
Eventually I was tapped by development companies in need of API technical writing. Next, came UI design.
You're critical of writers lacking genuine programming skills. Why?
Actually, it’s not criticism. Instead, I believe content contributors have a responsibility to represent end-users. Especially helping them discover solutions in seconds.
Some technical writers are living in the stone age. They don’t understand the job requires experience managing online content. Then working with robust project management tools such as JIRA. Technical writers living in the doom and gloom of clunky PDF user guides are destined to be put out to pasture.
There is some need for these types of traditional wordsmiths. But it’s expensive and a waste of resources to hire developers to migrate help documentation into a CMS or UI. I prefer to cut out the middleman and save the dev team time rather than waste it.
It seems you like to build projects alone. Are you really a team player?
Indeed. Teams are at the heart of releasing exceptional product. However, don’t be fooled by my skills set.
Collaboration is what I do best when desperate solutions are needed. However, I understand my role working with teams. Sometimes they don’t want me to build an API documentation UI. Instead, they want me to just focus content elaboration and management. Perfect!
Serving in one role may not appear to be my strong suit if you read the content here on my website. Actually it is.
But thriving teams are always interested in building applications that dovetail nicely with end-user help content. So I’m very happy to offer solutions based on my experience.
Yes, I’m a loyal team player.
Can you serve our corporation remotely and in the office?
Absolutely. Many of the projects I’ve worked on were a mix of remote and onsite.
A big, fat mistake technical writers make is assuming their role is best served in isolation. Bad idea. Writers need to be bundled in with developers. At least in the beginning of onboarding.
Face it. Product and documentation management requires access to SMEs and collaboration. When the timing is right, I’ll lurk into the background producing content.
Sometimes a pure remote positions is conducive for all players. But it depends on the team. I’ve contributed to projects where 100% of communication between product, developers and myself were on HipChat. It’s far quicker than slogging away in endless meetings.
Balance is key to open communication advancing sprints.
Can you work as a programmer for us?
Yes but you don’t want me to be a developer. Why?
Because it’s short-sighted in your user documentation. Instead, I recommend placing me on a team so I have access to your developers.
Let them build the framework along with considering integrating my help authoring suggestions. Then we’ll engineer a thriving user experience bridging the gap between complex technical information and readability.
What's your current hourly rate?
Sorry, I don’t publish my rates.
My fees are customized for the nuts and bolts of your upcoming role and project.
Have you abandoned SEO and marketing?
Yes and no.
I no longer do the nuts and bolts of search engine optimization. It’s a sneaky side of online marketing. However, I am able to share relevancy standards Google relies upon to grant rankings. The business has changed enormously.
Spamming your way to the top no longer works. Plus, it’s deceitful and opposes Google’s terms of service.
The no part is that I no longer do the production (writing, video, meta data). I do offer consultation about video optimization for YouTube syndication following their TOS. Then tethering traffic opportunities to CRM systems.
Don’t forget, anything you do online should be more about creating exceptionally relevant user experiences for engagement rather than sales funnel production.