We’re back with another installment of Work From Home Gossip.
It’s been two months since we started self-isolating and working from home. We’ve been trying all sorts of ways and tools to keep maximum engagement within our remote team. To coordinate our tasks more effectively and communicate more efficiently, we’ve started integrating Slack into our team communication flow.
Outside of work, we have also emulated our usual coffee break chat by assigning a channel in Slack purely for casual conversations and non-work related sharing. This has led to more fun (and gossip materials) when we catched up with our teammates in the Weekly Work From Home Gossip. AND, these casual zoom calls have never failed to fill the human interaction gaps that are caused by the two-months-long self-isolation period.
Last week, we reached out to our Digital Marketing and Chatbot Specialist, Deric. While being our technical expert in the day, Deric has been secretly training to be a singer in the evening since MCO started.
Let’s find out more about his hidden talent in singing and how he has been able to go for karaoke parties despite not being able to go to a karaoke bar.
Hey, I’m Deric and I’m currently based on Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. I joined Chatbot Malaysia a month ago. I was searching for freelance positions in digital marketing and I stumbled upon the job postings of a Chatbot Specialist in Chatbot Malaysia. Since I have experience in managing chatbot softwares such as Manychat, I figured I should think about joining a marketing agency and a team of marketers. I hadn’t had discussions like what we do daily with a team of more than 2 or 3 members for a while. Therefore, it’s good for me just to have different brains in the team and to learn from you guys. And, it’s also good to have fun working with a team like ours although we couldn’t work together physically.
Hey Deric, how are you staying productive at home all this while?
Before joining Chatbot Malaysia, I was doing some freelance projects. Hence, I was getting used to working from home since I became a freelancer. But, due to MCO, our movement is restricted and it was a little difficult for me to be entirely committed to work and staying productive.
So I try to always remind myself if I keep pushing my work to the last minute, one the quality of work wouldn’t be good, and two, I would have to suffer from the packed schedule at the end. Before I go to bed every night, I would list out two or three things I will need to get done the next day. This allows me to get the important things done as soon as possible and to have some spaces in my schedule to manage unexpected events or tasks on the day. At times, some of these unexpected tasks take longer than I estimate them to be and they change my
daily schedule. Therefore, getting the important daily tasks done as soon as possible is how I stay productive at home.
Has the Movement Restriction Order (MCO) affected your other projects or work?
Definitely. It has affected my clients and I in some ways. Some of my clients have reduced the budget for my projects such as ads and social media management. As they are being more careful with their finances amid the MCO, they are negotiating a reduction in the fees I asked for too. And, for some projects which were still under the discussion phase, my clients have decided to hold off these projects meanwhile.
Tell us a fun fact about you.
I do find myself a little nerdy at times. So, although I would like to keep a low profile of myself mostly, I do enjoy going up to the stage and putting myself in front of a crowd.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to have a heroic occupation. For example, police and firefighters. I wanted to be a hero when I was a naive kid.
But, as a kid, I didn’t think much about that. The school I attended was very exam oriented. I had a very busy schedule with different school activities, revisions for exams and some other academic responsibilities. It wasn’t until when I finished high school, I remember I was obsessed with a forensic drama series. Series such as CSI amazed me as it looked like they knew everything when they investigated the crime scene. Therefore, I was interested in being a psychologist.
How well did your ambition pan out?
When I was in university, the ultimate goal was to be a psychologist, in any field of psychology. I thought after three years of degree, I could call myself a psychologist. That’s how naive I was.
However, in my second year of university, I realized how difficult it was in Malaysia. I thought about pursuing my study in psychology further in the United States. Due to a situation that came up with my family, I knew it wasn’t the best time to leave home. Therefore, I decided to stay here and finish my degree.
And, I was interested in research so I became a market research analyst for three years. I wasn’t too happy with the working environment in my previous company. I started thinking about what are the other skills I have which would allow me to make a living.
Then, I came across digital marketing, where some people were advertising about automating your business and making a passive income. I realised quickly that making a passive income is not as easy as these people made it sound like. But, I started attending a few digital marketing workshops. I was quite amazed by it so I studied to gain more knowledge on different digital marketing tools.
Not long after, I started taking up a project with a friend and I didn’t mind charging a relatively low amount of fee just for myself to try it out to see if digital marketing is something I could do for a long term. I gained a lot of confidence from the project and started advertising myself as a freelance digital marketer.
How much do you enjoy doing what you're doing now?
I quite enjoy my job in Chatbot Malaysia. I’m always amazed by how the automation tools ease up our jobs.
What do you do for fun?
I don’t think I’m a really interesting guy. But, since the MCO started, I have been using the karaoke app where you could sing and chat with your friends every night. So, it’s like we’re in a virtual karaoke room.
I enjoy singing and playing badminton during my spare time. I also enjoy listening to music and watching prank videos to alleviate my stress.
How has working in Chatbot Malaysia allowed you to be your true self?
The atmosphere allows each of us to express our opinions freely. We could also join in and discuss the things we’ve learned individually and share the learnings to the team. Therefore, everything is transparent and we could support each other whenever we could. For example, when I was listing out my tasks in our daily alignment, some of you would volunteer to support and help me with the tasks. That’s something I enjoy working in a small team like ours.
Describe your perfect work environment.
Of course, there’s no one work environment which is perfect. But, what’s important to me is the transparency within the team. I wouldn’t enjoy working in a place where we couldn’t express our opinions to the boss. Therefore, as long as everything around the company is communicated openly and transparently, it’s a very good environment for me to work in.
Tell me about your ideal area of interest here. How different it is from your current key areas of responsibility?
Apart from being the specialist in setting up the chatbots, I am also interested to learn more about the Facebook Ads. I have a very minimal technical knowledge about the Facebook Ads so I would like to develop my knowledge in that area and learn from Ginn (our amazing Ads Specialist, check out his interview here.)
And, I would also love to learn more about the strategies behind a marketing campaign. After all, no matter how many tools we’re proficient in, the tools can only be useful when we know why we’re doing something. I understand that takes a longer time for me to gain more experience and develop my expertise on the strategies.
WHY are you doing what you’re doing? As a digital marketer.
I feel like a lot of business owners out there tend to stick to the old ways of doing business. Therefore, I would like to always keep myself updated on the latest trends in marketing. This allows me to share my knowledge to these business owners. Then, I realised some of them started gaining interest to discover more on these latest marketing trends after talking to them.
I enjoy learning about the latest gadgets, tools or applications and new ideas come to me because of that. So, I would also like to help some organisations out there with these learnings.
Why is your expertise on Chatbots valuable for us?
By being an expert in this area, I could help the team and the clients to visualise the conversation flows behind the chatbots we’ve installed instead of just doing the technical setup. I could explain what these chatbots do in layman terms to the clients.This helps the clients to look at the project in a bigger picture and in a holistic approach. Therefore, the clients would feel more comfortable in discussing the ideas for the project.
Tell us something that you’re proud of.
I’m proud of my self-discipline. If I want to finish something within a period of time, I would get the things done before leaving for some other tasks or going for a timeout.
And, my willingness to learn. I always remind myself to listen to others first before expressing and proposing my ideas.
Finally it would be my self-confidence. When I need to present myself or something, I would just present the things I need to present without worrying too much about my poor English or what others think about me. For example, when someone said that I’m too young to express my ideas or opinions, I still have the confidence to express them without getting too carried away with their opinions.
Would like to know more about how you could integrate your team communication flow with Slack? Our team has had such amazing experience with Slack and hence we would like to recommend it to you if you would like to manage your remote team more effectively. Check it out using our referral link.
Would like to know more about what our friends are up to amid MCO? You could check out our blog for the interviews with our clients and how they are managing their business amid the challenging MCO period.
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