Businesses are nothing without their culture, and ours is made up of some highly awesome individuals. Today you'll meet one of them: our Upstart Farmer Community Coordinator.
Who is Perry?
Name: Perry Baptista
Role: Coordinates the Upstart Farmer Community and directs various projects.
Coffee Count: Not enough.
"I tend to suffer from insomnia, so I try to limit my caffeine consumption. I only have a cup or two each week, unless I’m having a really bad time. My coworkers may disown me when they read that."
We seriously considered disowning Perry before realizing that she is irreplaceable...
"I kill houseplants. Really. Give me any vegetable, a greenhouse or a garden bed, and I’m fine, but darn if I can’t keep a succulent alive next to my kitchen sink."
Superpower: I asked everyone to describe Perry in a few words. Among answers like "an unstoppable force!" and "Gets s**t done", one word kept showing up again and again: focused. I think we can all agree that Perry's focus makes her into a juggernaut of productivity.
So what's the secret, Perry?
"It's incredibly difficult to stay focused on one thing in this office. (For those who aren't familiar, we have about 8 people in one office space right now, or more if any of our warehouse guys come in for something.) I actually get interrupted all the time by conversations, messages, or email. If it's a quick question that I can address quickly, I'll answer it almost no matter what. Those issues don't usually divert my attention too much, and by just addressing the issue, it's not hanging over my head.
"I also try to pick one thing to work on at a time and get it done. I couldn't live without my prioritized to-do list."
Even with a prioritized to-do list, I still think there's more to Perry than meets the eye. Let's take a peek into her typical day and see for ourselves.
A Day in the Life of Perry
8:20 - I arrive at the office. My day usually starts between 8:00 and 8:30.
I’m a terrible, no-good, horrible morning person. I get here just early enough to glance at my to-dos and answer some email before our morning meeting.
8:30 - I join the media team to do our daily "scrum" meeting, where we share what we're working on for the day and what needs to be addressed before moving forward. This is a great time to get a sense of what the entire team is working on.
8:45 - I touch base with Halle about a new course and our first "office hours" event at USU (Upstart University). Halle does many things here at Bright, but working on the back end of USU has been one of her primary focuses lately - so I’m working with her all the time.
9:30 - I troubleshoot a few USU issues. Our launch went well, but we're always improving the site! We’re trying to make the University and courses as engaging for students as possible, which isn’t always easy - and is usually very different from what you’d see in a traditional school.
I start reviewing a new USU course for content edits and course functionality. I want it to be perfect before students enroll.
10:30 - I continue making miscellaneous revisions to the new USU course. For example, I just discovered that the quizzes in the new course weren't properly associated with the lesson topics, which hinders understanding and progression.
11:30 - I finally finish revising the course! I start on some random odds and ends, like email, checking in on the Upstart Farmers Community, and answering various questions from coworkers, until…
11:52 - Kyle comes over, and we discuss his long-gone dill plant, which he firmly believes "is coming back, Perry. It’s coming back!" Kyle, one of our media team members who is awesome about helping me produce Upstart Farmers Radio, is primarily in charge of caring for our in-office green wall, which was a little worse for the wear after a photo shoot the other day.
Kyle firmly believes his dill plant will come back to life. The rest of the office does not. It has been a contentious subject. Both sides are very passionate.
11:55 - Amy’s bugging me for continual updates on my day, so I tell her that I retired to my personal dwelling for a noontime meal. I then realize that sounds weird, and slightly pretentious, and that I should just say I went home at 12:00 and got lunch like normal people.
1:00 - We have a company-wide meeting to brainstorm and identify target customer personas. Since everyone at Bright interacts with different customers, we wanted to bring the entire team together on this project. Sales and marketing will use the fictional customers we created to shape and focus their efforts.
2:00 - I interview two potential job candidates for Bright Agrotech with Chris and Nate. Today, we’re looking for someone to add to the Upstart Farmers team. With Upstart Farmers booming both domestically and internationally - and ever more projects being added to the plates of everyone already at Bright - it’s time to get another community-builder to join us.
3:30 - After the interviews, I return to my desk to check email and reorganize for the afternoon.
4:00 - Emails lead me into the Upstart Farmers' Facebook and Twitter accounts, where I post about a new farmer's KickStarter and look over what our Upstart Farmers are up to. Since our farmers are located all across the country, I love being able to see how each is growing wherever I am. There’s a lot of seedlings and spring cleaning in the feed today.
4:45 - I begin drafting some questions and notes, based on a meeting we had yesterday, for an upcoming Upstart Farmers report.
I’ll have more information on this project for Upstart Farmers in a month or two, but the results should be intriguing for the entire group.
5:00 - I take a brief break to touch base with Elesif about designing a web page for Indoor Ag-Con. Chris overhears and jumps in on our conversation. The page will both update folks on what we’re doing and direct folks we meet at the conference to the information they need.
I’m very excited to be attending Indoor Ag-Con in just a couple of weeks, not just to interact with other industry members, but because several of the Upstart Farmers will be there, too. Almost all Upstart Farmers Community activities are conducted virtually, so I can’t wait to meet face-to-face.
5:30 - I warm up some dinner. I don't usually eat dinner in the office, but I knew my afternoon was going to get interrupted today, and with the Roundtable at 7:00, it's easier than going home.
5:30 - 6:00 - This is usually the range of time when I’ll head out, but today, I continue working on drafting notes and questions for the aforementioned Upstart Farmers report project. I’m the only one in the office, so I work in blissful, uninterrupted silence.
6:30 - 6:45 - I tidy up a few last-minute details before the Roundtable. Tyler comes in and talks to me about the pictures we need to take for this post. He’s been stalking me with a camera for most of the day.
7:00 - It’s Roundtable time! I turn on the webcam and say hello. This week, farmers have sent pictures of their plant problems to share with the group. We spend the next hour investigating, discussing, and grappling with minor technical issues.
8:00 - I have one thing left to do today. I get back into USU and check out one of our upcoming courses where Amy and Halle have changed the written content style. The new style is way better, so I shoot them a message and let them know I prefer it.
8:15 - Seems like as good a time to go home as any, right?
Perry's Hacks, Tricks and Tools for Productivity
Interesting as it was, this glimpse into Perry's day didn't uncover a secret focusing serum; I am no closer to understanding her focus.
I'm back to interrogation. I drill Perry about the tools she uses.
"I always have five tabs open on my computer: Gmail, Google Calendar, so I can keep track of meetings; Google Drive, so I have quick access to all my files and can collaborate with the team; Slack, for intra-office communication; and Trello, which organizes all of my things to do in the To-Do/Doing/Done scrum format our office uses.
"Evernote is also great for taking notes and keeping all of my random thoughts in one place.
"Finally, my iPad Air is about the best thing ever. It’s a third monitor when I’m multi-tasking like a boss, my laptop when I’m out of the office, accesses everything everywhere, and is usually faster than any other computer I work on."
Perry's Favorite Part of the Day
Finally, I ask a question that might just uncover her secret:
What’s your favorite part of the day?
"My days are so different that there isn’t one single part that occurs often enough to be a favorite part of every day! I usually enjoy when I’m focused in and working on a single project, whether it’s writing an ebook, managing our inventory and logistics, or something else. Our morning scrum is always nice, too, because you get a sense of what everyone on the team is doing."
Though the results of this investigation are inconclusive, it looks like Perry's superpower is likely a character trait that she has trained to reach it's current height.
Learn more about our Upstart Farmers
We're quite fond of our Upstart Farmer Community Director, and so are the Upstart Farmers.
You'll be in good hands.