I usually recount this story during interviews with people, to explain the different hats I wore during my tenure at ParserPile. Officially, my job title was technical content writer, but as time wore on I got sucked into various aspects of the company. By the time I left, anything communication-related was run by me at least once.
This was the time I was working with one of the product managers, whose perennial project was the pricing page. Arguably the most important page on the website, after 8 months, he was rapidly tiring of researching and implementing minor fixes to the page. There must have been a million different optimisations, and some of those fell within the domain of content. At those times, I got seconded to him, much to his relief.
ParserPile had been through one payment processor, and was currently on their second. There were no complaints with the second service provider, so changing to another wasn’t on the cards. So when a third company sent a sales rep [from their Singapore office] to make a cold call, the founder couldn’t be bothered to actually listen to his pitch.
So he sent in, in his stead, the product manager [because of the pricing page], a relatively new CFO [both the person and the position were new], and me. Ideally, someone from each of the sales, support, and frontend teams should also have been there, since this affected them all. But they weren’t, and I was, much to my complete confusion.
We entered the meeting room, and the product manager introduced himself. So did the CFO. Then the very polite young man from Singapore turned to me, and I said with the straightest face I could muster: “Hi. I’m Karishma, from Content.”
Credit to him, he didn’t react too much. He looked utterly flummoxed though, even though he didn’t say anything. So I laughed and said: “Yeah, I don’t know why I am here either.”
When I narrate this story, it invariably gets a chuckle. But I understood only later that, because I had worked with almost every team in the company, I had an almost 360 degree perspective that the others didn’t have. For instance, I knew we were moving from being a B2C company to a B2B one. I knew why our previous payments processor had to be dumped. I knew the ease of filing paperwork with the current one. I asked about how long integration into our frontend would take. I knew to ask how quickly disputes are handled. And so on.
On leaving the meeting, the CFO turned to me and asked me to sit with him for a while for a chat, so he could get a handle on the company. I was surprised, and laughed again. I suggested he sit with one of the engineers, because they knew the product from its bowels.
But I leave that part of the story out of the retelling.