Breather’s Potential: The Possibilities Offered by a Tranquil Space for Rent

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Breather, it is a start up that connects people with curated spaces they can rent by the hour to work or rest.  After reading this article on The Next Web about Breather, my mind flooded with the possibilities for its use beyond a temporary workspace. These ideas spread beyond just my personal potential uses and into the value it could bring to the lives of those I know.

Meeting Spot

For those who don’t have an established office, early stage start-ups for example, a Breather space makes for an excellent location to hold a meeting. Such a spot would be especially helpful if you’re looking for an atmosphere a little more private, polished, and quieter than a coffee shop would offer. For those who work from home, Breather also offers a great spot for client meetings. Even those in school who need a common spot to collaborate on group projects or to study together, the rooms offered by Breather make a wonderful alternative to crowded libraries especially for those who don’t live near or on school campuses. From what I’ve seen, each Breather space has carefully crafted, stylish decor that makes a great backdrop for anything from interviews to scenes for films.

Work Spot

The thoughtfully decorated rooms exude a vibe that helps calm and focus the mind for those needing a place to work. In this instance, someone who is traveling and needs a spot to work out of for a few hours between business meetings. With more privacy than cafe and more personality than a standard hotel room, a Breather space is perfect for such a situation.

Rest Spot

I have traveled a lot and thinking back, there are many times when I would’ve gladly used a Breather space to take a short rest during a day of adventuring. I can imagine how much easier it would be to simply reserve a spot for an hour or two to relax and recuperate instead of trekking all the way back to where you’re staying. If you know Breather operates in the city you’re visiting, you can even incorporate a break at one of its spaces into your sightseeing route. Extremely convenient!

Lounge Spot

Ever had a long layover at an airport? Or worse, a delayed flight? Just the thought of either is exhausting, all that waiting around on uncomfortable seats, surrounded by other tired travelers. If Breather expands into airports, it would be a pop of fresh air amongst the stale rows of seating at gates and the exclusive airline lounges. Whether you want to make use of the extra time to work or rest, a Breather spot sounds much better than any other option at the airport! A little privacy and space to savor before being crammed into the plane with the other passengers. From what I can tell, this is not part of their plan yet, but I think it is a fit for their future road map.

With rooms that are carefully selected for location, cleaned after every reservation, and equipped with wifi, Breather offers a new option for many work and travel related situations.

At the time of writing, I am in no way affiliated with Breather. Simply someone who likes the concept. If you want to know more, try their Twitter or website.

The Best Brands I Discovered in 2013

In the last year, I greatly increased my following of the tech and start up industries. Through this I learned about a multitude of companies and even became a user for some of them. How brands develop and interact with their user communities is a personal interest of mine, so I read about, follow, and interact with many companies. In no particular order, here are the ones I feel were the best in terms of persona, customer service and interaction, and product.


As one of my most recent discoveries, Huckberry is a flash sale, members only site geared towards an urban male market who seek outdoorsy products. Featuring unique items for this market, Huckberry has bootstrapped their way into a niche but growing area. Honestly, many of the products are not specifically for men and I eagerly await the day they add a women’s line. With a blog that always features interesting content that is just a little bit out of the ordinary, Huckberry is quickly developing a top notch brand.

Like many, I prefer to know where the products I buy come from. Good Eggs is a perfect service for me to do just that because they work only with local vendors in each city. Good Eggs offers a vast variety of options, from prepared goodies to fresh produce, all sourced from local vendors. Right now, they offer limited but fairly cheap delivery if you live in San Francisco or Brooklyn and also have pick up locations in the surrounding areas. They are also piloting marketplaces in New Orleans and Los Angeles. I have had excellent customer support from them, which is another reason I recommend trying them out! When I had issues with their site processing my payment (I was trying to send a friend in SF a birthday gift) and the issue wasn’t resolved in time, their rep Kari made me extremely happy by sending flowers on their dime to my friend! They also have showed great follow up on any other questions I have had, even reminding me by email when the feature became available months after my initial inquiry. They also have a fantastic social media presence, including a stunning Instagram profile! Good Eggs is clearly a brand that values its users and strives to engage its community on a regular basis.

Trying to change the way we consume egg based products by replacing them with plant based products, Hampton Creek Foods is truly innovative in the way they use research and science to produce excellent products. And these products aren’t just for those with dietary restrictions, they’re also great for anyone looking to have a healthier lifestyle even if it is as simple as switching from traditional mayo to Just Mayo. As a consumer, I’m also looking forward to their cookie dough and ‘egg’ scramble products coming out in the next few years. Hampton Creek’s CEO Josh Tetrick is a fantastic speaker who has really done a great job of being the face of this brand as they push to grow their market.

Sourcing their materials and labor from within the United States, American Giant sets a high standard for other clothing manufacturers. Their rapid growth results in them being on back order for many items, but it is worth the wait! I ordered a sweatshirt for myself and another as a gift, the entire process was easy and communication was constant. In my experience, they deliver high quality items that feel well made and which stand up to extensive use. Their short, direct emails about special offers or product restocks show that they understand how to use email marketing effectively for their brand.

With several players in the ride sharing market, Lyft really stands out due to their strong community and user engagement with the brand. Besides the slick and easy to use app, Lyft as a whole exudes a friendly persona that fulfills their tagline of “Your friend with a car.” In addition, I have had many interactions with Lyft on Twitter and they always come through for me with a prompt reply even when I was asking for ride credit. I have recommended Lyft to many people and will continue to do. Quite simply, they have turned me into a brand advocate and voice for them.

An easy way to schedule the content you want to share on social media, Buffer revolutionized the way I consumed and spread content. In addition to having a great product that the Buffer team constantly works to improve, they have one of the best user support teams (dubbed Happiness Heroes) I have ever encountered! With impressively fast response times, cheerful attitudes, and thorough follow through, I have never come away from an interaction with them dissatisfied. I am also thoroughly impressed with the brand’s values and openness. Based on their history of transparent communication with the public and doing what they say they will, I trust Buffer to provide the best service they can for me and the rest of their user community.

Of course, I can’t leave out Medium! With extremely rapid growth in users, Medium has really shone as a platform for all types of writers and topics. Through Medium I have connected with many wonderful people, read a variety of excellent writing, and sparked stimulating conversations. With a calm, cool persona that matches the organized and clean feel of its product, Medium as a brand has an exciting future!

These are a few of the top notch brands I stumbled upon in 2013 and why they’re so fantastic. What brands did you find last year that you fell in love with? Let me know on Twitter!

3 Steps to Getting What You Want Using Social Media

In this digital age, contacting others has become laughably easy. With a simple social media interaction or an email exchange, you can gain many things. You can make a new online friend, connect with an industry leader, or get free swag from a brand. I’ve done all three simply by asking for what I want.


Recently, I have:


How I did this is straightforward:

  1. I tweeted the person or brand either a question or a response to a tweet of theirs. For example: the rum bar membership, Sidecar credit, beta access, and articles were all a result of me answering their request for information. In several cases, there were barriers which could’ve stopped me from inquiring further, the rum bar is in L.A. and I live near San Francisco, but I let Gratafy know that and they encouraged me to enter anyways. I’ll probably end up visiting L.A. sometime in the next year (the length of the membership) and when I do, I have someplace fun to go for free.
  2. Usually, my response is followed up with a request to email the original poster to work out details. I would quickly send off the email with a link to the Twitter conversation for context. In terms of the new friends I’ve made, simply engaging them in discussions of our shared interests has given me invaluable interaction with incredibly interesting people who have introduced new ideas to me.
  3. Finally, I always make sure to thank the company or person for their response to me. Being grateful and respectful is a way to build healthy, lasting connections, even those that are contained online.

So you want more information about a company’s open positions or to try out a product or to get to know someone whose ideas you admire, what do you do? Just ask.

Why I’m Not Afraid of Rejection

If your fear of being rejected is preventing you from taking a risk, whether it be career or relationship related, don’t let it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always “No.” And if the answer is “No,” well you’ll just be back in the same place as if you hadn’t asked. So why not risk it?

Full post can be found on Medium here.

A Day in the Life of a Content Developer

I wrote a post in the Medium collection “A Day in the Life Of…” and here it is:

I live in the Silicon Valley with my two housemates and a very derpy cat named Patrick Copperpawts. I spend most of my time writing and developing content for my full time job as well as my personal projects. I work full time as a product marketing specialist for a company that makes computer memory hardware. I also work on my travel blog and personal writing projects outside of my job.

Here’s my typical day:

6-7am: Wake up and check social media & email for anything I should respond to ASAP. A few minutes of stretching & meditation to get into a focused mindset. Get my breakfast and head out to work.

7-8:30am: Commute to work on public transport. I usually use this time to think about what I have coming up that day and what I need to get done. I also spend some of this time on self-reflection.

8:30am-12:30pm: Work, usually creating social media content and writing content like product catalogs, trade show banners, website product information, etc. I also check technology blogs and sites for updates.

12:30-1:15pm: Lunch break. Instead of using this time to eat (that comes later), I like to use it to go outside and go for a walk. This gets my mind going and is often when I have ideas for my personal projects. Sometimes I use break to walk and talk to my parents or friends on the phone.

1:15-5:30pm: Actually eat my lunch while checking emails or reading more news updates. Then more writing/editing or approval of content. Monitoring of company’s social media accounts. Sometimes I spend this time developing campaigns or proposals to present to my boss.

5:30-7pm: Commute home. I spend this time listening to podcasts or working on my personal content projects. If I’m mentally tired, I will just listen to music and use the time to recharge by zoning out a little.

7-8:30pm: Make dinner (I cook a meal from scratch almost every night) and hang out with my housemates. This is my main social time of the day, sometimes I will Skype with family, friends, or my boyfriend during this time as well. Maintaining relationships are important to me, so I make an effort to check in with people I care about every few days.

8:30-9:30/10pm: Work on my personal projects, usually writing or researching. Sometimes I work on physically creative projects (aka crafts). I like making personalized cards or small gifts for people.

9:30/10-10:30pm: Get my bag/lunch ready for the next day, make sure clothes, etc. are laid out to make for a smooth morning start. Also clean up after my housemates, straighten everything up and make sure its neat enough. While I clean up, I think about what I want to do the next day and if there is anything urgent.

10:30-11pm: Wind down for the night by reading a book.

11pm: Bedtime. I function best on 7-8 hours of sleep so I try to get to bed by eleven.

“What you do today is important, you are trading a day of your life for it.” -Unknown

Since I work a full time “9-5″ job, I have to find time outside that schedule for projects I am passionate about working on. Luckily, I can function well in the evening even after a day of work. I also think it is important to be conscious of how you are living your life and what you are doing, hence the focus on self reflection and thinking time. I know what I want and I make an effort to work towards that every single day, even if it is something as small as jotting down a post idea.

I also use technology as much as I can to help me. For example, whenever I think of something I need to do, I immediately add it to my Any.Do list so I don’t have to worry about forgetting it. Taking charge of my daily routine makes me feel organized and productive. Due to having a schedule, I am more ready to quickly deal with any sudden changes or challenges that occur. I decide what is happening in my life, I’m not trapped.

You’re Not Trapped, You Have a Choice

Life is full of choices.  The every day decisions of what to eat, to buy, to wear, to do.  Then  there’s the decisions that guide your life’s path, what job to have, who to build relationships with, where to live.  With all these choices, there are still moments where you can feel like you don’t have a choice, that you’re trapped.   But you’re not.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  Let’s say you’re unhappy with your job.  You really want to move to another country and experience a different culture.  Of course you can’t do that, you have to stay and work so you have money to live, right?  Wrong. You have a choice.  You can stay unhappy or you can go after what you really want.  Sure, it’ll be difficult to pack everything up, scrape together enough money for a plane ticket, and start a new life somewhere foreign to you, but if you’re willing to endure all that then your dream is within your reach.  If you’re not willing to take that risk, then maybe you don’t really want that life.

Re-evaluate your goals in life and the choices you’re making to accomplish them.  After all: “What you do today is important, you are trading a day of your life for it.” -Unknown

Company Culture Fit From an Individual’s Perspective

Many companies have shared how they take into consideration whether or not a candidate fits their company’s culture, mission, and values during the hiring process.  However, often less talked about is the side of the candidate and how they should consider company culture when seeking out opportunities.  How a company’s culture fits you is one of the most important things to keep in mind when on the job hunt, here’s why.

The Effect of Values on Work Environment

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average Americans ages 25-54 spend 8.8 hours working per day.  That’s more time than they’ll spend on any other activity that day, including sleeping!

When you spend so much of you life immersed doing something, that working environment should match your personal values to make you comfortable.  When those responsible for determining a company’s culture and values make an effort to clearly outline them, their efforts can be contagious and provide motivation for everyone.  One front runner in this approach is Buffer.  They clearly lay out their values not only to those within the company, but to the general public as well.  This high level of transparency offers anyone the chance to hold them accountable for what they represent, which builds trust and loyalty.

Following the Company Mission

Company values help shape the culture and work environment on a daily basis, guiding the way employees act.  A company’s mission or philosophy influences on a broader level, shaping the view of the company’s purpose and what everyone should always be working towards.  Here again, Buffer does a fantastic job.  Their overall philosophy echos their values of transparency, listening in order to understand, and constant improvement.

Buffer’s Philosophy

Another great example of a company that sticks to their mission is Good Eggs.  They set goals that, while straight forward, can be complex to keep within their industry (food).  Good Eggs is clearly committed to bettering the food system and industry, and their local communities.  This promise is not one that can be fulfilled lightly and it isn’t just Good Eggs making this promise, its their employees too who show their commitment through their daily work.  Such a strong mission makes for a driven, productive, and positive work environment.

Good Eggs’ Mission

In both of these examples, the companies explicitly state that following their mission or philosophy  is much more important than profits.  In making this a priority, both companies are making intangible contributions to the community through perpetuating practices that elevate transparent communication, customer happiness, and a better community.

What It All Means for You

So what does all this mean for you, the individual?  Having a company culture that fits you can result in a more productive, smooth running, positive work environment that you’re excited to engage with every day!  This excitement can boil over into other areas of your life outside work, such as your health, mental attitude, and outlook.  So if you didn’t think considering company culture an integral part of your job search, reconsider!

 

One Privacy Point You May Have Overlooked on Facebook

There are many guides to make sure your Facebook privacy settings are what you want them to be.  This privacy concern is actually about a piece of information that can be found via your Facebook timeline URL and used to discover your presence elsewhere online.  The information is the user name in your timeline’s URL.

But, not everyone has this.  Mine, as you can see above, is simply my name because that’s what I used when I signed up for Facebook.  If you used a username to sign up for Facebook (waaay back when that was common practice), then you should be aware that it can be used to search for other accounts you have used the same username for.  Maybe you don’t have anything you want to keep private, perhaps just an old SoundCloud account.  But if you are interested in monitoring your online presence closely, now you know this trick can be used.

How to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates

 

There’s quite a difference between a customer and a brand advocate.  While both deserve your company’s attention, a brand advocate is always what you should ultimately be seeking to cultivate in those who use your products.  How do I know what turns a customer into a brand advocate?  Well, quite simply I went through the experience myself with Buffer.  Now, I do want to state that I am in no way affiliated with Buffer at the time of this post, I receive no compensation from them of any sort (in fact I pay them for their product!) and they have not contacted me to write this at all.  This is just my thoughts on the process using them, and my personal experiences, as an example.  Here’s how Buffer converted me from a paying customer to a brand advocate.

Substantial Brand Personality

When I first began using Buffer it was because I wanted to work for them.  I had read a few articles on their product and it seemed solid and something there is a market for.  I had also reviewed their company values and felt they reflected my own.  By thoroughly listing out their brand’s philosophy, I began to see their brand’s personality.  Another way in which Buffer allows their brand personality to show is by having their team sign all their customer service tweets on the Buffer account.  This personalizes the interaction and made me interested in who these people were outside their roles representing Buffer.

Excellent Customer Service

I mainly use Twitter when I have a question for the folks at Buffer, whether it be to get help with an issue I’m experiencing or to make a suggestion for future features.  The responses from the Buffer team has always been quick, cheerful, and most importantly, helpful!  The kind attitude and fast thinking that the members of Buffer show is exactly how customer service teams should try to operate, especially if they’re using social media to address customer issues or comments.  I have never had an issue go unsolved or a comment go unanswered over the last six months I’ve been using Buffer.  Carolyn and Colin even worked together to follow up on an issue I’d reported and didn’t expect further communication on!  When your customer service team goes beyond the expectations of those you’re serving, you company is doing something right!

A Great Product

The last key component that transformed me from simply a customer to a brand advocate for Buffer was their product.  The app itself is very slick and has an easy to use interface.  I had previously been using HootSuite and found Buffer to be much more intuitive for me.  The browser extension is also simple for me to use and is something that is part of my daily routine.  Having an exceptional product is important to starting a company, but having exceptional people supporting it is what keeps it going and earns customer loyalty.

Wrapping It Up

So what have I done for Buffer as a brand advocate?  I have transitioned from a free user to a paying customer, raved about the app to friends and family, recommended it as a content management system to small businesses, blogged about it several times on multiple platforms, and feel very connected to the brand.  That level of connection, engagement, and excitement about your product isn’t something you can buy, it has to be built and Buffer certainly has mastered that.