A little more than a year ago, Tristan Amond was hired at Terakeet and started working on my team. We were both Brand Strategists back then, and I was still trying to learn the ropes myself. Regardless of my relatively limited experience, Tristan would frequently make the 15-foot walk to my desk and ask me, what seemed like, any question that popped into his head.
Over the past year, Tristan’s consistent, thoughtful questioning resulted in new outcomes and prompted others to challenge the status quo. You see, Tristan is the type of person who makes those around him better, and I have been fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time around him.
These days, Tristan and I work on different teams. We don’t cross paths as much as we used to, but we were recently able to sync up and spend some much needed time catching up.
Hey Tristan! Long time, no see! Just kidding—how’s that mocha latte treating you?
Well, it’s only my fourth cup of the day, but I’m hanging in there!
Speaking of coffee, where did you get that “sloffee” cup? There’s gotta be a story there.
I’ve been a big sloth fan for a while now (my monthly calendar may or may not exclusively feature sloths) and am always on the lookout for new coffee mugs. My brother knows how much I like sloths so as a surprise birthday present he got me this mug. As the inaugural entry in our Terakeet #MondayMugshot series, my sloffee sloth is pretty special; I normally rotate out my office coffee mug every now and then but I’ve kept this guy around for quite a while!
Rumor has it that, once upon a time, you were an intern at Terakeet. What was it like and how has your experience as an intern played into your tenure and current role here?
I interned at Terakeet in the summer of 2011 while in high school; there are a few things that are remarkably similar, but most things have changed completely. Most of the company fit into one floor back then, as there were less than thirty employees at the time. It’s been great to see many of the people I worked with back then like Matt Raven, Angela Brooks, and Jordan Arnold still around the office today! I’ve also been able to see how Terakeet’s product offerings and technical capabilities have grown over the years while still holding true to our core competency. Having an idea of where the company has come from and how it has adapted and changed over time provides important lessons and context looking forward. I’m excited to see where Terakeet will be in the next six years!
Sorry to keep dwelling in the past, but you majored in computer science and film. Do you find that your education and work at Terakeet intersect?
Absolutely, yes! From the computer science side, having a technical understanding of how SEO works is critical in my current role, but computer science also helps develop a more systematic approach to problem-solving that I’ve found very useful in my professional life. While I didn’t expect film to help as much at this job, I’ve found that being able to tell a compelling story about your brand is essential to marketing, and studying film was a great way to hone a strong skill set in developing narratives and emotionally connecting with an audience.
Let’s talk about now (and maybe the future). You recently transitioned into a new role at Terakeet. Other than no longer working next to me, what challenges or rewards have stood out during this big move?
Well, I do have to say that I may be slightly more productive now that we don’t sit next to each other! Moving over to Terakeet’s Reputation Management department has been a big change, but a really positive one for me. It has been very challenging to adapt to a completely different workflow–this role requires extreme adaptability and flexibility. I may have a plan set out for what I’m going to accomplish Tuesday only to have it all swept away when something urgent comes in that needs the whole team on it.
There’s also a wider variety of things that I work on each day, from writing copy to managing social media to working on a long-term strategy that keeps you on your toes. While I think being in a perpetually fast-paced environment can be challenging, everyone on our team rises to the challenge and it’s incredibly rewarding to work with highly-motivated team players. I know that I’ve grown professionally just within the past few months and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow with the team!
Anyone who follows Terakeet on social media may have seen a certain image of you and I floating around. To the untrained eye, it looks like we’re hard at work—but what’s really going on in this photo?
Hmm, without giving away any trade secrets I’d say there’s close to an 80% chance we’re watching a video about dogs. It was on break, I promise! In actuality, one of the best parts of the Brand Strategist role at Terakeet is being able to sit near your teammates and draw on their strengths. Recognizing the skillsets of your coworkers and learning from them is a huge opportunity for growth, so I really appreciated being able to call you over and ask for your opinion on a project or get constructive feedback.
Outside the walls of Terakeet, I know that you’re also a board member for the local nonprofit, 40 Below. How did you get involved with that?
Actually, I initially got involved with 40 Below through Terakeet! There are several Terakeet employees in various roles at 40 Below; I was invited to a meeting and found a group of people who really love Syracuse and are passionate about making it a better place. I’ll be the first person to admit that after spending my high school years in Syracuse, I hadn’t anticipated returning after college. Once I found a job here, I decided that since I was staying here I wanted to dig in and learn to love the city.
40 Below has provided me with a great opportunity to do just that, and after a year back in town Syracuse absolutely feels like home. I think a lot of people in the area, especially young people, are eager to engage with the city and help give back but don’t always know where to start, and 40 Below gave me the structure to start doing that. It’s also been a great opportunity professionally to work with teams and manage the challenges of a nonprofit, and I’ve met some great people and good friends too. I don’t want to plug too much, but if you’re interested check us out on Facebook!
It’s no secret that you’re a self-proclaimed “data enthusiast.” What does that mean exactly and where does that passion come from?
I’m a big fan of making informed decisions, and I think data is one of the best ways to stay informed about what works and what doesn’t. In marketing especially, it can be difficult to identify which factors are really producing the most powerful effect for your campaigns without having a concrete set of metrics for evaluating success.
In today’s marketing world we have access to so much data that, at times, it can be overwhelming, but it means we have the capability to use that data to our advantage. Personally, I prefer to work smarter, not harder, so my passion for data comes from wanting to do things more efficiently. I also think having good metrics in place means that you can learn from failure, which is so important; being able to understand why something didn’t work out as planned means you can avoid that mistake in the future, turning failure into a learning opportunity.
As most of us at Terakeet know, you’re not one to shy away from recognizing someone when they demonstrate one of our core values. Which of our five core values do you identify with most and why?
I think sustainable value is at the heart of all five core values. Striving to do your best work, to think outside the box, lend a helping hand, and put in the time to do something the right way – all of these start with thinking about what you bring to the table and how you can best help the company long-term.