Old Gig, New Gig At Zendesk: Leaving Webinars For Business Development

I’ve arrived at my one year anniversary consulting with Zendesk and have been offered a full time position at Zendesk in Business Development!
Zendesk business cards

Moving On Up: Business Development

In this new role, I will work to bring on new companies to Zendesk and expand our integrations + partnerships.  So basically it’s geeky stuff plus relationship building.  Right up my alley!  I’m both excited and squeamish about the opportunity as it means learning new things and creating measurable success for Zendesk yet I will have to put my personal brand on hold.  I start full time January 2010.

Want to come and work with me?  Check out Zendesk Jobs including:

Adria & The Zendesk Webinars

A year ago, I agreed to undertake creating the Zendesk webinars.  At that time, Zendesk was receiving several requests a week for demos.  This was not efficient.   Since I’d been a long time customer of Zendesk, having left Cerberus in favor of a cloud based helpdesk solution, and a vocal customer, they asked if I would be interested in creating a webinar series for them.  Uhm, think about it….heck yes!  And so began the journey of chubby buddah, Adria and San Francisco.  The Sunday after Blogworld ended and I’d delivered my 500 hugs for John Chow, I flew to San Francisco for the very first time…
March Trip to San Francisco
The goal was to reduce demo requests and increase conversions of trial customers to paying customers.  Also, if the webinars could answer common questions customers had, there would be less support tickets in the queue.  I set the work learning what the customers wanted to know.  I interviewed Zendesk staff (much smaller group a year ago), looked at tickets and talked with customer support advocates.  I drafted an outline for the very first webinar, Zendesk 101 and out it went through the Zendesk email system for feedback.  After a few tweaks, a brief set of slides and a lot of practice, I was ready to hold the first webinar!
Zendesk webinars
Initially we had technical problems with the internet and audio quality.  Webex was the first company we went with to deliver the webinars and thankfully now we’ve switched to Citrix’s GoToMeeting / GoToWebinar / GoToTraining packages.  I made sure from the first day surveys were sent out to collect feedback.  Being a consultant, it’s very important to collect feedback early on and then keep it coming in.  Not only for quality validation but to improve the delivery of your services.  I used Google Docs spreadsheets for the form to collect the survey responses. We’ve now switched to SurveyGizmo which has advanced reporting and survey logic.

I’m no longer doing the Zendesk webinars.  Amy has come on to run them.

Zendesk Webinar Content

Since I have a technical background and and enjoy training, the webinars were focused on showing attendees how to accomplish things within the Zendesk backend like creating tickets, managing queues and activating widgets.  I spent time doing QnA, taking people through specific questions they had about workflow.  Eventually we started doing special webinars that dove deeper into a specific aspect of Zendesk like customizing the CSS or setting up email routing.  Webinars featuring partner integrations came on soon as well.  Of course, I picked Harvest as the first integration to do a webinar with because…well, they rock!  They were also how I found out about Zendesk.  I was using Harvest for my time tracking and invoicing and they mentioned on their blog about their integration to Zendesk and probably in a newsletter.

Then with the creation of the marketing team at Zendesk, webinars focused on product launches and lead generation came about.
zendesk backend interface
The goal of the webinars was to help prospective customers decide and guide existing customers embrace Zendesk more. I enjoyed developing the content, talking with integration partners and reading the awesome feedback attendees left! I’ve seen many of them at conferences like DrupalCon and Blogworld so it’s a nice way to circle back.

Hello San Francisco

Things were going well and I was liking this webinar thing for Zendesk!  I came to find out I also liked San Francisco.  I was highly focused on my first visit to San Francisco last October.  I didn’t go out much and left exploring the city up to the real tourists.  Several things about San Francisco gave me pause: the weather, the racial diversity of the people, the architecture, the food and the saturation of people working in technology.  Zendesk wasn’t half bad themselves!  They invited me to return in December for the holiday party and that’s when it truly hit me; I could move to San Francisco and work for Zendesk!
Visit to San Francisco March
Visit to San Francisco March
March Trip to San Francisco
Upon their invite, I contacted several people living in San Francisco, asking if they would meet with me to give me their opinion of the city.  Cheryl Contee (@ch3ryl), C.J. Hayden (@cjhayden) and Mike all happily agreed.  Wow, did it make a difference to hear their own personal stories!  Just six months before at Blogging While Brown, my table had decided I should move to San Francisco vs buying a condo in Minneapolis and I had happily added it to my list of goals but had no idea how it would manifest.

The Zendesk holiday party certainly cinched it for me. I had an excellent time, the Danish food was great and the mood was festive. We had the first company meeting and I was awed by the CEO’s vision for Zendesk. I wanted to be a part of their success!
Zendesk Holiday Party
Zendesk Holiday Party
Zendesk Holiday Party
Zendesk Holiday Party
Zendesk Holiday Party
Zendesk Holiday Party
adria zendesk holiday party

Moving To San Francisco

Traveling has always been a hard thing for me to do.  I hate getting lost.  I would print out my Google directions and hop into the car to see a client.  God forbid, I had to make a change in my route because I would have to print out more directions!  This all changed when I started using GPS and the TomTom software.  This improved even more once I got my 3GS iPhone.  Due to the number of conferences I was speaking out, I eventually overcame this dislike of travel in 2009 so then the thought of making that “Move To San Francisco” goal became a bit more realistic.

I began researching places to live and stories of moving to San Francisco.  I talked with the kindly folks mentioned above.  I told Zendesk my intentions, announced it on my blog and asked Twitter for help.  I made the move to San Francisco in 4 months time (January to April) and it was the right choice.  I spent a lot of time talking about the move and made quite a few videos.  I have a lot of videos that haven’t been published yet.  Thinking of how to

Settling In: The New Place

[VIDEO] Moving To The Mission District In San Francisco

[VIDEO] 5 Weeks After The Move To San Francisco

First Video on San Francisco Move

I Made It To San Francisco!

[VIDEO] Day 4 Countdown Move To San Francisco: Air Guitar, Party, Presents, Annie Modesitt, Census Bureau

[VIDEO] Day 5 San Francisco Move Countdown: Packing, Pets, Party, Puters

Farewell Moving Party This Friday

Day 7 Countdown To San Francisco [VIDEO]

[VIDEO] Adria’s Countdown to San Francisco Move – Day 11 #AdriamoveSF

[VIDEO] How To Get Your San Francisco Dream Apartment On Craigslist With PadMapper

Day 13 Countdown #AdriamoveSF [VIDEO]

Day 14 Countdown To San Francisco [VIDEO]

[VIDEO] Day 1 of #AdriamoveSF

San Francisco Apartment Research And Twitter Lurking

Adjusting To Office Life

One of the things that’s been a challenge is settling into working in an office.  I’ve been working remotely for four years so coming into an office with people everywhere has taken a while for me to adjust to.  Being an introvert, I prefer to spend time alone and quietly.  That’s when I do my best work.  The office has people, stuff and everyones talking to each other.  Oh well.  Adjust I will.

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This entry was posted in Adventures in Consulting, Get a Job, Moving to San Francisco, travel, Videos I made, Zendesk on by .

About Adria Richards

Adria Richards is a developer and entrepreneur focused on digital equality. She has been involved in more than 35 hackathon events in the Bay Area and abroad. Embracing her inner nerd, Adria moved moved to San Francisco in 2010 to pursue her passion for technology. Previously she has worked in technical and training roles for enterprise, nonprofits and startups; from Apple to Zendesk. Adria has been teaching technology and developing curriculum since 2007.Adria is a popular speaker at major tech conferences including SXSW, O’Reilly Web 2.0, Launch, The Lean Startup Conference and TEDx. She speaks at startups and coding boot camps about culture, communication and diversity. Adria has attended TED, LeWeb and MLOVE.In her free time, Adria enjoys snowboarding, yoga and bacon; not necessarily at that order. Her Twitter account is followed by President @BarackObama. She blogs at ButYoureAGirl.com and is a YouTube Content Creator.

One thought on “Old Gig, New Gig At Zendesk: Leaving Webinars For Business Development

  1. Muad'dib

    Congrats to your new position at ZD!

    I see that recently ZD has hired some really talented people, you and Rodrigo Galindez too; it was a good move for ZD, it is becoming one of the hottest companies in the IT world these days.

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