Network Is Your Net Worth | WTR 23

Network Is Your Net Worth | WTR 23

Juliet works as the Director of IT and Creative Services for Hearing Care Solutions. She made her way into the tech field because she likes money!

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ANGELA: This is Women’s Tech Radio.
PAIGE: A show on the Jupiter Broadcasting Network interviewing interesting women in technology. Exploring their roles and how they are successful in technology careers. I’m Paige.
ANGELA: And I’m Angela.
PAIGE: Angela, today we’re interviewing Juliet Meyers who is a friend of mine, and she works for Hearing Care Solutions as an IT and web manager. She wears a lot of hats, and we get to talk about a whole bunch of that in the show.
ANGELA: And I hear she likes money.
PAIGE: I have heard that.
ANGELA: SO, before we get into the show, I want to tell you about how you can support this show. If you like this show, you can go to That is how you support the whole network. Today represents Tech Talk Today. It is a show that we put on as a thank you for the people that subscribe to our network. By subscribing, you support the shows of the network, not just one in particular. And, as I mentioned, Tech Talk Today is the thank you show. You can also look forward to some interviews because we will be at Linux Fest Northwest this weekend, and it is going to be amazing. We hope to get some interviews and just some good content to talk about in a future show.
PAIGE: Women’s Tech Radio will be there along with most of the other hosts of the Jupiter Broadcasting Network, so come by and say hi if you’re there.
ANGELA: Yep, it’s in Bellingham, Washington.
PAIGE: And we started our interview today by asking Juliet to explain what she’s into in IT now.
JULIET: Hi there. My name is Juliet and I’m really excited to be on the show today. I’m the director of IT and creative services for a hearing aid company, and my role is to support all of our WordPress sites, of which there are multiple, desktop support as well as doing all the Photoshop, managing all the social media. I’m really a jack of all trades for my company, on top of trying to manage my VM ware boxes. I really run the gamut between doing more local box stuff as well as some of the server stuff, and as well, of course, running around and chasing people down through the internet for various different tasks, things like that. And, it’s a really varied role and I’ve learned a ton in the last couple of years, so I’m really, really excited to get to talk a little bit about it today.
ANGELA: So, any hats. I think that is a common theme of a lot of our interviews. IT can’t be pegged down to just one particular task. It’s not a button pushing job, that’s for sure. Like, not one single tasks. Can you elaborate on the social media aspect of what you do?
JULIET: One of the things that I do, I do a lot of the SEO installs for our various different websites, and then I also deal with some of the social media aspect. Social media is something that I have worked with throughout my last four jobs. I was a super early Twitter adopter. I think my Twitter handle is from 2007, my original one. I got to watch social media evolve. I used to be a community manager actually, for a company that went from having one million users to 13 million users.
JULIET: Yeah, that was an experience. I’ve got some war stories from that. I used to work for a group called MapMyFitness and so I had the pleasure of watching them grow from an angel invested company all the way through to three rounds of VC funding and they actually got bought out by Under Armor in the last year, after I departed the company, but I really got to see social media as it started to grow. Back when they were just starting the F5 conferences, things like that.
PAIGE: So, do you enjoy your social media role?
JULIET: I do. The demographic that I work for is actually 55 and over, so a lot of the social media that I do presently is more answering questions and kind of directing people to the website. So, you know, we don’t have — we have more of a passive social media presence at the moment than we do an active one, where you might see in a startup or a tech firm.
ANGELA: Now, does that mean that the hearing aide company, I mean obviously mainly is geared towards elderly, but do you offer children’s hearing aids and young adults?
JULIET: We can, mostly we do a lot of Medicare and Medi-Cal, Medicaid.
ANGELA: Oh, okay, sure. Right.
JULIET: So, the majority — we have done children’s aids, but they are the rare exception, not necessarily the rule. But we do have some individuals who come in through Facebook every now and again, but it’s important for SEO and SEM to have those social media links and to push your blog. We get a lot of blog traffic, actually, through a couple of our different sites. So, that’s been really interesting to see. Obviously that’s a big deal in terms of your SEO rating.
ANGELA: Right. You know, interestingly enough, even though elderly is your target demographic, it’s probably their kids helping them –
JULIET: Yep, exactly.
ANGELA: – getting the hearing aids. So, yeah, it’s definitely not all for not.
PAIGE: That’s interesting, because I was actually going to ask. It’s fascinating to me that you’re even getting questions on social medial about stuff.
JULIET: We do. You know, it’s funny, if you talk to — obviously you’ve got kind of the newer end of social medial, but the kids now, like the tweens, you early 20s looks at Facebook as the old people network.
ANGELA: Oh my gosh, no way.
JULIET: I kid you not. I kid you not.
PAIGE: No, that’s true.
JULIET: It breaks my heart. I remember when — I mean, obviously you guys do too — when Facebook and Myspace started hitting the scene.
PAIGE: Well, when Facebook first came out you had to have a .edu to even get on.
JULIET: That’s correct.
PAIGE: You had to be in college.
JULIET: Exactly, which is why I didn’t join initially, because I thought that was elitist.
ANGELA: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I’m like no, Myspace is fine.
JULIET: Right. I had two Myspace profiles, one for my radio persona and then one for me, because I used to work in radio. I used to be cool.
ANGELA: That’s news to me.
JULIET: But, it’s really fascinating to see — because both of my parents are well over 55 and they both have Facebook pages. They both use them to connect with family. So Facebook is not what it once was. I mean, what it is, one in six people on the planet has a Facebook.
PAIGE: Yeah.
JULIET: I think I read that statistic somewhere on the internet, which means it has to be true.
PAIGE: Statistics don’t lie.
ANGELA: As long as it was @fact on Twitter I think you’re good.
JULIET: Right.
ANGELA: I believe everything that one says, no.
JULIET: Clearly you should. And I believe everything Reddit tells me, so we’re about even.
ANGELA: Right.
PAIGE: So, you’ve talked some about SEO, and for those in the know, what does SEO mean/stand for?
JULIET: SEO is Search Engine Optimization. You’ll also occasionally read SEM, which is Search Engine Marketing. What that is, is basically trying to kick Google in a way that Google likes to be kicked to put your webpage up at the top.
PAIGE: Okay, and is that a skillset like you went to college for to learn search engine marketing or whatever?
JULIET: No. Yeah, right, no. I’ve been out of college a while. So, my degree is actually in broadcast journalism. My background is in television and radio. I know of organically — that’s a fun word — fell into this area of tech. My journey kind of started — I left Las Vegas and CBS in 2009 and actually got a job here in Denver working as a quality assurance tester. My background for QA is actually in video games. I worked for Petroglyph Studios for a number of years (inaudible) out of Las Vegas. And I think they have a new game out. They always have a new game out. I don’t recall what it is, but — Grey Goo, I think is the name of it. Anyway, I started doing quality assurance and testing for MapMyFitness in software and I ended up moving into their customer service division, which included all of — there was 12 employees when I started and I think it was around 100 when I departed. So, I ended up in customer service and became their CSR Manager, and that meant I was doing all of the software testing and then doing all of the releases on Facebook, all of that fun stuff on Twitter, and through all of their different marketing channels. So, I kind of learned about SEO and SEM in the field as it was becoming more prevalent around 2010. So, I just got very lucky in that I got to grow up with the position and kind of grow into SEO marketing. It was a huge part of what we did for MapMyFitness, because everything had to be very geotagged. Which is to say, I live in Austin, Texas, and I want to find all of the great runs or cycling routes. And so, everything that we did for that company was very, very built into — we actually had a great development team — everything was very, very stringently built into the code to encourage people to, when they Googled trail Austin, Texas, that’s what would come up. So it’s a marriage of marketing as well as an agile development team, and I mean that more in the actual term of agile, not just the developmental style.
PAIGE: Obviously, you didn’t start in tech, and you’ve kind of wound up in tech. What was that moment like or kind of the transition? Why the transition? What kind of spurred you to get out of radio to move over to do QA?
JULIET: I like money.
PAIGE: I can understand that story.
ANGELA: I like money.
JULIET: Yeah, that’s really the base part of it. I was living in Las Vegas and I worked for NPR for a number of years, and that was absolutely fantastic. It was a great experience, and I did a lot of different things for them, and then decided that I wanted to travel a little bit more. So, I wandered off to Guam for six months. Came back to the United States and just kind of wanted to get back into radio, but I wanted to get back into commercial radio. Commercial and non-profit radio are very, very different, and I wanted to live that lifestyle, but part of the joy and detriment of radio is that it is a lifestyle. You are literally eating, sleeping, and breathing radio. I mean that is — that’s all of it. So, I went back to school, go another set of certifications and got into it. Had a great time, met some really interesting people, did some interesting things, and then decided that I didn’t want to work three jobs to support my radio habit, because the only way you can truly support yourself in radio is if you have the morning show or you are the afternoon drive show and/or have an wealthy spouse. So, I worked four jobs, 70 hours a week to support the radio habit.
ANGELA: Oh my gosh. Wow.
JULIET: Yeah, I loved it though. I mean, it was great. I did it for a number of years, and it was fantastic, but then I kind of was starting to stare down the barrel of my 30s and a buddy of mine said hey we have an opportunity, why don’t you come out to Denver and I said I really would like to stop working like a crazy person.
ANGELA: Okay, so I have a question.
ANGELA: In my background, I worked for five years at a medical supply company, and I started in the shipping department and worked my way up. Then I moved to purchasing, and then I moved upstairs to customer service, and then I kind of just became the operations manager without the title.
ANGELA: Oh, it’s fine. It’s because there was an operations manager, but anyway, the point is, I had to learn all about the billings aspects and all the different — have you had to learn that and has that been an adjustment? Do you enjoy it? What is your level of participation?
JULIET: I love my job right now. Every day is different for me. It’s fantastic. I get to — you know, from the little things of why doesn’t my printer work to, oh God, oh God, it’s on fire, why are the servers not responding. Oh God, Oh God, please help. Crisis management is something I’m very accustomed to when you work in radio and there is flooding happening, or you have to suddenly change things, or someone says a naughty word on the air. There are a series of fire drills that go with that. And then I jumped directly from that particular pan right back into the fire, which is to say a startup. And anybody who has worked in a startup knows what that comes with. It is like a four letter word. I still had PTSD from something called the Tour de France. So, crisis management is something that I live for, I’m very comfortable in, and I’m very lucky that the company I work for now is actually run and managed by women. All of our executives — the majority of our executives, excuse me, are women who are exceptionally skilled in their field. They’re visionaries in their field and are absolutely fantastic. So, you know, I’ve been given the opportunity to really learn how to use a VM ware machine. Obviously, my background was not necessarily in that. I have an extensive Photoshop background, so I’ve gotten to learn more about CSS. I’ve gotten to really get to know WordPress in a very intimate fashion, because we do a lot of — we are very agile in our website development here. So, we make a large number of changes, and so it’s my job just to never say no. So, I’m sure you guys understand where that goes.
PAIGE: That is the IT magic, right? Never say no.
JULIET: Right. So, my job is to say yes and get it done as (inaudible) and with pizazz and a smile on my face, and I absolutely love the company I work for. I cannot say enough good things about them. They take great care of their team members, and empower their executives and their management to make those decisions that are going to make the company better. We are doing something amazing. We are really helping people get hearing aids, because it’s a bloated market. People can pay up to 3,000 — Three, four, $5,000.00 per hearing aid and we offer them for significantly less, so I get to go home feeling good about what I do.
PAIGE: Yeah, that’s huge is when your job feels like it makes a difference. What is the hardest part for you? You like the crisis. It seems like you like the learning and the job. What are your pain points with IT?
JULIET: I have learned a lot, but there are still some things that I don’t necessarily understand. You know, when something doesn’t work, I use an Asterisk phone system and I don’t program in Asterisk, in fact, I don’t program much in anything, except maybe HTML. I’m a WordPress jockey, I’m not a dev. So, when I run into something where I’m going — my problem is maybe, you look at a problem and you know it’s above your skill level, and it’s that moment of I need to get everything back online and back okay, but I’m not exactly sure how to do that. Fortunately, we have a wonderful offsite IT team that I can call on and say hey guys, this is above my pay grade, so what’s broken. And they’re fantastic. They’ve actually been great tutors and have been very helpful. So, it’s been a really, really good experience. But definitely my challenges are when I come across something where I just have absolutely no idea. I had to teach myself Active Directory. I had to teach myself how to deal with a Microsoft Exchange server. I have several things that run on SQL. While I’ve done a ton of SQL quarries, which I hate by the way, if I had to choose one thing to hate, I’m going to go with SQL quarries.
PAIGE: That’s not a bad choice.
JULIET: Yeah, I don’t feel like it is. I think my biggest challenge — I don’t — I think if I worked in a different company that had a different management — I think if I had a different management team my experience would be very different. I remember in other companies there’s that jockeying for tech supremacy, or who knows the most things about X, Y, and Z. And I have an incredibly supportive management team. I think probably dealing with the Mac is probably my least favorite. Fortunately, my boss, the COO of the company is fantastic and speaks Mac more fluently than I do.
PAIGE: Yeah, that tech superiority, I’ve definitely run into that. I think one of the biggest problems I had when I was working in IT was the IT culture where what you know is what makes you valuable, so sharing what you know is not necessarily a good move on your part. And so kind of breaking down those walls of, hey let’s make this information open, it’s all online anyway now guys. Like, we have to be a team.
JULIET: Stack overflow is your friend.
PAIGE: But especially with geek culture, what you know and how smart you are is how valuable you are. Kind of breaking those barriers down is very difficult in some of these older (inaudible) IT departments. So, that’s really cool that you found a space that that’s not the case. Very rare.
JULIET: I’m so protective of my company, because they have been so good to me, but it is rare. And you find that, I think, more in male dominated culture. In some of my previous companies, and I won’t name names, people were retained because of the knowledge that they have, or because they built something that was vital. Even though they had no business being in the company anymore. They were jaded. They were bitter. They were upset.
PAIGE: Yeah.
JULIET: But they were retained because they had a certain skillset or because they had coded something that only they knew how it worked. Because you run into that technical debt issues if you want to try and fix that particular code base.
ANGELA: That’s a great term for it, technical debt.
JULIET: I did not come up with that term. I stole that from someone else. It’s a buzzword.
PAIGE: It’s a perfect duplication of the word though. It is that, you know, you have to pay back this technical debt or you have to deal with some jerk. Your choice.
PAIGE: And most companies are going to choose the jerk, because it’s cheaper.
JULIET: Yep, it’s so expensive to bring on new people, especially at that level.
PAIGE: It is really fascinating once you dig into HR management at all, is like the most expensive part of people is onboarding. We are very, very expensive to onboard.
ANGELA: Oh yes.
PAIGE: Your productivity in most companies doesn’t hit its normal until at least six months in.
JULIET: Yep. And it’s a miserable place to be in. I mean, fortunately we’re not bringing any high-end tech people out there, but even my call center representatives or any of that kind of middle management section, it’s a long time before they’re onboard. And we find that here, even though we’re not an overwhelmingly technical company.
PAIGE: You’ve talked a lot of about learning a lot of different things on the job. What are you favorite resources?
JULIET: My boss.
PAIGE: Nice.
JULIET: Honest to God, she’s my favorite resource.
PAIGE: So, that one on one kind of mentorship almost, is really super valuable for you?
JULIET: You know, being able to sit down and talk to somebody who — because her background is actually in — she did a ton of QA work. She’s done project management. She’s extremely valuable and she knows the business so, so well. The team here is absolutely the best resource that I have. My peers are fantastic. My bosses are fantastic. That’s really a great resource. But, in terms of tech, if I run into something that I have no idea on or my boss has no idea on, but it’s still my responsibility, and it’s not something I can hand off to our offsite folks, Skype and G Chat to be perfectly frank. I have a huge network of friends who are developers, who are DBAs who I’m still in contact with. And so when I run into something that I just can’t seem to crack, I will absolutely reach out to them. Either they’ll direct me to a blog or they’ll direct me to something that they’ve worked on, or they’ll simply write the SQL query for me.
PAIGE: So, you’re living the, your network is your net worth?
JULIET: Yes. And that is true in my personal life as well. My skillset is my Verizon network. I’ve got friends who spent the last few years working in WordPress, and so when I run across something that’s rough like that, really it’s your ability to use Google. How good is your Google-Fu. If you don’t have a network to reach out to, how good is you Google-Fu?
PAIGE: Alright, so one more question on that. How do you get over that fear of asking questions, because I think a lot of people that we talk to kind of have that initial fear. And a lot of people that I talk to who are just getting into software are like, you know, I don’t want to sound dumb, or I don’t want to feel like a burden. What kind of let you have that transition to not feel that way?
JULIET: I spent a lot of time interviewing people. I’m an extrovert, unlike most of my comrades in tech. I know there is a lot of introverts in this field, and it makes sense because you truly geek out about this stuff. Like, I could I could sit here and talk about Google algorithms for hours, but I think it’s — getting over that hurdle for me is understanding that I didn’t start out in this field. I accept that here are, I know nothing John Snow. I — there is a lot of kind of — there’s a lot of sections of this that I know nothing about, and I’m okay with that. But the only way to learn is to ask. And more importantly, most tech folks, if you ask them, they’ll talk ad nauseum (sic) about this stuff. They absolutely love to goob about it. I have a lot of experts in various (inaudible). Like, I’ve got people who work for cloud storage companies who could talk endlessly. I’ve got a buddy who’s an evangelist for Solid Fire, one of the cloud companies out in Boulder, Colorado, because that’s where all the cool tech things are these day, apparently. So, it’s human nature. Folks like to talk about what they do for a living. They like to talk about tech. Really, just asking them, they’re happy to yammer about it.
PAIGE: Yeah, the one thing that I’ve found is that most geeks are introverts, which is always hard to deal with, but they have passions and that’s what makes us geeks. Being passionate about something is why we call it geeking out on something. So, if you can kind of find those people in your network or meet those people at meetups, and find their geeky thing. You’re like, oh that’s the thing I need to know about.
ANGELA: And then they turn extravert, just momentarily.
PAIGE: You just pull the string on a little toy that talks and it just goes. Very cool. Actually, I think that’s actually an interesting thing that you brought up is the art of the interview. I think, you know, I got really super into radio and the PRN stuff, and I love the art of the question. I think kind of setting that, as a geek, because I geeked out on it, I feel like I was able to incorporate that skill too. I would also recommend if you’re feeling like you don’t even know how to start a conversation, check out interviewing.
JULIET: Listen to NPR for a few hours, Morning Edition or Fresh Air.
PAIGE: Yeah, totally.
I had one other question as we wrap up.
PAIGE: What software piece do you spend the most of your day in? What are your tools of the trade for your job?
JULIET: Photoshop I think is at the tippy, tippy top. What is Chrome for $500 Alex. I love Chrome. I love the extensions on that. I’ve got CSS viewer, I cannot live without. I cannot live without that plugin, oh my God.
PAIGE: You’ve got to try Firebug, Juliet, I’m telling you.
JULIET: Oh, if I’m in Firefox and I’m QA’ing, Firebug 100 percent.
PAIGE: Oh, they put Firebug in Chrome now too.
JULIET: Really?
PAIGE: Yeah.
JULIET: Oh, I need that. I need that a lot. I thought I could only use it in Firefox so I have both browsers. So, if I’m doing QA work or something is not working, Firebug is absolutely my go to.
PAIGE: Yeah, awesome dev tools.
JULIET: So good. So good. There’s a couple of other ones that I use. Really, the Adobe suite, because I do a lot of PDF conversions, so In Design, I spend a lot of time in In Design. Obviously, WordPress, WordPress, and more WordPress. I can’t live without Dropbox. Microsoft Office, they’ve done some cool stuff with PowerPoint recently. I know it’s really rare to actually give props to Microsoft for anything, but I really do love PowerPoint, as well as Excel. But yeah, I think Photoshop and Chrome are really where I spend the majority of my day. There are so many good resources just (inaudible) as it is. That’s really where I spend a lot of my time. And I can’t live without Spotify, just for the record.
ANGELA: Thank you for listening to this episode of Women’s Tech Radio. Remember, you can contact us using our contact form at , which is also where you can go to the show’s dropdown and look at all the Women’s Tech Radio episodes that have been released. There you will also find the transcription of the episodes, which you can also find at
PAIGE: You can also check us out on iTunes or follow us on Twitter at heywtr. If you have a moment, take the time to leave a review on iTunes and let us know what you think of the show. Thanks for listening.

Transcribed by Carrie Cotter –

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