Monday, October 17, 2011

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Link to Envato Notes

Meet the Staff: Scott Wills

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 11:00 PM PDT

Hello everyone, I’m Scott, I’m the Seed Content manager at Envato (more on my role later) but you probably know me as “the dude in the forums with an insane number of marketplaces badges“! That always makes me laugh whenever I hear that. :-D I guess that’s what happens when you live and breathe on the marketplaces for so long.

I am originally from England but I live in Tennessee in the United States. Before joining Envato I was the lead Web Designer for a famous children’s hospital in the US. I’ve been part of Envato now for five years and it’s an absolute pleasure to be part of such a dynamic and hard working company.

What is your position in Envato, and what has it been like to work with us so far?

History

I’m really proud to have been part of Envato almost since the very beginning. I started out as an author selling Flash files on FlashDen back in September 2006 and became fascinated with the whole concept of being creative and uploading and selling digital products in order to make residual income.

Over the years I have had numerous responsibilities such as reviewing for FlashDen, AudioJungle, GraphicRiver and PhotoDune. I was also the ActiveDen blog editor until we concatenated all the blogs into Envato Notes and I have also worked behind the scenes on Creattica.

My biggest accomplishment to-date however was my role as AudioJungle site manager between 2009 and 2011 where I helped grow and mature the site into the royalty-free powerhouse it is today! Although AudioJungle’s success has always been a team effort between the reviewers, the authors, the customers, the Melbourne office and myself, I’m very proud to have played a small part as a passionate evangelist for AudioJungle that has seen sales grow a staggering 961% since I first took on the role.

Latest Role

As of earlier this year we no longer have dedicated site managers per marketplace. Instead, we have a small team of four people called the Marketplace Growth Team who oversee all the marketplaces to ensure they continue to grow and expand exponentially.

Each team member has an individual role/responsibility and my particular role is Seed Content Manager. The main responsibility of this position is to identify new categories and new content we can add to our marketplaces. I approach and work with existing marketplace authors to provide “Seed Content” to ensure the launch of a new category or the addition of new, high quality content helps improve the quality and/or quantity of digital products on our marketplaces. So if you’re an author and you’re reading this, always keep an eye out for an e-mail from me, there could be a rewarding opportunity about to come your way! ;-)

Amazing Opportunity

Working for Envato has been an incredible experience and an absolute pleasure. I’m incredibly thankful for all the many opportunities Collis and Cyan have afforded me through the years. One of my favorite parts of working remotely for Envato is the flexible hours and being able to work from home. The position can be quite demanding in that there’s always something to be done and one invariably works a lot of long hours, but the flexibility is priceless. Being able to start the day early or finish-up late so that there’s time in the middle of the day to run an errand or spend time with my family really is a blessing. If anyone reading this is self-employed you will know what I mean.

One of the incredible things about working for Envato is the people who work here. I’m not sure if it’s luck or destiny, but all the people that end up working for Envato are talented, creative, hard working, conscientious and all take pride in their work. And on top of that, everyone is super nice! Meeting a lot of people for the very first time in Chicago last year created and cemented a lot of strong working relationships and friendships.

Drew and Scott at the Envato conference in Chicago last year

What projects are you working on at the moment?

Right now I’m working with several authors who are working on some unique and compelling tutorials for our tutorials marketplace. I can’t say who or what they’re working on, but it covers several different areas/categories and it’s going to be a great addition to our marketplace. Those projects should start appearing next month. One of my favorite parts of my job is liaising with the authors as they are the true beating heart of our marketplaces. Without their talent and dedication to the marketplaces none of us would be here, so it’s always nice to work closely with them and get a feel for what they think of the marketplaces.

There are a few changes coming to the Tuts+ marketplace soon, stay tuned for those! I’ve also been working with a couple of successful ThemeForest authors who have produced some BuddyPress templates for our WordPress category. The first of those files by Parallelus went live last month and has already been extremely well received.

We’ve been giving GraphicRiver some tender loving care recently and I have a marketing project on my todo list right now for a category we’re about to heavily promote and there are also some exciting new categories that we will be launching on GR later this year. I also got to work with five cool GR authors who produced some high quality print templates this month. Finally, I’ve been involved with some price changes/research behind the scenes pertaining to two marketplaces (sorry, can’t say which ones!) that will be rolled out in the next couple of months.

Describe your workspace.

I have two glass desks that fill one side of my office at home. On my desk I have a bunch of different hardware including a 27″ 3.2GHz i3 Apple iMac and a couple of external hard drives that I use for backups.

The apps I use the most on my iMac in no particular order are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Fireworks, Wunderlist, Producteev, TextExpander, Dropbox, Notational Velocity and Coda. As I like to compose and produce music in my spare time I also have a couple of MIDI controllers, a Samson condensor microphone and a pair of Mackie studio monitors.

There’s also a small Wacom graphics tablet close-by on my desk that I predominantly use for photography retouching. I also use an iPad 2 (pictured) if I want to work from another part of the office or house and I have a MacBook Pro (not pictured) that I use when traveling or working offsite at a coffee shop or library. I mostly work from my office however and I’ve found that I’m using less and less of my MBP since I’ve got an iPad 2.

Fear not old school fans, I also have a pencil, pen, scrap paper and a couple of Moleskine notebooks that I use for ideas, notes and brainstorming. As much as I like technology there’s nothing more effective and efficient than a good old-fashioned pencil and some paper!

What does your average day look like?

E-mail, e-mail, e-mail! There’s definitely a lot of e-mail going on throughout the day. :-) Last thing at night and first thing in the morning I always check my inbox and make sure there are no emergencies. I prioritize what I have to do for the day and try to respond to the most important e-mails first.

I’m not really a fan of multitasking, I think it’s overrated and can sometimes be distracting. Everyone’s different, of course, but I find that I’m more productive focusing on one task at a time before moving onto another project.

Other than e-mail I use four main tools for my role as Seed Content manager:

  • HighRise: This is where we store and monitor all our customer and client contact information. I use it to keep track of everyone I work with and all the Seed Content deals I’m involved with. It’s actually pretty useful to store all correspondence in one place and improves communication among the team as everyone can see the latest deal/project information and what’s going on.
  • Producteev: We’ve been using Producteev for the best part of this year and although it’s not perfect (nothing is, of course) it’s one of the better and most comprehensive task management applications out there. It’s really useful to keep track of both big and small projects we’re working on and it’s also a good way to collaborate.
  • Google Docs: Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good old spreadsheet. :-) There are a variety of ways we use Google Docs but the main use for me is storing and monitoring deals I’ve been involved with and tracking the success of files over a certain time period.
  • DocShaker: I create contracts for authors using a great online app called DocShaker. If you need a cheap and effective way to create documents that require electronic signatures, you should check it out, I definitely recommend DocShaker! It’s really helped make the contract creation and management process more efficient for me, it’s so much more quicker than having to manage documents/contracts/signatures manually.

Most of my day is spent in and out of the above applications. I also get several messages a day from authors wanting to add their files to some of the marketplace collections I create and promote on our home pages. I can’t always add everyone’s requests, but it’s great when someone suggests a really awesome file and I can add it to the existing feature.

Communication is also very important within Envato as within any company or organization. We hold regular meetings via Skype and we also interact on a less formal basis using an application called Yammer. It’s a great way to get to know what everyone throughout the entire company are getting up to both at work and outside of work. Think of it like Facebook, but just internally for your company. When you’ve got Envato employees working all around the clock in every corner of the globe, it actually turns out to be a quite useful tool to keep abreast of company-wide info.

Working for Envato is exciting because there’s always a lot to do and it can be varied too. One day I might be producing a podcast for AudioJungle and another day I might be creating a photo slideshow in collaboration with Phototuts+. I’ve never run out of things to do which is great because I personally thrive on being busy. It’s also very flexible. Some days I like to work early in the morning and other times I like to work late at night. This allows me to do personal things throughout the day such as run errands or spend time with my family.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I’m married, we have a daughter, and spending time with my family is very important to me. I’m a Christian and I dedicate as much time as possible to my faith.

I enjoy photography, listening to music and I love watching and playing football (or soccer as I now call it in the US). I play soccer twice a week, and I try to squeeze in some running when I’m not playing soccer.

I’m also a big fan of word games like Scrabble and Words With Friends. If anyone would like a game some time, send a Words With Friends request to “scottwills”, I’d love to play you some time! :-)


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