Meet Orange Girl – an interview

First time I’ve been interviewed for being me. It’s on the site: Meet the Gravy along with a bunch of other Xeroes and interesting people. I’ve reproduced it here below.


So who are you anyway, and what do you do?

I’m Orange Girl. Or OG, no, not Original Gangster … I’m Xero’s Community Manager and look after all our company social media accounts and keep watch over many forums and our own Xero Business Community site. It’s one of those jobs that no-one understands and everyone wants … I mean, all I do is fluff about on Twitter and Facebook all day … right? A teenage dream?! Some think it’s really easy, others think it’s really hard, and many think they know how to do it better. I’m a digital message air-traffic controller.

What was your last job before getting into this?

I’ve been Xero’s Community Manager for almost 4 years and the 3 years before that I wrote and developed Xero’s Help Center. And before Xero I was working in a bank in NZ on a short contract as a business analyst, I was buried somewhere deep in the wholesale lending department trying to change some long-winded process involving several systems into one. Most of my working life I’ve done project management, business analysis and product documentation.

And why did you decide to do what you do now?

I like startups, those early days where you can see that what you do is useful. I’ve worked in startups with Rod (Xero CEO) before so when he and my husband Craig (Xero CTO) started talking about this idea (Xero) being the next big thing I was caught up from the start. And as the financial controller in our family the decision to take out 2 loans to invest in Xero had to run through me! I joined pretty quickly in the first few months because Rod promised there’d be orange in the brand. There is 🙂

What is it about the 60/70/80/90 that you miss most?

Knight Rider.

What is the biggest challenge facing SMEs today?

Probably the same big challenges we all face – dealing with information overload, so many choices and options and noise out there, how do you know what’s the best thing, that you’ve made the right decision and how do you know you’ve got all the information to make those decisions? How to keep up in this fast paced world where things are changing so rapidly?

Can cloud software solve that challenge, and if so how?

I’m not sure whether it helps or hinders actually! So many options and review sites and choice. However the standard cloud stuff makes it easier – no massive investment in IT and consultants, if you make the wrong software choice, move on. And of course the time savings and ability to get help – if you’re deep inside trying to make your business successful and stick out in a crowd, cloud software gives you the chance to use it where and when you need to even if that’s out of regular business hours and give others access if you need help.

If you could retire now, what would you do? Or not do?

Find something to write about about and post often on a blog or write a book.

If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

Make friends with your sister. Don’t worry so much about what other people think. Speak up.

If you could buy anyone a drink in a bar and chat to them about anything, who would it be, what drink and what would you talk about?

Wow, if only I had time. Lots of people. I don’t like bars or the social pressure to drink. It’d be a coffee shop and I’d have a flat white (or equivalent). Anyway … someone who’s fascinated me over the last couple years is the person behind the San Francisco Bay Bridge Twitter account. Before moving to New York I lived in an apartment looking over the bridge and felt we became quite good friends. (This is embarrassing but I’d often get home from work, go directly to the window and say out loud “hello bridge.”) I’d love to talk to the guy about how he got into it, where he gets his intel from, and how he maintains his secret life.

If you could walk up to anyone, kick them in the shins and shout something at them, who would it be and what would you shout? Go on, get it off your chest.

I know you mean figuratively but I just don’t feel that angry towards anyone. Plus I don’t like confrontation and would be petrified they’d shout back at me. I do feel rather annoyed and let down by the people who design lingerie though – I would love the opportunity to “yell’ at Fantasie or other makers of lingerie at the ‘fuller’ end and ask why no orange? It’s not fair that those of us who can’t fit into skimpy strappy things are restricted to beige and black. Or I’d give people who shout in my direction from the safety of their keyboards a good talking to – there is a real person at the end of your tweet or forum post and I’m really truly honestly just trying to help.

If you could walk up to anyone and hug them, would would it be and why?

My best friend Leeann who I met in my second week at university. She’s the closest friend I’ve ever had and it’s just coming up on 10 years since she died. Since her passing I’ve not had another deep friendship like the one I had with her and I’ve lived my life since then with a terrible undercurrent that everyone around me is going to be taken away.

What’s your favorite meat and gravy meal?

Precooked sausages (like those you get in NZ), not gravy – Watties tomato sauce, mashed potatoes and Veuve Cliquot.

What is your greatest achievement?

My Masters of Library and Information Studies. That degree was really hard and pure determination (plus what it cost me without a student loan) saw me through to the end less about 10kgs. I wasn’t a librarian when I started out and was way out of my depth until the elective courses later in the program where I found my niche with the ‘Intro to the World Wide Web’ course (as the web was back in 1996). I was the first at my university to submit my research project as a website and I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t discovered the wonderful logical uniformity of HTML and ended up with a job out of university hand-coding and project managing websites for various NZ government organizations. Plus I have had a dream for 10 years to live in New York, I’ve worked hard to make it happen, and I’ve just arrived. That’s pretty unbelievable.

What do you want to achieve that you haven’t as yet?

Confidence. I spend too much time worrying that I’m not doing a good job and that I’m not being useful. And perhaps some me time. I’d also like to wave those orange glow-sticks and guide a 747 into the gate.

What’s next for you?

More Xero! And becoming a New Yorker.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Basel Lisa on 10.11.13 at 1:15 am

Really… you miss Knight Rider?

Hey, this is a great (and very honest) interview. Loved reading it.

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