Meet the Team: Alison

Hello and welcome to our Meet the Team series, in which we aim to give you deeper insight into the minds and personalities of those who make up this eclectic, close-knit group. We are developers, marketers, and technical support engineers, and at work we craft everything from Microsoft reporting APIs to mobile email applications. And outside of work? Let’s just say racing against the machine during hackathons, building architecturally sound beer towers during retros, and paddling down the Charles during the warmer months are simply the beginning.

Say hello to Product Manager Alison – belovedly known as author of the Pitan the Pivot Mage series. When she’s not supplying delicious office treats, you can find her scrumming in Trello, pumping out Pitan posts, or answering your questions on the OfficeWriter Answers site.

1. What do you do?
That depends on which hat I’m wearing. On Monday, I write tutorials. On Tuesday, I shift to designing sales demo or web site content. By Wednesday I’m managing a product backlog. Thursday is all about answering technical support questions and writing sample code. I wrap it up on Friday with some PivotTable blog posts.

2. What are you listening to right now?
I’m oscillating between the action theme from Doctor Who and the opening to an anime, Aquarion Evol.

3. If you could build any app, what would it be and why?
I would definitely want to build a mobile app that could analyze a reference picture of a character and generate a list of color swatches from the images. On top of that, it would allow you to switch between ‘picture colors’ and ‘real life colors’. For example, a bright yellow in a cartoon image would correspond to a golden blonde in real life.

4. When you were 5 what did you want to be and why?
I wanted to be a marine biologist because that was the perquisite for training Orcas at Sea World.

5. If you were a beer what would you be and why?
Apple juice – because I don’t drink and no one would be able to tell the difference visually.

6. What is your favorite tech blog and why?
Contextures has all my answers when PivotTables stump me.

7. Fill in the blank. Contrary to popular belief I  ________.
Contrary to popular belief, when darkness falls I don a mask to sing show tunes and giggle over jokes that make sense to the PivotTable-initiated.

8. Describe your perfect Saturday afternoon in 10 words or less.
Rainy day with sewing and Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood.

9. When did you last laugh?
Giggle? 2 hours ago
Evilly maniacal? 2 seconds ago.

10. Describe your personal style in one word.
The word to describe the fashion that I currently execute is “relaxed.” The words I would use to describe the clothes that I want to be wearing, but don’t have time to make are “fantastical,” “retro,” or “otaku-derivative.”

11. What is your worst nightmare?
My worst sleeping nightmware is a recurring one where I am forced to have tea with Kayako (woman from Ju-On/The Grudge) and Sadako (girl from Ringu/ The Ring). They keep trying to convince me that I should run away, but for some reason I refuse. Then the tea party ends and they both come after me in a house filled with stairs and television screens.

12. If you were a superhero, what would be your superhero name/power?
My superhero powers would definitely be #SuperQuickAwesomeDisguise.

13. What 3 things would you bring to a deserted island?
1)      My husband
2)      My One Piece collection because it has almost 14,000 hours of episodes.
3)      Something to watch One Piece on (probably a self-sustaining computer).

14. Who would play you in a movie of your life?
I think the classy Emma Watson would do a respectable job.

15. What is the last thing you bought?
A Warhammer figurine off of E-bay.

16. What are your biggest pet peeves?
Take your pick:
1)      Cosplayers who role-play as really obnoxious characters. Just because you’re dressed as a character that is bossy, loud-mouthed, tactless and empty-headed doesn’t give you the license to forgo common sense and courtesy. I don’t care if you’re Navi from Zelda – con weapon security help you if you talk to me in that horrible voice. No, I’m not going to look or listen.
2)      Drivers who…honk when you wait at a red arrow, honk when you don’t go into an intersection because you’ll get stranded in the middle, don’t use turn signals, use cell phones while driving, don’t prepare to go when the opposite light turns yellow, and seem to forget how to drive when the weather changes…so, Massachusetts drivers?

17. Name something that makes you smile.
George Takei’s Facebook posts.

18. If you could teach a college course what would it be?
A power Excel course on how to perform magic in XLSX files. Either that, or go back to my mathematics roots and teach lower-level calculus.

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