Jesse Fulton's professional "README"

who I am and how I operate

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My Role

I currently work at AKQA as a Group Technical Director.

What do I do?

Enable the successful delivery of amazing work.

How do I it?

By growing people, encouraging creativity, and implementing appropriate processes.

Why do I it?

To inspire.

Communication Style

I tend to swear a lot (too much?) in casual conversations. I prefer talking in-person, but some things are better discussed asynchronously over email or slack. My general rule of thumb is that complex issues should be discussed in-person while simple decisions can be communicated electronically.

I will attempt to adjust my communication style to suit yours - I’m not perfect, but I’ll try my best. Another thing to note is that I also tend to spend much more time listening than I do speaking. Just because I’m not speaking doesn’t mean that I have nothing to say.

Teams

I believe that working in small, cross-disciplinary teams leads to a shared sense of ownership, better communication, and more collaboration. This a great recipe to create great work.

Work/Life Balance

I actively try not to open e-mails, slack, etc. after hours, and I do not expect you to either. If there is a need for early/late communications, I will try my best let you know before the work day is over. I expect you to do the same.

What I Value

Adaptability

Expect chaos, embrace change

Everything around us is constantly changing and we must continuously improve and adapt in order to stay relevant. Ignoring this constant change results in reactive responses; acknowledging it leads to proactive solutions.

Intentionality

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” - Peter Drucker

It’s much better to do the right thing slowly than to do the wrong thing quickly. I belive in constant reprioritization and re-evaluation. The more honest, aware, and knowledgeable we are about our surroundings, the better prepared we are to identify the best path to move forward.

Openness

“Build a culture that rewards — not punishes — people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved.” - Ben Horowitz

A healthy organization is one where people feel comfortable and safe speaking their mind. Diversity in people, projects, approaches, and thinking leads to new ideas and constant improvement.

Humility

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” - Rick Warren

Sometimes we make sacrafices, and sometimes we seize on opportunitites - there should be no task “above” you, and no task “below” you. There is no such thing as being “too good” to do something.

If I’m Your Manager

My Expectations of You

  • I expect you to do your job. If it’s unclear what your job is or you feel like you can’t do something, I expect you to let me know.
  • I expect you to work while you’re at work. I expect you to learn, grow, and experiment during downtime.
  • Sometimes life happens, and you’ll need to deal with other issues. This is also expected, but please inform myself and your team before it impacts anything or anyone else.

Your Expectations of Me

You should expect me to be honest and available. Never hesitate to reach out to me for anything. However, I am human and make mistakes. In order to improve myself, I not only welcome, but I need honest feedback from you. Don’t worry, I have tough skin.

Performance, Growth, Opportunities, and Goals

This (probably) isn’t your first job, and it probably won’t be your last job. I welcome conversations around what lies next for you, be it with our company or at another. (See the section on Openness above.)

You will bring certain capabilities to our company, and you will take even more away when you leave. While one of my main goals is to help you define a learning and development plan to achieve desired growth, you are accountable for progressing your own development.

I tend to segment growth areas into the following three groups:

  • Professional Development, aka “Craft” - the skills and knowledge required to complete discrete tasks
  • Career Development, aka “Impact” - the progression of your career in terms of scope and accountability
  • Personal Development, aka “Affect” - the soft skills and attitudes affecting interpersonal relationships both inside and outside of the office

A key part of growth which often goes overlooked is opportunity. It is my job to deliver work in the near term and to grow the company in the long term. This sometimes involves putting people on projects which they do not like while trying to also put individuals on work which will challenge them. In every case, I will try my best to align work with goals and interests but the reality is that this is not always possible.

FAQ

What are some of your pet peeves?

A few things which are sure to irritate me (in no particular order):

  • Having unnecessary meetings
  • Not having necessary meetings
  • Meetings without a clear agenda or goals
  • Being late to meetings
  • Meetings which run over schedule
  • Cars driving slowly in the passing lane

To summarize, meetings can be incredibly productive, but are overused.

What are some of your pets?

Bailey & Penelope ❤️

How do I know if something is technically feasible?

Another thing I try to avoid (which is almost, but not quite, a pet peeve) is being “the tech feasibility” guy. My answer to the question “can we do X?” will always be “yes, it’s just a matter of time and budget.”

From my experience, most ideas die due to logistics rather than technical constraints.

What is “the headphone rule?”

If somebody has their headphones on, assume they’re “in the zone.” Send them an email or slack message before tapping them on the shoulder.

How long have you had that beard?

If you ask my fiancé, too long. Much too long…