A day in the life of Dwolla’s community experience manager

Account support managers of fintech companies are the unsung heroes of finance. Sales reps may get the glory, and executives get to speak at all sorts of events (like Money’16), but when things go south and servers go down, all eyes are on the support team.

Bobby Godbersen is the Community Experience Manager of Dwolla, a Des Moines-based digital payment network provider. He works under the VP Sales and Strategy, and is in charge of building the team that supports their growing list of White Label API customers.

Here is a glimpse into a day of his life:

4:45 a.m.: Daily alarm goes off and it’s time to hit the gym.

6:15 a.m.: Fix breakfast (2 eggs and toast) while I watch SportsCenter to get my morning update on the world of sports.

7:15 a.m.: After eating breakfast and getting ready, it’s time to walk to work. I throw on my headphones and hit shuffle on Spotify’s TGIF playlist (because every workday should feel like Friday).

7:30 a.m.: Enter office (Yep, only 15 minute walk to work. Love Des Moines!) and it’s time to catch up on items I missed from the evening. Check Slack for outstanding messages. Slack, a real-time messaging platform, allows us to create individual communication channels for our White Label customers.

8:30 a.m.: Sync with the account management team to get up-to-speed on any emerging issues with our White Label customers. I also use this time to get an update on our recently-signed customers who are going through the on-boarding and review process for their applications.

9:00 a.m.: Initial call with a newly signed White Label customer. These kick-off calls introduce a new customer to their assigned support team and it’s our chance to learn about their business model, payment needs, and objectives in their words. This particular partner is building an application to make consumer saving easier by telling Dwolla’s White Label API to transfer small amounts of funds each week from an individual’s checking account to a savings account.

Our bank transfer API automates a lot of the traditional functions and requirements of bank transfers for customers, so we really act like advisors trying to maximize the efficiency of an integration. It’s also why I’m joined by Spencer, our lead dev support engineer. More on him later.

9:30 a.m.: I race over to Cleveland (rooms at Dwolla are named after individuals depicted on U.S. currency) for another customer meeting. This one is technical and Spencer leads. He discusses best practices and answers questions about the APIs core endpoints: create an account, link a funding source, create transaction, and webhooks (for real-time notifications from the webserver).

10:00 a.m.: Time to catch my breath and go through emails. I have three more calls this afternoon and need to make sure everything is in order for each.

11:00 a.m.: Weekly meeting with the marketing/communication and sales team. Marcom is looking to feature one of our recent customers in a case study. Sales provides feedback on what type of featured use-case would resonate with prospective customers. We select the ideal candidate for the case study and I schedule a call the following day to introduce our marcom team.

11:45 a.m.: Spencer gets an SOS from a developer on the customer’s dedicated Slack channel. They plan to push integration live to production tomorrow for their own internal stakeholders, but something isn’t right. We schedule a call for 12:00 p.m.

11:50 a.m.: Spencer and I meet quickly with our liaison to the Platform Team to cover our bases (i.e. “assume you’re wrong first”). Nothing is out of order on our end. All services are up.

12:00 p.m.: Jump on call. Spencer and lead developer for White Label customer identify the problem quickly. It’s on their end, but it’s not an easy fix. Spencer has time to stay on and work through.

12:15 p.m.: Lunch time. I eat at my desk while going through my twitter feed and any priority emails.

1:00 p.m.: Weekly cross-functional meeting with sales, legal, product and compliance teams. Product discusses the updates to the new Dwolla Dashboard & Admin, a new tool that helps partners to manage customers, view transaction details and discover business trends. Based on customer feedback the product team rolled-out advanced filters for searching and new graphs for viewing transaction volume between customers within an application.

2:00 p.m.: I join Ben S., an in-house information security expert, for an infosec review of one of our new White Label customers. The session offers a 360° assessment of the customer’s entire platform, and focuses on vulnerability, encryption, authentication, and application security.

2:30 p.m.: I have 30 minutes before my next call. Time for a quick foosball match. It helps clear my mind while also keeping my skills sharp for our weekly Friday tournaments.

3:00 p.m.: Outside of the on-going support, we try to carve out some time with willing customers to get product feedback. Today, we’re speaking with a customer discussing their desire for Same Day ACH. The conversation focuses on their business processes and whether or not Same Day will achieve their objective (to improve customer relations). It does.

3:30 p.m.: Check emails. Prepare for 4pm meeting, by compiling notes from recent customer interactions.

4:00 p.m.: In the last step of the review process before an integration goes live, we conduct a quick audit and demo of a customer’s integration for compliance purposes. In addition to ensuring compliance, we love to see the end result of a customer’s integration with our API. Integrations can last as little as a week to as long as a few months, depending on the needs and resources of the customer. This particular client took two weeks and one developer to complete a fairly complicated integration.

5:00 p.m.: Prior to kickoff meetings, an account manager and technical integration lead will meet with the sales rep to discuss the use-case of a newly signed customer. Sales leads this meeting by providing an overview of the customer’s business, integration details, and desired timeline for launching on White Label. Today, I’m sitting in with Megan, one of our new account managers, as she goes through this process with Sales for the 3rd time.

5:40 p.m.: Check the Slack channels and emails one last time. No fires. I walk home and change for my weekly sand volleyball match.

7:30 p.m.: Our work team, “The Sand Dwollas”, lacks experience but makes up for it with enthusiasm and a unique sense of humor. I return home with a win under my belt as well as several grains of sand.

9:00 p.m.: My sleep schedule has been described as that of a 90-year-old nightowl. I’m asleep by 9:30 pm.


Day in the Life: Yahoo Finance editor Andy Serwer talks Brexit, working at Yahoo

day in the life of yahoo finance

Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Adam Serwer admits that, yes, working there has its challenges.

interview with Adam Serwer, editor of Yahoo Finance
Serwer. (Photo: Yahoo)

“At Yahoo, there’s a lot of stuff going on,” he told Digiday, in reference to the near daily stories of layoffs, shuttering of content verticals and its hazy future. “Bu we tend to block that out and focus on the work we’re doing.”

He added, “Look at every single company on the planet. They’re always rejiggering and restructuring, and we tried some stuff here; some of it worked, and some of it didn’t.”

In fact, Yahoo Finance is one of its bright spots. The vertical pulled in 71 million U.S. visitors last month, according to comScore. Serwer oversees an editorial staff of 18 people, with plans to hire more.

Serwer joined Yahoo in February 2015 following a 29-year stint at Time Inc.’s Fortune Magazine, saying that he was attracted to working for a “digital native” company.

In total, Yahoo Finance produces 150 articles and videos — a mix of studio-based shows, live streams and social clips — every week. “We are the video platform for business news,” he said. “While a lot of people talk about doing over-the-top, we’re doing it at scale and getting hundreds of thousands of views during big news days.”

There has been no bigger news day recently than the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union. With the Brexit decision still reverberating in the markets, Serwer suggested to the financial markets to keep calm and carry on. “The economic damage and damage to the U.S. markets won’t be so profound,” he said. “Britain is important, but it’s not that huge a piece of economic activity.”

Here’s what he did last Thursday, slightly edited for clarity and length:

5:45 a.m.: Wake up. I check my email, Slack notifications, and Yahoo Finance (while still in bed I’m sorry to say.) My team loves using Slack to communicate on work matters but also to share crazy stories. Then I head out for a run in Central Park. Come back. Drink green juice. (I know, I know.)

6:45 a.m.: Start getting ready for my day. At this point, I’m already communicating with my team about stories and logistics. Hey, business news starts early!

7:30 a.m.: Jump on the C/B train to the Yahoo offices in Times Square.

8:00 a.m.: Arrive at Yahoo. First check in with the producers as we prep for our daily live morning show, Market Movers, a look at the news of the day before the opening bell.

8:30 a.m.: Live on air! Today, we’re discussing the upcoming Brexit vote. We had scones and clotted cream to honor the occasion, brought to us by team member Clara Colbert. Jolly good!

Adam Serwer, Yahoo Finance editor, appears on one of Yahoo’s shows. (Photo: Yahoo)
Serwer appears on one of Yahoo’s shows. (Photo: Yahoo)

9:00 a.m.: Meet with team for our editorial meeting. We gather as a group every morning to review pitches for the day. It’s an opportunity for everyone to share ideas for stories and collaborate. Our team does both text and video, so we might be talking about live shows or shoots, and/or just reporting and writing. We also love to discuss some of those ‘out there’ stories as well. Today, we had a convo about the Unabomber calling an impersonator a “creep.” What?

10:00 a.m.: Conversation with Product leader Charlie Hartel. We’re always trying to figure out ways to work better together. Go to make up room for touch-up make-up for an upcoming interview. My co-worker, Katie Couric, compliments me on my blue shoes. Nice!

Noon: Midday Movers show begins. I’m not appearing on the show today but checked it out from my desktop.

12:30 p.m.: Lunch at the Lamb’s Club with Juliana Chen, an executive at Pfizer. I mentioned to her that HBO CEO Richard Plepler often comes here, and, lo and behold, there he is when we walk in. The three of us gossip a bit and talk about Pfizer, Yahoo and HBO. It’s like “Game of Thrones” in there!

2:30 p.m.: Respond to emails. Always more emails. Today, I reply to Warren Buffett about an interview coming up with him. Ask Chuck Leavell about some upcoming Rolling Stones shows. And set up a dinner with former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack and his wife, Christy.

3:00 p.m.: Checking on news stories. The markets are strong ahead of the Brexit vote. (Little do they know…) Get sidetracked by a story about Burger King introducing a Mac N’ Cheese puff that my team shares in our Slack channel. Check in with managing editor Sam Ro about a meeting with our superstar Tech reporter, David Pogue.

4:00 p.m.: Final Round Live! Our last live show of the day (yes, that’s three a day!). We did a special edition today regarding Brexit. We talked about how the markets are betting that Brexit isn’t going to happen (they were wrong), and ran a clip from my interview with Tony Blair.

Yahoo’s homepage following the Brexit.
Yahoo’s homepage following the Brexit.

4:30 p.m.: Internal meeting about Brexit planning. We’re doing a special live show tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. to report on the results of the Brexit vote. In this meeting, I’m talking to producers, reporters and the studio team to make sure the show will rock.

5:30 p.m.: Head out for a quick drink at Parkview Lounge in Columbus Circle with old pal Bob Kubacki, a salesman with [the door and window company] Pella who’s visiting from Indiana. Bob was a legendary quarterback at our alma mater, Bowdoin College.

6:15 p.m.: Then zip over to dinner at Marea with some Chinese media executives.

10:00 p.m.: Check in on the Brexit vote. Uh oh, this is starting to look like Brexit will happen, which means tomorrow will be crazy.


Photo credit: A Princess via Visual Hunt / CC BY