How a CMO built an internal knowledge base to keep up with the roaring blockchain industry.
Ilija is an enthusiastic marketer. The kind of team member you know has been on calls all day, saying mostly the same things to different people—yet managing to make things feel new and interesting every time he says them.
He begins by saying:
"I've hardly been sleeping Marc. Working day and night with people from around the globe."
You see, Ilija is the CMO at Enjin—who as they put it—are in the business of making "Next-gen NFTs for everyone."
Now in case you've been living ear-muffed under a rock somewhere, NFTs (or non-fungible tokens) are hotter than South Georgia asphalt right now.
Jokes aside, being in the right place at the right time would be an understatement for Ilija and his colleagues. They've worked hard, built smartly, and brought clarity to what could've been very chaotic internal communication.
Here's their story.
The remote story
Enjin has been fully remote since 2009. In tech years (like cat years) that's practically a generation longer than anyone else.
What started off as a gaming community platform that first grew into 20 million users or so, then expanded into a blockchain product ecosystem used by companies and individuals across the globe.
But with this type of growth, comes inward-facing challenges. Organizing knowledge is a challenge. Communication is another, and so is staying atop blockchain terminology.
We talked with Ilija to know more about how he got information under control using Slite.
M: First, how has the last year been for you?
I'm going to be completely honest. I've never spent more than two weeks working in a brick and mortar setting. So for me, working remotely has been the case from day one. COVID didn't make a difference there.
And before I joined Enjin, I built my career in the game industry, working with developers across the world.
In terms of the pandemic, it's been difficult. Living in Belgrade, I'm used to travelling, especially around the rest of Europe. Spain is three hours away, Greece is hour and a half. I usually tend to spend a lot of time traveling both for work, and as a tourist.
Not being able to simply go out and get drinks with my friends—or hit an escape room, a VR arcade or something else that's fun—has been challenging.
M: So what's your remote routine? How did you adapt?
"If you want everyone online at the same time, it's always going to be 1:00 AM for someone."
I really do my best to try and keep a consistent schedule, and not have work bleed into weekends or very late nights. We're a company with team members in something like over 40 countries spread across 5 continents. It's extremely tricky to sync up with people. If you want Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America on at the same time, it's going to be 1:00 AM for someone.
I also drink a lot of coffee. And do my best to not work on a weekend unless it's something really urgent.
"The best way to describe how we structured our information? Random."
M: You've been remote for quite a while. As your industry goes "Boom!" how do you get things done?
For a long time we were using a mosaic of Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack notes, and having people put things on various other apps. But it just wasn't working anymore. There were random things all over the place, and we began to notice that we really needed an internal database. You know, somewhere where we could organize files easily.
M: So it was more of a structural thing?
Yes. When you're distributed like we are, you critically need a folder structure. You kind of have it in Google Drive, but it's outdated, it doesn't work anymore. Their permission system is bad, and it's not user-friendly enough for the year 2021.
We needed our information to be neatly organized, in a single, place where people can quickly find what they're looking for—whether it's notes from a meeting, a project they're working on, or a lexicon of all the cryptocurrency terms that are floating around.
"We needed a way to agree on how we use blockchain terminology. There are so many terms out there. We needed a single source of truth for such a fast-moving industry."
M: What did you do to break away from that type of chaos?
We started using Slite in 2019.
M: Then what? The product can be used in many ways.
The first thing we did was create an internal database—well, an internal knowledge base. We talked about things like who the company is, what the organizational structure is, some things about our history. As a growing company, we needed some place to start.
Then we started dealing with something we named "brand terminology." This was critical. Because we're in the blockchain industry, there are lots of words you can use interchangeably.
For example, the terms we used for NFTs ranged from crypto assets and digital items, to virtual assets and blockchain assets. There was a huge dissonance between departments and between people—we needed to standardize how to refer to various terms. Our industry is just too fast, and most of the terminology is still somewhat fluid.
We also use Slite to keep track of meetings—everything form marketing meetings, to leadership meetings, to interviewing people. All our knowledge is there, in one place, for everyone to see.
M: How would you say things have changed since you started using Slite?
Well, we're way more structured as a remote team, that's for sure. Instead of going to 5 people and 5 apps asking for information in 10 different ways, all we do is click a search button and land on what we're looking for, a few seconds later.
It just makes everything so much easier—especially remotely where there's no shoulder-tapping happening in realtime. With clear, transparent information, our decision-making process now relies on a much stronger foundation.
But probably the best thing is that Slite has given our entire company a communication structure we can confidently build upon, as the blockchain industry continues to soar.
Are you using Slite in a story-worthy way? If so, we'd like to hear from you.
Marc Cinanni is a creative writer who's fascinated by the emergence of remote as a new way of life. His pieces are punchy, absurd, and often personal. He writes for remote teams, managers, and people interested in feeling better about the way they work. Follow him @marccinanni.
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