Tigerpaw's Community Manager John Ludwig is the fun-loving, informative voice of Tigerpaw (and our mascot Roary). If you need an answer to an in-depth question you've posted on the Tigerpaw Community or simply need a good laugh from our social media channels, John is your guy.
A former newspaper reporter and columnist who got into the technology space when no one else wanted to cover the beat, John has married his love of writing with his extensive experience marketing for tech companies. His unique background, talent and knowledge base translate in his thorough research when troubleshooting for customers, coming up with a must-know topic for the Tigerpaw Blog or finding the most relevant industry news to share on social media.
Learn more about John and how he uses his well-seasoned communications and writing skills to keep our users updated and engaged during our next installment of Tiger Tales in which we highlight members of Team Tigerpaw:
How long have you worked at Tigerpaw and what brought you here?
I’m getting close to a year and a half now and it’s been a very fun ride.
As to what brought me here? There were many things that made Tigerpaw stand out. The people, the culture, the projects, the agility of the teams and the ability to start a role with a blank page to work from. I’m a writer, through and through, and we writers love a blank page.
Tigerpaw had been on my radar for a while, and I loved everything I had been hearing about the company culture. I had done a ridiculous amount of research into the company (because that’s what I do) and I could see a bunch of areas that I could immediately impact. All of those things, combined with the culture, was an exciting prospect.
Many companies have begun to beat the drum of “culture, culture, culture” the past several years, but most of them are just giving it lip service. To them, culture is a thing you write down like an 80’s mission or vision statement.
Too many companies go, “Well, we wrote it down. That’s our culture. Checkbox checked!” *Harrumph.* *Harrumph.* *Self-congratulatory back slaps.*
Yeah, that’s not culture.
It’s very hard to find a company that truly believes in driving a forward-thinking company culture and genuinely lives by their core values. I saw quickly that Tigerpaw actually does that. After meeting with the team and with James I was even more convinced that this was something special I wanted to be a part of. And, to me, that has immense value.
I have a strong background in marketing, communications and content creation. I’ve worked with sales teams and leadership teams, lead marketing teams and worked on projects of all shapes and sizes. I have a super-nerdy background in technology and software, and all of these things combined to make me a good fit for the team.
It’s been a great ride so far, I’ve been able to work on a lot of fun projects, and I’m looking forward to all of the things we have coming down the pipe.
I have a job I love, a team that is uplifting where we constantly make each other laugh, and we’re all focused on doing great work and helping each other learn and grow — that in a company culture where you are allowed to ask questions and suggest anything out of left field … that adds up to a great combo.
At Tigerpaw, we really celebrate quirkiness. What are some of your quirks?
Oh, man. How do I pick just a few?
We do embrace each of our Tiger’s quirks. When we’re doing interviews, I always like to tell candidates that this is a culture where you don’t have to hide your quirky; you can (and should) let your geek flag fly. That being said, we have a lot of quirky characters.
Here are some quick quirks (that I’m comfortable admitting here):
- I have several vintage typewriters, some have stories behind them.
- My first job was working at a vintage comic book store. I worked there for a decade, from age 13 all the way through college. When you need obscure information or worthless trivia about comic books or the plotlines of the latest tent-pole superhero movie, I’m your guy.
- I managed a Blockbuster Video in college and have seen thousands of movies.
- I was a journalist and columnist before segueing those skills into marketing. (I have a lot of reporter stories that are not repeatable in polite company or to people with weak stomachs.)
- I’ve written around 7-8 million words in my career as a professional writer.
- I can geek out over marketing data and numbers as much as I can the perfect sentence or the just-right word to convey a message.
- I speak geek, grok nerd and am comfortable getting into the weeds on esoteric tech jargon.
- I have a large collection of super nerdy and geeky t-shirts that frequently have multiple layers of geek references throughout. (As I type this, I’m wearing a t-shirt with a unicorn and a Boston Terrier riding a Tyrannosaurus in front of a rainbow.)
- I read a lot. Fiction, non-fiction, genre fiction, new, old, classics and everything in-between. I’m always up for nerding out over favorite authors and books.
Some folks aren't familiar with the Tigerpaw Community. Can you explain what it is, how it works and why users should get involved?
The Tigerpaw Community is a great place to get plugged into Tigerpaw, chat with other Tigerpaw users and make your voice heard.
It’s a classic user forum with one key difference: You can actually have a chat with our team directly. Post ideas, add to the discussion. Even if you don’t get an immediate response, your comments are seen by our team, by our product managers. Your voice is heard and your words are shared with our directors and stakeholders.
Our team takes that information and it has definite weight when we consider what features to prioritize for future roadmaps of Tigerpaw. You never know when a post you add to the Community will bubble up to become a new feature.
AND, we have tons of Tigerpaw users from many businesses, roles and industries. Getting plugged into the Community only serves to help us all. Share your knowledge, make a post, start a discussion, chat about your business challenges — someone in the Community has likely already conquered what you’re going through, and they’re likely more than willing to help you out.
The Community leverages the power of the passionate Tigerpaw users to help us all build and run better businesses.
What other company gives you a tool to help drive the direction of the platform?
Tigerpaw gets a lot of engagement — and chuckles — on social media. How do you go about capturing the Tigerpaw voice in such a unique way for every post and every channel?
I’ve been managing social media communications for brands for more than a decade, which makes me ancient in terms of marketing social media folks, and there has been a lot of fads that have risen and fallen by the wayside.
My number one key to success for companies on social media is: don’t be a company on social media. No one wants to engage with a company, they want to talk to people. Don’t be a “brand” online, be a person. Let your humanity shine through. Love nerdy and quirky jokes? Use that. Think of things that represent your team, your core values and your culture.
Your social media channels should be an expression of your company culture and who you are; they should not be a dead, lifeless place for corporate jargon speak and to shunt worthless information.
Be funny, be open to communication and take a genuine interest in the people you interact with. I try to inject personality, fun and our core values into “the Tigerpaw voice” that people have come to know.
If you’re dialed into that, it makes it much easier. And, don’t be afraid to let people behind the curtain. People want to know there is an empathetic person on the other end of their screens — not an inhuman robot.
And sometimes the right meme or gif in a conversation is more powerful than the most scripted response. If there’s one trick to creating a company voice that you should know it’s that: Be a person on social media, not a company.
When you aren't at Tigerpaw, what are you most likely doing?
I’m likely reading, writing, running or playing a video game.
My wife and I actually met in a writing class and we both have a huge love of the written word. There are many evenings where our night in is each of us reading a book at opposite ends of the couch with the dog between us. We have a little Boston Terrier named Bazinga. She’s a character.
We’ve also just recently had the joy of welcoming our first child. Our daughter is tiny and adorable, bright-eyed and full of wonder and smiles. So now some of my reading time has shifted to stories for my tiny girl, and that’s just fine by me.
Reading “Anne of Green Gables” to my daughter, while she has a tiny hand wrapped around my finger — that’s a solid way to spend my evening.
Want to engage with John or one of your fellow Tigerpaw users? Create a Tigerpaw Community profile and visit any of the forums to commiserate about your favorite features or ask questions. You can even share your ideas for product updates as well as vote on your favorite feature request suggestions. And, be sure to follow Tigerpaw on social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and stay updated on Tigerpaw and industry news and fun.