I’m stoked to have Terence Lee, my former colleague and all-around nice guy, as my first feature here on Work Daily.
As the managing editor of Tech in Asia – arguably the top tech publication in Asia at the moment – Terence’s day is packed with back-to-back tasks.
Some of the things he does on a daily basis include editing scheduled content, ensuring that the team is on track with the overall direction, and doing interviews and hiring.
Without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
The bulk of Terence’s time is spent editing other people’s work to ensure that it is ready for publication, as well as communicating with teammates to make sure they’re all synced up with the team’s direction.
Beyond that, the rest of his time is spent evenly between interviewing tech personalities and writing the occasional article; strategic thinking to figure out the team’s next steps; coordinating with other departments on initiatives.
His downtime in between tasks is used to catch up on news via Facebook or Twitter, or read up on books that will help him improve on his work – on topics like UX research.
On the strategic end, Terence does a lot of data crunching and analyzing, figuring out what types of content work and don’t work and then using that to inform the content direction.
“There’s also a lot of pushing and nudging in my work, such as reminding people to get things done. I also work on hiring, finding candidates, interviewing them, doing writing tests, or pushing that to other teammates to do the interviewing and testing,” he adds.
The tools he uses
Whew! That’s a whole lot of stuff that happens in Terence’s daily workflow. Let’s take a look at what products and services he uses to get it all done.
Content creation is the name of the game for journalists, so naturally many of Terence’s tools land in this category.
Pro tip: Google Docs is a great way to do writing tests. “It’s great in that there’s revision control and you can track their writing live,” explains Terence.
Besides that, he also uses Byword for writing pieces on the fly.
“I like ByWord’s word and character count feature. It has Markdown support as well,” he says. Clearly, Markdown is increasingly becoming an important and well-liked feature for writers.
For making notes during interviews, or penning down strategy, Terence prefers Evernote as his go-to repository for observations. For audio recordings which can be rather bulky in size, he switches to Google Drive instead, which has no file size limitations.
One of the greatest pain points of journalists is having to transcribe lengthy interviews. Most end up opening the audio file alongside a text document and switching back and forth, pausing, rewinding, and restarting as and when necessary.
Terence gets around this by using oTranscribe, a free web app that solves this problem by allowing you to open up everything – the audio file and a document – on a single browser page. It has some neat features which help with the transcription process, too.
Finally, when the article is good and ready, he and the rest of Tech in Asia team defaults to using WordPress as their main platform for publishing.
A pleasant bonus, Terence tells me, is that WordPress has automatic Markdown conversion as part of its Jetpack plugin. Nice!
Terence does a lot of hiring for Tech in Asia, and does it mainly via LinkedIn.
“It has a feature for you to start projects and sort potential candidates. That comes with the paid LinkedIn Recruiter tool,” he says.
Pro tip: Rather than having to log in to LinkedIn every once in a while to keep tabs on recruitment efforts, Terence syncs his LinkedIn account with his email account. When a potential candidate replies, he is immediately notified.
“Flowdock has that all-important threading feature which keeps discussions orderly. Slack feels a bit disorganized to me,” he explains. It makes sense, especially for editorial work where multiple revisions are required – it is far easier to look back on them with threads.
For emails, Terence is loving Inbox by Gmail. All of his work email is automatically forwarded to his Gmail account, making it easier for him to keep track of conversations and pen replies.
One of Terence’s key responsibilities is to crunch the numbers and come up with hypotheses and strategies to improve the level of writing at Tech in Asia.
For that, he uses both Google Analytics and Mixpanel to track writer pageviews – to see what articles writers are producing and what their performance is like. “For Google Analytics, I’d sort articles to see what are the high performing ones,” he elaborates. “For Mixpanel, I can see total views from the writing team for past and present content.”