Simian Meanderings and the Life of Brian
by Gavin Wilson
The lovely Dilyana has for some reason given me free rein to talk about myself, Wattpad, and life according to Brian. This may yet prove to be a mistake given my penchant for a good tangent, but we’ll see how it goes.
My name is Gavin, and I run the Ambassador World team for Wattpad. I live in the UK with my long suffering wife (who likens the sound of typing to Chinese water torture for the ears), four kids – two girls and two boys, a (mostly) Scottie dog called Arthur, and a cat who shall remain nameless just in case she is actually the feline version of Voldemort.
I started working part-time for Wattpad way back in Nov 2012. I’d been an Ambassador for a couple of years by then, and the then head of Community, a very lovely lady called Eva, took a chance on me and offered me a role as a professional Science Fiction geek. Over time, that became a role in the content team, I managed the Featured list for a while, then went full time in August 2014. A few months later, the Ambassador Manager decided to move on to a new company and I was offered the role as Ambassador program Manager which is what I do now.
I love my job. I’m very lucky to work every day with not just the team at Wattpad HQ, but also with our incredible volunteers, some 300 people who’re spread all over the world. I’m still very much an Ambassador at heart, but these days I spend my time training up new Ambassadors, keeping the team running, serving as the liaison between the Ambassadors and the team at Wattpad HQ, training up new staff at HQ as to what the Ambassadors do and why they’re such an amazing Community asset, and keeping various plates spinning madly.
The Ambassadors are the absolute heart of the Wattpad Community, but the engine room is located in Toronto at Wattpad HQ, home of some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I go to Toronto every quarter, and every time I walk through the doors I get a massive buzz of excitement. The offices are modern, beautifully designed, and relaxed, but home to a tremendous group of business savvy, hardworking, diligent individuals. The building itself is an old bank (there’s still a vault where equipment is stored), and Wattpad occupies two floors, with a wifi enabled roof terrace as an additional bonus, although it’s not used too much in winter due to the crazy minus temperatures they endure every year. In summer though it’s wonderful.
My favourite place though is the kitchen area, probably because it has coffee. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen each time I visit, and it hosts everything from informal gatherings around lunch to games evenings, film events, user meet ups, business meetings and presentations and internal events like Hack Fridays where teams of staff who wouldn’t normally work together, collect to work on a project that sometimes gets included in the main product. Every day is different, every day is exciting, and every day I go to work with a skip in my step. It’s utterly wonderful.
And then there’s Brian. Brian is the result of too many odd conversations with fellow writers and friends on Wattpad, and my own mildly tangential thought processes. Many years ago, a conversation with various writers in one of the clubs resulted in me misspelling ‘brain’ when talking about my own grey matter. And so Brian was born. The miss-spelt pseudo entity that shares my noggin is now widely recognized both by the Ambassadors and by colleagues at HQ, and is usually blamed for me going a little off piste during meetings, getting things wrong, or even coming up with slightly kooky storylines when I’m writing. Brian now gets the glory and the pain in equal measure.
Wattpad has given me a huge amount over the years; the realization that I can actually write stories, the chance to meet wonderful people, work alongside some of them, represent our wonderful volunteers, and of course the birth of Brian. Wattpad has changed my life utterly, and entirely for the better. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Warning: may contain nuts.
I work for Wattpad as part of their Community Engagement team. I manage the Ambassadors, our Wattpad volunteers, which is both an honour and a privilege. Aside from that, I suspect my normal state is dazed, grumpy and confused; this may be due to being an old git, or possibly due to having young children. One day when I’m awake enough I will try and work it out. Until then, there’s coffee…
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