Q&A with Jared, SEO Content Lead at Wise
The SEO team is one of the most diverse in our whole company. We’re structured so that each blog locale is run by a native speaker, and that brings together so many different cultures and life experiences under one roof. And when you give all those diverse people autonomy, and creative freedom in their work, the results can be amazing.
Why did you join Wise?
I wasn’t actively looking for a new role but saw a post on LinkedIn by my current lead. I clicked through and thought, this is my dream job, I have to apply. Wise looked like such a mission-driven business, and there was a real emphasis in the job spec about people; supporting people, caring about people, leading people, and not necessarily being a typical manager.
What really got me excited was that at that point we were only moving 1% of the world’s cross-border payments (it’s since grown to 2.5%!). So although we’ve achieved so much, there’s still so much more to do. I wanted to be part of the story that gets us to 100% one day or at least higher than 1%!
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
I love the team I work with. I can’t oversell this enough. Running the Wise blog makes us one of the most diverse teams in the company. We have native speakers of all the languages we operate in, bringing together many different cultures and backgrounds – from Brazil to Romania to Japan. Our diversity also shows in our balanced gender split, and inclusion of multiple members of the LGBTQ+ community, including myself.
Another bit I love is the autonomy. It really is crazy how much freedom you’re given to forge your own path.
Is there anything that’s changed about your role from when you first started to now?
When I joined, I led a team of 12 people. It was a flat structure, and they all reported to me, but there were too many people to make it sustainable. Fast-forward to today, and we’re 35 people with a new structure, and I’m now leading leads. My role scope has also expanded massively. Initially, I was trying to build best practice and frameworks to simply keep everything running. Now I’m focusing on the bigger picture, strategic projects and letting the sub-teams within my team become autonomous.
What does working with freedom and autonomy mean to you?
Our culture of radical autonomy is so refreshing and invigorating, but terrifying at the same time! It’s up to you to build the best plan you possibly can, and then open it up to the whole company for feedback. And there’s always feedback at Wise, and not just from within marketing, but the whole team.
The open feedback loop means there’s definitely a level of vulnerability involved and it goes well with our customer > team > ego value. Your ego or selling yourself needs to be the last thing you’re thinking about when you work at Wise. When you ask for feedback, it should be because you want to improve what you’re working on, not because you know you’re doing a good job and want a pat on the back.
What is the biggest challenge you faced working here?
There are lots of challenges! Trying to create structure in a fast-moving, chaotic and autonomous environment is hard. You need to lead the team and keep things moving whilst leaving room for creativity and freedom for everyone. It can be tough to balance.
Another challenge in managing a fast growing team has been office space, or the lack of it. At one point, Wise was growing so fast that our team in Tallinn was practically sitting on each other’s laps for a while. We reacted by having three volunteers move to Budapest to grow the team over there. Now we have about 15 SEO specialists over there and have had to figure out how to maintain our amazing team culture over Zoom, while being split across the globe.
How did the pandemic affect your work?
There were good bits and bad bits. It definitely helped level the playing field between different locations. Suddenly everyone was in the same boat, because we were all alone at home, wherever we were in the world. But the biggest negative has been that we’re no longer able to meet each other in person. We’ve had so many new joiners during covid times, that lots of people haven’t ever met. I think face-to-face interaction is vital for team collaboration and bonding, so I’m looking forward to more of this in the future.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at Wise?
At Summer Days 2019 in Tallinn, I signed up for a singing activity on the music track. I stood on this massive festival sized stage with this megaband of musicians and singers. We performed a Lenny Kravitz song that we’d been working on that day.
What is your side hustle?
Outside of work, I’m a singer-songwriter. It’s been a great passion to focus on during lockdown and a real creative outlet, aside from the routine of working, especially from home.
What is your favorite slack group?
#dogsoflondon – I have a puppy myself, so it’s a no-brainer! He’s a Cockapoo called Bertie, six months old now. We’re doing puppy school, and it’s hard work, but going really well. My next big challenge is to see if he can behave himself in the office.