Mei quickly became a big part of the PaperKite product team when she joined us in May 2016. A self-confessed jack of all trades, she brings a deep level of analysis to all the products that PaperKite builds. Unsurprisingly, she is a very popular member of the team. But the real question is: who would she bring with her to desert island? Find out below:
Question 1. What are the events that lead you to joining PaperKite?
So Sean reached out to me that there was a new role at PaperKite — I’d worked with him when he was at Abletech and I was at NZ Post. I had a first chat with Mountain and Enrique (former product manager) where they told me what PK were trying to achieve and I thought it was a really interesting space to be in. Part of the appeal was that it was a new role. I guess something that made me a good fit was that I have quite a broad range of skills. I’m not that specialised– I can be a “gap-filler” who likes to hold all the pieces together (and always worry about everything). Once I had met the team I was convinced: “there are really good people here”. That made my decision even easier.
Question 2. What do you consider as your area of expertise and what about it gets you the most excited?
I’ve been talking a lot with Simon and Emma (PaperKite’s Product Managers) about the things we enjoy — I’ve found two things that I really love. The first is Kanban (an agile approach). So much so that I’m doing a really geeky thing and going to Japan next year to visit the birthplace of Kanban (the Toyota factory in Nagoya). The other thing that really interests me is the lean MVP approach. All the theories make sense but when you take them into the real world, especially on the vendor side, it’s interesting to see how they actually work out. It’s kind of the same with kanban as well. Theoretically everything makes perfect sense — then all the shit happens (laughing)!
It’s probably quite dorky that I like all of this stuff. I’ve always looked at different models and the ways you can apply them to real life. I love the idea that there are these universal truths of the world, and the way they manifest in business could also be applied to other things. I think that if you can make the principles behind both Kanban and lean MVP work in your own life then you would probably have a better life. So I’m quite interested in finding opportunities to test those theories to see where they work and where they don’t.
Question 3. What is your best PaperKite story?
This is probably the hardest question. I don’t really think of things as stories which is weird because I’m always writing user stories! Time has passed so quickly, it’s hard to think of all the things that have happened. I think the team trip to the Wairarapa this year was really cool. And I won the costume competition! (dressed as Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy). I love dress up, I had a Pinterest board of all the possible options. Originally I wanted to do Sailor Moon characters because I’d love to do the anime eye makeup. It’s amazing — making your eyes look huge and fake. The problem was that no one else wanted to do it with me.
Another option was Catwoman because I could just wear all black and a hood, but I guess she felt too normal. I decided on Gamora because she was going to have the most impact for the least effort.
Question 4. Describe your perfect weekend
Probably going back to Fiji! In May I went to one of the small islands further out and that was really good. There weren’t many people and we had a little hut right on the beach. The water was so warm and so clear with fish everywhere. And we did an extra trip further out to swim with Manta Rays which was so crazy and cool. They swim with these other yellow fish that attach themselves onto the Rays — not actually touching them but just swimming in the same pattern. You’re not supposed to touch them but we managed to get pretty close. That was actually the first holiday where I’ve said “Okay I’m here to just do relaxing stuff”. It was great!
Question 5. You are trapped on a desert island with TWO other members of PaperKite, who are they and why?
I guess it depends, I would need to assess the environment. It could be an island like in Lost or it could be a remote Fiji island that just hadn’t ever been discovered. Even if there were enough resources to survive, I think at some point I would try to come back because I feel like I could always go back to the island if I wanted. So in this instance I’m considering Nic — I’ve got to know him better more recently and he does carpentry and things like that. I know Patrick is pretty crafty too. I guess I’m looking for a balance too. Emma and Patrick get along really well. And Mountain is also a good option. It’s really hard to figure out who it would be. Kate and Emma get along really well also. So yeah I think I would go Kate and Emma.
Emma and I are good at bouncing things off of each other and Kate would also fit into that. She brings a lot of practical building experience. Emma is a really good cook and she also can do ceramics. I would do textiles and Kate can do woodwork. If we had to stay then we could survive and get along. And if we tried to leave, then I’m confident we could build a boat and sail away.