Alfred Lua
Feb 18, 2016 · 10 min read

Hello here!

Today, we have Mick Mahady as the guest for our weekly Live Chat! 🎉

Here’s more from Happiness Hero, Mick:

Hi, I’m Mick. Some of you may know me from this amazing Buffer community. I’m currently in my 4th week of Buffer Bootcamp as a member of the Happiness team.

I’m based in Dublin, Ireland but I’m eager to experience some adventures over the next year or two, and my girlfriend and I are hoping to move to Canada in the future.

I have a background in digital marketing and I set up a small business shortly before joining Buffer. My business is based loosely on digital marketing, but I do anything I can to help people. Most of the time I find myself undertaking new roles such as web development, business coaching and sometimes I’m just there for people if they need to have a chat. All I’ve ever really wanted to do is build a career helping people, and Buffer allows me to do that on such a large scale.

You can follow Mick on Twitter here.

Welcome, ​Mick​! 👋

Heya friends! So happy to be doing this AMA today!

Buffer Journey

How did you apply/got to join Buffer?Diogo Neves

Good question, Diogo! So I had originally applied for Buffer in April of 2015. I had only recently become aware of the company and I think I was dazzled by the happy people, great perks, remote work, etc. I applied for totally the wrong reasons. I got more involved with the community after that and really started to embrace the Buffer values in all aspects of my life. In November, I felt I was in much better position to apply, and I applied for a Happiness Hero position on our website.

You said it was a pretty extensive application process, can you talk a bit more about it? Diogo Neves

I’m happy to answer all questions 😊 So, the first stage involved the application on Buffer’s website, which included answering some hypothetical questions for customers. About a month later, I received a wonderful email from Carolyn, who asked if I’d be up for answering some more hypothetical questions 😊 On Christmas day, I received an email from Deborah to set up an interview (Awesome Christmas present 😊). We had the interview just at the end of December, followed by an interview with Carolyn 2 weeks later. Lastly, I had an amazing interview with Joel. A day later I got my offer to join Bootcamp and I started 11 hours later 😆 I believe the process and time frame varies depending on the role and the time of year 😊

What would be your top 3 tips for anyone considering applying for a role at Buffer?Kat Loughrey

Good one. I’ll have to think about this one. My main tip is to always put your true self forward in any interaction with Buffer. I’d use that as more of life tip too 😆 It’s easy to try to change who you are to suit what you think Buffer wants to see in an applicant, but I’m not sure if that method is successful. With my application, I answered 100% honestly, listing failures I’ve had in the past, reasons why I might not be good fit, reasons why I wanted this opportunity. I laid out everything on the table, and luckily the application was well received. I’ll need to think a little bit longer about 2 other tips, but that one is definitely important to me 😊

Buffer Bootcamp

Hi Mick, pumped to hear how Buffer Bootcamp went for you! danielle devereux

Heya Danielle! I’m 3 weeks into Bootcamp at the moment and it’s going really well so far. That’s not to say that I’m absolutely flying, there’s been plenty of learning moments throughout the last three weeks, but I feel that I’m fitting well and growing as a Happiness Hero and a person 😊

What has been the most challenging part of bootcamp for you so far?Stephen'Bern' Banham and danielle devereux

The most challenging part for me is the pressure I put on myself in the beginning of bootcamp. I could see that the rest of the happiness team were answering a huge number of emails each day. I felt that I needed to get off to a flying start and it resulted in a lot of long 12+ hours days. Anyone who know Buffer, knows that this isn’t exactly the best way to impress. The team have never put pressure on me to hit high numbers so I’ve settled down a bit of the last few weeks and have started hitting higher numbers naturally!

How do you feel you’ve had to change most as you adapt to life as a Happiness Hero?Matt Aunger

Heya Matt! It’s been an unusual transition. I notice a lot of familiar names in the Buffer inbox. I suppose the biggest thing to get used to is not having as much time to be as active in the Slack community. I hope to find a better balance here 😊

How hands on is the mentorship or guidance from the rest of the team in terms of engaging with you in your work during the Bootcamp?Stephen'Bern' Banham

I love this question, Stephen! In Bootcamp we have three buddies — a Role Buddy, Culture Buddy, and Lead Buddy. They’ve all been so welcoming and supportive during my first few weeks. They keep an eye on my progress and are quick to point out when I’ve done a great job. My Role Buddy, Ross, has spent a lot of time looking back on some of the emails I’ve sent and has given me some awesome feedback! They’re always around when I need them too 😊

Is it easy to communicate with 3 different buddies when everyone is in different timezones? — Alexandre

Awesome question. Right now, it’s pretty good. My Culture Buddy, Dave, is based in London so he’s always around if I need anything. Ross is based on the east coast of the US so he’s not too far behind. Carolyn, my Leader Buddy, is based in San Francisco (I think) and we sync up every 2 weeks for a chat, which is usually easy enough to schedule 😊

Buffer — Side Projects

So here’s a question that’s been on my mind for a while: Bearing in mind the large volume of the Buffer team who have side projects, businesses or work in teams on other projects, how do you find balance between growing your business whilst focusing on the hard nature of the bootcamp and the major life shift that comes with living “the buffer way”?Stephen’Bern’ Banham

Ooh! That’s a good one. Personally, I think the balance between Buffer and my side projects are looking good. This could be due to the fact the my business was only starting up when I applied for Bootcamp, and things aren’t really in full swing just yet. Luckily, I’ve got some close friends in the industry who have been able to help out if the workload gets too heavy, but that hasn’t really happened so far 😊

Regarding your side projects and business, do you feel you have to scale down or keep them contained to be part of Buffer or is being with Buffer totally compatible with scaling your own business? I love the idea of that type of freedom, feels like the future of work, true collaboration! 😊 Would love to know more about it and also, how does it feel to work at the future of work? 😊 — Diogo Neves

I think it’s definitely scalable, but I’ve made the conscious choice of not actively growing the business while in Bootcamp. Life has been a little bit crazy these past few weeks (in a good way), so I’m gonna wait until things settle down a bit and reassess then 😊

Remote working

Have you worked remotely in the past? If so, how would you compare integrating with the Buffer team with your other experiences?Valery Sykes

This would be my first real remote job, I guess. I did work as a freelancer for a few years but not as part of a team.

I noticed that some of the Buffer Bootcamp-related blog posts mention their specific daily schedule and it often includes 5am wake-ups. I’m curious, how much of your time is set during the Buffer Bootcamp and how much do you set yourself to get the work done (eg. if you prefer to get up early or work late etc)?Kat Loughrey

Great question, Kat. For my first week, I had 7am starts but now I tend to start at about 8am and finish up at about 6pm-ish.

Being remote, I guess communication is more than essential (quality not quantity). Touching on the “taking stock” of achievements, how does the team share or “to improve” notes with each other? Mostly text or voice calls? And if text, how do you avoid ambiguity in the emotion state of the person giving the feedback, especially if you haven’t yet met in person?Diogo Neves

Another good one! For the Happiness team, we sync up daily to check in with each other. We’re also quick to drop a comment in Slack if we come across an email that warrants feedback. When dealing with text, we try to be as descriptive and use as many words as possible to get our point across clearly. It seems to work out well so far 😊

I guess you trust the other person is obviously trying to help in a good mood 😊 Thanks! — Diogo Neves

Yeah, exactly. We always try to choose positivity, no matter the situation. Anything said between the team is always meant as encouragement and something to reflect on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an example of someone being negatively critical throughout my Bootcamp. I don’t think it happens here 😊

How do you communicate smiles [with your] teammates during the day, remotely? I’ve been working remotely for 4 years now and this is the hardest thing (especially if the person actually doesn’t smile much, being remote can make it worse sometimes). I mean the casual smiles, of just talking about random things and smiling just for seeing your face 😊 — Diogo Neves

That’s a tough one. I think that I’ve been a little too eager to get to know everyone in the beginning so I’ve spent a lot of time syncing with different teammates to find out more about them. We have our daily syncs within our teams and we also get paired with another Bufferoo each week, and those pairs will sync every day to get to know each other a little better. I’ve found this to be really wonderful.

We also keep active in Slack and in the team’s Facebook group so we’re always in touch with each other and know how everyone is doing! The GIF parties in Slack are so amazing too. We usually have these when we welcome a new bootcamper or someone joins the team full time 😊

Personal Growth

You’ve spoken about ‘imposter syndrome’ before. Have you managed to overcome it now you’re a part of Buffer? And have you any tips for others who might struggle with it?Matt Aunger

Great one! 😊 I think the imposter syndrome is a little better. It does still creep up from time to time, even though I’m here at Buffer. I try to keep reminding myself of the fact that I got through a pretty extensive application process. The team would have figured it out early if I claimed to be something I’m not. In general, I try to take stock of some of my more recent achievements, no matter how big or small. That usually gets me through these feelings of not quite being good enough 😊

Since you began [your Buffer Journey], did you find things which change in your life? For example, [do you have] more time to spend with your girlfriend, friends, etc. or on the contrary, less time? (I was thinking of this article) — Alexandre

Thanks for this one! This is something I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately. My girlfriend and I only see each other at weekends, so that hasn’t changed too much. I did work from her house for the first time yesterday which was awesome! 😊

I have been a little bit less accessible during the week in regards to texting during the day but that hasn’t been a big issue. I find the the days are flying by quickly and I can’t seem to fit everything in to one day. One of the big things I’m hoping to change is finding the time for more exercise. When things get really busy, that seems to be the first thing to go out the window, when it should be the one constant. It’s just so hard to force myself to step away when I’m being productive but I’ve been getting better at it as time goes by 😊

Thank you so much for sharing all that with us, Mick!! I’m sure you gave many of us a great perspective into the Buffer Bootcamp and your experiences! Thank you! 😊

Thank you all who have joined us and asked questions too! 😊


(There were many great side conversations during the Live Chat too, which are hard to include here. Be sure to check them out in #ama 😊)


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Alfred Lua

Written by

Growth Editor @buffer | Triathlete

Buffer Community

Stories about, by, and for the Buffer Community!

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