Feb. 19, 2021

#16: Moby Howeidy - Internal Communications Specialist at Slack


My guest for this episode is Moby Howeidy. Moby is an internal communication specialist at Slack and one of my many amazing mentors. He shares how he used his passion for writing and journalism to grow in his career, how he fell into tech. We also do a deep dive on what it means to figure out what you really want to pursue in terms of your life and career, especially if you are about to enter the workforce for the first time ever.

Show Notes

Introduction [0:00]

What Got Him Interested in Journalism and Writing [04:42] 

How Did He Get Over The Negative Stigma Against Liberal Arts Majors [10:29] 

The Support from His Parents and the Difference That It Made [14:55] 

What Led Him to Slack [17:35] 

His Role as an Internal Communication Specialist [24:38] 

How He Handles Writing Messages that Might Not Sit Well with Employees [31:15] 

Other Roles He Would Consider in and Outside of Tech Industry [35:31] 

How He Figured Out This Was What He Wanted to Do [39:56] 

Will He Leave Slack to Pursue Other Companies, New Experiences, or Entrepreneurship? [49:22] 

His Major If He Were to Re-Enroll in College [55:19] 

If He Were New to the Bay Area With $15,000 to Start His Life, Where Would He Spend it? [56:00] 

Will He Ever Learn to Code? Why or Why Not? [57:15] 

Key Takeaways

  • Getting a different perspective of what it is like to be a non-technical person in the tech industry is also helpful. – Kimmiko James
  • So, for a long time, I actually wanted to be an Aeronautics Engineer. However, Math was a subject that I always really struggled with in school. Overtime, I realized that writing came very natural to me as a skill. I think the interest in journalism started to really come towards the end of high school. When it came time for college, my mom suggested that I should go for the writing side of journalism.
  • “My mom wanted to make sure I was doing something that had a hard concrete skill, that was marketable to any kind of jobs in some way…”
  • It really helped that my mom was so supportive of my interest in my strong suits. She saw that I had a skill in it, she saw the positive reinforcement I got from my teachers in high school, specifically around the writing classes.
  • “Just being generally successful and happy in what I was doing was the thing that ultimately helped make that easier and push me towards following my heart as far as what suited me best. And it worked out…”
  • “It's just that stigma of people always in your ear about sticking with engineering is the right choice. It's the safe choice, but also, my happiness should be the better choice…” - Kimmiko James.
  • “For my parents, it was just more important that, well, if our son is showing an interest and a drive to finish school, and give it a good effort, we don't want to make the experience any harder than it has to be, by forcing him to do a major, he just doesn't want to do because, they experienced that from their own parents.”
  • After school, I ended up getting an opportunity at a PR agency called Sutherland Gold Group. I worked there for two years, but I realized that PR probably is not for me.
  • When I was looking for new jobs, and new opportunities, a recruiter from Slack reached out to me through LinkedIn message that they were looking for an associate level internal comms person to join their team. I lucked out and got the job, and that was my path into Slack.
  • What led me to be able to land that job, was a combination of a couple things. I had worked in a lot of other start-up environments. In combination with that PR work, and then a lot of the journalism I did, I had been building other skills as well.
  • I work within the team in Slack that acts as a liaison between our employee base and our executive stakeholders.
  • “Essentially, my work boils down to a lot of message crafting and writing, which kind of goes back to my experience as well, one in journalism school, and then two as a PR person…”
  • Everybody has the basic ability to write, but there's a difference between someone who does that on the side of their normal job, and someone whose sole job is to think about how is this messaging going to be interpreted, how's it going to land, and making sure that we're packaging this and sharing this in a way that is helpful to the employee base.
  • The highest value of internal communications, in my view, is that it is a really good way to maintain transparency within a company.
  • If we have to communicate something to the employee base that is uncomfortable, we just have to really make sure not making it any more confusing or upsetting that it has to be.
  • The approach is making sure that the messaging you are crafting, and the set of communications are just accurate and as honest as possible, as far as like what's going on.
  • “Whether it's venture capital, the companies themselves, the products that are being developed, even as someone that's not technical, I still get a lot of value out of just reading about people's ideas around this stuff…”
  • I think this job really suits a lot of my skill set very well. The kind of work I want to be doing, I do not really see myself mixing it up and changing anytime soon.
  • “For a while, I did have an interest in doing some sort of project slash product management.”
  • You don't need to be the super technical person to be a project manager; you just need certain real-life skills that you can apply to the job.
  • The way I figured out what I wanted to do was just through a lot of trial and error.
  • While I'm in school, I started to see kind of like the quality of life that a lot of folks had in tech. They looked like people who have a lot of time to enjoy what they do as far as the careers, but also have the space to develop as people.
  • Being here at Slack, it is leveraging all the skills I learned in school like journalism, interpersonal and writing skills, as well as critical thinking, ideation and strategizing.
  • The biggest advice that I would give to anyone trying to figure this out for themselves, whether they are in college, or figuring out what to do, is to have an open mind and try to think of the ways that it might not be a direct connection to the thing you want to do.
  • “Be open, take opportunities, as you see them, try to see the benefits of them if it is even if it doesn't totally align with the thing, you see yourself doing in three to five years...”
  • “I certainly see myself moving on at some point should something come along that piques my interest and gives me a lot of good energy like, okay, there's something really new to tackle and overcome here and really test myself.”
  • “I think, to own a business, you have to really be committed to the idea that it all falls on you. There are not a lot of people you can really lean on, especially in the early goings.”
  • I don't have the background of being an engineer, so, the things that I would have ideas around, have almost nothing to do with building an app or a technical product. Any business I would start, would have something to do with my creative pursuits and I can do that in my free time.
  • I think it is important to let people work in the capacity that works best for making their life as well rounded as possible.
  • If I were to re-enroll in college, I still would have majored in writing and journalism, I would not change a thing about my path.
  • I would choose to invest on myself, outside of professional life.
  • “My focus is just being as good of a person as I can be, as much as possible.”
  • “I might learn how to code very slightly just to learn QMK, and that's it. That is the extent of it. It's just again to enrich the hobby that I've discovered that I love.”

Where to Find Moby Howeidy

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/moby-howeidy-121903101/

Instagram: rug___ https://www.instagram.com/rug___/

Transcript

Note: Black Enterprise Network transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and human transcription. They may contain errors, although we do our best to avoid them. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting a transcript in print. Questions? Errors found in a transcript? Email us! 

Kimmiko James  0:00  
In this episode of the podcast, I'm joined by Moby an internal communication specialist at slack and one of my many amazing mentors. He shares how he used his passion for writing and journalism to grow in his career, how he fell into tech. And we also do a deep dive on what it means to figure out what you really want to pursue in terms of your life and career, especially if you're about to enter the workforce for the first time ever. Let's get into it. small percentage of black people are currently represented in the tech industry and entrepreneurial spaces. This includes engineers, startup founders, investors, especially those that hold leadership. I want to share your story. Thanks for coming on movie. And just a little background. For anybody listening. Over the summer of 2020. I interned at Slack, if you probably already know I hate talking about it all the time. But that's just how it is. I interned and yeah, things were pretty rough over the summer, especially with Black Lives Matter, and a bunch of crazy stuff with politics. And I feel like the university team and other black employees noticed that within interns that are getting used to the company, even for me, I felt like I was being introduced to the company again, for some reason. So they introduced this cool program, where you have a black mentor, throughout the entire summer, you can meet with them whenever you can talk to them about stuff. And yeah, it's just nice having an extra onboarding, buddy, that's there to advocate for you, aside from your mentor, and your manager.

Moby Howeidy  1:33  
Thanks for having me, Mikko. And yeah, just speaking to that experience of being your mentor over the summer, it was a great one, I got a lot out of it, I grew a lot as just, you know, someone working and kind of going through the early stages of their career, you know, it's not often that you get opportunities to like mentoring that way, especially for me, someone that's like, fairly early in their career. So you know, three years out of school coming up on four, you know, I'm so used to being that person on the team that's being mentored. So it was a really good challenge to have to think about, like, what were the things I kind of wouldn't would have needed to hear coming out of school, and just being in an internship, like the one you were in at slac over the last couple years. So yeah, I'm happy to be here is is really cool. You know, seeing it on LinkedIn, and just kind of seeing the progress he made with this. Oh, thanks for having me.

Kimmiko James  2:18  
Getting a different perspective of what it's like to be a non technical person in the tech industry is also helpful. Because I feel like people just fall into it, you know, whether, I mean, the most common one you'll see is people falling into engineering, but you don't see people fall into design, or writing or communication, stuff like that, you don't really see that. So that's why I want to have you on. And the second reason is because of what you basically just said, You're very early on in your career. And most of the people I've interviewed, they're more so established in their career, or they're like very early on in terms of internships, but I've never really talked to someone that's kind of in that sweet spot of, they're not just starting, but also they're kind of just I just sorry, I didn't phrase that right, no, but

Moby Howeidy  3:08  
I totally understand what you're trying to say. And that's a good way to put it, I'm in that weird, sweet spot of, I'm definitely not an intern, I had another job before I got to slack. It was part of how I got to slack. And I'll explain that a little bit more down the line. But I'm also not very senior, right, I'm in my second role out of school, right, there's still a lot of growth for me there, like a lot of my concerns are still about kind of advancing and growing and learning as much as possible in the role and kind of building my foundation for my career. Right. So it's good, I think, talk to people like that and kind of get a perspective, that's a little different, because it can be intimidating, you know, kind of comparing yourself to folks that, you know, I know, Tia was your manager and your mentor while you were at slack as an intern. And I mean, she's incredible. Like, she's accomplished so much. And she's like a star, as far as just all the stuff she's done. As an example, right. So, you know, for us people that are a little earlier on or like in an internship level, seeing all that is kind of, it's great, you know, it's something to aspire to. But at the same time, it's really nice to be surrounded by folks that are in a kind of their ascent right to really building themselves in their career and kind of getting to a role they want to be like, like a tr, you know, what have you So

Kimmiko James  4:18  
yeah, that's why I appreciate that you were my mentor, and wish that you were around my age in a way. You're only a few years older than me. And I was like, that's very much relatable because I feel like I'm dying at the start of my career. But you also understand that

Moby Howeidy  4:32  
very much, very much so yeah, Natalie, I

Kimmiko James  4:35  
appreciated the reliability of it all. So that aside, let's just get into it.

Moby Howeidy  4:40  
We'll be right. Sounds good.

Kimmiko James  4:42  
I just really wanted to know why you majored in journalism. What got you interested in it? I don't think I've ever met someone that majored in journalism or writing.

Moby Howeidy  4:51  
Oh, wow. Interesting. That's actually a really cool thing to hear. Because I feel like a lot of the people are surrounded by we're all kind of more in the liberal arts and that's probably By result of just kind of the major I did, you know, go into but to explain. Yeah, you know, I, I bounced around a lot when I was a kid as far as like interests, you know, like any other kid like you ask them what they want to be and they like shoot for the moon as far as kind of the things that come up. So for a long time, I actually wanted to be an aeronautics engineer, I loved planes, I loved reading about them, I thought they were the coolest thing ever. And I want my mom to it's really funny talking to her now, she was convinced I was like, gonna become like, an airplane engineer, just by how much I loved it. But when the rubber met the road, it turns out, I really hate math, like I, I hate math, I'm very bad. But it was a subject that I always really struggled with in school, right. And it was something that, you know, over time, I kind of started to just not really be into, but in that I found that just writing was something that was always very, very natural. To me as a skill. I always had the best and stuff that had to do with writing and in school, any sort of essay based assignments, any sort of English classes, I always got, like incredibly good scores in and, and did really well. And without very much effort. Honestly, I didn't even really think about it. I just kind of knew how to do it. It was a it's a very like instinctual thing. But I never gave much thought to what I was gonna do with it. I was just like, well, I like English. So I like that part of school. It's easy. And it's something that my parents won't yell at me for getting like a cn or something. But I think the interest in journalism started to really come kind of towards the end of high school. I had been doing really well in my English classes, I had a lot of teachers really actually take interest in the fact that I was doing so well as a writer and they actually a lot of my teachers from my freshman kind of English teacher all the way through all the teacher hadn't senior year of high school, they were really like, Hey, you have some skill here you should consider like doing something with it. But I, you know, I'm sitting there like, well, what can I do with writing like journalism is one of those things as a kid, you don't really think about too often, if you don't have, you know, people in your life that really harped on like the importance of news. It's always kind of something where it's like, well, you understand it's there. There's newspapers, magazines, but it doesn't really register. But as I started hearing that from my teachers, I started really getting into, weirdly enough skateboarding magazines. But for another reason I grew up skateboarding. And you know, it's something I've always loved to do. I've done it since I was about 11, or 12. But I got into those magazines from the standpoint of the photography, that's also another hobby of mine, but um, and I would read the magazines and you know, love doing that. But it started kind of to click like, oh, people write this, like, there was like, okay, there's someone actually, it's their job to write out the interviews, write out the features in this in this magazine. So that kind of piqued my interest. But again, it was more like, well, if I want to work at any magazine, I'd rather just do the photos. I want to be a photojournalist, right? Why don't we photographer. So fast forward, college is coming up. And I don't know what I'm majoring in. All I know is that I want to do something like communications II, I didn't really want to do English straight up, because I didn't want to just do all literature stuff. So I was thinking like, Oh, I can maybe do communications generally. But then it was like, do I want to do something like that? generalize? Not really. So then I was like, well, maybe photojournalism. And then my mom stepped in was like, Okay, I love the direction. I love how you're trying to hone in on it. You know, instead of photo, how about we do journalism journalism with their writing, because it still brings in that skill you have as a good writer. And you can always take photos on your own that that skill, and that interest doesn't have to just, you know, be thrown away just because you're doing journalism in school. But her thinking was, hey, in her mind, she's, I mean, I was born in Nigeria, and my mom's Nigerian, so she kind of is more traditional in her thinking. She always supported what I did. But it was more just in her mind. She wanted to make sure I was doing something that had a hard concrete skill that was marketable to any kind of jobs in some way. And to her that was that was writing bass, right? That was journalism. So she was saying, You don't even have to become a reporter if you don't want but I think just having the skills that journalism will teach, you can be really good for you. So I met her halfway, I was like, Okay, you know what, I'm not going to do photojournalism as my major. I'll take photos on my own time. And I went with journalism. And that's kind of basically how I got got to it. And then, you know, I did it all through school. And it was a good experience, but I can get more into but that's kind of the background as far as how I got into it, and kind of what inspired it. But yeah, I never really had aspirations of being a journalist as a kid. In college, I wanted to be a music journalist, but it took me until I was like, 18 to kind of get to that point. But as a kid, I just had a natural skill in writing, which kind of led me to that path.

Kimmiko James  9:50  
Yeah, I didn't know you're from Nigeria. That's cool. I know. So many Nigerians. Like I didn't even know they're from Nigeria until they mentioned I was like, I would have never guessed

Moby Howeidy  9:59  
that Yeah, no, it's cool. I mean, I'm super proud of it. It's one of those things where, you know, I think it's a good part of what's kind of made me me. And you know, it's cool because my mom, there's like two sides of her. Like, you'd never know. She's from Nigeria. But like, when you hear her talk to her sisters, like her accent comes out. Like, it's just like, instant and just like, oh, wow, like, yeah, you're really like from this place. And it's amazing. But she's done a really good job of just kind of instilling that that pride I haven't from being from there. So yeah,

Kimmiko James  10:29  
I love that. I also wanted to point out just how supportive your mom was of journalism, which might, journalism and writing, which might have to do with her getting into it, because you brought up something that it is what it is, right now of people just have this weird negative stigma against liberal arts majors of you know, you just say, I'm an English major, or I'm an arts major. And then the first thing that comes to people's mind usually is like, well, what can you do with that? Like, what like, what actually can you do? I've stopped thinking that way, because that's terrible. But a lot of people do think that we still, it's just like, how did you get past that? And I think I kind of touched upon it of your mom just being so supportive of you, instead of just killing, you know, that's a terrible idea major in something realistic, because that's what a lot of parents tell their kids when they want to major in art stuff. But what was it like for you?

Moby Howeidy  11:23  
Yeah, no, I think you really nailed it. It was the support from my mom, you know, she did a really good job of never dismissing my interest, you know, she always was like, Okay, you know what, like, if that's what I wanted to be an engineer, before, I kind of realized math wasn't really for me, and I just really struggle with it. She was like, okay, we're gonna do what we need to do to make this happen. And when I got into photography, you know, as a 1314 year old, she's like, Okay, I'm gonna do what I need to do to support my kids interest in this right? I think I in conversations I've had with her, she explained this, to me, she was like, it's really important, it was really important to me at the time, that I just indicated to you and showed you that, if you have an interest pursue it, right, like, I didn't want to be the kind of parent that just shut down your interesting kind of like your potential to look at the world for what it is as far as like, the limitless possibilities that are on it. And I think that really helped as far as like getting that stigma out of my head. Now, I had friends who, you know, like, made fun of the fact that I wanted to do a liberal art and college. But you know, I think that just kind of comes with the territory, just given how liberal arts are viewed in school, and viewed within the like, job economy. But, you know, it really helped, that my mom was so supportive of like, my interest in just my strong suits, right, she just saw that I had a skill in it, she saw the positive reinforcement I got from my teachers in high school, specifically around the writing classes I did. And, and all the writing assignments I ever did, and stuff like that, to where she was like, okay, there's something here. And this can take him far, as far as the success he'll have in his life. That was more important to her then what I was doing as far as like being a doctor or an engineer, or whatever, right, just being generally successful and happy. And what I was doing was the thing that ultimately helped kind of make that easier and push me towards just following my heart as far as what suited me best. And it worked out. I mean, it, it definitely helped to not have that added layer of pressure of, Oh, I'm doing a major that, you know, it's not going to make me any money. Because I mean, when the rubber hits the road, and like you're in school, you hear it, it's like, oh, you're a journalism major, like good luck. It's kind of it's kind of that feeling of like, so you're, you're signing up for like a life of poverty, you're not going to be poor. And it's like, okay, I still love what I'm doing. I still love the fact that I'm leveraging a skill of mine. But there's already enough of that in the world. So having my mom's support definitely helped push me through, you know, continuing with a liberal arts major and stuff like that. And also just my natural skill, right? It would have felt unnatural to force myself to try to go do engineering classes when it just never was an interest. Once I grew out of like wanting to be an airplane engineer that I had, you know what I mean? Like it would have felt unnatural. I probably wouldn't have finished college. Honestly, if I tried to be like a math major or a Chem major, because that's just not me. I always had more creative hobbies. I always took more to liberal arts stuff in school, so it was just a good fit.

Kimmiko James  14:26  
I appreciate that. mobi. I'm also more of the creative type. Yeah, it's good. Yeah, math is. Oh, no, it just doesn't mesh with my brain too. Well, I mean, I hated it. High School. I hated it. In college. I just finished it in college. But yeah, I feel like I'm more of a creative too. It's just that stigma of people always in your ear about sticking with engineering is the right choice. It's the safe choice, but also, my happiness should be the better choice.

Moby Howeidy  14:56  
And I'll talk a little bit on too to answer the question because I'm in thinking about it, there's also kind of another factor that led to it. My parents like my, my mom finished college late. So she had me when she was pretty young. And obviously, you have a baby your life that comes about that kid and raising it. So she sacrificed, you know, finishing school, she had me when she was in college back in Nigeria, so she had to leave school and raised me and then she moved to the states. So she went back to school at the same time I went to college. So we actually have a very interesting kind of parallel story. As far as like our education's, we actually graduated within, I want to say like, like three weeks of each other, so she actually ended up going back to Cal, and getting in there. So she went to community college in Berkeley, and then transferred to Cal, got straight A's the whole time, like, absolutely crushed it, it was to the point where like, I actually ended up doing better in school, because it was like, there's no way I'm gonna have my mom beating me in school. Like I cared enough to be like, I'm not gonna have my mom saying, like, Oh, I got straight A's, and I'm sitting here getting like, C. So like, that's not happening.

Kimmiko James  15:57  
That,

Moby Howeidy  15:58  
but my dad, he didn't finish college. So he, you know, I mean, he raised me well, and like we were had a comfortable life, you know, like being middle class, but my parents knew the importance of, Hey, you know, what, we didn't really have the most traditional background with school, you know what I mean? Like, I, my mom didn't finish when she was in her early 20s, my dad didn't finish it all. And so for them, it was just more important that, well, if our son showing an interest and a drive to finish school, and really like give it a good effort, like we don't want to make the experience any harder than it has to be, by forcing him to do a major, he just doesn't want to do because, you know, they kind of experienced that from their own parents. And I think that was largely in part and for my mom, other things, but for my dad, particularly, he just experienced a situation with his dad, where his dad was pushing him down a road where they just felt like, he was being asked to do things in school that he didn't want to do and pursue a career and a life that he didn't want. And that's what largely, he explained to me, it kind of drove him away from school, among other things. So I think for them, it was just kind of like, Alright, well, we have a son here that wants to do this in a certain way. And it's something that we can get behind because he has a skill on this. Let's support that. And I think that's ultimately what led to my success in school overall to

Kimmiko James  17:14  
very supportive family. Not everybody has that. Like literally, to have that person I interviewed before. Her mom was mad that she wanted to do computer science over being a doctor. I'm like, Oh, yeah, better.

Unknown Speaker  17:29  
That's hard.

Moby Howeidy  17:30  
I know, I'm extremely fortunate with my family. So I'm just thankful.

Kimmiko James  17:35  
But yeah, I wanted to know, what led you to slack? I mean, I know, but other people don't know.

Moby Howeidy  17:44  
So I've had the slack is kind of an interesting one. Again, like you mentioned earlier on, I, I'm not a technical person, right, I work technically, in a human resources part of slack, right, you know, keep internal communications tends to kind of shift around as far as the business unit it sits in. So sometimes it can be in communications as a whole and as a unified whole, where it's your the other half of external communications, marketing, or PR, sometimes it sits in the marketing department. It just kind of depends. Right now, technically, I said in HR, but the way I got to slack was, so after I graduated school in 2017, as you do as you're graduating, you're just scrambling to figure out okay, what's, what's next? Do I move home? Do I get an internship, can I swing it and get a full time job right out of school, I had no job prospects lined up. And that entire semester, leading up to graduation, I just was kind of on a, on a mission to like, make sure I had a job after school, I just really wanted that satisfaction. And, you know, I didn't have anything lined up. I didn't have any even internships really. But I remember that whole semester, just like trying for anything to land. And so I kind of came to the conclusion of like, Okay, this summer, I'm going to look in as many opportunities as possible. So I was like, I'm gonna get look into PR, internships, marketing and journalism, and just see what hits first. Long story short, I ended up getting an opportunity at a PR agency called Sutherland Gold Group. And they're a PR agency that works with smaller and kind of mid sized startups in Silicon Valley, doing kind of media outreach for them. So a lot of that job was me basically analyzing the news, monitoring the news within the tech world, and reaching out to reporters to cover clients that the agency was servicing at the time. And so I worked that job for close to two years, you know, started there as an intern and got promoted to an account executive or an associate account, executive. And I was working there, and I kind of reached my limit. I kind of figured out that hey, PR probably isn't for me. It's a very if you know anything about it. It's something that's very it's an intense industry. You're dealing with people in reporters that are working on very tight deadlines. They don't have time for nonsense, they have to write a certain quota story, sometimes daily, often. And, you know, I experienced a lot of people's, let's just say, bad sides doing the job, and reaching out to them with stories that they didn't care about, you know. And that really kind of took a toll along with just the general stress of the amount of work that comes with being in PR and working at an agency specifically. So I was looking for new jobs, looking for new opportunities, and a recruiter from slack zinzi, Blackbeard reached out to me, right as I was looking for new jobs, and it was through LinkedIn message, and I thought it was a joke. I didn't believe it. I literally, it's like, oh, there's there must be like a mistake. I don't really know. But I was like, Oh, this is great. I'll see where it goes. And lo and behold, she was really looking for an associate level internal comms person to join that team. And I was like, this is like, shocking, okay. So obviously, then I jumped full, like, full head of steam into like the interview process. And, you know, lucked out and got the job. And that was my path into slack. It was kind of nontraditional. I remember, you know, this is something I've said often, but if there was any tech company I would work for it would have been Slack, just, you know, based on how much I liked the product, I'd use it in college, when I was a reporter on the newspaper and an editor on our school magazine. So I always had an interest in it, I use it at several other jobs. But yeah, that was kind of my path into it. As far as the things that I think contributed to it, and like led me to like being able to like land that job, I think it's kind of a combination of a couple things, I had worked in an other a lot of other startup environments. And so I kind of had a sense of what it was like, and I put that on my resume. And then also, in combination with that PR work. And then a lot of the journalism I did, I had been building skills to be able to, like, take advantage of when a recruiter from a slack for this role came calling. And I think that's something that, you know, I now in reflecting can realize, okay, like, I was positioned to be able to do something like this, at the time, just given that I was, you know, unhappy with my working situation. And then I was really just a fan of what slack was doing. I just was like, I didn't even really put stock into like, being able to get the job, honestly. But I was like, I'm gonna take the interview, and my thinking was, okay, I'm going to get on their radar and like, not get this job. But hopefully for another job down the line. They remember me and they have like, my resume on file or something. But that didn't come to me. So here we are. And yeah, I would say, that's kind of how I how I got here.

Kimmiko James  22:40  
That's an interesting way of thinking, I never heard anybody say that. Like, you know what, I might not get this one. But they'll think about me next.

Moby Howeidy  22:49  
Yeah, well, you know, at the time, when you're just, you know, again, it was like I was my first I was coming out of my first job in school, it was the most stressful thing I'd ever done. Like next to it. Like, I mean, journalism, school is stressful, but you know, working your first job full time and having to pay rent on your own and living on your own, there's just a different kind of stress that comes with that. And it was all culminating at once. And I just remember thinking, like, Alright, you know, a job like this at a company like this with this much potential, right, because I understood the kind of stuff that came with that, right, it was just before we were going public, and that wasn't even public information yet. And I remember like, that was one of the first things that popped into my mind is like, oh, like, there's a lot of work, like rumors were swirling around that, you know, slack could go public soon. And so my mindset or going to, like, if I got hired, and then like, went public, within the next year, like, that'd be incredible, as far as, like an opportunity. And like, lo and behold, that like that came true. I was thinking in those terms, because it's just like, you know, a job like, that just feels so like out of reach. Which is, you know, I, I hope like more people, especially people of color, and people in the black community can like not thinking those ways. But it's very easy to when, you know, it feels like opportunities like this are fewer and farther between for folks in our community. So like, that's kind of where that all that's coming from, right? It's just like, well, I want to position myself to be on their radar and take advantage of an opportunity. And you're not even thinking, at least for me, and this is mostly probably a personal thing. But at the time, you're just not thinking about what if you just get the job outright. It's just like, well, there's has to be like a ton of people going for it and like people from like, Cal and Stanford that have like crazy, better credentials than me and like x ray, or whatever, you know, whatever the criteria is, but yeah, it's a weird way to thinking I'm glad you pointed it out, because it's a way that no one should think.

Kimmiko James  24:38  
Easier said than done. But could you just, you know, just briefly describe what your role is, as an internal communication specialist. What is your day to day generally look like? You could talk about pre COVID times or during COVID times whichever one you want, or both, I don't know. Sure. What is your day to day look like? Yeah, I'll

Moby Howeidy  24:58  
try to describe this best like So what I do on the team is essentially, I work within the team in slack that acts as a liaison between our employee base and our executive stakeholders. So we're kind of that midpoint. And a lot of what we're doing is kind of crafting and strategizing around the messaging that goes out to the employees. And so a lot of that work literally entails just like writing a lot of like the weekly posts that go out, a lot of like the announcement messaging that goes out. And so one of my job's is for an example, is to write this week in Slack, which is our weekly newsletter, company newsletter that goes out in our announcements, global channel. And essentially, that's just like a weekly digest of all the goings on within the company that you know, employees ought to be aware of. And it can, you know, range from a wide range of things. So, company milestones call to action, as far as like, things that employees need to do as far as any sort of actions they need to take, well, whether it's like, you know, tax stuff, or company stuff, or like anything like that, and then just kind of giving people a general bead of kind of the direction of the company, and what's top of mind for the company as a whole. And then the second half of our job is a lot of strategy and kind of consulting with particular stakeholders, whether it's individual contributors coming to us, asking us like, Hey, we have some messaging and a set of announcements that needs to go out, can you help us strategize around this? What should we consider kind of what are the things we need to do. And then we also do that same thing for execs. Along with that we work on planning and coordinating a lot of the company meetings. So that includes company wide, all hands, and then our kind of company town halls, which serves as our like, kind of monthly q&a session for employees to take their questions to the exact more directly. So we do a lot of that planning for that we set the agenda for that we do a lot of the preparation of our speakers and our host for those particular meetings. And it's a lot of a rotation of that, that's more in COVID times, I was also doing that, you know, while we were in physically an office, physically in office, a lot of my job was managing a lot of the like, in building kind of communication stuff. So we had a lot of in, I don't know, if you remember, but in the office, we had these monitors that would display like advertisements, essentially for stuff or just kind of slides with like information that was the employees wanted to know, but it was basically just like screens with just kind of like slides of stuff that would go up, I'd also manage those screens, and just kind of make sure if someone has something that they want to display on their floor, I would help them get those up and stuff like that. So yeah, essentially, it just boils down to, you know, a lot of message crafting and writing, which kind of goes back to my experience as well, one in journalism school, and then two as a PR person. And yeah, you know, it's it's a weird thing to describe, because a lot of people don't even know internal comms exists. But once they do know, it's like, oh, yeah, there's, it's important that we have this kind of thing, like, you want to have a pretty good thru line and a team that like, is managing that sort of stuff, right? Because it, it kind of helps you maintain a lot of transparency within the company and make sure you know, what's going on, and so on and so forth. So

Kimmiko James  28:06  
feel free to correct me, but the way I kind of would summarize it is you're kind of the middleman between employees, and executives slash leaders, like a middleman for communication, I guess, of the executives, and company leaders have a message for employees, but you're there to kind of like translate it better for the employees to understand, I don't know if I'm reading that right. And vice versa of like taking employees opinions and posts, and then you come in a translate that for the exact slash leaders is that that's kind of the way I'm reading it.

Moby Howeidy  28:46  
Yeah, I know, you're spot on. That's basically what we do. And we also offer that to people that, you know, need help with just like message crafting, right? Because if you think about it, you know, of course, everybody has the basic ability to write and, and, you know, put together an announcement and put it in channel. But there's a difference between, you know, someone that does that on the side of their normal job, if they're an engineer, if they're a recruiter, and then someone who, you know, their sole job is to think about how is this messaging one going to be interpreted to how's it going to land in three? Are we making sure we're packaging this and sharing this in a way that is helpful to the employee base, right, I think a lot of our job, the way I like to think about it is the highest value of internal communications, in my view, in my experience of it so far, and this could change over time as I get more experienced and get more senior roles and so on and so forth. But my best kind of description of it is like, it's a really good way to maintain transparency within a company. So if you have a really good internal comms team that's really aligned, that you know, is really skillful at what they do. You're going to have a situation and you're going to have an environment to work in that people feel really good to come to work because they know their company is is going to do everything they can to keep them informed about the inner workings and what's going on, right? There's never going to be a moment where you feel just totally disconnected. And just like, you can't explain what's going on within your company, because there's not a team there to really disseminate and kind of break that information down for you and what the execs are trying to say to you, right. And it's also really nice, because we can kind of relay feedback we get from the employee basis from, you know, our co workers and the friendships we've made back to the exact day, okay, we're kind of getting a beat on like something that landed kind of funny or like, you know, there's a lot of people that didn't really understand a section of the all hands that you had here, Stewart, like, you probably want to reiterate that in a follow up post and global. So it's a really good way to kind of keep the exact finger on the pulse of what's going on with like the broader employee base. That's kind of the occupy the space we occupy as well.

Kimmiko James  30:54  
And that's very much appreciated, because there's probably loads of companies at this point that just care less about what their employees think as long as they're getting work done. And, yeah, but this might be kind of a controversial question. So feel free to project it, if you

Unknown Speaker  31:12  
don't want it

Moby Howeidy  31:13  
know, you're all good.

Kimmiko James  31:15  
But this is something I like kind of thought about on the spot, because I feel like there has to have been at least certain points where execs want you to write a message that might not sit well with employees, and it might not sit well with you. So I guess if you've ever been in that spot, you don't have to say what specifically it was, if you've ever been in that spot, how does someone handle that?

Moby Howeidy  31:39  
Now, I'm totally happy to answer that. Okay. And you hit it on the head. I mean, it happens, look, there's times where, you know, our execs, our stakeholders reach out to us and say, Okay, this is what's going on, we need you to communicate to this company. And oftentimes we'll look at it, there can be times like, you know, I won't specify but those, there's times where it's like, okay, as a team, we look at it, it's really nice, also, just as an offshoot to have a team as good as I do is because I can really, you know, lean and leverage that expertise that they have, right. And there's plenty of times where we've gotten kind of directions and kind of like requests and ask of our exact stakeholders to be like, hey, you need to communicate something that's pretty uncomfortable, or just kind of generally hard, right? That might not be received, well, kind of no matter how well, you, you word it, and you, you know, strategize around how you're going to share that information with the employees. So it kind of just becomes Well, okay, like, if it's something that is kind of hard news, or if it's something about maybe like layoffs or something like that one, usually our director is handling that, Amanda, she's great. Love her. She's awesome. And from what I've talked to her about this, a lot of her thinking is just Well, okay, if this is something that's going to be uncomfortable for the employee base to hear, we just have to really make sure we're kind of dotting our eyes and cross crossing our T's like kind of so to speak, and not making it any more confusing or upsetting that it has to be right. But there's been plenty of times where like, we've had to kind of help them work on messaging or like a, an announcement or to certain communications within the company that either we don't necessarily agree with. Well, we don't have all the context on because there are certain legalities around like what can and can't be said. And yeah, it can be a kind of a tough spot, right?

Kimmiko James  33:29  
Hey, guys, Pardon the Interruption, but I just wanted to take a minute to talk about the new black enterprise network podcast website. If you've ever been curious about what a guest looks like, or what their social media links are, then we have detailed guest profiles for each episode. And there's also detailed show notes with time markers in case you wanted to find a specific point or piece of advice without listening to the entire episode. There's also readable episode transcriptions. And also the website allows you to easily sing questions and feedback, if you want to get in contact with me, just know that the website will be updated on a weekly basis. So if you don't see something done already, then it will be done soon. Check it out at Black enterprise network.fm.

Moby Howeidy  34:10  
Because in a lot of senses, it's not always the exact posting the messages within our channels. Sometimes it does, sometimes we are like the face of this message going out. And then all of a sudden, you could have you know, 1015 people, we shouldn't have to be like, hey, like what's going on here? This feels kind of off. And you just kind of have to do your best to be like, hey, this as much as we know, of course, we're going to update you as soon as we can. But yeah, that's just the approach, right is just making sure that the messaging you're crafting and that kind of that those set of communications are just accurate and as honest as possible, as far as like what's going on, right. But yeah, it's hard. It's one of those things where it just kind of comes with the territory of the job. You have to like work your way to navigate around it in those situations often, if we've figured out a better way to get that information out or better. forum for it, we will obviously like throw that up to the executive be like, hey, this might not be a good place, like in announcement school but uh, writing a post, maybe if we have, you know, Stuart speaking this to this and an all hands Our Town Hall, this could land better because people feel more of that connection seeing him actually say it rather than just having it be like a kind of, you know his avatar just posting it in channel, right. So that's where our kind of expertise and value lies. It's just kind of mitigating like, Hey, this is where this could go and kind of land the best.

Kimmiko James  35:31  
Thanks for bringing that down a bit more. Because Yeah, I was just like, it's got to be hard if you don't agree, which was with what's being communicated or should be communicated? Would you ever consider exploring another role in the tech industry? If not, what other roles? Are you interested in trying if outside the tech industry?

Moby Howeidy  35:51  
Yeah. You know, maybe I definitely still do want to work in the tech industry. I like it a lot. I think it's great. I think it's, there should be more people of color and black folks in tech, I fully back that. So. And also just interesting, right? There's just my background as being a journalism major is really, I think, well suited to it just from the standpoint of, I just like reading a lot by like, you know, learning new information, I'm kind of a sponge that way, I just, you know, really tasted like learning about new stuff as much as possible. And like, within the industry, I mean, you can read about, I mean, edit anything endlessly, right? Whether it's, you know, venture capital, the companies themselves, the products that are being developed, even as someone that's not technical, I still get a lot of value out of just reading about people's ideas around this stuff, and kind of the company's cropping up and just kind of how innovations going just generally within Silicon Valley. So I think I definitely want to stay in tech as far as like, different roles to doing it. I don't I don't know. I mean, because, frankly, I don't even know internal comms existed before I did it. Which is kind of cool that I'm in a role now that I literally couldn't even conceive three years ago. But I like it so much. And I think it really suits a lot of my skill sets very well. And just kind of the kind of work I want to be doing that I don't really see myself, like mixing it up and changing anytime soon. For a while, I did have an interest in doing some sort of like project slash product management. But again, I'm not very technical, but it just seems like a kind of cool thing. And if I could learn how to do it in a way that like, maybe seemed like, I could kind of come along and do it. I would try that. So potentially that but nothing in like the foreseeable future or immediate future. So

Kimmiko James  37:29  
Okay, thanks. For your honesty, I am also trying out product management, the technical part does come in handy. Like they really do like that. You have to talk you have to talk to the engineers.

Moby Howeidy  37:40  
Yeah, you really have to know your way around that stuff. But it just from the standpoint of like the function of the job, it's a really cool kind of, in it, it feels similar to internal comms, just in the sense that it's like a middleman type of role. And it's one of those roles that feels like when at least I might be getting this wrong. But when it works really well, it's kind of one of those things like you don't really notice, it's just kind of like a good product manager seems like the kind of person that's like a total linchpin to a project that may not always get like the the credit they deserve, just because they might not be the most like hands on technical person at the time for the given thing that they're working on.

Kimmiko James  38:18  
Yeah, we a few episodes back episode number three, I guess that's not a few. But Adam Thomas, very experienced Product Manager, he kind of really just laid laid out his honesty, in terms of you don't really need to know, SQL, SQL, SQL, SQL, whatever. Like a database, programming language or whatever, you don't need to be the super technical person, you just need certain real life skills that you can apply to the job. But unfortunately, which I hope it changes soon, like how engineering changed, in which it was just a super high status thing. But now, it's just like, if you know, the right people, and you've made a few projects, you can be an engineer just like that. But with product management, it's just become this really high status, kind of role in which you need to kind of go to the right school, you actually do need to know the right people, you might need them Ba, you have to have all these different weird qualifications that you might not even need in the job. And unfortunately, I hate saying this, but that's the saying, but that's just how it is right now. And they just seem so competitive. For some reason, like for internships, there's maybe one to five roles available versus like 60, engineering intern spots. That in itself is very difficult and full time. Like I said, Even worse, because they I don't know what it is, but they really like the MBA.

Moby Howeidy  39:41  
Yeah, it makes sense. I mean, hey, it's a high qualification and it's an indication of just I think, generally you're just you know, your intelligence one and two, you're just document very simply,

Kimmiko James  39:51  
these questions scare people. So hey,

Moby Howeidy  39:54  
bring it on. Bring it on.

Kimmiko James  39:56  
Yeah. So I feel like we We've all been at that point in their lives, especially young people in college from start to finish probably even after To be honest, where, where we just don't know what we really want to do. So my question for you is, how did you figure out that this was what you wanted to do?

Moby Howeidy  40:17  
Yeah. So I think you bring up a really good point. And I think it's something that's really hard for a lot of folks coming out of school or in school, right? Just the way this stuff works. I mean, you spend so much time in school, you know, just trying to figure yourself out even just as a person, right? So add that with how am I going to make money and function as a functioning, contributing member to society, and it's hard. You know, in school, I was convinced I was going to be a music writer, like, that's what I thought I was going to do in majoring in journalism and getting that skill under my belt. It's like, Well, my interest was, I love music, I love movies, and just pop culture in general. And so my thing was like, Well, of course, I want to write about the thing I feel like I know, most naturally, which is, you know, music, pop culture, stuff like that. And so working in tech wasn't even really on my radar for like the first three years of college or even in the funny thing is, I worked at other startups, right. But I just worked in ways it was just like, you know, it was part time jobs just to make it through school, right? It never dawned on me like I as a career, I could work in this field, because in my mind, there just wasn't. I mean, this is kind of weird to even think about now, because it's just obviously, there's so much overlap, but at the time, someone with a liberal arts degree, and that in journalism, just even with like, the amount of great like, you know, written content that comes a lot out of a lot of startups and like their marketing departments, and, you know, a lot of blogs that come up around the tech industry, it just didn't seem like a realistic kind of thing. It's just like, well, all those writers are former engineers, or their product managers, or they just have a certain expertise that that lends itself to being able to write with authority on those, those blogs, at a TechCrunch, so on and so forth. So, you know, the way I kind of figured out what I wanted to do was just through a lot of trial and error, right. And, luckily, being in the environment of working in startups into more just kind of regular day job, like, just trying to make some side money. While I'm in school, I started to see kind of like the quality of life that a lot of folks had in tech. And to be honest, there's like, oh, wow, this looks great. And this looks like people have a lot of time do they, you know, enjoy what they do as far as the careers but also like, have the space to just kind of develop as people, right? That the security that an industry as lucrative if we're being honest, as tech provides is really big, you know what I mean? It gives you a lot of room to kind of just self actualize, if you want to get into that. And that was something that really kind of stood out to me. And so my mind started getting more open to okay. I could be open to like a working situation in industry, that was interesting enough to me that I'd want to learn and actively be learning in. It just had to be the right one. So after working a few more jobs in tech, I was like, okay, like, what if I could find something that leverage those writing skills? I was learning, right? Like, is there are there like content roles in these companies and like, as I started doing more research is like, oh, there are. So that kind of opened my mind to like, okay, I would love to work in this industry on a content side, or just a communication space, something, it just was kind of figuring out where that was. And it took time, and it took a lot of effort. But that was ultimately how I kind of decided what I wanted to do. And like, you know, I didn't know at the time, I wanted to do internal communications for slack. Because again, like I told you, I didn't even know it existed. But in being here, it's leveraging all the skills I learned in school as far as interpersonal skills in, you know, learning from journalism, and the writing skills, and just kind of that critical thinking and ideation and strategizing, and all that sort of stuff. It's applying itself now. And it's always comes up in my job day to day, but it just in a way I never thought and I, you know, am lucky to have found that I've taken to so well. But yeah, I think it's one of those things where it's a lot of trial and error. It's a lot of just kind of being open opportunities. I was very happy that you know that I didn't just shut down the idea of doing internships at tech companies and fields that I wasn't going to work in like a big contributing factor to why I think I'm even working at slack. And just in the tech industry, in general is I actually did a sales internship, kind of as like an SDR like type intern. And I, you know, I didn't really have a particular interest in sales, but I think being in that internship one, it gave me a lot of connections that are pretty important to me this day. Actually, one of the recommendations, I got to get my job at slack came from my manager at that at the internship and the job I'd done there, he was really impressed by how I did and just appreciated the work I did even though I didn't express it, you know, a big interest in working in sales at the time and now but, you know, I think being open and not shutting down those opportunities, because I think there's another world where I could have just been like, well, I don't I don't want to work in sales. That's not Really my focus, but I was glad I was able to at least have some foresight or just, you know, not be so turned off by the idea of working in a sales internship to at least just understand the environment of, you know, tech companies and startups and kind of be learning the language around it and understanding kind of the things that are important to know about this industry that you can apply to future roles you're looking for. And you can kind of fall back on as far as like, Hey, this is the experience I have, it's not quite in the thing that I'm going for right now. But it's indicating to like, whoever future employees you're going to wanting to work for, hey, like, I understand the environment, I'm not totally green to this. So it was just a lot of trial and error. It's just a lot of just, you know, being open opportunities and, and hoping it worked out and not being so rigid in the fact that I had to be a music writer once I got out of school. So

Kimmiko James  45:50  
I feel like that advice is very, it's very underrated. I feel like people just stay, especially when you're in a young role. And engineering, especially, you stay in the same role. Because you feel like you have to, I guess you feel like you have to lock yourself in this engineering box, or this sales box or whatever. And I was kind of doing that to myself to have I know, I like writing and reading. And I love being creative. But I don't see how I can really do that in tech. But I think just keeping an open mind and trying out part time internships hopefully paid. I mean, if you want to do on paid, you can't I don't do that. But part time internships and biz ops or marketing, or I don't know anything non technical, it really just opens your mind a little bit more as to what's out there, I guess, of Oh, maybe I don't like this as much as I thought I did. I like this a little bit more. And then from there comes more exploring and trying stuff out, like you said, trial and error, and eventually land in the spot where you're meant to be in. So very good advice. Well, we,

Moby Howeidy  46:56  
yeah, no, and he touched on it. I think, if I were to kind of sum it all up, the biggest advice that I would give to anyone kind of trying to figure this out for themselves, especially that's in college, or just, you know, on that path right now of like, hey, like, I want to figure out what I want to do, I don't have any idea. There's some things that I'm dabbling in, I'm going to school for this subject, whatever the case may be, I would just say, just have an open mind and kind of try to think of the ways that it might not be a direct connection to the thing you want to do. But think about the value, you can get out of certain opportunities and experiences as they come your way, right. And I go back to that sales internship, right? I knew I wasn't a salesperson, I didn't like the idea of selling as a career. It just wasn't something that suited me in that in that way. But the thing that I counted on was like, Okay, I think there's a lot of good skills that apply to what I'm doing in school as far as like interpersonal connection, and just being able to talk to people. And also just the environment, I wanted to get a better sense of what it was like to work in a more maybe like blue collar like white collar kind of environment within a startup because the other startups I worked at, I was doing stuff that was more akin to like, being like an associate at a store, basically just helping people with like orders or just kind of customer service stuff, right. But not really, in the sense of kind of more behind the scenes, like closer to the I guess if you could say the product of it, right, not in terms of building it, but just being on that side of like, well, understanding the bigger picture of a company and what they're doing, and that environment and kind of those meetings and all that is really valuable. And I knew I lacked that I knew like if I was coming out of school, I wouldn't have anything to offer there. Because even though I had worked in startups, it was still in the capacity that I was closer to like working as a sales associate in a way that was more like customer service II and just one to one, like, you'd go to like a Nike or an apple store to like buy a product. So I wanted to get more of that office environment, that that kind of experience where you had a little bit more expectations around what you were doing, and just so on and so forth. So I kind of honed in on like, I'm going to do this, because of that to get that experience, even though it's like me, not doing content, stuff on the marketing side, so on and so forth. So I just say, be open, take opportunities, as you see them, try to see the benefits of them if it is even if it doesn't totally align with the thing you see yourself doing in, you know, three to five years.

Kimmiko James  49:22  
When I meet and speak with people that have been in this industry for a while both technical and non technical. They usually tell me this, and I feel like I spent too much time at this company. Not enough time exploring other roles or entrepreneurship or just following my dreams, but I stayed in this safe job. So do you think you'll ever leave slack to pursue other companies new experiences, maybe even entrepreneurship? Maybe something else? Yeah, I

Moby Howeidy  49:50  
mean, you know, I say this as someone that's like super happy in their role like I love being at slack. I think it's great. It's been one of the like the total like highlights of my life as well. One of the most positive things that's happened to me. But yeah, I mean, just given how you know careers work, I certainly see myself moving on at some point should something come along that kind of piques my interest and, you know, gives me a lot of good energy as far as like, okay, there's something really new to tackle and overcome here and really kind of test myself, right. I think, you know, from what I've heard from mentors of mine, I think we all get to a point where it's like, okay, you know, very clearly what you're doing, you have a very strong sense of how your job works within your company, you're performing well. And it's really easy to get pretty complacent, right. And I think as people who are want to always push themselves to want to challenge themselves who want to grow as much as they can, I think that's something that always creeps into your mind, like, Hey, I just want to make sure like, if I'm at a place, I'm not staying there, because I'm complacent and just happy with like the stability. Me particularly as a person, you know, I don't really have an interest in entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship. You know, I don't like the idea of owning my own business. And that's just me personally, or starting my own company. And that just mostly has to do with my background, my dad owns his own company, he always worked for himself. And it's something that I really respect. And I think he, you know, did a great job providing for our family and raising us, it's something that's really hard, and it takes a certain kind of person. And I think, to own a business, you have to really be committed to the idea that like, it all falls on you. And there's not a lot of people you can really lean on, especially in the early goings of that. And so the only way I could see myself doing that is if it's something I really believed in and feel like I could do, but, you know, for my goals, personally, as a person, I'm at a stage in my life right now, or, and this could obviously change, but I'm at a stage where I'm much more into just personal, like actualization as far as just like, wanting to be as well rounded as a person as possible, you know, so making sure I'm happy in the career I'm doing, making sure I'm kind of being the person I want to be in growth, growing and developing emotionally and like, personally, in the ways I want to. And just being an entrepreneur doesn't really align with that, for me, personally, you know, the things I care about is just like, well, I just want to be happy in the role I'm doing at the company, I'm at believe in what they're doing believe in the product they're making, be performing and growing in my role and constantly learning and obviously advancing, but yeah, you know, aside from that, I want to have the time in the in the headspace to be able to focus on myself as a person and just build myself as a person. And I don't think being an entrepreneur really aligns with that for me right now. That's just kind of the person I am. But yeah, I can certainly see myself like leaving slack at some point, should another opportunity come along, or really interesting company. So yeah, you know, always open to that, and always something that is on the horizon, especially for someone that just wants to be evolving as much as possible.

Kimmiko James  52:52  
Yeah, I definitely appreciate your honesty with that, because I feel with the tech industry comes, I mean, I feel like there's a lot of pressure, and it just depends on who you are, and how you can get past that pressure. But I feel like there is quite a bit of pressure to also start something. Like for me, I feel like I don't know why I feel like I should start something, but I feel like I should. But other times, I'm like, I really don't feel like it. I just, I just want to live my life to the best of my abilities and just get by doing something I care about good startup life, it seems very glamorous, as I'm sure you've seen. But if you if it's not for you, it's just not for you. So

Moby Howeidy  53:30  
yeah, you know, and I think, you know, yeah, and I think you touched on it, I think this is a good conversation to have. Because, you know, there's a lot of times where I mean, we see it, right? It's the culture of tech, it's the culture of Silicon Valley, right? Like, are you starting something? Are you do you know, someone that has an idea? Are you pitching to VCs? Like, that's also things swirling around, right? And so as a person in it, you feel like, Oh, am I not doing enough? Like, should I have like 10 ideas in my head, like, in my back pocket, ready to pitch to a VC when I see them, like at a, at a coffee shop, like in the mission or something like there's a lot there where it's like, there's a lot of pressure. But I think my role, particularly as a non technical person really helps that right. I don't have the background of being an engineer, you know, the things that I even would have ideas around, have almost nothing to do with building an app or a technical product, right? Like I have a background as a writer and a photographer and doing creative pursuits like that. So any business I would start regardless would be that and for the time being, it's like, Well, those are things I can do on my free time. Those are things I can do just to kind of sustain myself as a person. And I really am empowered by that. I feel really good knowing that like, you know, if there's some side hustle that I want to do, I can do that. And I don't have to make that my everything right now. I can just do it for the fulfillment of it. So I think that's something that really helps that feeling too, but I totally understand where it's like, oh, should I be starting something I don't know, like your other friends that are very technical, that are just kind of always building because that's the nature of being, you know, an engineer. on the technical side, right, you just hear it constantly. So it's an important conversation. I think it's important to say like, not everyone has to feel that way. Not everyone has to go that path. They could. But you know, I think it's just important to, like, let people work in the capacity that works best for making their life as well rounded as possible.

Kimmiko James  55:19  
Lightning rounds. If you aren't familiar, they take like maybe, I don't know. 60 3060 seconds to answer maybe like, Max, two minutes. 120. Sounds good. I don't know why I'm totaling it like that. But so your first one is, imagine you're enrolling in college for the first time ever again, knowing what you already know now and about tech in general, what would you major in?

Moby Howeidy  55:42  
Wow, still journalism? Yeah, I still would have majored in writing and journalism, I wouldn't change a thing about my path. Because I think it really kind of anchors this perspective I have now and it really helps me do my job well, and just give me a good perspective about the industry as a whole.

Kimmiko James  55:57  
Second one, you're new to the Bay Area with $5,000 to start your life in Korea. I know it's not much I know. It's not much Don't look at me that way. Just assume it's just assume it's a good starting? Well, let's let's raise it to, I don't know, $15,000. Okay, what are the first things you're going to going to spend with that money? Of course, assuming that housing prices are decent, because they're really not that that good? So? Yeah.

Moby Howeidy  56:25  
Okay, new to the Bay Area? 15k? Um, yeah, I don't know. I mean, again, I don't really have aspirations of entrepreneurship or anything like that. So, you know, I'm at a point where I just feel like I'm trying to just better myself as a person. So I just kind of invest in my hobbies. You know, I'm big into photography, I recently got into building mechanical keyboards, and if you know anything about that, they're very expensive, and the parts are very hard to get. So I would spend some money on that. And then also just, yeah, just reinvesting myself as a person, like outside of professional, anything, just kind of honing in on that, right. You know, you touched on it. But I think there's a big focus on like, professional growth to the detriment of like your personal growth as a person in tech. And that's my my focus, just being as good of a person as I can be as much as possible.

Kimmiko James  57:15  
So I just spend it on my hobbies. investing in yourself is also very underrated. Please look into doing it. And the last one would be Will you ever learn to code Why or why not? No pressure? You can be honest, I'm just messing with you.

Moby Howeidy  57:30  
Yeah, no. Oh, good. Now, this has come up quite a bit. And weirdly enough, yeah, I can see myself coding but not for the reason you think not professionally or anything like that? Again, tying back to the last question, I recently got into building mechanical keyboards. And there's a firmware called qm K, that requires a bit of coding knowledge and to kind of get certain inputs out of your keyboard and just be able to configure it in the way you want. And so I never thought I'd want to do coding, that's just never been something that's been interesting to me. But I like building keyboards so much that I might need to learn it to get the full effect of building my keyboards, right, because I want to be able to customize it in the way I want to customize it. So stay tuned, I might learn how to code very slightly just to learn q MK stuff. And that's it. And that's kind of the extent of it. It's just again, enrich the hobby that I've discovered that I love.

Kimmiko James  58:19  
I liked just using it for the hobby. I love that just for the hobbies.

Yeah, thanks for coming on movie. appreciate all the advice and sharing your journey into tech. I just wanted to know if people want to keep up with you what you're doing, where can they find you?

Moby Howeidy  58:36  
Yeah, you know, not not big into social media. I have them. You can follow me on my Instagram at run, underscore, underscore, underscore, I just changed my name, actually. It's just my Instagram, you can see some of the photos I put up there. She did a lot of film photography in my free time. So that's really about it. I'm not really big into Twitter and into Facebook. So just an option. Oh, LinkedIn. Yes. You can follow me on LinkedIn too. You can just Google my name mobi howw ad. So MLB why HOWE i d y and find me on LinkedIn happy to connect there. But yeah, I just want to say thank you so much for having me on the podcast. I think this is great. You actually have the honor of giving me my first podcast appearance. I literally never thought I'd be on a podcast and talking about I guess, I the tech industry and professional development in that way. So in that sense, it's really cool. But I think it's really great what you're doing generally. And I see you taking this very far. So just know that and this is great. Thanks for having me.

Kimmiko James  59:35  
Thanks, Moby appreciate the kind words and thanks for coming on again. Join me in the next episode in which I'll be joined by Dr. Stephens, client success manager at Microsoft. See you that. Thank you again for listening to this episode of The Black enterprise network podcast. It would be greatly appreciated if you could leave a review on Apple podcast or any platform that has reviews