Meet the Staff! An Interview with Micki Seibel

Though relatively new to HubPages, Head of Product Micki Seibel has been making big and splendid changes to our site. When chatting in the Forums, Micki is usually fielding questions about design changes and tests, but there is much more to this HubPages staff member (and impressive food Hubber) than new Hub designs! Check out Micki’s answers to Hubber questions to learn more about her background, motivation, and philosophy.

Do you ever feel bad when after a hard job you do not receive the recognition and praise that you deserve from Hubbers? -ngureco

No. In most cases, hearing no feedback is a sign of a job well done because the Hubbers that don’t like something will always say so!

On a more serious note, I do read comments and posts from Hubbers to look for indications that you are happy and to get feedback. For me, I know I’ve done a good job when the data says so…even if the Hubbers don’t. However, if you want to praise me for a job well done, I’ll gladly accept it. 😉

What motivates you to do the things you do for HubPages?

My professional mission in life is to use technology to improve the lives of millions of people. It’s why I came to Silicon Valley in 1996. It’s why I worked for Netscape on the web browser back in the day (bringing the Internet to the masses). It’s why I ran Product Management at eBay in its early days (democratizing the exchange of goods), and why I’ve done the start-up companies that I have. HubPages is a continuation of that mission: using the internet to enable writers to find an audience, and enabling readers to find and engage with what you write (democratizing the exchange of knowledge).

Ryan H. used to bring in his dog. Do you have any office dogs now? -wordscribe43

I can’t thank you enough for asking this question and giving me the chance to show you Kisha-pups. 🙂 Although Norah and Ari sometimes bring their dogs to work, our most regular office dog is Kisha. She’s my 11 year old Belgian Sheepdog/Chow mix. She and I walk to the office (30 minutes one way) 3 or 4 days a week to keep her fit. I adopted her from the Humane Society when she was 5 months old. In fact, here’s a picture of Kisha under my desk at HubPages HQ.

What are your goals for site in the future (one year, five years, etc.)? – Marcy Goodfleisch

Excellent question. The goal at HubPages is to provide a platform for you to write and find an audience. That’s always been our goal and it’s not going to change. What changes from 1 year to 5 years (or even from 5 years ago when we started) is *how* to fulfill that.

The key themes for the next year (and you probably already see these happening on the site):

  • Traffic growth. Search engine optimization is always an ongoing part of that, but also looking at other methods such as social media and mobile optimization.
  • Redesign of the site. This is to better communicate our brand (especially to readers) and to update our site design
  • Content Growth. How to keep you engaged in writing, working on features to make the site easier, and looking at ways to give you inspiration to write content where we are lacking in it.

Are you strictly a 9-5 outfit? Or do you have workaholics that work into the night, holidays and weekends? – Arlene V. Poma

Actually, we are neither. Let me explain.

We don’t have set hours that everyone works. Our company culture is very supportive of letting employees create their own work schedules, and we are allowed to work from home when we need. We’re definitely not a culture of late night workaholics. A lot of people have families, and everyone seems to have interesting extracurricular activities and interests.

It works well for us because…and I really do mean this honestly when I say it…we have a great team that is very good at what they do, passionate about it, and that makes them effective. I’ve worked at several high profile Internet companies over the years, and I definitely think that the team here at HubPages is one of the best with which I’ve ever worked. Everything gets done that needs to get done…and quickly. At the same time, I can still cook dinner, play tennis, and travel: my passions.

Do you read Hubs for enjoyment? – rebekahELLE

Every day. I don’t always get to comment on what I read, but I at least leave a Hub Feedback on good ones. I follow the Food & Cooking, Tennis, Travel & Places, and Dogs Topics, specifically.

Where are HubPages’ growth opportunities? -GinnyLee

These are very related to the question earlier about our 1 year and 5 year goals. There are three inter-related opportunities:

  • Traffic Growth. This is continued work on search engine optimization as well as better integration with social media.
  • Brand and engaging readers. Updating our brand and site design to better engage readers. If they start to remember who we are, they will pick us in search and that help traffic growth. This is why you are seeing the design of the site change: the header, the new slideshow player, the new Hub design testing. Coming later this year are the User Profile and Topics pages.
  • Content Growth. Engaging writers such as yourselves to create more, great content–especially in areas where we are lacking in it. This helps more readers find us, choose HubPages in search, share the content with their networks, and remember to come back to HubPages–all of which supports traffic growth.
  • And traffic growth = audience for your content.

What sports does each one of you like to watch and play? -prettydarkhorse

Tennis. I’ve been an athlete my whole life, but tennis is my primary passion. I’ve been playing since I was 12, played a bit in college, and now play competitive USTA league tennis. I’ve written a couple of Tennis Hubs. I’ve even attended each of the 4 Grand Slams of Tennis (some of them, like the Australian Open, more than once).

Did I mention tennis?

Does HP have any Friday traditions? Things like casual day, big box of donuts next to the coffee machine, group lunch at TGIF, etc. -paradigmsearch

We have several traditions. They aren’t specific to Fridays, though. We always have team lunch on Thursdays. That’s been great because it’s the one day that everyone who works for HubPages is sure to be in the office! We have fresh coffee from Peet’s made every morning. Sometimes we do Wednesday dinners.

Casual day? Ha! That’s every day.

I notice employees on the forums late at night sometimes. Are you “on the clock” for these late hours, or what? -wordscribe43

I’ll let others answer for themselves. For me, I’m on the forums late at night working sometimes for several different reasons:

  • Sometimes it’s because I’m working on something that needs fast turnaround and there’s a lot of feedback coming from Hubbers (for example, the Hub redesigns in Fashion and Technology).
  • Sometimes it’s because I left work early to play tennis. Ok, truth be told, it’s often it’s because I split up my work day and head out early to play tennis then work again after dinner.

9 thoughts on “Meet the Staff! An Interview with Micki Seibel

  1. Micki, I am glad you are on the HubPages team. I appreciate your willingness to communicate with us to keep us informed about changes, and more importantly, also the thought process behind them. That goes a long way in showing that there is thought process behind the changes, and not something that is simply thrown at Hubbers. Kisha is so cute!

  2. Great interview! Love the puppy!!! I’ve learned quite a bit about you and Hubpages! (I wanna work there lol) Although we don’t say it often, we appreciate all that you do, even if we don’t always like it 😀

  3. Great interview. It’s obvious from your past work experiences and the site-wide HubPages changes, that you certainly have the expertise to meet the mission of helping us writers find an audience. I love how the culture at HP headquarters is mutually beneficial to the staff and the company as a whole. I would be willing to bet you are better at your job because you can play tennis midday if you desire and not worry about Kisha at home. I’m looking forward to seeing all the future changes coming our way. I know improving data is your “pat on the back” but I just wanted to add my thanks too.

  4. I think HP must be very happy to have you on their team. Your knowledge, experience and dedication shows in your work and your willingness to listen to the many voices which make up the HP community. I like the sound of the HP company culture. It would certainly be an incentive to be a supportive employee when a company supports it’s employees various lifestyles and needs.
    Love the pic of Kisha. She’s lucky to be able to hang out with you at work! Keep up the great job. I love the new site design.

  5. It’s been great getting to know all 3 of you in the forums over the site changes, and I appreciate your wonderful and supportive comments here as well.

  6. I enjoyed reading this interview with you, Micki. With your impressive background it’s clear you work at HP because you love it. You’ve clearly been very successful with your professional mission in life and that part even made me a little misty-eyed. (I love seeing people live their missions with passion.)

    I haven’t been here very long but personally I’m grateful for the excellence of opportunities at HubPages. I’ve been so busy tweaking my profile, reading and commenting and getting my first several Hubs published, I didn’t really have time to think about that. Reading your interview made me feel it. Grateful.

    It’s obvious even without reading the blog that HP has put together a fine team. This puts another face on it for me.

    (Speaking of faces . . . Kisha is adorable!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s