Staff Hubbing Spaces!

We may be HubPages employees, but we have preferred Hubbing spaces as well! Here’s a peek at where some actively Hubbing HubPages staff members like to write their Hubs:

Jason’s Hubbing Space

Jason Menayan’s Hubbing space overlooks a beautiful hillside- isn’t that nice?

Mark’s Hubbing Space

Mark Painter occasionally engages with the HubPages community and writes Hubs from his desk, and in a particularly artistic manner, decided to give us a view of his Hubbing space from his laptop’s perspective.

George’s Hubbing Space

George Edmondson also does some occasional Hubbing from his desk at HubPages Headquarters, which he keeps relatively unadorned:

… Though note the easy access to coffee, one of the most precious commodities in our office! As you can see, this is the real seat of power.

Now that you’ve seen where we do our work, we’d like to see some more of your own Hubbing Spaces! Feel free to email them to simone.smith (at) or share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Fawntia Fowler

Fawntia Fowler has been an engineer with HubPages for over three years and has made features such as the Map Capsule, HubNuggets, Hub of the Day, the signed-in homepage, new Hub designs, and the Apprenticeship Program possible. Aren’t you curious to know more about the woman behind these fantastic aspects of our site and community? You should be- Fawntia is a really cool and interesting person (who also happens to have the world’s cutest dog). Check out her answers to various Hubbers’ questions below!

Can you tell us more about the Japanese themed public school you attended in Oregon? Do you feel it affected how you approach the learning process? -rebekahELLE

Sure. The school that I went to was started by a group of parents who were unhappy with the regular public schools in the district. The original plan was to have ALL of our classes taught in Japanese (except English class, I suppose!) but it soon became apparent that we didn’t have the resources to make that happen. So, instead, we had a single Japanese class every day and sometimes Japanese culture classes.

Another unusual thing about the school was that every class had blended ages. The school only had about 50-60 students ranging from 4th to 12th grade, so it was commonplace to have kids a few years younger or older in your classes. Sometimes, that meant that students were expected to work independently and only occasionally get help from teachers. That was especially true of our mathematics classes, which many kids hated, but it worked well for me. I suspect that being forced to work through problems on my own gave me the confidence to major in mathematics in college. I wish that I could say that I use the Japanese that I learned, but I don’t really! I’m still glad that I learned it, though. I’m also happy that I got to know several people from Japan. (Some exchange students and teachers lived with my family for a few years.)

Another good thing about the school was that it introduced me to programming when I was pretty young (about 10 years old), and that certainly had an effect on my life. (Programming is my job at HubPages.)

What do you love about your job? What do you hate (or love a whole lot less)? -Marcy Goodfleisch

I love that I get to create things that other people care about. I love that HubPages is flexible about when and where work gets done, as long as it gets done. Sometimes I get sick of being in front of a computer screen all day, but there’s not much that can be done about that!

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

Most people show up at the office between 8 and 10 and leave between 5 and 7, but there’s no set schedule. Sometimes people work from home for all or part of the day, too, so it’s hard to say for sure! Our moderators probably have the craziest schedules.

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 a group lunch on Thursdays, actually. Lately, salads have been very popular, but last week we went out for Dim Sum together.

What’s your favorite thing about San Francisco? -wordscribe43

Either the restaurants, or the fact that you can get almost anywhere without a car.

What’s the best restaurant close to HP headquarters? -wordscribe43

The best restaurants I’ve been to in San Francisco are, sadly, not near our office. The area around where we work is known as SOMA (which stands for South of Market Street). A lot of people work in this neighborhood, but live elsewhere, which means that the restaurants here cater to the lunch crowd far more than the dinner crowd. (It’s amazing how deserted this area gets in the evenings!)

But as for lunch, I think that takeout from Mehfil Indian Restaurant is the best combination of quality and reasonable price. Their lunch menu changes every day, which is nice. I try to bring lunch from home most days, though.

Do you still watch cartoons? What cartoons do you like to watch? -prettydarkhorse

I don’t regularly watch cartoons, but one of my favorite shows is a cartoon. It’s a Nickelodeon show called Avatar: The Last Airbender. Don’t judge it by the movie version, which I heard was terrible! My dog is named after the character Appa in Avatar (who is a flying six-legged sky bison). I’m watching the follow-up show called The Legend of Korra now.

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Simone Smith

Aya Katz was recently interviewed for the HubPages newsletter and suggested that we give a bit of a behind the scenes perspective every now and then by sharing interviews with HubPages staff members. I’ll agree that the folks at HubPages headquarters are a smart, fun, and colorful group, so we’re kicking off a series of staff interviews!

Aya Katz is launching the series by asking me some interview questions. I’ll continue the tradition by interviewing a fellow staff member next week. If you have any questions you would like me to ask specific staff members, send me a message through my profile or tweet @harukosama.

Q&A With Aya Katz and Simone Smith


Aya: Ever since you joined the HubPages team, I’ve been curious about two things. One, why the big bow in your hair? Two: how did “Haruko” become part of your name? What is the provenance of this name? Is it your middle name, your maiden name or a name you gave yourself? What does it mean?

Simone: Over the years, I’ve developed a reputation for wearing (and loving) bows. I have a collection of over 40 hair accessories, most of which incorporate bows, and if I go out without a bow, folks will give me a hard time (or not even recognize me!). One of my favorite bows is a giant black bow which has ended up in various photos and profile images. Whenever I feel irritable or stressed, putting that crazy thing on my head gets me back on track. Silly accessories are a great way to add perspective and humor to one’s life.

Haruko is my middle name- I was born in Japan and my parents thought it would be fun to commemorate the logistical curiosity by giving me a Japanese middle name. Haruko means “spring child.” My parents chose it because they found out they were pregnant just as the cherry blossoms were blooming.

I noticed that you have a book out on Blurb: Trend Photography. Tell me a little about the book, what it’s about, what prompted you to write it, and how you chose to publish it on Blurb, rather than some other site, such as CreateSpace or Lulu.

That book was created as part of a photo book class I took in college. At the time, Blurb was known for having the best paper quality and user experience for people out to make custom-formatted photo books. Creating that book was a deliciously fun experience, and it gives me a much better idea of what Hubbers are going through when they self-publish. It’s a lot of work!

You describe yourself as an extremely driven generalist with a strong desire to learn what makes people tick. How do you approach the task of finding out what makes people tick? How do you avoid being sucked into a specialty? Are there good job prospects for generalists?

I ask a lot of questions and love observing small details- the way people move, react, blink, dress, talk, and react. As much as I would love to have the ability to develop a specialty, it seems to be my curse in life to feel like I can never really “belong” to any one cause, following, person, or group, so while I love to discover new things and people, I always do so from the perspective of a polite visitor looking from the outside in and never hang around long enough to completely fall down the rabbit hole.

There are many good job prospects for generalists, because these types can quickly adapt to new situations and social dynamics. I’ve found that it’s passion, persistence, and a willingness to learn that lands people jobs- not expertise. That is, unless you’re working in a training/education-heavy field!

You mention international travel as one of your interests. How many countries have you visited? How long did you stay? What languages do you speak?

I’ve visited (for longer than three days), China, Japan, Mexico, England, France, Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic, and have spent (collectively) at least a month each in China, Japan, and Mexico across multiple trips. Alas, I only speak a bit of Spanish and enough broken Japanese to be able to travel through the country without any serious trouble. Someday I’d love to learn Japanese properly.

You’ve written some Hubs about the benefits of playing dumb and of not being too attractive. Do these strategies for appearing less competitive in order to get along with others work equally well for men as for women?

Good question! Though women seem to be more likely to leverage those heuristics, men can use them equally well. It’s all a matter of honing in one’s personal style of playing dumb- a style that plays in to the (often inaccurate) judgments placed on oneself by others. Perhaps women are better at doing this because they’re more likely to be misjudged by people who assume they’re less aggressive, weaker, and dumber.

What is it like to work at HubPages? Did the aftermath of panda create a lot of changes? Do you feel that traffic to HubPages is equally strong now as it was before the panda update?

It’s a dream come true! The people here are cool, smart, creative, and passionate about making HubPages the best possible place to write online. It’s fantastic to work with a company whose employees care so much about the product. It’s also great fun to work with people that I genuinely feel happy to see every day. I’m a somewhat reclusive person, so when I began hunting for post-grad jobs I was looking as much for a social set as I was for a steady income and occupation. When I interviewed at HubPages, I knew I was home!

When Panda hit, the office was obviously an intense place as everyone worked extremely hard to figure out how to help the site recover. If anything, my respect for the company and the people working here grew after that traffic kerfuffle because it became perfectly apparent just how dedicated everyone was to remaining true to Hubbers and the site’s integrity.

What one thing would you like people to know about you that you feel most people overlook?

While I love things like skydiving and intentionally getting lost in remote regions of foreign countries, I’m horrified by very mundane things like going to parties and grabbing a meal with friends. If you see me smiling and laughing at a party, keep in mind that I AM SCREAMING IN ABJECT TERROR ON THE INSIDE.

An Interview with HubPages Moderator & Poet Camille Harris

Camille Harris joined the HubPages moderation team earlier this year, and as we were in the process of planning the HubPatron of the Arts contest, we discovered that she enjoys writing poetry. Naturally, we invited her to be the official HubPages staff judge on the poetry panel of the contest. We’re very glad she accepted!

We took some time to chat with Camille about her background, her poetry, and her approach to judging in the HubPatron of the Arts contest. We hope you enjoy this insider peek at one of HubPages newest and coolest team members!

HubPages: You are a relatively new addition to the HubPages team, so for those Hubbers who are not yet familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Camille Harris: I’m an East Coast-West Coast transplant, that is, I was born in Oakland, migrated to Maryland, and moved back to “the Town” in 2007. I’m a psychology junkie and am currently working towards being qualified enough to enter a Ph.D program in Clinical Child Psychology. Oh, and I LOVE tea.

As of this interview, you have written three Hubs on HubPages, one of which is a poem called Indelible. What inspired you to write it?

I was actually looking at a tattoo of mine and thought about my motivations for getting it. The tattoo is a large garden on the inside of my forearm, which is a tribute of sorts to my late cousin. I’ve found that the most meaningful tattoos tend to be the ones that mark a painful time in our lives, and so “Indelible” was born.

Do you write much poetry? What sorts of poetry do you like?

I don’t write as much poetry as I’d like to, but I’d say I write at least one poem a month. I like poetry that makes the reader feel where the author is coming from. I want to be gripped by the words and understand the author’s emotional state.

As a judge on the poetry panel of the HubPatron of the Arts Contest, what will you be looking for in entries?

I’ll be looking for depth in the poems, which can be accomplished in very few words. I want to see that deliberate word usage that really grabs the reader.

What advice could you give to aspiring poets on HubPages?

Don’t worry about rhyming 🙂

[Thanks, Camille!]

For more information about the HubPatron of the Arts Contest, visit the official contest page.