We’re proud to honor @ATandTForLife for our February 2019 Expert of the Month! @ATandTForLife joined our community back in March 2018, and has authored 149 Posts, created 9 Accepted Solutions, and received 40 kudos!
@ATandTForLife has been supporting the forums longer than his registration date suggests, and behind the scenes has helped make this a better community. Internally we all know him, but now’s your chance to learn more about the man, the myth, the legend
1. You’ve worked for AT&T for quite some time! What roles have you held? Which one was your favorite and why?
When I started at AT&T in November 2010 I was first trained to support our small business customers for data only applications. That was back when voice was separately supported. I handled anything from GPRS/UMTS data connections to MMS, Email, AT&T branded apps etc. on all device platforms. Laptop support was handled separately too for air cards and hotspots but soon I was trained to support those as well; this was called “dual skilled”. Blackberry was still very prominent at the time especially for business customers. After a year or so some of our group piloted a Blackberry only segmentation. I remember that unless the customer indicated they could perform the required troubleshooting to resolve the issue the agent was required to stay on the call. This sometimes led to 1 hour plus long calls installing Blackberry Desktop Software, backing up, wiping then transferring data to the same or new devices. You really had to get creative to fill the time with conversations!
Later that year Business Data Support merged with our voice team Technical Support Desk where we supported all products and services for our small business customers. I had been with the company a few years and soon began to explore the many growth opportunities including mentoring a new hire class, supporting other teams in a supervisor role and joined our PEER committee helping identify and improve policy barriers and trending issues.
In 2014 I made a huge leap to management and got hired as one of the very first Social Media Managers in my location. Being part of the Social Media team was my favorite role. This was a great opportunity to show off many of the skills I had learned in other roles and to learn tons of new ones as things were changing very rapidly and we could have a huge impact on what Social Media would look like in the end. I also had the opportunity to manage a small group supporting our Mobility forums from time to time when backup support was needed. After 2 years developing a cost effective scalable platform Social Media moved out of state so I joined back up with Tech Support Desk now titled Advanced Technical Support. Advanced Technical support was now segmented voice and data and in my location we supported iOS. At that time we also handled international billing and troubleshooting.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though. Our headcount was slowly diminishing and the centers scorecard consistently in the bottom few. We were constantly under new leadership and it was unclear what would happen next. In 2017 it was decided that our location would become the first digital center of excellence supporting DIRECTV NOW. We are growing again and there is a real positive attitude around the center. I joined our DIRECTV NOW loyalty group in Oct 2018 and have a fantastic team with amazing leadership. I am excited and ready to take on this new chapter in my career!
2. Having worked with various products over the years, which ones do you use the most?
Most certainly I use my knowledge of the smartphone products the most. Even though, I must admit, I tend to ignore my phone most of the day one of my wife’s biggest pet peeves! People in my family are always asking for help with their devices and looking to get new phones so I help them manage that to the best of my ability. I’m really amazed at how far the technology has come. I barely had a smartphone before getting hired at AT&T. My first smartphone was a Palm Pre on the Sprint network and I got so many strange looks and comments from other people in my new hire class. I just had no idea how limited the device and network was until my first AT&T smartphone. Fast forward almost 8 years and I’m using an 8th generation Galaxy device, smartwatch and GearVR. I run an LTE hotspot for my main home internet with unlimited data and have various tablets floating around the house. I’m super excited to see where the next technological breakthrough happens with communication and entertainment technology!
3. Being an expert in most things technical, if you could give a single piece of tech advice to our Community, what would it be?
When dealing with very complicated technical situations, try to find multiple sources stating the same troubleshooting steps. I’ve always done this with things like device rooting, customer operating systems and building multirotors. Last thing you want to do is make a mistake and brick your device or fry a circuit board. If you are having trouble with something it is very likely someone else has too and someone out there has the answer. Google is your friend so be diligent when searching through the various forums. I almost never have to post a new forum thread asking for help as long as I can find the right keywords to search with.
4. Shhh! It’s a secret. Other than future unannounced projects, what upcoming product or service has you most excited to come to work?
I’m really excited to see AR/VR applications start to gain traction. I imagine smart glasses with Google Maps overlay or doing some shopping and seeing the isles/products change color to match your dietary needs among other things. Also, 5G mobile broadband internet and battery technology breakthroughs that let us keep devices charged for months instead of days. Medical science advances that help reverse the signs of aging thereby allowing those with enough funds to live for hundreds of years through gene therapy. I think this is all possible in my lifetime and I can’t wait! Start saving your money!
5. Since AT&T is the best company to work for (we’re blatantly biased that way), who would be the second-best company in your opinion and why?
Definitely Google! I’m fascinated with Elon Musk and Google, Space Ex, tesla etc. Google also purchased robotics and AI companies and just has a ton of money. I’m ready for the singularity! I can imagine robots of different shapes and sizes taking care of everything from labor to critical thinking. No one will have to work anymore and there is a universal income so there is no poverty. We can get all philosophical about things and live forever!
6. When you’re not spending time at work or in the Community, what do you like to do?
I watch a lot of movies and walk or ride my bike. I also spend lots of time with the wife and kids. Recently I’ve been purchasing parts so I could build a multirotor for first person view racing. It has been an exciting journey to come this far starting with no knowledge at all. I am learning so much every day. My quad is still on the bench needing a few more parts but should be airborne very soon!
7. For newer employees just starting out their AT&T journey either at work or in the Community, what wisdom can you share?
Stay positive and be a role model for others. Build your brand, volunteer, venture out of your comfort zone. Even if you don’t plan on being in a manager role others will appreciate your positive attitude and contributions. If you feel you don’t enjoy your work, talk to someone you trust and if AT&T is not the right place for you find something else that makes you happy.
8. Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or 1 horse-sized duck?
One horse sized duck is just terrifying! 100 duck sized horses would be cute. I’d almost feel bad kicking and punching them and swinging my baseball bat. I imagine that would be like kicking a small dog like a Yorkshire terrier. How cruel. They had no chance!
9. What’s your favorite movie trilogy (that’s not Back to the Future because that’s everyone’s favorite) or cinematic universe?
Matrix was a great movie and subsequent films. So surreal and unnerving. Could we be living in a simulation? Ask Elon Musk! He believes there is a high probability we do not live in “base” reality.
10. If you could change anything in 2019, what would you change?
How far do my powers reach? I mean, if I could change ANY one thing in 2019 I would protect all knowledge going back to the forming of the earth from being destroyed. Then we would know who built the pyramids. Was there a lost civilization of Atlantis? Are the stories in the bible true or metaphors? Anyone heard of the library of Alexandria that burned due to arson? What’s up with Göbekli Tepe? I wish I had all the answers.. 2nd choice answer would be to protect our future by stopping all nuclear weapon development and vanishing all stockpiles. If something was to stop us from achieving longevity as a race it would be nuclear war. I don’t want anything stopping me from the chance to visit another planet.
Thank you to @ATandTForLife for being an incredible Community Member and Employee! You go above and beyond daily for our customers, and we’re glad to have you as part of the team!