When does Batman sleep? – Part 2

This has been a long time coming…

A few months ago I posted Part One to discuss this question and its relation to the ‘always on’ generation that we seem to live in today. If like many others who find themselves working in this field, you are expected to be on call at every hour of the day…

Well no, let’s stop right there. Is it actually expected?

Or is it the case that you simply feel obliged?
You assume that that the expectation in there, when in fact it isn’t.

See?

I have written at length about the importance of humanity being at the heart of everything you do. The onus being placed on the term ‘being human‘ throughout my work is on purpose people.
The question asked above is not about the duality of Batman’s psyche, moreover about his pig-headedness about asking for help and his lack of self-forgiveness when he gets it wrong.

He is after all only human.
As are we all.

When things got tough the Bat brought in Robin and then soon after that, the Justice League. His skills, unique and awesome on their own, work considerably better when placed into a team of similar, like minded people (sharing an equal goal).

The point is, that developer guy that I mentioned?
He who I quoted way back when:

Sometimes, I find myself stuck in front of the laptop at like 10pm on a Sunday night. The kids are in bed, the wife isn’t far behind and there I am answering customer care questions over Twitter with some guy in Geneva! This isn’t my day job. I’m a developer. My question to you is Sir; when does Batman sleep?

This man, he cared about his company’s brand and (online) reputation so much that he took it upon himself to make things better on his own.

Much like the Caped Crusader, he fixed it himself, working solo and acting independently from his own company’s PR team and, just as Batman did with the Gotham City Police Department (GPD), both sides became infuriated.

However, it is written than the Dark Knight works best when he works with his friend and ‘colleague’, Commissioner Gordon, coordinating strategies that incorporate traditional routes & methods (like the GPD) as well as the new found tools of our erstwhile hero.

More things get done.

When I first started in this job, within weeks I was at loggerheads with the Director of Communications. Our very own Jim Gordon if you will. He wanted to vet every single message and blog post that was to be written and sent out. A stand up argument ensued which ended with me simply saying:

Invent a box of words…
Put in everything I can use and take out everything I can’t.


Then leave the box with me.

It took some time, but we got there in the end.
There are laws and rules as well as traditional ways of enforcing or adhering to them.

However, these days there are ways to play, push up against and generally find new parameters to work within these rules.
Call it operating under the radar if you will.

Batman doesn’t kill.
Something which he is continually pushed on.
He doesn’t go looking for trouble (at least not in the traditional sense of the word), but instead works within rules.
First those he sets himself, then later within those set by others.

It is at this point where our super hero can pause, his allies know his work and can defend it in his absence.
Yes that’s right, his absence.

I started this post with the intention of highlighting the often over-looked ideal of humanity on both sides of the coin.

Corporations can be human but so can consumers.

Yes, it’s great to be on call 24hrs a day, seven days a week, but your customers are not robots. If you don’t get back to them on a Sunday night, they’ll understand.

It’s all well and good being human, but never forget everyone else is too.

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6 thoughts on “When does Batman sleep? – Part 2”

  1. Couple of things that occurred to me as i was reading this;

    – Robin as the young apprentice (From the point of view of the apprentice – they never seems to get to do anything cool or glamourous, but (and this is one reason that apprenticeships were invented) they are right there watching the Master/journeyman practice their craft, and seeing how things *should* be done in many different situations, so that once let loose on their own they are less likely to make mistakes)

    – the power of the team (Even though the individuals are strong, a group can achieve more)

    – The change from Command&Control style management (I am sure i have read something about this somewhere recently but of course can’t find the link now, but at least these i think are relavent http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000072.html and http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all)

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  2. I agree with Mike above.

    When I was in the military, or working in any position which required constant attention, I was trained to do something the right way, the way the boss liked, because if he were to have to go back and work on something he can trust that it is done the way he would do it.

    You don’t teach someone your shortcuts or “tricks” as long as the end product is done so be it.

    less micromanagement, and thus more relaxing to deal with.

    not to get off topic though, sorry.

    as for getting back to the people, I think tagging things in Twitter #insert tag here
    is a very helpful way of tracking the conversation.

    While I deeply miss what Jaiku could have been for the conversation, i understand what Twitter does for the buzz, and as long as you can follow the tagging, you can pick up where you left off.

    This position also leaves your “Batman” character responsible to inform those that he is representing of what the consumers are saying so that they can relay that back and hopefully adjust the marketing/product accordingly.

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  3. Interesting comment you make about the developer answering customer care questions at 10pm on a Sunday night… I found myself doing something very similar on Twitter just yesterday, for an American guy who had problems with his Orange PAC code delivery. The Feed is a brand blog for Orange, so essentially nothing to do with PAC codes and customer services, but if you care about one part of the brand, you should care about it all. It’s not so much being expected to be on call all the time, but it’s a job well done if you are (more or less, a girl’s gotta sleep).

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