In mid-July, we had learned with astonishment that Laura Howe Kimball was leaving HTC Elevate and the HTC Company for others projects. A few months after his departure from HTC, Laura is pleased to come back for MisterHTC on her experience at HTC and more specifically on his job as Community Manager at HTC Elevate.
For reading the French version of this interview click here.
Florian of MisterHTC : Can you introduce yourself for those who doesn’t know you ?
Laura Howe Kimball : My name is Laura Howe (Kimball) (@lamiki). I managed the HTC Elevate community from September 2012 until July 2016. For those who don’t know, HTC Elevate is a private community for HTC’s most passionate fans and advocates around the world.
F : What are yours main mission ?
L.K. : This is a tough one! When it comes to work and what I do for a living, my mission is to be the voice between the consumer and the company — help the company and brand I work for understand their most passionate users better and help the fans be heard by the company they love so much.
F : Can you describe me a typical day ?
L.K. : When I was at HTC I was based in Seattle, Washington, USA and managed a global community. Global, which means that at any given time, someone from the community was awake. By the time I started work, it was the end of the day for Asia, the end of the work day for Europe, and the start of the day for folks in America.
My typical workday would start by checking messages — both email and on Twitter — to see what happened overnight. The morning was usually packed with ‘catching up’ to see what conversations happened in the community and fires that needed to be put out from my colleagues based in other offices around the world. The afternoon was when the community was « quiet » and I could get actual work done (hah!). Which meant planning programs and discussions for the community and collaborating with colleagues.
F : What is your better and worst memory which you will keep of this work?
L.K. : My favorite memory is — and always will be — meeting the Elevaters in person. Whether that was at product launch events or the famous Elevate meet-ups (#htcmeetup). The reason why I’m a community manager is cause of the community. And getting out from behind the computer to meet community members in person was my favorite part of the job (and it made all the stress worth it!).
My worst memory — oh dear 🙂 It was probably when I first started in the fall of 2012 and was working on the HTC Full Frontal campaign to promote the Windows Phone 8X by HTC which was the first smartphone with an ultra-wide angle front-facing camera. This was a campaign designed to build interest in the phone prior to it coming out in the market for sale. The coolest part was we were able to get a large number of phones to seed with Elevate members to help demonstrate the product benefits.
The challenge, though, were the devices we were given were preview devices with non-final hardware and software…needless to say, I spent A TON of time learning how to flash Windows Phones during this time…and then figured out how to ship them around the world (all around Europe and Asia from the US). It was a headache in logistics cause I had never flashed phones nor dealt with customs and import duties…oh, man, that was rough!! However, once all the phones arrived in the safe hands of the Elevaters, they took some amazing full frontal photos 🙂
F: Finally, a more general question : how did you manage leaks on new product ?
L.K. : Leaks always happen. And it’s SO FRUSTRATING because the entire company works hard on new products and has plans on how we want to release it based on our knowledge of the product and what we hear from our customers and consumers. When leaks happen, it hurts the company financially.
If i encountered a leak, I would forward that data and information to the proper internal security teams for investigation.
F : Can you give us a little clue on your futur work ?
Note : This question was asked in July, when Laura Kimball announced that she leave HTC.
L.K. : Well, now you know 🙂
In September 2016 I joined Philip Morris International as Manager, Communities Development for our Reduced Risk Products based in Lausanne, Switzerland. What are Reduced Risk Products (RRPS)? .
It’s a new role on a new team, working with a pretty exciting product that’s bringing technology to the tobacco industry, creating a less harmful product.
Thank you very much Laura for giving me this interview. I wish you continued success at Phillips Morris International.
PS: Now that you are in Europe, we are waiting for you in Paris for why not a last meet-up informal 😉