Working Geek: TUNE’s marketing VP Jennifer Wong moonlights as a UW instructor

TUNE VP of Marketing Jennifer Wong.

During her four years at TUNE, Jennifer Wong has risen from a member of the startup’s three-person market team to the top marketing executive managing a team of 26.

In her leadership role, she oversees the mobile marketing company’s branding, public relations, and events.

“My focus is expanding TUNE’s global marketing presence and supporting our team of passionate and fearless marketers,” she said.

In her spare time, Wong teaches a marketing class at the University of Washington. She shared her tips for keeping it all in balance and why she doesn’t believe in “unplugging” for this installment of Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for her answers to our questionnaire.

Current Location: “Belltown.”

Computer types: “MacBook Air.”

Mobile devices: “iPhone 7.”

Favorite apps, cloud services, and software tools: “My favorite app is Spotify. Music is the best compliment to every activity: waking up in the mornings, walking to work, waiting at the airport, working out at the gym, celebrating team wins, or bouncing back from a bad day. I have my go-to songs that instantly put me in a good mood and ones that psych me up before giving a presentation. I’m also guilty of listening to songs on repeat, day after day. It’s kind of like a form of meditation.

For work, G Suite for collaboration. Slack for communication.

There are so many other great services I use every day. This last year I’ve been on a personal mission to ‘Connect All the Things.’ WeMo switches, Philips Hue lights, Nest thermometer, Nest cam, Sonos. All these services and devices are connected through my Echo and iPhone.

I also really love ‘quantified self’ services to measure and optimize my lifestyle. Apple Health app, Sleep Better, Weight Gurus, Clue, Runkeeper, Calm.”

Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “In Seattle, we just added another new office space for TUNE in The Belltown Collective. Sales, Marketing, and R&D all sit in together in this new building.

We have an open layout, with lounges and stand up areas throughout the space for impromptu conversations and conference meetings. My desk is right in the middle of the marketing team but you probably have a 15 percent chance of finding me there because I’m often in working meetings, at one of our nine global TUNE offices, or attending our industry events. When I need a long block of uninterrupted work time, I’ll sit at a coffee shop or on my comfy couch in front of the fireplace at home.

My desk goes from completely bare to overflowing with swag samples, design mock-ups, resumes, industry magazines, and other marketing ideas. Because I’m not at my desk often, I don’t even have a monitor set up. I work and travel pretty light. I work from my iPhone or 11” MacBook Air and airplay onto one of our wall monitors if I need a larger visual.”

Wong’s desk at TUNE.

Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “I always make time for things that are important to me. It’s all about prioritization. It’s so easy to get distracted by seemingly urgent requests that collect into a never ending to-do list and ongoing disappointment when you miss deadlines or never get to that work.

My schedule doesn’t have defined hours for only work or only play. I block out time for things that are important — gym, meetings, quiet work, dinner with friends, coffee catch ups, travel — and stay disciplined and focus [on] those moments.”

Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “LinkedIn is my top social network for business. It’s the best for keeping up to date with trending industry news and my connections. When I travel, I check to see which of my connections are in the cities I’m visiting and make time to reach out and meet with them when I’m in town.”

Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? “Zero! I recently went through a huge weekend project of organizing and answering all my unanswered emails. I had over 2,000 unread emails and over 1,500 email drafts sitting in my email.”

Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? “Forty-six — a mix of conversations with the team, one-on-one syncs, interviews, coffee meetings with marketers, peers, mentors, mentees, events and personal errands. I have appointments scheduled from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.”

How do you run meetings? “I try not to run too many meetings. I lead about six all-hands marketing team meetings a month. I start by restating why we are meeting and go through a pre-defined agenda. When I’m invited to meetings I want to understand my role and if I really need to be there. I try to give ownership and authority to my team to meet, make decisions and keep me informed if needed.

I do love scheduling in meetings to make time for creative idea sharing. The best ideas are never from an email thread. It’s always from a conversation. When an idea starts to build, everyone in the meeting (in person or via video dial in) feels the excitement and energy.”

Wong at TUNE’s annual “Geeks in the Woods” offsite meeting for product and engineering teams.

Everyday work uniform? “Dressed up denim.”

How do you make time for family? “My family lives in Seattle so I get to see them pretty often. They are also tech savvy so we follow each other and keep up to date with day-to-day life across Snapchat, Instagram, and WeChat.”

Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “I’m an ‘always on’ type of person. Unplugging and going off the grid actually stresses me out. I love to be connected to the world, family, friends.

As a stress reliever, I always love a good Netflix/HBO/Hulu binge. It’s easy to zone out and just get consumed in a good story. Even though I’m from Seattle, I still love discovering the city and run into a new corner every day. There are so many new restaurants, parks, mountain tops, and coffee shops to check out. I find a lot of joy and calm in exploring.”

What are you listening to? “It really depends on my mood but Spotify Top 100 is my typical go-to playlist.”

Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “I catch a lot of headlines across Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. Snapchat is starting to become my daily feed for real time news moments and as more brands are investing in the platform as a content channel.

Marketing and Tech: GeekWire, AdExchanger, VentureBeat, The Information, Medium.

Personal favorites and guilty pleasure: Refinery29, CNBC, Tastemade, Vice, Giphy.”

Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “I read a lot of business and marketing books. Right now I’m reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink and Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher.

Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? “During the week, I sleep early to get an early start to the day. Most days my first meeting is at 7:30 a.m. I’m not a morning person so on the weekends I let myself sleep in. I can sleep pretty well which is a gift when traveling. I get to teleport, falling asleep in one city, waking up in another.”

Where do you get your best ideas? “A lot of ideas are inspired by conversations with people, looking at data, or reading great books.

I find a lot of creative and design inspiration from traveling to new cities. I’ve recently been taking more photos when experiencing new spaces, cultures, and ways of life to reference memories and feelings.”

Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “I had a bucket list moment early this year. I met and played tennis with Richard Branson on Necker Island. I love his outlook on work and life. Buy an island and have your work meetings come to you? Win-win.”