Lauren is a full-time content strategist and part-time seamstress in Austin, TX. She believes knowing how things work “under the hood” is the best way to approach a problem creatively. That’s why, in addition to her work as a content strategist at PayPal, she puts her sewing skills to use in a blog called Rosie Wednesday where she creates practical tutorials on replicating vintage fashions. Before PayPal, Lauren worked at a multinational high-tech B2B, where she experimented with putting mental models in context to make content strategy more accessible to business managers.
Follow Lauren’s adventures in untangling content strategy on Twitter @merrymoler.
When I was a kid, my dad told me I had to ask him at least one question every day. At first, I remember asking silly questions, the kind of “but why?” thing that little kids usually do just to be annoying. But the more I asked, the more I saw that I could learn wonderful things from asking questions. My dad had a wealth of knowledge about the oddest topics, and sometimes I would hear the most wonderful and oddest stories from these queries.
I distinctly remember asking why Ivory soap floated in the bath tub one day in the car when I was maybe 8 or 9. I heard about the “accidental mixup” that was so long the story of how Ivory soap was created. I heard about the “It floats!” slogan and first learned of some of the mechanics of advertising. I heard about my dad as a kid in the 1950s, asking his mom to buy bar after bar because he would use it like a battleship in the bathtub, creating imaginary scenarios until it withered away to nothing. It was magical.
10 years later, I went to school at The University of Texas, one of the largest colleges in the country. I had classes with hundreds of students. It never occurred to me not to raise my hand and ask a question if I didn’t understand something or if I just wanted to know more. I was shocked to discover that it was unique, especially for women. Didn’t they know what happened when you asked questions? (That’s a special kind of question called a rhetorical one, which produces moods more than answers.)
And now I am a content strategist. My job is to ask questions, to guide others to the best thing for our content. My desire to do this is rooted in the same place that my dad cultivated when I was a kid. If I ask a question, and I keep asking questions, I can get to the really good story. The one I want to hear, the one I know is magic.
Don’t be afraid to ask a question. Even in a big room. Even with lots of important people around. Remember there’s a story on the other side.
And thanks, Papa.