Every year, members of the Technology & Products organization at Salesforce have the opportunity to nominate their peers for a T&P All-Star Award. This award recognizes individuals who exemplify one or more of our company’s core values. We’d like to introduce you to some of these stand-out folks, so today we’re sharing Alex Dimitropoulos’ story!
Preferred name + preferred pronouns
How long have you worked at Salesforce, and how did you land here?
I’ve worked at Salesforce 5.75 years or longer, depending on whether you include my summer internship, which is what brought me to Salesforce! When I was in graduate school for professional writing, a summer internship was required, and for what I’m doing, it ended up being a lot more valuable than I think a thesis or practicum would have been.
Tell us a bit about your role.
This is usually a question that I answer very poorly, which is funny because the core responsibility of my job is explaining things well. I’m a lead technical writer on the Salesforce Content Experience team who works primarily on Salesforce-internal content, including user guides, help topics, presentation decks, instructional videos, and technical or promotional graphics. Basically, I create technical content (documentation) that helps Salesforce employees (usually engineers) accomplish a goal, which might involve joining a new team smoothly, require using an internal tool, or result in them creating their own content.
When engineers, architects, and other technologists within a company find themselves continually answering the same questions from employees, that work often takes them away from their job. When writers in roles like mine do their job well, people who need help get it — when and where they need it — and subject matter experts need to answer critical questions from only one person. After that, the technical content should do the answering for them.
Is there a project you’ve worked on at Salesforce that you’ve particularly enjoyed? Tell us what made it so interesting.
Yes! I’ve enjoyed a lot of the projects that I’ve worked on at Salesforce, but I think that the most enjoyable one for me has been a series of writing tips that I, along with a few other writers, publish to a Salesforce-internal Chatter group called the Doc Style Files. I was one of two writers to kick off the series, and we weren’t sure how well it would be received, mainly for the reason that I enjoy it so much: It presents advice for improving one’s writing style through some, uh, very oblique lenses. For example, I published a tip about keeping “a French garden, not an English one.” It suggested that while deferring a payoff in fiction can make for good art, doing that in documentation results in a different outcome: prolonging discomfort. But in the post, that argument was peppered with references to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Werner Herzog, and Enya. Other posts have referenced the confusing titling of the Dragonheart movies, Fruity Pebbles, the novelization of Space Jam that I own… I realize in answering this question that I’m making the whole thing sound more pretentious than it really is. It’s a goofy series where, as a bonus to learning about writing, we get to learn about each other’s quirks, and the comments below the tips often take our style discussions into exciting new directions — and teach the tips’ authors something new along the way.
How do you get into the zone to do your best, most productive work?
I really enjoy and feel lucky to do the work that I do, so it doesn’t take much! Coffee, sometimes?
What’s a piece of software/hardware you couldn’t live without at work?
I’m not saying this because I’ve been asked to. (I haven’t.) Chatter is probably the most essential tool that I use at Salesforce; it just happens to be a Salesforce tool. For the projects that I’ve worked on, it’s been the most effective means of broadcasting news and soliciting input, and it allows you to easily learn from and communicate with people throughout the company. And I like doing those things.
Not sure what Chatter is? Take the “Chatter for Lightning Experience” module on Trailhead to learn more.
What does Salesforce’s value of “trust” mean to you as a technical employee?
For me and the team that I belong to, “trust” means being a voice of, from, and for the Technology organization that we belong to. We work to understand our customers’ destinations; empathize with their journeys to them; and give them clear, accurate content so that they can get to where they need to go.
What does Salesforce’s value of “innovation” mean to you as a technical employee?
For me, “innovation” is a messy word — in the best way possible. Innovation requires experimentation, and experiments often fail. When they fail, you learn something, and when they don’t, you’re left with something tangible that helps you or your work move forward in some way. At Salesforce, I see us as experimenting freely and often internally, then delivering only what we see as successful and deserving of our customers to those customers. We judge our success by theirs.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Salesforce?
Near to the end of my internship and during a group karaoke outing, my manager told me that I was being offered a full-time position. I was thrilled! I already liked karaoke before, but because of this memory, I now like it even more.
What is something that makes you proud to work at Salesforce?
I think that just about all documentation is the result of the kindness of strangers — or friends or acquaintances — and I have reached out to a lot of people in my 5–6 years here. No one has ever told me that it isn’t their job to help me, and that’s true across teams and up and down the company’s organizational chart. That’s my favorite part about working at Salesforce.
Share one fact about yourself that others might find surprising.
These past couple of years, a lot of my free time has been consumed by learning about comics and illustration. I’d love to be able to say one day that I created a complete issue of a comic. That’d be so cool! I think that comics get a bad rap because people often compare them to long-form fiction, when in spirit, they are a lot closer to films. Anyways, all that I need to learn are human anatomy, how to foreshorten it, how lighting works, perspective, inking, coloring, lettering… Comics creators seem like magicians to me, so it’s a sky-high and far-off goal. But I’m learning a lot.
Thanks for sharing your story, Alex! Itching to try your hand as a Technical Writer for Salesforce? See our job openings here.