We sat down with our former employee and good friend, Katie Apone, to talk about her transition as a freelance content strategist and web designer to a content strategist at Facebook in Seattle, Washington.
Where did you go to university and what did you study?
I went to the George Washington University in Washington D.C. Although the graphic design program I initially majored in was cut halfway through my college career, I ultimately attained my degree in general fine arts.
Could you explain how you progressed from fine arts to being immersed in the tech world?
I leaned towards the tech side of the art, including graphic design and website design. All throughout undergrad, my professors kept telling me to make art around something I was passionate about, so I made art about public education and learning. After I completed my undergrad, I decided to dive into the education field because that's what I felt most passionate about. I was an education volunteer in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, and eventually I found myself at Code.org, a nonprofit that promotes computer science education. I had the opportunity to work closely with software developers to create an educational learning platform for millions of students and teachers worldwide. Being on that team made me realize how much I love building digital products and I've continued in that work ever since.
What did you do at Parlay?
At Parlay, I focused on communications that included everything from social media to in-product copy. I also worked on messaging strategy.
What do you do at Facebook now?
My title at Facebook is Content Strategist. Essentially, we facilitate how Facebook communicates its voice to its users. It’s really all about empathy; our job is to work with, and understand, how the user feels. So, I develop anything from product narratives, naming new products, in-product copy, and much more.
What is the journey like moving from a small startup to a major company?
It’s been an interesting journey. While I was freelancing, I had been working with a handful of clients including Parlay. At Facebook, I’m a part of a big team but I still have a lot of autonomy. The work I was doing while freelancing translated very well to my work at Facebook. It’s just been very interesting being around so many people on a day to day basis; I had much more (maybe even too much) alone time while I was freelancing. Facebook employs roughly 20,000 people, so that level of human connection and collaboration is new to me
What aspects of working for a startup do you miss?
I miss meeting with a small team and making decisions incredibly quickly, rather than having to get feedback from so many different stakeholders. I miss the very nimble aspect of Parlay.
What do you value working in a large company?
What Facebook does daily is connect people with each other. They’re really in tune to what people need and how they interact. It’s a dynamic culture of people, not just worker bees. Facebook is a company that values you holistically, having career goals, a personal life, big ambitions. They value making a great work community that I really appreciate.
Knowing what you know now, would there be anything you change about your experience?
I wouldn’t change anything. I am the type of person in my personal and professional life that I like changing things up, so after freelancing for two years I was ready for a new experience at a major company.