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Q&A with Matthew

Your work here at TB includes a lot of variety. Can you tell us about what you do?

It does! Gosh, there are so many different things! Let's see, my primary responsibilities are these:

  • I answer chats
  • I write internal documentation
  • I am a forum moderator/administrator and update the forum stickies (especially the new items and colors in stock thread)
  • I help get packages together and ready to go out on Mondays
  • I perform upkeep on the website (including but not limited to uploading new photos and looking for out of date ones, updating and in some cases measuring or remeasuring specs, proofreading and correcting any typos)
My side/supplimental duties are:
  • I answer emails
  • I hop in the showroom when needed
  • I supplement the shipping team as needed (usually adding an extra hand to packing boxes on busy days)
  • I do a bit of technical support/troubleshooting for the fulfillment and shipping department
  • I make sure coffee and tea for crew and visitors is ready/offer opinions on tea selection
  • Darcy and I talk through things like Forum Rules and other considerations
  • I edit and proofread blog posts and write some of my own
  • I do some light scripting, mostly writing macros or writing/editing webcode

In a lot of ways, when I'm not doing my primary responsibilities, I sort of pinch hit for the shipping and fulfillment team and lend a hand wherever needed.

A couple of years ago, you attended a Toyota Kata training and created a presentation/report on it for the rest of us (and we still refer to your report!) What was your #1 takeaway from that training?

Always look at what you do as objectively as possible and do this as often as possible. If you don't stick your head up once in a while and look around, you might be repeating the wrong things. Practice doesn't make perfect, after all; perfect practice makes perfect. Practice just makes permanent.

You’re a naturally curious person and like to research and learn about a wide variety of topics. Can you tell us about something you’ve recently learned?

Hmm, so I watched the HBO show Chernobyl which got me down a rabbit hole nuclear incidents, which naturally got me to reading about the Kyshtym disaster, a less well-known disaster (even though it's the 3rd worst nuclear incident after Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi) that happened in 1957 at a Soviet reprocessing plant. It was not known about publicly until 32 years later, 3 years after Chernobyl in 1989, even though the CIA knew about it within 2 years, by 1959, because the CIA decided to keep it a secret in order to prevent concern about American nuclear industry (as was learned as a result of FOIA requests)!

Your About Us page profile mentions that you like to play games of all kind. What are you playing/into right now?

Right now, I'm in 3 tabletop games -- a 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons game in which I play a creature from the Plane of Limbo subservient to the Lady of Pain who is also a hard-boiled detective, a hospital orderly named Helena in a 1920s investigative supernatural horror game using Call of Cthulhu 7th edition, and an auto mechanic just trying to get across the Mississippi River and to Nashville codenamed Dirty Bird in post zombie-apocalypse economic horror game called Red Markets.

In addition, I played some minigolf last Friday at a golf bar called Flatstick Pub, which is a lot harder than I remember it being when I was 12. I've also been trying to keep up with video games and I recently played Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice which was a lot of fun. I haven't played any board games in a while but the last one I played was Party Fowl: A Game of Drunk Ducks which is a charming little game co-created by the same person who did the aforementioned Red Markets tabletop RPG.

You’ve gone on some cool trips the past few years. What was your favorite and why?

Woof, that's the hardest question!

I think it was probably my Alaska trip last September. My wife and I took a cruise up to the tip of southernmost part of Alaska that included a stop in a few cities (Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan) as well as a day going through Glacier Bay. The amount of natural beauty on that trip is going to be hard to surmount in the future, not to mention it was just a nice relaxing trip compared to all the flights or driving that usually has to be done since it started and ended here in Seattle and the method of travel is one of the perks (I love sea days!). I really, really loved Sitka, too. It just seemed like a wonderful place and I want to go back.



TB Crew

We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.

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  • Jim on

    Just took a look at your Blog and saw a picture of “Matthew”. For several days he has been doing a GREAT job answering my questions as I look for “another” bag for my travel needs. Thanks again Matthew! (Jim T – Henderson, NV)

  • Jim on

    Just took a look at your Blog and saw a picture of “Matthew”. For several days he has been doing a GREAT job answering my questions as I look for “another” bag for my travel needs. Thanks again Matthew! (Jim T – Henderson, NV)

  • Patricia Storrs on

    These are great. And interesting. Matthew and his counterparts are always kind, helpful and empathetic to the most trite of Bihnion concerns (speaking of my own enquiries but also of how the forum is handled). Thanks

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