A Story of a Cycling, Hacking and Making Enthusiast
I’m Keir McCluskey, a product design engineer by day and an all round graphic designing, event organising, social media marketing and CycleHacking superhero the rest of the time. Yeah, OK, maybe I’m overselling myself a wee bit, but people might Google my name and find this blog post so…
TAKING A SECOND LOOK
Let me tell you about my Adopt an Intern journey. When I first saw the advert for this job, I was in a mid-exam-studying panic and after the briefest glance over it, and seeing the dreaded words “social media marketing”, I cast it aside. This phrase tends to conjure up dark images of an intern sitting on Twitter trying to meet posts-per-day quotas and engagement figures. But oh my, how wrong I was, in every way possible. I am so thankful that my need to constantly procrastinate during exam time made me take a second look over it.
THE STARS HAD ALIGNED
I had heard of CycleHack before but must confess I didn’t know much about Snook. After looking into them, it became immediately clear that these guys were about what I was about. They believed in driving forward positive change with the power of design and this aligns with all I hope to achieve in my future career. I also very conveniently happen to be a cycling, hacking and making enthusiast. It seemed like the stars had aligned on this one and brought me the perfect internship. At this stage I didn’t care what the job was, they could have employed me to make the tea for them and I would have accepted. I just wanted to be involved in this company and play my small part in helping CycleHack change the world. With only 24 hours until the deadline, I took one full day off studying to do the perfect application and then crossed my fingers. One week later I had a very pixelated Skype interview and the following week I’d found out I got the job. Coincidentally, this was the same day as my exams finished. Good fortune and buses alike. None for ages, then it all comes at once.
GETTING STUCK INTO ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING
When I got to the office on my first day and had a meeting with Sarah it became clear that my role would be in no way like the nightmare scenario I had initially pictured. In fact, it seemed like I would be getting stuck into absolutely everything which was really exciting. I mean yes, there was the daily running of the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, but this almost acted as filler activity between other amazingly varied tasks. I devised and implemented a marketing plan to promote the Glasgow event, coordinated all information from Glasgow HQ with global organisers across 4 continents in 26 locations, sourced equipment, beer and prizes to ensure we delivered an amazing event and even got to use my graphic design abilities to produce signage, tickets, information packs and facilitation tools that would be used by people all over the world. Amazing.
SO MUCH TO LEARN
In the short time that I was an intern here I learned a vast amount, both about professional working practices and also *CLICHE ALERT* about myself. On the surface, I learned the practical side of event organisation like putting together extensive planning documents and subsequently implementing them in a tight time frame. Even organising volunteers, local stakeholders and coordinating with 26 other global organisers. I had never been involved in organising anything of this scale before and to be handed this level of responsibility really challenged me to achieve more. This internship truly gave me confidence in my ability to deliver under pressure and to prioritise my workload successfully. I feel in myself a new found confidence in my own abilities and also a drive and passion to use my skills to change the world.
A POST-IT NOTE CLAD MAC HAVEN, STRONG COFFEE, GREAT BANTER AND AMAZINGLY TALANTED PEOPLE
I had an amazing time working on CycleHack within the Snook offices. The energy, vibrancy and skills of my fellow coworkers was truly inspiring on a daily basis. I’ve never really worked in this kind of professional design environment before but it pretty much lived up to every expectation: a post-it note clad mac haven, of strong coffee, great banter and amazingly talented people. I should give a special mention to Charlotte at Snook for co-organising CycleHack Glasgow with me. Her constant positive outlook and ability to complete any task I could in half the time to double the quality helped make my whole internship a great experience and CycleHack the funnest thing I’ve ever been involved with. A big thanks to everyone at Snook for squeezing me into your wee office, making me feel so welcome and for all giving up your weekend to make CycleHack Glasgow a massive success.
The highlight for me was seeing all that hard work finally coming together. When I saw everyone begin CycleHacking something just clicked and I would say that it was at that moment that I finally got “it”. It’s very difficult to explain, but to witness such diverse people collaborating in a dynamic and positive way still truly astounds me. When I then expand what we were achieving on a local level in Glasgow to 25 other locations in the world, it’s something pretty special and it’s amazing to have played my part in it.
‘SNOOKIFY’ ALL MY FUTURE PROJECTS
So with CycleHack done and my internship drawing to a close it is time for me to find something else useful to do with my free time, design abilities and new skills. As I already said, it’s my ambition in life to bring about positive change in the world by applying my skills as a designer to a wide variety of scenarios. With that in mind, I will be returning to my other love apart from cycling which is the environment, in my role as Biodiversity Promoter at the University of Glasgow. Keep a look out for some exciting new developments in biodiverse gardening, community gardening and beekeeping happening around the university campus. I’ll use everything I’ve learned about time management, event organisation and collaborative working to bring a little bit of Snook to all my future projects in this area. In September, I’ll return to do my Masters year of Product Design Engineering at the Glasgow School of Art and I’m quite sure it will be the hardest year of my life. I’m sure that I will in someway “Snookify” my final year project and ensure I apply their immensely user driven design ethos to everything I do.
I’d also like to put a shout out to Sarah as she has been amazing and really supported me throughout my entire internship. To witness someone with such a clear vision for what they do that pursues it with such positive energy has been amazing. I would really like to run my own business one day and to work beside someone as ambitious, productive and friendly as Sarah, seeing the way she operates on a daily basis, has been truly inspiring.
Well, that all turned into a bit of an emotional love in, so I guess I’ll just sign off by saying: I wish Snook all the best in the future. I have no worries about you though, you are a talented team with an amazing leader.
Keep changing the world guys.