At the Chicago webflow conf, I probably got asked about 5 times what it's like working at Edgar Allan. It always amazes me the brand reputation of this agency - I've never worked for a place where people are so interested about what it's like to work there. Although I’ve only worked there since March, it’s easily the most interesting place I’ve ever worked because of the people that work there. I thought it might be useful to write about what EA is like, the type of characters that work there and how I got a job there for anyone that aspires to work at a place like Edgar Allan or perhaps EA itself.
Here’s what I want to cover in this article is:
- Wtf do I do at Edgar Allan?
- How did I get hired by Edgar Allan?
- 5 Biggest Takeaways from working at EA
- Tips for getting hired
Alright, let's go!
Wtf do I do at Edgar Allan?
My job title is marketing coordinator which is a bit mysterious. Basically, I'm a bit like a Chinese buffet of marketing stuff for Edgar Allan and also their product, Slater. With the EA stuff, I mainly work with the VP of Strategy & Content, Kendra Rainey while with Slater things, I mainly work with EA's founder Mason Poe.
I don't touch client work and I don't design or develop client websites. It's more a mix of being a content creator/copywriter/strategist with the odd bit of web design when I get the chance.
How did I get the job at EA?
I interviewed Mason Poe for episode 22 of Webflail.
The interview went well despite some techincal difficulties and I think Mason was intrigued by this weird English guy that knew random parts of his life. After the interview, he asked me what I was doing for work, where I was living etc. and then said "let's keep in touch."
Normally, in England, when people say "Let's keep in touch," that means "We'll never speak again," so I was surprised when a few months later, Mason contacted me about doing contract work for 3 months helping out with Slater. I was freelancing full time and I wasn't sure about taking on the role at all but I was keen to work with Edgar Allan.
I think he had been seeing me active in the Webflow community with Webflail and wanted me to apply the skills that I had learnt with Webflail to Slater and Edgar Allan.
I know other people at Edgar Allan had similar experiences as me. Mason may invite someone to have a call just to see how someone is doing and then realise they are being recruited to EA. Someone described Mason as a "Collector of people," which I can see why even though I have worked at EA for less than a year.
He may message someone on Twitter after seeing evidence that they not only have the personality traits he looks for but also skillsets he wants to hire for. More on that in the final section of this article.
5 biggest learnings from working at EA so far:
1) Be genuinely interested in what you do
Everyone at EA is genuinely really interested in what they do. People are constantly posting articles they see about design and dev, other agencies that are doing interesting things, or podcasts that they think would interest others in the company. Here are some more specific examples:
- Witt will noodle around with Cloudflare for fun on the weekends.
- Designers will take part in Josh Loh's Design Gym because they want to become more well rounded designers.
- Kevin will give me critical feedback on Webflail website and podcast because he cares about the Webflow space and wants his experience to be better!
- Michael, the SEO/marketing/copywriting wizard is a published fantasy author and will randomly send me articles from SEO journal for me to learn more about good writing.
- Katherine will give me book recommendations for me to become better at copywriting.
- Kendra will share thoughts on re-brands and plans to write a book on branding.
What I'm trying to say is that people really care about what they do inside the job because they are genuinely interested in their subject matter. This enthusiasm is infectious.
I have never worked at a place where people care about the work being good beyond just the fact that it's a job as much as this agency.
Now let's be clear - clients can be difficult and it's not like everyone is skipping through their day as if they have won the lottery all the time. But I would say that it's clear how passionate people are about their particular skillset beyond the job which in turn makes them very good at their job.
2) People are low-key amazing at what they do
It's wild at EA how talented people are but generally how chilled they are. You might think in agency of the year, there's a whole heap of aggressively career-minded go-getters who are all hustling to be the best at all costs. I would argue people that work at Edgar Allan are wildly talented without being aggressive, show-boaty or working until midnight to get client work done at call costs.
They're a bit like a bunch of Lionel Messi clones who will come out to training, consistently bang in free-kicks from whatever range, and then be ready for the game on the weekend (if the game is played with fortune 500 companies to make brand to build projects in under 2 months).
What's impressive is how high the level of work is and how low the level of ego or stress there is in the agency. People just get on with their job and do it very well.
ps. I am always shocked by how casually people show their work as if it's nothing and I'm just like "fuck, how did you do that sorcery." Plenty to be inspired by.
3) Emphasis on mental health
One of the best things about EA which is very much linked to how chilled people are is an emphasis on looking after yourself and others.
Every month, there is a new theme of activity which EA is involved in. Whether it's Walktober or Sharetember-is-caretember, people put pictures of how they're doing something wholesome in the slack channel. This is done by everyone whether they are in Serbia, South Africa, USA or Argentina. Hell of job for Berno to expertly organise.
People genuinely care how you are and will check in a lot to see how you're getting on.
And this may seem obvious - of course agencies should check in about your mental health and organise activities to promote you getting outside, cooking home-cooked meals, doing hobbies etc, but in my experience, they often don't.
It's refreshing to see EA want to try and make sure you are ok beyond your work.
ps. I once worked until 6.30pm and Mason saw I was working and told me to log off. Check out Andrea Morgan's episode if you want to hear the opposite!
4) Balance of left and right brained people
I think Edgar Allan is successful partly because it has a balance of left-brained and right-brained people.
While Mason is a big ideas man, he needs help executing them (just as anyone with big ideas would). Kendra, my other boss is also great at ideas but is particularly good at forming a concrete plan and then following it through in order to execute big ideas. With an array of specialists in Edgar Allan, things seem to come together when they need to in a remarkably efficient way.
I think this balance between senior people like Mason, Kendra and others means Edgar Allan not only dreams big but also executes big too to pull off things that I'm not sure other agencies might even attempt eg. Letter Run
5) Genuinely Kind
People are nice!
Simple but really important. It's not just about the quality of work but genuinely nice people are at EA.
Thoughtfulness goes a long way at EA. I think it's a big reason why Edgar Allan has built the client relationships that it has, the repeat work from clients, the low staff churn and the quality of work that is produced.
It's not all sunshine and roses - clients can be difficult, work can be stressful but I think that the empathy within EA means that it can ride out problems better than most agencies.
Tips for getting hired
1) Care about what you do beyond the work
2) Actively show you care about what you do online
3) Become really strong in a particular skillset