Prensa Libre, one of the most-circulated newspapers in Guatemala, recently approached Alley to assist with improving the experience of its editors when delivering the news to the nation. In the summer of 2018, a team headed south to Central America, held a kickoff with the Prensa Libre stakeholders, and soon began a migration off of a proprietary CMS system to WordPress (hosted by WordPress.com VIP). In January 2019, the new site was launched!
On August 21, 2017, something of great cosmological significance occurred. Yes, sure, there was a total solar eclipse over wide swaths of the United States, but we’re talking about something life-changing here. On that fateful day, Alleybot quoted his first-ever message. What does that mean? Let’s discuss.
Whenever anyone says anything that seems fit for the record books (or joke books, depending on who you are), anyone on our team can add the :alleybot-quote: emoji as a Slack reaction. If three people or more react in this way, voila! The quote is stored in a database for later entertainment. At any point, anyone can say “alleybot quote” or “alleybot quote [person],” and our beloved robot will respond with a choice bit of wisdom pulled from the past, usually made much more entertaining due to a complete lack of context. (You can click on the link associated with the quote to see where it came from, but where’s the fun in that?)
This feature has now been live for more than a year, so we thought it would be a great time to share it with the public. As of January 29th, there are 4,164 quotes in our database – people have been quoted, on average, 8 times a day. There are even some quotes that predate the birth of the feature – Alleybot can add time travel to his list of skills (okay, fine, it was actually just a concerted effort to find funny things).
Some of our team members are more quotable than others. [DISCLAIMER: “Quotable” is not a value judgement and does not necessarily correspond to “desirable” qualities such as, but not limited to, “being funny,” “wittiness,” “cleverness,”and “pithiness.”] The person with the most quotes has a grand total of 281 – 221 of which happened in 2018. The median, though, is 30. We’ve got a number of people who have christened themselves the 100 Club, or everyone who has more than 100 in the database. We no longer talk to them, for fear of being tricked into providing easy quote-bait opportunities. Yes, this is now a thing.
What does Alley talk about? Rather than giving detailed statistics (though we can! Please ask us, we’re weird and want to play with spreadsheets), we’ll just share the following video of a word cloud being generated off of our data. The bigger a word is, the more it’s used. WE SAY PICKLE 6 TIMES! Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.
Apart from just generally being hilarious, Alleybot’s quotes are a great way to bring us together, and share some good times, wherever we are in the world. It never hurts to keep our work exciting and unexpected, and getting a dose of a random quote on demand in Slack is a great way to do that. How do you build out your own unique work culture? Let us know – we’d love to hear!