Marc LeBlanc

View on customer support

Delivering an enterprise-class customer support experience is essential to the success of our customers and growth of the company.

Preferred learning style

For work, I’m most effective when we start with clear problem statements; if the problem isn’t clear, then pursue clarity first. A problem well understood is a problem mostly solved. If there’s someone within reach who already knows the solution, see what they’ve done, or work with them once, see it done, then do it myself.

For hobbies, fall down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, watch YouTube videos, then do it either myself or with someone who’s done it before, then learn from my own mistakes.

Communication style

Authentic and vulnerable. Overcommunicator. I want everyone in the room to feel heard, respected, and glad they spoke up, as their contribution led to a better outcome. I’ll put in the work to choose my words and approach to be respectful and deliver my message, and I try to be as clear as I can, so people don’t need to guess what I mean, or risk misinterpreting something.

Collaboration style

A mix between:

  • Medium-sized group discussion for brainstorming, discovering, teaching, making decisions, collecting feedback
  • Small groups (2-3 people) for working
  • Documents for more detailed planning, collecting longer notes
  • Slack for quick updates, scheduling meetings, sharing links to docs

Approach to problems

  • Understand the problem, deeply, from the perspectives of the people affected by it, and the people creating it
  • Search for documentation if anyone else has solved this problem before
  • Find and ask the experts to see if they have some guidance
  • Dig into it and create the solution ourselves
  • Document the solution so that the next person who comes across this problem can solve it faster and move on to the next problem
  • Communicate the problem and solution to the people creating it, so they can solve it, and prevent further people from being affected by it

Preferred way to be recognized

  • In person, a fist bump or a genuine smile.
  • Remote, something in the team or #thanks channel.
  • Seeing people genuinely appreciate each other builds a corporate culture I want to be a part of.

What I enjoy at work

  • Supporting and unblocking people
  • Making a positive impact on our customers and colleagues
  • Building something I can geek out about
  • Riding the emotional rollercoaster of getting new error messages while debugging

Thoughts on asking for help

Yes, ask!

Problems get solved much faster when people ask for help when they get stuck, rather than whacking away at a problem solo for days before reaching out.

We also need to protect IC focus time from Slack noise.

We have several methods in place to strike this balance between supporting each other efficiently, and distracting people from deep focus work:

  • Post in #team- and #ask- channels
  • Tag the channel’s support team in a threaded reply to your post, if no one replies to your post quickly enough – This support team should be the minimal number of people required in the channel, to distract the fewest people in deep focus or meetings
  • Reply in the weekly and daily Slack threads (weekly planning, daily captain’s log, weekly reflection time, etc.)

Anti-patterns that get answers slower, and annoy people:

  • DMing someone with questions that more than one person can answer
  • @here / @channel tags

Preferred time to work

  • Meetings in the early afternoon
  • Focus time in the evenings
  • Administrivia in the mornings

Feelings to receiving messages outside work hours

  • @ me if it can’t wait till the next business day
  • Otherwise use scheduled send
  • I like to balance being available for emergencies, without getting pulled away from family time for non-urgent things

How to show up when I’m feeling off

Send me a DM or let’s hop on a quick Zoom, tell me what you’ve noticed and how it made you feel, ask what’s up.

Things that make me anxious

Everything. Eating. Sleeping. Breathing.

Technical areas of knowledge

  • Sourcegraph admin
  • Service ownership
  • Docker / Kubernetes
  • SRE / architecture / monitoring
  • Cloud infrastructure / DevOps
  • Enterprise networks
  • Perforce

Technical interests to learn

  • Generative and conversational AI
  • NLP

Current personal project

Creating art with cameras and motorcycles.

What I fear

Combining hallucinating generative conversational AI with deepfake video in a post-truth world. I think we’ve already found the limit of how much fact vs fiction a human mind can sort between, for a critical mass of the population, and now this?

Favorite quote

“A society grows great when people plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.”

How I eat fries

🇨🇦 Poutine 🇨🇦

Sun, moon, and rising signs

I find the integration of astronomy into belief systems fascinating; watching the stars at night is a religious experience for me, so I totally believe how people build it into belief systems. Someone’s astrological sign is based on which constellation was at the zenith above the ecliptic plane at midnight during the month they were born? Sweet, I can see it. Also cool that the axis of earth’s rotation draws a small circle every 26k years, so the constellations have all shifted in the night sky since the astrological calendar was created, and we don’t have leap years in astrology to correct for this.