This week we continue our journey with Mike Zielonka, Tuna Traffic’s Co-Founder and Director of Web Strategy. Mike manages day-to-day operations, handles the short term tactical planning for Tuna and acts as a Web Strategy consultant with clients of Tuna Traffic. He spends a significant portion of his time coaching Tuna Traffic customers on web strategy and building custom client web presences. Mike’s expertise is concentrated in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media, WordPress Development and pizza. 🙂

Now, let’s put on our scuba gear and jump into the sea with Mike.

How I Conquer the Problems of the Sea

Where do you office?

I like to office at my desk here at the Tuna School. I have a nice place to sit and a flat surface to set my computer on and that’s all I need. If I really need to “get into my zone” I like to go into Tuna’s Reading Room. The Reading Room is a great place for me to put on my thinking cap because generally no one can bother me in there and I have no distractions. It is my go-to spot when I need to do some deep thinking.

Another place where I can get into my zone is outside fishing. I like to go to a little pond at Gordy Park in Caledonia (near my house) or Yellow Stone Lake, near New Glarus. Fishing allows me to think outside of the box, which helps me come up with creative solutions and ideas.

How do you get your work done?

I believe the only way you can gain the power of knowledge is by training and practice. For example, you can watch all the videos and read all the books on how to do something but the bottom line is that you really don’t learn how to be successful at it until you start “doing” it. And that is how I get my work done, by learning new things and then applying what I’ve learned by doing it. I also like to read blogs to stay up to date with the constant changes that the Internet encounters everyday. There are always new software updates, new apps to discover and new digital marketing techniques that I need to know in order to help an online business be successful.

I like to conduct meetings virtually from my computer, so the client can see me and I can see them. I like to inform my client with everything so they know exactly what I am doing. I guess you could say I’m kind of a natural born teacher. I enjoy sharing what I learn and, if my clients are into it, I eagerly teach them along the way.

What is your hardware of choice?

My iPhone is my lifeline. I own a black iPhone 5S with 16GB with the beta version of the iOS 8 software. My phone allows me to stay in constant contact with my clients, especially through iMessage, SMS, Facebook Chat, Google Hangout, and Skype. I believe it is far more efficient to solve quick problems through these instant message channels because it allows me to multi-task easily without getting distracted. I also use a 2013 Macbook Pro Retina 15” and a big monitor (ViewSonic VP2770-LED 27-Inch SuperClear IPS LED-Lit Professional Monitor, WQHD 2560×1440) with a lot of pixels, creating a beautiful image for me to work on. I like my Macbook because it is fast, allowing me to be fast as well.

What is your software of choice?

Mike's iPhone apps I have 3 apps on my iPhone that I always check right when I wake up. First is Fantastical, a calendar app that is Fantastic! (Hence the name) It helps me stay organized so I always show up to meetings at the right place and time to meet the right people. When I type a sentence into the app, it will automatically enter it in the logistics, creating a reminder with a due date and map. Fantastical’s natural language event/reminder creation and beautiful calendar make it the best calendar app I have ever used!

The second app I check is my Mailbox app where I get access to my Gmail account in order to read my emails. The third app I check is Slack, a communication app that allows me to see if any 911 issues occurred on any sites over night and if any support tickets came in. I also use Slack to communicate with my Tuna Team Members.  One thing Slack is missing is video chat, something I think they should include on their next software update.

My software choice is a little different for when I am fixing a problem for a client. When I am solving a web development problem I use text editor and I write my code in an app called Sublime 3. If I need to log in and make some quick changes to sites that are not under version control I use a FTP client and Code Editor called Coda 2.

What helps you get your work done?

Drinking coffee out of my cool Green Bay Packer Mug and my passion for solving problems. I like solving challenging problems and working on projects that I have never done before. I also enjoy solving problems that are unplanned and come to me at the spur of the moment. I guess I would call it Controlled Chaos and that is what motivates me and helps me get my work done. Every customer has a different challenge. For example, a company may have a gorgeous website but no one is buying anything from them or the company can’t be found when people search for them on Google. These are just a few unique problems that I enjoy solving on a daily basis. Every scenario is different, that is why I would consider myself an expert on CSI. I have an extraordinary capacity for knowledge in a lot of different topics and that is what I use to solve challenging problems.

What is one thing you can’t live without?

I couldn’t live without my 3 favorite foods:

  1. Deep Dish Chicago Style pizza with mushrooms and sausage. I am passionate about my pizza and I could eat it for every meal. I would love to open up my own online pizza business where I would FedEx pizzas to customers or be a professional pizza taster. I also think there should be pizza vending machines around so I could get one slice of pizza whenever I wanted instead of taking the time to make a whole one.
  2. Medium Buffalo wings WITH the bone in them. It is very important that my chicken wings have the bone because that is how I know I’m eating all-natural chicken and not mushed up chicken meat people call boneless chicken wings.
  3. Chicago style hot dog which is a Vienna beef hot dog topped with 2 tomato wedges, 2 sport peppers, bright green relish, one pickle spear, onions, yellow mustard and a dash of celery salt served in a steamed poppy seed bun.

What can you help people with?

I love to solve problems and I am known as a detailed troubleshooter. If you can’t figure out why your new product line isn’t reaching the right customers, want to engage more people on social media inter-webs, optimize your LinkedIn, or get your company on Instagram, I can help you. My enthusiasm and attention to detail allows me to quickly build strong relationships with my clients, helping and teaching them along the way. Plus, I’ve got a knack for looking adversity in the eye and getting stuff to work right – all while keeping a good sense of humor – which nicely diffuses my clients’ stress level.

Dealing with a challenging problem with your website? My team and I can be your solution. Let’s talk.