Admit it, the main reason you look forward to Fridays is because that means you might get to read another profile of another person who’s part of the Geeks Who Drink team. Today does not disappoint, because we’re talking to Diana Tenery, our indispensable (and insanely busy) Production Manager.
How did you originally get involved with Geeks Who Drink? I’m one of the rare people who works for the company that didn’t start out as a Quizmaster, or spend any time as a Quizmaster. I know [Quizmaster-in-Chief] Christopher [Short] from the quizzing community, and he originally talked to me about becoming a writer. At the time, I was collaborating with writers in other trivia formats, and I told Christopher that I felt best when I worked with other folks to make their stuff better. So in 2015, I ended up becoming a fact checker.
And you were working another full-time job too? I had worked for 20-plus years in software development, operations, and project management, and was still doing that full time. The fact-checking became kind of a side-gig so I could get paid for my interests [in trivia]. The plan was to do it as a side-gig until I retired, and then do it as a retirement job. In 2019, I quit that day job, moved to the middle of nowhere, and was just planning to work as a fact-checker until I died — and then the pandemic hit. Geeks needed to tap in to my core strengths, so I came on as an operations, technology, and kind of jack-of-all-trades person to help keep the machine moving during the pandemic.
It sounds like your role really expanded as a result. It did. That’s when I became the production manager for Editorial and a project manager for several of our Technology projects. I’ve basically gone back to my roots, and I still fact-check with half of my time. I’m doing a lot of everything, but it’s related to what I used to do for my day job — and now this is my day job.
What do you enjoy the most about working here? Definitely the collaboration. Even though I wasn’t expecting to be working full-time at this point in my life, it doesn’t feel like a full-time job. I started my career working at AOL in the very early days, in the early nineties, and there was a real sense of collaboration and of building something new together. That’s how I feel about what I do now, which is finding ways to solve problems, collaborating with smart people, and doing interesting things just because they need to be done. We’re making something that people enjoy, and that’s one of the fun parts too.
Some of the other people we’ve profiled have said that even though we might be kind of far-flung geographically, there’s a real sense that we’re still working together, which is pretty cool. You mentioned previously being part of the quizzing community: is that something you still participate in? I’m not as active in it as I used to be. But, I still work on projects for non-competitors like LearnedLeague and for a friend’s puzzle company. As a player, I still participate a little bit, but not nearly as much as I used to, mostly because this is what I do for a living now so it can sometimes feel like work.
Through your work with Geeks, do you still find yourself learning random things or reading things that you might not have otherwise? For sure. One of the reasons why I originally took that side-gig as a fact checker was because it was a good way to keep learning, and to stay motivated to keep learning. I definitely did it so I could keep my trivia knowledge up and use that skill.
I ask everyone this question, so you’re getting it too. Is there one particular trivia moment with Geeks that really stands out for you? I think everyone has said this, but I was on the writing team for the last several Geek Bowls. I think that’s just a perfect microcosm of all that’s good about being part of the editorial team, which is getting together with the writers and editors and spending a weekend basically crafting the content for the show. Being able to collaborate at that level, face-to-face with your team, is really productive and super fun. Watching Geek Bowl go from an initial idea all the way to being performed on stage is really satisfying. And being part of the trivia community, having your friends and people you respect come to play those events and really enjoy them, knowing that you did something to contribute, is amazingly satisfying.