10 Tricks to Appear Smart While Working at Medium

The Medium Blog
Published in
3 min readNov 9, 2014


This was originally published on Hatch (our internal version of Medium) on November 7, 2014, with a few changes made here for clarity. See Hatching Inside Medium for context on this collection.

1. Use custom Fred commands in Slack

At least once a day fire up Slack, pop into #general, and say “fred trending” or “fred ttr.” This will give you a list of the trending posts on Medium and make it seem like you have your finger on the pulse of things.

2. Recommend everything on Hatch

Don’t bother reading it, there’s too much to actually read, you just have to look like you read it. No one will know the difference, except for Product Science. Keep them inundated with useless data requests and they’ll never have time to call you out.

3. Up your lunch guest game

Call in every favor to get the biggest, most influential guest(s) you know. Or just fabricate it and then say you guys decided to eat “off-campus.” Do this frequently. Bonus points for including #humblebrag photos of them with other celebrities — like the Dalai Lama or whatever — in the email.

4. Creatively schedule your Out of Office calendar

Got a doctor’s appointment? That’s a “Kaiser Onboarding Chat.” Picking up your dog from the pound? “Non-Profit Outreach Seminar.” Waiting for Comcast to install your internet? “Connectivity and New Media Conference.” Too hungover to come into the office? “Google Design Summit” (all-day event of course.)

5. Don’t have a desk

Just work anywhere you want and people will think you are so “heads-down” that you can’t be bothered by such trivial things. Plus, you can just throw your laptop in a locker and head out the freight elevator to the Giants game without anyone noticing.

6. Publish your Hatch posts in the middle of the night

Even if you wrote it at 10 AM, hold off on publishing. Right before you go to sleep fire that sucker off. Everyone will think you are so busy all day that you only have time to write on Hatch at night. Plus, it gives the illusion that you put in 18 hour days. While you’re in there, leave a few notes on the oldest Hatch post you can find.

7. Always be booking

As you sit there staring at your Google calendar (full screen, of course), trying to figure out how you are going to dole out your precious time to your desperate co-workers, book some meeting rooms. You don’t need to invite anyone, just get your name up on that iPad. Mix and match buzzwords for the meeting’s purpose: “Product Implementation Elevation Sync” “Response Scaling Outreach Brainstorm” Also, if you’re cruising to the bathroom, quick-book some rooms. Remember, more meetings = more important.

8. Walk around with your laptop open

Since you have all these “meetings” to attend you simply don’t have time for common tasks like actually working. Maintain this appearance by always walking fast while staring intently at some random email on your screen. Never acknowledge anyone while doing this. You are too busy.

9. Optimize your check-in/check-outs during meetings

Maintain a list of euphemisms for being busy and rotate through it during check-ins. Say that you are “excited” to be in the meeting even though you are “feeling a bit overwhelmed,” “have a lot of balls in the air,” or “don’t have a lot of bandwidth today.” During the check-out round, always raise a tension, either about how the meeting went or whatever everyone was most excited about.

10. Look at the Market Street monitors

Every time you walk by those screens, pause and stare at them for at least a minute. If anyone walks by, mention that TTR is up and ask them what their take is. Bonus points: memorize the dates of viral posts and point out the spikes while referring to their titles in shorthand. “Oh, that was 10 Tricks, and there is Kohl’s.