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Today marks my 2-year anniversary at Praxis! Here are some notable moments of the last year:
Salesforce still kicks my butt
Salesforce is my greatest love and also my greatest source of frustration at times. I’ve been using it long enough to at times be overly confident in my vision for a new process, only to realize my mistake after I test what I’ve built out.
For instance, I recently learned that an object has a ~1.6 million character limit on text area fields. The default character limit on a long text area field is 32,678, so if you create too many fields set at the default, you’ll hit the limit! And have to go back and edit the character limit on all of those fields. Also, 32,000 characters is INSANELY long.
Another new discovery is the Salesforce Optimizer. I ran this and the report let me know that we were at 130% of our data storage limit! Data storage costs money, so this is something I needed to address. I looked into what made up our data storage and saw we had about 350,000 tasks!
We use tasks to track emails, both personal and automated ones, but those aren’t things we need a forever record of, so I went about pulling reports to delete old tasks. I deleted about 15,000 tasks before I realized 15,000 at a time wasn’t fast enough and wasn’t really making a dent in our storage problem. I ran a report on all tasks and only found…9,000 remaining? Where are the other 300,000+?!
Thankfully, Salesforce is so widely used that you can type your problem into Google and find the answer. From Googling, I learned that Salesforce archives tasks 365 days after they’re closed, meaning they aren’t reportable, but still counts them toward your storage limit! Tricksy little hobbitses.
I used the data loader to export all tasks (including archived ones!)…and then I crashed the export because it was too large. I tried cancelling the export when it was 50,000 or 100,000 into the export, and that worked well enough. Then I was able to filter by non-deleted tasks and get even more of them cleaned up.
Now I have a quarterly calendar reminder set up to delete old tasks, so I won’t have this unpleasant surprise in the future!
New application process
I revamped the application process with my coworker Chuck, and it was a huge project! To read about the finished product, check out this post. To give the TL;DR version of what went into building this:
- A new Salesforce object record type & page layout
- 55 new fields
- 5 forms with Salesforce mapping
- 15 new Salesforce workflows
- 44 new emails
- 4 outbound messages
Plus all of the work Chuck did in building an entire subdomain and all of the coding that goes into advancing people through the process.
The team got together in February where we spent a few days at a beach house working together and mapping out our StoryBrand. We also took some group photos and this is my favorite of the outtakes:
A Lesson in Marketing
We were without a marketing manager for most of the year, and I took my turn managing the department over the summer. Marketing is nowhere near my strong suit, but I did learn a lot, and I enjoyed the data analysis aspect of the role. I also managed our first (to my knowledge) direct mail campaign, which is an entirely new language compared to digital marketing.
Event & Conference Travel
I ran two Homeschool Career Day events, and we experimented with attending high school and/or homeschool conferences over the summer. I went to Austin and Virginia and San Diego and Minneapolis as well as some local conferences here in Atlanta. I even had a breakout session at some of them where I spoke about the advantages homeschool teens have as well as projects teens can start today to set them apart in the job hunt.
I love that FEEcon is here in Atlanta because so many staff, participants, and alumni come to me! It was fun to see everyone at the conference and then gather for a social at the end. We had some new Praxis swag to debut as well!
The Team has Grown!
I think at this time last year there were 10-11 employees, and now we’re up to 14! I even hired my first apprentice last month and am enjoying experiencing the apprenticeship program from the business partner perspective.
Praxis has an office now! It was fun to visit in September and help break in the new ping pong table. I can’t wait to go back next month for the first annual Praxis Christmas Party!
It’s been a great second year, and I already know year three is going to be even better/crazier. Onward!
Last full day in Ireland! We started off the morning by walking to the Connolly Station for the Luas, so we could take it to the Guinness Storehouse. We booked a morning tour ticket, but it’s self-guided, so it really didn’t matter what time we showed up. I would highly recommend going in the morning, though, because it got more and more crowded the longer we were there.
The storehouse is awesome and well worth the money for the tour. Here are some of the fun facts:
- Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on St. James’s Gate Brewery
- The brewery purchases 2/3 of the malting barley grown in Ireland each year
- The water for Guinness comes from the Wicklow Mountains rather than the River Liffey
- Arthur and Olivia Guinness had 21 (!!!) children. 10 of them survived to adulthood
- Coopering (making or repairing casks) was a big part of the Guinness company. When an apprentice became a fully qualified cooper, he built a cask, got it in, and then all of his coworkers would fill it with whatever they had on hand and roll it down the street
We visited the tasting room where we got these adorable glasses of Guinness (just the right size for me) and learned the proper way to taste it (breathe in through your nose, sip it, hold it on your tongue, exhale through your nose and swallow). Then Josh attended “Guinness Academy” where you learn how to do the proper pour of Guinness, which should take exactly 119.5 seconds.
I was going to get my pour at the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor, which has a nice panoramic view of the city, but there were approximately 700 people up there, so we stayed just for a picture and then went back downstairs.
I got my pour at one of the restaurant bars on the 5th floor. There was a group of older women who had grabbed straws and put them in their beers, and the bartenders were in the process of taking the straws off the table to prevent more people from doing it. I thought it was hilarious.
We grabbed lunch at the Brewers Dining Hall where I had the bacon, potato, and leek soup, and Josh had the beef stew again. To echo my point about going in the morning, there was a line outside to get in as we were leaving.
We took the Luas back to Connolly (the tram was full of interesting characters) and then bought DART tickets down the coast to Dalkey. The train was relatively empty, and I loved the view as we went down the coast!
Even though we got off at Dalkey, we decided to walk to Killiney Hill Park first. We walked through what I would call the suburbs of Dublin to get there and then headed up the hill. Walking up that hill was the only time I was hot on the entire trip! For once, it was sunny without any wind.
The view from the top was spectacular! I became annoying again with my remarks of “it’s so pretty!” The water is bright turquoise with the only dark patches coming from the clouds overhead.
After hiking down we walked to Dalkey Castle. Even though we’ve already toured 2 other castles, I was drawn to Dalkey because they have period actors! We started off walking through a timeline room where we learned that the lowest class passengers had to help push the train to the station if it ran out of steam. Then we watched a 10-minute video and the tour guide took us around the Abbey.
Then we met the period actors! First there was an archer who took us up to the house where we met the cook. The cook took us on the roof of the house and then brought us back into the house where we met the lady who told us all about how Henry VIII combined the company of barbers with the guild of surgeons to make one profession – barber surgeon. Barber poles got their red and white stripes from barber surgeons hanging the bloody bandages out to dry on poles.
After the tour we took the DART back to Connolly and ordered a pizza on the train. Back at Connolly we walked to a bus stop and caught a bus to the pizza shop. It took a little while to get a bus because the drivers just wave you off and keep driving if the busses are full! Thankfully it wasn’t that long, and we grabbed our pizza and walked to our AirBnb to pack up to head home!
We started off the morning with Dublin City Bike Tours. The 3-hour tour only traversed about 5 miles as our guide Evan stopped at various spots to tell us about the city’s history. Evan was awesome! Very knowledgeable and funny. Our tour group was small […]
This was probably my favorite day. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and oatmeal and juice boxes, we drove to the “upper car park” for for the Torc Mountain hike. Although there is no visitor’s center for Killarney with a map of the trails, a local put together this website which was extremely helpful in finding the trail! There was a little bit of confusion on which way to start on the trail, but once we went over the first bridge, we were all set.
The trail started off on Old Kenmare Road and after a couple of inclines we were in a vast open area where I became extremely annoying to Josh by saying, “It’s so pretty!” incessantly.
Then we hit the right hand turn where we headed up the mountain. The trail was a mix of “sleepers” (railroad ties covered in wire mesh) and rocks. It was actually pretty tame for a hike up a mountain, and I enjoyed stopping to take in the view quite a few times. We got every version of Irish weather on the way up – sun, wind, and rain.
There were quite a few people at the top, and we sat on some rocks to enjoy our snacks and the view of all the lakes. It was the windiest at the top, so we (I) got cold after just a few minutes. We took some photos and then headed down.
The sleepers were easy to walk down, but I’m a bit slow on the rocky paths. At one point this older lady passed us and continue to bounce down the rocky path like a mountain goat. She was so balanced!
It was easy to get back to the car once we were on Old Kenmare Road again, and then we drove to Muckross House, so I could go for a run. I explored a trail near the entrance which led me to to an open field and then down to a lake! It was beautiful. I also got to see the Muckross House from the lakeside, where it looks much more impressive.
After changing back into warmer clothes, we headed to Ross Castle for the tour.
The castle tour was very informative. Here are some of the fun facts we learned:
- The word loophole comes from the narrow windows that were called loops. They were designed to be easy to shoot arrows out of but difficult to shoot an arrow into
- The word threshold comes from the stone they would keep in front of doorways to keep the thresh covering the stone floor (to make it softer for sleeping) in the room and not have it track into the stairwell.
- Stairwells were spiraled up clockwise so defenders (going down the stairs) would be able to use their right hand and force the attackers (coming up the stairs) to use their left hand.
- You didn’t have to pay taxes on your home if it didn’t have a roof. At one point, the family moved out of the castle and into the mansion they built for themselves. To avoid paying double taxes, they burned the roof off the castle!
After the castle tour, we headed back to glamping for showers before dinner. I still can’t believe how great those showers were. Then we went into downtown for dinner. We walked around, perusing menus posted outside of the various restaurants and settled on Tatler Jack. I got a burger, and Josh got the beef stew (again!).
We walked around the downtown shops including a sweater market. There was a lot of cool stuff in there, but the sweaters were €70-€100! Murphy’s Ice Cream was another stop downtown, and it was good but too expensive for me to fully recommend.
We spent the rest of the evening playing cards on the porch before heading to bed!
Some other photos from the hike:
The next morning we packed up, said goodbye to Irene the goat – one of the two goats who lived at our AirBnb – and headed south to Killarney. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive, and we had a few hours to kill before being […]