Job Function: In her role as a content lifecycle solutions consultant with XMetaL, Yas Etessam helps people like technical writers, engineers, marketing professionals, and those in government agencies implement XML authoring solutions. "The promise of XML is that you author content once and then it is reused in many places," Etessam says. "So a technical writer can create a document that can be written once and then used in many different places such as documentation and help files and so on in one format."
Etessam often goes into client companies to help them plan and install their XML implementations using XMetaL. "One of the first steps with a new customer is that we suggest that people use an out-of-the-box DITA [Darwin Information Typing Architecture] model," she says. "Often there are other aspects of a content management solution already in place at a customer, such as translation tools that can understand only the parts of a document, that need to be changed."
In a Day's Work: "Because I lead implementation projects, there is a large degree of client interaction," Etessam says. "I help people from the planning phase through to the actual implementation to make it smoother. First I'll evangelize at customer sites for about a week or so and help them to plan the implementation based on DITA standards. We're trying to help people speed up their XML adoptions by not doing their own things but instead working to standards."
Etessam has also served on the DITA technical standards committee since its inception. "I often go to conferences to deliver papers on DITA, interact with other people, and help shape the next generation of DITA," she says.
Oddest customer encounter: "I had to reschedule meetings while working with a United Nations agency because anti-war protesters were blocking the entrance to the building."
View from the desk: "I usually work from home in an area of San Francisco called the Lower Haight, a bohemian sort of place."
Outside interest: "I've been to every continent except for Antarctica. I'm lucky that I can travel for business. I recently went to Japan, which is where our parent company is located."
If not econtent, then what? "I used to be a very good portrait painter, so maybe I'd go back to that."