Who's Who - Patrick Bérubé
By Hervé St-Louis
August 7, 2012 - 23:10
Patrick has the odd habit of writing to me in English. I assume it’s because he wants to practice his English, but for me it always feels weird to have personal messages written to me in English by a French speaker. But that’s more fun to look at than an annoyance. To help out at ComicBookBin in some capacity where he would not have to write as much and publicly, Patrick started editing older articles and brought them up to date with new changes in our contents management system. Previously we posted credits and related metadata about the materials covered in our articles, within the body of the copy. But there are a lot of opportunities to serve our readers better if that information is in metadata form. For example, if you click on the name of a comic book penciller, you can see what else they have drawn that has been covered by ComicBookBin previous articles. The improvements were also designed to help writers do their work and get common spelling right. For example, there is a drop down menu to pick the publisher of your choice, instead of manually typing in Marvel Comics every time. That helps for consistency too.
Patrick adapted and entered data from hundreds of older articles into the new fields offered by the updates I added to the contents management system. I had always intended for an intern to do that kind of work along with me. Patrick churned out a lot of updates. For this I am grateful. It’s not fun or glorifying work. It’s boring repetitive and work that few notice. It all looks easy and simple when you look at the final product, but there are a lot of tweaks and changes behind maintaining such and extensive network of articles on such a wide Website. Architecture is one of the things I do quite well and I’d say the architecture behind ComicBookBin for a comic book news site, has to be the best around and the most scalable.
Patrick slowly started getting interested in organizing things around ComicBookBin and I have to admit he was a God-send. See, I am not the managerial type in the sense that I focus probably more on technology and letting people organize on their own, probably trusting them a little too much to be independent and self-managed. That’s because I’m this way. I can self-manage easily and don’t need supervision to do my work. But many people, actually, most people are not like that. In his day job, Patrick manages projects, but also manages people. He’s a natural at it. He can set deadlines, and coordinate with several people and keep on top of things better than I ever could.
Patrick was also great at networking, again, something architects like me are very poor at. We know how to build the most magnificent structures and systems, but we seldom know how to bring people over and discover them. I know how to create the best mobile apps for ComicBookBin, but I have barely worked with the comic book industry to get the word out. It’s a weakness I’m fully aware of and having Patrick as the managing editor made things much better for ComicBookBin. Patrick spoke to creators, publishers, other comic book pundits. He made sure they knew of us and would follow up. People like Patrick are called connectors and they work well with architects like me.
With Patrick around, I could settle back and start working on the greatest assets ComicBookBin has had in years, after our writers - our mobile apps. But even how that came about has something to do with Patrick. As I wrote in other Who’s Who articles, I’ve come to see myself as the chairman at ComicBookBin. Although it’s highly unlikely, I like to say that I can be fired like anyone else. I can be replaced if I stop performing and delivering results. No one has ever taken me literally but Patrick was the closest to hold me to my words. At the end of 2009, Patrick asked me what I would do to push ComicBookBin forward. As a good manager with a great natural sensibility to enterprise visions and goals, Patrick knew we had to do something or lose ground, even if we just maintained the same pace. He kept challenging me in private discussions and then I yielded. Since creating the mobile version of ComicBookBin a few months earlier, I had been thinking about moving into the world of mobile development to create ComicBookBin apps. Patrick’s challenge offered me the perfect opportunity to use my architectural talents to propel ComicBookBin forward, while answering a management issue with the site.
Patrick’s hard work was noticed by the guys at the Shuster Awards who asked him a few years in a row to participate as one of their judges for the their comic book awards. Being bilingual, Patrick was perfectly suited for the job. Of course, as a policy, he had to stay clear of promoting that event at ComicBookBin not to overshadow our own journalistic independence.
Patrick was also a player in another important debate I had with another Canadian award, the Doug Wright Award. I had denounced their handling of French language comic books in their awards. They made some changes and Patrick, acting objectively, while fully understanding the issues, as a French Canadian himself, accepted the compromise the Doug Wright Awards organizers had suggested on behalf of ComicBookBin. I dissented, but I was too biased and too proud to yield any ground at the time. Patrick made the right call.
Patrick is still affiliated with ComicBookBin but because of greater managerial responsibilities at work (he’s the boss of his organization now), teaches in a college and had a second child a few years ago, he had to severely cut down on his ComicBookBin activities. Though his articles are infrequent, you can always expect to see some of his writing, especially in the European Comics section of ComicBookBin.
Who's Who @ComicBookBin is a feature celebrating the 10th anniversary of ComicBookBin where publisher Hervé St-Louis features writers past and present that have contributed to ComicBookBin over the years.
Who's Who - Patrick Bérubé