User Manual

The following is a document that I've put together over the years that should help you learn a bit about me, my preferences, and how I work. It is meant as a shortcut tool to allow us to work together more efficiently and effectively.

Creation Date: February 2019
Status: living, updated May, 2023

Current Priorities:

  • Looking for new contract and full time opportunities.
  • Spending time with and caring for my wife and son.
  • Learning how to optimize and rebuild my processes and systems.

Work stuff to know:

This is not in any particular order.

  1. Ask me anything. I am an open book, I delight in sharing experiences, and I will always be completely transparent with you.
  2. People refer to me as Zack, though technically my first name is Zachary. My last name is Gilbert Kreiling (think of it as hyphenated but without the hyphen), but you may sometimes see it listed as just Gilbert.
    • My pronouns are he/him/his.
  3. I am based in Chicago (Central Time), but also spend a good amount of time in central Wisconsin (also Central Time).
  4. I typically work from ~10:00am Central Time to 5:00pm Central Time. It may vary.
    • I take my son to the nanny between 8:30am and 9:30am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, so I try not to schedule meetings during this time.
  5. On Fridays, I am the primary parent on duty and try not to accept any meetings unless it’s super important. This is specifically to allow dedicated and focused time for learning and development and to catch up on tasks that slipped through the cracks earlier in the week, but also to allow me to spend more time with my son and family.
  6. Weekends are not for work. They are for time with my family.
  7. Comms! I primarily use Slack, and email. I’m happy to use Google Meetings/Zoom/Teams/etc if a little face time is needed. I’m also happy to communicate via txt message if you’d like. Just ask.
  8. If you receive an email from me out of hours, then the right interpretation is “because Zack is overly-obsessed and can’t sleep” - not that Zack needs you to respond right now. I’m frequently behind by a few days, and that’s ok. I do NOT expect anyone else to follow that lead. Work to your own schedule.
    • This is the same with chats/DMs etc
  9. I believe in “clean” downtime, as in: time off where you go firmly offline work-wise. Make sure you spend enough of your vacation days this way; it’s valuable, healthy, and important.
  10. Amongst other things I value humility, decency, honesty, straightforwardness, and dependability.
    • Call me out straight away if I miss the mark on any of these.
    • Also call me out if I miss the mark on anything else! I value honesty, and I need to learn how to grow.
  11. I like to absorb as much information as I can, even if it seems unrelated. I strive to be a specialized generalist.
  12. My driving characteristics are a desire to solve problems and to be helpful. This can often mean I get sucked into projects I shouldn’t. I am constantly working on saying no to things that aren’t in my primary focus.
  13. The last time I took the Myers Briggs (2019-02-04), I was an INFP-T. See ranking.
  14. Ask me anything. Did I mention that already? I’m here to help you grow.

Communication Style

I tend to prefer thinking through all possible options initially on my own and narrowing down based on talking with and gathering feedback from others. I don’t prefer face-to-face, but acknowledge that it’s probably better. I have a tendency of rubber ducking.

Feedback Preference

I’m very open to feedback. I acknowledge that there are others that probably know more than me (experience and specific context). I try not to bristle initially at feedback, but usually quickly come around to seeing the message and good behind it. Feedback on management approach is welcome.

Values & Principles

Doing our absolute best on everything we create. Being resourceful and constantly learning vs. waiting for someone to tell me what to do.

Pet Peeves

When people give up quickly before trying to figure it out. Ugly deliverables. Office politics drive me nuts.


I thrive on momentum. Once I get moving I want to keep moving. I love exploring new ideas and thinking through the systems for making them happen.

How I like to be managed:

  • My primary Appreciation Language is words of affirmation. Getting constant feedback about how I am doing helps me to know if I’m on the right track or need to adjust. Though, I'm also very open to and appreciative of monetary appreciation.
  • I’m very open to feedback and making adjustments. Direct feedback, with some reassurance thrown in, will be heard.
  • It might take me a bit to completely change my habits, but feel free to remind me if I continue to mess something up.
  • I like to have at least one manager 1:1 each week to go over the current state of things. Beyond that, Slack updates about anything that needs attention, along with general company updates, as needed are helpful.

Personal stuff to know:

  • I used to go to a lot of concerts.
  • In pre-covid times, my wife and I used to enjoy traveling whenever we could.
  • A few years back, I sold 4 web based software projects in 5 years: ofCourseBooks, YourPack, Fixtail, and WPComplete.
  • My family: An amazing wife who is a badass business owner of Presence Agency. They run Our first child was born in late summer of 2021, 4 weeks early. We have a ton of family in the Chicagoland + Michigan areas that we try to see and spend time with regularly.
  • In August of 2020, we bought a log cabin in Ripon, Wisconsin.

Personal + Professional Beliefs:

  • Under promise. Over deliver.
  • Leave things better than you found them.
  • Make it work. Then continue to make it better.
  • Most problems are because of a breakdown in communication.
  • Everyone has a journey. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Compassion and humanity goes a long way.
  • Black Lives Matter / LGBTQ+ rights are human rights.
  • Politics can’t and shouldn’t be left at the door when you come to work. Silence is complicity.
  • You can’t get milk at a hardware store.
  • Think big, but start small.

Beliefs as a Manager:

  • My primary job is to keep you unblocked and able to continue to learn, grow and do the best work you can.
  • I try to remove all the BS to free you up to do your job.
  • It’s very important to me to listen (actively in the moment and with my follow through), though I’m not always the greatest at it.
  • Wins are because of the team. Failures are my responsibility.
  • I’m still largely learning and figuring out how to improve as a manager, so if you have recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

Resources I Love and Recommend: