#153: Remote from the Start: Consulting without Headquarters with Laura Stude

Do you know someone who works remotely? Wait. What’s that? Oh. It’s 2020. I guess a better question would be: do you know any analysts who are NOT working remotely? But, that’s not the question we ask on this episode. Some companies—and we’re thinking agencies and consultancies here just to have a little focus—were corporate office-less from their founding, and those are the sorts of companies we interrogate on this episode. Laura Stude co-founded one such company—surefoot—so we sat down with her to explore the why, the how, and the opportunities and challenges therein. Employee-led remote dumpling-making lessons, anyone? Tune in to hear a lively discussion from many angles, many (most?) of which made Tim very uncomfortable.

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Photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash

Episode Transcript

[music]

0:00:04 Announcer: Welcome to the Digital Analytics Power Hour. Michael, Moe, Tim, and the occasional guest discussing analytics issues of the day and periodically using explicit language while doing so. Find them on the web at analyticshour.io, and on Twitter @AnalyticsHour. And now, the Digital Analytics Power Hour.

0:00:27 Michael Helbling: Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Digital Analytics Power Hour. This is Episode 153. Okay, we don’t often kick off the show with a promo for the next one, but we wanted to mention this right off the top. We’re doing a special type of show next time, a movie review of The Social Dilemma. So before November 17th, take some time to watch the movie, and then listen to the podcast and compare notes with us as we discuss this film. Okay, now onto this episode. You remember COVID-19? I know. It’s been such a long time ago. Anyone’s ever even brought it up or thought about it. But back in the early days of the pandemic, pretty much every company was forced to send everyone home to work remotely. And over the next few months, only 127,532 articles were written about what this temporary shift would look like over the long-term. Would offices ever exist again? Honestly, we don’t know. But we got to thinking, “Are there some consultancies that actually claim to be remote all along?” It’s almost as if they don’t even care about how a business should be run. Well, we wanted to talk about that. Okay, so let me introduce my co-hosts, Moe Kiss, how are you going?

0:01:45 Moe Kiss: I’m going really great.

0:01:47 MH: So I do it, that’s good?

0:01:49 MK: Yeah, nailed it.

0:01:50 MH: Okay, great.

0:01:50 MK: Yeah.

0:01:51 MH: I’m working on it. We like to span across… The greetings across the cultures. It’s part of the job.

0:01:57 Tim Wilson: When people are remote, you gotta kinda learn to cross those international borders dialect-wise.

0:02:02 MH: Well, that’s right. Exactly. And actually, that is the question, Moe. Have you enjoyed being remote or no during this time?

0:02:10 MK: It has been an emotional roller coaster of highs and lowly-lows and then back up to highs. Yeah.

0:02:17 MH: Okay, so normal then?

[laughter]

0:02:23 MH: And Tim Wilson, you’re a hardcore remote person, right?

0:02:27 TW: Absolutely, my preferred mode of operation.

0:02:30 MH: Yeah, I think you’ve been mostly remote since I’ve known you, which is quite a long time.

0:02:36 TW: I actually just found a picture of you from 2008, actually. That was from a Web Analytics Wednesday.

0:02:42 MH: Oh, very cool.

0:02:43 TW: 2012, eight years ago. I can’t do math. 2012.

0:02:47 MH: I was gonna say, I was like, “I think I lived in Wisconsin in 2008.”

0:02:53 TW: I knew there was an 8 and a 12, and I’d swap those around. 2012.

0:02:57 MH: Alright, perfect. Alright. And I’m Michael Helbling, and I am remote on purpose, but also because I work by myself pretty much all the time.

[laughter]

0:03:08 MH: Okay. But we wanted a guest, someone who could talk about starting a consulting company with the intention of being remote from the start. Laura Stude is the co-founder of Surefoot. Prior to Surefoot, she was the Head of Product Management at CROmetrics. She led A/B testing and optimisation for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Before that, worked for the Optimization Agency, Clearhead. And she also invented an interesting product to facilitate restroom use while in the outdoors. But today she is our guest. Welcome to the show, Laura.

0:03:42 Laura Stude: Thank you for having me. Excited to be here.

0:03:44 MH: Yeah. Well, thanks for taking the time. Let’s just start in… Maybe just tell people a little bit about Surefoot to get some context, and then we can get into kind of discussing some of the things around setting up a company with the design around remote work.

0:03:58 TW: And how to shit in the woods.

0:04:00 MH: Well, yeah, wherever you wanna start. I don’t know.

0:04:03 LS: All the world’s most important topics.

0:04:07 TW: Chronological order.

[laughter]

0:04:08 LS: Yeah, so Surefoot is a company that my co-founder and I, Brian, started about three and a half years ago now. And we started it, obviously, pre-COVID with fully-remote as the standard operating procedure from day one. And I know we’re gonna get into a little bit more about the specifics of that, so I won’t go into it now. But we are a CRO and PPC agency. We founded Surefoot to really be intentional and thoughtful about our growth, and work with clients whose values align with ours, who are excited to partner with. We have a no-asshole rule. We like to say that applies to both clients and co-workers. And really, just try to take some of the good and some of the bad. Cast that aside, I guess from previous jobs that we’ve had and experiences that we’ve had and build it into something that is uniquely our own. So that is the story of Surefoot.

0:05:08 TW: Wow. So that experience working with Jared Bauer at Clearhead, you were like, “No more assholes”?

[laughter]

0:05:16 MH: Oh, wow.

0:05:16 LS: Yeah, that’s pretty much how it went. I hope he’s not listening. I’m gonna reveal all our secrets.

0:05:23 TW: Jared’s fantastic.

0:05:25 LS: Yes, he is one of my favorite people. So I hope he knows it’s in good fun. And now I’m gonna get an angry message from him, so…

0:05:35 MK: So can you take us back to the very start when you were setting things up with your co-founder? What was going through your mind? What were the biggest challenges to getting this little baby company off the ground?

0:05:50 LS: I think that a lot of it… So people often ask why we had decided to start as a remote-first company. And we actually met at our former company that was fully remote as well. And so Brian had been remote for probably 6 or 7 plus years at that point, and I had only really been remote for, I guess, fully right around two. And Brian lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, and I live in Austin, Texas. So it was kind of a natural fit to be fully remote, unless one of us wanted to move from one hot area to another. But really, a lot of what was uncertain for us was just around the legalities of it. How do you establish the LLC? Do you establish an LLC? What are the tax implications? How do you file? What is your mailing address? Do you need a PO box? All of these things that I think are often overlooked or probably things that a lot of people who are starting businesses deal with, but on a maybe larger scale since we have to factor in remote, people living in different states with different laws and things like that. So I would say that those were early on our big thing.

0:07:10 TW: I assume there are now accountants, CPAs, different lawyers who have some sort of a niche of figuring that out. How did you actually answer all those questions? Did you find one or two resources who could help you or were you just like Googling and wading through stuff, wondering like, “Oh my God, subsection 42 of the Florida State Tax code?” How did you actually answer all those questions?

0:07:38 LS: Yeah, that, I wanna say it was a little bit of A and a little bit of B. We got I think pretty lucky early on. I actually posted in a Facebook group that I’m here in Austin, which is probably something I could think about now as it relates to The Social Dilemma, but it’s a small business Facebook group, and I was asking about CPAs, and someone connected me with a guy here who specialized in small businesses and happened to know a lot about just remote work and how to structure companies, and even though he couldn’t necessarily take care of a lot of the legal paperwork, he was actually a great resource in terms of getting us pointed in the right direction on certain issues and legal matters that we had no idea about.

0:08:25 TW: And now that you’ve been running it for a while, is that kind of turnkey? Are there kind of like you’re using a payroll service that handles stuff? Is that all… How much of a headache is that now, now that you’re well established and have people scattered across many states?

0:08:43 LS: Yeah, I would say that the biggest headache of it all happens to be when we hire, particularly in a new state where we don’t currently have any employees, because there are a lot of nuanced little rules and things that you have to get people set up with for payroll taxes, or Workers Compensation that you have to maintain, and all this other crap that it feels like it actually stifles innovation in a lot of ways because it adds a lot of extra work when people already have enough to worry about. But as it relates to payroll and a lot of the filings and things that we need to do for all those individual employees, we use Gusto… Shameless Plug… And they are a client so that also helps, but…

0:09:28 TW: If you have an affiliate ID, then we should be…

0:09:30 MH: Yeah, actually, I’ve been looking at Gusto, so that’s good to hear. It’s good to hear.

0:09:34 LS: All right, yeah, and to be fair, in my unbiased opinion, we actually used them prior to them becoming a client and have always found them to be both extremely effective and useful, but also just they’re a delightful little… They provide a delightful experience for the user.

0:09:52 TW: So, Michael, if you thought they were also a lead, you can perish that thought.

0:09:55 MH: Yeah, yeah. No, just looking for ways to pay people, so that’s good to know. And now when I do the sign up experience, I’ll be like, “Wow, what a seamless, well-optimized experience.” I’ll be like, “Oh, I know who made this.”

0:10:09 LS: We did not work on that, so if it is not, you let me know. I can get it to the right people though.

0:10:15 MH: Okay. [chuckle]

0:10:18 MK: So, Laura, can you talk us through once you started to grow the team. When you’re starting out, particularly as an all-remote company, do you just hire people who have a lot of experience working remote, or is it… I feel like for some people, if they’ve never worked remote, it would be a huge transition. How do you make those early hire decisions, knowing that the company being remote is gonna be very different to an in-house experience or in-person experience?

0:10:48 LS: Yeah. So that is actually something I think it’s becoming a little bit different now that everyone is remote with COVID. Prior to COVID, I would say that a lot of people who would apply for jobs really self selected in because they felt that they were cut out for remote work, and so I think in that regard, we actually ended up getting lucky. It was almost like a forcing function. If someone didn’t like a remote environment or didn’t feel that they would be successful there, we hadn’t actually encountered anyone who was not a fit in that regard.

0:11:21 LS: Now, I would say that… So something that we do for all of our applicants or anyone that we wish to proceed with in a hiring capacity or in a full-time capacity, we do something called a paid interview, which is something that Brian and I actually took from our previous agency, because it is really effective, and it basically means that we hire someone 1099 for a period of time, so we are paying them, and it allows them to do this type of work and get a feel for us and the work and the company, and us to get a feel for them. And if they have a full-time job or something, it might suck for 30 to 40 hours a week for them, but just to give both parties that opportunity to really feel one another out, and obviously make sure that the person is compensated for their time, and that has been really effective at helping us identify, “Okay, this person probably is cut out for not only this job but for remote work itself.”

0:12:21 MK: Nice. I like that idea.

0:12:22 MH: Yeah, I’ve also found that in starting with remote employees, the level of experience can also be a factor. When I was managing the analytics practice at Search Discovery, and we started recruiting directly out of college, that was always one of our questions was sort of like, “Could a college hire be a remote person?” And we tended to think we wanted them to come to work in the office for a year or two before having them be remote. I don’t know if that was the right answer or not, but it… I don’t…

0:12:52 TW: Can I take a brief little…

0:12:54 MH: Yeah, go ahead.

0:12:55 TW: A slight little flaw in that was the experienced people could be remote, and they’re like, “We want the newer people to be in the office so they can work with the experienced people.” It’s like, “No, you let the experienced people be remote.”

0:13:08 MH: Well, and that is the challenge. It is challenging ’cause that’s right, 75% of the team was remote, and then it was basically me and the college hires, and frankly my jokes work on some people but they don’t work on everyone.

[laughter]

0:13:22 MK: But yeah it helps. I am… During COVID, we had quite a few new starters obviously who started working remote immediately. And it was very strange. And I did notice with our junior hires like, it definitely takes a particular type of person to be able to thrive working from home off the bat, like it really does. And there was some of our junior team members who really struggled and like my heart goes out to them, because, you know, definitely it wasn’t their own choosing. I mean the circumstances were very different.

0:13:55 MK: But really struggled by just not overhearing those incidental conversations at work and picking up that like, “What is cost per click?” Or like, “What is the social organic team up to this week?” Like just random conversations that fill that business knowledge for junior staff? Laura, have you had many junior people come on board fully remote or have you do you find that you tend to hire more experienced people?

0:14:22 LS: At Surefoot, we have not. We have only to this point hired folks who have typically a more experienced back… Or, you know, have more years of experience. But I am familiar with that from my previous role to a certain extent. And I would definitely agree with that. And, Brian and I definitely have the mentality of investing in people who want to learn and who are lifelong learner types. Brian and I both fall into that category ourselves.

0:14:54 LS: And that’s something we talk about a lot, you know, how do we get to a place where we feel that we’re able to do that in a capacity that really benefits the more junior employee and doesn’t feel like it’s an unnecessary drain on the mentor in that case? So that’s something that I would say that still needs some discussion, further discussion and solutions, but we’re thoughtful about it for sure.

0:15:26 MK: Tim, how did you do that? Or how do you do that with… You know, if all the juniors are in the office, and you’re trying to share some of your worldly expertise with them, how do you build relationships when you’re the remote person and the junior staff are in the office?

0:15:41 TW: I avoid them. I don’t want to talk to them. [chuckle]

0:15:47 MK: Oh, God.

0:15:49 TW: I mean I think that that is one of the… I mean, that’s the challenge from going from, you know, I went from Clearhead that was experienced people to Demystified, that was experienced people, to Search Discovery where it was that mix, and really the plan there was I was kind of bouncing into the offices periodically. So, it was one that I think very much was, okay at least there’s critical mass. There were times though where and others who were in the similar boat who were kind of remote, and it’s like, we traveled to the Atlanta Office or the Cleveland office, and nobody was there ’cause they were starting to work remote. So it almost seems like the hybrid of we have a couple of offices, and we have some people remote, actually can make… Especially if it’s in a world where there’s a lot of travel going on.

0:16:39 TW: Whereas it feels like if it’s all remote, then there is… Even when I worked for Bulldog Solutions, I was like the only remote person. They were in Austin, well, my boss was remote in Europe. But even then the technology was kind of there between people need to be able to type pretty quickly to have quick little text exchanges and be able to hop on calls. But I would say now there are the people who were… How do you refer to it, Laura? The… Not self-driven learners, lifelong learners, you can peg those people. And we definitely we can… I can look around Search Discovery and say, “Those are the lifelong learners. They’re the ones who will try to figure something out, beat their head against the wall for an appropriate amount of time,” and then say, “Hey, would you hop on a call and chat about this?” And we may do it immediately.

0:17:33 TW: So I think there’s a degree of figuring out how to be approachable. But I feel like Moe, you’ve had the kind of the flip side, there’s also the risk of somebody who, you know, maybe reaches out too often, they’re not kind of the… Because it does, it seems like it relies on both parties being sensitive to when is when it’s kind of the right kinds of interactions, and then having those discussions needs to be a mix of the personal and professional, which is just like happens in an office. It doesn’t feel like it’s unnatural to me.

0:18:12 MK: Yeah, it really feels like… And I mean, Tim, this is a relevant example, I’m sure you can think of who I’m referencing here. But we have an employee who is exactly… I mean, she’s a hustler, you know, she is in the midst of making a career change from social work to analytics, right, which is a huge jump.

0:18:31 LS: Wow.

0:18:32 MK: But she is so motivated to learn and self-directed and does reach out when she needs help. And she is a wonderful employee, right? And I think that sort of what we identified as part of that was that a big piece of it, especially in the remote environment, is “Does someone have that drive and that hustle to take something on?” And we can point her in directions, and she goes down that path, and then we can have the check-ins and things like that. But I think another big piece of that is openly communicating about what is an appropriate level of “shoulder tapping”? Or do we have this dedicated time set aside in one-on-ones or in internal analytics team meetings that folks of all skill sets and levels can ask questions and really learn from one another? Because I do think it becomes quite easy to become siloed in the remote environment and just try and tackle too much on your own instead of remembering, “Oh, yeah, I have a team of people I can turn to for this.”

0:19:39 LS: But I feel like that lifelong learner that you’re describing is a person that I would wanna hire in my team in the office as well. I don’t feel like it’s a different person. I feel like someone who… Yeah, Tim pretty eloquently described it, try something on their own, they’re really passionate and driven to figure out the answer, but when they’ve been banging their head on the wall, they put their hand up for help. Those are the people I want on my team too.

0:20:06 TW: But is it… It’s not that everybody wants those people, the people who are not that, but who may still be bright and capable and all this, they are likely to…

0:20:17 LS: Survive better?

0:20:19 TW: They could still be successful and still advance in their career in a office environment where there’s a little bit more maybe forced, having that happen but…

0:20:32 MH: Yeah, I think it’s important to try to learn to break down what is a skill versus what is maybe like a trait or personality aspect, ’cause I think that’s… Some of the things we’re talking about could be skills that people learn, and then some of it is who you are as a person, and I think that’s the thing. I very much connect with the same thing, and I always called it sort of intellectual curiosity, lateral thinking, and sort of proactiveness, but I think Laura, the way you described it is actually the same, basically, the same thing. It sort of has this desire to sort of see what’s gonna go next, or why, or whatever. That’s that fundamental attribute of a great analyst is in there somewhere, but then it’s also the intelligent navigation of the problem, and Moe you kind of alluded to that, but I think some of those are skills you can actually teach people, ’cause it’s like somebody’s really dogging and goes after a problem, well, you can teach them how to tear that problem down in new and better ways, but you can’t teach them to be interested in the problem in the first place.

0:21:41 MH: So that’s kind of the thing that I try to look for. And certainly, when you’re hiring people who have experience where they’ve built a repertoire of that, it shows up or doesn’t show up really easily, and then you can say like, “Oh yeah, that doesn’t fit our environment, but it can easily fit a different environment where there’s more inputs.” But when you’re… The reason I had to think about that was because I was trying to figure out, how do we hire someone directly out of college with no work history and still identify whether they could actually be the kind of person that would fit within our community? And actually… So pivoting on that, let’s talk a little bit about culture, ’cause I think that’s something that’s really challenging. And when you’re all remote, you don’t see each other face-to-face, so I don’t know, Laura, when you founded Surefoot, how did you start to piece together what your culture would be, and then how do you reinforce that?

0:22:36 LS: Yeah. To be honest, it really started with an exercise in both Brian and myself independently writing our own personal values, writing them down, and then coming together and sharing them with one another and seeing where there was overlap or where there wasn’t, and really sort of identifying that, “Hey, this is the reason we did this.” We had always talked at a high level about how we felt in many ways that we share the same values and wanted the same things out of a company and a co-foundership, but I think when we wrote it down was when it really hit us that like, “Hey, yeah, this is something that we can do and that we can really be successful at.” And I think as it relates to instilling a culture, we are definitely… We place a lot of emphasis on people who take a lot of pride in their work and who work really hard, and at the end of the day, they can go home knowing that they put in a good day’s work and are really happy with that, but that they also have an element of fun and support, and that in-person culture that you so often miss when you are a remote team.

0:23:56 LS: And so Brian and I try to be really mindful about making sure that we have regular things scheduled, whether that’s Zoom hangout hours or coffee mornings, which is what I would call the lowest bar, when it comes to remote culture there, but then we try and go beyond that. So we’re having a pumpkin carving party. We’ve done some events with chefs who have taught cooking classes for us, all of us as a team, and then we’ve all eaten the meal together on Zoom, like a family dinner. We had scheduled an all-hands get together in Austin, everyone had their plane tickets bought, the company covers that, all of that, rescheduled once then cancelled, thanks to COVID, so we ended up doing a virtual all-hands, which was certainly interesting, but it was a mixture of learning sessions, but also fun sessions. So we played the game Mafia over Zoom, and we had a pancake flipping contest, and just some funny little kind of irreverent things that let us bond, I think, both on a professional and personal levels. But you do have to be super intentional about that kind of stuff, and also solicit input from the team. There are teammates… We had one teammate who really has a great dumpling recipe, so back to the cooking thing, he actually hosted one of the classes, and letting teammates live out their passions and share them with the rest of the team, I think is a big part of the culture too.

0:25:32 MK: Do you struggle though, with there being the… What’s the word? The Tims of the team, who just don’t wanna get involved in that stuff?

0:25:40 TW: I was gonna say, the people who are like, “Oh my God, don’t, please.”

0:25:45 MK: Yeah. [chuckle]

0:25:45 TW: Yeah, I have the same question.

0:25:48 LS: But, you mean, who don’t want to be involved in that culture stuff?

0:25:52 MK: Yeah.

0:25:53 TW: Yeah.

0:25:53 MK: How do you manage that, as the founder of a company?

0:25:57 LS: Yeah, I think you have to be respectful of the fact that everyone has their own journey and their own idea of what an ideal environment looks like for them. And so we certainly have people on the team who are less interested in certain activities that we participate in, or only attend one of the hangout hours every so often, things like that. And I think that they still contribute to our culture, it’s just in other ways. And so, that’s definitely a part of the reality, and we never wanna force anyone into anything, certainly. But it’s really… It’s there for the people who want it, and for the people that don’t, as long as they’re high performers and contributing and kicking ass, then that’s great.

0:26:46 TW: ‘Cause that does feel like you’re pretty intentional about it. It does seem like it’s easy to slip into the vocal subset of people who are really into those sorts of things being there like, “And this will be so much fun, and then we’ll do a group trivia thing in there,” and it’s… ‘Cause it’s easy for those to have an idea, and then it does put the people who are walking the fine line…

0:27:16 MK: The Tims of the team.

0:27:17 TW: The Tims of the team that are like, “Ugh… ” And there’s a generational, I think, level of things too. There are stages in your life where you’ve got a shit-ton of stuff going on, and there’s… I’m getting to the point where I’m old enough that I don’t have kid stuff constantly, but… And then there is this risk that you can start to feel like, “Wow, I’m not really a team player because it’s painful to participate in this stuff,” or, “I can’t make it, I’ve got something else to deal with.” But I also wonder, the introvert versus extrovert, like the… On the one hand, it feels like painting this overly simplistically, ’cause it’s, I can’t figure out what the right answer is. Extroverts, “Oh, God, I don’t wanna work remotely because I need to have that regular hitting human interaction,” but at the same time, they’re more likely to force the human interaction, even if it’s through a two-dimensional screen, whereas the introverts could go the other way of, “Oh, thankfully, I can just… I can mark myself as away and focus on stuff and get my recharging with my thoughts, but they’re probably less likely… ‘Cause they have less need for it.

0:28:38 MK: I hate introvert/extrovert. I’ve been talking about this the last few weeks a lot. I’m sick of it. I am so sick of people… And the reason I say this is because ask anyone, I’m a raging extrovert. I can seriously stay home on my own for a week without talking to any… Well, still I might chat to someone on the phone like my mum or my sister, but I can stay at home for a whole week and be totally happy. I can hang out with my dog, putter around in the garden, I find I’m exhausted after social interaction. Anyway, sorry for the sidebar, Tim, you can go back to your point.

0:29:10 TW: It’s possible that Laura and I share a former employee where I always had to go through for the fourth fucking time Myers-Briggs, and that was about how I felt about it then. So I guess I’m with you, so maybe I withdraw my question.

0:29:24 MH: Moe, I think you’re representing a really balanced personality. So everybody who does Myers-Briggs know that it’s not one or the other, it’s on a continuum, so we all have pieces of the other. So, Tim, and I know you’d love to go more in depth on the MBTI.

0:29:41 TW: Intuitive, or feeling?

0:29:44 MH: No, I’m just…

0:29:45 LS: As a side note, when I worked at the Hillary Clinton campaign, we were in a meeting and I asked a question. Eric Schmidt from Google was leading the meeting, and I asked a question about Myers-Briggs, and he basically mansplained to me that the Myers-Briggs had been disproven and discredited as a farce and that I should not be using that as my basis for whatever it was my question was at that time, but…

0:30:15 MH: So then did you pull out the one that’s the golden retriever, the beaver, or the lion, or…

0:30:25 TW: Oh, geez.

0:30:25 MH: That one. The otter. [chuckle]

0:30:25 MK: I haven’t heard this one.

0:30:26 TW: Oh, ugh.

0:30:27 MH: There’s all kinds of dumb personality tests, and one of them is like, “Which of these four animals are you?” So if Eric Schmidt was like, “Oh, Myers-Briggs is terrible,” you should be like, “Oh, what about this one?” So yeah, technically the most flavor of the month in terms of that is probably what’s called the Five Types OCEAN, openness, conscientiousness, something, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

0:30:50 TW: Oh, man, this podcast has gotten so derailed. What does it take to move on?

0:30:54 MH: But yeah, but we don’t need to talk about it.

0:30:56 TW: Anything? Should we talk about our podcast team-building activity we’re gonna do next week?

0:31:02 MH: One thing… Oh, boy… Tim, we literally only do team-building activities like once or twice ever and it’s usually at Super Week or Marketing Analytics Summit when we…

0:31:13 MK: And it normally evolves a bar and lots of beverages.

0:31:16 MH: Yes, and that’s… Actually could be a very good thing, although it can also bite you in the ass too. I don’t know, Laura, if you have had all-hands company meetings, but at Search Discovery back in the day, they could get rowdy. [chuckle]

0:31:33 LS: As they can, yes.

0:31:34 TW: So maybe to move us away from all this touchy-feely crap, because frankly, I’m getting uncomfortable. [chuckle] We’ve skipped over some of, I think, the obvious… Like you and Brian clearly enjoyed working with each other. I think you had had kind of an interlude, he was still at CRO when you guys decided to do this? But it seems like there are some… Obviously you get the benefits of being able to go to a broader talent pool, unless maybe they live in… I gotta ask, do you have employees in California? [chuckle] Every time I’ve worked in a company that has remote employees, they’re like, “Ugh, California.” From that…

0:32:16 MK: Why is it so bad? What’s the time difference, like five hours?

0:32:19 TW: No, no, no, it’s more the…

0:32:23 MH: It’s not about time difference, the labor laws are a lot different in California versus a lot of other states.

0:32:27 MK: Oh.

0:32:27 MH: So depending on where your company’s based. So, Laura mentioned this earlier and we had the same thing at Search Discovery, being a Georgia company, as we started hiring people in New York, in California, you go through all these hoops, and it affects a lot of things you have to do structurally and regulations and stuff like that.

0:32:47 MK: Oh.

0:32:47 MH: And I would get that look from our main people services person, Laura, whenever I’d hire someone in a brand new state, and they’d be like, “Is there… Can we find somebody that’s already in a state we’re in?” [chuckle]

0:33:00 TW: Oh, let me just translate that to human resources, but apparently they don’t like being called that. Is that an industry-wide thing?

0:33:06 MH: Oh, I just… Out of respect for the name of the department, I’m calling them what they call themselves.

0:33:13 TW: But on that getting anyone anywhere, and I will flat-out say, Laura, if you do not wanna answer this, we will totally cut it out, but how did you think about different… The whole cost of living thing is when I’ve worked it purely remote, it’s been really small and it’s kind of just the way things have worked out, it hasn’t really been an issue, but do you have to grapple with that literally based on where the candidate is…

0:33:40 LS: Yup.

0:33:41 TW: And that has to be rolled in to the compensate to the offer… How do you think about that?

0:33:47 LS: Yeah, so that is certainly something that we do think about. We try to be as transparent as possible in the job description about what the salary is, so again, people can self-select out if that is not within the range that they feel comfortable with, which I think is a big piece of it. So we often don’t get a ton of applicants from either of the coast because, probably partially because of that reason, we’re a super small company still at this point, and we can still find talent who we can pay extremely well in every other state in the country, that isn’t California or New York, basically. And so it definitely does factor in, and I do… It’s one of those things where are we missing out on some talent, because there certainly is a ton in those two states in particular, I’m sure we are.

0:34:41 LS: Yet the flip side of that coin, I’m originally from St. Louis, they are trying to grow the tech scene there. Having lived in St. Louis for the better part of my life and wanting to go into tech and not having really much opportunity at the time to do that at all, just because of the sheer lack of tech companies that existed at that time in St. Louis I would have loved a remote job. And so to be able to own a company that allows that me in St. Louis, nowadays, to get a job in tech at a wage that they feel comfortable with, that’s probably honestly above and beyond what they could find in St. Louis in an office job in many cases, or Ohio or Colorado or some of these other places where talent often goes overlooked because people think it’s… They’re in a fly-over state or they don’t have the same skill set as someone in New York or California, so…

0:35:41 MK: Oh I love that, I love how you’re thinking about it.

0:35:44 TW: But you’re not a little suspicious of anybody who actually wants to live in Ohio or Missouri or… [chuckle]

0:35:52 LS: Red flag? No.

0:35:53 TW: A little bit of a red flag.

0:35:55 LS: Midwesterners, they say that… What is the saying? Salt of the earth, whatever.

[chuckle]

0:36:00 MH: Yeah.

0:36:01 MK: Apparently Facebook have said this now though, that as they’re giving people the option to work remote permanently, they’re gonna be scaling salaries dependent on where you live. And apparently there’s been insane uproar because all these people that are living in the Bay Area, obviously wanna leave but then will get a pay cut, which I think it’s really reasonable, but there’s lots of people who work at tech companies who don’t think that approach is…

0:36:25 MH: Called the UPS store people.

0:36:28 TW: Having been in a small remote only place, and the way the compensation worked was a little bit different that it wasn’t an issue, but I was very cognizant that one of my co-workers who was in the Bay Area, and I was in Ohio, and it was like, “Huh. Yeah, I think I might be making out better in… ” Although, well, depends on how you define it, but the shit they do…

0:36:52 MH: Woah.

0:36:52 TW: Maybe I have a few fewer options, but I’m in the great place to raise a family spot, whereas she was in the, oh, great place to actually go do stuff.

0:37:03 MH: Yeah, I was in that position a lot at Search Discovery, and there wasn’t a year at that company where I led that entire practice where I was actually the highest paid person in my own department, because geography makes it such that if you want that talent, you need to pay what the local rate is for it, I don’t think poorly about it, I feel like I’ve made pretty good money. So it was just sort of an interesting aspect of it sort of like, “Yeah, you have to pay more for those people.” It’s tricky though… It gets tricky when say, somebody who’s living in one place suddenly moved to a much more expensive place, and what do you do with their salary? That’s difficult to manage. That’s also really tricky when somebody who’s in a really high-priced area code or zip code then suddenly moves to a small town and they’re making crazy amounts more than what anyone normally would, so those are all things you just have to… But anyways, enough on the salaries.

0:37:58 TW: Well, except… Laura took it the flip side is like, “We are a company, this is what we can afford, we’re gonna let it self-select, and if somebody chooses to move and they wanna move to the Bay Area and live in a shoe box, good for them.”

0:38:11 MK: But I also love that you’re keeping the door open or opening the door for people in other communities that might otherwise find it difficult to find a job in tech and kind of being like, “Well, we’re actually creating an opportunity through the choices that we’re making essentially,” which I think is really nice.

0:38:30 LS: Yeah, I think it’s easy for people to look at the opportunity you’re stripping away from people who have tons of it, right,like a small fish with a big pond in California and New York.

0:38:40 TW: What about the tech bros?

0:38:42 LS: But in a place where you can go in and really be a leader in an area or really pull some of that great talent, great people, hard workers, nice people, again, those all exist everywhere, but are often ignored or overlooked if they don’t live in a “tech town” so.

0:39:03 MK: Now I’ve gotta ask a question, which is going to be a little bit peculiar because I realize I’m asking an American audience who I feel probably have a different work-life balance to Australians. Australians are kinda known for working hard, but then also hanging up their shoes at the end of the day and going to have a beer, and during COVID, both my husband and I are working stupid hours and it’s kind of driving me insane, he sits… Oh my God, he gets up like 6:30 in the morning, and at like 7:30 at night, I’m kind of like, “Would you get up from your desk? You’ve left your desk for 15 minutes today, and that’s it,” and I feel like this would be so dangerous with a remote company is people really… Almost needing to prove that they’re working, how do you manage that as a leader?

0:39:55 LS: Yeah, that is definitely a good and ongoing topic of discussion, I would say, within the remote world, and Brian and I have explored this a lot, because especially as a services agency, so many people do it by the billable hour, how billable is someone, what does their time sheet look like. And that has been something that Brian and I have felt a lot of stress from, personally, in previous… With previous employers. And so, what we really wanted to focus on at Surefoot was, yeah, we have to have time sheets, sure, we have to do all that stuff, but at the end of the day, it’s about your output.

0:40:33 LS: So there’s this thing called results-oriented work environment, which is really about what is the output and what are the results that someone is producing, not how many hours are they logging on to a time sheet. And so, I think that the big thing for us, is staying close enough to our employees and in constant enough communication with them, that we just see the work being done, and we trust people, and we have systems in place, where we can start to identify breakdowns and certainly looking at time sheets is a data point, but it’s not the data point, and I think that that’s where so many agencies fall short, because they don’t know what other data points to look at, and I will admit that there’s not a great model for it, results-oriented work environment is a fairly newish, I think, and difficult thing to implement and track, and yet there are so many negative things I think, that result from only hawking over people’s time sheets, both for the employee and the employer.

0:41:38 LS: And I think another piece of that, is really encouraging people to get out and get away from the screen, so we have vacation time that we give to folks, obviously, we require them to take at least a week of it every year. I don’t care if you sit and watch TV and eat bonbons on the couch, as long as you’re not on Slack, doing work, or making any indication that you are. And the second thing, we have a channel in our Slack called self-care, and any time that you participate in a self-care activity, whether it’s walking the dog in the middle of the day or taking a nap or whatever it is, you post in self-care and at the end of the month, we have a drawing for a $50 gift card, just random.

0:42:19 MK: Oh, cute.

0:42:20 MH: I love that idea.

0:42:22 MK: I love that.

0:42:22 LS: Yeah, so we really… And it’s not to say… There are people who may not post, to Tim’s earlier point, and so, you have to be a bit more intentional about following up with those folks and saying, “Hey, are you taking the time to self-care? If you don’t wanna share what you’re doing, that’s fine, I just need to know that you’re doing something,” because…

0:42:42 TW: Last October, last month was Wellness Month at Search Discovery, I did not join the wellness channel on Slack, partly ’cause it also skews towards… It’s gonna skew towards a bunch of stuff that’s completely irrelevant to me, but on the time piece, ’cause there are definitely some people in the industry who just rip on the billable hour, but I happen to know that what they sell as consultancies, are kind of lending themselves to a fixed fee, to resolve, so but…

0:43:15 MK: Can you explain that to someone that doesn’t work in an agency anymore? I have no idea what you just said.

0:43:19 TW: Okay. So if you’re saying, I’m gonna implement this platform for you, I can say that is going to be $50,000 or $100,000, or pick your currency, and then it is… It behooves both parties to make sure the scope is clear, expectations, assumptions are clear, and then that’s what they pay. And if you do it, if it takes… There’s hours estimates that are happening behind the scenes, you’re trying to roughly… You gotta make money, but it sort of takes away… The consultancy is incentivized to do it as efficiently and to hit what’s required, but that means where it’s gotta be written what the results are that are expected, and it’s on the client wins that they know what they’re gonna pay, they don’t say, “I’m just opening up the check book and you’re gonna keep stringing me out.”

0:44:14 TW: So that’s where the challenge is, what happens if you’re supporting a testing program, if you’re supporting, providing analyst support services, where you’re kind of very knowledgeable staff augmentation, where you are doing a job and you have the consultancy as the intermediary, and that could probably be an entire episode, but I guess the question… There’s just the billable hour, looking internally and focusing on the employees, but then there’s the reality of the business model of how agreements are set up, where it feels like it’s tough to nail… Even at the CRO space, “You’re gonna guarantee a revenue lift?” So how do you actually… I’m not familiar with the results-oriented… I’m taking it out of the context of the words. So maybe if you gave a quick explanation of how that actually applies in a digital consultancy world.

0:45:13 LS: For me, you mean?

0:45:14 TW: Yeah, for you.

0:45:15 LS: Yeah, so there’s a whole framework around it, it’s actually gorowe.com, and it talks about, I guess, the nuances or the specifics of each of the principles, and I would say that we implement a few of those things, but not certainly very rigorously. And so… And it is hard in an agency setting, there has to be a balance, and I think that Rowe was initially established as more of the client side or non-services side framework, but I think that the other thing, and this is something that I’ll touch on, I guess more at the end probably, is to your earlier question Moe, or your original question, people have different needs and different work styles and preferences based on where they are in current stages of their life, and I don’t think that that’s ever rung truer than it has in these coronavirus times.

0:46:17 LS: And I believe that we have gotten away… And I remember when I was in high school, my mom worked full-time, and then she decided that she wanted to cut back to part-time so she could come to my games and be home more often when I was, and that was no problem. She just shifted to part-time, and then when I left for college, she went back to full-time, and I don’t really feel like there’s much of a understanding or appreciation or even the ability… Companies don’t seem to give that ability to employees.

0:46:50 LS: It’s like all or nothing now, and I feel like we are going to have to, especially now because of COVID, start to be more mindful of, “Hey, are you someone who’s gonna kick ass, but you only wanna do that for 20 hours a week? You’re welcome here, and there’s a place for you here, and if you on the other side of the spectrum, wanna work 60 hours a week and that’s a conscious choice that you’re making, then you can do that, and you have a place here. Here are what the trade-offs are gonna be if you’re the 20-hour person versus the 60-hour person, both financially and personally and whatever. You’re an adult. Go make that choice.” And it is interesting though, because I do feel like that isn’t provided to people as an option, like it used to be.

0:47:37 TW: So that does remind me, ’cause my wife went through… She was full-time. This is definitely, or I suspect is a US thing, when you’re full-time, that’s 45, 50, 60, whatever, your salary full-time, it is somewhere well north of 40.

0:47:54 MK: Sorry, just slight interjection. Australia, most standard contracts are between 35 to 38 hours per week, just to be clear. Carry on.

[chuckle]

0:48:06 TW: But then we had first kid and she wound up going back for 30 hours a week. Highly valued, same company, so they’re like, “Great, we’ll give you special projects ’cause you’re not gonna be like always… ” So then she was working 30 hours a week, so it’s like there was no working… If you’re full-time, then there’s kind of no upper bound on how much time could be rung out of you. As soon as she scaled back to a little bit of part-time, and there was an understanding that she was part-time, even though it wasn’t a drastic scale back, but then she actually was more intentional about managing her time to say, “This is what I can get done.” Although I have to call out, my brain is melting a little bit on… All of that just got twisted back around to the number of hours that you’re working, which seems like it’s completely the opposite of the results-oriented, and it’s not about the number of hours that you work.

0:48:57 MK: But I just wanted to say on the results orientated, one of the things that does come to mind, ’cause I’ve had this discussion with the previous boss, where we were going through a really difficult time, and I was like, “The team are working their arse off, and they’re really struggling, and we need to support them,” and he was like, “It doesn’t matter how much they’re working. It just matters what they deliver.” And that was really frustrating for me because we were going through a whole bunch of change, and they were adjusting to new tools and new things that they had to learn, and I was like, “Well, you can’t kind of expect them to have the same output when you’ve literally up-ended all of the systems and tools they use.”

0:49:33 MK: But it comes back to how do you then as a leader… You’re gonna have people that if you have a results-orientated workplace… And again, like Tim, I’m interpreting what that means… You’re gonna have people on your team that can get a task done in four hours, who are gonna be logging off at 4:00 PM and be like, “Great, my job’s done,” and you’re gonna have someone who’s gonna still be sitting there at 8:00 PM or 9:00 PM and really struggling. How do you make sure that as a team you wrap around that person and help get them to a place faster, where they’re having the same results in a more efficient time?

0:50:08 LS: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I do feel like people… I do feel like there is an incentive, especially for us at Surefoot, to be efficient. So we often talk about automations of processes and things like that, that we can be better at internally, so we can become more efficient, and what that means for the company and for the company’s employees. And so I feel like a lot of that may be… And this is just me spouting ideas here… But comes back to a person’s career path and trajectory. So in terms of the more advanced or senior you become, I think a very clear indicator of someone growing and learning and becoming more advanced is becoming more efficient in many ways, or identifying where in their process they can become more efficient. So maybe it’s a larger conversation around, “Here’s what the path for growth looks like here. As you start in this role, you’re gonna be new, you’re gonna still be having to figure things out and do them manually, but over time, we expect you to be at this level, and here’s how you get there, here’s how we’re gonna support you in getting there, and here’s what that means for you in the company.”

0:51:25 TW: And then you say, “And I’m Laura. I’m a senior. That’s why I’m having my margarita at 10:00 AM.”

[chuckle]

0:51:32 MH: But the other thing for that person is sometimes there’s no other way but through that. So to build that efficiency that you’re talking about, Laura, you sometimes have to go through the crucible…

0:51:46 LS: Totally.

0:51:46 MH: Of not having the time, of forcing yourself through that, and you can hand people all the tools, and it still has to be their method, their way, who it is, what it is for them.

0:51:58 TW: But there’s the other… It’s not just getting to efficiency. The 10,000 hours, you can knock it or not, it’s got some issues. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, like how do you… There’s a degree of… Yeah, over my career, I would say that I’m 80th percentile plus on the number of hours I’ve worked.

0:52:19 MK: I think 95 percentile plus.

0:52:23 MH: Tim, you would literally be someone I’d point to as a really bad example.

0:52:27 TW: Right, but…

[chuckle]

0:52:28 MH: You’re not balanced. I just, honestly… That would make you the quintessential analyst. So if you look at your life, there are things to be pretty excited about.

0:52:39 TW: On the one hand, I wanna make that exact same point, but without making me sound quite so bad. There’s a degree of you can’t walk in and say, “Well, my lifestyle is I wanna work less.” It’s like, “Well, that is gonna be less experience and time that you’re spending doing the job, which means that… That is one way of advancing is actually getting more experience, doing more stuff and you can pack more or less experience in. And that’s kind of somehow separate from just the number of hours for the sake of hours, it’s actually how much more time are you spending with your craft? I wanna be a world class wood worker.

0:53:23 TW: Well, I can’t say I’m just gonna spend an hour every third weekend and get there, I’m gonna have to practice the craft a lot, and especially once you’re on the, this is the career that I wanna be on. Hopefully, you’re drawn to it and it’s the old it doesn’t… Parts of it don’t feel like work, you’re really… You’re a lifelong learner and driven to learn more about this, and you’re doing client work, but you’re growing your experience and you’re enjoying it, and you’re getting stimulated, and you’re getting up and walking the dog and not turning into a 400-pound unhealthy stroke victim. That didn’t end quite where I was heading.

[chuckle]

0:54:03 MK: Ended up in a really tragic place. [laughter]

0:54:09 TW: I’ve lost 20 pounds during COVID. Somehow I was a remote worker before and you’re a remote worker now, and I’m healthier than I was in March.

0:54:18 MH: That’s probably the stress, honestly…

0:54:20 MK: No… [chuckle]

0:54:22 TW: No. Very intentional.

0:54:24 MH: No, but okay, we do have to start to wrap up, and I hate this ’cause I actually have so much I wanna talk about on this topic, although it has very little to do with being a remote first consultancy, and very much to do with just time and people development, which Laura is obviously, obviously very qualified to talk about as well. So it is a good topic, but honestly, the show is going a little long, what are you gonna do today anyways everybody, watch the election results? Whatever. Okay, so one thing we wanna do before we wrap up completely is go around the horn and do what we call last call. Something we’ve found recently that we think might be of interest to our listeners. So let’s just go around. Laura, you’re our guest, do you have a last call you’d like to share?

0:55:10 LS: I do, yes. This is, I guess, ties in very well to what we were just discussing. Brian passed me an article the other day, I think it was written actually as a blog post on a company’s blog, but it was basically HR leaders from three companies I think it was Coinbase, Thumbtack and Reddit, talking about how to retain top talent. And something in particular that really resonated with me was they were talking about… It wasn’t specific to remote companies, but I think there is a lot of overlap. The importance of having people on a manager track and people on an individual contributor track, and this is something that I’m personally passionate about, so I’m excited to see that more people are talking about it. I’ve had a lot of real shitty managers in my career, and I believe that one way that we have gotten there overall as a society is by promoting people into management who aren’t fit to be managers and are only promoted because they believe that’s the only way to career growth and more money, et cetera, et cetera. So this article really goes into more detail around how those particular HR leaders are thinking about it and some strategies that they’re using to ensure that folks who wanna be on the IC track have that ability, and folks that wanna be on the management track are given the support and the resources they need to be really good managers of people.

0:56:48 MK: And just to be clear and paint the full picture, Helbs was doing raise the roof movements through that whole contribution.

0:56:55 MH: Because I so agree with that, and I agree that’s very important. Okay. Tim, what about you? You have a last call?

0:57:06 TW: I do. And here’s the thing, this was already on my list and then literally an hour before the show was gonna go, we got tagged in a tweet about the same thing. So I just wanna go on the record that this was already on my list before it came on, but I think we’ve mentioned him before, but Kai Feng Mr. Musician writes songs, and there’ve been some… They’re amusing, and he just seems to have quite the prolific output. I think he’s at Adidas, he’s in Germany, but he’s an analytics guy, and he released a 2020 remastered version of the digital analytics anthem which… It’s just delightful ’cause he’s actually lip syncing to it, which is funny. But then it’s kind of fun to go to his YouTube channel, and I think he’d released a quarantine song. He has one that’s like basically 10 song ideas that were too short to actually be a song so they’re all put into one, so it is just fun. I don’t usually get sucked into YouTube channels, but I got sucked into that and have actually listened to the digital analytics anthem a couple of times, so it was fun. And I’ll stop there, it’ll be my shortest one ever.

0:58:18 MH: Your onefer.

0:58:19 MK: It really is.

0:58:20 TW: My onefer. I had a second one, but I’ll save that for another time.

0:58:23 MH: I like it, I appreciate that. [chuckle] Alright, Moe, what about you? What’s your last call?

0:58:28 MK: So, thing is I don’t even remember how I came across this Medium article, but it’s called To risk or not to risk. It’s been shared by a lady called Andrea Ho, and she talks about her experience deciding to move industries and really her desire to move into tech and become a product manager. And I love even just the opening line, “When most people think of the word risk, they think of danger, threat or jeopardy, they forget about other synonyms like possibility, chance or potential.” And she talks through some of her decision-making and being an introvert and throwing herself into a big scary new career journey. And I think… I don’t know, everyone seems to be doing a lot of thinking at the moment. I suppose COVID makes you think about stuff, where you do want your career to go and which path you wanna be on. And I think this is such a really great read to help push you a little bit more out of your comfort zone and encourage you to do the thing that’s gonna stretch you the most.

0:59:25 MH: Yeah, start a remote first consultancy.

[chuckle]

0:59:28 MH: Yeah.

0:59:30 TW: Become a lifelong learner and then apply at Surefoot.

0:59:31 MH: Right, right. That too.

[laughter]

0:59:34 MH: Yeah. They’re usually hiring. I see job postings from Surefoot on Measure Slack pretty regularly, yeah. So that’s good. Growing company.

0:59:42 TW: Move to Kansas. What’s yours, Michael?

0:59:47 MH: Yeah, I was about to ask myself.

[laughter]

0:59:48 MH: Michael, what’s your last call? Okay, yeah. So, I read across this recently. I’m not like that into the venture capital world, but there’s a venture capital company called Bessemer Venture Partners, and they released on their website all or a big chunk of their memo, so apparently whenever inside a venture capitalist company, I don’t really know the ins and outs of it, they put up together a memo to the other partners in the VC firm to say, “This is why I think we should invest in this company,” and so they’ve released a lot of their original memos for a bunch of the companies they’ve invested in. So it’s kind of a really interesting lead on companies like Shopify, and Yelp, and Fiverr, and PagerDuty and LinkedIn, that these were… They were part of some of the early investments behind some of these companies and what were they talking about, and what do they think about these companies way back then? So anyways, these memos are all published on their website. I just thought it’s very interesting reading, ’cause if you do read that article that Moe mentioned and you decide to have a start-up, it’s good to be more aware of what’s going on in the VC world if you’re gonna go get funding like that, which is a path, but not the only path.

1:00:57 MH: Okay. We have been chatting for a while, and we would love to hear from you. Are you working in a remote first consultancy? Have you thought about going remote? Is it something that after COVID you’re like, “I can never do this again.” We’d love to hear from you. The best place to do that is on the Measure Slack, or on Twitter, or on our LinkedIn group, and we’d be delighted to hear from you, hear about how you’re handling that. We all have different perspectives and those kinds of things. Laura, are you on Twitter?

1:01:28 LS: I sure am.

1:01:29 MH: What’s your Twitter handle so people could find you and follow you there?

1:01:33 LS: It is actually STLstude. So S-T-L-S-T-U-D-E.

1:01:39 MH: STLstude. Okay, perfect. Laura, thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s been a pleasure to have you.

1:01:46 LS: Yes, thank you for having me, it’s been fun.

1:01:49 MH: Yeah, it was really great. I wish I could tell… Well, we’re already way over time. I personally appreciate Laura, because as I was starting my company this year, Laura was someone I got introduced to, and she took time out of her schedule to give me some ideas and chat with me about business and those kinds of things. So somebody who’s really… I have a lot of respect for and deep appreciation for, so appreciate that. Sorry to make that weird, but…

[chuckle]

1:02:18 MH: It’s worth saying, Anyway…

1:02:19 TW: That was weird.

1:02:21 LS: Not weird at all, thank you.

1:02:21 MH: And while we’re being appreciative, Tim, please. Allow me to continue to be appreciative of Josh Crowhurst, who’s our producer with whom these shows would not sound nearly as intelligent or erudite. Okay, that is it for this episode. If you’re listening to this and you’re in the USA and it’s early and you have not yet voted, go vote. Get that done.

1:02:48 MK: Go vote. Even I did.

1:02:50 MH: Yup, and…

1:02:51 LS: Please.

1:02:52 MH: If you’ve already voted, then join us in watching some other country’s election results, because they probably will be better than ours. I prefer the BBC, but pick your poison. Anyways, for all of us here, my two co-hosts, Moe and Tim, I am sure whether you’re remote or planning to go back to the office, one thing remains the same, which is whatever you do, keep analyzing.

[music]

1:03:19 Announcer: Thanks for listening, and don’t forget to join the conversation on Twitter or in the Measure Slack. We welcome your comments and questions. Visit us on the web at analyticshour.io or on Twitter @AnalyticsHour.

[music]

1:03:34 Charles Barkley: So smart guys want to fit in so they made up a term called analytics. Analytics don’t work.

1:03:39 Tom Hammerschmidt: Analytics. Oh, my God! What the fuck does that even mean?

[music]

1:03:50 MK: Adidas.

1:03:51 TW: Adidas, depending on what country you’re in it has two. Yes. Okay, we’ll not go… Yes.

[laughter]

1:04:00 TW: Oh my God!

1:04:00 MH: And that’s why I like Nike the most.

[laughter]

1:04:01 MH: ‘Cause it’s pronounced the same, no matter where you’re from.

1:04:04 MK: We say Nike. Oh, no, we say Nike.

1:04:08 LS: Oh, no!

[laughter]
[music]

1:04:14 MK: I tell you, Laura, we have a really bad habit of all trying to speak at once, and then no one speaks, because everyone’s decided to suddenly be polite, which happens very infrequently.

[laughter]

1:04:25 MH: The thing is, Tim and Moe get more embarrassed by dead space, not realizing there’s an editor who will come in and fix all of that, so it doesn’t matter.

[laughter]

1:04:33 MH: So it’s like gathering your thoughts, perish the thought.

1:04:37 TW: We’re trying to make Josh’s life easy.

1:04:40 MH: No, no, the stuff we’ve sent him, come on. Let’s just rip the mask off. Josh, it’s not about you.

[chuckle]

1:04:47 MH: Anyway, alright, let’s give it a pause.

[music]

1:04:53 TW: You’re not on top of the QAnon? Not ordering some furniture off of Wayfair?

[laughter]

1:05:00 MH: Just, Tim, come on.

1:05:01 MK: Oh, my God! I feel like you need to start sending me more reading material.

1:05:05 MH: You don’t want… Moe, no. Yeah, things not to ask for. There’s levels. There’s levels Moe, and you don’t need this in your life.

[laughter]
[music]

1:05:16 MK: No! I just, I don’t know what’s fucking wrong with me. Yesterday, I went to say the word mechanic, and mango came out, like mango.

[laughter]

1:05:24 MH: Aha!

1:05:24 TW: What could be…

1:05:25 MK: And I seriously had this really…

1:05:27 TW: What could be going on?

1:05:28 MK: Driving me mad. I was like, I feel like I can’t string a sentence together, and I had a really good way of turning this around, and I completely forgot it.

[chuckle]

1:05:37 MH: Moe, you’re our only hope. Rescue this episode! No, I’m just kidding.

[laughter]
[music]

1:05:46 MH: Okay, I’ll give us a five count and we’ll get started here.

1:05:50 TW: I think we could do a three count. I mean, five.

1:05:51 MH: Three, five? It’s how they do it on TV, Tim. I’ve seen it done.

1:05:56 MK: I’m all for the five. Make it dramatic.

1:05:58 TW: Yeah. I feel like you need to count faster then.

[chuckle]

1:06:01 MH: I feel like this is not a place to optimize. This isn’t where we need optimization.

1:06:07 TW: Okay, whatever. Whatever feels right. See? I’ve got back up.

1:06:12 MH: Yeah. Is that what you’ve got?

[laughter]

1:06:17 MH: Alright, so we’ll start in four, three…

[music]

1:06:25 TW: Rock flag and remote… Pancake flipping.

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