Managing Projects and Leveraging Partnerships with Agencies

Episode 5 February 23, 2022 00:57:54
Managing Projects and Leveraging Partnerships with Agencies
The Agency Hour
Managing Projects and Leveraging Partnerships with Agencies

Feb 23 2022 | 00:57:54

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Hosted By

Troy Dean Johnny Flash

Show Notes

We’re excited to be joined by Mike Bal, Head of Community Growth at Automattic - the people behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Jetpack, Tumblr, WordPress VIP, Simplenote, Longreads, Crowdsignal, Atavist, Happy Tools, Day One, and more. As part of a large organisation, Mike will share how they still leverage agency partners as well as his experience with managing projects and scaling remote teams.

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P.S If you would like to watch the recording you can view the episode here: 
The Agency Hour - Ep 5 - Managing Projects and Leveraging Partnerships with Agencies
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igt4RFFhluk&list=PLPHlA3d91okkAjSrSPWvyr20q4-BdqIaM&index=5 
 
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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 We wanna connect with startups and we want to connect with agencies and we want to connect with developers because the product's changed a lot. So now that we have the people to do it, like we've gotta catch back up on our product messaging and marketing and like let people know what's actually there versus the perception of what was there. You know, five to 10 years ago. Speaker 1 00:00:19 If you have a vision for the agency you want to build, then we want to help you build it. Welcome to the agency hour podcast brought to you by agency Mavericks. Hey ladies and gentlemen, welcome Speaker 2 00:00:31 To another agency hour live here in the Facebook group. I'm here with my good buddy. Mike Paul from automatic. Mike, how you doing? Speaker 0 00:00:36 Hey buddy. Good. How are you doing? Speaker 2 00:00:38 I'm doing very well, man, for those that don't know who the hell are you and what are you doing here? Speaker 0 00:00:42 All right. I am Mike Ball. I'm the head of community growth for wordpress.com, which is one of the companies owned by automatic. Uh, Troy posted in the Facebook group. We also have like WooCommerce. We have jet pack. We, um, recently acquired pocket cast and day one and a number of other things under the umbrella. So I'm focused on community growth. It's a new [email protected]. Um, I have my history as in agency. I worked at, uh, 10 up before this and I actually met Troy at a agency called single grain where I was doing social media work for him at the time. So I've done everything from marketing to project management, to leadership, um, all in the agency world. And now I'm shifting over back over to more focused kind of undefined marketing in the, the in-house world, which is wild jump Speaker 2 00:01:30 Undefined, undefined marketing. What is that? What is that exactly? <laugh> Speaker 0 00:01:34 There's, there's always, you know, when there's the buzzwords hit the ground before everybody knows what anybody's talking about and everybody goes for it, right? Like community has been around for a while. And I think kind of like subtext and never really taken seriously, cuz it was hard to measure, but everything like all the acronyms for all the data platforms, DFP, DMP, everything like, yeah. I've had clients come in the room, be like, we're looking at DFP right now. We had a DMP, we're switching it out for a CDP. And I was like, but those don't actually work together. Like rewind, can you say that again? And I write it down. I'm like, do you know which things you're getting? Like, can we go back through this and, and define these real quick <laugh> but that's how, that's how the industry works. Like, oh, I need that thing. It sounds fancy. And then they go, yeah, Speaker 2 00:02:17 Yeah, totally. I used to work at a he's a I'm gonna open the closet and bring out a skeleton. I used to work at a company selling barcode scanners to, you know, whoever needed them. And we had our Craig was our head of tech. I used to bring him into meetings to talk technical stuff. Cause I didn't understand what they were talking about. And what happened is when you get in a room with tech people, they talk in three letter acronyms all the time. Right. So Craig had this Craig and I had this trick where they would be talking in like gobbledy goop with their three letter acronyms and Craig would look at me and just go, oh, it's a TLA. And I'd be like, oh cool. And then they would look at us and go what the fuck's to TLA and Craig be like called a three letter acronym and he'd just level the room. Right. He's like, oh Speaker 0 00:02:57 That's Speaker 2 00:02:58 Humans and talk to each other normally. Speaker 0 00:03:00 Yeah. Yeah. You're doing Speaker 2 00:03:01 Your T you're doing your TLAs. Trying to make us feel like we are stupid. Like come on. So yeah. Now I just wanna also give a bit of a shout out to, to Mikey before we get, start talking about what's happening in automatic. When, uh, Mike mentioned, when I first met Mikey was working for a company called single grain, which I think at the time was owned by Sujan Patel. Is that right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> I see. Yeah. I can tell you hand on heart. The only time in the history of our company, we have ever been profitable on the front end, running Facebook ads to a trip wire product. And we were actually earning money as we were acquiring customers through a trip wire is when single grain we're running our account. It's the only time in the history that we've ever managed to do it. Speaker 2 00:03:41 Uh, we kind of still float around break even, or it might cost us a bit to acquire on the front end. Obviously then we have, you know, backend stuff that makes it profitable. But we, I remember talking to my business part at the time we going, oh my God, it's true. It actually can work. And we were selling like a $17 trip wire product or something. Ridiculous. Yeah. And we were making money on the front end. So, uh, and then from there you went to work at 10 up for a period of time. Is that right? What, and when, when did you, what was the role that you started with at 10 up and then how did that role evolve? Speaker 0 00:04:16 So I, I started as a senior project manager and team lead. So I came in inherited the way 10 up works and I think Jake was in here. So he probably covered it, but everybody works in pods that's cross-functional teams. So I inherited, you know, engineers, UX designers, whoever was in that group at the time I worked with an engineering manager and then we had a batch of project. So I handled personnel management, plus project management for those projects and clients. And, uh, there's a little bit of account management in there too. And so I stayed in that kind of discipline in the project management side and project delivery and moved up as we grew as a company, we added other layers of, uh, leadership. So became, um, associate director and then director of client delivery and oversaw four pods and 40 some people across, you know, that branch of the company and several large projects there. Speaker 0 00:05:07 And then in the shadows of that, we were, uh, there was a demand for kind of analytics work. There was a demand for kind of technical SEO and then a lot of revenue optimization work that we had been doing within the build side of the project. Um, and we only had one or two people and no leadership over them. So I had kind of like taken that under my wing cuz I was the one with marketing background and um, I think three years ago it got big enough and we were hiring enough people that we said like, okay, it's a discipline now. So I took, I had taken that team over. Um, and before I left, we had, you know, another associate director in there and we're, I think we're close to eight to 10 people somewhere in there. I can't remember now. Speaker 2 00:05:47 Wow. With, with the, with the, um, managing a pod, doing a bit of account management, account management, project management, personal management, I've always considered that account management and project management required you to use completely different parts of the brain. Right. And I think it's a rare bird that can actually manage the demands of a client with the goals of the business. How did you, how did you kind of balance that left brain, you know, analytical, let's just get into the details and make sure things are delivered on time and, and make sure that things are happening systematically, but also managing personnel internally. You need to have quite a high EQ emotional intelligence for doing that and also have the warm, fuzzy stuff and the relationship building with the client. How did you balance that? Speaker 0 00:06:35 Yeah, I think so. I fell into project management out of almost need from the smaller agencies I had been at before, you know, not enough structure, not enough organization. And I kind of have this weird tick in my brain of like, people are stressed, people are losing time, we're not getting things done. And I kind of looked to just solve problems wherever I can find them. So I got into project management that way, um, and was kind of overseeing before I had joined, um, single grain before I had joined 10 up. Even there was a smaller agency I was at before that. And the one I first started at none really had a lot of structure. So I kind of picked up these efficiencies and these ideas and then low and behold, there was a thing called project management. I had been doing that I, I fell into. Speaker 0 00:07:18 Um, so it was just one of those. Like I think I went into it without the intent of being a project manager. And so I came into it with that marketing background focused on results, which is not something a lot of project managers actually think or, uh, focus on, right. Is like you get your project brief, you get your scope, you get your timeline, your constraints, your budget mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, but the business reasoning and the impact that they're looking to achieve, there is more of what I was interested in. So being able to go in the conversations with the client and say, okay, you're doing this project for what reason? Like what do you want to get out of it? And then being able to have intelligent conversations with them about like, well, this doesn't really align with this goal. Do you need that feature? Speaker 0 00:08:00 Or could you settle for something else here? So we can really get you what you need over here. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and that's where the account management side just came in is once you understand what their, how their business works, what their goals are, cause even like your stakeholders might be, have their own set of goals within the organization that aren't obvious. Right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> and then just thinking about like, what can I do to make us successful to them and make them successful to their higher up and make that company more successful, right? Like maximize impact across the board. And I think if you go into it like that, um, and the, the rest of it's just housekeeping, Speaker 2 00:08:35 I think, I dunno whether I've told this story on this show or not, or whether I've just had this conversation. Um, privately, I used to work in an agency as when I started out, when we started our agency, I rented some office space in a larger branding agency who had no digital, right. They came from traditional branding, print media kind of stuff, kind of traditional design agency. And I rented an office on the, the, there were, there were two levels. I rented an office up the back on the, the second level, uh, glass kind of walls, everywhere, really nice kind of office space, high ceilings, lots of natural light. And in front of me, I looked out my glass window every day. And it was looking at the rest of the, the agency that was operating right now, right up the front on the street where the account managers facing the street on the phone to clients all day, they turned around behind them was a glass wall. Speaker 2 00:09:22 And then the other side of that glass wall was the project manager and the studio doing all the work. And oh, and what I used to watch, I used to watch the account manager and the project manager stand in the doorway of that glass wall and kind of debate and kind of have arguments, right? Because the account managers were over promising and the studio wasn't able to deliver on time. Right. And over the year I was there for probably, I don't know, nine months or something. And over that time, I was like, that glass wall is so symbolic, right? Because the account managers have no, first of all, the project manager in the studio never talked to the clients. Right. Never talked to the clients. That's a fatal problem because the owner of the company was insecure about his relationship with the clients. And so he just put these account managers on the phone to basically take requests and do whatever they were told the account managers have no idea how the studio operates because this glass wall literally divides them. Speaker 2 00:10:13 And I thought, what if we just took out that glass wall? And what if the account manager and the project manager was kind of the same person. Right. And so for me, I, we kind of started this role of a project success manager and a project success manager needs to make the project successful for the client and the business. Yeah. The agency. Right. Um, and that changed everything for us because there was not this lost in communication, lost in translation problem that happens in a typical agency structure. Any thoughts there? Or, I mean, I could talk about this for days, man. Speaker 0 00:10:45 Yeah. And no, I think that's spot on that's, that's a lot of what, um, from when I started at 10 up even, and there was a team, I think 14 team leads with some extra project managers in there. Um, we made that shift starting to see the bigger projects come through the success we could have, even when the projects weren't well defined. Um, we had some big ones that were kind of like how many hours are we gonna fluctuate this month? And we have this massive, you know, 3000 hour build, but they just approved a thousand extra hours for this feature. They want, can we ship it and tie like all those things that you can upsell in real time when you're playing that success role mm-hmm <affirmative> and being able to operationalize it and deliver on it. Like, that's really what you need not to say. You don't need account managers somewhere in there helping with that. Cause I think there's, there's like a, a nice trifecta where you have like almost the product or project side of it, thinking about the client experience day to day and what they, what they overall want and the account manager kind of like seeing that relationship from 10,000 feet back and also talking to colleagues and, and making connections within the organization too. Speaker 2 00:11:48 Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, I wanna talk about your role at automatic in a moment and dive into that a little bit and, and particularly wordpress.com and the, the, you know, VIP program and all that kind of good stuff and the community there. Um, but before I get there, you you've come from small agencies, you've worked your way, uh, through to, you know, larger agencies. One of the things that I see happening a lot is this, um, <affirmative>, um, you know, for one of a better term, like an imposter syndrome or a, a confidence issue where, uh, people are, are under pricing or under, um, undervaluing what they do because they don't, they, they're not confident that they're going to get outstanding results for their clients. And, you know, there's at the moment, if you're, you know, spending time on Facebook, you'll see this big shift towards performance marketing where a lot of digital agencies are like, well, we'll only pay once you start making revenue. Speaker 2 00:12:40 And it's almost like a rev share or a pay per lead kind of model, which I do not like at all, what I've seen happen is that because we live in an echo chamber online, especially in Facebook groups where we're all kind of, you know, in WordPress meetups and, and word camps and stuff that we compare ourselves to, you know, the Jake Goldmans of the world or the Yos to vs of the world or the Mike balls of the world, I'm like, well, I'm not that good. So I can't, I can only charge 500 bucks for a website or three grand or whatever the number is. Right. Uh, what we forget is that like 99.9 9 9, 9, 9% of the people on the planet have no idea what we do, how we do what we do. And so therefore by osmosis, we literally are specialists. Right. Right. I wonder if you could just talk for a minute about how you've seen that play out in smaller agencies versus the larger agencies where there's more people and more of potentially more of that kind of imposter syndrome to manage as the team grows. Speaker 0 00:13:34 Yeah. I think for smaller agencies, it hits you harder and can be a wall. It hit, it hits you as an agency, right? So as an, as a team, as an organization, as a small group, if not everyone is confident in what you can do, if you don't go into it saying we're small now, but we want bigger projects. We want more work. We can do this better than anybody, or we do this very well. It's gonna keep you from pursuing those. And I think a lot of small agencies get stuck there. Um, not just like local regional kind of sourcing for clients, but they're afraid to think outside of the box of who they can approach for projects and where they can look because they're so worried they can't compete with everyone. So I do think they get stuck and that's not like, uh, even if it's not at the, the, the entire team level, when you're only a team of five to 10 people, for example, if your delivery side is not confident in doing the work, it can cause stalling, it can cause MIS deadlines. Speaker 0 00:14:30 It can cause overthinking. And that happens at all, all levels of it. But when it's your, you only have a few perfection people, like all of your projects are impacted, right? And you can't really recover as well from that. And then everybody's shaken from there. So I think leadership has to have that confidence and that vision from the get, go and hiring those people in, who are confident in doing that level of work and then putting in the energy to build them up, um, at the bigger agencies, it's almost the people coming in and I had this happen a lot at 10 up with new engineers or new designers or anything, or coming into these, you know, these established teams that are working on these established projects with big name clients. And even though they have incredible backgrounds, they went through code review. They had, you know, different tests. Speaker 0 00:15:13 They contributed to WordPress core, whatever they get in there. And they're like almost decision paralysis. And these people who, who have done this for years are all of a sudden overthinking everything and not able to ship tickets, or they forgot, like they're not comfortable estimating anything because they're so worried about like, is that gonna be too many? Is somebody gonna think I'm taking too long on this? Or am I gonna underestimate it and miss something, it looks stupid. And like, you kind of gotta coach everybody through, like, it's okay to figure things out. Like nobody gets it a hundred percent, but we gotta make, you know, you have to be decisive and move forward and know what your standard of quality is because it's kind, I guess, most people who perform well are ambitious, especially agencies and business owners, things like that, right? Like you're always harder on yourself than anybody else's, that's always true. Any discipline, any person who's ambitious in these roles and like the people that are crazy enough to love agency work, to love jumping from project to project or crazy enough to start their own business. Like you're always more critical than anybody else is gonna be. Mm. And you have to be aware then of how much you let that slow you down. Speaker 2 00:16:23 What do you think? You know, I mean, I've spent years reflecting on this and trying to figure this out. Why do you think we're more critical in ourselves? Because if, if you look at it and say, okay, well we, we, we criticize ourselves and we're harder on ourselves and we are our friends. Why aren't we then also, why aren't we also then more praiseworthy of ourselves than we are our friends? Like, why don't we, why do we celebrate our friends more than we celebrate our own achievements? And yet we criticize our own shortcomings more than we criticize our friends. Why is that Speaker 0 00:16:56 The, my guess? And I'm not my wife's a therapist and she knows. Yeah. So she get she more smarter than I, yeah. Yeah. That could be scary. <laugh> um, my guess is your expectation for a friend or a person, um, even on your team or whatever stays static for much longer than it does for you. Your expectation for yourself this morning may be different than your expectation for yourself by lunchtime. Um, what, you know, what you've done your perception of, of your, your perception of how you're doing. If you have a great day and it goes end to end, you're either gonna be one of those people. That's like, that was pretty solid. I, I did what I needed to do, you know, and like I'm on the right track and kind of accept it and hopefully eventually celebrate a little bit. But if you have the bad one, like then everything that happens after that's not perfect, you're gonna take twice as hard. You yeah. And that's like, it's like a, a wave or constant fluctuating state. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:17:53 Yeah. And it can, I like, I, you know, working from home now. Right. Uh, and you know, my wife is home three days a week with the kids and they're kind of in and out as we're allowed to be with lockdown and stuff. So they might go out to the park for a bit and then come home a couple hours later, she'll come home sometimes. And she'll like, wow, you're a completely different person to, when I left, like when I left, you wanted to throw yourself out the window and now you're doing a happy dance. What happened? And then half an hour later, I can be on the ledge again. Right. Speaker 0 00:18:18 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:18:18 It's like it. And, and I think, um, it changes. I think you have to be, you know, it, it's an emotional roller coaster and if you're not prepared, I feel like you can only feel as high as you're, as you, as you are prepared to allow yourself to feel as low. Like the it's it's, it's like a, it's the law of relativity. Like I'm only able to feel this elation and this joy and this ecstasy, because I'm also prepared to feel how bad it is when I feel I'm in the depths of despair and there's no way out and I'm completely overwhelmed and I'm burning out and things are going wrong. I'm prepared to allow myself to feel that. And so therefore I'm capable of feeling the ecstasy at the opposite end of the spectrum. Whereas if you're not prepared to, to let yourself dip too low, then for me, like, I I'm only ever gonna feel that high. Speaker 2 00:19:12 Right. If, if this is equilibrium, right? Like the dynamic range, if you think about a wave file, like the dynamic range, I don't wanna compress my feelings because I want those highs when things go well, right. When I, when I celebrate, I wanna punch the sky and go, yes, we're doing an amazing job and do my happy dance, go out the back and dance and the trampoline with Oscar and do some slam dunks in his new basketball ring. But when that happens, I've then gotta be prepared to be in the fetal position and crying half an hour later when something goes wrong. Speaker 0 00:19:36 Right. Right. And I think the like saving grace for all that and being able to sway. Right. And this is where a lot of people struggle. And I I've struggled with it too at different points of like, when you hit the low, you can feel it and you can acknowledge it. But you have to flip that switch for a second, uh, after a few seconds or, or minutes or whatever it is to be able to say like, all right, so how do I adjust? Or how do I adapt? How do I work my way back up? Right. Like, mm-hmm, <affirmative> that didn't go as planned. We hit a wall, we didn't get the data. We wanted this didn't, you know, the users don't actually like the thing that we built, um, this could be a disaster. Like you can only stress on so much, like this could be terrible or this is gonna be bad. Like then you're just waiting. You're assuming it's gonna be bad. And then you're just waiting for it. I think the way to mentally work through that, a lot of time is just kinda like, so what do I do? Or what's next? Like, what do I do to make it better? How do I keep moving? Speaker 0 00:20:32 But that mindset also like, keeps you from getting too high to have like sweet. I did something great. And onto the next thing. So you gotta, you gotta keep yourself in check there. Speaker 2 00:20:40 Yeah. Yeah. What do you do? Uh, what do you do to balance the, like, to not burn out? I, we stare at a computers all freaking day. Right. Which is kind of weird. If you think about who we are, we are very social animals and we spend all our life looking at each other on screens. How do you, how do you maintain your physical and mental health and not burn out in the world that we're living in right now? And I'm making an assumption that you do, <laugh> Speaker 0 00:21:03 I, I do. I'm making an Speaker 2 00:21:04 Assumption that you do look after yourself. Speaker 0 00:21:06 Well, I do the same things you do. A lot of the time I go out on the trampoline, do back flips with the kids and, and play like I do since I've switched over and I've been a little bit less busy. I've made a habit of wandering off a bit more out of my office, like out in the yard or playing with the dog and things. Um, I also, I go to, uh, Mo Thai kickboxing gym. It's a small group. Um, everybody's healthy and been good. So I've been able to keep up with that. And I've had, I had, I think it's been a few months since I had a match, but usually I try to set something every few months so that I have like fitness targets to work toward. Like, I want to hit a weight. I want to be ready to fight. And then I have a reason to push myself a little bit more. Speaker 2 00:21:45 Wow. So what I'm hearing Mike is that to, uh, vent your frustrations, you basically go and beat the shit out of other people and, uh, hundred Speaker 0 00:21:52 Percent. Speaker 2 00:21:53 Excellent. Love it. Love it. I've told one fire club, man, first rule fire club. Hey, um, I wanna, I wanna pivot a little bit and talk about your role at automatic. How did the role come up, um, at automatic? How did that, how did that relationship begin? Speaker 0 00:22:07 So at 10 up, we work with automatic on a couple different levels. Um, we work with V I P cuz some clients that are big enough to be working with 10 up, you know, host on V I P um, because it's a great platform and great service. So we work with them there. And then when we were working with the Google news initiative on some projects, we were also crossing paths with the news pack team, which is kind of a news focused product and platform that automatic built, um, and rolled out and manages at a, as a program. Um, so I've been keeping an eye on things and I kind of like the team at 10 up was growing enough that I felt like, Hey, this is going well, but it's still at 10 up. The marketing team was kind of a new team. Um, and I was missing the marketing side of things and, and I'd been away from it for quite a while. Speaker 0 00:22:55 So at 10 up, you know, that's a new service that's getting established and they're teaching the rest of the team how to integrate it with, with all that. And I was like, I just don't know if I wanna start from a scratch and do all that right now. So I kind of kept an eye on, um, automatic. And I think one day I noticed they put up a bunch of new, they were actually growth marketing roles. And so I went through this like pretty lengthy interview process. You have to do like a, um, initial phone call screening kind of thing. And then a slack interview with multiple people from the team, which is like, it's an hour long, but then it's up for a week. And, and people on the team can kind of like ask questions and thread and do things like that. Um, just to make sure you're comfortable communicating in that format. Speaker 0 00:23:37 And then there's a trial too. So I actually went through a whole trial for growth marketing mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and when I was talking to the VP, uh, Justin who's there, like there was four branches, he was printing planning on kind of splitting out, was like SEO life cycle paid, and then something else, I can't remember what it was. And it was this weird, like, I don't know which one would be best. I kind of, I've done all of them. I've done all them in analytics. I think I've done all of them in depth. I've managed all of them. And we were having this, this kinda like back and forth of like, well, what would be the right fit? And then the, um, he came back one day and was like, Hey, we have this, this idea. Would you be willing to hop on the call with the CMO? Speaker 0 00:24:18 And we did. And she was like, we have this role. We're having a hard time fighting the right person for it. I think I don't remember the terminology exactly. But it was either like weird unicorn or freaky unicorn or something is what they said. I was for this specific role. And I was just kinda like, if you think I'd be better there, then over here, like, that's fine with me. I don't, as long as it's still marketing, that's what's happening. Like let's try it out. So, uh, we talked through the community growth role and it was something everybody was excited about, but had a lot of room to like be defined. So I liked the idea of being able to come in and make some decisions and build that team. And, um, that's where I'm at now. Really just kind of getting, getting my feet planted and starting to push things forward. Speaker 2 00:25:01 So I'm curious, uh, what is the outcome like, how do, how will, you know, in 12 months time that this has been a successful role for you in terms of your personal growth and your personal development, but also in terms of automatic, like how would you sit back in 12 months time and go, wow, man, we've, we've done excellent work over the last 12 months because like, what does that look like? Speaker 0 00:25:24 Yeah. So this is a good case where I think I'm gonna be much more critical than, um, than the team has even being, cuz we're starting from scratch and it's not a team that existed before. Right. So mm-hmm, <affirmative> so really, and in the first three months I was like, here's what community is online right now? Or in month one, I was like, this is how we get there. You know, this is OB the obviously first go to market steps that we need to make with the brand. We have. I'm like, well, let's think about not just like what makes sense, but also what we can do that might be different. Um, so we've been iterating on that. So for me, it's gonna be, you know, being able to call, not just the broad audience that we can reach across our tools right now, but a segment of that, like an intentional community, that's engaged frequently, that's coming back and, and really what's missing, I think, is that the users and kind of the community that exists in that kind of like digital space. Speaker 0 00:26:22 They're not connecting with each other right now. So if I can go through and show, however many hundreds of thousands or million users are now engaging frequently and I can pull all the data, right. They're coming back into the platform more often, they're starting to engage with each other more often and there's a general like more positive sentiment happening. That would be an easy win for me to say, like this first initiative went really well. Hmm. Um, I'm, I'm tackling it from a couple different angles, but that's kinda like as a baseline for any of the things that we're doing of, are we connecting people, is the outcome positive? Does it tie back to the business metrics in terms of, you know, revenue or plans or whatever. Speaker 2 00:26:59 And when you say users and community growth, are you talking about end users of wordpress.com or agency users of wordpress.com? Speaker 0 00:27:07 So the one thing that I think I decided on after spinning my wheels a little bit is that wordpress.com is very vague. Um, it's not a specific product for a specific person because there are different plans and it's a platform, right. And anybody, anybody on that platform or product could write about anything? I kind of did this with myself. I was looking at my own website and was like, oh, I have a post about how to track, um, bright co analytics through GTM. And I have a post about what I learned about 3d printing. And I have one about building this ninja course for my kids. I was like, so you can't really set one community to encompass everything. I don't think very well. And the experience for the communities that you would want to build, wouldn't wouldn't make sense as like a monogamous or, um, that's not the right word. Speaker 0 00:27:55 Uh, homogenous standard. Yeah. Homogenous. That's the one. Thank you. Yeah. It wouldn't make sense to do it in that homogenous way so way. We're thinking about approaching it now is yes, we want the creators, the bloggers, the podcasters, and everybody. We want communities there and maybe even sub communities, this is about them connecting with each other. So what's relevant. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, we want to connect with startups and we want to connect with agencies and we want to connect with developers because the products changed a lot. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and, and so in the last three months, I don't even remember how many people we hired, but the marketing team was like seven or eight people for.com. Um, before we did all this hiring and we hadn't done a lot, I mean, we've done the marketing that needed to be done, but they stayed lean on purpose. So now that we have the people to do it, like we've gotta catch back up on our product messaging and marketing and like let people know what's actually there versus the perception of what was there, you know, five to 10 years ago. So as we do that, I think like that's where we'll start finding better places and more context within those different kind of sub communities and groups. Speaker 2 00:28:58 So I see, and I've seen a little bit inside the kimono here. Mike invited me into, uh, uh, full transparency, some of the, the communities for bloggers and podcasters. And I can, I can kind of see, you know, I can see the model there. You know, for example, here's a community of, you know, uh, course creators who are teaching crafts, right? And they wanna put all their content up on wordpress.com and they wanna start a podcast and they wanna put up a course and wordpress.com is the technical infrastructure. That's gonna allow them to host that, but now he's a community that's gonna help them become more successful as a course creator teaching people how to scrapbook for example. Right. I can, that makes sense to me, the agency thing, I think is I'm curious about, because first of all, let's talk about the platform because, and I, I, I have spoken about this with Jake Goldman and, uh, I think it was last week or the week before I also spoke with Josh from a reactive studios. And they're both saying that the platform has changed dramatically in the last few years. Uh, I think there still is this perception that as an agency, I wouldn't put my client's websites on wordpress.com because it's completely restricted and I can't use my favorite plugins. And so talk me through that, like, like what is possible and, and why should I do it? Speaker 0 00:30:11 Yeah. So the original wordpress.com is true managed hosting. And that was limited in terms of no plugins. Um, a lot of the plugins and features that you would use, like the most popular and active ones are built into the platform, but it was a simplified version for the people who didn't wanna mess with all the things that came with the, the core WordPress software. Right. And it was protected cuz it's, they're basically owning anything type of security, they're owning anything type of performance. And that was kind of the, the original product. And that's what we'd call like our free. Um, and I think even like our premium plan right now, just very basic for people who don't wanna think about it too much. And it's a more, it's a more like Polish polished and, and it's an experience where you don't have to overthink and understand all the technical details of it, right? Speaker 0 00:30:59 Like, like when I bought the 3d printer, I got out of the box, I downloaded a file and I printed almost right away. And that was great. And then I went down the rabbit hole and figured out the rest. So like mm-hmm, <affirmative>, there's a platform for just people who wanna write. And I'm actually on a team right now focused on like the blogger experience for people who just wanna write and don't wanna mess with the websites that much mm-hmm <affirmative> but over time. So we, there's another type of infrastructure we use now. And that comes with the different, the, the business plans and things. We allow plugins, you have total control of the environment. We even have automated deploy setups and things like that now for the environments, but we still manage the security and we still have all the performance benefits that are on there. And like there was a security patch for eCommerce and I was working on our events website. And I think my boss had asked me to go check and see if we got it patched or not. And by the time I even like with our internal tools, right, this was like five minutes or something found where the discussion was happening. Went to go ask if we were patching our own internal sites, they had patched the entire network of sites that are on this platform. Speaker 2 00:32:02 Wow. Speaker 0 00:32:02 And had the communications ready to go out to customers of like, this is what happened. We patched it already. You don't have to worry about it. So like they still have that same level of security plus the crazy support you get with like the happiness team, but they give you raw word, press, you get your own site, your own kind of container type thing. That's safe and for you to play with, and you can still get that level of support in case you install, plug that blows something up or breaks something or whatever. Speaker 2 00:32:26 Hmm. Super interesting. Um, uh, I'd love to see more, uh, behind the scenes there. I think what I might do like offline, I'd actually love to get in and actually have a look at what it looks like under the hood and maybe build something so that I can then go out to our community and say, Hey, this is kind of what it looks like. Cuz I still think that, I mean, James Mero just, just moved to wp.com site. And I think that's the perception is that if a client's on wordpress.com, we're gonna move them over to our own hosting. And so that we can control everything. Right. Right. Um, is massive. There's massive overhead and headache with doing that. Right. I got outta the hosting game very early on in the agency because I realized I was bad at it. That wasn't my sweet spot. Um, so the value proposition for an, and this is not a pitch for wordpress.com, but I just wanna, I just wanna underline this and, and kind of underscore it and put a period next to it. The value proposition for me to bring my client size to wordpress.com is security, performance and support. Is that it in a nutshell? Speaker 0 00:33:25 Yeah. I mean security, performance support and the rest of the things that you tend to manage with it, right? Like the plugin updates and things like that, which you can get with some other hosts. Um, but the, the quality is there the real time support's there. It's I mean, it's um, I think of it, like, it's kind of like having a MacBook versus having a, a PC or a different laptop. Like at least when I was in college, this, this is how I remember it of like, I'd be downloading music, everything would be fine. I'd be using it for classes. And then one day it would just stop working. And I had my roommate work at it, work on it for a little bit and he'd be like, you're, it's messed up. One of the music files or something is messed up the rest of the computer. Speaker 0 00:34:07 You have to reformat the entire thing. Right. Like, and he'd spend hours just getting to that point. Mm-hmm <affirmative> whereas like you buy a Mac and it works. And like, it just keeps working for the most part. And it just keeps working. Like I gave it to my wife, one that I had when I like before single grain, 15 years ago, I gave to my cousin, who's using it in college now. So we're talking like almost 20 years of shelf life on the steam things, still functioning. Like that's almost unheard of. So it's, it's one of those, like you don't have to think about it. It will work. And if, and the support covers, like I did it. So everybody who starts automatic has to do a support rotation two weeks of actually like functioning as like on the happiness team and, and helping customers. They do everything from like, we wanna do this layout with blocks and we're having issues like custom CSS requests and things that you would normally have to pay an engineer for. Like they do that, which I was kind of blown away by not just broken sites. Like, Hey, I wanna achieve this look and they'll get the CSS to fix it and put it on the site form, which is kind of cool. Wow. Speaker 2 00:35:07 Um, so talk to me about agency, sorry. Before we talk about community, how does this talk me through this? Because automatic are investors in other hosting companies, right? They're investing, they've invested in WP engine. They bought, they bought pressable I believe. And they're quite pressable Speaker 0 00:35:26 That that's actually where some of that architecture came from for the business plans and things too. Speaker 2 00:35:30 So how does this play out? I mean, essentially, uh, uh, is wordpress.com a competitive WP engine? Speaker 0 00:35:39 I think it, we don't, we don't talk about it that way internally. I don't think like, um, our competitor list we look at is more Ws and square space versus every single other host that's out there. Like we even have partnerships with some of the hosts for some of the domain stuff. And like, it's a big, it's a big market. Like, yeah, we want to win people over who are self hosting, but also like there's so many people with so many sites and so many things out there, like the value prop and, and how we align and what we offer kind of should also just make sense. Like we're not running out of customers, right. So we wanna be more relevant in more ways and that'll make us competitive with other hosts. But at the same time, like some of the hosts are specializing, you know, in certain size businesses where they have certain packages for different things. And they've got great technology. And they're, I think, especially knowing when you think about Matt as the, the co-founder of wordpress.org and who happens to be the, you know, the CEO and founder of automatic, he's very invested in the success of.org as well. Right? So like, if there's another business, it's not like we wanna buy 'em out or push 'em out or anything like that. If they're contributing positively to the community, like the WordPress community overall, I think there's just a lot of value in supporting that ecosystem, knowing how big it is now. Speaker 2 00:36:57 Mm. So talk to me about the agency community growth project. What is, how do you, how do you build, we've talked about the community of users that makes sense. How do you grow a community of agencies and what is it that you are looking to provide those agencies to attract them to that community and then ultimately attract them to wordpress.com as a platform? Speaker 0 00:37:23 Yeah. So when you and I first talked about this, the concept was kind of that broader community space where agencies could basically not plant, but have experts participating to provide support on the things that maybe wordpress.com doesn't usually provide supported direction on, right? Like what is the right strategy for SEO? Or how should I be thinking about schema markup or things that aren't gonna come up in normal conversation like within the product platform, but that add a ton of value to our normal user group. I think what's, what's been happening and involving since then too, is we have like a growth R and D team on the marketing side of things that just tries out different projects and different approaches to things. And we've been doing the built by wordpress.com because we had a lot of customers start to request, like I won the website, I don't wanna build the website. Speaker 0 00:38:09 I don't care how easy you make it in this, this like flow that you have or these tools that you have. Like, I just don't wanna build it. Will you build it for me? Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so we started doing that and, um, there's a, there's like a build by wordpress.com page up on the site too. You can get a pill on it, but basically we just, we started getting more leads than we ever expected to. And we started talking about eventually, um, you know, partnering with agencies, developing what we call like a, do it for others type that we, and these are ideas that we're playing around with. But essentially we want to find the right talent pool and the right partners and things, to be able to share some of that back to. And if you go back to what I said about connecting people so that they're helping each other, instead of doing it in this way, where it's topic focused and experience, or like information focused could be like more of a true marketplace where it's, I need this thing done, who can pick it up almost like what fiber is, which we, we do some of that with fiber, but a little bit more, I think, higher level. Speaker 0 00:39:05 And then bigger projects. Speaker 2 00:39:08 Goed tried to do this, right? They acquired a couple of platforms. They acquired tweaky, uh, which my mate, Ned, uh, Ned, uh, Ned Dwyer started here in Melbourne. He then moved out to San Francisco. Um, it was called something else. And then he rebranded it to tweaky, goad acquired it because they wanna build this marketplace of developers. They obviously get a lot of leads from small business owners saying, Hey, can you just do it for me? And they wanna connect, right? Uh, they bought tweaky. I don't know what they did with it, but nothing eventuated. They then acquired WP curve. Dan Norris, same reason. He had a whole bunch of first level support, WordPress people around the world, Eastern Europe, you know, Philippines, south America. And he'd built this infrastructure. They acquired him, never saw anything. They kind of launched GoDaddy pro um, again, was designed to help agencies level up so that, and we did a bit of work with them. Speaker 2 00:40:03 We partnered with him a little bit on some content to help agencies, partner, uh, level up and then so that they could refer leads to, to those agency partners. I've never seen God daddy been trying to do this for years. I've never seen this. They're not the only ones. I, I, I haven't seen this work yet. And I have some thoughts on this, but I'll be curious to hear what you think. I think it can work. I think it's, um, gonna take an enormous amount of work to manage people's expectations and, and connect. It's like dating, right? This is like, mm-hmm <affirmative>. This is like, this is like married at first sight at a massive scale where the stakes are really high. Um, because if you get this wrong, you know, this it's just gonna reflect really poorly on wordpress.com as a platform, not just the built by WordPress product, that's gonna reflect really poorly on the platform. Speaker 2 00:41:00 So how, what, what do you see as the, I represent the agency community here, and I can tell you like, and you've, you've been agency world. I can see already, like the challenges that we're gonna have. What do you see as the biggest challenge that you guys are gonna have? Yeah. The divorce rate might be higher. Uh, what do you see as the biggest challenge here and why are you getting into this game? Because I, some of the, the whispers that I hear in channels is that, oh, well, wordpress.com are getting into the web design game and the web dev game. And they're all gonna put us outta business. Right? So full transparency. You guys are looking to just funnel these leads to agency partners who can then take the work. You're not actually, you don't have a team of developers in house building sites for clients, right? Speaker 0 00:41:42 No, it's a super small team right now and we're really playing and like this, this was my pull my hair outta my head moment. When I first started too, is like the way that we do things like let's pilot an idea and let's see how it goes. And then let's decide if it has a space here or what we want to do with it. So there's a lot of experimentation, little initiatives that, and that kind of get started and get invested in and, and we explore kind of what we're doing. And that's, that's really where we're at, um, with a lot of the ideas and concepts. And honestly, when you talk to, um, that team later, that could be feedback where that comes back and everybody's like, maybe we, we need to think about this a little bit longer before we go that route. I think the, the difference is if you think about GoDaddy and you think about.com and the difference in pricing and what that means for the customer, mm-hmm, <affirmative> people go to go to Addie for flash sales for domains. Speaker 0 00:42:37 Then they're kind of following through that flow of like, okay, I can get my hosting for under 10 bucks a month or whatever. And that's before they know about in all the other competitors that have all the other selling points, right? Like it's just kind of an easy flow and, and tends to be a well advertised platform. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, not saying there's nothing good there, but like that's how a lot of people end up there is like a low cost, low risk investment in maybe the first website or a quick website or whatever. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, those people are not gonna want to pay an agency to do a lot of work for them. If they're trying to fi like they're already risk adverse, right. They don't necessarily know what they wanna do, and they don't have the experience to do what they want to do. Speaker 0 00:43:15 I think what we see for.com and keep in mind, I've been there for a few months. So I could be, I could be totally off on some of this, but, um, what I think the marketing team and the product team see, and what I pick up on is the platform is a lot more than what people know. It is. It could be a lot more valuable to a lot more people if they would give it, if they would change that mindset. Right? Like, do we, so like, if I were to go contract right now, for example, if I were to go take on web projects on the side or something, which I'm not gonna do with kids, I just don't have enough time for it. But like, it would be a no brainer for me to say like, okay, I'm gonna build this difference in X dollars a month. Speaker 0 00:43:55 I don't remember. I think our business plan like 25 bucks a month or something, sorry, I don't know our pricing off the top of my head, whatever it is versus the $10. And then if I really break it down, right, like, oh, I've gotta pay for an SSL cert, I've gotta pay for, uh, CDN to get it up. Like, oh, wait, that's already baked into this plan. Okay, cool. Even if I pay more knowing that I don't have to deal with it, mm-hmm, <affirmative> knowing that I don't have to manage, it gives me better margins. Right? Like mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I can sell all that as part of what I'm offering. Actually, I think in this, in, in our group, people were talking about, um, using the different platforms and kinda like marking up some of the hosting and, and getting a little bit back, right? Like mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that's how you make money in business. You're solving problems and providing solutions that nobody can find on their own. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I would easily go this route knowing what's behind the scenes. But the crazy thing is I had no idea what was behind the scenes until I started. So that's kind of our biggest challenge is like getting this back out in presenting it. Cuz I know. And again, I've only been there a few months, but like the way I pitch it is not how we've been pitching it at all. Speaker 2 00:44:57 Mm. What do you, where do you think this is gonna go sideways? Right. If you start referring leads to agency partners, where can you see that? That relationship's gonna go sideways? What, like, he, he, he, here's a question that I like to, I like to ask people when we are recruit. So part of our recruitment process is we have three interviews. Right? One of the questions I ask everyone is what's the most awkward conversation we are gonna have in the next 90 days. And can we practice it now so that if it happens, we at least know we've at least had a dry run. Speaker 0 00:45:30 Right. Speaker 2 00:45:31 So, Speaker 0 00:45:31 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:45:32 Imagine, and you're referring leads to those agency partners. What's what's where is it all gonna go to? Where is it all gonna go sit up? Speaker 0 00:45:40 I think the awkward conversations are probably so internally first, right? If I'm coming in as a skeptic and saying, how are we scoring these leads? How are we evaluating? What size of project they are, how likely they're to close, like when they're ready to hand over to somebody else, or are we staying back from that entirely? And how do we manage that expectation? And then with the agency, that same awkward conversation, which is you have to be a little bit ballsy to go and do it this way. It was like, do you know what you're doing? Cause we're not gonna start sending customers your way. If you don't know what you're doing, like <laugh>, we can, we can work on a streamlined process. We can share tools and things like that to kind of make sure everybody has the right experience with it. But if we, if somebody gives you a lead, that's ready to build and sign at a certain price point. Speaker 0 00:46:23 And I've had this happen to people before, too, where I've been like, Hey, this is their budget. They need a project. They need a solution. I've told them your work is good. Go mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative>. And the dumbass has like doubled the bid on them and lost it. I'm like I told you what the price point was. And I know you make margin off that, like, that was a stupid thing to do, you know, like that you kind of have to play within the system and understand like the give and take that's there mm-hmm <affirmative> and, and they have to give back, right? Like if, if, if WordPress goes down, the.com goes down this route and decides to invest in it and wants to find the right agency partners, it's not gonna be floodgates. It's gonna be carefully vetting the ones that can go through ironing out that process. Speaker 0 00:47:02 Mm-hmm <affirmative> and, and having the, like, honestly those awkward conversations and it wouldn't be, do you know what the hell you're doing? Unless it was me on the call, but there's nicer people that will probably handle that. Like mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it's gonna be some drill down betting and almost like that interview process of mm-hmm <affirmative> okay. What's the hardest thing you have to deal with. Are you gonna be able to handle this? Like, is our vetting process gonna be enough for you to get you to your vetting process? Or is there a big red flag of cause nobody wins if it goes sideways, right? The agency's pissed off the customers pissed off and we have all the pay and everything else on our faces. Speaker 2 00:47:32 That's right. That's right. And I think that, I think that, I think one of the challenges here is that the risk is that, you know, if the vetting process like the risk is then that it just becomes another exclusive club where, well, you know, I can't get leads from wordpress.com because I went through their interview process and some guy asked me some stupid question that I couldn't answer on the spot. So therefore they don't think I'm very good at what I do. Right. Right. So, so it's a, I think this is a massive education campaign for which is something I, you know, was telling GoDaddy for years is, you know, you like the, the, the all, I, I believe that all, uh, conflict between human beings comes down to a misalignment of expectations and an underlying fear that hasn't been addressed or managed or mitigated. Speaker 2 00:48:23 Right. And so from the leads that are coming through, they need to have their expectation needs to be set that this is not a blue host or a go daddy thing. This is not five. This is not up work. Right. This is, uh, the people that we're gonna put you in, in contact with are vetted. They have passed our kind of tests, right. And then on the flip side of this, the expectation needs to be set from the, from the agencies that the leads we are giving you, um, have been vetted through some kind of process. And this is a really tricky space to play in because it's not just a set and forget, you know, this right. I know I'm preaching converted here, but you know, it's not, we don't just set your expectations and then put you in a marketplace and let you guys figure it out. Speaker 2 00:49:09 Cuz that's a recipe for disaster. It's a constant education and coaching piece to make sure that their expectations are constantly being managed as well. Yeah. And I think the risk is that if you just drop people in a marketplace and go, well, we are facilitating the conversation, but we don't wanna really be a part of that conversation is that it then could potentially reflect badly on wordpress.com as a platform. As I said, not just the product built by WordPress. Anyway, this is just my 2 cents. Um, from what I've seen happen in the past. And I think this is one of the reasons that these marketplace, I haven't seen a marketplace really succeed like this, but you guys are kind of already doing this with the V I P program. Right. Speaker 0 00:49:49 A little bit. They have a lot of agency partners and there's different level of agency partners that they've vetted and work with. Um, like 10 up as a gold level partner. I know mm-hmm <affirmative> um, so depending on the business and the relationship and like where they're bringing clients in and kind of like the level sophistication there's there's that there too, like I, you know, 10 up was probably one of the first ones to do a headless react build on WordPress on V IP go when that platform was in beta and we were working through that and things like that. So we have those relationships, we know when to talk to them, we have the technical expertise in house and there's kind of that advocacy and relationship going back and forth.com you know, like that's a good point too, because depending on what scale that's at, it could just end up being the V IP program, scaling out bigger and taking on like a different entry point, or it could be something that mirrors that, but then has some clear swim lanes that are drawn there. Um, we've been talking about how we'd love to see and, and we had it happen. I think we had that happen semi frequently, but I think this month, one of our customers graduated from being on the.com infrastructure to moving up to V IP just because they were scaling more and wanting to invest more and wanting to expand the technology and needed more kinda like hands on account management type posting. Speaker 2 00:51:01 And that makes perfect sense. If there's an Ascension model there, people want to develop, they wanna aspire to the next level. Uh, and that's a carrot that you can dangle and it's a, a finish line they can cross and then, you know, uh, and then graduate to the next level. So that makes perfect sense. Um, I do think also that the not only you kind of mentioned the kind of volume of leads that you' getting it built by WordPress, which is quite phenomenal. I do think that once you start opening this up to agencies or freelancers that, uh, you, you know, be inundated and the vetting process there is gonna be quite voluminous. Is that a word or is it voluminous? I think it's voluminous. Speaker 0 00:51:44 I hear volumes when I see it. So you Speaker 2 00:51:47 Say that you're gonna get a shitload of people wanting to be, Hey, send me your leads. Right. Right. What what's what's what sort of infrastructure like personnel wise, are you guys kind of building out to manage that those relationships? Speaker 0 00:52:01 We're not even that far into it yet. Right? Right. So like we have the flux, we have some bedding and scanning and, and not even automation in place right now for it. And that was one of the reasons when I found out we were doing this, I was like, you all need to talk to Troy. Like, this is what he does. I've been talking to him, he's helping me. He'll help you too. Kind of thing. Yeah. But, but like I said, it's in the R and D phase, which is like very much that philosophy of like, let's get, even if we have to do it in a hacky manual way, from a concept standpoint, let's validate the idea. And then let's talk about what it means to build it at scale. Like where are the pain points? What would be really hard to do? And we've done that with projects. Speaker 0 00:52:38 I think in the past that I've dug up when I was kind of doing my research and like, you know, if you don't validate it, you don't do the research. You don't track the impact on things. They won't sleep out or go away for a little bit. But then you can, when we have those numbers or we're being proactive, we have attempt to scale or go up with it. We can kind of explore, like what could it be? There's actually a good opportunity because nobody's so attached to a specific direction. Like a lot of the questions you're asking me would be like, if we had a, a specific vision or a specific plan, we're really married to it. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. But I think that's one thing that's been, um, you refreshing on this side of is like, and, and almost annoying to you. If I'm being honest with like the concepts, the concepts are very like spongy and moldable. Speaker 0 00:53:22 Um, and it, it takes like a kickstart to get 'em out of that phase into something a little bit more solid. So like, yeah. Yeah. Where I came in thinking like, it's a solid concept we're going, right. It's like, no, we're gonna spend some time massaging this and getting it to be this like right. Form in shape. Like I'm not a sculptor. Right. I can sketch on paper, which is two dimensional. Like, like my sister's totally different than me. And she does three dimensional artwork and stuff like that. Um, uh, ceramics or whatever. So like just the brain type and the mindset and things like that. Like, it's a very spy idea now, but the interest is there, which we saw. And I don't think we're ready to see at that volume. And we're, we're working to deliver on that and then thinking about what's next, which is not us taking all those leads. Speaker 2 00:54:04 Mm. So in musical terms, we're kind of tuning up and jamming a little bit and making sure the instruments work and maybe jamming a couple of seconds here or there, but we are far away from actually writing a song, right? The, the, the whole crafting this into a three minute pop song is a long way down the track at the moment. We're just making sure the instruments work and that we're in the same room. Speaker 0 00:54:24 Yeah. I think it depends on the day, man. Like you were saying that there's, I've had days I've been playing with the same guys for a long time where we be done that. And I sat there waiting for them to get in tune and figure out what the heck we're doing for a while. And then I've had days where somebody starts a guitar lick and we play a song through straight from the end. And we're like, yeah, can we remember what we just did? That was great. What just happened? You know, like we almost, or in a panic state, cuz we can't remember. So like, and that that's the rarer occasion. A lot of the time you're sitting there, like what did you just play? What was that note? Like, what was that riff? What was that rhythm? And you're working through it, but sometimes it just goes, so you, you never know. I never underestimate yourself and, and letting it go that far, I guess. Speaker 2 00:55:02 Yeah. Uh, Hey, awesome. I'm conscious of everyone's time. I have two, I have three questions for you. One, what questions should I have asked that I didn't, Speaker 0 00:55:10 I mean, if you were, if you were feeling spicy, you could have asked something about what, what.com doesn't do well or where, where we need to be improving, I guess. Um, oh, that's good. You know, especially with all the competitors in the market. And that would be one that probably would've caught me off guard, but now that I said it, I'm not off guard anymore. Speaker 2 00:55:30 <laugh> uh, two, what would you like, how can we help? Like what would you like from this community? What feedback would you like or what input would you like from this community to help make.com a better value proposition for freelancers and small agencies? Speaker 0 00:55:47 For me, it's honestly keep giving me the pain points. I, I stay in the group and I keep an eye on things. And there's a lot of like, you know, half of it's mindset and morale. And then the more logistical things like on the sales side, especially share some of your nightmare stories of where you're running into walls. Cuz even if I'm not doing anything with.com, right that second that's gonna help you. Like, I've done this for subway agencies too, and I'm happy to jump in and give some input and things like that. And the more I see that happening in real time, the more it helps me feel like I still know what's going on. Right. Like, and I've only been off agency for three months, but like I always have that fear in my head of like, I'm gonna come back to it and be like, wait, now I don't know what the kids, you know, the kids are having cool new lingo and they're talking about things I don't understand anymore. So I wanna make sure I stay tuned in and, and keep that in mind. Speaker 2 00:56:33 Yeah. Uh, Alli, I have four questions. Question number three. Will you come back sometime and do this again with us? Speaker 0 00:56:38 Absolutely. Speaker 2 00:56:39 Awesome. Love it. Final question. What are you printing on that 3d printer? Speaker 0 00:56:44 I am printing, um, there is a fan power ranger fan film coming out called legend to the white dragon. Um, one of the, the designers that I follow gave out the design files. So we are printing the armor. So my son can be that for Halloween. <laugh> I have a Casey Jones master me for this year, so I gotta get that painted and Speaker 2 00:57:05 Wow. Awesome. Hey dude, this has been so much fun. I can't wait to do this again. Yes. Uh, ladies and gentlemen, uh, keep your eyes out for Mike Ball in the group. It's ball. Spellt B a L uh, tag him in a post, asking him lots of questions. Let's keep the conversation going and thank you so much for being a part of the agency hour. Speaker 0 00:57:20 Yeah. Thanks for having me. Speaker 1 00:57:22 Thanks for listening to the agency hour podcast, subscribe at apple podcasts, Spotify pocket, audible, and wherever you like to listen, you can catch all of the agency hour episodes on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/agency Mavericks. Or you can get involved, check out our free digital Mavericks Facebook group, where we broadcast these episodes live for our community every week, along with a ton of free training. We'll see you there.

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