Dave Derington: [00:00:00] Welcome to CELab the customer education laboratory, where we explore how to build customer education programs, experiment with new approaches and exterminate the MIS in bad advice. The stop grow step distracts. I am your host.

Adam Avramescu: [00:00:33] And I met him ever best. You played the piano from across the room. 

Dave Derington: [00:00:38] And everything is in his right place. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:00:44] That’s right. All right. why are we playing 

Dave Derington: [00:00:46] music? All right, Adam. we’re getting into the holiday season here and that means it’s a chance for us to take some time with our families and reflect on the year.

In fact, we’re going to be reflecting on the entire decade. it means also a chance for us to let our hair down and have a little fun. So for this episode and our last for 2019. We’re going to talk about something that is both close and personal to both me and to add 

Adam Avramescu: [00:01:11] that’s right, Dave. So as we’re recording this, we are getting very close to the year 2020, which seems impossibly futuristic.

In fact, this episode might get released in 2020, according to our release schedule. So it’s only proper that Dave and I bonded over a band that embraced futurism over 20 years ago. 

Dave Derington: [00:01:31] Radiohead. Yay. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:01:32] Yeah. Now, as it turns out, both Dave and I can’t Radiohead among our very favorite bands. This is something that we bonded over, pretty early in getting to know each other, maybe over beers.

I don’t remember. and for those of you unfamiliar with the band, they’re a five-piece experimental rock band from Oxford, UK who have been releasing albums for. I said they were embraced futurism over 20 years ago, but they’ve actually been recording for longer than that. They’ve been releasing albums for nearly 30 years, Dave.

Dave Derington: [00:02:00] Yeah, it’s remarkable. they have the staying power of the Beatles and other great classic bands. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:02:07] I would agree. Dave, how did you first get into Radiohead? 

Dave Derington: [00:02:11] I think is a great story, Adam. So at the time I, let’s roll back, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:02:16] not to Pat yourself too far on the back. 

Dave Derington: [00:02:19] It, it’s a fun story.

So what was it? 1993, I was, actually I had just quit my first job and had a new job. I was working in a small, environmental laboratory in Kentucky of all places. I’m moving back to st. Louis and I was driving. Back to st. Louis, which was, that was where I was born and raised. And I had heard creep on the radio for the first time.

And it was a one Oh five seven, the point in st. Louis. this was one of those songs that just gripped me in a way I couldn’t get it out of my head. And I kept saying, this is amazing. It, I bought the CD immediately. After that I was hooked on the band. And why more  I’m into it. it was cerebral.

It was complex. And it spoke to me in some way, because you would think about the lyrics of creep. listen, in some of us in our generations now coming to pass or more self-deprecating, we’re, we look at our foibles and we try to adapt in the world. it just spoke to me.

It resonated really well. So how about you? w what was it that really. Gripped you the first time? 

Adam Avramescu: [00:03:24] Radiohead, it was one of the first bands that I was truly a fan of in a really deep and personal way. And in fact, in high school, I played in a band that I, also wrote the songs for and saying for which I would describe as our schools, first and foremost, Radiohead knockoff.

So it was fun. We were doing like a, concept albums. We were. singing these very, melodic tuneful songs that were also introspective, but, we weren’t very good. maybe if we get enough listeners, we’ll do a special where we play some clips from my old high school band.

But, Radiohead’s probably the band that I’ve seen the most live. they have an amazing live show. I’ve gone to get tickets, to see them almost anytime that they were in town. And, yeah, just. Just a band that’s very close and personal. 

Dave Derington: [00:04:13] Cool. All right. So let’s get to the point of this show.

And we reflected on our past and our love of music. We want to pay tribute to these two things that we love and merge them in some way. So we both love Radiohead and we both love and are passionate about customer education. And we want to think about what radio head can teach us about our field. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:04:36] Yeah, so we’re kicking back today and having a little fun, but.

There is value in creative thinking like this. So often in our field, we get stuck in patterns of what we should do or how we do things the right way. And if you can’t hear my air quotes and making those scare quotes, so it’s helpful to take inspiration from other things. And that helps us break out of our usual patterns.

In fact, I’m reading a book right now called range that talks about the value of generalist knowledge and applying a multi-tiered a multidisciplinary approach to problems. It makes you more creative and it makes you a. More of a whole person in some ways. 

Dave Derington: [00:05:10] That’s really cool. And my personal narrative, I would never have gotten the idea do customer education.

Like I did it as Azuqua over Twitch. If I weren’t also big into things like gaming, So I totally agree with this. we’re always thinking we have to think of bleakly or in parallel or, like indifferent. We have to dip into different worlds. Sometimes it’s great to break out of the box.

Adam Avramescu: [00:05:36] Yeah. Just like there are so many learning programs today who, are starting to call themselves like, Hey, can we be the Netflix of customer education? I want to challenge someone to be the radio head of customer education. 

Dave Derington: [00:05:46] Oh, that might be us. We’ll see. Okay. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:05:47] Maybe Dave, what do we need to hypothesis for today?

Dave Derington: [00:05:50] Yeah, sure. Absolutely. I think we’ll be testing whether radio had, can in fact, teach us something about customer education. So let’s go ahead. Let’s try to prove or refute this hypothesis and dive right in. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:06:03] I hope we make this an annual tradition, 

Dave Derington: [00:06:06] a desert different band every year. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:06:08] Yeah. Or different something every year.

Just getting creative and figuring out what we can talk about without running into a copyright law. All right. 

Dave Derington: [00:06:15] Call to action for a 20 into 2020. Let’s go for it. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:06:19] Yeah. Tell us what you okay, cool. So let’s, let’s maybe frame this around a few Radiohead songs that are really meaningful to us and maybe significant for the band as well.

So I think the first lesson we can learn is from the song that you mentioned earlier creep, and I think the lesson that we learned here and we’ll explore, this is the importance of standing out and being memorable in your program. Just for some background here, Radiohead could have been a one hit wonder.

There were a lot of people who still know them. When you say Radiohead, they know them as that nineties band because of this hit that they had in 1992, that kind of wrote the grunge era as coattails. And that song was called creep. 

Dave Derington: [00:06:57] Yeah. And it’s just going a little bit further into that. Here’s a, here’s the first lesson that I think we could take away from it.

Memorable moments really matter. and creep, it’s a, it’s a standard song right up like a lot of Radiohead songs, At them. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:07:12] That’s like a very standard progression. Like it’s like a one miner, three, four, five. There’s nothing special about it. 

Dave Derington: [00:07:19] No right before the chorus where Johnny Greenwood who’s a guitarist starts really throwing in some.

Really ugly guitar. French’s try to do a clip of that if we can. I don’t know if you do that on the piano. I 

Adam Avramescu: [00:07:34] can’t do it on the piano, but go listen to the song, pull it up on a Spotify. Maybe pause us for a moment. Go over to Spotify, listening to the song creep. And you’re going to hear this point right before the chorus.

It sounds very pretty, very melodic. And then all of a sudden you’re going to hear this crunch like junk. 

Dave Derington: [00:07:49] Okay. Yeah. it’s like you’re hitting something. the physically is because, Jonny, Greenwood is known for his really aggressive style of play on the guitar in contrast to the, the wonderful, beautiful, melodic stuff that he does too.

And that disparity, that’s like tipping and dipping into neuroscience. It’s memorable because now you’re your gosh, you’ve got my emotion stirred up and I can’t not think about this. the people. it w wasn’t it in here, he was actually trying to ruin the song cause he thought it would, it was just so plain Jane generic and he wanted to give it more gentle personality.

Adam Avramescu: [00:08:25] Yeah. Yeah, because the band at that time was a little more grungy, a little more of its era. Jonny, Greenwood, very artsy creative guy. Very high, ambitions about how he comports himself. in fact, you can hear some of his soundtrack work and, he’s clearly a genius, but I think he thought this song was probably beneath the band and that they were selling out.

okay. He’s trying to ruin it. Yeah. So yeah, memorable moments, right? Most people, when they remember this song, they might remember the lyrics from the chorus. Obviously choruses are very memorable moments, but what a lot of people remember are these guitar crunches. So what we have to remember is customer education professionals is in our content.

People aren’t always going to remember the whole song so to speak, but what they will remember is memorable 

Dave Derington: [00:09:07] moments. Yeah. And here’s something from my own story. and when I’m making content and let go back a little bit, like at Gainsight, I was pretty vanilla and some personality came through, but a lot of times when we’re preparing videos and such.

We’re going by a script and we’re speaking somewhat drab, and not monotone, but 

Adam Avramescu: [00:09:28] in this lesson you will learn how to 

Dave Derington: [00:09:30] a robot. Yeah. but one of the things that I did at Zucca that I thought was interesting is that I did a lot more marketing III. Marketing E type videos. And I really worked in my dynamic vocal range in talking and I tried to do things and interject things that were showing my personality.

And that puts me in a position of vulnerability because somebody could say, what the heck are you doing? But people wake up, people see that even if you don’t like it, that interjection of personality, is it opportunity for education and, sh . It’s interesting. You’ve got your own flavor and sharing things like learning objectives.

And your first slide is just like basic four chord song writing. so what we’re saying here is that in these memorable moments can be stirred up by all kinds of things, the emotional nature of it, your own personality. You’re a human being. Your customers are human being. It’s okay to be a little vulnerable and show yourself off.

Adam Avramescu: [00:10:28] Yeah. I agree often when, if I’m ever in the position to write the first version of an Academy like I did at Optimizely and a Checkr, I usually put in a few little cheeky comments to give it a little bit of personality. And some people are like, Oh, was that just to check whether we were paying attention?

I’m like, no, it’s to show you that this is written by a human who’s talking to you as a human. Yeah. I think Slack does this very well in our marketing copy and our product copy as well. 

Dave Derington: [00:10:53] That’s awesome. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:10:54] Yeah. So we have another lesson to learn, I think, from crepe, which is don’t rest on your laurels in customer education.

We do this quite a bit and maybe this one isn’t customer education specific, but it’s also just a good life lesson. Radiohead could have continued making music that sounded like it was from the early nineties and it probably would have flamed out as a one hit wonder. People knew them as a one hit wonder for a really long time.

Dave Derington: [00:11:19] They weren’t. That what? they weren’t, they’d been producing other things. You just heard one song. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:11:24] that’s, a lot of one hit wonders are that way. think about like midnight oil beds are burning. They’re a one hit wonder, but those guys have a super extensive catalog or even tumble Womba, everyone knows them for a, I get knocked 

Dave Derington: [00:11:36] down, but those guys have 30 albums.

Yeah. That’s crazy. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:11:39] Deeply political and Radiohead could have been that. but what most fans really love them for isn’t their first album. It’s the experimentation that they did later in their catalog. And they started to embrace electronics and ambient music, and trip hop before a lot of rock bands did.

They were playing with song structures and really interesting ways. 

Dave Derington: [00:11:58] that, so I think I told this to you, but I definitely haven’t told to the audience. I had originally started university as a dual major in music and physics and I still love music and I stayed in music for so long and it just really, it, this really excites me that experimental nature because I’m a scientist, so I like experimentation, but I love music and that experimentation.

And, one of the things that I really did because I was a blues musician, I went to a blues. I love improv in jazz and stuff like that. And the albums that many say is our best. And we’re just getting back into the radio head thing. It’s probably okay. Computer wouldn’t you agree? 

Adam Avramescu: [00:12:37] I would agree.

that’s one of my favorites and I think you’re a steer. Yeah. 

Dave Derington: [00:12:40] Yeah. Flection point. They, if you’re really, you sit down and you take your library of all your Radiohead stuff. I got it all on my phone. you can see the progression of them trading their more traditional guitar rock for more diverse instrumentation and strong structures.

And, they traded that sad sack. grungy crap. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:12:59] No, it was 

Dave Derington: [00:13:00] me. Yeah. I was like, Oh, I’m sad. life is bummer. there were post-college at that point and like really getting into reality and they started trading that in for some thoughtful commentary on, Oh my God. Adam you and I, and a lot of our audience have grown up in this era of technology.

That’s why we’re in this market of customer education, which is all about technology. And in 97, this was way cutting edge. And if I were to go on, I would say that next album, kid a, they did it again. They completely w and this is something I really just am super passionate about and why I love Radiohead.

It’s they go, okay, we did that done. We’re moving on, we’re going to do something completely different and then went back to their music theory and their blue books. And I started to figure it out, in that they were a completely electronic ambient sound. they included indirect cut up impression, district lyric lyrics that don’t sometimes even add up and it’s what in the hell am I listening to?

And I love it. Yeah. Yeah. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:13:55] it’s almost like a it’s like expressionist painting in some ways. It doesn’t tell, you go from the band in 1994, singing, I’m better off dead as a chorus. Tom York is standing in front of a crowd. Who’s all singing this back at him and he realizes, Oh my gosh, is this the message I want to be sending into the world?

Completely reinvented themselves. Singing about technology on OK. Computer. and then, yeah, then they’re basically an ambient band by 2000. This is what, six years, I think. 

Dave Derington: [00:14:22] Yeah. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:14:23] For a band to rapidly reinvent themselves that quickly. It’s not unheard of. if you look at six years in David Bowie’s career, another one of my very favorite artists of all time, you’re going to see something very similar.

And in fact, even the Beatles between, 1964 and 1970, basically every song, from them is within that time period from all those different genres. But in general it seems like reinvention is a way to stay fresh and creative and challenge yourself. 

Dave Derington: [00:14:51] Yeah. And it’s necessary. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:14:52] Yeah. So what does that say about customer education, Dave?

Dave Derington: [00:14:55] as we know it in, and again, I have to pull back again and reframe this because Adam, what you and I, and others that are a space right now are doing, it’s really framing up what this customer education think actually means it’s new, but customer education services and learning and development are things that have been around forever.

And there’s lots of received wisdom from people who aren’t being brave and experimenting with new approaches. Don’t be like them be like, Radiohead. would you agree with that? 

Adam Avramescu: [00:15:24] I would love to be like Radiohead. 

Dave Derington: [00:15:26] Yeah. You’ve been 

Adam Avramescu: [00:15:28] talking a little bit here about OK. Computer. So let’s dive in a little more for, so for our second song, we’re going to talk about a song called airbag, which is the first track on OK.

Computer, but we might talk about OK. Computer a little more in general as well. And I think the theme here is like we’ve been talking about is dealing with change and technology. 

Dave Derington: [00:15:46] Yeah. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:15:48] So as we mentioned, okay. Computer is probably our favorite album, both of ours. And part of the reason why it’s a lot of people’s favorite is that the music really balances that guitar driven sound that radio had started with more layered production and instrumentation, their producer, producer, Nigel, God, rich and amazing producer.

He’s also done work for back, and countless other bands, but. It really helps them, even though they continue to switch from John read a genre, helps them continue to sound like the same band, but this is a big step forward for a band who basically was a guitar rock band. And now they were embracing sampling and there were trip hop songs on there and that’s noteworthy in itself because if you’re passionate about innovation, try it out.

Radiohead. Wasn’t the first band making this type of music. They were, they were taking cues from other bands they were listening to at the time, other artists like a DJ shadow. but they were never afraid to embrace new genres and also make it their own. Make it sound like radio head too.

Dave Derington: [00:16:51] Yeah. I remember seeing some bootleg stuff with DJ shadow, partnering with Radiohead and making some really trippy type stuff. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:17:01] Yeah, absolutely. I think they, what they did that collaboration on the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. 

Dave Derington: [00:17:06] Yeah. And in, I don’t know if I’m at a place right now in saying this, but I recall buying an album that was called, like everybody can play Radiohead and it was a whole bunch of other artists covering Radiohead songs in slightly different ways.

and then they opened up, what was it, the one of their albums to the public domain. And then all other artists had done, done some really incredible remixing with all of their lyrics. Eh, w who was the artist, a rap musician to that? Do you recall that, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:17:36] who opened all the albums up for sampling?

Dave Derington: [00:17:39] Radiohead dead, and then another, they partnered with another, I’ll have to look that up. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:17:44] I don’t know that one either. 

Dave Derington: [00:17:46] All right. but anyway, for this album, what we really want to talk about Adam is lyrics. most people will say that this album was about technology and name. Yeah.

And technology shows up throughout, and it contains songs about technology past, present, and future Androids, alien spacecraft, automatic tramp cell phones. And that was still new in 97. And there was besides about Palo Alto. Now that’s hard to Silicon Valley, Before the founding of Facebook.

And then talk about chemistry, polyethylene, plastic, poly at the lead. I love that song. but just as much as about the way technology affects people and their modern life. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:18:27] Yeah. So let’s hone in for a moment on, Ooh. I just said hone in. That’s one of my least favorite things. It’s home end. Okay.

This is going to be grammar corner. Home in is the correct phrase. That’s like a homing missile at homes in on something hone is like what you do, like whittling it’s like you hone a piece of wood. 

Dave Derington: [00:18:47] Yeah. You’re not going to be like espresso too. Huh. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:18:50] But yeah, we can do that one too. Anyway.

I don’t know. I don’t know if Radiohead would want to be prescriptive, but be prescriptive. Okay. So let’s hone in on the first song on the album airbag. Here, we’re talking about technology, but we’re talking about a piece of technology that wouldn’t have been futuristic at all when the album was released.

The airbag was old hat in 1997. Yeah, but let’s take a listen. And by Alyson, I will say the lyrics, to some of the first lyrics of the album and maybe Dave, you can give a little interpretation. 

Dave Derington: [00:19:19] So first lyric 

Adam Avramescu: [00:19:21] in the next world war in a jackknife juggernaut, I am born again.

What’s Tom York saying here. 

Dave Derington: [00:19:30] so this is airbag. And what he’s describing is this massive semi-tractor trailer that’s bent and gnarled itself into an accident. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:19:40] Yeah, like jackknife is when something gets, basically like bent into. And I think juggernaut is just British for a semi-trailer. Okay. In a fast German car, I’m amazed that I survived.

An airbag saved my life. Yeah, 

Dave Derington: [00:19:55] that’s it. I listened to the song and I listened to the lyrics. I’m like, Oh my God, he’s talking about something very real. And like a personal experience, getting into a car wreck on the Autobahn or the interstate or whatever you would call it in the near cultural, new it’s.

It’s really interesting. it’s really not, it’s not mundane. It’s really a scary. Yeah. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:20:16] it’s having that moment of realizing that without this technology, he wouldn’t be alive. that’s pretty deep, right? 

Dave Derington: [00:20:23] Yeah. That’s really deep. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:20:24] those are so futuristic lyrics. He’s talking about some sort of future war time, right?

The next world war from his vantage point in 1997, which was very peaceful. So that’s almost precious. 2001 wasn’t that much longer afterwards, but he’s talking about how, if not, for this piece of technology, he wouldn’t be able to have this moment where he’s thankful to be alive.

It’s dark, it’s deep, but it still manages to be hopeful. 

Dave Derington: [00:20:47] Yeah, that’s cool. That’s really cool. And that same album also goes on, like we said before, To talk about Androids, talk about aliens, talk about dystopian governments. It, Tom York is writing lyrics about how every day technology affects us as humans.

and we can take two things away from this. And then we’re coming back into the world of customer education 

Adam Avramescu: [00:21:10] as we tend to. Yeah, it was when we 

Dave Derington: [00:21:12] showed up, that’s what it’s called, and CELab, customer education podcast. But I digress the radio head lab. Yeah, that’s too close to radio lab.

Adam Avramescu: [00:21:19] Okay. how about next year? We’ll do, all stereo lab songs will be the stereo lab. 

Dave Derington: [00:21:23] Oh, okay. maybe we’ll go Def pump, but I don’t know. anyway, here’s one thing. no matter what technology comes along in the world of customer education, we’re talking current technologies like.

Money management systems, dApps, ex API, emerging talking, emerging technologies like AI machine learning and VR and so on. We should get too obsessed with the emerging technology and what might come in the future, such that we forget how real everyday technology affects us and our learners.

Adam Avramescu: [00:21:57] Yeah. don’t just sing about the Android, sing about the airbag. The other thing I think we can take from this is. That what’s interesting about technology, and this is true for the tech we use as learning professionals. Like you were just talking about. 

Dave Derington: [00:22:10] It’s also 

Adam Avramescu: [00:22:11] especially true for those of us doing customer education for tech product is that the tech itself is not the most important part.

What’s important about the tech is the human stories behind it. Tech matters only as much as it affects the people using it. okay. Computer is aged incredibly well, not just because of the fresh production, Nigel God rich, all those great. Memorable, guitar and keyboard lines. But because there isn’t a lot of dated speculation about what the future technology will be like there’s a Billy idol album called cyber punk that has not aged well at all, because he’s describing a future that just never came to pass.

So it sounds really dated, but this radio head album, it’s about people’s reactions to technology. Are they thankful? Are they depressed? Are they optimistic? That’s what matters in the songwriting. 

Dave Derington: [00:22:57] Yeah, I would agree with that. Something I really like about this as well. Is that okay, let’s just go down to brass tacks.

We have this continually expanding pallet of tools at our disposal and. I think that’s something that we can, and I know I do, you get stayed and, monotone and the palette that you tend to use. That’s why at a zoo I broke out of that box and said, let’s try this Twitch thing that I’ve played with for gaming.

You want to do something? we can try new things and reach in new and novel, interesting ways. We’re not, we really want to make things exciting. The reference I have about Twitch. It’s not anything new. These let’s dive into the Twitch platform. Twitch is a video platform and it’s wrappered around internet relay chat, They’ve dusted it off and embedded it in there. And they’ve made this really slick interface. Nothing. There is new, it’s just a way that is delivered in all the mechanisms behind it that makes it so compelling and interesting to work with. This changes, how we do education. Something that just came to mind too, is going back to, Michael Allen.

And, and one of the things I was reading in his is one of his books. I don’t remember the name of the book off the top of my head right now, but he was talking about. making e-learning for the very first time on computers and how they had very limited resources, bandwidth was low. The processor was very weak.

Memory was limited and still they made these amazing engaging things. e-learning experiences out of this technology, even though it was limited. And it was really cool because this is the first time anybody can do it, but it still had to be done. You can’t. just go into something and just try it, see what sticks on the wall without having some failure.

Adam Avramescu: [00:24:43] Yeah. I can only imagine that a lot of that was before. My time. I wasn’t there during the, the floppy disk era of e-learning, but you don’t think, I think about this, right? Like a 1997. This is when this album is being recorded. What did e-learning look like in 1997? How many of you remember 

Dave Derington: [00:25:01] or listen?

It was definitely not anywhere like it is today. it was a lot more slow, hard to do. I remember seeing some training. The content online, it was just it sucked. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:25:16] Yeah. And, the world is so much different now, but that album remains fresh and, has stood the test of time.

So I think that takes us then to our third one is actually two songs that I think are in conversation with each other, but we’ll use them both as examples. The first is a song off the 2001 album amnesiac it’s called pyramid song. And the other one is a song off the 2000. I’m going to get this wrong.

2007 to 2008 album in rainbows. 

Dave Derington: [00:25:46] It’d be 

Adam Avramescu: [00:25:47] nice if I actually wrote down what year that, album was 

Dave Derington: [00:25:50] released. That’s okay. Fans will know, you can go. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:25:52] Fans will know the true fans will know true radio had pans will know. anyway, both of these show us the power of schema. Yeah. So let’s go back to the year, 2000, right?

We talked about kid a being this. Second big reinvention for Radiohead. And in 2000 and 2001 radio had released both kid a and it’s a sister album amnesiac. There were two albums recorded during the same sessions. They could have been released as a double album if they wanted to, but they showed remarkable restraint in not doing that, but both really marked that radical departure from their rock roots, the albums as a whole, mostly abandoned the guitar sound that the band was known for.

In favors of sins and electronics and ambient sounds, they had this crazy instrument called the on Martineau, which was, I think like the world’s earliest synth, something like that. 

Dave Derington: [00:26:43] Yeah. But 

Adam Avramescu: [00:26:44] one of the most well remembered songs from this era is called pyramid song. It’s applauding piano, bell, where Tom York sings angelically about a dreamlike state.

Again, it’s very impressionistic and to make the song even more dreamlike, it’s not just the lyrics and the way that he’s singing. It’s also the music, the song is in a very irregular time signature. It’s very difficult to count and to prove that, I’m going to play it 

Dave Derington: [00:27:09] to it. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:27:11] And I want to see listeners.

Let’s see if you can count along with the song. 

Dave Derington: [00:27:15] I’m gonna have to get out our time, signature counting and clapping like we did. And, early band. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:27:21] Yeah, exactly. so let’s actually, before I play it, let’s talk about musical accounting for people or 

Dave Derington: [00:27:26] yeah. Let’s do trends, right?


Adam Avramescu: [00:27:28] how do you count music, Dave? 

Dave Derington: [00:27:29] Yeah. So most songs traditionally, and again, those of you who had the band experience or played a piano, or what have you most songs have a four, four beat? No, it’s one, two, three, four, one, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:27:43] two, three.

Dave Derington: [00:27:51] Oh, I was going to, Hey, we did Monte Python covers in marching band. One year when I went to Mizzou university of Missouri Columbia, and we did the whole, it was not money. Panto is John Philip Sousa, but you remember them for mighty Python and we would do those kinds of things. It was fab fabulous. But anyway, the point is.

It’s a four, four time, the quarter note gets the beat and there’s four notes in a measure. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:28:15] Yeah. One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. And almost any pop song you can count in four, four. 

Dave Derington: [00:28:22] Yeah. Almost anyone, but play this one, Adam. And let’s see if you, the audience can pick up what that signature actually.


Very good. Beautiful. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:29:10] Do you want me to play it again? No. You want to try to count it again? I’ll just rewind that. 

Dave Derington: [00:29:16] Yeah. Just go back 15 seconds. Do it again. What do you think that time signature is folks. We can get your response on there, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:29:24] but just think about how you might even try to count that.

That didn’t sound like anything you’ve heard before, 

Dave Derington: [00:29:29] it’s I’m not seeing where the clearer demarcations, so it sounds to me like there’s many different time signatures. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:29:37] Yeah. Or what you might call mixed meter. And that’s how a lot of people interpret the song. 

Dave Derington: [00:29:42] So it was, they think.

Adam Avramescu: [00:29:43] So mixed meter is like, when you might have a measure of three and then a measure a four and then the measure a three or something like that. So you could count it as a one, two, three one one, two, three, four, five. That’s actually not how the song has counted. Exactly. Is it? 

Dave Derington: [00:30:05] No, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:30:06] it sounds like it’s a regular or a mixed feeder because Radiohead is actually obscuring the time signature from you.

They’re being cheeky, how they count the song is not how you hear the song because it’s moving so slowly. And by the time the drums come in, you’re super confused because you’ve already been counting it in a weird way or not counting it. So you’re mostly just confused by that point. 

Dave Derington: [00:30:32] Yeah. If you speed up the song, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:30:34] have you ever listened to the song?

Sped up, Dave? 

Dave Derington: [00:30:36] I’ve listened to that PA that a YouTube channel where they take Radiohead songs to slow them down by 800 times. But I haven’t seen the sped up version of it. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:30:44] Okay. the slowed down ones are fun too, 

Dave Derington: [00:30:46] but 

Adam Avramescu: [00:30:47] let’s well, you can definitely go to YouTube and, search for pyramid song sped up, but let me give you a, an opportunity.

I’ll just play it on the piano again and see if you can figure out what’s going on here.

Now, of course, I played a little beat in there as well. So you could hear the actual tempo of the song, but if you listen to the song sped up, it’s actually the exact same rhythm. 

Dave Derington: [00:31:34] Yeah. that’s really cool. So you start to hear 

Adam Avramescu: [00:31:41] it’s in four, four, 

Dave Derington: [00:31:42] yeah, it actually four, four with a twist because if you look out and do your research, it’s it.

Do you remember the term swing eights, jazz. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:31:50] It’s 

Dave Derington: [00:31:51] swung for four. Some people might even call it 12, eight, but 

Adam Avramescu: [00:31:55] you might well know it’s not a shuffle beat, 

Dave Derington: [00:31:58] but it’s a swung. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:31:59] Yeah. So you might count it. if you ever hear a jazz song where the beat is going, like

it’s almost got that kind of beat going. 

Dave Derington: [00:32:09] Yeah. if you bring it back, it sounds irregular. They’re obscuring the time signature. It’s actually four, four down underneath. and the thing about this is, and the thing about this band that I love so much, actually, when I think about it, Genesis.

And if you’re a fan of Genesis two, Genesis had songs like apocalypse and seven, four, and all these weird three, four, nine for time signatures. And th the, that irregularity that bizarreness and that obscuring the fundamental, rhythm, is it really taps into your dopamine?


Adam Avramescu: [00:32:43] Yeah. You occasionally hear some songs that really managed to get into the groove of an irregular time signature. Like I think one of the, the most obvious ones that I can think of is, the mission impossible theme, dun. How do you count that? One, two, three, four, five one two three four five one two, three, four, five.

Dave Derington: [00:33:00] Yeah. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:33:01] Anyway. So Radiohead’s obscuring the actual beat for, from you. And this isn’t the only time in their career that they’ve done this. They’ve done this multiple times, so on him, rainbows, which, now that I’m looking at my notes was released in 2007. They just something similar research. They do something similar on a song called videotape.

Now you can actually see a video on YouTube. Called the secret rhythm behind Radiohead’s videotape, where they give a much more in-depth breakdown of this, then we’ll give on this podcast, but they try to unravel the mystery of why during a live performance, Tom York can’t seem to start playing piano at the right time.

you, reminded me of this clip today, right? Yeah. 

Dave Derington: [00:33:44] Yeah. I’ve watched it actually, not that long ago. And he really struggled and he basically no, just wait, just stop. And it’s like, all right, give me a beat. Give me a beat and the drummer started to tap it out and then he’s like nodding his head and then finally he gets on it and he’s with it, but it took him a while and he had to actually, and that’s a real vulnerability right there when you stop a concert and he’s I can’t, I need a moment.

It was really cool. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:34:09] Yeah, definitely a moment of really strong vulnerability. and then you watch them actually playing the song and then you look over there and call in Greenwood. Who’s usually the basis. But I think on this song, he’s playing some sort of a little sand. He’s he looks like he’s at a rave he’s dancing to this really slow plotting song in a way that seems super energetic, 

Dave Derington: [00:34:30] but it doesn’t match up with what’s actually happening.

The music that’s coming out. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:34:33] Yeah. Kira I’ll play. I’ll play what the song sounds like.

Now. That doesn’t sound like a fast song, does it? 

Dave Derington: [00:35:05] No, not at all. It’s 

Adam Avramescu: [00:35:06] that also doesn’t sound like a song that would be very hard to play. Does it? 

Dave Derington: [00:35:10] No, none of the surface, but tells me 

Adam Avramescu: [00:35:12] from the fact that if you, we’ll put some outtakes in there. It just, it took me three tries to figure that one out, but, why was it so hard for Tom York to get the beat on that?

It’s just going one, two, three, four, one, 

Dave Derington: [00:35:26] two, three, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:35:27] four. 

Dave Derington: [00:35:28] Yeah, but let’s go to our jazz playbook here. what’s really happening underneath the hood. that’s strange to say in a musical context, it’s syncopated. And that means that when the piano is playing, it’s not playing at the same time.

As the beat is playing off the beat, as one would say, that’s. And if you were going to listen to an earlier version of the song, when they first started prototyping, that’s why I really loved the band because you could find these things and the one that’s, nice and sanitized as much as Radiohead gets a, the is a more marketing version of the song as it started out and it evolved and iterated upon.

And if you listen to that original versus song, you can hear much more clearly what the piano is actually doing. Under the hood and you can listen to that song hundreds of times. and, we have, and still not notice what’s going on in the beat. piano is going one, two, three, four, and your brain is going one, two, three, four, but this really the aunt, or the, whatever, the micro part of it underneath there, you don’t realize that actual rhythm.

What’s that? 

Adam Avramescu: [00:36:36] Yeah, there’s a secret melody. There’s an actual rhythm hiding in plain sight. here, let me try. I’ll play it on the, I’ll play it on the piano and see if I can capture the beat here on the base so people can 

Dave Derington: [00:36:46] hear.

you can hear that the actual rhythm is hiding in plain sight. Now, when he exposes that the base part of it, which is on the beat and this, and that’s why you saw Tom struggling so much because his brain got to thinking like your brain would, and you’re actually thinking the one, two, three is on the beat that he’s playing, whereas it’s not, and that’s, here’s the lesson.

Here’s the lesson. This shows the power of his Adams at the schema. And often as customer educators, we sit down and we’re working and we’re doing this again right now with our new companies. you’re working with subject matter experts. They have such deep knowledge of your product. And we’re trying to do that.

They often forget what it’s like to learn the subject for the first time. So I started leaving out details and assumptions, and that starts meeting. That means that someone learning for the very first time. I can’t keep up there. They’re advanced and thinking about the syncopation and really what’s happening under the hood is no, there’s a S there’s a meter underneath all that.

and it’s almost like that SMI is hearing a beat in their head, but that doesn’t come over and translate to the learner. And it sounds not like the beat they’re actually playing, but the beat they’d expect to hear. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:38:28] Yeah. the learner is hearing. One, two, three, four, and then color, it is over there.

Just dancing. Dancing is hard at cause he’s hearing ch. Cause that’s the beat. He can hear it. That’s the actual beat of the song now. Okay. Radiohead gets to play with our expectations like this because they are a willfully up twos, rock band that has sold millions of albums. They get to call the shots they released on this exact same album that videotape is on in rainbows.

They released it with a pay, what you want model again, Radiohead innovating. they can challenge us to listen more deeply because they’re making art and entertainment now for our field where learners probably wouldn’t take training. If they didn’t have to. Although, maybe for some of us, in our most aspirational moments, we can provide art and entertainment as well.

We have to make the effort to help our learners. Here are the actual beat of the song, so to speak 

Dave Derington: [00:39:20] the actual pulse of the product and in what’s happening well, let’s 

Adam Avramescu: [00:39:24] go one step, not just what’s in the subject matter experts head. Yeah. We have to help them understand and come to their own conclusions.

Dave Derington: [00:39:30] Yeah, you be you to be the judge. and as a bonus, I know there’s one more thing. There’s something else we can learn from videotape. Now, again, we’re trying to make link for this so that you can easily Google it, but if you watch the clip, Tom stops playing the song after he can’t find that beat.

This is what I talked about. Just a little bit more. This guy is an accomplished musician with a stadium full of fans listening. And instead of trying to fake it, he stops he’s vulnerable. He starts over and the lesson there, my friends is, look, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to screw up. If you’re not trying to do new things, this is the play of the startup software as a service type mentality.

And it should be everybody. You can be vulnerable if you’re not trying something new and novel, it doesn’t have to mean you’re not communicating a video. It can mean a different approach or a schema. A way to present and engage with a customer. We often, as the professionals feel like we always have to put our very best on stage, and I’m going to tell you one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen is when I just dropped.

and again, I go back to the story I told about Twitch at Azusa. I decided I’m going to use this different platform nobody’s ever done this. I’m going to do it. I’m just going to try it and see how it works. And it worked and it was amazing. And it was a lot of fun and it was a new and novel way to engage.

With an audience, but I screwed up quite a few times in doing that until I got it right. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:41:00] Absolutely. We have to be vulnerable. We have to be unafraid to experiment with new approaches and that is going to involve failure. It means that sometimes we’re going to start the song on the wrong beat, but that’s okay.

That doesn’t make the audience think any less of Tom does make us think any less of Radiohead and it won’t make your learners. Think less of you as long as you’re surrounding those occasional missteps with ambition product. 

Dave Derington: [00:41:24] Cool. So this was fun. I we’re definitely going to have to make this a tradition.

Yeah. I 

Adam Avramescu: [00:41:30] hope listeners enjoyed us. Just, goofing off a little bit and talking about a band that we both care personally about, but also hope that this sparks some lateral orthogonal thinking around customer education as well. What’s your radio head, go out and find the thing that inspires you in a way that might be a little unconventional.

Dave Derington: [00:41:48] Yeah. Try something new novel stick to your roots, but experiment, try new things. That’s the CELab way. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:41:55] That’s right. That’s why we always say educate experiment and find your people. But before we say that, cause that’s our sign-off you’re probably listening to this in, early 20, 20, so happy 20, 20 everyone happy new year.

We’re so happy to have you here in the lab with us as about to say the CELab family. But I think it’s actually the lab assistants or the scientists were a team of scientists. That’s what we all are. we will be moving to releasing monthly for a little while here in the new year. but fear not.

We’ve got some great content coming up. We have some very exciting interviews lined up and in the spirit of experimentation, some new formats that we haven’t tried before. 

Dave Derington: [00:42:35] Yeah, it’s going to be really fun. So stick with us through it, through that can then evangelize, tell the other people we’re going to be interviewing some folks that are just, it may be a little bit different and try to stretch and push the boundaries.

And again, we’re hitting both of you as a. Customer education professional, but we expect a lot of you listening and should be in the customer success space, whether you’re, testing the waters, you’re learning, you’re trying to figure out what this thing is. And you may be even further in L&D welcome you to the community.

We want you to be here and put in suggestions, and stick with us. We’re going to try new stuff. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:43:07] Yeah. And welcome of course, to our now broad crossover fan base, from Radiohead.

Okay. So if you want to learn more about customer education, Radiohead, or whatever, we have a podcast website@customer.education, and there you can find show notes and other material on Twitter I am at, 

Dave Derington: [00:43:29] and I am @davederington. And once again, special, thanks to Alan CODO for our wonderful theme music.

Now, again, if this. Help you out, please help us out by subscribing in your pod catcher of choice, or even leave us a review on iTunes. It really helps us out. We’re trying to make this appeal to a broad audience, specifically to understand customer education. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:43:51] Our analytics tell us that most of you listen on Apple podcasts.

So it’s very easy to just go in there and leave a review. 

Dave Derington: [00:43:57] Exactly. Those two things help us expose our podcasts to the world at large. Now to wrap this up, as we always say to our audience, Thanks again for joining us, have a happy and prosperous new year. And with that, go out, educate experiment, and find your people.

Adam Avramescu: [00:44:16] Thanks for listening.

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