Adam Avramescu: [00:00:00] Boston has some pretty good beers. 

Dave Derington: [00:00:03] it’s on my beer bucket list

October 30th, 2018, and welcome to episode five of CELab, the customer education lab, where we explore how to build customer education programs, experiment with new approaches and exterminate the myths and bad advice that stop growth. Dead in its tracks. I’m Dave Derington, director of user enablement at Azuqua 

Adam Avramescu: [00:00:32] and I’m Adam Avramescu.

I lead customer education at Checkr. 

Dave Derington: [00:00:36] And today we’re going to do something a little bit different. This is an alternate format we have Adam, you went to a segment. Yeah. The fall conference in Boston, right? 

Adam Avramescu: [00:00:45] I did. 

Dave Derington: [00:00:46] Cool. and we’re talking to you about every time we go to events like this, we like to try to capture some of what we may have learned at that.

Share our thoughts. So today, Adam, Here to go over some of the presentations that you found noteworthy and interesting. and then we’re going to talk about those reflect on those. And then, Adam, probably a great way to start this off is to talk a little bit about what sediment is and then we’ll get into a discussion.

Adam Avramescu: [00:01:11] Yeah, sounds good. We can have a little mini episode. So CEDMA is the customer education management association and they. At least up to this point have been having two conferences, a West coast and an East coast conference, I think. And this is one of the big pieces of information that came out of the conference.

I think they’re going to switch to having an annual conference. Oh yeah. this was the fall conference in Boston. And this is an organization where. Customer education leaders come to talk about how we do what we do. So a lot of, discussion of different issues from curriculum design to pricing, to everything else.

Dave Derington: [00:01:54] we’ve seen a lot of customer success as well recently. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:01:57] Absolutely. And that was actually one of the big topics. maybe we can dive in and talk a little bit about some of the sessions. 

Dave Derington: [00:02:03] let’s do it. So you sent some notes. it seems like there was two big themes this year. So can you tell us a little about those themes and then walk through some bullets and then let’s reflect upon it?

Adam Avramescu: [00:02:14] Yeah, for sure. So the two big themes that I took away were number one, really thinking about the customer education P&L the profit and loss, running your department based on revenue, bookings, margin, the. The way that people have been doing it for on-premise software for a long time versus customer education in the SaaS world.

And how does that change the way that we do business period. And then another big theme was the role of certification and badging. How do we credential our customers and how do we develop programs that certify the different skills that they 

Dave Derington: [00:02:52] have? This’ll be interesting. so where do you wanna start?

Adam Avramescu: [00:02:56] Let’s let’s talk about the, the P&L versus SaaS. 

Dave Derington: [00:03:00] Cool. Heard about this one, because I know personally I’ve been both in services and in customer success. And then recently, now I’m in marketing. So love to hear what they’re talking about, et cetera. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:03:12] Yeah. So it’s type, I, for the past few years, I’ve noticed a trend where a lot of the people who attend Sedna are from pretty large education services organizations.

That at least up until this point have come out of the world of professional services. And that’s because of the nature of how these software companies are implemented. So you have a big piece of on-premise software. You come out, you do several days of training, and then that is basically your business.

Maybe you do retraining over time, but it really is this professional service. And a lot of these companies now are either. Completely cloud-based completely SaaS, or maybe they’re hybrid. A lot of people in the room still had some on-premise solutions and some software as a service solutions. So we’re all thinking now about what is the role of customer education and how do we structure that?

So the first conference session, this was the keynote and actually thought it was super interesting was by Peter Broderick. And he is the vice president of global customer enablement at Kronos. 

Dave Derington: [00:04:17] Oh, great. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:04:18] Yeah. and so his presentation was called his SaaSs, the death of the education P&L as we know it today, title.

Yeah. 

Dave Derington: [00:04:26] Oh my gosh. So what were his takeaways of that? 

Adam Avramescu: [00:04:30] a few things, he actually started with a really interesting rundown of how the board thinks about customer education and what the pressures are from different areas of the business. So he talked about the fact that, if you’re a public company you’re responding to stock market pressure.

And that’s part of the reason why people are moving to SaaS in the first  place is that SaaS   companies just have really strong multiples and their valuation compared to other companies. He also talked about the business model pressure. So this is something that you and I talk about a lot too, is that in SaaS and software as a service.

It’s very different. You don’t just pay money for your software upfront. And then it either sits on the shelf or it gets used. SaaS companies are under pressure to break even on their investment. They spend all this money acquiring the customer, but they need to make sure that customer stays with them longer, long enough to actually be profitable.

and then the other one that he talked about was the business model pressure. As people switch to this customer success model, we need to figure out how we don’t just deliver on premise training, but really how we fit into our customer segmentation. So you probably have a high touch model where you have these various strategic CSMs managing various strategic accounts.

Very small portfolios. Then the low touch model where customer success managers are still managing accounts, but they’re doing it at scale. And finally, this idea of tech touch, right? Where a customer has the relationship with the company almost completely automated, 

Dave Derington: [00:06:05] I guess some of the first questions or the, let me put it in this context.

The first thought that comes to mind about this is experiences that I know we’ve felt being. And let me go back in the past and maybe this will help frame the rim stuff up. So I’ve been to a lot of very deep technical product training. one was for a laboratory information management system. One was for a management execution system.

I used to work in a plant and they. The vendor would come in. I think PerkinElmer was a big name that I recall they would come in, we’d sit there for a week and learn all this stuff and then they go away and then I’d forget about it. Now it went by the time I had to use a product, I have to go to manuals that were on the shelf.

Conversely, another training I went to, I remember traveling for three weeks of solid training and it was a ghosted, but that model is dead. It is largely dead. And now. Just reflecting upon let’s use Gainsight. And maybe you talked about Optimizely a little bit to what you did with opt diverse, but it feels like a completely different vibe where you have all of these people who are working around you and orbit and training and education is everybody’s job with a locus.

Of an individual or a team that is trying to process and send out and process and send out and schedule and get people engaged. So the model feels more, on demand. What do 

Adam Avramescu: [00:07:29] you think? Yeah. and not just that, but it ties into overall customer health a lot more than it used to. So it used to be that, especially, if you’re an on-prem company and you’re just delivering training sessions, All the pressure that was put on you as a customer education leader was to sell enough training that it brought in enough money to cover your costs or achieve a certain margin target.

And that’s just not true anymore. Customer education leaders are increasingly across the board being asked to measure their impact on the rest of the company’s KPIs. And that came through not just in Pete’s presentation, but actually in several of the presentations throughout the couple of days, including the benchmarks.

overall there’s just a lot more. Both pressure and opportunity. I think reflected that this was an opportunity as well, to not just measure how much training are they delivering, but what impact does training have on customer adoption of the product? Time to first value with the product, expansion, renewal, support tickets, all those other pieces of the business where customer education can play a role.

Dave Derington: [00:08:40] this reminds me of, I recall the book that you and I were talking offline about, I’m reading Michael Allen’s guide to e-learning. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:08:46] Oh 

Dave Derington: [00:08:47] yeah, really good book. And one of the points that I just read about last night was exactly this kind of problem. You’re mentioning KPIs. We here call them.

Okay. Ours doesn’t matter what you call it. This conversation about mapping or aligning to an executive. Leadership. what is the company trying to do? Where, what direction are we going? He was saying, and I’ve seen this before that you need to map and align with what your direction is, which direction the ship is going.

So it’s no longer Oh, I’m just this education org. And all I care about is meeting the bottom line so that I can keep my team. It’s more like now I’m part of this matrix and my goals are, I need to help support an NPS score of. Acts through education and that takes a lot more of a bi-directional engagement with leadership, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:09:40] right?

Yeah. and, I think that the right way to think about this as an opportunity, if you’re ever worried that customer education is less relevant now because customer success exists. and I genuinely think this is the fear of a lot of customer education leaders. as the business model started to change, Pete’s message.

and I couldn’t agree with this more is that customer education is more relevant than ever. he brought up an interesting statistic that on average training revenue or education revenue is only about 2% of the entire company revenue on average. if we are trying to optimize based on, what’s essentially a drop in the bucket, Then we’re probably leaving some value on the table in terms of what education actually.

Dave Derington: [00:10:24] Wow. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:10:26] Yeah, 2%. And so there’s a lot more opportunity, if we’re tracking our impact on the rest of the company, another big theme in terms of moving from on-premise to SaaS is that releases have gotten a lot shorter and a lot more frequent. And so the way that we produce content and this came up in a few different sessions, needs to reflect that we don’t have these 12 to 18 months cycles anymore to produce content and to protect

Dave Derington: [00:10:57] I laugh because it’s painful. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:11:00] it is painful. sure. but yeah, but that’s where the market’s headed. We can’t avoid that. 

Dave Derington: [00:11:06] So to know, did you ever think it was Peter now? Did Peter have any guidance or suggestions on how we as a customer education leaders should deal with that specific problem?

Adam Avramescu: [00:11:21] He did and actually, another person on his team, Deborah O’Connell, she spoke on the next day about how they actually transformed their content as well. 

Dave Derington: [00:11:30] Oh, wow. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:11:31] Yeah. so they were thinking a lot about moving from these silos in their organization, where you had tech pubs and you had customer service and you had customer education and you had the product team doing some in product performance support.

And unsiloing those working more cross-functionally so they thought of it as building bridges around these user personas so that they could move from the idea of having a bunch of silos to having a single source of truth. 

Dave Derington: [00:11:59] That’s fabulous. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:12:00] Yeah. so now they’re starting to connect their systems a little more, and figure out what gets published, where, Debra shared something that I thought was really, interesting, especially for companies who use the same system to manage both internal and external documentation and training was, they actually had a lot of their content co contents coded as, internal.

Internal and partner or internal partner and customer. Oh, 

Dave Derington: [00:12:26] nice. Yeah. So they’re using something like mine touch or some other software that allow you to compartmentalize that and share it dynamically. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:12:35] I don’t remember exactly what software they were using for that, but I love the idea of coding content like that.

So you could very quickly discern what was for which audience. And you could start to create some rules around that. So I thought, yeah, I thought that was a really good strategy 

Dave Derington: [00:12:50] that resonates with me because at Azuqua we’re working on some kind of, rather nerdy, platform for delivery of content.

it has actually called Hugo. I don’t know if you’ve heard about that, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:13:00] but it does like a static site generator, right? It 

Dave Derington: [00:13:03] is, but it’s all hooked into get hub and it’s very dynamic, but what it allows you to do is tag particular. Content. So I can say this is internal only, or I could say this is partner only, or say this is for customers or all of them.

And then depending on where it is, we basically pushed the customer content live. One way we push other stuff internal. So it’s all safe in compartmentalized, but it’s all one source of truth. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:13:28] Yeah. I think that makes a lot of sense having that source of truth and and another big part of the conversation was about embedding content more where the customer is actually trying to use it.

So instead of doing, really long release notes, like we used to do, starting to make, those experiences a little more short, shorter, more bite-sized. And more embedded in the customer experience itself so that you’re not spending a ton of time producing really long release notes that no one’s going to read.

Yeah. 

Dave Derington: [00:13:57] And those release notes are super important. W one of the things that I did, Adam, I hit those problems squarely with updating content. And there’s a certain amount of the content that, if you go every quarter or every six weeks, and you’re trying to make inline updates, Fine.

But what we did for doc, or I’m sorry, what we did for training is we were recording on a regular basis on a regular cadence material. And every time we record, we would make the changes and then we would basically put those, break those videos up and put them online. And it really saved time because one, you had virtual instructor led at the same time as we were producing e-learning type of content.

Not of course the same, not polished. but it allowed people that gap coverage as well. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:14:40] Yeah. And I actually, I really like what you’re saying about repurposing content into some of those different formats too. because that’s how a lot of people are starting to think about their portfolios, right?

there’s this move into having different formats at different levels of scalability that also have different price points. So there are some people who have some completely free content that’s just aligned to customer success. it’s just there to drive adoption. There’s some who do more like freemium content, like having e-learning or standard paths that are free.

and then you have premium content and that might be the more in-depth live on-site training. It might be one where you get continuing education credits for it. It might be actual certifications. the ones that really drive deeper value that’s what starts to get included in the more.

Premium or more pricey in some cases, packages. 

Dave Derington: [00:15:32] Yeah, that totally makes sense. So what else do you got? what else, were they talking about? I see you had quite a few things like, we’re now is your return on investment shifting. So you’re changing from one model to the another and more SaaS based adoption based model.

So what kind of metrics did they talk about there? 

Adam Avramescu: [00:15:51] Yeah, I feel like. We’re still as an industry, trying to figure out how we calculate our own ROI, because it is harder now, right? It’s harder in a world where you don’t just have these bookings targets. And as long as you’re selling a certain number of training to a certain number of customers, and you to get enough butts in seats, then you bring enough money and to justify your own existence.

That was actually like that wasn’t easy, but that was simple. 

Dave Derington: [00:16:14] yeah, this, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:16:15] this is a lot more, it potentially has a lot more impact to the company. But it’s harder to measure. So people are thinking more about, do we try to calculate based on a ticket deflection? that was something that I spoke about was trying to calculate some ROI on ticket deflection, trying to measure the attribution of your customer education, to things like churn or product adoption.

If you can align and show that you are really helping make customers more successful. Then I think that there does become a little less pressure for everything you do to really generate margin. It becomes a little bit more about, certainly you can do cost recovery. certainly you should sell things that, have value to customers that they will buy separately.

or that it makes sense, but not necessarily to calculate ROI just based on the number of live training sold. Cause that’s just not. It’s not where the market is going and it’s not what a customer success teams care about. 

Dave Derington: [00:17:16] And that’s a huge topic. That one we could sit and talk about for ages.

Yeah. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:17:22] Didn’t we already do it on that. 

Dave Derington: [00:17:23] we did, but we probably should circle back and really focus on like the details and give a matrix of these are the top things you should measure and here’s a refined template for it. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:17:33] yeah, and I can share some of that too. I, that was part of my presentation.

And I talked about some things that we had measured at. At Optimizely. And now how we’re starting to think about that. A Checkr because Checkrs a lot earlier in our journey. 

Dave Derington: [00:17:45] Cool. All right. let’s keep moving through these, what else? I say in the next point you were saying there was a lot of talk about systems, so what’s a recap on the chatter about, systems like CRMs and GRPs.

Adam Avramescu: [00:17:59] Yeah. if you’re a customer education team, Typically, what you’ve been doing in the past is you’ve had an LMS and maybe you’ve had some sort of content management system and you’ve had a few other tools and technologies in there. But what people are starting to realize now is that, the importance of getting your data into other systems of record is more important than it ever has been.

this was threaded through several of the presentations, but there was also one session specifically. Devoted to the idea of how do you start to pair your LMS with your CRM system and your ERP system? because those are the, in a lot of cases, the source of truth at your organization. Yeah. 

Dave Derington: [00:18:42] that’s really a good one.

And this one could be a subject of conversation, like system integration, at Azuqua, we’re always thinking about that, but. Priya, Azuqua, every role I’ve had to worry about, for example, a Gainsight, how do I take information from my LMS and get that into Gainsight in front of my customer success managers, or go to my financial system ERP and be able to say, look, I’ve, I can demonstrate revenue recognition because I’ve trained these individuals, but it came through my LMS and I don’t have to think about it.

So I don’t have somebody from accounting or finance calling me about it. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:19:16] That’s huge. Yeah, absolutely. And so that’s something that’s on a lot of people’s minds, too, that frankly they wouldn’t have had to think about even just a few years ago when you know, the LMS could live in its own world.

Dave Derington: [00:19:28] Absolutely. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:19:29] Yeah. so that was day one was really focused around the changing business model, around the emergence of customer success and how we structure our metrics and our systems to accommodate that. Day two was a lot more about content. how we develop curriculum. I talked about.

Debra O’Connell’s presentation as well as really thinking about certification. So maybe we can spend just a few moments talking about the role of certification and badging too. 

Dave Derington: [00:19:57] Cool. I’m really interested in learning what was talked about there, because this is I’m going through that whole cycle again at Azuqua.

So tell me more. I can’t wait. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:20:06] so Dave, have you heard of open badges? 

Dave Derington: [00:20:09] I have indeed. Tell 

Adam Avramescu: [00:20:11] me a little bit about, what you know about them. 

Dave Derington: [00:20:13] I know a very minuscule amount of information based off what I’ve read. I think the resource that I had looked at was this is a Mozilla based project, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:20:23] correct?

Dave Derington: [00:20:24] Yes. and I, the bullet points that stick in my head and resonate with me are that this is an open extensible platform that is not. Beholden to any one particular product line. And it allows me to say, Adam, I bless you as an automation engineer for Zucca and because you’ve completed all of this training and some hands-on performance-based stuff, but this goes with you.

You can socialize it on LinkedIn or Facebook or whatever you want. So it’s something that you carry with you, like you do your degree or diploma from a university or so. is that accurate? 

Adam Avramescu: [00:20:59] You nailed it. that’s that better than I could have put it. So yeah. When you think about open badges, you’re really starting to think about the idea of 

Dave Derington: [00:21:08] how do we create 

Adam Avramescu: [00:21:09] a currency around credentials, especially if credentials are going to be digital now.

So if we don’t care as much about, Oh, you bought this degree from this university, but more, Oh, you have this set of skills. How do we as a software companies, especially. Start to certify and credential our customers. and this can go from things that are as light as, Hey, I took this course, I have this little bit of knowledge too.

Maybe I have this skill, to all the way to, I am certified by this company to deliver on the company’s behalf. and those all mean different things. So we need to start to find a bit of a common language in how we structure our credentialing programs. 

Dave Derington: [00:21:51] That’s cool. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:21:53] Yeah, so that was a, it was a pretty cool discussion.

And this was, Kevin Streeter from forge rock. I always really liked the way that he talks about these things. Cause he actually, he, he spent some time in the academic world as well, so he’s able to bring some of the theory as well as the practice and 

Dave Derington: [00:22:15] that’s fabulous. Let’s talk a little bit more about what kind of things are they suggesting?

So it was open badging. The Mozilla based project was that like one of the top ones or they talk to people talk about a general suite of different tooling that you could use for this. And I’m particularly interested in hearing what. the consensus is, or the leanings are because I want to replicate this on my 

Adam Avramescu: [00:22:37] platform.

Yeah. I think one of the gold standards right now, and I believe it is built on top of open badges is IBM’s program. so IBM, this actually, there was a previous Sedna keynote, a different year where, I can’t remember his name now. I’m sorry. I’m going to have to look it up. one of the leaders, of IBM’s badging program came and spoke about how they.

They had implemented open badging. but basically the way that they do it is they have different levels of proficiency in a badges starting from, Hey, I have this bit of knowledge. I have these skills all the way up to, IBM certification. And I think you can have different levels of certification with them.

And each of those signifies something different. but because they’re doing this at a really. Large scale. they’ve had hundreds of thousands of badges and, they’re posting this all over LinkedIn and other social media people are really starting to understand the currency of an IBM badge.

And Kevin was talking about how they were starting to, implement their own version of that at forge rock and really thinking about how do you set different levels. A badge, is it just about having, passed a quick multiple choice test or is it really about having shown that you have a skill in something that’s something that we have to start thinking about?

Dave Derington: [00:23:57] that’s fantastic. And one of the things that I think about in badging and certification that, and let me just share openly about this. Personally, I hate tests. I hate exams. I hate all that stuff. I’ve gone through it for years. I know how to build them. I know how to take them, but what I find a port about a conventional, let’s say old school circle, 1990s certification exam, where you’re proctored and all that stuff is it feels intrusive and violating somehow.

And one thing that, what I like and now we’re with the SaaS world. One of the big problems they have is time and. You know this as well as I do, you’re trying to get a customer engaged in an onboarded and get them excited. And I think that last one is the most important thing, but I only have a certain bite size amount of times throughout the day.

So if I could look at a Bajic I love, let me transition this in Bridget real quick. I love video games. I’m an adult, I still play games, but one of the things that gives me pure joy is an a, and I’ll share this. I play Diablo. Diablo three. And I’ve started to play seasons because there’s a little quest that you do.

And these are non-trivial quest where you have to do certain things and make things happen. It’s there’s a lot to remember, but there’s just something cool. When you able to, you’re able to hit all the things in sequence and complete the tasks that you were asked to do, and it means something. And now I’ve got this basically a badge.

It might be end game. I want that for my product. I want to have that same excitement. And I want people to say, Hey, I did this thing. And I spent this time and I learned this and I built this and I made this and now I’m back. I’m validated. And that’s a known quantity. Cause someone could go out and on my blizzard, whatever account and see that doesn’t mean anything.

It’s just a game. It means something when I can do, when I can share that knowledge about a product. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:25:44] Yeah. And I think that it is well different from gaming. I hear people make that analogy a lot between gaming and between professional certifications and badges. And frankly, I’m on the fence about it.

I understand that there’s a lot, yeah. In common between the two, but I think that there’s a key difference. you play a game because. A game is fun, right? The way that a games, interface works and, the way that games, missions, and objectives are structured, you play it because it’s fun.

And if it’s not fun, you can put it down 

Dave Derington: [00:26:17] with, 

Adam Avramescu: [00:26:17] with software. It’s not always true. Sometimes using software is completely optional, but in a lot of cases, as a practitioner, you’re using it because that’s the thing that you have to use either because your company uses it or because it’s an industry standard skill to have.

So I think, with badging, for software companies, one issue that we really have to get right, is making sure that the badges are actually meaningful. And it’s something that they’re either going to want to share on LinkedIn, because it’s a point of pride for them, or because it’s a, like an operating license to use a piece of software.

Dave Derington: [00:26:55] Exactly. Maybe because 

Adam Avramescu: [00:26:56] it’ll help them get a job somewhere else using that software. 

Dave Derington: [00:27:00] So what’s an example of level one, meaning, significance and value of the first tier of knowledge about, a SaaS product. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:27:08] Sorry. Can you repeat the question? 

Dave Derington: [00:27:09] Sorry. I stumped you on that. No, I said what’s an it, what would be example, I’m not disagreeing with you at all.

I just say that there’s commonalities between games and the kinds of certification and badging that we’re trying to strive for now. It’s that there should be a little fun in it, but it’s not all about fun. You’re absolutely right. Because I could learn Azuqua and the end of the day, it’s hard in a way that a game might not be hard, but what is that example of that?

From maybe what you heard. It said Mo the kind of things that they say, okay, this is the first kind of badge that you would have that you could earn. And here is the meaning of 

Adam Avramescu: [00:27:45] it. Got it. Okay. now I understand the question. Cool. So the first level, and IBM certainly does it this way is it’s knowledge.

So really, as you’re taking a learning path, or as you’re taking a course, You start with these little bits of knowledge that you earn. And, the way that I think about that one is that might add a little bit of fun or a little bit of winsy as you’re going through some of these learning paths or courses.

But at that point, it’s probably not motivating you to do anything that you wouldn’t have done. Already 

Dave Derington: [00:28:20] right. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:28:20] That said it does, plan to a foundation that as you start moving into skills or, IBM’s next levels proficiencies, and then moving into professional certifications that there is actually, a progression, And at a certain point they start to become more rigorous and more meaningful. 

Dave Derington: [00:28:38] Absolutely. So for example, it might be here’s one we’re working on. I have an onboarding. level. So when you complete that, Hey, you, effectively though, I’m at the last stage of it, where I want to implement that badge to say, Hey, I’ve done the level 100 Azusa certification and it shows, I know proficiency.

I can basically move around the system and I get it. but then you have something like a partner education. And what I want out of a partner program is they’ve completed online assets. They’ve had an, a workshop. They’ve been able to present to me a solution and walk through it compellingly, and they’ve done some performance-based testing.

So it’s completely different from just a, I looked at these videos and I answered some questions. It’s a more, it means something, it means quite a lot because when I train a partner, who’s going to use my product on my behalf with another individual or many individuals absolutely need to be high quality and understand the product 

Adam Avramescu: [00:29:37] at a level that’s validated.

Dave Derington: [00:29:38] So that’s significant. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:29:40] Absolutely. and I think when you think about it, that way, if that level of commitment in a certification program or in a credentialing program, that really matters. you say it’s like a game. I say it’s like dating. 

Dave Derington: [00:29:52] Oh, wow. That’s bold. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:29:55] we’ll have to come back to certification and our different analogies for it, but, 

Dave Derington: [00:29:59] you’re dating my app.

let me show you my shotgun here. You better treat her like 

Adam Avramescu: [00:30:04] I’m going to, am I in like with you or am I in love with you? My level of certification will reflect anyway. we’ll do another episode on that. 

Dave Derington: [00:30:12] Oh man. now you’re going to be thinking about speed dating apps in the RFP process.

enough of that. so what about some other notes that you’ve sent here? concept of community powered certification. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:30:25] so about that, this was a really interesting presentation by, Peter maniac. I hope I’m pronouncing that right. And, Richard Huey , who are at Magento. which is now part of Adobe.

Great. And they were talking about a really interesting way to tie together the idea of their Magento community. And they’re their training and certification programs. I think a lot of the time when we create our certifications and our courses, we work with subject matter experts internally.

but we’re plucking a lot of this from the ether, so to speak, right? So they were talking about the idea of actually involving their Magento community in helping them generate some of the content and best practices, because. Hey, you know what their users sometimes know how to use the product in different ways than people at the company.

they also were, helping them get involved with creating videos or maybe contributing certification questions, or even, peer grading each other during some of the courses. So I thought there were some really interesting ideas there. Yeah, that’s 

Dave Derington: [00:31:32] really neat. And the, it still seems like it’d be quite a lot of work, but it’s nice to know people who have some kind of subject matter expertise outside of your, the blinders you have on, within a company that could be really powerful.

Adam Avramescu: [00:31:46] Absolutely. And I think people sometimes miss this point when you talk about doing things that are scalable scale, isn’t easier necessarily. It just reaches more people. and I do that though in that they’re probably increasing their reach of their program. And, while I won’t share any specific metrics, because I think that’s all confidential from the conference, I do think that they were probably able both to increase the reach of their programs and they were able to get the people who were involved in creating the content really to become more like MVPs or.

power users who really had a nice affinity for their company. I thought that was 

Dave Derington: [00:32:28] cool. I really love that concept of engaging the people who are actively using and loving your product, hopefully loving it, in that day-to-day operation, because they’re going to think about, let me tell you a story.

We went to a hackathon at, Tableau con. 2018, last week. And I was just blown away by the expertise of some of the individuals that were coming in and using not only Tableau, but they started to use our product as well with Tableau. And they showed all these fabulous solutions and it just blew my mind and they’re like, wow, these are use cases and ideas and ways to go about doing things that adds to the diversity of my training, that I would never come up with.

Adam Avramescu: [00:33:10] I love seeing things like that, where that just gives you a fresh burst of inspiration. Yeah. Someone’s doing something really interesting that you aren’t doing. And maybe that’s a good way for us to start wrapping this up, you and I, before we turned on the, the recording, we’re talking a little bit about the idea of, how we’re always learning and whether you think you’ve built a program in a certain way, there’s always someone who’s built it in a different and interesting way as 

Dave Derington: [00:33:34] well.

Yeah. And I think to be retrospective about this, you go up and down as an education leader and there are times when you get into something and you’re starting to learn. Yeah. Things. You’re like, wow, I hit this wall last week. And so we were talking about before where wow, I’ve got so much learn because there’s now we’re using Twitch to do a live streaming of training and other stuff.

Adam Avramescu: [00:33:57] And it’s a whole other. 

Dave Derington: [00:34:00] Product, it’s a lot to learn too. And then now you have to cater to a different audience and do kinds of things. So if you’re not always learning, you’re probably not. how should I say you’re a customer education leader. You should be always learning. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:34:12] You should be like a shark, always swimming.

Dave Derington: [00:34:16] I’m always eating, swimming, eating, attacking small boats and people know 

Adam Avramescu: [00:34:21] that’s what I always say that I agree. And, I think the segment conference was really interesting from that perspective that, there are a lot of folks there who have a ton of experience in customer education and they’re doing it at.

Really large companies. and you learn a lot from what companies are doing at a different level of scale, then, for those of us who are at startups or, mid-sized companies. And then on the other hand, I think, those of us who are on this other side of the on-prem cloud divide, a lot of our companies were born in the cloud.

we have something to share as well about how we make ourselves relevant in this age of customer success. And SaaS. So it is really nice to see the trading of ideas. Yeah, 

Dave Derington: [00:35:06] that’s fantastic. Adam, if I wanted to go to said Mel conference to a CEDMA conference or get involved, how can I learn more?

Adam Avramescu: [00:35:15] I think you should probably start by going to CEDMA.org, C E D M a.org. And let me just put that in there to make sure that it’s actually their URL. I think it is.

Yes. So it’s said my.org, the premier organization for training leaders. So you can actually join them. they have a membership, it gives you access to some of their, decks and benchmarks and what they call their gold mine, as well as some of their special interest groups. but the conference. I think they’re going to be doing annually now.

And so that’s a great time to, I think, jump in and also learn from other customer education leaders. 

Dave Derington: [00:35:56] Very cool. Anything else to share at Adam? 

Adam Avramescu: [00:36:00] Boston has some pretty good beers. 

Dave Derington: [00:36:04] it’s on my beer bucket list. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:36:06] we’re spoiled sometimes here in, You know what? You’re in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m in Northern California. We’ve got really good local beers. don’t count the Northeast out 

Dave Derington: [00:36:16] is a, is plenty of the younger out yet, or is that in February, March? I 

Adam Avramescu: [00:36:22] don’t follow plenty. I don’t want any beer. I have to stand in line for. 

Dave Derington: [00:36:28] Oh my goodness. All right, let’s wrap this up.

remember if you want to learn more, we have a podcast website and this is at simply. Customer.education. Yes, that’s right. There’s no.com, no.edu it’s customer.education. There. You can find our show notes and other material, blog entries, and templates and things that you could use to advance your customer education success.

And please, if you found value in this podcast, share with your friends, your peers, over beers and your network to help us find the others on Twitter. I am at @davederington

Adam Avramescu: [00:37:03] and I’m @avramescu 

Dave Derington: [00:37:06] and to our audience. Thank you for joining us. Go out and educate experiment and find your people. 

Adam Avramescu: [00:37:12] Thanks for listening.

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