Dave Derington 01:17
Welcome to CELab, the customer education lab where we explore how to build customer education programs, experiment with new approaches, and exterminate the myths and the bad advice that stops growth dead in his tracks. I am Dave Derington.
Adam Avramescu 01:32
And I’m Adam Avramescu!
Dave Derington 01:35
And what I’m going to do today, we’ve got a special announcement Adam. Wait,
Adam Avramescu 01:41
what was that just now? What was that an ad? Did you hear the ad? Or was that just me? Did you hear the ad?
Dave Derington 01:46
Oh, my God ads in CELab ads. Well, seriously? Yes, we started this podcast officially now. Oh, my gosh, back in November 2018. Right.
Adam Avramescu 01:57
Yeah, that sounds about right. It really has been that long. But yeah, that makes this a really important day. Because it’s not just a national day of as we like to do, it’s something even better. We’re honored to say that today we have officially started our new season of CELab and for this one, that brings with us some great sponsors. So we’re going to graciously ask that you help all of our sponsors and our show by checking them out. They’ll be sharing resources, demos, other helpful information for you as you build or scale your customer education programs. And these are definitely a lot of great companies that you want to check out. And we will have links in the show descriptions for you, so you can check them out. But overall, I really hope that this is a value add for the show, and certainly helps us keep the thing going too. So thanks, everyone.
Dave Derington 02:48
Yeah, thanks, everybody. And without further ado, let’s get into the show. It is the International Day of we’re recording as of May 10, I believe. Yes. Mother’s Day, Mother ocean day mother out.
Adam Avramescu 03:02
They were to stay up all night.
Dave Derington 03:04
I mind is fifth day. Yeah. Well, that’s what I did last night preparing for the script after. We had a we had a lot of a long session about that, didn’t we, Daniel?
Adam Avramescu 03:15
Well, that’s, that’s a good intro to who was on the call with us, isn’t it? Patiently listening to us go back and forth, or the masters? Give a great introduction to our guests after the shenanigans, shall we?
Dave Derington 03:28
Yeah, so I think what we do today is we’re going to start something a little bit different. I have my new favorite book here. We just saw that. And welcome Barry and Daniel to the show, what we’d like you to do is have a little time introduce yourself, get to know look at the let the audience get to know you. Barry, let’s start with you.
Barry Kelly 03:51
Thanks very much. Really appreciate being here. And really want to get on the next Radiohead shows. I just couldn’t deconstruct the next record I want to be on just it’s great to be here. Thanks for having us. You know I’m Barry Kelly, co founder CEO of Though Industries, been working in online learning and product development, you know, most of my career and very fortunate to to be the CEO Thought Industries and you know, be working in a in a really amazing industry where we’re continuing to help organizations build value by through educating customers.
Dave Derington 04:33
Absolutely. Well put. Barry it’s amazing to have you we also have this as an amazing episode. We’ve got four of us here and a special guest star listening in Daniel quick, Daniel, you’re also along friend and also have been just like Barry on the episode before. Let’s let’s reintroduce you to the world.
Daniel Quick 04:54
Sure. Thanks for having me, you guys. So good to be back at the lab. I I’m Daniel quick SVP of learning strategies of thought industries. Been a thought industry this for a couple of years now, it’s been a very rewarding experience. My team is responsible for driving our own customer education strategy, as well as conducting research and publishing content that empowers professionals in our industry, like this book, which was published a few weeks ago. And yeah, the book actually came out today. So yeah, you know, we’re really hoping this book will sit in your listeners library as a reference book that can come back to time and time again, as they’re building out and improving their own customer education programs are excited to talk about it.
Adam Avramescu 05:39
Super cool pillar content for the customer education bookshelf. Very exciting.
Dave Derington 05:45
We are so excited about this. Well, like I can’t actually under his eye, we’re extremely excited about this, because the value of having something on our reference library and I’m gonna turn my camera off here because I do want to show this I think this is fun. What are my filters? None. Okay, now you see my crummy room. Love this book. It is the new library. I could show you my library over
Adam Avramescu 06:08
here. It’s so handsome. It’s a handsome book
Dave Derington 06:11
is it looks good. But you know, just like, what about this one? We got that one. You know, we’ve got all these books here. Now we’ve there’s only a few books that we were talking about that one today? We’re not talking? Well, we are a little bit. Okay, let’s do this. Let’s get in the origin story. Barry, this is a question for you. You’re in the hot seat. Now this is a great question. Let’s talk about how this book came to be. And from your level, from an executive level, we’re again, we’re going to talk more about the investment you’re making into this market. But the time and involvement in in build and writing, you know, having a team come up and like building, getting all the ideas together and figuring out what you’re going to do. I’d like to know more about more about what we’d like to know more about how did you all think about this? And why did you Why do you want to make this big project of yours?
Barry Kelly 07:02
Yeah, thanks for asking. You know, I think it goes back actually a couple of years, I believe is the end of 2019. We, as an organization, are working in a framework on jobs to be done. And we’re working with this great consulting group called tribe based in Northern California. And it was really a processes both trying to understand and really get to the heart of what it meant to sort of drive success through the educated customer. And we wanted to break down one of the break that entire process down for many reasons. First and foremost, really, for us to help drive product development through the understand what are the needs in the market truly understand the individuals what their daily work is like what it means to be successful throughout the process of their career. And so it started really, as a project that was ultimately focused on building a more robust and research backed product roadmap. You know, as a founder of a company, and as a product person, you know, the company started out, you know, it was from all of the meetings, I would do from all the conversations from my own personal research to work with the rest of the organization. That’s kind of how we continued to drive product development. And we really wanted to accelerate and bring, as I said, much more research to bear as we as we’ve, we’ve moved forward. So that’s where it started. And that’s the kind of as far as I was thinking and about four months into the jobs to be done research probably a little more, maybe six months. And they came back with the 12 job steps. And it was like a lightning bolt in our company. It was just amazing the clarity at which they were able to describe this journey and the needs the fundamental needs of the individual and striving, customer education and organization. And it just opened up a lot of creativity, a lot of thought process around different parts of our business. So we quickly made phone calls around the company brought everybody in. So not only should this be a product, lead, strategy and project but everybody our go to market team or marketing team or content teams, everybody needs to be involved to really truly understand that we bring the slate and that was essentially the sort of beginning of of the playbook. Originally, it involved, obviously, front end from there. We featured the 12 step step process at the cognition, which was our annual conference. And then from there, we were fortunate enough to get connected with the folks at Wiley who felt that this would be a publisher and thought this would be a fantastic idea for for a book and to help us bring this story and the framework to the rest of the world.
Dave Derington 09:55
That’s amazing. Those are some of the things that I heard in there like keywords like sucks Access and research these warm my heart? Because like, it’s really that’s really important to be able to go, I’ve got Adam, what is your term data informed? I love that that term, we’re stuck. We’re really looking at the feedback loop backwards. Instead of data driven. I liked that conversation, that conversation point, the distinction between that, like we’re really getting in and driving and what are the what are those 12 steps? Right. And that’s amazing. So, going a little further, though. Adams gonna take the next question here on the list.
Adam Avramescu 10:35
Dave Derington 10:37
To start diversify a little bit,
Adam Avramescu 10:38
you just choked out by the magazine. But it’s
Dave Derington 10:43
got to take, I gotta take
Daniel Quick 10:47
Can I add a little color to this, because what’s funny from my, from my perspective is, you know, when I first came to thought industries, the the framework, one of the first weeks that I was here, I think it may have been the first week, we had sort of a read out from thrive when they presented these 12 steps. And I was like, so excited to see it. But funny enough, before he even came to thought industries, when I was still at Asana, I was exposed to it, because I got, I got one of the surveys that thrive sent out and, you know, asked me all these questions. And I remember thinking, you know, this is before I even was at thought industries, I remember thinking, this is a really interesting way of breaking down, like all the jobs that I do. So you know, and that, I think that’s just to reiterate the point as well that this this research was, this framework was really developed, after speaking and surveying hundreds of professionals in the industry. So it really is empirically like based framework, which was one of the things that I got really excited about.
Adam Avramescu 11:53
Yeah, and at the same time, it’s still it’s based in the real world experiences of those professionals. And then you’ve kind of synthesize that into something that is, I think, you know, pretty simple, actionable, step wise, which is just, again, I mean, huge congratulations for putting this book out there and the amount of research that went into it, because the fact that you were able to synthesize that into something that was opinionated and kind of gives customer education leaders. How do I say this without saying a playbook? playbook playbook. Very valuable edition. So maybe let’s, let’s actually think about that research for a moment, right? Because we’ve been talking about it. So like, why was this an investment worth making for thought industries, because you could have taken all those same resources and invested them in marketing or sales or, or something like that. So tell me about kind of the the research effort that that went into this and how it was prioritized?
Barry Kelly 12:52
Yeah, I think, you know, as I said, it really had a foundation in product development to begin with, you know, because we were trying to really get to the heart of making sure that when we were building technology, and we’re building features that they were there to solve very, very explicit challenges in the market. And, you know, we had assumptions all the time, as many of us do, through conversations with our customers through all of the other work that we do, and all the inputs, you know, as a product organization, you get a lot of inputs from the market at all times, trying to decipher, there’s no shortage of those. And, you know, we really wanted to tighten it up, we as a, in my career, I’ve used a few different product development frameworks and product management frameworks. And, you know, this was, this was something we hadn’t done before, indicate this organization tribe who’ve been who are amazing, led by J. Haynes, they did a really great job of helping us understand, you know, the value of taking this particular approach. So, you know, as I said, we got in, and we began to understand in a lot more detail, you know, where the needs were, and the beauty of jobs to be done outside of, you know, just sort of listing helping you understand, you know, a sort of a product roadmap, it helps you heat map, where you’re competitive, it helps you heat map where you’re best, where you’re gonna get the most benefit from your development. So it’s, you know, it’s probably saved us a lot of money and throwing useless features out there into the market. It’s helped us really engage with the individuals and get to the heart of the problem, right? This is really like, what are the problems that we’re solving, and helping them solve in the day to day basis?
Adam Avramescu 14:34
It’s actually kind of an interesting point for customer education leaders who work at at software companies to think that if your education programs are that impactful, they could actually be an investment that outweighs your, your your software development, right? Like I love the idea that you can kind of take that lesson and apply it to a company that doesn’t actually do it. customer education is his bread and butter, but yeah, maybe can come a little bit closer to it.
Barry Kelly 14:59
Let’s call it Yeah, absolutely.
Adam Avramescu 15:02
So maybe maybe just to like, follow up on that, Barry, you know, you’ve you’ve been CEO for a while now. And there are a lot of listeners who might be wondering, how can we get our leadership to, you know, into a space, like you’re in this belief that customer education is a place to invest? Like, what advice would you give them?
Barry Kelly 15:21
Well, a couple of things, I suppose we have a pretty unique view on the world, you know, and from from I’m very fortunate to work in, you know, to be the CEO of a company that actually makes technology that does this. I’m a little easier convinced than most but, you know, I think we would hope so, too. Anyway, we knew but I think yeah, I think you know, one thing I would piece of advice I would always give is to kind of really understand the current state and the global strategy, the organization, when I mean, global, I mean, what is their sort of our overarching strategy for the organization at the specific period of time and and in software companies particular we grow, we have lots of different growth stages, you need all of you both all of you to really understand those different stages. And what’s involved in those are, there’s different demands, there’s different metrics, different KPIs were focused on, there’s always work on, right, there’s always things to improve on, there’s always optimizations. And I think, you know, my sort of my first piece of recommendation is to try and get as close to really understanding the very clear, get a very clear understanding of what that is, you know, what, what is the conversation that’s happening at a leadership level at the company, around the work that needs to be done, the goals need to be met, what is the organization reporting to the board, or to the advisors, or to anybody else along the way, so that you can clearly understand that, I think that’s it, because, you know, you can make assumptions about what’s important this year assumptions about what’s important in terms of optimizations, but until you really clarify those, you know, with that team, I think you can be, you can be slightly a little, you know, you can be shooting in the dark a little bit. So first of all, get that I would say, if your organization, you know, if there’s somebody that leads F PNa. So, you know, financial planning, analysis, and if there will be a lot of analysts that accompany, there’s gonna be a lot of sales up, there’s gonna be marketing ops, there’s going to be, you know, CSR ops, and all these different folks who are really great at getting data. But if there’s so many at your organization that’s focused on really big picture metrics to someone that’s focused on analyzing the business on behalf of the executive team and the board, they’re going to provide you with details that you may or may not be able to get access to in other parts of the organization, that would be a really, that would be one of those things, I would suggest go seek out that person. And and help them have you understand, you know, what’s critical, and how the organization is, is measuring the business, you know, over the course of that year in the coming year. And then, you know, I think and then, sort of as we get into the book, and we get into talking about, you know, more of the tactical or strategic parts later on, I think you have to build a bridge. So, every leader has to build a bridge between sort of customer education on that particular those particular goals. And I think that the the challenge is, how do you get that presented? How do you get that scene? How do you engage in conversation with leadership in the executive boardroom, so that they understand, you know, the value of what you’re doing, how everything you’re doing is directly connected to those particular metric metrics in the business
Adam Avramescu 18:37
time. Yeah, because there’s a lot of customer education, leaders, managers, teams of one out there who are actually quite good at the later steps in the book already, which are more around the content production and measurement, because that’s the background they come from. Yeah. And so they’ll go to the the executive leadership team, and they’ll kind of try to talk about what’s working or not working at those steps. But there, there may be missing the earlier ones, but they really have to frame this through the lens of business problems. And if you’re, if you’re going to your executive team, you’re you’re not really telling any kind of story about how this is going to move the needle at the big picture, or how this is going to help the company somehow get to where they’re trying to go through customer education, then you’re probably less likely to get the sort of resourcing that you’re you’re asking for to get it done.
Barry Kelly 19:24
Yeah, absolutely. And I think sometimes, maybe, you know, organizations have probably like, sometimes they tried to solve problems through product development or product management, right? They don’t maybe the first, you know, maybe they’re not immediately inclined to go to the education group to solve a problem, right? You know, hang on, we’re, you know, we’re dealing with time to value right now. So maybe it’s something to do with the way that we’re onboarding our customers or the way that our product works For first time users or what you know, all of those, those sort of things that are challenges are in our optimizations for organizations over time. And I think helping them understand how important To the education process and strategy is in solving those problems is pretty critical. And so that, you know, I feel like sometimes sort of top down direction can kind of be misguided in terms of where it’s focused. So I think helping organizations really understand, you know, your ability to impact these core metrics of the business is really critical and advocating for for the group and what you do.
Dave Derington 20:27
Yeah, I want to go back to to reiterate something you said very, that I actually have not heard before. And I think it’s dependence is that going to the FP and a person, I’ve worked with some of these people. And the last company I was with, I was friends with that person, I didn’t even think about it, Barry, like, can we go grab a, you know, go get a Guinness pint, and sit down. And you can use? Like, because I, this is a friend of mine. And I thought, wow, could you take me through the bigger picture? Like, what are you really seeing from a fiscal point of view, and then if I could have a conversation with that kind of person and talk about the educative landscape of that, that’s where what you said in your statements before was that, it’s really about getting that understanding of, okay, if I can go and say, Okay, I’m gonna go to my executive, Rob, Rob, here’s what I’m seeing, I’ve got this data. I’ve talked with our finance team, and I’ve talked to their ops team. And now these are decisions that we can make together what, you know, what of these things would you like to do. And that changes the conversation palpably because now I’m talking above the line with that leader, just super important, I
Barry Kelly 21:38
will want to call out, you know, Sam has been with our company for a long time and leads or FP and a and I rely on him so heavily him and our CFO, way beyond just sort of, you know, information around the sort of financials of the company really focused on, you know, conversion rates, data, data impact, all the different things, you know, you actually over the last three weeks, we’ve, you know, we’ve been kind of moving through whole, you know, different areas of the business and analyzing them in quite different ways than we’ve ever done before. And those are, you know, turning up really important insights that we need to then go action back into the organization. And so, you know, these individuals will have data, they will have analysis of parts of the business that are going to be credibly valued to valuable to anybody kind of delivering, you know, these programs.
Dave Derington 22:28
Absolutely, I’d say one real quick story, I’ll make it short, my stories get long. But one one time, Barry, when I was working with the data team, I actually was talking with like the one of the chief data scientists, and we had finally gotten to the point where we able to connect tie in or, you know, our learning data VSL, Salesforce connection to our CMS data. And I get this, a hurried phone call saying, Oh, my God, oh, my God, I’ve your team is making such an impact on our total retention rate. And fortune, unfortunately, the guy left after that. But those kinds of moments where you have that click and insight where our data comes together at an at a leadership level, and you see the trend of what education can do. It’s amazing.
Barry Kelly 23:12
It is really it’s amazing. Yeah, I mean, that, I think we will probably get to this later on in the conversation. And this comes back to the sort of the conversation that we always gravitate back to, which is measurement, right, and how critical it is a difficult it is but also like how critical it is, at all stages from analyzing where you go to, you know, changing course on your way through to, you know, being mobilized to different parts of the business to, you know, to be part of, you know, new programs, and then Daniel will talk about that, you know, he moves around quite a bit, you know, when we have when we start to look at, you know, new areas that need to be optimized or are accelerated?
Dave Derington 23:53
Absolutely. So let’s, let’s shift our discussion a little bit. One thing that I’m curious about is this, and this is, for both of you, this could be a quick question is, how is this book? Okay, we’re getting back to the book. Now we’ve got a playbook. It’s permanently in the library. How is this though different from some of the books that we have on the market, and I’m gonna say one of the things I really love, so I’m gonna go back, I’m a collector. I’ve got this was Nick Mata Lincoln Murphy and Dan’s diamonds book. And I like how this is patterned. He’s
Adam Avramescu 24:23
holding, he’s holding up the Customer Success book if you’re listening. Oh, yeah, thank you. We’re
Dave Derington 24:28
an audio podcast. I’m like, Yeah, but I like how you brought the
Adam Avramescu 24:31
Dave Derington 24:34
voice and said, Gosh, I’m trying to be serious, Adam, gosh, no. I like he brought the voices of the industry in, and that you’ve gotten leaders from across the board sharing and this is this is kind of new for us. Because you know, what, 10 years ago See, customer success is kind of where it’s the customer Ed is today. And leaders are seeing and recognizing, oh my gosh, that’s gonna do such a big thing. So that was really cool. Tell me a little bit more about like, how does This stratify or fit into our ecosystem. So that like, I know, but I want to hear from you.
Daniel Quick 25:09
And that was really important for us. And I’m glad that you held up that Customer Success book because I actually took inspiration from that. I read that book before we started writing this book, you know, it was published by Wiley as well. So I really wanted to get a good sense of what a Wiley book was like, talk to Dan Steinman on the phone for a good hour or two before I started writing, and which was a wonderful conversation, and a Dan’s listening to this. Thank you always, for that. And I, one of the things that struck me about the Customer Success book is that a lot of those chapters are authored by contributors, Customer Success leaders in the field, you really bringing their perspective to, to the book. And I think, as a result, the book is a lot more powerful. It’s really, you’re really thinking about this, not only through the lens of the author’s these three guys who, you know, worked at Gainsight, but also through people in the field who were doing this in their programs. Similarly, we really wanted to bring that to this book as well. It’s, it was important for both Barry and I, that we had contributors in the book like yourself, Dave, and yourself, Adam, who offer your perspective on how on how you Yeah. Yeah, you’re one of the 12 contributors. So yeah, each of the, each of the 12 steps in the framework brings in a perspective from a leader in the field, who shares their experience and thoughts about that stuff, as in how that it shows up in the work that they do day to day. And, you know, as a result, the book is not just about my perspective, or various perspective, or the research we’ve done, but about, like the practical methods and kind of advice that people who are doing this can provide to the readers, which just think is awesome. And I, those are some of my favorite parts of the book.
Adam Avramescu 27:17
Practical is a really good word to put against that, right? Because it’s actually telling the stories of customer education leaders, in their own words, who have done the job just adds to that, like the ethos of the book, right, you’re providing, first of all, kind of practical things to do at every step of the way, as you’re building your program or running your program. And then you actually have people who have who have done it, which is just really nice to add that case study element, because it makes it real.
Daniel Quick 27:44
Yeah, I really think it does. And I think it offers the readers some different perspectives to like the the goal and having these contributors was not to echo everything that was just written in the chapter, but really, you know, to provide Okay, but how does Adam think about this and the world, and you might, you know, in your contribution, Adam, and your concrete contribution, Dave, you, you brought in some of your own frameworks, or the ways that you think about the work that you’re doing, which, you know, I think just added a sort of multiplicative impact to the book in terms of like, the kinds of the different sort of mindsets that people use to to achieve success in these roles.
Dave Derington 28:28
You know, to expand on that, Daniel, the thing that I keep saying is, well, let’s turn this around, like, you’re, you’re a learning experience platform, you know, we have different words that we’re trying to, to, to express for that. But what we’re really doing is engaging with somebody and trying to build a program for them to understand. And that’s hard, and it changes for every environment, I can’t like, give you just one best practice, I have to show you a spectrum. So bringing those voices in is really important. Because you know, Adam, we’ve had the good fortune of working kind of together apart. And at a parallel journey we were went through this is really funny or like, tell the stories, we were at one company, it was kind of similar size. And then we both changed. We went to another company that was kind of the same thing. And then we went to another one that were both unicorns. And now we’re like at a different thing. So we’ve got, we’ve seen all kinds of stuff when we share this. And the big point that we try to make with cielab is that this is a laboratory, we’re getting all these experiences, we’re testing and we’re experimenting, we’re trying, we’re sharing the true science. I mean, I used to be a scientist. And that’s the big thing about sciences that we share. And we share the failures too. And by doing that become stronger. So this book really encapsulates for me, like some of the things I like the framework. I like the fact that it uses the language of customer success. That is probably the prerequisite like I’m getting ready to hire or onboard a new member of my team. And the first thing that I will do with that team members, have them read these books to say you’re an instructional designer. You already know that. But you don’t know this See, the differences that are palpable, like how we do things is different depending on different times, like an early phase, like if we’re reading in the book, I love the chapter, we love the section we were talking about video, like is this video or an interactive? That’s a really cool conversation to me. Because it’s, it might be different. If I’m early phase, you know what I’m gonna whip out a video really quick, I might even take a webinar and break it up. But if I’m right, ready to IPO, and I’m thinking about my board of executives, and I’m thinking about my stock share, I’m going to be working to make really high intensity, really well done interactive videos, so that everybody goes, Wow, they got their you know what together, you know, but it’s a different time in a different space. And I would tell people to do different things in those cases. So it’s really cool. It’s a great way to stratify.
Daniel Quick 30:47
Yeah. Thanks for saying that. I think one of the key benefits to this to reading this book, if I may say so myself is that it really, there’s a mindfulness about, about doing customer education that this book sort of brings into the picture where you’re really stepping back from just doing things because you’re, that’s just the way you do them. And if you’re really just stepping back from that, and you’re asking yourself, key questions that help you formulate the best way to do this particular thing. You know, maybe your your go to way of creating content is just like, you know, you’re really good at articular rice, and you’re just going to create the SCORM files all the time, but like,
Adam Avramescu 31:31
what you have is a SCORM file, every problem looks like a hail and I’m not enough to know that.
Daniel Quick 31:41
Well, yeah, I mean, like, take a step back, is it is this really the best format for this particular content? is, you know, is in what situations is it maybe better to do a short video versus like, a full length course, like, each step along the way, asks the reader to take a step back and ask themselves questions that help them formulate the right strategy for, for their content, for their measurement, for their distribution, all sorts of the sort of things that we need to think about in our roles as customers vacation professionals.
Adam Avramescu 32:20
Like it’s kind of like having having you as a customer education leader, also become your own consultants and step outside of yourself. And I love how you framed some key questions at every chapter to help people do that. And if you’re wondering maybe what some of those key questions and key takeaways are, we’ll have them. I love that I get to say this after the break. Okay, we’re back. So let’s really dive in now. Maybe we could even kind of thumb through the first few chapters of the book and, you know, kind of see how it proves out. So we’ve, we’ve proved value that that was kind of the the beginning. And we’ve we’ve talked about that quite a bit. But what are some of the key takeaways, the key things you want to share? Dave, you want to you want to wrap this up?
Dave Derington 33:08
Yeah, Daniel, I’m gonna I’m gonna target this to you directly, because we had a conversation about, well, would you say you’re reading the book through for the fifth time, it’s such a professor move. I say that because I’m self self identifying. When I was a teacher, and I taught at University as an adjunct for like, eight years, I would what I would do before going to the course is I would like say, say, I’m going to teach your book, read it, read it again. Read it again. I wrote the thing. I’m gonna read it again, right. And I do that for our podcast, every every podcast episode, I will be here, you know, we’re recording it right now. But then I’ll go and listen to it two or three times, like, Oh, Barry said this really cool thing here. And Daniel had this. So it’s this experience of this feedback loop. So what are the things Daniel that have come out of this? That I like to start with the unexpected, the little serendipities? What are the things that come out that that people might miss? Like, what’s what’s novel and interesting about the experience that you’ve had here?
Daniel Quick 34:12
Yeah, reading that I have read it several times now. And I think they’re, I can relate to this, where, you know, in the beginning, Wiley had very specific expectations for how the content was created. And, you know, each chapter had to be its own file. And it was had to be formatted in a certain way. And like the figures were in a completely different file. And so there’s a very, I think it would it was a bit of a disjointed experience just kind of reading as I’m, as I’m reading what we’re writing and trying to, like, is this the best way to phrase that or not? It was through
Dave Derington 34:49
editing part, like, yeah, yeah, no, I think the only thing that I can represent because I just went through like a, like I recorded an album with a band, and that experience is disjointed. Like it Like, we do this, but you do this five times until you get it right. So that that’s weird. So that’s why you read the book afterward to get the Gestalt or the whole.
Daniel Quick 35:09
Yeah, I mean, it’s actually a completely different experience reading the book, the actual physical book. And now, you know, with the split three through, I’m actually highlighting things. Which is, which is a little weird, because like, we’re, but you know, I want to
Dave Derington 35:29
I wrote that.
Daniel Quick 35:33
It’s, it’s, it’s a reference book for me too, because of obviously, like, there’s a included, you know, we included stuff from our own experience. But as we said before, from the experiences of other people, and I just in lots of frameworks are introduced here and kind of summarize, it’s a synthesis of all what we feel like anyone who’s doing this ought to know as they set out to do this. So like, you know, of course, I’m gonna reach for it. I’m in time again, myself, as I’m thinking about different, different things to do. But, you know, the way I’ll answer that question is that, you know, we going back to the whole genesis of this book, and it being sort of based on these 12 steps, I think you might find yourself in the shoes of a, you know, as as a, as a customer education practitioner may
Dave Derington 36:24
find yourself living in a shotgun shed. I’m sorry, I had to do Adam.
Adam Avramescu 36:28
Okay. You remember the song? We got? We got to end this thing on time. We can’t do. We can’t have nice.
Daniel Quick 36:40
Well, um, you know, you might be surprised at some of the steps that are in there. I guess it was really the point. And I think even in some of the conversations I had with you add, have you been surprised with about one of the steps in step seven, which is all about educating the educate
Adam Avramescu 36:56
my least step ones? I know, there was I know, there was a whole jobs to be done analysis around it.
Daniel Quick 37:05
But you know, if you read the chapter, you might be like, oh, yeah, of course, you need to have a plan for keeping in sync with the product release cycles, you need to have a good strategy for debriefing subject matter experts and sort of synthesizing what they know, you need to have a plan for training your team to like, surface value proposition over like, you know, just feature functionality, all those kinds of things are captured in that chapter.
Adam Avramescu 37:31
And that’s the thing, right? Like, once you once you go kind of like beyond the title, or the name of the staff, or the name of the job to be done, like you actually go look at it, and you you recognize pieces of what you’re doing in there, or maybe in some cases, pieces of what you could be doing and are doing today. So it’s helpful in that sense to actually go back and kind of like cross check against your existing process,
Dave Derington 37:52
where, you know, there’s one here that I wanted to bring up. And this is really important. You know, you’re, you’re continuously reminding like ourselves, who our customers are and what they’re dealing with. And they’re dealing with a lot of different things. And it’s varied, right, and different points of time. So there’s a lot of different things in here that I’ve looked at, like, Hmm, well, I didn’t think about that. And I’ve been doing this for a while. So that’s really important to be able to lay all these things out and have like this pragmatic playbook of different things I could pull off. So I’m gonna try this at this point, I’m going to try this at this point. And that’s super important.
Daniel Quick 38:28
I hope that everybody who reads that have a similar reaction, because really, we did write this book for both the, you know, the business leader who is looking for strategies to drive engagement and conversions and retention, but also for practitioners who are both just starting and, you know, thinking about what is it that I wish I knew when I first started, like, here’s everything that I’ve learned along the way, much of it, by the way from from you, Adam, in my experience at Optimizely. As well as you know, I want this book to be for a seasoned professionals as well, who, who want to have a go to reference or want to maybe think about something a slightly different way or hear the experiences of other people or just just, you know, be able to pull the book from a library anytime they they need to do a specific job and get ideas for how, how we think about it, and others in the field, think about doing that job. So I do hope it’s going to be useful for both beginners and veterans of customer education.
Adam Avramescu 39:42
When you think about it, like how some of the different parts of the book and operate as a reference and you know, I think about for instance, okay, the company’s strategy changes you want maybe like an index or an inventory of how to react to or not how to react, how to how to get in front of different strategies to actively drive them because you don’t want to be free. be acting, for instance, and first couple of chapters of the book, which are really around strategy and setting goals and how those tie into higher level company metrics like this kind of gives you an inventory of ways to do it. And similarly, you know, when you kind of get down to the steps on measurement, same idea, right? If you’re looking for ways to measure the effectiveness of a new program that you’re putting in place, or the metrics that the company is trying to tie to have have changed, or you’re, you know, CEO comes to you and says, Hey, I’m looking for a way to measure this. That’s exactly when you want a reference like this. Because if you don’t have something like that, you’re basically going around, like, you know, furiously asking other people what they’re doing.
Dave Derington 40:41
Yeah, you know, let me I want to expand on this too, and drive home a few things that I thought were really good value ads and takeaways. And, number one, one of the most important things for me in this, let’s call it an industry now, customer education is a thing. You know, we we’ve been talking to a lot more leaders. And I know Nick, Nick Madhavan was on a recent podcast. And it’s like, this is the thing. We recognize this, and what is the important part of it? Well, when I have this book, to go to walk in to my VPS office, and they’re challenging me on something, which they do, rightfully so, and that’s their job. Sometimes they’re wrong. You know, you know, I don’t want to bring that point up, like sometimes, like, how do I respond to that? Well, what is this helped me do, it helps me continue to frame up my thinking about Okay, number one, let’s get back to maturity model. At thought industries. We talk a lot about that, right? I know it well, it’s, it’s a, it’s a great way of looking at the world. But that’s important. Where am I? Where am I on the map? We got to do that first, then what you’re talking about the strategic point of view, and that is a space that’s massive. And strategy is different. When I start, like when I started doing asset, you know, assessment, I talked to everybody. But when I’m ready to IPO, we’re talking about a wholly different thing. So it’s the planning and talking to people. I don’t know why this is so like, but you know, I’ve done this before I’ve squirreled up I’ve like sheltered myself, and I’m like, I’m just gonna get this thing done. And I don’t talk to folks for a while. And that insular mentality is damaging to you. You have to be talking and matrixing with everybody all the time and evangelizing for yourself. And then you’ve got to go with a map, right? Like I built this roadmap, here it is, this is where we all talked about executives, Barry, you’re my CEO. Do you agree this is our map? And he’s like, yes, we’re this is our map. And we work together. Now I support you, Barry as leader, all the way down to the bottom line, right all the way down to the below the line leader. That’s one of the things I’ve had the hardest time, like, I coach a lot of people now in my role at surface Rock, and I’m able to talk to a lot of folks. And one of the most consistent things that we have a challenge with is building that map. And connecting with a leader. And having that leader say, This is my map. And when you do that, from the leadership perspective, oh my gosh, that’s so power, empowering and powerful to all of us. So those are the things I think they’re really important. As I’m reading through this, through up through my first read, and I’ll be onto a second or third, well, I’ll be doing what you do, Daniel. But those are some of my, I’ve got more takeaways, but I really like how that’s articulated.
Barry Kelly 43:23
Yeah, I think those are really important. And I think, if I think about our broader strategy, as a company, you know, just wanted to chat a little bit about learning strategies overall, right, because, you know, the organization, Daniel, leads in decision, incredible job doing so and he’s, you know, built it from the ground up at our company, is really designed to be, you know, that sort of central area where the research, you know, all the best practices are collected, where all the ideas are kicked over and back, where we’re absorbing everything that we’re hearing from this incredible market and trying to make sense of them. And, and again, you know, put, you know, putting frameworks out there that will help people, you know, move these projects along. So, you know, these sort of job tasks as well, in many, many ways, and it also helps us understand, from from the inside as we think, again, because it flows into everything we do, it flows into the way that we communicate to each other at the company, to the way that we think about how we go to market, what type of products that we create, you know, the value that we’re providing to our customers, how do we provide, you know, you know, strategic oversight in their, in their growth process, all of those things, you know, kind of comes from this engine, but, you know, it has to be backed up with some sort of practical step by steps and guidelines as well. And so that’s, that’s the, you know, that’s the beauty of these artifacts when they get created. And the great thing about the book, and which I think we feel both feel really satisfied with is the fact that you know, kind of like mine here, just lots of highlight notes and sticky notes in its practical guide, right? I mean, I’m slacking, Daniel, hey, you know, chapter four, are we doing this?
Adam Avramescu 45:16
Yeah, yeah, just read this book. Daniel
Daniel Quick 45:24
Barry’s my boss. And I gotta say, it’s, it’s really, really awesome. Having a boss who like truly gets it, you know, when someone really understands the power of customer education across the whole customer lifecycle, the power to leverage learning content, and top of the funnel to like drive brand awareness to attract new customers to deliver great product experiences, both for people in a trial or getting a demo, or who are brand new to product, reducing time to value really transforming our customers into advocates, just across the whole customer lifecycle. There is a big believer in that, and I think, you know, is investing in the learning strategies team and in supporting the work that we do. It’s really, it’s kind of better because, you know, one of the one of the big outputs of our team is this customer education playbook. And part of that playbook is a big emphasis in that playbook. I would, I would argue, is really about it. Step two, it’s really about defining success for your customers, how do customers define success? How did they achieve success? Then it gets easy for educators who are working for companies on to do customer education to sometimes forget about that. And they focus a little bit on a little too much on the, you know, the product training piece, like how can we get customers to learn how to use the product? And actually think executives, or leaders, business leaders are even more guilty about that, that when they when you ask them what customer education is, a lot of them will be like, Oh, that’s like a product tutorial, right? And that’s basically, well, I don’t need that my product is really easy to figure out or whatever, you’ll hear lots of all the time reasons. You hear that all the time. Right. But, you know, we’ve made a really big investment in expanding the scope of, of learning strategies and customer education to encompass a developing a deep understanding of our industry, of who our customers are of what what are the challenges they’re facing, and what are some best practices will help address those challenges. As a way to, you know, not only inform our product strategy, but also just like, where we show up in every single place in the business, from customer success to professional services to marketing, we are really able to deeply empathize with our customers, because we’re always thinking about what success means for them. And what I love about this is almost full circle for me, because I remember when I first started in the customer education world, at Optimizely, working for you, Adam, we, you know, we would spend these days brainstorming about the kinds of customer education programs we want and the content we want. And we would we would talk about the importance of focusing on not just product training, but like industry, industry education, like not just help someone set up an experiment in Optimizely and run an experiment but like, help them get like statistically significant results, help them get a lift somewhere in their in on their website, like help them achieve success in their jobs. And what what can we do as educators to educate our customers at Optimizely on how to be great experimenters thinking about the strategy around experimentation, Barry, totally gets that and that’s, it’s just like, a real privilege to be working for a company where the, you know, leadership as fully bought into the role of bank customer education can play in the business. Yes,
Adam Avramescu 49:21
I think Barry and I are gonna give you a joint performance review now, but it’s all right here. Yeah, exceeds, exceeds expectations, just like this book, but like, that’s like going back to the idea of the book being practical and kind of drawing from your experience like that. That also I think, is infused in the perspective that both of you share throughout the book. So for example, even when you’re talking say about creating content, there’s always an urge to, to ground it say and like abstract learning principle, but you kind of thread that with, okay, let’s let’s actually situate this in what’s practical for our customers Like, what problems? Are we actually solving for our customers? Like, I don’t know, if you want to talk a little bit more about how you approach that.
Daniel Quick 50:06
I mean, I even I think I even say at one point that, you know, you have to, you have to make sure that you’re you, you, you when when we put on our learning science hat. And, you know, we’re optimizing our content for learning transference and the way that people learn. Sometimes we just risk throwing too many barriers between our customers and their goals and how they achieve success. Because remember, the goal is not about learning about the product, it’s about achieving success in our job. So every minute that customers spend, learning about our products is one minute less that they have using the product and service of their jobs. So if you create that really robust, grounded Marine Science course that you know, maybe has this pre quiz that sort of stimulates recall, and maybe primers for what’s coming, maybe that is going to be the barrier that, you know, that busy customer is going to be like, I don’t have time for this, I got to do my job. Now they’re not engaging with your education. So there are times I think, in the world of customer education, where we’re not talking about compliance training, we’re talking about like, totally optional types of education that we want our customers to feel intrinsically motivated to consume. Sometimes we just got to pull back at learning science. What’s the best practice for learning science and really optimize for like, how can we make this efficient for our customers who are busy, because that’s really going to be the way to make the most effective as well, because education and contents not consumed is not effective content?
Adam Avramescu 51:47
That’s absolutely true.
Dave Derington 51:49
Well, well put. All right, we are at we’re at time i want to go keep going. But we have to wrap. Let’s leave a spot for. But let’s take a moment, we’ll pay some bills. We’ll be right back to close this out. Okay, so now we’re back where we were right at the end here, we only have a few moments. So let’s let’s wrap up real quick. Calls to Action things that are coming up with thought industries with a book, how do we close this out? Where can we buy the book? Where can we get the book.
Daniel Quick 52:33
You can get the book on our website. You can get it from a lot of different places, Amazon, target Barnes and Noble, but we actually would love we have like special special deals, buy multiple copies of the book, for example. If you if you come to our website, we’ll have a banner that makes it really easy for you to find that you can that you can purchase it from there.
Dave Derington 52:57
All right. And before we close out today, anything, anything really cool Coming up, we’ll definitely want to get out there and we advocate go up, pick up your copy of the book, learn all about this. What else is coming up with thought industries?
Daniel Quick 53:12
Well, one thing I’ll mention, we just started edition audio book coming out today, we also released our like a new page on our website, all about the maturity model. It’s a super colorful, oh, cool, long like page, check it out. We’re very proud of the work we’ve done there. And by the way, the maturity model, an overview of that model is concluded in the book near near the end. The other thing that I will call out is that we do an annual State of customer education report that I know you guys are familiar with because you do podcasts on these covered before. Yeah, yeah. So that’s our 2022 report is coming out in the next couple of weeks. So keep an eye out for that
Dave Derington 53:58
hack. Yeah. All right. Well, Barry, Daniel, this has been amazing. We really thank you for your time. Any last words or things you want to say before we wrap up today?
Barry Kelly 54:09
Just thank you, I think you know, to both of you for for all you do. I mean, we are huge fans right back at you here. You know, I probably know about Daniel, because I you know, discovered both of you in the early stages. And you know that you’ve really led the way in so many ways in the industry. We’re so grateful for you were avid listeners. And you know, we are very grateful to be part of this community. So thank you both. Thanks for having us on today. And we look forward to working with you in the future.
Dave Derington 54:45
Amazing. Thank you so much very,
Daniel Quick 54:48
for grabbing beers with yours. Well spent too long working
Adam Avramescu 54:52
on our Radiohead cover band.
Dave Derington 54:57
Got the sax right here. I’m ready to go. All right
Adam Avramescu 55:00
well, if you listener have also got the sax and you want to learn more we have a podcast website at customer dot education you can find show notes, resources other material. And if you found value in this podcast please share it with your friends, your peers over beers and your network to find us and find the others. Were everywhere you can find us on the socials. Go to thought industries.com For more information on the book, thanks to Alan Coda for providing our theme music. And if you’re already subscribed, if you hope you are, please head over to Apple podcasts or Spotify podcasts or wherever you listen to and rate podcasts. And please leave us a nice five star review. So we can again expose the reach of this podcast. So thanks for joining us, go out and educate, experiment and find your people. Thanks, everyone. Thanks, everybody. Thank you