Focus from the Founder Perspective

The Gated Team
August 9, 2022

Released on July 19, 2022, Episode 01 of Finding Focus (a podcast from Gated) features CEO Andy Mowat sitting down to talk with CEO of TestBox, Sam Senior. In this episode, you'll hear about: 

  • how leaders think about focus - for their whole team
  • how to find the space for valuable deep work
  • the importance of quieting distractions
  • a bit of Slack venting - and how to make it better

Read on for some of the episode's best takeaways - and a full transcript at the end!

A leader fosters focus for their whole team.

With a fast-growing team, one of Sam's key focuses is on how to help his team focus. Here's a few ways he does that: 

  • Turning talk into action, through specific operational tactics
  • Help people who have to manage to set aside dedicated time for that (so it doesn't block their other work and gets the attention it deserves)
  • Diffuse vs. focused thinking
  • Listening to and getting ideas from the team
The first thing is prioritizing focus time across the company. It needs to not be something that is just talked about, but actioned.

Sam's relentless about finding time for deep work.

It's not easy to find the time, with everything coming at him - in the busy role of CEO. So here are the tricks he uses: 

  • Communicating to everyone what he doing, and doing so repeatedly - so it becomes well-known and regular.
  • Setting expectations for his team on when he's going to be doing deep work - and how it would be beneficial for them as well.
  • Doing no meeting Thursdays -but acutally making it work.
I personally have actively communicated to everyone in my company: there are two days a week where, for three quarters of the day, I will be unreachable.

It takes initiative to quiet distractions.

If you don't set boundaries, the distractions will keep pouring in. Here are a few tips: 

  • Turn your phone notifications off.
  • Make your focus clear on your calendar.
  • Don't jump at every request. Give it some time to see what's truly urgent or important.
As an individual, it is your responsibility to do whatever it is such that you're not going to be distracted.

Find time to meet in person, if you're mostly asynchronous.

If you're asynchronous as a team, it will benefit you and your team's focus to find a bit of time to see each other face-to-face. How does Sam do that with his team?

  • The company meets 4x/year.
  • Every team can do 1x/quarter as well.
  • Knowing what SHOULD be synchronous, vs. in Slack
  • Get the right tooling in place -  to "see" each other as often as possible.  

Improve Slack in a few key ways.

It can be a bit much. Try using emojis to signal when your team should take the conversation to a more face-to-face medium. And make sure everyone feels empowered to ask for clear deliverables and clear timing for any requests that come through Slack.

There was a period of time where we would doing absolutely everything in Slack. And it got so messy.

Two other great thoughts, from Sam...

The very, very urgent thing? Like, truly urgent? It only happens once a quarter or so, maybe.

A lot of finding focus is a philosophy thing - where I recognize that sometimesI need to work really damn hard ... but also know that I'm going to get my time back in a few weeks, when I take a moment back for myself.

Watch the full episode...

---- FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT ----

Andy Mowat

0:14

Welcome to finding focus. This is a series of short, actual conversations that uncover why and how people in today's increasingly distracted world, how they focus, pull up a chair. As we examine the obstacles, the aha moments and the strategies that each guest uses to find focus today, I am joined by Sam Sr. He's the CEO of TestBox a company that I absolutely love. If you are buying software, you need to get to know this company. They change how people buy software. Sam formerly was at at Bain and Sam. Welcome to the podcast.

Sam Senior

0:50

Thank you so much, Andy. I really appreciate it. I've been a very happy user of data since the early days of beta. So I'm excited to talk to you about this.

Andy Mowat

0:59

Oh, that's cool. I'm excited too, because you were actually one of the sparks for the concept of this podcast. You and I were talking just in an off session around your insights, on how you focus, particularly around your, your, the norms. You need to have found that you need to create to do this. So let's dive in.

1:18

So you shared that you rate yourself a seven out of 10 on your ability to focus. You said that was because while you have some great strategies, you don't always stick to them. I agree. Your strategies were pretty awesome. I actually took one of them and it inspired me. And even some of the ways our product might go in the future, but why don't we start off with some of the strategies you've developed and then we can later on talk about what's preventing you from sticking to them. Our whole goal here is for people to be able to hear how successful executives focus and also for us to learn ways that people struggle with focus and how we can help them. So, first I think your approach to focusing, focusing time for your company was really inspiring.

1:59

It's why I was so excited to have you on the podcast. Can you share a little bit more about what you do with focused time across your entire company?

Sam Senior

2:07

Yeah, absolutely. First I'm very excited to hear what new features you're really seeing in gated. I'm very curious about that, but again, I can answer your question.

2:18

So I think, I think at the end of the day, the first important block is prioritizing focus time across the company. And it needs to not just be something that is talked about, but not actioned. And so we actually thought about what can we do structurally across the company to put moments in place that enable focus for everyone? Not, not just, not just me when I say, oh, I think we should all be doing this.

2:44

I've a few big blogs came out of this one actually came from one of my co-founder who was acting as the CTO for a while that, and he was finding it really hard to juggle a lot of the sort of admin and sort of people leadership topics that need to happen muscle. So trying to be an engineer was actually, it's very, very challenging for him cause he'd get broken up throughout the day constantly. And so we really early on decided to dedicate his time to say it would be these one or two days a week. That would be leadership. Co-founder his staff and the rest of the week would be dedicated engineering. And that actually enabled him to move a lot faster.

3:19

And so we started there and said, okay, what else? How do we, how do we now take this across the company further? And actually one of our team members put his hand up and said, well, I did this, I did this online course around focus and how you learn. And he talked around focus time versus diffused thinking time, diffuse, thinking time, being that, that, that experience that most people have of when they're going to sleep at night and they start to have all these really great ideas appearing in their head just as they're trying to go to sleep or like when you're in the shower or when you've gone for a walk or whatever it is. So he actually, he is, the idea is it's diffused thinking.

4:01

And so he actually ran a brown bag across the team around how you use diffuse thinking and how you should use focus time. And so we started to actually create this norm across the whole company to say, the expectation is that all of us are allowed to say, I need to focus and here's how I'm going to do so. Or actually I'm going to be not at my computer, not focused on a task I'm going to be doing, having diffused thinking time somewhere else, where I'm going to be more creative. So it was different ways of creating focus time. So now we, we do things like having an emoji on slack. That's a little brain emoji that's out to fuse thinking time, or maybe it's a really focused time.

4:38

We actively place blocks on our calendar to say, this is when I am going to be away from keyboard and have the update in slack. And it's really clear that everyone knows that I personally have actively communicated to everyone in my company, that there are two days a week where for three quarters of the day I will be unreachable. And I actually have it as dedicated time mark does out of office. So it's actually impossible for anyone to book onto my calendar because it automatically declines them. We, we also something that my chief of staff is really, really good at that we've started to get further into the company as well, is the idea of just placing blocks for certain tasks? Basically, there is this thing I know I need to do, but I maybe don't have having a found time for it or whatever it is.

5:30

And instead saying here's an hour or I'm going to get dedicated time to do this task. And all I have to do is turn up. We'll just see if I do it, see if I don't do it, or if I, if I completed or not, but I need to at least turn up and get started. And this is particularly helpful for tasks that you may not be overly excited to do. You may be fascinating, things like that. So there are, there are a number of different things that we've been doing as a company, but it's that we talk about quite frequently. And we, we often talk about focus time and in our all hands and equivalent sort of meetings across the team.

Andy Mowat

6:08

I, I love that, you know, I've got like five questions to ask you here, Sam. But the first one I think is the most innovative that I've seen from you as the norms. I think a lot of people I talked to and like no meeting Wednesday or no meeting Friday, it always fails.

Sam Senior

6:21

We also have no meeting Thursday. That is number. And it does everyone on our product engineering team says it works very well. I have, I am the only person that seems to Dodge, no meeting Thursday, but that's because I also have my dedicated out of office blocks and I use Thursday mornings to talk to external parties. Cause I know my team's not going to talk to me.

Andy Mowat

6:42

Yes. Interesting. So what did they, I think the fact that you folks have been so conscious around setting norms internally for, I think it gives permission for people to do that. How do you resist the temptation? If you've got a bug or you've got a, or somebody needs you urgently, like what's, what's the norm around that of like when you can break through that wall on the schedule to get you.

Sam Senior

7:09

I think there's two parties here, right? There's you as the individual. And then there's the person who wants your help or wants your attention on something. So you as an individual, it is your responsibility to turn off your second notifications, to put the emergency up there, to do whatever it is such that you're not going to pay attention to that thing. A good example is on my, on my phone. If I turn it over, I no longer get any vibrations because it goes into do not disturb mode. So it's sort of, a lot of it requires the person to have that ownership at the end, as the person on the other side of it, you need to understand if you see those indicators, you're not going to expect a response in the next X number of hours, whatever that expected time period is.

7:53

One thing that I have on my calendar actually is in one of my, sort of out of office, Tuesday blocks is check slack and email. And so people know that I will get back to them in that period of time. So some of these expectations that need to be set between individuals and then it is on the person to understand that they have the power to not respond. And also on the, on the power of the customer requesting to not expect a response, if there is something very urgent, there's always another way to contact someone.

Andy Mowat

8:23

Texts. I think.

Sam Senior

8:24

That the very, very urgent thing maybe happens once. Like truly urgent, like maybe once a quarter, maybe once. Like it's not, it's not that often. So it doesn't really get interrupted.

Andy Mowat

8:35

I think that's, yeah. The definition of what origin is, and almost not shaming it, but kind of reflecting back was that really urgent? Did you really make me, that's neat that you get, and so you feel that you guys have been able to succeed at no meeting Thursdays where a lot of companies have failed. Is that correct? Or is that, do you see it getting down a little bit here and there.

Sam Senior

8:57

It gets knocked down with one or two individuals. So mainly me and my chief of staff, because they team tend to be the days where it's easiest for us to talk externally to parties, but otherwise the core team, absolutely. They actually, they celebrate it in the mornings. They're like, oh, it's no meeting Thursday. Here's what we're doing. And then async stand-ups and everything it is asynchronous.

Andy Mowat

9:18

Yeah. So talk to me about how you guys have been able to work synchronously. I think we spend a lot of time thinking about that and we've talked about the diff we're fully remote. I'm guessing you may be as well too.

9:32

And the value, if some companies have realized asynchronous, but also how hard truly asynchronous work is versus, Hey, we still need to get together and talk about something. So are there any ways that you've succeeded in tactics and practices you've found to be a synchronous?

Sam Senior

9:47

Yeah. So overall as a company, we meet four times a year. Yep. Or team on-sites and then each team has budget to be able to meet additionally once in a quarter. So you could meet up to eight times a year if you wanted to with, with colleagues so that a enables us to have those creative discussions that you're talking about in person that may be harder asynchronously or over any sort of video conversation. So that's just overall strategy. The second part is getting the right tooling. So we obviously we use slack, but we also use curdle, which for some other people is an equivalent of notion.

10:25

It's like the super advanced version of Google docs.

10:28

And then we also use a tool called Devaa town. There's a bunch of these sort of coming out now, which is sort of like a virtual world virtual office that you can all exist in and actually have little characters and you have your little office and you can walk over to each other. And it has a sort of a field of audio and a field of vision. When you walk into it, you can have full conversations. So we're still able to have corridor conversations with each other or just pop over without needing to send a zoom link or a Google meet or whatever it is. So it, tooling is really, really important to enable you to still have synchronous conversations if you need it, because it's really critical or it's creative or asynchronous conversations as corridor moments.

11:10

And then the next part that we had probably a few weeks where this was really hard and then we fixed it and which I'm really happy with, but there was a period of time where we would doing absolutely everything in slack. And it got so messy. It got really, really messy where you would have like 30 comment, deep threads, and you would be trying to address something that someone said in their fifth comment in your 30th comment. And it just got really, really messy.

11:37

So we actually started adding an emoji in there where we'd add a coder emoji as our reaction to say, Hey, this is a decision being made, or this is a topic where there is a lot of nuance. You need to move this to coder and you need just provide the link and ask for people exactly who you want to have feedback on that particular document. Because.

Andy Mowat

11:58

I love that it's calling people out, which is, I recognize this one's going down the wrong path. How do you, how do you recognize when it should no longer be asynchronous? As I've seen those where they end up with like the 40 red on slack? And you're like, geez, we should've just gotten together to talk about this one.

Sam Senior

12:18

When we, when we identify that there is a lot of differing opinions on a, on a, on a topic and it is something that is not a small decision. And so I think there's the size of the decision. Then there is the number, a number of conflicting opinions on it. So if it's, if it's in the important bucket and there are lots of thoughts, then we should get together. If it is not in those two buckets, we should probably continue doing it. Asynchronously.

Andy Mowat

12:43

Yeah. Or alternatively, what I've always loved is the Dacey concept, right? Where you're going to say, who's the driver of this decision. We're going to delegate this decision to one person. We're going to clarify maybe the two or three people that need to be consulted and then they can take it offline. They can figure it out and they can come back with a solution.

Sam Senior

12:59

Exactly. Right. So having worked at Bain formally, we call that rapids. So we define rapids in a similar type of way.

13:07

One of the thing that I think is important that we don't, that I haven't mentioned is we are doing a much better job recently of also posting something in slack with a COTA thread or whatever it is and saying, this is what I want feedback by and the level of feedback I want. So I'll unpack that the level of feedback being I've done, the 10% version of this, or the 50% or the 80% version of this. So like change your commentary based on that. So that enables people to understand how much time they should be spending, thinking about this thing. And then the second part is the OSC asking for specific timing and ensuring that it's reasonable. You can't say, Hey, I need this in the next hour.

13:48

But saying in, by, let's say it's Monday by Wednesday afternoon, I need input on this. Otherwise I'm going to move forward that a, like allows people to understand how they are able to put that into their workload. But also B means they're not getting distracted saying, oh, I have to go read that document right now. I need to go figure out what happens instead. They can continue doing that focus activity that they are doing. And then they can get back to the schedule of, I need to respond to this. I need to give input here. That's been a really big, big thing for us.

Andy Mowat

14:19

I think I liked that. The other thing that I've kind of gotten sometimes down the wrong rabbit hole on it is I value working out loud. People saying, Hey, here's where I am on this thing. Sometimes I've seen people say, oh, I need to have input on that one. I'm like, no, no, that's just working out loud. And so I think there's the calibrating of this is just working out loud or FYI versus this needs input on it. And I think those are, those are really good ones too, as a CEO and as somebody external as well too, I kind of want to ask you, there's two kinds of things that I find can break down. My focus barriers.

14:52

One is, one is a lot of what I need to do is outbound. Whether it's on LinkedIn, whether it's on email and it's hard for me, I know you only should check those things on periodic intervals, but I also need to be in them to be acting. And when I am in them and acting, I get inbound stuff that interrupts me and sends me in a different direction. Yeah. Have you figured out a great way to solve that problem?

Sam Senior

15:17

No, I don't really hope. That's what you're thinking about building.

Andy Mowat

15:20

I think part of what we're thinking about building is the classic of the pause button on email. Like I'd love to be able to send outbound ones. I have found consistently if I'm out for something, I come in on a vacation day or whatever, and I check email, I can get through it 15, 20 minutes and boom on, and I don't need to, but otherwise I find myself checking email five, 10 times a day. And I know from the books, that's the wrong way when I have to open email to do my job. And so that is that I think there are definitely tools that will help you pause the email. I think a lot about that one.

15:50

And I struggled with that on LinkedIn as well.

Sam Senior

15:53

Email is an easier platform for me because I can close the tab, turn off my phone and I just don't need to engage on it. The LinkedIn is particularly challenging. I think what I have found, some of my, some of our best conversations with users will start on LinkedIn. Particularly if they're deeper partnership conversations or they're people who've never heard of us before and just looking type of stem or whatever it is. And the, the challenge is if you are fast to respond to someone, you will then end up in a conversation with them. That is actually really good for you because it increases the likelihood that they're going to come onto your platform. They're going to talk about it, whatever it is.

16:32

And so there's this annoying feedback loop of someone reaches out to you, the cookie, or respond the cookie, you end up in a conversation, the quicker you actually have to provide value to them versus being like, oh, I get back to them a day later, they get back to me two days later and it never, it becomes very stunted. And so there is this tension here of whilst LinkedIn is distracting it also, and you can lead you down a rabbit hole. It also is a great place to engage people, learn from them and be able to potentially provide your services to them, whatever it is. And so there is this tension here that I find more challenging that doesn't happen on email.

Andy Mowat

17:09

I could not agree more. And I think email at least allows you to tag label, follow up with things in the future. LinkedIn doesn't do that if you miss it. I don't know how many times you've had it, but somebody will just flow right through my thing. And I will, they will have been a valuable conversation, but I won't, I will miss following up with those people. So I think that's an interesting one. We don't have a solve for that one yet, but we're thinking, so how about the other one of, so you're blocking, I think you said Tuesday, Wednesday or Wednesday, Thursday.

17:36

How do you meet with external people if your calendars work because you can't send your Calendly out to say, great, sounds terrific. I actually have a free, you've actually had some really great blocks to meet with people, but like, how do you solve inherent conflict as well too?

Sam Senior

17:51

So I will do my best to only do external meetings in that block potentially on a Thursday, but as much as possible, I am actually okay with people not being able to get that time. And they just have to figure out another time in the week for it to work. It is something that I worked with my coach on for a little while, while he was like, look, you have protected time, but for a while there, I wasn't keeping it protected. And I was allowing kind of anyone to get in there. So turning into the out of office meant that I didn't, it was automatically done for me. And so I've just decided that actually after, so on Tuesdays I have therapy until at 11:00 AM, till midday, often midday.

18:35

I'm not going to take any meetings externally and on Thursday afternoons from like 1:00 PM onwards. I'm not going to take any meetings externally. So there's still my like Thursday mornings that are no meeting Thursdays for the rest of my team. And I will just do a lot of back to backs there if needed. But I think you just have to decide that no, I own this time. I need to work on the business in this time. And, and you just have to claim it and not allow people to take it from you.

Andy Mowat

19:00

I liked it. Yeah. The concept of working on versus working in the businesses is a really good one effectively. I feel like what you're doing is you're reclaiming your time shifting from nights and weekends, which most of us do to forcing that time into the regular Workday. Does that give you back more personal time on evenings and weekends? And I know you and I have traded a lot of real time LinkedIn's on, on weekends or evenings sometimes. So do you feel like you've been successful at getting back some sanity in those off hours? Because for me, when I'm not receiving any emails or any LinkedIn's, you know, call it eight to 10:00 PM at night, I'm insanely productive.

19:40

I'm wondering if you've been successful to shift that time out and end up with more personal time.

Sam Senior

19:49

I don't have a great answer to that. I think, I think it varies throughout the week and throughout a month, the way that I've always looked at the way that I was taught to look at time at Bain was actually really helpful. As when you were relatively junior, you were expected to kind of work the same hours every week for a project. So I worked 60 to 70 hours every single week, and that would just not change no matter how busy the project was. As I got more senior, what started to happen was it was much more spiky. And so it was this idea of like, okay, just as you're kicking up a new part of a project, it was really, really busy for the senior leaders on the team because we were defining the project, working with all the major stakeholders.

20:33

And then we pass that down to our team who would do the core work on deck day, similar when you're coming to an executive meeting or whatever it was, it get really spiky. And so it was this idea that you would spike way above the team once or twice a month, at least for maybe a week, but you need to be really careful at taking back the time. And so it'd be called like claiming the dip. So the idea was actually, that'd be a chunk of a month or between big meetings that you were working less than the team. And it was so hard to get okay with that because I wasn't really self-conscious. I was always so self conscious of like, oh, if I'm not working there as the team's going to judge me, but then after a while, they were like, we just saw you working really damn hard last week.

21:17

And we know you're going to work really damn hard and a few weeks, like we don't mind. And so I actually tried to instill that in my team as an expectation as well. And in two of my leaders that you need to be comfortable with taking the dip and being okay with that. And so sometimes on those out of office, Thursdays or Tuesday afternoons, like maybe I'm not actually working and that's the opportunity to reclaim some personal time. Like maybe I do go for a bike ride for a few hours or whatever it is, depending on what's going on in the company that week, that month, that quarter.

21:50

And so it, it, a lot of it is a philosophy thing where I am, I am frequently time shifting and recognizing that sometimes I need to work really damn hard during, during night. So maybe there's some weekend stuff that's urgent that needs to happen. But knowing that I'm going to get it back in a few weeks, because I learned to be comfortable with that.

Andy Mowat

22:09

That is amazing. I mean, you think deeper about time than almost anyone I've met. So I truly, I truly love the speaking of.

Sam Senior

22:15

I think you should meet my chief of staff. She's on a next level. I'm not even close to her.

Andy Mowat

22:20

I got to meet her. Maybe we'll get her on a future one. We are at time, but I would take five minutes more of your time if you had it or if you've got it. Okay, cool. I can run long, but we always respect people's time. That's actually one thing I've learned as a leader, I am always on time for meetings because I think people follow your behavior. And so I've now got this new one where I'll set meetings. I don't know if you saw it today, but it started five minutes after which I found from somebody feels it's impossible to end things on time. Oh, it's, it's possible to end things on time.

22:51

It's impossible to end things five minutes early we'll will always run through that. So I found that once you start to show up on time, people start to bend to that will as well too. And they also, they realize you respect their time, which I think is important.

23:04

You said just getting started on a project works. I couldn't agree more. Like I told you a lot of people through, I'm not a writer it's too hard to write. Well, I'm like, okay, if you break that down into three pieces, the just throw a bunch of ideas in a doc, spend an hour outlining it, and then I spend an hour writing it. I think I like how you apply that to everything. Not just writing per se or is there an example where, where that's been really effective for you in terms of just starting?

Sam Senior

23:35

Yeah, I think is Bain from riding my monthly investor update. That is always something that is very emotionally charged, no matter how many you've written, because it's a reflection of where, where were we successful? Where are we failing? What's coming next. And so it's always emotionally charged. So that is one that I need to really work through really quickly and just get all of it out there and then go through it again, go through it again and then be able to get it out there. And it allows me.

Andy Mowat

24:06

Exact same thing. Just, I was just at, I found the exact same thing. I find, I throw every idea I have throughout the month in that, then I set aside an hour to write a draft and then I'm iterating on that draft for three to four days.

Sam Senior

24:20

Yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm now really happy that I've been able to get it down to something that takes me 30 to 45 minutes, max.

Andy Mowat

24:28

That's great. But it's always easier when the business is doing well too, for sure. What is this?

Sam Senior

24:37

That's been a, that's been a big thing for me. I think there's also been, I think on this point of like emotionally charged issues or things you might procrastinate on.

24:50

There's a lot of research out there that says procrastination is largely due to emotional adversity, to the thing that you're about to do. Whether it's a fear, whether it's sadness around what you need, you know, whatever it is. And so really focusing on how do you work your way through that emotion, such that you're no longer in this procrastination, procrastination mode is really important. It's something I've worked on in therapy. It's something I've worked on through coaching and identifying that the few Mo the few things and moments that enabled me to work through that feeling so that I can get started on things.

Andy Mowat

25:29

That's great. You're super thoughtful about this. I, I, I've gotten to the point now where I always do the hardest things first, rather than, than last let's talk, maybe for the last couple of minutes around what prevents you from focusing. I think that was a really interesting one. And you've got probably the most thoughtful approach to time management I've ever seen, which is impressive, but still you rated yourself a seven out of 10.

25:50

You said it was because you didn't want to slow your team down.

Sam Senior

25:55

Well, I think my job, one of the critical parts of my role is being able to unblock my team.

26:04

And so all I can think about whenever, whenever they're asking for input is can I enable them to go faster? And so that is something that I am very conscious of. And it's partly why I have a check slack. 30 minutes in my out of office time is because I really am concerned. They find deaf that not there for almost a full day on slack, that the stuff that we couldn't have, we could have moved on that. I dodged Shaw, I slowed down or whatever it was cause I didn't respond.

26:32

And so that's a really big one for me that I'm just so scared of slack my team down. And so I want to respond really quickly. However, something that we've started to do a better job at is identifying if I truly need to be involved in things as much, or if my slack response now is looks great. I trust you to take it from here. Or like just something that clearly shows that I trust the person. I believe that they're going to be able to do a great job and I can, I don't need to be involved and they don't need a message me anymore. So that this sort of two moments one is identifying how I can fully hand it over to that person not be involved, but the second is ensuring it still can spend dedicated time responding to them because we're not yet at the stage where I can not respond for a few days and everything's still be okay on that particular topic.

Andy Mowat

27:21

Ah, so though, I guess hopefully you can take a vacation and not have to worry about the, the things rolling off. It's hard as a CEO. I definitely get it. That makes a ton of sense. Yeah. I mean, I prioritize DMS from my direct reports. I think I've found in, I always say to people, I get the speech of in the first 30 to 60 call it 90 days, I'm going to be all over you. But my goal is to be, to build those lines of trust. So I give the speech of what our relationship is in the first 60 days is what it will be like for the rest of our lives together. And so I want you to give me any feedback I want to give, I want me to give you feedback, but I've got to get you to a point when like you're managing me and you're driving on it and if I can't get you there, then it's going to be a lot harder.

28:07

And so I think I tried to make almost like empowered them to own when something's not working or in and unbundled the best of them. And then some people can't make it across that, right? Like some people just still need me, but I tend to be, I tend to steer away out once I've gotten to that level with so much.

Sam Senior

28:23

And I think you mentioned the DMS pot, I think for a while, that that was our model. And I found that helpful but challenging at the same time, because it did meant that it meant that I felt I had to respond really fast to everything. What we have now done is if someone deems me, I now actually send them an emoji back that says like, you need to go to cross, post this in a public thread because now we've trained everyone that we do not DM on anything that requires input. If we can avoid it. And 98% of things can avoid that. And what we have found is, is actually dramatically increased the input that other people will add on something, which means that I don't need to actually be involved.

29:08

There's a lot of times I'll go to a slack thread that I was tagged on three or four hours Elliot, and be like, oh, it's been resolved. Great. I don't need to go in here. So by forcing things to be public, we have actually enabled us to speed up by not bottle-necking each other.

Andy Mowat

29:23

I love that last fun tactic I've had is I, I heard somebody say, you wouldn't let anyone in your company create a Salesforce field. So why do you let anyone in your company create a slack channel? So I, I kind of have put in a 24 hour waiting period and you need to request a slack channel so that we don't end up with every single pet channel on every single birthday cartage channel and all of that stuff. And I think that's a, it's hard because slack is so powerful early on, but it can grow into this monstrosity that owns your life, especially as your company gets bigger. That's correct. That's very true. Well, thank you, man. This is great. This is a, I'm so pumped that you are our first on this podcast.

30:05

I think it's going to be hard to talk. I learned a lot from you. I'm going to go back and listen to this as well too. So thank you so much. I'll stop here. And everyone, if you haven't, if you're buying software, go check out TestBox.