Adapting to Tech Changes
Learn about adapting with technology, so when something breaks (cuz it will) you have options. You’ll also learn how honesty earned a “homeless” man $10,000 in a social experiment in Vegas.
People We Mention:
Things We Mention:
Jen McFarland: [00:00] Welcome back to the Third Paddle podcast. This is Jen McFarland. I’m joined today by TK. We’re here to talk to you about why things should just be easy. Don’t you think?
TK: [00:11] They should. You would think.
Jen McFarland: [00:12] And yet, they’re not.
TK: [00:13] And yet, they are not.
Jen McFarland: [00:14] And yet, they are not.
Announcer: [00:16] You’re listening to the Third Paddle podcast, recorded at the Vandal Lounge in the beautiful Southeast Portland, Oregon. Why the Third Paddle? Because even the most badass entrepreneurs get stuck in business shit creek. Tech strategist, Jen McFarland, and business strategist, TK, are your third paddle, helping you get unstuck.
Jen McFarland: [00:38] So, you run a business. It took you forever to figure it out, but you use GarageBand to upload your voiceovers into Dropbox …
TK: [00:48] Uh-oh.
Jen McFarland: [00:49] … so that you could send links to your customers, and they could get access to the voiceover meditation.
TK: [00:55] Uh-oh. Guess what you can no longer do?
Jen McFarland: [00:57] You can’t do it.
TK: [00:58] Can’t use GarageBand to upload to Dropbox anymore.
Jen McFarland: [01:02] Except you can.
TK: [01:04] But it’s not as easy.
Jen McFarland: [01:06] It’s not the same as it once was.
TK: [01:08] It’s not the same as it once was.
Jen McFarland: [01:09] For some people, that is a serious problem when things aren’t the same as they’ve always been.
TK: [01:14] Things change.
Jen McFarland: [01:16] Things do change. But when technology isn’t really your bag, and you expect it to just work, God damn it …
TK: [01:22] It can really throw you for a loop.
Jen McFarland: [01:24] It can really throw you for a loop.
TK: [01:24] When they change it … I’ve had so many of my clients that were in their marketing plan, right, they’re growth spurt, working their marketing plan, and Facebook changes their algorithm again. What we could do on Facebook before isn’t getting done on Facebook now, or not even seen. Right? They get all up in arms because things change and things develop and other things come into play. Or, things get a little more complicated because there is advancement.
Jen McFarland: [02:00] Well, and, I mean, there’s reasons why you need to have your own digital hub and own everything. I’ve said that before about Facebook and YouTube and all of these services that, again, we’re not paying for, so we don’t really own them. We can’t control them, so we shouldn’t rely solely on them. What I run into a lot are process problems, so like the opener of … People had one way of doing things. They had their notes. They knew exactly how to do it. They don’t really like technology. They don’t really want to worry about it. They just want it to stupid work.
TK: [02:35] Right.
Jen McFarland: [02:36] It just needs to stinking work.
TK: [02:37] Just automatically work.
Jen McFarland: [02:39] Just programagically let it work.
TK: [02:42] Yeah.
Jen McFarland: [02:43] In this case, there actually is a way that you can still upload to Dropbox. It’s just not the same as it once was.
TK: [02:49] Right.
Jen McFarland: [02:50] If you have the Dropbox app, then you can save to disk just like anything else because it shows up as a folder on your computer. But if you go out and you research it, it says everywhere that you can’t save to Dropbox out of GarageBand anymore. That can really throw you for a loop if you’re only relying on researching things or crowdsourcing the information. Not really in the Dropbox, GarageBand way, but when you’re talking about bigger things, it can certainly be a problem. The Dropbox solution … I actually helped somebody out with that on Facebook. Because when people post about that stuff, I like to help people out with that.
TK: [03:28] Right.
Jen McFarland: [03:29] But in bigger cases, relying … What used to happen in previous places that I had worked on projects is you rely on a big product, like Office 365, to do some sort of automation for a database that’s helping to transfer tables or helping to transfer information. Overnight, they updated Office 365, and the stinking Excel spreadsheet doesn’t do what it used to do. Everything goes sideways, and you spend a day trying to figure that out.
TK: [04:03] Right.
Jen McFarland: [04:04] Those are the times when you’ve got lots of money on the line, and people are upset because they’re not getting their reports, and data isn’t where it should be.
TK: [04:15] Right.
Jen McFarland: [04:15] It’s a big deal, so process matters. That’s why you’re supposed to write everything down. Right, Twila?
TK: [04:20] Exactly, and it does matter. We’re seeing that even on the business growth side of things when you’re implementing marketing strategies and sales funnels and all of those type of things. What we were doing a year ago or two years ago for sales funnels doesn’t work today. Not because the technology of it doesn’t work or the adaptation of it doesn’t work, but just because the whole philosophy behind it doesn’t work anymore.
Jen McFarland: [04:53] Right.
TK: [04:53] People have become savvy, and so they know that if you have this free report or this checklist, and you get their email address, that you’re going to sell them something. So, that traditional funnel that we say traditional for two years, was really-
Jen McFarland: [05:06] Was traditional for two years.
TK: [05:08] It’s traditional for two years, right, that that typical sales funnel doesn’t necessarily work anymore. So, you have to be a little more clever, and you have to be … Actually, in today, you just have to be a little more authentic and honest.
Jen McFarland: [05:24] Which we talked about a couple of episodes ago, about authenticity and the importance of being real in your marketing and how that can really hurt you. Because if you’re not being authentic, or you’re listening to somebody else and letting them tell you how to market, then things go wrong. That’s part of why you don’t see as much of that marketing on my site is because I don’t like all of the emails bombarding my inbox.
TK: [05:51] Right, and so you don’t want to do it to somebody else.
Jen McFarland: [05:52] So, I have a hard time sending them out. Yeah.
TK: [05:53] And I-
Jen McFarland: [05:53] I don’t do it to other people.
TK: [05:54] I’m the same way. I get asked all the time, “So, what sales funnel …” I was just asked that today, “So, what sales funnel do you want to use for this?” I said, “None.” “What do you mean?” “None.” I said, “No, this is … I just want to share.” This video that I’m doing today, this production that we’re going through today, it’s just for me to share. It’s for me to sincerely just teach.
Jen McFarland: [06:20] Right.
TK: [06:21] I’m not trying to sell something.
Jen McFarland: [06:22] Right.
TK: [06:23] The guy is like, “No, you got to sell something.”
Jen McFarland: [06:26] I’ve never heard of that before. What do you mean, just share?
TK: [06:28] You got to sell something.
Jen McFarland: [06:29] I don’t get that.
TK: [06:30] No. I don’t. There’s no sales funnel. “Well, where’s this going to lead to? Is it at least going to lead to a discovery call with you so that …” I’m like, “Dude, stop the jargon. Knock it off. No, I’m not selling anything. I’m not putting this into a funnel. I’m producing this content so I can teach and actually share with people the lessons that I’ve learned so they don’t make those same mistakes going forward.” Novel concept.
Jen McFarland: [06:58] Right.
TK: [06:59] Novel concept that you just become authentic and you just actually sincerely do want to help people.
Jen McFarland: [07:06] What you’re really saying is you need to be adaptive. Like, just because the-
TK: [07:09] Right.
Jen McFarland: [07:10] Just because the funnels have always been a certain way for two years, by always, we mean for two years, it means that you have to adapt and change, and that just because somebody’s pressuring you to tell you that you need to be selling something doesn’t mean that you need to use a video or a piece of collateral as a sales tactic. Because in all honesty, people are a lot more savvy now, whether it’s through the technology tools that you use for your funnel or just by having the “free e-book.”
TK: [07:39] The process or the system of it.
Jen McFarland: [07:41] The process or the system of it. Everybody knows now what that leads to, so you might as well tell them, “I just want your damn email address.”
TK: [07:47] Exactly. “I just want your email address so I can sell you something, okay?”
Jen McFarland: [07:49] So I can sell you something.
TK: [07:51] We had a guy in Vegas … This is going to get a little off topic, but you all listening out there will really enjoy this a little bit.
Jen McFarland: [07:58] Does it involved being the headliner at the Long Branch Saloon?
Jen McFarland: [08:06] Nope? Not that one? Okay.
TK: [08:07] No.
Jen McFarland: [08:07] We’ll save that one for another time.
TK: [08:08] There was a guy … One of the main drags in Vegas is Sahara Avenue, and there was a guy that would walk up and down Sahara Avenue in a suit, a full-on suit, tie, the whole bit, really nice shoes. He held out a sign, and he said, “I’m not poor. I just want more money to go get more beer.” This guy literally made 10s of thousands of dollars from just that honesty.
Jen McFarland: [08:42] Right.
TK: [08:42] Then, in the end, he did it for several months. Right? People just stopped, I mean, would literally stop in the middle of the street and wave their money at him, like, “Here. At least you’re being honest with us.” Right?
Jen McFarland: [08:54] Yeah, “Take my money.”
TK: [08:55] They really thought he was homeless and he was just being honest, when in fact, no, he was doing it for a social experiment. He donated all of the money to the homeless shelters after his project was all done, but it was still hilarious. I mean, you could see this guy out there. He’s got a sign, and he’s just like, “Look-
Jen McFarland: [09:12] Just want some beer.
TK: [09:14] “… I’m not poor. I just want your money to get more beer.” People were like, “Here, here’s my money.” I feel like that’s what we’re going through today. Right? I feel like that’s also what we’re talking about, about being able to adapt and change with things that … Things aren’t the same ever. They do change, and the way that you used to do something like GarageBand to Dropbox a year or two years ago is not how you’re going to do it today. And what you’re doing today is probably not going to be how you’re going to be doing it a year or two from now.
Jen McFarland: [09:51] Oh, it could even just be an hour from now.
TK: [09:52] Right. Technology advances so quickly.
Jen McFarland: [09:52] It’s so weird how quickly it changes. We live in this age of complete disruption. Right?
TK: [10:01] Right, right.
Jen McFarland: [10:02] I actually try to steer clear of things like the 24-hour news cycle because I don’t even know what the news is anymore because it changes so quickly. I kind of feel that way about technology, but I don’t let that bog me down. I know that I have to do XYZ, and I just make sure that that process is working. Then, when it doesn’t work anymore, I adapt and change so that I’m sure that I can reposition and refocus and do something different.
TK: [10:27] Right, right. I think for companies out there who are investing 10s of thousands of dollars in a new technology or a new process, and they’re hiring people for it, you have to plan for that change, too. I was just meeting with one of my clients who is an IT consultant, and that’s the first thing that she tells her clients. I mean, she goes in and consults for companies like Nike and Intel and some of these huge corporations. Right? That’s the first thing she tells them is that know that the money that you’re spending today on this, you’re going to be spending again in another two years because it’s all going to be different.
Jen McFarland: [11:10] It’s all going to be different.
TK: [11:11] It’s fluid budget. Right? It’s just, just know that whatever you’re doing today probably isn’t going to look the same in two years. Budget for that, plan for that, know that, and when it happens, don’t be surprised by it.
Jen McFarland: [11:28] That’s true, but that being said, I mean, all of this disruption and stuff … It’s actually very exciting. Right? If you don’t choose … It’s all about how you choose to look at it. If you choose to look at the GarageBand to Dropbox scenario is like, “Oh my God, this is more crap I have to deal with,” that’s one thing. But if you look at it as an opportunity or as an opportunity to change and adapt or to look at something new, that’s actually more exciting. It’s like I’ve had clients who are like, “So, I really want to automate some things. Can you look at that?” I’m like, “Yeah, okay. I’m just not sure if that really is out there or not.” I’m always surprised by all of the things that you can link together now and automate, all the things with API codes and things that you can just shoot all over the place. It’s crazy.
TK: [12:16] Ooh, it is crazy out there, and the … We haven’t even talked about artificial intelligence, either, coming into it and how that is even changing algorithms and everything else. Our friend, Kate Bradley, over at Lately, who developed that-
Jen McFarland: [12:31] Oh, she’s doing amazing stuff over there.
TK: [12:33] … app, and that software … I mean, the AI that they have behind that algorithm is just … I just want to sit and bow and go, “Wow, like holy, holy … How did you even come upon this kind of stuff?” Right?
Jen McFarland: [12:51] Right.
TK: [12:52] It’s amazing. So, we haven’t even seen …
Jen McFarland: [12:55] Well, and Lately just came out of somebody saying, “I’m really tired of having to do all these tasks over and over and over again.”
TK: [13:02] Right, myself. There’s got to be a better way.
Jen McFarland: [13:04] There’s got to be a better way.
TK: [13:05] There’s got to be a way to make this easier.
Jen McFarland: [13:06] There’s got to be a way.
TK: [13:07] There’s got to be a way to automate this.
Jen McFarland: [13:08] There’s got to be a way to make social media easier, and Lately’s done it, you know?
TK: [13:08] Right.
Jen McFarland: [13:12] There’s got to be a way that my Facebook Lives can show up as a podcast, and Repurpose has done that.
TK: [13:20] Repurpose has done that.
Jen McFarland: [13:20] There’s got to be a way that I can upload files and save things. There’s got to be a way … I mean, so think about all of the things that are kind of a pain, and there’s a way.
TK: [13:30] There is a way. Google it. Google it. Is there a way to do X to Y? I guarantee you there is. There is a way. Somewhere out there, there is a way. Right?
Jen McFarland: [13:44] I think that that’s why in larger corporations, the agile methodology is so popular. Because it really is about positioning you for that different disruption. What I see a lot in smaller businesses is the reliance on things staying the same forever as opposed to larger companies, where they do use … They’re using agile now in, like, HR. They’re using agile across the board because they realize that things are changing so rapidly that you can no longer plan things out for the long haul. You have to plan things out in streams and make a few top priorities and make decisions about that. Then, you kind of just see what happens after that.
TK: [14:29] Right.
Jen McFarland: [14:31] That is actually what I believe more small businesses need to embrace.
TK: [14:37] Absolutely. You bring up a really great point because I run into a lot of solo entrepreneurs and small businesses that they’re still sometimes … I mean, no offense out there, but sometimes I just want to say, “The 1980s called. They want your process back.” Because it’s what’s been comfortable. Right?
Jen McFarland: [14:59] Right.
TK: [14:59] But it’s not necessarily what’s going to continue to work. It’s not necessarily what actually does make it easier. It’s just that fear factor setting in of, “Ooh, I don’t know anything about that. I don’t want to have to take the time to learn that, so I’m going to keep doing my spreadsheets manually. Thank you.”
Jen McFarland: [15:22] I mean, I get it. I mean, I think that there’s a real tension there between if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and there’s got to be a better way. I think that people just have different tolerances for pain. I think that those of us who work in technology or who desperately hate data entry or repetitive functions, I think that we’re looking for it’s got to be a better way. There’s got to be another way of doing this.
TK: [15:54] Exactly. There’s got to be another way of doing this. It’s got to be a better way.
Jen McFarland: [15:56] So, it is about slowly adapting and changing and streamlining, ultimately. Who wants to be in spreadsheets all day?
TK: [16:05] Right. Well, and it goes to the basic principle, business 101 principle, of you got to know what the end result is that you’re wanting. You’ve got to know what it is that you’re trying to achieve so that you even know what to adapt to and what to change along the way and what to … So that you can even sit there and question wisely is there a better way for this or not? Because you’ve got to have that endgame in mind to even … Or, is it just that you’re going after the newest shiny penny on the street, right?
Jen McFarland: [16:41] Yeah. When I work with people through projects, a lot of times, we build something called a logical framework, which takes your largest goals and vision and breaks it down into different modules so that you can track things, like, is this sustainable? Have we been measuring it? Do we know that these things are working? All of these things are metrics before you even get down to the to-do items and the process items. It’s so that you can actually track everything at a much higher level, and it keeps your head out of the details so that then you know more of the broad strokes so that you can then go down into the details and the granularity of it and worry about the little processes like whether or not the Excel spreadsheet is picking up the data and sending it on its way.
TK: [17:33] Right.
Jen McFarland: [17:33] But you have a lot of things along the way that tell you whether or not those things are working. I would also say, too, that if you have a large system or a lot of staff, this is where you really need to rely on them and listen to them and see if there’s a better way. Because they are building workaround processes behind your back every day, and they-
TK: [17:33] Exactly.
Jen McFarland: [17:57] … have little wishlists and to-dos for how to streamline the tasks that they have to work through on the front lines.
TK: [18:01] Well, and they’re the ones with their finger on the pulse.
Jen McFarland: [18:04] Exactly.
TK: [18:05] Right? They’re the ones on the front line, have their finger on the pulse. So, you have to listen to them, and you have to take some advice from them. Sometimes, that’s really hard to do. It’s really hard to do because you’re the boss. You’re the owner of the company. You’re the CEO. You’re the direct report. You know better than they do. But in some cases, they actually know better than you, and you have to be able to … There’s got to be that give and take, and you’ve got to be able to listen to them. Right?
Jen McFarland: [18:38] Right. I think that there’s anecdotal evidence. But when the anecdotes start piling up, at a certain point, it reaches critical mass, and you have to listen. Hopefully, it reaches that point before you have that mass exodus, before you start losing revenues, before things are truly broken.
TK: [19:00] Right, right. It’s funny that you say that you take your clients through that logical process, because I do the same when we’re doing vision and profit planning. It’s really starting with that bigger vision, that bigger goal, breaking it down into year one, year two, year three, year four, what do we have to do to get there, and building in those milestones and those metrics so that you realize along the way that you actually are progressing, that you actually are on track and on target and that you in fact will reach that goal as long as you keep going this direction and on this way.
TK: [19:44] Or, hey, no, that’s not working. Let’s pivot and do something different so then you can make those wiser decisions. Do we go with this or this? Do we stick with GarageBand and Dropbox, or do we do something different? Right?
Jen McFarland: [20:02] Yeah. Or, is it Audacity and Amazon?
TK: [20:05] Right, exactly.
Jen McFarland: [20:05] I mean, it can be so many things.
TK: [20:06] It can be so many things.
Jen McFarland: [20:06] I think that what I was always taught and what I still just firmly believe in is a process of structured flexibility. So, you have a structure, which means you know the goals. How you get there, you have to have some flexibility in that because if one day … This is a lot like getting a burrito at 7-Eleven, and then the car doesn’t start. We talked about that a while ago.
TK: [20:32] Just saying.
Jen McFarland: [20:33] Just saying, but you have to expect the unexpected. By building in some of those flexibility points, some of those ways that you can rethink, reframe, reposition, and not break your bank and lose your mind, that’s where you’re really able to be agile and move forward and really keep moving the needle and meeting your milestones.
TK: [20:58] Absolutely.
Jen McFarland: [20:58] If you get stuck and just sit there and think, “Well, I can’t do it that way anymore. I guess …
TK: [21:04] So, I guess I can’t do it at all.
Jen McFarland: [21:06] “… guess I’ll just go take a nap.”
TK: [21:08] Guess I can’t do it at all.
Jen McFarland: [21:09] Guess I can’t do it at all. I mean, it sounds ridiculous, but man, I hear …
TK: [21:14] So many. So many things.
Jen McFarland: [21:14] I hear things.
TK: [21:16] So many people, and so many people that write in and call in tell us things like that, right, that we, “No, hey, don’t give up. Don’t give up. There’s been a change. Let’s find another way.” It’s all about the pivot. It’s all about that flexibility, and are you able to pivot or not? For any great growth plan, you have to plan for those pivots and that flexibility and budget for it.
Jen McFarland: [21:44] Right. Totally. That’s why there’s got to be contingency, 20% contingency on everything.
TK: [21:49] That’s right. I love that. With my 23 years in real estate. There was always the contingency plan that the general contractor put in there. Right? It’s not just his 20% fee, but it’s the 20% contingency plan on there. Because you’ll get into that furnace and, I’ll be damned, you’ll just have to take it out and replace it.
Jen McFarland: [22:10] Yeah, it’s just like those oh-shit handles in your car.
TK: [22:12] Exactly.
Jen McFarland: [22:15] You never know. You never know when I’m going to take a corner too fast. You got to hang on.
TK: [22:19] Exactly.
Jen McFarland: [22:20] Buckle up. Jen’s driving.
TK: [22:21] Buckle up. Jen’s driving. And buckle up, because you’re driving. You’re driving your business. You’re driving your technology, and just know that whatever comes your way, if you can build in that plan to pivot and be flexible and budget for that, you’re going to make it, whether GarageBand stays linked to Dropbox or not.
Jen McFarland: [22:21] Or not.
TK: [22:45] Or not. You’re going to be okay.
Jen McFarland: [22:49] Oh my God. Well, Twila, I think we’ve pretty much talked this one through.
TK: [22:54] I think we have. I think we gave our listeners some good pointers. I think you got a lot of good nuggets out of this, that technology and things change, and you just have to be able to change with them.
Jen McFarland: [23:07] Or, just buckle up.
TK: [23:08] Buckle up.
Jen McFarland: [23:09] Grab that oh-shit handle.
TK: [23:11] That’s right.
Jen McFarland: [23:12] You got it.
TK: [23:13] Because Jen’s driving.
Jen McFarland: [23:14] Because Jen’s driving. That is not true. You’re still driving.
TK: [23:17] You are still driving.
Jen McFarland: [23:18] But sometimes, you got to just hold on.
TK: [23:21] That’s right. Well, we thank you for listening to the Third Paddle podcast. If you have any questions, or you’d like to leave a comment or some feedback for us, please go ahead and do that. You can email us at email@example.com. As always, subscribe, download, tell your friends, have them subscribe and download. We love being here with you. We thank you so much for always listening. Have a great day.
Jen McFarland: [23:52] Bye.
Announcer: [23:54] Thank you for listening to the Third Paddle podcast. If you like our show and want to learn more, check out our website at www.thirdpaddle.com. Or, leave us a review on iTunes. Send questions or topic ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, and don’t forget to tune in each week to get even more technology and business tips to help you navigate business shit creek. The Third Paddle podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth online at www.fostergrowth.tech and TK International online at www.twilakaye. com.