Flip The Switch Episode 63: Workplace Efficiency

John Saunders
By John Saunders

Pat. Today on flip the switch, the popular video game Fortnite is facing lawsuits and allegations over stealing celebrity dance moves and Facebook drops the ball again, finding themselves in hot water with Washington, DC, again. Our main discussion revolves around tools and tricks for being as efficient as possible in the workplace… Something everyone should think about going into the New Year. And we wrap up with our all-time favorite segment, a minute with musk. Let’s get into it

00.55 AUSTIN: Welcome to flip the switch presented by power digital marketing. This is episode number 63.

01.00 PAT: 63 our Gene Upshaw episode.

01.04 AUSTIN: Pat, please explain to me who gene Upshaw is.

01.06 PAT: Happily. So, many of you probably know him as the executive director of the NFLPA from 1983 until ‘09, of course. But before… Not many people know this… Before taking on that role he had a 15 season hall of fame career with the Oakland raiders, which you just don’t see any more. 15 years in the NFL, that’s crazy.

01.26 AUSTIN: So this guy’s a black hole.

01.28 PAT: Yes, this guy’s a black hole guy.

01.29 AUSTIN: Oh interesting. Well, that doesn’t really segue well into what we’re talking about except maybe Facebook’s a black hole right now?

01.36 PAT: Facebook is a black hole. That’s a good segue.

01.38 AUSTIN: Thank you. That was off the top of my head too. I don’t write these jokes folks. These just comes straight off the dome.

01.43 PAT: Yeah, yeah, okay let’s move on.

01.45 AUSTIN: Okay, actually let’s go ahead and get into our news and trends. No interview today, it’s just pat and I doing an awesome middle segment… Just to quickly talk about that. We’ll be doing a great segment on efficiency in the workplace in 2019.

01.59 PAT: Something I’m excited to talk about. It’s something that I definitely know I need to work on too. And I think that a lot of our listeners can empathize with that because no matter how well you’re performing, you can always be doing a little bit better.

02.08 AUSTIN: We have a couple softwares that we use in-house that we either are on a subscription with or that we’ve actually created. So if you’re client of ours you get access to a couple of those. But then also we can just give you a couple tips on ones we use. But all right, pat let’s go ahead and open the door to our news and trends.

02.24 PAT: All right. So the very first thing that we wanted to talk about today… Kind of a little bit off topic from other things that we normally talk about. But Fortnite, the popular video game, is being sued by several different celebrities. And the reason for that is that they use their likeness in mimicking some of those dances. So okay…

02.46 AUSTIN: Let’s back up and talk about Fortnite first, cause I think that’s what comes to my mind first is what the hell is Fortnite?

02.48 PAT: Alright. So Fortnite, for those that don’t know, was a free game that came out on like Xbox consoles a couple… I think a couple years ago. Really good viral marketing tactic actually, because they do in-app purchases to make their money. It was free…

03.04 AUSTIN: Freemium.

03.04 PAT: Exactly, it was freemium. It’s become like this cultural phenomenon on social media.

03.10 AUSTIN: In 2018.

03.11 PAT: Exactly. People are always sharing videos of them playing. There’s a lot of like freak out videos of kids, if like their parents unplug the console. It’s like really part of this whole like jewel fueled youth video game playing culture that I can’t necessarily identify with on a one-to-one. But I get it. So it’s this cultural phenomenon and it’s huge and something that’s really popular about it, something that has become very unique about it are some of the dances that some of the characters do. Like when you’re in your waiting lobby and things like that. It just seems like harmless fun. It’s not really a big deal. But it came out this week that a growing cluster of actors… So it’s not just like one or two actors here or there… A lot of different actors feel that their likeness was used in this video game and are suing the makers of Fortnite as a result of it, to basically reclaim some of the some of the money that they feel they should have been owed for lending their likeness to the game.

04.02 AUSTIN: I just… So what’s the point of this, that why we want to talk about it is the growing economy of online gaming? And how quickly this has caught fire. In truth what Fortnite has really revolutionized is the ability to take a freemium idea and grow it to a point where they don’t have to actually do a lot of their own marketing, because it’s being done for them. And honestly one of the genius things they did was this. Is take all these dance moves, right, which is really, really popular in pop culture right now…

04.31 PAT: Yeah, think the Carlton dance

04.32 AUSTIN: Yeah, everybody knows the Carlton dance from fresh prince of bel-air. That was one of them that was stolen. And then there’s all these other dance moves with all these very famous social media guys like…

04.42 PAT: Yeah, internet sensations…

04.43 AUSTIN: Yeah, backpack kid, block boy JB is another one. Millie rock…

04.46 PAT: Yeah, two Millie.

04.48 AUSTIN: Yeah, two Millie. Millie rock… We’re naming all these… Just google them if you’re trying to wonder what we’re talking about. And they put all these dance moves that the characters can do in the game. The kids associate with them immediately, because they love all these people on social media. They start to learn the moves themselves, which then ties them back into the characters that are in the game, making them familiarize with them and relate. And before you know it, you’ve got a kid addicted to the video game.

05.10 PAT: Oh, a hundred percent. And it like… And the thing that’s crazy about it is like, people are mimicking those Fortnite dances in public… Like athletes who do it. Like NFL players that do them as touchdown celebrations, stuff like that. And people are like, oh that’s the Fortnite dance. It’s like no, it’s not. That’s from like somewhere else. The reason that I think that this is important to talk about though is because in the growing age of social media, it becomes a very blurred line as… Because there’s so much user-generated content as well… It becomes a very blurred line for us as to what is a… Like what’s an ethical use of somebody’s likeness and what shouldn’t be allowed. And I feel that in the age of traditional marketing/traditional media it was a lot more clear-cut. Those rules were very, very established.

05.49 AUSTIN: Yeah, you would have to get a license or something where…

05.52 PAT: Using permits and stuff…

05.53 AUSTIN: Breaking the law. Exactly. If you’re gonna put up a billboard, there’s gonna be a lot of hoops to jump through. But now an Instagram ad is just a post on Instagram. If you really think about what Instagram is, if you’re a brand. You’re not paying for per post unless you’re doing boosting. But it is still an ad, because you’re a brand. And that’s what we’re associating this with. With Fortnite is that what they’re doing is advertising. In-game advertising and they did it without the discretion or the allowance of the individual who created the material. So, what we’re calling this is basically intellectual property theft, I think is what the category this would fall under. And that they would hire then an intellectual property attorney and then they would be represented and to try to prove in court that they are the originators of this dance and that it was taken from them without their allowance. And I think that that was a word that Pat used earlier that I thought was really cool.

06.45 PAT: I’d use the word agreeance.

06.46 AUSTIN: Oh, agreeance.

06.47 PAT: Which is a tough one to define.

06.49 AUSTIN: Allowance is like, mom give me 20 bucks.

06.51 PAT: I need 20 bucks this week, yeah. I never got it. But the thing is though… So you’re right, it does fall under intellectual property. It’s under the greater umbrella of copyright law. And the reason again that I think that this is so important is because at its most essential level, and you kind of hit this on the head, there is the unknowing advocation by these like celebrities whose likenesses are being represented, for the video game, without them saying, yeah, we’re like gonna promote this video game. And if you do want to go that route, you gotta pay… Like you have to pay them.

07.22 AUSTIN: If you’re… I mean, I’m trying to think about this from Fortnite’s perspective. They’re… I think they did over billions is what they’re valued at right?

07.30 PAT: They just raised 1.25 billion dollars two months ago. And had already previously settled a few small lawsuits over the game’s well-loved dance moves. So, I think that maybe… Spin zone here… I think maybe some of these celebrities, a few of whom may or may not have lost a little bit of relevance in recent years… Carlton…

07.47 AUSTIN: Definitely.

07.47 PAT: Are thinking that they can get a piece of the pie.

07.50 AUSTIN: Oh yeah. And if you’re Fortnite, pay them. Just do it. Just settle them. Whatever they come at, unless of course they’re asking for 100 million dollars. I mean if they’re asking for a couple million, that’s… Think of it as an investment, right? You just purchased the ability for you to make more money, because you get to keep the dance moves. I’m sure they’re gonna work out some sort of licensing agreement moving forward. They’ll pay him a settlement fee. Why wouldn’t you do that? And I think if you’re Fortnite right now and you’re this growing brand… Is you’re thinking long term, right? It doesn’t matter in the short term that people are upset with you because you’re thinking three – five – ten years, what’s gonna be the most important thing to us? And that’s growing this brand, growing this company and making sure that we make lots of money and making our investors happy. So I see this more of as a fly on the wall. Swat it and move on.

08.37 PAT: Yeah. For me I… So I understand that rationale. If I’m Fortnite, I actually am gonna stick around for a little bit, let this like marinate. Because I don’t know if any of these claims are gonna hold real water, right? I mean these… The game has been out in the public for well over a year, closer to two. Those dances have been part of the pregame lobby for quite some time. Everybody has seen them and it’s only after the last two months when a 1.25 billion dollar round of investment was raised by epic games that these come to light. That timing is a little bit suspicious to me, as in I don’t know that they have… I don’t think the celebrities have sole proprietorship over some of those… Over some of those dance moves. Like you can’t tell me that Carlton is going to pick a battle with Fortnite but not like the millions of other TV shows that have like mimicked his dance move even in like a facetious way.

09.29 AUSTIN: Yeah that’s a good point.

09.29 PAT: Like that doesn’t really make a ton of sense to me.

09.30 AUSTIN: I think that’s a good point. Yeah, what was the point I was gonna make. I guess what I see from your perspective and what I was getting at is typically if you’re a company that’s in a lawsuit, really bad for shareholders, right? Because that’s going to create a bit of negative energy around your company. They’re privately held but they did just get a lot of rounds of funding so, they may have trouble getting funding in the future. Or you might upset those in the short term. So… But I also think from a demographic perspective, the kids probably won’t care, right? And they’re the ones playing the game. So these are… If we were gonna pick apart their demo it’s got to be 12 to 30. In that range, right? And really nothing above 28.

10.06 PAT: I’m 24 and a ton of my… Like most of my friends play Fortnite.

10.10 AUSTIN: Yeah, and we know… We talked about it. A lot of athletes play Fortnite in their ages, let’s call it 18 to 28 and that range, and some a little bit older but for the most part what we’re talking about is ages 10 to 12 to 30. And you got to think the majority of those individuals don’t care that they’re in a lawsuit, right? So, I guess you could think about it from that perspective too, is if they can prove that they didn’t have to pay these individuals or they don’t own them, what’s that skin off your back? If you’re in the lawsuit game for a while, your demo might not care. They might not even realize it’s happening as long as you’re putting out new features into the game.

10.43 PAT: Well further spin zone, they’ve already established all their credibility and it’s already a cultural phenomenon within that age demographic. So they can put out a Fortnite 2, Fortnite 3. Probably make people pay for it upfront and have in-app purchases because they’re already so drawn into the game and all their friends are playing it, make up new dances and it will have zero effect. The impact has been had already and at this point if they have to give up a little bit little piece of that pie maybe that’s not the end of the world. So I do see what you’re saying.

11.10 AUSTIN: Yep. This one’s gonna be to be continued. I am very curious to see what happens and I have to say I’m a pretty decent Millie rocker myself.

11.18 PAT: Okay, AUSTIN: Alright, moving on to Facebook again. One of our favorite topics. So… And this is something that we’ve talked about a lot over the last few months… Facebook and its issues with data privacy policy. So a while back, Facebook was obviously breached by Cambridge Analytica to a degree or the user data was breached because of some sharing that Facebook had done with Cambridge Analytica, and it had an impact on the 2016 election. That’s old news right? Not so much. So it came out on fortune earlier this week… A new lawsuit came out earlier, basically alleging that Facebook violated the district’s consumer protection and procedures act because of a lax oversight for those companies… For the company’s third-party applications. It came out just a few hours after the New York Times reported that the social media giant, is what they’re calling it here, Facebook in this instance…. After Cambridge Analytica scandal, there was allowed 150 more companies to access that user data. So basically there’s more that had happened after the fact, where the spotlight hadn’t been placed, because people were so fixated on the direct impact that this one firm, Cambridge Analytica, had, right? A democrat, senator mark warner from Virginia… He tweeted on Wednesday and this is a direct quote. “It is beyond obvious at this point that social media platforms are simply not up to the task of voluntarily ensuring the privacy and security of their users. Congress must step in.” time out. Time out. That’s… Okay so and that’s really the crux of the conversation that I think that we need to be having around this. At what point is it the government’s responsibility to step in and regulate private entities like Facebook.

13.03 AUSTIN: Yeah. And what I immediately think about is the government’s gonna want to think about the safety of their individual citizens. And we’ve really entered into a new territory where they need to define some real rules and laws around this. And I understand that they’re trying to, and a lot of that is with compliance procedures online and data sharing, which they recently started getting into but at some point, we also need to hold individuals accountable, right? Isn’t there a level of stupidity involved with putting a large amount of your personal data online, right? And I think…

13.39 PAT: Color me guilty.

13.42 AUSTIN: Individuals are trusting Facebook to take care of that. But also we didn’t exactly tell them not to use our data, right? And that’s kind of where I’m looking at too. It’s like what law did they violate? I mean, I guess that they weren’t upfront with us about what they’re doing with the data. But also they didn’t break any laws until maybe now, right? We’re now rewriting the law. So I think this is more of a reactionary cause and effect, and less of a they were in the wrong the whole time.

14.13 PAT: I would agree. And I don’t think that it’s necessarily the argument that they were in the wrong the whole time. I think it’s more… It’s the negligence piece of it, right? It’s a little bit more like how could you allow this to happen under your oversight? And if you even watched the congressional hearing a while back… If you haven’t it’s hilarious.

14.30 AUSTIN: It is something. I think we talked about it on here. They were trying to basically…

14.33 PAT: Understand the internet. They’re having Mark Zuckerberg teach them about computers in the meeting. And Mark Zuckerberg did his best human being impression.

14.42 AUSTIN: Drinking water. I am thirsty.

14.44 PAT: So at any rate… That was actually pretty funny… At any rate, it doesn’t matter… To an extent, it doesn’t really matter what the reasoning for it was. The market is reacting in a volatile way to this every time new news comes out about it. And I think that this does set an interesting precedent because when news came out after that Wednesday article by the New York Times, shares in Facebook dropped about 7.3 percent that day. It’s one of the biggest single-day drops that they’ve seen…

15.13 AUSTIN: That’s substantial.

15.14 PAT: Aside from the day of the congressional hearing. And I personally am of the belief that it’s not so much about the actual data itself being breached, right? As it is the idea that the more exposure it has, the more government oversight there will be into this company. And at that point as an investor that’s investing in a private entity or not a private entity but a private sector entity like any silicon valley company, I don’t want the government who has showcased on a very public stage that they don’t understand the internet and don’t understand how Facebook works, telling Facebook how to run their company if my dollars are at stake. So I don’t understand… If I’m an investor I would have done the exact same thing. I actually did do the same thing, personal disclosure.

16.01 AUSTIN: Hey hey.

16.01 PAT: Hey hey

16.02 AUSTIN: I actually… I would like to play devil’s advocate and maybe fight against you but from an investment standpoint, what’s the downside here? I still trust Facebook so much more than like you’re saying regulators that don’t actually get what the business model is. And that’s really what we’re at stake here and I mean if you’re looking at a long term trend line you have to go with Facebook in this situation because a three to five-year scale is telling us that they understand how to build a business long term. And I think that they’ve diversified well across the internet by basically understanding users, right? And they understand behavior analytics I think a lot better than most. And from an advertising perspective they have built out the most personalized way to advertise with audience building. And I think that that is their number one advocate. We see google in that world of advertising and their search engine being their number one advocate for marketers to advertise. And I think Facebook’s made a lot of mistakes by not covering their ass at all times, but I’m still firmly in the in the belief that Facebook is actually been on the forefront of a lot of major technological advancements, and also with the way the internet is moving at becoming very personalized. And let’s be honest here. That’s what we want as users. We do want a personalized experience on the internet. It’s become very apparent to us… We’re typing in things we want all the time. We’re looking at what about our friends are up to. We’re following individuals and posts that we think are interesting. Facebook has done just that.

17.26 PAT: Right. And it’s okay. But from a… So that’s from a consumer standpoint. Like that does make sense. As a consumer I’m not probably not going to stop using Facebook. My concern…

17.35 AUSTIN: Or Facebook products.

17.36 PAT: Facebook products, right. Under the Facebook umbrella. My concern isn’t from the consumer side. It’s from the investment side. And as an investor, anytime that a private body is trying to tell somebody who clearly has had a good track record and whose trend line is going up just like you said, how to run their company because of different regulations or different perceived flaws with how it’s gonna go or potential mishaps for like the 2020 election or whatever it might be… That is where my concern stems from. It’s not from a consumption standpoint, it’s not from a DAU standpoint. The only reason DAU even matters to investors is because of the data that you get as a result of that, for future monetization.

18.14 AUSTIN: I think when I look at it that way… And if you’re an investor what’s really the worst possible outcome of… From a government standpoint, from a regulation standpoint. What could change drastically that makes me as an investor say, I’m out.

18.31 PAT: No more advertising.

18.33 AUSTIN: And do we think that that’s a real possibility.

18.34 PAT: I don’t think that it’s that… Oh okay that’s a good question. And it is especially devil’s advocate. That’s good, that’s good. Okay, here’s my thing on that. It might not be a full-fledged halt of ads, but I do see more regulations around the types of ads, the industries that you can advertise for, impression count, things like that that will ultimately impact the ad revenue that Facebook makes as a result. Advertising on Facebook won’t go anywhere. That much I’m certain of. But I am also fairly certain that if a government body steps in and starts dictating how you can use personal data for monetary gain, that’s where it becomes harried. That’s where the effectiveness of ads decreases. And as an ancillary result, revenue will decrease for Facebook too. And we know that Facebook makes the majority of its revenue through advertising, just like google does.

19.19 AUSTIN: Everything, yeah.

19.19 PAT: Exactly. So that’s my concern. I think a saving grace for Facebook is that acquisition piece is that venturing into different markets, different types of technology, innovating further, iterating on its platform. But from just a pure… Like as it stands right now, I am personally concerned about that type of news coming out. And the fact that Facebook continually seems to be put in this situation. It’s like a bad luck thing almost, you know?

19.45 AUSTIN: I will say the number one concerning thing to me is that this is like within… And maybe four or five times in the last few months, right?

19.51 PAT: Minimum. Yeah, exactly.

19.53 AUSTIN: That we’ve had this conversation. And it’s a little bit different every time. It’s not the same issue that someone keeps bringing up. It’s well, you also did this, you also did this. Oh, I know recently Facebook went down for it a little bit and you couldn’t access the ad platform, which was definitely a problem. Losing them money. They’ve had some bugs amongst other things, they’ve had data stolen from a user perspective. Now I mean they’ve been attacked by the government a few times. It’s really all crumbling and it’s not the entire wall but there’s definitely a piece of the wallets come down and that’s been reflected in the share price over the last… Really the last five months or so. You can see if you go back to July that’s really when they had their downfall. And yeah it’s a real cause for concern and I think the number one thing we look at too is they’ve lost a lot of their c-suite. They… We know a lot of people are losing… Excuse me their c-suite is losing a lot of people. They’re leaving for other companies. So that tells me also there’s problems on the inside. Because why else would you leave the most… One of the most valuable companies in the world that is supposedly on the forefront of technology and also supposedly the number one social interaction application in the entire world. You have to think of it from a leadership perspective. They’re all leaders, right? They’re leaders of technology. They’re leaders of the world, they’re leaders of society and humanitarian applications as well. When they’re saying this isn’t a good idea anymore. They’re saying working here is not a good idea anymore. That’s where I’m starting to see the concern.

21.16 PAT: Yep it’s a culture problem. Last point, after news came out that Washington, DC will be suing Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica at data scandal, under that violation of that act that we talked about. Hours after that, people sold their stock to such a degree that Facebook lost twenty two billion dollars in market value that day, dropping its market cap to three hundred and nineteen billion.

21.40 AUSTIN: That’s a lot, PAT:

21.41 PAT: That’s a lot. Their share price at one point was 215. That was back on July 24th 2018. And we’re looking at about 144 today. 143. 143 dollars on December 18th. Pretty unbelievable

22.00 AUSTIN: Pat, that’s a big swing in a company that is in hot water.

22.07 AUSTIN: Main conversation today, we will be talking about efficiency in the work place and the softwares that we use as a company at power digital to make our days better faster and more worthwhile.

22.17 PAT: Yep. Absolutely, and I think this is something that everybody is looking for going into the coming year. We touched on that a little in the intro. It’s a big goal of mine to continually get more efficient with my time. And some of the tools that we use are a great way to do that but I think that moreover it’s like a common trend in the business world. People always are… The old way used to be spend a lot of hours of the office, you’re doing a good job. Well now we have data points. We have ways that you can measure your output. So what are you doing with your time? What are you doing with your 8 hours? Can you get eight hours’ worth of work quote-unquote done in five, six hours? Do that, get ahead or do that and stand out. Those are the types of things we want to talk through a little bit.

22.56 AUSTIN: And on the opposite side of that too is what’s causing you to waste the most time, right? And not thinking about it like, if someone’s on the computer and they’re on Facebook, since we just talked about them all day, that’s a problem. But I mean from maybe a clientele perspective or something that maybe you’re not as good at. Let’s say you’re in analytics for us and I’m not so good at reading ecommerce trends. And I see in my data of my workflow that I’m spending way too much time on analytics trying to dissect a problem. Well that can be from my management to say we need to train Austin up more on this certain topic. So then you get faster, move on other things. So anyways, yeah. That’s the overarching theme but we want to talk specifically… I think the great first place we can start is just that. Is hour stack, that’s a software that we’ve rolled out company-wide from the top down to monitor what we’re doing with every single piece of initiative, every deliverable and where we’re at with our time for emails, everything.

23.50 PAT: Yeah and I think the thing to take away here is that it’s not like a big brother thing. Like they’re not watching it to make sure that you’re working. Like anybody… Like you can tell if people are working… Is to see where you can create better efficiencies company-wide. This is a coo’s dream, by the way. If you’re a process-oriented executive or you’re somebody that works high up in your company that has a good idea for where you can save time, this helps put numbers behind where you may be spending the most time. So for example… And we’ll talk about this kind of soon… Our company in its earlier stages was spending a lot of time reporting. Like a ton of our time was dedicated towards just reporting. And we identified that after gathering enough data around it using hour stack to know, hey we need to revamp our process here so to free up eight hours of people’s weeks or months or whatever it was. And it’s like those types of little micro decisions that compounded over time help your company get more streamlined, more efficient. And if you’re an executive, ultimately help you make more money without having to pay your employees overtime to make that happen.

24.51 AUSTIN: Yeah, and let’s get out in front of this. You’re not gonna see an overnight change in your company by rolling this out. It just takes time… To implementation, for you to understand the data and then to make the decisions on what you’re gonna do with it. But the point of this is the proactivity to make your company better. To continue to grow yourself as an individual in the workplace and your employees or your co-workers. I mean this is such an important thing to streamline their businesses, to understand what you’re doing with your time and where you can improve. And hour stack has allowed us in every single level… Managers use it, we use it… Top down to bottom… Interns use it. Everybody uses it so that we can get a good understanding of what we’re doing with our time and how we can get better.

25.32 PAT: Yep, absolutely. So that’s an easy win right there. The next one that we wanted to talk about… Probably Assana. Yeah, so Assana if you’re unaware is a project management software. There’s a lot of different types out there. There’s like ActiveCollab… Whatever else you might have.

25.50 AUSTIN: Basecamp is one.

25.53 PAT: Basecamp is one, yeah. Didn’t Sarah plan her wedding using basecamp or Assana or something? I like… I heard that. Yeah, anyway.

26.00 AUSTIN: Wow. I might do the same.

26.02 PAT: I might too, because… So the way Assana works pretty much… It’s like your to-do list. But you can assign… It’s like a way to assign tasks to people.

26.11 AUSTIN: I can see how that would work actually. I’m sorry I’m still thinking about that. Yeah, that would be a great idea. If you’re planning a wedding, use Assana.

26.16 PAT: Yeah, you have a checklist of things you need to get done. You have deadlines for when it all needs to get done by. You can put it on like a sprint board so you can see how far along you are with it. And ultimately though… I mean there’s a lot of features. We’re not here to just like be brand ambassadors for Assana. It’s definitely an awesome tool.

26.31 AUSTIN: I wish they would pay me to do this. Assana, if you’re listening to this, sponsor us. We will plug you every show.

26.35 PAT: Yeah absolutely. But I think the bigger takeaway here is, as an executive, as a business owner, you want your employees to be on task. And as an employee, you want to come into work with a game plan. Because something that Greyson actually preaches at power digital is… What is it? It’s plan your work and work your plan. That’s what he says. That’s probably the easiest way to do that because you can lay out ahead of time like your whole month’s work flow and just kind of make sure it’s all spread out in achievable chunks. And you can also task these things out to people, which is… That’s like the whole point of work, being able to tap your resources and delegate.

27.11 AUSTIN: Yeah, the visibility into the actual tasks is definitely the most important aspect of this. Whether it’s you doing the task or you’re a manager making sure that someone else is doing the task, you have someone check it off, you understand it was done. They can ask questions in there instead of having to come and find you. So even if you’re in a meeting, you could get pinged and be like, oh shoot this person’s stuck here. Let me give them a couple notes. Get them out of this rut and they can move on with their day without having to wait for me. These things just save your business time, every day. And the efficiency scale that we’re talking about, it grows. You start to realize that your business can get bigger because you’re getting faster at getting things done. And Assana has been probably the biggest thing for me for organization purposes. So that I can make sure that all the accounts that I manage are running smooth. That I know, oh shoot where’s that at. I wonder how quickly they’re going to be done. Quick note on that task. Hey, boom check-ins done. I got that in my mind now to make sure that that gets done. It’s going to get done in whatever time that is.

28.06 PAT: Well think about it this way. So if you ever been in a meeting and thought to yourself this could have been an email, this is the email that you’re referring to essentially. You can manage multiple teams at once without leaving your desk and have a very clear-cut pulse on what has been done and what hasn’t been done.

28.20 AUSTIN: That’s it it’s really that simple, folks. And if you are a business that isn’t using a project management software… It doesn’t need to be Assana. If you’re not using one, you’re losing out. I mean really, you just won’t know for sure what everyone is up to and you won’t get things done as quickly and be so sure of yourself unless you are using a project management software. So definitely, definitely see it as an investment, not an expense.

28.44 PAT: Yeah, and if you think about it too, it’s like you time out how long different tasks take people using hour stack, right? That’ll dictate what type of leeway you need to realistically give them when you task things out in your project management software. So it goes hand in hand. I’m pretty sure too, hour stack has an Assana integration. You can just port your tasks straight over that way.

29.07 AUSTIN: Yeah we use that too. And it also can import your calendar. So if you use google calendars, you can actually have those things immediately show up in your hour stack and in your Assana. Yeah, so you can have everything show up as a task on your calendar to meeting and then in hour stack you just click the start button on your day, so that you can actually track how much time is spent on that task. So you can do it all, man.

29.29 PAT: Yeah and again before you… Like we move on to the other two things that we wanted to talk about, we’re not here to preach to you guys like we’re the most efficient workers in the entire world. We’re not here to Tim Ferris this entire episode.

29.39 AUSTIN: Speak for yourself.

29.40 PAT: Okay I will. I am not one of the most efficient workers in the world. These tools help me a ton though. I think especially… If you’re a really efficiency minded person, you’re likely doing these kinds of things without really knowing it. But if you’re somebody that has a little bit less of that like organized mentality by nature, this helps you adapt to the way you need to, to manage an agency workflow. Speaking of which, we talked about it a little bit earlier… So we found through some of our hour stack analysis, reporting was taking a little bit of time. We rolled out a brand new reporting platform that gives our clients full live visibility into what’s going on called client wire.

30.22 AUSTIN: Yeah, client wire is pretty amazing just because our homie Oleg built it.

30.26 PAT: Shout-out Oleg.

30.27 AUSTIN: Oleg is our one-man wrecking ball who works in the dev department, and he just can do anything ever in no time at all.

30.34 PAT: Oh yeah. I mean he might have already… I mean he might have built a new social media platform to rival Facebook while we were in here talking about it.

30.42 AUSTIN: Yeah, he probably did and he… Fun fact about Oleg… He was one of the highest ranked google reviewers ever. I think he still might be. Because they give you…yeah, local guide. So he has like all the stars next to him so if you ever google something and there’s like that person that’s perceived to be the most authoritative, he’s one of those people. Reason why he did it is because you get a free terabyte of google drive space if you get a certain amount of reviews.

31.08 PAT: It’s like, who needs a terabyte? Oleg does.

31.09 AUSTIN: I know. He said he’s got four of them? Four terabytes of free data and it’s all photos and videos.

31.15 PAT: That guy’s an animal.

31.16 AUSTIN: He’s an amazing photographer too.

31.18 PAT: One of my favorite people ever. But, he built out this platform. So again, think about the just countless back and forth you’ve had with agencies that you’ve worked with in the past or if you’re an agency that you’ve had with clients. Sending through deliverables, getting approval on them, sending through meeting agendas, sending through reports… This contains all of that. Basically we’re continuing to iterate on it but it basically centralizes all of it and the client has a portal login basically where they just go in and see what’s been going on for the week. It’s the easiest way to keep a pulse on things and if I’m a client I’m stoked because I don’t have to hop on my computer and be a slave to my email Monday through Wednesday getting reports and agendas and meeting times and things like that.

31.59 AUSTIN: Yeah, and then from our perspective, just being able to customize things is huge. We have a lot of clients with different KPIs, right? Not everybody’s the same, not every business has the same priorities. So this way we can customize your dashboard and make sure that you are getting in front of you the data you need. So regardless if it’s you or it’s someone higher up in your business or even all the way up to the board, you could pass along your login to client wire and they could be able to see the data on a real level and what it means to their business. So that’s what’s been great too is working with our clients to establish the customization aspect of this. And I would consider this to be an MVP, right? A minimally viable product. And at the point that this is still in iteration process constantly. So we just rolled it out this year and it’s gonna be improving quite drastically if you give us some feedback.

32.48 PAT: Yep. So again, recapping a few of those points and really… Here’s the biggest takeaway. I’ll boil it down. Time how long it’s taking you to do your things. There’s tools that’ll help you do that. See where you can cut down on time. Make lists in a way where not only it’s gonna hold you accountable but it’ll hold your team accountable and give you better visibility into what’s been done and what needs to be done – project progress. And the last thing. Centralize things where you can to basically help with customization and to help it fit your needs, regardless of what they may be. These are three specific tools that we either created or that we rolled out to help address those points but those are three very big points as far as workplace efficiency that can help you take it to the next level in the coming year.

33.35 AUSTIN: Final segment for today. We’re gonna be talking about our good friend Elon Musk.

33.39 PAT: Longtime listener.

33.41 AUSTIN: It has been a while.

33.42 PAT: Elon, how are you doing? Okay, so one of the last things that we talked about with him was that the boring company was gonna start excavating those underground tunnels to circumvent traffic in some of the most, like, highly congested, like metropolitan areas and things like that. I believe originally that they were gonna do it under… In another state. I’m trying to remember…

34.03 AUSTIN: Chicago.

34.03 PAT: Oh yeah it was Chicago… Huh, but they weren’t able to do that. Spin zone…

34.09 AUSTIN: Big surprise.

34.09 PAT: Huge surprise. He unveiled the first tunnel in la of all places.

34.14 AUSTIN: Yeah so there was a… Supposedly he was gonna build one in la. But it ended up being like, completely different than I guess that they thought it was gonna be, because he couldn’t get the correct permit. And now he’s got one…

34.25 PAT: Side bar. Could you imagine the type of permitting that you need to get to dig underground?

34.29 AUSTIN: I have no idea how that’s possible.

34.31 PAT: Who has control over below the surface level of the earth?

34.36 AUSTIN: Well it is the city. Because under the city is pipes and sewage system.

34.39 PAT: Big sewage.

34.39 AUSTIN: So because of that reason, that’s why I think it would be impossible to get a permit to bore under the ground. Because at this point as a society, we’ve literally built an entire web of sewage systems and pipes under our ground, so you can’t just be like, oh that would be sick like what if we built a tunnel from the Santa Monica pier to staples center. Impossible. Why? Because there’s sewage systems the entire way.

35.01 PAT: True. Okay.

35.02 AUSTIN: So anyways, he figured out a way to do it. So I’m wrong.

35.05 PAT: He’s just a problem solver.

35.07 AUSTIN: I guess, kind of. He’s a guy with ideas. But this one actually came to fruition. He did unveil his tunnel. Do we know where it’s going?

35.16 PAT: I mean, honestly, he was pretty all over the place in this interview. I think it was more just to show the world that he did it. Like look what I made. Not a ton of context as to like where it’s going, how it’s gonna be used, how many more are gonna be built? Because for this to actually be effective as opposed to only helping you get from one place to another place, that’s gonna be a whole new endeavor. I believe… Okay, so I believe though, that it’s going to… So musk and the boring company said that they’re gonna move ahead with a proposed tunnel across town that would connect to dodger stadium.

35.52 AUSTIN: Yes, dodger stadium, yeah.

35.54 PAT: Which would be super awesome.

35.56 AUSTIN: That’d be sick.

35.57 PAT: Yeah, so okay background a little bit. So in June. That was when boring was selected by Chicago to build a seventeen mile underground transit system.

36.06 AUSTIN: Also I think the Chicago thing is still happening.

36.08 PAT: It may. It may be still happening.

36.10 AUSTIN: Yeah, I’m seeing that actually it’s not off… It’s just taking a while.

36.13 PAT: Okay. That kind of figures… I feel like that’s kind of fitting with the rest of what Elon has been up to. It’s just a production issue. So at any rate, he… And the thing that cracks me up about this so much is literally just the reason that he wanted to make these tunnels, like these underground… Like the most complicated possible way, is because he hates traffic so much. He says it’s soul-crushing. It was driving him nuts in la is what he said.

36.38 AUSTIN: It is really terrible there.

36.39 PAT: It was driving him nuts. Oh no, I’m not discounting that. But how many people would take action on this level to address that.

36.46 AUSTIN: Just take… Is he a billionaire? No, not quite.

36.48 PAT: No no. He’s not a billionaire.

36.51 AUSTIN: Just a guy with enough capital to make it happen. Enough debt to make it happen.

36.54 PAT: I suppose.

36.55 AUSTIN: I mean, you got to give him props. I mean he did it. He built the tunnel. So that’s cool. But I think I’m currently in Elon Musk purgatory because he’s like not really doing a lot of the things that I was super psyched about this year. Granted I think I’m being maybe a little bit entitled at this point cause he said, hey we’re gonna build a spaceship and go to mars. And then I said, hey man we’re gonna build all these tunnels underground. You want to go in traffic. How does that sound? Hey everybody gets a flamethrower. What happened to that?

37.22 PAT: A bunch of people got flamethrowers.

37.24 AUSTIN: Aw, it was just me?

37.25 PAT: I know, but still though I see what you mean.

37.26 AUSTIN: Uh whatever. I… From a business perspective, yeah maybe not the greatest time to invest in his company. From a storyline perspective, let’s keep this rolling.

37.34 PAT: This guy’s an innovator.

37.36 AUSTIN: This could be a movie someday.

37.36 PAT: Here’s the thing that I love about Elon. This guy is just a go-getter that takes action on a massive scale. He literally said I hated traffic so I just took a boring machine and started digging and now we have a tunnel. That’s how his brain works. Have you seen him in like interviews or read his book? He’s a little bit almost Machiavellian in his approach towards life. It’s like he’s very cut and dry but because of that very decisive. So when he decides that he wants to do something he like fixates on it just gets it done. That is something that I respect so much about him.

38.08 AUSTIN: Pretty cool.

38.09 PAT: Yeah so Elon, if you’re listening, we’d love to have you on the show and pick your brain a little bit, man. Come on in.

38.13 AUSTIN: Yeah don’t be scared. Just come on.

38.15 PAT: Yeah just come on. All right you guys, that just about wraps up episode 63 of flip the switch podcast presented by power digital marketing. We’ll be back again very soon with some more great content for you but until next time this has been Pat Kriedler and Austin Mahaffy signing off.

John is the Director of Web Development at Power Digital and thrives on the balance between creative and strategy. Using his experience in CRO, John approaches website builds with the user in mind, combining psychological and technical aspects of design.