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off ramp, not cliff
Episode 186th July 2022 • PowerPivot • Leela Sinha
00:00:00 00:10:53

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The ethical responsibility we have to provide to our customers what we told them we would provide. And if we have to stop providing a service, we must provide customers with an off-ramp, so that they can ease out of our service and into something else, rather than a cliff which leave them scrambling, or falling.

Transcripts

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Hi everyone.

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And thanks for tuning in.

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This is PowerPivot, where we talk about how to be business leaders with ethics.

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This morning, I got an article in my inbox.

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I subscribed to a number of, of, of news aggregators because

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I can't keep up otherwise.

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And one of the news aggregators sent me an aggregation that included a Wired article

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about how Meta is hitting the brakes on Portal, AR glasses and other hardware.

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That's their headline.

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And I wanted to talk for a minute in perhaps less poetic form, about the

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responsibility that we have to our people.

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When we create something.

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One of the challenges that I have had, and that a lot of my friends have had

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on an ongoing basis is getting really bought into a particular product.

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And then having that product disappear.

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Because it's not sufficiently profitable, because it's not sufficiently on brand,

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because a new CEO or a new somebody else took the helm of a company.

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And, you know, it's, it's not small companies alone that are doing this small

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companies do this often because as small business owners, we are trying to find the

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place where we have sustainable business, where we won't go out of business, where

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people won't be just left high and dry without anything that we provide, where

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we won't have to close up shop entirely.

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But when Google does it, or when Meta, which is, you know, Facebook

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and then changed their name.

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When, when those companies do it, it makes it very hard to trust that we can

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lean into relying on their software.

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And this is true of any company that starts to build a really robust user base

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and then build out additional features.

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If you're taking away features.

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If you're taking away products, you know, Google, and it's like Google

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music, play shuffle, shuffle nonsense, and now it's YouTube Muisc but it's

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different and it's subscription.

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And like, where does that leave the people who bought a ton of music

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inside the Google play ecosystem.

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Well, you can download it, but then what you end up with is a bunch of

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files with no metadata that your music player can use to sort it.

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So one of the things that we don't talk about a lot is the, is the

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ethical responsibility we have to our customers to provide what

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we told them we would provide.

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And it's hard because our survival is part of the picture.

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Right?

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As, as a company, we can't, we can't.

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Afford to to not make business decisions, especially small companies, right?

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We can't afford to not make good business decisions because if we do the company

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folds and we don't provide what, what we're providing at all, one of my client

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companies provides PR support for people.

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If they fold entirely, then nobody gets PR support.

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So they have to make some decisions based on what will keep them afloat.

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One of my client companies provide sales support.

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If they don't continue to provide sales support their company,

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clients then are without sales support and have to scramble.

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You know, if somebody is doing an event production piece, I, I spoke to somebody

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recently who's who had a PR support person who specifically was hired to

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do their PR for a particular event.

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And then the person pulled out like a few days before the event;

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left the company, scrambling.

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The company pulled it off, to their credit, but, we can't just be like,

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oh, nobody's affected by our decisions.

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People are affected by our decisions and it's not just us.

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And it's not just the people in our companies.

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Although I talk about that a lot.

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It's also the, the people in our ecosystem, the people who have

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bought our products, the people who need us to provide something.

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If I decided to switch learning management systems, I still have to

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provide, you know, some kind of access, some kind of transition period, some

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kind of warning something for my people.

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I can't just suddenly not provide it.

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I mean, I can, but it's not ethical to do so if I have any other choice,

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Now I may not have any other choice.

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Something may go desperately wrong.

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And I just can't.

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But as long as I can, I need to make sure that people have at least enough warning

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to, you know, download the products that they purchased or to access the

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products that they purchased, or to ask me the questions or to have access to

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me, whatever it is, we can't just stop.

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And in an economy that moves this fast, that's hard because sometimes you sit

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down, you do a little, you know, review of where you've been and where you're going.

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Like maybe you're using the intensives planner or maybe you're not, but

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you, you sit down and you, you do an evaluation of where you are and you

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realize that this product is draining you or that product has basically no

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return on the investment you're making in it, but somebody's relying on it.

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And so you need a dénoument.

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You need- you can't just throw people off a cliff, you need a gentle letdown.

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And how do we provide a gentle letdown when we ourselves are under stress?

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Well, as intensives, it's not in our bones to do gentle anything, and it's certainly

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not in our bones to do gentle letdowns.

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And so what's really important, especially if you're intensive, is that you get

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somebody who is less emotionally wrapped up in the process than you are on board

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in the room immediately, and be like, okay, I need to get rid of this product,

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or I need to, to transition out of this.

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How are we gonna do that gracefully, how are we gonna take a, a good look at, at

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who is relying on this and how they're relying on it and make sure that they

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have the opportunity to make the shift.

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Here's another one.

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I've been trying to switch off of my current learning

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management system to a new one.

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And the reason that I'm trying to do that is because they told me that I would

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be allowed to continue at the old fee structure, even when they implemented

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a new fee structure and then they just emailed and said, you have a month.

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And then we're changing your fee structure to the new fee structure,

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which doesn't work for me.

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It's not.

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It doesn't make business sense to me.

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So I need to be shifting, but they- because they told me it was gonna be

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okay, I stopped thinking about it.

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If they had said from the beginning, "Okay.

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Yeah.

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In four months we're gonna be transitioning everybody

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to the new fee structure.

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So if that doesn't work for you we would encourage you to start figuring

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out what else you're gonna do now."

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That would've been ethical.

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They didn't do the ethical thing.

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And that's now why I really wanna switch.

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If I can't find a good platform to switch to, I may have to stay with them in

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the same way that I have to stay with Facebook and I have to stay with other

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platforms that I'm not thrilled with, but it will not be because I'm not looking.

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I will be constantly looking for a better platform with

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better ethics, until I find one.

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Even if I have to carry on with this one for a while.

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So what they've gone is they've gone from me being like, okay, that's taken care of.

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I've thought about it.

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It's stable.

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To me being like, where am I going next?

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Where am I going next?

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And there are other kinds of services that I constantly

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have a "where am I going next?"

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Because I don't trust those companies.

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If I'm relying on a service from Google, that's not part of their core

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suite, I'm always looking for something else because I never know when I'm

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gonna have to jump because I never know when that ship is going down.

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If I'm relying on something from Facebook, I'm always looking for

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an alternative, I'm always kind of alert to better possibilities.

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And those two providers specifically keep my attention because they are

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so big and they provide so much to so many people and I'm embedded in

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their ecosystems in, in a couple of ways, but that doesn't make me happy.

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I would rather be with somebody who's super stable, who just provides what

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they provide and provides it really well.

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Even if it means I have six different products under my, under my belt because,

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those six products are the best at what they do, but they interface really well.

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Integrations are becoming, I think, absolutely the key.

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Specialization and then integrations.

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So much better.

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Because otherwise, you know, like when I signed up for Clickup, Clickup

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is project management software.

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It's great project management software.

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It's pretty terrible CRM, which is what I originally signed up for.

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So now I'm using a product called Dex, getdex.com, highly recommend, that

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a friend of mine pointed me to, she knows the founder and it's a, a small

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startup, but it sucks in the data that I need from the places that I needed to.

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I want it to have a lot more features and a lot more integrations, and I want it to

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be a lot more robust, but it does the core function that I need really, really well.

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And part of me wishes that like it were part of Clickup, but part of me

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would be really happy if they just had a nice, deep integration available for

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those of us who have both products, because I want Dex to continue to be the

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brilliant, all-it-does-is-keep-my-Rolodex organized product that it is.

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And then I wanna be able to connect my Rolodex product to my project product.

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And I wanna be able to connect that with a very deep integration, but I don't

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need them to be owned by the same people.

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I don't need them to be developed by the same people, because I would

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worry that it would get neglected.

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if it came under the umbrella, say, if Dex became part of Clickup, I would be worried

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that Dex would get neglected and that it would be developed half-heartedly or not

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at all, or that it, they would launch new features without really testing them.

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Because it's not their core product, it's not their core focus.

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So we have a responsibility to develop what we do well and to provide it well.

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And if we have to provide an offramp, to provide an offramp and not a cliff.

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Thank you for tuning in.

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