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How I Got Hired in Product with Hunter Guerin | Beyond the Program
26th December 2023 • The Pair Program • hatch I.T.
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Ever wondered how to step into the world of Product Management? Curious about what it takes to succeed and move up the ladder?

Today’s guest host, Becca Moran, speaks with Hunter Guerin about how he stepped into a new role as a Product Manager and where that career path led him.

They discuss:

  • His background as a mechanical engineer in the defense contracting space, prior to stepping into product management
  • Advice on how to get a job in product and ways to navigate into the field.
  • How to create a balanced career by making time for sabbaticals.
  • Ways that Product Managers can advocate for themselves in order to step into leadership positions and move forward in their career.
  • How Hunter transitioned out of Product Management into the role of a startup founder.

About today’s host: With 5+ years of experience leading startup product teams and almost 10 years in the DC tech scene, Becca offers a wealth of valuable insights. She is currently the Vice President, Product & Engagement at Procurated, where she leads the product, design, and engineering functions for the company.

About today’s guest: Hunter Guerin is the founder of LLAMAWOOD, an on-demand firewood delivery platform. He has 15+ years of experience in engineering and product development, he loves local communities and is obsessed with wood fires. You can find him in Richmond, VA, where he lives with his wife and two kids, playing with fire.

Transcripts

Tim Winkler:

Hey, listeners, Tim Winkler here, your host of The Pair Program.

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We've got exciting news introducing our

latest partner series Beyond the Program.

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In these special episodes, we're

passing the mic to some of our savvy

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former guests who are returning as

guest hosts, get ready for unfiltered

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conversations, exclusive insights,

and unexpected twist as our alumni

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pair up with their chosen guest.

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Each guest host is a trailblazing

expert in a unique technical field.

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Think data, product management,

and engineering, all with a keen

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focus on startups and career growth.

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Look out for these bonus episodes

dropping every other week,

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bridging the gaps between our

traditional pair program episodes.

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So buckle up and get ready to

venture Beyond the Program.

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Enjoy.

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Becca Moran: I'm Becca and

this is How I Got Hired.

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How I Got Hired is a series of

interviews where product managers share

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how they landed great product roles.

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From PMs who made a career pivot into

tech, to those with more formal training,

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How I Got Hired captures the various ways

to open doors into the world of product.

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We'll be talking about each guest's

recipe for success, what motivated

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them to get into product, how they

prepared for the interview and what

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they did to set themselves apart.

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Today, my guest is Hunter Guerin.

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Hunter is the founder of LLAMAWOOD,

the world's first on demand

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firewood delivery marketplace.

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Before that, Hunter spent four and a

half years in various product roles at

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Xometry, which is an online marketplace

for custom manufactured parts.

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Hunter, welcome to the show.

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Glad to be here.

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So great to have you.

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Um, so Hunter and I, uh,

work together at Xometry.

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So we'll be telling the

story of how Hunter got hired

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there, uh, on today's show.

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Um, but before we get into that

story, uh, we wanted to kick things

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off with a little icebreaker.

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So, Hunter, are you ready

for two truths and a lie?

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I

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Hunter Guerin: am ready as I'll ever be.

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Becca Moran: Alright, um,

do you want to go first?

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Hunter Guerin: Sure.

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Um, you, uh, many of these, when I

was thinking, um, about ideas, I feel

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like, you know, so I know it's pretty

difficult and basically took almost

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all true stories that you probably know

and just tweaked a little bit of it.

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So it's Yeah.

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If you, if you, if you figure

this 1 out, I'll be impressed.

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All right.

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Appreciate the warning.

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Okay.

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So, um, 2 truths and a lie 1st.

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Um, so I am from Birmingham, Alabama.

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Um, that is absolutely true.

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I'm not lying about that.

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I'm from Birmingham and Michael Jordan.

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Um, when I was, uh, I don't know,

below maybe 15 or something.

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Um, stopped playing for the Birmingham,

I'm sorry, stopped playing for the,

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uh, Chicago Bulls and started playing

baseball for the Birmingham Barons.

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And so I was at the first game,

uh, that he hit a home run.

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I actually caught the home run ball.

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Number two.

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My daughter was born in the front seat

of my Forerunner while driving to the

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hospital to have her at a hospital.

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And number three is I was the first

person on Earth to hold a camera

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that had just been brought down from

the International Space Station.

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Becca Moran: Wow.

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All of those are kind of wild.

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Um.

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Okay.

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At first I thought the, the first

one was gonna be like a sports

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trivia question, and I was like,

why are you doing this to me

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But, um, that one feels

the most like a lie to me.

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Hunter Guerin: Um, so the

catching Michael Jordan's Yeah.

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Run.

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Yeah.

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You are correct.

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Um, yes, I was at the

game, but I did not, wow.

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I did not catch the home run.

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You

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Becca Moran: know, and that was kind

of my thought or it was like, what are

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the chances that you would catch that?

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Oh, you're good.

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I thought maybe the gotcha would

be that Katie actually gave birth

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in the backseat of your car.

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Cause I do kind of remember that story

and I was like, was that the one little

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Hunter Guerin: tweak?

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But yeah, I thought, I thought about

making that tweak, but, um, cause I think,

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yeah, you knew the story of the car birth.

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Becca Moran: Infamous, um, that's amazing.

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Okay.

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I kind of went like a similar, I think

these are all going to feel very true.

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Um, all right.

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Number one, I have a British passport.

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Number two, I can speak

with a British accent.

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Number three, I was born in Italy.

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Hunter Guerin: Okay.

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I absolutely know you can speak

with a British accent cause I

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heard it and it is hilarious.

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Um, born in Italy.

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Uh, you know, I think I'm going

to put that one as, as the lie.

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Cause I thought you were born in Alaska.

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Becca Moran: Good try.

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Um, I was in fact born in Italy.

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Uh, my dad was stationed at

the air force base there.

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Uh, the lie is that I don't

have a British passport.

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Hunter Guerin: Yeah.

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That, that's tough.

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Becca Moran: I know.

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It, it was kind of hiding in plain sight.

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You'd think.

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Yeah.

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British accent.

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British passport.

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Hunter Guerin: I thought it was.

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Yeah.

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Becca Moran: That's your religion.

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Maybe, maybe I'll get one.

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But, uh, no.

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Um, well, you know, I feel like even

though we've been friends for a while,

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we're always learning something new.

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Hunter Guerin: We're in Italy.

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We're in Italy.

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Becca Moran: Um, so I was born in a

place called Porta Noni, um, which is

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near, uh, my data station at Aviano Air

Force Base, which is like Northern Italy.

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Um, yeah, we went back as a family

when I was like a little kid and I

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only like, all I remember is, um, Like

having gelato and thinking this is the

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best ice cream in the entire world.

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Like, what, what is this?

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Um, but yeah, yeah, pretty cool.

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Um, all right, well, let's get into,

uh, kind of the heart of the matter

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why we're here today to talk about.

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Your unique journey into product.

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Um, I love this story.

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When I was thinking about who I wanted

on the show, I thought of you right away.

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I thought you would be such a great guest.

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And, um, I'm excited not only to talk

about how you got into product, but then.

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Um, have your path to becoming

an entrepreneur as well.

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So, um, so let's start at the beginning.

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Um, so in talking about how you ended

up joining Xometry as a product manager,

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let's rewind a little bit from there.

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Where were you just before that?

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What were you doing before

you interviewed at Xometry?

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Hunter Guerin: Yeah.

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So, uh, this goes, uh,

with my third truth.

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Um, I was a mechanical engineer

for an aerospace and defense, um,

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contractor for a little over nine years.

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Um, and that, that particular

story, um, the company had made

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a, a unit, um, electronics unit

that flew on the international

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space station before I got there.

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And, uh, kind of early on, I did

a lot of work in clean rooms.

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Um, I did.

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Analysis, uh, mechanical and structural

and thermal, um, was kind of the

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main job, but this, this touches

on some probably later questions,

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but I really enjoyed the physical.

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Uh, like, working with the physical

parts, as opposed to the CAD

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model, or in in sort of analysis

world, which is all theoretical.

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So any chance I had to go into

a clean room and, like, touch a.

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Piece of hardware I would and so I just

went over with my boss to the place

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where they had brought this camera back.

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And we all were in their clean

room and somehow I started

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holding the box and they had to.

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They had to take like, pieces off of it in

order for them to get inside and get the

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data that they were trying to get was a

scientific instrument and I ended up just.

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Holding it.

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And then as soon as they took

like the support piece off,

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it was just like in my hands.

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So I was kind of holding this

electronics unit and everybody

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in the room just simultaneously

said, don't drop it quickly.

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Like, put it down.

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I was, uh, I was a mechanical engineer

doing structural and thermal analysis

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on, um, aerospace and space flight

and airborne electronics units.

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That's so crazy.

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Yeah, it was my only job.

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I worked there right out of college.

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I was, I got a mechanical engineering

degree from Clemson, um, and then

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immediately moved to DC and started

working for this company for, um, it

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was a great company and I loved it.

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Learned a ton every day.

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So I never really, um, needed

to go anywhere else because

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it was such a great job.

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So I've been there a little

over nine years, I believe.

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And so

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Becca Moran: during those nine years,

like, did you have a thought in the back

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of your mind that you were like, kind

of interested in tech, you know, or, or

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product specifically, um, were there any

kind of seeds of that during that time?

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Hunter Guerin: Yeah.

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Um, so I started that job in 2008.

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Um, and then I.

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My wife and I went to the Bahamas, um,

and I read a book on the beach there

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called, uh, the four hour work week

by Tim Ferris and immediately became

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obsessed with starting my own business.

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So 2012 is when, like, the,

the idea to start a business,

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um, kind of was planted in me.

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Um, and then around 2016, my

brother, um, took a job at, um,

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a startup in Silicon Valley, um,

he was the head of data science.

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And so I started hearing about software

businesses and then his stories

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and I started getting intrigued

with, uh, software businesses,

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but I actually had no idea what

product, um, product management was.

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So I had never while a mechanical

engineer, I didn't necessarily

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dream of becoming a product manager.

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I didn't know it existed.

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Um, I did.

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I was interested in software sales

because 1 thing I learned while being

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a mechanical engineer is I actually

loved to present to customers.

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I like to talk to customers and

I liked this sort of physical.

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Uh, work and so, um, you know, I

wanted I was interested in starting

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a business, but, you know, in terms

of, like, new experiences that I

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wanted to gain, I was interested in

sales and I was interested in, um.

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Yeah, software development in general,

um, the, the development practices

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and sort of this idea of, like,

trying things and crashing and trying

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it again and crashing really fast.

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And so, um, yeah, no.

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No idea what product management was,

which I think that that comes later in my

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story, but I was definitely interested in.

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Like software development businesses.

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Yeah.

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Becca Moran: And so how

did you stumble across

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Hunter Guerin: Xometry?

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So, um, about that time in 2016, I was,

became interested in software businesses.

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So I started talking to people

about, um, you know, what was

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out there and just learning more.

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And one of my friends actually had this,

um, relationship with this guy as kind

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of a unique, uh, way of her knowing him.

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Um, was at a VC firm that, um,

had invited this founder named

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Randy to a, um, to some event.

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I can't remember what it was, but so

she had like dealt with, with this,

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with this founder, um, for this VC firm.

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And then she also previously worked on

Capitol Hill and knew Andy because he had,

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had a, um, political, um, kind of history.

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And so she kind of knew this

guy and told me about this.

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Startup that was doing something,

you know, she didn't know a ton

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of the details, but it was doing

something for manufacturing and

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the mechanical engineering space.

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And so I was like, oh, cool, let

me, I'd love to connect with him.

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So, um.

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She connected us, and I really connected

with him because I was interested in.

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Talking to him about what it was

like to start a company and how

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he had those questions with his

wife and how he left, you know, a

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comfortable job to go start a business.

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He had actually started businesses before

that, but it was really a call to learn

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more about his entrepreneurial journey.

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I actually, at the time I had no

interest in, um, like jumping to Xometry.

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I just wanted to meet Randy.

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Um, so, um, once we got connected,

then that was sort of the beginning

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of the, of my journey to Xometry.

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Becca Moran: Yeah, I love that.

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And I think that like.

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Um, one thing I've heard from other guests

that I've had on the show and, and one

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thing that I've seen to be true in my

own experience is just like, so much can

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come from these just like, I don't know,

casual conversations and, and I think

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approaching your career with a sense of.

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Just natural curiosity and,

uh, hearing people's stories.

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And, you know, I, I think sometimes,

um, when, when a lot of what we're

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exposed to is kind of the, the same set

of like super success stories, right?

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Like how did Elon Musk get to where

he is or Jeff Bezos or whatever.

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Um, you forget that like, there's

people in our midst that have, uh,

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achieved incredible success and.

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Um, the path can just look so

different and, you know, um, what a

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cool opportunity to be able to just

have a conversation with someone

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like Randy and, and understand,

um, his story as an entrepreneur.

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So, yeah.

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That's super cool.

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So how,

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Hunter Guerin: go ahead.

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I was gonna say, this podcast is

called How I Got Hired, so I feel.

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Um, obligated to to sort of

share this is that, you know, of

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course, like, I've talked to many

people since getting that job.

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Um, I'd only had 1 job, so I was

no expert in getting a new job.

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Um, but I've from that experience and

then many, many future experiences.

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Learn the valuable lesson of if you

ask somebody for advice, they, this

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saying goes, if you ask somebody

for advice, they'll give you money.

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If you ask for money,

they give you advice.

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So, I mean, if you ask for advice,

they give you a job might be the

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situation with with the Randy.

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Um, yeah, that's, you know, if

anybody asks me how to get a job

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and product or talking about.

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How to, you know, I'm trying to figure

out where my passion is and, you

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know, I don't know what I want to do.

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And so I just find some people that are

doing cool things and ask them for advice.

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So how'd you get there?

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You know, and that will

start a snowball for sure.

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Yeah.

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Becca Moran: And that

in and of itself, right?

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Like part of being a good

product person is asking good

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questions and being curious.

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So like, it's kind of, you know,

a little bit meta, but like, Just

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by doing that, you're kind of

displaying the types of skills that

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make for a good product person.

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So, um, yeah, it kind

of comes full circle.

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So how did these conversations then

progress to, you know, Hey, you asked

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for advice, but here, how about a job?

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Hunter Guerin: Yeah.

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Uh, so I remember this like it was

yesterday, cause it's kind of funny.

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Um, so we connected in

:

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And so I emailed Randy, um, and After

after getting connected, I said, you

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know, I'd love to meet, uh, but I'm

about to go on a sabbatical for 7 weeks.

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Um, so let me pay you when I get back.

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So, we finally, we were, I was going

to try to go into the office in

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Gaithersburg and meet him in person.

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That ended up, it didn't happen.

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We got on a phone call, um, and I

happened to be coming back from.

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I had done some work at NASA Goddard that

day, so I was like, where are you, Hunter?

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I was like, well, I'm just

coming back from NASA.

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It's kind of a surreal thing to

be able to say to somebody that.

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Runs a manufacturing business

that sort of, you know, targets

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aerospace defense customers.

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Um, but so, you know, I just sort of asked

him some of those questions, you know,

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I'm interested in, um, learning about

how you decided, uh, to, to make the job.

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And also, why did you start

this business in the DC area?

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You know, everybody, a lot of people

start startups out in Silicon Valley or

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whatever, some of these other known tech

hubs, uh, but he started this company and.

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Gaithersburg, Maryland.

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So, and, um, he eventually said,

you know, what's like, what's your,

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what's your purpose on this call?

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And I said, well, I'm

just trying to learn.

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Cause I, I'd love to one

day start a business.

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Um, I think it's really interesting to

me, um, with a mechanical engineering

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background, I am interested in

businesses that have a mechanical

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or sort of, like I said earlier,

physical product, but they sell it.

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Via e commerce platform, um,

that you're able to sort of, uh,

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test and then make modifications

to the like physical product.

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Um, I later, I think I later learned

that this process is called agile

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software development, but it's

basically, you know, trying to.

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Put out an MVP and, and

get feedback and update.

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And then also since we live in this

digital world, we're able to, you know,

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sort of create, figure out quickly

whether there's demand for this product.

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So at the time I was creating landing

pages and these like simple Google ads

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to drive traffic towards these various

products that I was messing around with.

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Um, and I guess, you know, we can

go deeper into some of that stuff,

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but I was sort of explaining.

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Those things and that I was

really customer focused.

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I learned that, um, you know,

as a mechanical engineer, you

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have to be very detail oriented.

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And a lot of times you can get

kind of siloed into a specific

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piece of a bigger system.

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And I always was really interested in the

larger system and talking to customers

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about it and hearing their needs and

presenting what we had built to them

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and answering questions, et cetera.

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So he said, you know, well, um.

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There's this job called product

manager, and this gets to, like, how

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I learned about product management

and, uh, we're, I think we're

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looking for somebody, um, right now.

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And you've, you know, you're a

mechanical engineer, and, um, it might

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be something that you'd be interested in.

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And if you send me your resume, I'll

shoot it over to the right people and

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we can kind of take it from there.

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So, uh, that was basically

my intro to product.

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And, uh, and then I send my resume and.

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Okay.

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And then, uh, did you mention,

I think, okay, did you ask

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about the interview or not yet?

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No, that

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Becca Moran: was kind of my next question.

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Just kind of, but I was just smiling,

thinking about like Randy being

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the person to introduce you to the

concept of, of product management.

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Uh, but that's awesome that, you know,

he heard what you were saying and kind

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of connected the dots and realize that

that would be such a great way for you

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to learn a lot of those things that

you were describing and, and maybe at

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that point didn't even really have like

the vocabulary to, um, you know, like

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communicate in a succinct way, but, um,

to kind of hear that and say like, Oh,

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maybe give this product thing a try.

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That's pretty cool.

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Yeah,

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Hunter Guerin: you actually

reminded me of something.

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Um, again, How I Got Hired,

uh, I was thinking about the

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funny thing is on that call.

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I'm talking to Randy

about starting a business.

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I think 1 of the 1st

things he said as well.

366

:

If you want to start a business,

you definitely can't take 7 weeks

367

:

off going to Argentina and I say,

well, that's why I did it before.

368

:

Um, but the other thing about

getting hired, I think is.

369

:

Yeah.

370

:

He, in that conversation, I don't

think he asked me anything really

371

:

about what I did professionally.

372

:

Uh, I mean, he knew I was

a mechanical engineer.

373

:

He knew I was coming home from NASA.

374

:

Um, but, uh, it was that vacation.

375

:

I think that like potentially

made me sound like somebody worth,

376

:

or at a minimum, just it's stuck

in, out in his mind about this.

377

:

Random guy who called him that had

just gotten back from Argentina.

378

:

Um, and, you know, I was thinking about,

like, somebody says this, but that, like,

379

:

a lot of times when you're interviewing,

like, a sabbatical or, like, a crazy

380

:

trip is something worth putting on your

resume because the person, the people

381

:

you're talking to might become more

interested in that trip than they are in,

382

:

like, what you've done professionally.

383

:

So.

384

:

Um, that's sort of my plug to say,

don't be afraid to sort of, like,

385

:

highlight some weird, like, funny

things about you in your resume so

386

:

that you stand out additionally to

the, you know, accomplishments you've.

387

:

You've had in the past, but

388

:

Becca Moran: yeah, well, and on that note

to, you know, I, um, this is potentially

389

:

a topic for a whole nother discussion,

but I feel like you have always been a

390

:

really strong advocate for sabbaticals.

391

:

And I remember, um, at Xometry kind

of when you were gearing up to go on

392

:

the sabbatical then, uh, you know,

When you had first mentioned the idea

393

:

to me, I was like, Oh, my God, like,

you can't just go on a sabbatical.

394

:

Like, how do you and you were just like.

395

:

Well, just ask like, you know, like I

think so many people just don't even like

396

:

talk themselves out of it immediately.

397

:

And I remember that conversation

and thinking like, yeah, good point.

398

:

Like why not just ask and, and,

you know, I think you've always

399

:

been very thoughtful in presenting,

you know, a, a good case for it.

400

:

Right.

401

:

Kind of like, here's, here's

how I'm going to make sure that.

402

:

My work is covered and that it's

not disruptive to the business and,

403

:

um, you know, all of these things.

404

:

And, uh, you know, I, I think there's

certainly this kind of theme in your

405

:

career where these sabbaticals have

been really transformative for you and.

406

:

Um, yeah, I think you're, you're,

uh, I consider you at least a bit

407

:

of a thought leader in that regard.

408

:

Hunter Guerin: Awesome.

409

:

I like to hear that.

410

:

When you interview me on how

I took a sabbatical podcast,

411

:

Becca Moran: we'll go in deeper on that.

412

:

Um, okay.

413

:

So you.

414

:

Randi says, Hey, maybe think

about this whole product thing.

415

:

And then we had an opening at the time

you came in and interviewed what, what

416

:

was that process like preparing for

an interview for a job that You didn't

417

:

know it was a thing not that long ago.

418

:

Hunter Guerin: Yeah, I, you know, um,

well, the first thing that I did, um,

419

:

probably even before getting the invite

to interview is I was, I'd become

420

:

interested in geometry and I was kind

of curious what it was all about.

421

:

So we were working on, um.

422

:

Something at the time, and I was

designing this fairly, um, simple part

423

:

that was not sort of mission critical.

424

:

Um, so it was, it was not super expensive.

425

:

Um, and in engineering companies,

a lot of times, like, and many

426

:

procurement companies, um.

427

:

If if something's over, like,

:

428

:

purchasing department and you have

to get multiple bids and everything.

429

:

But if you're just making a little, like,

prototype, or trying to make something

430

:

for a test fixture, which is actually

what I was doing, um, you can the engineer

431

:

can submit requests to manufacturers

and then basically purchase it and so.

432

:

I needed to manufacture this thing

and I said, well, let me give a try.

433

:

So, um, real quick for, um,

anyone listening is a on demand

434

:

marketplace for custom manufacturing

and you could upload a CAD file.

435

:

It would generate a predicted price

to manufacture and and, um, the lead

436

:

time and the price to manufacture.

437

:

And then, um, it spits out a

price and you can just buy online.

438

:

Yeah.

439

:

And so this

440

:

Becca Moran: was pretty revolutionary

because the historical process for

441

:

doing so would involve like turning your

CAD file, which is kind of a 3D design

442

:

rendering into a 2 dimensional like PDF

drawing and then sending that drawing

443

:

to a bunch of machine shops and then.

444

:

They give you prices back

and you don't know really how

445

:

they came up with that price.

446

:

It can be wildly different.

447

:

And there's just a lot of back and forth.

448

:

It's a very antiquated process.

449

:

And so if you imagine, um, you know,

for, for Xometry, this experience

450

:

that Hunter's describing, uploading

a file and knowing Instantaneously,

451

:

what it could cost you to have that

manufactured was a pretty big deal.

452

:

Yeah,

453

:

Hunter Guerin: exactly.

454

:

And, and when I was doing this, um,

at the time you, it was, it was fairly

455

:

common to, for a few companies out there

for you to be able to upload a CAD file

456

:

and get the price to print 3D print,

because That's super fairly simple.

457

:

It's just volume of material.

458

:

Plus like the time it takes

the printer to print it.

459

:

So it's fairly easy formula.

460

:

The sort of revolutionary thing I think

at the time for Xometry was that they

461

:

were doing that, but for CNC machining.

462

:

And so I actually thought just

through the experience and using the

463

:

website that Xometry was basically

just a really optimized machine

464

:

shop in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

465

:

That allowed you to upload CAD

files and get a price and then

466

:

you would buy and they would make

it and they would ship it to you.

467

:

That was sort of my impression.

468

:

Um, when I first did the test.

469

:

So, as an engineer, um, you know, I had a

couple of things that I was interested in.

470

:

Number 1 is, like, making

sure that it was going to be a

471

:

reputable seller, um, manufacturer.

472

:

If I was going to, if I was going

to then kind of push that design

473

:

or that quote onto procurement

and say, hey, can I buy this?

474

:

Um, you know, I needed to be

sure it was, was going to work.

475

:

So going through the process, I was

attempting to generate, um, an output

476

:

from Xometry's app that I could share

with our procurement and my boss.

477

:

Um, and so I had, I had some interesting

sort of, uh, struggles through the

478

:

process and we ended up not buying.

479

:

The thing, so unfortunately, at the time,

I didn't have the, like, start to finish

480

:

experience of symmetry, but then I think

looking at, like, the job description,

481

:

you know, it's like, understand customer

requirements, um, and solve problems

482

:

that people don't even know they have

and, uh, manage a list of, uh, features,

483

:

um, in a road map, you know, so it was.

484

:

Looking at the job description

at the time, I was a mechanical

485

:

engineer, so I like to say that

I was like a hardware product

486

:

developer, um, and or product manager.

487

:

And then all of a sudden I was looking

to go into software product management.

488

:

So I was able to link those 2 together

and come up with sort of like, here's

489

:

how I approach, um, the process

of creating, uh, something from

490

:

scratch or defining a specification.

491

:

That's that was that was really big.

492

:

Um, and then.

493

:

Mm hmm.

494

:

Yeah, so preparing for the interview,

um, just sort of matching that

495

:

mechanical engineering experience

to product management experience.

496

:

And then also, I think

that there was a question.

497

:

I either got access to it before

the interview, or they asked

498

:

me in the interview, but it was

what, like, what app do you use?

499

:

I think this is pretty

common management question.

500

:

What app do you use and love?

501

:

And like, tell us why, and then

what would you do to change

502

:

it and make it better, etc.

503

:

So I sort of prepared that.

504

:

Wait, what app did you talk about?

505

:

I talked about Jewel, which is

an app from ChefSteps, and it

506

:

controls a at home sous vide stick.

507

:

Oh, yes!

508

:

And I love that app.

509

:

I still love it to this day.

510

:

Um, and the thing that bothered

me is, for some reason, if you The

511

:

jewel doesn't have a power button.

512

:

So you basically just like

plug it in and unplug it.

513

:

And if you unplug it without turning it

off via the app, the next time you log in,

514

:

you get this weird alert warning message.

515

:

That's like, Julie didn't turn off

correctly and there's wifi issues.

516

:

And I never actually figured out how

to, how to get that to not show up.

517

:

And so that was the thing that I was

going to change is somehow to help the

518

:

user figure out why they're getting

this error message, but I don't know

519

:

that that was the best answer, um,

for that interview question, but.

520

:

Becca Moran: But I mean, I think

just having thought about that, and

521

:

I think it's good advice for anyone,

um, going into a product interview

522

:

that like a very common thing to

ask about is like, what are some

523

:

of your experiences with products?

524

:

And like, let's unpack that.

525

:

Right.

526

:

And so, um, you know, I think that's a

question that you can answer off the cuff.

527

:

Um, you know, Fairly well, but it is

something that's nice if you anticipate

528

:

it and you can think through, well,

what's a good example of something that

529

:

I use and love and I could give some

thoughtful reasons why and what are some

530

:

things that I would change about it and

why, like, that's just kind of some basic

531

:

stuff, but to be prepared with that kind

of answer, I, I would have to assume I

532

:

know Having been a part of a number of

product manager interviews, we almost

533

:

always ask a question like that, right?

534

:

Because it's, you want to just get

the basics of like, how does somebody

535

:

think about the products that they

use and opportunities for improvement?

536

:

And then, then it's kind of a whole

nother thing to like, you know, a lot of

537

:

the, the product role, and I'd love to

get into this topic a little bit more.

538

:

A lot of the product role is.

539

:

Not using your own personal experience,

but understanding different kind of

540

:

person's experience and anticipating

what they might want or need.

541

:

Um, and so this is something that

I've always thought was interesting

542

:

with your background where.

543

:

You know, in a lot of ways, you, there

were probably lots of times where

544

:

you could kind of reference your own

experience and you're not imagining,

545

:

Oh, what, what does a mechanical

engineer need in this situation?

546

:

You actually know, because you

were a mechanical engineer.

547

:

So, um, my question for you is like

reflecting on that, like, how do you

548

:

think that helped you in your role

at Xometry to be able to reference

549

:

your own personal experience?

550

:

And were there ever times where you felt

Potentially, like, limited by that or that

551

:

that created a challenge in and of itself.

552

:

Hunter Guerin: Yeah, for sure.

553

:

Um, I, you know, through that process

of using the app, I basically, I didn't

554

:

do it at the time, but I identified,

you know, 5 to 10 things that I would

555

:

do to sort of up the instant quoting

platform, which is what I ended up

556

:

becoming the product manager for.

557

:

Um, and, uh, I ended up doing basically

Or I ended up sort of creating the

558

:

feature stories and working development

team to release features that were,

559

:

you know, updates to the system that

I was sort of wanting to to make.

560

:

So out of this list of 5 to

10 things, I ended up, um.

561

:

Working through all of them, and then it

became like, well, what next, you know,

562

:

and that's when I think, um, what really

always impressed me is that Xometry

563

:

didn't have at least in product and,

uh, marketing, um, software developers.

564

:

Um, data scientists, you know, the sort of

like teams that I worked with a lot, there

565

:

weren't very many, if any people that had

experience as a mechanical engineer or,

566

:

um, uh, you know, manufacturing parts, um,

there were plenty of mechanical engineers,

567

:

it's on the tree on the operations team,

but on kind of in our domain, there.

568

:

It was a lot of sort of non experts,

and I certainly was not an expert, but a

569

:

lot of people that that knew very little

about, uh, when coming into theometry

570

:

about the whole sort of market that we

were serving, but I was so impressed

571

:

with how basically people that have no

idea about mechanical engineering and

572

:

like what mechanical engineers may need.

573

:

Uh, then coming in and learning

through talking to customers and

574

:

reading, uh, you know, content on

the Internet, asking questions.

575

:

And so, um, I was sort of inspired by a

lot of that to, to try to take this sort

576

:

of like beginner, you know, beginner eyes,

or I think that's what, what's called,

577

:

uh, you know, first principles, you know,

dial it back to say, okay, let's, let's

578

:

pretend that like, I don't know anything

about this and just try to learn through.

579

:

Through talking to people, um, I

think it definitely helped in a lot of

580

:

conversations, but I also think it, you

know, probably limited me, um, in, in,

581

:

um, certain ways of not being able to see

what I, you know, didn't already know.

582

:

I was just, I was just saying like,

when I think one thing with software

583

:

development and startups is a lot of

times something is not possible today,

584

:

but then tomorrow some update to the app.

585

:

Releases and all of a sudden

that thing that wasn't possible

586

:

yesterday is possible today.

587

:

And if you come back to ideas,

sometimes it's easy to say, well, we

588

:

can't do that because of X, Y, and Z.

589

:

And then the person asking kind of looks

into it's like, well, actually, like,

590

:

why not, you know, or why can't we do it

or and all of a sudden it's like, well,

591

:

uh, and you're sort of defending this.

592

:

I tried, we tried, but it didn't work.

593

:

And so, you know, now it will never work.

594

:

And um, unlearning that, like,

that things that didn't work in

595

:

the past will continue to not work.

596

:

It's like totally bogus in software

597

:

Becca Moran: development.

598

:

We talk about that all the time.

599

:

Like there's so many things that

we have tried that didn't work

600

:

and it's, it's hard to like It's

a natural reaction to be like, Oh,

601

:

well, we tried it and it didn't work.

602

:

So it would be a waste

of time to try it again.

603

:

But to your point, like oftentimes these

are things that we tried years ago.

604

:

The business is entirely different

now, like the way we might approach

605

:

it could be totally different.

606

:

So like, yeah, that's something that is,

uh, a bit of a mantra within procurated.

607

:

Now it's just like not to write

something off because we tried

608

:

it one time and it didn't work.

609

:

Um, It's you never know kind of what new

perspective might allow something to work.

610

:

Um, and I think the other point that you

made that is interesting, and I've seen

611

:

in my experience is, um, yes, Xometry

had a number of people internally that

612

:

had some good experience in terms of.

613

:

Mechanical engineering and things

like that, where, um, I always felt

614

:

very lucky to be able to, like,

you know, call up someone on the

615

:

operations team and ask a question.

616

:

And, um, I think that's.

617

:

It can be super helpful.

618

:

Um, it's also, it can become a

bit of a crutch sometimes, right?

619

:

Where like, if you feel like you work

with people that are a proxy for your

620

:

user, you might not actually pick up

the phone and call your real users.

621

:

And, and you can get a little bit of

a warped perspective because You feel

622

:

like you're getting user feedback,

but you're still talking to people

623

:

that are like a part of your bubble.

624

:

Um, and we have the same challenge

of procurator too, right?

625

:

Like, we've got some people that have

had careers in government procurement,

626

:

and it's incredibly helpful to have

that subject matter expertise in

627

:

house, but we also have to remember

that like, those people may not be

628

:

Like perfectly representative of

the opinions of our users in mass

629

:

and so really remembering to, like,

leverage that but not let that be

630

:

everything is, I think, super important.

631

:

Yeah, um, so you, you come in, you do

this interview, you, you talk about

632

:

this app, um, and you get the role.

633

:

Um, and you have this great career at

Xometry and you move up, um, could you

634

:

share a little bit about just kind of

like what, what your role was when you

635

:

started, how things evolved and just

like a little bit of just the quick

636

:

story of like your career path during

your, your four and a half years at

637

:

Hunter Guerin: Xometry.

638

:

Yeah, um, so I, um, the, the, the

interview, um, story that I'd like to

639

:

share that's, um, that's related to the

last thing we were talking about is, you

640

:

know, having having past experience with

the market or product or whatever it is

641

:

you're, you're working on is can be, you

know, you can have blinders and tunnel

642

:

vision sometimes because your opinion

is, um, If you value your own opinion a

643

:

ton, then you can use the app and then

make decisions based on your own opinion,

644

:

which doesn't work as a product manager.

645

:

But I think it's also really

important to use, especially if you're

646

:

interviewing for product is to use the

product in some way, shape, or form.

647

:

Sometimes, obviously that's not possible.

648

:

If it's like an enterprise software

or something, you need a business

649

:

account, but if you can create

a account and use the thing.

650

:

I think it's super valuable and so in

the middle of the interview, I think

651

:

1 of the questions was, have you ever

led a project where you've like, been

652

:

in charge of finding the manufacturer

and and getting quotes and et cetera?

653

:

And I said, yeah, actually, um,

I'm doing something similar.

654

:

It's it's not necessarily,

um, a manufacturing process.

655

:

It's a fabrication process,

but also I used on a.

656

:

Past project.

657

:

I use the Xometry app to buy a part and

we ended up not buying the part from

658

:

Xometry and I was like, that's just like.

659

:

One, but like, I'd, I'd be happy to

share my input as to why we didn't buy.

660

:

And both the, the head of product

and the CTO were like, oh yes, yes.

661

:

Tell us more . So, so I then proceeded

to like basically point out all the

662

:

negative things that I found in the app.

663

:

Um, and I was like, this

is, this is terrible idea.

664

:

What am I doing?

665

:

Come in here, trash the product, . And

so I think that like, that was

666

:

actually, you know, I feel like

in, in hindsight, I wanna say I

667

:

heard that like until that point.

668

:

I was not necessarily

going to get the job.

669

:

So my new advice in interviewing

for product is to just use the

670

:

product and tell them all the

things you would change about it.

671

:

But I guess that gets to that

question about, like, or what

672

:

did you, what did you like?

673

:

And what would you change?

674

:

So, um, because of that conversation,

I think I was placed on the, um.

675

:

The instant quoting engine,

I was the product manager for

676

:

the instant quoting engine.

677

:

Um, and that was the customer facing

platform that allowed engineers to

678

:

upload and and procurement officers, um,

purchasers, anybody that needed to buy a.

679

:

A physical part using a CAD model would

create an account, log in and upload to

680

:

this platform, change the requirements

based on the needs of the part and

681

:

then go to checkout and purchase.

682

:

And so I became the product

manager of that product.

683

:

And then I don't know what it was.

684

:

Except that, you know, a lot of times

product management teams, um, and

685

:

startup structures are pretty flat.

686

:

And so you, you might have like, um,

somebody leading product and then just

687

:

a bunch of product managers underneath.

688

:

And that's the way I

think I works really well.

689

:

And I think that's the way it should be.

690

:

But at the same time.

691

:

Um, the one cool thing about startups

is like, a lot of times job titles are

692

:

just sort of like nefarious, you know,

maybe the pay is good at a startup,

693

:

but they can give you a job title.

694

:

Um, and I think I had heard something

like, you know, if you're not working

695

:

with military folks, um, you know, they,

a lot of times in certain roles, they

696

:

move on after 2 years, like they can never

work the same job for more than 2 years.

697

:

And that's, I think that's

part of the government's, um.

698

:

Yeah, methodology, but basically,

you know, I'd heard something like if

699

:

you're not progressing in, uh, in your

role every year, every two years or

700

:

something, then you're, you're stagnating.

701

:

Um, we didn't have any of

these like other roles.

702

:

And so I think when, when, uh, you know,

I was loving working at Xometry, I will,

703

:

I was Having a ton of fun and I wanted

as much sort of impact as possible.

704

:

And so I think after a while, I, I

think I came to you and I basically

705

:

presented this, um, document.

706

:

I think actually the, the base

of the document was something

707

:

my wife gave me from a previous

conversation she had, where she

708

:

was asking for more responsibility.

709

:

And, uh, I have to brush off

the dust on that thing, but I

710

:

believe it was a letter to you.

711

:

Then.

712

:

Um, and it ends with I'm interested

in taking more responsibility.

713

:

Um, if let me know your thoughts and if

you'd be willing to support that before

714

:

you do anything else, um, if you, if you,

if you would be interested in talking

715

:

to me about it, that'd be really cool.

716

:

I think you said, sure.

717

:

I said, well, I haven't had a chance

to get all my thoughts together, but

718

:

I'll follow up in a couple of days.

719

:

Uh, with what I'm taking and then

the follow up was was a letter.

720

:

It was the proposed job description.

721

:

It was, um, then a list of things that I

had accomplished over the past 12 months.

722

:

And then my approach to how I would,

I would take on this new role.

723

:

Um, and so I was.

724

:

Promoted at the time to this

new role called a senior product

725

:

manager, um, which existed elsewhere.

726

:

It just didn't exist at the time.

727

:

Um, and then similar.

728

:

Um, I think.

729

:

A little later, um, I, you know, once

again, just like, just like I did as

730

:

a mechanical engineer, it had sort

of free products at the time, which

731

:

is basically like the instant coding

engine, the, the internal system

732

:

that managed all the orders and then

the external job board that the.

733

:

Manufacturers were using and

anything that we did on the instant

734

:

quoting engine and I think this

is an important skill for product

735

:

managers in mechanical engineering.

736

:

They call it a systems engineer.

737

:

And it's like, if you change

something on the, uh, customer

738

:

facing app, how does that percolate?

739

:

Or propagate through

the rest of the system.

740

:

And so a lot of times I would work with

the ERP team and then the job board team

741

:

to make sure that the things that we

were doing on the instant coding engine

742

:

propagated through the whole system.

743

:

And I think later on, we

would say, no, the, like, the

744

:

responsibility of integrating

that falls on the different teams.

745

:

And then that was, you know, an

interesting exercise to try to coordinate

746

:

a single product across multiple

product teams and multiple disciplines.

747

:

But, um, I, I was interested in, you

know, all of these different platforms.

748

:

I loved the partner platform.

749

:

I think we called it the

job board at the time.

750

:

Um, and I was interested in

helping out there if I could.

751

:

Um, and then we started

working on a new product.

752

:

Um.

753

:

Actually, I guess, additional to the

Instant Coding Engine, we had CAD add

754

:

ons for SolidWorks and then eventually

we had one for Inventor, which is the

755

:

platform I used as a mechanical engineer.

756

:

Um, and so we had these like

multiple apps, uh, multiple add ons.

757

:

Kind

758

:

Becca Moran: of

759

:

Hunter Guerin: like integration.

760

:

Yeah, it was like, how can an

engineer use Xometry's platform

761

:

within their CAD software?

762

:

And so I manage those as well.

763

:

And so, um, we were sort of growing

our product suite on the customer side.

764

:

And, um, you know, I, I, at the

time I was very interested in

765

:

getting management experience.

766

:

That was something I was sort of.

767

:

Obsessed with from like day one.

768

:

The thing about actually talking

to my brother, the data scientist

769

:

about product management, and he's

like, product management school,

770

:

because you get to manage, but

you don't have to manage people.

771

:

Um, I think I later learned what

he actually meant by that, but

772

:

I kept wanting to manage people.

773

:

And so I was trying to sort of figure

out how I could maybe manage multiple

774

:

products with product managers, um,

who managed the product, but then

775

:

I was sort of the system level.

776

:

Person and those kind of rolled up and

so I ended up, um, finishing as a group

777

:

product manager, which is exactly that

role of a couple different things.

778

:

But yeah, that's so yeah,

779

:

Becca Moran: that's awesome.

780

:

And I think it kind of

illustrates just how the needs

781

:

of an organization can change.

782

:

Right?

783

:

So, like, when you join

Xometry, I think we were.

784

:

It was like right before we

closed our series a, um, we

785

:

were maybe 40 or 50 employees.

786

:

Um, and to your point, like as these

companies grow and as the products grow,

787

:

there's just a level of complexity.

788

:

And I think that creates.

789

:

A lot of interesting opportunities for

product people and, and, um, you know,

790

:

as someone who can kind of grow with the

company and with the product itself, um,

791

:

I think it's really smart, you know, the

way you kind of zeroed in on like, Hey, I,

792

:

I like this kind of systems thinking and,

and looking across our entire platform

793

:

and, Understanding the interconnectedness

and and thinking about it holistically,

794

:

and how can I leverage that in the role?

795

:

Um, you know, I think that's a

common need that emerges as a lot of

796

:

these companies grow and become more

797

:

Hunter Guerin: complex.

798

:

Yeah, and, um, I think that that story

sort of reminded me of something actually

799

:

just at this exercise a couple days ago.

800

:

It's called the 10 10 10 exercise.

801

:

Um, and the, the, the, the framing

of why I'm talking about this story

802

:

is that one of the things I learned

through this process is the importance

803

:

of, you know, if you're going to sort

of present a, a new role for yourself

804

:

to an organization, you have to really

think about how it improves the company.

805

:

Like, nobody really wants to care

that you want more responsibility.

806

:

Right.

807

:

If we do this, then it

simplifies your life.

808

:

Whoever your boss is, it simplifies your

life and it's better for the company

809

:

because X, Y, and Z and, you know, the,

the, it's difficult to go up to somebody

810

:

and say, hey, I want more responsibility.

811

:

I want a new job title.

812

:

I want to continue to move up.

813

:

And so anytime you have a

difficult conversation looming,

814

:

you could do this exercise.

815

:

The 10, 10, 10 exercise.

816

:

And it is, if I have this conversation

or I do this thing, I'm thinking of, how

817

:

am I going to feel in the next 10 hours?

818

:

A lot of times it's like nervous, scared,

anxious, excited, proud of myself, etc.

819

:

Then how am I going to

feel in the next 10 months?

820

:

So basically a year.

821

:

And then how am I going to

feel in the next 10 years?

822

:

And I didn't do it at the time for

these conversations, but the really

823

:

cool thing about that exercise is that

you, you basically say your feelings

824

:

and other, other things, how's,

how's it going to affect my family?

825

:

How's it going to affect my health and

whatever else you're interested in.

826

:

And you give it basically a plus or

minus, and you can kind of quickly see

827

:

how, how this decision is either likely

really going to help you in the long

828

:

term, or it's not, or this exercise

doesn't actually answer your question.

829

:

So maybe you need more information before

having the conversation or whatever, but

830

:

once you have that, it gives you this

road map to having that conversation

831

:

and in thinking about this example.

832

:

You know, again, we didn't necessarily

have this conversation, but if

833

:

you're going, like, if I'm, if I'm

coming to you, I think that document

834

:

helped, but it's like, hey, I think,

uh, you know, I'm loving life here.

835

:

I want more responsibility.

836

:

I want to keep learning and growing, but

also, um, if, you know, if I do this, then

837

:

that we're able to have effectively more

product managers without the team growing.

838

:

So, you know, the, the budget

doesn't have to change.

839

:

Um, because if I'm willing to take on

three different products, um, and I

840

:

think I can handle it doing X, Y, and Z.

841

:

So the, you know, we can grow our

whatever without necessarily growing

842

:

the team or whatever the case cases.

843

:

It's a good, it's a good way to

walk through that conversation.

844

:

Becca Moran: Yeah, I, I remember that

document and I feel like I have, um,

845

:

wanted to like refer back to it at times

to like help give guidance to other

846

:

people that I've worked with on like,

Hey, if you, you know, want to move

847

:

up within the organization, like this

is a good kind of framework to use.

848

:

And I, I do think that being

proactive, thinking about what the

849

:

business needs, I think is huge.

850

:

A lot of people, I think.

851

:

Do you get a little too caught up

in like, well, what do I want to do?

852

:

And what you want is to find the

overlap of like, what do you want to do?

853

:

And what does the

organization actually need?

854

:

And that's the sweet spot.

855

:

Hunter Guerin: Yeah.

856

:

And also the last thing on that is when

you're talking to your boss or, you know,

857

:

sort of learn this with any negotiation

is, um, you want the other person to feel.

858

:

Involved and like sort

of the hero of the story.

859

:

So like a good framing of the question

is, Hey, I'm interested in X, Y, and Z.

860

:

Is this something you'd be

willing to talk to me about?

861

:

And, or is this something you'd

be willing to like help me with?

862

:

And then you go through the process.

863

:

Okay.

864

:

How are we going?

865

:

How are we going to present this

to the team or to management?

866

:

And then all of a sudden your

boss becomes the, we, and

867

:

potentially the hero of the story.

868

:

And it's more about them, you know,

helping you than it is about you asking

869

:

for some promotion or, or whatnot.

870

:

So, uh, yeah, trying to, trying to

get other people on board before you

871

:

even come out with this, like, here's

my new job and here's the X, Y, Z, a

872

:

conversation you're even willing to

have and get the buy in help me with.

873

:

Yeah, so, yeah,

874

:

Becca Moran: totally agree.

875

:

Um, well, I love that.

876

:

I love reflecting back kind of on

that journey that you had at Dometry

877

:

and the success you had there.

878

:

Um, I know we're, we're running a

little bit long, but I would like

879

:

to make sure that we spend a little

bit of time talking about your

880

:

transition into, I find it funny to

say becoming an entrepreneur because I.

881

:

Think that you've been an

entrepreneur all along, right?

882

:

That's clear from how I

think you think about things.

883

:

And there's a thread of that

throughout this entire story.

884

:

But, um, you know, I would love if you

could share a little bit of the, uh, kind

885

:

of quick story of how you decided to.

886

:

You know, what sparked the idea for

LLAMAWOOD and how you decided to kind

887

:

of take the leap and, and build this

business that you've been building

888

:

for what, last two and a half years, a

889

:

Hunter Guerin: little over two years.

890

:

Um, so I loved the Xometry

sort of model, um, because.

891

:

The, the, the benefit that you could bring

to a marketplace, the efficiency you could

892

:

bring to a marketplace by connecting a

buyer with a seller and then managing the

893

:

transaction and fulfillment all within

a platform, it's, it's, it just was.

894

:

I, you know, like, say it was genius.

895

:

Um, I actually, like, would ask Randy,

like, how did you think of this?

896

:

This is so smart.

897

:

Um, and I remember feeling like, man,

if somebody, like, if Randy can come

898

:

up with this idea, um, apparently off

the cuff, no, that's not actually how

899

:

it happened, but, I was like, who am

I to, like, Think of, I can start a

900

:

business because this idea is so beyond

anything I would have ever imagined.

901

:

And, uh, I was just so impressed with

it, but because of the value that it

902

:

brought the partner network, I remember

specifically this event that happened.

903

:

Um, I don't remember the year, but

a hurricane or tornado hit Texas, I

904

:

believe, and it just like demolished

one of our suppliers and a couple

905

:

of things Xometry was able to do.

906

:

There's number one is all of

the jobs that had been matched.

907

:

That supplier got, were

able to get routed out.

908

:

And so the, the customers

ended up getting their parts.

909

:

And then I believe we did a

GoFundMe campaign for that, uh, that

910

:

partner and every other partner in

the network, like, um, you know,

911

:

contributed to the rebuilding of this.

912

:

And that was the moment where I was

like, Oh, this is so cool because not

913

:

only is this platform bringing jobs

to this network, but it's also like

914

:

created this giant manufacturing family.

915

:

Um, and that's a little bit

like altruistic, but I just was.

916

:

With that sort of like, I want to start

a company mindset, I kept applying this

917

:

idea to a bunch of different industries.

918

:

And that is how do you connect

buyers again through a platform to

919

:

a distributed network of sellers

who can provide capacity on demand,

920

:

elastic capacity, which is really

important because certain things get.

921

:

In high demand at some points and

low demand and other points, uh,

922

:

I can think of one firewood, um,

but, uh, so I thought, well, we

923

:

could, I could start a landscape

business with a network of sellers.

924

:

I could, what about, um, home building?

925

:

Um, and then I had heard this somewhere.

926

:

Um, I often attribute

it to the wrong person.

927

:

So I'll just.

928

:

Is that if when you think about starting

a business, look at your credit card

929

:

statement and figure out where you spend

a disproportionate amount of your income.

930

:

And so I was doing that and I never

really like highlighted anything as.

931

:

Oh, this is the thing.

932

:

Um, and it was mortgage and dining out.

933

:

And I think that that disproportionate.

934

:

No, because a lot of people spend a lot

of money on mortgage and dining out.

935

:

Um, but this, this thing about

I, everywhere I went, every house

936

:

that I went into, whether it was my

house or somebody else's, I would.

937

:

Pay whatever I needed to pay

to make sure I could have wood

938

:

burning fires inside and outside.

939

:

Um, and so I'd spent a lot of

money on all things related to

940

:

firewood, um, and then fires.

941

:

And so that sort of helped me realize

that, like, it's got to be something

942

:

about fire and then we lived in D.

943

:

C.

944

:

with.

945

:

Neighbors of you, Becca.

946

:

And then in 2000, um, in the middle of

COVID, we decided to move to Richmond

947

:

and, um, we got to Richmond and it was.

948

:

It was, we moved in July of 2020.

949

:

And so the fall is coming up

and I want to buy firewood.

950

:

I just know that Richmond's gonna,

it's going to be way easier to buy

951

:

firewood in Richmond than it was in DC.

952

:

And I went through the process, the

standard process of finding a guy,

953

:

texting him, they tell you it's seasoned,

they come over, they drop it off.

954

:

Um, You have to pay them in cash.

955

:

This guy actually took Venmo, but

like, as he was leaving, I Venmoed him.

956

:

And then you have to put in the last

four digits of their phone number.

957

:

I'm like, wait, um, I have,

I have since mailed checks.

958

:

I mean, firewood buying firewood is

it was, I just hoped it was better

959

:

in Richmond than it was in DC.

960

:

And sure enough, it was

like the exact same thing.

961

:

And I think it was in that moment when

that delivery sort of was botched and

962

:

the wood was wet and it was too big.

963

:

I needed to split it with

an axe, which is a pain.

964

:

I think I had a, yeah, I had like a

1 and a half year old at the time.

965

:

I didn't, I was anytime they

were, they were not in my arms.

966

:

I wanted to be like, sitting

on a couch or something.

967

:

So, um.

968

:

I said, that's it, I am going to, what

could I build a network of firewood

969

:

sellers and build a platform that

connected buyers with that network?

970

:

And then really the, the key there

is that you then use technology to

971

:

manage the quality of the seller.

972

:

And since, since this idea of Xometry

and, and my business is that it's a

973

:

managed marketplace, it, it connects.

974

:

The orders with the sellers that are

most qualified to perform the delivery.

975

:

And 1 of the things that goes

into that is this is the rating

976

:

based on their past performance.

977

:

And so the cream rises to the top.

978

:

Eventually, you only start delivery,

sending jobs to the best suppliers.

979

:

Um, and so I can provide a, like, a

quality standard and, um, a consistency

980

:

to firewood delivery that, like, in my

experience, which was buying firewood and.

981

:

Across 5 different states, um, uh, that

consistency was really hard to find and,

982

:

um, reliability was really hard to find.

983

:

So that's kind of how it sparked

the, uh, the, the company I

984

:

started, which is called Lama wood.

985

:

That's

986

:

Becca Moran: awesome.

987

:

And I'm sure, uh, hopefully there'll be

an opportunity to do a whole episode in

988

:

and of itself on the lava wood story.

989

:

But the 1 question.

990

:

Um, I wanted to ask just kind

of to to close things out is.

991

:

And kind of bring it back to our

conversation about, um, your career in

992

:

product, like what product experience

do you feel like helped you feel

993

:

confident in starting your own business?

994

:

Like what are you thankful that

you learned as a product manager

995

:

that you've Been able to put into

use starting your own business.

996

:

Hunter Guerin: Um, I think the biggest

thing is that as a product person, again,

997

:

regardless of the product you manage, um,

you, you, you sort of necessitates the

998

:

system level thinking to where you have

to learn about how your product impacts.

999

:

Every aspect of the business,

marketing, sales, operations,

:

01:00:20,600 --> 01:00:22,210

finance, admin, it doesn't matter.

:

01:00:22,220 --> 01:00:24,140

You're probably talking to one of those.

:

01:00:24,170 --> 01:00:28,410

I think I had, I think like at one

point, every person on the C suite was a

:

01:00:28,590 --> 01:00:29,740

stakeholder of the Instant Quoting Engine.

:

01:00:30,340 --> 01:00:34,680

And so you get a, especially if you

go, if you do product to a small

:

01:00:34,680 --> 01:00:38,010

company or startup, you're going to

get a ton of experience really fast.

:

01:00:38,420 --> 01:00:44,930

But now that I've started a business,

um, I think the 2 critical things,

:

01:00:45,350 --> 01:00:50,310

especially early on, why Combinator

says this, and I think many others is

:

01:00:50,320 --> 01:00:56,600

that as a founder or CEO of a company

early on, the 2 things that you need to

:

01:00:56,600 --> 01:01:00,500

focus on, because there's a million, 2

things, building the product and selling.

:

01:01:01,000 --> 01:01:03,350

So you have to learn how to build

and you have to learn how to sell.

:

01:01:03,785 --> 01:01:08,765

And basically both, both of those

things is the like quintessential

:

01:01:08,945 --> 01:01:10,595

job requirement of a product manager.

:

01:01:10,605 --> 01:01:14,165

You have to figure out

what the customers want.

:

01:01:15,055 --> 01:01:18,915

Come up with the vision for how that

is going to be built and then you

:

01:01:18,915 --> 01:01:20,325

have to sell it to all these people.

:

01:01:20,405 --> 01:01:26,055

Um, because, you know, sometimes,

uh, what operations wants sales, you

:

01:01:26,055 --> 01:01:31,335

know, operations wants, you know,

a smoother flow sales wants more.

:

01:01:31,800 --> 01:01:37,460

Orders marketing wants more sessions,

um, and and top of funnel customers

:

01:01:37,460 --> 01:01:38,640

landing on the site or whatever.

:

01:01:38,640 --> 01:01:46,240

So, um, you have to negotiate and and work

with all these different disciplines to

:

01:01:46,300 --> 01:01:49,510

to sell this vision of a greater future.

:

01:01:49,570 --> 01:01:50,990

Um, and so I think that.

:

01:01:51,515 --> 01:01:56,315

Being able to build something and sell it

sort of at the same time, you know, that

:

01:01:56,315 --> 01:02:00,314

whole, like jump out of a plane without

a parachute and get out on the way down.

:

01:02:00,395 --> 01:02:01,925

Um, it kind of happens.

:

01:02:01,935 --> 01:02:06,075

And then you've touched on it

too, is like this, a huge thing.

:

01:02:06,075 --> 01:02:08,975

Like you just can't build a business

without talking to customers and

:

01:02:08,985 --> 01:02:10,255

understanding what they truly want.

:

01:02:10,785 --> 01:02:14,655

Um, because I think what's the saying

that like 80 percent of products that

:

01:02:14,665 --> 01:02:16,255

get launched, don't, don't get used.

:

01:02:16,545 --> 01:02:16,975

So.

:

01:02:17,510 --> 01:02:21,490

You can, you can think of a million

features for an app, but you know, in

:

01:02:21,490 --> 01:02:24,070

order to know which one you need to

build next, you have to talk to a lot

:

01:02:24,070 --> 01:02:29,200

of people, um, whether you're looking at

like, whether the, the talking is looking

:

01:02:29,230 --> 01:02:34,860

over user data, um, or actually speaking

with the internal team, talking to the

:

01:02:34,870 --> 01:02:40,990

external customer, um, but picking up the

phone and calling customers constantly.

:

01:02:41,430 --> 01:02:43,410

Um, that too is.

:

01:02:44,180 --> 01:02:49,010

Is, um, you know, a huge necessity

as a product manager and even

:

01:02:49,010 --> 01:02:52,970

more so as you're trying to build

something, um, and selling it.

:

01:02:53,000 --> 01:02:55,730

So you learn as a product manager,

you learn how to build and sell.

:

01:02:55,730 --> 01:02:56,880

And those are the two biggest skills.

:

01:02:56,880 --> 01:03:00,430

And actually they say that

selling is harder than building.

:

01:03:00,470 --> 01:03:03,230

So if you have to be good at one

of them, get good at selling.

:

01:03:03,790 --> 01:03:04,210

Yeah.

:

01:03:04,340 --> 01:03:07,970

So, um, you get a lot of

practice with that as a product.

:

01:03:08,030 --> 01:03:08,490

Yeah.

:

01:03:08,790 --> 01:03:10,010

Becca Moran: It's such a good point.

:

01:03:10,010 --> 01:03:16,335

And I think it's sometimes, uh, an

element of the product role that At

:

01:03:16,335 --> 01:03:20,545

least from personal experience, I would

say you can kind of resent, right?

:

01:03:20,545 --> 01:03:22,705

Like sometimes you're just

like, I have this idea.

:

01:03:22,705 --> 01:03:25,045

Why doesn't everybody just

like go along with it?

:

01:03:25,045 --> 01:03:25,315

Right.

:

01:03:25,315 --> 01:03:27,985

Like this is my job to do this stuff.

:

01:03:28,005 --> 01:03:28,245

Like,

:

01:03:28,855 --> 01:03:32,805

Hunter Guerin: um, something you said,

I don't know if you remember saying

:

01:03:32,805 --> 01:03:34,285

it, but I laugh at it all the time.

:

01:03:34,285 --> 01:03:35,485

I think about it constantly.

:

01:03:36,240 --> 01:03:39,860

Is, uh, you said that the job of

a product manager is to gently

:

01:03:39,860 --> 01:03:41,230

disappoint people all day long.

:

01:03:41,230 --> 01:03:42,429

It

:

01:03:42,710 --> 01:03:48,280

Becca Moran: is like, you have to just

get so comfortable with telling people

:

01:03:48,280 --> 01:03:56,125

no, or just kind of like redirecting

them to different ideas or Um, yes, uh,

:

01:03:56,235 --> 01:04:03,745

I, I stand by that statement, but yeah,

the sales part is hard, um, and it can

:

01:04:03,745 --> 01:04:09,445

be hard, especially depending on kind of

the dynamics in the organization in which

:

01:04:09,445 --> 01:04:14,875

you're working, where, um, you can be

faced with a lot of strong opinions and.

:

01:04:15,295 --> 01:04:20,055

Um, sometimes it's, it's hard to convince

people of, of an idea that you feel

:

01:04:20,075 --> 01:04:26,045

confident about, but, um, to your point,

like, I, I hope that anyone who is

:

01:04:26,045 --> 01:04:31,365

experiencing that and maybe frustrated by

that in their product roles, um, tries to

:

01:04:31,365 --> 01:04:36,345

remember that it is such a valuable skill,

no matter what you do in your career.

:

01:04:36,815 --> 01:04:47,475

Um, and, um, those character, so, um,

all right, well, I'm going to shorten

:

01:04:47,485 --> 01:04:55,825

our rapid fire wrap up questions to

just one, um, which I, I am curious

:

01:04:55,825 --> 01:05:02,075

to hear your answer cause I feel

like you are a, um, you're always

:

01:05:02,135 --> 01:05:05,675

kind of reading something interesting

or talking to someone interesting.

:

01:05:05,705 --> 01:05:05,935

So.

:

01:05:06,285 --> 01:05:09,755

My question for you is, what

book or person has been most

:

01:05:09,845 --> 01:05:11,525

influential in your career?

:

01:05:11,965 --> 01:05:12,175

In

:

01:05:12,175 --> 01:05:13,115

Hunter Guerin: my career?

:

01:05:14,575 --> 01:05:19,555

I had, I was ready for most recently,

but in my career I'm also ready

:

01:05:19,555 --> 01:05:24,765

for, and uh, if you know me, you've

heard me say it, um, Tim Ferriss.

:

01:05:26,565 --> 01:05:29,015

Becca Moran: I noticed you referenced

him, like, right at the beginning.

:

01:05:29,015 --> 01:05:29,145

At

:

01:05:29,325 --> 01:05:32,435

Hunter Guerin: least, yeah, I think my

brother says if you talk to Hunter and

:

01:05:32,815 --> 01:05:37,205

he hasn't mentioned Tim Ferriss within

the first 10 seconds, it's an anomaly.

:

01:05:37,475 --> 01:05:41,900

But, yeah, the 4 hour work

week is incredible read.

:

01:05:41,920 --> 01:05:46,160

And, um, it, you know, I

think it's super popular.

:

01:05:46,160 --> 01:05:49,470

So hopefully a lot of people reading

or hearing this, uh, have already read

:

01:05:49,470 --> 01:05:53,650

it, but there's another thing is like,

I don't always evangelize that book.

:

01:05:53,860 --> 01:06:00,090

Um, because the, the title for our work

week is sounds kind of cliche or whatever.

:

01:06:00,730 --> 01:06:02,590

And that's not the point of the book.

:

01:06:02,610 --> 01:06:06,000

The point of the book is to figure

out how to spend your time on

:

01:06:06,060 --> 01:06:08,400

things that are uh, effective.

:

01:06:09,355 --> 01:06:11,654

Rather than, you know,

trying to be efficient.

:

01:06:11,755 --> 01:06:17,835

Um, I think like product management,

this is huge entrepreneurial, uh, paths.

:

01:06:17,885 --> 01:06:18,665

This is huge.

:

01:06:18,685 --> 01:06:19,165

Is that.

:

01:06:20,190 --> 01:06:23,779

You can constantly have things

to do on your to do list.

:

01:06:24,260 --> 01:06:27,450

And, and you know, one thing I've learned

is the more productive you are, the

:

01:06:27,450 --> 01:06:30,650

more things that you put on your to do

list, like your to do list will never

:

01:06:31,100 --> 01:06:32,900

get shorter, no matter what you try.

:

01:06:32,900 --> 01:06:33,720

And I've tried it all.

:

01:06:33,980 --> 01:06:40,920

And so figuring out the very few things

that you need to do, you know, the, the

:

01:06:41,190 --> 01:06:43,100

critical few versus the trivial many.

:

01:06:43,560 --> 01:06:47,040

And a major principle actually just

did an exercise like two days ago.

:

01:06:47,820 --> 01:06:51,620

Um, from that book is, is really

the kind of two core principles

:

01:06:51,620 --> 01:06:53,250

of the 80, 20 principle.

:

01:06:53,250 --> 01:06:57,430

And then the, uh, Pareto principle,

a 20 is that 20 percent of your,

:

01:06:57,800 --> 01:07:01,570

um, output comes from 80%, I'm

sorry, 80 percent of your output

:

01:07:01,590 --> 01:07:02,779

comes from 20 percent of your input.

:

01:07:02,810 --> 01:07:05,170

80 percent of your revenue comes

from 20 percent of your products,

:

01:07:05,170 --> 01:07:06,200

20 percent of your customers.

:

01:07:06,200 --> 01:07:07,270

I mean, you can apply it to everything.

:

01:07:07,550 --> 01:07:12,250

And then, um, and then Parkinson's law

is that work will expand based on the.

:

01:07:12,740 --> 01:07:18,670

Time that you a lot, so setting clear

short deadlines, you know, if you have a,

:

01:07:19,190 --> 01:07:22,850

uh, if you're going to be interviewed on a

podcast and you want to, you know, figure

:

01:07:22,850 --> 01:07:26,470

out how you might answer some questions,

like give yourself like whatever, a

:

01:07:26,470 --> 01:07:28,710

short amount of time to do, to do it.

:

01:07:28,720 --> 01:07:31,840

And then you'll, you'll get it

done because if you give yourself

:

01:07:31,840 --> 01:07:35,160

a longer amount of time, you know,

the work will fill the time a lot.

:

01:07:35,160 --> 01:07:35,500

Yeah.

:

01:07:35,770 --> 01:07:37,360

Uh, and so that.

:

01:07:38,360 --> 01:07:42,779

That along with his podcasts and, you

know, the last thing that I'll say about,

:

01:07:43,620 --> 01:07:49,670

uh, these books is that it, they have

the four hour work week and other, other

:

01:07:49,670 --> 01:07:53,590

books of his and other business books

that I've read, if they have a playbook,

:

01:07:53,670 --> 01:08:00,380

like do this, then this, then this,

um, I, that really resonates with me.

:

01:08:00,400 --> 01:08:04,250

And in the 4 hour work week, there are

these things called comfort challenges.

:

01:08:04,815 --> 01:08:08,335

Uh, that you do, and I've

done every single 1 of them.

:

01:08:08,535 --> 01:08:13,175

And like, I always say, anytime I do

anything from this book, like, almost

:

01:08:13,175 --> 01:08:15,345

exactly what he says will happen happens.

:

01:08:16,774 --> 01:08:18,154

I had a problem early on.

:

01:08:18,154 --> 01:08:19,965

Actually, I still do where I miss.

:

01:08:20,205 --> 01:08:23,115

I take some of his advice out of order.

:

01:08:23,175 --> 01:08:26,875

And so if you read before our

work week, he has a structure

:

01:08:26,875 --> 01:08:28,484

for how you are going to.

:

01:08:28,904 --> 01:08:32,635

Uh, become more productive

and free yourself to work on

:

01:08:32,635 --> 01:08:35,225

the things you love and do the

things you love outside of work.

:

01:08:35,484 --> 01:08:38,354

And so the last thing in the

book is to take a sabbatical or

:

01:08:38,354 --> 01:08:39,585

he calls them mini retirements.

:

01:08:39,745 --> 01:08:43,955

And I was like, ah, I'll just

skip the first three steps and

:

01:08:43,955 --> 01:08:45,154

go straight to the sabbatical.

:

01:08:45,925 --> 01:08:50,175

Um, but you know, he actually pointed

out and in another book, he mentions

:

01:08:50,175 --> 01:08:53,005

in that book multiple times, this

book called vagabonding by Rolf Potts.

:

01:08:53,640 --> 01:08:57,500

And it's that, like, taking these

long trips, you learn some of these

:

01:08:57,559 --> 01:09:01,590

skills you learn and these things

that you acquire through travel will

:

01:09:01,590 --> 01:09:05,399

have a bigger impact on your life

than whatever you would have done at

:

01:09:05,399 --> 01:09:07,809

work for that same seven week period.

:

01:09:08,069 --> 01:09:08,410

Absolutely.

:

01:09:09,500 --> 01:09:17,460

And so that single book has launched me

into a unlimited number of future books

:

01:09:17,510 --> 01:09:20,800

that are then recommended by people he's

interviewed on the podcast and whatnot.

:

01:09:20,800 --> 01:09:23,290

So, um, hands down, Tim Ferriss.

:

01:09:24,240 --> 01:09:25,240

Becca Moran: No surprise there.

:

01:09:25,270 --> 01:09:26,069

I love it.

:

01:09:26,330 --> 01:09:29,990

Um, I'm going to start thinking

about scheduling a sabbatical.

:

01:09:31,660 --> 01:09:38,130

Hunter Guerin: I actually, uh, I have, uh,

I I've written out sort of a outline of.

:

01:09:38,705 --> 01:09:42,725

Of the process from coming up with

the idea all the way to pulling it

:

01:09:42,725 --> 01:09:47,215

off so I can share that with you

and also the document with my that I

:

01:09:47,225 --> 01:09:48,765

shared with you when I was asking for.

:

01:09:49,934 --> 01:09:50,505

new role.

:

01:09:50,795 --> 01:09:51,975

Um, I can share that with you as well.

:

01:09:52,415 --> 01:09:52,684

That'd be

:

01:09:52,684 --> 01:09:53,175

Becca Moran: awesome.

:

01:09:53,585 --> 01:09:53,934

Yeah.

:

01:09:54,165 --> 01:09:54,655

Thank you.

:

01:09:55,325 --> 01:09:56,885

So much good stuff today.

:

01:09:56,934 --> 01:09:57,945

Thank you so much, Hunter.

:

01:09:57,945 --> 01:10:02,184

I appreciate your time and I always

love your thoughts, your perspective,

:

01:10:02,184 --> 01:10:04,275

your attitude, your energy, all of it.

:

01:10:04,385 --> 01:10:06,575

So thank you for being on the show.

:

01:10:06,675 --> 01:10:07,095

It was really

:

01:10:07,095 --> 01:10:07,775

Hunter Guerin: fun talking to you.

:

01:10:07,925 --> 01:10:08,785

Thanks for having me.

:

01:10:08,805 --> 01:10:09,765

I had a blast.

:

01:10:09,825 --> 01:10:12,965

Um, and would be happy

to come back anytime.

:

01:10:13,585 --> 01:10:14,005

Awesome.

:

01:10:34,815 --> 01:10:36,805

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