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How we make decisions
Episode 2026th January 2023 • People vs Algorithms • Troy Young, Brian Morrissey, Alex Schleifer
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This week we’re talking about decisions: how to make them, when they go wrong, and the tough decisions that are often forced on you.

The longer your career goes, and the higher up you progress in organizations, the decisions you make become the core of your contribution. Make enough decisions, you’ll make plenty of bad ones. We see this clearly in the sharp U-Turn Silicon Valley is making from a series of hiring decisions they all made during the pandemic. It’s become something of a ritual for a SV CEO to announce thousands of job losses and take responsibility for the decisions that led to these cuts.

We discuss everything from how too often people hide behind data to abdicate their responsibility for decision to a framework Troy uses for decisions. Hope you find it valua

Show notes:

Transcripts

Troy:

I, but why don't

Troy:

you tell the audience, how do you feel about this time with us, this podcast?

Troy:

Do you want to keep doing it?

Brian:

yeah, sure I wanna make money off it, but I, but that's what I keep pushing

Alex:

Doesn't that make you feel good, Troy?

Alex:

Don't you feel motivated to start the episode now?

Alex:

Yeah, sure.

Alex:

But I wanna make money.

Brian:

Well, I don't have a tennis court at my second home or a family office.

Brian:

Let's be real here.

Brian:

I'm still working for a living.

Troy:

a living.

Troy:

Brian, Brian, just to be clear, I gotta make money too.

Alex:

Yeah.

Alex:

I mean when his second tennis court flooded, he had

Brian:

Someone had a, someone had a squeegee.

Brian:

That shit.

Brian:

let's get started and talk about decisions this week, cuz I think that there's a

Brian:

lot of decisions that are being forced on people and I think that a lot of times

Brian:

we put off decisions and then we have to make them and we make them imperfectly.

Brian:

And so this is a little bit of a thematic episode.

Brian:

A little bit different than what we've done in the past, but, we see a lot of

Brian:

technology companies that are being led by, I guess what we presume to be the

Brian:

best business leaders of, this generation.

Brian:

and they're all coming out and making big cuts to, their employee bases.

Brian:

And they're all taking responsibility for decisions that they all made

Brian:

that turned out to be wrong.

Brian:

And so I wanna talk about actually how you make decisions and,

Brian:

because I think we have different probably perspectives about that.

Brian:

Troy, let's start with you.

Brian:

let's start with all the decisions that are being forced on people as

Brian:

we enter this period of quote unquote uncertainty and turbulence and whatnot.

Troy:

Well, what's the question, Brian?

Brian:

it's a discussion.

Brian:

It's a discussion program, not like me

Troy:

I'm trying to make a decision here about how I should,

Troy:

you know, answer that question.

Troy:

Well, I have a lot of thoughts on this.

Brian:

Okay.

Brian:

Good.

Troy:

you know, there's, I mean, I suppose that when you're making a decision, and

Troy:

we're sort of narrowing this to a business context, you know, one way or the other,

Troy:

you're optimizing to something, right?

Troy:

So you're making a decision based on the health of your business or profit or

Troy:

future cash flows or present cash flows.

Troy:

You're making a decision about something quantitative or qualitative that I would

Troy:

call product or the relationship between a product and its market or the loyalty to

Troy:

a product, or its ability to make money.

Troy:

And you're making a decision, I think, to things like people and culture and

Troy:

what kind of organization you want.

Troy:

And I think even potentially more broadly to the role you want your company to play

Troy:

in society or more broadly like a more expensive kind of social responsibility.

Troy:

and I think that the nature of decision making is essentially about trade-offs and

Troy:

understanding, what you're trading off.

Troy:

So, the easiest way to do it is either to say, well, I'm not going to make

Troy:

a decision because I'm gonna defer to data or some type of quantitative test

Troy:

when I can say, listen, this has gotta be good for this reason, and we're

Troy:

gonna run an AB test and get the data back and make the decision that way.

Troy:

Which is, fine, but in some ways an abdication of, you know, what

Troy:

would amount to be more, much more complicated, inevitably

Troy:

qualitative, dimensions to a decision.

Troy:

but, you know, there's a bunch of classics, Brian, and I think we can

Troy:

kick off the conversation with some of the classics and, the obvious one and

Troy:

the first one is that digital media broadly is fraught with difficult

Troy:

decisions that I think have been hard for people to make, in particular.

Troy:

making more money now by, say, increasing ad density, on a

Troy:

page versus a longer term.

Troy:

Aspiration to create loyalty with your market.

Troy:

And that would include things like, not just the number of ads per page,

Troy:

but things like, do you put Tabul on your page and take a guarantee from

Troy:

Tabula or a cash commit of some kind from Tabula versus, your decision

Troy:

to put more of your content there or recirculation, you know, that's the

Troy:

trap of, I think media and the challenge there has been because of the nature of

Troy:

distribution where you get a lot of one and dones people coming in from Google,

Troy:

getting a piece of content and leaving.

Troy:

I would say the industry is characterized by a distinct

Troy:

lack of loyalty from the user.

Troy:

We've trained the user that you just grab an article and go, so you're

Troy:

not loyal to, to an experience and therefore, you know, you're

Troy:

constantly trading money for loyalty.

Troy:

Cuz loyalty is either too hard to measure or doesn't exist

Troy:

and you know, That that's a, that's a classic, I would call that the classic,

Troy:

digital media, decision trade off.

Brian:

So I wanna get get back to your, your point about, Data.

Brian:

Right.

Brian:

And, and Alex, so I think you would probably have a really good perspective

Brian:

on this, because I feel like we've had, we obviously have more data than we've ever

Brian:

had before, and it's very helpful data is, IM I important in making decisions.

Brian:

I don't know if you've noticed, I've, I've noticed over the

Brian:

years that data can easily become a crutch for decision making.

Brian:

I think, Troy, you mentioned abdication because at some point

Brian:

decisions you have to have conviction.

Brian:

And I feel a lot of people do not wanna have conviction because it's riskier.

Brian:

Right?

Brian:

If you just, if you go with what the data says and you run some multi-variate tests,

Brian:

you're outsourcing the decision making to.

Brian:

Some spreadsheet and that is an easy way to basically not have

Brian:

to have responsibility for it.

Brian:

I mean, you might be held accountable for it, but ultimately at the end of

Brian:

the day you're gonna say, well, I was, I was following what the data said.

Brian:

We see this all the time and you don't watch football.

Brian:

Right?

Brian:

But like football is basically caught between this, like there's the data

Brian:

people who just follow the data and then there's the old school guys who are like,

Brian:

I've got a ton of experience in this, but I'm wondering your experience on

Brian:

the product side particular, cuz I would guess that this is very acute there.

Alex:

Yeah, it's acute.

Alex:

you know, I'm a design oriented, product person, so I look at things, maybe

Alex:

slightly differently to a growth manager, so I don't want to sound too pretentious.

Alex:

You know, like I know everything, but I do feel like in Silicon Valley we had access

Alex:

to so much data and so much capital that it became easy to outsource decisions

Alex:

to data and hire a bunch of people and let them make experiments, right?

Alex:

Because you had a billion people hitting your site, you could hire

Alex:

10,000 engineers and run hundreds of thousands of experiments.

Alex:

and with like tiny margins create like hugely profitable businesses, you know?

Alex:

And that was Facebook.

Alex:

and it was fine if, if Facebook was the only one running like this,

Alex:

I have opinions about Facebook.

Alex:

The problem is there was a, that philosophy kind of started permeating

Alex:

every part of Silicon Valley.

Alex:

And the real problem is that you lose control of the long-term outcome.

Alex:

and that's because any experiment that you make, especially if you're running a

Alex:

lot of them on a single surface, like an app, has a very short lifespan, right?

Alex:

the attribution.

Alex:

To tell you, Hey, product manager, a, this experiment you did was successful.

Alex:

That needs to happen in a very short amount of time.

Alex:

Otherwise, that attribution gets distributed across a

Alex:

million other factors, right?

Alex:

So if you're running a million experiments, how do you really

Alex:

know what made a difference?

Alex:

And these companies, Facebook and Google, uh, I think became entirely

Alex:

data led in their decision making.

Alex:

And I've had a lot of heated conversation, with people about that.

Alex:

And the problem for me was that, I was looking at these really successful

Alex:

businesses doing it like that.

Alex:

And I didn't want to do it like that, because I didn't want to lose control

Alex:

over our brand or over, how we built.

Alex:

And also, I think a secondary effect of that is that you just

Alex:

train the organization never to be able to make big decisions.

Alex:

And I think that's what's happening to Facebook.

Alex:

You can't tell a company, Hey, run wild.

Alex:

Just, growth hack work around the margins and all of a sudden tell them, okay,

Alex:

now we're gonna think about the future.

Alex:

That company is not programmed to think like that.

Alex:

They'll never be able to.

Alex:

And it's the same with Google.

Alex:

And it's why I think companies like apple are much more resilient because

Alex:

they have this executive courage to make big decisions and steal

Alex:

the company in one way, you know?

Alex:

And I think a lot of the companies right now that are firing a lot of people, it's

Alex:

because they just, during the pandemic, looked at the data and decided to hire

Brian:

But, but wait a second.

Brian:

Everyone made this decision.

Brian:

These are all different people who are all very smart, and I just feel

Brian:

like the herd mentality of decision making is, it's in every industry.

Brian:

So I I, I'm like really fascinated by the fact that how every single

Brian:

company got the same thing wrong.

Brian:

Like

Brian:

how

Alex:

Silicon Valley.

Alex:

Silicon Valley has a hive mind because people move around.

Alex:

But you can see a few outliers in that hive mi hive mind.

Alex:

Right.

Alex:

And I think some of them, I think Apple didn't hire as

Alex:

much as other companies did.

Alex:

They didn't make the same mistakes.

Alex:

They stayed on, they stayed the course,

Brian:

Yeah, it's interesting cuz you brought up, you brought up Facebook and

Brian:

I would maybe push back cuz like I think Mark Zuckerberg, maybe the organization

Brian:

is actually a conviction decision maker.

Brian:

Like he made, he's made some big decisions that were out of conviction.

Brian:

Like you go back to newsfeed when everyone was squawking.

Brian:

And now maybe he like just looked at the data and was saying there's

Brian:

always a difference between what people say and what they do.

Brian:

So that's possible.

Brian:

But if you look at Metaverse, I'm sorry, there's no data that is telling

Brian:

what data could he be looking at to, to say, but bet the company on this.

Brian:

This is a conviction decision.

Brian:

No.

Alex:

That makes my point though, the, the company is not ready to line up

Alex:

behind that conviction because the company's never been asked to do it.

Alex:

You know the incentive models within the company for years have not been around

Alex:

big decisions and long-term vision.

Alex:

So I, you know, I don't know if a company like that can

Alex:

make big things happen anymore.

Alex:

Does that make sense?

Brian:

Yeah, I think

Troy:

I don't, I don't know if it's, you know, I mean, back to the design

Troy:

conversation, Alex, I think that you once said to me that design is about

Troy:

the courage to have to believe in your intuition and your conviction around that.

Troy:

And when you don't, you get what I would call the SPK problem, or let's call

Brian:

I love the.

Troy:

it the spark problem or the Swiss Army knife problem, where you

Troy:

try to be everything to everyone and the answer in many cases, Can't be.

Troy:

Let's do both.

Troy:

And the problem with digital is it's infinitely malleable.

Troy:

Meaning you can design and make it whatever you wanna be,

Troy:

wherever you want it to be, right?

Troy:

It can do all these things at once.

Troy:

And so the constraints of physicality don't get in, you know, get, get in

Troy:

front of you, making hard product decisions in a lot of cases.

Troy:

So what a lot of people do at, at their weakest, even in response

Troy:

to either largely to a competitive threat, is they try to do both.

Troy:

So Instagram was a great photo application, but we needed to

Troy:

make it a video application, even though that the rules of video.

Troy:

In terms of how you present content, how you measure it,

Troy:

user experience, the algorithm, everything is different with video.

Troy:

So you get these products that are kind of shitty at two things.

Troy:

And, and, and I think that that faced with competitive pressure and the

Troy:

ability to make anything in digital, you get a lot of stuff that is, that

Troy:

migrates from its original use case.

Troy:

And I think that's where design takes real courage.

Brian:

Yeah.

Brian:

Well, I think making products, a lot of the products made, the decisions

Brian:

were clearly made by committee, right.

Troy:

Yeah.

Troy:

I mean, I don't know if that was a, something Alex wants

Troy:

to respond to, but it was, was

Alex:

I was, I was actually trying to think as to whether or

Alex:

not Thank you for reminding me of how salient a point that was.

Troy:

What, which point Alex

Troy:

just.

Alex:

that, it takes courage.

Alex:

I think.

Alex:

I think the organization needs to be framed in a way that allows people

Alex:

to have courage because nobody wants to lose their job, you know?

Alex:

and so if some functions like design and potentially more kind of visual

Alex:

leaning functions are maybe allowed to be a little bit more courageous,

Alex:

you know, stuff that touches brand.

Alex:

But, I think a lot of organizations aren't organized like that.

Alex:

I did have a conversation once with someone that I won't name, where we were

Alex:

in a meeting trying to come up with, you know, a first release of something.

Alex:

we know that we put stuff out there and we see how they work

Alex:

sometimes and update them, you know, that's part of the process.

Alex:

but there were three or four ideas and I said, well, I think we should

Alex:

put our energy into this one.

Alex:

I'd love to hear if anybody disagrees or agrees.

Alex:

And a person, a product manager said, well, how do you know if it's good?

Alex:

how do you know that's the right one.

Alex:

I said, well, sometimes you just have to make decisions because if we

Alex:

build it four times, we're just gonna spread our efforts around four things.

Alex:

And I think there was a real lack of understanding what that could mean

Alex:

to make a decision like that off intuition and put it out into the world.

Alex:

You know, and it's not that I was a hundred percent sure that it was the

Alex:

right one, but I was relatively certain it was not one of the wrong decisions.

Alex:

You know, there's always like a thousand wrong decisions, 50 right

Alex:

ones, and try to pick one of the right ones and make it as good as you can.

Alex:

And we lost that a little bit in Silicon Valley because of scale,

Alex:

because of access to capital.

Alex:

and because yeah, everybody's, it's really attractive to

Alex:

build everything for everyone.

Alex:

And Instagram is a great example, Troy.

Alex:

It's like, what is this thing

Troy:

well, we also created the cult of the product person.

Troy:

So everybody wanted to be it.

Troy:

I think the product person was elevated above b a attorney investment

Troy:

banker for a time, largely cuz of the influence of Silicon Valley.

Troy:

And when you called someone like a product person, it meant that they had

Troy:

this sort of level of intuition that this, that didn't exist elsewhere.

Troy:

The truth is, is not, not everybody can be a product person because being

Troy:

a product person's like saying I'm a musician, it's, or maybe not even

Troy:

musician, but I'm a hit song maker.

Troy:

It's, uh, it's a difficult designation because it does require a kind

Troy:

of elusive skill and intuition and ability to kind of match.

Troy:

Your ability to create something with something people want,

Troy:

that's very, very difficult.

Troy:

And the fact is, lots of people don't have that skill.

Alex:

And it must be terrifying waking up every morning with those expectations.

Alex:

And so you rely to just running a 10,000 experiments hoping one of them hits.

Alex:

You

Troy:

Well, that's not a product person.

Troy:

But I do love the line that said, oh yeah, I'm a product guy.

Brian:

But wait, they ex explain what the

Alex:

Did I, did I just say

Brian:

is, because there's like,

Troy:

A product person is someone who can invent, who can meet an unexpect

Troy:

that an un uh, identified need

Brian:

Yeah,

Troy:

who can make something that's special.

Brian:

but it's become a managerial class, right?

Brian:

I mean there's like on army of product managers and they're managers.

Brian:

They're,

Troy:

It's as close to art as you get in an organization.

Brian:

is that the real experience of

Alex:

Oh, it's not, I mean, I dunno, I'll let Troy speak to that.

Alex:

I've had, an interesting relationship with, with product managers.

Alex:

Some of the best people I've worked with at organizations

Alex:

were, were product managers.

Alex:

And some also some of the, you know, least productive, I think.

Alex:

And I, I agree with Troy.

Alex:

I mean, I think you're asking somebody to be a hit maker and at the end

Alex:

of the day, What I've realized is that it's usually product manager.

Alex:

Product manager has been turned into a function, which means like,

Alex:

it's like an engineer or a designer.

Alex:

While it should be something like a promotion because you're

Alex:

really good at something, right?

Alex:

and so to me that has been an issue, like the idea of a junior product manager.

Alex:

I never understood.

Alex:

Does that make sense?

Brian:

Well isn't it because you come at things from like, for lack of a

Brian:

better word, a craft perspective.

Brian:

Like you have like a craft like that, you know, you've grown up through.

Brian:

Whereas a lot of people wanna skip that step and I, I get that right.

Brian:

They just wanna go into product cuz it sounds good and it's

Brian:

assume it's be well paid.

Alex:

I mean, it's like that Rick Rubin, uh, thing that goes through,

Alex:

I think the craft part of it, the fact that I can do a little bit of

Alex:

coding, the fact that I'm a designer that I like to use tools gives me an

Alex:

interesting perspective on things, right?

Alex:

And I think it helps me, but at the end of the day, I think it's about

Alex:

having taste and having conviction and being able to communicate these

Alex:

things to a wider group and getting everybody galvanized around this idea.

Alex:

And I, and I've seen, you know, I think Brian Jetski, like c e o of

Alex:

Airbnb is somebody, he doesn't know how to use the tools like I do.

Alex:

He's got a design background, but.

Alex:

He's got that intuition when he sees something and the ability to make decision

Alex:

and the ability to communicate them.

Brian:

Mm-hmm.

Brian:

, but

Brian:

those people are

Brian:

incredibly rare, aren't they?

Alex:

Yeah, that's the point.

Alex:

That's the whole point.

Alex:

But, but we try to scale that.

Alex:

We try to scale the hit machine, and that's the problem.

Alex:

You can't scale it.

Alex:

Uh, they're incredibly rare.

Alex:

It's not because maybe, I don't know if they're born like that or whatever.

Alex:

It's also sp people who spend a lot of time just thinking

Alex:

about this all the time.

Alex:

You know what I mean?

Alex:

I might be good at some of the stuff I do, but, you know, I've suffered

Alex:

in other areas, like filling forms or dealing with shit in my life.

Alex:

I, you know, it's a, it's like not everybody should be as

Alex:

obsessed with this stuff as well.

Alex:

There's an obsession attached to it.

Alex:

That's another conversation.

Alex:

But yeah, but that's choice point.

Alex:

I think

Brian:

Cool.

Brian:

Where do you wanna go with the decision thing?

Brian:

I feel like we got

Troy:

Well, I got an, I got, I got another one that

Brian:

I feel like Troy's getting annoyed too.

Brian:

So

Brian:

, Troy: well, usually that.

Brian:

that means we get a spike, spike in listenership.

Brian:

I, I, uh, I'm not annoyed at all, Brian.

Brian:

I, I do think I would just put a, uh, uh, I would end that conversation.

Brian:

And this is just personal experience.

Brian:

The hardest thing and the most important thing is what you don't

Brian:

include when you make those decisions.

Brian:

And I find that good product people have this characteristic, which is they're

Brian:

able to see what's really important and just kind of have the nerve and courage to

Brian:

say, don't put this other stuff in here.

Brian:

Because the truth is, is you're always, again, back to what you're optimizing too.

Brian:

And this is an also very, very kind of apo to a, a discussion about good design.

Brian:

The thing is, is that humans can't multitask very well.

Brian:

And so you can really only ever do one thing at a time.

Brian:

And you have to realize that from a design perspective is you have to.

Brian:

Focus on one thing, the one thing you're trying to communicate, the one

Brian:

function you're trying to enable, the one experience you're trying to create.

Brian:

And that's really hard for a lot of business people to do

Brian:

cuz they kind of want it all.

Brian:

And, and so I think that that's the essence of this decision making

Brian:

kind of paradigm, which is how do you really have the courage to

Brian:

figure out what the one thing is?

Brian:

I think there's another decision thing that I find certainly that

Brian:

I've seen many times in my career.

Brian:

It's probably the hardest one for managers and I would call

Brian:

it the middle performer problem.

Brian:

And what I mean by this is there's a lot of people in the.

Brian:

That work in an organization that might have a great virtue in what they can do.

Brian:

In other words, they're really, really good at something and really

Brian:

bad at a lot of other things.

Brian:

And sometimes they cause a kind of a constipation in your

Brian:

organization because they're, they're getting in the way of progress.

Brian:

But you can never come to terms with it because you always say Jenny or Dave

Brian:

is, we can't imagine the world without them because they're so good at this

Brian:

and we need this and we're afraid that they don't bring this to work every day.

Brian:

But the fact is, is that they also affect the organization in lots of

Brian:

other ways because they're getting in the way of progress, either by their

Brian:

personality type or how they approach problems or what they're not good at.

Brian:

And what you really need to do in these cases is have the

Brian:

courage to fire the person.

Brian:

But you can't bring yourself to it because they are the middle performer.

Brian:

They're the person that you can't see doing without.

Brian:

And what I found is that when you do find a way to either redeploy them

Brian:

or fire them, your organization moves forward in ways that you didn't expect.

Brian:

And so I think that's a very important and a very real, real case here of,

Brian:

decision and its inverse in the inertia of not making a decision around people.

Alex:

That's, that's such a, that's such a good point, Troy, as someone who's

Alex:

set in a lot of performance reviews I think the stuff that happens really

Alex:

quickly are the really high performers and in the really low performance,

Alex:

very easy to reach agreement there.

Alex:

And then there's some people who bring, yeah, some, some positive stuff to the

Alex:

table, but don't perform in other ways.

Alex:

it's hours of time trying to, to figure out how to handle those folks.

Alex:

And it's,

Alex:

and it's because it's, it's hard

Alex:

to fire, right?

Alex:

Like nobody wants to

Alex:

fire anyone.

Brian:

But you're also trying to decide as part of the decision,

Brian:

whether it's that person or whether they were just miscast by you.

Brian:

And I, I find a lot of times organizations blame the person versus themselves.

Brian:

Go figure.

Brian:

It's just like when all of the muckety mucks are getting together and deciding

Brian:

like how to make these numbers work.

Brian:

They never look at themselves.

Alex:

I don't know.

Alex:

And maybe,

Brian:

I don't know.

Brian:

I look at the publishers.

Brian:

None of the editors decided to fire themselves.

Brian:

They'd decided to fire the, uh,

Brian:

the

Alex:

Yeah, I mean, that's probably true, but I, I think that, you know,

Alex:

just to give people a little credit, every time I've been in a performance

Alex:

meeting, the hardest thing is not to stop people from firing people.

Alex:

People really don't want to fire people.

Alex:

It's the, it's the hardest thing to do.

Alex:

And, and the amount of folks I had to talk down from, you know, keeping somebody

Alex:

on the team which they knew wasn't performing And, and you know, willing to

Alex:

try all sorts of things to make that work.

Alex:

I think in general, I think by the time it happens and the person's

Alex:

on the other side receiving it, you know, as a company you need to

Alex:

communicate things in a certain way.

Alex:

So it sounds a little bit cold, but what I've noticed happens in the room

Alex:

is a lot of time spent, you know, as real humans talking through that stuff.

Alex:

But to Troy's point, a lot of time it's actually not good for anyone.

Alex:

You know, like somebody needs to make a call and hopefully that's good leadership.

Alex:

I know that a couple of times I've come in and sounded a little bit harsher to help a

Alex:

manager make a decision because it needed to move on and then felt like shit for the

Alex:

rest of the day because somebody had to.

Alex:

So that, that type of stuff, uh, sucks.

Alex:

And I also think a lot of managers aren't trained to fire.

Alex:

Like, you know, I think a good question to ask a manager is, you

Alex:

know, have you ever fired anyone?

Alex:

Because that stuff is hard and horrible.

Brian:

Yeah.

Brian:

Uh, Trey, let's talk about like, uh, media companies right now

Brian:

and publishers, let's just say.

Brian:

They're facing a whole bunch of different challenges and a lot of them, there's a

Brian:

lot of just basic economic uncertainty right now from everyone I talk to.

Brian:

That's the word that keeps coming up.

Brian:

And navigating, that's obviously difficult.

Brian:

Some tough decisions were already made with, with cutting people, et cetera.

Brian:

What are the hard decisions that you see coming down the road this year for like,

Brian:

let's just say big digital publishers?

Troy:

So many things just came to mind, Brian.

Troy:

The first is, generally speaking, there's.

Troy:

There, there's a couple ways to change your media organization, right?

Troy:

Like you can say, we need to sell more effectively, or we need to

Troy:

organize our sales team to, you know, differently than we have in the past

Troy:

to, accelerate sales growth, or we need to change our ad products to step

Troy:

underneath of it, or we need to offer better pricing or better service.

Troy:

All of which I would say are constrained to the publishing organization.

Troy:

But the harder ones are the thing that we're making, the content that

Troy:

we're making, whether that's, you know, video or text content or event

Troy:

platforms or whatever we're making that needs to change for us to change our

Troy:

ability to make money and to orient the business around the future, et cetera.

Troy:

So what you're, you're faced with there is changing a much larger.

Troy:

Kind of part of the organization and waiting for it to materialize, cuz you're

Troy:

gonna have to change what you create.

Troy:

That hopefully changes the reaction of the audience, that you convert

Troy:

that into ad product, et cetera, and that you make more money off of it.

Troy:

And if you look at digital publishing, it's been so difficult because when

Troy:

your nee, when your revenue needs change, you have to go back to the

Troy:

edit organization and say, Hey guys, we can't write point of view content

Troy:

or we can't write news content.

Troy:

We have to write comparative shopping content because we

Troy:

need to, monetize via affiliate.

Troy:

And you, you just, like, it felt like every six months or every year there was

Troy:

a new thing we had to do, which either, which more often than not was in addition

Troy:

to all the other things that we were.

Brian:

Yeah.

Troy:

right?

Troy:

And, and so people didn't like to make those trade-offs.

Troy:

They're like, well, we need to write more a affiliated content, or We

Troy:

need to make more vertical video, or we need to tweet more, or we need

Troy:

to do, you know, whatever it is.

Troy:

But by the way, you still have to keep the machine sticking and feed Google.

Troy:

And so the decisions, I think that it really affected editorial

Troy:

organizations that just had you.

Troy:

Sort of task upon task glaring onto one another cuz they just had to

Troy:

keep making more things to feed, more channels, to preserve the business.

Troy:

And it was, it's really hard to make try.

Troy:

So the biggest one and the hardest one is to say we're a free media

Troy:

company that gets our bread buttered because we, we, we feed Google and

Troy:

we then monetize that with direct ad sales and programmatic and all that.

Troy:

And then what you have to say is, wait a minute guys, we're gonna

Troy:

be a subscription media company.

Troy:

And as soon as you say that it changed the, you know, you suddenly you're

Troy:

like, well we have to make a different kind of content, a better, a deeper, a

Troy:

more important kind of content that's going to, incense, someone to say,

Troy:

okay, I'm willing to subscribe to it.

Troy:

That change, particularly because the subscription game takes so

Troy:

long to get traction on that change takes a long, long time and

Troy:

requires a huge amount of courage.

Troy:

So today, to get to your answer, your question, today, what's happening is,

Troy:

The gig is up and there are, so all of the things that we train these companies

Troy:

to do are the people in these companies, which is, you know, get more page views,

Troy:

go after programmatic, get the affiliate lined up, you know, we're gonna go and

Troy:

we're gonna make more video for YouTube.

Troy:

All of these things are facing diminishing marginal returns.

Troy:

And so it's like an oh shit moment.

Troy:

It's like, what do I do with these hundreds of people and this

Troy:

organization, because we gotta invent a new way to make money and

Troy:

we have an enormous cost structure.

Brian:

Yeah, I think

Troy:

I don't know if that

Brian:

no, that's a very salient point.

Brian:

I'm actually gonna give you a compliment here, Troy.

Brian:

because it reminds me of, and I, I always go back to it and I'm reminded of it.

Brian:

I remind myself of this, like when I, uh, go forward with the rebooting

Brian:

is like the major and minor point.

Brian:

I remember that you made, like you need to figure out your major and your

Brian:

minor, and you see people who try to be general studies and do everything.

Brian:

And that, that can work, I believe, for the first year.

Brian:

But at some point you need to, you need to choose a major.

Brian:

And I think publishers have been in general studies, humanities for a long

Brian:

time, , but by necessity to some degree.

Brian:

But you can't do that like now and, and making the hard decisions.

Brian:

Like I was talking to someone at a publisher who just made cuts and I

Brian:

was like, well, I'm always interested.

Brian:

I mean, it's, it's horrible the, the human, you know, part of it obviously.

Brian:

But I'm also interested in, well, what does this say about where you

Brian:

see the industry going and your place in the industry going and.

Brian:

. I said, well, where are they cutting?

Brian:

Because that will tell me where their priorities are.

Brian:

And it was like, well, no, it's just across the board.

Brian:

I'm like, that, that seems weird.

Brian:

Like, because like why would you go through all the horrible parts of

Brian:

cutting people And, and it affects not just the people cup, but the

Brian:

people who, who remain behind.

Brian:

It really is traumatic to an organization without actually getting

Brian:

the benefits of reorienting it.

Brian:

And I see this, it's, a lot of it is in news publishing.

Brian:

Like I was always amazed over the years and, and some of this is the

Brian:

unions, but like buyouts, like I can't think of a worse way to reorient

Brian:

your organization than to be like, okay, well we need to like cut down,

Brian:

uh, on our costs and so we're gonna like ask for like volunteers to.

Brian:

Take a buyout to pay that we can pay, and obviously the most marketable people

Brian:

would be more likely to take that.

Brian:

I, I don't know, I just feel like this is one of those problems that I see repeated

Brian:

all the time in publishing, and I think it goes back to LA lacking conviction.

Alex:

Yeah,

Troy:

a great, great point.

Troy:

Great

Alex:

great point.

Alex:

I mean, I think if you think that your strategy is correct, but you just need

Alex:

to be leaner to survive a little bit longer, which is what's happening to

Alex:

a lot of companies, you know today who can't raise enough money in tech, at

Alex:

least then it makes sense to cut across the board and offer people buyouts.

Alex:

Although I agree with you, buyouts often give the opportunity for some of

Alex:

your best people to leave because they know they can get hired somewhere else.

Alex:

But yes, otherwise that companies haven't refocused on certain parts of their

Alex:

business should make you worry sometimes.

Brian:

And I think the other thing is, is the companies that have come back for a

Brian:

second round of layoffs six weeks, eight weeks later, I think that tells me that

Brian:

they have no idea what they're doing.

Brian:

And I can't imagine people within those organizations having

Brian:

much faith in their leadership.

Brian:

I'm sorry, the economy has not, like, fundamentally, and the

Brian:

market has not fundamentally changed in six or eight weeks.

Brian:

That to me, it's hard to maintain credibility, I think as someone

Brian:

who, uh, has spent most of his career in the cubicle class,

Troy:

Right.

Troy:

But, but I would just challenge you on that, Brian.

Troy:

I think that, that, that smacks a bit of naivety.

Troy:

J

Brian:

oh, that's what you boss class always tell us in the cubicles.

Troy:

Well, but I just want you to understand how it goes.

Troy:

So what happens is you have a deteriorating financial position.

Troy:

Your pn l's not looking good, sales aren't coming in where you thought they were.

Troy:

You're like, holy shit, we're not gonna make our number.

Troy:

and, and I think, you know, largely speaking in big organizations, you're

Troy:

trained to, to bring the number in, and you sit down with your C F O and

Troy:

you map out all the savings you need, and how that translates into headcount.

Troy:

You say, let's rationalize against what the objective of, of, of

Troy:

the, you know, how we're gonna orient the business to the future.

Troy:

So we want to cut here and here, and here and here.

Troy:

Then you bring in the rest of the people into the co your management

Troy:

team, and you say you've got 20.

Troy:

, you gotta cut 67, you gotta cut 25.

Troy:

And you, you try to fairly and responsibly allocate those reductions

Troy:

to the people on your team.

Troy:

And the pressure inside is don't cut so much.

Troy:

Don't cut so much, don't cut so much.

Troy:

So you tend to look at your situation optimistically, and you then hope

Troy:

that, you know, sales are gonna materialize, blah, blah, blah.

Troy:

The economy's gonna get better.

Troy:

Or what, you know, people are gonna sell more advertising and it doesn't happen.

Troy:

And so yeah, that's a mistake.

Troy:

But in fairness to the big bosses as you like to kind of characterize them that are

Troy:

cold and don't ever fire their own and all themselves and all of that you, uh, you,

Brian:

all about different points of view.

Brian:

We got, we got, we got roles to play on this podcast.

Brian:

Troy,

Brian:

I I'm glad that you're embracing your role.

Troy:

Right.

Troy:

I, I don't, I don't this sometimes, uh, we need to look a little bit more

Troy:

empathetically and expansively at the problem set and, and so yeah, you maybe

Troy:

cut a few too few people and you do it because maybe just maybe you didn't want

Troy:

to so many people to lose their jobs.

Alex:

Yeah, but I mean, I'm kind of with Brian on this one.

Alex:

I think that's a good

Troy:

Yeah.

Alex:

I, think that's a good point, Troy.

Alex:

No, I mean, look, the, the, the one thing you need to do and keep telling

Alex:

yourself when you're doing a layoff is that it's hard, but you only want to

Alex:

do it once and, and the organization is going to push back, but you're gonna

Alex:

be really clear about your numbers.

Alex:

And six weeks feels like a really short time.

Alex:

And we've seen these kind of trailing

Troy:

weeks was an arbitrary number that Brian

Alex:

Well, well, but, but it's been happening, right?

Alex:

And then you see, you

Brian:

It wasn't, it wa There was, there was, it was, there's a specific example.

Brian:

I don't wanna mention them, but

Alex:

right, the, so there's, you have these trailing

Alex:

layouts that happen that makes.

Alex:

It hurts everyone more.

Alex:

I think in the end it makes leadership look like it's, you know, doesn't

Alex:

know what the fuck it's doing.

Alex:

And I think it can happen.

Alex:

Sure.

Alex:

But it really shouldn't,

Troy:

I have, uh, I have from a previous thing that I worked on, six, five or six

Troy:

laws of trade-offs that apply to this,

Brian:

oh

Troy:

that I think are worth revisiting Briefly, if you guys don't mind,

Alex:

Yeah.

Alex:

I think Brian's got 10 minutes, so let's go through them quickly.

Troy:

okay, well,

Brian:

yeah, there's somebody, there's somebody pacing outside my WeWork room.

Brian:

It's fine.

Brian:

You'll be.

Troy:

Obviously the larger and more complex the existing business, the

Troy:

harder it is to make trade-offs that under particularly the ones that

Troy:

risk undermining your core business.

Troy:

And that's the, the territory of classic disruption, right?

Troy:

Introduce someone, a competitor introduces a product or service that's hard for an

Troy:

incumbent to imitate because doing so will compromise their legacy franchise.

Troy:

So when it's core, when it's big, it's harder to do.

Troy:

Number two, trade-offs are more difficult to execute when the user base is heavily

Troy:

invest invested in the existing solution.

Troy:

So that's like the trade-off of changing Instagram that alienates the Kardashians.

Troy:

So any change that you have to make, which really, really affects

Troy:

a core part of the user community, particularly when they feel a deep

Troy:

sense of ownership in that product.

Troy:

Very, very hard, hard to do.

Troy:

The other is what I would call the crack pipe rule, and it's

Troy:

immediate cash is trade off crack.

Troy:

right?

Troy:

Once it touches your lips, it's hard to put down.

Troy:

And so what you do is you forget about the long term, like losing

Troy:

your teeth and your family and all the bad things that come with crack.

Troy:

So, you know, pure audience arb is an example, is fine if that's your game,

Troy:

but it never lasts, ever, ever lasts.

Troy:

And the, the trade off crack is like tabula, get it on your pages.

Troy:

It's impossible to ever get off, right?

Brian:

Autoplay video with sound.

Brian:

Give you another hit

Troy:

hit right gimme another hit of the crack pipe.

Troy:

I would say trade-offs are much more difficult to make

Troy:

in multi-variate scenarios.

Troy:

Like the advertising consumer example that I just gave, it's one, it's much easier

Troy:

when you have one constituency to please.

Troy:

And I would say, here's another one.

Troy:

If you really understand the value you offer a costume.

Troy:

You with me.

Troy:

If you really understand that value, then you can make good trade-offs

Troy:

because saying let's do both is an abdication of your responsibility.

Troy:

you'll never be great at anything.

Brian:

aren't all publishing businesses, like literally the multi-variate

Brian:

businesses in that, like who you're optimizing to is changing constantly.

Brian:

Sometimes you're optimizing to the audience if you wanna get subs.

Brian:

Sometimes you're optimizing to the advertiser.

Brian:

Like it sometimes you're optimizing to the

Brian:

platform.

Alex:

I think, that's the problem with media businesses, like

Alex:

that's why the products suck, man.

Alex:

I mean, I think that those were really first, Troy, those

Alex:

were really good, points,

Troy:

I had a sixth on, but,

Brian:

Oh

Alex:

oh, sorry.

Brian:

It's like a rule of five.

Brian:

It's like nature.

Troy:

well, this one, I was trying to understand what it meant.

Troy:

It said, your trade off

Brian:

Troy.

Brian:

It's trade offs.

Brian:

You gotta, you gotta make difficult decisions.

Brian:

So cut

Troy:

You, the logic is only as good as the behavioral mechanics that inform it.

Troy:

You're a pebble in the sea and,

Alex:

okay.

Brian:

Oh my God, this is a deep one.

Brian:

I would cut from the bottom.

Brian:

Cut that one.

Troy:

all right, all right, all right.

Troy:

I think that's, I think that's pretty close to you.

Troy:

You can't do both.

Alex:

Yeah, exactly.

Brian:

That was always the thing with with editing, because editing is a lot of like,

Brian:

you know, you just gotta make decisions.

Brian:

The writer basically outsources the decisions about what to take out.

Brian:

That's why like all like Cks and like mine particularly are too long because like

Brian:

nobody's making the decisions to cut shit.

Brian:

But it was always like, do, should we cut from the bottom was always like the

Brian:

laziest editor thing of like magazines.

Brian:

It's like, oh,

Troy:

you know what the, the aphorism in product management is

Troy:

what Alex Good, fast, and cheap

Troy:

pick.

Alex:

Yes, yes,

Troy:

That's

Troy:

the, the, the, the decision triangle of product management.

Troy:

You can have it good and fast.

Troy:

No.

Troy:

Can you have it good and fast?

Alex:

You can have it good and fast, or you can have it good and cheap, but you

Alex:

can't have it good and fast and cheap.

Alex:

Yeah.

Alex:

Although you know that.

Alex:

Yeah.

Alex:

You know, I

Brian:

can can you do good, slow and expensive?

Brian:

That's where I want to be.

Alex:

I mean, I think, look at Facebook, they've been spending billions of

Alex:

dollars over years on, and they still don't have a good metaverse.

Alex:

So I don't know.

Alex:

Depends on the scale, I guess.

Troy:

I, think that was good.

Troy:

Are we, are we want, is, are we reaching the ends of the

Alex:

Well, we are, but we need a good product,

Troy:

I, I'm looking forward to sharing this one with you, and

Troy:

it was informed by my weekend.

Troy:

And I, I, there's a bit of a buildup to this, so just be

Troy:

patient with me please.

Troy:

I'm, I'm interested in brands that are rooted in imperfection and I used to

Troy:

have this thing Jill would, Jillian, my wife, would say to me, she would always

Troy:

refer to my friends as the idiots.

Troy:

And cuz they're, they're, most of them are.

Troy:

As or more imperfect than I am.

Troy:

And so I love that expression and the word hadn't been outlawed.

Troy:

So I, I used to have these events called Idiot Weekend, and I would

Troy:

make schwag and we'd invite all the idiots and they were maybe like a cast

Troy:

of characters through my whole life.

Troy:

All of them deeply, deeply imperfect.

Troy:

And and so when I was young, I I had this idea that I would create

Troy:

a, a company called Negative Brands.

Troy:

And my first negative brand was called Disappointment tm.

Troy:

And I thought that it was the perfect kind of anecdote to

Troy:

everything that brands aspired.

Troy:

Like.

Troy:

It was the opposite of what brands aspired to be like.

Troy:

They represented this kind of fake imperfect or this fake perfection.

Troy:

And I love the idea of disappointment as a brand.

Troy:

Cuz you know, when you buy something, you ultimately, you're always disappointed.

Troy:

And so, anyway, that's where this whole thing started.

Troy:

And then this weekend I go to Buffalo.

Troy:

And I go to Buffalo because, because I like football a lot, but also

Troy:

because a friend of mine who, who I care about a lot convinced me that I

Troy:

had to, he's a massive Buffalo fan.

Troy:

I had to go to the game, the playoff game with him.

Troy:

And what I discovered is I discovered a lot of things.

Troy:

I discovered that the town of Buffalo is a beautiful place and everybody

Troy:

in that town is a football fan.

Troy:

And the funny thing of is what the brand of the Buffalo Bills does

Troy:

for them is the brand represents really sort of lovable losers.

Troy:

Like they've made it to four Super Bowls.

Troy:

They've never won, won.

Troy:

They always, if you drive into Buffalo, the sign below,

Troy:

welcome to Buffalo should read.

Troy:

There's always next year.

Troy:

Cuz they always seem to kind of fuck it up.

Troy:

And they, and there's this great community around the idea that, Of this brand

Troy:

of sorrow that is the Buffalo Bills.

Troy:

It is a really, the brand that's so important to this community.

Troy:

That's about, eh, we never quite get there.

Troy:

And I, and I love that.

Troy:

And it, it, it's, it's a great product because it brings

Troy:

people together, it's community.

Troy:

They share in their sorrow and it's this kind of, people

Troy:

love it that don't live there.

Troy:

There's a lot of Buffalo Bills fans that, that live all over the country, and it's

Troy:

a small market team and all that, but it's, there's this kind of loser dom

Troy:

to the brand that people kind of love.

Troy:

It's a catalyst for community.

Troy:

So, just a couple last things in Brian.

Troy:

I would invite your, your comments on this, but the, and, and Alex,

Troy:

so the one was, I was so concerned about the brand of Buffalo.

Troy:

I think that the bookies got the odds on the game all.

Troy:

Because, you know, Buffalo was meant to be the best team this

Troy:

year in the N F L, but my take is they're buffalo, they're losers.

Troy:

And so I bet heavily for the Bengals and that bet paid off and, and, and paid for

Troy:

a large part of my trip, fortunately.

Troy:

So I, I'm very happy about that.

Troy:

So I hedged, and then I was thinking, well, what are other brands that

Troy:

are like this kind of, that have this quality or characteristic?

Troy:

And some things came to mind.

Troy:

There are many in music, whether that's like, you know, losers, like the Sex

Troy:

Pistols that people love for that reason.

Troy:

Or in automotive there's, you know, the, I think the SOB brand was about that.

Troy:

It's kind of this quirky, weird, shitty car that everyone loved.

Troy:

Maybe

Alex:

I think that's a

Alex:

North American point of view.

Troy:

Yeah, , well, I'm gonna open it up to the floor right away.

Troy:

I think there's a lot of dogs that fit in this category, like short legs or pushed

Troy:

in the face, or they have no hair and you know, people like 'em for that reason.

Troy:

So, that's my product of the week.

Troy:

It's the Buffalo Bills.

Troy:

It's a great brand and it's a great brand just because it represents sorrow.

Brian:

Well, it's, authenticity, right?

Brian:

Do you know it's Wabi sabi?

Brian:

Do you know the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi sabi?

Brian:

It's rooted in imperfection and transients.

Troy:

God going to the gift shop, Brian, the gift shop there was like

Troy:

going to the gift shop at the Vatican.

Troy:

I mean, it was like people were crazed buying all this junk.

Brian:

I mean, I'm an Eagles fan.

Brian:

I, I understand this.

Brian:

The problem is, like I'm reminded of, of the Red Sox, like they used to be lovable

Brian:

losers and they actually called their team when they won the World Series.

Brian:

They were nicknamed The Idiots, you know, Johnny Damon.

Brian:

And all the, there were shaggy hair.

Brian:

The Yankees were, you couldn't have hair below the collar and no beards.

Brian:

And certainly no tattoos.

Brian:

I mean, these days you can have face tattoos, but th times have changed.

Brian:

The problem is like lovable losers end up, they don't stay that way

Brian:

ideally, unless they're Cleveland.

Brian:

And you know, Buffalo probably had the most talented team in the NFL

Brian:

this year, other than the Philadelphia Eagles who are gonna win the Super Bowl.

Brian:

So it's, I mean, I get it.

Troy:

You know what?

Troy:

I, I don't wanna make predictions, but they're not gonna win the Super Bowl.

Alex:

Oh God.

Alex:

This is turning into the

Troy:

the No, no, no.

Troy:

The 49ers are gonna win the Super Bowl.

Alex:

God,

Brian:

are you one of those people who like, who becomes like a football fan of

Brian:

like places you lived for like two years?

Troy:

Yes.

Brian:

Well, it's not as bad as the people who root for the cowboys.

Alex:

I think that's pretty honest though.

Alex:

I can't think of any brands that are like that, that aren't

Alex:

like people or, I don't know.

Brian:

Well, I think what people want in like brands typically is aspiration and

Brian:

they don't aspire to be losers, right?

Brian:

Like you always want, I think that's, but I think it, it works better when

Brian:

it's like personified to some degree.

Brian:

Like I don't, despite Wabisabi, I think most people don't want

Brian:

to pay a premium for shit.

Brian:

That's a little dinged up,

Alex:

I mean, there's, there's a couple of things.

Alex:

You know, imperfect foods was a good idea.

Alex:

You know, it's just like about delivering all these

Brian:

Oh, misfits.

Brian:

I used to get that.

Alex:

Yeah, yeah.

Alex:

and then,

Brian:

Some gnarly looking

Alex:

that, yeah, but they're, they're tasty.

Alex:

And, and I don't know, I think there's ironic brands, but not that many,

Alex:

that really embrace that imperfection

Brian:

Well, imperfection must offend you, right?

Alex:

I mean,

Troy:

Well, imperfection works as a brand idea when you can see yourself

Troy:

in it, and when the community that forms around the brand is about healing

Troy:

because of that imperfection, right?

Troy:

So

Alex:

You, you know, I'm gonna say I think we like in imperfection,

Alex:

because we like the underdog as well, and sometimes it feels like that,

Alex:

you know, we root for the underdog.

Alex:

And I think in the beginning, Elon and Tesla was kind of

Alex:

one of those brands where he

Brian:

my god, I didn't see this coming.

Brian:

I like it.

Alex:

I think that in the beginning people were kind of rooting.

Alex:

Yeah, okay.

Alex:

Sometimes the doors don't close, but all right, cars are late.

Alex:

And he would tweet like, oh, we're about to shut down.

Alex:

Or, I'm sitting, on the floor.

Alex:

kind of, you know, responding to people when they were saying shit

Alex:

was broken on their cars and he was tweeting at them and it felt genuine

Alex:

that he, you like, you were kind of participating in this experiment with him.

Alex:

And I think it actually, it's funny because it's such a kind

Alex:

of, Polished product, but at the same time, you felt, there was

Alex:

trust between you and the producer.

Alex:

At least in the beginning I felt.

Alex:

So maybe that's a brand that fit that in the beginning.

Alex:

I don't

Alex:

know.

Alex:

Spicy take.

Alex:

I know.

Troy:

I, have a bad product from the.

Troy:

I was with my, my friend brought his son and he's like really into

Troy:

gear and how things work and you know, home electronics and all that.

Troy:

And we got to the hotel and the shower.

Troy:

It was a moan shower in the hotel room and it was like a human car wash.

Troy:

It had seven heads and an electronic, uh, flat screen controller.

Troy:

And I couldn't figure out how to turn on the shower in a way

Troy:

so I could just have a shower.

Troy:

And it had all these incomprehensible digital controls.

Troy:

And so, my friend's son had to kind of show me how to turn the

Troy:

shower on, which is really felt like a vision of the future.

Troy:

And then he turned on, they had mood lighting so you could do calm.

Troy:

I don't know, whatever, calm or like, agitated or whatever.

Troy:

And so he turned on the pink lights.

Troy:

He's like, look at this.

Troy:

We can turn on pink lights in here, and I can make aroma.

Troy:

Uh, there's a, there's a steam setting that will shoot out,

Troy:

like eucalyptus or whatever.

Troy:

And I couldn't figure out that evening how to turn the light off,

Troy:

which made me feel terribly old.

Troy:

Had to leave the light on in the shower Anyway.

Brian:

is a problem of hotel rooms, that this just goes into the travel thing.

Brian:

And I, I love the travel thing because they're overly complicated and they

Brian:

need to be simplified greatly because it's very stressful to not know how

Brian:

to like, put down the blinds or turn off the lights and stuff like this.

Brian:

And my view is like hotel rooms in general, because people are an unfamiliar

Brian:

place, should really think about when they're making their decisions.

Brian:

What can we take out rather than what can we add?

Brian:

I was.

Brian:

In a hotel in Miami in December and there was a pool DJ button

Brian:

that was available to me.

Brian:

I don't know what, what, what it did exactly and nobody, I asked people at

Brian:

the hotel, they couldn't actually explain to me why, what the pool DJ button is.

Brian:

But I think this is an affliction of all hotels

Alex:

I think anybody that, yeah, I mean, this is near and dear to me.

Alex:

Uh, hotel rooms are often designed by someone who's obviously

Alex:

never slept in one of them.

Alex:

So you can't charge your phone somewhere practical or the, or, or you

Alex:

pick a shower that requires a manual.

Alex:

But also like I think to all the other designers, this is a message.

Alex:

Industrial designers working on faucets, showers, just fucking stop.

Alex:

there's a way that everybody understands where you can go hot or cold and turn

Alex:

a thing on or off or send it to the shower, to the, you know, whatever, like

Alex:

baseline, all of the shit should work.

Alex:

I don't understand why we still have usability issues with showers.

Alex:

That's crazy.

Troy:

this one had, iPad hammered to the desk and you could control everything in

Troy:

the rooms, drapes, lighting, all of that.

Troy:

If you, if you were diligent, there's no way that my mother could have ever

Troy:

figured out how to turn the lights on.

Troy:

And, but the issue with the shower subsystem is it wasn't connected to

Troy:

the main iPad system, so the lights in the shower could not be turned

Troy:

off with the great big iPad that was

Troy:

controlling The.

Troy:

rest of The, room.

Alex:

Troy knows that I'm very much into technology and gear.

Alex:

My home is what you would call a smart home, right?

Alex:

All my lights are smart, but the rule here is that everything I can do needs

Alex:

to be available via a real button on a wall that somebody's gonna switch,

Alex:

because I never want to get the phone call if somebody's staying over.

Alex:

How do I turn off the lights?

Alex:

How do I turn on the tv?

Alex:

That

Alex:

stuff is

Troy:

Al.

Troy:

Al.

Troy:

Alex.

Troy:

Watch this.

Troy:

Guys.

Troy:

Watch this.

Troy:

Okay.

Troy:

Google turn off Garden.

Troy:

You see that

Alex:

That's great.

Alex:

Podcasting.

Alex:

Yeah.

Alex:

The lights went slightly dimmer on Troy's face.

Alex:

Uh, for all the

Alex:

listeners, it was, we, we wish you were here with

Alex:

us to

Alex:

experience

Troy:

turn on Garden.

Brian:

Very, very exciting.

Brian:

But we could do the, we could do a whole episode on, on the

Brian:

hotel room usability crisis.

Brian:

That's, that's out there.

Brian:

It doesn't get enough attention out there, but I think as someone who wants to start

Brian:

a brand called The View from Premium Economy, I, I would love to discuss this.

Troy:

Yeah.

Troy:

Or the brand I think we should look into starting is disappointment.

Brian:

disappointment, What?

Brian:

What's

Alex:

tm.

Troy:

Yeah.

Troy:

It's just a brand.

Troy:

It's called disappointment.

Troy:

I

Alex:

a brand,

Troy:

on a t-shirt.

Alex:

it's t-shirts and when you order them, they're always slightly too small.

Brian:

All right.

Brian:

On that note, guys, it was fun as always.

Alex:

wrap us up.

Brian:

what do I usually say at the end?

Brian:

All right, that's all we have this week.

Brian:

we'll be back next week with a new episode.

Brian:

Again, do please rate and review the podcast.

Brian:

Helps our ego, helps people discover it.

Brian:

always like to hear from people.

Brian:

My, my email's, b marcy@therebooting.com.

Alex:

Troy, do you wanna say something to the audience?

Troy:

no, I just think that they should appreciate that we're trying

Troy:

to create a smugness free zone

Brian:

You're really obsessed with the smugness.

Brian:

I didn't think that we were smug.

Alex:

No, he's not saying we're smug.

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