Chris Snyder is the Founder of Banks.com, a firm that helps people get a better understanding of their financials, and he is also the President of Juhll Digital Agency, a full-service digital consulting agency that helps select businesses grow their sales online by up to 50% year on year.
Chris is an entrepreneur, digital marketer, and the host of Snyder Showdown, a podcast where he discusses the happenings in the world of digital advertising, with stories from the trenches about what’s working and what’s not.
—-Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Chris talks about his early days as an entrepreneur and how it was like running his first remote team
- The challenges and cost of working from a physical office
- Why it is important for businesses to have an on-site and remote working model
- How the COVID-19 crisis is going to impact the future of work
- The challenges to expect from working remotely and how to tackle them.
- The tools that Chris uses to effectively manage a remote team
- Why it pays for the best of breed tools for your remote team
- Why time tracking and monitoring can be helpful for remote companies
- The importance of figuring out how to use remote tools the right way to create the proper workflow
- What to look out for when hiring an employee to join your remote team
- Chris explains his hiring process and how it helps him choose the right people for his team
- The work opportunities at Juhll and what Chris is looking for when he hires talent
In this episode…
Working with a remote team is becoming the norm these days especially with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that’s forcing businesses to close their offices and manage their teams remotely. But companies are still adamant about the idea of embracing remote work because they fear that they won’t be able to see the same level of productivity and dedication as they would from a team who are working with them in a physical office.
The truth is, there are a lot of best breed tools that can help companies mobilize a remote team just as effectively, if not more so, than a team that’s working together in a physical office. And according to Chris Snyder, founder of Juhll Digital Agency, using the right tools can help you maximize the full potential of having a remote team working for you.
Join Dr. Jeremy Weisz on this episode of InspiredInsider where he talks to Chris about the benefits of working with a remote team and how to make the team efficient and effective. They also discuss how to find the best talent for your remote team, why productivity monitoring tools aren’t a threat, and some of the common challenges to expect from this kind of set up and how to tackle them. Stay tuned.
Resources Mentioned on this episode
- Juhll Digital Consulting
- Chris Snyder LinkedIn
- Email Chris:[email protected]
- Snyder Showdown
- Jira Software
Rise25’s mission is to connect you with your best referral partners and customers. We connect you with strategic partnerships through our done for you podcast solution which is the best thing I have done for my business. Our Done for you Podcast service – We help your company completely run and launch your own podcast and make sure you get ROI from it. We distribute your show across more than 11 different channels (spotify, google play, itunes, and many more) including a dedicated blog post and social media. You simply show up and talk and we do everything else. Our team has been working with podcasters since 2009. I personally credit podcasting as the single best thing I have done for my business and my life. It has allowed me to connect with the founders/ceo’s of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, and many more. Besides making best friends and finding my business partner, podcasting has led to relationships with countless customers and referral partners. The most important piece that most are missing is the right strategy and we make sure our clients get ROI so it becomes one of the most valuable parts of your strategic partnerships. Since this requires a lot of humans (we have operations, developers, writers, audio editors, video editors) to do the work we have limited bandwidth and only want to work with the right company. If using a podcast for strategic partnerships, content marketing, and increasing clients and referrals sounds interesting to you go to www.Rise25.com and contact us or email support (at) rise25.com. If your company wants to attract and connect with your highest level customers and referral partners then you can learn more and contact us to find out if your company qualifies at Rise25.com. For larger conferences and software companies we have done an onsite podcast booth and created a years worth of content in just a few days. So if you are holding an event or your company will be having a booth at an event let us know. Check out Rise25.com and also some see some examples of our VIP Events below. Our Done for you VIP Events – We do live in-person VIP Days and receptions. These are 100% outsourced VIP days for software companies and conference organizers so we can help you serve your highest level customers. It may or may not involve Elvis costumes – See video Rise25 VIP Days have a proven track record of helping companies to get more referrals, increase retention with their VIP customers, and get more engaged new customers without adding extra work to that company’s plate. Rise25 has hosted VIP events in cities such as Austin, Chicago, Santa Barbara, San Diego, New York, Sonoma, and Las Vegas to name a few.
Sponsor for this episode
Rise25’s mission is to connect you with your best referral partners and customers.
We connect you with strategic partnerships through our done for you podcast solution which is the best thing I have done for my business.
Our Done for you Podcast service – We help your company completely run and launch your own podcast and make sure you get ROI from it.
We distribute your show across more than 11 different channels (spotify, google play, itunes, and many more) including a dedicated blog post and social media. You simply show up and talk and we do everything else. Our team has been working with podcasters since 2009. I personally credit podcasting as the single best thing I have done for my business and my life. It has allowed me to connect with the founders/ceo’s of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, and many more. Besides making best friends and finding my business partner, podcasting has led to relationships with countless customers and referral partners.
The most important piece that most are missing is the right strategy and we make sure our clients get ROI so it becomes one of the most valuable parts of your strategic partnerships.
Since this requires a lot of humans (we have operations, developers, writers, audio editors, video editors) to do the work we have limited bandwidth and only want to work with the right company. If using a podcast for strategic partnerships, content marketing, and increasing clients and referrals sounds interesting to you go to www.Rise25.com and contact us or email support (at) rise25.com.
If your company wants to attract and connect with your highest level customers and referral partners then you can learn more and contact us to find out if your company qualifies at Rise25.com.
For larger conferences and software companies we have done an onsite podcast booth and created a years worth of content in just a few days. So if you are holding an event or your company will be having a booth at an event let us know. Check out Rise25.com and also some see some examples of our VIP Events below.
Our Done for you VIP Events – We do live in-person VIP Days and receptions. These are 100% outsourced VIP days for software companies and conference organizers so we can help you serve your highest level customers. It may or may not involve Elvis costumes – See video
Rise25 VIP Days have a proven track record of helping companies to get more referrals, increase retention with their VIP customers, and get more engaged new customers without adding extra work to that company’s plate.
Rise25 has hosted VIP events in cities such as Austin, Chicago, Santa Barbara, San Diego, New York, Sonoma, and Las Vegas to name a few.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy wise here founder inspired, inspired calm where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders like the founders of p90x Tony Horton, Baby Einstein founder, Toby Clark, Atari founder and many, many more and how they overcome big challenges in life in business. Today’s episode I’m gonna, this is gonna be a little bit different episode Actually, today. I had an amazing entrepreneur, and he actually invited me to interview him for his podcast and it was so good. I said, Can you please let me release this on mine. Today’s episode is brought to you by Rise25, which I co founded with my business partner, john Corcoran at Rice Tony We help b2b businesses connect their dream 100 clients and referral partners and we help you run your podcast so generates ROI. You know as people listen, if you listen to this before podcasting is much more personal to me and it was inspired by my grandfather who was a Holocaust survivor and him and his brother were concentration camps in Nazi Germany were the only members to survive but his legacy lives on because the whole cost foundation did an interview with him which you can watch on my about page. So yes, podcasting will help your business it’s been the best thing for my business in my life in general, but it helps you and your guests leave a legacy. So if you have questions, I believe in any business should have a podcast so if you have questions, you can email support at Rise25 Media calm or learn more go to Rise25 calm john and i made a video and we even left in the outtakes so now check out today’s episode
Chris Snyder 1:54
Chris Snyder here host of Snyder showdown president at jewel digital agency. and founder of banks calm. on this show, I talk with top leaders in the financial services and b2b software space about what’s working and what’s not with their growth programs. Today, I have Jeremy Weiss here who has done literally thousands of these interviews with successful entrepreneurs, investors and CEOs. And we turn the microphone around. And today he’s going to be interviewing me,
Jeremy Weisz 2:26
Chris, thank you for having me. And I am super excited about this conversation because we’re going to be talking about the key considerations for managing remote teams. And you know, this is where everything’s shifting right with the gig economy remote teams. This is a must to know about. But first I want to talk just tell you this episode is brought to you by Joel and Chris mentioned, their full service digital marketing consultancy. That’s over 20 years of experience helping your business grow sales online, they’ve helped most of their clients grow more than 50% year over year and the quick disclaimer with that, Chris is the reason you can do that is because you’re very choosy, you don’t, you’re not a fit for everyone you don’t choose to work with everyone because you only work with companies that are doing 50 million in top line revenue that have marketing or more and that marketing budgets of 2 million or more and you build their team from the ground up and the kicker is you even will transition to their in house marketers so you get you know, basically it will take over your job once you do all the heavy lifting now, I advise and I think I’d still want Chris to be on board helping managing things but you know, if not, they build the strategy your team and give it to you. So go to jewel calm jhll.com you can email Chris personally, Chris at jewel, j u h Ll calm. Chris, tell me about you’ve been doing this for years and years and years
Chris Snyder 3:48
of remote teams. Yeah, yeah. So let me let me try to carve. Let me try to peel back the onion a little bit.
I’ll shoot from the hip. do my best to describe the key areas and stay on track with the key areas. And then also give you a little bit of my history as well. So I didn’t even really think about it until actually exactly right now, before I was an entrepreneur, which happened in 2008. I also been a business development in enterprise salesperson for most of my adult life, right. So, back in the day, you know, I remember the first time I convinced my company to allow me to work as a sales guy in my territory. Because the travel was was like killing me. Right? So enterprise sales guy I had the the mountain states, states like Idaho and Utah and Colorado in Wyoming. In Nevada, and I had a patch of clients in there. And I was flying from Los Angeles, literally, I leave on Monday. And I would make this route, you know, Monday through Thursday, and I would come home on Thursday or Friday. And I literally was flying domestically. And I’m not talking trips to New York and France, I’m talking trips that would take, you know, between an hour or two, that I was I was literally flying like 60 segments a year, and I was putting over 100,000 miles on united. And I finally just got to a point where I was like, Well, Jesus, if I could at least live in one of the states that I represent, or at least get closer to the action, then my life would probably be better. I would be more productive, my life would be better. You know, back then they had this thing called Lotus Notes. I could connect to it. It was like connect to the server. I could send all my stuff through those notes. So, at the end of the day, you know, I’ve been I’ve actually been working remote for probably 20 years, right? Just we’ve never as a society classified it that way. And there’s been a very small group of folks, I think, that have lived that life. I think it probably started with the sales people. And I think it’s, you know, more emphasized into knowledge workers in general. But it’s only morphed into knowledge workers in general for specific industries. And then within those specific industries, I also think there’s geographies based on culture, dynamics, that and also unique and individual leadership teams that would eat that are even progressive enough to understand that people don’t need to come to the office to be productive. And just because they’re working remote does not mean they’re not working. We had to figure out okay, now fast forward to 2008 when the when the last crisis happened. You know, my my business partner and I are running an agency. And if you’re, if you’re undercapitalized company, doing knowledge work, it doesn’t, it doesn’t really enter into your mind. Because by the way they didn’t have we work back in 2008. It doesn’t really enter into your mind that you need to go spend thousands of dollars a month on a commercial office, lease situation. You have to buy phones, you have to buy computers like towers that need to sit in there, right you need to buy VPN software, you have to have servers and back then the servers were on premise there was no such thing as AWS the the The economic outlay for working in an office. Actually the cost to us back then and probably a lot of folks that that, you know, hopefully this podcast resonates. It simply doesn’t make sense nor was it even an option because I’m not going to spend five or six or seven or $10,000 a month because I didn’t have the money and I didn’t want to, I needed to spend that money on people that could actually deliver and then I had to figure out at one point, we had people coming into our home literally had a key to our home and they were walking through my kitchen in my living room. And then they were walking upstairs to me for one of my four bedrooms, which was converted into office space they were in my house most people
Jeremy Weisz 8:52
I think that’s how I used to chat fact check me but Craigslist, they I think about a house and just had people work out of that? Some Victorian house? Yeah, that’s a billion-dollar company. Yeah,
Chris Snyder 9:06
yeah. And so I think it’s evolved over time. But have you
Jeremy Weisz 9:10
had the original co-working space? Yes, exactly.
Chris Snyder 9:13
Ah, I should have capitalized. We worked with her. We were, I should have capitalized on that. Um, so so this is how we began the journey. And then, of course, mentally, psychologically, in order to graduate and be real grown ups in real business people, we had to get an office. I mean, a boat anchor. I mean, an office sorry. We too, had to act like bazillion dollar companies and provide free coffee and a water cooler with filtered water and potentially even pay for people’s snacks. take people out for happy hours, right? These are Back then in still today, again, getting back to your geography getting back to your vertical getting back to what you do and how you do it and the DNA and culture of your teams and your leadership. today that is a company. That’s a company for probably, you know, at least 90% of Americans, right. Um, but that’s shifting. And, you know, now, because you’ve probably done some office work, I don’t know, I’m making an assumption, but I’ve worked in offices, and I can tell you for sure, right now. There’s a lot of people there that I couldn’t stand being around. There was a lot of people there that would interrupt me and waste my time. Given that I traveled a lot Anyway, what was the point of showing my face in the office? Well, the psychology behind showing your face in the offices because well, everyone else is there. If Chris isn’t there, clearly, he’s not working clearly. He’s not working, even though I’m hitting my numbers, right? So you go through the gyration. You know, you get in your car, and you drive from Malibu to Santa Monica. You spend an hour in your car, right? And then you work until 6pm. And then you spend an hour and a half in your car and you drive back to Malibu and you get home at eight o’clock at night. So you leave the house at 7am you get home at eight o’clock at night, right? So, as I’m talking about it right now, I’m kind of doing this off the cuff. And I’m really thinking through the problem. We solved this problem years ago. And because we had to be because it’s our company, and I think we were smart enough to know a long time ago that this isn’t real work. And I can tell you about our experiences too with office spaces. We graduated to the coffee machines, the snacks and we graduated from 1200 square feet to 2500 square feet to 3900 square feet in total. thousand dollars a month in a three year commercial real estate lease that, you know, we’re on the hook for a million dollars with 30 employees that are coming from all kinds of places in LA that that needed the ping pong tables and they needed the pool tables, which Oh, by the way, they never used and got to have the snacks and got to have the team meetings and we made it. We made it for so so I’m not coming from a position of not ever having all of that I get it. But what I didn’t see and I see now and what I hope that your audience will hear is given current circumstances in our environment, right regardless of you know, internet, International Labor, right or international talent. They can’t come to your office, you’re not going to hire them. They’re not going to fly here. They’re not going to get home here. They’re not going to be here. So that’s a key consideration because cost has a big factor in geography and who you can hire especially in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, you’re in one of those big markets. Miami, you know I can just make a list of all the places that I would never set up shop to hire labor anymore. And by the way, I went to school in South Dakota. I think there’s a lot of talent there that’s very affordable and we align with our with our values and our value system is important. I’m not moving my family in South Dakota to set up an office in South Dakota it does not make sense right. So okay, I’ve taken you through my experience and hopefully I’ve insinuated
[continued on page 2]
Jeremy Weisz 13:50
soulmate Chris souls. Yeah, if I gonna void it, you know, there’s some professions that can’t like if you are a dentist or something, but you know, Yeah, there’s a lot of professionals that can so I’m sold on going, if not more remote, all remote potentially.
Chris Snyder 14:09
Yeah, all remote if you’re a knowledge worker, if and here’s the other thing you know, my wife says this all the time, everything is always both. I think she bought the URL. Not kidding. I think we own the URL, everything is always both. And if you approach me by that, I mean that some people get stuck in this way of thinking that basically states it’s either a one or a zero, it’s binary. You either work remote, or you don’t work remote. Well, that’s bullshit because you have multiple people working remote and you have multiple people that have to work in the warehouse, because there’s stuff that needs to be done.
You’re either 100% remote or you’re 100% in the office.
Know, you and we frequently did this. People that had long commutes more than an hour, we would say why don’t you come in on Fridays because traffic is a little lighter. Come in for a few hours. Make some eye contact with the team, be a human being. go to lunch with us. Right? If you care to if you don’t, you don’t have to. You like, but it’s not 100% remote or not 100% remote, right? Everything is always both you can do both. Right. So don’t be stubborn. Like think outside the box. Think about, think about how to make it work. Don’t think about how to crush it. Meaning spoil it or mash it up into pieces that don’t make sense or, or break the nice set of Legos like what don’t do that. There’s a there’s a nice set of Legos here that have clear instructions. I have the instructions. I have the keys. I have the unlock code because I’ve spent um since 2008 running a company like that. And even before that I spent my own time figuring out the discipline in the tactics and the strategy. In the mindset around being accountable for myself. I don’t need to go to an office and sit in a chair and have the Vice President of whatever walk by look at my computer screen to make sure I’m tippy tapping on it and working. We’ve changed we fundamentally changed. And it took a while, right? And since it took a while people kind of got bored with it, they ignored it. It’s never been top of mind. And what’s going to happen with this shift is they’re going to wake up one day, like we see a little bit more recently. And they’re going to have the Oh fuck moment when no one can come to work for two or three weeks. Now, look, if you’re a leader that has never considered this and you’ve never even tried Write it. And I’ve talked to a lot of people by the way over the course of the last couple of weeks, I am shocked at the ignorance and the bliss in the lack of trying, in the stubbornness around evolving in testing through this process with remote teams. Now, I’m sure people are forced to. They’re forced, they have no choice. And I believe this shift will fundamentally change how knowledge work is done for ever. But there’s a couple ways that can go, right. There’s two sides of this line. If you’re an employee, or if you want to be a remote worker, and you want to have some of your life back and you want to have some of your productivity back, now’s the time to not fuck it up. Here’s what I mean by that. We’re going to go through some tools, we’re going to go through some business process. Today, we’re going to talk about my experiences, because I can do this all day long, because I’ve done it. But if you’re a knowledge worker, and you’re getting the opportunity, it is an opportunity. This is not an entitlement, this is an opportunity. This is for people that understand that they have a job to do, and they got to do it. And it’s not about the hours that you put in, it’s about your effort, and it’s about your results. But if you’re one of those people now working remote and you’re taking advantage of this Shame on you, shame on you, you shouldn’t be Now is your time to shine. And you should be doing the work that you should have been doing in the office. And you could be doing the work at least three times better, because you have limited distractions. You have the autonomy to do whatever you want. However, you want to do it without someone breathing down your neck. So if you’re not doing a good job, shame on you, because this is a shift and if anybody And the planet wants to make this shift happen for yourselves and your families and get some of your time back and actually be more productive than you’ve ever been in your life. You better do the job, right? You better figure out this remote strategy for yourself, do it for yourself and do it for your family. Don’t take advantage of this opportunity right now. So that’s if you so the one side of that line is taking advantage of the situation and you’re going to wind up on the wrong side of the line. The other side of the line, which I’m hopeful for, and I think will happen is the big productivity when we’re going to see out of this now of course, the reason why we’re forced into the shift is because of extenuating circumstances which no one could control. But I’m
It was a trigger for something that needed to happen for a long time. Right? If we get on the right side of this evolution, which feels like it’s a flashpoint, but it’s actually been happening for 20 years, but it feels like it’s a flashpoint. It’s been evolving, but it’s been slow. So it’s been dull and boring. So it hasn’t been exciting. So no one’s paid attention to it, people only pay attention to stuff that moves quickly explodes right in front of their face, right? Because a lot of people are either fear based or they’re opportunistic, and they have to see it right when it happens. But the other side of that line is an increase in productivity. increase in overall happiness because you’re spending more time with your family in a decrease in anxiety because you’re not banging your head in your steering wheel because some jerk cut you off. Right now You’re spilling coffee on yourself and you’re on the 405 treat right the the benefits of this arrangement are are on the right side of that line. The benefits of this arrangement far outweigh the potential fears around. Are my employees working? Are my remote workers working? Am I getting what I want out of them?
Chris Snyder 21:16
Does that make sense?
Jeremy Weisz 21:17
Yeah, totally in. So I know you mentioned tools, maybe talk about some tools, people should use them. We could talk about some of the business process about managing the remote teams. What are the tools? Yeah,
Chris Snyder 21:29
yeah, of course. Let me people love the tools. Yes. I’ve talked a little bit of the psychology and the overall kind of market and how we got here.
Chris Snyder 21:44
Clearly, I’m pretty adamant that this is the right way to go. If you’re in the right space and you’re the right person and you’re the right firm and you’re progressive enough to make this happen. You will beat all of your competitors you will beat them bloody because you will save money, you will have happier people. You will move faster, your life will be better your company will be better Your life will be better your employees’ life will be better, everyone will be happy. I promise you, if you do it right, that you can fuck it up, right?
Chris Snyder 22:17
no pressure. Um, so let me just run you through a list of tools, communication.
You can use, you know, Gmail, we use Office 365. Right. That’s a whole package. Right? video. We use zoom. We do not use Go To Meeting. goto meeting. I will never endorse your product. It’s awful. Instant chat, we use slack. Okay, we decided strategically to use best of breed tools for each communication or project management or resources in resourcing and time tracking mechanism, we use best of breed tools, and we aggregate them all. You could go with something like Microsoft Teams, which is relatively new, it keeps popping up on my desktop, and I keep trying to make it go away, right? Because I don’t even want to look at it. I think Microsoft has tried on a on a number of occasions and good for them. That’s what they should be doing for their shareholders. They should be trying to create the god package, which is what I’m going to read for you, which I don’t believe any single vendor can do, nor should they try to do because you can’t be best of breed at everything, you wind up doing everything at a mediocre level. And people, customers and consumers nowadays, if you have a mediocre product, you’re toast, you’re toast, so don’t even try to do something. Unless it’s best to breed. It’s very specific, and it fits well within your core competency. So that’s the communication aspect of it. We’re on zoom right? Now on zoom video, I’ve got a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge in my background. I can switch it to a ski resort. I can switch it to me in outer space, I can switch it to me in the Bahamas, I can switch it to me in New York City, I can switch it to me standing in front of the statue, Statue of Liberty or being these are neat novelty little communication tricks that allow you to be there that allows people to release a little bit that allows your communication to enter the neocortex. Right. So project management, cloud file management, we use box, right? Some people use Dropbox. We’ve been using a box for 10 years and the only reason we ever selected box is because we used to produce flash as an agency flash banner ads. No other emulator was able to play those files natively inside of That folder right?
Jeremy Weisz 25:02
So yeah you don’t want someone having to download it to their computer than playing it you want somebody on natively play it Yeah,
Chris Snyder 25:08
yeah and then that makes box is really evolved in since then they become a publicly held company. I believe they’re like best of breed, we they do a great job now a lot of that stuff has been commoditized a lot of people use Google Drive now which I don’t like I don’t feel like the I feel like the sharing and the safety and the security around that with workflow, not the product itself. But with workflow can get a little unwieldy and you might be sharing a little bit too much too many people get access. So we have clients that have you know, we’ve signed data and sharing agreements like our shit has to be on lockdown, not floating around on the interwebs right? Yeah. Project and task management best of the best best of breed no matter what don’t argue with me about this is JIRA, JIRA, in JIRA again, they have done a great job, especially evolving for marketing folks. They’ve created a whole stack for marketing teams. I know you’ve got some noise with Trello and Asana and you’ve got, there’s so many arrows on Asana also bought them off them recently. But you can get tangled up on this stuff. And the thing that I the thing that I warn people about the most, you can go out and you can be death by tool, right? They’re like shiny objects, and we all love them. I love them too, requires a lot of self discipline to not go out and just think that you’re going to push a button, and all of a sudden your team is going to be productive. No one’s ever going to drop a customer email. You’re always going to stay on time and on budget, but like it’s, it’s bullshit. I’ve used every project management system on the planet expensive free Basecamp By the way, I love those guys. The Basecamp guys, they’ve been working remote for 20 years as well. They built the whole company remote. You know, go check those guys out as well not the actual product but the leadership
Jeremy Weisz 27:04
37 signals. It’s actually based in Chicago.
Chris Snyder 27:07
Yeah. 37 signals. I love those guys. They’re there. I feel like their value align with with some of the things that I’m saying. I’ve heard them speak about this stuff, too. So if you want another credible source, don’t take my word for it go somewhere else. Like I’m talking market right now. I’m not talking about us. Yeah, yeah. Um, so, project documentation, Confluence, also JIRA product, okay. And then the inception of where things come off the rails, we’re still heavy into email all of us are, but the inception of where project management systems come off the rails is when someone sends you an email because you can’t make other people do what you do and fit within your process. Buyers buy how they’re going to buy, right, that’s it. companies operate, how they’re gonna operate. That’s it. I’m not going to go to master card, I’m not going to go to ADP. I’m not going to go to a large company a minute, middle sized company or a small company and require them to follow the jewel process like, like you got to be an idiot to think that’s going to happen. Right. So getting back to the JIRA plugin, there’s a company that produced the JIRA plugin for Outlook. It’s amazing. someone sends you an email, you go up to the top of your Outlook, you push this button, it takes the email and it creates a task, a ticket, or a milestone. And boom, you’re there now immediately in JIRA, and you can start tracking project status right there. That’s for support email. Yeah, support like all of our clients are in JIRA. Right. So we used to have other systems for this, but I move like we moved everyone into best of breed software tools in JIRA for pretty Project Management. And when we started using it, it was primarily for developers. So we even hacked it in forced our marketing folks to use JIRA before it was really that great for marketing folks.
Jeremy Weisz 29:13
Yeah, most people are using it for just heavy software development type of stuff, right?
Chris Snyder 29:17
Yeah, yeah, I’ve even I’ve even if I had a little bit more free time, I’ve even started thinking about how we get the get software development tool involved in our, our delivery of marketing assets, and that is possible as well. So I’m always and I think this is an important comment about tools. Please do me a favor. I know this is hard for you startups. But if you’re a halfway mature and stable business, and you can afford to pay for best of breed, please do it. Don’t take a flyer on a software company that’s trying to figure shit out. It just doesn’t do it. Just get JIRA. Get calm. influence and walk away right? It base camp get campfire get you know get those guys have been around for 20 years, they’re not going to fuck it up they’re not going anywhere you get hooked into the shiny object stuff we’re an LP and AI processor that sends a note to the thing and answers the questions without anyone doing anything and you’re off to the races like Dude, that company is going to be out of business in two years. Two years they’ll be out of business and now you’re fucked because you spent all your time all your effort creating business process, onboarding employees getting accustomed to the tool and now you’re fucked. Right. So my recommendation is go best of breed. That’s kind of our strategy. password and login management. Okay, seriously, this is not revolutionary stuff. We use LastPass I know there’s I love LastPass there are companies out there like one login. So Jeremy, you and I work together you’re like, Hey, can I get access to all your systems it happened in about 38 seconds. About 38 seconds. Sure, whoop, gone. There’s reporting around it, we understand who has access to it. If you’re being a jerk, or you mess it up or shut you off, immediately done. This is not these are not scary things going remote is not a scary thing. If you know what you’re doing, then you’ve suffered through all the traps. You know how to manage and control this so you feel safe and you lose fear around giving people access to systems, potentially sensitive systems when they’re remote.
Jeremy Weisz 31:34
Right any other Chris real quick back to the support, email any other helpdesk solutions that you see as credible? Like if they don’t use Outlook in JIRA
Chris Snyder 31:44
zenefits. And JIRA actually has a plug in called JIRA helpdesk. Hmm. I’ve explored it’s too much for us in our size. But if you want to stay within the JIRA family they do have their own helpdesk solution.
Jeremy Weisz 32:05
Because I hear like you said def BI tools like you hear of, like Freshdesk and you hear of a couple I’m blanking on but there’s so many out there that you can you know, go deep in Zendesk Freshdesk like all these ones, so
Chris Snyder 32:24
there’s a million and here’s the problem. It’s honestly guys, they’re all hammers, they’re all hammers, you’re hitting the same goddamn nail. Everyone does it a little bit differently, right. So you got you to know, fiberglass handled hammers, you got one to handle the hammers you got like, it’s all a hammer. They’re hitting the exact same 16 Penny nail driving the same two by four plank into the same trust like, we should not be having a conversation about commodity products. You should just order best of breed because you know they’re going to evolve You should leverage the best of breed companies process and how they’ve instrumented the software. Because then you don’t have to worry about breaking their software because you’re trying to do something unique because you think you’re unique. You’re not unique. There are no unique businesses. I’m sorry to say this to you out loud. You’re not unique. Your kids aren’t unique, your car’s not unique. The, the toilet paper you use is not unique. Your shirts aren’t unique. Your software is not unique. Your business case is not unique. You’re not unique, right? So use the software the way it was intended. Don’t hack it, do this crawl, walk, run. And if you really, really, really need to innovate something after six months of using the software, you know, feel free to innovate it but it’s usually a bad idea. evolve your business process around some of these more robust tools, right, not in all cases, but in most,
Jeremy Weisz 33:58
right so sorry. You said LastPass, what was the next?
Chris Snyder 34:02
Yeah, LastPass. And we Single Sign-On SSO. That’s a pretty robust tool. Sometimes that tool goes on-premise. It’s five or $6,000 a year to start like we’ve used stuff like that as well. They’re expensive. When we had an office, we used it. But look, there’s a couple best of breed tools, just please use them. Right? resourcing, and time tracking and monitoring. Now, the last word, the last two words, time tracking and monitoring. God forbid, that you should expect for your employer or the person providing the stipend for you to work on stuff. God forbid that you you would expect to give them the necessary time that they feel like they’re paying for, or at least the necessary outcomes like look Don’t be afraid of time tracking. Don’t be afraid of monitoring. Because monitoring the way you think about it in your mind might be a foreign country that is run by a malicious dictator that is watching everything you do. That is not what’s going on here. So just stop, stop it. Um, so there are tools for this big-time is a time tracking software. And I don’t want to get into all the HR complexities around exempt or non-exempt employees. We have an HR consultant who’s also remote she’s a genius. But if you feel like or you believe that most of your employees are exempt, you’re smoking cracked them they’re not exempt or non-exempt. They should be tracking their time they should be doing it in a system. So when the IRS comes knocking at your door the add the Employment Development department comes knocking at your door, you don’t get a big ass fine. And you have to go back and pay these people a ton of money. You have to pay attention to this stuff, right? So we use big time. For time tracking hours get entered every single day, every single day to get dinner. We prefer and try. I would say 99.9% of the time nobody here apart from myself because I am exempt that nobody here works over 40 hours a week. No one. And since we’re not driving, we’re not spending another 20 hours a week on the road and hassling with stuff they shouldn’t be hassling with. So it’s a 40 Hour Work Week. I’d like to go 35 actually,
Chris Snyder 36:49
which is also possible we could take that on another podcast but and then Tara mind Tarah, mine is a software productivity measurements. software that basically allows our team to measure productivity at a high level, right? these are indicators, you know, no different than if you were to run, you know, the Boston Marathon, there’s checkpoints, you got to run by these checkpoints to get to the end of the race. If you run by a couple of checkpoints, and you don’t pick up water, you’re probably going to be toast, right? These are checkpoints. These are also there to protect our employees and our remote workers from what could be lawsuits from clients or partners that share data and that data get exposed. And they come back and they say, Jul, you did it. And I’m like, Okay, wait a second, what data was exposed? When was it exposed? Who’s on your account? Because we have ways of turning you know, box. I don’t have to share certain files with certain employees if they’re not on the account. It’s just good data practice. You don’t want to do that stuff LastPass Password Manager, if you’re not on that account, you don’t need access to their Google Analytics stack their AdWords stack, or their, your their Salesforce comm customer data, what the hell would you need that? You don’t need that stuff. Therefore, you should not have it. You can’t manage a remote team with differentiating roles and responsibilities. If you’re not managing this stuff properly. We install the software on your computer, not to watch you like big brother or big mother or big sister or whatever you want to say we’re doing this protects you. And we’re also doing this to learn what optimal productivity looks like by job skill. So I’ve learned over many, many years by aggregating dozens of employees. I see trends on productivity
Chris Snyder 38:55
that allow me to potentially have a conversation about are you Like you’re struggling with something because I’m just seeing that your productivity is lower than it usually is, by the way, they have access to their own productivity. They know that screenshots are being taken on their laptops every five minutes. These are work lock laptops, this is work product for clients. This is not your stuff. You should not be slacking your buddies playing fantasy football and doing stuff you should not be doing just because you’re at home, and your boss isn’t walking by you at that time. Right? These are things that these are value. This is a value system that everybody should have when you work remote or not. You’re on company time you’re there to do a job. We expect that job to be done. And here’s the kicker. If you don’t want to do the job, that’s cool. Shut your laptop. Right? And then just don’t don’t build a time. You can do whatever you want your own adult. You don’t have to do this work. It doesn’t need to be measured. You certainly don’t have to work here. Right, it’s all good. There’s a lot of other companies probably that measure less, cut less and have lower expectations and if you’re that kind of person, you would never be able to operate in our work remote environment never.
Jeremy Weisz 40:14
So we make the time and Tara mind.
Chris Snyder 40:16
Yeah, so we use Tara mind and we also use hive desk because hive desk is a little bit more contractor friendly the tyramine software’s is is more geared towards installing application services on laptops that you own as the employer and you distribute these laptops. If you’re gonna bring a contractor in we have a whole remote contractor ombre onboarding process as well protect ourselves in our clients. Like you’re not going to see you’re not going to mail. a laptop to remote contractor doesn’t make any goddamn sense. So there’s different ways around this. HR benefits payroll time off zenefits you probably heard of these guys. not expensive, right eight bucks a month for that specialty software. But doby, Bitbucket, right? If you’re a creative, you’re probably going to use Adobe, if you’re a dev, you’re probably going to use Bitbucket. So the total, the grand total for all the core services that I mentioned, is about 150 bucks per month per employee. That makes sense.
Chris Snyder 41:31
Yeah, this is best in class. We haven’t maybe what we should do is record another episode to talk about the actual accountability, the business process and the workflow. But, you know, today covering the market, this shift has been happening for 20 years. So we started with the market. We jumped into tools and technology, right. And I think what we should probably do is come back to business processes. workflow and accountability, right? So, you know, what is the onboarding process? What kinds of things? How should you be using slack? Should you be using slack to interrupt your teammates? Because you like have in mind fart and you need to say something to them right away and interrupt them. Should you be using slack for that? You need to think about that, right? Should you be using JIRA to send a ticket, when really what you should be using JIRA for is something that’s project based and time based. And then maybe you should use slack or a stand up a morning stand up to address something that shouldn’t go into JIRA immediately, right. So you need to start figuring out as an adult and as a productive human being like how you use these tools. We have great operations and discipline around this and culture around this. So someone is pinging someone in slack or someone’s not sending JIRA tickets right without the proper detail. They’ll get after them and they have full like Team, no one’s in charge of this stuff, you guys work together as a team hold each other accountable for the proper use of these tools, the proper workflow to complete the mission, right? So I think what we could do is next week, we should talk about some of our, you know, real detailed
Jeremy Weisz 43:18
flow stuff. I think people could see, Chris from all the tools like, these are the things you use to, you know, manage remote teams, but there’s specific processes under each of these tools and rules that you have so that it increases productivity, because we also have a user of slack. And I really, you know, get irritated if people use it, right, because it decreases productivity, like if they do a new, I mean, we can get really granular if people put a new thread instead of doing a message under that thread. It totally ruins the productivity of slack, right, so
Chris Snyder 43:56
I agree 100% hundred percent and you know what, honestly, This stuff is hard.
Chris Snyder 44:04
It is hard. And you know, I’ve found over the years it’s really, really hard to identify someone in the interview process that is going to really excel at this. Now I think, for right or wrong, and I would love for anyone to challenge me on this, I’d love to have that conversation with you or for you know you to book a meeting with me and let’s trade notes on remote work process. I think we’re best in class. I think our staff is best in class. And to get there, we had to try really hard to identify people that we believe based on our value system and how we operate are also going to be best in class. It goes into hiring. Yeah, it’s hard. It’s fucking hard. There’s a lot of people walking out on the street that you think in the interview process, they’re going to be fine with this stuff. They’re not fine with this stuff. They are not good at this stuff. They don’t have the proper necessary attention to detail. They push back and argue about why we do what we do. Those people will never work here. Never. And they shouldn’t be representing our clients. Right? So make no mistake about it. I know I rambled through some of this stuff. And I acted like all this is gravy. Well, that’s because I’ve been on this because I’ve been doing this shit for 15 years, right? Like, I hope it’s gravy for me right now. But make no mistake about it. This is hard.
Jeremy Weisz 45:32
What do you use? You know, we could have another conversation about best practices onboarding process, I think talking about a lot of these tools is an amazing start for people. But what do you use to weed people out because it goes back into kind of your original conversation of Listen, don’t take advantage of this opportunity, right to work remotely. And it kind of goes into Well, if we hire correctly, we have the people who won’t take advantage of this opportunity other than processes in the end the front end that you use to weed people out.
Chris Snyder 46:06
Yeah, well, I’ve got um and again, this goes back to not because we’re so smart just because we’ve had our ass kicked so many times. The old way of hiring in my view, is to start the discovery process, find the resumes have the phone interview, like I’ve been through the whole top Raider thing like we that’s it. I’m not saying that that’s not the right system. That is not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is you have to integrate and implement what I believe to be a faster fail fast process that does not allow people to be on boarded as employees unless they can prove to you that they can deliver something before that before they even start working for you. So what I do what I do is I say look After a 30 minute conversation, I say, Look, I don’t really care what you say, here’s what we’re doing. I now care what you do. If you’re excited about working with jewel, and I’ve already told you, it’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. If you’re excited about working with jewel, and you’re excited to be working with some of our clients on their projects, you have to deliver work product for me on a part time basis for the next 30 days. That’s my investment to you. I will pay you. I will spend the time with you onboarding. I will you know what, like, we’re going to spend hours and hours on this shit. But I can tell you right now I can tell mostly if people are going to make it within the first one week. One week with our operations manager one week with a couple of my team members one week with me on a 15 minute stand up with you every day. You’re toast. I mean, just won’t make it then. So that I’m not saying that the jewel Hell Week. Look, I’m a Navy SEAL Hell Week.
Chris Snyder 48:05
Yeah. And by the way, I’m not saying that to be rude. I truly honestly believe there is a perfect job for everyone. And you should not if you’re not passionate about this and you don’t want to do it this way. That is okay. You do not have to work here. So don’t suffer through it. I’m not going to suffer through it. I don’t have I don’t have that much time. Right. So, get in here, learn our process. Listen to what our operations people tell you listen to what your teammates tell you. Listen to how they say it what they say listen to our like, in do it. This is not for discussion. You have to do it this way because this is how we have created success.
Jeremy Weisz 48:46
So Chris, first of all, everyone should check out jewel calm JHL calm but what are you or now are usually in the future hiring flooring. Someone’s listening to this and they’re like this. I would love to to look into possibly working with jewel in some capacity, what? Maybe you’re hiring now? Or maybe there’s usually like a demand in the future. What kind of talent are you looking for?
Chris Snyder 49:12
Yeah, so so I tend to look at I tend to look at people based on their ability to be agile, move quickly and kind of take these things in stride. Right? So I don’t, I don’t look for talent, like I really need a salesperson, right? I don’t think about things that way. I think about things like look, the primary problem that we solve in our business as a as a fast moving digital agency that represents a landscape in a marketplace that is fast moving. You have to embrace problem solving, you have to embrace literally getting assaulted with fires like morning, noon and night. You have to be okay with that. So it’s a problem solving. of culture, right? You have to be okay with learning new things every single day of your life, always staying up to speed and solving problems, right? And if, if you’re not okay with that pace and you’re not okay with that speed, you’re never going to work here. Regardless of your, your core technical competency in an area. If you’re the best salesperson on the planet, but you’re not evolving, you will not work here. If you’re the best engineer on the planet, and you’re not evolving, you will not and you cannot work here. If you’re the best engineer on the planet, and you lack attention to detail and project management skills, you will not work here you will fail. Right? So, I’m a little bit more about core competencies. And I’ll and I’ll list a few for you, right, like you got to know about digital marketing that’s specific to this job. You gotta you got to be great with documentation, which means you have to be able to write a coherent sentence and document what the hell you’re doing. If you can’t document it. It ain’t happening. Right? You got it. Be able to prioritize your work, you also have to be able to coordinate your work with other people’s work. So prioritization and coordination, you have to be a good client person, you have to be able to make the clients happy. And that’s not by talking about baseball and football and talking about your trip to the Golden Gate. That is that is not make clients happy. That’s not value based, right? You have to be able to effectively manage your meetings, whether you’re a developer, whether you’re an administrative, administrative person, you know, whether you’re an engineer, if you can’t effectively manage a meeting, you’re not gonna be able to work here. I don’t care how smart you are, right? You got to be able to support your team, you got to be a good communicator, you got to be good at building relationships. You got to be adaptable. You got to be good at listening. You got to be proactive, you got to be results-oriented. You got to be good at setting your own goals. You got to be transparent and you got to be good at working remotely. You got to be fast. You got to follow the process. Right? You got to use the tools like I can go on forever about this stuff, it’s hard. Right? So the kind of people I’m looking for the kind of people that our team is looking for. They’re looking for you to come here and make bricks out of their backpack. If you’re not aligned with some of the things that I just mentioned, it’s just never going to work for you here. Right. Does that make sense?
Jeremy Weisz 52:19
I think we should cut this and send it to any new recruits. Chris, I want to do the first one. Thank you for having me. It’s always an enlightening conversation. People should check out more of the podcast episodes, and I appreciate it.
Chris Snyder 52:37
Thanks a lot, Jeremy. We’ll see you on the flip side. When you get back to the game.