Extreme learning. Just do it. Fail. Fail better. Fail forward.

Extreme learning. Just do it. Fail. Fail better. Fail forward.

Nov 18, 2021 02:22 PM
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Dominic Zijlstra
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4x entrepreneur Cam Houser failed twice before building a successful company on the third attempt.
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About learning how to learn
About learning how to learn
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4x entrepreneur Cam Houser failed twice before building a successful company on the third attempt. What's he learned about learning is that courage makes all the difference. Be brave enough to do stuff you're not ready for. Fail, learn and try again.
Connect with Cam at https://twitter.com/cahouser
Find out more about Superlearning at https://superlearners.traverse.link/.
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hello, and welcome to another episode of the super learning podcast. Today I'm joined by cam houser. I met cam and add on that course, creator fellowship, a chemist, a founder of four companies, two of which failed, but two of which were successful as well. And cam is also into audience building and he's doing a course on creating minimum viable videos.
So welcome Ken. Thanks Tom. It's a pleasure to be here. Glad to hang up. Yeah, that's great. Great to have you here. So and just to get a little background, how did you get into, well, you learned lots of things, obviously building companies then online course tracing. Now you're like video experts.
So how was your learning journey? How did you first get into entrepreneurship and how did that evolve into where you are now? I have aggressive ideas about learning. I think that most of it is complete garbage. And so I think that learning by doing and jumping into rooms, into pools and places where you're not supposed to be, and just figure it out is like the best way.
And so I definitely consider that one of my super is being able to do that. And I was rarely the smartest person in the room, but I was to able to get into the right rooms. And usually if someone asks for a volunteer, I would raise my hands and that sort of thing. That's my philosophy, like in a nutshell, but just my backstory real quick.
I moved to Austin 20 years ago to play in indie rock bands and do tech startups. I was much better at tech startups than playing in bands. So I kind of got in that world. And then when I was 30, I was aimless and had no idea what I was doing professionally. So I did what stupid people do, which is I went to get my MBA.
And when I did that, I learned a lot of valuable stuff there, but the way they were teaching startups and entrepreneurial at the time was pretty horrifying. And I'd come from that background. So me and some other folks I met who became my co-founders. We started this organization called three-day startup.
And the whole premise of it was that the best ways for universities to teach entrepreneurship is not by teaching the lean startup or lots of things. It's literally get smart people in a room and have them start companies and see what happens. And so this venture ended up doing pretty well. We started as a little student group and it started serving all universities in Texas and then beyond.
And at this point, you know, I spent a decade of my life, the CEO founder taken it to we're in like 250 countries. I personally did, you know, on the ground work with founders in about 30 different countries. Our alumni raised 187 million. We had acceptances to Y Combinator, Techstars, like all the big. A couple of exits and exit to Google and exit to Etsy.
So that's kind of a lot of my backstory and, you know, we had lots of students starting really stupid ideas, like Facebook for dogs, level dumb. But what happens with that is that you learn a lot. And I think you learn more from that than you do reading a book. And then from there, the next venture they started would be, it would be powerful.
So I did that for a good while. It's a big part of my career. And after a decade, I was kind of ready for something new. So I started my next company called action works and an action works. The, you know, our flagship course is minimum viable video. It's, we're making this bet that it's really important for entrepreneurs in knowledge.
To be on camera. You need to be able to look at the lens and speak like a normal person. And if you look like you're in a hostage video, or you sound like you've had too many beers, this is gonna be a professional cost to you. And so we run a court based course teaches that. I do that and then I'd run a lot of kind of innovation and education programs for corporates, governments, universities.
So that's kind of the longer form take on this. Awesome. That's, that's a very long story. So one, one thing that I heard a couple of times is getting in the right room, getting their smart people into the same room. So like, what is the most awesome room, I guess, that you have ever been in and how do I get into the right room myself?
How would they get good people to get in the right room? I've been lucky to find myself in some really great rooms. The I was uncertain leading an entrepreneurship program, but the founder of the silk road, he was in here before he went to prison, which is kind of interesting, but I've also been lucky enough to, you know, room is obviously metaphorical.
So it's the thing where I'd be at south by Southwest, you know, a big tech conference, United States and Steve case, the founder of AOL was walking by. And so I guess, These are not people I know personally. So I would just roll up to them and ask to have a conversation. Then from there, he'd usually kick me to his people in charge of these kinds of things.
So stuff like that. That's another big reason I teach video is that, you know, rooms are very, very metaphorical in this day and age. I honestly feel like Twitter has done more for my network and connections and growing what I do. You know, in the last like three or four years, it's all been much more Twitter than physically being in the right rooms.
But the other thing I've found is that being a founder really opens a lot of doors. If you, if your introduction of yourself is well you know, I'm working in middle-management at so-and-so company, a lot of investors, a lot of people who do interesting things, they say, ah, okay. Whereas if you're founding something, it doesn't, you don't even need to be successful.
As I mentioned, my first. We're definitely examples of failing forward in terms of the amount of learning and networks and contacts I got, they didn't even work out. So meeting people just through building something cool, and trying to find other people who that resonate with. Another thing that I practice, I have a video about this I can share in the, in the show notes is Andrew, you is a gentleman who actually works for on deck.
He's one of their products. But he has this instinct thing called the tube strategy, which means Twitter to zoom. And it's this playbook he developed for how you have a very friendly conversation on Twitter and how that turns into a zoom conversation where you actually could add them to your work. Yeah.
I mean, that sounds, that sounds very valuable. And I guess you're, you're pretty much into audience building as well. So what are. Best practices your process for billing, building an audience, and then getting them into the zoom. Yeah, well, that's a lot of what minimum viable video is about is that understanding that there's a lot of value in having an audience.
You don't need to be a celebrity. You don't need to be a famous musician having an audience of 500 or a thousand people who care about what you do is this very interesting kind of headstart you get into. So for example I will have to build entrepreneurship programs for some government or some university know there'll be one of my big customers.
And a lot of times I will, before I give the deliverable to them, if here's what we're gonna do, I'll just float this stuff on Twitter and say, Hey, here's what I'm thinking about. Building for this particular group, that's trying to solve, you know, entrepreneurship in this particular negative woods and people respond and give me feedback.
And it's just part of the discussion of Twitter that helps you, like having an audience allows you to. It's like, it's not even that when people hire you, they're not even hiring you per se, they're hiring you plus all these brains that you have just a tiny little sliver of. And so it's clearly valuable the way they do it, of course has to have, you know, you're taking from them.
So you wanna make sure that you're giving as much as you can as well. And usually I see that by way of just creating content that's useful. I'm mildly entertaining, but not wildly entertaining. So I try to make my content educational and helpful people trying to do exactly that. And usually the answer is.
Just get started, just get started posting videos on the internet. It's suck. You will see yourself. You will see terrible lighting. You will hear the words coming out of your mouth and you'll think, and so much smarter than that. Why do I sound like an idiot right there, but again, it's that process of getting.
Where you improve and eventually you get learning into advanced stuff. So when someone asks you a question, you know how to respond to it, you state back the question and you give a nice pithy answer so that they can use it as a soundbite for something later, all that stuff that you pick up over time, if you're on a really big platform and you really want to figure these things out, right?
Yeah. I guess that's. That's it, that's the really your approach to rolling. Like just, just do it and put stuff out there. And I think that's pretty much what I've done after learning a lot from you in OTC as well. Just putting stuff out there and putting it on YouTube. But then I noticed like, it's very hard to actually track whether you're getting, getting better or not like your, your viewer count increases very, very slowly.
You don't know if you are. 10 video is actually better than your territory, your Fort. So apart from just putting stuff out there, how do you help? Obviously you help entrepreneurs and knowledge workers learn about video audience, be like all this kind of stuff. So how do you help them? Also progress further after, after they finally get out there and it takes a long while to get there, but kind of what you said that we teach this kind of four part model.
The first part is it's four CS. So it's, it's crickets consistent. Of course correction and collaboration. Crickets means that when you start the world, nobody cares. Right. And it's, it really takes something to keep going when you work really hard on something and zero people watch it. So the next phase is consistency, right?
Just keep doing it for awhile. But I think where you're getting at is this third phase of course, correction, which is just making minor adjustments and getting things going. But where things really start to get magical is again, the fourth phase, which is collaboration. If you have a track record, if you've been putting stuff out for awhile, bigger creators will eventually notice you.
And sometimes they notice you because you reach out to them directly and say, Hey, I'd like to work together. But more, sometimes the way it happens is you don't even do anything. Like you just keep sharing. And eventually someone with a big audience will share what you're doing. And from there, people will flow back to them.
So, you know, what you're doing right now is an example of this, right? Every time you do a podcast, You're getting people who are going to share this. Right. So you're in that, that fourth phase. So we just try to walk them through that entire process. But the thing that I really believe in is that blood posts are one thing.
Tweeting is another being on camera. Seeing your face, seeing, like, I don't know, it's just, it's tough. It's this, the camera lens is in many ways, like a mirror to ourselves where we are. Gosh, I wish I was better at this, or I wish I looked better on camera. And so the thing about minimum viable video is it's, we're very insular in the beginning.
So during the course, a lot of people there, they're not ready to post publicly, but they're ready to post in our kind of inner circle. We use a platform called circle that, you know, people do in online courses, but sharing a video where other people who are around your same skill level makes it way more manageable.
You know, posting your stuff on YouTube or Twitter or somewhere when there's Gary V R MKBHD or some of these creators who are just, they're basically doing Netflix quality production, that's incredibly disheartening. And so being in a group of peers makes that so much more manageable and just again, gradual improvement in the same way that, you know, a lot of times like we don't, LeBron James, he may be the best basketball player alive, but you don't want to learn basketball from him.
You're better getting coached from someone who's closer to you and your build and your attitude and your skill level. Right. And that's a lot of what we create a minimum viable video, right? Yeah. I guess. Yeah. Like creating that community and having them collaborate is really valuable. How do, how do you keep up that flow of collaboration of that community after people finish or finish your I didn't do to keep supporting them to help each other.
How does that go? So we've tried a couple different things to keep the momentum going what's happening now. And that I'm really excited for is we just finished up the third cohort and one of our students, he started an informal meetup. So it's a recurring weekly, almost like a coworking session where people can get together, work on things, share knowledge, share information.
The other thing that's useful about it is we do. And so we meet for those times, but we also do dog piling. The social media term for this is an engagement pod. And that means like big creators will get an, a pod of other creators so that anytime one person in that group shares something, everyone else will go like it and go comment.
And they, it's a way for, you know, big time caters to help each other. We call it dog piling just in the sense that we're all kind of piling on and helping out and in the same way, just in a much smaller way. So it's that thing of you. Get this audience, even beyond just, we all know, like, one of the things we teach is about, for example, like on LinkedIn people resharing your stuff, actually isn't as powerful as comments.
So I didn't like surfing, but comments are better. And the reason that's the case is that the LinkedIn algorithm is they want engaged users. That's how they sell their advertising and make money by having a really engaged user base. So comments are that. And so we will just have everyone comment and like on each other's stuff.
And it's just nice knowing that again, you're not alone. You've got this other group of. Doing this difficult thing. And the other thing is momentum. Isn't that hard to keep going? Just because we're very much in early days. Like not many people have podcasts, not many people make video. I don't make feel like a lot of people do, but on LinkedIn it's something like 2% of people have ever posted literally anything there.
And so we're very, very early stages. And when I talked about getting in the right. Well, like posting content is metaphorically being in the right room because no one else is doing it. I'm sure everyone will be doing it soon, but right now there's much more audience to be grabbed and influenced to be had and connections to be made right now.
I think in assuming that like growing organically on Instagram is pretty tough right now it's algorithms like very, very moderated and mediated and it's hard to break through, but there's plenty that are not. And. Learning how to tell a story on camera, learning, how to share this stuff is, is pretty, pretty powerful.
And, you know, again, the, the room metaphor, isn't the perfect metaphor because it really implies that we're physically constrained in a room and, you know, Twitter, social media, the internet is in many ways like the greatest, biggest room ever, right? Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Most people that you work with or like knowledge workers, entrepreneurs, I guess a lot of them, even engineers like me.
And if I look back at me, I myself, like a year ago, like I wasn't posting anything, I didn't like social media at all. And I w I was very skeptical about the whole thing. And I guess there must be people in your cohort feeling that same way at how, how can you Get over that and always almost become okay with, with, I don't know, putting, you're putting yourself out there and doing like this.
What seems it seems maybe like a childish activity, but which is actually extremely valuable. And how do you, how do you get people to do that? That's a great question. So as far as that's a thing, I know a YouTuber who had done some work with them. She used to meet with VCs in Silicon valley. Oh, you have a, your, your YouTube that's cute.
And something happened where a year later they started, that was the thing that they were most interested in about, about her. Right? The fact that she'd built up 5 million subscribers on YouTube was kinda thing that they've been really, really excited to talk to her. So it's interesting to see that that switch happened and all great technology is ridiculed in the beginning.
Right? All like, so much, so many like amazing inventions, like the. Was it a toy? Like there were toy cars before we had to bail cries. Right? So there's lots of things like that, where everything is kind of ridiculed, not really understood in the beginning. I don't even like the term social media. I see it in many ways, as you know, most of your life, historically, it's been your last name.
What's your dad does where you were born. And social media is in many ways, this opportunity to transcend that and that what you say. And what's your share. That's really what determines who, you know, instead of those other factors, right? There is something incredibly empowering and optimistic about that.
And you know, I'm not kidding around, like, I'm trying to make my dent in the universe. I want to with, with my third company, the one that was successful, I was able to help 20,000 entrepreneurs for 10 years and see all the wins that come from that. And once you had this sort of impact, like it comes like this drug, it just feels incredible.
Like nothing beats it. So I just want to do more of that. I just want to help more people through the education that I do and the channels of social media allow me to do that. It's such a bigger scale than if I just did it in my town. I live in Austin, Texas, a wonderful, amazing town, but the amount of people I can serve you and people I can help globally.
It's obviously it's just not even with comparing. Right. So that's why I think it's exciting to think about, I think I drifted from your question. Your question was, how did you do this? Well, one of the ways that we have people do. One of the, one of the biggest things to keep in mind is in the beginning, separate your content from your production.
And what I mean by that is if we want to make a video, we have to get our lighting, right? You have to get her audio, right. All these technical aspects, but we also have to get the content, the story, the words of what you're saying, getting both those right, is really, really tough. It's kind of like rubbing your stomach and juggling at the same time.
So one of the things we do is we teach people how to do something called a hello video. And hello video is when. You take a phone and you hold it up and you say, Hey you know, Hey, and I'm thinking about you hope you're well, I'm talking well anyway, hope you're good. And I'll talk to you soon. Bye.
That's it. And you're making a video that is for one person. You're not saying some really pithy story. You're not sharing the meaning of life. You're not describing your career and summarizing all the time points. None of it. You're just saying a to a friend with, and because. You can then think about your production.
You can think about, well, Ram I how's my lighting, how's this working without having to think too hard about what you're saying and knowing that it's for an audience of one person makes it that much more simple. So things like that, it's just, let's just take an incremental approach. And that's kind of the mistake.
A lot of people make. If you think about this from a filmmaking standpoint, nobody ever recommends that you make a two hour feature film as your first project, you make a five minute short film. And so we're basically taking that model and applying it to how you tell your story. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
So yeah, let's assume out a bit about yeah, to your entrepreneurial journey. So I just had your first two startups failed. So maybe talk a bit more about what you were trying to do, what you, what exactly failed, why it failed and what you learned from that, that, that led to you later. I am intimately aware of these failures.
So I have, I can tell you plenty about it, but our first one was basically SoundCloud for sports commentary. It was the idea that when you watch sports on TV, you're stuck with two announcers and you know, the ones that are attached to it. And it's kind of ridiculous. Right? And if you think about YouTube and what it did for television, I mean, YouTube television only has so many channels.
There are infinite numbers of YouTube channels that change never happened with sports commentary. It happened with music. You know, we used to have a record label. You know, would choose certain artists. And then we had Spotify and SoundCloud that may let everyone share what they did. There's nothing like that first what's commentary.
So that's what we did. We built it. The, the perfect was really cool and it actually worked, we did learn how hard it was commentaries, but we got the product working. The really hard part was the business model. I mean, right. Like that was really the first off. Like it was a very litigious kind of thing.
The broadcasting companies were like, even at the very early days were starting to tell us. You know, this is completely illegal. Right? And we were like, yeah, a lot of technologies when they start are completely illegal, right? Like Napster and file sharing and all this, we, we, that didn't bother us. And we were just two idiots in Austin.
So like, didn't matter. But the real problem was we couldn't find a business model that we could trust or that any investors could trust rent. The best thing we could come up with was, you know, serving banner ads, like the way it works is you'd still watch the game on television and you just turn the whole.
And then you go to our website, which would be streaming audio. And we had a little guide where you could, you could adjust a slider and you could adjust it so that they sync up. Right. And it was one of the things where like serving banner ads on that webpage just wasn't going to provide the kind of revenue that it needed to work.
And it was technically fairly hard to implement. So that was the first one. So we couldn't get the business model. Right. The second one was a customer discovery failure. And for those of y'all who don't know what customer discovery is, it's. Before you build anything, talk to your customers. And this was actually the big insight in the entrepreneurship world almost 15, 20 years ago, like this regulatory realization, which is don't build the thing and see if people want it, talk to them and understand them first.
And so we talked to them, but we didn't talk to them in the right way, but this was it's called anniversary time capsule. And the idea is that a couple who's newly. They're in this very special time of their life, where there's just like all roses and butterflies and everything's all magical and great.
And we wanted them to record videos to each other. So the iPhone had just come out. This was a long time ago and we want them to hold the phone up and say, oh honey, like, I love you so much. I remember the first time we had Chinese food in Brooklyn that was like so special. And, you know, it's kind of thing where they would record this video and then upload it to our site.
And it was supposed to be a wedding gift that showed up on registries to upload it to. And then a year later, the time capsule expires and then you get this wonderful message, this like video that was made just for you. And people said they would do it when we asked people, Hey, what do you think this product do you think it's everyone like, loved it.
And they're like, yes, sign me up for the beta. And everybody signed up for the beta and then we built it and we shared it's an right. It's ready. Go ahead and record. And nobody. And I would, you know, keep nudging them, keep asking. All I got to do is record something and upload it. It's fine. No one would.
And then another company came out a company that maybe you've heard of them. They were called Snapchat. So Snapchat, big innovation was like disappearing content, right. They were the people who invented this story. So you'd film yourself and then it would disappear after a certain app. The amount of people who posted on Snapchat, who had never posted anything before, like skyrocketed, we were doing the opposite.
We were taking the content and making it live even longer. So we were just completely in the wrong direction, but that failure was, we didn't talk to people properly. We should have asked better questions. And if that's something you or you're listening to interested in, there's a book called the mom test again in Rob Fitzpatrick.
And it explains how to ask about. That gets to the heart of that. Cause if we had done that properly, we wouldn't wasted all that time, building the tech. So again, what was the customer discovery failure, a misunderstanding of we're all a little bit blinded, you know, you get, I'm sure you deal with this dominant.
When you build a product, you're hands off with it. You think it's the greatest thing in the world and that doesn't matter. It's unimportant. All that matters is the people you're trying to serve. Do they love it? Are they passionate about it? Does it solve a problem? And so both of those failures were what enabled me to get it right when we started our third company, I knew how to listen to the market.
I knew how to understand that. And I was only going to try one more time. If the third company failed, I was going to give up completely, but I also did fail forward with both of those. And that's one of things where with the sports commentary startup that failed, I became known as the Austin sports commentary tech guy.
There was no one around or did that sort of thing. So it actually opened up a lot of doors for me. And as I said, being the founder of this company, even though it failed, still opened up a lot for me. The second one, I built a lot of good relationships and was able to be part of a, you know, we built a successful product in separately.
We built it. We didn't build a successful company, but we don't discuss what product in the sense that we built the entire thing, built a cool UX site. Hadn't done as much front end work there as I had a thing. So learned a ton and both of them opened a ton of doors for me, not to me. When I really went all in on my third startup, I had the confidence of knowing that I've been in a lot of these rooms before I've had a lot of these conversations.
So I recommend everybody have a failed startup. It's a wonderful learning experience. Okay. Yeah, definitely. I mean, yeah, just start a startup either. You you'll get it in the, and you get, if you get rich right. Or you're failing and you learn a lot. So yeah, it's, it's a, win-win. Yeah, just hearing those stories and like the crazy ideas for your startups.
I'm wondering like how. Choose what to learn and what to invest your time in. Like, some of those ideas seem quite random, like sports commentaries then like yeah. Video, like the opposite of Snapchat. Right. And then now, now you're into video again. So yeah, like, like how do you decide what to, what to learn and what to invest your time and what, what picture interests?
I can answer that elegantly from a, how do you decide what company to start? I'm still figuring out how do you in life decide where you spend it? Because I think that's part of the journey. If you want to be an entrepreneurial west, start something, I think that's can be boiled down to a fairly easy framework.
It's just called founder problem fit, right? If you're a startup, you are chasing this thing called product market fit. And when you have that, all your problems go away. That means growth is happening so fast because you built something to the whole robots. Very hard to do, takes a long time. What's comes before that is this stage called founder problem fit.
And that's this Venn diagram where one circle is you and problems that you find interesting what your past. And the other circle is what people want. And what you want is the center of that Venn diagram. Right? And if you have a good balance there you'll pick the right thing. That's and most people, most mistake is not that they pick the wrong thing.
The mistake most people make is they don't pick they for years go by and they never start. And the reason that my course has done so well is that I didn't waste any time. Like I'm, I've learned this lesson. So I started a minimum viable video instantly. One of the third cohort. I feel like an expert at this point, whereas I still know people who.
Thinking really hard about starting a course and they never really do, but I think the more interesting question you ask is how do we spend our time on this planet? We are on a rock hurdling through space. Our lives are short. We are alive in this blink, this blip of an existence in all of recorded history.
How do we choose what to work on? This is something I think about. I don't always have nailed, I think impact matters. I want to do work that impacts and helps others. I want to do work that I can remain healthy as I do it. I've, you know, being parts of all these startups, I've worked pretty hard and you know, I've hit burnout before like pretty bad burnout.
Right. And. Manage and navigate that. And I don't recommend it on anyone. So definitely maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a lot of people even still today, even though they kind of say, they talk about that in entrepreneurship, most people is full of it. Most of them like, no, you need to keep working hard.
But I actually do believe that so impact, I want to do work that I love, but I have one quote that summarizes my. No, what I want to do with my time in the third, on this earth. And that is a life well lived and a dent in the universe. So I want to live life that I love that I'm happy, that I'm proud of.
And if I do that, then I have the luxury of think about how do I make a dent in the universe. That's basically my guiding mantra for life. Nice. I like that. And I think one more of your, I dunno avenues of interest, I guess that we haven't talked about. On my facilitation, which you've done a lot in OTC.
And I've learned a lot from you about how to make people comfortable on a, on a zoom phone call and actually have them learn things like within a very short session. So how did you get into that? And what are the main things you learned on how to basically facilitate learning online? So online facilitation is a, is a huge deal.
It's one of the. I don't think humanity really gets it just yet of how powerful this thing is. The reason it's powerful is that when human beings get together in person magic happens, right? That's when companies get founded. It's when beautiful art gets made. You know, if you go to a concert and there's a band playing and they're incredible, it's human beings in the rooms is the source of collaboration.
It's just recently. Sortation is how we get people to collaborate well on the internet, obviously there's things like Reddit and other communities where there's projects that people are part of it are wildly powerful, but online facilitation is, well, how do we do that more live? How do we do that? All of us in a zoom room, how do we work together?
And facilitation is the art of steering and guiding people through a common goal of getting something. The reason that's so powerful is that we can do it from the comfort of our own homes. And if you want to collaborate with people in person, it involves only working with the people where you live, or it involves jumping on planes, both of which can be constraints and constricting.
If we have zoom and you got broadband, the world becomes your collaborators and that's a big deal, but we're still figuring out what that means. Right? Zoom can be better, more engaging and has some advantages over meeting in person. Oh, I'm still tasting a book. The reason I love teaching this stuff is for a decade, I was on planes, just traveling all over the country or all over the world, helping entrepreneurs, you know, running these programs and facilitating an in-person.
I learned how to in-person I'd been using zoom for a while, but I was able to figure it out because I'd done that for so long. I knew what to translate and how to do it. The biggest takeaway I got from figuring out online facilitation Dom is real interesting, which is people's ability. Like their engagement matters more than you as the speaker of the information.
So that was a wild thing to learn. Noting that there can be a really young, not PhD, not subject matter expert, but if they know how to get the room together and working on a project well, so much better. So, so many better outcomes happen than if you just have a brilliant PhD, who's a subject matter expert who can talk and share.
Good. Like those donuts lead to as good outcomes, right? And honestly, if that's how someone's treating a zoom room, it should be a YouTube video or it should be an essay. A facilitation is about how do we work together to get things done. And that's a lot of what I do with minimum viable video, right? Is I want this room full of people, helping each other out, give each other feedback, give each other ideas.
And we, one of our kind of core ideas is that in assimilate with, I talked about customer discovery and about how before you bought the product, go get. Well, we do the same thing before you start filming. Filming is cognitively and logistically expensive. What that means is you got to get your lighting.
You need to get your audio. You need to plan. You need to make sure that the neighbor's dog isn't barking. You need to all this kind of stuff. That takes time. Now what doesn't take much time. It was not too hard to do is to in a zoom room, explain, well, here's what the video is going to be. I'm going to do this.
Somebody there's, somebody does. And then other people in that room can say, well, have you thought about this? Actually, that sounds very similar to somebody that's something over here to that topic might already be fully articulated, fully sorted. Right? So we like to do lots of nailing down the storytelling and narrow down the core ideas of what it is.
Well, before you even think about film, right? And that's one things that all facilitation can give you. So I'm a big believer in it. I think we're in the early days and zoom fatigue is just the people who complain about some fatigue. It's because the facilitator isn't doing a good job and they're complaining in the same way.
We used to complain about reading online, but he may be too young for this job, but there was a time when people are like, oh, I hate reading on a screen. I only want to read paper books. Like, like I don't like, and that was a reaction that a lot of people had, same thing when apple took away the keyboard, like they're like, there's no physical keyboard.
Like, no, this is terrible. Like, no, it's bad. And that's the thing, zoom we're just in the early days. And great facilitators can, can let the room know can let everybody know. This can be dynamic, engaging. And honestly, some of the most meaningful experiences I've had in my life in the last two years that happened inside the zoom grid.
Nice. Yeah. And I remember, like it was one, one of your zoom calls that was like really revealing to me. And in terms of what about an online experience can actually be like, I personally never, never experienced that before. So that was, that was amazing. Think for your listeners, if you want, like just a, I think he might've been part of one.
One thing in to make zoom powerful. Again, don't think about information transfer. Think about how do we bond people together. And so one way that we do this is with something called an avalanche, which is I'll ask the room, Hey, like how's everybody doing? And one thing, one way we check on people's instead of just tell us how you do, we say, well, if your hand at the top of the screen, that means that you're 10 out of 10 and your hand down here.
That means you're one out of 10 and we know how you doing. And you know, people are all over there. They'll report back, but there'll be someone. And then I'll say, Hey, you know, we'll see what's going on. And they'll say, well, I just worked on this Excel file from my boss and well, I didn't save it and I can't find it.
And so I just lost three days worth of work. And my boss is furious. So an avalanche is when we say all right, well, you know, that was John, sorry, John's having these problems. Let's just give him a little something. What we're all going to do is on the count of three, we're going to unmute and we're going to say nice things to have.
Again, it doesn't matter what people say. And of course you can't even hear the audio perfectly cause it's it's 15 or 20 or 30 or 40 people all talking at once. What they are doing is you get to know that there's a room full of people who give a crap about what you're working on. And this is going to thing that people will coast off these for weeks.
And usually what I do is I record them, turn it into a GIF and send it to them later, just so they can tuck it away for the next time something bad happened. If have that, it was powerful as it makes that person feel better. I dunno, there's just something really powerful for the entire room to be part of something like that.
It lets you see, Hey, I'm helping someone out and helping someone out. I don't know. We don't have much time on this earth if we can help other people. That's a beautiful thing to do. So that's one thing that is a great way to facilitate some good interaction. It's a good community in a room. Yeah. And I've, I've seen that work so well and yeah, you really get that feeling of contributing to something better, bigger almost.
And related to that, I think you were, you were talking a lot about like storytelling as well. So like how, how can we tell our story, I guess, to first build an audience, but then also to eventually lead to, to interest in Salesforce for our product or service or whatever it is we wanna, we wanna, we want to.
So storytelling is such a soft word. That sounds, it sounds like it's a stupid phrase. Like I don't like any of the connotation of the term storytelling. What I know is that bullet points and spreadsheets, those don't move. And we are at the, at the end of the day, we are feeling creatures and a story. If we're trying to have impact or we're trying to get someone to make a decision, a story does that better?
Anything else it's persuasion. Right. So given that I think storytelling is important to learn. I've spent a lot of time trying to learn it and teaching it to people. And basically I boil it down to it's half being an entertainer, half being an educator. Right. And good storytelling does that. There's tons of different frameworks you can use to get that across, but what's funny is the more stories you tell, the more you win and what I'm trying to close a big customer, a really, you know, high profile deal.
Dollar wise, very juicy. I give them a nice proposal and all this stuff, and I explained I was going to be, and then I send them a one minute video of me telling a story about what this work reminds me of and why we think it'll be great for us to work together. That story it's doing a lot. It's reminding them that I know how to do this stuff.
It's good to know that I care and it's letting them know that I'm bringing. This ability to tell stories that well, if it works on them, it's going to work on the people who are I'm working with as part of the project. Right. And that's something that, again, no spreadsheet is going to give you that. So there's lots of different ways of thinking about storytelling and how to do it.
Well, what I recommend is something just called the HIPAA framework, super simple. H I T hook idea, take away. The hook is how you get someone interested. It's otherwise we're just giving pros. We're just unpacking, explaining lecturing something. And a story is not an explanation, nor is it a lecture? It's the hook gets them engaged the idea.
That's the story. That's the, what happened? What is the concept that you are unpacking and sharing? And the takeaway is what makes it relevant, right? Cause if I just tell you an anecdote, an anecdote is an experience in my own life about familiar. It might be fine, but if I package up a takeaway, something that is useful to them now I'm helping them.
And that's how I get that educator entertainer belts. If you want Dom, I'd be happy to give you an example of the hit framework. If you, if you wanted that. Yeah. Go for it. Let's think of something specific to traverse link. When is the D are you pitching people like customers and investors ever for this.
So I'm not really doing B2B for an hour, not looking for investors in the moment, but I might be in, in a couple of months, so. Okay. Well, I'll just give you a quick example of a story and we can wrap up soon, but I I'm thinking of the day there's this. So here here's the H I T hook idea takeaway, and the hook is 0.3%.
Movies that ever get written, ever become foreign movies. Write a screenplay that gets purchased by a major from Ceville actually becomes fishermen. That is a tiny percentage. And so I want to tell a story of like a really interesting path that idea took to becoming a film. This film called cry macho came out about a month ago.
Clint Eastwood produced it. The story of this movie is really the guy who wrote it again in Richard M. Nash. He. This pitch. And he gave, it gave David screenplay to some film studios. This was in the seventies and they said no, thank you. But no, thanks. We don't care. And he's like, okay, fine. And then he went and he pitched it to some publishers to book publishers and they liked it.
They said, okay. Yeah, they gave him $10,000 and he wrote this novel 10 or 15 years later. This novel is actually become a bit of a favorite. It has an audience people. It's been critically acclaimed built up of arts leadership, the movie studios hear about it and the reach out to them and they say, Hey, this is a really cool book.
When can we adapt this into a novel or adapt this into a film? And he said, yeah, yeah, sure. You know, we just, as long as you guys are willing to pay me, I'm happy to adapt it to school and play. And they said, okay. And then he took his original screenplay word for word that he'd given them before and gave it right back to them of which they paid him for.
And they loved it. Ben 15 years later, it finally gets released. Finally, it's placed as a major motion picture, but the takeaway here is our ideas. Well, timing matters. And the more opportunities we get to pitch them, the more opportunities we have to explore them in different forms and formats and for the right people to hear them at the right time.
And if we can do that well, you'd be surprised and ideas, not really good or bad, a lot of it's just timing and. If I pick something, it doesn't go well. Well, it might just mean that my timing is off. It's not that it's a bad idea. So that's an example of that framework real quick in the HDI.
Yeah, we should find wrap up. Yeah. Was another call happening nearby? Yeah, sure. I just had think one or two more questions. So we've been talking about. Yeah, tools like, like zoom, obviously there's even tools that you can use to like record a video and like deep fake it there's tools to, to learn more efficiently, like, like Trevor's obviously.
And so what are you, how do you see. Tools as having, as being an entrepreneur and having built software before how do you see tools help, and actually, yeah. Creating more opportunities for learning for collaboration various that going, yeah. I'm still sorting out the collaboration piece in terms of great tools.
And I use lots of tools, but the thing that I'm most excited about these days is space repetition. So that one backlinks in Rome, to me, where a very big deal backlinks, making it easier to make connections between things that I learned and highlighting and information capture all that was a big deal, but it still requires me thinking and having to remember to go back through the notes, whereas space repetition.
If you implement it in Rome is a couple different ways to do it. What it means is that they'll just be presented with a note that you did maybe weeks, maybe months ago, and that getting surface passively to meet. Very very powerful. So that's an area I'm really excited about. I'm more just, I'm still trying to figure out Dallas and web three and how to get involved in that world.
I don't so much of the startup world is like only things only work. If there's this one owner, like a project needs one owner who is that person doesn't do it. Everything fails because if it's distributed amongst a ton of people that has problems and I'm still haven't figured out in web. When we're all collectively part of something like that.
Well, how do we not have massive diffusion of responsibility? And that's one thing I'm really curious about the question top of mind, based on what you just asked.
Awesome. Yeah. And I think that I'll give you, a free account to traverse as well. Cause I sure you'll be very interested in this space. Repetition there as well. So I think we covered a lot of areas here. I've learned a lot about your journey. So one question I always ask at the end is who would you like to see next in a podcast so that I can then reach out to them seeing if they was referred to you? Of course, Navarro Rebecca
Do you want someone who's like part of the Twitter internet world that we swim in? Or do you want someone who has nothing to do with that world? I guess pragmatically, probably somebody has somebody who's like a bit big on Twitter at least. Yeah. Cause I know I can think of a gentleman. There's a guy named Maxwell who I'm going to meet with next week.
Who's a PhD in learning. And I think he would be very interested in the type of work you do. Why don't I talk with him and I'll see if it's a good fit and I'll see if he's the type of person that would be good for this. But yeah, yeah, that be awesome. Looking forward to that. Cool. Well down. Thanks.
Cool. So appreciate it. Yeah. Thanks a lot, cam. It was a great chat. So I'm sure we will. We'll be in touch again and the CRN. Thanks for being here. Bye-bye.

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