Transcript: Carl Smith from nGen Works

by Tim Wright

This is the transcript to The Dirt episode: “Carl Smith from nGen Works

Carl: Skype’s only worth 2.6 billion, gentlemen. We should totally use
WhatsApp.

Tim: Hello, and welcome to the dirt. I am Tim Wright, and today I’m here
with Mark Grambau to my right.

Mark: To your right.

Tim: To my right.

Mark: It sounds like you said your name again.

Tim: I didn’t. You’re to my right.

Mark: Tim my right sounds like Tim Wright.

Tim: Say hello to our listener.

Mark: Hi, listener.

Tim: Okay. And to his right, Steve Hickey.

Steve: Hey. How are you doing?

Tim: And to his right and my left, and man himself, Carl Smith. Carl,
welcome to the show.

Carl: Hey, how’s it going guys?

Tim: It’s going great.

Mark: Very well.

Tim: It’s freezing up here.

Carl: I feel bad for you.

Tim: Yeah, it sounds like it.

Carl: 70 and sunny. It’s our Hawaii weather right now. Call me in June.

Tim: So Carl is speaking at our Experience Dev event next week, actually.

Steve: Oh, right. You should probably prepare for that.

Tim: I’m doing the keynote, called [inaudible 00:01:05] Feeding For Self
Sufficient Teams, and for the folks who are going to be there we want to do
a bit of a preview, and for folks who aren’t going to be there, we wanted
to mock you for not buying a ticket.

Steve: Or persuade you to get some on the thriving black market for
Experience Dev tickets.

Tim: That’s Twitter. Yeah. So, Carl, the gist of your talk that I got out
of it was psychological health for your team, versus overworking.

Steve: The old way.

Tim: Yeah, the old way versus the new way. Is that accurate?

Carl: Yeah, that’s totally accurate. We went through a huge transformation
over the last two years and made a ton of mistakes, which was the way we
found our way to a truly self sufficient team. So I’ll be talking a lot
about that, and really just the makeup of the individuals that you need for
a truly autonomous team, and also just the environment that they need to
thrive in.

Tim: So is that a team that doesn’t need any managers walking around
looking at people, poking, like, “Hey, do your work,” sort of a thing?

Carl: Exactly. And for us we’re also distributed, right? So that wasn’t
going to work anyway. Getting a cup of coffee in Missouri to walk by
somebody’s screen and see what they are working on, not as easy when you’re
in Florida.

Tim: That’s very expensive.

Mark: You could always invest in drones. Just drones.

Carl: There you go.

Tim: It’s funny that you say that, but somebody actually sells a little
autonomous remote control car type drone with a camera and an iPad on top
of it for stalking your employees remotely.

Carl: Yeah.

Mark: So then all it needs is a little articulated arm on a Servo with a
stick on it that goes poke, poke, poke, poke.

Tim: It’s crazy.

Mark: Jab people.

Tim: Somebody thought that was a good idea.

Carl: There are an amazing number of apps out there that will be just a
video screen of everybody sitting at their computer, and I’m, like, this is
the dumbest thing ever. Where are the really great ideas? All the great
ideas are when you go for the walk because you’ve got to get away from the
crap, right? So if I had that app I would want nobody sitting down because
I’m a contrarian.

I’m, like, “Why are you at your computer? Geez, go get smart.”

Tim: If I’m going to sit down at a screen for ten hours in a row, I’m
going to be watching House of Cards.

Carl: Oh, man. I just started. I had not gotten into it until a couple of
days ago. I know that’s not what this is about.

Mark: That’s okay. Let’s just throw the entire show out the window and just
dedicate this to House of Cards.

Tim: I have three episodes left. I haven’t finished the second season.

Carl: I’m three episodes in, so there you go.

Tim: Oh, man. Your life is going to be so good.

Carl: Envy me. You are so jealous right now.

Mark: So here is, again, the advantage of a distributed team. When we all
came in yesterday, or on Tuesday, it was, “Where are you? Where are you?
Okay, I’ve got one episode left. I’m done. I just started,” and we’re all
just standing there with the pressure of, I want to talk to someone about
this sh** and I can’t. So if you have the distributed team you don’t have
to have the immediate social pressure of cliff hangers.

Tim: It’s like a built in system for avoiding spoilers.

Carl: It is. When everyone at Engine was in this one office in Jacksonville
we had on our little whiteboard area, it was for Lost, and there was just a
guess about the most recent episode. When people came in they would put Yes
or No if they had seen it yet.

Tim: That’s brilliant.

Carl: So you knew if you could talk in the office about it or not.

Steve: I had this thing about Lost when I was in college. I was the only
one of my friends who watched it for two seasons, and I would boot them
from my room every time it was on. They would just ask questions through
it. So they started making fun of me relentlessly for it, and then two
years later one of them watched the first episode and they all got into it.
So I got to spend the next couple of weeks just dropping fake spoilers on
them all the time to mess them up for interfering.

Carl: Oh, you are an a**.

Mark: Steve is an a**.

Steve: I am, but I’m proud of it. I own it.

Mark: Steve is pretty terrible to work with. Let’s be honest.

Steve: Oh, come on guys.

Mark: That’s a real product idea there. An app purely built around teams,
and understanding spoiler capability, and having you watch it. That’s a 19
billion dollar acquisition right there.

Tim: To circle back a little bit . . .

Carl: More than likely we’ll get bought by Netflix, and I’m good with that.

Tim: All right.

Steve: That will be nice.

Tim: The health of your team, yes, the psychological health of your team,
there has to be a super high level of trust, I assume, in any organization
when you untie people’s hands like that.

Carl: There is. I mean, the other thing that a lot of people, I definitely
didn’t get this. There still has to be structure, right? If you just tell
people they can do whatever they want, but they have no idea collectively
what the goals of the team are, or they don’t understand basically what
everybody is trying to accomplish, then there can’t be any collective
action, right? I think about it as Daniel Pink talking about autonomy,
purpose, mastery.

He talks about, these are the requirements for somebody to be a self
directed individual, and I think Clay Shirky with Collective Action, that
what it takes for an autonomous team. Right? That individual drive that
Daniel is talking about, and then Shirky talking about the collective
action, there’s a lot of conversation and understanding that has to happen.

The other thing that’s really critical is true transparency. A team can’t
be autonomous if they don’t understand everything that’s going on. We had
this at Engine Works where we turned down more work in, I think, the first
year of trying to be a truly autonomous team because nobody really
understood how much money was in the bank, right?

If I tell somebody, hey, we’ve got about a quarter of a million dollars in
the bank, they’re, like, “Holy sh**. Vegas. Let’s go.” Right? But if you
say, “Hey guys, we have five payrolls in the bank, they’re, like, “Oh, that
doesn’t sound like a lot.”

Tim: All of a suddenly.

Carl: It’s context, right? So there are all these elements that I will go
into that really help a team connect, and what I’ll say even more than
trust, I think, and trust is the underlying cornerstone without a doubt.
The value. There has to be a value proposition for every member of that
team that they don’t want to let the other members of that team down.

It’s just like if you’re going to the gym and you don’t have somebody
meeting you there, let’s face facts. You’re not going to do it, right?
Eventually you’re going to miss one day, and then it’s two days and then
you’re done.

Steve: Oh yeah. We all know that problem.

Carl: But if there’s somebody meeting you at the gym, yeah. If there’s
somebody meeting you at the gym or there’s somebody meeting you for a run,
you are not going to let them down, and it’s the same thing with a truly
self sufficient team. They care about each other, and that’s a tough place
to get it.

Tim: Yeah. In building the team here and building this culture, I know
Richard has often spoken to us and said, “Don’t worry, guys. We hired all
of you because we detected from the start, you’re motivated, you guys love
to learn and everything, but you all have an overdeveloped sense of
responsibility.”

Carl: Yes.

Tim: That is one of the best things to hunt for in a new employee. This
person has this, perhaps a little bit hyperactive guilt mechanism that they
just refuse to let down the people around them, because you build a real
sense of, we’re all getting up the mountain together.

Carl: And that, if it’s not kept in check, can become a negative as well.

Tim: Oh, absolutely.

Carl: Because you start seeing somebody had back to back 50 hour weeks.
Now, at Engine Works, and I’ll tell you I’m not really part of the day to
day anymore. In fact, I asked to help with somebody and they told me no,
right? They were launching the new site and I was like, “Guys, I’ve been a
part of so many of Engine’s site launches,” and they were like, “Look, we
really love you, but don’t do that. Just move over there.”

Steve: I saw that site. It looks great.

Carl: Dad, if we need beer money we will call you. That was kind of the
deal.

But you see back to back 50 hour weeks. At Engine they always shoot for
somewhere between 30, maybe 35 max, right? 25 to 30 is acceptable, and when
you see somebody go over that it could be because they’re in trouble, or an
overdeveloped sense of responsibility, or they’re covering for somebody
else, trying to, help somebody else that needs help.

So that’s another part of it with the transparency. Everybody’s time
commitments are public. So you can really see if somebody is getting out,
and the team basically reaches out and says, “Hey, are you okay? What do
you need? It seems like you’re losing some of your life and just over
committing.”

Steve: So how do you handle this idea of telling your team, “Hey, our
expectations for the time you put in are ten to 15 hours less than the
norm.” I mean, how does that affect the work that they are putting out
during that time?

Carl: It ebbs and flows. I can’t say that it’s always just the most
stellar, best time ever. There are times where it doesn’t work. We’ve had
people who have trickled along at a couple of hours for a week or two.

The thing is, we have open vacation. You can go and take the time off, and
I remember asking somebody back when I was involved in the day to day. I
said, “Hey, it looks like you’re on vacation, but you didn’t tell anybody.
So I’m not sure what’s going on.”

He’s, like, “No, I just can’t get motivated.”

So I was like, “All right. You need to let people know that, because
everybody is watching you just sitting there watching us work.”

Tim: Yeah.

Carl: And that person is not there anymore, right? They got voted off the
island.

But when it comes to the quality of that time, those are what we call
valuable hours. We don’t track billable and non billable. Obviously there
are components of that for budgeting. They did a budget. I’ve never done
one in ten years. They just did one. I was, like, that is so cute. It is so
cute.

But valuable hours, right? So let’s say that you have a project that’s
stalled out with a client and you’ve got four hours. A valuable thing to do
would be to get smarter, or to write a blog post, or something like that.
Those hours count in that 30 to 35, so it’s not truly sitting there and
being completely billable, although that is what they try to do.

For example, when somebody hits a milestone of let’s say, pushing something
to the app store, right? They get something to the app store, it gets
approved, they’ve gone through two or three days with the QA team to kill
any final bugs, push that release. The team will actually suggest that they
go take a week to ski in Vale, right?

They will say, “Hey, your value level is really high right now. You just
did a great thing. Go reward yourself while we’re catching up,” is kind of
the concept.

Steve: That’s really nice.

Carl: Yeah. It’s really smart.

Tim: Do you get any weird pushback from somebody when people say, “Oh, this
person should go on vacation”? We have open vacation too, and what happens
is that a lot of us, because we have the work ethic that we have, end up
taking less vacation.

Steve: See, that’s not a problem I have, Tim.

Tim: Well, I questioned that. Okay. Steve is a hard worker.

Carl: You know what? You’re absolutely right. I refuse to use the term
unlimited. A lot of people will say, “Unlimited vacation.” That’s a culture
game. That’s a recruiting tool. That’s bullsh**, right? You’re trying to
get somebody in there. Anybody who says they have unlimited vacation, I
challenge them to tell their team or their boss and manager, “Hey, I’m
taking three months off,” because you know what? Just stay gone.

But open vacation to me very much means, “Hey, I’m going to do this. Are
you cool with it?”

Now, the pushback is exactly what you said. We’ve had people who, because
they no longer had whatever it was we had before, it was something
ridiculous like eight or ten weeks, they never took the time then. But at
the end of the year they would be, like, “Oh, I should take at least a
week.”

But you know what? I don’t think they really got the value out of it,
because they were still worried about work while they took that week. There
wasn’t a logical point where they felt really good about themselves and
what they had done.

The other side of that is the culture started to get to a point where
people appreciate that they did contribute. For most of us on any kind of
creative endeavor, and I think coding is creative. The person doing the
books is definitely creative. I don’t want to talk about that.

But I think we have this imposter syndrome. We worry we’re not good enough.
We see other people on the team. We think they’re better. It starts to
cultivate a belief in yourself as well as the team that, you know what, I
did do something important and I should be rewarded. So it’s great.

And then the same thing when somebody is getting ready to burn out.
Somebody will say, “Hey, take a week. You’re important, but you’re not that
important. We will tell the client and we will figure it out,” because they
don’t want a crappy code that sucks in QA. Right?

Tim: Yeah. This kind of goes back to, are you behind the Engine Works
Twitter account?

Carl: No. I’m not anymore.

Tim: Okay. So, last week I sent out a tweet to a few agencies just asking
if they are 100 percent satisfied at hand off with the product, or if there
are things that they can improve, or if they always think, like, oh,
there’s something I want to improve. I got some CEO level answers that
weren’t helpful. But the one that came from Engine Works, I thought, was
actually pretty helpful. It goes back to the personal drive of always
wanting to improve on the product. I thought that was really good.

Carl: Yeah. That’s great. Tyler Hoole, who is driving it now, I actually
gave up control of everything at Engine Works in late September. I don’t
even think I’m an admin in base camp anymore.

Tim: That must be nice.

Carl: It’s kind of interesting, but if you’re going to do this, for me,
part of my whole strategy was becoming irrelevant, and if I’m really going
to do that so this team can be its own team, I can’t have control over
things like that. I have to show in my actions and everything else that
this is the deal.

Tim: So if you were to sit down with somebody who was, I don’t know, maybe
not at a corporation but a similar agency environment, and they weren’t in
that autonomous team level, there were still managers coming around and
everything, how would you either convince them, or show them the path to
the Carl Smith enlightenment?

Carl: It’s funny. It’s not the individuals who have managers. It’s the
managers. It’s the owners. Those are the people who have to understand, and
one of my goals still is to convince people that you can be successful
without killing yourself and without killing everyone else.

There’s so much science around it. There’s so much going on with medical
science, sociology, everything else showing that when we step down off our
pedestals and work together everybody is better off, both physically,
psychologically and financially. Engine Works in the last two years has
grown and grown, and there has been some reasons for that around certain
projects and things like this, but overall, if you look at it, it’s
everyone contributing an equal level and nobody carrying all the weight.

Managers, I think, they’re just not needed. I mean, if a manager is
strategic, if a manager is a great, communicator, that’s not a manager.
That’s a part of the team. I’m not saying get rid of the people. I’m
saying, take away the pressure that they are supposed to make sure other
people perform. If somebody is not performing, a manager is not going to
fix that, right? Get rid of the person.

Tim: Do you think there’s a maximum size to a company that can work that
way?

Carl: I don’t know. If you look at Valve, and even if you work at GitHub,
these are product companies, right? So Valve being at 600 or whatever, and
let’s face facts, it was a little bit of a PR push for them. I’ve talked to
people on the inside who say it’s not that pretty. Again, we’ve got people
at Engine who would say that, but you know what? They are probably not in
the same groove that everybody else is. But then, those are product
companies. They have customers.

It’s a little bit different when you’re taking customer feedback and
figuring out what to do, versus when you are a service company and every
time the wild card is going to be this client. Are they going to buy in to
the autonomous structure? Are they going to understand? And what we found
is yes, because we put it out there so strongly.

Now, in terms of how big can it get, there’s a lot of research in sociology
around the number 16 that says, “When you hit 17 people, you start to
fracture into smaller subgroups.”

The example that’s given is, say you’re 12 people and the receptionist’s
dad is in the hospital. Say that something happened and he got rushed to
the hospital. Somebody will say, “Look, I’ll answer the phones. You go to
the hospital.”

When you hit 17 or 18 and that same scenario happens, someday looks and
goes, “Shouldn’t we have somebody that can sit on the phones so that she
can go to the hospital?”

Tim: Ah.

Carl: It’s this shift of, this group has become an entity unto itself and
it should be able to do things, versus, I’m part of a really cool team and
I will make the commitment. Right now there are about 30 people active at
Engine, right? They work in separate pods. They’re not all on the same
thing. They have that autonomy, and I think that keeps them together. But
I’ve always envisioned that at some point Engine would probably split into
two different groups and just morph.

There are other agencies that have done that, that have been written up,
that it worked really well. They even compete against each other sometimes
for the same work, which I think is fun.

Tim: Like cage fights?

Mark: Def matches with plastic wear.

Tim: With clay. Claymation.

Carl: There you go. Engine red versus Engine blue.

Mark: That’s right. It’s pretty interesting to hear, trying to wrap a
number around it. I’m laughing, and I think Richard is reading a lot of the
same research you are and thinking a lot of the same about the culture and
everything. We are at about 25 to 30 people when you count our apprentices
and everything, and then our design and development team is exactly 16
people at this time, at this moment.

Tim: Nice.

Mark: I know this because I was just doing some software license management
and trying to make sure everyone is on the right software. I’m, like, “Oh,
we have 16 people. I have that number.”

Tim: Right.

Mark: Yeah. We’re at a similar point. We already do have occasionally these
little splits into pods and groups. You can imagine a little subculture. I
can imagine, as it’s going to grow, we’re right at that point where I think
that would change.

Tim: I think there are personality subcultures that will happen at any
size, but then there’s the designer developer split, or different
departments that naturally would form above that number.

Carl: Absolutely.

Mark: I would say that, also, to your end, Carl, about how the clients buy
into it, we’ve seen similar stuff, the sort of open structure, our clients
have been really open to it. What we often say to them is this is the core
team you’re working on. This is a designer, a developer, a strategist, a
project manager. You might have four people who you’re officially working
with, but really, your whole company has got your back here. We’re going to
be reaching out to each other. We’re going to have internal reviews.

Steve might be the primarily designer on this project, but Neil might chip
in a little bit, and there’s this very much sense with the flat hierarchy
and with this small, tight knit team that it actually is delivering more
value to the client . . .

Carl: Absolutely.

Mark: . . . While still committing fewer people on the core team.

Carl: Now, one of the things about an autonomous team is they select the
work, right?

That has been one of the things that actually was a crazy surprise. When I
started telling prospects as they came in back when I was in charge of it,
I said, “Look, I can’t pitch work. What I need to do is help you put
together the story and share it with the team and see if they’re
interested,” and I know that sounds like total bullsh**. But the reality
is, if they say they’re interested, you’re never going to have a harder
working, more dedicated team that wants to see everything succeed.

If they say they aren’t, why the hell would you want to hire us?

Tim: Yeah.

Carl: Right? So what we found was, this is philosophy from thousands and
thousands years ago. We chase that which retreats from us. So when we put
that velvet rope up, suddenly more and more people wanted to come in. I
would love to say it was a brilliant strategy. It was just dumb luck, but
kind of beautiful at the same time.

It leveled the playing field when those clients did come in. We actually
got an email once from a fairly big name client. There was an email he sent
to the entire organization on his side that said, “They said yes,” and it
was the thread from everyone both on the team and not on the team of how
excited they were to come in.

Tim: That’s great. Cool.

Carl: Yeah. Really cool.

Tim: Yeah. I think constructing teams like that also lets people, like you
said, pick their own projects, but also create neat little internal
projects. We had one big question for you.

Let’s say we wanted to start a successful podcast.

Steve: We’re asking for a friend.

Tim: Yes. So let’s say a friend of mine wanted to start a successful
podcast. We know you do BizCraft and we listen to it, and we think it’s
great to see the business side of the industry.

Carl: Oh, thank you.

Tim: How does something like that get started?

Carl: BizCraft happened. I guess Gene and I met maybe four years ago. He
called me and asked me if I would come speak at Converge. I was flattered.
I was just starting to speak. I was just figuring it all out, and to be
asked to come to a conference of any kind, I saw Ethan Marcotte was going
to be there, and there were some other names that were big. This was before
the responsive movement and all of that, but it was still, Ethan is Ethan.

So I went, and Gene and I got to know each other a little bit better. We
had some laughs, and then one day, I guess it was probably happy hour at
the bar after Converge. We were talking about something and we got real
passionate about it. It was about business and it was about how you do
things, and somebody that was listening just said, “This should be a
podcast,” right?

Tim: Yeah.

Carl: I was like . . . And I told Gene. I was like, “Do you want to do
that?”

He goes, “I have a podcast network. Yes I want to do that.”

And I was, like, “Cool.”

He goes, “What can you commit to?”

I said, “Look, I’m totally unorganized, but if you just need me to be
somewhere at a certain time and talk about what I think, I can do that.”

If you need me to read show notes or crap like that, that is never going to
happen, and you know what? God bless him. We get together two days before
we’re going to do a BizCraft. We start to just about what has been going
on, and anything that we either get really animated about, or lasts for
more than a minute and a half or two, he writes down as something to talk
about in the show notes. He’ll go, “Okay, that’s it. No more talking about
that,” so that we have the original conversation on the air.

Steve: That is eerily similar to our process. That’s encouraging. That’s
encouraging.

Carl: Yeah. And the thing is, I think because other people saw our
chemistry and wanted to listen to us talk, it just came organically that
way. As much as that word is as bastardized as flat, but I’m going to use
it. Fu** everybody.

Tim: Indeed. Everyone.

Carl: But it really was that kind of organic growth. We hit some patches
where we were, like, “What are we going to talk about?” We really didn’t
have anything, and that was when, one day, I said, “Look, I would like to
try to get Daniel Pink on the show.”

He was like, “How do you do that?”

I was like, “I’m just going to ask.”

And son of a bit**, I asked, and two weeks later I got an email saying
Daniel would love to be on the show. I literally almost fell over. I’m such
a fan boy, right? So I think that’s the other thing. Never think of
yourself as being a podcast. Never think of yourself as being at a certain
point in your evolution. Just do what you want to do and record it, and the
right people are going to show up.

Tim: Yeah. That’s kind of the way things happened on this end too. When we
started getting guests, it was really just like how you came on. We just
send an email and say, “Hey, do you want to come on a podcast?”

Everyone is always like, “I totally want to come on a podcast.”

Carl: Yeah.

Steve: It’s like, “But hold on. We haven’t told you what few listeners we
have.”

Tim: Well, some people, like that a**hole, what was his name? Zach Braff,
who won’t respond to any of my inquiries.

Mark: That’s a real good way to make him want to come on the show. No, it’s
good. It’s reverse psychology. It’s not reverse psychology if I say out
loud it’s reverse psychology. That a**hole Zach Braff.

Steve: I didn’t want him anyways. I really wanted Donald Faison.

Carl: I’ll tell you what got me motivated. I was reading Kurt Vonnegut
letters. This is just a compilation of letters Kurt Vonnegut wrote to
family and friends and all this stuff, and he was working in the PR
department at General Electric when he wrote Player Piano. You start to
realize that he had all these doubts and he never thought he was going to
be anything, and then he got put in science fiction and he was really
frustrated because he thought science fiction was full of hacks. It was
total sh**.

Then he saw Isaac Asimov was in science fiction and he really liked Isaac
Asimov, so he sent him a letter and thanked him for being in the same
category so that he knew there was a chance to be taken serious. Isaac
Asimov never responded, but later, when he was driving through Cape Cod, he
looked him up, right?

I’m reading this. I’m, like, “I have the internet, and Daniel Pink’s
Twitter account is here. Here’s an email address saying contact me. What
the hell is my problem?”

It has just been great. The other thing, I think, is you just have to find
things you’re passionate about. Sometimes it’s going to be off topic from
what you might think your show is about. I think listeners would rather
hear the things you’re really into and excited about, sometimes even if
it’s a little bit off, because the thing that I found out is that the
listeners become fans of the people talking as much as they become fans of
the learning.

Tim: I’ve noticed that for myself. Not so much for Mark and Steve, though.

Steve: Aw, thanks, Tim.

Tim: Yeah.

Mark: Well, I have no outside interest whatsoever. So I’m mostly an
automaton.

Carl: Show up every week. I need more podcasts. I love this.

Mark: Well, that’s, I think, really good advice, and to what you’re saying
about just calling someone up, just emailing them, I feel like if we could
jump in a time machine and talk to teenager or college student or any level
of myself from earlier, that’s the number one lesson I would say to myself.
Everyone who is doing everything professionally is just figuring this sh**
out as they go, and they were once completely unqualified or they were once
a student, or they were once just, like, “You know what? I think I’ll start
a business today. I think I’ll start doing things today.”

I think for every artist who wants to be taken seriously in something that
maybe hasn’t been serious. Someone who wants to take comics and make a
graphic novel, and are put down by every article they see that says, “Bam,
zap, pow. Comics just aren’t for kids anymore.” And they’re like, “They
have been serious things for decades.”

You just sort of need to get this sense of, everyone started from
somewhere. Everything is approachable, and if you have a passion about it
you can make it a professional thing. You can build an audience.

Tim: Yeah. I think passion is the key to that. The big secret is that none
of us are qualified.

Mark: No. No one in the world is qualified.

Steve: I’m obscenely qualified.

Tim: Well, you’re obscene.

Steve: Fair enough. I walked into that one.

Tim: Yeah you did.

Mark: You just left that open. Yeah.

Tim: Yeah. Well, Carl, we know you’re super busy over there kicking back in
Florida in the 70 degree weather.

Carl: I’ve got to tell you, it’s so funny. Every time somebody says, “I
know you’re busy,” but I’m, like, “Pick a day, pick a time, really.”

Tim: Yeah. I know.

Carl: It is kind of annoying for people, and some people think I’m full of
sh**, but the reality is I’m at a point right now where I can choose where
I’m going to focus. But that doesn’t mean I’m not focused.

Tim: Well, we think you’re fantastic.

Carl: Yeah, and this, I just appreciate you guys creating this kind of
content even around the event. A lot of times for speakers, I think
especially speakers who start to do it a lot, it’s things like this podcast
that make it a special event, because you get an opportunity to be a part
of it before you get there, and there’s some real content left behind that
allows you to go back and say, “Oh, I remember that. Those guys were
awesome.”

Tim: That was heartwarming. Thank you.

Carl: Oh, you’re totally welcome.

Mark: He stole my heart.

Tim: Yeah. So we’re definitely looking forward to you coming up here next
week, and we saw that you’re also on the bill for Future Insights in Vegas.

Carl: Yeah. I am.

Tim: Steve and I are also going to be there.

Carl: Oh, wonderful. That will be great. Future Insights, I’ve been hanging
out with them for about three years now. I’m on their advisory board too,
so I will talk to them about some of the recent decisions they have made.

But, no. It’s a great group. They have gone through a transition with
Carsonified selling it over, and I think they’re getting on their feet now.
There were a couple of years they were trying to see what they had and
figure it out, but now it feels really, really tight.

Tim: Yeah. They’re one of the event sponsors for Experience Dev.

Carl: Oh, nice. That’s great.

Tim: Yeah, so they will be up here. So, yeah. That will be awesome. Carl,
how can people get a hold of you and harass you, send you money if they
want?

Carl: Actually, I have a new email address that they can reach me at. It’s
just Carl, C-A-R-L, at helping project, H-E-L-P-I-N-G, Project.com. I’ve
started at the events that I’m going to and different things, just telling
people, if they have questions or things they want to talk about, just
shoot me an email.

Tim: Right on.

Carl: It has been a lot of fun. So that’s really the best way to get a hold
of me right now.

Tim: Cool. Well, is there anything else you want to tell people about your
session, Engine Works or BizCraft?

Carl: Not really. I’ll say, just come on out to Experience Dev. I think
it’s going to be really amazing. I know a lot of the other speakers and
have a clue of what they’re going to talk about, and really, I’m just
excited to be in a new environment with new people to talk to.

Tim: A 40 degree environment. Keep that in mind. We might hit 50.

Carl: And I’m sure there will be a lot of alcohol.

Tim: Yes, there will be.

Mark: Yes. Balmy, balmy 50.

Tim: So, yeah. We have the event coming up next week on Thursday, February
27th here at the Watertown Office of Fresh Tilled Soil. Get more
information at freshtilledsoil.com/experience-dev. As usual, you can get us
on Twitter @thedirtshow, and please review us somewhere.

Steve: Anywhere.

Tim: Yeah. That’s all we have for today. Thanks for listening, and we will
try and do better next time.

Mark: Turn off the red light. Turn off the red light.

About Fresh Tilled Soil

Fresh Tilled Soil is a Boston-based user interface and experience design firm focused on human centered digital design