employee experience

Talk-Commerce Tiffany Uman

Are You a Toxic Boss with Tiffany Uman

We often hear about toxic workplaces, but what about toxic bosses? As a boss or leader, your behavior and actions can significantly impact your team’s productivity, morale, and overall well-being. But how do you know if you’re a toxic boss? And more importantly, how can you fix it?

In this episode, we will dive deep into the signs and characteristics of a toxic boss. We will discuss the effects of toxic leadership on employees and the organization as a whole. We will also provide practical tips and strategies for improving your leadership style and creating a healthy work environment for your team.

Whether you’re a new or experienced leader, or just starting out this episode is a must-listen. So, grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started on the journey to becoming a better boss!

Workplace Essentials Workshop


Tiffany is a career strategy coach and a former Fortune 500 senior director, and she is passionate about giving back and paying it forward so others don’t have to feel alone in their career. She spends a lot of time with her family and enjoys the quality moments they have together.

Tiffany: When it comes to people’s confidence and the way they value themselves, we wanna be really clear about which ones need to be taken very seriously and which ones probably need some adjustment in strategy and action steps that can actually make a current situation a lot better.

Tiffany: I think subjectivity versus objectivity is really important. Subjectivity leads to a lot of room for interpretation. Moving towards the objective is what’s going to get the best buy-in, especially when we are working with more challenging bosses or managers.

Brent: I know one thing, and it’s that everybody should have a number.

Tiffany: I agree, and I think that key performance indicators are really essential to help you track your own progression as well.

When you don’t have a proper baseline to go off of, it’s much easier to move the goalpost and say you didn’t achieve this, and you don’t know what you’re supposed to achieve. It’s still subjective and surface level, and so it leads to stagnation and frustration for the employee. It’s not actually quantifiable enough in the feedback or metric driven.

If your manager or boss tends to stay very surface level in their answers, try to get more specificity. If they use a condescending tone, try to explain why you don’t understand what they’re trying to say.

Tiffany: When a manager doesn’t make it clear what they want, the employee feels bad and insecure. To counter this, the manager should explain what they want and how they want it done, and the employee should be able to see the other side of the coin.

Brent: I can relate to the fact that sometimes I’m a visionary in assuming that everybody else understands what I would like out of something, and then I get frustrated in the fact that they didn’t understand what I wanted to get out of it.

Brent and Tiffany discuss how to motivate people to achieve their goals, including writing out, creating clear goals, and making sure that everybody is tracking them. They also discuss the importance of sharing the vision and why their involvement in the vision is so critical.

Tiffany: Managing expectations is about knowing what the vision means for you and your colleagues, and mobilizing your people in the right way.

Tiffany: It doesn’t always have to be you that gives those action steps, it could be a collaborative effort. It could be like, this is the vision that I want us to achieve, let’s talk about some strategy.

Brent: When something goes wrong with a client’s website, a boss can either help or hinder the situation. I was a very poor crisis boss, and I try to avoid “shoulding” on people. When in a crisis, you as the leader should be looking at the solution, let’s work together to find ways to move past this and be proactive. This means having processes in place, and different types of mechanisms that will help should things end up going sour.

In those actual moments when it happens, you want to be able to motivate your team and stay calm and level-headed. Try to look at the crisis from an objective point of view and act on the things you can control.

Tiffany: I think the most important thing is to get people’s involvement, without falling into a dictatorship of you gotta do this, or you should do this, or why don’t you do that. And then you as a leader have to take responsibility for it if it goes wrong.

When a leader says you should do this, and it didn’t work. Then the person who did it screws up, and suddenly we’ve thrown them under the bus for doing it wrong, I think as a leader you must take on that responsibility and then not shift the blame to anybody else.

Tiffany: A lot of companies and teams almost discount that importance where it’s okay, just to move on to the next thing. We don’t actually analyze enough what went wrong that led to that crisis. But taking ownership as the leader, as the boss honestly brings more respect than anything else.

Brent: We talk about having a feedback loop and having the ability for employees to talk to their boss. One lady said her boss would give her 30 minutes every other week to bitch and complain.

Tiffany: I definitely think leaders should lead by example, and encourage others to do the same. However, it’s important to be cautious when using openness to share and vent, especially with senior leaders who are often important decision-makers around internal movement.

If employees get the sense that you can speak about people in a certain way, they will feel more comfortable sharing. But I think there is a reason why a lot of companies don’t necessarily have those types of platforms available.

Brent: To fill out the surveys, right?

Tiffany: To learn more about them, to know something a little bit about them, to understand how they think things might play out in this current work setting.

I think anonymity as you said, is really important. It’s not the type of thing that changes overnight, but the baby steps that are going to help people feel more open to sharing feedback.

Tiffany: HR is normally the person that employees feel comfortable going to with any sort of complaint, but it depends on the type of organizational culture. If you have a complaint, bring it forward, but pair it with a solution. This helps them already get the ball rolling, and it becomes much more collaborative and well-received at the end of HR.

Tiffany: Maybe it’s worth considering versus seeing it just as negativity coming to their door, and I’m part of a community where often people have a complaint about the community without a solution.

Tiffany: It’s so easy for people to complain about something, but they’re the last to share a solution. I think that is a skill that needs to be developed.

Tiffany: Strength for you in the workplace especially, and as you grow and are exposed to senior leaders as well, they’re going to expect that of you. Take ownership of what can be done to be improved.

Tiffany: When people feel heard and understood, they start speaking with you at a different level of understanding than something that’s more authoritative alone in nature. This helps whatever strategies, and recommendations elements you bring forward to be so much better received.

Tiffany: Take the time to understand so that when you bring forward suggestions and solutions, you’re already integrating those pain points. This will help build up a lot of trust and a lot of rapport faster.

Tiffany: A little bit of anticipation factor as well as the realization that if we don’t actually fix this, it can lead to X, Y, Z. So it’s your responsibility to bring those points forward in those conversations, to help resolve it, to help move things in the right direction.

Employee turnover has been a big thing in the last couple of years. Is there a way through exit interviews or other ways to figure out why are people leaving?

Tiffany suggests that when you’re onboarding team members, really take the time to understand what motivates them, and what gets them excited to come to work, and then help them do work that feeds into that direction, you’ll have a lot less turnover.

Tiffany: You constantly have conversations with them. If there are tough times in the organization, check in with them regularly, help them feel supported, and let them know that you’re there with them and that they’re not alone.

Tiffany: Maybe a different opportunity came their way that they were so passionate about, and perhaps the progress they were seeing internally wasn’t what they wanted. But by having these types of conversations more actively, you can avoid this situation.

Tiffany: I think the employee review process should cover a little of that, but I don’t limit it to that. Having a more continuous dialogue with your team is another aspect that I’m a big believer in, and that might be a reflection of your boss.

If your boss doesn’t understand your job, it is your responsibility to build your own track record and bring forward the evolution that you are showcasing in your role. It could be impromptu, pre-prep for a certain eval, or something that you are prompting more in an ongoing way.

Brent: Communicate in a way that helps them to understand.

Tiffany: Show them the importance of certain elements of your work and why it plays into the bigger picture, and they understand at least the value that you play. One approach is to write things out for them, or share something more visually that they can follow along with you, and that helps them see the scope of the complexity that something takes or the level of diligence that’s required.

Tiffany is hosting a Free Workplace Essentials workshop that will help you navigate workplace dynamics fairly effectively and activate your most successful self. If you’re open to joining again, the workshop is on March 22nd at 12:00 PM EST.

Brent: I have a lot of different free resources as well, Tiffany. One of them is a LinkedIn learning course, a nano course all around answering common interview questions, and if people want a little bit of one-on-one action time with me in terms of a workshop.


[00:03:54] Brent: Welcome to Talk Commerce. Today I have Tiffany Uman. Tiffany is a career coach. Tiffany, go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us about your day-to-day role and maybe one of your passions in life. 

[00:04:05] Tiffany: Sure. Thanks so much for having me, Brent. Really happy to be here. So I am a career strategy coach. I focus on empowering high achievers.

[00:04:14] Tiffany: To become the top 1% in their career, really fast, track their success and start becoming very much fast tracked in their promotions, raises, job opportunities, and ultimately filling in a lot of the gaps that school never teaches us. Formerly from becoming a career strategy coach, I was a former Fortune 500 senior director in the Fortune 500 space, so a lot of firsthand learnings.

[00:04:40] Tiffany: Fuel into my coaching practice today, and I’m very passionate about giving back and paying it forward so others don’t have to feel alone in their career. And what it takes to really become that top 1% something that I am, I’m really passionate about. I’d say definitely my family when I’m not working, I’m definitely spending a lot of time with them and soaking up the quality moments that we have together brings a lot of light into my life.

[00:05:03] Tiffany: So I, I’m definitely prioritizing that more and more. 

[00:05:07] Brent: That’s awesome. So we met because one of my employees sent me a link that you had done an Instagram link and I thought it was very good. 

[00:05:16] Brent: But but we did want to talk about bad bosses and I thought I guess I was a little bit encouraged that an employee would send me something about a bad boss tell us some of the toxicity that can come with bad bosses. 

[00:05:30] Tiffany: Oh yes. Unfortunately it’s a little bit too prevalent.

[00:05:34] Tiffany: I’ve heard a lot of horror stories over the last few years alone, and I’ve definitely experienced some very challenging moments myself. I’ve had great bosses, I’ve had not so great bosses, and I really feel for people going through some of those darker moments because it can really take a toll, to your point, Brent, it can impact your confidence, your self-esteem, your self.

[00:05:56] Tiffany: How you view your capabilities and what your abilities are. And I think bad bosses, toxic bosses, that word is thrown a lot around a lot, and there is a really important distinction around, a true toxicity driven boss versus maybe just having. A clash of leadership style versus what you need as an employee to be best supported.

[00:06:17] Tiffany: So that is a really important distinction because when it’s really talking about people’s confidence and the way they value themselves, we wanna be really clear about, which ones need to be taken very seriously, especially when it comes to wellbeing and mental health, and which ones probably need some adjustment in strategy and action steps that can actually make a current situation a lot.

[00:06:39] Tiffany: Better. But we see things from, micromanagement to nepotism, to favoritism, to down, talking to, throwing under the bus, not looking out for your best interest as their employee really yelling at you or just being really mean and embarrassing in, in many work moments.

[00:06:59] Tiffany: The list goes on. There could be also very unethical behavior. I’ve certainly. Supported quite a few of my clients with those types of really unfortunate circumstances around harassment. Things that have taken a turn, for the worst in those moments. So I never want anybody to feel alone going through that because there is hope, there is light at the end of this, but often we need that kind of support in an objective way to help you get to the other.

[00:07:25] Brent: Yeah. You bring up a lot of good points about the how you interact with your subordinates and how your subordinates theoretically should interact with you as the boss. . I know that laughter in the workplaces of value and we talked about. The free joke project, which I completely forgot when we did our interest.

[00:07:44] Brent: So waiting up front. Yeah, I’m sorry. We’re gonna pause. Take 30 seconds and I’m gonna tell you a joke. And we decided if this joke should be toxic or not. So it could be the toxic joke project and I don’t have any toxic jokes. They’re all dad jokes, I apologize. We’re just gonna take 30 seconds.

[00:08:00] Brent: I’m gonna tell you the joke. All you have to do is tell me if you feel that joke should be free, or if someday we should charge for it. And it’s an easy one. Okay? We had a contest at work for the best neckwear. It was a tie. . Yeah I agree. We had to get it out of the way cause, but up bum . Yes.

[00:08:21] Brent: Yeah. I’m sorry. I like it. Delivery was a very poor on that one. Alright, so let’s, it’s okay. I like 

[00:08:26] Tiffany: it. It’s clever. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with that joke. . 

[00:08:31] Brent: Yeah. Yeah, it’s I won’t make any more. I was gonna make a bunch of puns cuz I’m also good at that, but I 

[00:08:36] Tiffany: won’t do that.

[00:08:36] Tiffany: Yeah I was saying that’s a good pun. a good play on words for sure. . 

[00:08:40] Brent: Alright let’s just talk with let’s come back to the toxic boss and talk about how. You mentioned throwing under the bus. You mentioned not supporting you playing favoritism. , a lot of those things really work against having a great team.

[00:08:57] Brent: And Oh yeah. I know that I’ve been in situations where somebody leaves and then all of a sudden that person is the worst person in the world. Or if there’s somebody that you know is in a company and you as the boss are saying bad things about that person . Talk a little bit about the differences between.

[00:09:15] Brent: say subjective things you’re saying about somebody and being objective in terms of how you would like to that person to improve. Oh 

[00:09:24] Tiffany: yeah. I think the subjectivity versus objectivity is a really important one because, subjectivity leads a lot of room for interpretation. What’s really actionable there?

[00:09:34] Tiffany: What is actually founded in something that has some weight to it? When it comes to whether it’s feedback, whether it’s improving in a certain situation, I definitely tend to recommend moving towards objective because that’s what’s gonna get the best buy-in. It doesn’t seem like it’s emotionally driven.

[00:09:53] Tiffany: It doesn’t seem like it’s just based off of feeling, but rather something that’s going to help move the situation. Forward, and I think that’s really important, especially when we are working with more challenging bosses or managers. You don’t wanna stay in that emotional subjective. Likely going to backfire.

[00:10:10] Tiffany: We need to be able to move into more of an objective lens and dialogue that’s going to help your case and at least put some cards on your side to see if this is a relationship that’s worth, that’s able to be improved and salvaged. . 

[00:10:24] Brent: Yeah, I know one thing. So I’m a big believer in EOS entrepreneurial operating system, and in that framework we have a scorecard that, and the kind of the rule is, or not the rule, but best practice is that everybody should have a number.

[00:10:37] Brent: And a lot of people look at that. Maybe employees would look at that as saying, Hey, I’m only a number. . But I think that, that gives you an objective way of measuring your perform. and it also gives your boss a way of saying, Hey, here’s some objectives that we would like to achieve. Here’s the data that helps us to determine if we’re being successful in that or not.

[00:10:56] Brent: . And it doesn’t have to necessarily be bad. It could be something that points to something else that says, I wasn’t able to achieve my number because of blah, blah, blah, or, but I think it’s a great starting point to have something concrete to look at, to measure how well you’re 

[00:11:11] Tiffany: doing. . Oh, a hundred percent.

[00:11:13] Tiffany: Yeah. Key performance indicators are really essential. Otherwise, how can you hold yourself accountable? Your boss can’t really hold you accountable otherwise and these are really critical to help you track your own progression as well. If goals, objectives are very surface level, are very qualitative only, it’s going to lead to a little bit of messy waters ahead.

[00:11:34] Tiffany: I can say it like that because you don’t really have a proper baseline to go off of. To your point, Brent, when you’ve got those numbers, when you’ve got those types of metrics, To use as a bit of a guideline. Now you know what your targets are and now you know what kind of room you have for improvement and you can use that to your advantage if you’re, really intentional and strategic about it.

[00:11:56] Brent: Yeah. And I think you as an employee are more comfortable when you know where the playing field is and the goalpost isn’t getting moved. Oh, yeah. In the subjectivity. And when it’s subjective, it’s much easier to move the goalpost and say you didn’t achieve this. . . And you don’t know what you’re supposed to achieve.

[00:12:12] Tiffany: Exactly. Exactly. I’ve seen it a lot, right? I’ve seen it happen a lot where, someone will have a conversation with their boss. They’ll say, yeah, you’re on your way to your next step. We just need to see this. They work on that and it’s such a surface level type of thing. So they think they’re doing what they need to do, and then sure enough, they have another conversation a little while later and their boss throws in something else in the mix being like, no we also still need you to do this.

[00:12:36] Tiffany: And it’s still very subjective and surface level, and so it leads you to stay in your positions a lot longer than needed. It creates a lot of stagnation and frustration for the employee because they’re trying to follow suit on what feedback they’re being given. But the issue there is that it’s not actually quantifiable enough in the feedback or metric driven that will allow them to have a better sense of accountability to drive their progression forward as well.

[00:13:03] Tiffany: So if you have a manager or a boss who just tends to stay very surface level in their answers giving you a little bit of direction, but not enough that you can really sink your teeth into, that’s likely a, a big watch out that you wanna try to get more specificity. , what 

[00:13:19] Brent: about when you consistently hear your boss say, I was very clear in what I was trying to say, and, but nobody is clear in what they’re trying to say.

[00:13:31] Brent: , how from and this is, I suppose more for the for the manager or the boss to help them understand why they’re not clear. . Yeah. Just I’m a big proponent of simply putting it in writing and saying, this is what we’re trying to do. Yeah. Rather than just stating it. , and.

[00:13:49] Brent: Look, comment on that. I’m so clear that, why don’t you understand 

[00:13:52] Tiffany: what I’m saying? Oh, yeah. And it could also depend on the tone, right? Are they using like a condescending tone on top of it when they’re telling you that of I was very clear in what I said. I don’t understand why you don’t get it.

[00:14:02] Tiffany: Like that again is really making the employee feel very bad and insecure in that moment of, okay, maybe I am missing something, maybe. Me when it could absolutely be the onus of the manager, but they’re projecting that onto their employees as if they’re doing something wrong. But the big thing here is a lot of managers, because they are so distant from the day-to-day work or the execution, let’s say that their team is handling, they might say something, thinking that it is super clear, but there’s other flares to this, other facets to it that they don’t have as.

[00:14:33] Tiffany: They don’t have as much connection to anymore. So for them it sounds very obvious what they’re asking, but the employee who’s the one that’s actually doing it is hang on a second. That’s actually not very clear, because in order to do what I think you’re asking, it actually involves X, Y, Z and you’re not mentioning X, Y, Z.

[00:14:50] Tiffany: So a good way to counter that is the employees, to help them see the other side of that coin, right? You could of course, give them feedback on maybe how they’re actually delivering. The message if that’s where the issue lies. But if it’s more around a disconnect between what they think they’re sharing with you and what actually needs to get done, you need to be able to close that gap of saying, I understand.

[00:15:13] Tiffany: That you want us to work towards, fill in the blank. In order to do that though, there is a piece that you haven’t mentioned, and I believe that’s where the confusion is coming from. And then share more around that part so they understand where you’re coming from, and you could find a middle ground to move forward more effectively than stay in this limbo state of confusion and disarray.

[00:15:34] Brent: Yeah, I can relate to the fact that so I’m in a visionary and oftentimes there’s 4 million things going in my head, and I’m assuming that everybody else understands what I would like out of something, right? Yeah. And that assumption is not met because they’re not doing it. And then I get frustrated.

[00:15:52] Brent: , I’m gonna use past tenses because I’m hoping I’m doing better. I would get frustrated in the fact that they didn’t understand what I wanted to get out of it, even though. They should have, I, put me putting some projection or whatever that on the other person is often a problem in the sense that I’m, my expectation is, you know everything I know, right?

[00:16:13] Brent: Yeah. And that you can just go ahead and do it, and I don’t have to give you much direction. All you have to do is do it. Yeah. And then if you don’t. , I’ll get a little bit frustrated in that. And yeah, it, for me it’s vis I’m very visible. When I’m frustrated. You can see it right. On Zoom even. Yeah.

[00:16:28] Brent: Again I think it probably comes down to writing it out and creating some clear goals. Yeah. And making sure that everybody’s tracking those. Yeah, that’s 

[00:16:37] Tiffany: a big part of it. And I would also add to manage, expect. There’s nothing wrong with being visionary. I think that’s what’s really gonna inspire people, especially if you’re really passionate about it and you’re sharing it in a way where they could feel your excitement.

[00:16:50] Tiffany: They can feel like this could be something amazing that they get to be a part of, but to really get their buy-in. Yes. It’s part around sharing the vision. , but also, why their involvement in that vision is so critical. And to help break down more of the action steps that’s gonna help deliver on that.

[00:17:06] Tiffany: And that’s what I mean by managing expectations, because it’s one thing to get the vision, but then, okay, what does that actually mean for me as this particular employer? What does that mean for my colleague who’s also working on this? And it will help you as that manager and the leader to know that you’re mobilizing your people in the right way.

[00:17:22] Tiffany: And it doesn’t always have to be you. Necessarily being the one giving those action steps. It could be like a collaborative effort. It could be like, Hey, this is the vision that, I want us to achieve. Let’s have a conversation around some strategy that will help us get there, or some goals that will help be be good milestone indicators.

[00:17:40] Tiffany: Towards the end outcome, as an example. So there’s ways of doing it that makes it a little bit more tangible without taking away you as a visionary, because that’s probably what makes you and what can make someone really a great boss and leader. 

[00:17:54] Brent: I want to talk a little bit about crisis and how a boss can either help or hinder in a crisis.

[00:18:02] Brent: And I’m gonna again, share my own personal experience on how. I can now look back and see. I was a very poor crisis boss. When something happens and, let’s just say in the software, in industry, something is going wrong with the client’s website and you as the boss are were disconnected from the day-to-day actions of whatever is happening in that project.

[00:18:28] Brent: You’re asked to come in to try to help and solve something. And I used to, and I’m I’m hoping I don’t do this anymore, but I used to immediately start doing the shoulds. And in EO Entrepreneurs’ organization, we have this thing called we don’t should on anybody. We try to share our own experience rather than shoulding on people.

[00:18:46] Brent: And as I look back at my, myself, my previous self, in the last 10 years, even I can remember how many times that I entered a stressful time. And instead of being a good coach or a mentor or in somebody to try to help somebody move forward, I started saying, I’m so disappointed in this team. I, you should have done this.

[00:19:10] Brent: Why didn’t we do that? When, at that time of crisis, you as the leader should be looking at, and I just used the word, should I should have been doing things. , let’s find the solution. Let’s work together to find ways to move past this or whatever. Yeah. To talk a little bit about how a leader can come in and either be a hindrance or a big asset in that type of situation.

[00:19:32] Tiffany: It’s such a great point, Brent. There’s a few things that come to mind. I’ll say, as a starting point when it comes to crisis manage. being proactive is going to help so much. What I mean by this is you almost wanna be ready for the crisis before it even happens. You don’t want to necessarily be in crisis mode to start coming up with strategy backup plans and spread the team a little bit thin when they’re already likely a little bit stressed about what’s going on.

[00:20:00] Tiffany: So that level of anticipation as a leader and a boss can be really helpful of, know. When times are good, that’s actually a good time to have things in place, have processes different types of mechanisms that will help should things, end up going sour a little bit later on.

[00:20:17] Tiffany: But in those actual moments when it happens, I the key is obviously, You wanna be able to still motivate your team during that time of challenge because that’s where a lot of their light can shine through of how they rise above in a very difficult occasion. And yes, I’m with you on the should.

[00:20:35] Tiffany: It’s sometimes tempting to say of you should just do this, or, why didn’t we think of that and get a little bit accusatory, but that’s probably very counterproductive in those moments. When the crisis is happening, obviously trying to stay calm and levelheaded and more solution focused and really putting on that problem solver hat is going to be key because that’s gonna show that you’re leading by example of saying, okay, look, let’s, bring our heads together.

[00:20:58] Tiffany: This is obviously not an ideal situation, but getting overly stressed and worked up is probably only gonna make matters worse. So let’s, try to keep calm and look at this from as an objective. Point of view as possible. What are things that are in our control that we can actually action right now?

[00:21:15] Tiffany: And then get people’s involvement so they feel okay, I have a voice in this. I am being valued in what my contributions are without it falling into a little bit of that dictatorship of you gotta do this, or you should do this, or, why don’t you do that? And that’s will probably make them feel even worse in an already very difficult situation.

[00:21:33] Brent: Yeah. And I, there is a balance there because I can think of, I maybe I’ve swayed sometimes the opposite direction where all I’m doing is sharing my experience and hoping that somebody gleans something off of that. Where sometimes in a crisis you do need a leader that says, go this way. Do these things.

[00:21:52] Brent: Let’s just, let’s head down this. and then it’s of course on me as the leader to take responsibility for it. I think that’s the second part of that is , you as a leader, say, here’s the direction we’re gonna take. We’re gonna solve it this way, and I’m taking responsibility. If it goes wrong, right?

[00:22:07] Brent: Oh, yeah. Because the other side to that is, if you as a leader say You should do this, and that should didn’t work, and then the person who did it screws up and then suddenly, like you said earlier, we’ve thrown them under the bus for doing it wrong. . I think as a leader, absolutely. Taking it taking on that responsibility and then not shifting the blame to anybody else.

[00:22:29] Brent: At the end of the day, you as the owner or the ceo, are ultimately responsible for everything that happens. . Yeah. And certainly a one off or a two off could be your team, but a three off, a four off and a 10 off is usually a management problem or a leadership problem. 

[00:22:46] Tiffany: It’s so true. It’s so true.

[00:22:48] Tiffany: Being able to take that ownership. And that’s a really great way to inspire your team as well if they can see that, hey, Brent is, not afraid to say, this was the wrong decision, or, maybe we should have taken a different direction. Often those postmortem learnings are just as important as the learnings throughout the process.

[00:23:05] Tiffany: And a lot of, companies and teams almost discount that importance where it’s okay, just onto the next thing. Or we don’t actually analyze enough what went wrong that led to that crisis. We can prevent it happening another time. So tho those elements are really important because there’s a lot of gold that can come from those types of learnings and retrospective on, what might have happened and how to serve up differently moving forward.

[00:23:30] Tiffany: But taking the ownership as the leader, as the boss honestly brings a lot more respect than anything else. If you are the type of boss that’s gonna just blame it on your team. Shame on you as the boss because you’re still their boss and you let that happen. So it’s just gonna backfire either way if you try to almost brush it onto your team members, when at the end of the day, you’re the one that made the decision.

[00:23:51] Tiffany: You’re the one that helped guided things in that way, and you have to take some level of responsibility if not a full part of that responsibility. 

[00:24:00] Brent: We talk you talk about having a feedback loop and having an ability for. The having a safe place for employees to be able to talk to their boss.

[00:24:11] Brent: I, I did an interview a couple of months ago where a lady who was a VP said that her, the owner of the company would give her 30 minutes every other week to simply bitch and complain about what’s wrong at work without any feedback. No problem solving, just listening. How would you recommend a, an owner open up that channel and make people feel comfortable doing that?

[00:24:42] Tiffany: Definitely leading by example. If they can show that, they’re open to doing it and encourage others to do it, that. It starts there because this is something that trickles down from leadership. I love that example because I don’t think we see enough companies doing that there.

[00:24:56] Tiffany: There’s always kind of two sides to that coin too, right? As much as we might feel, okay, there’s an openness to share and vent, it’s also sometimes begs the question, will this somehow backfire or will this get back to someone? You don’t wanna necessarily use that opening as a way to bash other people or throw your boss under the bus or, say really bad things about other individuals, because I think that’s just a testament to your character as well, and how you wanna present yourself in a professional setting.

[00:25:24] Tiffany: I don’t think there’s anything wrong though about fostering a feedback culture around. Weights that things can be improved, maybe around more processes, inefficiencies, things like that. But I could see a little bit of delicacy in how open people are in those settings, especially with senior leaders who are often important decision makers around internal movement.

[00:25:45] Tiffany: If they get the sense that, you can speak about people in a certain way. So the intention is good because of course, Employees are thinking this and they wanna be able to create that environment where they feel comfortable sharing. But I think there’s a reason why a lot of companies don’t necessarily have those types of platforms available because of.

[00:26:04] Tiffany: Will people truly be as transparent? Maybe yes, maybe no. A lot of organizations choose to have more of these anonymous surveys where they can actually collect information and get a better sense of where problems are and where people feel more comfortable sharing because it is anonymous. So if there is an a anonym anonymity to the type of platform and sharing that will probably help go a long way in the openness of what people are willing to share.

[00:26:29] Brent: Yeah. We used a system called Office Vibe that allow you, that allowed you to put in anonymous feedback and there was a number of questions that came out every week. Yeah. I found when I was managing it, I found it hard to often get everybody or main, make sure everybody stayed engaged in it, if we had a hundred people, you would slowly see that engagement rate drop down unless you went back and encourage people to.

[00:26:55] Brent: To fill out the surveys, right? Yeah. I can also share that six months ago I started doing the ask me anything you want and nobody took me up on it. I’ll correct myself. I think out of six months, in about 200 meetings, I probably had had three people who just had that, who wanted to use that 15 minutes to vent.

[00:27:19] Brent: Yeah. And most of the time people wanted to just tell me about their jobs and Yeah. My, I was trying, my goal was to learn more about them, and I would steer them towards how is your family, how many kids do you have? Blah, blah, blah. Cause you, at some point you can’t know everybody on the team, that and I was trying to just know something a little bit about somebody. I can see that. . Yeah, I can I see where you’re saying, I, I can definitely understand what you’re saying about it could get off the rails. 

[00:27:47] Tiffany: It can, and it might not even be anything to do with you as an example, Brent.

[00:27:51] Tiffany: It could be maybe a past experience that they had that didn’t play out very well. So now they’ve got a bit of a guard up. Of how things might play out in this current work setting, as an example. So it’s always good to come from a place. I think the anonymity, like you said, is really important.

[00:28:06] Tiffany: There’s gonna be the people who choose to take you up on it, who are really eager to fill feedback. Others that might feel like I don’t feel like if I say anything, it’s gonna change anything. So I’m just not gonna say anything at all, which is a little unfortunate, but that’s probably being trickled down by the leadership that’s making them feel that their voice doesn’t matter and that’s a bigger problem.

[00:28:25] Tiffany: So there, there’s different nuances here to play into all of this, but I am still a very big advocate of trying to foster feedback in a way that will work for a specific individual. Company’s culture because that’s where it starts. The more that this becomes second nature, the more that it becomes a habit is going to help, employees really feel a lot more comfortable sharing.

[00:28:45] Tiffany: And this is something that, I had done and been part of in my corporate work. And it, it made a big changes in a good way of allowing people to feel more open to share feedback, whereas prior, it wasn’t something that was actively welcome. So it’s not the type of thing that changes overnight, but the baby steps that.

[00:29:02] Tiffany: If it’s something that is, walking the walk and talking the talk from a leadership standpoint with time, it will move things in the right direction. 

[00:29:11] Brent: Is the HR person that person who should be open to listening to any sort of complaint? Is there somebody in the company that anybody should feel comfortable with?

[00:29:22] Brent: If they have some huge concern or gripe? 

[00:29:27] Tiffany: Technically, yes. HR is normally that entity that will do that and be that, that sounding board. Will that always be the case? Not necessarily. I’ve certainly heard and seen a lot of stories where HR wasn’t necessarily the one that helped in that situation, but I’ve seen situations where they absolutely have.

[00:29:48] Tiffany: So I, I think it really depends on the type of organizational culture. But generally, because a HR plays a pretty pivotal role in, employee development and growth and enablement internally, they normally are quite a good. Type of department to get on your side and bring these types of topics forward.

[00:30:07] Tiffany: Especially if you’re bringing it in a way where there’s opportunity for improvement. It’s not just coming to complaint. I think that’s could be a really big pet peeve for someone in HR where they’re just hearing complaint after complaint, but no solutions. So I’m a big believer of, okay, if you have a complaint, bring it forward.

[00:30:25] Tiffany: but pair it with an with a solution, help them already get the ball rolling. You’re, if you’re the one feeling this particular challenge, you probably also have a sense of what can change to make it better, and at least bring that part to the conversation as well. So it becomes much more collaborative and well received on the end of HR to say, okay, you know what?

[00:30:45] Tiffany: They actually have a good point. Maybe, that’s something that is worth considering versus seeing it just as negativity coming to 

[00:30:51] Brent: their door. . Yeah. And I’m that applies to almost every situation in life. And I’m part of a community or a bunch of, a number of communities, and oftentimes people in the Comu community have a complaint about the community without a solution.

[00:31:06] Brent: And for me, that’s, that is you’re gonna complain about this, but you don’t have anything that you would like to add to it. It’s kinda like you want to chisel it down, but you don’t want to Oh, yeah. Help 

[00:31:17] Tiffany: repair it. So easy for people to do that. You’re so right, Brendan. All, I think we could all relate in with people in our lives who are very quick to complain about something, to bring something down, that yet they’re the last person that will actually share a solution, right?

[00:31:32] Tiffany: It’s okay, what are you gonna do about it? And then their face goes blank, right? They’re not ready for that, but they’re ready to openly share what’s not working. So I think that is definitely a skill that needs to be developed. But adopting that problem solving mindset is a real.

[00:31:48] Tiffany: Strength for you in the workplace especially, and as you grow and be and are more exposed with senior leaders as well, they’re gonna expect that of you, right? They’re gonna expect that it’s not just about bringing problems forward. You have to be already taking some ownership on what can be done to be improved.

[00:32:05] Brent: How about the word empathy? As a leader, how important is that? 

[00:32:10] Tiffany: Oh my gosh, friends, huge. Huge. I can tell you I am a huge advocate of empathy. Especially in leadership styles it really moves mountains. It’s definitely not as prominent as it should be, and is something that can make mountains move like in a beautiful way in a workplace setting.

[00:32:32] Tiffany: When people feel heard and understood and really identified with you, you start speaking with them in such a different level of understanding than something that’s more authoritative alone in nature. When people feel like they are on the same page, that you are understanding where they’re coming from and really listening with them to understand them, it’s going to help whatever strategies, recommendations elements that you bring forward to be so much better received because it’s coming from a place of really tapping into those insights, right?

[00:33:05] Tiffany: I say this, as like a new boss as an example. If you’re starting on a team, Whether as a first time people manager or just a new boss on a team, take the time to really speak with your team members, understand where are the pain points, where are things that have been challenges for them?

[00:33:20] Tiffany: Really take that time to understand so that when you bring forward suggestions and solutions, you’re already integrating those pain points so that they’re gonna be like, oh my gosh, where was this strategy, a year ago or six months ago? And it’s going to help build up a lot of trust and a lot of rapport a lot faster.

[00:33:39] Tiffany: So I’m huge believer in empathy as a very effective leadership style and integrated in how you manage your teams for success. 

[00:33:49] Brent: You’ve mentioned, take the time to speak and listen. What if, so as an employee, what if you are in a meeting? and your boss is telling you the same thing that, that to solve a problem that’s been happening for a year, let’s say, or two years or something like that, and then he or she starts discounting the problem saying, it’s not really a problem, let’s just sweep it under the rug and move on.

[00:34:16] Tiffany: Oh yes. In those moments, it’s really key to. Let them know that it’s not something that should be discounted. That could be done by sharing facts or data as to maybe the gravity of keeping that unresolved. It could be showing that this has already created quite a few consequences on the business results.

[00:34:36] Tiffany: It could also be sharing, if we don’t actually fix this, it can lead to X, y, Z. So a little bit of that anticipation factor as well. But also because sometimes they might not realize, How significant of an issue it is they might be, again, at a bit more of a bird’s eye view. So I’m like, oh, it’s not really as much of a problem, or we probably don’t need to fix that.

[00:34:56] Tiffany: But by not fixing that, it’s gonna create a much. Much worse ripple effect that will then bite them afterwards. So as the employee, maybe even as the manager of that team, it really is your responsibility to bring those points forward in those conversations, to help resolve it, to help move things in the right direction.

[00:35:15] Tiffany: Help them understand that by making a change here, there’s actually a big benefit in doing that and here’s why. And help them see what that is, versus just leaving it untouched and hoping for the best, which will probably really work against them. 

[00:35:31] Brent: The employee turnover has been such a big thing now in the last couple years.

[00:35:35] Brent: Yeah. And it’s only gotten worse if you’ve consistently had ploy turnover or. You’re seeing it more and more. Is there a way through exit interviews or other ways to figure out why are people leaving? And if they’re if they’re there for a year, if you can, I know you, you pointed out to data and I’m a firm believer in data.

[00:35:57] Brent: Yeah. If you can determine they’re there for six months and then they leave or they’re there for a year, then they leave and nobody else has ever been here longer than two years, is what is the issue there? Where can we try to dig in and figure out. And try to solve that employee turnover 

[00:36:11] Tiffany: problem.

[00:36:12] Tiffany: Yeah, it’s a great point, Brent. I’m not a opposed to exit interviews, but I do believe that they’re a little bit too late in the game. That’s the point where they’ve already made their decision to leave and we’re not early enough in the process to avoid getting to that point. A much more important thing to do would be almost like, Intro interviews and I don’t treat it that way with my clients, but it’s more around, when you’re onboarding team members, when you’re welcoming new people, really take the time to understand what motivates them, what gets them excited to come to work.

[00:36:46] Tiffany: Really, again, empathy, understand, identify with your employees because if you know that very early on and you are helping them do work and have a role that feeds into that directly you’re gonna have a lot less turnover. I can tell you, I, I was case in point of this with my teams, I had hardly any turnover.

[00:37:05] Tiffany: The only turnover I had was people moving on to different teams because they were getting promoted, which was more of a reflection of their progress they were making. There’s something to be said about really taking the time to understand. What drives your team members so that you constantly have a pulse and it’s not just a one-time thing.

[00:37:21] Tiffany: You constantly have conversations. Check in with them. Be in touch with them. See if you’re recognizing changes in their behavior that might prompt something about their happiness level, their motivation level. Don’t just ignore it. And be like, ah, it’s probably just tough times right now. If there’s tough times in the organization, that’s all the more important to check in with them regularly, help them feel supported, help them know that you’re there with them, that they’re not alone.

[00:37:46] Tiffany: And that’s going to help alleviate a lot of need for exit interviews because there won’t be so many people leaving the organization. They’re gonna feel really well taken care of. Of course, there’s always gonna be circumstances that what might leave someone to leave could be personal circumstances.

[00:37:59] Tiffany: Maybe it’s, a different opportunity that came their way that. They really just were so passionate about, and perhaps the progress they were seeing internally wasn’t what they wanted. But I guarantee by having these types of conversations more actively, it’s going to get to the root of the situation before waiting till exit interviews and this entire exodus of, turnover of what’s happening, what is going on here?

[00:38:23] Tiffany: Ole didn’t realize, oh, there’s probably things we should have been doing. Earlier on in our onboarding or follow through with employee development, that would’ve avoided us being in this situation. 

[00:38:34] Brent: The employee review process should cover a little of that, do you think? 

[00:38:39] Tiffany: It definitely should. But I don’t limit it to that.

[00:38:42] Tiffany: I think, performance reviews is one aspect that I’m a big believer in. Having more continuous dialogue to really check in with your team and help guide them and make sure they’re on track with their goals and helping to be a champion. Obviously, coming to the beginning part of our conversation, if you have a really bad boss or a toxic boss, they might not be so supportive in that, and that might be a reflection of.

[00:39:05] Tiffany: Them as a leader, but also possibly for you to move to a different team or maybe find a different type of organization that will enable really effective managers versus ones that are driving talent out the door. But it’s definitely something that plays into performance reviews and evaluations that goes beyond that.

[00:39:22] Tiffany: If it’s a really good boss, they’re gonna take the time to have more conversations and make sure that their team feels really motivated at all times. , 

[00:39:32] Brent: do you recommend as an employee pressing for interim reviews and maybe some kind of pre-performance check in with your immediate supervisor to make sure you’re on track?

[00:39:45] Brent:

[00:39:45] Tiffany: do. Yes, I do. And it doesn’t even have to be anything formal. , it could be pretty informal. Just check in. And again, as the employee, this is your responsibility to build your own track record and bring forward the evolution that you’re showcasing in your role. You don’t wanna just rely on your boss to just know everything that you’re doing because they, they probably don’t, and you don’t wanna miss.

[00:40:08] Tiffany: Those golden moments to share, how much that you’ve advanced or progressed in a certain way. So having those continuity of conversations is really important. And it could definitely be impromptu, pre prep for a certain eval or something that you’re prompting more in an ongoing way that your boss and you can really discuss together.

[00:40:28] Brent: All right. One last topic cuz I know we’re going along here, but let’s just say your boss doesn’t understand your job. and you are working hard to figure out what are the key points that I need to communicate to show that I’m doing my job. And you feel as though you, maybe you’re not appreciated in what you’re doing because they don’t understand it and you can’t.

[00:40:52] Brent: Communicate in a way that helps them to understand 

[00:40:56] Tiffany: it. Yeah. Yeah, that’s an excellent point. There’s a couple things. I think obviously there’s a gap there in their understanding of the roles. So finding those opportunities of filling them in on maybe the complexity of the work that you’re managing or that.

[00:41:12] Tiffany: things wouldn’t get done without you doing X, Y, Z, and showing like really the importance of certain elements of your work and why it plays into the bigger picture, that could be one way to get their attention without even needing to understand every single detail. They understand at least the value that you play in the work that you do.

[00:41:30] Tiffany: That’s one approach that you can take. Another is to also almost lay it out for them. You said it earlier, writing things out maybe. Sharing something more visually that they can follow along with you, and you can really walk them through, a little bit of the scope of the complexity that something takes or the level of diligence that’s required, or the amount of stakeholders that might be involved on a certain project, and that this is something that you’re really leading and owning in your work to get to that end outcome.

[00:41:58] Tiffany: So sometimes visual support can help them see it a lot more clearly. and allow you to then pair that with the value that you’re bringing in those tasks and projects as well. . 

[00:42:09] Brent: And that’s great. And I have so many more questions, but I think we’re gonna have to , we’re gonna have to round it out here.

[00:42:14] Brent: Tiffany, as we close out the podcast, I give everybody an opportunity to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like to plug. What would you like to plug today? . 

[00:42:22] Tiffany: Thanks Fred. I love how you coined this the joke and the shameless pluck. If anybody is interested and it’s timely with the topic of today.

[00:42:30] Tiffany: Next week on March 22nd, I’m actually hosting a Free Workplace Essentials workshop. It’s a very exciting workshop, a 60 minute event that is going to help you navigate workplace dynamics fairly effectively and activate your most successful. You. There’s a lot of things that school never teaches us.

[00:42:48] Tiffany: A lot of what Brent and I talked about today fall into that camp as well. And I’d love to really be there. Fill in those gaps and set you up for so much success in the workplace, because that’s the foundation of inevitable success for you, and we wanna get those things right. So yes, if you’re open to joining again, it’s March 22nd at 12:00 PM e s t.

[00:43:09] Brent: Awesome. So you have just, I’m gonna commit, cuz my podcast comes out every Tuesday. So this will be, I’m gonna make this one come out on the 21st of March. Oh, . And so we’ll get it live by then. And I will put all the contact information in the show notes as well. Okay. And maybe I’ll write something as a blog post in advance if you wanna send it.

[00:43:30] Brent: And we can direct you some people your way. 

[00:43:32] Tiffany: Oh, I appreciate that. And I have a lot of different free resources as well, Brent. I just published a new free LinkedIn learning course as well, a nano course all around answering common interview questions. So that is readily available, but if people want a little bit one, one-on-one action time with me in terms of a workshop.

[00:43:51] Tiffany: It’d be great to see them join us there as well. And, 

[00:43:54] Brent: One last question. Are you Canadian? I am. All right, good. So I got my accent right? Yes. Still . I had a Canadian yesterday as well. So where are you calling 

[00:44:03] Tiffany: in from? I’m from Montreal. 

[00:44:05] Brent: Oh, wow. Okay. Excellent. Yes. Good. Tiffany, this has been so enjoyable.

[00:44:09] Brent: I had another topic I wanted to talk about. It was the fluffy pancake versus the crepe. Or you, either you spread somebody so thin that it’s, loose and flavor or versus the oven pancake where everything is all rich and inside and you have plenty of space to work Anyways, maybe it’ll be a new topic we can do in the future.

[00:44:27] Tiffany: I love it. Brent, thank you so much for having me. This was a lot of 

[00:44:30] Brent: fun. Thank you. 

TalkCommerce building a happy team

10 Things Employees Secretly Wish Their Bosses Would Do.

When it comes to communication, bosses can make or break relationships with their employees. Unfortunately, many bosses struggle when it comes to giving and receiving feedback.

Viewing employees as transactional instead of as an investment leads to high turn over

Viewing employees as transactional instead of as an investment leads to high turnover.

It is no secret that viewing employees as transactional instead of as an investment can have a negative effect on your business. The most obvious consequence of this attitude is a high turnover rate.

Talk-Commerce Jen McFarland

Entrepreneurial Empathy with Jen McFarland

Will your employee go a little further when times are tough? Jen McFarland ( @jensmcfarland )talks about entrepreneurship, marketing, and living in Kazakhstan. Listen for the size 45 clown shoes. Are they European sizes, US sizes, or clown sizes?

Mentorship, empathy, marketing, and NOT being a hater! If you are an employer, this episode is for you if you are an employee, this episode is for you.

If there is one theme to hear throughout this podcast, it is this quote from Jen:
“Smart Women in tech leave because of bad management.”





Brent: Welcome to talk commerce today. I have Jen McFarland coming from Oregon. Did I get that right? Jen, Oregon? Yep. Yep. Jen, go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about your day to day role and maybe one of your passions in 

Jen: life. Oh, wow. Hi my name’s Jen McFarland. I am a marketing coach, even though I don’t like using the word coach.

Jen: It just seems to be what people call me. I also do a lot of hands on work. My favorite thing to do in my role as a marketing agency is I work with the city of Portland’s economic development division through their inclusive business resource network and we help people of color with their marketing so that they can build their businesses.

Jen: And that’s one of my favorite things to do. I’m also passionate about travel. hang out with my friends. It’s lovely here in Portland, because right now it’s summer and I am not originally from here. So when the rain comes, that’s not really my favorite time 

Brent: and it never rains on, in, in the west coast, right in Portland.

Brent: It’s always bright and sunny, just like San Diego. 

Jen: That’s what I a lot of people get it wrong. See, it only rains once in Portland, it starts in October and it ends in late may. 

Brent: Oh, that’s better than starting in October and ending in September. 

Jen: well, that’s true. We’ve had that happen before though. That was summer was on a Tuesday and it was pretty fun.

Brent: Yes. I was in Duluth this weekend and summer’s done already there, so no 

Jen: way. I can’t okay. Checking that off the list. Not moving to Duluth. 

Brent: Yeah. Duluth is very lovely in the summer. So July some parts of August depends which way the wind is blowing. Off the lake or not. How all right. The only thing I know about Portland is Portlandia.

Brent: And so I know that you probably go to one of your local restaurants and get the name of the chicken that when you’re gonna sit down to eat, is that right?

Jen: They don’t always tell us the name of the chicken, but it’s, it’s 50 50, if you get the full lineage of the chicken. So yeah. Portland idea, totally accurate.

Jen: A hundred percent. 

Brent: all right. So Jen I know some of the topics we talked about in the green room were around certainly entrepreneurship, but how you went through the peace Corps and then got into entrepreneurship or how the peace Corps helped you get into it. Tell us a little bit about that.

Jen: Yeah. So I love travel. I am a unique person in that I did peace Corps with my husband. He also likes travel. So we went as more mid-career entrepreneurs. So we were both in our thirties and we, so when you go as a couple, you can’t go to as many places as a single person, they have to have a place for two people to live and all kinds of things.

Jen: So we went to Kazakhstan. It is it’s not like Borat he’s, supposedly from Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is a country south of Russia. It’s the largest land locked country in the world. And people there are insanely nice. So nice to the point where. It would be considered kidnapping in this country.

Jen: So I was walking, we were teachers and I had a long walk back to the host family. This is when we were training and my husband was ahead of me and somebody saw, it was like, oh, the American is alone. I want my niece to talk to the American. So basically they’re like, come on in. And I’m like I have to get home.

Jen: It’s dinnertime. They bring me in and this, I was so inexperienced that I didn’t know how long this process would be and they start cooking and I’m like, oh no, I’m in deep trouble. I don’t have the phone number to get ahold of my husband, the person I’m supposed to talk to. Isn’t in the house. I don’t know any of these people, what is happening.

Jen: I think I was there for about two hours and about halfway in this woman, young woman comes in and sits down and I can understand enough Russian at that point to understand that this is the person I’m supposed to talk to you. And she speaks English. And that is how I met my best friend in Kazakhstan so we talked, it was awesome.

Jen: We left that training place and then we ended up moving back there and living there for a year and Rahan saw me and was just like, oh my gosh, it’s you? This is so great. And that’s how we met each other. But like in America, these are things that never happened. You’re not walking along the street and somebody’s Hey, come on in.

Jen: Talk to my niece. Like you would never stop. You would never do it. And so that’s how I learned that sometimes you can take these risks that just seem insane and crazy, and it turns out really good. So this was somebody who I was really close to for that time. I miss her all the time, even though I’ve been back for a long time.

Jen: And I think business is a lot like that. Sometimes you have to take that chance. You have to be like, is this for real? I don’t know if this is for real or not. And then you. Yeah, it’s cool. And you take that risk. You take the plunge and it works that way. It just works out. And that’s really what happened.

Jen: I would say then when you fast forward and I’m an executive at the city of Portland and I decide to leave, but I don’t really have a parachute really set for myself. I knew I wanted to have a business, but I hadn’t really set it up. And I was like it’s gonna work out. And it has, it’s just crazy sometimes how.

Jen: works that way. You have to have a certain degree of trust in order for it to really work out and Peace Corp was we loved peace Corp. It was super great. 

Brent: Yeah, that’s good. So the peace cor in Kazakhstan. Wow. I have I’ve and you lived there for a year. Tell when was this? When did you do this? 

Jen: We lived there for two years.

Jen: Two years. Okay. It was in the early two thousands and it’s cold. it’s really cold there. I would say that the weather is probably similar to Milwaukee Wisconsin, except there’s no central heating. I remember sitting next to, we had, I don’t know what you would call it. It was technically supposed to be a heater, but it was like these bare wires that would just heat up I don’t know.

Jen: It was so cold that I sat so close to it, that I set my pants on fire and I didn’t notice it for a minute and I. I was like, do you smell smoke? It was breakfast. And I was talking to my husband. He’s like something smells funny. And I looked and, but I was like, I also felt warm, so I wasn’t complaining and then I looked down and I.

Jen: oh, I just burned a hole in my pants. I like you just no, it it’s a different experience there because it’s very cold and very snowy and like the vitreous fluid in your eyes freezes, and so you’re blinking a lot and it, it’s just an interesting experience.

Jen: And then it’s like insanely hot in the summer. And I think Milwaukee’s kind of that where, Minneapolis is like that too. Except you have a lot of mosquitoes there compared to Kazakhstan. So it’s a lovely, wonderful place that nobody’s ever heard of. And it was just a wonderful experience and it was very hard and also awesome.

Jen: We only had running water, I think about. we would leave the tap opened, cuz we weren’t sure when the water was gonna come on and we would fill the bathtub and then use the water. We had a water distiller, so it would be clean and everything. So it was an interesting time, an interesting experience.

Jen: And I think that’s why, my husband and I have weathered COVID really well. I weather uncertainty a lot better. I think that’s. I think that’s why people call me a coach, even though I’m really a consultant. And I do a lot of hands on marketing for people. It’s because I have this really grounded oh, it’s gonna be okay.

Jen: And I think after you have some of these experiences, like I’ve had experiences at the enterprise level where like we melted down entire. Servers and everything came to a grinding halt, and we had to match data among like hundreds of thousands of people. And we’ve, and I’ve lived in countries where I didn’t have running water.

Jen: Like it just, everything always works out. And I think that grounded feeling I have about things is really because I’ve lived in places without any creature comforts, I’ve had all kinds of experiences and at the end of it, it’s great. Everything works out. Everything works out in the end. 

Brent: So two comments, number one, I’m sad to hear that you associate Minnesota with mosquitoes, which we have a state bird. It’s not the mosquito number two. I did spend a lot of time in the eighties watching the show, Laverski and Shirliova. It’s a Kazakhstan program about two ladies in a beer bottling plant that in nevermind.

Brent: It’s a, that’s a tie back to Milwaukee Laver, Shirley and Milwaukee. Yes. I know I’ll stop. So do you please, do you think there’s a special risk factor or no, maybe not risk, but there has to be something in you or. Something you can’t quite quantify to be able to leave your job as a public employee or a city employee, and just jump off and go for it.

Brent: Do you think there’s something that most people can’t quite identify with? 

Jen: I don’t know. I certainly had the golden handcuffs on if that’s what you mean, had every, I was paid I had. still have my retirement from there. Certainly if you know all of the security in the world, I don’t think I was actually gonna lose my job.

Jen: But it, I wasn’t happy. So I think that when you look at your life and you’re like, this isn’t really what I want. I, I don’t know. Some people will decide to. and be miserable. And I just, that, wasn’t what I wanted for myself. And I wanted something different. I also have the experience that when my dad was around 50, he was being worked to get to death at the state of Idaho and had a bad situation.

Jen: And he ended up having a heart attack. And I was like, I don’t wanna be like that. He didn’t want that. And so I think that as I, got into my forties, I was like, yeah, I Don. This is not the road. I know where this road can lead because I had seen it with my dad. And I was like, I don’t want that road.

Jen: And I have been so much happier since taking the risks since doing something. But certainly I would say a lot of people don’t do it because maybe they don’t have the same sense of adventure. They don’t have these experiences where they’re like, Yeah, I’m just gonna go move to Kazakhstan now, ha that’s crazy.

Jen: Most people that’s crazy. So I do think that there’s a part of me that is really adventurous and willing to take these chances and take chances on myself. And I would say certainly I’m the person who gets the LinkedIn email, the little messages and I’m like, is this real or not? And I’ll actually research things that don’t.

Jen: real. And then that’s how I ended up I had a film crew at my house earlier this year because they read one of my blog posts and they’re filming a documentary and they wanted me to be in it. And it was just a random request that came into LinkedIn, but I’m willing to take the risk that that could work out.

Jen: And it did, it was fun. It. Unique. Doesn’t happen every day that I have a film crew at my house. So I do think that we have these opportunities as entrepreneurs where we can either be like, oh God, I get so many LinkedIn requests all the time. I’m just gonna ignore all of them. I don’t even know these people.

Jen: And I’m that. Odd person. Who’s oh, is this looks neat. If this is real, then I’m gonna pursue it. And I think that we have these opportunities all the time in our lives, and we have that choice. We have the power to make the choice about how we’re going to navigate and proceed. Do 

Brent: you think it gets more difficult as you get older to make that decision?

Brent: And I’ll just back that up with, I started as an entrepreneur in college, I went to college for eight years and decided. I wanna do something different. So I dropped outta college sure. After eight years and I started a business. But I really didn’t know what I was doing or getting into at a younger age.

Brent: Sometimes you can jump into those things and it just happened, whatever that I got some traction and it worked, but some people as they get a little bit older might think I’ve got a career and I don’t know if I want to, chance on not having a paycheck. Do you think it’s more difficult as you get older?

Jen: I do. And I would say that, at the time I was leaving my executive role, that all played into it as okay how much runway do I have? The truth is I had more runway because I had more savings. had more experience it. It was a different runway than if I had decided to do it right outta college.

Jen: Like you, that would’ve been a disaster for me. I know who I was and where I was at that stage that would not have worked for me. It was also not on my roadmap. Peace Corps was a hundred percent on my roadmap coming outta college, having my own business. That was something that kind of simmered later on.

Jen: And I think that you have to have that entrepreneurial mindset, that entrepreneurial spirit, and I guess I had it all along. I just didn’t identify it as that ability. Be adventurous and take the plunge. I don’t think that’s for everybody. I don’t think that everybody feels that way about life.

Jen: about what they want for themselves. Everybody’s different. So I do think that those decisions become a lot harder because we have families, we have more complicated lives than we do out of college or when we’re younger, there’s just not as much complexity. Maybe we don’t have a house. I had all of these things I had to worry about.

Jen: We have a house, we have, I have a marriage. I can’t just run off and join the circus. I could, but there’s not really a lot of circuses anymore. Size 45 clown shoes in case anyone’s curious, but I can’t do that without talking to somebody. I can’t just run. And do whatever I want anymore. So I think sometimes we get lost in that complexity and we decide it’s just not worth it because there’s too many elements to work out.

Jen: So I think that can be a hard stop for people when there might be gold there. If you did take that plunge, if you did go out there and do something new. 

Brent: Yeah. I can think of so many, like be your own boss. Do your own business. There’s so many people like that are pushing franchises or something like that.

Brent: And I think there’s a distinction between taking somebody else’s dream and going with it and doing your own dream. Maybe it’s harder to do your own dream because especially as you said, as you go along, you have more entrenched things that you want to stick with. And part of it being an entrepreneur is being able to let some of those things go and embracing change.

Brent: Oh yeah. You had mentioned earlier about being an accidental entrepreneur. How do you, how would you relate to that?

Jen: I said earlier that I wasn’t gonna lose my job, but my job was very uncertain. It was a year to year deal where I had to wait for the budget to go through, there was a lot of uncertainty around that and I was really unhappy. I really, at one point thought that I would bounce around at different roles at the city.

Jen: And it became clear that this role I was in was that was where I was gonna be. And I. Like it. I created the job. I created the entire department. I had been doing a lot of projects. That’s really what I would do that was my role at the city was I would create new programs and places and policies, and I would move around a lot.

Jen: And I became clear that this is, this was it. This was the landing spot. And I was like, oh no, this is not interesting to me. as I was making this entire. role and crafting this program. I was like, wow, I wonder who’s gonna have to do this all the time. And then it turned out to be me and I was not happy. So what happened then is in life outside of my work, I had a friend who had their own business and I began to see how I could help other people in smaller roles in smaller businesses.

Jen: Where it wasn’t an enterprise large business situation. And I started to realize that some of the things that I took for granted and thought everybody knew they didn’t, about marketing, about technology, about how to get all the pieces to fit together. And so I started helping people as side hustle, is what people call it now.

Jen: And. from that experience. I was like, I could really do this. It wasn’t the intention. It was all by accident, helping somebody in need. And then it became another person and another person in the meantime, during the day, I’m in a role that I’m really unhappy with it’s budget season. Again, do I want to go through another.

Jen: Will I, or won’t I have a job, even though I think I will. The program, it’s been years now and it’s still running, so yes, I would’ve had a role. So it all happened. Like the kismet, like all of the things started happening and I was like yeah, it’s time to go. I need to go.

Jen: I wasn’t happy. There were a lot of reasons. so I took the plunge, but it wasn’t some grand master plan. I think a lot of times when people go into, should I have my own business or not, they’re looking for some sort of bright light that they run to, or all kinds of certainty and knowledge about how it’s all gonna turn out.

Jen: it’s not like that. it just doesn’t happen. I don’t think for a lot of people, maybe some people do have funding set up ahead of time, or they have banked a ton of clients. That’s certainly not what I was in when I decided this is what I’m gonna do. This is what I enjoy more. And there’s just a lot of factors that go into it.

Jen: So it was accidental. And it took a little bit of time to decide that this was what I was going to do. 

Brent: If you were to think between say the employer role and the employee role you talk a lot about how you’ve helped others as an employer, do you want to encourage your employees who you recognize could be good entrepreneurs to chase their dream?

Brent: So basically you’d lose them, but they would have their dream. Is that something you think as a good entrepreneur, you should be doing? 

Jen: Absolutely. My role in companies, when I go work there is to work myself out of a job. I’m not real big on the whole, have a retainer for life kind of deal. Like I like people to move on, get out of my nest and move on.

Jen: And I feel the same way about the people who work with me, who work for me. Part of what we’re doing is we’re fostering the growth of others. And in that we have to allow them to blossom and grow. And one of the reasons I feel that way is because that wasn’t something that was an option to me at several different points in my career.

Jen: So I don’t want to inhibit the growth of somebody else because I know what that feels like. 

Brent: I can remember people that have helped me and people that have hindered me in the past. And certainly maybe the ones that have helped me the most are the ones that are more confident in the abilities for them to succeed in their own roles, knowing that they’ve now fostered somebody to go out and chase their own dream. Is there any advice you could give an entrepreneur to help them, maybe it’s insecurity where somebody feels as though that they wanna retain this person for the rest of their lives.

Brent: And I’m not saying that it’s bad to have an employee who’s gonna be there for the rest of their lives, because there are people that simply want to be an employee that are not interested in being an entrepreneur. Not everybody is cut out for that. No, but I do feel as though. Some employers could be a hindrance to somebody’s upward career if they were to, I don’t know, a stranglehold or something 

Jen: well, I will say that I haven’t had as many mentors as other people have.

Jen: And I think that sometimes what happens is, and by mentor in this specific case, I know that you can have mentors that. Anywhere. But a work mentor, like somebody who was above me in an organization, mentor me and helped, find another role somewhere else. I work really hard. It’s one of the things that I do.

Jen: So I didn’t tend to attract mentors who wanted me to leave. So they wanted me to stay there because they knew. Whatever they needed, it was gonna get done because Jen would do it. And I can tell you, by the time I left the city, there were like four people doing what I was doing. Like I was taking on so much and I would just get it done.

Jen: That’s what I’m good at. I’m an implementer, get stuff done. I can say that just because somebody is working really hard. And I think that we’re seeing it now with the quiet quitting is what they’re calling it, where it’s basically people who have really good boundaries. And they’re saying, I’m gonna come in.

Jen: I’m gonna do exactly what you want me to do. I’m gonna leave on time. I’m gonna turn my phone off. I’m not gonna answer your. And people are really upset about it. And I’m like, why they’re finding that you’re gonna pay them the same, regardless of what they do. If they work extra or not, and they’re not interested and you’re not helping them grow because they wouldn’t be doing, if you’re doing it, if you were actually fostering a better relationship, For entrepreneurs.

Jen: Yes. It’s hard to have somebody leave. I get it. You don’t wanna have to train a new person. It means that you have to take on more for a while you find a new person, train them and get them to that next place. I will say though, that in the long run, you have to think about all of these things in the long game.

Jen: If you foster somebody and send them on their way, and you have a really good relationship with them, meaning they don’t quiet, quit. There’s not a big argument. And they leave . That is a partner that you have in the future. That you can be working with. This is somebody that you can join forces with maybe at a later date, but you are building a community of people who are going to sing your praises, their potential contractors later on down the road.

Jen: You don’t know where that’s gonna lead, but you do know where it’s gonna lead. If you burn somebody out and don’t help them grow, that never ends well. Never. 

Brent: It leads to resentment and things that aren’t happy. So on the on the flip side of that is the employee relationship.

Brent: We talked about the entrepreneur, the employee how as an employee, do you see ways that you can encourage your employer, maybe to have this fostering role rather than working you to death. And I do agree that now today’s new world that they want to have that time to themselves.

Brent: And the motivation to just work for the sake of work is not there anymore. 

Jen: That’s true. I think a lot of it is that the new younger generations. Relate to work differently. And I think that they get just as much done as anybody else. , it’s just how they do it looks differently. I have, I’m still seeking a mentor from, generation Z.

Jen: I wanna know exactly how people feel and very curious, because it’s not my generation, but I will tell you. . If you come into an organization, you have to understand that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. So that’s the first thing, right? You don’t go. You ask questions, you go in and you ask a lot of questions.

Jen: So you can be really clear about the role. You can be really clear about what the environment is like. You talk to other people who work there. That’s the starting point. If they pass over. Hurdle then the next hurdle is then you make it clear about your future goals. Like where is it that you see yourself going and you need to start having like conversations with the person you work for to help build those skills so that you can make it to the next place.

Jen: And I think that you will find people who are very open to that. You will also find a lot of people who are very, not open to that. And I think that. It really is about having those conversations early. It’s about meeting with your boss and talking through problems and solutions and what that career ladder can look like for you.

Jen: It does mean being brave and a little bit bold and. These things don’t happen overnight. and I know that we all want it. I remember when I was younger, I thought I knew everything. I thought that I should have this, and I should have that. Sometimes these things take time, not as long as your boss wants it to your the entrepreneur wants you around as long as possible.

Jen: So it. There is a little tension in that conversation, but I think it’s worthwhile for both parties to start really having these mentor mentee conversations, help building skills, because they’ll be a better employee up until they leave. Anyway, if you just open the doors and sometimes people will go, oh, there’s a lot.

Jen: I don’t know. And you might end up having them longer. The more, you open the curtain so they can see the mess of everybody’s business. Cause none of our businesses are perfect. You might actually find somebody who can help you in ways that you don’t know. If you start to give somebody more responsibility and teach them as much as possible.

Jen: And then as the employee you’ll wanna stay longer because you’ll see more and you’ll learn more than if you go elsewhere or if you go and embark on having your own business. 

Brent: I think. What you said earlier about burning bridges that applies even greater for the employee, because if you can leave on good terms yes.

Brent: And you can provide value to your previous boss. Now that boss becomes a conduit for you for your next job or your next role or whatever you’d like to do. What advice would you give to a a younger employee who’s trying to navigate learning how their boss is gonna react to, Hey my timeframe is 24 months and I’m gonna be leaving.

Brent: Right. some bosses are gonna say they’re gonna say to themselves, that’s great. I’m gonna look for a new person already, cuz I know in 24 months they’re gonna be gone or the boss may just come out and say, that’s not gonna work for me. There’s a certain amount of rapport that has to be there in the beginning.

Brent: But then there has to be. almost there has to be some not psychology, but there has to be some way to learn and feel out where each person lies without necessarily giving out your entire hand. 

Jen: Absolutely. This is about relationship building and a lot of what I believe in is honesty and transparency.

Jen: building those relationships over time. Now, as you begin to get to know your employer, , you might realize that they’re not interested in what it is that you want, and you may not be able to be all the way to look, I have a 24 month window here. Like you might not be able to share that part that might be too much for that person to handle.

Jen: So you need to. Feel it out. This takes time. You don’t know the person as well, as you think, particularly in the beginning when everybody’s on their best behavior, like things change and evolve over time. So certainly you have to be careful and strategic about it, but being honest, it, it really does pay off.

Jen: So you’re not just shocking somebody because that can be part of burning the bridge too, is if you’re just like, whoa, piece out and it’s over, you have to give, you have to have open communication. And that’s part of it is if Y and part of it can be covered in the interview process. If you’re getting a sense of, they don’t, they’re not really interested in having any sort of.

Jen: Mentorship type of relationship with you. If you are not getting the sense that this is a growth opportunity, that’s gonna be very telling and you have to be strategic about how you ask about those things as well. But it is something that I think you can feel out early on, and hopefully you can talk to other people who work there.

Jen: You can also look at things like Glassdoor and stuff to see what former employees say. It depends on how big an organization is. All of which to say, it’s not an overnight thing, no matter what, no matter how open somebody is, but you also have to take care of yourself. You can’t just stay somewhere because somebody needs you.

Brent: Do you think it’s a red flag as an employee that, if your boss clearly doesn’t care at all about you or your personal life, is that a red flag for you? You as an that’s a rhetorical question, isn’t it? I don’t even know why I asked it. I can say that as an employer, I’ve gotten much more aware of the fact that I need to know about my employees and there is a world outside of their job.

Brent: And simply asking some of those questions and being interested in what they’re doing helps you as an employer to build a better relationship with your employee. And it just does go vice versa. Is there anything that you can say to extract some of these things out of an employer as an employee?

Brent: I don’t think you can ever teach anybody to. I think somebody has to make that revelation themselves, as an entrepreneur, as an employer, if you’re narcissistic and you only see anything other than the end of your fingers, then you’re never gonna move past that point.

Brent: But there has to be some growth on both sides and as an employee, It is a delicate art to try to coax that out of people.

Jen: Absolutely. And I’m laughing because I worked for somebody who absolutely didn’t think anybody should be friends with people from work. And I will tell you that it wears on you after a while they’re talking about themselves and they have no care about what’s going on in your life.

Jen: I’ve worked for people like that. And I can. . I said, I worked hard and I do work hard, but after a while, you don’t wanna run into the fire with that person. If they don’t care about you, you will not run into the fire for that person. As the employee, you will go to a certain point and then you’ll be like, I’m done.

Jen: I’m out. This is hard. And because when it gets hard, you want to have somebody that is with you. and if you don’t care about anybody but yourself, and everybody’s just there to support you, but you don’t care if they like to go hiking or if they have a boyfriend or not like that’s, it’s gonna be game over sooner rather than later, because we all have lives.

Jen: We all have things outside of the business, outside of whatever it is that you’re expecting somebody else to do for you. 

Brent: Yeah, that’s a really good perspective. I make a point of in my day job, I make a point of interviewing or at least talking to everybody every quarter.

Brent: And I think it’s about 65 people that I do my best to talk to every quarter. Yeah. And I’ve gotten to the point of saying, are you happy? At least, I’m trying to build a relationship and I’m trying to learn more about. But I think that’s a good question. Do you think that I would go with you into the fire to take something out?

Brent: That’s a hard question to ask cuz they may not answer it truthfully and you don’t wanna say, would you come with me? Cuz of course they’re gonna, yeah, of course they’ll come with you. But that’s not the real answer either. You wanna somehow build that? As the employer, you wanna support your employee. You don’t wanna force their support on you. You would like them to support you because they enjoy their job. And they would like to continue on and build this momentum that you have as a relationship. And as an employee, employer, you don’t wanna say you have to run in there with this, into the fire regardless.

Brent: You would like it to be voluntary. . 

Jen: Yeah, okay. So this is an eCommerce podcast. We haven’t talked about that this is marketing people don’t buy from you unless there’s no and trust they’re buying in to what it is that you are selling. So as a leader, why isn’t it the same thing?

Jen: Why is it that we expect people to just do it? Because I’m paying you, they’ll go with you because you’re paying them. I’m talking about will they go a little bit further when times are tough? When things go sideways, are you nice mistakes happen? It, there are all of these opportunities that you have to really build that relationship so that your employees know can trust you.

Jen: And when things go bad, cuz they always go bad. Nothing’s perfect that they will say, yep, I’m here for you. I’ll stay late. I’ll do what it takes. Let’s make this happen. Let’s make the magic, let’s turn this around. And that’s really what it comes down to. It. It is that you have to build those relationships in the same way that you would with a customer who’s paying you.

Jen: It’s a two way street. And I think oftentimes as employers, it can be forgotten because we have so many things to do, but it’s really important to surround yourself with the people who are. going to support you, who are gonna help you and who are going to help you bring the people in that you need to keep the thing going.

Jen: And you have to look at that holistically. And if you can’t do that and people are leaving, sometimes that’s a you problem. It’s not always that everybody there’s that nobody wants to work. It’s that’s not always the answer. It’s that? You’re not providing a safe community for people to work in. 

Brent: I’m just gonna write that down safe community to work in.

Brent: That’s a good one. You, I would like to talk about let’s I would like to talk about your podcast. So women conquer business. Yeah, can we, and we were gonna talk about marketing too, but now we’re already at, we’re already at 38 minutes. I know. Do you want to take a little bit of time and talk 

Jen: about that?

Jen: Sure. So yesterday we recorded our hundred and 50th episode. I’ve been a podcaster since 2018. I will say that I’ve had probably four or five shows in that time. I used to do. interviews don’t do interviews anymore. I used to talk about all different types of things. Now we just talk about marketing it’s I think that over four years you change a lot as an entrepreneur.

Jen: What you talk about changes. and certainly the show is a reflection of that. So now what we’re doing are marketing howtos. So I help people understand concepts that can be somewhat challenging and drill into the essentials. I think yesterday we talked about course platforms and how to find a good course platform if you’re just getting started with online courses.

Jen: So a lot of my bread and butter. would be, if a CMO was, somebody came and said, we wanna do this thing. And you’re like, I don’t really know what that is. I can talk people through what something is and help them. And that’s really what the podcast is about is if you wanna do X here’s, how you get started or, and it can be at different levels of complexity.

Jen: So that’s really the bread and butter, and that is. And one of the opportunities. So when I was talking about opportunities, one of the opportunities I had really early with my podcast, I was approached by an organization I’d never heard of. And they said, we really like what you’re doing. Can we repurpose your show and pay you?

Jen: I was like okay, is this for real? I don’t even never even heard of you. So a lot of early solo shows have been repurposed and sold on another platform. I retained the rights and. that is how my new business epiphany courses was born. Like I have a lot, even though I don’t work at enterprise all the time, a lot of my content that I create and share is sold to enterprise companies as part of an eLearning platform.

Jen: And that is the baseline for epiphany courses because we know that all of that information and that content has been vetted. And is very popular among you. Fortune 500 fortune, 100 companies that are consuming it on this other learning platform. So we’ve started making a learning platform for small business owners where they can also learn in this container and get that information and then supply a community for people to talk through it.

Jen: So that’s really the essence of what I do around the podcast. They’re really these lessons. That then get repurposed elsewhere that then we turn around and make courses around. It’s an interesting concept. I never thought that what I do would evolve in this way. I think that when I started my business, if somebody had said you’re really gonna be into creating content.

Jen: I would’ve been like, I don’t even know what that. I didn’t, it was never on my radar, but as you can tell, I like to talk. So it seems to be working out for me. 

Brent: Yeah. I think that’s such a great way to look at marketing as well is repurposing content. And I now, there’s this content driven eCommerce and everything is around.

Brent: eCommerce and even no UX eCommerce, where it is all about a conversation. You’re gonna talk to somebody in WhatsApp and they’re gonna place the order for you or whatever. I think that you’ve taken the opportunity. You’ve taken that risk and that challenge and. Stepped up on it.

Brent: So one of the things that I’m on the entrepreneurs organization board here in Minneapolis, and I’m on the DEI diversity committee. Yeah. And we in Minneapolis, we’re not incredibly diverse. And in, even in the entrepreneur C. I think we’re 15% women and 85% men.

Brent: So if the math is right, is there a particular struggle that women, this is a rhetorical, I’m sorry, I don’t know how to phrase this, but , I know that there’s struggle in, in people that aren’t white, bald males to break into the entrepreneurial community.

Brent: Through all kinds of factors. . Do you talk about that, those struggles in your podcast? 

Jen: I did. I talked about that a lot early on as a woman in tech at a large organization, meaning the city of Portland. I experienced a lot. I had a lot of days where I felt like I should just walk in with a helmet on, I had people.

Jen: Call me, Jenny, like as a way, a very pejorative way of little girl I’m gonna pat you on the head and stuff. So it was . I dealt with a lot, and I have a bank of content that really talks through some of those struggles and how to get through it. And all of that.

Jen: I think that a lot. what I have learned is, if you go to my website, I there’s nowhere on here where I’m saying I’m gonna empower you because empowerment comes from within. If you even look at like the definition of it. So the truth is we can talk about it a lot, and I’m glad to talk to people about the struggles of women in entrepreneurship.

Jen: Certainly, I would invite that and also. we just have to put on our helmet and go in and do it. Anyway. I was at a networking event once they brought me in to speak. It was a small group. I was my friend who invited me and I were the only women. There was a man sitting next to me. I handed out my business card and I saw him playing with it the whole time.

Jen: He, I hate to say it, he was a bald white guy. So no offense to bald white guys. I. Including you, Brent. He was playing with it and all kinds of stuff, and we got to the end and he was like, I just, I gotta tell you, I’m never gonna send anybody to you because of your business name, women conquer business.

Jen: And I was like, okay. And I was really taken aback. And in the moment, I didn’t know what to say. I was like, really, I had just spoken. as you can tell, I’m fairly friendly. There’s not a lot here to really be angry about, I didn’t think. And I got home and I was like, you know what?

Jen: That’s really good marketing, cuz I didn’t really like that guy either. So if he doesn’t wanna work with me, like that’s an example of good marketing. And I think that women have to find those corners where we fit and people are willing to help us because there certainly are corners where people.

Jen: Aren’t. And I think though, that’s also the case with men. I think that’s the case in the transgender community. I think that this is fairly universal. It’s just that for women, there are a lot more corners where we don’t fit. And I think that really stunts the growth a lot is that, and so when we talk about, we’ve talked a lot about mentorship.

Jen: I do think that sometimes as women, we. men to be our mentors. They need to come and they need to say look this, Jen’s really cool. Like she knows what she’s talking about. Let’s how can we support you? I think that’s part of it. I think also as women, we need to say, you know what, a lot of people don’t like us, they’re gonna hurt her feelings.

Jen: Oh when we just have to keep going. So I think that it’s really hard and it’s difficult and. Over time. I have really strengthened my own helmet, to where I just don’t care as much. about, I don’t focus on the people who don’t like me anymore, because I have a hater every time I put something on YouTube, there’s one person that dislikes it.

Jen: I’m like. What it’s just, and I think it’s the same thing. Like they just, maybe I said something one time and I’m like, I could focus on that one person, but then I’m ignoring all the people who I could be helping. And I’m ignoring all the people who like me, if I just focus on the one hater.

Jen: And I think that as women, it’s a lot easier sometimes for us to absorb that criticism and focus on that when the truth is we have to focus on. all of the other people who are helped by us who want to help us. And I think there’s a lot more of that than the other. 

Brent: Yeah. I think a good lesson for every, a male, whether they have hair or not is empathy.

Brent: Because if as an example, that person that made that judgment based specifically on a name that maybe they lack some empathy, but if you have empathy and you put your, if you could put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and I run for a team called mile in my shoes where you’re running with people in homeless and people coming out of prison, that if you could put yourself in their shoes for a mile.

Brent: You can empathize with them. And I think there’s a tieback as being a good employer to have empathy for your employees because they’re going through their own struggles and you can’t thrust upon them your own. Like I can’t thrust upon. Anybody my own things without having some buy in from the other side.

Brent: So I’m trying to navigate the whole subject. And I believe that talking about it is better than not talking about it. I agree. 

Jen: And I think that there has to be some realities out there and, may speak to the male listeners for just a minute.

Jen: It’s easy to say we’ve made so much progress. That’s not really a problem anymore. The gendered issues, the differences in pay, so many things that are going on. And yet I can tell you that I’ll go out on Quora. And there are like executives from Google who are like women don’t like tech, so they don’t need to have jobs in tech cuz they don’t like it.

Jen: The truth is we leave smart women in tech leave because of bad management. because we’re smart. we don’t wanna put up with it. So we are interested. We’re interested in everything. We are smart. We’re capable. We can do all of those things. We’re not there yet. We still need. empathy and we need compassion.

Jen: And just like you do, I think men need it too. I think that those are the things that we need to realize is yes, we’ve made so much incredible progress and things are looking so much better for women and people of color. And we don’t have equity yet. We’re not there yet. So we just need to have that compassion for each other and build those relationships and we’ll go a long.

Brent: Yeah. So I, we are running up against the clock and I feel like we need to have a follow up conversation about marketing specifically. We’ve talked about a lot of great topics and I thank you. I know we talked earlier about my free joke project and I don’t want to, I this is a terrible segue, but let’s just talk about the fact that. My free jokes land very poorly. And you had a much better joke with the size 47 or 45 clown shoes. cuz I said 17 and I was just thinking American sizes, but you said 45? Yeah. And you weren’t thinking European, you were thinking clown sizes. That’s even better.

Brent: I appreciate that. And you caught me off guard so I’m gonna tell you a joke. And the goal from the joke is just to know if I can charge for it or if it should remain free. okay. All right. 

Brent: What did the tectonic plate say when it bumped into another, sorry. My fault.

Jen: I do like that. 

Brent: I have one more. 

Brent: My doctor says I’ve developed a German sausage phobia. I fear the wurst. Oh. I know that was just a, that was a free one. That’s a free one. The first one, I think the first one should it be chargeable or not? Yes, it should be. Wow.

Brent: All right. Yeah, I’ll 

Jen: give that an a plus. They’re both great, but I love dad jokes, 

Brent: all right, good. Jen at the end of every podcast, I give my guests an opportunity to do a shameless plug about anything you’d like, what would you like to plug. 

Jen: I would like to talk about epiphany courses. This is our new project.

Jen: It’s at epiphany courses.com. It’s a course platform and a community where we talk about marketing and we’re focusing on service based businesses in particular people who are coaches, consultants, all types. I have acupuncturists, I have intuitive coaches in there. all different types of people who are building all types of service based businesses.

Jen: And we talk. marketing and how to build your marketing platform. How to we answer questions. We have some mini courses, our bread and butter are courses that are under an hour. Hence epiphany. We wanna give people in as brief amount of time as possible, all the information that they need so they can make a decision about whether or not it’s even a viable marketing tactic for their business.

Jen: And that’s all at epiphany courses. 

Brent: All right. And I will put those I’ll put the links in the show notes and and what’s the best way to get in touch 


Jen: you. Oh, I’m all over social media, but yeah, you can find me at LinkedIn on LinkedIn, Jen McFarland on LinkedIn. And then also through my 

Brent: websites.

Brent: All right. Thank you, Jen. Thanks so much. And I’ve enjoyed this conversation. 

Jen: Thank you.

Talk-Commerce kalen jordan cricket protein

That was a joke

Kalen Jordan introduces the concept of a new podcast called “That was a Joke,” sponsored by Cricket Protein Bars.

So far, we do not have the sponsor or the podcast, but this is our first attempt at accomplishing this task. You will learn about surfing in Costa Rica, swimming in Minnesota, and electric skateboards. As a bonus, I have left in our conversation on Employee Happiness.

Brent talks about his new favorite author, Caimh McDonnell, and reads a Love poem from John Kenney

Kalen tells us about his week-long surfing lesson in Costa Rica from Witches Rock

Cricket Protein
Cricket Protein

Kalen: How are you doing? I’m hanging in there, man. You’re look-in fit is a fiddle. Thanks, dude. suns out guns out. Do you know what I’m saying? 

Brent: Wow. I could tell those are some good size guns. You got the, and you’re in Texas. Those are the rules.

Brent: I don’t make the rules. You move from California to Texas because of your arms. So you could be legal in Minnesota. We don’t have li it. Yeah. 

Kalen: Yeah. Those are street legal. Those are street-legal in Minnesota, but yeah, I might run into some run into some snags. How are you doing, man?

Kalen: What’s heck where are you? Hawaii. Min, Minnesota. I’m in 

Brent: Minneapolis. 

Kalen: Minneapolis. 

Brent: Okay. Yeah, as they say, as the credit board, a plane somewhere. 

Kalen: I don’t get, I 

Brent: don’t get, I don’t never mind. It’s a joke. Just ignore me for a while, 

Kalen: dude. If we ever do our own podcast, never mind. It’s a joke.

Kalen: That’s the whole podcast. Oh yeah, there you go. How good is 

Brent: that? Yes. Sponsored by. Somebody funny, 

Kalen: we’ll figure it out. Cricket, protein bars. I, there you go. My whole goal in life is to have a podcast with a cricket protein bar as a 

Kalen: sponsor. 

Brent: Yeah. And those are, I don’t know why. And those are actual crickets, right?

Brent: That use the protein from actually grinding up the cricket powder. Yeah. Yeah. That’s good. It’s gluten free 

Kalen: is it? Yeah, that makes sense. 

Brent: There’s no gluten in crickets, right? Unless they’ve just eaten some fresh grain. 

Kalen: True. I’m actually, by the way, I’m using a gluten-free microphone right now. I don’t know.

Kalen: I can tell looks 

Brent: great. Yeah, no it’s yeah. Mine is a paleo microphone. Okay. 

Kalen: It’s non GMO 

Brent: as well. It is non GMO. My microphone was built or was grown in fields in North Dakota that had GMO products next to it. They blew the extra mic. Bits of microphone blew into the field and contaminated it.

Brent: And that’s why I have my stand, which is blue and my microphone, which is I believe a zoom. Is that 

Kalen: a GMO adjacent microphone? Because I can’t do this. I know. Sorry about that. I can’t have you on this esteemed podcast with that kind of a setup. That’s absurd. 

Brent: It is. And I agree with you a hundred percent.

Brent: It’s can we talk about disgusting? 

Kalen: Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, which is the gigantic BigCommerce partner award behind you. 

Brent: It’s okay. It’s actually not an award. It’s just that we’re a partner with BigCommerce now because I’m on all kinds of BigCommerce calls and they got sick of seeing the Magento stuff in background did that’s in fact, sums out.

Brent: We did get an award in in. 21 for, from BigCommerce, but it was during the pandemic and they never shipped him out. Oh, I’m gonna call him out right now on this podcast that never got our award. That’s rough, the old that they did send me that in place. 

Kalen: That’s the old partner award trick.

Kalen: Oo, that’s the oldest trick in the partner book. 

Brent: We’re gonna go heavily branding here. 

Kalen: I like, what is that? What is that hat that you got on there? I should have one of those here. It’s 

Brent: called Hoooooooofa 

Kalen: dang it. If I would’ve had that in 

Brent: your video I gotta take off. Cause I click a little kid with a hat on.

Kalen: Yeah. That’s the problem with hats. They can tend to do that, 

Brent: unfortunately. All right. What we’re talking about, some fun stuff today, man. You had some really topics, all 

Kalen: sorts of topics, all sorts of fun stuff. We’re gonna go all over the map. 

Brent: What is the end of your podcast this week? Or is it a video 

Kalen: series?

Kalen: We’re figuring it out as we go. We’re figuring it out as we go. And it will be reveal at the proper time, 

Brent: but I’m gonna, we are in the, we were, we are gonna remix and it is also gonna be a bonus episode on talk commerce. Perfect. Fantastic. Fantastic. So we’re, we’ll see, it’ll be competing and we should release it together.

Brent: Same week, same apple podcast stream. 

Kalen: You’re gonna compete with my own podcast. All I can 

Brent: do is try to keep, I can try to keep up with 

Kalen: that non GMO microphone. 

Brent: Yes. But I do feel like on my stream, I’m gonna put a bunch of beeps in. Just to cover up your swearing. Oh, okay. 

Kalen: Son of a bur yep.

Kalen: Burp. Yeah I do swear a lot these days. just not on podcasts. You’re 

Brent: You’re in Texas. You have to, 

Kalen: it’s a lot, it’s a lot to swear about including. Employee culture and happiness, which is one of my favorite topics. Really. Okay. It really is. I’m big on call employee culture and happiness.

Kalen: I’m surprised that you’re surprised you sounded like you were surprised by that, which I don’t I’m particularly 

Brent: appreciate. I, because I’m not surprised. 

Kalen: That’s my whole, that’s my whole life. 

Brent: That’s your whole shtick. 

Kalen: I have a handbook. Have you read my handbook on employee culture and happiness? 

Brent: No. No, we should read it right now.

Brent: yeah, no, I don’t have a, it could be like an audio book. 

Kalen: yeah, one of these days it’ll be an audio book. No, but that was something you wanted to talk about was employee culture and happiness. 

Brent: So yeah, I think in today’s age, when while we’re here in Minnesota, the unemployment rate is 2% or something like that.

Brent: Oh, crazy. Like crazy low. Yeah. As an employer, you have to go the extra mile to retain your employees. 

Kalen: you have no choice. So is this just a pragmatic, is this just a pragmatic thing? Listen, if the if the unemployment rate were higher, we wouldn’t care about this at all, but because it’s so low.

Kalen: We gotta bite the bullet and be nice to people. 

Brent: yeah. That is a great, that is a great way to look at it. I will answer that in full transparency that that you should not take an employment rate into account. And the reason is what does it cost to rehire the next person?

Brent: The 2% is a hard. Wall for an employer to get over. Because there’s simply not anybody you can hire, right? Yeah. Let’s just say it’s 10%. You get really sloppy and you’re hiring. You’re like, oh, we’ll hire people and blah, blah, blah. And if they leave, who cares? Just because we can hire more people.

Brent: Yeah. But does that mean because you’ve hired somebody new that person is gonna just hit the ground running. like even in the programming world, developers could be the only, one of the, they developers theoretically could be the fastest onboarding person you could have because hopefully your projects is detailed well, and they can come in and they just look at the requirements they’re already qualified.

Brent: They could start working right away. There’s still gonna be a week or two of rampup 

Kalen: Point them at some tasks and have ’em like jump right in, in theory. 

Brent: Yeah. Theoretically, they’re gonna have to learn a little bit, but let’s just say have two weeks or a month to get them up and running. Okay.

Brent: Let’s just say in the US developers make whatever we’ll use a round number, a hundred grand a year. What does that then cost you that one that’s $8,000 that you have to pay that one month of trying to get everybody up and running, onboarding all those other things.

Brent: Yeah, so it’s a lot of money. I think that, that 2% unemployment rate is a wake up call to employers who haven’t been big on employee culture and should be working on that. 

Kalen: Yeah. Yeah. Totally. No, and yeah, I was just kidding. It’s easy for me to beat, to joke about these things.

Kalen: Cause I don’t have any employees and. And then I give you a heart. You actually have responsibilities over there. So I’m busting your chops. but 

Brent: it is a I appreciate that question and I believe that is a completely fair question to ask any employer. I 

Brent: think it’s a factor for sure.

Kalen: It doesn’t change, like what’s the right thing to do, but it is a factor. But what are, so you’ve been in the. Working world for a long time. Since the Dawn, but so what are some things that are top of mind for you as far as like employee culture, 

Brent: keep people happy.

Brent: think that Time off is certainly a big one. Having well planned and thought out like for a developer, right? want a developer wants to have a project manager that is going to help them be better developers they’re they don’t want help technically, but they need help org or 

Kalen: they things to be organized.

Kalen: They just want like requirements not to change things to be straight forward, tell me what I need to do. I can do it. It’s not gonna change 16 times and then I can get it 

Brent: done. Yeah. They want them to run interference.

Brent: They don’t want the client talking to them directly. Yeah. They, hopefully the project manager can handle all that. So yeah, from a, from an employee stand happiness standpoint, we want to encourage that and support that. Yeah. All those pieces as you come down the whole pipeline of getting work done.

Kalen: That’s really good, actually, because there’s so many different, you could talk about benefits and perks and but I really think the core of what a developer cares about is exactly that make the work itself. Clean to whatever extent, in the real world, things are gonna change.

Kalen: Things are gonna be requirements are gonna be fuzzy and stuff like that, but as much as possible make, the process of getting work, done the project management structure, like straightforward, I think also probably you wanna work on challenging stuff. Interesting stuff too. That’s also obviously gonna be a big component.

Kalen: But like the work itself, make the work, improve the work itself, as opposed to all the things around it that are important. Are. Nice to haves, but they’re not really the core of what your job is about. 

Brent: Yeah. This actually, this whole discussion would be better for a panel.

Brent: If we had say four or five employers, that’d like to just talk about what is it that they, or even employees like are just a regular. Developers. No developers are regular, they’re all extraordinary. Find four extraordinary developers, which are every developer and ask them what makes them happy.

Brent: You’re probably gonna get four different answers, right? Some of them want to get paid. Some of them would like lots of time off. Some of them like flexibility in their schedule, as a edge agile, is all kinds of things. It’s, it is gonna be varied. It’s a complicated, it is a complicated task.

Brent: But that culture that any company embodies would have people that have been there for a long amount of time and they would be the ones driving this culture, the ones that like the culture. So maybe it is about time off or flexibility. Those are the ones that are gonna stick around.

Brent: And if somebody doesn’t care about some of those other things, then all they wanna do is make the biggest money. Then that’s where you see developers jumping from jumping around the agency. And again, I don’t wanna make it sound too general. Like not it just because somebody goes from one agency to the other because they make more money.

Brent: Doesn’t mean they’re jumping because of the money. There’s all kinds reasons. I don’t want to generalize it, but it’s just an example of the different parts of that. That encompass that whole idea of employee happiness. 

Kalen: I think of the dev teams that seem felt to me, the strongest are where there’s this combination of you enjoy working with your peers, you respect them. They help you and also challenge you. So if you have a problem, you can get feedback, get help, get support. The work is interesting. You have a high level of autonomy or ownership of what you’re doing.

Kalen: There’s not a lot of red tape and, nonsense. And and then you get paid well, that’s that never 

Brent: all those 

Kalen: things, right? Yeah. But you’re an employee, right? Are you technically an employee? Yes, I am. Are you ha are you happy? Are you, 

Brent: That’s good. Yeah. I think part of that is autonomy.

Brent: You want to give people a degree of autonomy to to be able, you wanna give them space to make some of their own decisions. Yeah. So that’s huge. Yeah. I think one thing that’s always important is knowing what is that space? And then what is, how does creativity go into that space?

Brent: As an employer, you want to recognize that people need some of that space, right? They, and they, and if you’re demanding so much time out of it what is an acceptable, modest time to for either create creative growth or personal growth or educational growth?

Kalen: Yeah, because like I I remember this one dev team I was on and we were working on a new project. It was interesting. It was fun. It was exciting. And then certain people were building certain components of it. And. When you talk about like creativity and stuff, like they were taking some very creative approaches to the architecture of how to build this thing.

Kalen: And we would talk about it and be like, oh yeah, it’s gonna, it’s gonna work like this. And it’s gonna be super extensible. And it’ll, the code’s gonna be so clean. It’s gonna be. You could tell they were super excited about it from like a creativity standpoint and it sounded cool.

Kalen: It sounded great. But then, a day turns into a week, turns into two weeks and it’s like the thing isn’t getting done, and it’s oh yeah. And they show, show you all the stuff. And then they have a good explanation for why it’s not done.

Kalen: It’s oh I gotta do this. And then I got da, and I gotta refactor it. And they’re all good reasons. And then sometimes people just get caught in like a loop of things can be complicated. And so that’s the flip side of it, is if you’re too creative, like you gotta get stuff done.

Kalen: Like you gotta get, things out the door.

Brent: Yeah, there’s a in the development world, there’s always a push and pull be between the developer who is a perfectionist. And the developer, who’s just a get stuff done. Developer. In a past life I liked, I did development work.

Brent: I would never say I was a developer, a very good one anyways, and I was a get stuff, done, person because especially if you’re a. Single contractor, or, you are the only person accountable to that customer. And so you’re just trying to get as much steps down as you possibly can.

Brent: I think another good role for a project manager is to be that person who can say this task actually takes this long and to do it right. It’s gonna take that long. And the only way to get around doing it right, is doing it wrong. 

Kalen: Say the only way 

Brent: to get a, if you, the only way that’s not do it right.

Brent: Is to not do it. You can say it in so many words, but if you want it done faster, you’re gonna have to take some shortcuts and chances are, it’s not gonna be right. Like you’re not gonna write your unit tests or you’re not gonna do QA on it, or you’re gonna skip over a bunch of functions that, or whatever it is, there’s just things you can do to cut corners.

Kalen: Yeah. Yeah. And yeah. And that’s. Yeah. And then that’s the problem. Like I’m a get stuff. I’m a get stuff done developer and I can move pretty quickly, but I’m not like the perfectionist. And then the downside to that of course, is that, down the road, you realize there’s technical debt.

Kalen: There’s. There’s limitations to what you built that really can start to compound over time. And I really should. , I really should have taken a little extra time and done it, done it. The fir, but there’s really no such thing as doing it. You want to do it as.

Kalen: As best as you can and then improve on that. And that, and this is why somebody that’s been coding for 10 years is so much more efficient. Somebody’s been doing it for a year because they’ve gone through enough of those cycles that they can see, the problems ahead of them and then fix them, from the get go.

Kalen: Yeah 

Brent: yeah. What, so you had some other topics you wanted to go? I did have some topics I had let’s jump into ’em. Let’s 

Kalen: talk about exercise, man. Cuz you’re a big exercise guy. And what have you been doing to. Exercise. What’s your what’s. What do you do, man? You do a lot of stuff. You do cross country skiing.

Kalen: You do all sorts of stuff. What’s. what’s your latest deal? 

Brent: My goal is not to do cross country scheme cuz I’m very tired of the cold weather. Although I do enjoy it when I do it. Yeah. And it is super fun. Yeah. But it’s also cold enough to. Walk on a lake yeah.

Brent: And in order for the ice to be thick enough for you to walk on, it has to be cold for a sustained amount of time. Wait, just the opposite of being a hundred degrees for 13 days in Austin is the opposite of that is to be below freezing for right a month. So the lake is a foot thick anyways.

Brent: Yeah. Yeah. So I, right now I’m running and I’m biking and I’m swimming. , I’m doing a little yoga. oh, nice. When did you start the yoga? I had a pretty significant injury back in February that sidelined me. Oh no. Am I running? And, I think stretching is one of those things that I just have to do.

Brent: And so yoga has been a good thing. I was doing it every day, but I’ve cut it down a couple times a day. Just flexibility as a runner. Yeah. You’re you become very inflexible. Yeah. Oh, do you in the same from running thing all the time. So your hips are super tight and oh, 

Kalen: interesting. Yeah. How did you injure yourself?

Brent: Running on the ice. If you can think about and I’m writing an article about it right now I wanted to detail my injury. There’s Icelandic horse that, that has very tiny little steps, lots of tiny steps, right? Lots of cadence you call it. When we run in Minnesota, because we’re running on snow and ice.

Brent: you change the way you run and that then changes like smaller steps a thing. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s not a bad thing, but if you go from, running in a warm place, , I’m not embarrassed to say that I spent most of my November and December in Hawaii, which was warm. Nice.

Brent: And I came back at Christmas and went immediately to Fargo. And it was like going from 80 degrees to minus 10 and go running. And I was in a running streak. So I had to run every day and I hate running on a treadmill. 

Kalen: Why didn’t you stay out there longer? Why didn’t you stay on Hawaii, longer 

Brent: Christmas?

Brent: We have family, like we celebrate some of these holidays and the family that liked whatever reason they like to have us around. I don’t know. Yeah, so just repeated 

Kalen: stress, just a repeated stress thing of running in a little bit of a funny. 

Brent: Yeah. And then, I think my body reacts better to cold weather, like the cardiovascular part.

Brent: So I feel like I can run a lot harder and I do. It just makes it worse because your muscles are super tight because of the cold weather. Anyways, I ended up with a very bad glued injury. I had a running streak going, I had 683 days of running straight before I stopped. What? Wow. And so you really, why did keep that streak going?

Brent: I really wanted to, and I was on a treadmill and I was holding myself up with my arms. Oh, just trying to let my legs dangle. Oh. Until that one mile I thing clicked around and I’m like, this is so stupid. I’m not really running a mile. I’m barely touching the treadmill. I might as well just call it quits and oh no, I got, so I, I had to heal.

Brent: Yeah. So took a while. I did a lot of stretching, lot of trips to the PT. Oh wow. And yeah, it felt, I started feeling better and then immediately, because of all the different pieces, I’ve had IT Band problems and, tight tightness and my IT Band and I’m about 99% now. Oh, that’s 

Kalen: great.

Kalen: How how long did you have to stop running. 

Brent: I stopped for about six weeks. Oh, okay. 

Kalen: Oh, wow. Yeah. That’s frustrating when you’re doing something and then you have to stop cuz that becomes your whole routine and you start to depend on it and stuff and and then if you have to stop, it just sucks.

Brent: Yeah. So now I’ve started doing open water swimming and believe it or not. Our open water swim club starts. June 14th. okay. Cause that’s June 14th. That’s when the, what lakes are, that’s pretty much warm enough to swim in. The water was still 69 degrees on June 14th, right? Yeah.

Brent: That’s chilling by August. They’re gonna be 80 because it’s so hot here in the summer. Do you ever do 

Kalen: ice baths 

Brent: or cold? I’ve done his best. Yeah. 

Kalen: Yeah. Okay. I’ve been wanting to get, I keep hearing about the benefits of I do sauna and stuff, but I keep hearing about the benefits of ice baths. So I wanna do that, but I gotta buy a bag of ice or something like that and just put it in a bathtub tub 

Brent: or something.

Brent: I think Philip does ice baths does into a very, really long run. 

Kalen: Oh, okay. Yeah, a lot of the people I follow on social media related to Jim and workout stuff. Talk about ’em and I gotta get that going. Yeah. I, what were you gonna say? 

Brent: Yeah, I was gonna tell you my last thing that you asked me what I’m doing.

Brent: I have one more thing that I’m doing. Yeah, what I’m biking. Okay. So I swim, I bike and I run. That’s what I pretty much do on yoga. Nice and yoga. I did my first triathlon last weekend and no, 

Kalen: way’s it. Your first tri your first tri. Cause before it was, you were just more pure running and then now you for this year.

Brent: Okay. I did lunch last year too. Anyways, that’s it first. Oh, what are you doing? Tell me what you’re doing. No. For this year. Cause it’s so cold here. 

Kalen: Okay. You don’t your first triathlon this year, but you’ve done triathlons in the past. right? Yes. Okay. You’ve done a ton of 

Brent: them. No, I wouldn’t say a ton, but I’ve done.

Brent: You’ve done a handful. I’ve done solid. Yep. And I’m a terrible swimmer. yeah. You look 

Kalen: like a terrible swimmer. 

Brent: Yes. That’s what everybody says too. 

Kalen: do here’s do you when it comes to exercise, do you do the things because they’re beneficial for you or do you just do the stuff be like, have you gotten to the point where you just do it because you enjoy doing it?

Kalen: Like you do the running cuz you enjoy running. You don’t do it because. It helps you to be healthier or is it a mix of the two? 

Brent: Yeah, I think I am doing it because I absolutely enjoy it. I am trying to enjoy swimming more. , that 

Kalen: swimming is so boring. I’ve tried to do the swimming thing, but I can’t do it.

Kalen: I just lose my mind. I get too 

Brent: bored doing it. They have headphones you can wear while you’re swimming. But oh, I do mainly open water swimming. So the, in Minnesota here it’s supported. So there’s buoys and they have peak lifeguards on paddleboards.

Brent: Oh, that’s cool. I swim with the swim buoy. So I feel pretty safe. And you have a goal, you go. 400 yards come back, four yards. That’s pretty cool. Too big circle or 

Kalen: whatever it is. That’s kinda of an epic dude when I’m in Costa Rica like surfing. you’ll first of all, like just being on a surfboard and paddling is so tiring and you’ll just like, just going from A to B you’ll be exhausted.

Kalen: But then of course you just lay on the surfboard, and chill out and you’ll see dudes open water swimming in the ocean. And. You will just see a guy just go out like as far as you can see, like he’s practically out past the horizon. Just swimming. No, support. nothing. Not even sometimes they don’t even have a boo or anything like that.

Kalen: I don’t know what these people are thinking. It’s insane. 

Brent: But yeah, there’s people that swim miles and mile. I was talking to a guy last night who is in a swim club and he met a lady that is, he, she, there’s a swim you can do across the English channel, which is like 26 or 30 miles or whatever.

Brent: You get out, you stamp your passport and you swim back. That’s funny. So it’s like a 50 mile or 60 mile swim. That’s funny. That’s not gonna be me. I’m not gonna 

Kalen: do that. You’re not gonna do all that. Let me grab another water real quick. Hold I’ll be right back.

Brent: This episode of Kalen talks is sponsored by. Protein cricket bars, protein, cricket bars, bring you crickets and protein in a nice condensed package. Dude, 

Kalen: let’s start a protein cricket bar brand. How cool would that be? 

Brent: There’s probably one that exist. We could be the 

Kalen: spokesperson. That’s true, by the way. I need to install an AC in the garage but which is on my to-do list.

Kalen: So if you wonder why I’m sweating like a madman that’s the reason why I’m just, 

Brent: and we don’t have our AC right on our ACS, not on right now, but it was on last week and it was like, 90, it was 96 here. and it was 64 degrees in my basement, cuz all the, oh, that’s not bad. All the AC drops, that’s not bad.

Kalen: Yeah. But yeah, I like, I feel like on a, like I, I recently got an electric skateboard because I just, I think it’s a lot of fun and I feel like I’ve been on a path of doing, like doing exercise, cuz you, you have to, you wanna get in better shape, you wanna get healthier and then gradually you start to find the things you really love to do.

Kalen: And then eventually you just do the stuff cuz you like, that’s ultimately where you want to get to where you just do the stuff that you love to do. And it’s not, you would do it even if it didn’t make it’s not about the getting healthier is like the byproduct. 

Brent: You know what I mean? Yeah. I is that I totally get a high from running. There’s nothing more fun than getting up, as the sun is rising and having. Whatever amount of miles in front of you and just having this little adventure of running around. And seeing things like when I travel, I always try to do some kind of extended long run or I’d stay on a Saturday to do my long run.

Brent: I think we were gonna get together last spring. I was gonna come to Austin for some event and I had planned on staying an extra day and that’s when I got injured. So I had to cut that one short, but I had a 20 mile run planned in Austin and I have a route planned out and I was super excited to kinda, ah, that’s a bummer.

Brent: Go see the it’s fun to see that I’ve done the The murals, there’s all kinds of paintings and there’s a walking tour. I did eight miles of just running around, looking at all the great paintings on the side of buildings in it’s a great way to see a city. Yeah.

Brent: I think it’s EXPECIALLY fun. Did I say that, right? It, especially cuz I said, some 

Kalen: people say, EXPECIALLY, 

Brent: I feel like that’s a, and that is pronunciation That the one thing I love to say to my wife is I love to say, Hey, would you like to get an EXPRESSO? Yeah. If she said, do you mean Espresso And I said, oh, she 

Kalen: Expresso She corrects you. No, that’s not cool. Yeah. EXPRESSO that’s valid. Yeah. Hundred percent. valid No. I’m jealous of people that are into running, cuz it seems like a really cool way to, like you said, see a city and I’ve tried to get into it, but I’ve just never, and like my joints drive me crazy, but I’ve tried.

Kalen: But that’s how I feel about the skateboard now is I want is it’s a fun way to like I’ve been exploring different parts of the city where I live in that I hadn’t seen before. And it’s a neat way to get around. Yeah, it’s funny how, when you’re just driving you, you just go through the same route that wherever you’re going and you never really stop to smell the roses, 

Brent: or and did you get a one, one wheel, one of those one wheel skateboards or no.

Brent: So 

Kalen: I got a it’s called an evolve. It’s like an actual skateboard with four wheels. Huh? I did try the one wheel and I rented it and I have a buddy here nearby. Who’s super into ’em, but I couldn’t quite get it. Have you ridden a one wheel before? 

Brent: No, but I have a friend who has one.

Brent: Okay. 

Kalen: They seem really cool, but the problem is that you can also, you can fall on them a lot. And they do this nose dive thing. 

Brent: Where that’s exactly what he just broke his collarbone. Are you for real? Yep. He was going 20 miles an hour and it just there’s something with the battery happened.

Brent: The 

Kalen: battery dies it’s oh my gosh, 

Brent: you’re supposed to get a warning. Yeah. He put little wheels on the front, on the back now. So if it does a nose dive, it can but I still think if you’re gonna nose dive and you’re gonna dig in, you’re just gonna, it’s gonna, yeah. You’re not gonna recover 

Kalen: from it.

Kalen: Yeah. It’s scary. I watched a ton of videos on that and I was really nervous about it and stuff like that. Apparently you learn how to feel when that’s happening and then you can avoid it. And those things that you, the wheels are called fangs, the wheels that you put on the front, and then they make it so that if it does nose dive it, doesn’t like hard dive.

Kalen: It gives you a little bit more space or whatever, but yeah, I was just like, nah, and just riding it. It was just weird. I just more comfortable on the skateboard, but I’m still, I’m super nervous about falling just off the skateboard. Because they go, 15, 20 miles an hour and stuff like that.

Kalen: And, 

Brent: And do you have a remote that you hold because I’ve seen those electric skateboards and I’ve seen people holding it remote and they’re just yeah. Cruising. 

Kalen: Yeah. It’s nuts. Yeah. Okay. There. There’s a little remote and actually right after this, I’m gonna go to this meetup and we’re gonna, I’m gonna cruise around with some people 

Brent: electric skateboard meetup.

Brent: Yeah. 

Kalen: Actually it’s a one little bikers too or not, oh, it’s a, I think any electronic per a transportation device, whatever they’re called, but but yeah, it’s a one wheel group and then there’s some people with skateboards too, but I’m gonna be like the one I’m gonna be like the weird one, cause everybody else is gonna have a one wheel.

Brent: Susan and I went out and joined a new bike group on on Wednesday night and nice. There was an, a and B in biking. And so we, and there’s a 40 mile and a 25 mile. So we joined the slow 25 mile group. And I haven’t actually ridden that far this year. And it was an, a group for us anyways, but I was so tired.

Brent: that’s a long 

Kalen: ride. Yeah. That’s a 25 miles. That’s a ride for me at least. If I ride 10 miles, I’m tired. 

Brent: Yeah but you’re going like 10 miles an hour. So that’s pretty fast. 

Kalen: I get

Brent: I know you don’t even know how 

Kalen: fast you’re going. I don’t know how fast away hours making fun of me, but I don’t exactly know why. So 

Brent: did you take, let’s go. I wanna come back to surfing cuz I took surfing lessons last year. Did you take lessons in Costa Rica? 

Kalen: Yeah, I went to a surf camp for a week.

Kalen: Took lessons, whoa. A week. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And then shout out to witches rock and then and then I stayed it by myself for the rest of that month. And then we’ve gone back. This is gonna be like our fourth time going there. We were there for three and a half months last year, total. And part yeah, so we loved it.

Kalen: But that’s kind of thing with the skateboard is that I loved surfing so much and I was like, we need to move here. I was talking to my wife about it. Didn’t you know, then you realize it’s a little more complicated than that when you have three kids and stuff, even though we homeschool. kids have dance, they have music, they have their friends.

Kalen: You can’t you gotta stay put, so 

Brent: yeah. I’m just gonna put out a little shout out for Hawaii because the one thing that a lot of people don’t realize about Hawaii is that it is a US state and getting a house there is far easier and than like Mexico or Costa Rica. And getting the other thing is what?

Brent: Go ahead. 

Kalen: Getting a house there is easier. Is that what you said? Yeah. Cuz 

Brent: it’s a US state. You can get a mortgage. I know you wouldn’t need a mortgage, but people that would need one, 

Kalen: I would need a mortgage but it’s expensive there. It’s crazy. 

Brent: It’s crazy expensive. It is expensive, if you go there as a tourist and go out to eat every day, but if you’re making your own food and.

Brent: you live in a local, it’s not as bad, much more expensive. They have a Costco. So that’s all you 

Kalen: need the houses. The houses are expensive. 

Brent: The houses are expensive, but they’re smaller. You pay the same amount for a house, but it’s not gonna be like, it’s not gonna be, what do you have?

Brent: Like 12 or 15,000 square feet in Austin. It’s you’re gonna, you’re probably gonna have to. For the size of the house you have, you’re gonna have to, yeah. If you settle for 2,500 square 

Kalen: feet. Yeah, no. Yeah. If it’s just the two of you and you’re getting a small house, it’s probably super doable. 

Brent: A big house in Kona is 1500 square feet oh, okay.

Brent: Yeah. And a big house for millions is gonna be anything over three or 4,000. 

Kalen: So did you do some, so you did some surfing out, you did some surfing out there. In Hawaii. 

Brent: Yeah. I only did one day of surf lessons. Which now have hearing that you said a week, that’s probably a really good idea.

Brent: The mistake I made and I went with my son was he said paddle back as soon as you can. And so we would go out, do our little run and then we were just both Gavin and I are just whipping it to get back to the start. And it’s man, you guys have never had anybody get back as fast as you guys get back.

Brent: But what happened I wasn’t used to that motion and I ended up bruising, one of my ribs between the waves bouncing and me paddling so hard. It’s bruised a rib. Dude 

Kalen: it’s. Yeah. And it’s so painful. 

Brent: I don’t know if you’ve heard of persuasive kids. I have a very, I have a very persuasive son.

Brent: He’s dad, we’ve gotta go by. Let’s just go to Costco right now. I know they had surfboards he’s like he, he talked me into going to Costco. We bought two surfboards. So you bought, and then every single day, he’s we gotta get out there. We gotta get, which only makes your ribs hurt more. 

Kalen: So you kept going out.


Brent: did. 

Kalen: Yep. Okay. So how how many times did you go out total? Did you get the hang of it? 

Brent: My son definitely got the hang of it. I would say because I was in such pain that I never got, I was never relaxed enough that time that we were just back in May and susan. And I went out and just paddled around and it was so much easier once you’re comfortable and not in pain.

Kalen: To, yeah, totally. I feel like that first week for me was like, the there’s just balancing on the board was super hard, like laying down balancing and paddling for me was like, I was just like, I was a wreck. I was like all over the place. And then the rib pain and stuff like that. And then your arms are so sore.

Kalen: It’s yeah, after that week I feel like I started to get the hang of it, but 

Brent: the first, so I’m not the only one that gets rib pain. That’s good to know. Oh, I’m glad that I’m glad that you had all kinds of rib pain. 

Kalen: Yeah, I had so much. And then it’s weird how the pain just starts to go away. Like I think you’re you’re at your, whatever your ribs get conditioned to it.

Kalen: And then, I don’t know, you probably figure out your technique a little better too, whatever, but. 

Brent: It’s fine. You’re from California originally. So was that part of your culture? Did you, were you a surf kid? 

Kalen: No. I didn’t grow up near the beach at all, but I was always into skating and rollerblading and stuff like that.

Kalen: And then snowboarding. So I picked it up relatively quickly, but yeah, it was a new, that was a new thing, but it’s pretty fun. Pretty fun, man. Are we with our time here? We’re almost at our time,

Kalen: there was a couple other things on the list, but I don’t know. I feel like we had a solid sesh, solid yeah. Podcast sesh. 

Brent: So can I’ve got a good I’ve got a one of my favorite poets. Yes. It’s called love poems for married people. Oh, wow. This is great. Can I read a poem? Oh my gosh.

Brent: As we close it out, please. All right. Yeah. And I got this book for Susan. So this is gonna be a joke you’re setting. No, they’re real. It’s love poems by it’s John 

Kalen: Kenny world in which you’re gonna read a real poem right 

Brent: now. Poems 

Kalen: look at it says poem, you found a poem. That’s gonna somehow be an, a joke one way or another, but we’ll see..

Brent: We’ll find out after I read it right. We’ll find out real soon. Okay. Title the Mo title. Ready? Here we go. Are you in the mood? I am. Let’s put the kids down, let’s have a light dinner shower, maybe not drink too much and do that thing I would rather do with you than anyone else lie in bed together and look at our iPhones.

Brent: that’s so dumb. It’s a real. It’s a real poem. 

Kalen: Yep. Yeah. That’s 

Brent: wow. I find all of his poems completely hilarious. And are they all, 

Kalen: they’re all funny. 

Brent: Are they all if you think that’s funny. I think it’s hilarious. 

Kalen: but they’re not like sincere love poems. So it 

Brent: was a sincere love poems.

Brent: I’m this guy has to be Irish because the humor that comes out of it is very Irish. Yeah. 

Kalen: I like it. I like it. I’m gonna flip. I’ve been thinking about actually trying to read some more poetry. I’ve been trying to read fiction. I can’t read fiction though. It’s so hard for me to it just goes in one ear and out the other.

Kalen: versus mostly I’ve just read like non-fiction books and 

Brent: all I’m reading a fiction book. It’s by comb McDonald, and it’s the dead man sins. And we’ll have to put it in the show notes. It’s completely hilarious. He’s got all these anyways. Nice. I am reading a fiction book.

Kalen: Sorry. You cut out just a tiny bit. What was the, what was that book? 

Brent: It is it’s called dead man sins. It’s by Cole. It’s C a I M H I know it’s Irish. And I should know how to say it cuz they often say it, but Cole McDonald. Okay. On Amazon C a I M 

Kalen: H. And 

Brent: what’s it about? It’s a sort of a it’s a detective novel, let’s say, but nice.

Brent: Quite a bit of Irish humor in it. 

Kalen: Nice. I’m reading the Hobbit with my daughter. Oh, that’s a good one, which is fun. Yeah. It’s yeah, it’s pretty. It’s pretty cool. She reads it to me and she understands it much better than I do. Good. She’ll actually test me. She’ll be like, she’ll test my comprehension. She’ll be like, did you understand that part dad.

Kalen: And I’ll be like she’ll have to explain this to 

Brent: me. That’s good that you have to read the line, the witch in the wardrobe. Yeah, 

Kalen: I think they’ve read that one. Yeah. Yeah. They were 

Brent: contemporaries. CS Lewis and JRR Tolkin. 

Kalen: Yeah. I think there’s some science fiction from CS Lewis.

Kalen: I’ve read a bunch of when I was in college, I read a bunch of CS Lewis’s books on Christianity and stuff like 

Brent: that. Yeah. My favorite book is called the Great Divorce. Yeah. 

Kalen: I think I read that 

Brent: one. Yeah. It’s a good one. It’s not about divorce. Yeah. 

Kalen: But anyways, he has some interesting science fiction too.

Kalen: Yeah, absolutely. Brent Peterson, thanks so much. This has been a lot of fun. Where can people find all your content and links and web links? 

Brent: If we’re gonna put this up, mine will be on talk hyphen commerce.com. Fantastic. And I don’t know, we’re gonna name this episode. We’ll 

Kalen: figure something out for that’s for darn.

Kalen: Sure. All right. Thanks everybody for tuning in. See you next time.

Karthik Chidambaram

The Move to Remote with Karthik Chidambaram

Before the pandemic, most CEOs thought a 100% remote workforce was unsustainable. The new reality is higher productivity by employees who have had to work at home. We interview Karthik Chidambaram with DCKAP about employee happiness as well as his adventures in selling products.