On this week’s show Matt speaks to Guru CEO and co-Founder Rick Nucci about using AI to help people be better “people people”, the trouble with CRM, and why Philadelphia is a great place to found a startup.
We also delve into the dark and shade of the internet with the ludicrous 3M marketing campaign and the wonderful Is this AI? flowchart.
Don’t forget you can continue the conversation over on the WB-40 WhatsApp channel; drop us a line on Twitter for an invite.
The following transcript was created by https://Otter.ai which is good, but not infallible.
Matt Ballantine 0:21
Hello and welcome to Episode 87 of WB-40. The weekly podcast with me Matt Ballantine and Chris Weston.
Matt Ballantine 0:28
So again, we are here. The only difference is we did a little bit of a live periscope Twitter thing just beforehand, just because you know video is apparently where it’s at these days with the kids are you keeping well? Mr. Weston?
Chris Weston 0:43
I’m very well thank you. It’s a nice addition to give a difference, isn’t it where we’re pioneers the digital age or something I’m sure without without a podcast, which is nobody’s ever done this before. And then we’ve just been on Periscope, which I seem to think was was a thing about two years ago.
Chris Weston 1:00
Yeah it’s never heard of it
Matt Ballantine 1:01
A rare skill we only ever to use technology once it’s been acquired by one of the big four I think that’s um. You know showing showing our intent basically isn’t it
Chris Weston 1:11
yeah it might Mark has access to proper
Chris Weston 1:14
Chris Weston 1:17
because only an idiot would you something before it’s been tested by you know properly invited by people were not one of these alpha bleeding edge fools are you more mature than that as we want a service level agreement before will use anything bang on Have you been enjoying the enormous great political shit storm at the last six days since we last recorded not as much as I used to you know I remember
Chris Weston 1:41
in the early 90s I remember watching the major administration collapse
Chris Weston 1:47
as a I guess a student at the time
Chris Weston 1:52
maybe maybe I was doing my A levels and and then maybe I was at university when I was at university when oh no no it was when he
Matt Ballantine 1:59
graduated By that stage mate, sorry
Chris Weston 2:01
yeah, yeah, yeah, sorry, it was when Margaret Thatcher resign. I remember being at university in my first year, and Margaret Thatcher resigned. And that was that was enjoyable. And then I could see the whole the whole of that term
Chris Weston 2:14
that there was the
Chris Weston 2:17
misery here for the next election. And they’ll connect the Sheffield thing. But then there was the very enjoyable spectacle of everybody falling apart, and the government beating over Europe that wish to me that and as it just as somebody who was interested in politics, and enjoyed the kind of rough and tumble of it, but didn’t have that much of a stake in the outcome. And as much as I was working and I was getting paid. And that’s really all I cared about.
Chris Weston 2:44
It was it was enjoyable and funny. Now, it’s, it’s kind of not so enjoyable and funny because I understand their club and of these things. It’s almost it’s starting to hope that Theresa May get a while into he sees all these not jobs from the big you can’t appear to organize a letter writing exercise exercise.
Matt Ballantine 3:10
Yes. Yeah, you have to imagine that if they can’t get to 48 that I love the irony of the 48
Chris Weston 3:17
but they can’t get to the 48 that just shows them up to be the bunch of differing in competence that I’m certainly are especially a Steve Baker, who’s who’s they hold him up as a bit of a brain box amongst them, but one of the competent ones, and he was constantly predicting that they would have them, which is excellent.
Matt Ballantine 3:36
Yeah. Well, Dominic Raab has been painted a some sort of Messiah of the right as well as a nice so you know, they don’t really pick them
Chris Weston 3:46
but he believed in Rob I remember Rob not very long ago. He was backing Michael Gove in the leadership election after the referendum are under being I was in London that day and I was visiting different people and I kept going into offices or TVs and it was all falling apart because Boris Johnson no no he
Matt Ballantine 4:05
wasn’t gonna stand and then go stabbed him in the front
Chris Weston 4:08
yeah he was biking go and then he backed he changes the changes backing to Johnson on the morning that Johnson resigned right so essentially he’s this Rob has always been this kind of Nowhere Man kind of nobody really took him seriously but running along behind the big kid saying I’m your friend. And now I’m your friend and nobody could be bothered to tell it that they’re changing their their plans you know what I mean? So he was always a bit of a billy no mates but as you say a bit of a darling of the right because he’s you know he looks like one and now he’s managed to get somebody responsible position for a while and my complete been Jack’s of it. So I’ve got no sympathy for him at all. I just me as the kind of money doesn’t really have any actual friends I have yet to meet anybody in Civil Services got a good word to say for.
Matt Ballantine 4:58
So you know, they do about some people, but they’d had, but yet I was interesting as well, in the draft withdrawal agreement, there’s a long list of the systems that are currently provided by the European Union, that access will be withdrawn to the end of the transition agreement. And that’s almost like a pikelis for IBM to go in and go, I see you got these needs here, Mr. government want to do a deal. It’s just there’s a vast amount of technology, there’s going to be needs to be replaced, which is something that people may have been saying very long time now. But it’s an a colossal list of stuff.
Chris Weston 5:33
And if you ever, you know, been involved in combat the business or an acquisition where there’s a transition services agreement in place, it’s never long enough. You know, what I mean, people always optimistic about how long is going to take to do this. And then there’s some hideous bill for using the systems afterwards. But that’s always assuming, of course, there’s some sort of agreement Did you see that this isn’t a politics podcast, if it were to move off this subject saying, but David Davis wrote an article
Chris Weston 6:01
yesterday or something, and it was published, Ray said, at the end of the day, we can leave with no deal and we’ll just have to negotiate a withdrawal with a free trade agreement in the in the transition period. And that was David Davis. Right? David Davis, the man who’d spent almost two years negotiating doesn’t realize that the whole point of no deal is there is no with transition period. It’s finished, it’s done, you know, and all of those systems that we might have two years to get to move off or find a replacement for it won’t be two years it’ll be March so um, I read that I was astonished. It’s just astonishing.
Matt Ballantine 6:44
It’s not on the intellectual wing of the Tory party. Let’s be honest,
Chris Weston 6:48
it’s not until the city’s on any windows all
Chris Weston 6:52
around town and public life is getting there with you.
Matt Ballantine 6:56
Absolutely. Anyway, enough ranting about politics. And we’ve got an interesting show tonight. We’ve got a bit of yin and yang and we’ve also got a fabulous interview with shackle written Ouchi, who is the one of the founders of a company called guru which is artificial intelligence companies focused very much on being able to help people do their jobs better rather than replace people doing their jobs so that’s coming up in a bit as well so let’s press on with episode at
Chris Weston 7:30
this week it’s return of our favorite feature human young Matthew you’re going to start a fight you you came up with a How was it you can you came up with a yen for us wasn’t it
Matt Ballantine 7:41
yes I’m constantly amazed by the crass stupidity of online advertising campaigns
Matt Ballantine 7:50
there’s obviously retargeting which is where you search for a product that you didn’t realize what then hunt you until your death and just flash up everywhere all the time you’ve got there was some fantastic he badly timed
Matt Ballantine 8:06
conference promoted tweets last week talking about how Tom glows will be able to tell you the impact that Brexit will be having on your business and these were being tweeted out on a scheduled basis right in the middle of the complete if the shit storm you think its own place didn’t know how to run Thomson Reuters let alone How to be able to predict the unpredictable but I had one pop up in front of me from Facebook served by Facebook a couple of those yesterday actually and it just startled me and it’s how how the meetings went to be able to get to the point of thinking this was a good idea I don’t know so what it was 3am well renowned company often cited as being a very innovative place an advert for a three and branded piece of plastic which was being described as a webcam Privacy Shield which you could get for free all you need to do with sign up with your details to three M for them to send you a piece of plastic you could achieve the same effect with a piece of masking tape and the the in Congress gritty of not understanding that saying will protect your prevalent real privacy by collecting your data for an unsolicited load of old marketing tilt I just was left unfounded file
Chris Weston 9:26
I think what they mean is we should protect your privacy from people that aren’t then that’s that’s what that’s what point you’re missing thing they they they’re not the bad guys they need your information for perfectly reasonable marketing exercises there why 3am need anybody’s name I’ve no idea I don’t they don’t
Matt Ballantine 9:43
they’re not selling enough post it that’s why
Chris Weston 9:46
I can’t believe that for either book agile is is is taken over the world I can’t believe that posted on our being sold in Drayton them as never before. Yeah, it’s
Matt Ballantine 9:57
quite remarkable. And the Yeah, I just I just still I can’t believe that as a campaign though. That was just crazy. This is the thing that gets you though I might have ranted about this in the past. But people to cover up their webcams Don’t you understand that the microphone is doing as much damage if not more. It’s listening to everything that you do. And you can’t put a sticker over the microphone because it doesn’t doesn’t do anything
Chris Weston 10:23
was no little light comes on when the microphones on.
Matt Ballantine 10:26
And we know that actually windows 10 is listening all the time. Unless you’ve turned off Cortana that your phone is listening all the time. And as you turned off Siri or Google Assistant that your Amazon thing is listening all the time I saw somebody actually did a subject access requests of Amazon as to what came back. And there was about 7000 recorded snippets of conversation that came back on a si offer use of Alexa. So they’re storing and recording an awful lot of information. Personally, I don’t have a big deal with it. Actually, I don’t have an Alexa. I don’t have
Matt Ballantine 11:01
I turned on what
Chris Weston 11:03
will you pub, you weren’t a good
Matt Ballantine 11:06
one. I didn’t have an in general principle, the idea of people collecting data for me to be able to get useful services, I don’t have a problem with you know, don’t have a problem with Google having loads and loads and loads of my data. I assumed that they will do evil with it. There’s nothing in there that I feel that they can do evil with. That isn’t going to be you know, make no difference whether I’m in there or not. and the value that I get from the services a result was all cool and dandy, but actually going out on this site going and saying we’ll protect your privacy. We want to collect your data is just a masterstroke of ideas anyway, on the gang side so you’ve got something good to tell us about as opposed to marketing codswallop.
Chris Weston 11:45
Yeah, it’s about time we talked about something good. We’ve been rapping on about grim things I was interviewed, kicked off today. So this is something that was shared with me by some guys, I do some work with called credo who they do PR, but they and they they do PR and technology and people doing cool things in tech. And they they found this article from the MIT Technology Review. And basically it it is very redolent of the stuff that we’ve talked about before around AI and your obsession with the idea that I just stats. But the fact that we do know there’s a lot of junk Ayad there and also it gets the point now where AI is so ubiquitous, the sandwich machine learning so many tools that that use, what will we can call artificial intelligence that people start to call everything I you know, almost the way the cash machine would ask you, whether you whether you want the receipt with that is almost called ai i saw and something that caused me to have a sharp and take a breath while I was watching the TV on Saturday morning or Sunday morning.
Chris Weston 12:54
And it was breakfast TV. And they had they were talking about chatbots chatbots appears to be the thing at the moment. And
Chris Weston 13:03
they had this digital marketing expert on can’t remember his name.
Chris Weston 13:08
But he said, Oh, yes, chat bots. So chat bots are these things that you interact with them. And you don’t know that you’re talking to the person or a computer and they and they pass the Turing test was what he said. And I thought what this is big news got, you know, must be true because a digital marketing marketing expert on TV instead. So there we go. Anyway, this is a great, this is a great example of a nice simple flowchart that will tell you whether something is a on up, and it starts with some fairly basic questions. So can you see, can it here? Can it read commit move? Can it reason, yes or no? And then it takes you through these different choices. So for example, it will say, can it reason you might say yes?
Chris Weston 13:59
Is it patterns in massive amounts of data? Yes?
Chris Weston 14:04
And is it using those patterns to make decisions know, and this as well as that’s mass? And then if it’s a yes, then it’s, well, it’s machine learning. So it’s kind of AI. So it will tell you, they’ll go through these different processes to food to figure out whether you’re actually using AR and I thought was quite nice and quite simple for people to understand whether they’re with the tool talking about really is
Matt Ballantine 14:29
it’s also handwritten, which I always thinks gets bonus point.
Chris Weston 14:33
Yeah, so let’s put it into a get get Microsoft PowerPoint as well.
Matt Ballantine 14:38
Anyway, we’ll put a link to that on the on the website. And I will shove a screen grab of the abomination from three. I’m up there as well. So that’s the engineering for another fortnite.
Chris Weston 14:52
So we have another interview which continues our splendid run and you interviewed a guy called Rick Nucci and he’s
Chris Weston 15:00
Matt Ballantine 15:01
yes, he runs a company that produces an artificial intelligence
Matt Ballantine 15:06
as tested on the, the flowchart actually but artificial intelligence stuff that enables customer service in to reaction people to do a better job that’s the claim I had a chat with him I found it fascinating so let’s see what he said
Rick Nucci 15:22
my name is Rick new chief I’m the co founder and CEO of Guru guru empowers a customer facing organizations sales, customer service teams with the knowledge they need to have great customer conversations. We work with companies ranging from square her and Yext and Spotify the commerce platform Shopify to you know mainline businesses like hun dies call center to help those folks have have great experiences with
Rick Nucci 16:00
with their customers,
Matt Ballantine 16:01
so you’re providing a layer that sits above either contacts and kind of Zendesk service now those kind of products or
Matt Ballantine 16:14
CRM, Salesforce, and is there anybody other than Salesforce in the market these days?
Matt Ballantine 16:22
So it’s a it’s a knowledge collaboration there that sits above those kind of products, correct? Well said,
Rick Nucci 16:27
yes, you imagine, imagine a network of knowledge, essentially, where you have subject matter experts that that have knowledge that you need to get to that customer facing organization. Guru makes that gathering of knowledge very easy by connecting with those subject matter experts, but then brings it into the workflow as you said, you know, brings it right alongside your Salesforce, or Zendesk or even your email client, you know, wherever you’re working Slack, you’re collaborating internally with slack where we’re heavily integrated into their you can think of us as, as essentially a knowledge sharing solution that lives where you work.
Matt Ballantine 17:03
Okay. And you’ve managed to talk now for about a minute as a founder of a tech company. And you’ve not mentioned either artificial intelligence or the blockchain for which I both congratulate you. And then also obviously, how, how the hell are you getting any investment but, and I’m assuming that blockchain has nothing to do with this. And I hope to hope that you haven’t got some sort of Ico
Rick Nucci 17:26
because I wonder
Rick Nucci 17:28
maybe next round, maybe,
Matt Ballantine 17:30
yeah, in terms of the AI or statistics, as I prefer to call it using those kinds of data analytics statistical techniques as part of this, or is it is it a more sane model?
Rick Nucci 17:44
We are? It’s a good question. And, and yes, we are very intentionally focused on outcomes, and how we make teams perform better, versus talking about algorithms and technical things, we do rely on AI heavily specific machine learning. And what our machine learning does is essentially like burns from how and when, and where you use guru in those workflows I was just describing. So if you’re having a chat with a customer, and there’s a specific topic of conversation happening, and you leverage guru specific content in your room to help you with that we learned from that moment. And then you can imagine all those moments that happen across the customer service organization here was learning from all that to basically proactively bring those pieces of knowledge forward and future similar conversations. So, so we love it, we think it’s amazing, we think the technology is amazing, it’s also so full of hype and so full of
Rick Nucci 18:37
nonsense, frankly, that that we just think the right way to talk about it is how to make a team work better, you know, AI is the means to the at the end is the human has a great interaction with a customer AI helps with that, but but but it’s not about the a high it’s, it’s about that, you know, that end result.
Matt Ballantine 18:54
Yeah. And that that feels to be actually
Matt Ballantine 18:58
actually kicking against a lot of three prevailing wisdom at the moment, which is about how do we use these automated technologies to cut people out,
Rick Nucci 19:08
it’s a huge conviction of mine. And the companies you know, a technologies like AI should exist to help a human improve their life and be better at their job, not replaced them out of a situation.
Rick Nucci 19:22
Customer service is a fascinating field right now, in that it is transforming people are realizing that good customer service differentiates companies. We all remember the great customer service interaction we had that we wanted to tell our friends about. And conversely, the terrible experience we had that we probably told even more of our friends about, companies are realizing this, they’re realizing that allowing that customer service team to have more and more of those white glove moments and opportunities, creates repeat customers, creates loyalty creates upsell cells from from freemium type products. Despite all of that, exactly, as you said, most of the AI conversation tends to be around how do we put an algorithm in between the human and the end customer? How do we deflect away How do we how do we get humans out of the the conversation and the customers that we work with? Which are amazing brands doing amazingly well, you know, they don’t think that way. They think the opposite. They think about how do I have better quality conversations with my customers when we’re talking about a customer service issue. And it’s really been inspiring to see. But yeah, I think I think a lot of this AI stuff that we’re that we’re putting in front of, you know, in between humans and customers is essentially going to take us backwards, it’s going to actually hurt see sat not not improve it. And, and I think a lot of customers are going to realize that and have to do a lot of, you know, a lot of wagon circling to fix it
Matt Ballantine 20:47
over the year. And for many years now, Chef often workshops, I’ve been asked the question of people, what who are companies that you see is providing great customer service. And invariably, the examples that come up won’t be of companies that provide a good service, because often good customer service comes from the, when the actual service has failed.
Rick Nucci 21:10
You know, what it reminds me of, is
this, this really cool concept
Rick Nucci 21:19
that the, the books called prime to perform. And, and what they talk about in the book, Lindsay McGregor is the author and what they talk about the book is they correlate customer satisfaction to employee engagement, and employee satisfaction, and essentially, right. And the whole point is, hey, like it, you know, we talked about one thing to have, you know, employees feel happy at their job and feel motivated to want to work and do well, but But here, like, let’s connect it to revenue, right? Cuz cuz cuz that’ll really get leadership’s attention, right, let’s do it that way, instead of just the feel good moments. And so what they basically do is they correlate, you know, this score they call tomo score, which is basically like motive station, and how connected they feel to the job. They’re in with see sat and MPs of actual, how people perceive companies and how they perceive their, their, their success and their experience they’re creating for their customers. And guess what Herod directly correlated. And so I would, I would be willing to bet the examples you’re talking about in the UK, you dug in there, you what you’re really fine, is this rooted feeling of like, not, not a not a feel good moment inside that company, right? The employee not feeling connected and resonated. And what happened airlines at the same way, by the way, most of them and the airlines that score the highest, those of the employees that are most motivated at work, some of the some of the airlines, you call and complain and you’re like, I can’t even blame this person. Like, they’re clearly so happy. They’re so unhappy. Even being in their job, like, like, because they’ve just, they’ve just had to deal with it’s so often and over and over again, that the idea like what you’re saying, like owning the, the failure and and making it right, like they’d like given up on because it’s just been like, so been down. So yeah, I love the point you’re making, I think it’s spot on. And I think it Honest to God, the dots connect back to I come into work every day, do I feel connected to the cause? Do I feel like I have a boss that actually cares about my, my career path? Do I feel like I know how I’m moving the company forward? Like it’s all it’s all intertwined, you know, it really is
Matt Ballantine 23:22
he talks about connecting to knowledge. But he also talks about connecting to subject subject matter expertise to does the way that guru work, does that focus as much about connecting people to each other as it does connecting people to information?
Rick Nucci 23:37
Yeah, so. So what we very specifically do is, is every, every piece of knowledge in Guru is explicitly connected to a subject matter expert, or a a group of experts on a given topic. So let’s say, you know, it’s it’s some security concept like GDPR data privacy, right? There’s a small group of folks within a company that that know about that there’s a large group for folks that are talking to customers that need to know about that. And so there’s content and guru, it’s connected to those folks, they’ll contribute answers FAQs, referential knowledge on those topics, Guru will proactively go to them every quarter or every year, it’ll it’ll sort of adapt itself over time based on how often than our changes, and it will remind you to say, hey, that answer you gave about data privacy a quarter ago, Is that still the right answer? And you’ll either say yes, and then it’ll sort of stamp it as verified. Or you’ll say, Oh, no, now this, you’ll update it. And then that can that can get that new information can get pushed out. So what ends up happening is you have you have knowledge sort of captured in Euro in a structured way, it’s connected to the people who originate the knowledge, essentially. And so you end up with this essentially the sort of internal network that forms between it I don’t mean to imply that that people are conversing and communicating using gear riggers. The place for that knowledge is storage, usually they’re conversing and communicating, and something like Slack, or, or even internal email, something like that. But that’s why we’re so integrated into those places to if you are, and I were talking in Slack, and you gave me a great answer, I could, I could, I could ask you to convert that conversation into a guru FAQ, essentially, in one click. And so that’s where we kind of think and why I think we sort of compliments slack so nicely, as you know, slacks were kind of the conversations happening. Guru tends to be the systemic result of many of those conversations, where you’re, you’re actually harvesting knowledge, and then bringing it right out to the folks in the field and need it. Yeah,
Matt Ballantine 25:36
because I’ve often heard criticism of slack is it just becomes this, you know, unmanageable and navigable ocean of crap
Matt Ballantine 25:48
that you can’t get to be able to make any sense of it, other than the immediacy of the conversation you’re having now, and even then, sometimes I can get, you know, stuff gets lost within so I can understand their then to being able to put a layer upon upon it that do you think, yeah,
Rick Nucci 26:05
and Sorry, just just on that, like, even if you even if you’re not feeling that pain, it’s so easy for me to tap you. And Yo, I know Matt knows all about data privacy, so I’m gonna slack him every time something comes up. There’s also that that challenge and slacks made it so easy to communicate that you just want to be mindful of not overusing that, that that right over using that capability. And so our successful customers will literally make it like an imperative. Like, did you hear that? If you didn’t do that? And you’re asking Matt format, again, for the 87th time, that same question like, like, you’re sort of, like, internally shamed. I mean, I literally see people people talk about it that way, which I think is amazing. And so yeah, there there becomes this need to want to help those suddenly matter experts scale where they’re only getting that new questions coming in. But that, but sort of the steady state stops all getting handled by yourselves. Good point you’re making. But I think we, we hear that a lot to have their like stopping the shoulder taps kind of kind of problem I can
Matt Ballantine 27:06
see. And there’s something I’ve seen, I mean, I’ve read quite a few articles now about how the danger of collaboration in organizations is that you end up with people who are overloaded by it. And so if you look at something like Slack, removing friction from people being able to communicate with one another is fine, except for the people who get overloaded in the same way that, you know, removing the friction of organizing a meeting is fine. Except then everybody moans about the fact they spent all their time in meetings. And, you know, having friction in those processes, actually, is a valuable thing
Matt Ballantine 27:36
is that is there is there a risk of making accessibility of knowledge.
Rick Nucci 27:41
I never thought of it that way. I like that, though. I mean, I suppose in some sense, we, we are introducing, we are intentionally introducing friction when you say it that way we are, we are saying that you need to
Rick Nucci 27:55
a bunch call it a necessary friction, probably. But like, yeah, you need to, you need to know that, that example of you need to check your before you go and bother that expert. You know, that’s the, that’s the need. That’s the thing that has to happen. You know, the other one that has to happen is a customer and it’s to your point about like, when you first bring something new, and a customer will first look at guru and they’ll go, so you’re telling me not only do I have to like, import my knowledge and hook it all into guru.
Rick Nucci 28:26
Now I have to go and like, link, it’s all my subject matter experts. And, and and will say, yeah, and they’ll say, like, Well, why would I do that will say, Okay, well, let’s look at the stuff you’re bringing into guru. And they’ll start reading it, and they’ll start being like, Oh, wait, that’s wrong. Oh, wait. Oh, no. We saying that to customers? Oh, no. That’s not good. That’s, that’s out of date. And inaccurate. And then, like, within an hour, like, okay, yeah, got it. So. So the point, yeah, so the point you’re making here is that you guys are going to make sure that doesn’t happen again. And Holy crap, we’re sending the wrong answers to our customers. You know, so so. So when there is friction and setting us up, you have to do that, you know, there’s this temptation, and there’s like, sort of like this category of startups that do like enterprise search, there’s this temptation where you just sort of like hook hook this system into all these like places of knowledge, and they just start showing up and you can just start searching them. Sounds amazing frictionless to your point. The problem with it is, you’re just bringing the wrong the wrong information into into a new place, right? Yeah, it’s inaccurate, wrong. If, if I’m, if I was wrong about what I just said, Guru would absolutely not exist. If anyone wants to do more work, right? Nobody wants to go through and a half that work in software more than they do, they want to get their job done, and go home, right. And so like, if, if that thesis wasn’t, wasn’t proving out to be true, there’d be no need for guru. But that’s, that’s the reality is, it’s just like, you just have all this stuff that’s wrong and outdated. And euro, essentially, like, permanently solves it. But you know, there is a friction that comes along with setting it up. So. So it’s a really interesting point, the way you just sort of went through that you’re right, I mean, it not, not not, you know, not all friction is evil, essentially, is, I think, where, where you’re what you’re getting, I think you’re onto something,
Matt Ballantine 30:12
well, anybody who drives a car can understand the fact that friction isn’t necessary,
Rick Nucci 30:20
a really simple example of
Matt Ballantine 30:23
effectively, your products exist, because we’re failing within the the billions of dollars have been invested into both CRM systems and service desk contact center type
Matt Ballantine 30:36
technology. But why is it has gone wrong with those things, that means that they’re not, they’re not doing what they need to,
Rick Nucci 30:43
um, one is a most fear M’s are actually bought and protected by managers that, not the doers, right, the managers, and then and then they force the, the salesperson or the service agent to use it. And they do that because the output they get from that forced usage is a report that tells them their their pipeline and tells them their forecast for the quarter. And that and that report is how they are measured as a leader, right. And so so that, that that works extraordinarily well. And Salesforce has built the biggest cloud business, biggest SAS business and the world doing that it’s extraordinary. The byproduct of that, though, is Yeah, you’re no one’s paying attention to the collaboration, pain underneath, right? No one’s paying attention to that, because that that ends up being one click below the manager in terms of feeling that pain every day, I think that’s starting to change. And I’ll, I’ll sort of say why in a second. So I think that that’s one I think the second reason is,
Rick Nucci 31:48
even when those products do attach knowledge offerings to them, and all those CRM, as you mentioned, they have knowledge bases that are sort of part of what they do that presented assumes that that knowledge problem exists within that one department, right? That the, that the knowledge pain is just within a sales team, or just within an IT team. But it’s not right. And going back to my subject matter expert point, it’s a network, right, the sales teams reliance on knowledge, that by definition is coming from other departments. It’s coming from product managers and marketers and engineers and executives and, and,
Rick Nucci 32:23
and light line of business owners and other customer service teams that are generating FAQs that the sales team wants, you know, that come up during trials, you know, all of this knowledge is it’s not a departmental problem. It’s a company wide paint. And, and, and what happens is, is the CRM is don’t think of it that way. They think of it as because that’s not what they don’t sell that way. They they go in and sell to a VP sales, right? And so they, they design their products all around that. And so I think that’s when you combine those two things together. I think that’s why it’s been a miss. And I think that’s why the poor, you know, the poor knowledge worker ends up having to go go to five different places, because they got to go to their service desk for how to fix a laptop, they got to go to their their CRM to get sales knowledge, they got to go to, you know, some internal CMS to get product documentation. And they’re just like, where do I go for what and how do I know it’s right out hell with that, I’m just going to go ask Matt. It’ll tell me they just short circuit the whole thing. And then, and then you end up with this big scale and efficiency problem. And that’s, I think, what’s starting to change. Going back to my first point is, I think those are now going Oh, I get it. Now, I’m scaling the IDA. Double my sales team in 2019, what’s what’s my bottleneck? Well, what are they it’s ramping, right onboarding, getting your reps productive, getting them actually able to sell properly? And then how long is it taking them to close the deal? And then what’s their win rate? Well, knowledge plays a phenomenal role in all three of those things, whether it’s positioning against a competitor, whether it’s the knowledge you need to train and learn how both how you sell your product, and also how sales process works, period. And then how quick and responsive you are to your customers while you’re working a deal, right? that correlates directly to sales cycle times and the faster you’re responding to your customers. They’re asking you a question and number one, the faster you’ll close that deal with number two, the more likelihood that you’ll beat your competitor who’s you know scrounging around for the answer bugging poor Matt for the 20th time, right? So I think I think it’s starting to change I think leaders are starting to realize like, oh, wow, yeah, okay. Knowledge actually does directly tied to my my KPIs. And it’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s, I think it’s a state of the maturity of our industries that we’re in, right. I think people are learning, it’s, it’s more than just a forecasting report that I want to get out of my CRM, I actually also need to empower my humans to make them best in class what they do, you know, even five years ago, Guru probably would have been a nice to have, I really do maybe 10 years ago, but but I think now it’s like, people are recognizing, like, man, things are just moving so fast. We, we have to have, you know, learning and improvement and knowledge is sort of, like core to the company’s success,
Matt Ballantine 35:08
I guess as well. Within that
Matt Ballantine 35:11
if there’s one single piece of knowledge that I have about house where to go about helping organizations it’s look at the joins because where you will find pain and trouble it will be at the joins between the organizational side and the what you’ve described there actually is also a syndrome that whilst organization to have I think now woken up to the fact that externally they cannot allow
Matt Ballantine 35:37
individuals to departments to work in isolation because it becomes just horrendous Lee transparent to the outside world when you do that. And there’s, there’s loads of organizations who take no heater that whatsoever, but actually, I don’t think that that’s gone to the next level, which is actually lots of organizations in particularly business to business organizations, where they use their sales teams effectively is an integration layer across crappy organizational boundaries that aren’t integrated don’t work together and it’s then this is the salespeople in the customer service people who then bear the brunt of that pain about the fact that finance and sales and sales operations and marketing and customer service and, and, and don’t fucking talk to each other. And that’s, that’s not uncommon.
Rick Nucci 36:25
Not Know, you know, that. Yeah, you know, that the companies that when will be the ones who figured that out, right. And, and, and, and the edges between the departments that really beautiful kind of way to way to visualize that 100%, right.
Rick Nucci 36:41
Yeah, and I think when when you can see that customer facing organization from that, you know, ADR to the sales rep, to the customer, service person, pro serve person and customer service agent, when they’re harmonized, you are going to look like a well oiled machine, your customer is going to be massively impressed at your ability to have that handoff happen to your point, though, most most or not, and you can like you said it would you say horrendously obvious, it’s so true. Yeah.
Matt Ballantine 37:11
And it’s I mean, I guess in those issues around maturity of organization, I know that certainly,
Matt Ballantine 37:17
you know, the retail banks in the UK, this is a massive issue for them. Because what you’ve got is 40 or 50 years of legacy in terms of system and process and then a iOS app at the front end trying to give the impression that you’re not actually using 70s written Coble for batch processing to be able to make transactions happen, because that’s really what’s happening underneath Hill. Yeah,
Matt Ballantine 37:44
but it’s then actually the discipline of being able to pay off technical debt or organizational debt, that becomes the challenge. And that’s again, that’s a hard one because, you know, fully sweated assets are really hard to replace, because they’re cheap. And that’s a challenger
Matt Ballantine 38:06
from from my research for this. And when I say research, I made some notes that somebody passed me you’re not based on the West Coast?
Rick Nucci 38:13
Correct? Correct. We are based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the most underrated city in the United States?
Rick Nucci 38:23
Matt Ballantine 38:24
why why not? With where all the cool kids and all the money is, and the horrendous homelessness and massive poverty of San Francisco
Rick Nucci 38:32
we have. We have we have a small office there and a team there have been amazingly talented folks, I think the but the answer to your question is, I don’t think, well, I don’t think companies need it to be built technology companies no longer need to be built in a tech hub like San Francisco or New York, that would be not true 10 years ago, I think now, it is not only not true, I think there are genuine advantages to not being there. And they and they mostly centered around talent. And one of the consequences of the talent wars costs that requires for company to run their business, we have such unreal talent here in inside of Guru
Rick Nucci 39:21
Rick Nucci 39:23
and it’s not like where we’re sort of going, Oh, because we’re not there were hiring you know, be players. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s simply untrue. Our Our team is like massively talented and I’m not even like making that about your I think, I think there’s many examples of that. If the company is based in, you know, Portland or Denver or Atlanta or, you know, it’s happening all over. I think it’s really is is an advantage. I think there’s something real to be said for building a tech company in an area where it’s not a tech first city, right? The Philadelphia community tech is right, like, measure it with your social interactions, right? You talk to your friends, your neighbors, right, you know, they’re, they’re sort of, they like, study me, because I’m in software, the software interesting technology. Wow, I’ve watched that show Silicon Valley on HBO. Like, it’s not what it’s like, I’m like, actually, yeah, that is what it’s like, sadly, but, you know, I’m like, I’m like the outlier, right. And, and I think I think it just bring,
Rick Nucci 40:26
you know, unique and innovative thinking and to how products are built I think it avoids potential vacuum designed products I think it I think it avoid some traps there are you know, still many plenty of amazing companies in in the, in the Bay Area. So plenty of escape that but plenty haven’t. Right plenty have, you know, designed to product for their 100 closest friends and, and thought that was a target market and realized, Oh, God, yeah, turns out when you when you drive 10 miles, any direction, no one understands what, what the hell this product is, or needs to do. You know, so. So I think it’s awesome. I think there are some cultural roots that have been planted into guru that that Philadelphia helps create around grit and humility and not taking yourself too seriously that I think you have had a legitimate positive impact on the company in terms of the team we’ve able to build, but also the way we handle debates and disagreements which any healthy company has, right, you know, you don’t have people storming out throwing tantrums here at guru because they just want the right answer. No one, no one thinks they’re the smartest person in the room kind of thing. You know. So today, that’s the kind of stuff that’s really cool is, you know, your company tends to sort of
Rick Nucci 41:40
become what the community it’s around, you know, it tends to to be an outcropping of the community it’s rooted in. And so if you, if you like a said, community, you know, the company you’ll end up liking. And that’s really cool. Because that’s very different than going, Oh, I have to be in this city. Because this is the only place where this particular type of business can get built, you know, so I think is a, it’s a really cool and fun time. Frankly, I started a company before this, also in Philly, very different very hard because we weren’t in Silicon Valley, it’s just been a really cool contrast to see. Yeah, I
Matt Ballantine 42:18
can now I can really see that the so this piece I wrote recently about the cultural stuff that is embedded within a lot of the software that we consume these days, there’s a bunch of things that come from a very insular world, and the certainly limited experience, I’ve had a being in San Francisco, but also the more extensive experience of working with, with Microsoft and their little, you know, 40,000 people in the Redmond bubble, whether they have that was why windows eight happened is because they didn’t realize that the rest of the world was elsewhere. And the but it’s really dangerous because actually, that the challenges that we’re facing with software now about people and about culture and about how you get people to work with one another. And the way in which software companies do it is it is it’s, you know, there are some things that are in common with software companies, to other industries. But there’s some stuff about software companies that is so just totally about software companies, and not everything else works like that. And in a working at the moment, trying to get, you know, new modern collaboration tools being implemented by a central UK Government Department. And the way that civil servants work is totally different from the way in which software employees operate. And bloody well should be as well because they’re dealing with stuff that’s really important. And, and that I think, if you’re looking to be able to build a culture that is one that is about how do we make our clients deliver, actually, I think that’s a really sane moved me saying, Let’s go somewhere where they were more likely to be surrounded by people are likely to bear climate, all the money spent next higher.
Rick Nucci 44:03
Yeah, but but I present Exactly, yeah, make your make your proximity that people who who will benefit from your software versus make me know, being in proximity to people who are in the same echo chambers, you were where you can, you can, you can, you know, potentially cloud your thinking. And, and yeah, and, and make some, you know, your examples of kind of the, the user experience kind of path. And, and, and the way you know, the way you think about design, and, yeah, it manifests in so many ways, well,
Matt Ballantine 44:36
Chris Weston 44:38
what you make of it, I’m very interested in the concept, I think anybody that can put a knowledge management tool together, that connects people to the information they own, that’s a really good start, one of the things that I have seen some time and time again, and we can all see it right, we can all see it wherever we go, any any organization go into, and you look at what all the information that’s stored all of the
Chris Weston 45:07
user manuals, and product guides, and, and, and processes and everything that people create, to help them with their job or two to inform their colleagues, there’ll be versions going back forever, and W versions, we still be copied all over the place and stored on different people’s hard drives, and the version of this new version of that, and this tool that they’ve created, it wouldn’t solve that problem. But I do like the idea that every piece of information is connected to a subject matter expert who owns it, and responsible for it. And therefore, if you get the, the big thing for me about about data growth, and manage data growth, is the fact that there’s no owner for the information and therefore, it becomes nobody’s problem. And it just goes in that way. So I like the idea that they’ve tied this all to a, to a person to a subject matter expert. And then, of course,
Chris Weston 46:04
you know, fascinating to hear how they go about doing that in, you know, in their team, with our culture. And, and in a place which is, as you say, in the interview, it’s it’s not Silicon Valley’s it’s, it’s promoted out of the way someone, therefore, they’ve got a different challenge.
Matt Ballantine 46:22
Yeah, being able to be outside of your
Matt Ballantine 46:26
peers, and to be able to have closer contact with the people who might be your customers I think is really interesting. I think one of the one of the things some said, we touched on the interview is one of the themes that I’ve been looking at recently about how there’s so much within technology now, that is expecting that everybody works like a technology company. And so much that just isn’t the case. I put out an article today on Forbes which talks about this, and it’s, you know, that the Silicon Valley bubble, the Seattle bubble,
Matt Ballantine 47:01
even in the UK, to an extent the Silicon Roundabout bubble, but that’s such a tiny little, you know, it’s like a whisper bubble is in comparison to narrow bubble, but the RG, and now I go chocolate, but the, we’re getting close to Christmas, so. But that that idea that you just surround yourselves with your peers. And actually, when it comes, particularly tools are enabling people to work with one another, I think that’s getting increasingly problematic. And so it’s, I think it’s really, I think it’s really interesting what,
Matt Ballantine 47:34
what Rick is doing to be able to build our businesses out. So deliberately building them outside of that set of constraints.
Matt Ballantine 47:42
The thing about knowledge management, it’s interesting when one of the things I keep coming back to our clients in the moment is the idea of librarianship. And I mean, I think what in to an extent that subject matter expert thing is about being able to decentralize librarianship. But it still leaves the responsibility for management of information with people rather than machines. And it’s I think, to an extent, it’s a bit like kind of the, the broken windows theory that I don’t think there can be organization and structure around data, if it’s left to machines, for for anytime in the near future, you just need to look at the average, you know, file repository in any organization to understand what chaos that can be. And that if you don’t have people taking ownership of this stuff, nobody does. And it’s not only that it it doesn’t manage itself is actually it gets much worse without anybody nominated to be in charge.
Chris Weston 48:36
Well, that’s right. I am I was talking to Caroline Carruthers, who’s a chief data officer, and whose book I am going to review at some point in the next few episodes,
Chris Weston 48:49
because she gave me a copy
Chris Weston 48:53
and just talked about some of the challenges of going into an organization where people consider the data to be the IT departments thing to manage. And I’ve kind of seen that myself were enormous, just gargantuan milestones are being managed by people in it all the time. And it’s, it’s the wrong way around. It’s not
Chris Weston 49:20
once you’ve got it working properly, people have to own their own information, they have to manage it. And they have to understand the constraints of it. And because one of the things that cloud has done for us, it’s, it’s given this impression of endless resources, it’s given us the impression that there’s no limit, there’s no reason why you should even worry about it. There’s always more space, Google will tell you. You’ve got a terabytes worth or a parent petabytes, or whatever the enormous number is of space to you, so hey, just just fling more whelks into the black hole. And you’ll never fill it up
Matt Ballantine 49:55
if you want to be able to take another analogy. But just thinking about that thing about leaving it in charge of managing information, leaving it in charge of Information Management i think is akin to leaving captain’s carpenters in charge of book management in libraries,
Matt Ballantine 50:12
you’ll end up with an awful lot of shelves, and if you give no restraint on how many trees I can cut down, the shelving will go on forever. But that is not going to lead to anything like information management
Chris Weston 50:23
as a highly, highly joinery based analogy.
Chris Weston 50:27
Well done on that it’s
Matt Ballantine 50:28
getting close to Christmas is a
Rick Nucci 50:30
Chris Weston 50:33
this is a carpenter and all of his work. So we got some there is all that isn’t that there’s all about how do you how do you take an organization and
Chris Weston 50:45
if it’s going to become a data driven organization, if it’s going to really value the stuff that it’s got and make the best use of it, make sure that people own it and and manage it in a way that’s appropriate. So that’s a and it’s not really a you know, I think one of the things that Kara line would say, having gone from a CIO to a CDO role in the past and now being a bit of a roving CDO type person. I,
Chris Weston 51:11
I feel that she would say that actually, it’s, it’s not a CIO job. And the CIO should be actively trying to try to hand it off to somebody whose focus is data. Now, of course, in what many organizations you can’t have CIOs and CTOs and CTOs. It’s not It’s not possible there isn’t the scale and and somebody who who is the technology person can be the data person is not it’s not exclusive. But the separation of Philip philosophically I think the separations important, not agree,
Matt Ballantine 51:43
then, wait, there’s lots of thought provoking stuff in that so thanks to Rick for making some time and we’ll put links to guru and to Rick’s to his profile and stuff onto the website at wd 40, podcast.com,
Chris Weston 52:00
Georgia to a halt again, with another excellent episode. I really enjoyed the interview. And we had a good yin and yang so I think successful, yes,
Matt Ballantine 52:08
there we go. And only as we’ve just been sitting, working out in our production meeting
Matt Ballantine 52:15
for weeks, three weeks until Christmas, in terms of web 40 episodes.
Chris Weston 52:20
That’s right, people are going to have to get through the Christmas period with only their families and loved ones to sustain them get back together, it’s four weeks.
Matt Ballantine 52:28
So we’ve got some interviews going up all the way to Christmas, most of which already recorded actually, which is incredibly
Chris Weston 52:36
forward planning of this. And there are two years though you think we know what we’re doing by now, wouldn’t you? Well,
Matt Ballantine 52:42
after two years, you think people would know what they’re doing how foolish and remiss is that Christopher How foolish and remiss
Chris Weston 52:49
it’s a conceit, I like to maintain as much as I possibly can.
Matt Ballantine 52:53
Yeah, we’re not the only ones. And then we are also planning a review of 20, 18 for our last episode of the year, which would be on the 17th of December,
Matt Ballantine 53:08
so yeah, week ahead for you.
Chris Weston 53:10
Well, it is what I’m trying to think what I’ve got to do. So I’ve got a couple of days working in Birmingham, and then on down to Gloucester to the very edge of the West Country. And, yeah, busy all week should be fun. How about yourself?
Matt Ballantine 53:28
I am doing two presentations at the same event at thing being organized on Thursday, which is it’s I’m actually thinking there might have been a bad idea, but it’ll be fine. It’ll be fine, strategic it. Partnering is the theme of the event overall. And I am also sorting out various baseball’s clients. good bit of time of Westminster tomorrow, just for the you know, taking in the atmosphere. And yeah, we’ll see. See where we get to by next Monday.
Chris Weston 54:02
Excellent. Sounds like an action packed week
Matt Ballantine 54:05
indeed. So with that, I think we should say goodnight.
Chris Weston 54:09
Matt Ballantine 54:17
You can subscribe to us WB40podcast.com.
Matt Ballantine 54:21
You can find links there to Stitcher, to iTunes to Spotify, to all manner of wonderful podcasting platforms. Follow us on Twitter as well at WB40 podcast. And if you want to join our whatsapp group, just drop us a line on Twitter and we will send you the magic link
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