Jonathan Ronzio (02:42):
What's up, Chris?
Chris Ronzio (02:43):
Hey, what's up brother? How are you?
Jonathan Ronzio (02:45):
I'm doing good. It's Friday, it's night. It's a beautiful fall day out here in Boston. I'm gearing up for a hell of a weekend. We'll get into that. I know both of us are going to be out the beginning of next week, and we can talk about that in a minute, too. How are you?
Chris Ronzio (03:00):
I'm good. I'm Excited. I was just going to say, I want to talk about your weekend that you're about to have here, because it's a pretty crazy adventure. For anybody that has seen my book, or heard about our core values, one of them is collect experiences, and I think Jonathan was the originator of collect experiences, because the stuff you do is crazy. And I know I've gotten into some of these adventures, but what's your weekend plan all about?
Jonathan Ronzio (03:28):
So, Sunday, I'm flying out to Phoenix and then driving up to Grand Canyon, and bright, and early, probably somewhere around three or 4:00 AM on Monday morning, heading out with two friends to do the rim to rim to rim run of the Grand Canyon, starting on the south rim, running to the north rim and back, which is roughly 50 miles, maybe just under, but we might try to just hit the 50 mark anyway. So, it's a 50 mile run we're going to try and do across the Grand Canyon and back on Monday, hopefully takes about 12 hours, maybe a little longer, some crazy elevation gain, obviously starting on the rim, going down, up, down, up. It'll be a pretty intense little adventure.
Chris Ronzio (04:09):
So, for people that are in Arizona, which I'm sure is some of the people listening, you've heard of rim to rim, or rim to rim to rim. It's a typical Arizona kind of crazy adventure. But anyone that lives outside of the United States, or anywhere around the country here may not even have heard of this because it is a grueling challenge. If you've ever seen pictures of the Grand Canyon, you know how vast it is, and how crazy it is. And so even just hiking to the bottom, a lot of people ride on donkeys, or mules or whatever, to make that journey. You're running down, you're running up, you're running back down, you're running back up. It's pretty insane. So Jonathan, when he was coming here planning this trip with his friends, he reached out and he's like, "Hey, you should do this with us." I was like, clear no. No, thank you. I've got other things I'm planning for, I'm training for, but that's not one of them.
Jonathan Ronzio (05:08):
So, that's what I'm doing Monday. And where are you going Monday?
Chris Ronzio (05:11):
So, Monday I'm going to San Diego for another series of medical tests. So, I don't know if we've ever done an episode about this, about being really proactive about your health, so nothing's wrong, but coming into this year, I wanted to do almost like an executive physical to the max. I wanted to screen, and make sure that I have nothing going on in my body that I need to be worried about. I have no early markers of anything. And so I found this place out in San Diego that does a whole, they map your entire genome, your whole DNA by taking blood. They test for every illness, and disease you could possibly have. They do full body MRI scans where they can detect anything that's not supposed to be there down to the tip of a pencil, like a dot if you put a dot of pencil on paper.
And so it really gave me the peace of mind that I'm good health wise, but then you go on a recurring basis to just monitor your blood work, and make sure that none of your levels are changing, or make sure that your body composition and everything is where it's supposed to be. And so it's definitely an investment, but it's a proactive investment because I think if you don't have your health, you don't have anything. So that's what I'm doing Monday. I'll be working remote out there, and doing blood work in between meetings.
Jonathan Ronzio (06:33):
I'm going to need one of those probably after the rim to rim to rim. But
Chris Ronzio (06:37):
You should not do it after, because your levels will be all over the place.
Learning To Prioritize, Not Balance
Jonathan Ronzio (06:41):
Insane. Right. Well, I wanted to bring both of those things up because one of my favorite quotes from Playbook was on day two when I was interviewing our friend, Montell Jordan, he spoke about learning to prioritize, not balance. And even in the intro to Organize Chaos, I heard it because I was tuned in on it. But you talk about adding professional, and personal life, and all these things that come, and for entrepreneurs, and small business leaders, balance is a big topic of conversation, and something that a lot of us struggle with. And so this was one insane, insightful nugget from Playbook was talking to Montell and him saying, "There is no such thing as balance, because do you actually... By saying that you're balancing your wife with your work, or your kids with your faith, or whatever it might be, you are innately at one point in time going to do disservice to the other."
And really his way, or the way he preached it was that it's about prioritization, and just understanding, looking more vertically about what are the priorities in your life. And that allows you to assign different attention, and time, and energy and resources in your life based on prioritization versus a seesaw in the way that we often think about balance. And the things that we're doing on Monday are definitely stack ranked in our own prioritization of our lives, and how we approach Trainual, how we approach family, how we approach health, how we approach relationships, physical challenges, all of that.
Chris Ronzio (08:19):
Yeah. And last weekend, so I'll share this, too, I posted about this on Instagram for anyone on there, but I took my son on this three week, sorry, three day crazy adventure. And this is something I had planned for over a year, but we flew out to the woods in Pennsylvania. It was an hour, and a half south of Pittsburgh for anyone in the east. And we went to this incredible resort, and there was everything from rock climbing and whitewater rafting, and archery, and flashlight tag at night with some other kids, and arts, and crafts, and a soapbox derby, and so much fun, so many memories. But the reason I was able to make that happen was because it was on the calendar a year ago. I booked that a year ago. And so to me, these balance things that we do are because we plan proactively for them. You can't just look at next week and say, "How do I put some balance into my life next week?"
Because for most of us, our calendars fill up, you've got whatever project you're working on, or whatever deadline or due date is looming. And if you've got a big task list, it's hard to say, "Oh, I'm going to take tomorrow morning off." But when you've got those blocks on your calendar to say, "Oh, this day I'm out of town", or "This day I'm doing a spa day", whatever, it's a local... I'm doing a staycation, I need mental health, or I'm going to read a whole book. Those are amazing days. But you don't just find those in your schedule. You have to be proactive about putting them there.
Jonathan Ronzio (09:53):
Yeah, you talked about how I jokingly was the originator of the collect experiences thing because of pre-Trainual I was just traveling the world climbing, and doing crazy stuff all the time. And that was something I had to reprioritize. As the business scaled, and as attention needed to be put towards some of what we were doing to scale it. And at the same time, through the course of the past six years of getting married and buying a house, and now eight months ago, having a son and I've got two dogs, and a cat, and all this thing, these things just snowball in your life. You always have more things to take on, and more responsibilities, but you are successful with what you put attention to. And if you don't do something, people say, "I wish I could do that. I wish I could do that."
If you're not doing it's because it's not a priority. So it would been easy to not proactively put something like an ultra run across the Grand Canyon on my calendar. That takes a lot of time to train for, and to get into the schedule. But at the same time, I know that I value that in my life, and I can't live my life without some sort of epic adventure on an every three to six month basis. And so I put the time in, and make sure that it does not fall outside of being a priority for how I stack my time.
Chris Ronzio (11:19):
Yeah, show me your calendar, and I'll show you your priorities.
Jonathan Ronzio (11:23):
Chris Ronzio (11:24):
Yeah, that's what it's about. So, all right, well collect experiences isn't just about ultra-marathons, and whatever. It's in the consulting business before Trainual is where the value actually originated, and experiences were those kind of things, but experiences were also just traveling to other countries, or going to new restaurants or going to conferences, learning things you've never learned before. And I think that's what we try to help other people do with Playbook. So, coming back to Playbook, it was an experience. It is a two day thing where people carved out time on their calendars, because they want to spend time learning, and growing. And so anybody that's listening that was already there, you get it, You're doing this, you were learning. And so I wanted to do this episode really just for us to talk about behind the scenes. What is this event like?
Putting this together, maybe we start there, and then let's go through the speakers because since you and I kind of alternated interviews throughout the whole day, the thing probably a lot of people don't know is that we don't really get to see each other's interviews live, because we're prepping in a different room for our next interview. And so I would love to hear your takeaways from your sessions, and I'll share mine from my sessions, but let's start with behind the scenes. So how do we even pull this thing off?
Behind The Scenes of Putting On A Virtual Event
Jonathan Ronzio (12:49):
Months, and months, and months of work and incredible team. It takes an incredible team to actually pull this off. I mean, the way that we do it is it feels simple when you tune in because it's literally just Zoom. We just send out a Zoom link, and it's just hop on, tune in. But it's more than just jumping on a webcam, and having a live podcast conversation. We want it to feel bigger than that. And that's why we have this studio space that we go to shout out to our friends at Design Pickle out there in Scottsdale who let us use their warehouse, and all their different spaces to do the livestream. We build a set, our video producer was working on building that actual set, getting this whole thing painted our brand color, and building that sign, and setting up this space that would be the home base for you, and I to conduct the interviews together.
But then we've got our satellite studios where we had just big backgrounds printed, and set up tons of lights. We had what? A crew of four people actually running the livestream on site. But yeah, I don't know where you want to dig into first, but it was about seven months of pre-planning to bring the two days to life to get speakers, to build the site, to build the brand, all of that.
Chris Ronzio (14:12):
Yeah, that's what I was going to say. So when did the speaker outreach start? It was six or seven months earlier?
Jonathan Ronzio (14:19):
Chris Ronzio (14:19):
So, this is something that we joked as soon as the event ended with Becky, who kind of ran the event. We joked with her that the next week she starts planning for the next one, because it is a long time of reaching out to speakers, and curating who are going to be the right speakers, the right stories, that strike a accord with this small business audience, because it's not just any kind of success story. It's people that care about people, and operations, and their culture, and have built something that is well organized as it's scaling, and they've learned how to do partnerships or learned how to leverage their brand and connections. And we try to infuse a lot of these different elements into the event. And so I think Becky does an amazing job. So shout out to her.
Jonathan Ronzio (15:17):
For sure. Yeah.
Chris Ronzio (15:18):
Should we also tease the idea of next year being a little different?
Jonathan Ronzio (15:25):
I mean, maybe?
Chris Ronzio (15:26):
Or we're not teasing that yet?
Jonathan Ronzio (15:28):
We're toying with the idea of doing an in-person component, still a hybrid event, a live stream, but having an in-person audience. But this is very early in the [inaudible 00:15:39]
Chris Ronzio (15:39):
Very, very, very early. But if you're listening to this, if you're on LinkedIn listening live, if you're on the podcast listening after, I want to hear from you, send a message if you have any interest at all in getting together with other attendees in person, because we may do a sliver of this event that is in person. It'll still be available for free around the world, livestream, whatever. But we may have some kind of bonus content, or something that happens live in Arizona. So if you're interested in that, let us know, because this could be kind of a focus group.
Jonathan Ronzio (16:14):
But I think that the Playbook event is also representative of our POV of what a playbook is, because [inaudible 00:16:19] playbook is a buzzword in a lot of blog titles, and a lot of content out there that is representative of the how to. And people use it interchangeably in a lot of ways with a playbook being a guide, or a process. And we definitely have a larger POV on the business playbook, yes, stemming from your book, Chris. But also wanting it to not just be this one singular thing, like here's the playbook for X, right? It's like a business playbook, if you tune into the event, you're going to get everything about sales, and about marketing, and about operations, and about culture, and about people. And so the event in, and of itself, how we curate the content, and build the sessions, and get the speakers, it's to represent all of those elements, and not just be about one thing, but be the holistic picture of actionable takeaways for all the aspects of your business, and scaling better.
Takeaways from Allyson & Wes Felix Of Saysh
Chris Ronzio (17:15):
Yeah, shout out to Ross and the chat who says he'd attend in person. Amazing. We've already got one. So now there's at least three of us there live. So, we'll see what happens. All right. Do you want to get into the content? So, behind the scenes, you already mentioned, we set up in the studio, we've got people, several cameras, and several rooms in the studio live streaming. We've got our run of show notes that have all the guests that we're going to be talking to with some starter questions, but we're also trying to get questions from the audience in the chat live, because most of these things are set up as Q&A's, right? They're just very organic conversations. It's not like any kind of keynote, or presentation. So we really don't know what to expect when we get on the chat with some people. But our first was Allyson and Wes Felix, and what a way to start.
So for anyone that doesn't know Allyson's story, she is the most decorated track and field Olympian of all time. If you go Google her name, if you don't recognize it, and you'll remember pictures of her running across the finish line and just collecting gold medals like crazy. She has something like 27 medals across all of her Olympics, and world championships and things like that. And so she was an athlete that was sponsored by Nike, but when she decided to get pregnant, and have a child, the sponsorship went on kind of a hiatus. And I guess that's how it used to work in sponsorships. And she brought this to the public sphere, and said this, "It feels like this shouldn't be okay." And in doing so, she decided, made this huge decision with her brother that she wanted to start her own brand of shoes, and sponsor herself.
And so she created this shoe Saysh, S-A-Y-S-H, really cool shoes that are made specifically for women. And what blew my mind during this interview is they're explaining, her and Wes are explaining how the mold for shoes for what we see as women's shoes, when you walk into a Foot Locker or Dick's, or whatever, the women's shoes are just different colors, and sizes. It's a label and some colors. That's all that makes it different from a men's shoe. They're made from the same exact mold, but women's feet are actually pretty different. And so when they discovered this, they were like, Let's make the first ever women's shoe. And that was baked into their DNA as a company to say, "How do we build this business for women, for supporting women?" Such a cool story. I learned a lot in that.
Jonathan Ronzio (20:02):
I think there's a couple things there. It's as just a simple takeaway for everybody, who are you building for? And where is the white space, and the opportunity of what is... How are they not being served best? If you're making shoes for women, it seems so obvious. It's like use a mold of a woman's foot to make shoes for women. Great. Nobody's doing that? Do that. Where else? Across any business opportunities, in any markets, in any industry, any personas are the true buyer persona not being authentically represented that. So, that's just one. And then the other is around, they have a movement. It's a mission in that company. It's not just sell women's shoes. And this was the same with The Giving Keys. This was the same with Little Spoon. Even Alli Webb from Drybar was talking about this. She was saying, "We're not selling blowouts. We're selling", what was it? "Happiness, and confidence, and self-care." And Saysh is selling the progression of women's equality, and that movement. And it struck a chord with me when she spoke to the fact that when you compete as a commodity, competition matters.
Of course, competition matters when you are a commodity, but when you decommoditize your product by elevating yourself to build for a mission, or a social movement, you are now aligned with your competition to continue just raising the bar. And it's not a conflict to have competition. It's the rising tide lifting all ships if it matters for the movement.
Chris Ronzio (21:42):
Yeah, and having a really clear mission like they do makes it easier to be innovative, and come up with other suggestions. They've got that maternity refund policy, which is incredible. During pregnancy, and even after a woman has the child, a lot of times their foot size can change by half size, or something like that. And so recognizing this from their community, they came up with this policy that said, "If you own a pair of Saysh shoes, you can send them back to us, and we'll send you a replacement in your new size. Doesn't matter how old they are, just we'll replace them for you." But that's the kind of thing that you don't just make up, you do it because you're so bought into the community, and the mission. And there were just so many examples like that I think any business can learn from. How do you double down on your community, and really dedicate yourself to innovating in ways that your competitors wouldn't even dream of, because you know your audience. I loved that. I was thinking about that for the last couple weeks for us.
Jonathan Ronzio (22:53):
And I also can't ignore, I mean because we started this conversation obviously talking about this giant athletic challenge that I have ahead. I can't ignore the fact that we hit some parallels between Allyson's athletic career, and building business. And for her as an Olympic athlete, she made that comment. She was like, "You've got four years of training that lead to 21 seconds of a chance." And if that's not long term commitment and drive, I don't know what is right. And so I guess my takeaway from that is just like, yes, there's tons of podcasts, and books, and things out there about all the hacks in building business, but we know there's no real hacks. Just you have to put in the work. You have to be consistent, and you have to be dedicated about what you are doing and what you are building. And if you're trying to hack it, and if you're looking for that short term overnight win, you get the wrong focus. That's not how you get the gold.
Chris Ronzio (23:50):
Yeah, totally. And there were some really cool nuggets about strategic planning, and how that relates to four years. So if you're listening, and you haven't heard the full version, check it out on YouTube. Go listen to Allyson and Wes talk about this because there was so much in there. And I love the running parallel with running a business because when you run, you get out of breath, right? It's hard. It takes a toll on your body. And running a business is not easy. It's hard, but you can train for it, you can condition yourself for it, and you can be great at it. And it was an awesome session. So what's up, Pam, in the chat. Happy to share that story. And to our friend in British Columbia, Vancouver, one of my favorite cities. Really, cool. Thanks for joining us today. All right, Jonathan, let's move into The Giving Keys. I actually... Are you wearing your key?
Jonathan Ronzio (23:50):
Chris Ronzio (24:39):
I raced out of the house this morning. Today's like the first day I haven't had it on.
Jonathan Ronzio (24:44):
Yep, I've got it.
Chris Ronzio (24:45):
What's the key? Can you explain this?
Building A Brand With A Mission
Jonathan Ronzio (24:47):
So it says train. So The Giving Keys, yes. Caitlin started this, well, she actually just started making them herself. And she was just taking these old keys, and making jewelry out of it, and carving inspirational messages like hope, and love, and believe, and things, and wearing them for herself as inspiration, and motivation for what she needed to get through tough times in her life, and also giving them to friends, and family and people love them. And then she saw a larger opportunity, and this double clicks on having a mission. And so Caitlin actually used The Giving Keys as a way to start tackling homelessness, and helping people transition out of homelessness. And so she met a homeless couple who ended up being the first people that would start making the keys. And so the pay it forward mission was rooted in helping people get out of homelessness.
And then the giving part of The Giving Keys is because right now I'm wearing this key, and it says train, right? Because I'm training for some big things. The rim to rim to rim the Trainual Ironman at the end of the year, the marathon in Antarctica in March. And yet when I feel like I have fulfilled the train mentality that I don't need that to inspire me anymore, I'm meant to give that key to somebody else who might need it, who might need to take that to inspire their training. And if it didn't say train, if it said love, or hope or courage, that's the whole point is to give it to somebody, give it to somebody else to pay it forward. It's really a amazing, authentic business. And I love the product, too.
Chris Ronzio (26:27):
I love it too. So, you remember, we were sitting on my couch at my house, and planning for the interviews. And as we're going through, and learning her story, I went onto the website and bought a bunch of them for me, and you, and a couple of our friends that are training for this big event. And then as we're doing the interview, I realize there is a promo code to save 20%, or something. And so if anyone's interested in this, go watch the full interview with her, because you can actually get one for a lot less than what I paid. But they're super cool. And you know what's fun is it kind of jingles a little bit as you're walking around, and it's a constant reminder through the day of the phrase that's on there. And I love having that little token. It's actually kind of a throwback to the, gosh, I'm trying to remember the episode. It was Todd, the book that is when you put on a token like that [inaudible 00:27:27]
Jonathan Ronzio (27:26):
Oh yes, the Alter Ego.
Chris Ronzio (27:28):
Alter Ego. Alter Ego, yeah. So, the past episode of Organized Chaos, but that message in that book is sometimes you wear this token, or you put on something, a bracelet, a watch whatever, and you take on the characteristics of this alter ego, and you can perform at a higher level. And so I think that the keys, the giving keys have a little bit of that aspect, too, which is pretty cool.
Jonathan Ronzio (27:50):
Yeah. And that's ultimately just about, again, building a community around a brand with a mission. That's how you find your people. People can smell what your motives are. They'll know what you're trying to do, and she found the people that need her most.
Chris Ronzio (28:09):
Right, right. Okay, so I think we broke for lunch, then we came back and had, or maybe this was before lunch, we had Mignon, and Natalie. So Mignon Francois, Natalie Dow. So, Natalie is with Liquid Death, the Water Company, which is such a crazy brand, and Mingnon is in the cupcake business. So you were interviewing them. What stood out to you about this one?
Jonathan Ronzio (28:33):
So yeah, Natalie was employee number two at Liquid Death and kind of wore every hat along their scaling journey over the last few years. They absolutely blew up through COVID. And I'm sure you've got people tuning in, I've seen people drinking sparkling water that looks like beer. That's Liquid Death.
Chris Ronzio (28:48):
I saw at a concert recently, and everybody's carrying around the can of Liquid Death like it's a tall, big beer you'd get at a sports game. It's so funny.
Jonathan Ronzio (28:59):
The biggest thing that stood out, I mean, so many amazing takeaways. Again, all these are on LinkedIn, or not LinkedIn on YouTube, so go and watch them. But the biggest thing that pops into my head, Natalie said, "You can teach a skill set, but you can't teach passion." She was talking about how they built their team, and their hiring process, and what they're looking for in new employees. And that's like a non-negotiable is like you can teach any skill set, but you can't teach passion. And it comes through in their brand is, it's a very passionate brand, and it's made by very passionate people.
Chris Ronzio (29:35):
And it was fun to see them play off of each other, both being in the consumer product space, which, if you are a business that is software like ours, then consumer products is so interesting. And if you are in a service business that is selling time an agency, then SaaS, a lot of times is interesting. And you can learn a lot from exploring different types of businesses, and how those things apply to you. That's why I loved consulting so much under before Trainual was what you could learn from working with an electrical contractor, or a medical office, or a retail store. You get these little nuggets that are like, "Oh, we could use that in our business", but it's not typical in our industry. And so it was fun to hear some kind of product hack. It kind of reminded me a little bit of the Bombas Socks interview from our last year Playbook. So that was a good one, too.
Jonathan Ronzio (30:37):
Yeah, it's like when's the last time you really combed over a resume, versus just had a conversation about somebody's experience. And I feel like that matters more, and more these days, I guess back to experiences, but that's where passion comes from. And then Mignon, I loved her take on, it often feels like a conflict to build a really, really great, kind, compassionate culture versus build a company that's really sharp on performance management, and able to have the hard conversations. Those, a lot of times feel in conflict. It's why Radical Candor is an awesome book and people should read that, but Mignon's answer on how she thinks about that is to be clear, is to be kind. And it's so true. It's just like, yes, okay, to be clear is to be kind. Not dance around if somebody is not performing as they should, but let them know and be clear, that's not being a jerk, that's being helping them. And that helps create a better culture.
Chris Ronzio (31:42):
Yeah, and I think that clarity equals kindness proliferates throughout your business in a lot of ways. I think I posted on LinkedIn yesterday, or two days ago about us communicating our specific financials, and cash position, and whatever as it relates to the market. And a lot of companies doing hiring freezes, or layoffs, the clarity is what builds trust, and it's kind. It's actually nice of you to build some clarity with your people. And I think that relates to job expectations. It relates to performance, it relates to so many things. When you're not clear, when you're confusing, you leave a lot of room for interpretation, and people can make up their own problems, or make up their own issues. So that clear is kind. I love that thread. All right, so then we went into one of my favorites of the, I mean, I guess they're all great, but I was so excited to talk to Jason.
A Better Way Of Doing Business, Jason Fried
Jason Freed from Base Camp 37 Signals, hey. I followed his stuff for a long time. His newest book, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work. If you are a podcast listener here at Organized Chaos, you heard me interview DHH, his co-founder partner, and that interview, we could have talked for a week. There was so much to cover.
Jonathan Ronzio (33:06):
I'm [inaudible 00:33:07] this book. I'm [inaudible 00:33:09] obsessing.
Chris Ronzio (33:10):
So, Jonathan, if you're listening to the audio, he's holding up rework. Same. I read that back in, I think it was 2010, or something when it came out. And it's just such a practical duh way of doing business. That's what I found as I'm reading through that, that book specifically is more like, it's like a picture every three pages, an illustration, and a phrase that you'd want to quote that you'd want to put on your wall in the office. It was so foundational for me in running my first business. So, yeah, I've followed these guys over the years, and there's a lot of things that I think Basecamp has done differently. And whenever the market zigs, they zag. Whenever everybody's charging per user, or something for years and years and years, they just had flat rate pricing, like 99 bucks, unlimited users, whatever, just use our tool. Everybody's raising money. They said, "Nope, we're never going to raise money, we're just going to bootstrap it."
Everyone's hiring 500 employees. They said, "Nope, we can do this with 40 people spread around the world." Everybody's in a headquarters, they're remote. So many decisions that they've made have been counterintuitive, and contrarian, and it makes you challenge the way that you're thinking about running your own business. And so right or wrong, agree or disagree with how they're doing things. I think the challenge is what's important because not everything they're doing, I don't agree with every single thing they're doing. I'm going to run my business how I run it, but they're prompting so many interesting conversations. That's what I loved about it. And so just so happened that 12 hours before I'm interviewing Jason, they roll out Basecamp 4 quietly, very quietly, and didn't even promote it much, but if you went to their website, their pricing change, their product change, their website change, everything changed. And so in the hours leading up to this interview, we're poring over their website, and trying to figure it out. And he did a little bit of an unveil or release. And so that's fun to watch if anyone goes...
Jonathan Ronzio (35:16):
Yeah, the first public place that he talked about Basecamp 4.
Chris Ronzio (35:19):
Yeah, which is really cool. Another thing that he said that is just one of their principles, that I love, is talking about how much the owner's word weighs. That the owner's word weighs a ton. And I'm sure you feel this Jonathan as a partner, co-founder here. When you say something in a meeting, or when you just offhand make some comment, the people on our teams can take that to mean, "Oh, drop everything else. This is the thing Chris cares about." And the same has happened to me when I used to get emails, and I'd see an email, kind of a cold email and think, "Oh, this kind of interesting, this is in whoever's domain." And I would forward it to them.
And then the next thing, they're setting up demos, and getting proposals, and coming back to me, and be like, "Yeah, we can use this service and it's $32,000 and you just need to sign this contract." And I'm like, "Hold up. What? How did we even get here?" And they're like, "Oh, you sent me that email. I figured you wanted this done." And when you think about that simple example, how many times does that happen in a business with just the owner coming in, or a leader coming in, and saying something that lacks clarity, back to our last point, to their team, It was a great lesson, a great conversation we had about that with Jason, how specific you need to be about not derailing your team when you're the leader.
Jonathan Ronzio (37:00):
And not just from a standpoint of the work being done, but also how you work. You're setting an example whether you want to, or not. How you work, when you work, the ways you show up, that is setting an example to anybody below you in the organization. And they're going to think that's how they need to show up, that's how they'll be expected to work, whether you want to, or not. It's like you hear people become a celebrity, and they're like, "Oh, I never wanted to be a role model." It's like, well, you have to be conscious of your influence. Eyes, and attention are on you and you are influencing people whether you intend to or not.
Chris Ronzio (37:37):
Right? Yeah, so the conversation with Jason was fun. It was very rooted in company culture, and just how you run your business. The newest book, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, is you hear so many people say, when you ask them like, "Hey, how are things going at work?" It's like, "Oh, it's crazy. Things are so busy. It's crazy." And the idea of this book is, it doesn't have to be that way. You can actually focus, and work 40 hours, and have realistic growth expectations, and you don't have to self impose so much pressure and stress the heck out of everybody. So it's a really cool philosophy around running business. Definitely check that out if that's something you're focused on. All right.
Jonathan Ronzio (38:21):
We went to Little Spoon.
Chris Ronzio (38:23):
Little Spoon. Yeah. So, talk us through this one.
Jonathan Ronzio (38:26):
So, Lisa Barnett-
Chris Ronzio (38:26):
Little Spoon, you have some personal experience with, right?
Jonathan Ronzio (38:29):
Yeah. So, my son Chase eats Little Spoon. We've got the smoothies, and the little purees, and stuff that we get on a shipment every two weeks. And the model is that Lisa saw a gap in the baby food market of the standard out there is these processed shelf stable foods, non refrigerated foods that are just out there that everyone's getting in these jars. And she was like, "I want to make just real food that you actually have to refrigerate." That it comes every two weeks in a freezer pack, and you put it in the fridge, and it goes on this plan of how you introduce a certain amount of foods, and what types of foods to your child. And it's just real stuff. And so we started using it, Chase loves it. We love the brand. And so we had an awesome conversation with Lisa just about that kind of how they brought it to life. And Lisa has a unique background coming from Venture Capital. She's sharp.
Getting Community To Be Your Biggest Marketing Engine
She knows how to build a business plan. And also if you listen to that session, it's a masterclass, and performance marketing as well. We kind of at the end go pretty deep into their acquisition channels, the way they're using influencers like their tack to LTV on certain paid performance areas, and what's working, and not. But at its heart how they scaled was customer referrals. It was getting the community to be your biggest marketing engine, because parents talk, and they knew that. And I know this, Alex, my wife, just started a Substack, because she's got all her friends that are actually hitting her up because they're starting to have babies, or thinking about families. And they're like, "Well, what'd you pack for your hospital bag?" And "What did you start feeding Chase, and what bottles do you use?" And now she's trying to just share information that she's finding because it's helpful to her. There is nothing but the most virality inside of the mom, and general parental community. And Lisa capitalized on that with a great product to build more, again, a social movement around baby food.
Chris Ronzio (40:31):
I don't know if this exists, but as you were saying that, I was thinking about how when we had our kids, both times going to the hospital packing that go bag when it's time is a real thing. And so you get the bag, and you get the whatever, the first outfit, and blankets, and this, and that, and is anybody selling a prepackaged go bag?
Jonathan Ronzio (40:55):
Chris Ronzio (40:57):
Yeah. Why not just have an all in one here's your baby kit, rather than have to assemble it all.
Jonathan Ronzio (41:04):
That's interesting. That's literally the first post Alex wrote on her Substack, which is called Babies Don't Come With a Manual.
Chris Ronzio (41:12):
I love it. But they could, and she should be writing it in Trainual Public using our public share feature. I know that's not really what it's for, but, no, I just think there's opportunity there. All right. But one of the key themes you got into with Lisa was kind of referral marketing, right? Because when you've got something that's so different, refrigerated baby food, real food that expires, whatever, if people like it, like you, like Alex, you're telling other people. And so how is that a flywheel? What was she saying about that?
Jonathan Ronzio (41:48):
So they initially got it going with some good SEO, their foundational posts. They went into the communities, they wrote some stuff themselves, and just by starting to actually write about their philosophy, and write about what they were trying to build, and do, and their product and what it stood for, that just got picked up, and shared across mom blogs, and her parent communities and all those different channels. And they just leaned into it. They found their influencers, they figured out who has the ear of new parents, and they went big there. And then they got this even surfaced when in a pre-call with Seth Godin, and I know we're not on his session yet, but when we were talking to him before Playbook, he was going to post about it.
He was going to tweet about the events, and he's like, "Yeah, I can tweet about it", but the best thing you could do is just email everybody who's already registered, and just ask them to invite two or three other people. It's like, yeah, that is as simple as it. If you've already said that you want to come in, and you're into this content, and this community, who else might be? Just ask them. And that's what Lisa, and the team did, just to get people to start sharing, and talking.
Chris Ronzio (42:59):
That's funny. Yeah. I wasn't on the pre-call with Seth, but yeah, what a simple idea. I don't think we ask people for referrals enough. And it's something I used to do in the consulting business when I had a services business. I was asking every time I would do a project, I'm like, "Well, do you know any other businesses that could benefit from this?" And everyone is like, "Oh yeah, let me introduce you to this person, and this person. We just had drinks the other night, and they need you more than I do." It's such a simple way to get business, so I love that. All right, so then we wrapped up with Seth.
Jonathan Ronzio (43:34):
Chris Ronzio (43:36):
Seth was the cap at the end of the day, and what an awesome guy. What a cool conversation. I mean, he has 20 best selling books. He was sitting in a view just like yours with the bookshelves in the back, except the difference was he wrote every book on his bookshelves in the back. And so you'd recognize the Linchpin, and the Purple Cow, and the famous covers of his books and [inaudible 00:44:09]
The Book That Will Change Your Life
Jonathan Ronzio (44:08):
Well, he said that, yeah, we opened it up with him asking a question. We were like, "All right, so you've got all these best selling books." And his books influenced so many people, they're great. And people look to them as the book that changed their lives. And so we asked Seth, "What is the book that changed your life?" And his answer was, "The book that will change your life the most is the book that you write yourself", right?
Chris Ronzio (44:34):
Jonathan Ronzio (44:35):
How do you feel about that?
Chris Ronzio (44:36):
100%. I mean, when... Like this book, my book only came out last year, but I was writing it in my head for the last 20 years. And so when you finally get that on paper, it's a really pivotal milestone, and how this book has influenced Trainual as a company, the tens of thousands of people, or whatever that have read a copy of it. The opportunities it's given me for speaking, or for being on other shows, so much of it is life changing, not just personally, or financially, but you're making a difference. It's impactful. And it's impacted me certainly more than any single book that I've read just by nature of how it's impacted my day to day, and what I'm doing. So I 100% agree. But he didn't totally cop out. He did give some other suggestions. So, if you want to see Seth's suggestions, you can read a little bit about that. We talked about writer's block, we talked about creativity, and does it end? And I loved his perspective there, because he's written something like, what, eight years of daily blog posts, or 10 years of daily blog...
Jonathan Ronzio (45:55):
More than that. I mean, it's like 8,000...
Chris Ronzio (45:57):
Oh, 8,000. [inaudible 00:45:58]
Jonathan Ronzio (45:59):
...posts every single day.
Chris Ronzio (46:01):
Gosh. And you think, how do you possibly have new content every single day? Well, at the beginning of this, we opened up with talking about collect experiences. And I think if you're the type of person that's aware of the experiences you're collecting, if you're aware of the dialogue that you're having with people of your thoughts throughout the day, you could be stopped at a red light, and look over, and notice something, and it triggers a lesson, or a thought that you can be creative about. That was a huge unlock for me, actually, we went to that conference that was talking about content production with Jeremy, and a big unlock was just what is action?
Something in your daily life that prompts a lesson that makes you think, "Oh, this applies to other areas in my life." How does this challenge of what I'm doing when I'm running, and I trip on a rock, or something, how does that apply to other areas of my life? And you can really just make these simple lessons, these nuggets, that become incredible raw material for writing, whether it's a blog, or recording. All my little tiny daily episodes come from that sort of inspiration. And it's not that I have a bank of 8,000 ideas like Seth Godin, it's that every day, or couple days I'm coming up with new ones. And that's the mindset, I think, that he was really advocating.
Jonathan Ronzio (47:22):
I think that's an awesome way to also hone your analogy skills, which are at the core of great communication, speaking, marketing, et cetera.
Chris Ronzio (47:34):
Yeah. So, he used the jazz musician analogy, right? Because it was just like, you keep learning. You get better as an artist levels, and levels, and levels of being a musician. And he talked about that a little. It was also fun that we were emailing back, and forth about audio speakers, and stuff that he is interested in. And so it's always fun to talk to someone like this, and then just realize you have totally obscure things in common, or things that don't get written about in all the books. And so I love being able to dig into someone's personal interest, too.
Jonathan Ronzio (48:15):
And around the consistent output of content, forcing yourself to share your message, and share your ideas. That is another way to find your audience in the way that we've talked about Caitlin finding the audience for The Giving Keys. It's another way to find your people. And what Seth spoke to with that is it matters more to matter to a few than be seen by many. And I think in this world of just social media, and influence, and unicorns, and all of that, where it seems like so many are chasing volume over impact. And we even knew this actually just looking out the attendees of this year versus last year. We actually had more people register for last year's Playbook event, but we had more people attend this year's Playbook events, because we found a tighter community who connected more with the content we presented this year.
Chris Ronzio (49:14):
Right, right. Yeah, definitely an upgrade. All right, so that brings us to day two. We've only got, I was just looking at the clock. We've got eight minutes left to record this, and so we're going to have to raise through this. So, let me just rattle off day two, kind of the lineup. We started with the unveiling of some new product features. This is our annual event where we're announcing some cool things in the product that was super fun.
Jonathan Ronzio (49:40):
What do you announce? Real quick, hit list.
Chris Ronzio (49:42):
So we talked about the role chart where you can take all of your roles, responsibilities, and build not just an org chart with your people, but a role chart of how those roles interact with each other, which is super impactful when you're building the future of your organization. When one person wears a lot of hats, you can have one person that sits in a lot of roles, but you can visualize that through our new feature, so that was really exciting. And then we rolled out Trainual tags, see if I have one within reach, I don't, they're in my backpack. The little physical tags that you can put anywhere in your office, on your equipment, in your trucks, in your inventory with your customer locations. And touch your phone with a nearfield communication, kind of like an Apple Pay to pop up your Trainual content right on the phone.
So, that's been really exciting to be shipping physical products out. Then we announced our Trainual capture, which is a browser extension that lets you record everything you're doing in your screen and kind of writes the steps for you. We announced Trainual context, which lets you access any of your Trainual content anywhere on the internet based on the URL that it pops up on the page. So you have the info you need wherever you need it. And then we had a certification program that we brought live. So if you go to Trainual.com/getcertified, you can for free become a power user in the Champion at your organization, and get a little badge put on LinkedIn and all that sort of stuff.
Jonathan Ronzio (51:10):
And then e-signatures, because we had PandaDoc right on day one. So, Mikita is a integration partner now with PandaDoc fueling e-signatures on the policies.
Chris Ronzio (51:22):
Yeah, so jam packed. So, we announce all that stuff. Then you go into a quick Montell, our friend Montell, if anybody wasn't at Playbook 2021, go on Spotify right now, Apple Music, wherever you get your music, search for Montell Jordan, and Trainual, and instead of the, "This is how we do it." You're going to find, this is how you do it, which is a remix with us. And so Montell's been a friend of the company. He is now a partner, has stock in the company, and it's been so fun to collaborate with him. So you, and him talked on his car ride we already talked about [inaudible 00:52:00]
Jonathan Ronzio (52:00):
We hit that, but yeah, everybody check it out on Spotify.
Chris Ronzio (52:04):
There you go.
Jonathan Ronzio (52:04):
Montell, and Trainual.
Chris Ronzio (52:07):
There you go. We brought in Candy Valentino, and Connie S Falls, amazing consultants, thought leaders, talking about just this current market, and how to approach documentation. They got real tactical on how to actually document the knowledge in your business. Dan Tire, who is a friend of mine, and Employee Six at HubSpot, incredible guy. He kind of invented the term smarketing, sales and marketing working together. I think he says Chmarketing, he puts a CH in there.
Help, Don't Sell! From Dan Tyre
Jonathan Ronzio (52:42):
I would say Dan's single quote, that matters more for the entirety of anybody doing sales right now. Then anything else is help, don't sell, right? I'm so sick of every single DM from every cold contact on LinkedIn. I'm sick of every cold email because it's all the same playbook, it's played out, and it's bad. It's a bad playbook. Help don't sell.
Chris Ronzio (53:07):
Yes, well, we call them bad operating procedures or BOPs.
Jonathan Ronzio (53:10):
Broken. Broken operating [inaudible 00:53:12]
Chris Ronzio (53:11):
Yeah, broken. BOPs. Too many BOPs. And then we finished day two with Alli Webb, of course, co-founder of the Drybar, incredible scaling story. All of these are worth a listen, and they'll all be separate episodes on this podcast. And we also had cool sessions mixed in for actual Trainual customers, so we don't have to get too deep into that. But if you use the Trainual product, there are sessions of just a total tear down of customer accounts, rebuilding customer accounts. We did an extreme home makeover edition of somebody's account. We had customer awards, featured our top people. So it was really fun to just see how people are using the product.
Jonathan Ronzio (53:54):
The whirlwind of a couple days.
Chris Ronzio (53:56):
It was crazy. So, next year we're going to do it all again. We've done it now, that'll be year four. I don't know if you saw this Jonathan, I posted something on Instagram in a story of renewing all the domains, because we have the domains like Playbook 2022, and 2023, and I think through 2030. And when I posted that, I had three people message me that's like, I just bought 2031. And I'm like, "Oh, great. Awesome." So, we'll have to change the name eventually, a decade out, or maybe we'll be doing something different. We'll be meeting in the Metaverse instead, instead of on a URL.
Jonathan Ronzio (54:35):
Maybe the URL doesn't matter.
Chris Ronzio (54:36):
Doesn't matter. All right. This has been so fun. I love doing these casual recaps with you, Jonathan. Hopefully anybody that's listening took some replay nuggets away from just our, what's still wracking around in our brands. But definitely go watch the full sessions. If anything caught your attention look it up on YouTube. These are great commute material. They're great for your morning walks, or runs, or your treadmill or whatever you do while you're cleaning the house. Awesome content. And like Dan Tire said, "We're trying to help as much as possible." That's why we do this because we want to help your business succeed. We want to help your business grow. We want to help it be more organized so that you're a little less stressed out, and that's what we do. Any final words, Jonathan?
Jonathan Ronzio (55:28):
No, no. I think you said it well. Definitely tune into the sessions, and get the real content. This was just the appetizer. But no, thanks for having me. This was fun. Great recap, and I'll see you maybe for lunch on Sunday. I fly in around 12:30.
Chris Ronzio (55:44):
All right. That sounds good. You're going to need some calories before that crazy Canyon run.
Jonathan Ronzio (55:48):
Yeah, for sure.
Chris Ronzio (55:48):
All right, Jonathan, thanks for coming on. Everyone else, we'll see you next time on the next Organized Chaos Live.