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Shared crisis: When stressed stakeholders come knocking, it’s hard not to panic. Paul and Rich share their insights on how to lessen stress, limit expectations, and simplify processes to get a product shipped quickly. Some pro tips: Take a breath, create a sense of shared responsibility, reduce risk — and don’t forget to sleep! 

Transcript

Paul Ford They said, “Boy, I really—I need to get that Thursday.” And what you heard were 50 screaming dragons descending on you [Rich chuckles], shrieking the word, “Thursday.” And actually all they said was, “Well is there—can you tell me why I couldn’t get that on Thursday?” [Music plays alone for 18 seconds, ramps down.] Hey, Rich. 

Rich Ziade Hi, Paul. 

PF Ok, are you at a computer? I need some help. 

RZ Uh, I can get to one. Everything ok? 

PF Well, ok, it’s Friday morning and due to circumstances outside of our control, related to the pandemic, I need to change [music fades out] our product road map significantly. By Wednesday. I need to take—

RZ By Wednesday?!? 

PF—everything we’ve been building. Yeah, we gotta make—we have to put a bunch of alerts in and then change the way the service works fundamentally and also there needs to be a streaming video. I think we actually have to commission like a puppet show. I—I’m losing it, man! 

RZ Slow down. You need a plan by Wednesday? 

PF No, no, I have to launch a product by Wednesday. I said it was impossible and they were like, “I guess if it’s impossible, you should still find a way to do it.” That’s what they told me. 

RZ Oh, boy. Ok. 

PF Yeah, I just said, “Ok,” and then I went and I looked at the wall for a while. And that’s why I’m calling you cuz you seem to be pretty good in situations like this. 

RZ [Laughs] Yeah. First off, one of the goals of Postlight is for our name to come up when the senior, senior, senior person walks into the room and says, “Who can help us with this?!” And they say, “Why don’t I call Postlight?” 

PF Also, let me be clear: there’s like five clients listening who had issues like this—

RZ In the last four months. 

PF Who are probably listening to this podcast right now, going like, “Are they making fun of me?” The answer is you are not alone. You’re not alone. Everybody’s had—Yeah, everybody has had unbelievable and sort of real requests. Like, “We need to respond urgently to the way that the world has changed and we need to do that in our product or our app or website.” 

[2:07]

RZ Look, the McKinseys of the world and the big PR firms of the world thrive on five-alarm engagements, actually. They wait for that phone call or like, “Ok, there’s no way I can recruit a team into this. Here’s the mandate. They said money’s no object. Can you help?” And boy, they just—It’s like—the tail starts wagging like crazy and they’re just hopping in the kitchen—on the kitchen floor. [Paul laughing boisterously] They’re like, “Yeah! I think we can do this! I think we can do this! I think we can help you!” 

PF That is very real. Big consulting’s tail is very real cuz they can control everything else but the tail starts wagging. 

RZ Oh, it’s just that you’re just dangling bacon—

PF They’re eyes just light up. 

RZ Yeah, yeah. 

PF Hmm. The way consulting works is you know they’re cookin’ bacon all the time, and they never give you any. 

RZ [Laughs] That’s true. 

PF And there’s just this one day and—

RZ They wait for it, absolutely. 

PF No! And you’re just sittin’ there and they’re like, “I guess everything else is terrible, we might as well just give you all the bacon.” 

RZ Yeah! 

PF And you’re like, “[Barks and then snarls like a dog].”

RZ It’s true, it’s true. And so, we are—you know, we’re here to help. Very often, it’s funny, sometimes the sales process, there’s nothing more terrifying than silence in sales. When—

PF Oh yeah! 

RZ When you’re like, “Yeah, this looks great. I’ll come back to you in the next couple of days.” And then when five days go by it’s like [slowly] time slowed down. And it feels like five weeks. And you’re wondering what’s going on, it’s not that different than when you’re waiting for that girl to message you back in high school. It’s really not that different but every once in a while you get the inverse where like, “Ah, don’t worry about the SOW! Don’t worry about the legal! We’ll sort that stuff out!” 

PF “Just go, go, go.” 

[3:43]

RZ “Just go. We’ll figure that out later.” And, I tell ya, I know for a fact that big consulting, you know, firms like McKinsey and whatnot, they just send a team. There’s no paper. There’s nothing. They could be there for months.

PF Of course, of course, because what a wonderful chance to build a relationship. Also, that is one of those times when physical presence really makes a difference because [it really is] it’s actually risky when people land with those requests [yeah] and then you marshall all the energy and then about half the time, sort of the crisis coding projects get killed in about two days. They’re just like, “No, no, actually, we’re changing our direction. I’m sorry you had to stay up all night. Like, we’re not gonna do that anymore.” So that is one of the reasons why when the crisis shows, like the big consulting firms physically and it’s obviously harder with the pandemic [mm hmm] but they lodge themselves. Like, “Oh! We’re gonna set up a war room.” 

RZ They do. 

PF “Right in the bathroom by your office.” Um—

RZ Here’s the thing about Postlight, though, and this speaks to how virtuous we really are—

PF Oh we’re angels.

RZ Consulting—consulting, you know, feeds on that panic and sells you more. They’re like, “You know what? This is gonna require a team of 24 if you really need this done in four days.” Very often what we do, we think—

PF You can’t explain a concept to 24 people in four days. 

RZ No, you can’t. Of course not. 

PF I want you to keep going cuz you’re very good about this stuff but this is my—my cynical theory that every person added to a team subtracts a certain number of IQ points. So like if you have a 24 person team [oh yeah] that’s like—you’ve got like 50 IQ points to work with. 

[5:08]

RZ Oh no, no, you have a four-year-old. 

PF That is what—Yeah, I mean you’re looking at two to three people who already know each other max can be productive in a short amount of time. 

RZ My number is five if they’ve worked together in the past—

PF If they worked together. And also, if everybody knows what their role is gonna—Like, I guess what I would say is, the five won’t know what they’re doing on minute zero. As long as one person does and then they can pull the other four in, you have a chance. 

RZ I think this is a real thing, what you’re describing. I think there’s like airport management books that describe exactly this about the friction added every time you add a human being to a pro—a team. 

PF Sure! Or you can get it for free with Postlight’s podcast. 

RZ Or you can do it for free! And so, look, yeah, we’ve gotten these calls. And very often what we say is, “Calm down.” Cuz instinctively you tend to lean on your core skills, right? So like, “Wait a minute, I understand how systems work; I understand how software works; and so I can build software fast.” And a lot of times it turns out you don’t need to build software. 

PF Well, the first thing people do—This always happens when you get these requests. I would say I have received 30 requests like this in the course of my career. It’s always understood. I mean, the emergency request has come down and the person receiving it understands it in terms of their existing road map. So, what they’ve been asked to do is set up a website that tells people where to buy a hat. And [yeah] what they hear is, “How do I take our existing complicated publishing system that has ecommerce from seven years ago built in [yeah] and turn it into a real-time hat distribution framework?”

RZ Mm hmm. 

PF That’s hard. Like they immediately turn it into a legacy problem as opposed to, “I’m gonna got to Shopify and set up emergencyhatstore.com.” [Rich laughs] And a lot of time it’s that! The thing you’ve said when I’ve seen this—and I think it’s a really good framing, is essentially, “Well, all of that’s real and you have to get it done. The thing that you deliver is gonna have two buttons, maybe three, [Rich laughs] what do those buttons do?” Like, because everybody is trying to do it right and try to compress time and sort of be on a roadmap that makes sense and sort of just somehow accelerate everything and you’re way beyond that. You can’t actually accelerate product delivery to days, whereas before it was months. 

[7:22]

RZ Also, do you really think the recipient on the other side of that, that user base, wants a complicated thing? 

PF No, that’s true. 

RZ They’re not ready—they’re not ready for whatever tornado you’re tossing at them. They actually want less. Right? They want very little that is targeted. And so—

PF Well, talk me down. Talk me down! I’ve just come in, I’ve burst in on a Google Meet. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF I’m freakin’ out. There’s sweat pourin’ down my forehead and I gotta—I have to send like ten emails in the next five minutes, Rich. What do I do? 

RZ Well, I mean, this is interesting, right? I mean because I don’t wanna talk product yet. I think, you know, usually when they come at you they come at you with the solution they drew up in, you know, their heads or on a whiteboard in a 10pm meeting. But I don’t wanna talk about that just yet. I wanna talk about what’s going on. What’s driving here. First off, who is the customer? Very often you wanna distinguish if the customer’s the boss who’s throwing this fit that has put this at your feet or if the customer is truly the user. Very often the customer’s just the boss. Very often the customer’s like—the boss is like, “Guess what? My boss—Listen, I’m the boss as far you’re concerned. But guess what? My boss wants to see a thing on Wednesday.” It’s like, “Ok, well, that’s a huge, that’s a very subtle but really important shift, right?” Which is, “Ok, so this really isn’t about some population of users. It’s actually about you and your boss.” And so what is going to make—Because the reality is I have not seen any piece of software that changes the game in a meaningful way land in four days. It’s never happened and it never will happen. It just doesn’t work like that. It just doesn’t. 

PF No, that’s right. 

RZ That’s like watering my cucumbers more will get me faster cucumbers. It just doesn’t work. So, what are you really trying to achieve? 

PF Well, this is—Ok, so this is really key, right? You’re differentiating between new product that has new goals, new strategic impact, and kind of like, “I need to solve a problem with the tools we have at hand.” 

RZ Right. 

PF And that’s what this request—you have to frame the urgent request in that way. Like, you’re not going to launch or do anything new, you’re going to take the tools and the resources that are nearby and you’re gonna arrange them in a slightly different way for a different group of users in order to solve this problem. 

[9:33]

RZ Yes! That’s right. And very often they’re not in a good place in terms of thinking about what to do. 

PF Everybody’s tired!

RZ Stressed! They’re tired. They just got yelled at. I mean, we’ve gotten engagements where people walk into the room pounding the table, said a few things, and walked out. And then we get a phone call and it’s just like, “I just had the craziest meeting. Do you have time to talk?” You know from where I’m sitting, like, you know what? That sounds great. “Let me hear this out.” But very often what you find is the person that’s explaining what just went down is already in a disoriented place. They’re not in a great place and thinking about in a very simple way how to attack a problem, right? Because they’ve just been in a stress state. Like, it’s totally normal. You want them to kind of calm down and everyone wants to do well; everyone wants to be helpful; everyone wants to be successful. I mean that’s—

PF A lot of times, right, people get pressured into over-promising because literally like their boss is looking at them going—nodding, and going, “We’re gonna figure it out.” And so they over-promise and now they feel—and this is a funny thing that I think like if I was to give anyone coaching on dealing with executives, like you do have to honor what you say but if you come back as soon as possible and say, “Actually, that’s not realistic. Here’s why but here’s what we can do instead.” Most relatively sane individuals will give you a full hearing. Like, they’ll actually wanna hear it and they’ll wanna understand the risks and they’ll wanna move forward. Like, very few people who can succeed long-term are able to stomp around, say, “Get it for me Wednesday.” And then go away and assume it will be there Wednesday. It doesn’t work that way. 

RZ It really doesn’t. And the other thing worth noting here is like if you said, “Look, you know, I gave you an estimate that the building would require three weeks to get painted,” and you came back to me and said, “Do whatever it takes. Paint it in one week.” You can do that. That’s doable. That’s a scalable thing. You can add more bodies; you can buy more paint, at the same time rather than stagger it out and get it done. Software doesn’t work like that. You can’t add lanes that way to releasing a piece of software. You just can’t. So you have to double back and say, “Ok, well, what am I actually creating?” It is creation, right? Very often the solution isn’t a tiny little thing, it’s an actual: “I need something to stand up and respond to this thing that’s happening in five days! Period. I want a plan!” 

[11:49]

PF And I mean the good news here is that if you actually just sort of start from scratch, mentally, it’s often not that hard anymore, right? Like, there are public APIs there that you can stand up a webpage with a URL. You can put a big red button on a webpage, send everyone to that page, it’ll load up fine in their mobile browser [mm hmm], and they can have an experience. So, like, those basics are achievable in a matter of hours. So—

RZ You’re bringing up a great point. You said ‘mobile browser’ which I think is worth diving into for a second. I mean, there’s a day where it’s like, “Everybody’s got a phone, we gotta get this on their phones. In four days.” And the world of app stores has blown that up. You simply can’t do it. There was a day where you could put a webpage up in a minute if you had an idea. And it could be up in a day. And nobody was going to stop you. Nobody’s signing off and nobody is approving anything. But the world doesn’t work that way when it comes to mobile apps, right? You have to go through the gatekeepers which are, you know, Google and Apple. There’s just no way around it. 

PF Which we don’t—which ultimately has created at least some stability in that world and it’s just very hard when you’re in a crisis.

RZ Ver—nearly impossible. 

PF Well it’s also—it’s a factor you can’t control. So even with a personal relationship, you know it’s gonna take at least seven or eight days to get something up. And it could take 14 if they find something weird in the code. And that’s with a personal relationship and everything going great. So now—like that dependency has to be removed. 

RZ Yeah, I think that’s right and it warms my heart to see people leaning back on the web to get a thing done. It’s really nice. Frankly, my mom doesn’t know the difference between an app and a webpage . . . on her phone. Like if I give her—

PF Yeah, I mean—

RZ She doesn’t understand it. She doesn’t understand why when I give her a link it doesn’t end up an icon on her phone. Like automatically. 

PF I mean, fair enough. 

RZ [Laughs] Exactly! So—

PF Yeah, I mean the whole world is trying to blur all those lines, all the time. 

RZ Yeah. So, I mean, I think there are a couple of pieces of advice . . . to share here. One is—and this—we use this all time, we share this all the time at Postlight and it’s not—it sounds wiley but it’s really not meant that way, it’s actually meant in the spirit of transparency which is failure. Whoever just yelled at you, it will be their failure if this goes bad. Not just yours. So, they’re leaning on you to make a very big bet and if this thing blows up in your face, it will blow up in their face. And so if you’re telling someone, “Look, this is crazy. It’s a long shot and frankly, this could go really badly. This could go really, really badly, right?” And if you rush to something, in this timeframe, it could go very badly. And you know, some people just won’t have it. They’re like, “I don’t care. Just get it done.” Right? That’s possible. But I think—my experience, when you share it as their failure, not yours, they pause. And then they have to do the hard calculation, right? Unless they think you’re bullshitting them, then, again, that depends on how hard people dig in but lay out the fact that, “Look, I know you want this also. I know you want augmented reality also . . . in three days.” [Paul laughing deeply] But if we go that far, the whole thing collapses. The whole thing could potentially collapse and people tend to pause. We deal with clients all the time who always wanna cake stuff on. And when they really wanna cake stuff on [stammers], you’re bringing your whole commitment to risk. And you’re bringing risk to your whole commitment. 

[15:08]

PF Well, this—it’s risk, right? So it’s like what is the number one risk? The number one risk is that there will be no URL or web thing for people to look at. Like, just nothing. 

RZ Mm hmm. 

PF I mean, even if you put up something insane: “Coming soon,” you have at least shown that something is going to exist in the future. [Mm hmm] Whereas nothing is 100% risk, something cuts the risk quite a bit. Now if that webpage also says, “Enter your information and we’ll get in touch with you.” You’ve cut the risk a lot more that you’re gonna lose people. And if [yeah] your webpage says, “You know, now that you’ve entered your information, we’re ready to connect you to this external service.” Even more and so you can kind of cut risk step by step by relying on a sequence of external factors and external tools, until you finally can have yours up. Right? But that is—to be clear: nobody thinks that way outside of our world. They think, “I need a thing.” Right? And then you don’t wanna be in the position of explaining to them this sort of stair step model of development. You basically need to say, “I’m gonna get you your thing. It’s gonna look like this on Wednesday; this on Friday; and this next Wednesday.” And then most of the time, they’re gonna go, “Ok.” 

RZ Bullet number two. I mean this is a critical one you’re bringing up which is software is rarely static, it’s always moving. I mean your apps on your phone are updating every three days it seems like. And I think you can convey that to people. It’s like, “Look: let’s stem the bleeding. On day one, when you’re asking for this on but then on day three, we bring a level of enhancement, and then day five and day eight. We’ll iterate and we’ll keep going until it gets to a really good place.” People hear that. People don’t say, “No! I want it all now!” They rarely say, “No, I want it all now.” In my experience. 

[16:49]

PF This is a key piece of coaching too for people who are in product or are managing engagements like this. They’re getting swooped in on. An enormous number of managers, and this sometimes includes you and me, make extreme asks just to get things moving. 

RZ It’s real. 

PF Well, I’ll tell you why. Because the negotiation on the other side isn’t clarifying. It’ll be like, “How long would it take to—” And anywhere between—It’s like when people—People ask how much it would cost to build a thing and my answer is like, “Well, you could do it yourself for zero dollars with off-the-shelf or you could spend two million dollars getting everything exactly right.” So it’s somewhere in the middle, right? [Rich laughs] Right? You know, and—

RZ It’s a cop out answer. 

PF No, everybody—It is a cop—but I mean, it’s also real. Like, “Uh, build it in Airtable. You know? Then it’s not my problem. Or, if  you want me to help you, then I’ll have to charge you for the services that we provide. Like, it’s—People negotiate in a very funny way with this stuff but if  you ask someone it will take, and this is anybody, they’ll be like, “Well, at least six weeks cuz I need to ramp up and I need some time and, you know, I gotta get the colors right.” And if you say, “What are the—why can’t I have this Thursday?” People go, “Well, woah, woah. Hold on.” It does that reset. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a senior exec who doesn’t do some of that. It just—

RZ Oh, for sure. 

PF Maybe it’s pathology, every single—So when you get this ask, the absolutely unreasonable ask that feels like it’s ruining your life, there’s a strategy underneath it and usually if you organize your thinking, take a deep breath, you can negotiate with that. You’re not actually being hung out to dry. 

RZ You’re not. 

PF Sometimes there are bad bosses who just are like, “I don’t care if you suffer. I don’t give a shit.” Right? But for the mo—It’s not actually as common as everybody likes to make out. Like, most people just—they need to get through something and you’re one of 35 people they’re dealing with today and so they’ve gotta unlock it. 

RZ Yeah. One more tip. So we’ve got two really good ones so far. First one was it’s a shared failure. Make clear to them that if this goes bad, it’s bad for them as well as for you. Number two is let’s get something out and we’ll follow on and iterate and keep improving it in days. But let’s stem the bleeding first on this date that you’re talking about. And here’s number three: when people are in that level of a state of hysteria, things often change. Talk to them the next day and you may find out that either their temperature’s gone down or, “Wait a minute, now it’s this whole other fire over in this other building that I hadn’t even talked to you about yet. So I need you to take that thing that I told you was the most important thing you’re ever gonna do for the next six months, and just put it on the side for a minute, cuz I have another thing [Paul chuckles]—cuz something else has come up.” When they’re in that state, it’s very fluid. Very fluid, very often. 

[19:31]

PF Well, you know what also? That’s power dynamics. They’re often much less freaked out than you are. You come back and you’re like, “Bah bah bah ba!” And they’re like, “Hmm, alright, that seems to make sense. I got these [yeah] other 200 fires, you know. If you could just get me the placeholder page like you said and then, you know, let’s meet about this again next week but definitely keep moving. You know? [Yeah] What resources do you need?” That’s usually what you’ll find on the other side of this once you’ve calmed down and—

RZ I used to report to a CEO who had this exact management style. He would just create stress and crisis at every meeting, and then you’d see him two days later, I’m like, “Where’s the stress and the crisis?” 

PF Oh he was coming back for a [?]. 

RZ Yeah, exactly. Exactly. 

PF It was no big deal. 

RZ It was just constant. Constant, constant, constant. So, I think—

PF But every single leader is somewhere on that spectrum Every single one is either saying, “Why can’t I have it Thursday?” In a gentle, direct way, looking you in the eye. And you have to actually explain yourself. Or they’re saying, “I will have it Thursday or there will be hell to pay.” But unless they say Thursday. It’s just I don’t know anyone who doesn’t use that tool at a certain altitude. So you have to expect it. Live with it a little bit. 

RZ Exactly. I don’t wanna date this podcast at this point but, you know, we are in the middle of—

PF Nobody wants to date this podcast. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF This is not just pandemic! This is all life! 

[20:50]

RZ It is all life. It is all—I think—I think when people try to exert control over things they can’t control, it comes out in weird ways and trickles down. And that’s real. These three pieces of advice, I think there’s a fourth if you can afford it, which is do multiple things. That’s always a great thing. If you can—if you can [mm hmm] have a fallback plan, that’s always nice. So, to recap! 

PF That is true. Like, we’re gonna use Platform X and if that doesn’t work, we use—we’ll just set up the webpage—

RZ It’s Squarespace. Like, Plan D is Squarespace [laughs]. 

PF Yeah. I swear to God, though. You know, we’re laughing at it. Squarespace is a great Plan D. Like [yeah] just great. Like, “Ok, we have the—We’re moving forward.” I think perfection is absolutely your enemy. 

RZ I have a fifth tip which is don’t use Wix no matter what. No, I’m kidding. I don’t have a problem with Wix [Paul laughing]. I just wanted to say that. 

PF Look, I think also that framing that you have which is, you know, you get one button, what’s it do? Right? Like you can’t—you’re not gonna—

RZ Pare it all the way down. 

PF Yeah, you’re not gonna have a hamburger icon with sensitive animations in—

RZ Yeah, exactly. 

PF You’re not, you know, you’re not gonna have time for user research. So, what are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? And, like I said, 20 or 30 of these requests over the course of my career, and we’ve definitely had a number since the pandemic showed up. And it turns out it usually takes about two days to get everything back on track. 

RZ Temperatures go down. Share that it is a shared success or failure. 

PF Or at least just a shared crisis. Like once people [shared crisis] believe that the crisis is real. 

RZ Yeah, that’s right. 

PF And they need to react. Everybody’s temperature goes down. It’s the strangest thing. So if you look somebody in the eye and you say, “I hear this. This is urgent. Here’s my phone number. I’m ready to go.” You’ve already lowered the temperature like five degrees. 

[22:35]

RZ This is like a half a million dollars worth of consulting advice we’re giving here. Like, the generosity of this podcast is something else. 

PF [Laughing] The irony is that when we end up in situations like this. And I’m thinking like three or four—we end up doing like a couple days for free. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF [Laughing] Cuz we just wanna help. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF Yeah, so it’s a half million for someone and a typical loss leader for us. That’s fine. 

RZ [Laughs] So to recap, Paul! I think I remember all of them. 

PF No, good. This is—this is your lawyer training coming out in the end, that you can keep the five—

RZ [Chuckling] I don’t know if I’ve got ‘em. Number one: point out that there are risks and it’s everyone’s failure, not just yours. Point number [mm hmm] two: release less, two buttons? One button? Point number three: release often. Come out. We can always make it better. Software’s not static. It’s never been static, forever, since it existed. There’s always more point releases that can continue to enhance over time. Point number four: if you can afford it, have multiple tracks, have multiple plans. If you can pull that off. Five: talk to your stakeholder or your boss . . . every eight hours. You’re gonna find the world changes very quickly when they’re [that’s true] in that kind of crazy, manic state. 

PF And it’s not talk to, it’s just send ‘em a text. 

RZ Send them a text! [Laughing] You’ll get a different—

PF [Crosstalking] Yeah. 

RZ When they’re over heating like that. 

PF Let’s say a few things, you’ll get it right away when I start doing it, that you should be saying when you’re in a situation like this. 

RZ Sure. 

[24:03]

PF Here’s one: well, one we already gave which is, “Squarespace seems fine.” Here’s another one: “I like that template. Let’s use it.” 

RZ [Laughs boisterously] Here’s another one: “I don’t think anyone’ll notice.” [Laughs

PF That’s a good one. [Rich laughing] Yeah, don’t use a component library, just make the regular HTML button red. 

RZ Yeah. jQuery is fine [laughs]. 

PF “Well we don’t really have time for that discovery but we could put in a Google Form.” [Rich chuckles] Right? 

RZ Yup! 

PF No, I mean this is real. This is everything you’re not supposed to do and everything that differentiates you as a product thinker who cares deeply about your digital craft . . . is now a risk. [Both laugh] And so—so you have to, you know—But, you know, the other thing too is that you gotta sleep. Like, there’s no—You can grind for a couple of days and then [yeah] it just gets pointless and you start to feel hopeless. Just go to bed. This is my number one advice when I find people just utterly frazzled and in a panic and trying to get stuff done. It’s like, “You need to go take a rest [Rich chuckles] . . . Sleep for a day. You know, go get eight hours and when you come back you’ll find—And it’s ridiculous but it always works.” 

RZ I mean, dude, just to revise it. These were like seven tips. So this is at least three quarters of a million dollars worth of advice right here on this podcast. Like we should probably end this podcast before it’s too expensive. 

PF [Crosstalking] I mean somehow it’s big consulting that keeps getting all this money. [Rich laughs] [Laughing] Somehow it’s like Booz Allen! I love the image of them with their little wiggly tails, like, “A crisis?!?” 

RZ Yeah, yeah, yeah. They’re hopping while you hang that raw piece of steak [laughs]. 

PF Oh it is—it’s Snausages. 

RZ [Laughing] Snausages. 

PF Snausages, that’s what they hear when they hear crisis.

[25:47]

RZ Still, Paul, if you need help, you need to mobilize quickly? You should still call us. We are really great at this. 

PF Oh we’re great at advising on crisis coding. 

RZ And executing! 

PF We’ll tell you to do the big red button. 

RZ And we might—[stammers] we might have to mobil—I mean, we’ve got great people: designers, engineers, product thinkers that can step forward and pull off some pretty amazing things pretty quickly, so. 

PF I mean, I’ll people, I’ve learned a lot in the last four or five years working at this company, co-founding it, CEO-ing it. There is a thing that I’ve learned from you and you’re better at it than I am but I’ve gotten much better. Call us and tell us what’s up, Richard Ziade can come up with a relatively effective plan for your platform in like . . . usually 30 to 50 seconds. It’s just like—it’s utterly ridiculous. 

RZ Oh, you’re too kind, Paul. 

PF It’s like—No, but it’s real. It’s like, “They need three buttons. They need Salesforce. And they need to stop talking.” 

RZ [Laughs boisterously] This is not good for bus—this would not be growing business if that’s all I did but—

PF No, no, obviously we also can implement and build and sort of add in the subtlety but there’s a kind of instinct after 20-some years where you’re like, “Oh, do this.” And half the time it’s not—it’s rarely the most expensive option. 

RZ Yeah, and the instinct of big consulting isn’t to ever sell that. Ever. It’s in fact against the law. You actually get put away in a prison called [oh!] Booz Allen or each of the big—

PF Oh yeah, could you imagine? 

RZ Oh they must have. Each of the consulting firms, the big consulting firms, must have their own building that just is nondescript. That person that suggested Zoho Writer [music fades in] or something. God just—

PF Oh yeah. 

RZ “Why are you even doing all this? You could just pick this up” And then it just gets sent off. It’s like there’s a project happening in Salt Lake City and they never heard from us again. 

PF Oh. It really is. It’s like Alberto, “We have a 25 year contract with SAP.” [Rich laughing] What? Clank! 

RZ [Laughing] They’re gone! 

PF “Please! Please release me!” 

RZ That’s true. 

PF Anyway, if you hear two people make fun of big consulting while we help you craft your platform, all you have to do is send an email to hello@postlight.com. If anything, this really should indicate the kind of partner we are. We like to get in there with you and we listen and it’s the reason why a lot of our relationships last longer than, you know, a year or more, as we’re getting a little older and a lot of our products—product work is in partnership with people for the long haul. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And, well, we also will build your MVP. I mean, we love ‘em both but if you need a good product partner to help you bring stuff into reality, Poslight is your choice. 

RZ Well said, Paul. Have a lovely—

PF Yeah, I think [chuckles]—I think we’re doing good. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF Alright, anyone who needs us, get in touch and hello@postlight.com—that’s all you gotta know. 


RZ Take care. 
PF Bye, everybody! [Music ramps up, plays alone for three seconds, fades out to end.]