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Show Notes

Cultural Dialogue is the Person of the Year: People, corporations, and governments expressed their hesitation and suspicion towards tech in 2018. Is Facebook demolishing the pillars of society? Is your child doing Fortnite dances? Where has blockchain landed among ordinary people? On this week’s episode we talk about the tech that stood out in 2018 and look at what changed for us internally.

As for Postlight? We had our third year anniversary and have continued growing. We have an internally-defined culture. We have a little more process. We made a concerted effort to move beyond media into other sectors, and we learned that while relinquishing control feels counterintuitive to running a business, it’s crucial to the physics of growth. Oh yeah, we also released Upgrade!, our how-to for digital transformation.

Everyone at Postlight wishes you a very happy holidays and a great New Year. We’ll see you in 2019.

Rich Ziade And we’re not talking about Wendy’s [laughs].

Paul Ford No [chuckles], that’s right. Although what’s better than a Frosty?

RZ Oh! It’s like liquid styrofoam but damn it tastes good!

PF It really does! You know what [it does], why is a Frosty so much better than a McDonald’s milkshake? Cuz they’re both just garbage.

RZ I think texture is a part of it.

PF Yeah.

RZ It’s a weird texture.

PF Well, it’s so close to soft serve. It’s right on the edge.

RZ It’s right on the edge.

PF It’s got a little more ice crystal action goin’ on though [music plays alone for 18 seconds, ramps down].

RZ This year, this is a swing and a miss. We— we just— we’re just gettin’ yelled at a lot. Tech, in general [Paul chuckles] —

PF Not a great year for tech.

RZ It’s just gettin’ yelled at a lot, ya know?

PF Well, first of all, you got— I mean, look at what you got: you got Amazon doing The Bachelor where [music fades out] . . . where everybody [I — ] has to audition for its love.

RZ You know I [stammers] I’m kinda ok with that process cuz honestly, frankly, without it, it’s pretty opaque and— and frankly, the fact that cities had a chance to say something [Paul laughing]. Corporations travel around, it’s like, “Oh we’re just here for a conference,” and they’re like pokin’ around the city. And doing it in a very underhanded way. So this was cool. It was open.

PF Everybody got to publicly debase themselves.

RZ They Ebayed the cities of America.

PF Yeah, it wasn’t so great. But anyway they did it, it sort of hasn’t created the warm, loving press hit that they were hoping cuz they split the headquarters into two different places and now they got people— I mean New York City is just complaining already cuz that’s what we do; it’s our sport.

RZ True.

[1:36]

PF So everyone is just preemptively complaining about Amazon as quickly as possible. New York City is just like who can get in there and find the most things to complain about as quickly—

RZ It’s like a cab.

PF That’s our— that’s our game. That’s our Price is Right.

RZ That’s like when a cab splashes the rain on your shoes.

PF That’s right.

RZ That’s New York City.

PF Well and— they’re gonna have a helipad, you know? So—

RZ So, anyway you would think this is celebratory, that— that didn’t happen [no]. Then you look back, and again, this was a rough year in terms of the indictment of technology in terms of how it insinuates [a lot of appearances before congress] itself into our lives. Congress and—

PF Typically the tech companies that go before congress are— have like, you know, XR5 Technologies and it’s like why did you put—

RZ Yeah. Or monopoly.

PF Yeah. No, but it’s like why did you put Skippy peanut butter in the Blackbird engine? You know [yeah, yeah, yeah] and they’re like, “Well, you know, you said you’d put fuel in,” [safety stuff] or— or healthcare.gov. There were different firms [healthcare.gov] there were different big firms that was just like why didn’t you do a good job? But here it was why are you demolishing the [laughing] pillars of our society?

RZ Yeah. What are you doing? [Laughs]

PF And then Mark— Mark Zuckerberg sat on that— that booster seat and said, “I will help you and we’re gonna work this out together,” but dun dun duuuuun!

RZ Yeah. Do you know what it reminds me of? [They keep this—] We’re all guilty, by the way, let’s— let’s throw that out there, including government, including individuals.

[2:56]

PF I don’t think we’re all as guilty as Cheryl Samberg is— [crosstalk] there are tiny intelligent cockroaches in your house and [yeah] they are watching you at all times.

RZ There’s an op ed in the Washington Post. It was [snickers] some woman, I forget her name, she— she— essentially the headline was: Ok So You Leaned and Now You’re In and That Didn’t Mean You Get to Shit on Everything [laugh snorts] was essentially [no, no] the Lean In.

PF You lean in so far it’s planking.

RZ It was actually an angry woman saying, “You know what? You— you were the story and like,” part of her argument in Lean In, by the way, is that they’re gonna bring a better moral compass [chuckles] to leadership.

PF Yeah. Yeah.

RZ And here we are but—

PF You know though, actually, Time— Time Magazine called that, I think, in 2006 or 2010 they made the man of the year was you! And this year it really was [Rich laughs boisterously]. The man of the year was your privacy just getting slowly milked away.

RZ What could it be? It could be the thumb.

PF The thumb, the Facebook thumb.

RZ The Facebook thumb might be man of the year.

PF Or just, yeah, I mean we thought we had it all worked out with Snowden and it was the government watching us when it’s [snickers] everything watching everything.

RZ Here’s where I think we’re all guilty: imagine walking in, you have a three-year-old, and you walk into your bedroom— you haven’t seen the kid in— and it’s too quiet. Anyone who has kids [yeah] it’s a little too quiet and they’re three, there’s something going on. You walk into your bedroom and there’s lipstick all over the walls, all over his face, all over his legs—

PF Yeah.

RZ And he just looks up at you.

PF [Laughing] It’s so quiet.

[4:38]

RZ And look, that kid is guilty! Right? First off, you didn’t know that that kid was capable of creating that much destruction.

PF Yeah.

RZ So, point one: Facebook was—

PF Well, honestly, you did know but you just really wanted to sit in the other room and look at your phone for a few minutes.

RZ That’s what happened, right? We also just wanted to look at the casserole coming out of the oven.

PF Facebook’s not a bank. It’s not— you put a certain amount of money in a bank, it is insured by the FDIC. The reason for that isn’t that the banks are like, “Hey, let’s work together [chuckles] with the government [yeah] and make sure we have a good plan here.” It’s because the banks imploded so many times and— and so many people lost so much money—

RZ There needs some oversight.

PF There’s oversight. And this is where we’re at with this stuff, like there [yeah] — there clearly needs to be some kind of structure here where if I give you all of my data about all my life and all my friends—

RZ Correct, correct.

PF— you won’t sell it to some weird anti semitic, you know, pressure group.

RZ Right. And what you saw was The Times dressed— dressed them down pretty bad. They’ve been gathering this shit—

PF Yeah.

RZ— for six months.

PF Yeah. That’s the job.

RZ It just came out and this is bad because I don’t think it was just about the technology and what it did, it was also about how they scrambled to cover it all up—

[5:47]

PF No, it’s— there were some really important moral inflection points and what they did is they— they acted like everyone says big companies act. They covered their ass [it was a classic—]. Yeah.

RZ Cover your ass.

PF They tried to— they tried to hide what they did and they hired PR firms in opposition. They used their money and power [mm hmm]. You know what blows my mind? Is they [chuckles] have unlimited social spend. They could do anything to fix their PR.

RZ They’re social [laughs].

PF They literally just—

RZ [Laughing] “How do we do social?”

PF That’s the thing they could dump [yeah] two billion dollars [yeah] worth of messaging onto their own platform.

RZ Just message everyone! Just shower thumbs and smiley— you know the giggly face. Remember they added [that’s right] like different expressions.

PF Hey! We made a little mistake and we wanna tell you all about it and everyone would be like, “Well, you know, at least they owned up to it.”

RZ Yeah.

PF And instead they’re just hiring like Mephistopheles and Son PR agency.

RZ [Laughs] Just some ugly shit.

PF Yeah!

RZ Dark PR kicked in.

PF So Amazon, Facebook, how’d Google do this year?

RZ You know Google dodged it a bit. I mean Larry Page didn’t come to thing [Paul chuckles] but he was skiing [laughs]. So—

[6:49]

PF It wasn’t Page. It was Sundar Pichai. That guy [ok] — and then—

RZ He didn’t show up to the— the senate thing but, you know what? I gotta say he’s like, “You know what? This is gonna be three days of heat for not showin’ up and [yeah] probably six weeks of heat if we do,” and then—

PF Everybody does the calculus now [yeah]. Yeah, what was the other one? They killed Google Plus, so that’s over.

RZ That wasn’t— that’s not year in review shit, Paul [laughs].

PF No, I know. Well it is a kind of like the idea that Google could ever compete directly with Facebook is dead.

RZ And that’s— I think Google’s thinking, “You know what? We’re gonna stay in our wheelhouse—” Google’s product line, by the way, they’re platforms across . . . Android Photos [they’re nailin’ it], Gmail, Drive, I mean they’re just— they’re everywhere.

PF The true global ecosystem.

RZ Docs and Sheets are excellent but they really don’t know how to like show the list of documents [laughing] in a proper manner.

PF No, this is real issue. I— you know—

RZ It’s bizarre.

PF First of all, Docs and Sheets are excellent and I really enjoy the one to one point five new features that they add every year [Rich snickers]. Like you’ll be like, “Oh, you know what? I wanna do this specific thing in sorta— in Sheets in particular,” You’re like, “Oh there’s that one formula I used to do in Excel like ten years ago. Surely they have it by now.”

RZ Yeah. So they’re doing good work and I feel like it was kind of a quiet year for them. The other kind of thing that I think kinda cropped up and people have been talking more and more about and— is screen time. I think it’s coming to ahead a little bit with kids and just worrying about what it’s doing to their brains and—

PF There’s a lot of dynamics here, too, right? Where you’ve got these giant platform companies that are very— especially advertising driven—

RZ Yeah.

[8:28]

PF— for the phones, you know? Spend more time, engage more, engage more, engage more, and that push, that drive, is— is not great.

RZ Yeah. You know it— it feels like a story arch is repeating itself here around, you know, the industrialization of food . . . was relentless, right? I mean it was the crackers and the cheese—

PF Oh yeah. Sham trans fats into— yeah.

RZ And there’s pizza that’s frozen that when you put it in the oven for eight minutes you get dinner. [No] It was just— and then there was this incredible backlash, right? And now—

PF Everything’s artisanal and organic.

RZ And even Campbell’s soup has to now like use different typography to [yeah] just make it seems like they— you know it was [there’s the organic version, right, right] packaged down the street. So I— I think there’s this reaction to all that efficiency and industrialization that occured and I think that’s starting to happen in technology right now. I think people are saying, “You know what? I just wanna look at my neighbor’s face [mm hmm]. There actual face.” And I get the appeal and the addiction around this stuff but there’s something very sort of, and I’m using the word organic not in a food sense, organic about relationships and communication that is just so much more appealing than sort of the— the mass production assembly line pumping of thumbs and— and—

PF Well this is really the most meaningful relationships and the most meaningful time in your life is not spent with the device. Sometimes it’s wonderful cuz you can read and research and think.

RZ Reading is great. I mean—

PF Yeah, we talked to my— the kids talked to my mom every week but, no, I mean the most meaningful time I spend is with people, with my children, here with you [yeah] at this company, with my wife and [yeah] those are real interactions. They’re not improved by mediating them with a screen.

RZ Exactly. Exactly. And what you worry about are young kids who are— you know a strong means of communication for them is Instagram and their [right] status on there and then you’ve got and we should talk about it. I think it is a 2018 thing: the explosion of Fortnite.

PF Yeah— it really is.

[10:26]

RZ— is a phenomena all its own. You should talk a little bit about it.

PF So Fortnite is a game and the way the game works— it’s actually based or— there’s a complicated genealogy with Fortnite but it comes from another game and then they mixed in these ideas from Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and the idea is that you—

RZ Not sure you’re [laughing] helping people with that.

PF No, I know, what you’ve got is a hundred people on an island and only one survives. You know? It’s that— that’s the game.

RZ Multiplayer.

PF And you login and you— yeah.

RZ Very social.

PF You play and you talk to your friends and you do little dances as a character.

RZ Yeah.

PF And this is— I don’t even know the numbers but there just the kind of numbers that you— you try it out and you’re like, “Oh! As many people are playing this as are playing all other video games combined.” It’s that kind of thing.

RZ It’s a phenomena.

PF So you’re looking at something that’s on this scale, closer to the scale of like YouTube or movies. Like it’s just—

RZ It’s a phenomena. Yeah, it’s massive.

PF It’s huge and it’s absolutely taken over teenagers. My son learned— he’s never seen it— learned all the dances and he now dances as he goes from room to room.

RZ In real life.

PF It’s a level of infuriating that I can’t even tell you.

[11:37]

RZ Nice to get physical activity going though.

PF Oh you’re just, “Just get the seltzer. Don’t— don’t do it. [Rich laughs] Don’t—” You know? And so—

RZ By the way, people spend money. This is not you don’t buy this for 19.95 and you’re done.

PF No, this is a juggernaut. I mean this is just— this is an economy.

RZ Well how— how do you spend money? And to me the parallels between this and like virtual money and Bitcoin and all that is real.

PF No, this is all real. You know you’re buying your upgrades and your clothes and your things [yup], all the various goo gas that feel really good to people who play the game.

RZ It’s accessories—

PF Yeah.

RZ— to this character in the game.

PF But also you— I think they don’t really give you too much of like a game advantage, it’s mostly about representation. [That’s right] Like you can’t [that’s right] buy your way to success, you have to be a skilled player [yeah, right] and so—

RZ I won’t— I’ll never forget when we had Aaron Lammer on the podcast, I was pressing him on the legitimacy of Bitcoin [mm hmm] and I said, “But you gotta tie it to something, some real value, some natural resource.” And he looked at me, he said, “Somebody spends ten dollars for a sword on a game.”

PF Yeah.

RZ And I had nothin’ to say.

PF No, it’s real. This is just— to me Fortnite though, it’s not a surprising thing. It’s like, “Oh ok, that game really caught on. They got that one mechanic [yeah], they nailed the aesthetic and it’s got teenagers really excited, it spread like wildfire, and it’ll eventually peter out.”

RZ Yeah.

PF And it’s just— it’s like a— I mean there’s almost, there needs to be a word for like kind of like a meta or hyper fad. Like something that isn’t just quite so faddish in that it’s not like a, you know, a crazy skirt that everybody wears for one season.

[13:18]

RZ It’s not going away in 90 days.

PF No, it’s not like that [no] but it is definitely— it’s that kind of viral dynamic and then it becomes a place to live, and it’s a shared language, and a shared experience, and it’s gonna define the teenage years of the— the kids who are playing.

RZ Yeah. So I think that it’s— it’s been a year of—

PF Although we should also point out, by the way, two things: blockchain and machine learning. Blockchain has [chuckles] had—

RZ Blockchain kinda shit the bed this year.

PF Not a great year for the blockchain.

RZ Yeah, yeah.

PF I just, you know, I think it’s—

RZ Funky coin and Funny coin. It’s a rough time. It’s a rough time.

PF Here’s what I see is that the technology just isn’t landing. It’s not fast enough, you can’t do enough with it, and so unless you’re bought into this particular vision where—

RZ Long term.

PF Long term. And these transactions are really meaningful, it’s slow to transact. You know there are some things like Steamit and there’s a few others that are still successful but they’re on islands. They don’t penetrate and connect to the larger economy. And so, you know, going into 2018 everyone was telling us, “No, no, it’s gonna be ok and— and,” but we’re not seeing many Bitcoin companies coming to us, we’re not seeing a lot of traction there while— and I mean it doesn’t mean that—

RZ It’s still in a confused state.

PF Yeah.

RZ And I think the— the trust level— you need to start to— to build and compound trust for a thing to start to leap into audiences that are fine with not understanding all of it.

PF That’s right.

[14:42]

RZ And they’re not there yet. And [well, there’s a couple products where you can trade] there’s still too— there’s just too much skepticism.

PF— that looked pretty good but it’s just not [yeah]. If you told me, “Hey, Paul, program this. You know, make this.”

RZ Yeah.

PF I don’t wanna reach for blockchain technologies first [yeah] cuz they’re slow and they’re a pain.

RZ Yeah.

PF Like unless there’s a real motivation [yeah] and a real specific reason I’m just not goin’ there. And so what blockchain doesn’t do is take into account the incredible passivity and indifference of humanity.

RZ Yeah.

PF It was able to kind of coast on greed for awhile but now it’s gotta be—

RZ It ran out of steam there. Yeah.

PF Well it’s gotta be easier rather than harder. It’s still harder. That could change. Machine learning is the other big one. That’s the 2018 story. If anything that’s probably the technology meta story for 2018. It’s— it’s not something that everybody uses except actually we all do. We use it all the time, everyday, on our phones.

RZ We got these things in our houses that we’re talkin’ to now, right?

PF It’s not just that, you got little special chips on your phone. Like everything—

RZ It’s everywhere, yeah.

PF That’s different. Like the fact that data is being interpreted and run through models that are built by programs but are not programmed directly. So, the computer is doing a kind of programming and filtering for you that—

RZ It’s taking those inputs and getting smarter with them.

[15:52]

PF Yeah I mean I’ve used the— the— this prefix a bunch of time but it’s the most meta thing that could happen. It’s the computer doing computer things based on parameters defined by pr— by programmers whereas before it all used to be kind of one on one.

RZ Mm hmm.

PF And so that is, you know—

RZ It’s interesting.

PF Well, it’s also, I mean it’s your Google Maps and your str— and your street directions and your voice recognition and like all these things.

RZ It’s deep. We could spend a podcast really diving into what that means. I think for a lot of people machine learning is like, “Oh my god,” they equate with AI and robots and—

PF It’s not magic. It’s not magic.

RZ It’s not magic and I think it’s worth a discussion.

PF It’s just pattern recognition at a much faster scale.

RZ Yeah.

PF Alright so that’s 2018 in the world.

RZ Well, I think I’d sum it up— I mean machine learning is— is kind of, you know, for me optimistic but I think it’s a year of suspicion and hesitation towards the impact of tech, whether it be [well, you have—] your privacy or your attention span.

PF You have a political climate and a cultural climate where the worst . . . problems with technology are just amplified.

RZ Yeah.

PF  You know? The use of a platform like Facebook for propaganda and then the propaganda is racist or anti semitic [yeah] because of the kind of moment we’re in.

RZ Yeah.

[17:05]

PF You just see the— the— the fracture points so clearly. [Yeah] And it sucks, like you’re just like, “Oh. Well. Yeah. I guess if— if enough bad actors show up, this can really be put to evil purposes,” and then you have, you know, people who are multi-multi-billionaires saying, “Well we just— our job is to democratically connect two billion people,” and you’re like, [yeah] “Wh— what’s this?!?”

RZ Yeah.

PF And that sucks. Like PR reaction isn’t enough when you see your entire culture crumbling and that just created a really hot, painful place where I don’t think— I honestly don’t think in general Silicon Valley is— is great at owning up to— it’s just such an optimistic place and [yeah] and there’s so much wonderful stuff happening with machine learning.

RZ And real wonderful stuff does come out of but here’s why I am optimistic is generally, historically, we tend to lunge back, splash water on our faces, and react [oh and—] pretty aggressively to this stuff and rather than just becoming zombies to it. And you’re seeing that start to happen.

PF I think there’s also— there’s a cultural dialogue where people are like— you know, basically, you’ve got people on the west coast going, “Regulation is impossible. You could never regulate this. This is only gonna grow. You have to get out of the way.” And there gets to a point where the rest of the world goes, “No. We need some rules here because I can’t be sure my children are safe.”

RZ Yeah. And seeing that in Europe more aggressively than in the US.

PF We’ll see it here too as time goes on [yeah] because we— if you impinge on people’s basic ability to live in a society, like that’s— that’s not good for technology.

RZ [Snickers] Not— not good. Not a good thing.

PF So there’ll be— there’ll be changes there. So in our world and we should talk about our 2018. What kind of year did we have? We had a great year as a company.

RZ We had a great year as a— as a growth year for Postlight [yeah]. We continue to grow. We continue to see it’s sort of collective personality and identity take shape. We’re kinda stubborn in terms of our views about tech and design and whatnot and I’m— I’m proud of that. It’s a little confusing to people but we continue to do well and that feels good. It’s worth noting that for Paul and I, we’ve sort of watched this place kind of grow on its own. We kinda pushed the ball up the hill and now we’re— we’re just watching it roll on it’s own.

[19:23]

PF Well this is year three, right?

RZ And it’s year three and it’s a—

PF We’ve validated the hypothesis is what I would say.

RZ Yes.

PF Like this is a platform focused shop, it does a lot of outreach, we have a culture that is internally defined. We are pretty consistent in terms of who we are; how we represent ourselves to the world; the kind of events that we hold; the kind of values that we put forth; and we have a good and growing list; and more and more I find myself not having to convince people that we can do the work or that we should be trusted. People see the client list and they go, “Ok!”

RZ Yeah.

PF “You can do this and I’m talking to the founders and they— they’ve put their reputation here so I think we’ll— we’ll keep talking.”

RZ Yeah. I’m very proud of how we think about solving problems. Sales for us is really not sales in a classic sense which is really cool. The people here have sort of made their own place for Paul and I. It’s more and more passive in terms of watching Postlight kind of be self-selective and grow.

PF It’s, you know, again we’re talking about kinda dry things but the big change in 2018 is we just have a little more process.

RZ Yeah. I mean we’re growing. I think once you grow enough, you can’t say, “Hey! Everybody, let’s go in a room.”

PF Sales— sales which is our world, right? Like we meet on Monday and we say, “Who are the clients that we are talking to and who are potential clients?”

RZ And next steps.

PF And then we meet again on Friday— Thursday or Friday usually and— and then we talk it through with next steps; we talk through each relationship; and we talk about ways that what are the risks that we see, and how could things get better, and it’s— it’s dry. It’s just corporate stuff but it really [yeah] I mean ease into it and it defines your week and it makes us better.

[21:00]

RZ Here’s— here’s one thing that’s weird and this is— this kinda speaks to the—the nature of running an agency, is the minute the land something of meaningful size, you pause, and you worry that that piece of business is too important to the firm and can make too much of an impact. You start to react— I’ll give you a clear example. We were very media heavy early on and we made a conscious effort. It’s like we can’t be the media agency only. Sure we’ll do it and we’ll do it well but we gotta be more than that. So we made a very concerted effort to move beyond media to other sectors. And then when we landed some really big whales, we were like, “Ok, congratulations, that was awesome. Shit. That’s a lot to hang on one client. Let’s diversify.”

PF This is— this is real. We have a weekly meeting and there are a few exercises you do, you say, “You know, what if that client goes away tomorrow?” You know? Is the firm safe?

RZ Yeah.

PF And if you get any signals— you don’t want like, “Oh boy, wow, we’re gonna have to figure that out.” You want to see if you take it away that you still have months of salary in the bank [yeah] and that you’re in a good place.

RZ There’s a metaphor I love to use because if you think about that it is very rational to be hesitant in this type of business. It’s very rational to be defensive and hesitant. So how do you grow it? [Mm hmm] And I have this analogy that I really like to use: if you’re going real fast in a car, and you’re about to hit a turn, your inclination is to slow down. You don’t wanna go off the cliff. You slow down. Right?

PF Mm.

RZ But the way I like to think about it is you ever play those games where you drift?

PF Yeah, sure.

RZ And it’s kind of exhilarating [yeah]. What you’re essentially doing is not slowing down, you’re sort of slammin’ the wheel to the left [that’s right], right? And what happens is you lose a bit of control and you’re actually— you can’t control the drift. That’s physics [that’s right] doing its thing. And that relinquishing of control is counterintuitive to growing a business but it is actually how you do it. So what you’re doing is you’re leaning in, you’re being aggressive cuz you’re not slowing down but what you’re doing is also relinquishing some control and saying, “I know exactly how this is gonna end. I think. Pretty much. Cuz I have a sense of how physics works [chuckles] [mm hmm],” but you really are losing control! What you’re doing is you’re saying, “I don’t wanna reduce speed. I wanna keep going fast but I have to give up some of that control to do that.” That is one of the trickiest aspects of running a business like this that gives you this level of visibility. Very hard to say, “Oh! I can see fall of 2019.” Let’s be direct with everyone: if you’re running this kind of business, you cannot see fall of 2019.

[23:41]

PF No, you can’t.

RZ You simply cannot.

PF Yeah there’s nothing here where we can go, “Oh, you know what?”

RZ Hit back [laughs].

PF Well we make wreaths, right? So we better get ready for Christmas.

RZ [Laughing] Right.

PF You know? Or, you know, we wanna diversify so we should make [right] stuffed turkey wall hangings.

RZ Yeah. It’s like walking into Duane Reade on January 8th [yeah] and there’s Valentine’s Day stuff everywhere [laughs].

PF That’s right. There’s none of that here.

RZ That’s a— [laughs].

PF What are the rules of this business, right? First of all: no business gets done in August.

RZ That is a rule. We’ve seen the market mess with us on that. We’ve landed business in August but generally everybody’s gone.

PF But for the most part, it’s small stuff—

RZ Yeah, yeah. Agreed.

PF Nothing large or significant lands in August. Everyone’s [yeah] out. And the smart thing to do for an agency is probably, you know, like if that’s a great time to take your vacation, instead what I like to do is sit here and go, “Nothing’s coming in. Nothing’s coming in. We’re [chuckles] in big trouble.”

RZ Yeah, “We’re screwed. We’re totally screwed.” Paranoia is a healthy thing.

[24:33]

PF Could be lookin’ at the ocean.

RZ Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

PF But instead I’m looking at my email where there’s no email.

RZ Yeah.

PF Holidays are usually pretty quiet but there’s always a hum. Somebody’s always kinda gettin’ ready for next year.

RZ [Sighs] Budgets.

PF Yeah.

RZ Gotta get spent. God bless.

PF Then January comes around and everyone kind of realizes they still have a job and then by February usually things heat up a little bit.

RZ Yeah. I would say mid-January it starts to animate.

PF It’s just a very reactive calendar that we live by.

RZ Yeah [laughs boisterously]. Well, I mean in fact Europe actually in August actually shuts down [laughs].

PF Yeah, there’s nothing there, right?

RZ There’s nothing. By law, I think.

PF So there’s that. We can sort of there’s a very tealeaf kind of reading but no, for the most part, it’s— it’s a lot by feel. That’s for me— you were an agency for years but for me that’s been the last three years is getting that instinct and kind of knowing what’s going to have some forward motion and what isn’t. Like sometimes people are . . . coming in and they say— ah, you know, they’re trying to figure something out [yeah] and you help them and then you know if you’re gonna hear from them it’ll probably be six months later.

RZ Yeah.

[25:39]

PF So just these are—

RZ That’s just— you gotta keep the swirl. Paul, tell me about garbage in front of the net. This is an actual sports phrase.

PF That’s right. It’s from the sport of hockey. It’s a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a good thing.

RZ You’re creating chaos.

PF That’s right.

RZ You’re creating confusion and chaos cuz it’s actually really hard to get— the pads are big on a goalie—

PF And the puck’s just goin’ everywhere—

RZ And it’s just kinda everywhere and the pads— if that goalie is big and he kind of makes himself a square if he stands a certain way.

PF Yeah, it’s not like soccer where the— where the goalie has to run like 45 minutes to get the ball.

RZ And he’s gotta jump and have you ever like a goalie tips of his fingers in soccer, moving that ball just enough to [yeah] get it away from the goal. Hockey’s kinda weird, dude. The pads [yeah] they’re not— they look like a robot.

PF So basically you wanna confuse this person.

RZ You wanna confuse everybody on the other team [yeah]. The defence is like, “Where is it?!? Where is it?”

PF That’s right. “Where’s the puck?” And then suddenly [makes a swooshing sound].

RZ And then I’ve been to hockey games and been kind of in the cheaper seats.

PF Yeah.

RZ I can’t [chuckles] tell when they say— everybody’s like “BRRRRRRR”

PF You’ve no idea what’s going on.

[26:39]

RZ And I just can’t make it out—

PF Rangers games are terrifying.

RZ Rangers games are wonderful.

PF They’re terrifying.

RZ To close out this analogy—

PF If you want like to feel like a dude from Jersey is about to punch you in the face—

RZ It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful.

PF Yeah it’s like if you took the movie Goodfellas and scaled it to a stadium. That’s [Rich laughs] what it’s like to go to a Rangers game.

RZ It’s an aggressive place.

PF Yeah. So the—

RZ Create chaos. Create as much possible opportunity.

PF Well, let’s be clear: we’re not creating chaos.

RZ You know what I mean by chaos? What I mean is if you look up and down the pipeline it’s a bunch of eight percents.

PF Yeah! That’s right.

RZ That’s what I mean.

PF Well this is— this is the big lesson for me of the firm which is that you’d think my job was to deliver software platforms. My job as a co-founder of Postlight is to increase the number of options available to this company.

RZ Yeah.

PF What options are available to us these day compared to at the beginning of 2018? I think we have better— we have better outreach; people know a little more about us. We have a new website.

[27:39]

RZ The website. This— this podcast!

PF That’s right. We have this podcast. So I mean people— we have ways for people to find us that they didn’t have before.

RZ Yes.

PF We published a white paper, “Upgrade”, which was written by you.

RZ Yes.

PF So we’re— it’s storytelling that’s been a big part of it. And honestly a lot of it has been just continued close relationships with existing clients and then they start to tell their friends.

RZ And an HR group that really sharpened its ability to react quickly and recruit and help us find people into Postlight. Where in the beginning it was like [loudly], “Post everywhere!!”

PF Yeah, no, I don’t— that is true. Everything that we’re doing, we tend to know why and what the goals are.

RZ More grown up.

PF That’s right. And it feels like the team in general is connected to the firm and helping drive success into the firm.

RZ Yes.

PF And that is a great place to be! And honestly . . . better than I could’ve ever expected. Like I think things are going very well and 2019 we’re gonna challenge the hell out of this place. [Yes] We’re gonna— we’re gonna [yes] sort of keep putting our foot on the grass, not necessarily just as an agency. We have a lot of big plans.

RZ Yes. Exciting. Exciting stuff.

PF But we’ll announce those and share them maybe with the rest of the company before we put them on the podcast.

RZ Yes, absolutely.

[28:51]

PF If you wanna work them, you should probably come work here.

RZ Paul, it’s been a wonderful journey . . . while technology is now there’s lot of suspicion and doubt about it’s value [yeah]. There is no suspicion and doubt about Postlight’s value.

PF [Chuckles] Oh God, what an ad. I—

RZ See that move, right there?!

PF I think we’ve done pretty well. I’ve wanted to kill you probably about four times this year, which is down from last year which it probably was more like 14.

RZ That’s a big— that’s a strong downward trend.

PF Yeah, no, you’re doing really good.

RZ Thank you, Paul.

PF That’s [laughs] —

RZ I’m glad that you’re ok with me.

PF The Rich rating. The little notebook where I write down all the things [Rich snort laughing] that make me so angry. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve pulled off in three years.

RZ I am too.

PF And we’re sitting at some table that I wouldn’t have expected us to sit at and I’m proud of that. So, on that note, [Rich laughs] Postlight: [email protected]

RZ And just, we don’t need to pitch Postlight because we kind of pitched Postlight for 12 minutes.

PF Yeah, thank you for listening to this very long ad.

RZ We’re a digital products studio in New York City, we do great technology work and design work, and some great clients have— have proven that out for us: Goldman Sachs, Vice Media, The Obama Foundation have all been wonderful clients for Postlight.

[29:59]

PF You know a key thing about this podcast?

RZ What’s that, Paul?

PF It’s one of the main ways people get in touch with us. One of the main reasons people get in touch with us.

RZ And please keep doin’ that!

PF That’s right. That’s right. If you’re saying to yourself, “Should I recommend Postlight to my friend?”

RZ Just start writing the email.

PF Just go ahead.

RZ Yeah.

PF We are— we—

RZ Write the email.

PF You can CC us at [email protected] We are ready and we love that people who listen and get to know us think that— that we’d [music fades in] be a good match for projects that their friends have and when they get asked for advice.

RZ So everyone, we hope you had a good year. We hope you have a great year ahead. And thank you for listening and for joining the party here.

PF Get in touch. Come to an event. It’s great when people come in from out of town and come to a Postlight event. I love that.

RZ It’s really great.

PF Like every now and then— we just hired someone who came to an event from Spain.

RZ Yes, from out of the country.

PF Pretty exciting.

RZ That’s really cool. Yeah.

PF Alright, we’re out of here.

RZ Have a great week and year.

PF That’s right. 2019, here we go [music ramps up, plays alone for five seconds, fades out to end].