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Episode 90 November 7, 2017 | 25min

Paul and Rich Try to Talk About Something Else But End Up Complaining About LinkedIn Again

Our co-founders on problems inherent with the social-networking platform.

Show Notes

Is there a way to fix LinkedIn? This week Paul Ford and Rich Ziade return to one of their favorite hate-topics: LinkedIn is, in Paul’s words, “a remarkable affront to everything that we care about and believe in.” They discuss “human spam,” UX gripes with the platform, Paul’s methods for “killing the virus” to eliminate certain types of social connectors, resumes, and various suggestions for improving the product — including a $100 offer to anyone who can build a Chrome extension to implement their ideas.

Paul Ford: Hi, this is Track Changes, the official podcast of Postlight, a digital product studio at 101 Fifth Avenue in New York City. We build your apps, we build your web platforms, and your responsive web applications. We’re good at all of it. React, React Native, design —

Rich Ziade: And then some!

Paul: Oh my goodness. There’s my co-founder, Rich Ziade.

Rich: You didn’t say your name.

Paul: Everybody knows my name. I’m Paul Ford, the other co-founder

Rich: Buh-buh-buh-buh. [laughter] “Why wasn’t I consulted?” Uh…

Paul: All right, so look, let’s talk about… [long sigh] LinkedIn.

Rich: All right, listen. This is gonna be a more constructive —

Paul: This is, like, our third podcast about LinkedIn —

Rich: No. We — I think we bitch on occasion…

Paul: We were walking into the podcast studio and we’re getting so upset about LinkedIn again

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: That we decided to just give up and go for it.

Rich: And just go through the therapy, man.

Paul: Here’s the thing. As a product company, LinkedIn is a remarkable affront to everything that we care about and believe in. And not, and also —

Rich: And there’s that, that’s the, it’s multi-dimensional —

Paul: But it works! It works!

Rich: It’s multi-dimension — it’s that uncle, right? He’s, he comes to Thanksgiving. He gets drunk. And he says offensive things. But honestly, without him, it’s such a bore.

Paul: That’s true. I mean —

Rich: You end up talking about the stuffing the whole time.

Paul: It’s true, there could be many things that are worse than LinkedIn that could fill in the LinkedIn hole.

Rich: Right.

Paul: If there wasn’t a LinkedIn.

Rich: So there is, there is a path, and that’s what we’re gonna talk about.

Paul: All right, let’s talk about that.

Rich: All right, so some acquisitions are not mom-and-pop shop getting acquired by a big tech shop.

Paul: Or…service that’s been going on for a while needs to come to an end because there’s just not a good path forward.

Rich: Yeah, and there’s a little bit of value left, and, you know, the bankers or whoever the hell decides to shove it into a bigger company.

Paul: Mmmm hmmm.

Rich: Every so often, it’s a monster eating another littler monster.

Paul: Right.

Rich: And that happened recently with LinkedIn.

Paul: Oh, Microsoft bought LinkedIn.

Rich: Microsoft bought LinkedIn, and there were all kinds of theories as to why the hell Microsoft would buy LinkedIn. I’ve heard really funny ones, too, like, it’s so, your auto-suggest in Outlook is the whole world. [laughter]

Paul: No, the reality is some —

Rich: I’ve heard this theory.

Paul: But this is, some of that’s real.

Rich: Oh, OK.

Paul: Yeah, no, there are —

Rich: That’s terrifying, and that’s another podcast.

Paul: No, this was the plan. Because Microsoft likes to think of everything as a giant global system that will span 50 years, right? [laughter] So they’re like, let’s get LinkedIn, it will give us a global address book that we can plug in via API anywhere, and you’ll be able to, like, have LinkedIn data in your Word docs and you can, like…

Rich: What does that even mean?

Paul: Oh, you know, you type somebody’s LinkedIn account, and it could expand and embed that LinkedIn account.

Rich: That doesn’t make any sense.

Paul: And you could share that around for, like, interesting employees that we should review.

Rich: Share what around?

Paul: That Word doc that has embedded LinkedIn… [laughter] I’m sorry.

Rich: What’s the LinkedIn data?

Paul: I don’t know, dude. [laughter]

Rich: What LinkedIn information are you talking about?

Paul: It’s a bad — you know what I’ve been doing on LinkedIn?

Rich: It’s just utter nonsense.

Paul: Hold on — you know what I’ve been doing recently? I said “yes” to too many people on LinkedIn.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And so what’s happened —

Rich: Me too, by the way.

Paul: But here’s the thing, it isn’t just like that number goes up in a linear way. What happens is you say “yes” to too many, like, social-network-connector types?

Rich: Mmmm hmmm.

Paul: And then all the other people who wanna be social network connectors —

Rich: Mmmm hmmm.

Paul: Are their friends, and start to go shopping, probably in some automated way, for you.

Rich: OK, so you’re in the web.

Paul: You just, like —

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: It’s like five a day, ten a day.

Rich: Yeah, it’s a shitshow.

Paul: So I get these, and it’ll be like, either, like, someone from an Eastern European JavaScript shop.

Rich: Which is useful.

Paul: Maybe.

Rich: At times.

Paul: Uh, or someone from, who’s just, like, “Social media influencer ready to help you.”

Rich: Right.

Paul: What I see, what you see is, “knows 18 other connections.”

Rich: That’s the danger.

Paul: That’s right. So what I’ve started to do, and it’s actually worth doing: I go in and I bring up all 18 connections.

Rich: You have the time for that shit?

Paul: It’s worth it. And then —

Rich: I’m not even doing…

Paul: It takes a, it takes about three seconds to unconnect from someone on LinkedIn.

Rich: I can’t do…I can’t, like…

Paul: It’s worth it!

Rich: When I click in to LinkedIn —

Paul: It’s a minute! It’s a minute! What happens is it kills all the other ones, like, I’m sending out this signal that you can add me to your network and somehow get something out of that, right? And I’ll be one of the 8,000, or 5,000 maximum people that you can connect with on LinkedIn in order to prove that you’re some kind of networker.

Rich: Uh huh.

Paul: But that is actually, that’s like 30% of my LinkedIn. If you kill all the ones who bring them in, you kill the virus.

Rich: Interesting. But you gotta do that every time?

Paul: No, because I’m slowly killing the virus, right? So like, I’m connected to 18 people. Kill all 18. Suddenly I’m getting, because —

Rich: But you’ve kept the one you connected with?

Paul: No. I kill them. I don’t connect with them.

Rich: Oh, so you’re just cleaning house.

Paul: I’m cleaning house, but the way I’m doing it is I’m looking at who brought them in and who they’re connected to.

Rich: I see.

Paul: Because there’s a whole vat of, like, nonsense network-y types who —

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Who are just, like, 30% of my LinkedIn is just pure, like, “Hey Paul, you seem like you might bah bah bah bah bah.”

Rich: Here’s the killer feature, dude: some LinkedIn connections are actual genuine sincere humans I may wanna connect with. The rest are spam. They are human spam.

Paul: They’re human spam!

Rich: Spam feature — now, it sounds mean, because spam is a canned meat, but they are human spam.

Paul: Well, they don’t —

Rich: And LinkedIn, it’s a —

Paul: They don’t wish you any well. I mean, they’re not like —

Rich: No, they’re just fanning out. There’s probably a tool that’s just, you know, searching against internet…web whatever, like the criteria, and they just blast —

Paul: Well here’s what’s happening, is that Joe Networker got in touch with Sue Networker, and said, “I wanna add you,” because he’s doing some networking, and Sue Networker then looked through every single one of Joe’s contacts said, “Oh, I’ll just reach out. Why not?”

Rich: To all of them. All 700 of them.

Paul: Or she sorted them by some sort of, you know, and is going from the top to the bottom.

Rich: Yep.

Paul: You get caught in that web, and then if you say yes to Sue, now you’re doubly screwed.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: So what you gotta do is just, like, yeah, you have to kill the spam.

Rich: See, I don’t have the energy to do that. I don’t care. LinkedIn, for me, is just a…an LSD-fueled wasteland.

Paul: It is —

Rich: It’s like a, it’s like a…a music festival.

Paul: What would you do, if I gave you LinkedIn, what would you do?

Rich: I, I just would, I would stare at things a little bit, and then leave. [laughter]

Paul: You’d just shut it down.

Rich: No, I’d just close it.

Paul: Just close it.

Rich: Sometimes I’m like, OK —

Paul: No, but I mean —

Rich: John Smith emailed me on a —

Paul: If I gave you the product, and I said, “Fix this.”

Rich: Uh…oh, first, first step: here’s why it happens, the reason it happens is that sentence that they’ve created. “Joe Williams wants to connect with you.”

Paul: This is funny, because usually you’re very platform-focused, but in this case it’s UX.

Rich: Absolutely.

Paul: Because when I usually talk — people don’t know this, but when we talk, Rich is a good platform thinker, like if you say to Rich, “How do I solve this thing for 100 million people, and I have blah blah blah — “

Rich: I enjoy that puzzle.

Paul: You start to think, yeah, you’re like, “Well you’re gonna have the cloud computer network here, and I’ll need these engineers,” and like, that’s one of the things you do. For you to drill in on a single UX element is actually quite unusual.

Rich: It’s brilliant. What they did was brilliant. Which is in my mind, Joe Williams walked up to my desk and put his hand out.

Paul: “Hey, Rich. I’m Joe Williams. I just started here, in the cloud, and I’d like to connect with you.”

Rich: Dude, they latched a verb, not any verb, “want.” Wanted to connect with you.

Paul: Right. Right. “Hey, hey — “

Rich: “Joe Williams wanted — “

Paul: Like he met you at a party.

Rich: Yes. And so, somebody, I’m at a party, and it’s annoying, and people wanna meet, and I’m not, I’m a little anti-social, even though I, I don’t mind talking to crowds, that’s because none of them are one collective human being, but I just don’t, you know, whatever —

Paul: Well you know what —

Rich: I’m not the most social person at parties.

Paul: Here’s the problem, at a party, somebody gives you their business card, and you’re like, “OK, now we’re in a position where we may or may not have a relationship.”

Rich: Right.

Paul: On LinkedIn, somebody gives you their business card, and that business card now is in the corner of your eye for the rest of your life.

Rich: No, they follow you home.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Like —

Paul: The business card grows little legs.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And chases after you —

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Everywhere you go.

Rich: Absolutely. Here’s one way to solve it: I think if you make it even more awkward and imposing, it would be more difficult to say “accept.” For example, “Joe Williams wants to fall into your arms.” [laughter]

Paul: “Joe Williams has the answer.” “Joe Williams wants to be in your dreams.”

Rich: Right. And now I’m pausing.

Paul: Oh boy.

Rich: Joe.

Paul: That’s a lot, buddy.

Rich: Joe. [laughter] Let’s step back a second here.

Paul: Yeah, hold on.

Rich: And, and — maybe Joe, by the way, will hesitate.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Before he spams me. Because nobody wants to fall into my hairy Lebanese arms.

Paul: Yeah, because you’re just — I mean, that’s the thing, you’re on the other side of that, you’re like, “I was just looking for homeowner’s insurance.” [laughter]

Rich: Exactly. So maybe, like, what they did was they hijacked a social tool.

Paul: If there was truth in advertising, what they’d do is add, “, for a lifetime.” [laughter]

Rich: Right, exactly.

Paul: “Joe Williams wants to network with you,” comma, “for a lifetime.”

Rich: Exactly.

Paul: And then you’re like, “That’s a long time for Joe.” You have, like, a four-second window there where you’re like, “Ah…OK, I’ll let him in.” Because —

Rich: I can’t not do it.

Paul: They teach — no, and they teach you not to think about what that will mean.

Rich: No. I have no idea. First off, they hang.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: If you, if I, it’s literally, Joe put his hand out with his business card, and I didn’t take it.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: I didn’t accept, OK? Three weeks later, I turn around — wait, I leave my front door, I go through my front door, going to work, and there’s Joe, standing there.

Paul: Still standing there!

Rich: With his hand out.

Paul: With a sad face.

Rich: With a sad face, wet from the rain.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Still holding out a business card.

Paul: And then you see his little bio, and it’s like, “Creating opportunity through agile and scrum management.” [laughter] And you’re just like, “What??”

Rich: At that point — so I’ve every so often logged into LinkedIn, and they’ve got, you know, another marker that pulls you in, which is the inbox little red circle.

Paul: Yeah. That’s a big one.

Rich: So you see like, inbox little — and you open it, it’s not like people saying, “Hey Rich, how have you been?” It’s Joe! He’s still sitting there —

Paul: Mmmm.

Rich: Along with 11 other people.

Paul: Hey, you want some good LinkedIn gossip?

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Apparently, I heard this from somebody who I trust very much who’s looking for a job, and they started talking to some headhunters.

Rich: OK.

Paul: Different industry.

Rich: By the way, Paul, I have the name for this podcast.

Paul: What’s the name?

Rich: “StinkedIn.”

Paul: Stin — ah…eh…great.

Rich: Strong.

Paul: Um….

Rich: I have the logo too, but I’m not gonna draw it.

Paul: OK, that’s good. So look, a friend of mine, um, who is looking for a job, talked to a headhunter, and they were told this: leave LinkedIn open in your browser, because people are, are prioritizing — LinkedIn has this new feature, where it’s like, “who’s on right now.”

Rich: That’s…crazy.

Paul: And if you can hit them up with chat and communicate with them directly, that’s a very powerful signal.

Rich: OK, let’s stick with the Joe metaphor?

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Joe is standing outside my window because he saw the light’s on in the living room.

Paul: That’s right.

Rich: He’s, like, “What? What’s that shadow out there?”

Paul: Except in this case, everybody wants that, everybody’s, like, “Hey Joe! Joe!”

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: “Look at me!” Waving out the window.

Rich: Right. By the way, he’s naked.

Paul: OK, so here’s my problem with LinkedIn. First of all, human spam, if you just added “, for a lifetime.”

Rich: Yeah. I like “falls into your arms.”

Paul: Also terrible, right? Here’s the other thing. I don’t, it’s so much stuff.

Rich: Oh, it’s unbelievable.

Paul: I don’t know what this is, it wasn’t here before, I don’t know where I am. Did you ever see the movie Dark City, where they just rearrange the city every night? [laughter]

Rich: I have not, but.

Paul: It’s like that.

Rich: I’m getting what you’re saying.

Paul: Yeah, like the aliens just, I think, spoiler, spoiler, sorry everybody.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But that you’re just like, “What? Where do I live? This is not my street!”

Rich: Yeah. Exactly.

Paul: And I think that is, for all of its many flaws and the things that it did to our culture, I always know kind of where I am on Twitter.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Even on Facebook. Facebook is again like that firehose, but I know where I live.

Rich: But that’s important, actually, for the experience, right?

Paul: But I wake up and LinkedIn, it’s just like, “Am I in Chicago?” [laughter]

Rich: It’s one of its tactics, disorientation.

Paul: “Am I on a boat?”

Rich: Exactly.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Exactly.

Paul: That’s right. That’s right.

Rich: Absolutely. I don’t know what I am looking at.

Paul: I don’t know, all I know is there’s that little thing on the top right that tells me “people,” or, like, you know, I can click on a little silhouette.

Rich: Yep.

Paul: But other than that, man.

Rich: It’s a mess.

Paul: Holy cow.

Rich: I’ll tell you what I use it for. I slip into incognito, because I don’t need somebody saying, “Hey, Joe, Rich opened the window slightly and was looking at you.” Do you know this feature?

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: If you’re looking at someone else’s profile.

Paul: I’ve turned off all that stuff.

Rich: See, that’s a piece, that’s a…pro tip to our listeners, you can turn off “someone is — “ By the way, let’s continue to fix the language. “Someone is gawking at you.”

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: So you know what we should create, Paul? A Chrome extension that tweaks the language on LinkedIn.

Paul: Ooh, this is a nice idea.

Rich: We will give anyone, any one of our listeners, $100 if you create this Chrome extension.

Paul: That is true.

Rich: And we will reference you in a Medium post.

Paul: That’s right.

Rich: That’s an actual offer.

Paul: That’s true. No doubt, I would do that.

Rich: 100%, and we’ll give you the replacement. So “Joe has been gawking at you.” All right?

Paul: Let’s start, let’s start over for a sec here. What would be a good work-based social network?

Rich: Um…

Paul: Like, this is bad.

Rich: This is bad.

Paul: And I actually, like, part of it is culture’s fault, and business culture’s fault, and the sort of like, “I’m an innovative social outreach expert!”

Rich: Well, it’s sales.

Paul: Right.

Rich: LinkedIn is a sales tool —

Paul: Middle management and sales.

Rich: And there’s a, there’s a sales…listener…

Paul: That’s true, and nobody goes there for, like, graphic designers. There’s lots of other places to go.

Rich: It has, like, I think it has, like, recruiting, you know, I think it has features and for-pay features that are for recruiting, if I’m not mistaken.

Paul: It does. 100%.

Rich: OK. But I think it is, it is a salesperson’s best friend.

Paul: True, and I think it’s also, um…it’s where middle management manages their careers.

Rich: So you said that, and it sounds insulting.

Paul: No!

Rich: What you’re saying right now, but…

Paul: I’ve been middle management. Middle management is a real thing, where you’re just, you’re not running the company, you have a team —

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Or you have a, a portfolio of responsibilities —

Rich: Right. There’s gotta be a better name for that. Leadership.

Paul: OK, but let’s say that you are VP of Marketing.

Rich: All right, that sounds better.

Paul: You are gonna be on LinkedIn.

Rich: You’re gonna be on LinkedIn.

Paul: And your next job could very well come from LinkedIn. Like, it’s great to make fun of it, but we should remember, like, it is driving and has insights about a vast portion of the global economy.

Rich: Well look, if you’re not selling something, you probably care about your LinkedIn portfolio. I think mine is fairly buttoned-up. And it’s important to you, because there is that network inside of the LinkedIn shit network is a real network of people who genuinely want to show off and share what their careers are and what they’ve achieved with other people who are not selling something.

Paul: No, I did the same thing. I updated mine, uh —

Rich: It’s, it’s meaningful, I mean, we’ve been, we’ve been pissing on LinkedIn the whole time here, but —

Paul: No, no, no, but it’s significant, and I think when people are curious as to, like, who they’re gonna work with when they hire Postlight —

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: It comes up a lot.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: I think people are poking around to see what, you know, who are the founders and when we send people on to projects, they go and they search for who those people are —

Rich: Yeah. But the real issue, the thing that’s polluted LinkedIn, when I connect with someone I actually want to go have coffee with, I go to the coffee shop, and I sit down, it’s like, “Gosh, Sally, it’s really nice to see you,” but then I peer over her shoulder, and guess who’s sitting there? Joe.

Paul: Joe.

Rich: He’s right there. And that’s the issue, right?

Paul: You know the other —

Rich: There is —

Paul: The other issue —

Rich: I would pay for, I would pay good money for LinkedIn uh…HyperConect, which essentially just keeps the connections that are not trying to sell — they’re not blast LinkedIn.

Paul: Right.

Rich: If you give me that, that is the holy grail. That is truly a professional network. Because LinkedIn, which I think advertises itself as a professional —

Paul: Right, so the people who log in and post less than once a month, right?

Rich: Yeah. They’re just people who are looking to hire someone and they want a little more information about them, people who are looking for work and wanna understand if they should work for that person, people who are search, or are about to interview someone, and they wanna take a look at their LinkedIn beforehand.

Paul: You know what would be huge is that an enormous number of jobs are very deliverable focused, what kind of work can you do?

Rich: Right.

Paul: And many, many roles have, to the point that we at this company, we have people do some sample tasks, we try to keep them very time constrained, but we have engineers do some programming exercises, we have —

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: You know, designers do a quick take-home…

Rich: I think we’re the exception here, but yes.

Paul: We are, but it’s more and more common. It’s actually —

Rich: OK.

Paul: There’s a lot of places that do this, because what it does is it gets you away from, like, whiteboards where people are like, “Implement Quicksort!” Or just whatever.

Rich: Right.

Paul: So what would be amazing, LinkedIn is a terrible showcase for work, probably because of its middle management roots. You’re VP of Marketing. You have these five points on your resume. But you never really see anything that person did.

Rich: No portfolios on LinkedIn.

Paul: No.

Rich: As far as, by the way, we’re making —

Paul: Well —

Rich: A bunch of assumptions.

Paul: No, no, no, you can do stuff, like I’ve put up things I’ve written, and so on and so forth, but it is, portfolio and your, your work product is a second-class —

Rich: It’s usually a link elsewhere, right? It’s not…

Paul: What I would love, and I think that people who are coming to towards us would love, too, right, we’re asking people to do a little bit of labor to prove that they can do their stuff.

Rich: Uh huh.

Paul: That they say they can do on their resume. We need that, because otherwise it’s just very hard to figure out what’s real and what’s not.

Rich: Mmmm hmmm.

Paul: If there were a set of, like, regular tests, like if LinkedIn was, like, “Here, solve this little problem. You say you’re a product manager. Well, lots of product managers can solve this problem.” And ask them to just, like, make a page worth of work.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And make that available, I’d pay so much money for that.

Rich: Mmmm hmmm.

Paul: Because we’re in this position where, like, we can’t, we have to, like, have all these conversations, and evaluate that, and so like, if you had a more portfolio-focused but also asked people to solve things, do things.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: And that could be released when somebody was interested in your work, you know, how you can respond to a sample project, God, that would be valuable.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: So I would start there, I’d be like, I think the nature of hiring is changing a little bit away from the pure resume, you need to see what people are able to do.

Rich: Yeah. I think that’s right.

Paul: And so —

Rich: In fact, some of the best people we’ve hired don’t have much of a resume.

Paul: True.

Rich: It’s just raw talent, right? We’ve been in positions where we’ve looked at that portfolio or GitHub or…whatever, beyond the resume, where we couldn’t believe that that person, with that much work experience, had produced what they’d produced. And we had to, like, we shifted into validated mode.

Paul: Right.

Rich: Because we were so impressed.

Paul: Sometimes we’ll get a — or sometimes it’s the opposite, and we’re seeing somebody who doesn’t have a public presence, but when they do the sample work, you’re like, “Oh my God!”

Rich: Right.

Paul: “They’re ready.”

Rich: Exactly. So —

Paul: Get them in.

Rich: There are more dimensions to it. So you know what LinkedIn needs, Paul?

Paul: What?

Rich: More features. So I think —

Paul: [weary trumpet noise]

Rich: They’d really appreciate what you’re talking about.

Paul: That’s the thing, it’s gotta get stripped down.

Rich: No.

Paul: It’s gotta just start —

Rich: That’s never gonna happen.

Paul: Well, resumes are brutal, too, right? Like, you try, everyone’s been trying to commoditize and structure and create, like, a databased resume format.

Rich: Right. As hirers…is that what you call them?

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Uh, as employers, we, please, don’t try to turn your resume into a human dashboard.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: Just relax. Don’t cram 1,100 words into it, but please don’t, like, I’ve seen metering of, like, “personable: 4 stars.” [laughter] It’s a little tough.

Paul: You know what, I’ve written a lot of recommendations for people for grad school.

Rich: Uh huh.

Paul: And the thing I always like to emphasize — I applied to grad school once, I got in, I didn’t go. But the, the thing that you need to hear, on the other side, is, “This person is ready for this work.” And you need to say —

Rich: Right.

Paul: What “ready” means, and what the work is. And if, once you do that, everything else is probably fine. It’s not what tools you used, or if you’re good with Adobe Creative Suite.

Rich: Well that’s what people are looking for.

Paul: Yeah. “I am ready to do the work of a product manager.”

Rich: Right.

Paul: “And in the past, I have done these things,” and if you tell those to me, I’m gonna be so inclined.

Rich: Yeah. Here’s another gut-check: after you’re done drafting it, there’s that paragraph up top that gives the summary, right?

Paul: Mmmm hmmm.

Rich: Read it and ask yourself if it sounds like a product.

Paul: Right.

Rich: Or a company service, right? “Game-changing, uh, forward-looking.” If it starts to sound like the “about” page —

Paul: Or if you say that you innovated a process.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: Things like that.

Rich: Be careful that it starts to look, it starts to sound like a marketing brochure, or a…or not human.

Paul: Well just point to actual things that are, you know, human beings need to be able to point at real things and say, “That is something that gets done.”

Rich: Right.

Paul: You can’t ship a process. You can implement process to get something done, and that’s fine to emphasize.

Rich: Yeah.

Paul: But you can’t, like, refined process is a terrible thing.

Rich: I do want to disclaim our bias: we’re more blue collar.

Paul: I know —

Rich: We don’t like process much.

Paul: But nobody needs a process refiner.

Rich: Well, big, some big huge companies —

Paul: Do they? No. They want it. They might want it. But it’s like, maybe, no. What they want is someone to help them figure out how to get X done, and process is a side effect of that.

Rich: OK, I mean, I think I hear what you’re saying, and I actually agree with you, and I think we’ve baked that into Postlight’s, uh, approach, but I do think there are, uh, bigger companies where that is viewed as valuable.

Paul: No, and you’re right, you’re right. Because I’m thinking, too, like, I’ll back off from that, because I’m thinking, there is a role for, like, scrummaster.

Rich: Right.

Paul: Which is essentially process expert.

Rich: Right.

Paul: Um…

Rich: Exactly.

Paul: Who can tell you how to stand up and sit down when you talk about programming.

Rich: OK, there you go again. You’re mocking it now. But you get the point.

Paul: I get it. I get it.

Rich: It varies. We have a bias, and we, it’s almost religious at Postlight.

Paul: Minimum viable process.

Rich: Minimum viable, that’s nice. Ooh, that’s strong.

Paul: I think we’ve used it.

Rich: We could put that on the website.

Paul: We’ve used that in marketing before.

Rich: Strong.

Paul: But just like, you know, we have, because we’re small and our teams are small, people can talk all the time.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: You don’t have 100 people who need to communicate all the time.

Rich: Correct.

Paul: Three to five working on a feature or a product.

Rich: We’ve put 10 on a project, but —

Paul: But even there —

Rich: We still keep it tight.

Paul: Even there, they’re broken into usually, like, they’re not all working on one discrete feature.

Rich: No.

Paul: So there might be some standups, but it’s pretty ad-hoc, like, people are just talking and checking in code all the time.

Rich: Yes.

Paul: As you scale, you need that process.

Rich: Yep. I didn’t want this to be a negative podcast, Paul. [laughter] I think, inside of —

Paul: I love, we can’t, this is, like, our third podcast about LinkedIn. We can’t stay away.

Rich: No, but I think this one actually brought, brought some substance to it, and I think anyone that’s from LinkedIn that’s listening, someone that can actually make change happen, uh, you’ve got a really powerful, impactful service that is just covered with a layer of pork rinds. [laughter] And you can make it better.

Paul: They’re not good. They’re not good, pork rinds.

Rich: I…I…that’s another podcast, man.

Paul: All right, all right.

Rich: Pork rinds are good. All right.

Paul: So look, let’s get out of here.

Rich: Paul, it’s been a pleasure, as always.

Paul: Yeah.

Rich: I think we gave some advice.

Paul: Do we —

Rich: We bitched for 15 minutes.

Paul: Should we ask people to connect with us on LinkedIn? [laughter]

Rich: Uh, uh, actually, if you wanna connect with us, we’re [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you. Actually, we’d love to hear if you have questions, if you are interested in Postlight, in any way. If you’d like work, if you’d like to work here, reach out.

Paul: Thanks, everybody. We’ll talk to you soon.

Rich: Have a great week.

Paul: Bye.