An Interview with Mike Belsito

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Brian Anderson recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike Belsito, leader of Product Collective, co-founder of INDUSTRY Conference, and co-host of the Rocketship.fm podcast.

In the first episode of the Augusto Digital Insights podcast, Brian Anderson interviews Mike Belsito, founder of the INDUSTRY conference in Cleveland, Ohio and co-host of Rocketship.fm.

Mike considers himself a product person that just so happens to manage a totally different type of product: a community and a conference. He explains that his journey into product management started before he even knew it. When his start-up failed, several companies approached him—one for a director of product strategy role.

Mike remembers Googling “what does a director of product strategy do?”. He hadn’t gone to school for it, so he felt he wasn’t qualified. But the company laughed and said, “Oh no, Mike, nobody went to school for product management. You’ll be fine.”

As he began reading books, listening to podcasts and talking to other product people, he realized there was a potential niche for a community centered on product management. That idea sparked the launch of INDUSTRY and the Product Collective. 2021 will be the seventh edition.

Mike goes on to explain that a product person doesn’t sell solutions but rather pulls out the problems customers are experiencing and guiding them to new solutions. He defines the product mindset as a hypothesis that needs to be validated by getting as close to customers as possible.

He shares that the best relationships between product managers and engineers are when there’s an immense level of trust. The product manager has to demonstrate that they deserve trust by being able to speak the engineers’ language, ask enough questions, and understand what tech stack they’re operating. On the flip side, engineers need to have a natural level of curiosity about what needs to be built and the business implications of it all.

We thank Mike Belsito for his time on the Augusto Digital Insights podcast and wish him the best with Rocketship.fm and the INDUSTRY conference!

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Brian: This is the Augusto Digital Insights Podcast and I’m your host, Brian Anderson. Here, we talk to industry leaders about how they’re using digital technology to transform their businesses. There’s a lot to cover here, so let’s get started.

Brian: Our first guest on our first episode is Mike Belsito. Hi, Mike.

Mike: Hey, how’s it going?

Brian: Good, good. Thanks for being our first guest.

Mike: Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it.

Brian: That’s awesome. I met Mike because I went to the INDUSTRY conference in Cleveland, Ohio in the fall of 2019. Super inspiring venue and conference and Mike was super polished and has a really great following and he really knows his stuff around product management. So Mike, maybe just introduce yourself.

Mike: Yeah. Well, really I feel like I’m a product person that just happens to manage a totally different type of product now, in terms of being a product management community and a conference. But my whole career, I’ve been in early stage technology startups either as an early employee, a founder, or an executive. And for me, my journey into product management started before I ever really even knew it technically, but I had a startup of my own where I was co-founder. So I was wearing many different hats, raising money, but also trying to figure out how to find a product market fit and unknowingly I was that product person, but it wasn’t really in my vernacular at that time. That’s not really what my mindset was at that point in time. I was just the co-founder of a startup that was trying to figure it out. And ultimately that company failed. It was acquired and technically still exists today, but I always call it a fail sale. Like we did not achieve what we really wanted to achieve with it, we didn’t hit our goals. We were lucky to find somebody that was able to sort of keep the initial seedling of what we had alive and now they’re growing it on their own. But after I had left that company, I was thinking to myself, “Well, what do I do next?”. And I had a couple of companies approach me about product roles that they had. And I’ll never forget there was one company in particular, one that I ultimately started working for. They were approaching me about a director of product strategy role. And I remember very clearly Googling, what does the director of product strategy do? And when I met with them, I almost was even trying … I wasn’t trying to talk them out of it, but I was very cautious about it. I’m like, “Hey look, this sounds awesome and it sounds like it could be fun, but I don’t know if I’d be the best fit for it. I never went to school for product management.” And they said, “Oh no, Mike, nobody went to school for product management, you’ll be fine.” And that’s when I learned most people were kind of in my shoes, they sort of fall into these product roles. They’re sort of plucked, sometimes internally or maybe in my situation from a startup that I was running, and they take on this product role and they just sort of figure it out and that’s I had to do. I took on that role and I was just trying to figure it out. But I remember constantly thinking to myself, “What happens when they figure out I don’t know what I’m doing?” And so, I was trying to understand what it meant to be a product person, reading books, blogs, listening to podcasts, talking to other product people. And that’s where the idea for what ultimately became Product Collective and INDUSTRY sort of came. I was asked to speak at a local technology conference that was just centered on our local tech community here in Cleveland, Ohio. But the organizer who had put that together, asked me for feedback afterwards, as a friend, because we knew each other at that point and a speaker. And I said, “Well, I thought all was cool. People turned up, you seem to have a good time.” I said, “But even in Cleveland, there’s a lot of these like local tech conferences with the same people on stage, same people speaking and attending. You sort of just swap out the banner and it could be the next conference.” Right?

Brian: Yep.

Mike: I’m trying to figure out what you need to be a product person. What if you focus on something specific in tech, maybe it’s product and maybe people from all over would come and he said, “Well, that sounds really interesting, you sound passionate about it. What if you did it with me?” And that person was Paul McAvinchey, who’s now my partner for Product Collective. And ultimately, that little sort of local tech conference spawned into an international conference series focused specifically on product management. You mentioned coming to INDUSTRY last year in Cleveland. In 2020, this will be our sixth edition. We’ll we’ll have over, it’s looking like probably 13, or 1,400 people this year. We’ve now brought it to Europe. We have our third European edition, this year in 2020 as well. And then beyond that, we have a community, what we call a community where, every day people are gathering in our Slack. There’s over 10,000 members in Slack trading ideas, getting feedback. We have a weekly newsletter that goes out to 30,000 people. We do live video Q&A chats. I co-host a podcast, Rocketship.FM, which was just featured by Apple. So all of these things we do year round because when we started that conference and it went well, we said, “What about the other 363 days?” So really I’m a product person, but now managing this conference product and community product and serving other product people, which is a lot of fun for me. Brian Anderson: I was inspired when I went to the INDUSTRY conference, and I thought that like the people that were there were definitely product people and across like … From startups to all the companies you know, that are like progressive. Home Depot, I think was one that came to mind but I talked to people from Walmart, or I talked to people from different hospital systems, like Mayo and Mass General and so it’s just a really interesting mix of people all focused on product. One of the things that you said was, that you didn’t know that you were a product person, I noticed that. We have so many clients who, their title isn’t product manager, and they might not even recognize that they’re product managers, but they are playing this product manager role. Tell us about, what were some of the epiphanies that you came to along that journey and how can other people kind of break through?

Mike: Yeah. For me, there were a couple points in my career where when I look back, I’m like, “I actually was a product person then.” But I actually think if I took that mindset, like if I had owned it at the time and sort of knew that, I could have been an even better product person. To me, I think if you are concentrating on the problem that your customers have, not so much your solutions, but you’re truly interested in figuring out what are my customers problems and pain points and let me see if I can spend a lot of time with them and try to pull those problems out of them so we can solve for that. That’s what a product person is. So if you are doing those things, you are a product person. I’ve spent time in sales in my career to where, yes, you want to understand your customer’s problems, but your goal, your motivation, what you are incentivized to do is to sell what you have, sell them solutions that you have. So if, you’re out there talking to customers and your goal is to sell the solutions that you have, that’s great. By the way, that is needed in the company, for sure. But that’s not really what a product person does. A product person is focused on trying to pull out the problems that their customers are experiencing and not just asking them what those problems are, but being able to get them to share it in a way that maybe the customer doesn’t even … They’re not even thinking about. So the best product people are ones, where customers are really comfortable to talk to them. It might end a meeting and the customer saying, “Gosh, I didn’t even know we were going to go in this direction, but I’m glad I did.” Almost like therapy sessions in a way. But if you’re easily able to get people to open up, you might be a product person and you might not even realize it. So to me, when I think back of like, what does a product person make? I mean, there’s a lot more to it, too. There is working with those internal teams, which is always tricky because you usually have no authority over these teams.

Brian: Right.

Mike: You’re responsible for the work that they’re doing, so being able to navigate that, being able to have enough respect within the organization to have these teams work with you. That’s all part of being a product person too. But to me, the biggest part of it is being problem minded. Brian Anderson: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Trying to solve that customer problem. That’s really interesting, I know you’re a big fan of Jobs-to-be-Done, and I think Clayton Christian had just passed away.

Mike: Yeah.

Brian: It was interesting to me as I continue to learn and understand that there’s all these frameworks out there, there’s all these people, these geniuses have been thinking about these problems for such a long time. Do you find that there’s a few frameworks that help you now as a more experienced product manager?

Mike: Yeah. I mean, the way that I look at it when it comes to frameworks, is that these are all … When we understand and learn a new framework, these are things that we now have in our toolkit or in our minds. That we can apply when the situation calls for them. I am a big fan of Jobs-to-be-Done, but not in the sense of thinking Jobs-to-be-Done as the end all be all. To me, once I learned what Jobs-to-be-Done is really all about it. It just opened up my eyes on how to apply it to my work. But it’s the same way that when I learned the Lean product process that Dan Olsen teaches. Understanding both of them, sometimes frameworks are also opposed to each other. Right?

Brian: Mm-hmm.

Mike: And that’s okay. So to me, I think it’s important as a product person to learn what’s out there and to sort of …. You end up creating your own framework for what you believe fits your products best because to me, nothing is an absolute. But I got to learn Jobs-to-be-Done directly from Bob Moesta who’s one of the co architects of Jobs-to-be-Done and he became a friend of ours at Product Collective. So to be able to learn from him, it’s helped us immensely. I mean, we have had new features that we’ve launched new delighters, a Product Collective that wouldn’t have existed if we didn’t learn those things from Bob.

Brian: Yeah.

Mike: Dan Olsen, like I believe in some of the frameworks that he talks about in his book and that he goes out and speaks about, so much so that the undergraduate class that I teach on product management at Case Western Reserve University, that’s a required reading for them, his Lean product book. So I think there’s a few … Ash Maurya comes to, in terms of some of his works, all these works that are out there, I think we should learn as product people from some of these thought leaders, but we have to figure out what we need to apply for our own products, because chances are it’s probably a mixed bag.

Brian: Yeah. Yeah. I totally get that. I totally see what you’re saying there. Yeah, I’m less familiar with some of those other frameworks, those are good tips. I’m going to have to do some more research and understanding there. Hey, one the terms that we use a lot when we talk to clients, is this idea of product mindset. Just out of curiosity, when I say that, what do you think about when you think of the product mindset?

Mike: Yeah. It’s interesting you say that because I’ve heard that. A lot of people I think are talking about the product mindset. We actually had recently, even a video chat on the product mindset. So it’ll definitely mean something different to different people. To me, when I hear a product mindset, it’s the way of thinking that what we believe is a hypothesis that needs to be validated. I just think if I’m in a product mindset, I’m constantly having to think about, “Okay, I don’t know everything. In fact, I know very little when it comes to our customers, unless I’m hearing it from them, unless I’m able to validate things from them.” So to me, a product mindset is being able to understand that we might have hypotheses, but those hypotheses need validation and that validation can only come from being as close as we can to customers. And it goes back to what we’re talking about before with, being problem minded too, instead of solution minded. I think that’s a big part of it. Not making these leaps to say, “Oh okay, I hear what you said for the last minute. I think you need our SaaS solution that we’re selling over.” It’s really digging in with them. That’s what product mindset sort of means to me. But again, it’s going to mean something different to a lot of people, but yeah.

Brian: Yeah. I really like that. I think that is really true, hypothesis driven and experimentation. I always find that the best products are when we’re like quickly validating something and then we’re willing to experiment on the next thing. And then there’s that measurement of it, like part of it is subjective. And part of it is like hearing it from the customer. But the other part is the actual measurement that, are we getting the results that we expected out of this? Where business outcomes matter a lot I think, when you’re building these products. And especially if you want to keep them going and you want to justify budgets or you want to justify funding or any of those kinds of things, it actually has to work. It has to have outcomes that you can count on.

Mike: That’s right.

Brian: So I wanted to kind of explore a little bit more with you around the product management and product engineering. At Augusto, we focus a lot on product engineering work. A lot of times our clients are playing the role of the product manager. And we have product managers on our team but they’re more liaisons of product managers. What’s your perspective on that layer, right in between product management, product engineering? What makes it really good? And then maybe what makes it kind of bad too, from your experiences? Mike Belsito: Yeah. So you mean like really kind of connecting the two groups? What do the best connections look like?

Brian: Yeah.

Mike: Yeah.

Brian: Well, product managers are out there solving all these problems and I need to go get something done.

Mike: That’s right. And they need to come back and connect with that engineering team and the design and UX team for that matter. I’ve seen those relationships work well and I’ve also seen those relationships flounder and not work so well. And in the times where I’ve seen those relationships work well, the product manager, or whatever kind of role you want to give that product person, but the product person that is then communicating to that engineering team. One, there is an immense level of trust between the two and respect between the two. So meaning that engineering team, when they know that the product person is out there with the customer, taking the insights, those insights that they bring back, they are believing that, that product … Okay, no. The product manager he knew or she knew the right questions to ask. She knew exactly what to pull from that team and now we have these golden insights, let’s work with them. But that trust has to be earned, that trust has … Somehow that product person has to show the engineering team that they do deserve that trust. Another thing though is, not just trust between the two groups, but there has to be a certain level of gravitas with that product person. That engineering team has to know that that product person understands enough. I think there’s this age old debate within the product world like, “Hey, does a product manager need to be technical, yes or no?” If you were to ask Ken Norton at GV, Google Ventures… Google is very specific, but they do like their product people to be technical. There’s plenty of other product people that aren’t technical. I’m actually not technical. I’m not an engineer by trade, but it is important. Even if you’re not, you have to know enough to be able to speak the language with your engineering team. You have to know what questions to be able to ask, you can’t completely be in the dark when it comes to the technologies that they’re building and that they’re using and what tech stack they’re operating. So having enough of that, whether you’re technical or not, but having enough of that knowledge to be able to have those very educated conversations, I think that’s super important. In times where product people didn’t have that at all, but they’re asking the engineering team to do things that don’t even make sense, all of a sudden that trust gets lost, that respect gets lost. Right?

Brian: Yeah.

Mike: So to me, I think that is important. And then probably the last big thing that comes to mind is openness. And it goes both ways, but specifically … I’ll bring up an example of a product person that is maybe communicating, “Hey, these are the next products that we need to be working on. This is what’s on the roadmap.” If it just ends there and the engineering team, all they know is, okay, we have to create these products because they’re on the roadmap. I think that that is stopping short of what kind of openness there should be in an organization between product and engineering. I think instead there should be sharing of the why, so it’s not just what needs to be built, but the why. And the reason for that is, the engineers that are on the team are actually building the product, and once they understand the why, they might be able to push back and not even push back, but be able to say, “Okay, I understand now, this is the problem we’re trying to solve and this item on the roadmap, this is meant to solve that problem. But what if we were able to solve it in a much different way.” That product person might not even be thinking of the right solution, but if you don’t share the why, they’re missing out on these potential solutions that are even better than what’s on the roadmap. Brian: Right.

Mike: So I think it’s all of those things combined make for a super solid relationship. When those things aren’t there, that’s when I see things usually falter.

Brian: Yeah. Yeah, that’s interesting. Your approach kind of came a little bit more from the product manager’s perspective to engineering. What behaviors do you like out of the engineering team? And when I say engineering, I probably also should say UX and design because they’re the creators it seems like and the molders of the idea and the insights into the product. When all this stuff you just mentioned is working, it’s like really seamless. It’s a team working in harmony. Behaviors are what, like customer service focused like success focused? They’re treating a product manager like their customer. Like what’s your perspective?

Mike: It would be great if folks on the engineering team had a level of curiosity that might be just as high as that product person. Not just, okay, I need to know what to build and I’m going to build it. And I’m going to be very efficient at building it. But being able to ask those questions of why, because there might be some … There definitely were some engineering teams that I’ve worked with where there might be 12 engineers, but it was only one or two people asking those questions. And what if those one or two people weren’t asking the question? Like, everybody else was just going to build just to build and to be fair, sometimes that’s why folks got involved in engineering because it’s so cool to build this product. I want to build it. But if they are taking a business minded approach and trying to think about, is this really solving the problem? And they’re able to have those conversations with the product people, it makes things even better. What makes for a solid engineering team? To me, it is being able to ask those questions, having that natural level of curiosity and not just thinking about what needs to get built, but also sort of the business implications of it as well. So almost taking on some of those things that the product person does take on, but not to take away from the responsibility of the product person, but to sort of play an active role just as that product person is too.

Brian: How I translate that into some of our vocabulary is understanding what are we actually trying to accomplish? And then they can engineer the solution. And yeah, sometimes it ends up being a lot better.

Mike: Yeah.

Brian: A lot of times I find an engineer will come back with an idea. Like, “Hey, tackle it this way.” And then that next conversation, or those next couple of conversations where you iterate on the idea is when it really becomes good, it becomes the solution.

Mike: Yeah, that’s right. One thing I’ve learned as a product person, and again, I’m coming at it from that perspective, is that if anybody says like, “Oh, I want to be a product manager because I love coming up with ideas that our company could use,” the product person ends up usually not having the best ideas. It’s how do we cultivate and pull the best ideas from our internal teams, like engineering and UX and customer success and sales, also our customers? It’s almost like we’re facilitating, we’re cultivating all of that and then hopefully we’re able to turn that into an awesome roadmap for our company. But it’s not like, as a product person, you’re sitting in a room saying, “I’m going to come up with the best ideas here.” It doesn’t happen.

Brian: Yeah, that’s really interesting. How is your team organized? How do you manage … You’ve got all these different ventures. How are you organized? How do you organize product management and engineering, UX, design in other departments?

Mike: Yeah. So I mean, our team is super lean and small, especially compared to some of the other growing startups I’ve worked for in the past, but intentionally so. So we have at Product Collective, there’s just three full-time employees. And so when I say I’m a product person, it’s all it’s going back to when I was starting a company that I started before, where we were like a pure startup and you’re wearing so many different hats. I am a product person and I’m trying to evolve the products that we have, which is our conference and our community, aspects of our community. But I’m also paying bills. Brian Anderson: Yep.

Mike: I’m the janitor and whatever you call it. The only sort of extension is I also, co-host a podcast with a friend of mine, Michael. And he actually started that podcast several years back and I joined him a couple of years later when he needed a new co-host. We had become friends and I actually was a guest on his show. And so it interacts with a lot of what we do. And actually Michael comes in every year for the conference and helps us.

Brian: Yeah, I know him.

Mike: Yeah.

Brian: He was great.

Mike: Yeah. But really, the team at Product Collective it’s me, it’s my partner Paul. P aul really manages all of the web side of things for us. So actually, we just launched a new website for ourselves. Paul was instrumental in that. Paul does a lot of our digital marketing. For me, I’m focused on sponsorship. I’m also out there in the community in terms of speaking at events and speaking on podcasts and things like that. I also do that internally too. I’m the one that interviews folks for our podcast, Rocketship.FM. But also our live video chat series, which we call INDUSTRY Interviews. Then there’s also Rebecca on our team and Rebecca is the … She leads up all of the logistics. So when it comes to managing all of our external vendors for the conference, when it comes to planning with speakers, travel, coordinating all that. I mean, we have dozens of speakers every single conference, so that’s a lot of work. And so Rebecca, she is super organized. And so leading all those logistics, she’s really good at that. But yeah, it’s a small team. When you’re at the conference, it might seem like we have 50 employees because when you get to that time … We also work with a lot of contractors that help us with things, on the production side and it might look like there’s 50 people on the Product Collective team, when you’re at INDUSTRY but really year round, there’s just a few of us.

Brian: Well, that’s interesting because our first couple of years it was myself and my business partner, Marty Balkema and then we had two other co-founders join. And basically, we were super lean. We were leveraging contractors as well. We have a really tight network of contractors. I think sometimes contractors get kind of a bad rap, but a lot of the people that are contractors, are contractors because they’re good enough to be contractors and they are specialists in what they do. And we make friends with them. Mike Belsito: Right. Yeah. As an example, we work with a couple of folks that work with plenty of other conferences when it comes to the operational side of things. So Kelly and Ashley, they’re two folks that work with us year round, just not in a full-time capacity. And they’re working hand in hand with our sponsors to make sure that they can make the most of their sponsorship at INDUSTRY, but they’re doing the same thing and different things for other conferences as well. And I think one thing that’s really helped us is here in Cleveland, Ohio, there’s another conference called Content Marketing World that still exists. Actually, it’s one of the top content marketing conferences anywhere in the world. It’s every year in Cleveland, Ohio. Now they have thousands of people that come to it. So it’s a massive, massive conference. It’s actually the biggest annual business conference in Cleveland. But when it got started, there were just a few 100 people and the founder of that conference, we’ve become friends with. Actually, I’ve known him for 15 years, but he is a mentor to us and he sort of opened up his playbook, if you will to say, “Hey guys, this is how I started and scaled a world-class conference, not for product people for content marketing folks, but this is how I did it in Cleveland. I brought people from all over the world here.” And now that’s what we’re doing, but to have him here in Cleveland and he actually introduced us to Kelly and Ashley, who I mentioned before. They worked with Joe for so many years, but to have somebody to look up to and to sort of help guide and mentor us, is so important. That can be applied anywhere, not just for us as a conference business, but I just think for me in my career, it’s always been so important to have mentors and people that you can trust and look up to and sort of open yourself up to and let them guide you. That’s always helped me. And I know a lot of other product people that even just as product people, they have that one or two or three sort of mentors that they can turn to, that are farther in their careers in the product world but that they can really open up to and it’s really helped them too.

Brian: Yeah, man. I couldn’t agree more. We’re in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cleveland is not necessarily thought of as the epicenter of product, but you can make this happen anywhere.

Mike: That’s right.

Brian: And it’s really just desire and persistence and aligning yourself with people that have like-minded interests and can mentor you or be a part of your organization either as an employee or virtually as a contractor. And you just kind of build the systems to be able to align people and manage that work and go into that experimentation mode. All the stuff you’re working on is really the products in your mind, right?

Mike: Yeah. And you’re right, when it comes to location, like it is true that there are a lot of tech jobs that are centered in certain areas, but I know so many product people that are all over the world. Bob Moesta who helped co-architect the Jobs-to-be-Done framework. When it comes to Jobs-to-be Done, especially, I mean, he is the one person I would trust the most. He’s in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. I think of Sarah Doody, who is in Utah. Ash Maurya is in Texas. These are all people that I respect so much as a product person. They’re not necessarily in San Francisco or Silicon Valley, they’re everywhere. Of course, I know a lot of amazing product folks that aren’t in those places too, but like great product people they are all over the place.

Brian: Yeah. Yeah. Totally. Well hey, thanks for all of these insights. How could people get more involved with the things that you’re doing?

Mike: Yeah. Well, first of all, we’d love it if people checked out Product Collective. You could go to productcollective.com. We have over 30,000 people that have joined Product Collective and it’s free to join. And all it really means is that you’ll start getting our newsletter, which we focus on a different topic every single week. Curated newsletter based on that topic of the week, we do live video Q&A chats, so you’ll get invitations to our live video Q&A chats. You’ll get an invitation to join the Slack group, which again, over 10,000 people. Just every day, trading ideas, best practices sort of networking, but online. And so all of that is free. And then of course, if you want to meet us in person, you come to INDUSTRY sometime. We have those two additions, the European edition is coming up in March, in Dublin, Ireland. And we’re really excited for that. But we also have the sort of our flagship edition of INDUSTRY, the global edition, we call it in Cleveland, Ohio every fall and that’s the big one. And this year we have Mark Duplass, who’s an indie filmmaker, who hs actually appeared in a lot of different movies and TV shows, but he’s also created movies and TV shows. We like featuring somebody every year that is not necessarily a traditional product person, but can help us think maybe a little bit differently as creative professionals. But aside from that, Jason Fried is coming back. Jason Fried has just been somebody that I’ve always looked up to, again in the Midwest, in Chicago, Illinois. I’ve looked up to him my whole career and now he sort of makes INDUSTRY a residency for him. This will be his third year coming back to INDUSTRY and being a part of it. So we’re really excited for that. He’s actually putting on a half day workshop and this is the first time he’s ever done it at INDUSTRY too.

Brian: That ones going to be hot, yeah.

Mike: Yeah. So we’re excited about that. So we just announced our first 10 speakers, so folks go to industryconference.com. They can learn more about that too.

Brian: Great, Mike. Great. Hey, I got one last question and it kind of spurred from what you just said there. How did you get Common? And maybe talk about Common a little bit. How did you get him to go to INDUSTRY last year?

Mike: Yeah, so there’s certain celebrities like … Three years ago was the first time that we did anything like this, or I should say two years ago, it was BJ Novak who was one of the lead writers and an actor on the Office. Last year, Grammy and Academy Award winning artists, Common. This year, Mark Duplass. For these celebrity speakers, what we’ve learned is that … There is a cost. You do have to pay the celebrity speakers, but what we’ve learned is that they’re pretty judicious about where they spend their time. And it really has to be something that’s in line with what they actually want to do because these celebrities are so busy, they’re getting paid to do talks, but they generally don’t do a whole lot of these talks every single year. So they’re only doing a handful. So they need to sort of be very conscious about the kinds of conferences that they’re doing. All that we do in those situations, actually for any speaker, we like telling our story, we like sharing the why, behind it. I think a big part of the reason why some of these folks connect with us is that we’re not some big conglomerate, where this is something that we’re doing purely to drive profitability. This isn’t all about numbers. We bootstrap this from the very beginning. It started as a passion project that was on the side and now it’s a passion project that just happens to be our full time living as well.

Brian: Yep.

Mike: And so I think a lot of times people connect with that story too.

Brian: Yep.

Mike: Yeah. I like to think that plays a part in it.

Brian: Yeah. Yeah. It was interesting, he was awesome. I really enjoyed it and I’ve listened to a lot of his music ever since. So it’s been fun to get introduced to all of that. He’s super talented. Cool. Well, thanks very much for your time and we really appreciate it. And this was the first episode of the Augusto Product Insight Podcast. Hey, thanks for listening to the Augusto Digital Insights Podcast. Augusto is a custom software design and development company. If we can help you on your next project or you just want to say hello, contact me today by calling (616) 427-1914 or visit www.augustodigital.com. Remember, you can always find this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google, and YouTube.

 

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