Socialize CEO Daniel Odio and president Sean Shadmand were driving back from a meeting when they got to talking about the importance of process in a startup. So they turned on SocialCam (which Daniel talks about using on his personal blog) and shared their thoughts in this video:
Here’s a link to the Socialize Manifesto that Sean mentions in the video.
Here’s a transcript of the video:
Speaker 1: Are we recording?
Speaker 2: Yeah. We’re recording. Alright! So, hey guys, it’s Daniel.
Speaker 1: Hi! I’m Sean.
Speaker 2: We’re doing another SocialCam video and just about business and process and start-ups all that kind of stuff. So, here’s one thing I was thinking that we could talk about today. You’re really amazing at creating process. By the way, you should introduce yourself.
Speaker 1: Hi! I’m Sean.
Speaker 2: It’s like the hot seat, right? This is like a mobile interview.
Speaker 1: I don’t like hot seats. That’s why they have air-conditioning in seats. No one likes hot seats.
Speaker 2: Alright! So, Sean is the co-founder of Socialize and you were talking about process just now. You’re really good at creating process and then using that process and not re-examining or doubting the process. One thing that you always say that I think is so true is like, “If you spend a couple hours putting a process together, then you shouldn’t spend a couple minutes completely voiding that process.” Can you talk about that a little bit?
Speaker 1: Yeah. I guess like, a fundamental precursor to the value of process is the ability to adopt faith in that process and know that the total time that you took to make the decision can never be undone with less time. And like, if you give a real world example is, how many times have you ever put your keys, the night before your meeting you put your wallet in the backpack and you put this in the backpack and you put this on your pocket and you put that on your shoes and you put these keys in these vases, so you complete all these things, you put the process together like, alright, I got it. I know where everything’s going to go and the next morning you wake up, you have coffee and you’re like, “I don’t need this thing because I’m getting in my car, duh?” And you make that quick decision. You get in the car and you realize that thing that you really need is in that thing that you decided not to bring because you decided to take the car in the last minute. So it’s kind of like real world everyday example that we’ve all been through that represents that trust in the time that you put into something and how quickly unravelling that trust can cause a really bad effect if you don’t make a consistent effort to adopt it when the time comes to use it.
Speaker 2: What’s an example of how we do that in socializing where you’re just running through some product decisions?
Speaker 1: Well, it’s like, I guess an analogy there, would be like, brand awareness, like Coca-Cola and I say Coca-Cola gives you a feeling, this emotion, most people don’t want to talk about how gut is what makes businesses work but it’s not so much that gut itself is important as much as the speed of gut is important, right? Like if my gut was able to tell me with a spidy-sense of hair standing up on my hand that I shouldn’t do something then I took a 4 hour meeting then I turned it into a spidy-sense second, right? So really, process and branding are a lot alike when it comes to the business because like branding, you want to give a person the feeling that thirst quencher dark cola caffeinated in a can when you need it for a dollar is the word Coca-Cola and now Coca-Cola doesn’t have to explain all the time. That’s brand awareness. So really, process in a company, or in any situation for that matter is branding their long thought out process that should be faith based that you should never change into a concise one second gut feeling so that, and one, you do that for yourself, but then two, distribute that to your team so that everyone communicates on that level and then you can say, “Hey guys, remember this is, it’s no philosophy Tuesdays and you don’t have to explain what that means. Or, hey guys, this is do whatever the fuck you want Friday or hey remember don’t rethink your strategy where like you have these or always record a video, these are all, or M13, these are all like little colloquialisms that you put together, that you will find, that you take the time to do it and then they turn into one second gut reactions, like for instance, I have a rule of thumb, for instance, which is never say the word “and” in your thought process, and that means a billion, that means a lot of things, that means, small companies don’t have the energy to put in a lot of money and do more than one thing at a time, focus is a product of another colloquialism, a process of an iceberg is underneath every single thought and even though you think it’s simple, once you get into it, there’s always fundamentally larger thing than before you got into it, so fundamentally everything’s difficult. All this colloquialisms come from that concept.
Speaker 2: So like, you were mentioning to me before we started this video that you’re really happy and satisfied you feel like our team at Socialize has internalized this kind of meta-discussion around process and around not like rethinking something at the last second when we spend a lot of time defining the process. And what you’re saying now is institutionalizing that within a company is a really important thing.
Speaker 1: Yeah.
Speaker 2: And, it’s a very valuable thing. It’s a very intangible thing.
Speaker 1: It turns a day meeting into an hour meeting. It turns a three paragraph post or a comment on some document into a one sentence.
Speaker 2: Not going down a rabbit hole.
Speaker 1: Not going down a rabbit hole right. It adds up.
Speaker 2: So, what are some of the ways that we even institutionalize that in Socialize, like do you want to talk about the manifesto for example?
Speaker 1: One thing that is always interesting to me is that, as you scale, it’s impossible, and a lot of people know this, but it’s really applicable to start-ups on a business is that at scale no person is able to manage everyone at the high touch like we all understand that on customer level like if you want to do a product for a million people, you can’t have a million people on the ground talking to a million of your customers. The same thing happens in employees, if you go from a 2 person company to a 10 person company to a 20 person company, it goes back to that process in branding, you have to be able to give a message, like a great analogy for this example is the bible, like millions of people follow it, whether you’re religious or not, millions of people follow it, I could say Psalm 13 and people are like, “Okay. Good point. I’m out.” And you’re like across that.
Speaker 2: Psalm 13 stands for ethereal thoughts.
Speaker 1: I don’t know what that is. Yeah. It’s emotion, history, all that kind of thing. So, as you grow your team much like of religion does, and I so relate it to bring it all together really, is as you go from 5 to 10, you don’t need to have 10 conversations or 20 conversations, you have a document and that’s why documents are so important is because people know that once something is written down, it’s there and it kind of is a representation that I was talking about, about solidifying something so you don’t have to talk about it again. Written word does that even if you don’t re-examine what the paragraph was, if you all can write it and agree upon it and you put it away, people are even more likely to accept that statement as a part of your process. So what we did is we implemented a manifesto which, someone made a joke one day, that one of our manifestos is to not have so many manifestos, but we do have a really long manifesto item, manifesto list.
Speaker 2: 30 points to live by!
Speaker 1: 30 points! And each of them, actually out of everything, maybe 5 of them come up all the time but that’s the manifesto is just they’re points with history and information that every time we have a meeting and we’re forgetting something or someone raises a flag, then we go manifesto item 13, M13, everyone’s like, “Okay. Yeah, you’re right. Let’s not go down that rabbit hole or let’s do that or let’s remember to do that.”
Speaker 2: And actually, one really interesting thing about what you just said is that, the fact that we’re doing this video right now is because of a manifesto point. Manifesto item number 13 is for us to capture content and for content, from our knowledge must be lousy. So, we’re going into the garage, it’s going to get a little dark here but yeah that’s pretty cool that this entire conversation does kind of circle back on itself with process and manifesto. Alright! Cool! That was fun.
Speaker 1: Yeah, thanks.
Speaker 2: Ciao!