Interstellar Way of Life
Interstellar Business Show
The podcast for Business Leaders who Work Less and Live More.
Apps & Productivity: Curtis Anderson on digital overwhelm & increasing productivity.
Episode notes & resources
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Please note, this transcription is autogenerated, so there may be errors.
Andrew Bull 0:00
Welcome to another episode of the interstellar business show. In today’s episode, we’re talking all about learning experiences. I’m joined by Curtis Anderson, who’s a learning experience consultant, and also the co founder of a fairly new app called work bit. Just before I get into talking with Curtis, and it was a great conversation, I learned so much, and I’m sure you will, too. But before I get into that conversation with Curtis, there’s a quick message about a business tool that I’ve designed for experts and business leaders like you.
Andrew Bull 0:56
So I’m very pleased to have on the show today on the Interstellar business show Curtis Anderson, who’s the co founder of Workbit, and also a learning experience consultant. Welcome to the show. Curtis,
Curtis Anderson 1:09
thank you very much. It’s great to be here on the Saturday.
Andrew Bull 1:12
Thank you. So well, you know, we’re pleased to have you so what’s what’s the mission behind work bit and and actually put a lot of people probably won’t have heard of work bit because you’re not quite as big as Apple. Tisha in terms of being a software company. So what is work bit?
Curtis Anderson 1:28
Um, yeah. So, I mean, like you said, we’re quite a new company. So work bit is, I suppose at its heart, it’s a platform, which is trying to create a kind of learning society. So we’re trying to join up what we call the kind of suppose holy trinity of learning, which is working, learning and communicating. So from the learners perspective, we want to create a kind of single go to hub where people can connect, they can work, they can learn and communicate with each other, and, you know, help to kind of formulate meaningful, lifelong learning experiences. And then I suppose from the teachers perspective, we’re looking to try and make the lives easier, by allowing them to quickly and easily turn their content and materials into digital learning experiences, and also taking some of the burden off of them by formulating kind of peer assisted and social learning. So yeah,
Andrew Bull 2:30
that’s a big, it’s a big journey that you’re on and a big goal that you’ve set yourself. So you’re trying, you’re trying to connect, I suppose if you could sum it all up very succinctly your mission? Right? What what would it be? If you could sum it up very, very succinctly?
Curtis Anderson 2:47
Oh, in three words, perhaps maybe working learning communicating? Yeah, I probably,
Andrew Bull 2:55
I think, I think that’s good. So you’re bringing it, you’re bringing, you know, I, I’ve had a quick look at what you’re doing. And I like this idea that you’re bringing very different things. We’re not that they’re not very different, but they’re things that are normally done in different applications, and different places, and you’re trying to bring those together, right? Because it seems a bit crazy that you’re siloing things that are so connected.
Curtis Anderson 3:20
Exactly, yeah. So particularly, you know, in kind of what classroom, also kind of education and learning environments and workplace environments. I think as human beings, we are constantly learning anyway, we’re learning animals. And to think that, you know, if all the learning takes place in either a virtual learning environment, or it takes place in our learning management system, and then we kind of, you know, tick a box or, you know, kind of like, look at what the results of that are, it completely ignores all of the actual kind of learning that we do in the workplace as well. Or when we’re actually kind of, you know, even having conversations with friends at school or at university.
Unknown Speaker 4:04
Curtis Anderson 4:06
because we’re trying to do that in a digital environment, obviously, communication is key to learning. So we’re trying to bring in all that kind of, you know, the, you know, short messaging, like we see in the likes of WhatsApp and say Skype. And suppose Microsoft Teams now, as well as that video communication, I suppose, like very much like we’re doing at the moment over Skype, but you’ve got that in so many different kinds of apps these days. And yeah, just trying to join them all together into a single coherent platform, where you can have your knowledge base, you can have your Yeah, communications tool, and you can, you know, have your, you know, e learning experiences there as well. So, it’s all just joining everything out ready.
Andrew Bull 4:49
Okay. And so just I’m just thinking how this would play out because it’s quite a big idea, right? So I’m just thinking these are these are big ideas, and sometimes when things aren’t very good Specific is hard to digest, right? Sure. So like, let’s say, I’m an accountant. I’ve got 10 people in my office, we always like learning about new things in the accountancy world, how would that how would I use it on a daily basis for my accountancy firm?
Curtis Anderson 5:19
Sure. So, I mean, you could use it by way of a knowledge base. So you know, as soon as something kind of like new or interesting kind of crops up or say, you know, the Financial Conduct Authority decide to disseminate some new compliance, or something that has to be complied to, that can go up and be stored on the platform. And then you can communicate that by sending out alerts to, you know, the rest of your colleagues, or, you know, if you wanted to have all, if you establish a new, you know, standard operating procedure, that can also be documented and held on the platform, it can be edited by that procedure owner. And then as well, it is just about, particularly if you’re kind of as we seem to be kind of heading towards now anyway, and we’ll kind of decentralized workforce, you can actually go on there, and you can talk about that specific thing, either in textual form. So, so for example, if someone’s just uploaded a new document, which is the new standard operating procedure, you can have a conversation about that very specific document. And all that information is held against that document. And likewise, you can have a video conference or web conferences, about that very specific document, there’s, there’s no more kind of, you know, someone put something up onto say, SharePoint, and then you’ve got the whole kind of, you know, you’ve then got to go into Outlook to start sending emails to people about things. And then you’ve got to hop into zooms, and then maybe have that kind of face to face conference. conversation about that document, you can actually just have it all in there in one place.
Andrew Bull 6:55
And I I really, I really liked that because it does stuff. As someone who deals with a lot of software, I would, I would hate to tell you exactly how many apps I use on a daily basis. But it’s ridiculous. Yeah. And China’s is really ends up being quite fragmented. I mean, we’re always, we’re always swapping tabs on the browser. And it’s a nightmare. Yesterday skysports made me shocked Google Chrome to watch a football match, right? Because of because I’ve got screen recording software in the browser.
Curtis Anderson 7:28
I had exactly the same issue.
Andrew Bull 7:29
Yeah, I said, they made me they made me quit Chrome. And then when I restart Chrome, half, my tabs aren’t there. And it’s like, Ah, man. Yeah. So there’s all this whole fragmented way working is actually quite painful. It’s something we something we put up with. But actually, it’s not. It’s not necessary, really, is it? No,
Curtis Anderson 7:48
I certainly don’t think so. And that’s kind of what we’re trying to address. Really? Is. I mean, don’t you tell me I’m looking at my desktop at the moment, I think on on the toolbar at the bottom, I’ve got about 20 different apps, some of which I do use regularly, some of which I don’t use regularly. But you know, we need to start, I think where possible, actually kind of merging things together and saying, right, okay, if we, if we’re going to kind of like, work on something or learn about something, you know, why don’t we have all the communication tools surrounded around that and use that actual kind of that bit of learning content as the hub, and then all the kind of bite spokes sitting around it? Rather than saying, okay, you know, zoom is the hub, that’s where we go to do the kind of, you know, any kind of web conferencing. It’s a tool that should kind of support something else, rather than being the tool, what that everything else kind of integrates into, if that makes sense. So yeah, we’re kind of trying to do a bit of a reversal on it, and trying to kind of
Andrew Bull 8:54
merge things together that make that makes total sense. And I think that like having announced have joined up conversations is very important. So could someone like going back to this accountancy firm? Could they have a meeting on something? And that would be recorded on in work, as well?
Curtis Anderson 9:12
Absolutely. Yeah. So our kind of web conferencing kind of software that we use for it is pretty comprehensive. So you can go in there, you can do, you know, presentations, you can do all the kind of screen sharing. Yeah, we support many of the same features that you would find in, you know, most of the commercial web conferencing software’s like zoom. The the great benefit of it, though, is that well, the scheduling actually takes place within the actual workspace and in the workspaces where you have all of your content as well, and that’s where you have all your kind of, you know, kind of messaging, etc. So, yeah, we like to think we can do pretty much everything that everyone else can do. We just got there. The big benefit of Yeah, not having to switch tabs in order to do it,
Andrew Bull 10:03
I suppose. I mean, I’ll, I suppose one of the tension points is, which is all that, like, there’s this tension between doing everything all in one app, which makes so much sense. And it’s like, I’m a bit jealous of my brother sometimes, because he’s a plumber. And essentially, all his apps are in the back of his van, he doesn’t have to do a firmware update, every time I tell him to, it’s all just there. Whereas we’ve got all this stuff, but I suppose but as opposed to danger of everything all in one place, is sometimes maybe you can’t do something as well as a specialist piece of software can, in some instances, he think that’s a fair comment.
Curtis Anderson 10:45
I think so yeah. Though, I’d like to think, I mean, we’ve largely got around it by using kind of open source libraries that are, you know, pretty well support pretty well documented, and, by and large, pretty well kind of structured, and they’ve got an awful lot of features that we can, you know, we can leverage. And quite often they have many of the features that you would find in the likes of slack, and zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc, I think it’s more that we’ve put them together in a unique way which we feel supports, you know, learning outcomes, a lot better than you would have as a result of this kind of bouncing between different apps. So one of the kind of the big things that we’re very much interested in is kind of like data collection, so that we can start gleaning insights about what it is that our users are engaging with. And it’s very difficult to do that if you’re having to try and track what’s taking place in three different apps that have all got, you know, very different architectures. And maybe you’re reporting that data in a very different way. So by having everything kind of in the centralized location, and actually kind of like leveraging kind of, you know, open source technologies, we can deliver really high quality functionality, and, you know, really great features, whilst also kind of being able to,
Unknown Speaker 12:21
Curtis Anderson 12:24
I suppose it’s a case of wearing many different hats. Yeah. But managing to do everything quite well. Without kind of, you know, losing that.
Andrew Bull 12:31
I think I think that makes that does make sense. What you’re saying, I’m just wondering, in terms of, for example, you’re saying you’re doing booking meetings inside the app. I’m just wondering, like, if I then want to set up a meeting with a client, like to I still need an external booking calendar? Or can that be done all in your app as well?
Curtis Anderson 12:50
Oh, right. So yeah, I mean, you wouldn’t need an external booking calendar. So we’ve got it all linked up to, you know, a mail server. So we’ll send out, you know, an email to that person, say, hey, you’ve been booked on, you know, kind of, you’ve been added into this kind of scheduled meeting. And, you know, hopefully there’ll be or have an account with it anyway. So it’ll just be able to kind of like, click through and see what’s going on. So within the app itself, there are you know, we’ve got a pretty fully featured calendar in there. So you can, you know, kind of schedule meetings, you can join meetings, and, of course, kind of send notifications out to people to let them know that they’re part of that thing.
Andrew Bull 13:29
Just, I just want to widen out the conversation. Now, we will come back to talking about work bit, but I just want to talk about learning management systems. In general, obviously, there’s some big trends, which are like this year, which are unavoidable, which is your people not in buildings together. And obviously, having a learning management system, which brings people together, whether it’s work, or something else is, you know, is very important right now, is that is that a big trend that’s driving a lot of your growth right now?
Curtis Anderson 13:59
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, we seem to be, I suppose, one of the, you know, beneficiaries of the current crisis effect, if you could call it that. It’s certainly driving an awful lot of interest, as you might imagine. Organizations, I mean, a lot of training organizations, for example, and now looking at how they can turn what used to be, you know, very much classroom based face to face training into a, you know, a digital experience, where, you know, that haven’t kind of chat with people like we are over over Skype or zoom or whatever. So, yeah, that’s a big driving factor at the moment. And I think a lot of organizations are having to change up their business model very, very rapidly in order to try and I think capitalize might be the wrong kind of term for it, really, but in order to kind of maintain clients and customers and be able to continue delivering what it was that they used to have to do kind of face to face. I mean, some of the people that we’re working with at the moment, they would have to, you know, they’d be traveling to, you know, the Middle East and Africa and to, you know, the United States to go in to deliver face to face training, obviously, that’s no longer in the cards. So, yeah, it’s certainly, I mean, for us, it’s a fortunate trend. And I think, I’d like to think for everyone else, it’s, it’s going to be a good trend as well, cuz I think the other though, for the past 18 months or so, I’ve been working pretty much entirely remotely. And I think for me, it’s given me that kind of, you know, that lease of kind of freedom, to be able to kind of go and work wherever I want. So, you know, kind of last year, I was able to go on holiday and still kind of keep doing my business stuff. So, you know, it’s, um, it’s quite interesting. It’s a bit of a paradigm shift. But I think it’s, I think it’s gonna be good.
Andrew Bull 16:06
I think I think this, this changes, like they say the new normal, I think the new normal is here to stay. And I think a lot of people are going to be working from home, let’s face it, people aren’t going to be back in offices, until probably the end of 2021. That’s really nice. Really, that’s the reality. And I and because they’re going to be so used to it that by that point, who is going to want to start going to jobs, which force them to be in the office and spend two hours a day commuting, spending, spending a whole waking day or week commuting is just crazy. So I think the trend is here to stay. And I think it will become a competitive thing for businesses and clients and people, people. Basic, all that old fashioned mindset, the resistance to it has gonna is going to have been broken through because people yeah, the lag out who didn’t want to change have been forced to change, and there’ll be bringing everyone else with them. So yeah, man, it’s a massive disruption, but hopefully a long term positive one,
Voiceover by Josh 17:08
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Andrew Bull 17:14
So there any other trends that are driving your future choices, then obviously, apart from remote learning? Um,
Curtis Anderson 17:21
so I mean,
Andrew Bull 17:22
like, I got overwhelmed, for example, I’m thinking about digital overwhelmed that there’s just too much noise and distraction? Is that something you’re thinking about? Yeah,
Curtis Anderson 17:32
I mean, so certainly in the way that we’ve kind of structured our platform, it’s, you know, there is always too much to ever possibly learn. And it’s quite easy, I think, when people start thinking about kind of, like digital learning, and what it is that they want, the people that they’re, you know, training to learn is to just give them everything and say, you know, here it is go away, and kind of try and make sense of it, then maybe, you know, some kind of like token gestures towards kind of like breaking stuff down. But, you know, the kind of core of what it is we’re trying to do is to, you know, make sure that the content is structured in such a way that it doesn’t overwhelm the end user. So we don’t want people going onto our platform and suffering immediate cognitive fatigue, and not being able to learn anything, it doesn’t do anything for the person trying to learn. It certainly doesn’t do anything for the learning outcomes at the end of it. So if you’re in a business environment, and you want someone to learn a new kind of process, if they’re already kind of, you know, frustrated, because they haven’t been able to find what it is that they’re expected to learn. for, you know, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, half an hour or so. They’re just not going to learn, they’re not going to, you know, have an outcome. And that is a positive one. So, yeah, we’ve made sure that with our platform, you should be able to find whatever it is that you’re looking for within three clicks.
Andrew Bull 18:58
Great. Do you do the mum test, like, for example, I know if something’s too complicated, and this is not a sexy thing as you My dad is worse than my mom. So it’s totally not sexist. But my mom is the one I communicate most often with. So I’d say, I know if something’s too complicated if my mum can’t get it straight away, so and obviously is very switched on people who are using technology to make stuff all the time, it’s very easy when we’re testing our stuff to think, Oh, this is so simple and easy to understand. How do you get over that that problem? Um, so for the first couple of
Curtis Anderson 19:33
months of the lockdown, my dad was actually shorting with us. So I was using him as a bit of a testbed. So yeah, it was very much the dad test for me. And so, yeah, it was a case of kind of putting in front of me and saying, Can you find this Can you find that? And yeah, so he was, yeah, it was exactly that actually, for at least a couple of minutes of, you know, kind of user testing. Primarily because my dad is a complete technophobe, I am his tech support guy, with pretty much everything to do with, you know, via email or, you know, kind of setting up his phone.
Andrew Bull 20:10
He comes from though I know, because actually, I used to do a very technical job in the film industry. And part of my plan of two years ago was to be less involved with technology. But actually, there are I don’t think it’s very possible to escape technology. And so I think we just have to think about how we mitigate technology being everywhere. And like, sometimes take a break from it as well, which is why I’m growing my call jets and cucumbers in the garden, to have that that off moment. Is this your Is this your first app courteous that you’ve designed?
Curtis Anderson 20:42
So I suppose it’s our, probably our second really. So when Tim and I first got started, we actually created an app, which we’ve kind of sunsetted now called experience, which was, and it was kind of the same, though, it got to the point where we realized that we weren’t actually being ambitious enough with what it is that we were trying to do. So we after six months of development, we kind of Yeah, mothballed it, scrapped it, and then started work on on work there. So yeah, the point of that was we needed to kind of like, create new foundations on which to kind of build work there. And experience just wouldn’t have supported that. So yeah, it’s our first kind of app proper. Well, certainly mine. Anyway, Tim, my business partner, and he’s very much a full stack developer. So he has built several apps. And yeah, so I have to rely very much on him for kind of, you know, deciding what tech stack is we’re going to be using. Yeah, I’m very much in the realms of kind of a UI, UX, learner experience, user journey, etc.
Andrew Bull 21:53
Great, awesome. And what what attracted you to building an app in the first place for as a business? What, what’s the use case for you for doing it.
Curtis Anderson 22:03
So my background is very much in the kind of learning, learning technology side of things. So used to kind of work in the defense sector, as well as kind of private and public sector corporate training, in kind of edtech, as well, or some elements of lead to attack. And the thing that most kind of, like drove me into kind of a, this was having so many frustrations with all the kind of offerings that I was kind of provided with, I think, particularly in the defense sector, it’s, there are very few apps or kind of applications or platforms, which work in the defense sector, because of, you know, how kind of secure everything has to be. So that was one of the kind of, I suppose trigger points for me was spending three years working with a very much a subpar platform, knowing that there were all these other kinds of technologies out there, which we could amount with amalgamate into an app and just make that experience for not just the kind of end user, but for the people actually creating content and, and kind of administrating these learning systems. And then in platforms, just making their lives simpler, easier, better. And it was it was very similar for Tim. So Tim was kind of he was working very much in edtech. So in universities, and whatnot. And yeah, he had very similar experiences with some of the more monolithic platforms that are out there. So yeah, we wanted to create something a bit more agile, a bit fresher and built on more modern architecture.
Andrew Bull 23:43
Nice. Nice. Well, I’m glad. I’m glad you’re driven by a mission rather than money. That’s really great. Yes. And so can any business make an app right now? Right now? Because apps is apps everywhere, right? And there’s just so many of them can can any business go out there and make one? I mean,
Curtis Anderson 24:02
yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s one of those kind of, I suppose questions where I think the the immediate follow up question would be, you know, should you? And so, yeah, I mean, you can go to an app developer and say, Hey, make me an app to kind of, you know, do this feature or function. But I think, I don’t know, if you’re, say an independent clothing store. It’s certainly not worth you going out there and making your own app. There already, you know, kind of apps out there that you can leverage to, you know, kind of grow your business without all the kind of like the stress and heartache of going through the whole kind of development lifecycle. So yeah, if you’re an independent clothing store, I’d recommend using something like Etsy or eBay, or one of the many other kind of apps that will certainly give you a much broader appeal. They’ll give you an immediate audience and they’ll go You know, they’ll help you do all the other things like payment, etc. You wouldn’t have to mess around with, you know, integrating other third party tools into it or Sure, or even having to deal with developers. I mean, yeah, they’re the developers a great people. But yeah, the whole kind of development lifecycle can become quite frustrating.
Andrew Bull 25:26
Yeah, I can, I can imagine. And, and actually, I was reading in the news today, some interesting thoughts come to me reading the news about Apple. But I’ve seen a story about how Apple was starting to demand a certain amount of money, or percentage from apps on the App Store. I think I got this right. And so basically, basically, you could you know, if they’re not making money off you, and you’re in some way making money, they won’t update your app or let your app get onto the platform. Oh, well, yeah, there’s a really interesting story is on the BBC today. And it just made me think about actually, it’s not just about making an app, but it’s also where you build it as well. Because I strongly believe you need to own the land that you operate on. Right. Yeah. And if your app is just built through the app store, or through the Google equivalent, and that’s the only place it exists, then you don’t really own the your land, you know, you can get turfed off any time, which I think is the point where these people are complaining that they can’t afford to pay 30% to Apple necessarily. And I just think, uh, do you have any thoughts on that? I mean, because your app at the moment is, is in the is on your own website, shall we say on your own?
Curtis Anderson 26:40
So yeah, right. Yeah, yeah, that’s right. So I mean, we, first of all, I haven’t heard about that story. It’s, I suppose interesting to say the least, I’m not sure how fair it is, I suppose to to people. But yeah, I’d have to read a bit more about it, really. But yeah, certainly, our our platform is very much a web app. So we, it’s cloud hosted on our own kind of, you know, cloud servers. We Yeah, so it was important to us to basically have that kind of like complete ownership and complete control over things. To make sure that we could Well, certainly that we’re not going to get kind of like turfed off, you know, the Apple App Store or you know, Google Play. But you know, at some point in the future, we will be kind of like looking towards building native apps. So you know, there will be an iOS app, and there will be an Android app.
Unknown Speaker 27:38
Curtis Anderson 27:39
yeah, I think that that certainly Kind of,
Andrew Bull 27:42
yeah, it’s interesting. Two things. Yeah. I think hopefully, by the time, you get to the point where you’re looking at having a app in the app store, and so on these things that have been dealt with that there’s anti competition probes that are going on. Yeah, with the EU, which are going to be dealing with this. I’ve just just briefly looked at the story here now, basically, yeah, it’s Yeah, like people just saying that Apple have said they’re going to reject, like updates to apps for bug fixes and new features, unless we submit to their demand of 15 to 30% of revenue, either, yes. They’ve told us unless we comply, they’ll remove the app. So yeah, interesting. That’s
Curtis Anderson 28:19
a bit kind of, you know, hostage and ransom me.
Andrew Bull 28:24
This. This is the problem with them owning the marketplace. I think. And I think that’s why it will become, it’ll become a big issue. And I don’t think they’ll be able to carry on doing that. I think you have to have to allow another. It’s a bit like what happened with the Google Shopping right at the top of Google that now other shopping marketplaces are at the top of Google Shopping. And I think it’s going to be like that, that there’ll be other app stores on your devices. I
Curtis Anderson 28:55
think that’s what will happen. Yeah, I mean, it’s some, I suppose one of those things with them. I mean, obviously, jailbreaking kind of Apple devices is, you know, certainly in my circle, seems to be kind of increasingly popular as people try and kind of break away from, you know, being kind of only being able to kind of get apps that have been vetted by Apple. But yeah, it’s just, I suppose, quite interesting. I mean, we, you know, kind of going back to what you said about kind of, you know, owning your own land, we want to make sure that, you know, we can’t just be kind of like turned off in that way. And, you know, we make sure that our apps, our web app, even can be accessed via a browser, which kind of links in to what you’re saying kind of before about some, you know, everyone increasingly doing things through their browser and yeah, and then just kind of accessing everything through that.
Andrew Bull 29:53
Great. Did you have any big roadblocks to overcome while you’re building your your app? Yeah.
Curtis Anderson 30:00
The probably the two biggest that come to mind, the somewhat kind of, I suppose Kefka esque kind of situations we found ourselves in with certain elements of internet infrastructure, I suppose, namely, the Great Firewall of China and Google ads. So I don’t know whether or not your listeners would have encountered any of this themselves before. But yeah, so the suddenly the Great Wall of the Great Firewall of China anyway, and we were doing some work with one of our kind of strategic business partners who were offering or they’re going to be offering anyway, foundation. Year international students, basically courses before they go on to do their undergraduate degrees at quite a large university group in the UK. So and this is very much an ongoing thing is, most of their students now aren’t going to be able to travel from China, to the UK in order to kind of, you know, do everything. And so they wanted to be able to deliver it as a, as a remote option into China. So everything seems to get in really well, we were kind of trying out the platform, we’ve managed to get some folks over in China to try it out. And it all seemed to be working quite nicely. And then we got the unfortunate message, saying that they’d had to use a VPN to access it. So everything then got thrown into disarray, because obviously, we can’t expect people to have VPNs to kind of gain access to our platform. So that’s still very much a kind of ongoing thing, once we try and kind of figure out why it is that people can’t access it, because everything, all the tests that we can do from here in the UK suggest that it should be accessible there. The domain seems accessible, etc. But yeah, for some reason, it’s Yeah, they just got, you know, 404. Message logging on. Yeah, it’s quite frustrating, particularly, because we’ve got no means of finding out what it is that, you know, the kind of blocking it for. So we might be able to change things. Yeah, the other thing that we’ve experienced is with Google ads, so the the first Google Ads campaign that we that we ran, for some reason most to get as blocked or suspended. And I don’t know whether or not you’ve ever had any kind of experience like this with Google ads. But
Andrew Bull 32:33
no, I mean, I’ve run lots of Google ads. But yeah, I’ve not been blocked yet.
Curtis Anderson 32:37
So and we still don’t know why. I mean, as far as we were concerned with the with the ad, it simply said something along the lines of, well, this is still back in the experienced days. It was, you know, kind of trial experience, you know, our LMS blah, blah, blah. And yeah, it got blocked, and we can’t figure out why and they weren’t lift the suspension. And every time we while we stopped doing it in access to place really over a year ago now. Every time we phoned up and tried to get some information out of them, the kind of customer service person would get to the point at taking our customer number and then saying, Oh, yeah, I can’t have any further conversations with you. I can’t tell you why. I’ve got to end the call, unfortunately. So yeah, it’s
Andrew Bull 33:24
bizarre. That seems just totally crazy. They can’t even tell you. Yeah, again, that’s an anti, you know, that seems like an anti competition thing. Really? Yeah. I
Curtis Anderson 33:35
mean, it was impossible to tell, because we can’t actually find out any more information than the fact that we’re blocked. But it’s quite interesting. If you if you, you know, Google it. There are plenty of people that have, you know, kind of had the, you know, very much the same issue.
Andrew Bull 33:52
And are you sure you’re you’re the name work bit wasn’t used by some undercover spy beforehand? And that’s Oh,
Curtis Anderson 34:00
I’m not sure. So we haven’t. So this was. So at the time. We rebranded around January of this year, because we were previously going by the name, nucleus. And that turned out to be nem. I think there was another organization over in India that was using a similar name. And frankly, it just wasn’t that kind of original name. So we did a bit of a rebranding exercise and swapped over to work in January. But we haven’t. Well, we just discovered that there wasn’t really much point in kind of going back down that route anyway, because we were having quite a bit of success using LinkedIn ads. I think with LinkedIn ads as well, because we’re very much a business to business. Sales wise, it actually allows us to get stuff in front of, you know, the people that we’re after a lot easier rather than, you know, with Google ads, where I think it probably would have been a bit more difficult to actually get it kind of like focus down to the the exact people that we wanted Get in front of
Andrew Bull 35:01
brilliant I yeah, it’s hot. Yeah, you have to qualify them out in the advert. But yeah, there’s a lot more data that you can use on LinkedIn to
Voiceover by Josh 35:10
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Andrew Bull 35:29
What do you get to switch off from work? Are you are you a digital addict yourself? Have you always got your phone with you and your headphones?
Curtis Anderson 35:38
Unfortunately, do I very much have to force myself to kind of put it down. I’m very much one of those people who wakes up or that I at the moment, it’s about five o’clock in the morning and just kind of look over at my phone start kind of browsing. Normally, it starts off with the news. And it just got myself over into kind of industry news, I suppose. And then I’m rolling out of my bed in the moment in my pajamas straight to my desk in my study. And yeah, then just staring at screens.
Andrew Bull 36:09
Hey, we’ve all done it. We’ve all done. Yeah, it says okay, you’re just I won’t tell you. What else have you done? Okay.
Curtis Anderson 36:15
No, no, it’s not that I think it’s just part of the current situation is that I suppose it’s my job. Yes, exactly.
Andrew Bull 36:24
First of all, I love drama club. There is no pajama club. All right, so so. So do you, what do you work on hard to get your work life balance? Right? Do you actually find time to switch off? Um,
Curtis Anderson 36:37
I do. I mean, I’m very much one of those people where as soon as I kind of decided I’ve had enough on any particular day, that’s it. I kind of I mean, I’m fortunate that I’ve got my own study. So I can just kind of, you know, close my laptop window downstairs, and then you know, kind of, you know, play with the dog or Yeah, have a conversation with my long suffering partner, Kate. And, yeah, it’s just kind of switch off. And I’m really kind of fortunate as well, that Kate largely sorts out my social life for me as well. And yeah, I have no veto over what we’re doing over the weekend that she’s decided that we’re doing something with data, because otherwise Yeah, probably just sit in the office. And yeah, it’s kind of Yeah.
Andrew Bull 37:20
Fair enough. Yeah, it’s important to switch off. And I think, you know, some something I’ve worked very hard on is structuring the time when I’m working, when I’m not, and trying to make sure definitely switch off because you know, your subconscious can be carry on processing stuff for a long, long time, which is actually going to tie you out. So you need to like try and give yourself time for nothing time. Time. Just empty. Exactly.
Curtis Anderson 37:42
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Andrew Bull 37:45
It’s all rubbish, talking about football or talk about whatever you like.
Curtis Anderson 37:48
Exactly. I mean, I think it gets quite bad sometimes where otherwise, so this is quite bad. Last night, I was dreaming about work. I woke up with a few actual kind of, you know, interesting ideas. But oh, no, is that good that you’re kind of dreaming about? Well, as long as you’re allowed, I suppose.
Andrew Bull 38:08
It means your subconscious is still thinking and processing problems. Yeah. Which is probably not great. at two in the morning, are known. Gigi, At what time? Do you stop looking at your phone at night? Do you look at your phone just before bed? Here’s a question for you.
Curtis Anderson 38:23
I do definitely Ah, they go bad. I mean, I’ve I’ve started using the, you know, the kind of nighttime mode, so I’m not getting that blue light after, you know, seven o’clock, but um, I do have quite a, you know, restless curiosity. I like to use that phrase anyway for it. But I think that mainly means I’m looking at just kind of, you know, just rubbish on the Internet of stuff. Okay, most often. So keep
Andrew Bull 38:49
scrolling, keep scrolling. Yeah, it’s good to get if you can get yourself and be more conscious and put that phone down is a really good way, not then waking up at three in the morning going. What was that idea or that thing? Because Yeah, there’s other times but anyway, it’s your it’s your choice, dude. It’s your choice. So just jumping back to apps and enterprises? What what are you forgetting about work bit for the moment? Hey, who cares about that? Anyway, we didn’t come here to talk about work. But now I’m only joking. We’re just thinking about enterprises choosing apps in general, what should you think about before choosing apps? Um,
Curtis Anderson 39:31
I mean, I suppose the first thing I’ll probably recommend doing is, it might be an obvious one is you know, asking the question, like will it solve a current or future problem? You know, if it’s not going to solve a current or future problem, then there’s no point getting it. You see it quite often those like someone, people see the kind of new shiny thing and think, Oh, that looks good. Like let’s get the new shiny thing and then it often ends up just being a you know, a time and money sink. So That’s normally the kind of first sense check that I’d recommend. Another one, which is like, you know, really big, you know, in this day and age is asking, you know, will it keep both mine and my users data safe? Obviously, with GDPR now, although that may well be going away, obviously, as we kind of go into 2021, when we actually kind of escape, you know, Europe.
Unknown Speaker 40:29
Curtis Anderson 40:30
you know, whether or not it still persists with things like Data Protection Act, you want to make sure that all of that kind of stuff is secure the penalties for it can be not so that they’re ridiculous, but, you know, they can be quite hefty. So always make sure that you’re going with someone that kind of understands about data security and uses encryption in as many levels as possible.
Unknown Speaker 40:55
How can I find out about the encryption? There you go.
Curtis Anderson 40:58
So what with encryption, I suppose just make sure that well, I don’t know, if you’re using some kind of web conferencing tool, for example. And I know, zoom was in the headlines for it quite recently, but making sure that end to end encryption or you know, kind of PGP, pretty good privacy, those kind of protocols are in place, and that, you know, kind of like passwords aren’t stored as, you know, plain text in some, you know, dot txt file somewhere. I see. Happens all the time, doesn’t it? So, yeah, it’s, there are various ways that you can kind of check for it. So, you know, making sure that they’ve got, you know, so an ISO standards. thing, it wasn’t 27,001 or something like that. Yeah. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 41:51
I think you’ve got that right. Actually, I do actually know about that one. So there you go. That’s nice people. Yeah.
Curtis Anderson 41:58
But yeah, just kind of looking out for those kinds of things with
Andrew Bull 42:01
whoever it is, that’s kind of, you know, kind of producing the app or setting it is always quite useful. I say that actually knowing that way, you know, work that isn’t actually kind of certified for it. We haven’t got the certification for that yet. But it is something that I had to live and breathe for a very long time. So it’s kind of ingrained in what we do. And I know a guy can help you out with the 20, fat 20,701. So if you need some help with that, let me know after Oh, yeah. So I’m just thinking about the the opportunity cost of changing apps, because I think too often, it’s very easy to look at the top line cost and the future ability of an app and go, Wow, I’m paying 200 pounds a month, this one over here is only going to cost me 30 pounds a month, but we’re not thinking about is actually the amount of time it’s going to take to unwind your enterprise from the current app, and wind it into the new one. And how much of a cost that is is a huge cost. Well,
Curtis Anderson 43:06
that’s it. I mean, you’re absolutely right with it. Certainly, you know, in my kind of particular sector, kind of, you know, learning platforms. The first thing people often look at is, you know, what was my you know, if it’s going to be, you know, kind of a SaaS offering is what my monthly costs going to be. But some, yeah, the whole kind of data migration, that particular exercise can often be extremely costly. So it’s almost certainly something that you must take into kind of, you know, kind of icons, consideration, if you’re picking something new
Andrew Bull 43:41
and training, right, and retraining for people training
Curtis Anderson 43:44
as well. So yeah, I mean, I think, I think actual, you know, the user experience is extremely important. And the intuitive intuitiveness I think, in this day and age, the more intuitive a platform is, the less training that it should incur. I mean, if if we think about kind of like Apple products like Apple are, you know, they want their products to be able to you can pick up an iPhone or an iPad, and it doesn’t matter how old you are, or what your kind of level of education is, you can just use it straight off the bat. You know, I think I remember somewhere, you know, that was it kind of like they managed to get like chimps or chimpanzees to kind of like use an iPhone, and I think it was a chimpanzee. I think they were using Instagram or something like that. It was just kind of, you know, swiping through night looking at, you know, videos and pictures of, you know, other kind of Tim’s and stuff. And I think, not to say that you should make it you know, easy enough for a chimp to use. I mean, that would be the gold standard, but you should, you should be looking for something that people can just pick up and use in order to kind of mitigate and lower that kind of, you know, that expense of training because training can be comical. streaming expensive, as I’m sure you know, say
Andrew Bull 45:02
should be highly intuitive, then I guess that’s what we
Curtis Anderson 45:05
ideally Yeah. Yeah, I would say so. And I think,
Andrew Bull 45:11
have you any final tips for enterprises thinking about, you know, taking onboard a new app or new LMS? piece of technology?
Curtis Anderson 45:21
Yeah. So I mean, certainly, if you’re going to kind of like, move over to a, you know, a new LMS, and you haven’t, if you haven’t had one before, then that’s probably great. If you’re moving over to a new LMS, that you might want to think about updating content and stuff like that. And whether or not that’s going to see a kind of return on investment. And it’s, you know, it’s very easy to kind of like just move from one platform to another. But if you’re still using old content on a new system, then it’s going to look a bit weird. And people particularly in, you know, kind of like the learning world, if you’re a learner, and you see things that are mismatched or don’t look right, they can become a distraction, they can really affect, you know, the learning experience and the learning outcomes at the end of it. So, yeah, take a holistic approach to it, when you’re kind of looking at, you know, migrating from one to another.
Andrew Bull 46:20
Brilliant. And so, I’m just returning to work work bit. What are the key benefits that you’re hoping people take away from? And I’m thinking like, quite a number, like, do the emotional or real human benefit of using Word bit to people?
Curtis Anderson 46:41
Yeah, so I mean, we’d like to think of it as being kind of, you know, a time saver. So, um, I mean, we kind of mentioned it earlier on, and, you know, we want people to not have to kind of, you know, get lost in Windows not get lost in tabs anymore, and not be, you know, hopping from app to app. You know, it’s, you know, at its core, we want people to be spending more time thinking, what I’m doing. And, you know, we think that kind of using a single tool can help actually create more coherence, more cohesion within the team, and a great consensus amongst the people that are using it.
Andrew Bull 47:21
Brilliant. Okay, and where can people go? If they want to learn more about your app, then?
Curtis Anderson 47:26
Sure. So they can either go to our website, which is work bit.io. And if they want to contact me directly, they can email me at Curtis at work bit.io they can check us out on LinkedIn, of course. So that’s linkedin.com slash company slash work bit, or they can follow our blog on medium, which is medium.com slash work as well.
Andrew Bull 47:47
Okay, awesome. Well, thanks for coming on the show today, Curtis, I think we learned a lot about your software and your approach to LMS. And I’ll do like that idea of bringing a lot of these disparate technologies and communication tools together. So congratulations for doing that. That’s brilliant. That’s Yeah, thanks. And I’ll see you soon. I really enjoyed that conversation with Curtis. He’s a guy who’s got so much to offer. And I’m really interested in where he’s taking work bit with his co founder. And I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on what they do. And I think if you’re considering getting a learning management system in place for your business, then I think you should definitely take a look at work there, I think it could be a very good option. One final point I’d like to make is about opportunity cost. I think too often, we are attracted to the shiny Enos of new apps and new technology. And we look at what we’ve already got. And we look at what could be an improvement. And we’re so excited by maybe the saving in the monthly saving, or x or y feature that we don’t actually think about the cost of taking on that new technology, and how much time and energy and resources is going to cost us as leaders and also is also going to cost our teams. So I think if you are going to start using a new app or software, you really need to do a cost benefit analysis, and really understand what you’re going to get out.
Voiceover by Josh 49:28
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