Knowledge Process Automation

Knowledge Process Automation

In this episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey and Steve Shillingford, President & CEO of DeepSee.ai talk about knowledge process automation. Knowledge process automation (KPA) helps organizations automate workflows and adapt to their own business knowledge library to make better-informed business decisions faster. Listen and learn more on how to empower your team to be more efficient and generate more revenue.

Covered In This Episode

Process automation is the use of certain technology to automate routine, standardized processes in order to assist knowledge workers in an organization. This is the new age of knowledge processing. By using KPA, businesses are able to make more informed critical decisions. With that, they prevent errors in business decisions that can sometimes lead to company failure.

Find out what Steve Shillingford and Matt DeCoursey have to say about knowledge process automation.

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Highlights

  • Steve Shillingford backstory (1:23)
  • Negative Knowledge (2:50)
  • Automation in business (6:02)
  • Valuations that software companies get (11:20)
  • Steve Shillingford’s first big hurdle (14:55)
  • On transparency and directness in business (26:19)
  • Key ingredients in knowledge transfer (30:22)

Key Quotes

While money is precious, the most precious asset a startup has is time.

Steve Shillingford

I think when it comes to change people don’t like it. They don’t want it. They don’t usually adapt.

Matt DeCoursey

The realization that sometimes you have to sit back and be honest about the fact that the people that helped you get from level 0 to 10 sometimes aren’t the people that are going to help you get from level 11 to 5000 and that’s that organizational honesty.

Matt DeCoursey

AI has been a buzzword for quite some time, and knowledge process automation is gaining in popularity right alongside AI. Be sure you’re in the know on knowledge transfer by tuning in to this episode.

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Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00.00

Matt DeCoursey

And we’re back for another episode of Startup Hustle Matt DeCoursey see here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. So all of you know I love knowledge and I love transferring it and I love talking about it and exploring it. But. How do you process the automation of it. That’s what we’re going to get into today with today’s guest and you know the company and founder that we have on the show today is on our top Salt Lake city startups list so congratulations there before we get into who that is. Today’s episode Startup Hustle is brought to you by fullscale io helping you build a software team quickly and affordably That’s my business everyone and I’d love to talk to you more about it. We really helped solve the problem of not having enough developers in North America and man that is a problem and we help you fix it now. That’s not what we’re going to well maybe we will talk about that I don’t know who we never know what we’re going to talk about until we get into it but with me today I’ve got Steve Shillingford and he’s the president and CEO of DeepSea.ai, that’s deep sea dot ai there’s a link for that in the show notes straight out of Salt. lake city Utah steve welcome to Startup Hustle. Yeah, you know I like to get started in my conversations with a little bit about your backstory. So why don’t we just dive right in?

01:12.48

Steve Shillingford

Thanks, Matt it’s great to be here.

01:23.42

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, so you know this is my third startup. Um, I came out as a sort of enterprise big tech working for companies like Oracle and sort of cut my teeth there learned about sort of. How to grow and and and the discipline of large organizations but a lot of negative knowledge as I like to say about things I didn’t like and you know, kind of fell into my first startup back in 2007 and just never look back. It’s just something I’ve always liked to do and building, not just a company and a product but also the culture and you know having people that that are sort of similarly aligned is like that’s the real fun of the startup now. There are a lot of hard things too. But. But that’s why I continue to do it.

02:14.60

Matt DeCoursey

So you mentioned the term negative knowledge and I actually want to explore that for a minute because I think a lot of people that I talked to and even myself start a business based on. Like negative knowledge is the catalyst. It’s the things that we don’t like which turn into the problems that entrepreneurs want to solve like I mentioned at the beginning of the show my business full scale I started it because I had found success hiring developers in the Philippines but then I realized that. Really no, no one I knew was any good at it. So they all kept asking like how do I do it? How do? What do we do? So the more and more we looked at it. We’re like we should probably do something that helps our friends and peers next thing you know you got 250 employees and. A pretty robust business now with I’m at deep sea and once again deep see ai and you’re talking about digital transformation delivered I have a feeling that this is related to the fact that everyone talks about digital transformation and then no one seems to actually pull it off.

03:14.39

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, yeah, it’s 100 % correct it’s like getting in shape. You know we all know what we want to do when we’re in shape we want to rock around the beach and you know look great but getting there is really hard and sometimes you know it’s starting. And where do you start? and so you know the negative knowledge thing for me like the older I get the more confidently uninformed I am and I’m very comfortable I’m really comfortable with that. But what you know what? I what I do feel really.

03:42.43

Matt DeCoursey

Ah, yeah, I’m with you on that.

03:50.86

Steve Shillingford

Sort of animated about us I’ve seen enough cycles and enough patterns in tech over the last twenty-five years that you start to see you know the old Mark Twain quote you know, history never repeats. But it often rhymes I mean that’s never been more true than in tech where you see these patterns recycle where. You know there’s like a sort of an orgy of spending in venture capital and they fund all these feature companies and these feature companies get a little traction and then they get rolled up into bigger companies and then pretty soon you know the buyers are exhausted because they don’t know what to buy. They’ve got the paradox of choice everywhere and they’re really just looking for a solution. And so in the world of digital transformation. This was never more profound than you know we had started the company kind of in late eighteen but we all like the world changed for us in whatever March of 2020 and I never saw more. Sort of aggressive adoption of new and interesting technology in the fortune 500 that I did during that sort of you know 2020, 2021 period where companies really large companies largest banks in the world largest. Consumer package good companies in the world. Got really caught where they were sort of using instead of really implementing technology. They were sheosing low-cost labor arbitrage to solve. You know what are really problems that are great for automation and you know, kind of start you on the journey of digital transformation. And then you know it’s really hard to bring somebody in an office in a foreign country. But at least you can bring them there. You can bring fiber give them all the equipment but when they have to go home and do the same work on a hotspot over a 5G network with a mobile phone and a laptop It’s really pretty hard and all of a sudden. The systemic risk starts to show up and so that’s that was some of the kind of ah sort of tailwind that we were able to take advantage of as I like to say we were COVID positive during that moment because that’s really where we were able to sort of prove out the value of doing sort of automation. And we’ve been and we haven’t looked back ever since.

06:02.66

Matt DeCoursey

I hear you on the automation thing you know, having hundreds of employees in the Philippines I’ve run into that a lot because you in some of these countries so you have skilled labor and then you have labor you know and and with the just regular labor. I mean there’s. Not a lot of differentiation in between people so it drives the price down so you know what Steve’s referring to is a lot of countries. You just throw bodies at it just because it’s super affordable. So why do we want to innovate? Why do we want to? Automate. And I’ve gone through that a little bit myself because I’m also the founder of Gigabook which you know here in the us it’s almost rude if you ask for an appointment and doesn’t send a scheduling link at this point but I’ve gone through this over the last well I mean here you know I’ve been I’ve invented a platform that does it and I you know I’ve rolled that out to our. Our team. You know 3 and four years ago and I’ll be honest, a couple people I felt like I’d just shown them fire. You know, but the idea of it. It wasn’t well. Why would I want to do this I’m like because so you don’t have to send 6 emails back and forth asking when you’re available and then you look at the scale of things. And that’s something that you mentioned as you get as you’ve gotten older. You have a bigger appreciation for the things you don’t know because man for me as well. That’s vast and infinite and I’ve also gained as my company’s gotten bigger I’ve got bigger respect for like the. The mass. You know like the idea that making any kind of change in a big company is kind of like trying to turn a battleship around in a swimming pool. You know it’s just really difficult so when it comes to just.

07:39.79

Steve Shillingford

Now.

07:46.23

Matt DeCoursey

I think when it comes to change people don’t like it. They don’t want it. They don’t usually adopt it So how do how does your product get past that very first barrier.

07:54.29

Steve Shillingford

Well, there’s you know I mean you hit on a couple really key points here. 1 is like the larger the organization the more diffuse responsibility is across the organization and so you know a lot of times. It’s not a battleship in a swimming pool. Battleship and quicksand because you can’t really affect change given kind of the narrow specialization that any 1 person has but what happens and we saw this during the sort of you know the lockdown or whatever the 2020 was we saw that. All of a sudden it exposed real what I would call systemic risk to the business and so like if you if you pivot back to technology for a second the last 10 years. We’ve seen really in enterprise 3 trends that I think all kind of lead us to where we are today. Back in the kind of 2010 s it was all about big data like we went from Oracle SQL databases structure. You know well understood to like there’s data everywhere whether it was network telemetry or just you know more messaging passing through the pipes and then you know around 2017, 2018 you had this. Massive sort of leap forward in technologies that are sort of quote-unquote ai I’m trying to avoid buzzwords here but like things like Google and Toyota and Facebook and others were open-sourcing these new models that we’re able to interpret and really understand language. Something like they call it natural language processing and those 2 components being able to take a lot of data because we have infinite compute and being able to you know, pull words that humans would understand versus digits or you know code and then you couple that. Those 2 things with just the ability to deliver this stuff over cloud-based architectures. You get this like I should be automating my invoice matching system I should invo you know my payment reconciliation. Why why do I have 100 people doing that when I can only when I only need 10 and so I looked at that trend and. To me that all looks like business process automation circa 2005 right? except it was workflow and it was passing you know message buses so you look to companies now they made a rational decision to sort of outsource but where they’re really looking at the future they’re saying you know the risk. To me in outsourcing is well think about market disruptions forget about covid I mean last time I heard there’s a shooting war over in Eastern Europe right we’ve had all kinds of market disruptions in the last two or three years that have really exposed these weaknesses so you want something that’s resilient you want something that’s.

10:43.85

Steve Shillingford

Capable of producing not just automation and ROI there but I do something once and I automate it. You know I save some money I do it a million times I have insight into a process where the trap data was never before exposed and I didn’t understand what I didn’t even know to ask. And so we’re trying to gear our platform on our solution to large enterprises so that they not only get the benefit at the sort of you know level one ROI risk mitigation. But when they do it over and over again. They all of a sudden are you know, being able to sort of be more competitive in their.

11:20.17

Matt DeCoursey

You know there’s so many people have talked to me over the years about the valuations that software companies get and you know and they’ll so sometimes they’re like I don’t get it I do software shows up to work every day.

11:19.77

Steve Shillingford

Various verticals.

11:34.13

Steve Shillingford

It really does and, you know, the thing about it is is is I mean what is it software eats the world like that was present ten years ago or however, long ago when they when Mark Andreessen and Ben Horowitz started their fund I mean they literally saw the world you know and. They were looking at infinite compute cloud-based architectures right? All the advances in sort of software generally and I think what we’re seeing now is everywhere this I’m so I’m saying broadly in quotes this. Effort to digitally transform used to be like I need to do it because you know it’s it’s advantageous now it’s like existential and I hear and I talk to a lot of fortune 500 business executives. Not necessarily technology executives and they’re going. You know I don’t know what my tech folks have been doing. But I’m feeling pressure from the very top to do this more and it feels like a journey of a thousand steps and I would say well you know I got to start someplace and so you know you start with the obvious and the easy and you work your way into it and I think that’s what we’re trying to provide with our solution and and a lot of it is frankly some of it’s. Almost like ah counseling right? It’s not consulting. It’s like okay this is how you think about the organizational behavior and this is how you think about implementing and planning and so yeah, it’s every organization’s a little bit. You know, further or behind and you just kind of you know, size your audience and work with them. But I think everybody’s energized by it.

13:06.16

Matt DeCoursey

I like the counseling over consulting I do a lot of that I just say that because you know we get you know a couple hundred leads a month and honestly we’re looking for 4 out of that.

13:19.19

Steve Shillingford

Then yeah.

13:21.74

Matt DeCoursey

Like 4 new clients out of like 150 or even 200 and we do go through a counseling process so you know and this is and we’ll emulate this for a moment and hello prospect. How are you? Oh I’m having a terrible time. This sucks I can’t keep people here I get 2 applicants when I have a job I had an offshore team somewhere else and they were terrible and you kind of have to go through this like purging.

13:45.51

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, yeah.

13:47.59

Matt DeCoursey

Of all of the misgivings mistakes and everything else that has become a problem and then you know you said something at the very beginning of the show. Well, there’s so much stuff out there that entrepreneurs you get this like clouded view of what you can could. Or should be doing so much to the point that for many people that aren’t inherently decisive that they just they get the paralysis analysis you know and or you know analysis paralysis. However, you want to put it one of the 2 kind of one and the same there. But you start to wonder you’re like what should I be doing. How should I be doing it and really in the end. All people want to know is that that they have some support that they have some backup and that on many days that other people are embracing the same thing and you know like at my business the bigger we’ve gotten the easier. It’s.

14:18.40

Steve Shillingford

Well.

14:38.46

Matt DeCoursey

Become for us to sell because it’s like okay, there’s clearly a success formula here that someone’s using and you know all this and you know that kind of adoption now. What for you at deep c and once again, that’s deep SEEAi there’s a link in the show notes so you can learn more about them.

14:38.70

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, yeah.

14:55.77

Matt DeCoursey

So what was the first big hurdle that you had to climb over or well or or or dig under or go around or explode to get you know there’s always anytime, there’s a hurdle There’s always ah some obstacles in the way to change that. But you have to get over first or you’re not getting anywhere.

15:13.77

Steve Shillingford

Yeah I um I mean that’s, I could talk about that question for a week but I would say when I think about so I’m a student of Steve Blank and his lean startup philosophy. I really I encourage anybody who’s trying to do a business It’s I think it’s Steve Blank Dot Com and it’s an amazing resource but I was fortunate enough to take a few classes from him in grad school and I remember sort of having this epiphany about you know self-actualization as an entrepreneur and a founder is like. That’s like job one and so when you think about your job as ah as a CEO of a startup. It’s really simple. You really only have 3 jobs you need to set true north and you need to be constantly assessing the world the market your ability as you gauge true north I always talk about Shackleton and his journey to the south pole and great book called endurance. But if you look at the actual path he took it looks like someone had a seizure trying to draw a straight line because it’s just a bunch of like turns and corners and back you know backtraces and. And that’s what the startup looks like it looks like I know where I want to go directionally but the path there is going to be informed by what’s in front of me today. What are the weather conditions funding conditions. All of those kinds of things the second 2 jobs are really. You know they’re hard but they’re also quite straightforward I mean you got to go find folks either in your network or folks that you can you know recruit to the company and then let them do what they’re good at too many times founders feel like they have to be across everything and I’m not saying that there aren’t times you have to take out the trash or you have to. You know, clean a window but you need to be comfortable that the people you’ve brought in to do jobs whether that’s CTO or you know head of sales or head of product like you need to be comfortable that they are capable and if you’re not if you’re doing their job for them. Then you have the wrong people so you got to be really kind of. You know, pretty clear-headed about that and then finally you should always be mindful of how much money you have in the bank because at the end of the day. Nothing else matters if you run out of money. The greatest ideas are the ones that get funded and keep money in the bank. Not you know the ones that were great but you know you couldn’t keep money in and so. Like to sort of think about my time allocation which is like a portfolio in the market like it changes all the time. Sometimes you’re fundraising full-time job. Don’t pretend. It isn’t sometimes you’re you know recruiting and sometimes you’re like man I got new information today. How does that affect what I originally thought the company’s hypothesis was.

18:02.37

Steve Shillingford

Think you start there and sometimes you’re starting in a market I would say that that is a brand new market and that’s a you know, never been seen before market or you know I invented. This thing that has both a phone and an iPod and a mini-computer in it and you could argue that’s derivative but you could also argue the packaging of that was you know, fantastically new. Um, in our case, we felt like we were going after. Ah, new space that was sort of an offshoot or an evolution of an existing segment or an existing kind of marketplace and so the first thing you want to do is you want to build that first solution you want to get a lot of customer or I should say prospect friendlies or otherwise, you want to get their feedback. You want to make those turns tight like the iteration should be short. They should be rapid and then you want to win that first customer and that’s called sort of customer discovery in the lean startup mantra. You get one of those get them right and they love it despite how ugly and clunky and buggy. It is then you go out and figure out. Is there one of those in the world or are there a thousand and when you get to the point where you’re tam or your total addressable markets big enough then you know you got a business and then you do all the company business bullsh like stuff like you do i.

19:22.56

Matt DeCoursey

You can so you can say bullshit on this show. It’s okay that that’s like that’s on the white list like yeah, but by the way, so just so you know we when we started this show four and a half years ago

19:29.18

Steve Shillingford

Okay, okay, good I have a tendency.

19:38.41

Matt DeCoursey

We just hit the mark all episodes explicit because we started the show to complain about entrepreneurship and to tell the real story of it and if I can’t say fuck then I cannot do that. So yeah, you’re good. You’re good. You’re good.

19:47.64

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, Apron brother A you know like.

19:54.31

Matt DeCoursey

And but and by the way this seems like a good time to mention that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by Full Scale io where we help you build a software team quickly and affordably you can reach out to fulls scale io and schedule an appointment to talk to me and you can say fuck all you want? We’re okay with that.

20:10.25

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, yeah, well, that’s part of the yeah I Um yeah I have a tend to let that go. So I appreciate that though I think I think the challenge in a lot of ways is you know? and I have to say I’ve seen this.

20:13.41

Matt DeCoursey

I’ll probably say it before you do so.

20:28.95

Steve Shillingford

In the entrepreneur community and certain geos where entrepreneurs go around high-fiving each other because they raise money and I’m like.

20:34.18

Matt DeCoursey

Now I hate that man I hate that like at some point that you know we get into that a lot and you know I don’t want to go I don’t want to get to climb up on the soapbox too high because I might not get off of it I have a couple things. So first off it is http://steveblan.com and he’s ah he’s a professor at Stanford Entrepreneur Professor if you mentioned that and he’s got some cool stuff. He’s got a lot of nice old startup tools and stuff like that I really appreciate people that put that kind of stuff out in the world. Um, I had a couple comments about you. You mentioned finding the true north. You know I think one of the things the biggest mistakes that early-stage companies and just founders make in general you talk about spreading yourself too thin, but it’s also trying to be good at 6 different things before you’re good at 1 of them and I, you know, I’ve shielded myself from a lot of the noise that exists.

21:14.46

Steve Shillingford

The heat.

21:24.44

Matt DeCoursey

In my world and so I don’t get as many people that I’m not in front of as many people that want advice on their big idea that half the time when I was doing that and talking to a lot of people here’s the 5 things we’re going to take over the world. Okay, what are you good at now. Well, we haven’t really started any of these. Okay, do you have any funding. No, we don’t have any resources right now. Okay, so you have no butter to spread on no bread and but you’re gonna serve up four Michelin stars on 5 different slices and you know that’s the thing is like you like kind of like you mentioned pick one thing and get good at it now that might involve that look I’m not saying don’t.

21:46.41

Steve Shillingford

Now.

22:03.11

Matt DeCoursey

I’m not telling you to not test test test but you’re trying to see what you’re going to gain a traction channel on and then I like to say that yeah I’m looking for 10 I tried 10 things hoping that 1 works when I find that one thing I compare it to a crack that I now have to shove an elephant through. You know? So you’re trying to hurry up and do that but in the beginning you can’t do it because you’re just pushing and pushing but you got to keep pushing another thing that you mentioned you know talking about like the people that you have led him to do their jobs and all of that and yeah I’ve been using a term. That I don’t know I made it up I don’t know if it’s a real thing or not but I’ve been talking about organizational honesty and this starts at the founder level so you talk about the people that you have and I was recently on a show with the CTO from linktree and you know they’re a new newly. Proclaimed unicorn company. They’ve got 20000000 monthly users he had worked at a lot of different companies and I said what’s 1 thing that you’ve learned that really stood out and he said you know this really stuck with me said. The realization that sometimes you have to sit back and be honest about the fact that the people that helped you get from level 0 to 10 sometimes aren’t the people that are going to help you get from 11 level 11 to 5000 and that’s that organizational honesty. And being open with yourself and I think that also is you talk about changes in direction. They just found Shackleford ship by the way. Did you see that? Yeah yeah, that only took what one hundred and fifty years so but yeah well and so with that you mentioned the like the seizure.

23:31.59

Steve Shillingford

I Got yeah I did. It’s amazing. Oh yeah.

23:44.91

Matt DeCoursey

Kind of written path. That’s what entrepreneurship is really like and that’s why when sometimes when I talk to I was giving an entrepreneur some advice recently and he told me the advice. He’d been getting I said man that really sounds like you were talking to an academic and not an entrepreneur he said well why do you say that Matt and I said.

23:44.91

Steve Shillingford

Yeah.

24:03.67

Matt DeCoursey

Because that advice goes from a to B to C to D to E to after G and that and never wants in any part of my plan my path or any of that because it’s actually like you’re trying to get to B but B isn’t attainable because you somehow needed to get to C before you got to b.

24:04.38

Steve Shillingford

Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

24:20.36

Matt DeCoursey

And then you realized that d was the place that actually had traction but then it started to kind of crumble because you spent too much time trying to get to b which wasn’t attainable so then all of a sudden. The alphabet went a DEFBC and that’s your reality if that’s the path. That’s the path.

24:36.59

Steve Shillingford

It’s it. It’s very nonlinear and you know the scaling people part so true. It’s I mean I’m um I’ve lived through it I’m living through it.

24:38.59

Matt DeCoursey

Then that’s the path. Oh yeah.

24:53.42

Steve Shillingford

And I’m very self-actualized about it. But it’s like the founder has to make the hardest decisions all the time and you know a funny story when my first um. My first course when I was in grad school I took from you know Steve Blank it was like entrepreneurship I don’t know 201 and there was someone teaching entrepreneurship 101 before him who this was that cal at the time who had never done a startup.

25:27.50

Matt DeCoursey

Hate that hate that I hate that? yeah.

25:28.69

Steve Shillingford

And I remember I remember why coming in and literally I was like I Really like this guy because he came in and he goes somebody tell me how you can teach something that you’ve never done before and actually have any credit like he just said it and I remember going that dude is transparent and direct in a very.

25:44.22

Matt DeCoursey

At least he owned it though at least he owned it because so I get myself in trouble man because I get invited to panels to be a guest and there’s like 3 people that want to teach talk to me about entrepreneurship that have never done it.

25:47.65

Steve Shillingford

Right? I.

25:56.59

Steve Shillingford

Um, yeah.

25:58.77

Matt DeCoursey

And I get pissed I’m like you do not have my attention. You don’t get me. You don’t understand anything about what I live through every day and the and but now the problem now as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to shut the f up a little more.

26:11.68

Steve Shillingford

Earth.

26:13.65

Matt DeCoursey

Because I don’t because the flip side of that is I end up getting yelled at because I’m not supporting this or that I’m like well okay, but this shit’s garbage.

26:19.96

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, well I just find you know and I know the cultures that I build in the startups that I’ve done I really like transparency from the top all the way down like transparency and directness like I suffer from an inability to sort of not say what I’m. Thinking and I really try like I’ve been told by my wife like sometimes I should cut 1 sentence short because it just like people get you know because the way you say stuff right? can be hurtful or can be perceived as offensive. But really what you’re trying to do is say look this is what I’m seeing.

26:49.60

Matt DeCoursey

Yep.

26:56.74

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah.

26:58.41

Steve Shillingford

And it sucks and so like I’m saying that to you because I value your contribution to making it not suck. So let’s talk about that and sometimes you know that’s a you just need to put your heads together. Sometimes that’s you know the wrong fit and the hardest thing. Is to be able to separate emotion because you probably like that person or you know obviously you hired them so you have confirmation bias or you know you think about all the pain and oh god what am I gonna do how am I gonna do that but I would tell you a couple things. In the history of capitalism. No one has been fired too early and two like I had a Vc one of my early venture capital you know supporters said when you know you know and you have to make the change whether that’s a person of a strategy like when you know you really really have. Sort of you know act on that because while money is precious. The most precious asset a startup has is time and I mean they can act much faster than the rest of the market. So if you’re wasting that then you’re really screwing yourself.

28:06.47

Matt DeCoursey

You know in regards to that and this is something so you talk about scaling people I mean dude, that’s the business I’m in and that is the least linear thing and you know and then for us too is you know we’re looking for the fact that top 5%

28:16.24

Steve Shillingford

Further.

28:23.70

Matt DeCoursey

Which means at a minimum I got to get 20 applicants to hire 1 which then turns you into a volume enterprise. So we’ve had to like learn how to streamline that how to assess people and the difference between like a technical assessment and who and who they are as a person. Like just because you can write code in a brilliant way does not mean I want you anywhere near my business you know because I mean some of those people might be I mean they might just be terrible to deal with or they might not have any passion for it and it’s just I mean so I’ve gone through that with. People that I’ve talked to about my business and they’re like well you should hire more people if this if you don’t have enough supply and there’s the demand I’m like yeah, it’s not quite that straightforward. So our hiring model is I refer to it as exactly and exact when we find people that fit our hiring model. We hire them. And then we figure out what we’re doing with them afterward because talented smart people do talented smart things and you know that’s the business we’re in and then the clients that we work with that’s another thing too I think as an entrepreneur and also like as a startup founder and you talk about transformation.

29:17.11

Steve Shillingford

Down.

29:31.33

Matt DeCoursey

Who whose world are you trying to transform as a client or a user because you can have all of the wrong clients and users and end up on that Shackleford path again because you’re chasing their shiny things around and maybe they don’t get it or they don’t want it and so like we’ve actually.

29:41.11

Steve Shillingford

Yeah.

29:50.55

Matt DeCoursey

Decreased the number of clients we have because we wanted to put more focus on the ones that get what we’re doing the way we’re doing it and they jive well with our model meaning like give me the smartest people you’ll find and I know they’ll find solutions rather than. People that are like okay I need the perfect candidate at one-third of the local price. What can you do for me Matt nothing because I’ve got someone else that already put them on their team. You know so my man do you get into that. So but we digress and we were talking about.

30:14.23

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

30:22.58

Matt DeCoursey

Knowledge process automation now knowledge is a tricky thing when it comes to transferring it. What do you think some of the key ingredients are because I have some very specific opinions on this I want to let you go first.

30:35.80

Steve Shillingford

Well as a former philosophy major who figured out that he couldn’t get paid to you know critique. Yeah, I Um I’ve thought a lot about what does you know what does knowledge mean and I think.

30:42.36

Matt DeCoursey

Been there. Did it with sociology.

30:52.20

Steve Shillingford

You know it’s been debated for thousands of years but I think in the context of DeepSea. We see. It’s actually quite scary how fragile and brittle some of the most important processes inside up bank or a. Food delivery manufacturer or you know, um, you know places where you think oh these guys are really you know they’ve got it down and they know what they’re doing you. You look behind the curtain and you go wow! That’s how you do it and you realize that. A lot of that process is informed by people who have been there for a long time who have this sort of legacy of just kind of like seeing that before and you know they’re like the subject matter experts that drive the apparatus. And those people you know they stay for a long time in these works and so when they get exposed to things like hey I’ve got some technology and I can do this and do that first thing they think of is that’s horseit I’m not going to do that because I’m not going to automate myself out of a job but what it’s really about is it’s about taking that institutional knowledge and that. Sort of experience and codifying it in a system that can be you know, scaled up and also scaled out so scaled up means you know if I’m labor constrained or if I’m you know sort of subject matter expert constrained. You know if I want to you know. Increase my growth or cut my cost or avoid getting fined right? I don’t have many options there I can’t just add more people if not tenable. But what I can do is I can put those people I’d say put those people in charge of the machines versus the machines replacing people and that’s kind of what we think about. When we deploy our solution and so to do that. There’s a whole bunch of technology like it can’t just be I’m going to digitize a bunch of like you know, documents and messages and you know web clippings etc I’ve got to understand the context that blue means a color versus a mood. Versus you know the velocity of wind right? like you. That’s that’s the hard part that machines really that’s called natural language understanding and that’s part of the innovation that you take the tech and you apply it to a problem and you deliver it as a service you know. I talk about this in my company all the time. No one gives 2 shits about the secure enclave inside the iPhone what they care about is it private is it more private than the other phones I use does it keep my stuff secure great check they don’t.

33:38.80

Steve Shillingford

Dig into all the technology and the Gorilla glass and all the amazing science that has been deployed in that in that apparatus they just go man. This is a great device I think I’m going to keep it with me everywhere and I think in the solution space we’re trying to say look there’s a way to not only. You know mine The knowledge of the organization but organize it in a way that you and the rest of your team can take advantage of it. That’s pretty appealing to people in very specific use cases but also broadly as they think about areas to sort of build in resilience and. Sort of back up and you know take advantage of all this great innovation.

34:18.73

Matt DeCoursey

You said something you talk about the people that are afraid to put themselves out of a job. First off, that’s a shortsighted way to think you know one of the things I remember when I was kind of feeling really old right now when I was about 25 years old and I had really kind of gotten serious about work. Yeah, so that’s how long it took folks 25 years but yeah I remember I had an early mentor who took a big interest in me and his name was bill and I said Bill. What do I need to do to get a better job here or you know a more important job or a higher pain 1 he said you have to. You have to make sure that you have someone ready to replace you when so we can move you up because we don’t want to create a gap because you’ve created a ton of value here and now so we have to weigh that against value you have yet to create somewhere else. So it’s the same thing and in a business and I run into this with.

35:02.73

Steve Shillingford

Right.

35:12.44

Matt DeCoursey

So run into this all the time because you know we end up with a client that wants their developers to interview ours before they hire them and they always find like well not always but a lot of time most of the time they find 10000 things that are wrong with them and then I get the founder kind of calls me back and like well my guys aren’t aren’t. Aren’t liking. Your guys is it because they’re worried that my guys are going to replace your guys and it’s a real question. It’s a real question so but and yeah, so we actually like created our whole messaging and everything around disarming that like go and tell your folks these are folks that are this is the cavalry.

35:35.86

Steve Shillingford

Behu man.

35:50.60

Matt DeCoursey

They’re coming into help. They’re coming in to do all of this stuff with you Not to replace you. This is the help and support that you’ve needed and wanted and you have a unique opportunity to be a leader here and I think that that you know that’s important stuff and that’s it’s easy for people to get past that and. You know? so I don’t know they just they don’t want to transfer the knowledge.

36:11.82

Steve Shillingford

Well I think I think there’s there’s you know there a couple different types of personalities but 1 is like you know I’m confidently uninformed and if you know at some point this company. You know my goal is to grow it. Into a very large platform, people always go. What’s your exit I go I don’t know I don’t care what I care about is if I build something of value. Someone’s gonna you know, want to be part of it but I remember you know someone said well you know are you a public company Ceo and I’m like no I’m not does that mean I can’t learn it I don’t know. But.

36:30.31

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah.

36:46.96

Steve Shillingford

That’s not what I’m focused on today what I’m focused on today is building a great product with a great team and trying to get proof points to get to the next island your point about like nonlinear. That’s how you have to think about it but the other thing I want to say is being a founder and entrepreneur is literally the loneliest job in the world. And people always tell you what they think you want to hear you have to be very mindful of personalities and filters and how the information’s being shaped whether it’s 3 people or 300 and you have to be a learning machine with what I mean by that is you have to be looking. For all the inputs, not one set. Not I always get good advice here but like you have to have all this input and then your job as the Ceo is to basically look for you know, signal and all that noise and then have the sort of intestinal fortitude to go. Yeah, this is where we’re going and like. i’ not sure. But I think this is where we’re going and I’m gonna be the first one out up the hill let’s go and if you built a culture that supports that I think you know you’re gonna be more successful than not.

37:56.48

Matt DeCoursey

Well and to do that last part that you mentioned so here’s the thing and that you know I’ve run into this. It’s like okay this is the Hill we’re going up and then some people I’m not bought into that all right cool. Well, I’ll be at the top of the hill because that’s where I’m going and you can get on this motherfucker or you can get off.

38:09.90

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, yeah.

38:16.15

Matt DeCoursey

And but that’s the hard part. That’s a hard part because sometimes you’re saying that to people that you like and people that have supported your stuff and whatever. But in the end it’s like you said it is the loneliest job. It is the most difficult it requires guts and sometimes stupidity I mean I say that in the and the smartest way possible.

38:30.38

Steve Shillingford

Yeah.

38:35.72

Matt DeCoursey

Because you know when you talk about when you define stupidity. It’s sometimes going into things without a full understanding about what you’re going to experience or find. Yeah, it sounds like entrepreneurship to me. So yeah, yeah.

38:45.36

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, well, it’s anited to pay and you know where entrepreneurs get really lost is when they’re fundraising or when they’re getting all these signals on different sources and they’re like I don’t know where to go I don’t know what to do and that’s where you’ve got to have conviction around the true north.

38:53.80

Matt DeCoursey

Um.

39:03.72

Steve Shillingford

But it’s like what is it dogmatically focused on the principle and pragmatically focused on how you get there and I think that’s at the end of the day how you do it.

39:11.36

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah I would love to find a way to quit celebrating fundraising as a startup success level because by the way so you know folks 90% of those articles that of the people that you read the articles about they’re going to fail all right? So ah, you know you talk.

39:24.80

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, you know what there’s is a great.

39:28.26

Matt DeCoursey

Talked about who’s creating jobs who’s creating revenue who’s creating profit.

39:31.76

Steve Shillingford

Do you remember? do you remember the old website I think it was http://fuck.com or it showed all the companies and they did reviews of venture capitalists and their experience of them like that was the real thing. Yeah, that was a real thing I think it got red-listed. But.

39:43.52

Matt DeCoursey

You know.

39:49.46

Steve Shillingford

What we need is a tech crunch for failure right? like tech crunch publishes all the funding but no one like to go find the failures because you can learn in failure. You can learn in you know things that didn’t work and frankly failure is a powerful teacher right? individually and collectively.

39:53.35

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah.

40:02.80

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, that’s ah I’ve had a lot of people ask my advice about you know hey I want to so I want to do a startup what should or I want to do a podcast. What should it be about probably about all the things you’ve done poorly because people are going to.. Trust me people want to look At. There’s a reason everybody slows down on the highway next to the wreck and and and takes a look at it but yet you could you could have those same people driving by the finish line at a marathon and they’re just going to drive faster.

40:34.91

Steve Shillingford

Yeah.

40:37.14

Matt DeCoursey

They’re like yeah who cares about that. So yeah, that was ah that was kind of the premise at which when I sat down with my business partner at Fullsca and often cohost we were like what should we do a podcast and he’s like well we shouldn’t do it about getting rich or being successful because no one cares about that they do but very briefly that what should we do about.

40:51.30

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, yeah.

40:56.81

Matt DeCoursey

Sort of all the stuff we’ve done poorly and just be honest about what it’s like and that this isn’t easy now. So now while entrepreneurship isn’t easy building your software and development team is when you go to Fullscale Io we help you build the software team quickly and affordably.

41:00.88

Steve Shillingford

Um, f.

41:13.42

Matt DeCoursey

If you’re more interested in learning about stuff and joining the conversation for Startup Hustle come on over to Facebook and join the Startup Hustle chat group you can find us all over the internet Startup Hustle is pretty easy to enter into a search field and you’ll probably come up with something we’ve created because we’ve been doing this for a while now. Like to end my episodes is start apostle with what I lovingly refer to as the founder freestyle say my episodes I’m not the only host of the show you probably already know that at this point make sure you tune in weekly for Matt Watson’s been doing his own show without me. We pushed baby bird out of the nest and he is doing. He’s having conversations with interesting and engaging people tune in weekly from Andrew Morgans as he talks about e-commerce and Amazon and join innovate her founder Lauren Conaway who Steve talks about all the stuff that I’m not brave enough to. Talk about in public forums. So I thank Lauren for being our advocate. Ah she advocates advocacy for Startup Husle there you go so here we hey I advocate it to I’m just like but I’m like you man like my wife says it too. She’s like. You should talk less I’m like well what do you mean? she like because you make a good point and then you start giving your opinions and you pass people off I’m like yeah but I’m right, it’s not about being right? Matt, it’s about well sometimes it has but.

42:29.62

Steve Shillingford

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, you know what we have a saying here. Do you want to be right? or do you want to be rich and I always try to make sure that you know being right isn’t about being principled and sometimes you’re right, You can still be Wrong. So.

42:43.40

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah. You know? Yeah, well so well, let’s talk about being right during the founder’s frees sale I’m going to go ahead and give you the my care that you know give you an opportunity to. Oh you can sing you can do poetry you can say whatever you want. However, you want to whoever you want. But I like to talk about the things that stood out from the show. But that’s your freestyle. So go ahead Steve.

43:09.92

Steve Shillingford

Yeah I can guarantee. Yeah I’m not going to sing a rap. Um I could go on and on about entrepreneurship. But what I would say is I think I have you know, success or failure I have.

43:14.42

Matt DeCoursey

A.

43:25.99

Steve Shillingford

Sort of a deep admiration for anybody who’s brave enough to try and go out and create something you know and I think that’s what it’s about and I think candidly That’s what makes a lot of our economic engine. You know here in our country work is because people take risk. And sometimes they succeed fabulously and sometimes they fail but along the way there’s this culture of you know, celebrating success but also celebrating failure and learning from it and you know negative knowledge for me is all about that. It’s like what can I learn How do I get Smarter. You know the only time I have is right Now. So Let’s figure it out make the most of it go from there.

44:07.63

Matt DeCoursey

It’s so much about you know we set into this very short finite amount of time to talk about a very time-consuming topic which is knowledge transfer and the whole process of it now knowledge transfer for me is something I’ve actually been. You talk about always learning so I’ve been in the weeds I’ve been studying the things that make people do genius stuff and with that. So and folks you may or may not hear more about this. Everyone keeps asking me like are you going to write a fourth book I just want to learn how people turn that switch on and off and I’ve learned a lot about it now when it comes to knowledge transfer I think there’s a few things that. Really put it in its most powerful states. First off is you know establishing a sense of clarity. What kind of knowledge are we trying to transfer and and and maybe why or what are we trying to understand and another thing is I think the most powerful versions come when it’s a mutual exchange like you and I are. We see each other as both having valuable knowledge that the other person wants and then it becomes kind of circular rather than just one direction one way or the other because you know it can pick up some speed. Um, you know I think that if there’s you know a mutual respect amongst those that are transferring knowledge. And I also I think that one thing when it comes to the most you talk about seeking knowledge transferring it. You got to always be ready to be a receptacle for it because I think the most powerful versions of knowledge transfer occur when they’re not scheduled or planned. Because there’s you know so people have asked I’ve written 3 books they’re like so what’s it like writing a book. It’s kind of like Shackleford’s path you know because yeah I can’t just what some people can’t I can’t just be like okay I’m gonna write today from 3 to 5 that is not how it worked for me and. Primarily I wrote all my books from Ten P M to 5 am because that just happened to be the time of the day that I had the least things assaulting my my thought process. So. We have a special visitor here come on in buddy. Well, here we hear you guys say hi Kaden hi-so normally I lock the door to the studio but I didn’t so since he came in at the right time. This is a freestyle. Are you an entrepreneur buddy? Yeah oh we love that don’t we.

46:13.15

Steve Shillingford

Firstly, yes, how you doin’ buddy?

46:26.74

Steve Shillingford

Well trained.

46:29.86

Matt DeCoursey

Yes, well thank you for joining us Kaidin. So everyone that was my son and this also seems like a good time to say Steve thanks for joining me congratulations for being on Salt Lake city’s Top Startups list I’ll catch up with you down the road.

46:43.50

Steve Shillingford

All right? Super excited. Thanks very much, Matt see ya.

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