Fighting the system

This week on the Boagworld show we look at the challenges of working with and for large institutions.

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Paul Boag:
This week on the Boagworld show, we look at the challenges of working with and for large institutions.

Hello and welcome to Boagworld.com, the podcast for those involved in designing, developing and running websites on a daily basis. This show is brought to you by digital agency, Headscape, and this week’s jargon, ethnographic studies. There you go, Marcus, do you know what ethnographic studies are?

Marcus Lillington:
Something to do with ethnicity.

Paul Boag:
Who knows?

Marcus Lillington:
You owe me a fiver.

Paul Boag:
Why?

Marcus Lillington:
Because you still said the show for people that do websites.

Paul Boag:
Oh was I going to drop that bit.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
I don’t remember offering to give you a fiver.

Marcus Lillington:
No, it was a bet.

Paul Boag:
I don’t remember betting it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
No, I don’t, I’ve no recollection. Until you can play back the piece of audio in which I said it, I don’t believe you.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. But anyway, you don’t – you owe me anyway.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
And you sounded almost a bit like the late and great David Frost at the start of that…

Paul Boag:
Did I?

Marcus Lillington:
Which is a good thing.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, absolutely.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s a really, really good thing. But who lives here?

Paul Boag:
I’m very honoured. Who lives here? That wasn’t him, was it? I thought that was Lloyd Grossman that did Through the Keyhole?

Marcus Lillington:
He did the voice-over. But Frosty did the…

Paul Boag:
Did he? I don’t remember it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, yeah, Through the Keyhole. God I can’t even remember what it was called.

Paul Boag:
That was – that’s a blast from the past, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
Talking about blasts from the past, I’m reading a great sci-fi book at the moment called Player 1 or – no, it’s not called – it’s something player 1. Ready Player 1 from, you know, the old arcade games, Ready Player 1.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
And it’s set in 2045 and it’s about a boy who basically has – is on a journey to discover an Easter egg within this kind of virtual world that everybody hangs out in this thing called Oasis which is all these virtual worlds, that you hang out with. And the founder of Oasis, who is obviously a very rich man, when he died, he left in his will that he had hidden an Easter egg in the game somewhere and if you can find the Easter egg, then you win his entire fortune and the game. And – but the whole thing is built around – he leaves clues about it based on his own past and he grew up in the 1980s, same as me.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh right, yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag:
And so it’s all packed with just 80’s references and 80’s arcade games and all the kinds of things that I used to play when I was a lad and all the TV programs that were on, it’s great. It’s really cool.

Marcus Lillington:
When I was at school, we had a Space Invaders machine that you stood up to.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, yeah. You had one of those at school?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, in the youth club.

Paul Boag:
Wow!

Marcus Lillington:
And we had Defender, remember Defender…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
With the hyperspace button in the middle?

Paul Boag:
Yes, cool.

Marcus Lillington:
Fantastic. I have noticed though being – I’m going to go to the boring subject to me being old again. But this is quite interesting that I have read sci-fi books that are now in the past.

Paul Boag:
Oh yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah?

Paul Boag:
So have I?

Marcus Lillington:
It’s like well, that didn’t work out like you thought it would, did it?

Paul Boag:
And then sometimes, it scaringly does…

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag:
…which is the other thing that’s very peculiar when it kind of…

Marcus Lillington:
I mean I suppose, yeah, I mean 1984 obviously is one. But books that were written while I’ve been alive, set in 2012 or whatever and it’s like, you know.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, it’s just fantasy, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Which I read in 1988 or something.

Paul Boag:
Talking of 1984, I’ll put a link in the show note to this because it’s something you really have to see, I found this great picture really of – you know, how they have those plaques outside of famous peoples’ houses. You know so and so was born here.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
So it’s the one outside Orson Welles’ house saying this is the birthplace of Orson Welles and honestly like three feet from the sign, was a CCTV camera. Just great. Just such a great little picture, I love it.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s fantastic.

Paul Boag:
So that was very – that was very cool. So, yeah, I collect photographs like that because they’re just the kind of thing that you eventually end up using in some talk, somewhere.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, that is very good.

Paul Boag:
So I like that. So how are you this week, Marcus? Are you jolly and happy?

Marcus Lillington:
I’m absolutely fine.

Paul Boag:
Are you managing to get everything done for our launch of Headscape and Boagworld next week?

Marcus Lillington:
I am starting to do that tomorrow.

Paul Boag:
Right.

Marcus Lillington:
Today is finish, try and get everything done that I need to do and then I can have a couple of days of solid nagging you to write content.

Paul Boag:
Nagging me? No I’ve got to do all the Boagworld stuff. Apparently it’s suddenly all fallen to me. So I will be doing that next couple of days…

Marcus Lillington:
But that’s already written, isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
So – yeah, but there’s lots of stuff where they’ve ballsed up my beautiful design. They being Dan and Ed.

Marcus Lillington:
They. Really, really?

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay.

Paul Boag:
It hasn’t kind of – you know the images haven’t worked and stuff so it’s a bit of a tidy up. And apparently, I am supposed to do that like I am in some way responsible for content on my own website. I mean it’s just disgraceful. So by the time this podcast comes out, they should – it should be on the new spangly site because we’re aiming to go live on the 28th.

Marcus Lillington:
Are we?

Paul Boag:
I’ve just made that up. That’s what Dan told me but he might have just pulled that number – that out of his arse.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. I am kind of hoping that we are going to – like Thursday afternoon go, pfft, well that’s alright isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
You reckon?

Marcus Lillington:
Let’s just go for it.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Marcus Lillington:
I’m kind of hoping that’s going to happen.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. That’s alright with Headscape, I am bit more scared to do that with Boagworld and as the two are interlinked

Marcus Lillington:
Oh yes they do don’t they?

Paul Boag:
Yeah that’s the one that people actually look at. So it’s going to be cool. So yes, that’s the plan anyway that’s what I am hearing. So by the time this podcast is out, there will be a shiny new site which is very minimalistic.

Marcus Lillington:
Although we’re trying to add more. We’re trying to add more imagery in at the moment, aren’t we?

Paul Boag:
Are we?

Marcus Lillington:
Onto the homepage anyway.

Paul Boag:
I’m just taking the imagery out of all the season pages. I can’t be arsed. That’s my professional response to this.

Marcus Lillington:
Ed made a point to me the other day and obviously you kind of listen when Ed goes, I’m not sure about the design. It’s like he must – I listen to Ed basically…

Paul Boag:
You don’t want to do that.

Marcus Lillington:
And he’s basically saying – he thinks that there’s more impact on some of the deeper pages than on the home page because of the imagery being used.

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Marcus Lillington:
I agree with that.

Paul Boag:
So he is saying that we should use more imagery.

Marcus Lillington:
No, just the home page needs a banner image. If we are going to use banner images deeper in the site

Paul Boag:
Oh Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I haven’t got that problem with Headscape – Boagworld because I don’t use imagery deeper in the site particularly. So…

Marcus Lillington:
Other than body image, which is fine. No it’s just to do with these banner images…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
Anyway no one cares. Especially when they can’t go and see it. Oh they can go and see…

Paul Boag:
They can see. They can go and see it right now by going to Boagworld.com/season/9.

Marcus Lillington:
Well why don’t they just go to Boagworld.com?

Paul Boag:
Well, they could just go back but I’m just saying…

Marcus Lillington:
Or Headscape.co.uk

Paul Boag:
Well, that’s the – I’ve just meant that that’s this kind of season’s podcasts, isn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Anyway, how are you, Paul?

Paul Boag:
Oh, I am joyous actually.

Marcus Lillington:
Joyous, really?

Paul Boag:
I am, really. I am really on form at the moment and last week going away – all this traveling just knackers me, right? You go away for like one day’s workshop and it takes me two days to recover from it to be honest.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah we started off a project last week and it is, it’s just that standing up and being responsible for a whole day, it just does me in.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. It’s not my natural state of being.

Marcus Lillington:
I am the same. Can’t someone else run this?

Paul Boag:
So I got back and I was knackered from that but then over the weekend, I sort of decided I need to get my life in order. So I started organizing myself with my omni-focus

Marcus Lillington:
Your OCD programme.

Paul Boag:
OCD program. And it really helped. And then on Monday, I started doing pomodoro sprints again. Have I told you about pomodoro sprints? Pomodoro sprints are great

Marcus Lillington:
What?

Paul Boag:
It’s brilliant. It might seem, now you will never guess this. It’ll surprise you this but I have quite a short attention span.

Marcus Lillington:
That doesn’t surprise me. So do I, I’m the same.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
I think most of us are. I think that’s a normal state.

Paul Boag:
So – and I have this real trouble like a) I get distracted which I think everybody does. But b) also I have trouble getting going. Once I get going, I am alright.

Marcus Lillington:
Blank page syndrome.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. And it’s been – well no it’s not really, I haven’t got a problem starting creative projects. A lot of people with a blank page, they go, I don’t know what to write. I don’t have that problem. I have the problem of ugh can’t be arsed. I haven’t got the energy. I am too tired. But when I get going suddenly I get into it.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, yeah I know what you mean.

Paul Boag:
So what the pomodoro technique is…

Marcus Lillington:
That’s just lazy.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. I am inherently lazy. If I had my way, I wouldn’t do anything.

Marcus Lillington:
I am the same.

Paul Boag:
I think…

Marcus Lillington:
We’re absolutely the same. I think we should make Chris do everything.

Paul Boag:
I think that’s a really good idea. Quick. He loves it. He’s like – he loves work doesn’t he?

Marcus Lillington:
He does. Work every day of the week and all night.

Paul Boag:
Exactly. And he grins from ear to ear with happiness the entire time. Never, never a grumpy face when he is at work.

Marcus Lillington:
And we can just swan about.

Paul Boag:
I think that’s what we’re born to do, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
Swanning.

Paul Boag:
Especially you. I mean you’ve got a heritage of swanning around.

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly. Yes and I am not doing enough of it.

Paul Boag:
Exactly. So yes, pomodoro technique. So it’s a really, really simple technique to get you going, basically you have one of those, you know one of those tomato timers, you know the things that you turn – well, I an electronic version but that’s where the name comes from because those are pomodoros. That’s what those timers are called or I think tomatoes are called pomodoros in Italy or whatever. Anyway, so all you do is you set it for 25 minutes, and you say for this 25 minutes, I am not going to do anything other than the task in front of me. No looking at Twitter, Facebook, you got that automated reply from me because I was in the middle of one of those. And just for 25 minutes.

Marcus Lillington:
But the automated reply made me reply again because it was an automated reply.

Paul Boag:
Which completely undermined it and I had to mark you down as an interruption. But then you just work for those 25 minutes and then you stop and you have a 5 minute break and then you move on to the next. Now, the reason I like this is for a couple of reasons. One is you can look back at the day and have gone, I’ve done 11 or 12 pomodoro sprints, half an hour each, that’s six hours of solid, good, proper work

Marcus Lillington:
Which is plenty

Paul Boag:
Which is plenty.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
So that’s one really good thing about it and it kind of motivates you to get going but also it’s great if you lack motivation to start because what you say to yourself and it works with me every time. My subconscious must be really thick to fall for this but I don’t want to do it, I want to sit in the garden and eat an ice-cream. I then I say to myself, right you are allowed to do that if you do one pomodoro sprint first. You can go and have a nap if you do just one pomodoro sprint.

Marcus Lillington:
I just have, yes, it’s rewards. That’s…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
You can’t have a cup of tea until you’ve done what? X or whatever.

Paul Boag:
But you know what?

Marcus Lillington:
It’s not a time.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, well with me it’s a time. It’s a 25 minutes – and only 25 minutes, which sounds a tiny amount of time, doesn’t it? And then what happens is 25 minutes in, I’m going, oh the alarm’s gone, I don’t want to stop. And so you end up carrying on and before you know it three or four hours have gone by. And you’ve kind of motivated. So it really works for me. That’s how I wrote the book. You know I went away in the summer, so I did the whole thing in those 25 minutes sprints and it just really works for me. So I’ll put a link in the show notes to the pomodoro technique. But that is basically it, there’s not much else to it other than that.

Marcus Lillington:
I was going to say, I think you’ve told everyone.

Paul Boag:
I know I have, yes. Okay. So should we move on and listen to our first interview?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Well not our first interview, our only interview for this week. We only do one a week. And this week, we are interviewing, who’d we interview? I’ve lost my show notes.

Marcus Lillington:
Barton Tyner.

Paul Boag:
Barton Tyner from the Indiana University.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Which is really good because – so this show is really all about how to get stuff done when you’re working in or for large institutions. So obviously, Barton is working for large institution, universities are pretty horrendously large. And then our second one, our feature project, is a project that was done for Colorado Springs which is a government website. So I think between those two, we can really dig into large institutions and of course, that’s our thing, isn’t it, at Headscape. We are a kind of large institution working company thing.

Marcus Lillington:
Dealing with complexity stuff.

Paul Boag:
Yes. Complex projects and we’re really good at articulating it as well…

Marcus Lillington:
We are.

Paul Boag:
…which is always good.

Marcus Lillington:
Complexity things.

Paul Boag:
Things, think of politics.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
And governance stuff.

Marcus Lillington:
Stop talking, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Okay. Shall we just go into the interview then?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes.

Paul Boag:
Alright.

Featured Person: Barton Tyner – Indiana University

Indiana University Site
Barton Tyner is a part of the team that works on the Indiana University website.

Visit the University website

Paul Boag:
Ok so joining myself and Marcus today is Barton Tyner:. Hello, Barton. Did I get that right?

Barton Tyner:
You did.

Paul Boag:
You looked at me like I’d got it wrong and then that immediately knocked my confidence.

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, because I am skilled at that, Paul.

Paul Boag:
Knocking my confidence.

Marcus Lillington:
No you got it spot-on.

Paul Boag:
I know and then you look at me with this – oh no you’ve said that terribly wrong…

Marcus Lillington:
Hello, Barton. Let the man speak.

Paul Boag:
No, I’m not going to. This is my podcast. Hello, Barton, how are you?

Barton Tyner:
Good. How are you?

Paul Boag:
Very well, very well. You can tell somewhat grumpy, end of the day kind of getting a bit grumpy. It must be – what time is it with you?

Barton Tyner:
It is lunchtime, so a little hungry here.

Marcus Lillington:
Well, do it quickly.

Paul Boag:
Get it over with quickly. We don’t want to get in the way of the man’s lunch. So Barton, tell us a little bit about yourself, where is that you work, what is it you do?

Barton Tyner:
Yeah, I’m the web manager. I work in the marketing and creative services unit at Indiana University Purdue University, Fort Wayne. We are in the northeast region of Indiana here in the United States.

Paul Boag:
Okay. Now, that’s really interesting for – from our point of view because we do a lot of work in the higher education sector over here in the UK. Have we done anything in the higher education in the U.S.?

Marcus Lillington:
No. We’ve talked about it a lot. We’ve talked to people who work within the HE sector in the U.S. I think you might have even spoken at a South by Southwest.

Paul Boag:
Not at the south – I did at a South by Southwest and I also talked at something called Edge UI. Does that ring a bell to you, Barton, is that a conference you’ve heard of?

Barton Tyner:
Yes, I have heard of that conference.

Paul Boag:
So I spoke at that one year. But we’ve not actually actively worked with any American clients so I’m quite interested – well, we’ve got American clients, not any American clients in the higher education sector. So the long and the short of that is I’m quite interested to find out how the higher education sector works in the U.S. in terms of the web. So this could be an interesting one. So how long have you been there?

Barton Tyner:
I have been here approximately 15 and half years.

Marcus Lillington:
Wow, ages.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, that’s -

Marcus Lillington:
Longer than we’ve been at Headscape. Probably not longer than we’ve known each other.

Paul Boag:
Unfortunately not.

Barton Tyner:
I started off as a halftime web master and communications specialist. So I wrote news releases half the time and I did that kind of work and then I was supposed to do the website the other half of my time.

Paul Boag:
But did that work out? It sounds like it didn’t from the – I was supposed to.

Barton Tyner:
No, it needed to evolve. I mean it needed to evolve even when they first hired me, we were behind the game, so – with our web presence, so we finally – that position evolved into a full-time web position and then over the years, it evolved into a management position for me.

Paul Boag:
Okay. So you’ve got a team from the sounds of it.

Barton Tyner:
Well, yeah, team, depends on how you gauge that in terms of size but, yeah, we do have a team.

Paul Boag:
So tell me about your team. How big is it, what kind of roles do you have, et cetera?

Barton Tyner:
Well there’s me as the web manager, I do have a web developer and we also have a social media specialist who is in our area and then in addition to that, we hire students. So right now, we have two students who work on the website and then we have one or two who do – two students who are doing social media as well.

Paul Boag:
Okay. So that’s – if you count the students which, of course, we do…

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, we do.

Paul Boag:
In my experience, when I was – I took a year out and worked for IBM as a student and they got their money’s worth out of me.

Marcus Lillington:
Can you remember that far back Paul?

Paul Boag:
Oh shut up. A long time ago. Before the Internet. Well not before the Internet, before the web. So how does that work out for you, having students, do you find them a useful resource, do they take a lot of training up? Sorry, this is completely off-script now but you’ll get used to that.

Barton Tyner:
Well, I think they’re perfectly – I mean they really add a lot to the team. They help – they keep us youthful, first of all, which we need to be in this field.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Barton Tyner:
But, no they are indispensable. We wouldn’t make it without them. They help us do not just the grunt work. We don’t give them all grunt work but we do give them lead projects. They really get to do a lot of – like I had one student who works right in with the design and builds out websites for us and micro sites.

Paul Boag:
Wow.

Barton Tyner:
So we really rely on them. We couldn’t do all the work that we do without them.

Paul Boag:
That’s really good. I imagine especially from the social media side of things, it must be – having students talking to students must be incredibly useful.

Barton Tyner:
Yeah, I think it is definitely. They certainly can speak in the voice of students since it is a peer to peer communication channel.

Paul Boag:
And that also then there is the advantage as well that students tend to be – have the time to really get up to speed and learn the latest techniques if they’re into the web world and web design and that kind of stuff. They tend to be up on those kinds of latest developments. So that can be quite good as well, I am guessing.

Barton Tyner:
Yes, exactly.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. Okay, that’s really quite interesting. So you’ve kind of grown with the website over the last 15 years, so over that whole time, you have been working on the website?

Barton Tyner:
Yes, yes, I have.

Paul Boag:
Okay. So over that time then, what’s been the biggest challenge, what have you found most challenging about your role?

Barton Tyner:
I think we always feel like – not just feel but know that we’re behind, it seems. We’re definitely, as a public institution and as a large institution it’s just hard for us to keep up with the disruption of technology. I think that that is our biggest challenge is like what you, in your book, you talk about the need to build a digital culture and that’s something I think we struggle. That’s our biggest challenge, I feel.

Paul Boag:
Barton, you are now my favorite interview person. First one, that’s brought up the book.

Marcus Lillington:
See he’s got one note written on his notepad. Make sure you mention the book.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. So he’s now going to be – it’s going to be the starring interview that we do.

Marcus Lillington:
You know Paul said that we don’t know when it’ll go out. It’s going to be the first one now.

Paul Boag:
We’ll somehow make this the first one now won’t we, just because he mentioned the book. Thank you very much. It’s very kind of you.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s quite – can I just – I want to just throw that in there, you were saying it’s hard. This is something that is exactly the same for the U.K. institutions who are similar to you. We’ve been speaking to other guys who work in universities over here, I’m thinking of Mike McConnell from Aberdeen. That’s a large ancient institution over here. And we started working with them in 2008 and he’s still talking about the things that he was talking about then that they need to do.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
So that is six years ago and they’re still trying to kind of shove stuff through and get things done. So they are tough places to work. But there is a lot to do. So it’s kind of exciting as well as being frustrating.

Barton Tyner:
Exactly. As I was reading through your book and I have to admit, I didn’t read all of it yet, I’m still working through it but I have skimmed through the majority of it and I find it equally sobering as well as inspiring because it just highlights what we need to do and those are opportunities that we can seize but at the same time, it is very sobering, I can sort of vacillate between optimism and despair very easily.

Paul Boag:
Do you think, I mean what causes the problem, do you think, within an institution like yours? What holds you back? Is it the size of the organization? Is it inertia? What is it?

Barton Tyner:
Well, I don’t know if it’s size because I think as an institution we’re like, as far as universities go, I think we’re right down the middle. We’re kind of goldilocks. I think we’re not too big and we’re not too small. We are sort of in a stage of transition right now big time. We’ve had major changes in our senior management and nearly every major directorship has changed roles and people in the last couple of years plus we have witnessed a lot of budget cuts. So it’s been hurting us and we felt it but – so that’s part of the mix. But I think some of the challenges that we face, we’re still like a lot of public institutions like this size, we do have silos. So it is hard to break down walls between areas sometimes and I also think prioritizing the work is really, we just have so much and its a challenge to be able to figure out what we need to do even if we get direction from management, it’s still – there’s still just an overwhelming amount of tasks on our list or projects on our list.

Paul Boag:
I do think that’s something that a lot of universities struggle with this, this being pulled in multiple directions. They’ve got very diverse sets of audiences that they are trying to reach in terms of undergraduates, post graduates, researchers, other academics, all of these different groups and on top of which they’re doing so many different things at the same time. They don’t have like a single product, if that makes sense. So I think it can be quite challenging from that point of view. Is that your experience over there as well?

Barton Tyner:
Absolutely. We’re trying to do everything for everybody all the time.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Barton Tyner:
And it seems to be a sort of set values we adopt and I think in this new economy, we’re having – we’re finding that we have to sharpen our tools a little bit and we are going to have to get more focused and really think about whether we can do it all, all the time and really get more focused.

Paul Boag:
Is it – are you seeing a drop-off in the number of applicants that you are getting in the current economic environment. Are people choosing not to go to university because of the economic reality?

Barton Tyner:
Absolutely. Yeah, we have seen our numbers go down. So that has – and there are a number of factors why that’s happened. But definitely the economy is part of that and we felt it in terms of budget side, we definitely feel the impact of that.

Paul Boag:
Isn’t that interesting, mind, that the reaction to that as a problem that they’re then cutting back on the very services that would draw people in, does that make sense? Because the website is a marketing tool and the promotional tool for the institution, you would think actually that was something they would invest more heavily in?

Barton Tyner:
I think there is an interest in doing that. I don’t – I think we just need to – it’s really a matter of us just really sitting down and focusing on our strategic objectives…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Barton Tyner:
…we focus on that. I do think there is an interest in that. And I think this new economic climate that we’re in is really forcing us to rethink things. So it’s not that we’re cutting back on services although we’ve done that but at the same time, we’re trying to find new ways of doing more with less.

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely, being smarter about it.

Barton Tyner:
Exactly. And it’s been painful. It’s not been an easy process. But I think it sounds cliché to say so but I mean it really is providing us opportunities to rethink how we do things.

Paul Boag:
Absolutely. And I think a lot of certainly universities in the UK could really do with cutting back in pure scale. UK universities are massive online footprint. They have got so many micro sites and so many projects and so many web pages. I mean we’re talking about hundreds of thousands some of the clients that we deal with. And they are spreading themselves so thinly that that is a – you need to kind of cut back, simplify it and refocus. So I can completely see where you’re coming from with that.

Barton Tyner:
Right, right.

Paul Boag:
So the next question that I wanted to ask you really is, is what the big lessons are that you have been learning? You’ve been doing this for a long time now, you’ve been working with this institution for a while. What are the – if you could share a nugget of wisdom with the other people listening to the show, what would that nugget be?

Barton Tyner:
I think in the tech and digital world, our first inclination is, always, when we’re trying to solve problems is to find the tool. And it really isn’t about the tool, it’s really about the people using the tool and how the people use the tool.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Barton Tyner:
So I really think there is a tendency to do that and I think that’s the thing that I have seen again and again where we tend to focus on the systems or the tools and then we forget that it’s really about people and it’s not just the people utilizing the systems or tools but we also need to focus on what the end result is supposed to be. Not forget the user in the long run. It’s just human nature but it does tend to happen. And so that’s something that I have seen over the years.

Paul Boag:
I think that’s such a good thing. The one that springs to mind is content management systems. You must have gone through this in your time where you are the – there was a stage where everything was put online by the in-house web team and then they became a bottleneck. So the answer was throw a piece of technology at it, throw a tool at it.

Marcus Lillington:
People still see CMS’s in that way.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. So they get this fancy CMS…

Marcus Lillington:
It’s going to cure everything.

Paul Boag:
Yes. And it does. It does cure one set of problems but then creates another. So then they get a different CMS which is going to solve the problems, provide better workflows and stuff and actually all they could really do with is setting some few simple guidelines that everybody works by, do you know what I mean?

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely.

Barton Tyner:
Yes, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen and I guess we kind of knew when we launched our content management system that it wasn’t going to solve all our problems but I always viewed it as a stepping stone and we’re still in that stage where it’s a system that we’re using probably – certainly not as strategically as we can and I think that’s really the next phase that we need to enter it is really looking at how we use our content management system more strategically.

Paul Boag:
Well, that brings me on nicely to the kind of what are you focusing on next kind of area. What’s your big – I think you’ve already said that you’ve got all these different projects on the go, all these different things you could be doing. If you were the king of the world and could kind of decide what you focus on next, I know there are other stakeholders who are involved, but what would you focus on?

Barton Tyner:
Two things. If I can focus on two things, they are certainly related. One would be to put in a digital strategy.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Barton Tyner:
And then the other would be to have a redesign that meets that strategy.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, absolutely.

Barton Tyner:
There are a lot of things we can do with our content management system and treat it as a much more robust platform than we’re doing. Right now, we’re looking at it as sort of tools that allows lots of users to put out unstructured content and unrelated content and I think we can do a better job of providing a platform that has more tooling in it and more structured content so they are not – so our publishers aren’t having to focus all the time on formatting content…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Barton Tyner:
…really just getting the content in the system and then the system creates the relationships between the content that users want.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Barton Tyner:
So that’s one thing. But then of course, we need to think more strategically. We need to really, I think, develop a content strategy and a digital plan so that we’re thinking more. I mean we have a great content management system in place and we spent years getting that into shape but we now need to start focusing on doing it better. So the first phase of the project was about quantity, getting all these pages corralled and into the system and now we need to figure out how to focus on quality.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. So I mean what’s holding you back from that? Is it time on your part, is it getting the right outside partner or the budget for that or management or silos, what prevents that from happening?

Barton Tyner:
I think it’s all the things that you mentioned.

Paul Boag:
All of them.

Marcus Lillington:
Everything, yes.

Barton Tyner:
I think we are in a position where we can start tackling these things. I know senior management is very interested in seeing the website sort of move to the next stage and I have even heard a Dean here that she would like if the university got a million dollars, she would want to see it go to the website.

Paul Boag:
Wow!

Barton Tyner:
I know wouldn’t that be nice.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s what you need. Maybe not quite a million dollars but…

Barton Tyner:
Maybe not quite a million but we certainly need to put more towards the website and really get the people around it. So I think – I hate to – it sounds like I’m hedging on this answer but it really is all of it. I think it’s really about getting focused and getting our priorities and aligning our resources to those priorities.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. I mean absolutely. The list I gave, I fully expect you to say all of the above because that is the way it is within the higher education sector that there are so many different kind of roadblocks that you need to work around in order to get stuff done and that’s not, I love working in the higher education sector, it’s very, very satisfying when you do make progress and you do get to see these things come to fruition and they are big, complicated projects to work on but they can be challenging as well. So I can see both sides of that.

So this next question, this is really bad timing because it looks – sounds like a really leading question, right?

Marcus Lillington:
So would you like to buy Headscape? So as somebody that provides…

Paul Boag:
The next question I had on my list is what – do you work with outside contractors? That sounds so loaded.

Marcus Lillington:
We are asking this question to everyone

Paul Boag:
Honestly, it’s just the next – you can listen to the other shows and you will hear me ask the same question. Do you make use of outside contractors and if so, what is it that you look for, the reason being is a lot of people that listen to this show, are either freelancers or work as part of agencies and these clients are always very mysterious creatures and we’re interested in what motivates you to select one agency or over another or one freelancer over another?

Barton Tyner:
Okay. We’ve done that on a multiple – variety of levels. We’ve hired a nationally known marketing specialist in higher ed, we’ve had her come in and help set a strategic direction for us, we have also – we’ve outsourced some of the technological part of our content management system to our vendor. So we certainly do that as well and we’re looking to probably engage with them again on outsourcing the – just the work in doing the development. It’s too much for my team to be able to take on. So we certainly would probably outsource a lot of that, just the development side.

We have done design work too where we have had some of that of that outsourced depending on the nature of it and I’ve even had freelance workers. So it just depends on the nature of the project. So we are open to doing it and in fact, our senior management, I have heard from one of our vice chancellors that that’s what they want us to do to move more quickly on things…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Barton Tyner:
…and the way to do that would be to do some outsourcing. Figure out what parts of a big project need to be outsourced.

Paul Boag:
So what would look for in somebody that you take on to do that kind of work? What are the characteristics that you’re after?

Barton Tyner:
Well, I think the – I know you talk about changing the digital culture or creating a digital culture. I think that that’s much bigger than what the digital team and the web team here can take on, that’s got to be across the board effort and I don’t know here what would be the best approach I know you lay out some scenarios where you can hire consultants, have them come in, that’s one option, or hire a digital officer be another. I am not sure what would work here. I’d have to think about that but I think we would be – I certainly would be open to bringing somebody in to help us address how we can shift the culture in terms of how we deliver digital for the campus.

Paul Boag:
So it sounds like you’re after much more than just implementors, somebody who is going to come along and fulfill a brief that you’re given, you’re looking for somebody that can help you establish direction.

Barton Tyner:
We do. I think we need that. I think that would be definitely helpful. We have a brand new vice chancellor who is overseeing the marketing area…

Paul Boag:
Okay.

Barton Tyner:
…as well as our alumni. So it’s the vice chancellor for advancement and this person heads up alumni, the fund-raising or development and then the marketing side of the university. And so I think she’s got a lot of energy, she has a lot of ideas and I think she is ready to make some significant changes and I think this would be something I would like for her to consider. But, yes, at the same time, we do need an implementer, so I – we’ll be looking to our content management vendor to help us implement some new design features within our content management system.

But I think we need – we really need to sort of get above the weeds and really get a higher level look and really something that will really help us address change in a real way not – I have seen where we’ve brought in consultants in the past and we were all inspired by it but the work kind of languishes afterwards because of just real world issues and we all – we’re all so busy. I think having somebody on the outside can help us get focused but I – at the same time, I am also wondering how we would be able to keep the momentum going.

Paul Boag:
The only way is if a plan is created, then the plan has to be resourced as well otherwise it’s pointless. It’s an absolutely pointless exercise without following through in that way. And you are right, that is often where it falls down. I mean we’ve gone and put in strategies together for organizations before and everybody’s been nodding, all of senior management has brought into it, they said, yes, this is what we should do and then the moment we start talking about actual practicalities of who needs to what and when. It all starts going very mumbly into their hands and…

Barton Tyner:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
…it isn’t followed through. So that is a legitimate concern and it can be very frustrating as an outside supplier fighting against that as well that ultimately we can’t force a client to follow through and that can be a difficult situation. So yeah, I totally understand your concerns about that.

Barton Tyner:
Right, right.

Paul Boag:
Okay. I mean that’s absolutely brilliant. You got some really great stuff there. It’s really interesting to see that wherever you are in the world, we are all struggling with similar problems over these kinds of things

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely

Paul Boag:
And, yeah, thank you so much for taking the time to come on the show. And I am sure Marcus will be in contact shortly forcing our services on you.

Barton Tyner:
Okay, right.

Paul Boag:
I will ban him from doing that. He’s going to be very well-behaved, aren’t you, Marcus?

Marcus Lillington:
Absolutely, you are the bad one here.

Paul Boag:
Am I the bad one?

Marcus Lillington:
As you know, always here.

Paul Boag:
Why am I the bad one?

Marcus Lillington:
Just generally, you are.

Paul Boag:
I am the one that’s written the inspiring book, just remember that. Barton, thank you so much for coming on the show. Thank you for promoting the book. I love you dearly.

Marcus Lillington:
Much appreciated.

Paul Boag:
And, yeah, keep in touch, I’d like to see how things work out. So drop me an email every now and again.

Barton Tyner:
Definitely, I will do so.

Paul Boag:
Excellent. Thank you for your time.

Barton Tyner:
Thank you. Have a good day.

Paul Boag:
It was really nice of him to mention the book, wasn’t it? Because I haven’t said a lot about it.

Marcus Lillington:
Someone’s got to. Someone has to.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. And I don’t like to push my own stuff and my own agenda onto people.

Marcus Lillington:
You don’t, actually. It’s true. Shy and retiring. That’s how I have always described you, Paul.

Paul Boag:
So it’s really nice when someone…

Marcus Lillington:
…I haven’t followed up on the interview, by the way.

Paul Boag:
Have you not?

Marcus Lillington:
No.

Paul Boag:
Slacker

Marcus Lillington:
Because it was, as I said, you are the one who is pushy.

Paul Boag:
Me? Pushy? I don’t know where people get that idea.

Marcus Lillington:
I might give him a call at some point.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
See how he’s getting on.

Paul Boag:
He seemed a really nice guy actually, a really – I mean it’s so challenging working within large institutions like that and getting stuff done is never particularly easy. I think part – one of the biggest challenges I am coming to the conclusion the more I do this is with middle management. Have I said this before? I feel like I have said this before.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s all management.

Paul Boag:
No, no, I don’t think it is. I think it’s middle management, right? Because if you talk to the executive, right, they don’t get digital. Fine, right? But they are very used to delegating. They are also very used to looking at the big picture and they want it boiled down to just a few simple points. Job done. I will give you an example of this, right? So, well let me follow through. While middle management, middle management are in a much more complicated position that they have got a very – a relatively narrow remit, so they are always looking it from their particular perspective as head of IT or head of marketing or whatever else. Also, they as I once beautifully put it, they get shit from the top and shit from the bottom that they have got huge pressure on them from above. If they make a false step, if they do something wrong, then they are going to get in trouble and they are under pressure from their staff to do things differently which are totally contradictory things. And in some ways their best bet is stay with the status quo because nobody ever gets told off for doing what you’ve already done – always done before. So something like digital comes along and they are in a really tricky position and I have got really good example of this. I met with a higher education institution once and we sat in this meeting and it initially it was just the web team, the bottom layer, if you like.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag:
And we all agreed and everything was great about what we should do and we had this big vision of we need you to form a digital transformation team. Then a middle manager came in, right, who completely said you will never get this past senior management. They are not going to go for it. It’s not going to work. You will get a bash. And he kept referring to “they” whoever they were. We never really got to the bottom of who these other people were.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
So when he left, I said, well, let’s get in the next level up, just get someone in and see if we can talk to him. Got someone in only for half an hour and I made a single point, right? The single point I said is if we carry on doing things the way we do to completely revamp your entire website is going to take about seven years, right? That’s what we worked out as a group. If we change and go to this new practice to deal with these key areas it’s going to take seven months. And that was it. He was sold. Job done. And I think often middle management worry about what the next level are going to say and often the next level were not as scary as everybody thinks they are.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, this goes back to the fact – the reason why we are hired, half the time it is to persuade senior management that this is the right way to go and often middle management too. I am slightly more – I do agree with that, but I am slightly more cynical and I think that people in middle and senior roles within large organizations are only concerned about their own arses. And that’s what – it was so much…

Paul Boag:
I was trying to – yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
…so many problems are caused because of that.

Paul Boag:
That’s what I was trying to say in a politer way basically. That I think middle management, they are worried about their career prospects, worried about holding on to their power base…

Marcus Lillington:
Where am I going next? How am I going to get to that place? It’s internal politics.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
So…

Paul Boag:
So, yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a big part of it. I’d be interested to see what happens when we work with a U.S., because we’ve got one now. Since that interview, we’ve won our first U.S. higher education client.

Marcus Lillington:
We have.

Paul Boag:
And I’d be interested to see if there’s any differences. So that’d be – it will be a fun process.

Marcus Lillington:
I suspect it’s very similar.

Paul Boag:
I suspect so. People are people wherever they are, aren’t they really?

Marcus Lillington:
Exactly. Yeah, but the interesting point that came out of that interview for me and it’s something that we – because it doesn’t affect us immediately, we tend to just kind of – maybe we don’t put as much effort into making sure the things we recommend happen. Because what he was saying at the end…

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
…it’s kind of like well if everyone goes nod nod, yeah yeah yeah yeah and then well, we’ll just kick this into the long grass in a month’s time.

Paul Boag:
Yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
And I think that is genuinely a problem. It relates to this idea of some people will be corralled, I can think of one. I am not going to mention it, but where they’ve gone, yeah, yeah, yeah then curve ball is thrown a week later.

Paul Boag:
It’s how to do that as an outside contractor when you’re employed for a limited length of time.

Marcus Lillington:
Back handers, Paul. Money talks.

Paul Boag:
Is that what we’ve got to do? Bribe people.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah. We’ve got to bribe people.

Paul Boag:
Okay. Fair enough. That’s that problem sorted. Good.

Marcus Lillington:
Ok move on.

Paul Boag:
Good result. So, yeah, I actually – it’s interesting because I am speaking at IWMW again this year which is the – it’s a big conference for higher education institutions in the U.K.

Marcus Lillington:
Leigh and I are going too.

Paul Boag:
You are, yeah, that’ll be fun. It would be fun to see – well, I’m only there on a flying visit because I’ve got a…

Marcus Lillington:
Are you staying for one night?

Paul Boag:
Yes, I believe so, yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
That’s cool.

Paul Boag:
But he asked me – the organizer asked me to write a blog post to go with it. I started writing this blog post and it turned into like 2,500 words. It got a bit carried away. And I am going to publish it on my own website tomorrow which is last week in this recording, link in the show notes to that. And that really – it’s supposed to be a kind of – I am speaking on digital adaptations. So really my initial reaction when he asked me to write a blog post is, well I’ve written a whole on this…

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, read the bloody book.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. But then the more I thought about it, there are unique characteristics to the higher education sector. And then I kind of – I wrote the post and yeah, it was great. And then I started to come back round to the other angle and think well actually a lot these things I’ve just written in here could be applied to any government website, any public sector website.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
Something about public sector reorganizations that make life particularly difficult. For a start they’re terrible at focusing on anything. He, Barton raised that, didn’t he…

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah.

Paul Boag:
…at one point in the interview that they really are quite shocking. Anyway. Shall we move on?

Marcus Lillington:
Yes, I am looking at…

Paul Boag:
…talking about public sector. Now, we aren’t going into jokes yet, we’ve got our featured project.

Marcus Lillington:
I’ve got to have one.

Paul Boag:
Right. Do you know what we’re going to do? We are going to put a divider at this point in the show so that you can look up your joke and then you can pay attention in the next bit.

Marcus Lillington:
Do I have to?

Paul Boag:
So insert music now.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay, okay, I’ve got a joke now. It’s probably really poor.

Paul Boag:
Well you can’t tell it yet, mind.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, I know.

Paul Boag:
It’s got to be saved till the end.

Marcus Lillington:
I know but I have one now to say that – and it’s not a very good and it’s your fault.

Paul Boag:
No, no, because you could have spent as long as you want.

Marcus Lillington:
No, it’s your fault.

Paul Boag:
It wasn’t like you had to find it in the length of time the jingle went on for.

Marcus Lillington:
That doesn’t work, I’m putting my hands over my head – ears.

Paul Boag:
Yeah that doesn’t work, you’ve got earphones on.

Marcus Lillington:
When I’ve got earphones on.

Paul Boag:
I am inside your head, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington:
You are, it’s true.

Paul Boag:
So let’s talk about feature projects.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, woo.

Featured Project: Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs site
A relentless focus on the user has led to the Colorado Springs website having clear navigation and quick access to top tasks.

Visit the Colorado Springs Site

Paul Boag:
This week, our feature project is a design firm called Click Focus that did the Colorado Springs government website. I have got a feeling from the way he talks in his – this is Jeremy who works for Click Focus – in his document that this was the first time he’d worked with a public sector organization. So I feel your pain, Jeremy, if that was the case. It’s always a little shock when you first do that. But it’s quite interesting. If you check out – I’ll put obviously a link in the show notes to the Coloradosprings.gov website and it’s not bad actually. For a government website, it’s pretty damn hot, right? Bearing in mind most government websites are horrendous. It’s not responsive or anything fancy like that. It’s – the design is good and solid but what makes this website work is the information architecture. As you look around the information architecture of this website, it’s obvious. It’s easy. It’s got clear navigation. It highlights, as you click through, say if you go, I don’t know, you are interested in residential services, you click through residential services. It highlights at the top of the page, big bold, the most common things. The things that you are most likely to want. So it’s really, is really well-thought through. Some of the content, deeper down in the site, could do with some help because obviously I mean Jeremy and his team would have been responsible for writing all the content but as information architecture goes, it’s a really solid attempt because it’s user focused. They started off instead of – the old site was organized around the different departments and different business silos and all the rest of it. While this site is just organized in an obvious way. There is explore and play, which is a bit of a weird title, that one. That’s probably the weakest out of all of the top level sections. Residential services business, government, transport, public safety. So if you want something from the City of Colorado Springs, it’s going fit into one of those categories fairly obviously.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, you can get further down, and it says, navigation and related links in nice, big letters to say this is how you explore the rest of the site.

Paul Boag:
It’s just really…

Marcus Lillington:
I’m not keen on the background image.

Paul Boag:
No, I am not particularly.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s not a very good one.

Paul Boag:
No, and it changes from section to section.

Marcus Lillington:
Does it, okay, well let’s go elsewhere then.

Paul Boag:
Yeah. So it does move around sometimes. It’s just the information architecture shines on this site and that’s why I wanted to highlight it really. Because I know how hard it is to do that kind of thing for government and public bodies. They do want to – it’s because every department wants to own their own little bit of the site and Jeremy actually talks about this, of the battle he had trying to persuade people that actually they wanted to be involved with a particular – persuade them away from wanting to be involved with a particular part of the site and they also did a lot of work, which I think was really, really sensible, providing them with guidelines in terms of how to create and write good content for the web, they have followed those guidelines particularly well in some places, sometimes they have. But they have really kind of done their best to give them everything that they need to make this site a success and it’s pretty impressive because they are dealing with over 60 content providers.

Marcus Lillington:
Oh I’ve found a different picture.

Paul Boag:
Yes. So you have to click around it.

Marcus Lillington:
That one is much better.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, it does kind of vary. So the things that got me with this website is the great IA that’s very much user focused and focussed on the tasks that users want to complete on the site and the fact that they didn’t – it’s easy for a design company to wash their hands of the content. The content is not our problem. But these guys didn’t – they got pitched in with the content as well and have helped to start shaping some content guidelines that they can work with. And I say, good on you guys because I know how difficult it is working with government bodies sometimes and you’ve done a pretty damn good job as far as this website is concerned. Obviously not as good as we will have done.

Marcus Lillington:
You couldn’t keep it going, could you?

Paul Boag:
No, I couldn’t. You’re right, I am more of an obnoxious sales person than you are. That’s not good is it really?

Marcus Lillington:
Have we had Mike McConnell’s interview yet, I can’t remember.

Paul Boag:
Yes. No, not yet.

Marcus Lillington:
Because he has a nickname for you, doesn’t he?

Paul Boag:
Yes.

Marcus Lillington:
Do you want to tell everyone what your nickname is.

Paul Boag:
No, I don’t.

Marcus Lillington:
…from one of our clients.

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
Shall I tell them?

Paul Boag:
No, they don’t need to know. Don’t say it. Don’t say it.

Marcus Lillington:
It rhymes with bakefoil.

Paul Boag:
Oh well they’ll never work it out from that. That’s fine. Not that I’m suggesting my listeners are thick. Yes, he calls me snake oil. I don’t know why. I don’t think that is really justified.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s harsh, isn’t it?

Paul Boag:
It is very harsh.

Marcus Lillington:
But really funny.

Paul Boag:
It is quite funny. I will give you that. So Mike McConnell, you are in trouble. Should we have him next week? No, that would be two higher educations in a row. We can’t, we won’t do that. Okay – and also he should be punished for calling me nasty names. I think that’s about it – that it this week. That was all we wanted to cover on the show. So Marcus…

Marcus Lillington:
Wow! Here we go.

Paul Boag:
This better be damn good because you had as long as you wanted to find this joke.

Marcus Lillington:
This is from Jelmar Borst [ph] who says I love the jokes you tell on the Boagworld podcast.

Paul Boag:
He is lying. He is like…

Marcus Lillington:
It’s there in black and white in front of me, look.

Paul Boag:
He is doing exactly the same as Barton did. He’s sucking up.

Marcus Lillington:
Especially those with a bad pun. You know what’s coming.

Paul Boag:
Go on.

Marcus Lillington:
Okay. So did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off?

Paul Boag:
No, go on.

Marcus Lillington:
He is alright now.

Paul Boag:
That’s quite good, I quite like that. Do you know every time I think, what you tell these jokes and immediately I think I must tell my son. That’s what I said last week wasn’t it?

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag:
And I was at home, right? Finish the show. I literally walked up the stairs to tell him the joke. By the time I got in there, I’d forgotten what the joke was. It’s like what we we’re talking about this morning that we have reached that age now where we can’t retain information. The only information I seem to be able to retain is boring-arse web stuff. Anything else doesn’t fit in my head anymore.

Marcus Lillington:
Two words. Two, not one. Two words for you, Paul.

Paul Boag:
What’s that?

Marcus Lillington:
Smell map.

Paul Boag:
Smell map. What?

Marcus Lillington:
Knock, knock.

Paul Boag:
Who’s there?

Marcus Lillington:
Smell map.

Paul Boag:
Smell map, who? Oh, yeah.

Marcus Lillington:
That was the joke.

Paul Boag:
See you remember. Yeah, yeah. See even when you gave me the punch line I still couldn’t remember it. Here we go. I give up. Right. So that is this week’s show done. Hopefully, you guys enjoyed it. As always, it’s a pleasure to be here face-to-face with Marcus…

Marcus Lillington:
It is.

Paul Boag:
… to record the show in your lovely big earphone things.

Marcus Lillington:
Well it’s nice to have them on actually because I can – when I have to do it over the phone, I have to take them off and I can’t keep an ear out.

Paul Boag:
An ear out?

Marcus Lillington:
For levels going up and down because I’ve got a habit when I’m at home of just going way back over – leaning back on my chair like this and then coming back onto the mic like that.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, which is true. Well I always sound like too loud and annoying on the interviews, it’s like I am shouting directly into the mic or something.

Marcus Lillington:
Maybe you are.

Paul Boag:
I think it must record levels differently, right, because I use exactly the same mic, on exactly the same settings and exactly the same application when I record the audio – the recording of the blog post I produce. Yet, when I record for the show, it always sounds louder and I don’t know why. I reckon it’s because I am recording over Skype, not – the ones where we do interviews.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, yeah.

Paul Boag:
So I reckon that might be it.

Marcus Lillington:
I don’t really know how it’s coming out.

Paul Boag:
No.

Marcus Lillington:
It’s kind of like, Skype, well it’s all a bit fuzzy.

Paul Boag:
This must be really boring for people.

Marcus Lillington:
Yeah, yeah. Shall we stop now.

Paul Boag:
Yeah, let’s stop. Good bye.

Marcus Lillington:
Bye.

“Fight” image courtesy of Bigstock.com

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