The #pauldiesel episode

Paul Boag

This week on the Boagworld Show we talk image editing, CRMs and switching to the client side.

Skip to the discussion or this week’s links.

This weeks show is sponsored by Proposify and Teacup Analytics.

Paul: Hello and welcome to the Boagworld show. The podcast about all aspects of digital design, development and strategy. My name is Paul Boag. Joining me on this week’s show is Andy Clark, Marcus Lillington, Ryan Taylor and Sam Barnes.

Paul: Hello all

Sam: Hello

Andy: Hello Paul

Paul: I realised I needed to take a breath half way through that.

Marcus: So many people.

Paul: There are, too many people on this show. I’m going to start firing one every week in an apprentice style way. I start by firing myself, goodbye.

Marcus: See you Paul.

Ryan: It would make a shorter podcast wouldn’t it.

Paul: See, this week I decided I’m going to be positive, I’m going to be upbeat and I’m going to just go for it.

Sam: What?! You start by firing people? (Laughter)

Paul: Yeah, it…

Ryan: It makes him happy though doesn’t it, yeah.

Paul: … It didn’t work out as I had fully anticipated. My breakfast this morning… I knew that this week was going to be bad when I realised that I’d just eaten for breakfast a cream egg and a can of Coke. (Laughter)

Ryan: Cream egg for breakfast! I mean, the can of Coke I can understand, I’ve got one sat next to me here, unopened but it’s there ready so I don’t have to get up again. But a cream egg?!

Paul: I don’t know what happened. I was on auto and before I knew it I had a cream egg in my mouth. The number of times that has happened to me in my life is just unbelievable.

Ryan: Did you miss sleep last night, did you play Mass Effect all night and then you’ve just lost track of time?

Paul: Oh, that game is just, it is never-ending.

Ryan: It’s forever isn’t it.

Paul: I feel like I’ve just taken on a second life of just unbelievable pain and misery. As if running one life isn’t enough, now I’ve got this whole second life that I have got to support as well so it’s, yeah, it’s painful.

Ryan: It makes me… I’ve got the iPhone app, you know, the companion game and it notifies me every time you sign in. You kind of religiously do it every day at 6:30.

Paul: I know, it’s just become an obsession. So I tried to break it up. I thought I would do something else so I went out to see Ghost in the Shell. Have you seen that yet?

Ryan: Oh, was it any good?

Paul: No.

Ryan: No?!

Paul: No, I was bitterly disappointed.

Ryan: Oh, I was hoping that would be good.

Paul: Yeah, yeah. It looked… It was one of those classic, the trailer had all the best bits in. It looks gorgeous and it looks amazing yet it is just shite.

Marcus: I saw a really good film on the aeroplane over to Washington.

Paul: What was that?

Marcus: Arrival.

Paul: Oh, yes. Now that was quality. Yeah.

Marcus: What a lovely, lovely film that was.

Paul: Yeah, it reminds me very much of a film in the late 90s with Matthew McConaughey and the other woman whose name I can’t remember.

Sam: Jodie Foster maybe.

Paul: Jodie Foster, you’re thinking of the same film.

Ryan: Contact.

Sam: Yeah,

Paul: Contact, yeah. That was a good film.

Marcus: This was… I just thought it was beautiful. The music as well, Max Richter, the music in it is unbelievable.

Paul: We need some decent sci-fi. I’m fed up with superhero films.

Marcus: Well that was it! Wasn’t it?

Paul: Yes, it was. But…

Ryan: I went to see a Life last week.

Paul: Oh yeah, my parents keep banging on about that endlessly.

Ryan: Yeah, it’s unfortunately one of those that if you watch the trailer you seen the film.

Paul: Oh, yes.

Ryan: Because they’ve just shown you too much in the trailer. But it was all right.

Paul: Oh, they think it’s absolutely wonderful. It sounded all a bit emotional to me. I don’t understand people that want to go and see films that make you sad. You know, there’s enough misery in my life anyway.

Marcus: I’m the same with horror films. The idea of going and sitting in a room with 100, 200 other people waiting to crap yourself is just… I don’t get it at all (Laughter) I really don’t!

Paul: No, I don’t get it.

Marcus: I don’t mind a good thriller and all that kind of thing and if it’s sort of on the edge seat but actual like the whole purpose of the film is to scare the life out of you, I just don’t get that at all.

Paul: Do you like rollercoaster rides.

Marcus: Yes.

Paul: But that’s the same principle. It’s just designed to scare you.

Marcus: Hmmm, that’s more exhilarating. Maybe being scared in a horror film kind of way is exhilarating for some people. It must be because they are massive aren’t they. But for me, nah, I’ve never got that one.

Paul: I’ve got to say I felt betrayed by Ghost in the Shell. I did. Because I love the manga comics so much. I read a really good article, which is a good point, which is that Ghost in the Shell has been referenced and inspired so many times over the years from Blade Runner to the Matrix that actually it had almost been done as a film and that… So as a result nothing in the film felt original or fresh and that is kind of true. Also I think Scarlett Johansson is a bit overrated in my opinion. She just hasn’t got, I don’t know, she just doesn’t do it for me.

Ryan: I really disagree on that one.

Marcus: I was going to say, yeah. I think you might get the odd…

Ryan: Wash your mouth out. Blasphemy! Blasphemy!

Paul: She’s attractive but she can’t really act.

Marcus: Hoo hoo. Would you say that to her face Paul?

Paul: No, I wouldn’t but to be fair I have only seen her, I haven’t watched her in many things. I’ve only seen her play this two-dimensional character and the other two dimensional character of Black Widow. So really she hasn’t had a lot to work with.

Ryan: Yeah, from what you’ve seen.

Paul: Yeah, yeah I’m sure there’s other things.

Ryan: Little trivial fact is that me and Scarlett Johannson have the same birthday. 22nd of November.

Paul: I love the fact that you know that.

Sam: (laughter) that’s creepy!

Marcus: You’re a real fan boy aren’t you?

Ryan: It’s like something you see once that you remember isn’t it! I mean, the same birthday, you just remember.

Paul: Ah ha, yeah,

Sam: Sure Ryan, yeah.

Paul: When you broke into her house and found her birth certificate… (Laughter) Who cares. Shall we get on with the show?

Meanwhile, three hours later, after endless reboots and restarts and attempts to get things working we have Andy back. Hello Andy.

Andy: I was just about to tell you about an Internet miracle and then we started having crappy Internet connections which was, just kind of defeated the point of my story really.

Paul: Ah, well tell us about your miracle anyway. We always like miracle. Is it like a miracle at Christmas?

Andy: Yes, it’s like a Christmas miracle. What we did with our house in Wales because we wanted to look after it was that we bought some of those Internet connected doorbells and security cameras. We’ve already got a burglar alarm and that kind of stuff and Sue’s mum, because she’s hopeless, sets off the burglar alarm every time she goes in there to, you know, water a plant or snoop through the post or something. Anyway, she sets the bloody thing off all the time and I get a text message on my phone to go “Your alarm is going off” and then I freak out. So I thought what I would do is I would put these Internet things around the house and then they are motion sensory so when somebody goes in the front room you get a buzz on your phone. These things come from ring.com, you get a little buzz on your phone you click the app and then it switches on the camera and you can see and speak to the person that is in your front room or wherever you have put the camera.

Paul: Oh, okay.

Andy: Which is ace. There is a ringing doorbell as well so if somebody rings the doorbell and you can, from wherever you are you can answer it and say “No, no. You can leave it in the shed” anyway, the other night I get a ring on my phone with the front room buzzing and I go “Oh, blimey, the alarms not gone off I wonder who is in my house?” so I turned on the app and it turns out that it is Sue’s brother and he’s putting stuff back in our house. He is not stealing things he’s thinking, “Well there’s nobody there at the moment I’m going to use it as storage.” So he’s basically putting stuff in our house. So I get to press the button and then of course I can then speak to him then through this camera and completely freak the bugger out. (Laughter)

Marcus: This is the voice of the Misterons!

Andy: Exactly!

Paul: This is the voice of God, you have sinned.

Andy: So that is one example of technology working pretty well.

Paul: Which is the only technology that is working pretty well today.

Marcus: I have to come back to the creme egg thing. I can’t get over it.

Paul: What?

Andy: What, you’re still on the cream egg thing?

Paul: There’s nothing wrong with a cream egg for breakfast!

Marcus: So we compare what you had for breakfast with what I had for breakfast and I think…

Paul: No, because I think we got an important show to get on with.

Marcus: No, no I think it… I wonder whether I should say it or not because you might think that I need a long beard and moustache wax. But I had avocado on toast.

Paul: Have you been eating granola for breakfast?

Sam: Oh dear!

Marcus: It was lovely.

Andy: Superfood.

Paul: But can I point out something Marcus, who is the skinniest?

Marcus: That’s just because you’re taller than me.

Sam: And in ill-health probably.

Andy: It’s a metabolism thing Marcus. He’ll realise this when he reaches our age.

Paul: Oh, don’t give me that crap. I’m only five years younger than him.

Marcus: I’m not fat anyway. Anyway, yes. Happy birthday Paul!

Paul: That was ages ago now.

Marcus: It wasn’t, it was in between this last show and this show.

Paul: Was it?

Marcus: It was Friday.

Paul: Oh yeah, Gore, it feels like an eternity ago.

Andy: So you’ve turned what? 46?

Paul: No! 45. But I look so much younger that’s what you’ve got to remember.

Marcus: It’s the long mane of hair isn’t it.

Paul: People often mistake me for early 30s.

Marcus: Yes, I think they do Paul!

Paul: They do!

Andy: Yeah, like a slightly shrunken Vin Diesel. (Laughter)

Paul: Slightly shrunken? You can probably get two of me in Vin Diesel. (Laughter) Ryan, control yourself.

Ryan: I can’t get that image out of my head now. It’s brilliant! I think that’s the best thing you said in like 14 weeks! (Laughter) Paul has been through the washer. (Laughter) (more laughter)!

Paul: Oh, dear me. Oh, that’s how I like to think of myself. Vin Diesel.

Ryan: I am Grout.

Paul: Exactly, yeah. (Laughter) thank you, of all the Vin Diesel roles you could have picked Ryan, that’s the one you go for. So, have we finished, can I move on to the sponsor now or…

Marcus: It was worth going there though wasn’t it Paul, it really was.

Paul: It’s my birthday, show me some bloody respect.

Marcus: Yeah.

Paul: The last time I’m having you lot on the show.

Marcus: Happy birthday Paul.

Paul: Thank you. Right, let’s talk about our first sponsor which is Teacup Analytics. A product that I seem to spend too much of my time using these days. It’s now got… Every previous week I’ve been going “Yeah, yeah. I use it.” Now I’m getting to the point of “Yeah, I’m beginning to get obsessed with it.” So just to remind people what Teacup Analytics is it is a set of reports that sits on top of Google analytics and it actually pulls out some useful data rather than that kind of scary stuff you get churned out by Google analytics. At least it’s scary if you’re like me and not, I don’t know Matt Curry. Matt Curry is a kind of guy that likes Google analytics. You have to be a certain… Chris Scott is another one. It’s been a long time since we’ve had Matt Curry on the show, we ought to get him on again. Anyway, so it is great for a whole number of things. For example it really helps your clients better understand their user. Just the one apparently! Which encourages better design doesn’t it. The more we understand our users the better our design gets. It will also help your clients better understand which channels work. You know, whether the social media is better than pay per click that is better than whatever else. Which of course encourages better marketing. Also it helps you better understand the impact of your website on the business as a whole which encourages more of an appreciation of the work that you are doing for your clients. And all of that obviously leads to more work for you so yes, check out Teacup Analytics. It is a great set of reports, really powerful and you can find out more about them at Boag.world/teacup.

Round Table Discussion

Paul: So, we come to the discussion time. I know absolutely nothing about what any of you are covering on this week’s show because not one of you sent me an email.

Marcus: Well you can find out in the next few minutes Paul.

Paul: I know.

Ryan: To be fair Paul you always keep emailing me on my Headscape email address and seeing as I haven’t worked for you for about five years…!

Paul: I don’t, I cannot stop my email client from doing that. It obviously… on some deep subconscious level I wish you were still at Headscape. That’s what it is.

Ryan: You’re not working at Headscape now so it’s like you wish I was at Headscape but not working with you.

Paul: Yeah. (Laughter) That about sums it up. So I want you to be inflicted… Or Marcus to be inflicted on you and you and Marcus. Obviously that’s what’s going on there. But Andy did at least post his into the show notes a few minutes earlier so Andy, how about you go first.

Andy: Yes, I’ve got an app this week, not a book. An app. It’s actually made by, I think a friend of some of yours, a gentleman called Alex Morris who you may or may not know.

Paul: I know what app you are going for and I didn’t know he made this and I got overexcited about it on Twitter and then it turns out it was Alex that made it.

Andy: So, how many times, as people that run studios dealing with clients, you get asked the question by a client about how they should prepare images for the web? You know what it’s like, you build them a lovely website and you spend, you know, a long time, a decent amount of time optimising their images and making sure that when you launch the site the performance is great and everything else. And then two weeks later every page weighs about 47 MB because you’ve uploaded, they’ve uploaded some kind of file straight out of, I don’t know, Paint. Or some such image. So often you’ll get a question about what apps should we use for optimising our images? Now, I know that some people still use Windows but there is a brilliant little Mac app which Alex Morris has designed and built which is called Macro. And this is what I have been recommending to clients for the last few weeks since Alex sent me a nice complimentary copy at the beginning.

Paul: Oh, I paid for mine. That’s bloody unfair!

Andy: Really? Well he doesn’t love you very much. Basically in the description it says that it handles all of the following in a beautiful simple tool that lets you focus on working quickly with just the features you need. Because you don’t want to be recommending that people buy something expensive. They don’t want to take out a Adobe CC licence just to shrink down a few images. So Macro is a brilliantly focused little tool. It does resizing, cropping, rotating, some filters. It does compression which is important and it’s all in a really, really simple to use little focused Mac app. You get it from the Mac App Store. I cannot tell you how much it costs. I’ve got no way of knowing how much it costs because like everything in the Mac app srore…

Paul: You didn’t pay for it.

Andy: … Well, no, it’s not that. When I go back to the Mac App Store to find out how much it costs mind just says Update. so it doesn’t say buy so if somebody else clicks that link can tell me how much it costs.

Marcus: I’ll have a look.

Andy: But, really, really nice little Mac App. Great to recommend to clients and nice that it’s an independent developer that we know that lives in Bristol.

Ryan: It’s free.

Marcus: Yes, it’s free. {Tanscribers note: Its in currently £8.99 on 13/4/17}

Andy: It is free! Wow, okay. Well that doesn’t cost much at all!

Paul: That’s why you got a free licence for it.

Ryan: It made you feel special about yours didn’t it.

Andy: But how much did you pay Paul?

Paul: Well I obviously didn’t pay. I just thought I did. Unless he charged me specifically.

Sam: That’s why it’s free.

Paul: “Yes, it’s a hundred and £128 Paul, cough.” Yeah, no, I tell you, I use this all the time. Blow clients, I use this. I use this for two reasons. One, is that it boots up incredibly fast. You know you have to wait for Photoshop to load okay, this thing is instantaneous. I’ve now set this as my default image editor on everything. So if I double click on any image file it doesn’t open Preview any more because what use is preview really? It opens in this instead. It opens so fast you can do all the basic… So most… 90% of the imagery stuff that I do personally these days is for blog posts and that kind of thing and this does everything you could possibly need for that, which is really good. The other thing that Andy mentioned very briefly but I think it is worth driving home is this will compress images really well. So you know how if you save an image out from Photoshop you then have to compress it properly afterwards, using I don’t know, Juice {Transcribers Note: Should have been Squash!} or whatever you preferred image optimisation tool is. This doesn’t… You’re not going to squeeze any more bites out of this after you saved from here so that is a really big deal in my opinion as well. The other little thing, the reason it is called Macro is because it’s got macros in it. In other words you can record certain actions like saving, cropping, filtering, all of those kinds of things and just run them every time over a batch of images which is again, massively useful. It’s just a really well thought through simple tool.

Marcus: I’m going to get this.

Andy: It’s lovely.

Paul: Marcus, sorry to interrupt Andy, Marcus, it’s perfect for you.

Marcus: Yes, well I used pixelmator which is all right but this sounds even better.

Paul: No, it is simpler than pixelmator. There will be some stuff that pixelmator does that this doesn’t but it is so fast, it’s so fast and so easy. Sorry Andy I interrupted you.

Andy: No, I say I got one complaint and Alex if you’re listening get a grip, you need to fix this. It is, you know the screenshots that you see in the Mac App Store, well Alex has left his Mac menu bar in the screenshot and I can see here that he’s got a Twitter app and Google folder and dropbox and he is 28% battery and all this kind of stuff. No, crop it out mate! It’s just those little bit of details, it’s like when you buy a book, if people still write books, but you know when you see a screenshot of somebody’s browser. You know, don’t have your banking in the next tab, tidy it up. That is my only criticism.

Paul: That’s your only criticism.

Marcus: I wanted to add one more thing to this. This problem of clients adding 10MB photos to the home page and all that kind of thing was a massive problem for years and years and years but what I have found lately that we’ve been able to basically give our clients, basically the CMS projects that we do we now ensure that the cropping and the compression et cetera is all done automatically as part of the upload process to the CMS.

Paul: Well we talked about this didn’t we. Ryan Brought it up.

Ryan: That’s what I was going to contribute to the conversation, yeah. Because it was just interestingly this week. Craft which is a CMS that I spoke about on a previous show, I can’t remember which one, does something called image transforms and you can specify the max dimensions, whether it should be cropped, whether it should fit, its aspect ratio, what level of compression you want to apply to it and then because you are using image transforms in your template no matter how big an image they put, they upload up, it will get cropped down compressed and everything down to the size that you have specified in your templates. One of the things that I was trying… I use this a lot but we spoke previously as well about imgIX and Paul mentioned another service as well for image compression.

Paul: Sirv.

Ryan: Yeah, I was just thinking… To try and save the client some money I was trying to see how much I could actually do through Craft and I actually came across a plug-in called Imager. And it is free and we will put the link in the show notes but this will do postprocessing on the images as well. So not only does it use the Craft image transforms but you can make them black or white or you can put coloured hue in and everything. So I’ve actually found that I can do a lot of this stuff just through CMS without actually using a third party service. The compression is pretty comparable. So yeah, like Marcus was saying, a lot of CMS is now… you can automate this stuff. This shouldn’t really be anything that the clients need to worry about. In fact the instructions should be “Yeah, just find a really good quality image and then CMS will sort it out.” Which used to be a pain in the arse before but a lot of them just do it now.

Andy: That’s why don’t build websites any more, obviously. I’m rubbish at this technical stuff. (Laughter)

Paul: Yeah, but macro is still… It still has a huge benefit because even if… Clients still need to be able to crop an image because you know, automated cropping, yes I know you can get your CMS to do it but it’s never as good as a human doing it. So there’s still a need to crop images, there is still a need sometimes to apply filters on images, do some basic stuff and if you’ve got to recommend an app then this is a really good one. But it is Mac only which is the downside. But as we’ve established over the years on this show we don’t care about Windows users.

Andy: Wow, I finally picked a topic that Paul agrees with. It’s taken what, two and a bit series?

Paul: Well it’s not some boring ass book about “Oh yes we are reproducing some manual from 1971…” I mean who cares? (Laughter) They are laughing because they agree. They’re laughing because they agree Andy.

Andy: You’re just mean. You’re just rotten and mean to me aren’t you.

Marcus: I love all that stuff Andy.

Andy: I do not know why I come on every week, why I stay up to come and just have my ego battered by you Paul Boag.

Paul: Because there are some things that we do agree on. Like the upcoming War of the planets of the apes or whatever it is called. I am as excited as about it as you. Well I’m not as excited about it as you!

Andy: Don’t think you can butter me up with Planet of the Apes.

Paul: It’s the instant way to get on your side.

Andy: The next thing of course is the Fate of the Furious in which your doppelgänger is starring Paul.

Paul: Ha ha. That actually… I saw a trailer for that and that actually looks reasonably good.

Ryan: Isn’t that like the sixteenth film or something?

Paul: Number eight I think.

Andy: Number eight.

Ryan: I’ve not seen any of them.

Paul: No, neither have I.

Andy: No. Fast and furious seven was the best action movie ever made.

Paul: Wow. We are back onto movies again are we?

Andy: Well yes exactly but only because of you Paul.

Sam: I think maybe with your drone camera Paul you should try to recreate some scenes with you as Vin. (Laughter)

Paul: Yeah!

Sam: In the English countryside.

Paul: Do you know, my drone will actually follow a moving car.

Sam: Well there you go.

Ryan: Yeah, but you got to do it on a tractor haven’t you? (Laughter)

Paul: Fast and furious on a tractor!

Ryan: Yeah, but with you… With Vin Diesel on a tractor would look ridiculous but shrunk down Vin Diesel would look fantastic.

Sam: This slow and the mildly agitated.

Andy: What does shrunk down Vin Diesel drive? What does he drive? Does he drive like a Suzuki Duke? What does he… A hyundai? What does he drive? He doesn’t need a big muscle car obviously does he. Does he drive like a…

Paul: Perhaps he needs more of a muscle car.

Sam: Oh, a polo.

Andy: No, not a polo. The polo is a bit sprightly for shrunk down Vin Diesel. I think he needs a Vauxhall Corsa.

Sam: Or a smart car. Come on! It’s a smart car.

Marcus: Or was it a gee whiz? Gee whiz, that’s the one!

Andy: What car do you actually drive Paul?

Paul: (laughter) So Ryan what is your recommendation? (Laughter)

Ryan: Right, so. (laughter)

Paul: Thank you Ryan you actually decided to respond to that and move the conversation on. Go, go, quick!

Ryan: I am interested to know what car you drive at the minute but anyway. So we actually had a workshop with a business development consultant type person this week.

Paul: That’s hurtful, why didn’t you come to me?

Ryan: We did and we got his advice of the back of what you told us.

Paul: You got free advice from me, I bet you paid for the other guy!

Ryan: Yeah. (laughter) You’re my mentor, you’re supposed to support me for ever, until you retired.

Paul: Oh great, is that the way it works?

Ryan: Hang on, you rung me up the other day and asked my advice on something.

Paul: That’s true, I forgot I did that.

Ryan: I did that for free. In fact money didn’t even pop into my head because it was you.

Paul: To be honest it was shit advice and I didn’t use it. But I appreciated the effort.

Ryan: It was excellent advice. When you’re just too lazy to use it.

Paul: Yes, that’s probably it. (Laughter) Go on Ryan, sorry.

Ryan: So he gave us lots of advice and everything and one of the things we realised that we’ve not implemented is any kind of CRM. I have never used one and we have… I’ve never realised how much of an issue that was until we actually thought about all the information that comes in through email and kind of contact and pass conversations and conversations between multiple people. Until you actually get it all in. And I know we talked about Pipedrive previously.

Paul: Yes, my personal favourite.

Ryan: Yeah, so we were looking through lots of different ones and we looked at Pipedrive and Hubspot, is nothing new and everybody is probably heard of Hubspot but I had never used it and their basic CRM is free. I think their website is horrible but the actual app is really well polished. So we have signed up and we have started using that. Only over this last week but it is really, really good. How everything interconnects together, you’ve got your contacts, your company, your deals, your tasks and everything. No matter which one you’re looking at, you’re looking at the company you’ve got all of the conversation between all the different contacts and everything there from a company view. If you are looking at a deal you have got all that same conversation linked to the contact. And I was just thought that if anybody is not using a CRM at the minute then Hubspot…

Paul: Marcus

Ryan: … Hub spot is free to get started with. They’ve got additional, they’ve got Hubspot marketing, Humspot sales I think it is which are more pay for and that’s when it starts getting more costly but the actual CRM has a lot of features that are just free and available to use. So we’ve signed up and started using that. And another one, and I’m throwing in few things in here because this is just kind of sharing a bit of the conversation that we had, but another one that’s obviously interesting is being able to track when people have opened emails or clicked on links and things like that. And Front the service we use does actually track when someone has seen an email, they have opened it. But not when anyone has clicked a link. So there’s this concept of if you’re going to be reaching out to people and going to be trying to generate a conversation about… Contine a relationship long-term and so just instead of sending an email saying “Just checking in, do you need any work doing?” Actually send them something useful like “I saw this article that relates to what you do and thought you might find it interesting.” It’s always good to know if they have actually opened it and had a look, you know, if they’ve had that level of engagement. Front doesn’t do that which again, is another service that we talked about. Hubspot does, it does tell you if things have been clicked but one of the services that he also told us about was one called bananatag. Have you ever seen this?

Paul: No, I haven’t.

Ryan: So this is email… This is purely for email analytics so you’ve got email tracking, you’ve got scheduling, so there are good times of days to get in touch with leads and stuff. If you email them right in the middle of the day it’s unlikely that you are going to see it but if you try and get them first thing in the morning when they’re doing their commute to work on the train or something like that, you have got more of a chance of them looking at an email. You know, little kind of strategies and tactics for getting in touch. You can schedule emails, you can prepare it the night before and make sure it goes at the time when they’re more likely to read it. Email templates, analytics, what links have been clicked, more extensive feedback than something like Hubspot gives. So, we’ve not used this yet but I thought it was quite interesting.

Paul: I tell you another thing, sorry, that relates to that that you might be more conducive to the natural way you work, Ryan is something called Polymail. Have you ever come across this?

Ryan: I’ve heard of that, yeah.

Paul: So Polymail is an email client on the Mac, the iPhone. I don’t know what platforms it supports but quite a lot of platforms and it is just an email client but it has all of those things that you have just mentioned. So it will notify you when someone has viewed the email, it notifies you when they click a link. So I know for example, when all of you are about to log in each week for the show because I can see you click the link. You’ve got a send later feature if you want to. So all the same basic things but built into an email client.

Ryan: That’s interesting, yeah. Because we’ve integrated Hubspot into Front because there is an integration there. But the thing is that once you’ve actually started looking into all this all the different services that are available that all do either specific, one specific bit of that area or try to do all of it. Once you start adding them altogether you start doing Front and Hubspot and Bananatag and all these other things, it starts to cost an absolute fortune. You know, because you’ve got to upgrade Front to get to the point, to get the level where you can have the integrations so that suddenly doubles your monthly fee for Front and then you’ve got to pay for this and pay for that and then suddenly before you know it you’re paying as much for your, kind of, CRM setup as you are for Adobe creative Suite or something. You know? So yeah, it’s whatever works with your workflow. There are so many different tools out there and we have just started looking into it. Polymail looks really good. And if that’s all you kind of need then I’m sure that would be cheaper than actually having multiple services but yes.

Paul: Well, it will do everything Bananatag would do but it wouldn’t replace Hubspot. But one nice thing that it does, I don’t know how Hubspot handles email. Does it automatically import all emails from your email account or…

Ryan: You make your initial contact through Hubspot and then it tracks that email chain. So one of the things that we found is that if somebody then emails you separately that will come into your inbox but it won’t come into Hubspot so you then kind of need to import that in to make sure you keep track. Because that’s what we were wondering but it must just track that email chain, it is monitoring your Google mail or whatever you are using and it’s looking for responses for the email chain and then it formats that into…

Paul: Because the thing that Pipedrive does is that you can BCC Pipedrive in. One thing that I like about Polymail is you can add an automatic BCC in. So every time you send an email it will always BCC’s something else like Hubspot or Pipedrive or whatever. So that’s another nice little feature that it has got. So yeah, check out Polymail but also I really like the sound of Bananatag and I didn’t really realise that the basic Hubspot is free. That’s a bargain.

Ryan: Neither did we either. So there’s a lot out there. There’s just so much contact and stuff going back and forth between different people that you’ve got to have something to track it and if you’re not doing so currently then yeah, check out those things.

Paul: Cool, wonderful. Sam.

Andy: Is it a Kia Rio.

Paul: What what?

Andy: A Kia Rio.

Paul: Don’t get that.

Andy: A Kia Rio is that what you’re driving?

Paul: Oh, I see, is that type of car?

Andy: Yes, it is a type of car. Yes. It is the one that you have I’m sure. It’s a Kia Rio.

Paul: Do you know, I actually don’t know what car I drive.

Ryan: It’s got four wheels.

Paul: It’s got four wheels, it’s got a Ford badge on the front, I know that.

Andy: Oo, Ooo, that narrows it down.

Paul: It’s black, does that help?

Marcus: It’s a C-Max Paul.

Andy: Yes, Paul. It absolutely…

Paul: It’s a C-max is it?

Marcus: Yes.

Paul: There you go. I drive a C-max.

Andy: Well that’s the end of that joke then isn’t it. I was going to keep that running through the rest of the podcast. Now you’ve gone and…

Paul: No, nope. It is a C-max.

Andy: You’ve gone and spoilt it now. I don’t know why bother.

Paul: Because none of it was funny really. I just think it was deeply hurtful. (Laughter) I feel… To be honest I feel diminished as a human being.

Ryan: Oh, Paul.

Marcus: That’s rather sad choice of words there when we’re talking about miniature’s. (laughter)

Paul: Yeah, diminished, shouldn’t have gone with diminished. Tiny! Yeah, I’m like baby Groot.

Marcus: Imagine what your Twitter feed is going to be like after this podcast goes out. All those people posting pictures of you, your head on Vin Diesel.

Paul: Yeah, I know. You know, that’s the first thing that went through my head is that this is never going to die. This is just… Andy has managed to find something that is just not going to go away. Which is… Yeah. There you go. Ah, Sam please help me. You are sensible -ish. Sam, don’t go quiet on me. Don’t do this to me. He is on mute! That’s his problem, he didn’t realise.

Sam: Yes, I made some quite funny jokes there but we will move on. (laughter) Right then. One of them, I have to say it. I think that everyone who sends in or tweets pictures of Paul should just Hashtag them as #PaulDiesel. I think thats just a got a ring to it that name. Okay, all right.

Paul: You’ve now created a hashtag for this.

Sam: Absolutely! Yes, so. I’m going to talk about some client management tips so first of all Paul, I have to say I did mail you last Monday to tell you about this so I wouldn’t mind an apology first.

Paul: Did you?

Sam: Yes. I’ll just wait for that. (Silence) Right, I will carry on anyway. (Laughter)

Paul: I apologise Sam. I am sorry.

Sam: It’s okay, it’s okay. It was a week in advance.Thats unprecedented isn’t it?

Paul: Yes it’s like it confused me.

Sam: So, many, many years ago I had the rare opportunity to become a client on a project of the type that I had been managing for about six or seven years. It was a typical website redesign project. I was given the job by the CEO of the company I worked at and we needed to redo our website. So I was given the job to essentially manage that project internally using an external agency. It was like a complete role reversal and it was…

Paul: Hang on. Hang on, hang on, hang on. You have three agencies represented here. You’ve got stuff and nonsense, you’ve got Headscape, you’ve got NoDivide. Which of those three did you go to?

Sam: I went to all of the local agencies in our area.

Paul: So none of us.

Sam: Well I didn’t think I could afford you. The quality was just too high.

Paul: Yeah, that…

Sam: See.

Paul: That’s good.

Sam: I’m on… management thing here.

Paul: Just say we were all overpriced, that’s what you’re saying.

Sam: No, just. Yes, that’s what I’m saying. (Laughter)

Marcus: No, no, no, no, yes.

Sam: Yes, it was an absolutely fascinating experience. I thought I would go through some of the things that I learnt there that I think it’s worth sharing. Talked about these things before but I think these ones are worth repeating. The first thing to say is that when I got this project, bearing in mind I had been a front-end developer and project manager for as I say, 6 to 7 years by this point I pretty much thought I would be the best client in the world. I knew everything there was about delivering a project and do you know what? I was completely wrong. I was a terrible client and I was a pain in the arse quite frankly. Those are the words of the project manager from the agency side by the way. And it taught me so much. So I’m just going to quickly run through five things. The first thing was proposals. So before I managed this project I had written or helped write many, hundreds probably, of proposals by that point but when I was the client and I had 10 to 15 to read I let I learnt some things pretty quickly. It was fascinating to reflect on what I have learnt based on when I was writing proposals in the past, what I thought was a good idea versus what it was like on the other side. So the first thing was how boring I found reading proposals. I was really surprised by that. So imagine if you got to be a client and you got to essentially see all of the proposals from all of the agencies that you had been fighting for work for for the last six or seven years. They were all pitching for this work and here they were sending me their proposals. It was absolutely fascinating. Even though it was fascinating after about three or four it just got boring. I was really shocked by that, especially given as I had an interest in it over and above the project itself. I have to admit I did the… I started committing the ultimate sin of skipping to the costing page pretty much when I opened the fifth or sixth one. It just gave me an idea of about, I think some agencies do this now, but I think it just made me think about putting the costs or the quote for the project in the front of the proposal rather than the end. So I think it’s really flipping the traditional sales technique on its head. So I understand the mentality of it, sell the idea and then show the cost at the end but as a client I personally didn’t enjoy that and there was one agency that put it at the beginning that I think it just kind of changed everything because as a client I was reading it thinking okay, that’s a lot of money you are now going to justify to me why you’re worth that. As opposed to trying to sell me then shock me at the end. And that surprise at the end, would be surprise me low or surprise me high. It kind of asked questions either way. So that was the first thing.

Marcus: Did they win the work?

Sam: No. They didn’t.

Marcus: My point.

Sam: That wasn’t the reason why at all but it just made me think that when I was writing proposals if the cost was in their first I just wondered how that would have changed my mentality about the sort of subsequent item. Because I am changing from a sell, a pure sell mindset to a, there is a cost now I’m going to justify why I’m worth it. I don’t know, just as I’ve talked about that before a few people have said they do that and they have seen the difference in how people respond. That’s one thing. Another big thing that I learnt was that clients don’t get, or don’t often get dedicated time to work on the project with you. So I was given this project, that was great, I was interested in it but it wasn’t like I had time carved out for me, aside from my day job. Which is something I hadn’t really thought about when I was talking to clients. It was really hard, it’s really hard to juggle everything and it made me think that’s why some clients may be a bit flaky getting back or… It was very much an extra job on top of my already busy day job at the time. It was just something I never thought of so just really another tip is to be aware of that. Maybe you could even ask the client how they are doing, if they’ve got dedicated time. I think that that could differentiate you perhaps from other people pitching work for work even at a presale stage, you could ask that as a reasonable question. Another thing was, and this is related to not getting dedicated time is that clients often work alone. Again, I have to admit I didn’t really consider this when I was PM-ing. You know, when you are PM and you’ve got 10 or 13 projects on the go your mind is pretty full. I think I was missing a trick by not giving the client a bit of my time really because when I had to do it, again, I had no team around me it was just me. And I had an agency and I had a copywriter and had all the elements in place but they weren’t at the company. And everyone else at the company didn’t have time carved out for their pieces that they needed to help me with. It was just… The whole thing was just on my own, completely you get no help. But what you do get a lot of his opinions. You know, when some design work comes through people would see something on my screen and very quickly people would scuttle over and give me opinions about the design. I have to say I am pretty thick-skinned person but because it was such a drain on me, just constant opinions about something that they’ve had no involvement in it actually kind of stung a little bit. It didn’t occur to me at all when I was managing projects for clients. So just again, be mindful of this. One other thing is that we forget how much we know. I think this is something that we are all aware of but again, it’s good to keep that at the front of the mind when you are managing a project especially with clients that you value. I went into this project knowing every aspect of delivering a project from both technical design, logistics, you know, and most things to do with it. I still found it really hard. So it just made me realise how hard it must be for a client who hasn’t done this, some of them have got no knowledge or they’ve got some knowledge but I knew every little piece and I still found it incredibly difficult and it just really made me wish I could go back to some clients and perhaps focus on the education more of the client, be a little bit more patient. I think one tip that I got out of that was that creating a guide. I’m sure many people do this but at a presale stage creating a guide of your project processes but not just how you work but also including common gotchas and also expectations from both sides at each stage. It’s kind of… Is never going to cover all scenarios but if you’ve got the basics in there like the design, build, test, and the common gotchas and what’s expected from the clients it can really help you not only set those expectations but also manage the client during those phases or when you are about to enter into that new phase. You can kind of have a bit of a refresh and say “Right, were entering this phase, or about to start this phase of the project. These are the things we’re going to need from you, this tends to go wrong if people don’t have the time.” and so on and so on. You can just kind of minimise a lot of issues that way. You can also point back to it and say, bit like a speck in a way “you remember we said this was going to be quite difficult.” The final thing was really overarching all of this. As I was doing this a little phrase popped into my head that actually I was taught by a mentor of mine when I came to line management but I think it’s actually applicable to client management. So I was very, very new to line management, probably only a few months in and I had some difficult team members. They weren’t performing and I was very frustrated but I hadn’t really been doing management long and he let me rant and at the end of the round he said, just looked at me and said “So what are you going to do about it? It’s your responsibility to get these people better.” It hadn’t really dawned on me that it doesn’t matter, as a manager or project manager you only are in so much control but you are… it is still your responsibility. That’s kind of the job. And he said to me, that if your teammates are failing then you’re failing as a manager. And I think that, I’d just like to extend that now to every aspect of working with clients. If the client is failing you are failing and not the client. I think that’s really… That mindset has kind of saved me both with team members, internal stakeholders, external clients. It’s a very easy switch to make but once you really make it you kind of take that responsibility on it stops you getting negative and makes you work harder for who you’re working for. And that tends to end in a better result I find. That’s it. Just a few little things I learnt from that experience. It was traumatic and shocking and humbling and exciting and it was just one of the biggest things that I think I could have learnt in my career actually.

Paul: That’s brilliant. That’s really good. Ryan, and Andy that’s how to do a proper segment. I think that was very professional, I think he stayed focused on the subject he didn’t need to make silly comments about stupid-idity.

Marcus: Stupid-idity?!

Paul: And he didn’t… And Andy I would have appreciated if you had shown Sam some more respect and hadn’t been tweeting while Sam was talking. About Paul Diesel. Don’t think I haven’t noticed what’s been going on on Twitter. I think that was very professional thank you Sam for your contribution.

Sam: You are welcome. And it was a pleasure to be on this season. It’s my last one, Yeah.

Marcus: Oh, it’s your last one.

Andy: This is your last one,

Sam: It is.

Andy: The last two are going to go downhill rapidly.

Sam: They’re going to be smashes, you watch.

Andy: Without you Sam to pull them back towards some kind of…

Paul: What was it someone said on Twitter Sam, about you being the only one that provided decent content.

Sam: They said, right, they said I was the normal one who was levelheaded. Which just goes to show how much none of you know me! (Laughter) at all!

Paul: Well no, I think it’s more if you are the normal and levelheaded one then what does that say about the rest of us.

Sam: Well yeah, that is there as well. (Laughter)

Paul: Okay, Marcus you want to wrap us up?

Marcus: Okey doke. I just want to make one comment about writing proposals that are a bit different because I’ve written very, very many proposals over the years and am actually writing one at the moment which is why it is kind of come to mind. I am trying to kind of catch somebodys attention because what Sam was saying about its boring and you’ve got 10/15 page documents to read through then it’s just must be mind numbingly boring.

Sam: It was, it was so bad. I mean I did it at night on the sofa and I was genuinely excited to start it. I sat down with a cup of tea and all the proposals on my table and I was genuinely excited to be doing this work out of hours. And I was so surprised how quickly I got bored Marcus, I really was.

Marcus: I’m not surprised but the sad truth of all this is basically… Some of the best proposals I think that I have written are ones where I have kind of tried to catch somebody’s attention, tried to make it a bit more interesting. Maybe use language that you wouldn’t expect. All of that kind of thing. None of them have ever worked so even though I think it is boring. It is boring to have to read all of these proposals, I think that the majority of the time if somebody’s reading a proposal that is a bit different it might raise an eyebrow, they might say “That’s interesting,” they might comment to someone else but I don’t think it actually makes any difference at all.

Sam: I mean obviously I saw lots of agencies as well during that pitching to me as well, which was a new experience and I would say that proposals… It was only a small part. I mean as you open the proposal you knew who these people were and you very much fed off that connection or lack thereof that you had those pre-sales meetings. It surprised me the balance of that.

Marcus: Yeah, I think in a… When you get to the presentation and meeting people I think that being a bit different is actually a really positive thing to do. It might lose you the work but it might win you the work. When it is in writen documentation I actually think that you need to tick the boxes, be professional.

Sam: Funnily enough.

Paul: …The answer, sorry to interact. Isn’t the answer here the same as it is for the web which is that you need to accept that people are going to scan it and write it accordingly. Rather than necessarily being different it’s more about making the content easy and quick to digests.

Sam: Definitely.

Marcus: Yes.

Paul: That’s the way I would think about it.

Sam: You asked about the one who won it. It’s interesting the people who do, they didn’t win it because of this but it was a really nice touch. So the company that I worked for at the time did online dating so this company submitted the proposal with their… They bought it in personally and they had created a customised box of chocolates to sort of represent the relationship side of it with each of the flavours was the people who worked at the agency with a silly chocolate name. It was quite good. It worked quite nicely.It was all branded to our company.

Paul: Cool, okay. Marcus.

Marcus: Right, yes. I got time to rant on about something for a while.

Paul: Well, we’re kind of… We are roughly at time but I thought… I didn’t know whether yours was a quick one.

Marcus: It’s not. Shall I save it for next week?

Paul: Okay, let’s save you and me for next week then. Because if I go over time my wife gets angry because she has to transcribe this. So I have to keep it to an hour these days because I’m scared of her. She didn’t even deliver the last show. I don’t know, no, it would be the show before last. She didn’t deliver on time, she got ill. Which I think was a pathetic excuse for not delivering. You know, what do you do?

Marcus: I’m sure she’ll love transcribing that, that particular section.

Paul: I’m sure she will. But she’ll make up for it the Paul Diesel stuff from earlier will make up for it. But that’s the reason we’ve only managed to cover three subjects this show is because Andy spent so much time abusing me.

Anyway, let’s talk about our second sponsor which is Proposify. Which is all very relevant actually to Ryan’s segment from earlier so Proposify is for writing proposals which is relevant to Sam’s section but what I want to talk about today when it comes to Proposify is the fact that it syncs with so many different things. So for a start it will sync with your CRM. So if you’ve got Hubspot you can connect Proposify straight into it. As you can if you’ve got Pipedrive or the Zoho, any of those can be integrated. You can also integrate it with things like Xero or Freshbooks or Infusionsoft for things like invoicing and you know, all of that kind of side of things. You can import proposal details, contacts all that kind of stuff can be bought into it to help generate proposals. You can invite team members and clients that have been involved in the project with apps like Basecamp, Harvest. So it closely integrates with all these different technologies. This is one of the things I’m most enjoying about the modern apps that you get today is how they do all integrate with one another. You know, I think it makes a huge difference when you can tie all of these different apps together. But I do take Ryan’s point earlier, it can get expensive can’t it. When you add up all these different apps. But Proposify is an excellent addition to your workflow. You can find out more about it proposify.biz/boagworld

Right, shall we kind of wrap this baby up then? So, Marcus, do you have a joke for us?

Marcus: I do, I think I got this one from the Boagworld slack channel but I copied it into an email to make sure I didn’t forget it. So I think it was Darryl Snow, apologies if it wasn’t. Right, here we go “Two men are on a boat. They have three cigarettes but nothing to light them with so they throw a cigarette overboard and hold boat becomes a cigarette lighter.”

Paul: Oh.

Andy: Oh, I get it. Ah, yes. Quite clever that.

Sam: I was waiting for the punchline.

Andy: It took me a minute

Ryan: I didn’t get it but I think it was because I wasn’t paying attention.

Marcus: That’s because you never bloody do!

Paul: If you had three cigarettes in the boat and you threw one out then it’s going to be one cigarette lighter.

Marcus: Cigarette lighter.

Paul: Get it?

Ryan: You should have to explain bad jokes because they should be that bad that you can’t understand them.

Paul: There we go, so Marcus you have succeeded, or Darryl has succeeded. One or the other. Okay,

Andy: Did you know that Vin Diesel doesn’t do push-ups. He pushes the earth down.

Paul: No, that’s a Chuck Norris joke. You can’t just replace Chuck Norris, Vin Diesel with Chuck Norris.

Andy: Can’t you?

Paul: It just doesn’t… No, it’s not fair. It’s not right.

Ryan: I can’t wait to tweet my picture of Paul Diesel.

Andy: I’ve already done mine.

Paul: Have you really?!

Andy: Yeah, well no, just a little more time…

Ryan: Just tweeted mine before the end of the show. (Laughter)

Paul: Oh, for crying out loud, Ryan! (Laughter)

Sam: … The hashtag and everything.

Andy: Have you done hashtag Paul diesel?

Sam: Yeah.

Paul: I hate you. I hate you all. I was going to mention the next season of the podcast but I don’t think I’m going to do one now. Actually no, I am because, none of you are going to be on it. It’s going to be so much better. Thank you for those of you that have taken pity on me and actually sent me messages saying don’t worry Paul, we’re going to submit a talk, you’re not going to be by yourself next season. So that’s really encouraging thank you for doing that, keep them coming in. You can, if you want to be involved in next season, if you want to submit a lightning talk you can do so by going to Boag.world/season18. Feel free to drop me your ideas through beforehand. You don’t have to but if you would like to just talk them over that’s no problem I’m happy to answer any questions. Okay, thank you for listening to this show and we will talk to you again next week. In the meantime feel free to follow the hashtag Paul Diesel. And on that note goodbye.

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