Our guest is the Chief of Staff at Appfire and an executive-level strategist and CEO advisor, working with companies at the 100M+ revenue range. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and showrunner of The Backpack Show. He is the New York Times bestselling author of ten books and counting. He’s currently working on his eleventh.
Living Room Conversations: Chris Brogan of Appfire – YouTube
Hello good morning good afternoon good evening to everyone thank you for joining me um my name is Ray on you and I will be hosting um the living room conversations today and um before uh diving into the conversation um having our guest join me here I would just like to say this living room conversation is really something that we offer our followers and our guests we would love to dabble into different types of conversations that involves change that involves the way things work today and um pretty much everything about new ways of working um we hope that you walk out of this conversation inspired and also courageous to try something different and something new and for today our conversation will be centered around many things and the episode number 56 of the living room conversations we will be hosting Chris Brogan of appfire and um Chris is the chief of staff at appfire and we will learn a little bit about what that job looks like uh he’s an executive level strategist and CEO advisor working with companies um that are on the 100 million Revenue range Chris is assought after keynote speakers so we’re very fortunate to have him today with us and he also runs a podcast called the backpack show so if you haven’t done so check it out it’s fun and I’ve been part of it and is uh he’s a really cool guy so prepare to be um uh prepare to be amazed and amused with this conversation um Chris is in New York Times best-selling author of 10 books and Counting so you can imagine the breadth of his expertise so yeah without further Ado I want to welcome Chris to join me in the living room thanks Raya so glad to be here and thanks for everybody for joining us and being part of this either live or later on yeah because you want to tell us a little bit about the poster behind you whoa actually uh so I needed a little bit of art for the the wall and I had been redoing my place and uh my CEO had said you know be great is if you made like graffiti and I thought you know what I would do if I do graffiti I would ruin the wall I have an art background but I would I would obsess and make a terrible mistake so this was found on Etsy and it was a Ukrainian artist and what’s kind of fun and interesting about it is that uh I I received this I don’t know a handful of weeks right before the war and the artist messaged me back and said look I’ve never done this but I imagine you know that there’s a war here now um would you kindly consider being a patron you know give me give me a little extra money like what are you gonna say to that so of course I was like of course and um I hope that that person is making continued great art wherever they are but it’s my Batman Superman and a little any bit of Wonder Woman and it’s just fun to have superheroes nearby yeah definitely it’s a it’s a beautiful um background it’s definitely a conversation piece so thank you for sharing um the backstory behind it um Chris I’ll just dive into the questions um and also if you’re watching this please go ahead and chime in put your questions on the comments uh your comments as well and Inspire us to go in a direction um Chris one of the things that people always ask is what is a chief of staff and um how does your day look like being a chief of staff so first there’s a weird thing about this particular job title there’s maybe three roles uh that are all called chief of staff and they’re at different levels of the organization uh one is very close to being like an Executive Admin plus which is not what I do one is uh in startups a lot of times they have a chief of staff and and what I’ve come to understand is that those people are a little bit more like a like a chief operating officer they they’re the one who wears a lot of hats they worry about all kinds of details I’m neither of those I work at the executive level meaning I report directly to the CEO my job is to help with the executive team and the board and I I do work with people at every level of the organization but my job is to really help the CEO hone and execute their strategy communicate that strategy and and Coach all the people at different levels of the organization to to live up to and execute on that strategy so it’s a it’s a very uh it’s a very multi-faceted kind of a job but no one day is the same as the other half an hour before you and I talked someone uh brought up some concerns that they felt they couldn’t go to other people with it’s that kind of fun there’s always so you you must have a lot of this um uh random check-ins that are unplanned yes um it’s there’s almost no sense of schedule I mean today that you and I are talking is the only day where there’s an actual live event scheduled at a particular time and every now and again I’ll go to scheduled meetings but a lot of my calendar is left open and ready in case someone needs something and so I and we’re a global company so it’s one of those situations where it could be multiple time zones of of fun although a lot of European not so much Asian so it’s not my bedtime when I’m talking as it is for some people yeah very cool what do you like most about your job Chris love the opportunity to help guide people towards the execution levels I think they can accomplish I think that there’s so many times there’s people who are they’re pushed back by things that maybe happen to other roles or they maybe are a little less confident that they can expand beyond what they’re doing and I think that that’s where all the great stuff happens and so I I love the sort of coaching aspects and on you know as an author I love the comms type stuff I love when someone says is there a better way we could say this oh my gosh any any time I can give input on kind of making something sound a little more like a human wrote it to communicate to other humans is a win in my life yeah I love that you mentioned human um it’s a it’s such an important role um you know like we have transitioned from the age of let’s say efficiency and um into a bit more this emergent type of uh leadership uh how do you make sure that being the chief of staff you’re right in the heart of those conversations this is different for me because I’ve gone from like much let me think I started professionally speaking in 2007. what’s kind of interesting is that in this role I have a different Focus I’m I’m the listener I’m the coacher and I’m the the one who guides other people to say more things so I try not to be necessarily at the heart of every conversation but I love to be the start of a lot of conversations I love to get a lot of people uh feeling and encouraged to use their ideas and their tools and their conversations to get more people moving I think that uh one of the important ways to be helpful I as somebody who spent so many years speaking it’s amazing how listening sometimes is what people need the most and listening with intent and listening to sort of pick off the important conversation story lines and that sort of thing so I Ray I I would say that I spend more of my days trying to to guide people to a decision that would be in alignment with everything we need done but still really having this experience on their own terms yeah I think experience is just something you cannot buy as well right it’s a something that goes with the day-to-day work that you put in and the interactions and the relationships that you build um let’s talk a little bit about that fire um can you maybe uh tell us what is appfire and what you do um for the world sure absolutely we’re a software company that started in 2005 and what we tend to do is we make apps that extend other platforms so for instance the atlassian platform which was started in Australia it is a lot of people use it for trouble ticketing systems inside of their organization or work ticketing systems but it’s really expanded so people who perform agile coaching leading use it a lot of people use it for workflow Work Management they might use it for document management so we came and we have software that handles all of those things so we have a really good document management software so that everyone’s working on the right version all the time now at first look at this is you know in like our more I’ve got an email to send to people I want to make sure I’m sending the right email but this could be really important uh an oil company uses us to make sure that their safety documentation is all up to date all the the correct Version Control and all that because in that case it could be that this valve has been replaced with this other valve or something and if you don’t know that you could be causing a problem we are our software is used by a 52 of the Fortune 500 so it’s it’s one of those brands that no one knows that they have but like we’re in apple and all these kinds of places it’s it’s just it’s a very uh on the tool bench kind of brand so when you take your car somewhere to be serviced you would not say hey what kind of tools do you use to fix my car you don’t know you don’t care you just know that the the muffler fell off uh we’re that you know we’re sort of the the wind beneath the wings of a lot of different Industries so it’s been it’s been fun we we started it at last team we have platform uh expansion into places like monday.com which does like project management Work Management we have Salesforce Microsoft Azure devops so we’re in some ways it’s almost like you know when you see a video game you like and you say hey do they have that on Playstation that’s that’s us we put it on a lot of platforms okay so if um if I think about um agile like many of um the work that we do this is um this is kind of a plug-in that allows um functionality to be extended into um to to another platform perhaps yeah so I mean it could be many different parts of the agile system so uh backflow uh sorry um uh uh kanban management it could be backlog management it could be uh there’s a planning poker tool that is just as simple as you know we’ve got six possible ways to go let’s all just vote on it really quick so there’s all those kinds of tools and and we have other tools for automation so a lot of times you’ll have to do things like uh you’re managing 10 000 users inside of a big Healthcare company in Ono we have to move them all over to this other system we’ve got tools that let you do that in a half an hour even if you tell your boss it’s going to take months so we try to make things that we we follow the teams not the tools so any place that is knowledge work which is a one billion person industry we’ve got something for some part of the knowledge work yeah and what is the ultimate goal of appfire oh that’s an interesting question I like it well I mean the goal one of the things we talk about a lot is building a good durable business we want a kind of business where uh people who come along their children can work there eventually and you know their their life can be working around it we really want people to experience a longevity being there so that’s kind of a nice behind the scenes as a company what we’re trying to do for people is we want to help people work the way they want to work only better you know we want to you know if you remember the old days you would go and work in some kind of an organization and they’d say well these are the tools you have to use but well that’s changed you know companies you know kittens have a little bit of flexibility to you know use well you know we really like slack or we love Microsoft teams I mean someone has to um and in that experience we come in and we we make the tools work that you could use slack or those other things yeah very cool um I obviously I looked into the website a little bit and one of the things that caught my attention was uh the core values that you have at fire um I love how it’s written um three things stood out to me in particular which is make it and make it matter uh light the way and build a flame why do you think these values are so important to acquire and uh to you personally so I came in long after those values were established but my CEO Randall Ward lives by them co-founder makov and you know lived by them the we those values don’t sit on a plaque anywhere like it’s nice that we keep them on the website but they’re we’re remote only office so we live them every day we’ve had experiences where someone has acted outside of those values and we’ve had to take actions to to change that person’s employment status because we felt that they weren’t really representing what we needed some of those those ones you mentioned like you know make it and make it matter or um to to light the light the way and all that they’re all about the fact that we do better together we’re better as a collaboration it’s better when everyone feels like they’re on the same team there’s a lot of times where this doesn’t go the way we want it to and in any organization and even at appfire I have to remind people we’re not doing brain surgery we’re not on the front lines of a military experience you don’t have to be mean to other people and so it’s it’s really important that those values are so Central to us because a lot of companies try to say that you know they can’t do well and do good like they can’t be good people and still do well like you have to give up some Humanity to get there and we’re not proving that to be true where our money is up and to the right and it’s all coming from uh the experience of people we have a corporate social responsibility team that we we do lots of events for volunteerism and donation we there’s everything we do has a a good part to it as well as oh yeah want to buy some software so it’s been a lot of fun that’s uh that’s a really a beautiful Endeavor I must say um if you can maybe um because the core values does not always equal culture right if you can kind of like if you can put your finger to the culture at that fire how would you describe it uh we’re a remote only organization there were there were several offices where we do have a bunch of people our engineering sites for instance uh two in Poland uh one in Bulgaria all over the place Switzerland turkey so those wherever there’s people together of course it’s a little easier to set to feel a similar culture but creating and trying to encourage a global culture that’s that’s been a little more challenging it’s been it’s been some fun to work on because the the needs of people in different places can be different but you know there’s nowhere on the Earth where be human wouldn’t be a desired experience there’s nowhere on the Earth where you know it’s important to say look this isn’t just on the wall you have you know getting it right is less important oh sorry getting it right is more important to being right we use that value all the time to shape our culture we don’t want people to feel like they you know they’re the right one we want people we want to do things the right way you know so sometimes that means uh people who are not in alignment with our culture they can’t be here anymore and and that’s that falls on me sometimes too I’ve had to move people out who were disruptive to the the general flow of the organization even if they’re quality people I mean we moved out a c-level person because they just weren’t respecting people’s time and their life values and all that and they were interfering with family life we’re the kind of place where we know your family is important we know that you know paid time off is an important part of being able to have that pretend thing called work-life balance we think that it should be a life work balance we think that it should be you know that your your life makes it so that you’re excited to be here at work and that’s the only way we’re going to do that is make families happy so we we turn it every turn to try to do that as best we can yeah and uh I think being at a remote first company as well as a I would say a conglomerate of many companies can I can I say that because you actually have pretty much a lot of Acquisitions um over the past uh years um how do you look after culture um you know coming in together and what’s your experience with that it’s a great question yes since uh since the start of upfr we’ve acquired up to you now 22 companies now sometimes when you hear that sort of thing it’s some financial institution goes and gobbles up the same products in a certain industry what happened here is Randall Ward our founder and CEO he was friends with all these people he would go to all of the annual events and meet these people he would go to hackathons and and Gatherings with these people and he would just love the energy and love working with people and they would all be pulling out their computers and coding together and doing cool stuff and as years went on and as we saw what we were our plans were that we were going to run software and not the services we would come to the people who had both a software and a Services arm and say hey guys we should totally work together and they would either sell us all their software and keep the service business running or we would acquire the whole organization and we’d bring it all together so that we could all work together we have over 30 Founders inside our organization from all these multiple companies because we all like each other you know we all get the chance to work together that doesn’t mean we always all get along and say all the same things you know there could be friction but we think that friction is good for business we think that you learn a lot when there’s some difference of opinion I would say that this year probably more than any previous year we are trying to kind of blend everything and make sure that people understand we’re one Enterprise now we have to act like a big Enterprise organization that’s harder for culture Raya I think it’s it’s it there’s a lot of bumps along the way because you know there’s this is how we’ve always done it smashing against well that’s not going to work very well at this scale you know you you’re going to bump into problems so it’s it’s interesting and exciting but again we knew everybody and even the places where we’ve acquired from outside of our friends circle it was a friend of a friend so we’ve never gone in cold we’ve never just said oh this looks like nice software like and every time we hire as many of the people from the other organization as we can it’s not like we take a few people in the intellectual property and let everyone go we just keep absorbing them so it’s it’s a very exciting although sometimes chaotic experience to have nearly 800 people now after when I got here just a few years ago having only 149. yeah wow that’s that’s a huge scale up uh business that you have done and maybe um it’s time to look at some of the questions um Kerry has a has a comment you coach people to lead at every level and scare us and um and uh maybe um just connecting to to the scale of growth that you have done and also imagining yourself as a chief of staff uh to an Enterprise uh of this magnitude or was it a surprise that you ever put yourself on that role I was running a very small business uh wherein which we were selling uh intellectual property kind of stuff courses webinars that sort of a thing and it was mostly for independent individual business owners and people who had very small organizations but in the past I had worked with some very large companies and as even my early days speaking professionally I was Consulting with the biggest brands in the world Pepsi Sony Microsoft um this came long before I was the Chris Brogan uh this came from working with my old boss my current boss Randall Ward when we were peers at a wireless Telecom company and we were working the middle of the night we were friends from way back then I was on his Advisory Board from somewhere around like I think 2008 but you know how advisory boards can be there’s there’s not a lot of interaction they ask you a question once every Millennium um but then in 2020 I guess Midway towards the end of the year Rando was thinking I really could use a real hand here huh I wonder if I could bring him in as a consultant and I said yeah sure so I started as a contract and then we were talking through some ways that I could be a role there and they decided on Chief of Staff we decided on Chief of Staff because it’s one of those titles that’s outside of the leadership but in the leadership so I I sit on the executive leadership board my meeting after our call is that but it’s but I’m not like I don’t report to HR I don’t report to operations or anything like that that way I can help guide those people as well so I never expected myself to be in this role and I’ve been the number one at my own company and I sort of view myself as the number one in a lot of other places it’s interesting being maybe number two I don’t even fit like that I’m like I’m like a parentheses number because you know the person right after CEO is like our president and the person after that would maybe be our chief operating officer and yet I helped guide those people as well so it’s a strange role Rhea it’s it’s outside the uh Continuum yeah and I think that’s the best place for any coach right to to really truly Flex uh coaching muscles as being outside of the the realm of hierarchy um yeah it’s it it’s a it’s quite a interesting role um to see and I I think I’m I’m starting to see many organizations um creating this role and as you mentioned in varying different levels um in the organization um yeah and I’m very I was always curious about your role when I first read uh the article that you wrote um yeah uh maybe like um I’m just uh curious because many of the people who are listening to this conversation now and who will be listening on later um always interested in noise of working and new ways of collaboration and app fire being that example that has you know let’s say put together cultures after cultures into one Enterprise um there must be some sort of like you mentioned earlier some tensions uh maybe some sort of opportunities to to really look at collaboration from a different angle what were like some of the learnings that you you took out of this and what are some of the rituals that you have developed over time I love the question I I think that the the first thought that came to mind when you asked this was that I’m trying to think of a way to make it not sound so uh cliche but because everyone would say good conversation and good communication skills are important but I think for instance like for one thing I’ve learned is that there are so many English language idioms that don’t translate very well so we will think we are communicating and the other person will be nodding but they don’t necessarily know what’s going on so so really pushing people to to feed back and respond and you know my intention is this is this okay does this make sense you know and I think that the that was a learning another is that it’s always going to be more important to to communicate more than it is to communicate less anytime we have the chance to uh over explain something even though it can be annoying from time to time is better than someone feeling out of the loop or feeling unheard or feeling uh not connected we uh for instance my CEO Randall is out on a tour that he calls bring the fire this is the second year of us doing this where he just goes to the various organizations in various uh locations where we can get more people to gather and and retells the story of the founding of the company tells the story with the whole through line of all of the people that we have connected with and all that sort of thing and I would say that it’s it’s very experience driven to have your story retold a lot you know when we can attainment that’s that’s a known thing uh into the spider verse the first animated Sony movie with Miles Morales that was a theme they kept saying all right let me tell you this one more time and then they gave the the uh origin story of Spider-Man like eight times during that movie because there were different spider people and I think that if we steal from media if we steal the the tools that we use to interact with people things will go better and then the other one and I think this is really important I lose my mind when companies don’t do this act fast act fast it is amazing how many times people ask too many questions gather too much information talk to all the parties involved there’s all this time wasted and it’s almost never to anyone’s benefit no one is ever like you know oh I’m so glad you were so thorough in your research you know what people are happy with oh I can’t believe you took action so quickly thank you so much there are cases when you have to if if you think you’re gonna let somebody go you need all the information you can’t you can’t fire you know without any uh real information gathered but they always say hire slowly and Fire fast you know what the worst feeling ever in an organization is when you know someone isn’t the right person and and like if they’re on your team if they’re a peer on your team you’re like why should I have to work so hard if this person is such a horrible person that’s one way if they’re a boss it’s like a hundred times worse oh my gosh my boss is a crazy evil Beast what’s going on in my life now we don’t have crazy evil beasts that app fire we’re very lucky we hire with a lot of those core values up front we try to weed for that but sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that those are just uh written on paper they think that we don’t care about those Community Values and we learn awful quickly and so if that happens then sometimes we have to make really difficult choices to move people out and I I’ve been in the middle of it and I can tell you that in in every case where we’ve removed the leader who wasn’t the right leader the Gratitude and the and the and the warmth and the and the the hope for their future changes so immediately once you lift the bad experience out of the way because people come to work because they want to be you know all humans want to be wanted we want to be felt like we’re contributing and we need Agency for that we need autonomy for that and we need we need nurturing and so I think that’s how you lead yeah I I love that you mentioned agency Humanity nurturing um very very close to the TL um concept that the world that we live in also and what we truly believe as a part of the design of our organization there is uh um Ian has a question on the chat and his asking is there anything about TL or agility that you disagree with and that perhaps can be done differently um that you think can work better for your organization it’s a great question Ian and and the reason it’s great is because it’s always good to challenge anything that you know we’re we’re a we’re a universe of people who have that feeling of not being sure we’re doing the right thing or you know we’re always questioning the things that are you know given to us from above let’s say I think that there’s nothing I see that I would disagree with teal there’s always where I tend to like where I balance and weigh my energy is towards action and uh every now and again there are parts of teal that I that my own impatience probably caused some some suffering you know I I uh I’m Buddhist so I always try to look at you know in what ways am I doing this to myself and I would say that there are parts of teal that led me to that just in general nothing very specific but you know a lot of it connects and I think that you know I think that the I think that the goals of teal are so much better than so many organizations that are you know trying similar experiences but that’s only because the people involved are the people living this and the people who really care about this so much so it’s practically a tattoo and I think that I think that’s what you’re looking for anytime you’re looking for the real Believers you know it’s you would be astounded how many times people will ask me a question the gist of which the question is ah come on that’s great until someone gets mad or that’s great until the Board needs you to make more Revenue still you know what you could do both you can always do both and you can always approach it with kindness you know we just went through I’d say we’re still in this incredible macro economic headwind this is incredible like all these companies laying people off and we approach that the same way we did everything human kind you know we we didn’t have layoffs thank goodness we definitely had uh a lot of you know challenges but we made it through we’re making it through and I it’s in part a lot to the fact that everyone adheres to values so I think I think there’s a lot to be valued in the deal thank you how about uh agility Chris like how do you see agility and lived out I mean because you also service one of the biggest agile um proponent company um atlassian right so how do you kind of bring that into a rhythm of rituals within your company so uh more than half of our entity is made up of software Engineers so more than half of our people are uh either doing agile or pretending to do Agile which I think is the the funniest term I never knew this term uh until I was inside this organization but because what they’ll say is well you know we’re using the parts that work um also I mean there’s that there’s that sort of religious split between like scrum and kanban and all that I think that whichever way you use that works is the one that’s the best one and I never fight a detail there I will say that uh oh a lot of times I’ll tell you a few interesting things together a lot of times we let go of things that are important because we think they’re going too slow but it’s something that the Navy Seals actually say slow is smooth and smooth is fast and I think that is a powerful phrase I mean I think take it away from the Navy Seals make it yours slow is smooth smooth is fast I think that is a that is what agility should be right we we make the mistake of saying well we can’t do all this stuff we can’t ever retrospectives we can’t you know there’s all these things that get thrown out because we have to hurry um and then I’ll tell you this other thing the first time I heard this I was in a meeting of our engineers and Hyderabad I used to be a project manager my mouth opened and I couldn’t close it I kept trying they said the head of engineering said um well I think we can all agree we don’t really work on any deadlines right and when they said that I was like no deadlines is this a joke like I’m waiting for like a giggle we release our code when the code’s ready and we release the code a lot because that’s how this kind of software implementation works and they’re the most calm hundred plus of our people they’re the most calm people in my organization whereas my marketing team is running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to meet deadlines that no one else has the the customers don’t have no one cares and so I think that agile and our very best teams are like the best scrum Master types and all that we do a lot of uh agile and Enterprise scale and a lot of scrum type stuff the ones who are disciplined in doing that work are the ones giving the best results so I think that anytime an organization pushes back on that I I say that isn’t the problem it’s agile isn’t the problem there’s a culture problem like you’re probably still telling people and that’s what we feel yeah I think it’s uh um Carrie also mentioned fake agile it’s a thing and um when agility becomes mechanical that’s when you have a problem right that um it’s no longer the thinking and um the aligning within the Strategic goals of their organization but it is like I’m just doing what I have to do because scrum tells me this is how you do it and that were the problem that’s why the problem goes wrong um yeah Chris there’s there’s one question from Patrick before I move a little bit discussion on AI because I know you’re a big fan of uh Ai and you’ve been doing a lot of writing around it um Patrick is asking do you have a favorite among the books that you’ve written and where can we start to get to know you and your ideas aha so uh unlike some authors I write about whatever I’m interested in so it’s it’s it’s difficult it’s like going to the tool like the hardware store and saying what’s your favorite tool the question would be like well what are you building are you making a deck or are you building a shower so uh the book I am famous for I guess with my co-author Julian Smith is called trust agents trust agents is about how do you build reputation and earn trust at a distance on the web and we wrote a 10th anniversary edition um which updates some of the theories but the theories really didn’t have anything particular to do with the specific technology it just had to deal with how do you how do you promote trust at a distance which there are some different experiences of I wrote a book about personal development called it’s not about the tights which is only available through Amazon because it’s a self-published book I like that one a lot I have a book about entrepreneurship for weirdos called The Freaks shall inherit the earth I wrote that for my two children so if you like it uh Patrick then it’s just the extra extra credit for me and those are probably the best of the bunch and I wrote a writing book called find your writing voice that might be uh good too and Ian of course I’m going to answer your question thank you for asking it yeah Chris these are amazing suggestions I’m now updating my reading list to include some of your books and um also Ian and Patrick if you’re interested I’m also subscribed to Chris newsletter he writes I think every Sunday if I’m not every Sunday since 2009 I haven’t quit yet exactly and um it’s it’s an amusing uh newsletter I I find myself reading it a lot um regularly it gets dropped on my mailbox so it’s uh thank you for for that gift Chris um yeah so let’s talk about AI because um it’s a Hot Topic let’s weigh in on like all of the chat gpts you were one of the first that I see talking about it very openly uh testing it out putting it to uh really um maybe uncomfortable situation sometimes um what are your thoughts about AI so it’s existed for quite some time before it got popular you know before anyone was talking it through I it was something uh autocorrect is AI um there are all kinds of things that that are being used that use that same sense of machine learning and artificial intelligence what’s a little different is that we’re starting to understand now like we finally saw a use case that made us go oh I see and there’s some incredible ways that that can be used you can have this act like a software engineer either junior or senior so you could say to it uh does this code make sense and chatgpt will say yes but it’s inelegant maybe you should write it with fewer lines let me show you how that’s what humans used to do um there’s writing uh software now there’s there’s I just saw one announce today that can write the entire novel for you it says how’s this for a plot nah give me another one how’s this for a plot that’s good and and you you just kind of Click your way through a book writing and it gets done in like four minutes or so and it’s I’ll tell you it’s one of those scenarios where as a book author I’m like uh but as a book author I also use the tool now and ask it questions I I was working out the ideas for a chief of staff book and I asked that hey if you were going to read a book about Chiefs of Staff what would you think you should need in the table of contents and it gave me one and I was like oh that’s a good start and then I did my part so I think it’s great there’s uh art tools that are amazing Adobe has a tool called Firefly that is incredible in some of what it can do because for instance I don’t know if you’ve ever had that great experience of a perfect picture of you and your friend and then you get home and there’s like a dog pooping in the background so you used to have to be like a really great Photoshop expert but now with firefly you just grab it and say you know what to do and it does uh mid Journey Dolly all these drawing tools you can suddenly have really interesting art like on my LinkedIn profile every time I write an article for my zero formula newsletter I I use a a platform called stable diffusion and and uh that’s why all my art sort of looks the same in style and quality it’s not because I’m paying some particular artist it’s because I have a special formula that I’m using to ask you questions we’re going to talk about this like as a really disruptive technology but you know what else was was not having actual keys on our phones right this is all glass when did we start thinking touching glass was the way to use a device now we’re getting smarter and smarter with this humans are always the the drawback factor of this the gating factor of this when we use our phone we expect the buttons to stay in a certain place but if you really thought about it different apps that you’re using you don’t need all the buttons you need the buttons that you use the most so why wouldn’t the app be smarter for you and say I’ll just show you what you need because I know what you need or I know exactly what you’re going to do the minute you do this and why doesn’t it take it there like I do screenshots on my device all the time but I’m always going to crop them to the important part that is obviously the important part AI knows so if once you have an app that can do that for you it’s just going to say I know what he’s going to do next he’s going to cut it just so he’s going to send it and you might as well you know pre-type hahaha because you’re sending something dumb and funny so it’s the people who are worrying about it are the same people a few you know 100 plus years ago who are like oh no automobiles we can’t it’s not going to not be here and it is going to impact a lot more jobs than we think I saw uh two little bitty flat AI robots moving cars around in a parking garage so no no valet needed you look at some of the uh oh there was a there was a side of a building that had this big poster can chat GPT build this building for you Boston Dynamics has a construction worker robot now so yes they could um there’s plenty of use for humans and the use for humans is the same as it’s always been creative uses of information creative uses of knowledge finding untypical atypical things and connecting them in interesting ways that’s what humans do that robots are still not really any good at context outside of context memes do you know that a robot can try to meme but they’re usually really dumb but humans can turn something into something else such that we it’s like a secret language at this point and it’s almost like the way hieroglyphics used to work and so Raya we have so much good opportunity in the future the one thing you anyone paying attention to you and I talking can’t do is ignore it if you do you’re just asking please let me be unemployed yeah yeah um maybe a one question because um as you’re on the subject of um human capital and how you know how do you enhance your positioning as a human being in the workforce um with knowledge of uh AI so there’s so many ways that this is going to be better than what we have right now in in some circumstances have you ever gone like for instance you go into Excel and you’re trying to pull up some information for the boss you get everything in there you go how do I do that formula again what am I trying to do imagine just being able to type uh how do I do that formula again and it just spits it out Microsoft made a connection to open AI who makes chat GPT and for instance if you’re using Microsoft teams for your meetings you can you can have it um uh to summarize the meeting for you so you could type into uh what do they call I think it’s co-pilot at Microsoft you could say any important action items for me it will do an audio transcript sift the transcript and say yeah there were three items for Rhea and and they’ll put them on your calendar Raya by the way you need to get back to me by Wednesday with this other thing it’ll just show up in your calendar it’s a due date and and so why wouldn’t we want that so there’s there’s a lot of really Neato things you can do people are like well it’s not very good it’s not very good today internet video used to be horrendous you know streaming used to not be a thing I mean everything used to not work well and then it finally did and then we all just used it and didn’t talk about it anymore yeah yeah that’s true um I’m just curious and maybe I’ll I’ll stay with this last question on AI and then we’ll move forward um you know humans develop when they’re exercising on or when they’re trying to do certain things creativity develops with you know forming maybe uh some habits and learning uh to develop these habits um when it comes to children and one of the things that kind of pushed me off the wall was having an AI tutor for children to help them leverage uh life skills I was not sure how this could play out okay let me give you an easy example of this um autistic kids autistic people on average because there’s a there’s a common line if you’ve met one autistic person you’ve met one autistic person but on average people who are not exactly considered neuronormative or whatever the term is these days they have trouble sometimes interpreting social interactions so imagine asking a robot uh the question sort of like my friend said uh I said I forgot your birthday and my friend said you’re good what does that mean there’s this suddenly the robot just spits out its best guess and says oh well sometimes when people say you’re good it means it’s okay you and I are still friends everything is fine you can really understand this you can train any of these device any of these Services especially things like chat GPT to be very helpful you can train it to be very uh connected to all kinds of uh information that you need you can do this in math Saul Khan did an incredible Ted Talk recently about their implementation of AI inside of Khan Academy and I can tell you Saul’s version of this is amazing because it is everything a student would want so you’re going to see some incredible uses of it yeah definitely and it’s still developing right and um with these things one of the the questions was can it overrule Humanity um there is a there’s a now a proposal at the European level for regulation of AI what are your thoughts on this so all of these early uh legislations are horrible because it’s usually written and drafted by people who aren’t fully cognizant of the technology that they’re trying to regulate it’s every technology has gone through this every
(48:38) single time electric cars they’ll blow up regular cars they’ll blow up you know uh electricity it will be horrible your house will burn down through throughout the history of brand new technology there’s all these phases that happen this is exciting this is terrifying this will put people out of work it’s it’s happened for thousands of years I imagine some caveman somewhere said you’re not going to believe this I made a wheel and everybody else was like ah society’s ruined so it I think the legislation is silly I think I think some regulation and legislation has to exist uh but I think it’s for instance protecting us against deep fakes understanding that this exists so many humans trust their eyes but but that also happened before AI as well I was at the United Nations uh at the well near the United Nations at the Associated Press headquarters in New York and there’s this wall full of these famous photographs we’ve seen just like the most iconic images of the 20th century for instance um I can tell you that the um most prolific uh profound thing I’d ever heard this gentleman this incredible gentleman named Geo he touched one of the most famous photos in the world and he said a picture is the perfect capture of a moment that didn’t happen and what he meant was a photo can tell something that’s not true a photo can be something that isn’t really what had gone on you know the the very famous Tiananmen Square protest photo of the young man standing in front of the tank he’s really far away from that tank but every photo of it looks like the wheels are gonna hit him now by the way the protest is every bit as important every bit is dangerous everything so meaningful but if the most famous photo in her mind about that was a guy way down the street from some tanks it would not have been as impactful as us seeing him right nose to nose with it and so that’s way before AI so yes it needs to have some attention and thought put around yes we need to very much understand things like deep fakes because it’s already being used for Crime it’s being used to sway people’s mind in negative ways but is it the devil no humans are the devil okay yeah I I um thank you so much for your perspective I think it’s uh it’s really important um also for all of us Humanity to educate ourselves with um what AI is capable of uh good and bad right and um weigh in on this because um it has an impact to how we’re going to live our lives in the future and how we’re gonna do work in the future 100 but again let me just keep using the example of the the glass phone right I mean we’re not one day we had phones in our hand that did more than dial phone numbers and then we had blackberries because we needed the little teeny tiny buttons and then we didn’t right and and so things are things will evolve with or without us how we work only that agility that we need is agility of mind and soul to say is this important to us social media was so important and then it was only a little important and you know thank goodness I lived through the it was the most important thing in the world era I don’t want to go back I’m so glad that you know social media is a thing we do not our life yeah um totally agree with you uh thank you so much for that perspective Chris and um if you’re listening in um we really invite you to think you through Weighing on it educate yourselves and um yeah um yeah do something with it uh to educate yourself as well so try it out it’s a it’s the best way to to find um what it means for you um yeah so we’re nine minutes to go um the time flew by thank you so much for for the conversation Chris um uh yeah so um Chris has a bunch of books that Anna will post on the um on the comments so please um if you’re interested go and check them out um and uh yeah and um I think uh what I would like to do is before we close off I’d like to um invite you to our future um conversations on on our living room uh so we will have Tom Nixon and Fanny Norland they’re going to talk about the um uh was it the feminine and masculine um parts of leadership so this is very exciting uh Christian wandelor from Semco style USA who will be talking about new ways of working and Patrick Franson will be talking about purpose um in uh in business so we really look forward to having these guys join us also in the future episodes so please stay tuned if you’re interested and um before I close this conversation Chris our audience is always curious about new ways of collaborating um how you do it maybe what would be an advice you would like to offer our audience as they evolve their practices in their organizations there’s a word that I’ve I used as one of my three words I do a thing every year called my three words there’s a word that I used last year that I will probably just in keep close to me for the rest of my life and it is co-create the idea of how can we co-create something I find that there’s a there’s a mindset missing a lot of times when we’re doing what we’re doing where we we work on our agenda or we like suffer under someone else’s agenda but we never try to think about how do we co-create so when I’m coaching I’m always thinking that how do I make this person even more amazing how do I really lean on this person’s great abilities uh instead of worrying about de-emphasizing the ones I wish they would do different what can we do all together so I think that as as we work forward I think as every generation comes on the scene we look for that more and more and more we want our own thing and we want other people to provide ingredients for this and so I think that that’s that’s what’s different you know it used to be here’s what you get and now it’s what can I do with this and I think that that one big shift will change the way the world works yeah thank you that’s beautiful and co-creation is definitely one of the the best I think um unleashers of um Synergy um amongst people and amongst uh brain power within a collective so thanks uh Chris for that um I don’t know we still have five minutes and I don’t know if you would like to answer a question a last question from Gina yeah so Gina is asking if you can build an AI that could do anything something maybe that could help be appfire or your organization or your book writing what would it what would it do so my company’s already looking at AI for some of the apps we make because there’s so many ways that you can use the tools to get a like my example of like how do you make a report in Excel for instance I think there’s a lot of times where the tools you just wanted to do the thing you wanted to do and you don’t know which buttons to push to make that happen so we’re already kind of looking for that sort of a thing Gina um the other thing is I would love for more people to use things like chat jpt in lieu of Google translate or or alongside of Google translate because you might say would a Polish person understand this idiom or does this make sense in Bulgaria is there a historical tie between Bulgaria and Poland that I don’t know you know what I mean like there’s so much context that you can pull from tools like this that will help you interact with humans I I wish more of the people in any organization not just mind I wish that we would use these tools in some of the more creative ways that we can interact you know before we were alive we were talking about certain treats and I had mentioned hollow hollow and uh I could I could ask chat gbt right now quick what do I need to make hollow hollow at my house and it spit out all the answer I I have the whole recipe now and so why why shouldn’t we do this at work why couldn’t we use it yeah yeah thank you so much Chris and it has been a very lovely uh to have you um join us in our living room uh today a lot of insights a lot of new perspective on uh not just the ways of working but the the ways of showing up in the organization and also some thoughts on chat jpt which is quite an AI which is quite um a big thing nowadays um especially in in larger organizations where they can add so much value so um Chris thank you for joining us and if you have any last words for us last words you know I’m grateful for anyone that gives me time and thank you Raya for having me on the couch here for the conversation I I think that I always just want to remind people that there’s a reason I have superheroes behind me and it’s just that everyone’s a superhero at some point everyone is a hero to somebody else some in a lot of times it just comes from sharing some some vulnerability of yours that’s the the weird secret of all superheroes is that their vulnerability is what makes them interesting and so remember that about you think about the characters you care the most about in in fiction and stories and books and movies and then say oh yeah that is why I like that person they have a weird Quirk or something that’s not right about them remember that that’s part of having a superpower and so maybe that’ll be helpful for people thank you so much Chris so think about your superpower and enjoy the rest of the week Chris thank you thanks everyone for joining us today
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