Jan. 11, 2022

Power Problems

Power Problems

This week, Ryan and Heather chat about wildlife vacations, living with scheduled power outages, and the impact of SaaS on enabling remote work.


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Ryan Purvis  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works Podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In the series you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines the problems they're facing how they solve them. The areas they're focused on from technology people and processes to the approaches they took that'll help you to get to the scripts for the digital workspace inner workings.

Heather Bicknell  0:31  

Ryan Purvis  0:32  
Yeah, not too bad. Thanks not too bad just catching up from last week of it.

Heather Bicknell  0:38  
How are your travels?

Ryan Purvis  0:40  
Not Well, we did. We did you travels but my daughter was in hospital with a stomach bug. So that kept us pretty busy for most of the week. But yeah, we on the travels, but we went out to Limpopo which is otherwise well there's a there's a big nature park I think called Bula. And it was interesting. We had a huge issue and we got there to the hotel, because the room they put us in although it was a nice nice enough room was on the first floor. And I've got a toddler and the crawling baby and the balcony was not even knee height for me. So he was on the balcony within 30 seconds trying to climb over and jump off and then also climb onto the roof which also wasn't ideal. And then the staircase was indoors so my toddler stomatology fall down there or my baby could crawl to it so we just said look, it's not it's not suitable and they were very good. They upgraded us to what they sent us to their sister hotel. I said an upgrade because we went for a four star or five star which is a tented camp. But there's only 20 camps it's very personal. And it was lovely. We had if it was very different cuz we've never done tend to campus before but we had a beautiful view straight into the nature park not that we saw anything from from our little strip but just you know a level of service that you could only have with when you have a small set of clientele and some very good game viewing so it was like it was it was good.

Heather Bicknell  2:28  
Is it like a like a yard or like a platform with like canvas on top? Or what does that look like? Oh,

Ryan Purvis  2:37  
you saw about the tinted so yeah, so yeah, it's a big so the structure is a big tent structure. So think of think of like an awning type of structure. Like if you have like a 16 Men tent or 20 Men tend not one of those you can easily open and close it's really a fixed tent. And then the room we were in all the tents we were in has permanent solutions. So so the tent itself fits onto a bricked up section. And in the bricked up section is your you know, your toilet, your bath your shower. And then because it's four of us we had an extra room there was also bricked up on so there's a wall and then that walk next to the tent. So you've got the sort of Canvas flaps that are permanently there. But they also act as your windows so you've got the flaps that come up and down. So you can see outside with the mosquito netting and that sort of thing. I've got some photos which I can I can share if anyone's interested. And then you're sort of as you walk into the tent, that's all canvas. And then there's the main bedroom which is a king size or Super King depending what country you're in. Big bed with, you know all the electrics in there. So you've got aircon, you've got you know, power fridges, all that kind of stuff. But that's, that's very like I want to say rustic in the sense that you've got, you know, plug the plugs on the floor, and they've been cabled in so you can see the cables running to the plugs. And it's on a concrete base with carpets on top. So it's like having a tent mixed in with an apartment. And then so our room had to had that sort of structure. So main bedroom and then on the one side was the bedroom and the other side was the bathroom and then there was the kind of a you could walk around in a circle as you go around the tent. So really nicely done and then outside. We had like a swing chair with on our deck to look at the park and then a normal table and chair set to sort of also look out to the park and then sort of around the corner on the side was like a sunbed. You know if you want to lie down on the sun and indicia nature and enjoy the sun even in winter, it could still give you a bit of a sunburn. And then of course, they've grown because is all in the bush, the bushes have grown around the tent. So you actually don't realize that there's a tent right next door, sort of 10 meters away, which has got also their own view. But they also, you know, hidden behind the bushes. So you're all on your own, which, you know, is a nice feeling. But then you've got a centralized Lodge, which has got like the dining, the restaurant, and like a big lounge, and in a bar and all that kind of stuff. So really nice set up. They're not totally kid friendly, in the sense of, there's no playground for the kids. But they do do stuff to allow, you know, the, you know, my son could go in his little scooter and go level pause on that. And then they take us out for game drives, which is great, because you have your own dedicated Ranger. And he takes you out and he, you know, what do we see today? Okay, I've heard this. There's leopard here. So go look for leopard always heard his elephant and all that kind of stuff. So it's really, it's really great experience. And I had fantastic Wi Fi. So I did quite a lot of stuff while I was sitting there. Can you spend, I mean, basically, what the sort of the sort of your day is very much. You know, once you once you're in there for the first night, the first night is usually just a good dinner, then you go to bed, you've driven it's about a three hour drive from from us to get there. And then if you if we didn't have the kids, you'd get up at sort of five, six in the morning, depending on the weather. And you'd be on the game drive. First thing to be back by sort of nine, so you're out there for three hours. And then you have breakfast, and you sort of relax on that till about 1212 30 Then you have lunch. And then basically after lunch, you got an hour or two to be on the on the Safari by three. And then that's another three hours. And then you come back and you have dinner and you basically you know, most people have a drink and they go to bed, because you got to get the next day start again, because every day is you know, a new adventure. With the kids, it's slightly different. We have breakfast early first, once we're up so sort of seven ish, eight ish, and then they take us on what they call a bumble till about 10 o'clock for two hours we go out with the kids. So it's a bit warmer, you know, a little bit less windy you don't see as much normally, because animals really move in those two windows sort of six in the morning till nine and three o'clock until seven that you'll see. But we were quite lucky because we we booked to stay to the Monday because it was a public holiday in the UK. Everyone left on the Sunday. So we basically had the whole hotel to ourselves.

So normally they don't do an afternoon Bumble but because we're the only guests that took us out on our own. And we went out for three hours and it was fantastic. We saw so much stuff I had a rhino and her and her calf literally a meter from me staring at us. And then little bit further on we had a baby rider fighting with a big Rhino. And they basically you know I do is I've never seen a rhino that active if you imagine like a dog running around chasing a bigger dog. That's exactly that's exactly what it looked like except that

Unknown Speaker  8:05  
play fighting is that how they learn? Yeah,

Ryan Purvis  8:07  
I'll send you the video. It's exactly like that. He was like causing trouble with this bigger right obviously like a little Rhino causing trouble with a big brother. Or we think it was a mother and two mothers and their kids and what the kids are fighting the difference not like you know if a dog runs into two you're lucky over. If this runs into it'll it'll damage the car. Here it's a serious weight difference. And then we saw some leopard kill. We didn't see the leopard unfortunately because leopards are very hard to see. It's like one of those difficult things to try and find because there's normally only one in an area and in this this park doesn't have a very big elephant population but we saw the elephants which is also quite rare. But yeah, it was very relaxing barring us or getting a stomach bug when we got back so but I don't think that's their fault. I think that's just the nature of the beast anyway you are this the bugs fly around sometimes.

Heather Bicknell  9:03  
Well at least sounds like your role to enjoy some solid days of animals viewing and glamping before then.

Ryan Purvis  9:15  
Yeah. You know what, the reason why I bring up the Wi Fi is you know you're sitting there and you're in your tent. And you know my kids, you know obviously they they need their entertainment and it was it was good enough that I could put them on Netflix and they could watch the Netflix while we sat and watched the bush and I took I didn't take my laptop with me even though I said I was going to I took my iPad with me you could sit there as you sort of watching the bush you got to have ideas you just make some notes and all that stuff is is feeding back into not I wasn't working working but it was feeding back into when I got back home. I could not pick up the things I was thinking about. Which is which is a nice experience. It didn't have to be on Wi Fi because it could have waited. But it was nice to know that it was all synchronizing and how happening, because a couple things are tied to workflows. So when I got back there with the workflows I'd run and you know, the stuff is pre populated. Which, which is that that's like the automation, Nirvana that things are happening without you having to do something.

Heather Bicknell  10:17  
Yeah, I mean, sounds sounds nice. Sounds great. Very cool that you were able to get all of that done seamlessly from, you know, it's such a wild area.

Ryan Purvis  10:34  
But it's it's remote. I mean, it is very remote. This Yeah, we didn't realize this. So I'll tell you a little bit more the story. So we we drove from Joburg to this hotel mobula. So let's say two and a half, three hours drive. But we didn't realize when you drive to the gate of the hotel, you still got to drive another 25 minutes through the bush. So you're driving on dirt roads, and you know, up and down hills and whatever. When we found out that the room wasn't gonna be suitable, and moved us to that hotel, we had to drive back that route. But then we to go to the other hotel, you got to drive three kilometers or so off road. But now at this stage, it's seven o'clock at night. So it's pitch black. And there's no streetlights in the bush. So you know, you're driving around all these sort of curves and up and down and, and whatever. So by the time we got to the hotel that night, we were absolutely exhausted because I've been in the car now for five for four hours, four and a half hours, including the SSA, we were traveling for about four and a half hours, including the train of thought the room out and all that kind of stuff. But you literally are in the middle of nowhere. I mean, it fascinates me that they've got fire fast internet in the middle of the bush and some hotels that I've been to, you know, can't even give you five and and mega day. And that's sort of the Compact, you know, these guys were unlimited, which is, which was great.

Heather Bicknell  11:52  
Yeah, I wonder, I'm sure they had to go through some stuff to figure out how to deliver that. But you know, it's like a five star hotel, you're gonna make those

Ryan Purvis  12:03  
high sheets? It's actually a good question. I should actually find out from the you know, that's, that's the nice thing about going to a hotel where it's a very small guest compliment, is you really get to know the staff really well. You know, if they like, you know, you could give their phone numbers and that kind of stuff. So you can WhatsApp, them and WhatsApp so, so I can actually I actually want to find out how that would they did it because it's a fairly new hotel in the sense that it's been refurbished two years ago. So they probably brought that in as part of the refurbishment as part of a group called extraordinary group. So then, the other thing I was, so obviously, we came back and my daughter was sick. So we had to go to the hospital. And I sent you a text about power cables.

Heather Bicknell  12:47  
So cryptic text about cables and power. Yeah, you

Ryan Purvis  12:51  
know, the funny thing is you so I mean, you'll, you'll know this, if you ever want to have kids is you're so exhausted with your kids. Normally, when they go into hospital and stuff, the stress does make it even more exhausted. So it was it was sending you a text I didn't forget. But so we say in South Africa, there's a there's a power problem. I think every country in the world has a power problem. But we have a special one, in that we go into loadshedding. So you have a given times in a day, you'll have two or three hours, we will be offline. So in fact, I think I'm going to be offline in two hours from now for three hours, and this is to take load off the infrastructure. And so my, my, my back, my child was sick. So we took it to the to the casualty, and the hospitals about a 10 minute drive from where we are, unfortunately, the pediatric hospital and it was one of those where you can get on the Wi Fi, but it's only 500 Mega day and all that kind of stuff. But the other problem is when you when she got it admitted into the, into the actual hospital room, there was only one plug that was available. And there's two patients put in this in this room. So first thing was to do sort of agree that we were going to share the share the plug type up an adapter on and we could share the charging. Because my wife was staying over with my daughter, she obviously needed to charge her phone all the time. But also my daughter had her iPad, and that to keep her entertained while she's in the cotton and feeling sick. So these things are constantly charged. And then during through all of this, we have load shedding. So the hospital is sometimes online, sometimes it's offline. And when they're offline, they have a generator that kicks in and they run with the generators. But because this low chair sort of kicked in last week, there was a some faux pas and there was some issues where there was something obviously a bird or blue or something like that. They're offline for like two or three days. And then sort of parallel our house was offline. You know, at some of the times something I'd come home, it'd be no power. So I go back to the hospital and the hospital have no power, then I'd be like, where do I go now, because I need power to charge everything. So there was a comedy of that. So I went and bought some some power banks and was basically using those to keep everything charged. But then I got to a stage where the house was offline, but the hospitals online and I needed to charge my laptop, my iPad, all that kind of stuff. And when I sent you the text, what happened was I was charging my Mac. And I plugged in my iPad to my Mac. So my my laptop was charging, it was charging my Mac. And then my Mac was charging my phone. And it was like this combination of cables and other things. And this is so funny because I was using my my Windows laptop as a big battery as you plugging in phones to charge devices, because that's about the only use I have for that laptop now. But I was thinking about someone at some point thought that way with the Mac, you'd want to have one USB C in and one USB C out to charge your devices and enter an earth exactly like that. I thought we already talked about this, how I want to say dongle world or you know how reliant we are in power for everything. And when you don't have it, you resort to all sorts of combinations to solve it. And that was that was the reason behind the text.

Heather Bicknell  16:21  
I see. So that the load? Is it sharing

Ryan Purvis  16:27  
your shedding load shedding? Yeah, like shedding your hair like a dog.

Heather Bicknell  16:33  
So do you know in advance, I like do you know for like the area that you're in or for your individual home? Like, is there a schedule? Like how do you work around that?

Ryan Purvis  16:44  
Yeah, so this schedule, but sometimes the African way, the schedule doesn't talk to what they're doing. So you can buy, like I'm looking at my phone now to see what timer. Next thing is. Sometimes I sell that the say you'll be off and you're not. And sometimes I say you'll be on and you're off. But most of the time it's pretty. It's pretty. Pretty accurate. So, so mine too. So we're not we're not load shedding. We have load shedding started five o'clock today. So so we should actually be fine, because from a workday point of view. But this this last week was not just loadshedding I think there was actually a problem like a substation blew up or a cable was was cut or something, something like that. Because, you know, normally when they load shed you genuine people know it's coming. But no one expected it and also was off for much longer than three hours was like five or six hours. Which, you know, the middle of winter. I mean, I winters are not that bad. But it's still cold. And obviously affects people in that sense. So yeah, it's an interesting problem.

Heather Bicknell  17:56  
So what percentage? Is it three hours a day? Or what percentage of the week do you have or not have power?

Ryan Purvis  18:05  
It's not so depends. So we we typically have, on average, say one a day. So for example, Sunday was we supposed to have two on two and Saturday 6am to 9am and 10 o'clock until 1am. I don't think we had either, to be quite honest. But like Friday, we were supposed to have it from four o'clock until seven o'clock. And it didn't go off at four went off at five until seven. So it's usually about once a day, maybe twice a day at the most. They go in different stages to stage one is once a day. Stage two is today. Stage three yesterday, stage four was for day. Because our winters are not that bad in Joburg. And when I say not so bad. We've Saturday morning was minus one. But by 11 o'clock it was already 17 or 18 degrees. The loads not that high if the evenings are called and everyone turns the heaters on so that there's a higher load. But this is the CSB. I won't say to be mild, but it's actually been okay, we've we've had a cold front in Cape Town, which normally leads to the rest of the country being cold. But we're going back to a heatwave. It was no cold front. So normal front. So from from today, actually, we're back to 20 degrees a day. So the load should be not too bad on the on the infrastructure.

Heather Bicknell  19:32  
But it sounds like you're usually able to if you just had to go out and buy those power banks. It sounds like you're usually able to at least from the device point of view. It's not plugged in all the time. It's not a big deal.

Ryan Purvis  19:48  
It's yeah, so the I mean, the interim for the for the hospital was just powerbanks. But what will what what most people do here we've got the funds, they're going to generate it in or an inverter And that'll switch over so a friend of mine I was talking to him yesterday, he has solar power solar panels on his roof that charges the inverter batteries. And then when there's a switch over, because of a power outage or low churning, he switches over to his batteries and he can run his batteries for for 10 hours or 20 hours or whatever the numbers that's a lot of people do we're gonna put a generated in this house, which is we diesel diesel driven. And then when it when it comes to those sorts of things, our power thing because things like my fiber would work. But the you know, we're not going to run everything. So around the lights are on the fridge or on the microwaves or kettles, TVs, that sort of stuff. We will run the heating, because that's too much too much draw on the generator. But that's it. That's what most people do. And then some people that are really the word is hot for which is tired of Eskom, which is the national provider, they put in the whole system that they're completely off the grid, which you can do here because there's so much sunshine, you can charge your batteries full in a day. So you can run completely off the grid. Which, which is where a lot of guys are going they're going back to off the back to electricity through solar and gas for the cooking. Because there's been yes, there's big gas pipes and stuff. It's just interesting. It's one of those things that I thought this was interesting from from a nomad point of view where, you know, the problems you have in one country are so different to another. And when we moved into this house, this area was renowned for not being legit. And all of a sudden it's starting because they realized that Eskom is a national provider realized that this area wasn't been legit. So now we're, we're on the list

Heather Bicknell  21:51  
makes you think of Did you see the news of the electric truck that Ford is coming out with? No, I think it's the Ford lightning or, or so they basically took their most popular truck, which is the f 150. I'm not a car person. I made it electric but one of the features of it. So it's basically like there's places to plug things in like literally everywhere all around the truck. So if you had like a landscaping business or something like that, you could like plug everything you need to so that's pretty cool. But one of the use cases for it was it can be your generator at home. So it's just like, yeah, a very like Swiss Army knife. Of a truck. It seems like but I thought that was interesting, especially for places in maybe like more like the southern US or places in the the plains where they have a lot of tornadoes. Like any any area where it's more prone to natural disasters, having your your high rating truck with all the electricity you need. Plus it's your house generator and it wasn't even, like it seemed, you know, for what you're getting for all of that. I think it was like basically the same price as the existing truck. The non electric so seems between that and the cybertruck. I don't know Ford Ford has a good crop there. This type of truck obviously looks futuristic. But yeah,

Ryan Purvis  23:39  
well, my uncle's in the middle of the Kalahari at the moment, which is in Botswana, and he's got a Ford Ranger that he's converted. It's basically a big tent construction they put on the back of the truck. And inside there is your fridges. It's got a generator, it's got you know, space for your clothes and utensils and your food and whatever. And they basically drive in the middle of the bush. And then they go camp. And inside the contraption that it sort of raises up and you got a two person tent on the roof. That also keeps you away from the lions and that kind of stuff. Any end that they would avoid the lightning track purely because it's probably too new, too many pieces can go wrong. And rather stick to the old fashioned petrolum Whatever his range is new, it's probably it's probably a 2020 20 or 2019 additions are not so like it's out of date but but they're trying to avoid as much of that sort of new stuff as possible. But in saying that, you know, he was saying now it's freezing cold. They could do with the end it's got solar panels and that to charge. They could have done with something that could have you know, put a heater in the in the tent or something just to keep them warm because it does get down to 011 degree in the middle of the bush. Plus you have the wind that comes through there. That's because it's nothing to stop it makes you cold.

Heather Bicknell  25:02  
I didn't realize people would tend and kind of be out in the wild like that. They're two people like 10 Campus stuff, it just seems like I mean, I go, I do a lot of backpacking in areas with bears, but that's kind of like, you know, the biggest predator and I'm not too afraid of black bears. Grizzly scare me a bit more. But you know, lions and leopards and rhinos and elephants.

Ryan Purvis  25:33  
Yeah, they call it I suppose the UK we'd call it rough camping. Here, they call it camping. But basically, they'll go out, they normally go in teams of two or three. And it's got to be, it's got to be a four by four. You don't go with anything less than that in a real serious vehicle. And then they'll plan like they were going on a six week tour where they're driving up to the color Hardy, they get their their provisions when they get there, then they load up the truck. And they go out the driver a route. And they've got all this sort of GPS is and you know, two way radios and all that kind of stuff with them. Because cell phone reception obviously out there is non existent. We get like a whatsapp from them when they get cell phone range. So we know so we know they're okay and what they're doing and the stories they can tell you. And then yeah, they each vehicle this is two ways you can do it. One is you have the the construction that goes on the back of your, of your your truck, so it fits into the bed at the back. The other option is you can actually pull the caravan caravan with you but not a caravan. Like you see. Like you take your drive to a caravan park and it's you know, it's already a thing. It's almost like a condensed caravan. That's that that you expand out. And as you expand it out, all the things come out with it. But the problem with as my uncle says you get stuck with that thing. So you know, if you're trying to go through a ravine and you got like a very sharp incline and decline, you can't get the caravan through that. Whereas a few in the in the bucket, you can sort of do that yourself. So they go out and they just follow the route, you know, if they if they see some tracks, like for a lion, they follow the tracks, they find the lions, and obviously don't get out the vehicles, but photography and that kind of stuff, guys, we'll do it, we'll get out. But they'll take follow that and then, you know, they'll always sort of have a camp somewhere that they will be in the open but they'll have a fire and they'll cook in it. But by the time it gets dark, they'd back inside the the construction. And then they basically sit out there while the lions will pass or the leopards move past or whatever, and they had elephants and that the other day will pass them. And then they're hoping that the elephant does decide that they're in the way and damage the vehicle or damage them. So it's it's serious. exposure to the elements. Sounds like fun. It's something that we will do with him and my kids a bit older. So it's really really adventure stuff.

Heather Bicknell  28:13  
Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of if you don't, you know, rough it a bit. He won't, you're not gonna see there's a lot to see if you are a bit more remote. And yeah,

Ryan Purvis  28:27  
yeah, look, I mean, the parks that we go to our hunter said a good for tourists, but they're good that you can see stuff fairly easily. You know, driving down some roads, you'll see some stuff. I mean, you won't necessarily see a kill or you'll be lucky if you do. But you'll see some elephant you'll see some Rhino you know, it's pretty rough said almost mundane, but it's pretty easy to see that stuff. But if you want to go see wild dog, you know chasing chasing down its prey, which is a very rare thing. So you have to be out in the in the windows. Now it's interesting, isn't busy. So he's bought himself a drone for the strip. And he's taken that with so I'm very excited to see what kind of stuff he gets because he can launch from the top of the canopy. So they got some line below them. He can get it up then take photos and like kind of stuff on their knees. It's got a fancy camera that goes with that, that streams back the video. So he's all geared up for this top. With the gadgets. It's you know, it's one of those things you can spend a lot of money on gadgets for that for that perfect shot. Yeah. Sounds cool. Yeah. So he's, as I say, he's in Botswana. So he's, he's doing his Nomad thing.

Heather Bicknell  29:43  
Is he working from there? Is he doing other?

Ryan Purvis  29:46  
He's, I mean, he's, he's gone. He takes he takes his stuff with him, his laptop and his and his iPad and then and the kind of business that he's in. You only really need to check in, you know, sort of once a week twice a week. So, you know, he's on holiday. But But I know him he's a workaholic. So what he's probably doing is when he gets back to do the resupply, he goes and checks all his emails, he phones, all these customers to see how they're doing, you know, that kind of stuff. He I mean, he phoned me for my birthday, yesterday on Saturday. So I knew he was in range. So you've probably found everyone who needed the phone. And then you go back out. And you'll see he's probably making notes and stuff as he drives or his wife's driving, about stuff he's thinking about so. So he's probably working. But in the nice in a nice, as I said, you know, you can be working, but you can have a beautiful view in front of you. Which makes it that much more enjoyable, the work even for the slugging stuff?

Heather Bicknell  30:41  
Well, you want to tie it up there for today? Or did you have anything else you want?

Ryan Purvis  30:49  
I'll be honest, I didn't look at your links yet. I'm still catching up on that stuff. So we can probably tie it up there. And this is anything else you want to go through.

Heather Bicknell  30:59  
Now, I think, you know, we have quite a few episodes, episodes in the backlog now. So I think we can just keep our other appointments and then I'll look at, you'd sent a few links as well, this weekend, I haven't had a chance to look at.

Ryan Purvis  31:17  
Yeah, did you did you have a chance to listen to that Freakonomics episode? A dead? Yep. So don't move very quickly. Sure. So so what I liked about that episode, initially was that they started off with the phrase that working moment doesn't doesn't work ever, it's not productive. Which I was really ready to challenge. But as they went through it, and they sort of explained all the things they sort of turn that around. And and I think that the crux of the turning around is how the technologies advanced from when they did this study in the 1990s. To where we are now. And I mean, even the technology we have now, zoom and teams and less stuff is not much of an improvement on what we had 10 years ago, in the sense of jabber and Skype. And, and those things, I mean, you could still do video calls, and then on Skype 10 years ago, but I think what has changed is the ability to roll out that technology to a company or even to in a personal capacity. I mean, you could tell someone today, I'll talk to you on Zoom, they download the Zoom client in there, and they're ready to go in two or three minutes. Whereas with Skype, you know, sometimes had issues with it, sometimes it didn't work, sometimes you forget your account, you have to create a new one and all those sorts of finicky things. Plus, Skype is really crap. You know, it's, it's, it's we've come a long way. And I think then the other thing, which which is important is a lot of the tools that we were using in the 90s were very manual and very thick client tools. So they were they were installed on a laptop, or set installed on a desktop. And they only worked because the server was in the room in that, you know, it was in a in a room in that office, as opposed to inside a big data center. And most of the tools we use now, our services are hosted in data centers across the world, though, you know, you don't even know how they worked to a large extent you just connect to them and use them. So those are the two thoughts that I really had. I don't know what you put you thought,

Heather Bicknell  33:23  
yeah, well, just off of that, I mean, you can use the app version, you can use the webapp version, you can access it from your browser, so it is just super convenient to use those apps pretty much for anything. But yeah, I thought, you know, so they, they kind of they interviewed a few researchers for the episode. And I think like you said, the first guy they talked to kind of took the, you know, they have to make some assumptions for their research is one of the things he was saying and that one of the assumptions that they made for the study that he did was that working from home is 50% less productive than the office. Yeah. And he seemed to imply that they had some data from previous stuff to kind of say that maybe that would be true. But I yeah, I kind of thought, Well, that's an interesting assumption to start off with that it would be half as productive. And like, where, how exactly does that work out? But he did say that over the course of the, you know, the months of the pandemic that they noticed, I can't remember if it was like 40% increase or 60% increase. They noted that people became more productive over time, likely as they sort of figured out how to adopt different tools and like adjust their workflows. But I think so much of The Productivity conversation for me. You know, there's a lot of blanket statements, I think being made is working from home more or less productive, but And so much of it depends on, you know, what's your role? What's your Office environment? Like, you know, are you? Do you have your own private office? That's pretty soundproof? Are you working in an open office environment? You know, what amenities exist in your office? Like, How comfortable is it? And then I think another interesting characteristic to look at is just years in workforce, because I think, you know, when I think about, like, what things do sort of really benefit from being in person, I think, if you're brand new, which could mean, you know, you're young, or you're like switching career paths, but if you're new to an industry, that might be one of the toughest things to sort of get accustomed to fully, remotely, that there are maybe some benefits to just like, learning the norms of the workplace that if you're not, you know, it's obviously a lot more seamless to transition to remote work if you if you work for the company to begin with for a little bit, and then you moved remote.

Ryan Purvis  36:23  
Yeah, I mean, I think that's a very important aspect. I mean, I, you know, we've been quite lucky with Hailo that everyone knew everyone, when we split, we split up. But as we've on boarded new new staff, one of the biggest problems has been getting the culture, right. So and there's ways there's ways to solve that it's not an unsolvable problem, it's just you need to do need to do it. But I have worked in organizations where, you know, you only meet people via video, and see them once a year, maybe twice a year, in person. And you can definitely feel that if you don't do that face to face meeting, that they always call them the enemy. That's not the right phrase. But you always feel a little bit disconnected with them. You need to have that face to face somewhere, it's I do think the productivity thing is is great for for doing work. But I think if you really want to get the productivity, you need to have some face time some some in the in the same room time, which they didn't really cover as an equation. And I think that 50% ratio of productivity, you know, it's just a typical economic view on things, they had to put something down. So they put a number. Yeah. And almost have to prove or disprove it.

Heather Bicknell  37:43  
Right. Now, it's interesting to to think about sort of, I haven't seen a lot that kind of is thinking about the longer term effects of, you know, you can say that, yeah, working from home, is equally if not more productive, because you know, the commutes gone, people are putting more hours, then they can, you know, they have their devices at home, and they have all the technology to access it at any time. So they can work, you know, longer and later and from anywhere is easier than ever before. So in terms of output. I think a lot of people do you know, when all the a lot of surveys are showing that people say they're more productive, and I think that's a lot of it work comes from but also, you know, for some it's like minimizing distractions and whatnot, but over long term, things like, you know, knowledge sharing, like, how does that differ? And I think that's kind of what some of the aspects are pointing out. However, I would push back a little bit, because I do think one of the things I like about Microsoft Teams, or slack or, you know, this other workplace collaboration tools is that I feel like it really it can, depending on how your organization uses it really democratize knowledge sharing. So by using channels well, and by asking questions publicly, you know, there's so much that I picked up on that is just, you know, I wouldn't have ever learned if it wasn't shared in sort of that public way. And maybe it wasn't even a question I had today. But seeing it and seeing the responses to it helped me be more informed. And that over time, I feel like is so valuable versus if I was in an office and I just had a one on one conversation with someone. No one else heard that conversation. It stays just with the two of us.

Ryan Purvis  39:40  
Yeah, so we have a do's and don'ts channel that I started a couple weeks ago, trying to get back to the culture thing. And you know what I find in if I was in a meeting with someone or a group, I might make a note of a do or don't, but then I still have to Do the extra step of you know, disseminating that either in that meeting or putting on the channel afterwards. But, but like this morning, for example, I was sitting in a Scrum and I was just making, you know, I was listening to the stuff, but I was also making notes of, you know, with new people starting, and some of the questions were coming up, like, you know, what are some of the challenges like you need, you need to wear a headset? Or have a proper speakerphone, don't use your laptop microphone speaker. So that's a that's a do and don't do use the headphones. Don't use your headphones, your your laptop's microphone hits it speakers. You know, do do take notes, do ask questions, you know, any questions? Okay. All those sorts of things, which, you know, when you've been around a bunch of people for a long time, it becomes a common thing. But if you don't, for new people, if you don't tell them, It's okay to ask any question. They'll say nothing. And that's now just in a channel in teams, which everyone's invited to. So as you type, you just everyone's getting notified of those things. And you can see the reactions, while they were okay. We are distracting people from the meeting, per se. But, you know, I see people read every quickly Oh, yes, I agree with that, you know, thumbs up or heart or whatever it is. But it also helps, as you say that dissemination of knowledge, you know, we have a lot of standing standard operating procedures now for doing things that's in teams, channels, and wikis, and all that kind of stuff. So people know where to go and look for it. Whereas if you're sitting in a meeting, that always becomes an extra step to go, sorry, teams that broke my camera back now. That becomes, you know, a bit more Edmond for someone to go and do, which usually means that someone doesn't do it. And we've actually been, we're moving one thing away from from teams, we were using teams to collect ideas and, and talk about the product. Now, that's gone to notion. Now, so So what's nice about that InterNations really flexible tool is we were able to create all the fields, we wanted to start with very basic stuff. But now it's starting to become part of the workflow because all our tasks are inside of notion as well. And we've got checklists, and all that kind of stuff. So So that's becoming a very nice brain for organization that if someone's not available, they know that other people know to go look on notion and see what's been been tracked as a task and see how that relates to a checklist or whatever it is. We as teams a little bit too. I don't want to say inflexible, but but teams is good for the conversation. It's not good for if that makes any sense.

Heather Bicknell  42:35  
It does. Yeah, I think the there's some sort of ability to organize information that is hard to hard to do on teams. Or even like a feature that we requested a long time ago is to I think a lot of what we use teams for is just people getting answers to questions. So if they don't know who to ping for something, or like, you know, maybe this is a general interest question, General Education question, I'm gonna put it in a channel and see who responds. But sometimes you get a thread of, you know, different people responding. And it'd be nice to be able to highlight, you know, in that thread, or maybe someone responds, and then a conversation happens, be nice, the ability to highlight what was the answer to the question and sort of like pin that on the conversation so that anyone kind of scrolling by can see that without having to like, read the 25 responses below the question.

Ryan Purvis  43:37  
Yeah, and we had the same sort of problem with with recording the request now. But you know, a girl ask a question in the product, and then there'll be conversation around all that. And there's like a long thread that keeps going. And that's where I think, you know, sort of slack does slightly better. But but now that that conversation is now inside of notion, as a page for that component, that problem, whatever it is, and that's a bit better, it's a bit cleaner knowledge repository, because we can tag it, we can use columns to filter, all that kind of stuff. But that's also tied back to our roadmap. Because that's also a notion. So even though we have tools that are specific, like DevOps, for example, for actually managing the development, the high level roadmap items sit inside of notion. So when a when a sort of frontline person asks a question about a component, they can go and look at the roadmap and go, Okay, this thing will be dealt with in six sprints from now. whereas before we were, they were asking us all the time, and you're sort of saying, yes, it's coming. It's in this you know, so it's all about visibility and simple, simple ways to share information. So teams are still critical to us, but but it's it's helping to have another layer, which is the notion layer to help disseminate information. Yeah. So cool bananas. Do you want to leave it there?

Heather Bicknell  44:59  
Yeah, my I'm getting a bunch of pings. So another meeting intense. I'm like, maybe I should figure out what? No, no.

Ryan Purvis  45:08  
That's good. Super. Alrighty. Thanks

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