June 14, 2021

Tips for Time-Saving Workflows

Refining workflows is a never-ending journey, so where should you start?

In this episode, Ryan is joined by Jon Hoehler, an experienced product and marketing executive in the telecoms space. Jon shares his experiences finding the right tools to suit his needs when freelancing. Ryan offers advice for leveraging personal automation to save time and reduce cognitive load.


  • PCs vs Macs
  • SaaS tools for max efficiency with contract work
  • Removing noise work to make room for brain work with personal automation
  • Creating boundaries when working flexibly

About Jon Hoehler
Jon Hoehler is an experienced product and marketing executive with a strong track record of working in the telecoms and technology sectors across numerous emerging markets. With almost two decades of experience, Jon has worked with small, medium and large mobile, technology and digital services businesses across 21 African countries. 

Jon’s experience ranges from developing revenue-generating offerings across mobile and digital solutions, mobile marketing campaigns, customer value management (CVM), mobile apps, go-to-market strategies, product management, software business development, sales operations, account management, management consulting and marketing management.

Connect with Jon: http://magnify.biz/, jon@magnify.biz

Show Links
Follow us on Twitter: @thedwwpodcast 

Email us: podcast@digitalworkspace.works 

Visit us: www.digitalworkspace.works 

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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 this series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines, the problems they face and how they solve them. The years they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took, they will help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings.

Welcome, john. Hello. So the digital workspace works podcasts. Do you want to give everyone a bit of introduction to yourself, please?

Jon Hoehler  0:36  
Thanks, Ryan. And it's great to be so as Ryan said, my name is Jon Hoehler. I've been very fortunate to have been in the mobile and technology space for almost 20 years now, pretty much since we, Brian and I left University actually, many, many years ago. And I focus predominantly on mobile and working with mobile operators across the African continent. So I've been very fortunate to have traveled to 23 countries across the continent, deploying value added services, pricing products, FinTech solutions with with mobile operators, across the continent.

Ryan Purvis  1:15  
Yeah, it's funny, you mentioned University and I thought, oh, yesterday, that catch that I dropped in that game. We were playing cricket against the Korea who it was we play for an Apple Computer played against but I've always forget, always remember that.

Jon Hoehler  1:31  
And for your, for your listeners, what Ryan won't tell you is Ryan was a very gifted baseball player, pitcher, if I remember correctly, and I didn't know that. And Ron dropped my catch. And I've proceeded to to use the most profound language to describe my disappointments to which Ron picks up the ball and throw it straight back at me. Quite often.

Ryan Purvis  1:55  
And so so we get our friendship. Exactly. which must be close on. 20 years 2021. Yes, no. So no broadening. It does sound as my receding hairline. So the reason why I wanted to have you on is you've led the charge for me into the apple economy, not the ecosystem because it's an expensive business. Been a been a member of the apple world. And I thought may be good for for people to hear how you've operated in this world and and how you been operating your day to day activities?

Jon Hoehler  2:34  
That sounds sounds good. So it's always a very interesting debate about Am I an iPhone or an Android user? Am I a PC or on my Mac? And I truly think any any ecosystem that you plan or economy as you put it out, is fit for purpose. It's based on what you are doing and what works best in terms of the delivery of the work that anyone is doing. Okay. I've had to work in both environments. Over the last 20 years, I've eventually come to the decision that for me, that the apple ecosystem works for me. And every and every year it gets better because I think what's happening is that more and more vendors that are out there are developing more and more Apple products. So say for example, I'm a I'm a very I'm a I count myself as a power, Microsoft Office user, in particular Word and PowerPoint. And the NEC equivalents are good, they will never be the PC commands are almost like there's a version ahead. On that still works really, really well. Now you incorporate the world of teams, for example, and one drop works just as well on a Mac than it does on a PC that divide which was there for five years ago and older is not anymore. The bridge between able to work in ecosystems is a lot closer now. So I think this ability to do that is one thing. But the second thing I think, is an organization's obviously Enron you will notice from your own experience, setting arty policies and with big organizations. RT policies are some of the most rigid policies that you will get and rightfully so, of, of cyber security and trying to protect organizations from from cyber security breaches. You got to try plug the holes as much as possible. Yeah, but I'm finding now in my own experience, and I'm not a cyber expert experienced by any stretch of the imagination is Apple's always been very comfortable on their personal ecosystems quite tight. So because now you're getting this, this building on top of each each platform organization saying you don't have to have a Windows PC to be able to operate within my organization, actually comfortable. And in some cases, advocates that max in the mech environment can come into our organization because we've got knowledge workers that are doing this specific types of work that will get better productivity if they're on that particular piece of equipment.

Ryan Purvis  5:06  
Now, it's actually to your point about about sort of windows and non windows environments getting close together, app wise, I mean, I was I got to do some sequel work yesterday. And I was like, Oh, I need to find an app for that or for my Mac. But Microsoft now builds an app. It's Azure Data Studio, which works on both. So you know, you don't have to go and find a big third party anymore. I mean, there was somebody gonna charge me ridiculous amounts of money, 100 pounds a year or something. But Marshall says provided that app. And the other thing you mentioned around the policies, the one challenge we had, previously with Mac is putting down policies on it. Because it was such a different beast to to the Windows environment, you know, windows, you have a lot more control, etc. But I found now that I've switched over, that almost a lot of the things that I would need to put policies in for, I don't have to, because most of the things are built into the to the Mac world anyway. So So, you know, in some senses, that there was a study, I got to see if I can find it. I think it was IBM that did it. And they said, the cost of managing or maintaining a desktop environment based on Windows versus Mac was three or four times more expensive. Yeah, because of the flexibility. You know, that's going to

Jon Hoehler  6:24  
be and I want to touch on a point before that's my next points. You know, a lot of the stuff now and we'll talk about this topic a little bit later on in this in this in this chat. All the work we're doing is up in the clouds. Now. It's sitting on local machine now. And I think that that has changed the way and in particular for me, and I'll talk about my experiences of I'm, I'm even, I'm not even beholden to the Apple environments, I'm omens my browser, nine times out of 10, the majority of my work is goes to go to the browser, and sort of make a side point on the PC versus Mac environment. Apple always had this, I'm gonna say this elitist status, things are a lot more expensive. And don't get me wrong, a brand new MacBook Pro will set you back a small fortune. There's no disputing that. But what Apple has done really well. And in particular, with the launch of the of the new in one chipset with the McAfee, which is what you and I are both using now and where our conversation came from, that's all

Ryan Purvis  7:21  
your fault that I bought. not one, but two.

Jon Hoehler  7:25  
Once you go back, you don't go back. Yeah, the price point is a lot more competitive now. So if you had to weigh up the entry level MacBook Air right now with an M one chip in South Africa, obviously, this is I'm speaking in the South African context, is actually five and 6000 rent cheaper than the equivalent Microsoft Surface, which is a brilliant device, you can expect to speak there naturally. But when you paying a 25 to 27,000, Rand for an equivalent, you know, Mac, which is sitting at I think 18 or 19,000, for the aim one entry level MacBooks it's a big consideration, in particular, for guys that are in the contract world that you want me that are looking for the power and flexibility. But also cons of Ford, that particular price points, I think you're spot on. And the

Ryan Purvis  8:14  
thing that I really appreciated when we bought the Max was that you could trade in? Yes, yes. So you know, you know, even before the trading and I don't know why this was the case, maybe because of the the summit with new new products coming out. But already the the MacBook Air here, the in one chip was cheaper than the UK, I paid at that I would have paid 1000 pounds in the UK. And when I did the conversion, it was closer to 750. And then after I did the trade in, it bought it down to about 700 per device, which, you know, my very fancy Lenovo Windows device here was that was double the price. And now it's a glorified battery.

Jon Hoehler  8:59  
It's an interesting 100% I think what what people are always going to say and when you get into this debate, and it'd be very interesting to get to get a Microsoft developer in a conversation like this, because I will talk about flexibility and how the apple ecosystem is a very closed, very controlled ecosystem. You know, in some cases, that's okay. Sometimes you do need the flexibility but open environments, depending on the work that you're doing, and then if that's the case, if that's what you're looking for, use that environment. Yeah. I know for myself, I'm a I've got an iPhone and an iPad, I've obviously got my my MacBook, my ecosystem works here, you know, you know, for me, as soon as I saw using big on Apple with within one chip, my my Jason calls from our devices, I'm going to want other apps to do that on, on Windows, but it was intuitive. It just worked. So that's the choice. That's a choice someone's always gonna make is if you're going to go into the ecosystem. Do it

Ryan Purvis  10:00  
Yeah. Yeah, it's funny you mentioned that because that's, that's that just works thing. It's exactly I said to Heather, because, you know, we've talked about me switching over for a while. And I was actually excited to go, because I bought these on a Friday, set them up over the weekend. And I was actually excited to start work on the Monday. Because I didn't worry about, you know, what, because what was happening with my Windows machine, it was blue screening every couple minutes, you know, within an hour, dude more probably crashed twice. And you weren't doing anything fancy, you know, you clicking somewhere. But you know, on your comments about the developer ecosystem, I mean, you know, I still write code every so often. And I've got Visual Studio, my Mac, so and then. And the other point that you make, which is, which is so true. Now, all your stuff is happening in the cloud. So if I'm actually going to run code, I might run it locally for a couple minutes to just to check it, but then it's been deployed into an Azure workflow. So it doesn't have to live on my desktop anymore.

Jon Hoehler  10:53  
That's, you know, that's, that's, that's where I think the modern the modern knowledge worker is there, I think what is driving this drive to what you got? Obviously, AWS, you got to share you got you got Google how wise also got the cloud. Alibaba cloud, everyone's got a damn cloud with a very cloudy day. Okay. But but the processing power that's not available is you don't need to have these massive machines locally, unless you are doing hardcore video, 4k video editing, or you compiling 3d stuff, or whatever it might be. Okay. Yeah, you know, the ability to hyper scale into a data center. Oh, sorry, we will rephrase it, the ability to use our hyper scale data center on demand is changing the way I think people are starting to work. But it's also how organizations are choosing to work with customers. So and maybe it's a good opportunity for us to segue into how I'm using the cloud. So I'll give you a give me, I'm an I'm a contractor, I've got one primary customer, which is the company I work for a wg. And then I choose to do other smaller projects, after hours and on the weekends, that doesn't interfere with my primary customers work to people that enjoy doing certain things, okay. And one of the choices I made Ryan was I wanted to try be as independence and control over myself in my ecosystem. So I picked certain key SAS tools that would help me to manage that so that I don't have to add force myself to to third party to unless absolutely necessary. So when Greg and Liz, and I'm saying things that everyone knows, but it's very interesting when you start experiencing it for yourself, you know, so for example, I couldn't manage my books now. Yeah, I chose I looked at you know, you've got Sage intact, you've got zero, QuickBooks, accounting and your peace solution in the cloud, or very popular at the moment, I ended up choosing QuickBooks. And it was very interesting, it was the base entry level to me that for me at the time where I needed to do something else, but for me to now suddenly upgrade was literally within seconds. And eaters were available, I can then do the next thing, you know, it wasn't like a whole thing I know. I'm speaking to two guys who run e RP and accounting software, you know, you get companies that still try to do migration, they've isolated desktops, and it is sort of managing itself because it's certainly legacy. Now sitting up in the cloud, you literally flick a switch, and boom, it's access and available screens going off my credit card. Okay. So that was what that was one really interesting thing that I looked at another interesting one, which becomes a very interesting cost by for anyone that's doing contract work, and you try to manage your margins as much as possible, especially if you're a knowledge worker, and it's a one man band, and we finally run more and more of those.

Ryan Purvis  13:52  
Yeah, the gig economy,

Jon Hoehler  13:54  
the gig economy where people are getting to the point where they believe they skills are at a point where you don't need necessarily need the support of a big organization, you believe you can monetize your skills in a way that is that is great. The whole side hustle thing, the whole scaling thing Well, that's a whole different debate in a in a in a future podcast, but so I looked at one example I do a lot of PowerPoint presentations for my clients, okay, and there's always a little bit of graphics work that I need to do. Okay, now, I'm not a graphic designer, okay. What I did I made a choice. I said okay, cool. And then working on this very simple work. Let me go and get a 200 Rand course during the course at level two dhobi illustrator dude in my own time, okay. Then I go and use a daily download and pay for Dobby illustrator in the cloud. What even there's obviously a local component and local program 520 random month, okay for the W in Australia. Okay. Now, what I can do now instead of having to outsource the work I would have done which would have been for graphic designer two seconds with the work that would have charged me an hour 600 ravenpaw you know, whatever it is, I could not do it myself. I've created economies of scale and margin by simply looking at what's available from an education perspective upskilling myself getting into the program and doing it for 700 bucks. Yeah. So for me, it was a way of trying to optimize my own costs, with tools that are out in the market, it's just about a matter of bridging those those those tools together. And I think

Ryan Purvis  15:31  
on that, that point, I mean, you've upskilled yourself on on a product, but not necessarily to do the complicated stuff. But to do the basic thing where you might have to build an icon or something like that. But if you still need the the other stuff done, you'll still get that you're gonna

Jon Hoehler  15:49  
hold an isometric picture and change this and change that. Yeah, absolutely. gig economy says I will go find that person. But while utility in the spin didn't make sense for the work that I needed to

Ryan Purvis  16:02  
do it, and then and that's, we were talking yesterday about WebEx platforms. And you know, the two webinars coming up and it was like 100, you want to pay for something or use for two webinars, but the actual price point because that economy of scale is there. If you actually think about it, the return on investment? I think I think zoom was 160 pounds for me. We only have to close one deal. For to be the no brainer. Yeah. And that's and that's what you're targeting. Now, the other thing I wanted to sort of go into there was was tying these things all together. And I think you sent me over a deck around doing that, but but it's almost the the sort of growth or things like if then this If This Then That zappia integro, is what I'm looking at today. Are you playing with that at all? Are you seeing,

Jon Hoehler  16:50  
so I think so. So Zapier is an amazing service. So I myself, I'm not a programmer, I'm not gonna sit and write API's and do integrations. Okay. But the way the API world is evolving Now, inside services like Zapier is and it allows the Met lay man in the street to be able to connect services in a logical way. And I think that's so important, and going to become even more important in the gig economy. So I'm going to give you another example, Ron, so I found I needed I needed a way because unfortunately, I haven't quite solved my scaling and growing problem yet. Okay. Hopefully, we'll admit that, okay, let's see any of any of any company, but I needed to track my time effectively. So I could see where I've been optimizing the projects that will create the most amount of margin for me,

Ryan Purvis  17:45  

Jon Hoehler  17:46  
And I found this really great service called harvest. Okay, it's available@github.com. Okay, little plugin, I'll manage all my projects and my thoughts, I can set different rates and harvest a little plug in on my on my Mac, and I hit the clock and after going to be disciplined enough to hit some stuff. It's intelligent enough to know that the key is the keystrokes ongoing, it'll actually calculate the time and removing the time. Okay, okay. Yeah. But what what that did was it allowed me to start to track were my most effective use of my time versus the projects I was doing, and the deliverables ultimately going to customer. So I could, you know, in near real time, say, Okay, cool. If I do a case study, I get much more case study versus doing a PDA, sorry, a PowerPoint proposal as an example, because the heavy lifting or whatever it might be, okay, yeah, well, that does allow me to manage my expectations my clients and say, Okay, cool. I can do this X amount of time, given my controlling of my time. What what harvest does, it's got an integration with QuickBooks. So I can actually literally do direct invoicing if I wanted to directly out of harvest. Yeah, into QuickBooks, which is got an integration with an API in zap route. To think Well, is there a step before that? Yes, there is use something like trimmer, here, the chair cords, managing your tasks, linked to harvest, checking your hours, which has been linked to your accounting software, which is enjoying the invoicing out. Then you can go even further than that and say, Well, I'm doing a lot. I'm a very email dependent person for my sons. This is how I've always been, you can, you can link your emails and actions and attachments and emails to Trello to harvest. And now you're building a workflow using different tools, not in the same ecosystem outside of the ecosystem, to help maximize the way in which you can do your work, if needed time because the more time you save, the more you can put into delivering to clients if you don't have economies of scale or Or platform or whatever it might be Zapier, what we found is that is a really nice glue. Yeah, it was very interesting like harvest and QuickBooks have a direct integration, really, it's available click of a button again. And so as this, this concept of the side hustle force to gain momentum, and these great theories and concepts on how to do it, what side hustle is more that, for me, the great side hustle in the gig economy is ensuring that you deliver and professionally looking service for what you're doing, because you've not paid this particular opportunity. If you use the tools in the right sort of way, and you can configure them in the right sort of way. You can you look like a big organization you gave your client that comfort that is not just some fly by Mark one man band. And he's a psychological impacts of that in the type of work that you do with with with with customers.

Ryan Purvis  21:04  
Yeah, I think that supports what almost the charge rate that you got to put out there, because you don't look like a one man band. When date when you're wondering bands, everyone's psychology goes, Well, I can push them for price. But they won't argue with a big organization, which is a strange but bayville thing. A couple of things. I wanted to ask you about that. So did you do sit down and draw out your entire sort of end to end process? And then kind of go, I need a tool for this and a tool for this and then and join them together? Or is it more a lot I needed to check my time. It's like an invoice a client. So you went to look for something that you did that and then over time, you're like, oh, it would be great that these things talk to each other OSHA they do. Because I find personally that I get sometimes get caught up in the analysis paralysis of which tool should I use? And you start getting into like, what all the capabilities are, they actually don't pick a tool. You burn more time looking at what's possible.

Jon Hoehler  21:55  
So right differently the letter it was. I'm a firm believer of you only truly know something until you actually doing it. Okay. So it's a good, it's a good part for the theory. Okay, but you can't get into it. You just become the thing to the point of you just didn't get anything else. Okay. Yeah. So what I did was, as I was doing projects, our changes are needed as a problem arise, I try to find a solution to that problem. My first problem was okay, cool. How do I how do I manage my time? And, again, there's a ton of tools update a ton of them. harvest was just a nice, simple tool that did the job. It does a job and it does a job very, very well. Okay. And I'd like tools like that. Okay, cool. So I picked flowers for that. Okay. Even before harvest, there was a big choice to make. Am I a Googler? Or am I a Microsoft? Okay, yeah. And, and I actually chose the Google ecosystem over the Microsoft ecosystem, even though I actually run birth. So Microsoft, office 365 is my secondary ecosystem, because I do have clients that require work within OneDrive and run to have a powerful tool, okay, especially when you link it to the office suite. Okay. But I chose Google because I can manage my email, I can manage my documents. I do find in my own experience that people drive isn't is a better product on OneDrive. I just find on Mac, it behaves a bit better to be easier to manage.

Ryan Purvis  23:27  
Yeah, I find the same with with with Dropbox.

Jon Hoehler  23:29  
Yeah, another really good service, you know. So I chose the Google ecosystem, because then I can manage my domains. I can do everything. You know, everything was really wrapped within minutes. I was I registered my company domain exalted into insecure Gmail for like, seven or $8 a month and I've got a business email me. Phenomenal, like $7 $8 whatever it is. Then I was like, Okay, cool. So now I've got my email sorted. I'm not communicating. Okay, cool. Google's got meats. It's got all that sort of good stuff. Good. I'm active. Okay. Now, I need to track my time. Didn't see it in Google. And we need to find a tool. And that's we've always came in, okay, yeah. Now I was working. Now. I was actually doing work. I was actually doing little projects, because I wanted to see deficiencies. Then I was like, Okay, cool. Now I need to solve the invoicing issue. That's where QuickBooks come in. So I started with zero. And then my accountant is like, yeah, let's try QuickBooks. Great, great service. I'm happy with QuickBooks. Okay. Then it was like, Okay, cool. If I'm running too many projects, I need to keep an order on these projects. That's where Trello sort of became an option to to be able to look at as an example. So to to come back to your point. It was definitely a growing thing based on what the type of work that I'm doing. And I think as a gig economy work, I think that is so incredibly important. Just because something works for you Ryan does it This is really mean, it's going to work for me. And I think that's where a lot of fun in my experience talking to contractors, I sometimes felt, you're telling me what I need to do, I think sometimes you need to experience it and do it and customize it in a way that gets the best possible productivity output from the work that you're doing. And find that to be particularly important. And it's

Ryan Purvis  25:21  
so so I've gone through the Trello experience, and I moved away from Trello. Just to give you a bullet point. And I've ended up with notion now I ended up with notion prior to having API's, they've just started rolling that out now. But one of the tools that I used for years and years and years was Evernote, all my notes and stuff. And I just found the frustration of opening up the book to do something it was so slow. And and also, it got so unwieldy so quickly. So So having notion has been a bit better. But I actually now mixed between notion which is basically my operational brain, because you can create relationships with things and I quite like that. And then you can do tasks. And you can do you know, if I assigned something to you, you'll get an email now that you have to do it, that kind of stuff, that I use something called drafts, which is great. It's a great tool if you want to write text very quickly. So you're standing in a queue, and you're like, oh, let me write down that idea. You hit the open draft draft takes you straight into the cursor, and you just start typing. But that then has to be injected, you know, you got to take it from drafts and put it somewhere else. Now there's quite a strong platform, and therefore automation, which I haven't explored, but you know, it's very, it's very good for those sorts of things. And I still use Apple notes. And I'm sorry to use Apple notes more and more, since I've been improving it, because that's a nice place to scribble something a nice place to type and draw. And you can PDF that and then take that in somewhere else.

Jon Hoehler  26:51  
You're fascinated to do tea here on Have you come up with come from the workflow environments again. And I guess I don't think you get a one size fits all workflow. But it's very interesting, I think is there remains an opportunity. I think we're quite not the domain of big organizations anymore. Their their ability to be able to stitch a worker together based on my knees. Yeah, I think is a is a massive opportunity where companies that are understanding that link, and the products that are available, can definitely add value to this key economy contracts are men and one man band type type type things. your views on that? Oh, yeah, so

Ryan Purvis  27:37  
so I really believe in personal automation. And one of the reasons that I also went the the apple route, is I listened to another podcast called automators. And they talk a lot about workflow automation. And it's the silly things like, like, for example, we're gonna have this, this episode, now. It's gonna, it's been recorded by teams, teams automatically dropped the doctors down into OneDrive. But then on my laptop now is Hazel, which is a Mac only product that picks up that file, moves it to another file and Dropbox renames it, which was wasting my time it was costing me you know, five minutes, it was. So it was costing the five minutes for me to do it. But also remembering to do it. And often I often I do do the call and I'd leave and then I'd be like, Oh, geez, I haven't put that in the folder for Heather. So now I have to do when I get home, I have to do it so that the context switching and the cognitive load is where the real value is. So Hazel does that piece. When Heather's done the, the audio and she's and she's finished, as she puts it in a finalized folder, that also gets picked up by Hazel puts that into my transcribing service folder, which is also in Dropbox. And that automatically transcribes at the first time, which means by the time I look at it, I'm really doing the fine tuning piece. So that 80% of grunt work has been automated away. So So going back to my point of on personal automation, I think every every worker has to understand what their workflows are, did the things that get as you say, get work done, and look for ways to to move the mundane so they can actually do the brain work. So sort of the noise work versus the brain work, because by getting back those five minutes and the cognitive load, you know, I'm really looking at the next automation and the next automation and the next automation and this is where I started looking at all the different cloud services. So stupid things like I say stupid, but I get a text every morning to what the weather's gonna be like. I've worked on that too in the UK because the UK is very specific for this kind of stuff. It recommends what clothing to wear. Do you need a jacket or not? you laughing at me?

Jon Hoehler  29:44  
fascinating thing. So do you know why both of them are Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg always having said? Yeah, one less decision they have to make in the day.

Ryan Purvis  29:57  
Well, exactly.

Jon Hoehler  29:58  
And I think that talks to your point 100% as knowledge workers, we are information overload. It's just it takes exponential levels now compared to when your parents and my parents, you know, my father started his career in 1963 ended it in close to 2000. Okay, still most impeccable handwriting, because you'd have to write letters to people. Yeah. Sadly being lost completely in the digital age, different discussion. But they didn't have the same sort of information overload that we as knowledge workers are working away, we've got this influx of information, more information means more decisions, a decision, choosing to ignore something is still a decision that we have to make. Yep. And being able to reduce I think that's a very interesting point that you make that reduction in noise versus knowledge to make more effective decision or less based decisions, but more effective ones is where I think you see a modern bodies workers that are succeeding, that's what they do.

Ryan Purvis  31:01  
Yep. Yep. No. And I mean, as you're saying, I was thinking about what about other examples, so so I've moved away from reading physical books completely now. And one of the reasons for that is if I take notes on a book, typically they would go into notion, but then it's not been regurgitated to me, I have to go look for the notes. So I signed up with a service called read wise. And what that does is ingests your notes out of Kindle, and a few other ones. And then every day sends you a reminder of the note you took from this book. So like if, you know, I read it this morning, my favorite books is sprint. And and the sections have highlighted to remind me you highlighted the section but then also, in reminding me about, they'll say if you'd like this book, you might like this book. So so you're constantly getting fed, that is to your point, reduced inflammation, but enough to triggers what you were thinking or reminds you of something or, and I think that's where automation really helps you and can be helpful.

Jon Hoehler  31:57  
And but at the same time also becomes a you know, with great power comes great responsibility. And if you look at something like the Amazon Empire, which I mean, we can all take our hats off to Jeff Bezos and what he's built with with Amazon. Okay. bookstore is now the world's biggest cloud infrastructure provider crazy has been started by a bunch of South Africans, I might add, but it's really now in Cape Town did the initial initial pscs for easy to navigate? It's quite a big team. so incredible.

Ryan Purvis  32:34  
Okay, well, I wondered why he was building a new building in Cape Town.

Jon Hoehler  32:38  
Well, that is a massive historical Brinkworth with with AWS and South Africa because of that, engineers, man. But if you look at the power of Amazon, for me, it's in its recommendation engine that I running in the background to understand when someone the likes of someone, the contextual understanding that Ryan is reading, Sprint making is gonna open up a very interesting way in how people are managing that data. You can see it goes down to e commerce play. Yeah. Suddenly, you're getting a contextual email saying, Oh, you might like this blog, which you're not might not have normally caught before. And you clicking purchase? Yeah,

Ryan Purvis  33:19  
yep. Although you say that Amazon still hasn't figured out that when I've actually finished reading the book not to recommend it to me again. That's interesting. Yeah. Someone was telling me that Amazon said, Great, always recommend the products I've already bought. So I'm not sure how good that is? Well, psychology of it could be you want to recommend it to buy for a friend? Maybe, maybe I just think this search is broken.

Jon Hoehler  33:46  
I think I love your notion of this sort of personal automation. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  33:52  
I think we, I

Jon Hoehler  33:52  
think with is an opportunity is for cancer doesn't necessarily know and understand the world of workflow. How do they start? How do you get out the blocks and say, Okay, cool. I need to do this, I need to bring this together. And I think there's a, there's a very interesting opportunity, as a sort of gig economy starts to really big now. I mean, it's a really big now. But it's growing, it's growing exponentially, as more people start to realize their own internal skills, skills that normally have been forgotten about in an organization to come to come to the fore. I think what's more, I think even more powerful now given to Moodle, why the world's had to adapt and evolve around COVID. And I really don't want to turn this into a COVID conversation because I think you're bored of that. Okay. Yeah, but COVID debunks this notion that you have to be in an office to be your job. Yeah. If there was a use case that he was going to do it COVID that use case and I really I take my hat off to the my sympathies go to the property, commercial property. Because I think that's going to be tough times, they've

Ryan Purvis  35:02  
got all this opportunity to pivot it because because the biggest thing we missed been all remote and distributed is the is the brainstorming, collaboration work. And a lot of these found this in the bank, specifically, a lot of these people, you had to be the office nine to five, but you're still on the calls all day long with people in the same building as you. And no one actually sat in the meeting room because there was too much effort to go and find a meeting room. And you could do more calls, because you didn't have to go find a meeting room. But if you turn it into a more collaborative space, I think the commercial guys will come come right. And I still think there are some, there is some need to be in the office, you know, two, three days a week. But then I think

Jon Hoehler  35:45  
this is where it's gonna be interesting for organizations. So we obviously got the theme of the of the contractor, knowledge worker, one man band, I think what's going to happen as more organizations, whether they've got to be hybrid models, they're going to be hybrid working models, this is basically, okay. And there's use cases are coming up. Now, I think there's going to be the swapping of the we've got one core resources, and I've got a specific function. And then as we need skills, we're gonna pull off the deck. And then what's going to be very interesting is how the knowledge work in the gig economy worker adapts to the environment of a and the environment to them. Yeah, and I think cloud makes plays such an important role here. But the type of services that are happening now, I seen a little bit earlier. Technically speaking, I'm actually I'm not even hardware dependent anymore. I'm browser dependent. I'm a chrome user, even though it will suck memory like in mode tomorrow. I find that literally if it's once I can get access to mark to Chrome. Yeah, I have access to all my work.

Ryan Purvis  36:53  
So it's a little tip this switch to brave, brave, what's brave, brave is a chromium browser. Yeah, it's based on the engine but very privacy focused. And I felt because when I when I was learning the Mac, for the first couple of weeks, I kept wondering, like, Why is everything so slow? Yeah. And then I saw I tried a different chromium browser, which was that great generate one, which where they give you money for seeing the adverts. And it got worse. And then I happened to hear podcasts about brave again, I was like, Oh, let me try brave. And since I've been running brave, and Safari, both and this is the key, the the Chrome browser and the Generate browser aren't built for the one chip. Ah, it's already being transparent. Exactly. And and the brave one has got it in one chip version. And all my stuff's there. So I was like, yeah, I'll just use brave. And you get and you get cryptocurrency while you are browsing, so, but that also helps.

Jon Hoehler  37:52  
No, it's fascinating, I think, and this is this is what's creating, I think this is exactly what's driving this gig economy. Now, we are not beholden to the place where I mean, I happen to be working in home today, I'm going to a little office that I go to, because I'm going a little office and I go to Okay, that's my choice, okay. But I as productive as I am here is I'm in a dental office, there's no difference. Okay? I'm just fortunate that my wife brings me a cup of tea every so often and I don't get that at the office. Which is cool. But this is what's feeding this change and the way we are having to adapt. So you know, your audience might not know this. I mean, obviously Ron's a young parents, he's going to he's got a three year old going to almost one year old. I'm in the same boat. I've got a three year old and a one year old. And anyone that knows kids on that edge, we are firmly in the trenches. Yeah, like we're taking hangry nights hard. Suicide out between five and seven is quite literally that the way in which I'm able now to structure my life can accommodate that. Yeah, where we know previously, my previous work I had to work I was working at my head office was about 45 kilometers away from my house, but an hour an hour to an hour and a half in traffic in the car. And I'd have lost so much time driving so much time. And we all used to that and that sort of thing. When when code hits, I was buying three hours, three hours a day in productivity, but more importantly, when my day ended at five o'clock at my last meeting, which was a choice I made that's what I was working in when I was available after that between five and eight is is suicide three hours, okay, yeah. Which which being a knowledge worker digitally connected work allowed me to be able to do my wife wasn't in left Jeff Trussell did, which is unfortunately been the reality for for many stay at home parents, both male and female. You're often left to have to fend for youngsters while the breadwinner, he or she is busy earning money. Yep, I found that I've gotten I'm getting a little bit more time with with with with my kids. That sort of experiences wrong

Ryan Purvis  40:10  
it totally I mean it so so I went through a few phases. So the first phase, we're still back in the UK, when I say exactly that, I mean I saved. So we moved from from being just outside London to be way outside London. So my sort of our commute became an hour and a half commute, not that I ever did the long commute. Because when I moved as we moved to a new house, that's when the lockdown started. But, you know, gaining back the three hours as you say, the first phase was I thought, oh, I've got all this time, I must do more stuff. And so I worked longer, I worked on my book, study courses, you know, whatever. And then I've realized that I was just burning out like, a gray area happened that time. And also, I found because because my son is it was a nursery. You know, he, he was taken to Nursery in that. But because I was burning out I was I wasn't getting good time with him either. So putting some boundaries, but we'll help focus to so instead of doing you know, two extra hours of work, I'll be like, you know what, I'm gonna go go for a walk every every day for an hour. And we did that because we had a one hour fitness. And the mornings became Jim first but in the South African asked Jim first, then are you going to work then I go for a walk and whatever, so much more balanced experience. When we're in the UK, I was walking a lot anyway, because of commuting to the office and all that stuff. The other thing that exactly your thing about supporting and supporting your family so so I've seen a couple things where people say oh, but you know, I do I now do the washing I do housework, when I should be working etc. And there's almost like a guilt, like you should be working all the time. I feel that too. And yeah, we're lucky in South Africa, you can have a you can have a domestic work five days a week and a stop. You know, it's exhausting, expensive, like it is in the UK. But what I have found is it's you those chores that you'd almost spend your whole weekend doing. You can mix them in your day, whilst you're still working and and like you, you know, have the five to seven fun. And then once my son's asleep, if there's still something to do, I can go up to my study, I could work two hours, you know, I've still work a 10 hour day, 12 hour day, but I've done so much in that day. Where is that exact point that you made about about losing time commuting, okay, I will just do podcasts or read a book or work on stuff. But But I still feel like an end you do need those spaces between home and work. So that's the one trick that I think we all need to find a solution for, like go for a walk at the end of the day at five o'clock to end your day. But, you know, all day is a much happier person. Now they're not commuting 15 hours a week,

Jon Hoehler  42:55  
completely, you know, and I think some of the same in the morning and my exercise as well. You know, I'm a cyclist, which was takes a little bit more time than say running, you know, I have to choose it granted, not during winter, because it's super cold. But to be able to talk in the morning Plus, I can cycle on my on my smartphone, if I really wanted to and do calls. I mean, I've done all sorts of video, I've actually done conference calls when I'm not the actual participants in the conference call, I've actually been on my back peddling way, I just make sure that we're not going up at your switch with the volume hours becomes very awkward. But you find ways to be more productive to make better utilization of the time that we have. It's the one resource that is finance. Yeah. And I think in today's economy to modern digital economy, we have to find if we can't find if you can't solve a scaling issue that any business as well as to solve the scaling issue. You've got to find ways to better optimize your time now but

Ryan Purvis  44:01  
well I'm gonna argue and argue about the finite resource things such as time its energy as well. Yeah, you can't be 100% all day long you have to take the breaks and you know I've personally went into COVID Let's go nice you as he was trying to work before she went off and I kept saying just rest the works always gonna be there. And we we convinced ourselves that if we if we're not doing the work you know, it's life and death and often you know, in our roles often it's not you know, obviously there are roles but there's lots of different

Jon Hoehler  44:31  
Yeah, absolutely. I think someone actually said this to me I found that to be very interesting. for for for gazdar I mean we are in a bit into sort of lockdown around the world and working from home you know, we've almost become the norm now. What some people are doing I found fascinating is we are geared for when we are kids that we've got a routine we are human beings thrive and routine and our skin our hair breaks up ready for school, go to school. Yeah. Pasco University work it's the faculty for three years, okay? This thing broke that routine. And what I'm seeing a lot of people having having done is they still get dressed for, for work, if they're getting going to work. The Psychology of I'm in the mindset at that particular point in time, it's helped a lot of people. That's the first thing. Okay? The second thing, this is what I know guys that what they will do is get in there, get dressed, given a car, drive around the block,

Ryan Purvis  45:33  
and then get home. I'm raising my hand because I did that.

Jon Hoehler  45:35  
And it's psychology gets in the mindset, okay, because you know, at five o'clock, you're gonna get a new call dog around the block is silly as that might look. But when you get home, you're home. Yeah. Now one of my things my wife, and I argue quite a bit on she feels that I'm way too attached to my phone. And I'll take that one, you know, that a lot of presence. And as with something that are working very, very hard on that I need to disconnect. You know, you don't have to answer WhatsApp this minute. Yes, you can answer in 10 minutes. But be there be present be in the moment,

Ryan Purvis  46:12  
all have the same problem. But then again, we are very similar. And you know, my sort of solution to that as being as much as your tastes, my wife as well, is my phone system I study from five o'clock until the next morning. And she says yeah, but what happens if I need to call you in a matter? Well, it's it's all his emergency. I said, Look, it was an emergency, I doubt as much I want to do a state walk in the morning for anyone. And if and if it is an emergency, it's going to ring. And the times, you know, in the study, I'll have to I'll hear it and it'll wake everyone up anyway. So it just it just creates that connection break. That's not to say I don't have my iPad with me or something like that. But, but things like WhatsApp are very easy to draw you in because it is it's instant messenger conversation, you want to be part of the conversation you want to make the chirps or whatever it is. And there was something else I wanted to ask you. So you mentioned that you work at home and you work in an office have you duplicated your setup in in both places.

Jon Hoehler  47:09  
So very interesting. The cloud is allowed me not to do that. And if that makes it obvious, I've got a mobile desktop. So I've got my laptop, my my bag and my office in a bag. So what I haven't own gets goes in my bag and goes to the office and comes home. Yeah. So what what I've done is much like you, Ron, we've got the standing there. So I've got a standing desk with a screen at work. Yeah, I've got my Mac, I've got my connectors, all my cables, I figured out what works for me, I'll bring my iPad, because we do screen on the iPad, all that good stuff. And when I sit up, it takes me five or 10 minutes to set up. And I'm set up again. And one of the things I've played around with, which I think will be a overkill is actually having like a Mac Mini at the office and every my laptop heats the point of having a laptop. It's the same chipset, it's the same power. And guess what I'm I'm still going through the browser. Yeah. I think the big the big thing for me, I haven't had to duplicate. Yeah, I've set myself up that I've got my office in a bag of wood every year to be productive, including my wireless keyboard and all that good stuff. The browser However, if I'm not in front, if I'm out and I'm not in my laptop, because I have access to the browser, I can't get to my work regardless where the nature of war criticism I'm always want duplication. How's that for a nice two inputs there was unavailability and duplication of our work.

Ryan Purvis  48:47  
Yeah, now you're spot on. I mean, this, you know, barring the odd little things, like you're trying to do something on a server through a, you know, a virtual connection, or RDP, at least or some some apps don't lie, the functionality is to do something on the phone, you have to get it onto a browser. Most things you could do if your phone if you need to. Which brings you back to the integrated lifestyle where you can go and do something with your kids. And if someone calls in this emergency, you can say, look, I can reset a password, I can approve that expense claim I can, whatever it is, at least until I get back to a browser.

Jon Hoehler  49:23  
Well, so this is another interesting, interesting discussion, you know, you know, what's urgent and what's important. And this is this is claiming that a lot of modern, a lot of you know the gig economy because we so easily connected with urgency level is now the end as human beings we always got this instant gratification. And as a knowledge worker gratification means I've achieved the work or I've done the thing I've delivered the thing or the person receiving it has got what they've needed, as good or bad as that is and that's a whole different debate. Yeah. It goes back to the balance. I think balance that that is so important. And I think with with anyone that's getting into this sort of key economy, setting the parameters for your contract, you're the person you're working with. So important, Brian. I know for example, in my in, in with one of my I was one of my, one of my small customer. And I do weekend work, I literally say stipulated in our, in our agreements. During the week, I'm not available. every customer has an upline employer, and they're the ones I service during the week, if you want my services, I'm available in evenings and on the weekends, stipulated these boundaries that are created to allow me to be able to accommodate that particular that particular piece of work. And I think also goes through to availability. Yeah, we are we are not robots. See, they are knowledge workers on quite literally machines. I think the human body is being praised in the brain as being praised. So odd that we exceeding what we thought was capable. But burnout is a real reality for for knowledge workers. And too often and I've been fortunate, touchwood, it's, it's authentic, it's a matter of if rather than when I haven't suffered from burnout. But from the, from people that I've spoken to that have often it's you follow the clip before you realize it's happened. Yeah, yeah. I think going back to your point on personal automation, I think that is such a critical importance of when you setting up how you want your little ecosystem to work, that you set those physical boundaries, when I'm available, when I'm not choice, and everything is a choice to set notifications, when your merchant have an update. Notification. Now, you choose to set the replication, which means you are actively prompting the device or software to tell you something's happening. Yeah, you can set WhatsApp to be muted, and you can read your messages, you know, later.

Ryan Purvis  52:05  
But it's funny, you said that I was with a friend of ours or one of our groups, and he said we on Sunday. And he said to you, I'm so sorry, I haven't been on the avenue. He replied to the group. I've been so busy. I was like, Dude, it's not a requirement to, to reply to the messages, you know, you're included. Your choice.

Jon Hoehler  52:21  
But you know, it's like, what society instant gratification being acknowledged, we want to be acknowledged here, you can always always spot the guys and say, interesting WhatsApp groups, you know, and this is I would work on because it's the same psychology, you always find the ones that are the most active like replying straightaway. That's their way of doing things, or the ones that are looking for response. Because I've sent a funny mean, or, or an attachments of work done. We've got to choose how we what is our personality and how we want to work and accommodate our ecosystem, a little micro ecosystem to accommodate that particular one.

Ryan Purvis  52:57  
Yeah, one question I had for you which part maybe I lost all your tie up is when you when you estimate your work, do you even though you're tracking your time, by the hours, do you actually quoting hours? Or is your quota or service price? Okay, so depends on the

Jon Hoehler  53:18  
as far as I'm getting better. Okay. So, for me processing is such a, it's a minefield, what is someone willing to pay? Or the discount discussion points? And you could you could trust your customer that regardless if it took you one hour, 10 hours, they're happy with the work that's been delivered, regardless of what it is. Yeah. And the only way you find that balance is by data, understanding how much I'm spending, when am I spending it? And how do I optimize and then focusing on those particular products? They're not going to question how you got there. Yeah, that's the word that one experience that I have, I have noticed. The second thing is transparency. And I think that opening clear communication with the team that you're working with on what your utilization is, what you're doing is very important. Okay. You know, if you want to if you want to market on a wonderful capex, your business if you want long term, if you want long term business, you need to have that level of transparency i think is critically what is a balance is a balance between that the Gaza do really well, the Gaza can get margins, easily repeatable work that delivers value to the person receiving,

Ryan Purvis  54:37  
yeah, now you're at the right. Great, so So where can people get hold you down if they want to get in contact?

Jon Hoehler  54:43  
So you could certainly go to my website, which is magnified or john and magnify doctors. Very, very easy. Just go to my website, or you can drop me a mail. Yeah, happy to happy to chat with me. No

one wants to chat. Happy to happy to engage. super great. Thanks.

Ryan Purvis  55:00  
It's great to have you on. Thanks, Ron. Thanks for thanks for the opportunity. Appreciate it. Thank you for listening today's episode here the big news, our producer editor. Thank you, Heather. for your hard work for this episode. Please subscribe to the series and rate us on iTunes or the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW w podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website WWW dot digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends or colleagues.

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Jon HoehlerProfile Photo

Jon Hoehler

Helping mobile, technology and digital services businesses magnify their offerings and opportunities in the modern digital econo

An experienced product and marketing executive with an extensive track record of working in the telecoms sector across emerging markets. Key metrics include: 14 years experience, worked with over 40 mobile operators and traveled to 21 countries in Africa.
Experience in revenue generating initiatives across mobile content distribution, mobile marketing campaigns, customer value management (CVM), mobile apps, product management, vendor software business development and account management.
Strong product and marketing management professional with a bachelors degree in marketing.