The Founder Formula
The Founder Formula

Episode · 2 years ago

Jake Knapp, Founder Design Sprint - Why You Need Design Sprint


Today’s guest is Jake Knapp, Designer, Advisor, & New York Times Best Selling Author, and someone who cut his teeth on Microsoft Encarta.  

Who remembers Microsoft Encarta?  

Show of hands.  

For those of you under the age of 30, it was essentially Wikipedia on a CD-ROM. You’d buy it, and then at the end of the year, it would get updated and you’d have to buy it again.  

On this episode we talked about:  


  • The theory behind The Sprint   
  • What he took away from Google and Microsoft   
  • Success stories from companies that have embraced The Sprint.    
  • How to write a book on the side while still being amazing at your job.   


Listen to this and all of the Founder Formula episodes at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

And I thought, man, I if Microsoft doesn't have it and Google doesn't have it it, maybe nobody has it and maybe there's a there's a need for that. The founder Formula Brings you in behind the curtains and inside the minds of today's brave executives at the most future leaning startups. Each interview will feature a transformative leader who's behind the wheel at a fast paced and innovative tech firm. They'll give you an insiders look at how companies are envisioned, created and scaled. We hope you're ready. Let's get into the show. Hey, everybody, welcome back to the show. My name is Todd Galena, and with me, as always, is the chief innovation officer, a trace three, mark, Campbell, mark, what up? Hey, how's it going, todd? It's going pretty good. Man. I'm a little melancholy. This is the last episode of Our podcasts. It went by so quickly, Gosh, I can't believe we're at the end of our first season already. I remember wasn't but a couple months ago we were kind of kicking around the idea of doing something like this. I remember a lot of our angst was around would we get anyone to accept and and we've really had some had some good fortune and landing a couple just amazing guests from amazing companies. East journey little bit different, each story a little bit, little bit different than the one before. But I'm super excited for today's episode. It's gonna it's going to be right right up there in a great way to close out the season. I couldn't agree more. We're going to finish with a bang and and as you and I kind of wrap up this season, we're already very excited about putting together season two and we'd love feedback from our listeners. We have been getting some responses from our listeners and we'd love for that to continue. So, mark, why don't you share with them how they can connect with us? Yeah, we'd love if you guys would reach out to us. Just drop us a line at innovation at trace threecom. That's TRAC numeral threecom. Feel free to reach out to me on twitter. I can be reached at hype sniper, hypes N Yper. If you've got some good ideas for guests or topics or even just general suggestions on how to improve the show, just feel free to drop us a line. If you got the good comments, send them to me. If you got bad comments, send them a todd. If you've got bad comments about marks in them, to me. Yeah, well, yeah, hey everybody, I wanted to pause just for a second to let you all know that we're really excited to announce that this podcast is sponsored by net APP, which is another company that was born out of the Silicon Valley. So they fit right in. And I like to introduce trace three CO founder, Brett mcinness, and he's going to tell us a little bit about what's going on over at net APP. Hey, todd, you know, I think many technology leaders today are thinking. I know AI is a critical part of our future, but how do I ai word I start? Fortunately, net up has taken the first steps with their UNTAP AI architecture. Sounds Great. So what's the AI architecture? So the AI architecture is a validated design that includes the world's fastest all flash storage raised from net APP and the world's fastest GPU enabled dgx service from Nvidia, designed to handle the largest, most complex data sets in use today, with the ability to scale as those data sets grow, because today data is the new currency and speed is the new scale, and businesses today need to keep up or get left behind. Sounds Great. So where can our listeners hear more about this? For more information, simply go to net UPCOM AI. Thanks, Brett. Thanks. Okay, as promise, joining us today we have a guest who, first and foremost, is a designer. He spent time at Microsoft and then at Google, and then he went on to be the author of a New York Times best selling book called sprint, how to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days. Please, welcome to...

...the PODCAST, JAKE NAP hey. J thanks for having me on. You're welcome. I just wanted to say for our listeners we were very honored have jake speak at a recent event of ours and we really thought Jake was going to be the biggest celebrity on site. But it turns out our event was at the exact place, in the exact time as the as Justin Bieber's wedding. So yeah, yeah, I mean, you know, the truth is it's actually pretty easy to to find a celebrity bigger than me. You really can look on any city block and you're going to find one. But Justin Bieber I mean that was that was an astonishing I didn't see him, though. I saw, I believe I saw a gator, an alligator what we were there, but I did not see Justin Bieber. Likewise, I did not see Justin Bieber while we were there. But, you know what, it was great having you there and we dug a little bit into your book for the context of our listeners. Can you give us a little bit of background about your book, About Your Company and why you started it? What need you saw out there? Yeah, well, so, the design sprint is a process that I invented while I was at Google and it was really from the need that I saw that I had experienced very painfully firsthand working on projects that were, you know, either very difficult to start. Sometimes we'd have interesting, cool new ideas. I saw this happen at Microsoft and Google and couldn't get them started or struggled to get them started. I've had worked on projects where we had gotten started, we'd worked on things for a while, but we ended up shipping the wrong thing, you know, building the product that that nobody wanted. And I had also seen inside successful products like Gmail and I had seen a lot of successful teams inside Microsoft and Google, met a lot of people, kind of talk to them them through the course of my curiosity and process and building products, and I just saw this opportunity at the beginning of a project to create a recipe for starting in the most effective way possible. And it turned out that Google, and later Google ventures, where I worked for five years as a design partner, was the perfect environment to experiment and refine this sort of recipe. So that's where the design sprint came from, that's where the book came from and today, actually, I don't have a company, that's just me. I'm self employed and I'm, you know, continuing to try to spread the word about this, this way of working where you know you you use a checklist, you use a recipe so that you can focus on the problem solving and not have to wonder how should we start? How should we decide which way to go? How should we get to a prototype or data? It's all rolled into the process. So a lot of our listeners and fact several of our previous guests this season, I mentioned other books like lean start up by are greasis and example, but the sprint process even predates that by a little bit. How did you come up with the sprint processes specially because it avoids and that build cycle. In fact, it's purposely built to not hit that build cycle before before you've nailed down what it is you're actually building. That's a departure from other methodologies like lean start up. How did that all come about? Well, I actually think that the design sprint is totally in line with the philosophy of the lane startup and it's very much in line with the way are crease, you know, talks about it and sort of preaches that method. It is, though, very different, as you say, from the way that method is practiced inside most companies, because the obvious way to get data, the obvious way to have a minimum viable product to people is to ship something. They're thinking, we've got to build something, we have to get it out in the world, and there's a lot of intelligence behind that approach because when you get a whole product out into the real world, then you've you've got real world data. That's the most realistic reflection of the real world you can...

...get. But the problem is it takes a long time to build things and the idea is that, you know, air crease was blogging, I think the I think the book actually came out a little while after I had run the first design sprember. Doesn't really matter who's blogging about that stuff. People in the tech world and Google were certainly thinking about those ideas around the same era. So I think those they kind of grew up in parallel and of course his book just took the world by storm. Startups were all thinking about that when I started working in Google ventures, so it was definitely informing my thinking to through that process. But really the the fundamental struggle that I've seen so many teams have with the lean startup is what how do we get that data and how? You know, the only way they can see is to build the product and get it out in the real world and with a sprint. What we're doing is in one week we're starting off with a small team. We're talking about the problem, coming up with competing solutions, choosing the strongest ones of those and building a prototype that's really just a fake version of a product. At the end of the week, on Friday, we show it to five customers, one at a time. We, you know, bring a person in the room, show them the prototype, watch how they react and it's a simulation of a launch. It's a simulation of what you might get from the traditional minimum viable product and it's a great way to learn what should actually go into your minimum viable product. So it fits very well with that philosophy. It's just a smaller loop you can do right away when you're starting the project, before you commit to building anything. Yeah, the I agree that they are definitely hand in hand and you know, here a trace three both books have become required reading because we often find ourselves having to develop a minimum viable product and then, as you said, spending five days to build it. So great hand in hand books to be added to your bookcase and we encourage, obviously, everybody to check it out. So it's been shown, you know, it's scientifically proven that the more copies of the sprint book you own, the more innovative your team will be. So I think I always encourage people don't just buy one. I mean, you know, five hundred and ten per person is just going to boost you that much faster. Oh my gosh, great, you a true marketeer. Yeah, Hey, so we wanted to have our listeners here a little bit about you in some of the early days and most notably a lot of people who listen to this podcast, I'm sure, have an immense amount of romanticism around what the early days of Google must have been like. And you were there. So can you can you take us through through that time and eventually how you ended up at Google? Ventures sure. Yeah, I mean, you know, when I arrived to Google it wasn't that early. It was dining two thousand and seven, the beginning of two thousand and seven, and although it now it seems it actually seems early, because the company has changed so much since then and it's definitely was an unusual environment and I'm not aware of a company around today that was like Google in that era, at that time. What was so exciting being there was that Google had so much momentum and excitement around not only search, but it was just after you know, maps was out there, Gmail was out there and it seems like every new thing that Google did was was going to be super cool and amazing. They just acquired youtube and it was just a it was a very, very exciting time and also a time when the company was still relatively small. One thing that appealed to me immensely about going to work there was that as a designer. It had a very small design team and so I'd be the only designer working on a product, or maybe even I'd get the chance to work on a couple of different products and if I worked on something really big, maybe there be one other person or two other people with me. So there was a tremendous amount of influence that you could have as a designer. You got to work more like a sort of a product leader, and that was that was great. It was a fantastic opportunity. It meant, though, that I also...

...felt a burden of figuring out how to decide what should we build, how can I I need to be on the front lines of trying to figure out how we convinced executives, how we build, you know, at excitement on the engineering team for what we're doing, and ultimately, how do we figure out if what we're building is going to matter to people when we launch? And I realized that I didn't know how to do that and I felt this need for a formula or some method to ensure we started in the right way. And it was it was after two three years at Google when I started to have this realization that, man, I went into work at Microsoft and I assumed they knew how to do everything, you know, and I and they did. They knew how to do so many things. Are So good at building software, but they didn't have a formula for how to start new projects. And I went inside Google and I you know, I kind of thought the same thing. Well, if you know, if anybody's maybe more sophisticated than Microsoft, had to be Google at that time. And you know, that was that was true and when it came to the web, but not true in other ways. And at any rate they were good at a lot of things, but they didn't have a recipe for starting projects and I thought, man, if if Microsoft doesn't have it and Google doesn't have it it, maybe nobody has it and maybe there's a there's a need for that. So anyway, it turned out to be a really great environment for trying out something new, both in terms of products, like is around this time when I, me and a couple of other folks started a twenty percent project that became Google hangouts, and it was this kind of cambering explosion time when you could you could do that, but also a time when the methods for how teams worked with were not super baked and if you propose something to people, they were willing to try it, and it was that kind of environment that allowed me to say, Hey, I want to try this new thing. I'm calling it a design sprint. I want you to, you know, clear your calendar and come with me for a week. And you know, people were they were open to it, which was really awesome. So you kind of touched on your time at Microsoft before you were at Google. I know that you worked on a rather challenging product over at Microsoft. Can you kind of tell us about the evolution of your roll over there and kind of the windy road at went on and some of the turns and that? Yeah, sure, I when I started at Microsoft I worked on Microsoft and Carta, which I'm sure you know. You guys and your listeners are too young to know what it is, but it's a it was an encyclopedia on CD ROM CD ROMs, you know, shiny silver plates with with information stored on them that you'd put into the computer. We actually know and we talked about shipping software. We actually shipped it. I mean we had to send the CD off to manufacturing. People bought it in the store in a box. It was a different world, but it was the perfect environment for me to learn how to build software, because the team I worked with there, I joined in two thousand and I can't recall when the first version of in card it came out, but they've been doing it for about ten years, let's say, and they were a well oiled machine. They were really talented, very skilled, passionate team of people, software folks, but also editorial team. So it was, you know, it was almost like you were working with inside of a newspaper or something in some ways, and every year, like clockwork, we produced a new version of the encyclopedias. So it was a great way to experience, and I was I worked on that product for several years, what it's like to go from the beginning to, you know, making decisions and shipping a product in a really well ordered way. And you know, I've been I've worked inside a lot of teams and companies since then and you don't often find that. You know, there's a lot of chaos inside most places. Definitely in Google, definitely. I've worked with many, many startups through my time and Google ventures. A lot of chaos inside those companies, even the most successful ones, and Microsoft at the time when I was there on this project was not like that. It was. It was a very high functioning team and it taught me a lot about how... build products. It also taught me the vulnerability of an established product against an insurgent product, and in our case it was wikipedia. So wikipedia came along and with our very measured, steady way of launching products, we couldn't react quickly enough, we couldn't adapt, we didn't have a way to gather that data that you know, that sort of MVP, lean startup style data about what's going on in the marketplace. And as a result, you know, nobody's heard of Microsoft and Carda today because it doesn't exist anymore. So it was a fantastic experience, great mentorship and learning for me, but also very painful to work on something for many years and and then see it die. So yeah, it definitely kindled a fire that still burns to try to help other people not waste their time on projects. Well, certainly after leaving Microsoft, going to Google and then GV. You know, as you're working through this, all of a sudden, I think, as you had expressed, kind of the light went on, like Haha, here's some of the lessons learned from these years in the trenches, from failures, from successes, seeing what works what doesn't work. At what point, though, did you say, you know what, this would be a great book. When did that epiphany? Well, you know, it was an odd sequence of things that led to the book. At first, when I sort of conceived of the idea of a design sprint, I was working Google and I just thought, you know, Gosh, there are so many projects around Google that are really promising and I was so excited about Google's mission and what they were trying to accomplish and the talent of folks there and, you know, having at that time, I guess I've been there three or four years, I was also a bit frustrated by what I saw as a lot of missed opportunities and I thought if we could more successfully start these projects, we could build more momentum, we could build more commitment from the people who are on the team's we could help those teams get going in the right way more of these interesting projects would see the light of day. So I started to, you know, really think of it in the beginning as something for Google, you know, just a tool that would work inside Google and that's been my mind. I was the only thing that that the only places could go. Then when I left Google and went to Google ventures, it was by that time I had been doing design sprints for a couple of years. It really started to catch on at Google and I thought, well, you know, there actually is something to this process. It would be really interesting now to try it in a lot of different environments and also to work within a extremely high quality team, because my colleagues at Google ventures were world class product and design people. So that new environment was still for me, just a way to kind of improve the process. Hopefully it'd be useful to those startups. But what I started to see, as we you know, so began doing it at Google ventures. I started to blog about the process and and just write some kind of how to guides to see if people would be interested and also, honestly, to try to bolster the reputation of Google ventures, which was a very new venture capital fund, and people in Silicon Valley are often rightfully skeptical of Google being involved in their company or, you know, being is Google going to start this new thing and then change their mind later and abandoned it? So we really felt like we wanted to to show that we were serious, that we would be seriously helpful to people, and one of those things was I'm going to blog about the way we're working with startups and share it. And what led to the book, to sort of make this long, monotonous story actually answer your question, was that the blog post really took off in a way that I had not imagined. I hoped that people would read the blog posts and think, oh, we want to work with those people. That was the goal. But what happened was people read the blog posts and they were like this is great, here's the recipe, we're going to do it ourselves. And they started to do the recipe and it worked for...

...him and they started writing back and saying wow, like this is great, it's working and they kept sharing it and they sort of kept sharing it and for, you know, what was basically a pretty dry, you know, maybe how to article, it just had this staying power and we saw it just just taking off inside the sort of tech community and start up community and that's what led to the idea of like, okay, maybe there's something more there, you know, and and we realize I've got a lot of interesting stories now about what happened with this at Google, what happened with some of the companies were working with. We can tell stories people haven't heard before about what it's like inside some of these early stage projects and we can give people this recipe and maybe a broader audience will be into it. So that was it was really just in a way, in the same way you'd tell people to try a product and do MVPS. It was one MVP after another that led to the book. So when you walked in to your boss and said, Hey, here's my two weeks notice, I'm going to take all of the scar tissue you paid me to collect over the past couple of years and I'm going to go out and write a book about it, did you leave with their blessing? Did you? Did you run as fast as you could go? Well, actually, I wrote the book and together with with my colleagues as co authors while I was at Google ventures, and the book came out while I was at Google interest and it wasn't until over a year after the book came out that that I left. And so really there was a lot of excitement and side the Google interest team about this as a way to help tell the story of what we're doing in the same way we wanted to with the with the blog posts. So that made it much more complicated to write the book. You know, to write a book when you are working at a company and to tell stories, especially, you know, Google in general's not super stoked about sharing, you know, is any big company is, or they're careful about what they share. and Luckily Google ventures, which is a separate it's a separate one of the alphabet companies, was much more open. But that process was very challenging to figure out how to make at work and kind of thread the needle so we could be super honest and share the stories we wanted to share and get everybody to, you know, also give us a green light. That was tough, but but we got it done and I think it was, you know, the right way to go because it you did, it allowed us to tell stories from inside those companies kind of with their blessing rather than, you know, kind of telling on them or or making it sort of a tell all. And of course you still got your day job at the same time. Did you, like just set time aside, you know, after work, or we allowed to do that at work with your coauthors? And your colleagues or how exactly do you do that? You know, write a book on the side type of thing out that? Well, it's not necessarily something I'd recommend doing over again. It's hard, but I one of the things was that I have been interested in writing for a few years and I had been writing like a novel on the you know, just for fun in the evenings, and so I had gotten in this habit of writing in the evenings and I knew I could do that. By the time I went and found an agent and pitched her on the book and everything, I'd felt like, I know, I can write a lot of words like that's that. That part of it feels doable to me. And then once everything took off and we wanted to really get the book done more quickly, what ended up happening was, yeah, we would just took vacation days and worked on it, you know, away from from work. But it wasn't it actually because of the unusual situation. There was all the difficulty in getting everyone to sort of agree that that it was okay for us to do it. But in the end, because the folks at Google ventures felt like this is good for us, you know, and then net this is going to tell a story we want to tell. They there was no fight about, you know, me being away from work writing or whatever. We're being away from work promoting the book when it came out. It was all sort of aligned. But I would say like that's it's tricky.

It's definitely a trickier way to go. I've written a book since, you know, not being at at work the whole time, and it definitely is a it has its own challenges, but it's easier in many ways. It's good to hear that that they were encouraging and the end of the day it turns out to be a great commercial for them, you know, in some respects, you know, they're the birthplace of this methodology, which is which is great for them. Yeah, I think. I think so. I hope it's good for Google. I think that it's not necessarily the way. At that time, Google proper was thinking about, you know, would we tell a story or share like a work process that we're doing? I don't think that was sort of their first and foremost thing. And I think anytime, if you want to if you want to write a book or tell a story or, you know, change the way things are done, you have to go against the grain of what people are asking for. So definitely no one was asking me to do this or asking us to write the book, but in the and they came around exactly what you said, like hey, this could be good for us, this could help us in the big picture, and I think that it has. Google continues to really embrace the process. They've trained hundreds of people to do design sprints. They now run a conference every year about designs prints, and so there's definitely been, I think, a lasting positive thing for them. I hope you know and and you know it. The great part about it is it liberates this process and, and you know, it was able to make a sort of open source so that anybody could use it, which is which I think is really nice. Yeah, I can't believe there's conferences. Will look forward to that, but I wanted to buy the way. We're not going to let you slip away without addressing this novel you were working on on the side. So in stuck in that in that question. Okay, but getting back to the book. You know, while you're writing the book you had some great stories about how how the sprint was used for some companies you mentioned, obviously the hotel and you mentioned the coffee company. But since it's been published, I can only imagine that some people have come back and shared maybe even some some more amazing stories that you didn't expect. Can you share some of those with our listeners? Yeah, you know, one of the challenges with these telling these stories is that the sprints happen inside companies and they happen at a very early stage and many companies are not comfortable with telling about what happens in those early stages and they're not always comfortable talking about something that a lot of times sprints design sprint. It's happened on really complex projects that are going to take a long time before they actually see the light of day. So for a while I wasn't hearing a lot because the book was out there people. I knew people were doing it, I knew people were buying the book and and I do you know, people would write in with questions, but I wasn't hearing a lot of stories about what came out on the other side. I can share a couple of the stories that I've heard, you know, because now they are coming out. Now people have had enough time with those. Those things are launching and seeing the light of day, but for the most part people are most companies just as we you know, we talked while about how to Google. Let you write the book. Most companies are pretty secretive about what they do on the inside. But some of the stories I've heard that I thought were great were a story of a hardware company using it to prototype. I mean, you know, some of these things very mundane, but actually, from the perspective of weird applications for it was originally a software process, super exciting. Hardware company using it to prototype the way they stock their shelves and the way you know, when a customer goes in, what are they going to see on the shelves? How are the tools going to be arranged that are for sale? What kinds of, you know, information do they do people need about a new tool, how to use it? That, to me is super exciting because it's so far away. It's just light years away from what I was originally thinking when I ran the first design spread at Gmail, you know, almost ten years ago. I've heard about people using it in in governments to improve the way they make decisions on teams or in city departments. I heard about a somebody using it in in a library... test a new sort of a tool for people who are checking in and checking out books. There are stories that about how design sprints have started to spread inside organizations that are also quite interesting to me. One of the ones that is is great, that's out there that people can go and read about if they're curious, is Lego. Lego over the first couple of years after the book came out, and actually I had given a talk at Lego about design sprints, and in the first couple years after that talk and after they had the book, they ran like to design sprints, you know, because the moment to run a design sprint doesn't always often come up and to have the people who are into it and willing to try. But then what happened was after those folks had been in design sprints and found it was really successful, a moment came when they were rethinking their strategy on their marketing team and they said Hey, we've seen this process work really well inside Lego. Let's try it. And in the next eight weeks they had ten teams running design sprints in parallel. Every week ran eighty sprints and started to transform the way the team was starting off projects. So their stories like that that are really cool and and sort of exciting to me. I'm seeing it. It's starting to be used in in universities. Ricky Vic University in Iceland was a place where they've done like a hundred teams doing sprints at once, like five hundred students just sort of taking over the whole campus and doing design sprints, and so it's definitely starting to spread. But I also have to say it's very early days. You know, most most people and most teams still haven't heard of this process and many places where they have heard of it, they haven't started doing it yet. The teams and the companies that have adopted it at a large scale are definitely really at the cutting edge and in a lot of industries I think it's still a huge advantage for people to experiment with this process and adopt it. Agreed you. You did mention Lego. It's been around for a while. Thank you for sharing that. I have to notice that you are also a consultant for NASA. How cool that felt about that? Well, you know, I think that the the cool thing about this, about writing a book. It's such a funny experience for me. And I think that many people who write books about, you know, about business stuff, they maybe they're successful company founders or entrepreneurs, things like that, and maybe there or maybe they've managed big teams, you know, they've been leaders inside companies in that way, and that's not me. You know, I was maybe the perspective that I bring us unique to this is that I was always on the team building stuff and trying to figure out how to do that as well as possible and I actively avoided managing people. I wanted to have as much influence just as an individual as I could, because managing drove me crazy. So what's been really fun for me is you have a book out and like the opportunities that have come along to to work with teams and coach teams. That, yeah, like NASA's a great example. That's like a that's a real dream scenario and I don't know how much value I gave to them. I mean NASA literally rocket scientists. It's very hard for me, as a you know, as a as a Bozo with a book, to come in and drastically alter what they're doing. But man, was it cool to visit NASA. That was that was a totally amazing and in fact I brought my son's with me and I was like we're breakings the family trip. You know, I hope NASA gets something out of it, but first and foremost this is going to be a blast. Were you guys like designing Tang to Datto or any well actually, or what I've what I've done with NASA is is coaching them on my other book, which is called Maketime, and people should buy a lot of copies of that as well. But maketime is more about using the principles from the design sprint and there are a lot of things that happen in the design sprint around focus, around radically prioritizing one thing...

...ahead of everything else, setting everything else aside, having times, a lot of long work sessions where devices are off. There's a lot of energies, actually physical and mental energy management that goes into making the process work. And so my second book, Maketime, is about applying those principles to day to day life, and Daytoday, you know, both work and personal life, and so real actually, the the project with NASA was about teaching that those skills to the folks are and I know your dad had a big influence on kind of kind of the theme and topic of that of that book and certainly, you know, I think a lot of us have grown up where a dad or a grandfather or a mother was kind of that that role model, and I know that you've got some particular insights into that work life balance and what that means and what that doesn't mean. Without giving away you know who Luke's father is. At the end of the book you tell us about a little bit about that and kind of your personal journey. Yeah, and actually, you know, that's probably the topic for another book. I mentioned it a little bit and make time, but not a lot. But it's definitely been a powerful driver for me since I was very young. My Dad was very interested in how he spent his time and questioned the sort of conventional wisdom on career and just sort of daytoday life, and you can't help but be around, you know, grow up around somebody like that and and internalize a lot of it. And so a lot of the things that led me, when I started to work, you know, and had a family and was going to the office day and a day out, to start to look at what was going on and think, man, this is crazy. You know, some things we're doing here absolutely crazy. It's so it's a waste of time or spending so much of our time bouncing between meetings and reacting to email and I'm caught in this web. But I could also at the same time see that the really important things in and my work life or not happening and that that has an effect on what's going on outside of work as well. And so his his approach to to work. He he spent his maybe last thirty years of his life was in a variety of different jobs working to preserve land in this small county that I grew up in, is called San Juan County and Washington state. It's a bunch of little tiny rural islands and my dad was just had loved nature in the out of doors for his whole life and he worked as a prosecuting attorney in the county to defend some some land use laws that prohibited rampant development there, and he worked on the board of different organizations that were working to preserve land and he worked on the county council and all these things where I saw him doing work, putting his effort behind what he what he cared about and, at the same time, you know, not letting work take over his life, except when it was absolutely those peak moments that happened occasionally, but instead, you know, spending time working at home on our farm, which is where I grew up, and you know, a lot of his time was out on the farm and a hundred percent engaged with the moment and with the people around him, and it's a you know, to be honest, it was a standard and it's a different it's a different world in a different time and it's a standard that I can't really live up to with my life that involves so much technology and with my family in the city, but I haven't stopped trying and I kind of won't...

...stop trying. Yeah, I think an interesting tidbit is correct me if I'm wrong. But didn't your dad, wasn't? He like good friends with Bill Gates's mom or something like that? He grew up next door to her. Yeah, to marry gates and it's it's just sort of a footnote. I mean there's there's no huge storyline there. It's unfortunately didn't help me at all and getting a job at Microsoft or anything. But but as kids they were very, very tight. Apparently. Yeah, you didn't. You didn't put her name on the resume. I should have, I just don't. Don't think she would have known who I was. It's funny when you when you talk about make time and you talk about your father. I do hear some parallels with another book. That's really a big deal. You know, we we talked about sprint during during this discussion, and we talked about the lenks start up in mark and I have had the pleasure to meet a Greg mcu and who wrote a book called the centralism. It sounds like there's some some similar themes. They're well, it's yes, definitely. I mean I'm you know, I'm honored to be mentioned in the same breath with either of those authors and their work. Really it's such a struggle, though, in the modern world, to actually do this, the simplest thing, which is to figure out what is most important to my team or what is most important to me as an individual and to pay attention to it today. I to do those those things, to figure out what's most important to me or to my team and to pay attention to it today, is very difficult. It's a struggle and I struggle with it. Every day and I think that we need people like Eric and like Greg who are trying to puzzle out how can we help people do that, you know, and how what? How can we help people reexamine what's going on in the world? The world has changed so rapidly. One thing that I like to do at the end of when I give a talk or teach a workshop about designs brances, to show I have these photos from my dad's life and I show, you know, his life sort of going through the decades, and he was born in Nineteen thirty and so we see eighty some years of life in you can you can flip through the photos and kind of see that in and sixty seconds or so, and it's it's remarkable how much the world change changed around him. That's not really the point of why I do it. I'm doing it to remind people of, you know, how how quickly life goes by and how important each moment is at work as well as as with your family and loved ones. But really it's it's astonishing how much the world has changed and we don't come into the world, we're not born knowing how to deal with email and smartphones and, you know, backtoback meetings on our calendar and all of the demands that exist for us today to communicate with people around the world and all these things. Well, we don't we're not born knowing how to do that. We're in a very complex and alien environment and we need tools to help ourselves focus and actually get the most out of our human lives, which are very, very precious and we're very lucky to have and they go by very quickly. So yeah, those, those tools are great and sprand and make time or my modest attempts to be helpful to some folks in that and that topic. But luckily there are many more, many wiser folks, also thinking about it. Well, don't pull on the spot. When we get Eric and Greg on the show, we're going to ask what crap done a questions about your book. You Go. Are you? Hopefully, hopefully, they've heard of it. I would you and wouldn't the list off too many questions there don't don't have your whole your whole interview hinge on that, but maybe maybe they'll know. Well, your books are great contributors to the discussion and I think that this is a I can't think of a better way to kind of end this this conversation. Mark. I think you agree. Yeah, I know, this is certainly been a treat. Todd and I before the show to they were kind of talking about how, when this date appeared on our calendar that we get a chance to talk to Jake Knap, that it was kind...

...of a red letter day for us, and that's really about a thrill to get to know you a little bit better and kind of delve into the story behind the story, the words behind the words, and I certainly had them last Oh, you guys are far too kinds. Has Been Really Fun and I appreciate you making the time to have me on. Thanks, Jake. Trace three is hyper focused on helping it leaders deliver business outcomes by providing a wide variety of data center solutions and consulting services. If you're looking for emerging technology to solve tried and true business problems, trace three is here to help. We believe all possibilities live in technology. You can learn more at trace threecom podcast. That's trace, the number threecom podcast. You've been listening to. The founder formula, the podcast for all things start up, from Silicon Valley to innovators across the country. If you want to know what it takes to lead tomorrow's tech companies, subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time,.

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