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Ep 19: Andy Wibbels. On product positioning, marketing and winning a book deal from having his blog

Ep 19: Andy Wibbels. On product positioning, marketing and winning a book deal from having his blog

Host: Joshua Strebel | Published: January 4, 2020

Andy Wibbels was one of the first people to land a book deal from having a popular, early blog. He’s been in tech marketing and product since the early dotcom days and has strong opinions on how compelling story telling should be conducted to drive consumer demand. In this conversation Joshua and Andy discuss some of Andy’s key learnings in the realm of brand positioning, the evolution of San Francisco as a place to live and the political landscape in America today. Enjoy.

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Show Notes

0:00:37   Welcome and context
0:01:57   Tell us a bit about what you do every day
0:05:37   “Business decisions are emotional but we find the facts to back up the decisions we want to make.”
0:06:43   In marketing we look for: “What was that point where the pain got so bad you couldn’t tolerate your life anymore”
0:09:33   When it comes to product positioning what do you think are the key things people get wrong?
0:15:31   “At the end of the day decisions are made by individuals.”
0:15:57   You were one of the first authors to get a book deal because of your blog. Take us back to that time.
0:17:59   Humans recognize a human voice
0:21:25   What’s it like living in SF these days?
0:26:03   Negative interest rates in Denmark and Japan
0:29:39   The SF tech scene could use a dose of practicality
0:31:21   AI should be working on how to keep people from dying in the street not how to deliver my fried chicken faster.
0:34:23   “No matter how much you make you always feel squeezed.”
0:38:15   On 911 and George Bush, Trump & Politics

Show Transcript

Joshua: 00:38 Welcome to the podcast today. I’m here with my good friend Andy wiggles, a 22 year old veteran of marketing and product development and published author. Go ahead and introduce yourself, Andy, and tell us a little about your, your exploits.

Andy: 00:51 Yeah. My name is Andy [inaudible]. I currently live in San Francisco, but from Indiana I had a book back in 2006 called a blog, wild, the guide for small business blogging. I was one of the first bloggers to get a book deal from a blog. That was cool. And that book kind of got me my job out here to San Francisco. I’ve been working in startups, I’ve asked 11 years and right now I am director of marketing at a search technology company called booster ordinances.

Joshua: 01:15 Lucid works. All right. You know, so going back a little bit how I met you. One of our first customers at Paisley was a guest satisfaction. And you, you were my contact there. You essentially were my customer and we built up this great relationship, but I just loved telling this funny story is, you know, we were just this small little company and we were trying to compete and look, look bigger than we were and I wanted a San Francisco address. So I think, I think we had like an informal deal where, Hey man, just rent me like one square foot of your office and let me use your address on the website. That’s great. Yeah. Good, good size back then. So, you know, tell us a little bit about what you do every day what your passions are and work you know, what gets you ticking? What gets that mind going?

Andy: 02:05 Yeah, I mean, my background is, you know, I, I’ve just started watching the dark crystal on Netflix. It’s really good. I can’t believe I so glad Brian Froud. The designer is still alive to like make all this new art. It’s fun to go into that world again anyway. I was big into puppets as a kid in my kindergarten and third and fourth grade and that turned into doing theater. Obviously in high school and doing directing and writing work. So that’s why I studied in school and then I looked at my trajectory sort of overall it’s about storytelling and writing. And how do you frame a product, a service, a company, an idea, a case study in terms of a story that can be passed along? You know, if I’m going to be a little hippie-ish about it, I think that the human brain is optimized to kind of retain knowledge in a story format, whether it’s, you know, the arc or it’s sort, you know, something episodic.

Andy: 03:01 I think that we tell stories in the formats that we do because our week we cognitively retain information that way. I think civilizations pass information on in that way. So when I look at kind of all the stuff that I do, it’s really about how can I create content that’s compelling, whether it’s really technical, which our product is a search platform for making your, you know, we will run the search for your favorite home improvement online store all the way to the largest SharePoint deployment in the world run by one of the top oil companies in the world. So goodness, it’s, it could be that technical or it could be something much simpler. It could be something faced with AI at ML that we get in the cloud yet. So part of it for me is how do I translate complex technology into concepts? We can understand that and, and educated, understand and understand the implications of the technology.

Joshua: 03:58 So you’re, you’re essentially describing kind of the oral tradition right before the written word, there was a certain kind of format that things are passed down, this kind of oral tradition that, that you can go back and now read and like the old texts of the Iliad and such. And so you, you find that that’s a compelling way to speak in today’s generation. The same kind of format?

Andy: 04:19 Yeah. When I’m doing a case study for a customer, it is literally the heroic journey you have your before state when you know, things were shitty and things were bad and it got so bad that this thing happened. This inciting moment where you decided that you had to change your life, which is, you know, in a, in a, in a myth, it’s when the hero leaves the sick and then they find something new. Because for me it is the product and it’s obviously, you know, I’m a marketer. So my product is always the grail. My product’s always manna from heaven. And my product is always, you know, Excalibur. So you think of the customer finds the, they get to grail and they bring it back to the company. And they have, you know, fruition and benefits. So for me it’s that before state, the discovery, you know, the, the build up to the discovery discovery and then you know, the using the product or service and then how does that change their lives.

Andy: 05:11 And then, you know, at the end of every month it’s always about they come back to the town with their new knowledge. Whether it’s a Skywalker or you know, a dark crystal character and how do they use that knowledge to educate people around them, which for me is, you know, in the terms of a marketing story is they become fans or advocates or you know, brand ambassadors. So I think about that in my head. What I’m trying to understand, you know, what makes a product or service urgent? I think that we like to think that we’re all rational. We make decisions about, you know, business decisions. I really think that a lot of it is emotional, but we find the facts to back up the decisions we want to make.

Joshua: 05:54 Yeah. Wow. So selling or buying, buying decisions, we think sometimes they’re analytical, but they are very much emotionally driven. And so

Andy: 06:05 Let’s give some pastors on the lie. Somebody’s job is on the line. So we have our, our annual conference next week and I’m doing customer interviews in a TV studio. And part of my question is like, when did it become so bad that with what you had for, when did it get so bad that you knew you needed something different? You know, whether it’s, you know, the, the platform went down for the 14th time or a blip on black Friday, or my boss dragged me in front of the board and yelled at me. There’s always this kind of switch moment of, Holy shit, we cannot take this shit anymore. You know, and me, we have to do something about it. And that kind of is that inciting moment that in a story gets the story going. But in marketing it’s, what was that point of, of you couldn’t tolerate your life anymore, you know?

Joshua: 06:52 Yeah. The pain got so bad that regardless of lock-in or the penalty of switching, it was time to make a change in [inaudible]. That sounds like something you’re, you’re hitting on reoccurring. Is that the kind of the hero’s journey, they, the, the pain was so bad they had to change. And then, you know, what does it look like out there when, once, once the w when you’re doing your narrative, the pain’s bad now what?

Andy: 07:18 Yeah. So how did you find, you know, you go looking for you after the wilderness, which I guess we would call the RFP process and you find the different solutions that could be what you want or the different products, the defense, you know, diets you want to try or skincare creams you want to try or detergents or you find the one that’s going to work for you and the, you test it out. And you know, again, as a marketer I will try and sell my product for anything. That’s my job. If you say, how does Lusa works, you know, give you clearer skin, I will, I will find a way which the product I talk about in a way that it will give you clearer skin, lose 10 pounds and you know, a better love life intent ex, you know, the, the job, the answer as a marketer is always the product. So how do you shift and still be honest about what the product can do but adapt to the conversation that’s being had at the time.

Joshua: 08:11 Right? So it’s, it’s almost one-on-one. Like each conversation needs to be tailored and unique.

Andy: 08:17 Right? And that’s, I mean, and that’s part of, you know, PR messaging where, you know, we have a launch next week for some new stuff and we have a whole marketing messaging document about how we’re going to talk about it, whether it’s to analysts or the press or developers or the open source community or a business stakeholders or C level executives. And all of those audiences have different needs for technical detail versus conceptual details. How do you have, you know, we are a very technical product. Most of the stuff I’ve worked where I worked with here, it’s been pretty technical across all my companies. So how do you have the technical credibility and build that up to what the, what the C level person needs to know. It’s like, you know, you’re going to put AI and ML into your applications on your internal enterprise search.

Andy: 09:08 You’re going to put it in clustering classification or algorithms like where to that core random forest, which I write a little bit about joining to what it means, but it’s just a word that I know. Okay. How do you then explain to an executive what that means, why it’s important? So it’s, it’s knowing how to take the story through different prisons and different points of view and adapt to who you’re talking to. There’s a, it sounds like it’s got to be quite malleable when it comes to product positioning. And in describing the journey, the buying process, what do you think are like the key things that maybe some other people are missing? Yeah, I mean for me, I want to use to sort of teach this stuff to small businesses. My whole thing was, you know, why we buy is, is for three main reasons.

Andy: 09:58 It was sort of like time, you know, money and sex that we, we, we buy things or we acquire things to save time and more time, make better use of our time. So it’s about leisure, it’s about efficiency. And then we have the money side, which is, you know, how to save money, have more money, has a sense of luxury or that sense of security that having, you know, money does for you. So in terms of a, you know, an interplay, a business to business product, it’s how do you save money and whether it’s in resources or efficiency in the software or whatever you’re working with. And the third part is a little bit of a stretch. Is sort of, you know, how does this product have you make use of sexier or better or more attractive? And for me in a business context, that’s how does this product make you appear more more attractive as a, as a user, as a stakeholder.

Andy: 10:52 Because your job is to bring this software in or bring this product in or do this thing. How is this going to make you more attractive? Professional, which is a bit of a stretch. I’m going to put sex over here cause it’s not a true analog, but that’s how I think about it as how does you get, how do you get more visibility from the products and what you’re doing in the workplace. So that’s when I’m looking at a new product that we’re putting together, I sort of slice things by those three points, which is how, how does it help you say time, better time Bester better, whatever money, save money. You have more money, more efficiency, more better use of resources. And then it’s the attractive factors. How’s this make you look better to yourself? Your customers get lost, depressed analysts, all that perception is kind of its own monster.

Andy: 11:42 And then I’m kind of a pessimist so I have a fourth surprise. You know, this is like one of those, this was back when I was nuts about PowerPoint, Venn diagram. So they have and over in the lower, you know, right. I would put this gray this gray circle that said salvation, salvation, you know, I’m a playwright. So I, I think most characters act from selfish motivations that it’s all internal about what you want what you’re going for the world you want to see. But some people are honestly motive motivated by, you know, salvation, redemption, great. Your boss. So that’s kind of my, my Mets. That’s, I guess that’s my Midwest. Nice aside showing a little bit that it’s not always just sort of like time and money and sex, but there’s part of a, of a salvation element as well.

Andy: 12:33 So that’s kind of what I want. I’m dividing up how to talk about a product in my head. That’s how I think about it. And then at the kind of men, a metal level, you know, if I talk about it at the top level, every product is about control. Control as in that your life is out of control. Your platform, your search apps, your phone, your marriage, whatever it is that you have, this world that is out of control of this part of your life that’s out of control. And this product or service is going to give you that look at CPG marketing for like, you know, Proctor and gamble, all those products, you know, Brawny paper towels. It’s like, you know, life is out of control and every household products that’s marketed to moms especially, it’s about how you get that control back. Yep.

Joshua: 13:22 Busy moms, busy moms, chaos,

Andy: 13:25 Lifestyle choices. And how do you get that control, whether it’s, you know, part of it or a large part of it. So that’s the other question I asked our engineers or product guys is, you know, how does this, what, what you, it’s the pain point. Obviously it’s the paper argument, but more than just what’s the pain point is how does this help go wrangle things and feel they have a sense of control?

Joshua: 13:47 Okay. So based on those four pillars, you essentially think you could take any product and give it to any audience.

Andy: 13:54 I think those are the three avenues. And, or four that I start with when I’m trying to analyze it and talk about, so you mentioned all of them all the time, but especially in, you know, software that I work, technology that I work in, it’s time and money is always the thing. It’s always time and money. And then how does it make things better and make things better for people’s lives or for your employees, your customers, and you appear better because of these new things.

Joshua: 14:20 One thing that you mentioned that kind of struck me we, we talk about this a little bit in our sales and marketing meetings internally is yes, the organization is your customer. You know, the, the greater organization that’s buying your platform or buying your product. But at the end of the day, it’s Mary from purchasing and she’s, she’s got five years to retirement and kids in college, her ass is on the line making this buying decision. She’s the one that gets hauled from the board and fired or what not if it goes wrong. So while we talk about, you know, the, the time and the money and the sex appeal and all these things in terms of the whole organization, we try to never forget Mary, it’s just about Mary right now.

Andy: 15:03 Yeah. There is somebody that just wants to get a blog post up or you forgot how the categories work or the plugins not working because they upgrade it automatically and they don’t know what to do. You know? And, and I, you know, it’s, it’s, again, with storytelling, the more specific a story is often the more universal it looks, because we all know how it is when things go wrong or blow up in world war II, you’re on the line, you don’t know how to fix it. So decisions are made by individuals. You know, you have your committee, you hit your decision making of course. But at the end of the day, somebody says, we’re gonna sign off this. We’re gonna do it. And if it blows up, it’s literally me. Like, it’s not, I need to figure out, okay,

Joshua: 15:43 Yeah, there’s a lot riding on it.

Andy: 15:45 Yeah. So it’s, it could be the admin that is the person that has to learn how to use the frigging thing. Or it could be the stakeholders or the seed levels. I could have tried to explain why we bought this billion dollar plan.

Joshua: 15:56 Oh, Hey. So let’s talk about blogging. You said that you were the, one of the first authors to get a book deal based on your blogging. So take us back. What sort of content were you writing about? What was the format and the medium, and then how did you get the exposure that then got a publisher calling

Andy: 18:04 And so when you’re writing copy or, or, you know, putting something, a message out there, it’s not about you as the brand and as the product. It’s about how our customers talking to each other about what they’re doing with your product. So it’s that warmth, that passionate human voice that really drew people in with social media in the first place. You know, that’s why you had these news blogs because that were kind of turning the world of journalism upside down where it wasn’t, you know, I’m not going to wait until I know everything for sure. I’m going to publish what I know now. Heartaches, I go along and do a hot tech, you know like now like everything is a hot topic. Like you have destroyed the culture with hot culture basically. All recap is optics. Anyway, so that is a, I started teaching blogging to entrepreneurs and had a newsletter and I was doing sort of a conference, the classes like this where I was doing distance learning, teaching people how to use Typepad and blogger and how to use email newsletters and podcasts and all that stuff.

Andy: 19:03 Back then this was all pre Facebook. And then I got like blog of the year by marketing Sherpa I think. Oh nice. Cause they had like a, a fan favorite category and I had sent my news over to go vote for me and I think that’s what happened. And I think that’s what got me the attention from some editors and portfolio, which is a pink book at a penguin is, you know, one of them said, Hey, I, you know, I like your writing. I can see from your blog, you know, what the hell you’re doing. You know how you’re saying would you want to write a book to be in bookstores? And I’m like, it’s never happens. So that probably back in 2006 and I had, you know, I had to choose a blog platform to put forward and we’re pushing is not as mature back then as it is now.

Andy: 19:47 And I’ve been teaching you one Typepad which for people that don’t, the type pet is, it is one of the older blog platforms from a company called six apart, which they sold type pad to another company. I can’t remember right this second. But I’ve been teaching people how to use the software and I had featured him in my book and so I reached out to somebody that works there and said, Hey, you know, I’ve been like teaching the world how to use your software. And they said, Oh, well we have this marketing manager position open and we need somebody to do customer training. And so that’s, that gets us to 2008, which is how I got to San Francisco for my first job in San Francisco was base trainer for this blogging company. So if you don’t mind me asking, how did the book sell?

Andy: 20:36 I think about 30. Let’s see, I just barely made the advanced bag. Right. we did an Amazon campaign. I got far up there on a couple of days of getting people to buy the book. But it did pretty well. But I think my editor changed Midway’s I think that also changed my sort of, the focus they had on the book as well. Gotcha. So it was, it was something, you know, that I can always say that I did. And, you know, a few people write their own books. I literally wrote the whole thing myself, you know and it was a great experience and it got me sort of to this job in and level that I have now.

Joshua: 21:12 So, and like you said, it got you to San Francisco, so you’ve been there for, you said about 10 years. Eight, nine years.

Andy: 21:21 Yeah. Well wait, 11 years, sorry,

Joshua: 21:24 11 years. What’s life in the city like now? You know, if you watch social media, there’s a lot of flight people or you know, the tech scene is leaving San Francisco to some degree, but you know, it’s not ever gonna go away. What’s it like for you to live there with Sera husband?

Andy: 21:40 I mean, I’m, we’re literally like, I can show you right now, like that’s literally Twitter right there. Oh wow. So like right next door to so we’re literally downtown right now. It’s a very strange city. You know, it’s kind of the, the tragedy of, of progressivism when you, when people sort of get too left sided about things, you know, we just to the city just declare the NRA to be a terrorist organization or they just found new terms or new use for felons or people in prison. Meanwhile, you know, the streets are covered in shit and the homeless problem is completely out of control. And there have been conferences that have moved out of San Francisco because the attendings are horrified by sort of the homeless problem here.

Andy: 22:25 But it’s an amazing city to live in. It is a vibrant at all times. You know, it’s my husband and I, so it’s great that you know, where you don’t feel out of place, don’t feel threatened or, you know, maybe people might throw something at us every once in a while, but that’s relatively infrequent for San Francisco. But it’s a really, it’s a strange city because of the huge wealth inequality where you have, you know, I’m sitting in a eighth floor of a 40 story luxury apartment building. And then there’s people that are, there’s 10 cities under the overpass of mind. So it’s it’s a very strange combination of economics. And like I said, it’s kind of like if you take the sort of the technical libertarianism that invented the internet and all this technology and push it to its limited ad and all this progressivism, that’s kind of what happens.

Joshua: 23:15 It’s too much of a good thing, you know, it was, it’s got a great ideal set on paper and if executed in moderation all around, it might be utopia, but when a few things are getting out of whack, then it’s kind of taken too far is what you’re saying.

Andy: 23:31 Well, I always point people to, there’s a map of San Francisco with the hype requirements for building and you know, you look at the yellow, which is the limit is four stories and most of the city has a limit of four stories for health. They’ll do apartment building. You have to build very expensive condos or apartments because you only build four to five floors and then you can’t really devote a whole lot of units for the below market rate housing for the people that need that. And really comes down to people here are enjoying their property values and they want your view of the Bay. And that’s, that’s like once you start realizing like, Oh, this makes more sense. Once I realized people are, you know, they’ll throw up a two year delay for an environmental study over taking a mural down or converting in laundromat into you know a condo building.

Andy: 24:24 It’s really it’s very, once you kind of realize that it’s about preserving people’s property values as well as sort of their view of the Bay or their view on this timeline, it makes lot more sense. But also at the same time, there are neighborhoods where the commercial rents are so out of control that restaurants are closing left and right, but you’re the Castro neighborhood right now. There’s restaurants that close, you know, every couple months because a restaurant tours, proprietors listeners cannot make enough money to pay the rents and the landlords are raising the rent sort of out higher than they should be given the merchants. Even just here in this corner of 10th and market in San Bernardino, down by Twitter. There’s restaurants that have come and gone really, you know, a high scale restaurant. And I think people underestimate how much these tech folks want to leave the house. You know, if I, if I come back from the gym at night, there’s all these Postmates people come in and grab up people coming in and people just have that almost a fortress mentality sometimes.

Joshua: 25:28 Yeah. Perfect.

Andy: 25:30 It’s a great city. It’s a crazy city. You know, I’m from Indiana, so it’s nice to kind of go from the conservative side of things too much. I was raised pretty liberal, but don’t ever sort of really outrageous. Liberty libertinism you know, we have a couple of weeks, we have what we call the Folsom street fair, which is a a very wild weekend of Libertine behavior. So we’ll see. I’ll [inaudible] the whole city celebrates it. It’s really interesting. That’s very, you know European, I would guess I would say,

Joshua: 26:02 You know what you said about where it’s almost, it’s a capitalist thing about real estate valuations. Yeah. I was reading the other day, Japan, Denmark, a few other countries have negative interest rates on home loans right now because it’s a, it’s obviously subsidized and the federal governments of those countries want to encourage home ownership and want to limit the wealth disparity. Make sure everybody has a place to live. And there’s trade offs with each economic model. But you know, my wife’s Danish and we’re, we’re looking at like, wow, you can, the government would pay you a half a percent to go buy a house in Denmark. And

Andy: 26:44 I think there’s an element, like if you look at this, this is happening all over the conL of the world where people are being priced out of neighborhoods and you know, it’s the financialization of real estate where in New York you have empty buildings, Manhattan with nobody can afford to run a bodega on the corner store because they’ve been putting money as investments into these buildings and not as places for people to live. So I think the financialization globally of real estate is a pretty big trend that’s making it a dire need for everybody. You know, there’s, I don’t think there’s any place in the country that a minimum wage job can pay the average raps. Certainly like, well, how did this happen? Who was the money going to? Who did it go to before? What’s actually changed? I think a lot of it is treating real estate as investments versus as a place where I live,uchanges that priority.

Joshua: 27:42 So you mentioned you know, you had your Midwest up bringing and in you’re fairly liberal in the Midwest. I don’t know, does that make you conservative in California or,

Andy: 27:54 I mean my parents were public school teachers and you know, teachers are usually pretty progressive minded and you know, they were hand weavers, so we grew up they are, they help preserve Appalachian folk weeding styles. So we would do crafts fairs all over to Tucky again in Tennessee with, you know, hand-woven rugs and garments and you know, Mattson and shirts and stunt scarves. And that was our summer job was weaving. So we have like sweatshops and growing up they were very turf hippy, but without the drugs is where I usually see every sort of open-minded and it was more a sense you know, there’s all kinds of people, but here’s what we do. It’s sort of liberal and thought conservative and action. And then coming, I lived in Chicago for 10 years and that was sort of a nice InBetween of sort of a big city point of view.

Andy: 28:43 I still miss living in Chicago was talk about moving back and and sort of the big city of Chicago, big city feel on the surface we’ll have the practical mindset of, of, of Chicago the afternoon. And I always tell people when I did my first day at my first job in San Francisco you know, I showed up at like eight and nobody was there. The office manager had not even opened the building yet. And you know, there’s a certain laxness in San Francisco where people just don’t show for meetings on time. And you sort of have to recognize there’s that looseness that people have here is, you know, I don’t know if everybody’s stone all the time or the other thing is to do, but there’s just a sort of a, it’s much more relaxed compared to like East coast where it’s go, go, go, go, go. It’s much more much more laid back. Not like Hawaii laid back, but

Joshua: 29:37 You said a word practicality. And I think sometimes

Andy: 29:42 The tech scene can use a dose of practicality, like our, our scooters on every corner. Really practical. You know, I mean I saw two guys on the street who were probably out of their minds ripping apart two scooters by the train stop and screaming yesterday. Oh. And the whole scooter thing was an interesting attitude cause it was that kind of that tech bro point of view of, you know, fuck the commons. I’m gonna litter the streets with these scooters on a public thoroughfare and screw what anybody else thinks. I’m going to treat all these sidewalks as my private parking lot as young. It’s that old, you know, the, the, the, the tech bro thing of nobody’s gonna stop me if I’m just going to do it myself, which is a very privileged point of view. And, and the city. And for a while, for a couple of months, we had just suitors littering the streets and they picked him up and recharged, went in the back and it was just, and then finally they got some permits that sort of shut it down and made a lot more sensible.

Andy: 30:45 Yeah. It was a perfect example of the attitude of, I don’t care if I blow up the municipal taxi system, like Uber and Lyft, they’re going, I don’t care if, if you know, this disruption removes people’s jobs or livelihood or condemns them to poverty or uproots their entire family. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s the belief that, you know, my, my progress, my advancement is over everybody else’s. I mean, the joke I make lately is, you know, if we have all this AI and ML, why don’t we have these machines decide? How can we have an economy that replicates the post world war II prosperity that we all sort of hearkened back to everybody, you know, happened to have an economy that gives us our Norman Rockwell. But with diversity point of view, with everybody having jobs and healthcare and families and, and you know, prosperity. And so nobody’s dying in the middle of the street at night. That’s what AI should be working on, not how to deliver my fucking fried chicken to me, you know, from Tenderloin to here with a little robot that’s gonna get ripped off anyway.

Andy: 31:54 Could we put these super computers and algorithms to use on the basics, like people not dying in the street. Can we just start, start there? That’s glamorous problems. You know, you know the other choke I’ve heard is so many of these companies and apps and startups are really just replicating things that your mom did for you. You have the one where they can pick up the laundry, your dry cleaning, you know, made service by the hour or you know, it’s like there’s a reason why we all don’t have butlers. It’s really expensive and maybe the margin isn’t enough to justify building an app to do it. Yup. Yup. That’s so is, is, does, does, does converting something into an app and anonymizing sort of the hiring process and the, the provisioning of finding people to do things, does that, does that savings actually, is that, is that enough to build a business, you know, well, efficient markets where there’s people that want to do things and people that want to need things and you match them up.

Andy: 33:01 You, you know, it’s at rent seeking. How can you shave a bit off the top of yourself when you’re not really adding a whole lot?

Joshua: 33:08 Yeah. Some of the spectacular flameouts are Testament that maybe there’s not enough margin up on top

Andy: 33:14 Uber numbers. I mean if I could, if I could spend, I could spend a billion in marketing a quarter, I could sell the shit out of things. You know, I, it just blows my mind just like vaporizing billions of dollars a quarter and we’re all okay with that. And the market in the end, the, the, the, the stock price is doing pretty well, but I will, I will confess, I live literally on the same block as Uber. Like I can turn to the left and it’s right there almost square. So I kind of hope that I don’t want them to do well because then all those people are want to live here in this building and Jack up the rent even more. And I know the lockout is coming soon where they can all cash in their stock. So I’m like, Oh God, it’s gonna, you know, might throw our rent that we have to either leave the city or move somewhere different.

Joshua: 34:04 Wow. So it’s got a very personal, you have a very personal stake on, on kind of the future IPOs and cash outs.

Andy: 34:15 Yeah, I do. And you know, and that’s another, that’s another sort of dynamic of San Francisco I would talk, I would mention is you always feel squeezed. You know, I think no matter how much you make or where you live, you always feel this constant kind of in closing circle as things get more expensive, as things get harder to afford, whether you have a car or not, or a parking space or not. Our kids are not, it’s just like, it just keeps getting more and more difficult to live here and you have to weigh the benefits of it. You know, it’s like you could just visit often and all you want. And is it worth it to keep putting up with those dynamics where people looking at it from the outside, from other cities are like, you are out of your mind. Why would you pay that much to live in a one bedroom apartment that’s actually insane, you know, so it’s, it’s a give and take and and it’s that, it’s that sense of like everything is constantly closing in around June. We’re going to have to figure out how to,

Joshua: 35:12 Yeah. Where would be home if it wasn’t San Francisco, where would you and your husband end up?

Andy: 35:19 I mean, we talk about Chicago a lot because his family’s in Milwaukee. Mine’s in Indiana. That’s kind of fly back and forth and we lived there for 10 years and yeah, it’s cold as hell. But like billions of people and civilizations managed to make it work every winter and survive. And we could probably more if we lived there and he’s a flight attendant, so he’d be flying out of SFO, which should be a lot, which you could transfer relatively easily. I really don’t know right now. But we talked about San Diego as well cause Cindy was kind of like gay enough where it’s still out here. It’s not totally, you know, Whitey town. It’s not totally straight town. So we’ll see.

Joshua: 35:58 Yeah. The rust belt is kind of making, I think a Renaissance or it’s at least it’s poised for Renaissance.

Andy: 36:04 I think all these sort of first tier cities are maxing out that people just don’t want to pay the salaries for people to work here anymore. So they’re turning to Minneapolis. And you know, there’s, there’s tech startup stuff happening in Louisville by where I grew up and in Nashville where they’re looking at other cities in other regions where, you know, there’s developers in the Midwest that would like to live next to their families but still work on software, have much cheaper salaries, you know, and that’s kind of the, you know, all these tech people say that, you know, we have decentralized teams and remote workers and how great that is. But then they have, they pay all these development teams, really high salaries to stay in San Francisco state in the Bay area or Seattle or Portland or Austin or wherever.

Joshua: 36:51 So, so your criteria is a a relaxing, comfortable city that is friendly and welcoming.

Andy: 37:02 All right. That’s sort of, you know, gay enough that we’re not going to get shit thrown at herself holdings. You know, that’s kind of a metric is we will not get attacked for being married. It’s kind of the, I guess if that’s the baseline for deciding where you live, that’s kind of terrible. But that’s the reality of where we are in this country right now.

Joshua: 37:20 What you said about where we are in this country right now, you, you were referencing the time shortly after nine 11 and contrast it with today. I, I don’t know which is worse.

Andy: 37:33 Well, it’s, you know, I think that the rehabilitation of George W. Bush has reputation in the, while Trump has the spotlight is kind of shocking. It’s like all those people literally lied to get us into two Wars. And Roche knew the conventions by torturing people and they knew all of that and you know, and then George gives Michelle Obama a piece of candy at a funeral. Everybody’s like, Oh, he’s such a nice elderly statesman. He paid, he paid snap. Now he’s, he’s still what he was and what mistakes he made. And I think that you know, people, we don’t talk about where the, where the troops are, where the soldiers are, where our military operations are because Americans just don’t like to think about that. You don’t think about ourselves as having tendrils all over the world with our military actions. So I think that’s you know, part of for George W. Bush is that rehabilitation that he’s this elderly statesmen when it’s like, no, he was really, that was some pretty terrible times in terms of how we shredded civil rights, how we went to war, how we embraced xenophobia and panic instead of appealing to our better, higher selves.

Andy: 38:48 You know, that’s always that. I remember that there was an essay where it was, you know, after nine 11 a few days later, George W. Bush got on the TV and instead of really pulling people together, it was like, well, people need to go to the malls and start shopping. Now you have to get the economy back going. It wasn’t let’s embrace things. That’s like, it was let’s offer shop and then we have to get that. We have to get the stock market open, but there’s literally a, you know, an open cemetery in downtown New York, but we have to get the stock market running again. So it was kinda, it was kind of a little schizophrenia with Trump and I, and I think that with Trump, and I’m going to be very political for a little bit and if that’s okay, is I think that we have sort of the end game of the Republican Southern strategy where, you know, the publicans made a very specific move in the 60s to appeal to white resentment in the South to white Democrats who kind of resented civil rights progress that to bring them to the Republican side of things.

Andy: 39:49 You know, used to be farmers were always Democrats or liberals because that was, they were, that was who helped them. And then they the Southern strategy was a way to sort of key off that resentment and bring people in the Republican side of things. And this, the Trump is the end game of that. And I think you can’t look at any issue today in politics without seeing, without putting it through a lens of white supremacy and the sort of the race history of the country. Because if you dig around, pretty much everything that’s bad about where we are right now. Like, you know, if you look at tipping, we have tipping because of racist wage policies. If you look at the war on drugs, Nixon put it together to put black people in jail and get rid of war just centers. You know, it’s like, it’s always kind of like, it’s either racism or sexism.

Andy: 40:36 Usually it’s like one of those one way or another. But I think Trump is the end game of this. You know, he really is aligning himself with the white supremacist movement, United States, and I don’t know where it goes next. Because a lot of people feel like there was just a, a study that they interviewed a lot of Trump supporters that 6,000 of them, that’s a quarter of them said that they really just feel like things need to burn down. Was the ground first to start over again? So it’s that Neal ism that’s really concerning. But you find that on the left side too, where people like, you know, let’s just write it all in, write it into hell and incinerate everything and then we will somehow build a new civilization. So who knows. But I think, you know, Trump is, is not an aberration. I think he’s the, he’s the, the eventual manifestation of Stripe several decades. And I think that, you know, speaking of the person that’s on the left side of things, for the most part, from every part they, you sort of have to tie Trump to the Republican party and throw him off the dock.

Andy: 41:42 Biden has this fantasy that, Oh, once a Democrats get once somebody different is in power, the Republicans will act different now I think they will because they’ve been able to throw everybody else under the bus, individuals groups to retain power. And I don’t think they’re going to give that up very easily.

Joshua: 42:02 I don’t think so either. When, when Trump first got elected, I think it was I telling my wife something like, okay, this is a shit show. But in four years when it runs its course, we have to not just beat him. We have to obliterate that side. You know, you have, you can’t leave a shred of it. You know, even even the tip tip of a blade of grass, it has to just all be burned down or else it’s just going to manifest and keep coming.

Andy: 42:28 Well, and I think a lot of people were very optimistic thinking, okay, well, you know, we’ve got over the race thing over the fast past two decades, but it’s like, no, we’re going to have to excavate this out all out, all over again. Look at it, get a generation to sort of reconsider it. Get a new generation that educated, educated on it. And will that make any difference? You know, it’s, it’s a very, you know, it’s, it’s the whole, you know, people, the, you know, the, the, the preppers have their fantasy of sort of this race war happening. It’s like, well, I, you know, what does that look like to these people where they feel that they’re armed to the teeth? They have to have the bunker and the people they don’t look are gonna come get them. You know? But again, I’m, again, I’m sitting here in a apartment building, so they would probably come to get me as well. And you’re like, no, wait, how about, well, I’m gay. It’s okay.

Joshua: 43:18 Wow. So Andy, we covered a lot of ground today. This is, this is, this is gonna be one. This is one for the ages. I love it. Good. All right. So Andy, thank you so much for joining us today. We talked about the hero’s journey, your, your books, the publishing, San Francisco politics. Get out and vote this November everybody. So please tell everybody where they can find you online. Andy.

Andy: 43:48 All right. I have a blog that is in desperate need of updating, so don’t make fun of me. It’s Andy Global’s dot com and then I have a personal blog that is probably too rowdy for a business context, but that is an Andy maddick.com. That’s my little personal blog, which is probably a little obnoxious right now. So if you are conservative or prone to plus, your pearls have been ready to go as you do it, or on Instagram at Andy Maddick Graham, and then I’ve got a medium, but that’s just my wedding essay. What else? That’s really it. And Facebook you can find on Facebook easily.

Joshua: 44:26 Yeah. All right. So go out there and see the words that Andy have put to paper or digital paper,

Andy: 44:35 Twitter, Twitter. Andy Maddick is my Twitter handle too, so.

Joshua: 44:38 Perfect. All right. Thank you so, so much. Okay, cheers.

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