Free Range Analytics, w/ Angel Abundez - P3 Adaptive

Free Range Analytics, w/ Angel Abundez

Director of Client Services, P3 Adaptive

Listen Now:

We’ve been quite busy not only just here at Raw Data, business at P3 Adaptive HQ has been booming!  So much so, that we’ve had to add our 4th Director of Client Services to the team to keep up with our ever increasing business.  His name is Angel Abundez, and his journey has zigzagged him across both Rob and Tom’s paths in the past (and maybe yours as well along the way) and has led him here today, sitting down and sharing his story with us!

References in this episode:

Far Side By Gary Larson – Free Range Chicken

Far Side By Gary Larson – Competition in Nature

Guru’s Guide To SQL Server by Ken Henderson


Rob Collie (00:00:00): Hello friends. Today's guest is Angel Abundez. I've known Angel for over a decade now, but just recently, four months ago, he joined the team here at P3, as our fourth director of client services. When Angel and I first crossed paths, he was that rare person who was already established in the traditional BI industry, who when was exposed to the radical thinking that was going on in something like power pivot, rather than feeling threatened by it or rejecting it, he actually leaned forward. He was very interested in what was going on there. That kind of open-mindedness, that sense of possibility, well, it's rare, it's valuable. And while he and I have been aware of each other for a very long time, he still stayed mostly in that traditional industry for the intervening time. But through those years, he, of course, retained that sense of wonder and that courage.

Rob Collie (00:00:52): And so when the time was right, it made total sense for us to bring him on board as part of our team, both for the reasons that we were similar and also for the reasons that our experiences and our paths have been very different. Our president, Kaelin, was very deliberate when bringing on our fourth director that we wanted to go outside of our own echo chamber, that we wanted to cross pollinate. And so Angel was the move, was the one we wanted. It was really fortunate that he was available and we were very gratified that, that interest was mutual. Now, ever since he's joined, I've been waiting to ask him this question, how is it different? What's it like to step between these two worlds? But I've been giving him some time. I wanted to make sure that we got a good answer. So here we are. We're four months in. I can't wait any longer. I waited four months for it. I've now made you wait two minutes for it. That's enough. So let's get into it.

Announcer (00:01:48): Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please?

Announcer (00:01:53): This is the Raw Data by P3 Adaptive podcast, with your hosts, Rob Collie and your cohost Thomas LaRock. Find out what the experts at P3 Adaptive can do for your business. Just go to Raw Data by P3 Adaptive is data with the human element.

Rob Collie (00:02:16): I've never had to pronounce your last name out loud.

Angel Abundez (00:02:19): Okay.

Rob Collie (00:02:19): It's always been in my head, which is a safe place. Without you saying it, I'm going to give it my best shot.

Angel Abundez (00:02:26): Go for it.

Rob Collie (00:02:26): All right. We'll see. Abundez.

Angel Abundez (00:02:29): Yeah. Abundez.

Rob Collie (00:02:29): How's that?

Angel Abundez (00:02:32): Abundez. [crosstalk 00:02:32].

Rob Collie (00:02:33): Abundez. All right. [crosstalk 00:02:33]. But by the way, in my head, it's always been Abundez, right? But that's really unconscious, right? But then I think about saying it out loud. I'm like, that's not it. [inaudible 00:02:50] the angle-sized first name, right? Your name isn't Angel either, right? Is Armhill or Anhill.

Angel Abundez (00:02:56): It's been that way since 3rd grade.

Rob Collie (00:02:58): There's no way you could get through life without having that pureed.

Angel Abundez (00:03:01): I had the option, and the 3rd grade teacher asked, "Do you want to be called Anhill or do you want to be called Angel?" And I did not like how she pronounced the first one. And that was when I transitioned. Then I was like, all of a sudden I had a new name. It was like I had a new identity. I'm in the 3rd grade, brand new school too. So that was blossoming for me. I was like, "Oh, Angel. Cool."

Rob Collie (00:03:25): I had been Bobby growing up as a kid. My whole family called me Bobby. The kids that I met on my street all called me Bobby. But then my mom registered me for school as Robert. I was Robert at school and Bobby at home. Luke knew me as Robert.

Thomas LaRock (00:03:42): I was damn so confused.

Rob Collie (00:03:44): And these worlds weren't far away from each other, right? Luke lived two streets over from the world where I was Bobby and he'd come visit and it would be really confusing.

Thomas LaRock (00:03:56): Now he's Rob and I'm all messed up.

Angel Abundez (00:03:58): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:03:58): But it's not quite the same, right?

Angel Abundez (00:04:02): I think in a lot of ways it is. Yeah. You were one thing coming in and you're total different... Looks like, "Who's Robert?" All his friends [crosstalk 00:04:13] like, "Hey, did you meet Robert? He's so cool.", "Who's Robert?"

Thomas LaRock (00:04:16): [crosstalk 00:04:16].

Rob Collie (00:04:19): "That guy? Oh, and he is not cool."

Angel Abundez (00:04:23): That's right.

Rob Collie (00:04:24): It's an early morning recording session for you. Not so much for us East Coasters, but we're still armed with coffee. Do you drink coffee?

Angel Abundez (00:04:31): Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:04:32): Okay. I love that look on your face, where you're like that doesn't translate to the audio podcasts, but, oh yeah, of course I do. "I savvy the beam," [inaudible 00:04:42] that look said.

Angel Abundez (00:04:43): Oh, yeah. My father-in-law likes to say I keep Starbucks in business.

Rob Collie (00:04:47): Yeah. We have a policy at our house now, which is, we're only allowed to go to Starbucks on weekends. It's like a governor on the motor. Otherwise things just get out of hand. It's home coffee on the weekdays.

Angel Abundez (00:05:04): Yeah. I have this machine that grinds the beans and then brews the coffee immediately afterwards. Oh, it's so good. So when my brother-in-law comes over, sister-in-law, or whoever, they're like, "Oh, that's great coffee." I'm like, "Thank you, Cuisinart machine."

Rob Collie (00:05:19): Yeah. We also now have one of those machines. It's like the much more expensive and more ecologically responsible Keurig. You don't have these plastic cartridges, but if you don't want the plastic cartridges, you've got to pay like five times as much for the machine. Those machines are amazing, aren't they? They remind me of the machines at Abbott Labs. The machines that Abbott Labs makes for blood testing, they're almost like the Lunar Lander in terms of like all the devices that are inside these pipettes and this conveyor belt, and then there's this and then that. It's crazy what's going on inside those blood testing machines. Angel do you know Tom?

Angel Abundez (00:05:57): I do know Tom. We hadn't officially met until the business analytics conference, Tom, long time ago in Chicago.

Thomas LaRock (00:06:04): Yep.

Angel Abundez (00:06:04): And I was going to be a blogger who was going to blog out this interview with Tom. I had some questions and stuff. Never wrote the blog. I talked a good blogging game, but I never could achieve the same level of blogging as is obviously you Rob and like some of the others in the community, but...

Rob Collie (00:06:20): Well, you had half of the journalism game down, right? You talked your way into the interview.

Angel Abundez (00:06:25): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:06:26): And you're like, "Nah. I've had that life experience. I'm not going to share it. I'm just going to..."

Angel Abundez (00:06:32): It's nerve wracking to write about someone else. You don't want to write anything bad, but...

Rob Collie (00:06:37): You want to tell the truth. And after meeting Tom, you're in a really tough spot, right?

Angel Abundez (00:06:43): Well, I second guess myself too, too much. That's the other problem. When you do that, you never get anything done. So I apologize, Tom. Never sent out that blog or whatever, but-

Thomas LaRock (00:06:54): Yeah. Apology not accepted. I'm still waiting for it.

Rob Collie (00:06:58): Yeah. I said, he's still [inaudible 00:06:58]. He's like, "I'd forgotten about this," but now you reopened that wound.

Thomas LaRock (00:07:02): Yeah. I took the time. There was no payoff for me.

Angel Abundez (00:07:09): That's right.

Rob Collie (00:07:10): Okay. So Angel, you and I crossed paths long time ago. When did we meet up for the first time?

Angel Abundez (00:07:16): It was back in 2010 or 2011 in Tampa. Jose Chinchilla was hosting SQL Saturday. This is intelligence edition.

Rob Collie (00:07:26): That's right. Yeah.

Angel Abundez (00:07:27): He had the speaker dinner at this great burger place. I don't remember the name, but I happened to sit across from you. Your back was against some brick wall, I think.

Rob Collie (00:07:37): Mafia style.

Angel Abundez (00:07:38): Yeah. And mafia style. Exactly.

Rob Collie (00:07:40): Yeah. And no one's going to sneak up and [crosstalk 00:07:42].

Angel Abundez (00:07:43): And I think we just hit it off. I think we just talked about work and talked about your background in Excel. This was before I even knew about Power Pivot. I had no idea what Power Pivot was. And then went to your session and you had a great football demo thing. I just was so intrigued by the tool. And later on, you wrote the book and it was so funny. Your book just sounded like your voice coming out through the pages and I could still remember you talking about, "You want to keep your lookup tables at the top and your data tables at the bottom." And many years later in Microsoft MTCs, where I'm doing training on Power BI, I still use that same thing. You got to put your dimensions on the top and your fact tables on the bottom.

Rob Collie (00:08:30): This is where I'm really remembered for, is yeah, you put these up high and put these down low and there you go. That's the Kali PhD.

Angel Abundez (00:08:39): Well, it was brilliant. It was definitely brilliant. One of our guys said, he put on Twitter yesterday, "Where do you like to put your measures in Power BI? Do you like to put them in a measure table or do you like to put them in other tables?" And I said, "I think you put them where a user intuitively goes, because if they know where to go to perform a certain function, then they're that much more productive," and your tip is one of those things, I think. It's like, okay, if you do it this way, then that alleviates the questions about how should I do this and how should I do that?

Rob Collie (00:09:12): We should back up really quick. You're one of our four directors here at P3. I want to establish what you're doing today and then we can dive into the origin story. So one of our currently four directors, that's a number that grows over time. And you're the only one of our directors that was an external hire. We hired you from the outside world, straight into the director job, whereas our other directors all came up originally through the principal consultant job here. And this ties together really neatly, I think, with the story of how we met and all that kind of stuff, because you were already a practicing card carrying member of the business intelligence industry before all of this. And most people who had been already into BI before being exposed to Power Pivot, especially Power Pivot, right? This Excel based version, most of the BI professionals circa 2010 or hell, even like 2015, most of them, their immune systems rejected this new stuff, at least initially.

Rob Collie (00:10:20): And it's easy to understand why. It had all the trappings of, first of all, the Excel based thing, right? That's an immediate turnoff for the established BI crowd, right? The ivory tower crowd. Mm-mm (negative). No. No peons. Uh-uh (negative). No. There's no staircase on the ivory tower. No, it's not open to the public. But also just like, if you... the wrong way, it was very threatening. My experience with meeting established BI professionals in that era, the way it would go is, I would explain what I was about and what I was doing and then we would fight.

Rob Collie (00:10:56): Once I got the story out, what I believed and what I think was happening, right? That was just laying the groundwork for the battle to come. And so, on the rare occasion that I crossed paths with someone, again, from that established BI world, that lit up and leaned forward and goes, "Really? Wow." That stands out. I mean a lot. And so, all these years later to have you become part of our team, this is just so gratifying. So cool. And I'm so happy that we had the opportunity to work together, and not just be members of the community that knew each other and liked each other. It's been a really cool arc, long story, right? Like a decade.

Angel Abundez (00:11:33): Yeah. I think the other thing that drew me to your session was the fact that you said you didn't know SQL. And I was like, "How is someone doing BI?" Right? Because, Tom, I'm sure you would attest to this, that SQL was our lifeline. It was like how we got the data and everything. But you said you had developed these models and then what I saw what you built with Power Pivot I was like, "Holy smokes, man. I can't even do that that fast with SQL. I've got to think about it." So yeah, and I agree I feel very lucky that what you and our president, Kaelin, built over this period of time, it's just like the right time now to come in. And after so many years of having grinded and worked really hard and everything, it's like our organization has so many talented folks that are like where we were 10 years ago, right? Just sitting across from each other, batting ideas around, and these guys now, they have no idea what we had to put up with, right?

Rob Collie (00:12:30): Oh, kids these days.

Angel Abundez (00:12:32): Yeah. Exactly. But how they're flourishing now is pretty amazing.

Rob Collie (00:12:37): Yeah. So Angel, how did you get involved in data in the first place? I'm pretty sure you weren't like a middle-school kid going, "Oh, I can't wait to get into SQL."

Angel Abundez (00:12:46): No, it was by chance. When I took my first internship while I was in college, I helped the electrical engineers of this company review parts that they were putting on printed circuit boards. And as I reviewed them, there was a developer there who developed an application where I would go in and add the specifications of the part, I'd put in notes about the part, and once it made it into that database, that application, it was like official. It was the official database of all the parts that they would use on their printed circuit boards. And I was just fascinated by what he was building, and what I was contributing to, and seeing the growth of it, and all these electrical engineers were using it. And then I took that to my next job a little bit and started up an Access database of all things, right? Access, and tried to do the same thing, because I was again, working in printed circuit board design and then got out of that industry into industrial controls for a company that did wastewater controls and saw a lot of repetition of what they were doing, like the repetition of what the printed circuit board engineers were doing. And I was like, "Hey, we could do a database."

Angel Abundez (00:14:01): So again, cracked open Access. And at that point I was trying to figure out how to input all their instrumentation and create PDFs of these specs that we'd have to submit to the different districts to approve all the instrumentation or whatever. So it was at that point that one of the project managers grabbed me and said, "Hey, you know SQL, right?" And I was like, "Yeah." And I'm like, "What do you need?" And he's like, "Well, we have this time sheet report and it keeps breaking. Can you come in and just try to fix it." I go, "Yeah. Sure." And that was my first foray into SQL server reporting services. And it didn't take me long to fix it. I think I might've fixed it in a day.

Angel Abundez (00:14:45): They were like, "Oh. Wow, okay. We have some more reports. Why don't you put down what you're doing, come over, sit over here, and help us fix these reports?" And that's where just all bets were off. I was often to SQL server and SQL server reporting services, helping them with their forecasting, and that's also where I got really involved with their systems. We were trying to stand up project server and their finance backend at that time was dynamics, and trying to marry those two. I was like the glue for finance to like, "Hey, what's going on with these projects?" And I'd be like, "Here's what's going on?" And they're like, "Okay. Great. Thank you." So then they could recognize revenue and we'd go back and forth some months.

Angel Abundez (00:15:29): And that was also actually where I found out that the world of finance was very gray. Up until that point, being an engineer, everything was black or white, everything was like, it works or it doesn't work, it fits or it doesn't fit. Darn it, I got to start all over again, right? With finance, oh no. It's like, "Oh, this looks wrong. I'll just do a journal entry. We'll just journal entry this and journal entry that." And I'm like, "Holy smokes dude. I think I need to go get a MBA or something because, is this legal?"

Rob Collie (00:16:01): Yeah. Or get clean, right? Like go take a shower or something, right?

Angel Abundez (00:16:05): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:16:06): But that's like half of the accounting subreddit on Reddit, is just like laughing about the things that they're being asked to do, like recategorize this as that and whatever, like the semi shady stuff. There was a moment there in that story where you're like, there's this moment, almost like sets you free in SQL and you're like, "Oh wow," right? It reminded me of this old Far Side cartoon and I think there's like a chicken laying on a beach somewhere with sunglasses on. And he's got his hands behind his back of his head, and he's holding Coke and he's talking to all the people on the beach and he goes, "And then they made me a free range chicken, and man, I never looked back."

Angel Abundez (00:16:48): Exactly. I really got into it, man. I bought books. That was before I knew about the SQL server community. So that was my next big revelation, but got really deep into books. I actually bought Ken Henderson. I don't know if you guys know this author. He wrote something called the Guru's Guide to SQL Server. And just with chapter one, I was just like, "Oh." Then chapter two, "Oh." Things I never would have known just looking around on the internet. But yeah, I think the big connection I made there with reports that I think all of our people have made this connection intuitively is when you show the data and make it easy for other people and how they react, then initial reaction where they're like, "Oh, I want more." Or like, "Can you do this? Can you do that?" And it's like, it builds and builds and builds. It's addictive.

Rob Collie (00:17:46): Tom has this phrase he likes to use, data janitor. In some sense, he halfway, proudly identifies as having come up as one of those while at the same time, no one went to school to do that. And this has never really fit for me. Even though the Excel's person's day to day existence is pre Power BI, is very labor-intensive. It is like working in the salt mines, right? The output of the typical Excel report is so much closer to the ultimate business value than the things that you're typically doing in SQL, at least in the early days. So your story about, yeah, we just had all this data about these circuit boards, right? And it was just like, it's just a mess, and how to keep it clean, and how to keep it in a good state, and then turn into some PDFs and all of that.

Rob Collie (00:18:34): As you were telling that story, I'm going, "Oh, right. That's what Tom means by data janitor." It's those sorts of humble beginnings in the SQL world, whereas the humble beginnings for an Excel person is like putting together something that immediately is handed to like the CFO to use to make some sort of strategic decision, right? Again, the nature of the work itself has a similar texture.

Angel Abundez (00:18:57): It does.

Rob Collie (00:18:58): But at the same time, it wasn't just keeping data clean. The Excel people that are really close to the decisions, and at the same time are viewed about as favorably as your average DBA, right? They're just not valued even though they're critical in the same way that DBAs are critical and never really get any credit except when things go wrong. This is where Tom, our worlds really did intersect.

Angel Abundez (00:19:21): So it's a term I actually saw a buck word to use once. You have to put it in a job description, like you're registering for a conference or something. He just put down data janitor. I'm like, "Oh, that's perfect. That really does explain a lot." Anyway, I remember I tweeted once the exact phrase, nobody goes to school to become a data janitor. And a few minutes later, Rob, just simply tweets back, and yet here we are. I'm like, yeah. And I got nothing. I got no response after that. I'm like, "Yeah. That's right. Here we are. Now what?"

Thomas LaRock (00:19:58): I like how you said, "We only get the credit when something goes wrong." That's not really credit, that's actually... I consider it to be blame. But yes, [crosstalk 00:20:06]. But we all have that gateway, we all have that entry, but I wanted to comment earlier about how... When Angel was working and he's building something and then they saw the value that he could actually do something with this data that has value, it's that thing. I don't understand why we don't have money at the end of the month. And he's the guy that goes, "Well, let me add up the income versus the expenses." And it's like this, "Whoa, how did you do that?" And he hands that to somebody, and when you're the administrator of it, you're just the curator. You're the guy that works in the museum and makes sure everything is there for somebody else to use, and you're not really involved, and you don't get to open up anybody's eyes, except for that rare case when you recover their data that they've screwed up somehow, right?

Thomas LaRock (00:20:53): So you're really can be removed from those moments of, "Oh, that revelation of, oh my God, this data," and what I can do with it now. As an administrator, you just don't get to see that, you don't get to work with it, and over time you just sit around like, "What am I doing here? I'm just a data janitor. I don't really have any value." But you do, you just don't understand what the value really is because there's no feedback loop for you, because you're manager. I may have had more than one manager look at me and go, "I don't even know what you do around here."

Rob Collie (00:21:20): That's big difference for the Excel flunky, is that they get to see firsthand how their output is being used. And so, they start to develop this real wisdom about how the whole business works, and about where the bodies are buried, and where things are dumb, and where things are stupid. And yet still, at least nine times out of 10, no one listens to them. You're just trapped, watching everything go wrong that you know could be better and no one cares.

Angel Abundez (00:21:49): Or you find yourself in this repeated pattern of you're producing the Excel files every month or every week, right? And it's just on, and on, and on. There is a lot of overlap, but I also think it's important for the DBAs and the ETL engineers, the people that do the backend stuff, they need to realize the value that they're contributing to. One of the places where I was really lucky to work and I was on this big team, there were so many people that performed each function. There was the DBA, there was the ETL engineer, there was a QA engineer. There was like 12 of us. And at the end of the day, all we wanted to do was add a new filter to a report. It was a Cognos report and we just needed to add a filter. So it was like all of this backend stuff that we had to do just to add that filter, right? And it seems like a little bit.

Angel Abundez (00:22:43): I remember putting up a slide and showing our team, "We added this, but you guys don't understand how hard that filter took." But you need that. You like to call it Rob, you need that compass, right? You need to reel everybody in and go, "Well, that little filter now allows so-and-so to do so-and-so, or this team to do that, or we can do tons of new things." So I think that messaging is the responsibility of whoever's leading the team, right? Because I can remember not doing that and feeling very lost on another project, worked, I don't know, weeks, and we were tackling some very technical problems and challenges and everything. And I sat back and I go, "What are we doing? We're supposed to be writing new dashboards, but we're so entrenched in the versions of SQL server and column store index or no column store index and all these technical things inside..."

Angel Abundez (00:23:38): I was like, "This is crazy," right? So then that's when I started getting into agile and realized if I laid out my features, what is it that we're trying to build this dashboard, or this report, or whatever, how do we get there? And once I did that, then I came back the next day and told everybody, "Look, we need to finish the testing you're doing, the development you're doing on that other piece or whatever because we got to get back to what we were here for." So it's a double-edged sword, I think, knowing the value and then getting so entrenched with the details that you forget what the value that you were working on was, right? Trying to pull yourself back to that.

Rob Collie (00:24:17): Yeah. Working backwards from the desired result, whenever you can, proves to be just so much more effective than working forward from the architecture. Working from the top down is the way to build when you can pull it off. The BI industry was bottom up forever. It was plumbing then faucet. And if you can go faucet, then plumbing, you end up getting a much better result and you end up getting there much faster. But the old tools, pre Power BI, pre Power Pivot, pre DAX, pre Emo, that kind of stuff. The old tools were really only capable of supporting a waterfall bottom up plumbing then faucets, sort of philosophy. The world didn't choose to go plumbing first, just arbitrarily. It's because the software was built to drive them that way. The new tools support the other way and still industries are very slow to change. So how long have you now been with P3?

Angel Abundez (00:25:16): It's four months.

Rob Collie (00:25:17): I've been saving this question for four months. What's it like? Right? So I'm sure that to a certain extent in your previous job, you were already beginning to apply some differences, agile and all that kind of stuff. I can paint this dramatic picture, right? Of, oh, you've been working in the old world all this time and now you've come to try this new model and I want to know the difference, right? That's an overly dramatic picture because even the old world of BI has been changing, and I definitely get the impression that, again, because 11 years ago we were sitting across the table and you're going, "Interesting."

Rob Collie (00:25:55): That means that you definitely weren't staying in the traditional group completely in any way, but still though, the question I've been saving to ask you, and we talk about, and of course record it, is what's it been like making this transition from, anyway, by degrees, a more traditional environment to our environment here at P3? And even if we weren't doing a podcast about this, I'd be basically beating your door down now and say, "Okay, let's talk. What's it been like?"

Angel Abundez (00:26:23): The people are definitely different. The way we hire, the way we put our consultants through what we call the diabolical test, and the way we interview them, it's like, we're picking a certain breed of person, right? First of all. So one thing that really impressed me when I into this role, because when I got in, I immediately had six principal consultants reporting to me and got to know them, got to talk to each one of them. And then more importantly for me, I wanted them to crack open their work. And as I was looking at all their work, I was like, "Holy moly, this is really good stuff."

Angel Abundez (00:27:03): And some of the ways that they were describing their projects, or their clients, or the process, or whatever it was that they were working on, just blew me away. They really not only understood it, but could spin it in ways that only professionals in Power BI could do. So I remember Ryan Bergstrom, our senior director, asked me, "Angel, I wonder what you would say. Working where you've worked, would you hire these people?" And I said, "Hell yeah. I love our team." And so that's, I think the first thing, because it starts with people, right?

Rob Collie (00:27:36): Can I jump in just for a moment here?

Angel Abundez (00:27:37): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:27:38): So knowing them now, the answer to that question is, "Oh my gosh, yes, we should have been willing to hire them," right? "In our previous environment." But they probably would have missed your radar.

Angel Abundez (00:27:48): Totally.

Rob Collie (00:27:49): And why is that? Why would they have missed your radar in the prior role?

Angel Abundez (00:27:54): In prior roles, we placed a lot of importance on backend knowledge of databases, backend knowledge of ANSI SQL. We were looking for architects basically, architects or ETL engineers, because that was primarily the bread and butter of the consulting worlds that I came from. Whereas opposed to here, we do have some sense of data engineers, but they're not data engineers, they're analytics engineers. They're the kind of breed that wants to understand the data because they know how to make it do things, how to look a certain way, or how to play with it and create ideas. Our clients don't all come to us because they want reports, our clients come to us because they want ideas. They're interested in our opinion with what they've got. I would have probably dismissed a lot of the people that are on our team because they didn't have that backend experience.

Rob Collie (00:28:51): Yeah. Our people don't identify. Some of them do, some of them have those bonafides for sure. But most of our consultants would never identify... again, to use the metaphor, they would never identify as plumbing experts, they're faucet people. And it turns out... And this is the really gratifying thing for me. You're looking at their work, you're looking at the architecture of the models that they're building and the DAX in there and all that and going, "Oh my gosh, look at this plumbing expertise, look at this," right? They didn't identify as that, but they can rocket in the service of making those faucets, right? And Bergstrom Ryan did tell me that story that you just told about hiring, right? He told me that some number of weeks ago and I just deemed.

Angel Abundez (00:29:39): It's so cool.

Rob Collie (00:29:40): Yeah.

Angel Abundez (00:29:41): It makes my job as a director so much easier. I don't have to explain the value that they have to look for or create said demos. They're doing it on their own. Now, where the backend piece does help, obviously, as I've seen a lot of patterns, so trying to parallel those patterns to what they're trying to accomplish sometimes with their data has helped. And I still like to pick from my experiences back in the days, applying Kimball principles to data warehousing and stuff like that. I like to think about those things sometimes because those guys were the experts back when data warehousing was really taking off in the '90s and the 2000s.

Angel Abundez (00:30:22): Nowadays, it's like, everybody just does it intuitively. They don't call it a fact table, they don't call it a dimension. Maybe they call it a data table and a lookup table or whatever. But they're applying these principles intuitively and it's amazing to me. I'm like, "It's got to evolve," right? I mean now, with so many things in the cloud and so many tools on top of not just Power BI, but things that are coming out with CIN apps and Databricks, it's getting a lot easier to do these backend things. And Tom, you were talking about this earlier about AutoML. There's going to come a time where machine learning is just going to be in everybody's back pocket and they can bring it to the forefront and then start adding value with that stuff.

Thomas LaRock (00:31:05): I'm a strong advocate that we should let the machines do the tasks that they're best at and let humans do the tasks that they're best at. And right now, the way I see the AutoML stuff evolving, is that there's still quite a bit of human intervention necessary for the thought process. "Is this data valid? Is it free from bias? Did these results make sense? Things of that nature. That expertise has got to be around for another five years or more, right? I mean, that's a decent career path for anybody to head down to have that experience and what you were just saying, fact tables, just coming naturally. It makes me think of that first BAC where we met apparently.

Rob Collie (00:31:44): There's no written record of you having met by the way-

Thomas LaRock (00:31:47): But it was Dr. Lovett, right? Yeah, he gave that brilliant keynote. And one of the takeaways was there's a dearth of people in the world that can analyze data properly. And I would go further and say, not just analyze it, but organize it. So what you're talking about are natural skills for people now, is because people are getting used to what the shape of the data should look like if they want to be able to use it for something, which I don't think people had or was as common 10 years ago. I agree with you there, because I don't think a lot of people understood why there was a fact table, dementia table, stuff like... [inaudible 00:32:22], get it all. And nowadays, it's just natural. Like, I need this and I need a lookup table or a reference... And they're getting better at how they should be organizing their data. I think that's becoming a little more common. But as far as the machine learning stuff, the data science-y stuff, we're still going to need some humans to really fact check what the machines are spitting out.

Angel Abundez (00:32:42): Yeah. I think it's come up more and more. Things like text analytics, I would have dismissed the whole text analytics and semantic analyzing maybe four or five years ago because I was still too busy trying to figure out how much money are you making and trying to figure out cost savings and optimizations. But today with these data lakes and these tons of ways that we can store the data, now people got data, now people want these new answers. And that's what I'm talking about more is like, to your point, it's going to take a human to try to figure out, well, how am I going to tell my bosses that the customers are giving us positive feedback," right? Quote, unquote, or negative feedback, or what products do they like, quote unquote, or don't like, quote unquote, right? And I'm like, "We have the tools now," and it's tools that we can spin up and spin down just when we need them.

Angel Abundez (00:33:37): So it's a really interesting and fun time right now. But honestly, that's another part to the role that I came into, that I fully, was willing to accept, is that I'm not going to be the guy that's going to write the machine learning [income 00:33:51]. I'm not going to be the guy that's going to write the Python, but I want to help guide that process to these people that are eager, and fast, and smart to do. That's one of the big changes. Now, in my career, having come to P3 and being a director, is that I'm not going to do the development, I'm not going to write the code, but I want to see my people do it and absolutely get 100% of the credit for it. So being able to come to a place where I can let that part go has been a little bit hard, I'll admit.

Angel Abundez (00:34:22): I still go a little bit crazy when I can't help a client battle a DAX problem or come up with some report. So I get to do a little bit, but it's just enough because I have eight now, but soon to be nine principal consultants on my team that I have to look out for them. I have to make sure each one of them is successful. And I can't do that if I'm busy crunching on some client problem or whatever. So it's going to be a growth process for me here. I fully recognize that. It's a little scary, but it's also fun. It's been fun.

Rob Collie (00:34:54): Well, it's not just that we really like you, that we decided to try to bring you in, right? It was also a deliberate effort on our part to cross pollinate. We knew that what we've been doing for the past 5, 6, 7 years, we know that it's very effective, we know that it's working. We don't have any self doubt anymore about our business model and all that kind of stuff, right? But at the same time, there is a risk of being in your own echo chamber and missing some things. It's not that the things that you're doing are bad, it's just that you might be missing some other good stuff, right? And so, we'd reached the point where it made a lot of sense for us to crack that door open, right? And so, I've really valued and appreciated that as our relationships with clients mature and as technology evolves around us.

Rob Collie (00:35:40): I mean Power BI itself, even though it's famous for having these monthly updates, where it's like all the pace of innovation, really Power BI isn't really changing that much. It's still doing the same things that it was always doing before. It's just like you get like these extra sprinkles on that Sunday. And some of those sprinkles are tasty, but it's still doing the same thing, whilst the ecosystem around it, that's the place where things are changing super fast. It's not Power BI itself, it's the adjacent technologies. And we're getting increasingly into those because there are at certain places where they bring tremendous value to the overall solution and the overall data culture, even, right? At our clients. And having that, cross-pollination, that exposure, even in these short four months that you've been with us, has already been a real asset to the team. So I'm really glad that we took that chance, but I'm even happier that you did. It is a big change. It's a bigger change for you than it has been for us, even though it has been a big change for us.

Angel Abundez (00:36:41): I'm still trying to figure out what the next two years is going to look like, but I'm excited. I mean the same kind of things that I've had in all the consulting companies that I've worked at, I have here, which is, you were talking about the chicken that... it felt like free reign all of a sudden. I still feel like that. I still feel like I can spin up a synapse workspace if I want. I can start plugging away at Python to figure out this text analytics problem that somebody posted on our Slack channel. But see, the other thing that as a director that I'm also looking for are ways to help our consultants grow. So for instance, if somebody hasn't seen Power BI report server, I can also spin that up, somebody who's never connected to analysis services cube, I can also spin that up.

Angel Abundez (00:37:30): So there's things that I'd like to learn that I know are like future, not just my future, but all of our consultant's future, but also things that I've seen in the past, right? With the clients that I've seen, that I'm very fortunate. That's one thing that I did want to say on this, is that the consultant companies, where I worked, I'm very fortunate to have worked with those teams and having worked with the clients that I worked on, because it brought me to this point where now seeing what I've seen, now I can come and talk about those stories, right?

Angel Abundez (00:38:02): We all have these stories that we can talk about, but it helps to know like, "Oh yeah, this big client approached it this way," or, "This little client didn't do it that way because they don't have the resources. So they did it this way," right? So all of these experiences are helping me now to guide our team, guide our people, to make decisions and try to formulate solutions, but there's still a lot to learn, there's still tons and tons of new technologies coming up, and we just got to stay on top of it.

Rob Collie (00:38:34): You really brought home with some good coach speak at the end there. Like, yeah, we just got to go out there and execute one play at a time and on to Philadelphia.

Angel Abundez (00:38:46): That's right.

Rob Collie (00:38:48): I'm wondering how much it would cost us to license the use of that free range chicken cartoon from Gary Larson in our recruiting. Now hiring free range chickens.

Angel Abundez (00:39:00): Yeah. That's another thing that I was really excited about when I came to P3, was the marketing. Obviously having a podcast is awesome. It gives people a sense of who we are, and the type of people that we partner with, and that we're friends with, and that we've worked with. I think towards the tail end of where I was at with design mine, I got exposed to marketing departments and got to see how marketing departments work. And that really fascinates me. And I think if I had a pivot that I would do sometime in my career, it might be something to do in marketing, because I think it's so much fun. Yeah. Tom's shaking his head like, no,

Rob Collie (00:39:38): How dare you, Tom? This is how my career has taken this turn. And Angel, when you're saying, you've got to see how marketing departments work, I'm like, "Oh really? Can you come tell me?"

Thomas LaRock (00:39:49): Forget it. And marketing's full. There's no jobs available-

Angel Abundez (00:39:52): Marketing's full. Yeah.

Thomas LaRock (00:39:53): Go somewhere else.

Angel Abundez (00:39:54): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:39:56): No, it's not so much that I want to try to be a marketer. I can't. I had a job at a consulting place where all I was expected to do was come in, show the shiny tools and go, and I hated that. I'm not a sales guy. But it's just the data piece, Tom. It's the data piece. They have a lot of data and it's like, they're barely doing anything with it.

Thomas LaRock (00:40:18): I agree. For most part, my experiences, they have way more data than they know what to do with or what they can do with. However, I also know what they don't know. And I know that quite often companies have a team for marketing analytics and they are actively trying to go through the data to figure things out. So where you described, like when you're showing something shiny, that's more like a sales engineering type thing. And the marketing aspect can be fascinating, the idea of A/B testing, trying to drive engagement. The downside to the marketing is when you put out materials and you've chosen words that you think are just fine but somebody comes back and they nitpick and they go, "No, your product said it would do X and it doesn't do that at all." And you're like, "Well, no, it does.", "Well, it doesn't do X the way I want to do, so you're lying."

Thomas LaRock (00:41:05): And you're like, "But I'm sorry for the confusion. I didn't intentionally lie in my materials." Or when somebody yells at you for your choice of Google Adwords, and you're like, "But that's how Google works. I have no control over this. Do you want me to not advertise?" So there's some pain points with the marketing. I really enjoy, as I call it, I'm an advocate. I'm an advocate for solar winds products. And so, the winds in general. So I love the advocacy in a lot of different ways because I'm not just an advocate for solar winds, but I'm advocate for our customers back into the product team to help make better products for our customers and for future customers. So that's the aspect of marketing that I followed into, which I really do enjoy more than not. I don't enjoy when there are times at other companies where I've seen people come across and they say, "Our product does this thing, so I'm just going to go off and say, it does this thing better than anybody else."

Thomas LaRock (00:42:00): And you're like, "Actually, it doesn't. It doesn't even do the thing you think it does. Please don't print that." You're knowingly lying at this point. "Yeah, but I need downloads. I need eyeballs. My metrics are clicks and page views, and I don't care how I get them." And that's the side of marketing that I don't enjoy seeing or participating in. But yes, the data is fabulous and fascinating and you could spend all day trying to figure out that one targeted segment that can drive engagement and give the numbers. And yes, it is all there for you. So Rob, you should put him in charge of marketing. Use me as a reference Angel. Use me as a reference.

Rob Collie (00:42:41): I had a colleague here at P3 who never really believed in anything we were doing. And so it's no surprise that eventually he left. But at one point, as I was getting excited about marketing, and basically every time I would try to get excited about something, he tried to tell me that I was wrong. And so, as I was getting exited about marketing... I said, something like, "I think marketing is fun. It's going to be fun." And he looked to me and said, "If you're doing it right, it's never fun." You touched on a couple things there, Tom, that definitely are fun, right? Messaging, advocacy. If you view digital marketing, as I have come to view it as a way to use the technology to scale out a human interaction with the world, if you look at it that way, right? Like, there's an important message, there's an important conversation to be had, and you can't reach everybody face to face, right? So how do you take that truth?

Rob Collie (00:43:38): This is actually a really important point. A lot of marketing, I think, is marketing a commoditized product or service and trying to get the customer to choose you over one of your completely indistinguishable competitors. There's no real basis for choosing one over the other. It's going to be about the same, but you try to convince them that it isn't the same. We have the luxury of not being like that. We have a real truth to share if we are truly different, truly better. Okay. So now you view the technology as, "Okay, how do we scale that out?" Right? "How do we use technology as a lever to get that message out?" And it's going to help everybody that hears it that eventually comes to work with us and it's going to help us do it because it's going to grow our business, right?

Rob Collie (00:44:19): In 2009, 2010, when I left Microsoft, what I discovered over the next few years, was that I really liked messaging. I really liked advocacy, and I never had known that about myself, a skill that I really hadn't had much use for when I worked at Microsoft, a latent talent. And so I still really am into that part, right? The messaging, that human truth, very much into that. I'm also really into the data. There's something really cool about splicing together in a Power BI model, all of the data that you get from Adwords with all the data that's in our CRM, and it's in our accounting system and all of that, calculating longterm value of advertising spend is a beautiful Power BI problem. I'm like Power BI is made for this.

Rob Collie (00:45:06): Over the years, I keep waiting for the part where if you're doing it right, it's not fun. Because even though, we always disagreed about everything, like I always took his opinion seriously, that's why it always hurts so much, right? I was like, "Oh man, he must be right." So I guess we finally found the part that isn't all that much fun, which is really fine tuning ad copy to match up with landing page copy so that the Google algorithm rewards you appropriately. There's a point at which you take one message, one truth, but then you have to factor that true message into 60 different sub flavors to match up with all these very specific situations. It's still not the worst work. It's not the least fun thing in the world.

Rob Collie (00:45:52): Maybe there was something else that was not fun about marketing that he was talking about, that I'm still yet to encounter, because like everything I do, I don't follow a handbook. It's not even necessarily so much at a disdain for the way things have been done before. It's just that I just can't work that way. I can't go read the book, even if I wanted to and do it that way. It's like, let's just dive in. If I don't dive in, I'm not ever going to get engaged. I'm just going to sit back and read books and never do anything. I know that about myself. I need to jump in. And so that's how we've been doing things and it's been working so far. Like I said, Angel, if you've seen how these things actually work, I'm intensely interested.

Angel Abundez (00:46:30): I don't know what it is about spending little bits and it starting to grow your business. But I can remember when I did meet you Tom, and went out to that business analytics conference, my talk that I gave out there was something I called the subscription economy. And this was before Spotify, before Disney+, before Paramount Plus, before all of these subscription services, right? I can remember putting pictures in that slide deck about me being a paper boy and going around house to house and asking for their money for their newspaper, right? That was the beginning of subscriptions, right? Going around, getting people's newspapers. And I had just happened to work for a company that had a subscription service and developed a model around it, a data warehouse, and figured out how to analyze their subscriptions. And they were looking for basic things like how many new customers did we get? How many renewals? How many cancellations?

Angel Abundez (00:47:27): And their customers were paying like a hundred bucks a month to get specialized healthcare. So it's the same kind of concept, but then it's the opposite. You're not spending, you're getting, right? You're receiving the revenue, a hundred bucks from this person, a hundred bucks from that person, and it's so amazing to me, like, me and my family, we pay the 15 bucks a month for a family plan for Spotify, we pay for iCloud, and we have a bunch of subscription services, just like I think other parents do, and it's amazing to me how those just all add up. It's something about how many little things can add up to these huge things. That's what I think is fascinating about it, but I totally understand.

Angel Abundez (00:48:07): I wouldn't like that evil side of marketing either, and I think probably you get that with bigger teams, maybe, because the smaller teams I've worked with, they're crunching on the numbers, trying to figure out, like you said, Rob, the messaging and trying to figure out all that hard work. But I guess I have the fun part at the end of the month where I see, okay, how much did you spend and how much did we get back on that spend. That's the part that I'm like, "Whoa, man, we spent this and we got that. Wow, that's awesome."

Rob Collie (00:48:36): So half the money you spend in marketing, you're wasting, right? You go into it just knowing, because you're going to try something and it may not work. So you try to minimize that as best as you can. You mentioned it's a larger team. It doesn't have to be a very large team for marketing to be painful, it's if marketing has a subservient role to sales. If the sales team has more power in the company and the sales team doesn't make their number, I think because they can't do sales, it's because marketing's not doing their job. And that's the dynamic that happens more often than not, is that marketing gets pressure because somebody says, "We need downloads. We get more downloads if you send more emails.", "But the people don't want these emails from us anymore. They're unsubscribing.", "Well, find more people to send emails to. It's just a numbers game. Get on the phone, do this other stuff." That's demand gen and that's tough.

Angel Abundez (00:49:27): Now that's actually something else we should talk about, Rob. The way we do sales is very different. That's a big difference from the places I've worked [inaudible 00:49:37]. Sales is typically done by salespeople, or a sales department, or business development directors. or whatever, right? At P3, everybody sells, everybody, but we don't think of it like that, but we are.

Thomas LaRock (00:49:49): But the real thing that's missing from all these people, what you have to understand is the product or service should sell itself. All the salesman should do is to facilitate the conversation between the person and their wallet, how much are you willing to spend? You already know it has value. This product or service is amazing. You already know. I don't have to do anything. I'm just going to help you set up the transaction. And when sales and marketing and product all work together in harmony, then there's no pressure. You have numbers you want to hit, but it's not if you don't hit the number you're gone, and you guys have that service. The nature of your sales and marketing is so much different, and probably a beautiful and wonderful experience for everyone.

Rob Collie (00:50:29): Tom, the way that people you've been describing when you started that sentence, I was anticipating how it was going to end. You were saying like, "You know what these people are missing?" I'm ready to jump and go, "Yeah. A soul. They're missing a soul. That's all they're missing."

Angel Abundez (00:50:47): Tom, what I'm learning here, and I'm learning a ton here, is that conversation that you're facilitating, there are certain questions that you can ask that are better than, "Tell me about your pain points." I can't tell you how many times I've heard that question. "Tell me about your pain points." We're learning how to ask really good questions and letting the clients talk, not us talk, right? And also the other lesson I've come to learn here, which is super important is, don't start telling people what you think they need, "Oh, you need a training. You need a jumpstart. You need a whatever." It's like, no. Don't talk about that. Let the client talk, let them tell you what their problems are, what they're experiencing, what the lack of something is, what they think they need, all these things, and there's still a lot that I have to learn, but it's not to be a good sales guy.

Angel Abundez (00:51:37): It's again, the way we do it and the way we intend to do it is, really just to get in to the client and really dig deep into the, what is their real problem and what is it that they could probably use the most value on, right? What is not the best solution? I don't want to call it that because there's never one solution, but we try to pick the best one that they're going to get the best bang for their buck. And in my career, I've been really lucky. I've done some projects where years later I get calls back, "Hey, you know that application you built, we're trying to move it over to whatever," some new application or something. "We need to talk to you about so-and-so." And I'm like, "You're still using that?" So that part is gratifying that something that as a consultant that you build, obviously that makes its way into many years later, they're still using it.

Angel Abundez (00:52:32): And that's what I like to coach my team on is, don't build something for yourself or for the client, build it for the people that are going to come after you because people change roles, people change companies. Whatever you build, just make sure it can withstand the test of time. We like to use buzzwords like scalable and make sure it's scalable, well, make sure it's reliable. It's like, I say, no, just make it outlast you. Whatever you do, whatever you set up, whatever documentation you write, just make it so that it outlasts you and that you know you're doing the right thing.

Rob Collie (00:53:05): Angel, I'm so glad that you brought up that there's a difference in, quote unquote, sales process, because I wouldn't have thought about that to bring it up. But yeah, this part is something that people probably heard me say before, but that whole rewinding in this conversation, like the technology of yesterday... and by the way, yesterday was very long. Yesterday, had a long run, right? So the technology of yesterday was built as a plumbing first architecture. That has so many rippling implications for the entire industry, the way that everything worked. And skipping ahead a little bit, one of the implications of all of that, the technology being built that way, was that all projects are big projects. There are no little projects, there are no fast projects. Everything is going to be glacially slow and gigantic.

Rob Collie (00:53:52): Then another implication of that though, is that anyone that signs the contract for one of those big projects is putting some degree of their career on the line when they're signing up for this project. If you're the client and you're the person at the client who's ultimately responsible for making the decision to hire this consulting firm to execute this project, you're staking some of your reputation, and maybe ultimately your employment at that company on whether or not this thing is going to be a success, it's a big spend, right?

Rob Collie (00:54:28): And so that just changes everything about the entire human equation. It creates like some Stockholm syndrome between the client and the consultant, and it requires a very different process. But by the way, there is some tremendous safety in that model for the consulting firm. It's very predictable. Once that contract is signed, you know that you're going to have a whole team of people employed and utilized for a long time. And the dirty little secret is that when it doesn't work out properly, right? Which it never does, you're going to get a change order and it's going to continue because you've got them. But when you change your business model, like we have, and that initial engagement is low risk, changes the entire dynamic of everything. Now, there's just like, if you can just bring the authenticity and say, "Look, results will speak for themselves," and you don't need like the dedicated swanky account executive, who by the way, also makes things so much more expensive, you've got to pay for that. It's just overhead.

Rob Collie (00:55:38): So I'm glad that you brought that up. Because it is. It has to be a huge difference. Now, I have been sitting on a number of thoughts here that I want to spit out in rapid fire. First of all, second far side reference. There's another far side cartoon, the competition in nature, where the native Americans are taking like a cowboy to bury them in the sand so the ants can eat them, and the different ant hives are putting up all these marquee signs saying, "Come [bury 00:56:03] here. Your cowboy's here." You ever seen that? I mean-

Angel Abundez (00:56:07): I have never seen that.

Rob Collie (00:56:08): You just know that Gary Larson is actually like a really nice warm person with just a sick sense of humor, and those are my people. I like those people. And then I also mentioned on the podcast before that there's an old Bill Hicks skit where he asked the audience, "Does anybody in here work in marketing?" And he goes, "Oh yeah, you do? Yeah, kill yourself." I think it comes back to this whole soulless thing, right? There's no difference between those two anthills in the Gary Larson cartoon. So all you have is glitzy sparkle to advertise why your ants will do a better job of gruesomely disposing of your foe. No, there's no difference. Tom, you said that half of the spend is wasted and you just don't know which half. Well now, actually you do know, right? It's worse. It's 90%.

Thomas LaRock (00:57:00): You don't know until after the fact.

Rob Collie (00:57:03): Right. Of course not. But it used to be that you would never even know after the fact, right? There was no attribution, nothing. You just couldn't stop advertising on the Super Bowl because maybe that would just tragically disrupt your sales. But you might suspect that it makes no difference at all, but you don't want to be the one to take that risk because if sales plummet you're out of a job.

Thomas LaRock (00:57:22): You're right. And I haven't seen advertise the Super Bowl in the wild now.

Rob Collie (00:57:27): You're right.

Thomas LaRock (00:57:28): Once they stopped, that was it. That was the end for them.

Rob Collie (00:57:30): So a while ago, Tom, we were collectively trying to figure out the pronunciation of the word dearth. By the way, there's so many words that I've only read and I've never been around other human beings using them out loud, and you don't hear them in movies. So I don't actually know how to pronounce a lot of really smart words. Is it appreciate prescient, prescient? I have no idea.

Angel Abundez (00:57:49): [inaudible 00:57:49].

Thomas LaRock (00:57:50): Prescient. It's prescient. Just go with prescient.

Rob Collie (00:57:53): I don't know about that. You're saying? Really?

Thomas LaRock (00:57:54): Yeah. No. Trust me. It's going to sound so smart.

Rob Collie (00:57:58): Is it niche? Is it niche? Is it niche, niche?

Thomas LaRock (00:58:00): It is niche-

Rob Collie (00:58:01): Seriously, niche? Are you sure it's not niche?

Thomas LaRock (00:58:05): You can say niche and people... Here's the thing. If you say niche and somebody corrects you, you know that they're an asshole, so...

Rob Collie (00:58:12): It's true. Yeah.

Thomas LaRock (00:58:14): And then you can say niche, but niche is the correct pronunciation.

Rob Collie (00:58:18): There is an old joke, which is like, "Excuse me, can you tell me where the library is at?" And they say, "No, I can't," because you ended that sentence with a preposition. And then you go, "Oh, I'm sorry. Where's the library at asshole?"

Angel Abundez (00:58:35): "Oh, it's over there. You just take a left down one block. There you go."

Rob Collie (00:58:38): Anyway, at one point in the conversation, when we were sounding out the word dearth or whatever, right? A new character was born in my mind, Darth Vader. We need to figure out Darth Vader's backstory and how to work him into a story about data.

Thomas LaRock (00:58:51): I think it should be Darth Data, not Vader, Data.

Rob Collie (00:58:56): I don't know. I'll think about this. The Vader's important, but you're right. Darth Data, if you just gave this character the right shaped helmet.

Thomas LaRock (00:59:03): Helmet? He's getting a spreadsheet for a head. What are you talking about?

Rob Collie (00:59:07): So you're like... Now we've lost all metaphor. You've got to tie in somehow.

Thomas LaRock (00:59:11): His helmet will be the Power BI bars. So it'll be spiked on one side like a vanilla ice thing.

Rob Collie (00:59:19): It's just two bar charts, right? That are just stacked back to back. Okay. All right. I can get behind this.

Thomas LaRock (00:59:25): His visor is just a sparkline.

Rob Collie (00:59:26): Oh, okay. Now you're talking-

Thomas LaRock (00:59:29): See, I work in marketing.

Rob Collie (00:59:31): Oh, yeah. So what else should we do?

Angel Abundez (00:59:34): I was going to suggest, we talk about the collaboration piece. P3 is the first company where I worked that's US-wide. I've worked at another consulting company where they were also US-wide but my region was the West Coast. So I was primarily trying to build the BI practice here in Northern California. So where I've come from, I didn't have a lot of managerial coaching, I guess, if you will. So where I came from, we had this notion of one-on-ones, which I dreaded really, because I thought to myself, like, "What's the use of them?" But it wasn't until Kaelin told me that we really need to make our people feel like they're part of our company, that clicked, because as a consultant, working for multiple clients, or even working on with one big client for a while, you can feel like you're in a silo. You can feel like all of a sudden, "Oh, I work for solar winds. I don't work for my company. I've been working with Tom for eight months or whatever."

Angel Abundez (01:00:38): You never want people to feel like that. They work for P3, they work for us. And that's our culture, I feel like, is very much like we care about all people we hire. We fully recognize people they may come and go, they want to do different things or whatever, but at least while they're here, we want them to be able to say they enjoy their work here, right? They enjoy the people they work with, and that's the part I think we do a really good job of too. And it's a lot of my responsibility as a director to be sure that I make our consultants, even though they're everywhere... I've got consultants in Las Vegas, and New York, and Texas, and Kansas.

Angel Abundez (01:01:16): So it's a challenge because we're all remote, but I think we really break down barriers by being authentic. I think all of our directors, that's the one thing that we're over ourselves, we don't have big egos or anything like that, we're authentic with people. And that's important because I think that's how you gain trust basically. I was talking to the executive coach that I'm working with. I meet with her once a month, and one of the things that she helped illuminate to me is that you can't ask somebody to do something for you if they don't trust you, right? Because I was asking her, "I don't want to be ever a mean manager. I don't want to be that kind of manager, like, 'Hey, I need you to do this for me right now.' But there are times where I'm going to need to do that, right? I'm going to need to say, 'Hey, we've got to put in the weekend or, 'Hey, you got to finish this up. I know you want to finish this other thing, but we've got to do this other thing.'"

Angel Abundez (01:02:05): And so that whole trust thing really only comes from being authentic with someone. So my one-on-ones now are completely different than what they were when I first got here. At first, it was about, "Crack open your report. Let me see your report. What are you using? What are you connecting to?" And it was all very technical. Now, my one-on-ones are more talking about somebody found a dog in a river. Now, they have that dog. It's their dog, talking about somebody else's, you just got over COVID. That's still a very big part of our reality, right? And when that hit, I took care of it. I was like, "You, get well, get better. I'll put in your time off. Don't worry about it." So I think that's a very important part of the P3 culture here, is it helps nurture a lot of other things, collaboration, trust with each other, asking questions, not working in silos, that kind of thing.

Rob Collie (01:02:59): That's really gratifying to hear as well. I am, admittedly now, somewhat removed from a lot of the reality you were just describing, to hear you talk about it at the end of your first four months, right? Honestly, it feels like you've been here a lot longer than that, in a good way. Not like, "Oh, man, you've only been here four months. Man, I can't.... Oh, really?"

Angel Abundez (01:03:21): It's weird. I feel like I'm just starting. There's so much to learn here.

Rob Collie (01:03:26): I would've guessed like eight months. Time is just such a funny thing. I would have guessed eight months. When you said four, I'm like, really?

Angel Abundez (01:03:32): Yeah. It goes by fast.

Rob Collie (01:03:34): That's crazy.

Angel Abundez (01:03:35): It goes by fast.

Rob Collie (01:03:37): Well, Angel, I'm so glad we got to do this. Of course, I'm even happier that you're here. Having known you for so long, I'm so glad that you're part of the team and we did our four month waiting period before we got you on the podcast, and that expired. So this has been great.

Angel Abundez (01:03:51): Yeah. Super excited that you picked me and that I'm here at P3 and doing my thing here.

Rob Collie (01:03:57): We didn't pick you, you chose us. I'm just kidding. It's both, right? That's how it works.

Angel Abundez (01:04:02): That's right.

Rob Collie (01:04:03): Thanks again, sir.

Angel Abundez (01:04:03): Thank you guys.

Announcer (01:04:04): Thanks for listening to the Raw Data by P3 Adaptive podcast. Let the experts at P3 Adaptive help your business. Just go to Have a data day.

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