Raw Data By P3 Adaptive
An Anthropologist Goes Corporate, w/ Geoff McNeely
We’re starting off 2022 with a dual release party!
Our guest for the first part of the double feature is Geoff Mcneely, a very interesting human! He has a degree in Anthropology (we can check that one off of our interesting background list!) He’s a Power BI OG, starting one of the first two Power BI user groups (Rob having started the other). He’s a full-time Power BI professional working for Microsoft who has a strange distinction of being a non-Full-Time Full-Time employee (we will explain)!
Happy New Year everyone! Have a Data Year!
References in this episode:
Rob Collie (00:00): Hello friends, and welcome to 2022. Now I know we're just coming out of the holidays and most people, most people were laying low during the holidays. But not us here on Raw Data. No way. We recorded seven episodes over the holidays. In fact, we spent so much time recording podcasts over the holidays, that I think it significantly cut into my usual trend of overeating. Podcasting, the new diet. With that many episodes in the hopper, we decided that it made sense to come out hot at the beginning of the year. So we're releasing two episodes simultaneously this week, the first of which, which to listening to right now, our guest is Geoff McNeely. And the word that keeps coming to mind for me with regards to Geoff is interesting. He's an interesting person. He lives in an interesting place. He works in an interesting place, and he has a very interesting background. Specifically in our background bingo game here on Raw Data, we've now checked off the anthropologist box. So if you're keeping score at home, that means we've now had anthropologist, marine biologist, entomologist, medieval archeologist. You get the drill.
Rob Collie (01:06): Geoff has a number of claims to fame. One of which is that at a single point in time early on, there were only two Power BI user groups in the world. And back then, we called them the modern Excel user group. And the only two were the one that I had started in Cleveland and the one that Geoff was sponsoring in Seattle, hosted at Microsoft.
Rob Collie (01:24): Fast forward to today of course, and there's user groups all over the world. And Geoff no longer runs the one in Seattle, but he's a full time Power BI and Microsoft data platform professional working for a company called Microsoft. So we talk of course about what he does for Microsoft, and also the twists and turns in bureaucracy of what it means to be a non-FTE, but still kind of full time at Microsoft. So let's get into it.
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Announcer (01:56): This is the Raw Data by P3 Adaptive podcast with your host Rob Collie and your co-host Thomas LaRock. Find out what the experts at P3 Adaptive can do for your business. Just go to p3adaptive.com. Raw Data by P3 Adaptive is data with the human element.
Rob Collie (02:19): Welcome to the show Geoff McNeely, a blast from the past. How are you doing today sir?
Geoff McNeely (02:24): I'm doing pretty good other than there being no power at our house right now. Well, we have a generator.
Rob Collie (02:30): If you have a generator, that means that this is something that happens to you somewhat frequently. You live on Whidbey Island, yeah?
Geoff McNeely (02:36): That's correct.
Rob Collie (02:37): Loosely outside of Seattle?
Geoff McNeely (02:39): That is correct.
Rob Collie (02:40): Turns out that both your host and co-host today apparently have some things to say about Whidbey Island. Let me start us off and sort of set the stage. Okay? So for those of you who don't know the Seattle area, there are a bunch of islands out in the Puget Sound kind of off the coast of Seattle if you will. Some of them are convenient for commuting. There's some fairy commuters that get on the boat every morning and get off the boat over in Seattle, go to work, and then take the ferry back. I don't get the sense that Whidbey Island is one of those though. Whidbey is a little bit more of a hike. So have you lived on Whidbey for a long time?
Geoff McNeely (03:12): No. About two and a half years ago, we moved here.
Rob Collie (03:15): Let's talk about if there were such a thing as a moving to Whidbey Island starter pack, what would they issue you when you move there?
Thomas LaRock (03:24): A generator.
Rob Collie (03:25): A generator apparently is one of the things they would issue you. I'm going to take a few stabs at it. I think first, they offer you Birkenstocks. But most people who are moving there already have them. It's more of a placebo offer.
Thomas LaRock (03:40): It's an empty gesture really.
Rob Collie (03:41): Yeah. It's an empty gesture. I'm imagining a painting easel. And in certain deluxe circumstances, an entire outbuilding on your property devoted to art. It's like an art shed. How am I doing? Am I in the neighborhood?
Geoff McNeely (03:54): South Whidbey has a bit of that. Yeah. North Whidbey, there's a Naval air state. And the community that entails, they would not have Birkenstocks.
Rob Collie (04:05): So South Whidbey, okay. What else would be in the starter pack? Am I on target at all with the rest of it? Or am I missing some things?
Geoff McNeely (04:11): Chainsaw. Most of the powers are a tree falls across the road. Pull out your chainsaw and move the tree so you can keep going.
Rob Collie (04:20): I see. You put that in your car?
Geoff McNeely (04:22): I don't, but I would if I were driving more frequently when the wind's happening and whatnot. I've seen it happen.
Rob Collie (04:29): Just get out and off you go.
Geoff McNeely (04:31): It's like oh crap, that tree just went down right in our way. We could sit here or oh look, that guy's got a chainsaw. Now we're moving all these rounds to the side of the road ... no, we're putting it in the back of the truck. We'll take them home.
Rob Collie (04:42): That's next year's heat.
Geoff McNeely (04:44): Exactly.
Thomas LaRock (04:45): So my wife and I did just visit Whidbey. I'd never been. In all my adventures to Seattle Vancouver area, we'd never gone towards Whidbey Island. So we stayed in Langley for three, four days back in October. So let me think, Langley of course, I'm sure you know it. So Clinton is the end of the ferry, right? It's from Clinton to that place I can't pronounce.
Geoff McNeely (05:09): It's really interesting because there's four zip codes in South Whidbey. So you've got zip code for Langley, which is one part up where you were. Then Clinton is where the ferry comes in, but also the whole south part there. And then you go over Useless Bay and there's Freeland and the Freeland area. And then you go up towards Greenbank and on towards North Whidbey. So Clinton, the town is where the Dairy Queen is when you get off the ferry. But Clinton as a zip code is everything south of there to the water. So I'm about as far south as you can get. Takes about 12 minutes with no slow drivers in front of you to get from here to the ferry.
Thomas LaRock (05:52): So we explored Whidbey. One of our last days there, we went to his Ebey's Landing, right? That was a beautiful hike. Highly recommend it for anybody that is ambulatory that can go for a nice walk along the water. It's beautiful.
Thomas LaRock (06:06): So Deception Pass. This is the thing I'll always remember. I go down to the water. I'm sitting below the bridge on a little section of the beach. There's a little park, hiking trails, everything. And I get a text message.
Thomas LaRock (06:18): And the text message was from Canada. And it said basically welcome to Canada. So I had to bring up a map and look and see just how close I was to Victoria Island. There's an island, you can see it there. And you're basically in Canadian airspace I guess, even though you're still in Whidbey Island. I just found that funny. I had no idea just how close I was to Canada technically. But we really enjoyed our time at Whidbey Island. It was picturesque.
Geoff McNeely (06:46): I only got that text once when I was up Whatcom County at a campsite about 20 miles, near Mount Baker. But it's interesting how those signals will bounce. And somehow, you picked up a tower a little further north.
Rob Collie (07:00): Right now in the background, we're hastily redoing all of our graphics and logos for the podcast. Raw Data by P3 Adaptive, a show about Whidbey Island and various geographical oddities of islands in the Puget Sound.
Rob Collie (07:14): If we're going to talk about Deception Pass, I got to share my funny little vignette about Deception Pass. Which is that in my mid twenties, I got engaged to my first wife at Deception Pass. And my roommates at the time thought that was such a good idea, that they also went and each repeated the process with their girlfriends. And not one of those marriages survived.
Thomas LaRock (07:36): That's why it's Deception Pass Rob.
Rob Collie (07:39): It's Deception Pass. Should have known in advance. What we were all doing in our mid twenties getting engaged not having any idea who we were, that's the real issue.
Geoff McNeely (07:48): Maybe that was self-Deception Pass.
Rob Collie (07:50): Yeah. Mutual self-Deception Pass. It was a team sport. Okay. So I'm going to confess to you Geoff, that you have been subject to the absolutely benign, but still real Rob Collie memory compression algorithm. I don't remember everything about you that I used to know, and I'm going to just be completely upfront. However, my compression algorithm for memory to save space in the precious brain remembers you as very much into data. Were you associated with or in charge of the original meetup for Power Pivot and Power BI. And you're a very interesting person. Quirky in a good way. That's what still retained. It's probably about a decade ago that we first 'meeting' on Twitter. So what are you doing these days? Are you still around the Power BI campfire, or are you moved on to other things? Your Twitter handle talks about you being an anthropologist. Where should we begin to unpack this riddle?
Geoff McNeely (08:47): That's a really good question. But as life would have it, I'm actually currently earning my dollars with the biz apps team at Microsoft, which includes Power Platform. And I'm still using Power BI Desktop on the daily, which is kind of fun, but kind of sad too. Because I just recently had the occasion to learn a little bit about Azure because I'm still using Access to model my databases. I'm old.
Rob Collie (09:13): And it works.
Geoff McNeely (09:14): I guess you can do logical data models with Synapse, and it actually looks kind of cool, but I've only won tutorial into that. So I don't really know it yet.
Rob Collie (09:24): We should have held this next week when you were an expert.
Geoff McNeely (09:26): Maybe.
Thomas LaRock (09:26): Now since you mentioned Access, I need to do some market research. Would you be interested if it existed if Azure offered Access as a service? I'm just doing the research because I think Azure should offer Access as a service. I think it'd be brilliant. Only 10 people can use it at a time. So it wouldn't really be like a cloud service. But I just feel like they've brought everything else, but some reason Access isn't getting the same love as the rest of the tools.
Rob Collie (09:52): Are we talking about uppercase A capital A Access or lowercase A Access? because I would think that sometimes, some of these services from Microsoft really should offer lowercase A Access as a service. Because we're experiencing all kinds of troubles these days just getting signed in. We have entire Slack conversations going on right now ring led by Luke about all the places in which our apps, and devices, and everything are failing to log in. So yeah, I think Azure should offer convenient Access as a service. Maybe we should put a really strong engineering team on just logging in. Do I sound a little bitter Microsoft?
Thomas LaRock (10:29): No.
Rob Collie (10:30): We can build these great, gleaming sculptures to the sky of amazing complexity, power, and elegance that no other software from on the planet could come close to. And then just face plant on logging in.
Thomas LaRock (10:43): But at least they weren't down yesterday like AWS. Right?
Rob Collie (10:46): Well what's the difference?
Thomas LaRock (10:47): I mean you couldn't log in.
Rob Collie (10:50): My Outlook desktop right now is telling me need password. Okay. Click need password. It logs in, it authenticates, starts to sync. And then within two seconds goes, "Need password." It's just the endless loop of this. And it goes away after a few hours. It doesn't even connect long enough to sync mail Tom.
Thomas LaRock (11:09): I would suggest in times like this blame Luke.
Rob Collie (11:12): Blame Luke. Isn't that his Twitter handle? Here's the thing about AWS being down relative to the not being able to log in from Outlook. AWS in that situation, they can be down without me intervening. They can stay down. I don't have to do anything. But with the Outlook thing, I have to keep clicking to see if they're back. I have to have an interactive downtime, which is even worse. Okay. So Geoff, you're Microsofty now.
Geoff McNeely (11:37): I'm not FTE.
Rob Collie (11:38): Okay. All right.
Geoff McNeely (11:39): I'm still vendor. I'm actually subject to that 18 6 rule. You know it?
Rob Collie (11:44): Oh yeah. But let's explain it to the audience.
Geoff McNeely (11:46): Once upon a time, vendors were allowed different status than temps or whatnot. So could just work continuously. But someone I guess thought working continuously meant that they worked for Microsoft and they should get benefits. So as a result, Satya said, "You got to be off the network for six months every year and a half to prove that you're not really working for us."
Rob Collie (12:07): This was a class action lawsuit I think even in the early 2000s. I got to Microsoft in the '90s. Sometimes half the team would be vendors, and they never left. Some of those vendors had more longevity with the team than the FTEs. They were the things that were continuous. And the FTEs kept moving in and out. But then, it was kind of like the Uber class action lawsuit, right? Are the drivers actually employees or are they contractors?
Rob Collie (12:31): And I think this even predates Satya. I think the 18 6 policy has been in place a long time. So all of this is a six month timeout. 25% of your two year period off from working for Microsoft, just to cleanse the pallet so that clearly, if you can take six months off like that, you're not an employee.
Geoff McNeely (12:48): It has been in for a while, but there was a period where certain types of vendors, it wasn't subject to that rule. And that changed. Now, the only exception is if your vendor team is covered by a managed service agreement. So you're basically running a managed service for Microsoft. So the company is sort of in contract, and therefore the people are clearly working for the company, not for Microsoft and can continuously work.
Geoff McNeely (13:18): I've been through that, both sides of it. But the team I've been on right now, I'm working almost four years for. And I'm about to hit my second six month break where I'm still working. I just have to flip over to my vendor email for six months. But because I'm more a subject matter expert, you can have guests on teams, right? So I can Access PBX files, and do DAX coding, and fix stuff if I need to. And then I just can't run a refresh on corpnet and I can't upload the files directly there. Somebody else, my vendor stakeholder has to deal with that stuff. But I can keep working on the stuff I do, which is mostly synthesizing a bunch of targeting criteria around accounts and the various data sets internal to Microsoft. There's a bunch of different cubes, but they all are subject matter cubes. The common theme through the mall is count ID for customers, right? So where's the customer cube? There isn't really one. So we pull a bunch of different things around a customer perspective to build out a fuller view on that customer. And nobody really understands how it works right now, except me.
Rob Collie (14:30): So it sounds like they closed the loopholes, and new ones were immediately found. They're not loopholes, they're just legally defensible positions, right?
Geoff McNeely (14:38): I suppose. I mean, it's annoying and there's a lot of limitations in having to step away from network for a while. But from a PO, and contract, and me getting paid perspective, we just keep moving forward. As long as they're happy with what they're getting, whether I'm doing it on corpnet or not is a secondary consideration.
Rob Collie (14:58): But during this six months, does your compensation arrive through some sort of Panama transfer?
Geoff McNeely (15:04): No. Literally the vendor agency I work for continues to bill Microsoft. Microsoft continues to pay them. They cut me a check. The only difference is I lose my @microsoft.com email. Which is funny because the first three or four contracts, every time I came back, I had the same alias again. They flipped the switch and turn it back on. But for the last three times, they've done iterations on my name multiple times now. And each time I come back, it's brand new. So it's not like you can send me to that old email address. It'll work again. Nope. We've got a new one.
Rob Collie (15:37): That wouldn't be fun. Look at the unintended consequences of this saga. First of all, the vendors rise up and say we deserve benefits. So they class action too. And the unintended consequences is that now they're unemployed 25% of the time. Right? Hope you enjoyed it. You still don't get benefits, but now you're unemployed 25% of the time.
Thomas LaRock (15:57): Yeah. But they charge a rate that allows for them to be out for those six months.
Rob Collie (16:02): Yeah. Now they do. Right? So the unintended consequences just keep cascading, right? So there's these move and counter move, and it's just off to the races. So of course now to make a worthwhile living, the 18 6'ers have to charge more for the 18 than they would have before. So the prices start to go up and Microsoft starts getting hurt. Where this has currently landed is that Microsoft is still able to use vendors. They just have to use them in a very, very, very inconvenient fashion for six months out of every two years. It's like a reduced efficiency.
Thomas LaRock (16:35): So I think it was a necessary thing to do. And not just a Microsoft thing, but in general like you mentioned, the industry. Let's just call it the gig economy where if you have a company that thinks it can skirt giving benefits by just hiring a contractor. And then the contractor is like, "We'll never open a full-time position for this role. We're just going to keep it as a contractor forever." And I've worked in shops like this as well back in the day, let's say. At some point the company should either make it a full-time role, or the contract should come to an end. I don't know that 18 months is the right period of time here. But I see where they're going. I can understand the logic behind it. But I don't know that this implementation is the correct implementation.
Rob Collie (17:19): It just seems like there's no free lunch, right? I mean, the market has clearly decided that 18 6 is the answer. That's what the market has decided. It's been there for a while. I think this is one of those things where nobody won. Is anyone better off than they were before the starting gun fired?
Thomas LaRock (17:34): It's just more overhead. So who's ever processing the paperwork on this, they win.
Rob Collie (17:39): Yeah. The transaction cost people. Right? So Geoff, you mentioned yourself as a subject matter expert. And it sounds like in a roundabout way, you're the only one that knows where the database key bodies are buried between these systems. Am I on the right track there?
Geoff McNeely (17:54): That's not entirely accurate. It's more I work with marketers, mostly. Marketers and field salespeople. So they're not going to understand data models for the most part. They're like, "I want my report to do this stuff. I need these things." But where they come from and how easy it is to stitch them together, that's a layer their brain doesn't want to go there, because that's not the work they do.
Geoff McNeely (18:16): We have some fantastic support teams that build cubes and manage their data, etc. But it's terrain, right? It's kind of like Sherpa work. I know this terrain really well. "Oh you want to get that? Let me run up that hill and grab it, and we're good?" Versus, "Oh yeah. Just walk that path for a while. I'm sure you'll find it." They come back later going, "Yeah. I ended up with a pivot table that had no data. I don't understand." "Yeah. Here, let me do that for you." Two minutes later. "There you go. You're happy. Good." It's that knowing which screw to turn thing, but from a data perspective.
Rob Collie (18:50): Did you say that you've been generally speaking in this role or a similar one for about four years?
Geoff McNeely (18:56): I've been working with this team in what's called targeting enablement for over four years.
Thomas LaRock (19:03): It sounds like it's a James Bond plot or something.
Geoff McNeely (19:06): But it's funny because initially, the whole thing was marketers say, "Hey, we need a list of who we should be targeting. Here's the criteria we want you to consider." And that kind of worked. But right from the start, how are you ever going to know that your guesses are any good? There's no way to validate that it was effective. Right? So now the thinking is moving more towards how can we use some ML and AI to actually process our historic data to come up with the trends that actually signal things are going to happen. So now, we're trying to move towards intelligent targeting. Which is frankly a lot better than ... yeah, I could pull you a list of accounts that meet a certain profile that you can start with. But that's not really going to tell you what their behavior's going to be, or what they're going to buy next, or anything like that. But we do have a lot of other historic data for customers with same profile, same industry, same this, that, or the other thing that we can look at. "Here's when that cohort bought X, and then they bought Y, and then they bought Z." So now all of the current ones that fit that profile that have bought X, we know we want to go talk to them about why at about this much time into that relationship.
Geoff McNeely (20:16): So they're thinking about expanding their business along following the data, which is maybe a bit smarter than asking marketers to make a good guess about who they think they're selling to.
Rob Collie (20:25): Okay. So cohorts, account IDs, things like that. Now obviously, I don't want you to give away anything that would be remotely secretive here. When we talk about account IDs and cohorts, are we talking about corporate customers who have purchased certain things over the years? We're not talking about some individual human being in Kansas city bought Office 365 personal, or are we?
Geoff McNeely (20:48): Whether that team is doing anything like that or not, I don't know. The accounts that I'm working with business applications, right? Dynamics, Power Platform, right? Those are business customers, mostly managed account type customers, not small business customers. You know who your customers are and you know whether or not they've bought these products. They already are using one of our products somewhere, whether it's the operating system, Office, Azure. So you know there's a relationship in place. Now, are they using these products that we want to focus on this team? We know that answer to that. So you either have dark accounts or you have accounts you're going to grow. There's a finite list of those relationships.
Geoff McNeely (21:30): And then really what we're doing is prioritizing the seller's time. Where instead of them reading through a stack of account details, we're giving them hints to say, "Actually start with this sub list. Because these ones probably have a higher propensity to be receptive to that conversation than you're entire list." So we're trying to help sellers do more work quickly, efficiently, with better rewards.
Rob Collie (21:53): The average field rep of Microsoft with whatever acronym they're carrying today as their title, when you ask them how many accounts they're 'responsible,' for, the answer is very, very, very frequently over 100. It's crazy. You get half a week per year to spend if you have 100 accounts. It's nothing. So being able to operate at scale seems like a must. When you say sellers, are those are sorts of people ultimately that your intelligence is used to support? People formally known as TSPs, and CSAs, and whatever.
Geoff McNeely (22:28): Yeah. There's your account managers, and then your technical sellers, and subject matter expert sellers, etc. Right? So there's teams that are going to approach. A given account might be up for a renewal on one product, and ready to start adding another product. Right? So you've got multiple sellers in that conversation. Or if you don't have it working together, you've got you multiple people at Microsoft having multiple different conversations with one point of contact at a company, which might become aggravating for the contact at the company. So you want to unify that whole effort and simplify who's leading the conversation and who's supplementing the conversation.
Rob Collie (23:05): Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. So I had a hypothesis forming as you were describing your role and how long you've been in it. One of the tenets of why Power BI and the Power Platform, but let's just focus on Power BI for the moment. Why it is so effective is that it allows you to significantly close the gap between subject matter expert and implementer. It used to be a really, really intense waterfall process where you were communicating almost just through documents, and long and terminable meetings, and just absolutely dysfunctional. It never worked.
Rob Collie (23:43): And my hypothesis is this. After a number of years doing this, being involved in data driven support for this team for so long, how hard would it be hypothetically speaking for you to go do the job of the people that you're supporting currently. I would assume that by this point, you've now seen so much of what they do and so many of the concerns, and things they need to care about, and how they need to operate, that you could probably just almost plug and play into that role.
Geoff McNeely (24:16): I mean if I enjoyed the sales process, I probably have enough tactical knowledge about the products and the processes, and how it sold to step in and do a lot of that. Yeah.
Rob Collie (24:28): So I was envisioning that there were FTE Microsofties on the targeting enablement team. I just got to throw that in there as many times as we can. Targeting enablement professionals that you're supporting. And then they in turn support all the different sellers. Is it more direct than that though? There's no middle stop off? It's from you straight to the sellers?
Geoff McNeely (24:49): So it's a web, right? So there's the geographical arrangement Microsoft has, right? So each subsidiary has their own decision-making processes. And there's corporate. So I work with corporate. So corporate says, "Here's in general the marketing strategies we're going to use to position our products this fiscal year." And they're all prioritized around company objectives, etc., etc. And then they pass that out to the subsidiaries who then get to largely decide how they want to implement it within those broad parameters. Right? So I'm going to work with a lot of business stakeholders in those different teams who want to prioritize one thing over another. I'm going to work with the product marketing managers from corporate who have their own objectives on how those products need to be landing and what their objectives are to hit their numbers, and all of those fancy metric data points that businesses have.
Geoff McNeely (25:47): But originally, the tools I built were to support those business decision makers internally on prioritizing where did they want to focus their sales team's efforts. What was really interesting and ended up really cool, because there's a lot of Power BI reports inside Microsoft. And this one particular report is in the top 100 in the company as far as consumption. And it's field sellers that were using it. So we ended up creating a whole bunch of flavors on that for the field sellers to use it. They have our own internal CRM Dynamics that they use. And there's a bunch of other tools that they have, but they're still heavily relying on our tool for that weeding through all of the noise to go, "Where should I really be focusing?"
Geoff McNeely (26:30): So I take a lot of input from those business group stakeholders that have here's what we're telling our sellers to do this year. And here's how we want them to do it. So that guides how we build the reports. But then those reports actually go directly to the field, and the field's using it on a daily basis.
Rob Collie (26:47): Yeah. Okay. I could see even that loop is shortening is kind of the picture, right? Because I was talking about shortening the loop between subject matter expert and implementer. But over time, you just start to constantly want to reduce the friction. Why not tailor the reports to be directly usable in some cases by the ultimate consumers of it, and not just corporate oversight and direction team?
Rob Collie (27:10): When I originally asked the question, I was very specifically thinking about the business decision-makers, those people that are in corporate that are in HQ. If you're the data support for someone for long enough, my theory is that almost nine to out of 10, you know that business.
Geoff McNeely (27:25): It's really the equivalent of your therapist.
Rob Collie (27:28): My therapist. How do you know who-
Geoff McNeely (27:29): Not yours specifically, but maybe. But really, it's that idea of someone that you've shared a lot of your dirt with, process stuff, you work through things. You go, "Okay, well these things are going on. Okay, I'm over that. Now I'm working on these right."
Geoff McNeely (27:44): As the data person in an organization like that, you see all of the business health from that perspective, right? Because you're seeing things that work, that didn't work. Where the heat map is hot, right? Where are things that are interesting. So you just kind of know that stuff after a while.
Rob Collie (28:00): That is. It's the convergence of the two. Most of the time, the story is there's someone already on that team, whatever the team is. And they're the one that happens to discover, "Oh look, I had a dormant copy of the data gene all these years, and it goes active." And they discover the certain tools and off they go. And they were in that business domain first, and then a data professional second. How did you come to work with this particular targeting enablement I believe is the name of the team? How did you end up hooking into this gig?
Geoff McNeely (28:31): It ties back to a prior iteration, working with the U.S. sub and doing some similar things with that team. And as happens at Microsoft, when the person I was working for went and took a role at corporate. And sadly, everybody ignored me. And all of a sudden the new person taking over vendors, "What's Geoff doing? Why do we have him here?"
Rob Collie (28:53): Luke, can we get some sad music in the background for this segment?
Geoff McNeely (28:57): Thank you. Interestingly, I was still on corpnet but not covered by a PO.
Rob Collie (29:01): This is like a Dickensian story, you know?
Geoff McNeely (29:03): Yes. And then I get a call and it's her. And she's like, "Yeah, the stuff we did over there, can you come help do that over here?" So that happened.
Rob Collie (29:12): Then you did the Ace Ventura. "Let me think."
Geoff McNeely (29:15): And then I had a stakeholder who was sort of taking over some stuff and merging the growing data support team internally at Microsoft, supporting our own tools. And he took me from her and put me to a broader team. So I was supporting more, which she wasn't very happy about. But she's now in a different role on the same team. Everything kind of swims around in the same pools. And eventually, somebody knows that you know stuff, and then we have this new initiative and we need to do this thing. Oh, we know somebody that can help us with that.
Rob Collie (29:53): The Microsoft experience of your manager changing jobs is sometimes very different than what you had experienced in the usual corporate world. Microsoft is so large with so many subdivisions to it, that someone can leave a job and go take the same job at another place.
Geoff McNeely (30:11): Or at another level of granularity.
Rob Collie (30:13): Right. So when your manager orphans you, they can re-adopt you, which almost never happens in the real world. I didn't need a resume when I worked at Microsoft. I just knew people. And they've seen me work. On the internal job market, I was a known commodity. When I left Microsoft is when I had to start thinking about what's my visibility like outside of Microsoft. I remember Googling my own name, and none of the hits were me. It was other Rob Collies.
Rob Collie (30:42): When I first asked the question, what I was ultimately getting at though, was were you originally in any way, shape, or form a marketing targeting kind of guy? Or was that just sort of the place you happened to first attach to this Microsoft engine?
Geoff McNeely (30:55): To refresh your compression engine, going back a decade, I entered the post collapsed job market. There was the 2008 thing. 2011, I've been basically 10 years continuous right now with this kind of work. But at the time, I had been doing just generic marketing, help with the deck kind of stuff. But I was interviewing for this one role, and the practice director was brought in to talk to me and, "He's BI." I'd never heard of BI. I didn't know anything about it. "He's a BI guy." And I was like, "I'm a BI guy. Okay."
Geoff McNeely (31:34): Which got me a role working with at the time, the way we were processing leads, like lead routing. Someone attended an event or download it as something, or whatever. So there was a system that had been built internally to manage and track that stuff, land it in the CRM, etc. And I went in there, started working with that. Was there two and a half, maybe three years. And that's where I started using that Power Pivot to bring all these things together and for what we're doing there. And then things started to shift. "I'm going to go do some other stuff for a little bit." And actually was able to hustle some work around doing some Power Map visualization stuff and Esri.
Rob Collie (32:15): Power Maps. Now there's a name I haven't heard in a long time.
Geoff McNeely (32:19): Right? So I just kept limping along with these little projects that somebody needed something, which ultimately got me familiar with a lot of the data ecosystem at Microsoft. And fast forward to either 2016 or 2017, I got a call and someone was trying to do something and I'm like, "Are they using child accounts?" And I just knew enough about how they structured their customer data to get an audience. And they had had somebody in there and they were just blowing it. I came in, helped them clean it up, and just helped manage that piece for the next year or so, which then morphed into the next thing and the next thing. And the person I worked for, it was their boss was ultimately the one who went over to the other place and brought me over. Right? So it's just been a constant evolution. Never had anything to do with target. I mean that original data was lead routing, kind of targeting-ish. It's all sales and marketing related, but I didn't prepare for that ever. Right? It's, "What data sets are you using? Oh okay, I can get familiar with that. You want to compare that with these things? Okay. We can figure out how to marry that together, and tell a story, and come up with some insights for your team." And I just sort of cascaded from that.
Rob Collie (33:37): I've got these wayward circuits in my brain that are dedicated to doing just this. In fact, I think my compression algorithm of memory, people such as yourself clear space so that these things can do their work. At the beginning, you're bouncing from little project to little project, kind of the hard Scrabble existence. And it reminded me of a Phish song. And then I started wondering is the Phish tee shirt part of the South Whidbey starter kit? No, not anymore?
Geoff McNeely (34:03): It could be, but not in the circles I run in.
Rob Collie (34:06): How about the coexist license plate holder?
Geoff McNeely (34:08): Yeah.
Rob Collie (34:09): Yeah? Okay. All right. I figure.
Geoff McNeely (34:10): That's a thing.
Rob Collie (34:11): Okay. All right. A Phish tee shirt would've been part of the kit 20 years ago.
Geoff McNeely (34:14): That's a reasonable assertion.
Rob Collie (34:16): Little passe now. Okay. All right. Because there's a song by Phish called Theme From the Bottom and it's the morsels that happen to be falling from the top of the water down to the very bottom, that's what's feeding me is sort of the theme of the song. That's enough to get a hold, you know? You're in a very different place now.
Rob Collie (34:30): And I think there's a lot of people right now who are in that phase of their professional lives, especially with regard to Power BI. There are so many valuable 'small' projects running around, that you can keep the lights on with them long enough to find a more durable purchase somewhere on the mountainside or whatever. It's neat that that dynamic was going on 10 years ago. It was my experience too. Our company didn't have its first paying client outside of the place where I was basically a temp. I was a temp CTO for a few years, essentially. I didn't have benefits. They weren't wise enough to put me on the 18 6 plan, but I guess I could have sued for benefits after a little while. Ruined the whole thing. Other than that, my first paying client didn't happen until I think near the end of 2010. And as that pay started to pick up a little bit, that's what enabled the jump off.
Rob Collie (35:25): But yeah, you were one of the OG members of the campfire in a by gone era around the Power Pivot pro blog. When the user group kicked off in Redmond, I think we were still calling it Modern Excel. Weren't we?
Geoff McNeely (35:37): Yes, we were. The Modern Excel user group.
Rob Collie (35:40): Not anymore. But I have taken satisfaction in seeing now multiple many, many times now, the phrase Modern Excel has leaked into Microsoft official messaging all over the place. Because they don't know what to call it either. You're using data models, you're using power query. It's not really the same old Excel. Is it? Anyway, but it's just in kind of a dark spot. Can you do something with the targeting enablement team, get them talking more about ... I'm just kidding.
Geoff McNeely (36:09): Modern Excel?
Rob Collie (36:10): Yeah. It's a lost cause. Don't go down that road. It's a lonely, lonely place. Power BI is good enough. We'll just stick with that.
Geoff McNeely (36:16): Power Platform.
Rob Collie (36:17): Here's the thing. I wonder about this. I'm wondering how much to lean into that term when it comes to our own marketing. Because I know better. I know that Microsoft has this habit as an entity, as an organism, of coming up with phrases and then decreeing them.
Geoff McNeely (36:34): And then burning them?
Rob Collie (36:35): Well okay, hold on. But in the life cycle before it gets burnt or even better repurposed to mean something completely different, like mesh or Surface.
Geoff McNeely (36:45): Surface. Oh my God. Remember that Surface machine in one of the buildings?
Rob Collie (36:49): My wife worked on that.
Geoff McNeely (36:50): The big flat one?
Rob Collie (36:51): Yeah. The 400 pound table.
Geoff McNeely (36:53): That thing was pretty cool.
Rob Collie (36:57): Do you remember the lampoon video that was made of it?
Geoff McNeely (36:59): God, maybe.
Rob Collie (37:00): The Lampoon video that was made of the 400 pound table is worth looking up. It is hilarious. And it's showing the Microsoft demo B-roll that was used to promote the Surface, but it's giving it a different voiceover. Shows her sending a digital postcard to her mom using the table.
Rob Collie (37:19): And if your mom buys a $10,000 device too, you can send her a fake postcard, for free. And the reason that thing was so damn heavy was because it had these cameras that were underneath the screen. They could actually see through the screen. So it wasn't just touch sensitive on the surface of this 400 pound table. It was also, these cameras had the ability to recognize shapes.
Rob Collie (37:51): Now it might be that the touch screens are so advance to the point where they also can recognize shapes on the, I don't know. Right? But I watched them stubbornly cling to these cameras as an really important part of their technology and of their identity. You couldn't even hang this thing on a wall vertically. Right? It was so heavy and deep. You have to make up the building around this thing.
Geoff McNeely (38:10): It was like sitting down to play Donkey Kong on the sit down.
Rob Collie (38:14): Yeah. So it was that big, that bulky, that heavy, and fundamentally about that useful. But that name turned into the touch screen tablets of today, the iPad competitor, and the MacBook competitor, and all of that. Hey, you see that all over the NFL games now. Gets crazy to look at when they show the coordinators booth and all these blue Surfaces with their very clear logos showing out at you. It's pretty amazing. Isn't it?
Thomas LaRock (38:40): I like when Al Michaels refers to it as the Microsoft iPad.
Rob Collie (38:44): Yeah. I saw a Twitter thread recently. One of the members of that team that was instrumental to that partnership was talking about how they were actually delighted when it was referred to as an iPad on national TV. Whereas a lot of people thought it was a disaster. They're like, "No, no, no it's catching. That's what you want."
Rob Collie (39:00): Going back to Power Platform. Right? So Microsoft comes up with these terms. And before they repurpose them, or kill them, or otherwise contort, and twist, and obfuscate them, there's this middle zone where they just assume that the world has adopted it as clearly as they have. So right now, factually speaking, we are absolutely a Power Platform company. We are doing a tremendous amount of work with the broad Power Platform. It's not just Power BI. But do I dare change the first few words on our website to talk about the Power Platform? I think not, because I don't think the world has adopted that phrase. We're are at distance one from galactic center. So we get the propaganda. We understand what's being said at corporate. I bet the search volume, we should go look at this. The search volume on the words Power Platform is probably very low. And a large percentage of it probably means something else. There's probably some other product somewhere. A Power Platform is probably this big bank of 220 volt. It's like a supercharge station for a Tesla. There's probably a Power Platform like that. You got to be careful. Maybe an anthropologist should study it. Is that actually your background? The word anthropologist features prominently in your Twitter profile.
Geoff McNeely (40:13): That's what my degree was in. The thing, I found that just the awareness I have for how cultures develop and how humans work together, and just that whole gestalt that anthropology brings to the way of seeing the world way of thinking, it's been extremely useful in the corporate environment. Sometimes you hear about anthropologists do field work and they go native. My catch is I went corporate.
Rob Collie (40:40): Native corporate. Right, yeah.
Geoff McNeely (40:42): Because the understanding, what I was able to bring to the work from anthropology, the biggest part is understanding people and how they work. So I largely operate as sort of a go between between technical thinkers and business thinkers or marketers, because I understand the culture and the language on both sides. So I can surf back and forth. Because business requirements, oh my God, I still see elements of data that I recognize. But it's not exactly the way that it's structured in any of our data sets. So what the hell are you trying to do here?
Rob Collie (41:22): So first of all, my job at Microsoft when I was there is similar, right? It's this go between role between the technical implementation development team for the software and the customers. But in general, the hybrids, the ambassadors between domains are crust and mantle as an analogy. It's this hot zone.
Rob Collie (41:44): If Power BI were a mineral, it would be overwhelmingly concentrated in this [inaudible 00:41:48] zone in the earth. It's the hybrids. It's the people who do exactly that, that are translating between the two. And almost a natural fit between IT and business. And sometimes they lack a tribe because they don't belong to either of them. And that's a very lonely existence. Other times, they feel like they belong everywhere, and it's an amazing existence. Of course all points in between. But it's been a long time recurring theme of this podcast is that the hybrids, the ambassadors, that's where the value is. To hear you diving into that theme completely unprompted is very validating for us.
Rob Collie (42:21): And you also use the word gestalt in there. That might be the first time ... you've seen the NFL site Scorigami that tries to record scores that have never happened before?
Geoff McNeely (42:30): [inaudible 00:42:30].
Rob Collie (42:31): Yeah. Okay. So that might have been a raw data Scorigami, Wordigami, gestalt. That's the first time in nearly 60 episodes. Anyway, so your degree was in anthropology. At some point, there's a collision with data. What's your first collision with data? That moment where you had the inelastic collision, meaning you stuck to it rather than bouncing off like most.
Geoff McNeely (42:54): I'd say two years out of college and having been burned out by first job found without having any plan whatsoever, right? I worked for a nonprofit for a little over a year, which is fully going to burn you out. So then I went to a temp agency. And this was in Los Angeles in 1995. And I found myself doing some really menial office jobs. And then I found out, "Oh wait, you mean this computer, this thing I wrote all my papers on in college, this thing I'm totally comfortable with, companies need people that can use these things? Really. Huh."
Geoff McNeely (43:29): And I got a temp job at AT&T at the commercial market sales office in Monterey Park, California. Basically, I was refurbing bubble jet printers and Windows for Work group 3.1 laptops, and provisioning access card keys with this really awesome boss who was amazing. And she had this ashtray full of butts of cigarettes in the drawer of her desk, because of course everybody was still smoking inside then.
Rob Collie (44:00): Well it didn't hurt you back then.
Geoff McNeely (44:02): Right. Right. And that led to being hired at AT&T. And it was funny because I don't know exactly why they didn't have proper headcount allocation or whatever. I got hired as an AE because that's where they were hiring. And I went through some training, and then I was moved over to work in their sys admin again, still helping with the passwords and logins for the 80 or 100 or whatever sales reps out of that office.
Geoff McNeely (44:29): The next year, somebody in one of the other offices in the western region had started building a CRM in Microsoft Access 2.0, capital A. And all of a sudden I'm managing the branch database for CRM on a Pentium 233 machine. I mean, I remember hoping that the query editor was set up correctly, and hitting the exclamation mark, and walking away, and coming back three hours later to have a result.
Geoff McNeely (44:57): So I was working with a CRM dataset just as the branch guru who understood how all that worked. Now, we're taking their teams and exporting them to a three and a half inch floppy giving them the disc. "Here's your accounts." And that wound its way into my only official Microsoft certification ever got in 1997 was Access 2.0. Certified, passed it. And that led to other stuff. Doing field work with startups. There's the AT&T and Microsoft pieces, a lot of startup pieces where I know enough about data and technology. And I could talk to people. They fit me in wherever they needed, kind of like that bench player that never starts a game, but everybody counts on.
Rob Collie (45:46): Scrappy.
Geoff McNeely (45:46): Totally scrappy. Plucky. Doesn't have all the tools, but something about him.
Rob Collie (45:51): He's no one's favorite player.
Geoff McNeely (45:52): I mean growing up, I did play football. High school, a little bit of college. But of course my favorite player growing up here would be who?
Thomas LaRock (46:00): Steve Largent.
Geoff McNeely (46:01): Thank you.
Rob Collie (46:02): Wow.
Thomas LaRock (46:03): For his age, there's only one answer there.
Rob Collie (46:06): I thought it was going to be Brian Bosworth.
Thomas LaRock (46:09): No.
Geoff McNeely (46:11): So listen, I went to CTAA. It was probably 2005 or 2006. Congressman Steve Largent was the head of CTA. And I'm trade show and all of a sudden there he is. Right? And I walk right up to him and I just shook his hand said, "When I was a kid, I played you. I was you. My friend, my neighbor was Jim Zorn. I was Steve Largent. I was you."
Geoff McNeely (46:34): So that was like hero moment meeting him. It was very cool. But he wasn't the fastest, but he was that magic. Right? He just did things that worked, you know? That's kind of how I think this whole suite of tools for us technically inclined liberal arts geeks can really put pieces together in ways that someone that specialized can't.
Rob Collie (46:58): Yeah. We talk about working in tech. Right off the bat when you say working in tech, you've already skewed the picture. You've already ruined it. You've already completely jammed your own radar, polluted your thinking. You don't work in tech. You work for humans, you work with humans. It's a human thing with tech. And if you say you work in tech, you've already put yourself in the wrong mindset. I'd rather be better at humaning and supplement that with tech skills, then being A+ at tech skills and really weak at the human. Better to put human first. That's what we should expect, humans first. And then some percentage of people who are good at humaning are also able to pick up Access, or Excel, or Power BI, or whatever. A CRM, right? There's a lot of people who started out just running reports from Salesforce, and now look at them. They can write DAX and I'm just scratching my head. "What does this even do?"
Rob Collie (47:52): Funny tidbit. I never used VLOOKUP until after I read about it in one of your posts. I'd been using Power Pivot first. "What does this VLOOKUP at thing do? Oh interesting." Data modeling relationship truther is what we're going to call you. Right? You were there before you were into VLOOKUP. Yeah. Cheater. You're supposed to go slog it out with VLOOKUP and hate your life even more for a while before we give you the thing, and we give it to you late. We hide it from you for a long time so that you can be upset at how the last three years of your life could have been so much better. We're like, "Sorry. Didn't use VLOOKUP before. That's so cool. Of course. But you were doing Access, right?"
Geoff McNeely (48:29): I knew the concept. I just didn't realize there was a function in Excel that did that.
Rob Collie (48:33): Yeah. That flattens [inaudible 00:48:34] tables. Yeah. The [inaudible 00:48:36] function.
Geoff McNeely (48:37): De-normalized.
Rob Collie (48:39): Yeah. So how is the AI going, the machine learning? Is it delivering on its promise? I'll give you a false dichotomy. Is it delivering on its promise or is it proving to be incredibly fussy, and just all it does is reflect the biases and opinions of whoever was configuring the model?
Geoff McNeely (48:57): Did I say I was involved in doing the AI and ML?
Thomas LaRock (49:01): You did. You took full credit.
Geoff McNeely (49:02): I knew the concept. I just didn't realize there was a function in Excel that did that.
Rob Collie (49:06): Yeah. Well, I watched the Monday Night Football game. I wasn't involved, but I watched it. And I've definitely got some opinions about what happened in that game. I feel like you're in a similar spot.
Geoff McNeely (49:17): Fair enough. So there's a team working on something specifically where they're training the ML model and doing some stuff. It hasn't been fully released. So I haven't seen it give any results yet. I've helped give them seed data to help them start build it, and validate certain things, and whatnot. But the last six months that's been a work in progress. And I received a new stakeholder.
Thomas LaRock (49:42): Somebody mention stakes?
Geoff McNeely (49:44): Yay, shiny new ribbon and everything. Nice young guy. He's really great. The last six months for me have mostly been sharing everything about how we've been doing the things that we've been doing, and bringing him up to speed, and all of that. So I feel like I'm kind of in a limbo with all the tools, because there's a lot of really cool improvements that we could and should do, but haven't been able to get to that yet because there's been all this administrative ramp up type stuff of what is the function of what we're trying to do and why we're doing it the way we're doing it now.
Geoff McNeely (50:17): What I know about what's being done is a lot of looking at past behavior on customers that bought certain things and finding some sort of reason or logic if they have these, but don't have those, but they're in this industry or this thing, they're likely to be adding on X or Y workload in the future. In the near future, or here's the progression, or here's the order in which these tend to be added on. So they're looking at a lot of setting up cohort. Okay. Everybody that bought this for the first time here, and then N plus whatever.
Rob Collie (50:52): It's pretty textbook. Yeah.
Geoff McNeely (50:53): I'm hopeful that it's going to enhance. I don't think it's going to fully replace the stuff we've been doing manually with profiling, and putting together lists, and fancy cubes, and whatnot. For me, it would be great if it does work, if it's effective. I think it will transform the fiscal year cycle and how half the year's planning, where do they execute? Because you're barely ramping up. You start planning the next year. It's almost like we're in line for moving to more continuous deployment with targeting stuff rather than having, "Okay, what are we going to do for next year? And let's set them all up." Okay. Here's the body of stuff that we have. We have some new things coming? Okay. We're going to change a few things here and there. But most everything is going to stay the way it is, but constantly evolve with whatever tweaks are getting fed back from the models.
Geoff McNeely (51:45): Which is nice because instead of scrapping everything you did one year and building from scratch the next year, and half your year is just in that rework. And really the challenging part in this is getting the meta, right? How do you refer to the things you know, the facts that you have about your data in a way that is reusable, and that everybody else will use the same words for the things that you're using instead of, "Hey, can you give me these?" And they're using their own abbreviation of something. It's like, "What do you really mean by that?" How do we refer to our sales efforts and our products, and then let models start to suggest what sellers should be focusing on? And then we only need to tweak it as there are changes to products or strategy, which could happen in the middle of a year. Doesn't have to be a new year planning, right? It becomes a completely different way of managing the whole administrative overhead of having a sales team and a marketing team aligned. Which again, going to be empowered by the Modern Excel.
Rob Collie (52:44): Power BI. Power Platform.
Geoff McNeely (52:46): Power Pivot. What a nice niche product you could totally stake your entire brand reputation on just that one feature. Right?
Rob Collie (52:55): It'd be one thing if they did that with no knowledge of Microsoft in their bad habits.
Geoff McNeely (52:59): But say they spent a lot of time there and actually understood this ephemerality of Microsoft. There's another word for you. Scorigami.
Rob Collie (53:04): That was totally.
Thomas LaRock (53:04): Wow. Ephemerality.
Rob Collie (53:11): Yes. Yeah. He didn't even just drop ephemeral. He went straight for the throat with ephemerality. That might be a Scorigami in my life, not just the podcast Scorigami. I've definitely heard ephemeral before. But ephemerality, that might be my first one. First ever. Yeah.
Geoff McNeely (53:28): And yet you understand what it means with regards to Microsoft's naming of things.
Rob Collie (53:31): Context clues. Plus, I actually know what ephemeral means. So this thing about continuous versus discreet, these really heavy, heavy, heavy, discreet business processes that are run once a quarter, or once a month, or once a year. Most of them, maybe all of them, I don't really know. But most of them, if you inspect the reason why they are run at that frequency, it's because it would be impossible or impractical to run them any more frequently. It's just a matter of good Lord, monthly close is hard enough as it is. You want to go to weekly close? Good Lord. Right?
Rob Collie (54:07): I think there's a lot about the business world. That's like this. Even the dreaded 4, 4, 5 calendar was invented because we didn't have good tools to account for number of weekdays, right? Or whatever. Right? A per working day metric is so easy to execute in Power BI and in DAX, that we might not have ever needed the 4, 4, 5 construct to make sure that the ratios of weekends and weekdays were the same.
Rob Collie (54:32): And I think there's just a general theme. It's a tip for everyone is look around at your business. Look at the processes that are only run at very, very infrequent intervals like this. And it turns out that the tools have kind of quietly in a way advanced the cynicism of there's no way we could do this more frequently. Well-informed. There are many, many decades of that being the truth. Don't you dare try to do it more often than that. We're already 100% subscribed and utilized with the existing processes.
Rob Collie (55:06): Most of those are absolutely candidates to become more continuous today. One of the very first projects that I implemented in Power Pivot back in the day that wasn't for my temp agency that I was working for not really temp agency, where I was temp CTO. Consulting project that was done under their banner was a construction supply firm that had this monthly report called the flash report. And it was incredibly labor-intensive to produce this thing.
Rob Collie (55:33): Kind of had the effect of, "Ta dah, here's the results. Total surprise." No one saw it coming, right? Whether good or bad, right? At the end of the month. Let's just cross our fingers, and grit our teeth, and hope for a better result with next month's flash report. Ta dah not any better. Right?
Rob Collie (55:49): It was the perfect example of the old criticism of BI that it's the rear view mirror. It's always too late. And their whole ambition for this was just, put the word just in quotes to run the flash report daily so they'd have time to steer and make changes before the ta dah moment. And we have this in our marketing analytics. We need to be evaluating the value of our prospects and leads in our CRM, basically in real time, or at least on a daily green. Even though it takes multiple weeks for the average lead to resolve to its final state. If someone's going to actually become a customer, that doesn't happen in 24 hours usually. That takes a little while.
Rob Collie (56:30): But we cannot measure on a three, four week interval because you need to detect some sort of quality has fallen off or are even just as important spiked in quality somewhere that you haven't been noticing. And you want to do more of that. You can do more of it, less of it. So you need to be measuring in real-time. You need to be at least making estimates.
Rob Collie (56:51): And I can't imagine running that process on a monthly cycle. It'd be just slightly better than having no reports at all. There'd be no opportunity to make changes in a timely manner. So you'd always feel like it was hopeless. Business intelligence by bank account, right? That's the easiest metric to get. What's your current balance? I think a lot of the world is still running like that because of these long running infrequent discreet business processes. You could make a whole crusade over nothing but that, going after infrequent discrete business processes and turning them into more continuous. Amazing improvement just there.
Geoff McNeely (57:27): There you go. Whole career.
Thomas LaRock (57:29): I like this idea, but I need a column. I need an attribute, a field that would just be titled flush. Either they're flushed with cash right now or not. That'd be a perfect flag for just knowing when they happen to be flushed with cash. They end up buying. Like I don't know, sailors on shore leave. They're like, "Hey, we're going to pick this up." That would be a great leading indicator. Because then in true capitalist fashion, you would go out of your way to find ways to help them be flush with cash, knowing it would come your way.
Rob Collie (57:57): Instead of just apply one of my 10 things principles here, and let's make this an action oriented process rather than just a purely informative, right? Flush, not flush with cash. That's a good KPI indicator. What about it just jumps ahead in the game and says, "Yeah, you should go that BMW." The taking action loop. And then linking them to some of the most expensive models that are available within 15 miles of their current location. Or substitute your own luxury good. Maybe you're not into BMWs. Maybe you're not into cars. I'm not. I'm not into cars. So I'm projecting here. I'm play acting. I don't even know what my version would be.
Geoff McNeely (58:36): Panoramic Pictures of Deception Pass.
Thomas LaRock (58:40): The spot where it all happened that one time.
Rob Collie (58:44): Well Geoff, thank you so much. I am so pleased that we did this. I'm so honored that you made the time for us. Thanks again for coming on the show.
Geoff McNeely (58:51): Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Speaker 3 (58:52): Thanks for listening to the Raw Data by P3 Adaptive podcast. Let the experts at P3 Adaptive help your business. Just go to p3adaptive.com. Have a data day.
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