The Relentless Pursuit of a Better Way w/ Liz Rogers

Listen Now:

Today we welcome the newest member of the P3 Adaptive family, Liz Rogers as she shares her relentless pursuit to find a better way. Liz’s story highlights the rarest hybrid data type yet, those with a self-sufficient mindset who are translators between the process/tech and the customer/user experience. This data type truly focuses on improvement across all segments. Her passion for figuring it out brought about both immediate, visible impact and scalability to every position in her career.

Throughout today’s talk, Liz highlights the most persistent of data traits, she has always insisted on having the opportunity (and the ability) to try, fail, and then figure it out. Often, in a business setting, too many people focus only on success and frown upon the failures that are hyper-critical to the learning process. Without the opportunity to fail, however, you end up with people who want to be baby bird-fed data who lose the desire to utilize the most incredible, self-service tools of the Power Platform. These are the opportunities where the puzzle solvers thrive, when people like Liz grow and evolve into true Power Platform superheroes.

You won’t want to miss this episode!

Also in this episode:
Donald Farmer Episode

Hans Rosling Ted Talk Bubble Chart

How I built this Podcast

Scree Podcast

The Cult of the right Thing

Rob Collie (00:00:00): Hello friends. Today's guest is Liz Rogers. Liz recently joined P3 as a principal consultant, but funny little story here. We booked the recording for this podcast before we even knew that she was applying for a job. Note how I said before we knew she had applied for a job, not before she actually applied for the job. And I think that is awesome. Please permit me the odd self-serving flex of enjoying that the podcast team didn't know what was going on at the hiring team. We are now large enough at P3, to have those silos of knowledge that we're always talking about. We're just trying to dog food an authentic corporate life. A few themes I'd like to highlight in this conversation. First of all, most data gene people begin their data journeys with some form of analysis or reporting. And that kind of makes sense, right?

Rob Collie (00:00:56): Because, hey, this is a podcast, at least primarily about analysis. So there's a selection bias here. We tend to have analysis people on the show and Liz definitely qualifies, but she started with what I call the first use of data. The first use of data is running the business. Those last several decades of productivity boom we've experienced, those aren't really because of analysis. They're much more about replacing paper record keeping and paper-based communication with electronic and computerized systems. And that path of improvement for society is still very much in progress. It's not over, but the fact that it's made so much progress and so much of business' information and information flow is now captured in computerized systems, this is what makes that second use of data, analysis and reporting, that's what makes that possible. Well Liz's journey started with that first use of data, identifying inefficient, operational workflows, and saying, hey, there's got to be a better way.

Rob Collie (00:02:02): And then crucially stepping forward to create that better way. And as you will hear, she was very proactive about this. She did not need someone to assign her this task. It was just something that she organically was drawn to and had to do. My mom's father had an old saying, which is "You can't fence in an earthworm." Now I'm not saying that Liz is an earthworm. That would be impolite. And dear listener, I'm a little disappointed in you for even bringing it up. But I have always loved that saying, that irrepressible, we will find a way kind of spirit. And that thought was in the back of my head throughout this entire conversation. I think you are going to hear why. So let's get into it.

Speaker 2 (00:02:50): Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please?

Speaker 3 (00:02:54): 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 (00:03:19): Welcome to the show. Liz Rogers, how are you this fine, fine, fine afternoon?

Liz Rogers (00:03:25): I'm good. How are you?

Rob Collie (00:03:25): Well, we're doing great here. So we got to start with the obvious. You have cleverly, just absolutely dastardly jumped the line. So when we scheduled this podcast with you, we had no idea you were applying for a job with us. Now, partly because we've become big enough that the right hand and the left hand don't know what the other one's doing anymore. I'm sure that organizationally there was awareness. It just wasn't on my radar or Luke's radar. And then at one point on the internal Slack hiring channels, they're talking about Liz Rogers and her start date. I go, oh my God, Liz Rogers. And Luke goes, oh, it's not the same Liz Rogers. Don't be silly. I'm like, come on.

Liz Rogers (00:04:07): Yeah. He sent me an email after he had sent me several welcome emails and he goes, holy crap, I met you last week or something like that. And I didn't even know what to say. And then he and I talked about it earlier and I was just like, yeah, I didn't know. I had no idea. And I wasn't trying to make any manipulative or whatever. I wasn't trying to cross those lines. And so I was like, I didn't know what anybody knew.

Rob Collie (00:04:27): Yeah. You have done nothing wrong. I have this sort of spider sense on social media. I only need to see two posts or two comments from someone to go, oh, this would be an interesting person to talk to. This is how we landed Scree, the mighty Scree for the show. I'd only seen him for two minutes. So this spider sense has a reasonable track record. We'd reached out to you and said, hey, we would like you to be on the podcast. Again, did not know.

Liz Rogers (00:04:55): I remember. I didn't respond for two days. I don't know what to say to this. I don't know how to respond to this to be quite honest, like heck yes. Okay.

Rob Collie (00:05:03): No one prepared me for the trauma, the unflinching reality of the decisions that come across your desk as CEO. This situation, no one prepares you for this. Okay, so should I push this recording off to benefit team morale? People have been waiting years, years to be on the show and now, oh, look at this. The new hire that started last week gets to be on the show? These are the hard hitting questions that make me leadership material. The fact that I can navigate these things. I'm just joking. It took about half a second of thought, oh, we're going to do the recording. Of course we're going to do the recording.

Liz Rogers (00:05:38): Well, it's okay, because I thought initially I was going to come on the recording as probably the first person who'd been rejected by you all and then been on the podcast. So I was like, [inaudible 00:05:48].

Rob Collie (00:05:48): As you've seen, we wouldn't necessarily know. The podcast division has no idea, even though Luke and I do have our hands in the hiring process at various points in time.

Liz Rogers (00:05:59): Yes.

Rob Collie (00:06:01): This is all good news. So I don't remember at all what it was that spider sense triggered for me on social media that led us to reaching out. Why don't we start with your data origin story? How do you find your way into the world of data? Did you call your shot? Are you one of the people that just you're sitting there in high school going? Ah, I can't wait to get into data analysis.

Liz Rogers (00:06:23): No, I'm one of those people who went through college not knowing that life existed after college and that there was things that I had to be planning and I mean even going to school, I made the decision to go to Stanford so whimsically. There was no intention behind it. And then while I was there, I changed my major four times because I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do, landed on psychology and basically had to beg my parents to allow me to pursue that because there was no life after in psychology without a graduate degree. And so really kind of what formed my next steps with that was just their expectation of me going to grad school. And so I started thinking like, okay, I'll go into behavioral psych because I like studying that. Turned out, I'm not the person to implement it.

Liz Rogers (00:07:03): It's just not my personality. Is what it is. And then I was like, okay, I'll go the clinical route, which I don't know why I thought that would be right either. But that led me to seeking out work in clinical environments post college. And so that was really just the thought that I had just leading out to graduation. So I got positioned at a pain management clinic as a clinical assistant and I went in with, okay, I'll be here for a year and then I'm going off and doing some clinical program, in and out, washing my hands, and I'm done. And I just didn't know what I like to do at all. And about two months into it, I was like, okay, I like the clinic, but I like the backend a lot better. And it was just something that came naturally to me, the problem solving, this mass chaos and we just stand in it and put the pieces together.

Liz Rogers (00:07:45): And so that was really where I got kind of exposure to the things that excite me as a person and drove me into what I wanted to do. And it was really there in that role because I went from being the clinical assistant to a front office manager to the office manager of 10 different physicians. And so I was just exposed to all these different problems very early on and all these different opportunities, but I think the biggest thing I took away from it was the value of bridging people, processes, and technology seamlessly integrating those and not isolating them. And that was really where I found the power of technology, but not even data, not even anything other than I can take something and make changes to it, and it affects an operation immediately.

Rob Collie (00:08:25): Even in the data world, we almost tend to take that other thing for granted sometimes, which is the first big revolution in computing was take all of the paper oriented record keeping and operational processes and move them into computer systems. That in itself was a massive transformation. Now as a side effect of that, all of the record keeping, all of the operations of the company are now visible to computers as well. And that spawns the whole analysis industry. But we actually do, now P3, quite a bit of work in all phases of this. If you focus on Power BI specifically for a moment, that's the second use of data. The first use of data is just making things work and I can see how that would also kind of catch your attention. So what kind of systems were those? Give us a little bit more of the detail.

Liz Rogers (00:09:12): So it was really just our EHR electronic health record and our scheduling tool. And what was neat about it was I was put into positions where I had to talk between various levels of understanding and interest. So all the way from a physician down to I just want to clock in at the front desk and do my job and translating those processes within these tools to the two different types of user. And then I was able to get into the backside of it, and it was a really cool, easy to use system.

Liz Rogers (00:09:37): Now, especially after seeing a lot of other tools that claim to be customizable, it was one of the easiest I've ever worked with, but I could create any sort of chart. I could create any sort of environment, it would build, it would do all these things. And so having this really strong understanding of the day in and day out operations, the pain points, the things that we need to gather for the patients, the things that need to go into the insurance, the things that we don't capture immediately need to be automated, whatever I could do that in that tool.

Liz Rogers (00:10:04): And then I could turn around and immediately go see an impact in the way that it affected the patient's experience, the clinical experience, the insurance [inaudible 00:10:11], all these different avenues I was able to see an immediate impact. You couldn't slow down. You had to do things fast because some things were driven from insurance down and we just had to figure out a way to adapt. And some things were driven by, we have a new physician coming on board bringing 30 patients plus each day and we've got to figure out how to scale with our staff tomorrow. We had no choice but to really refine processes and really refine our standards really quickly. And it kind of just built that into my mind of, there's not all this lag between process making and all this stuff. I didn't experience that at first. I have this foundation of try it, break it, try it again.

Rob Collie (00:10:48): What a happy little accident that you found yourself colliding with these systems, and if those systems had been less humane versions of themselves, you might not have discovered your passion for it. The same thing is true of almost everyone we've had on this show has these happy accidents. I think it's something to celebrate. I'm so grateful for the happy accidents in my career path. Now think back for a moment when you're in school, if there had been a program offered, like a degree or a specialization that had been offered, agile development of custom line of business systems, if that was on the catalog, would you have experienced the gravitational pull towards that?

Liz Rogers (00:11:29): I started out as business at Stanford and I went into our basic technology class and was so annoyed with the way that the Microsoft tests were that I just didn't want to do it anymore. So simulated ones that forced you to do whatever for PowerPoint. And I was just so uninterested and didn't see the value in any of that. So it was like this huge, oh my gosh, I like working and I'm good at the human side, I'm good at the people, I'm good at the processes. And we have this ability to immediately impact everything. I don't think I realized the impact of it until this year. And not even as I was thinking about today, but just reevaluating what I wanted to do going forward, starting to think of, well, where did I come? Because it kind of got lost. I haven't always had this. I didn't know this world existed at all. And so it was a really tough point in my life [inaudible 00:12:16] long four years, but it was a really cool experience.

Rob Collie (00:12:19): The data gene, as we've talked about right is much, much, much more to do with a level of interest and enthusiasm than it is necessarily even a measure of intelligence. Of course, those of us who possess the data gene, we like to get together in our little huddles and go, yeah, we're also smarter, but we only whisper that. Publicly, we say it's only about interest and enthusiasm.

Liz Rogers (00:12:41): So humble.

Rob Collie (00:12:42): Yeah, I know. I know. But really that is the case. You can meet so many people who are just insanely successful in the business world and you start showing them this spreadsheet, they're just like, why are you even doing this? Digest that a million times and then pre chew it and then put it in my mouth. There's just something really, really crucial about that. And that's why we've subtitled this show Data with the Human Element. Technology for its own sake is really boring. And that still speaks to a pretty sizable chunk of humanity. There's plenty of people who tell you, oh yeah, I want to go be a software developer. Really? I was a computer science student, but I wasn't that into it. It was just like you, I had to pick a major and it was the way that I navigated my way through school.

Liz Rogers (00:13:24): Yeah. And I think that there's security in some of those avenues now because there's a lot of demand for them. So while it may not be an interest per se, it's a easy path. It's a lot more mainstream, I think, to hear about those type of opportunities and those roles being easy and different type of schooling.

Rob Collie (00:13:42): Yeah. I agree. There's that check mark. I got a degree. People like check marks.

Liz Rogers (00:13:46): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:13:47): So nevermind that I learned three things in college that were actually useful to me long term. By the way, at least one of those came from the psychology department in the two classes that I took. So most of them didn't come from CS, that's for sure. So let's go back to the back office of the medical operation. Where to from there? You're learning sort of the line of business side of software. At what point do you find yourself into that second use of data, the meta use, which is analysis and seeing how things are going?

Liz Rogers (00:14:17): Yes. It was a lot of the culture there too of accountability because every person's role fed into an immediate impact on that patient's experience or their ability to get an MRI or to get these things approved. And we had such a gap in our data entry. And so there was a lot of focus on auditing and a lot of focus on just making sure the information that was in the computer was right. So I was extremely obsessed with accuracy. I look back on it now and I'm like, I know it's a little bit anal, but it made sense then because it had an immediate impact. And so I think also too, that was a great opportunity to frame my mind and the focus of patient experience or customer experience or a tangible result of what we're providing for a service because I had to see them face to face.

Liz Rogers (00:14:59): I had to deal with the good and the bad. I was always the person who was, hey, this is happening, can you go deal with it? So it's like that impact of if we don't do it right, and if we don't continue to try and move forward, it's going to come back to us because it's either going to affect somebody. So I was there for four years and left every day at the end of the four years just mentally, emotionally exhausted. And I was like, it's time for me to step away from this world. I just need to reevaluate. And a lot of these terms and a lot of these things, I didn't even know what I was talking about. I didn't know anything really fundamentally, but I was like, I want to be more in an operations focused world. And so I sought out a position as a executive assistant for the chief operating officer at a logistics company.

Liz Rogers (00:15:40): And at that point, logistics was not a household term. It wasn't the fancy thing. Amazon was in the picture, but that was really it. It wasn't this hot topic, I guess like it is now. So for six months being there, I didn't know what we did. I thought we were 18 wheelers or I was just so removed from the service we provided. And during that time of not knowing what we did, my boss didn't know what to do with me. And I started stumbling upon our reporting systems. I had never seen a sophisticated reporting tool. And when I say sophisticated, like this Microsoft SQL server reports and stuff, EHR that we could just get whatever it came out of. And we didn't even think about that.

Liz Rogers (00:16:15): And so I was just blown away at the way that I could go in and get data at any point. It was Excel sheets. I could learn about the business that way. And then we had SharePoint and I know that everybody hates SharePoint, but I didn't know that then. And I didn't even know what it was. I didn't know anything about Microsoft outside of Excel, PowerPoint, all these standard things, but it was the classic SharePoint. But what happened was I found out that I could edit it. So the ribbon started appearing.

Rob Collie (00:16:41): Oh, I've been to this rodeo, look at this, it's customizable.

Liz Rogers (00:16:43): Yeah. And I was like, oh, I can change it. I was like, what can I do? And our IT team there was very locked down. Everything was access only, or need to know only type things. So when they figured out that I was touching things, they were not happy. I understand now, but I was also in a position where I had not been used to somebody saying no to me, not even saying no to me, but I was so used to collaboration and asking why I wanted to know those type of things, not just know. It was just a different environment, but I kept playing with stuff. It was really difficult to customize that SharePoint at that time. So little wins were like, oh my gosh, that was three days worth of painstaking reading. But shortly after that, they came out with the modern version and it was so vastly different.

Liz Rogers (00:17:27): And then they came out with Microsoft Flow. I was so interested in what I could have done at this point. What can I do with these things? And it was this true self-service world where IT didn't have to give me permission because they took away that when they brought on the modern SharePoint. I could create my own sites and nobody knew. But also at the same time before the modern rolled out, I was sitting at a meeting and my phone started blowing up, my emails and all this stuff from Tad, the guy in IT, and I was like, I really broke something this time. I've really done something really wrong and I couldn't think of anything and I answer and he was like, hey, how did you do this? Because I need to, I need to do it.

Rob Collie (00:18:04): That's awesome.

Liz Rogers (00:18:04): And I was like, oh, okay. And that created this relationship where I could go in and just sit in his office for however long and have the ability to ask and poke and play and have sandboxes. And it was just so interesting the way it happened. I don't know.

Rob Collie (00:18:23): Yeah. That sounds like a movie moment.

Liz Rogers (00:18:25): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:18:26): Up until this point, obviously you're the hero in the movie and there's a villain figure and the villain's been beating you up for a while and then there's a big showdown coming this phone call, you know that you've really done it now. And the villain actually turns out to not be a villain and says, I want to do what you're doing. How many times have we seen that pattern in a movie? That's a trope.

Liz Rogers (00:18:47): I remember my entire perspective of that team changed. They were doing what they needed to do, because we had so many users across the organization. So it was an understood thing. And I was this person who was, why are you poking your head in this? And I truly didn't have a dedicated focus because I was so generalized. I got a lot of that. I didn't get it at the time, but I get it now. But it was so crazy the way that several months after this, I had the strong operational understanding because I actually went and figured out what we did for work. And I was able to then leverage that with that team and work to bridge these gaps of people who didn't ever communicate. It was just really neat the way it all played out.

Rob Collie (00:19:28): Yeah. It's that hybrid and ambassador theme that just keeps coming up for good reason. How did that relationship with IT sort of evolve over time after that moment? What's the rest of that movie look like?

Liz Rogers (00:19:41): Yeah. So after that moment Tad was like a human being to me. He was just as interested in stuff as I was, and it was just kind of this nerd fest a lot of times. He gave me a book of how to modify SharePoint. And I was sitting there going through like, okay, can I do this? Can I do that? And it was just like they gave me this ability to try and fail and figure it out. And I'll never forget one of the guys who sat in the office, it was like a closet office. And I just sat on top of all the extra computers, the other guy that was in the room, he... Well I'll back up. The work that we did was middle mile delivery for companies like Amazon and Amazon was our biggest customer.

Liz Rogers (00:20:18): So it was a very fast paced turnaround environment in the operation. And the whole home office was focused on really just pleasing that customer and really just meeting whatever they needed. They didn't have a good understanding of the operations needs and the things that people were dealing with overnight on the floor in the moment. And so Patrick worked a lot to build out these dashboards and things like that, that we would then go and present to Amazon. And I'll never forget, he walked out of his office one day and turned around to me and he is like, do you know what data cleaning is? And I didn't but I did kind of. And I was like, yeah, he's like, okay and just walked away. And two weeks later, I transitioned to an analyst role. It just gave me the opportunity to leverage knowledge that I hadn't had before and play with things that I didn't even know existed and just really set the stage for how much of a relational environment can benefit.

Liz Rogers (00:21:09): I can gain so much, it's not selfish relationships, but just bridging the cross departmental teams can be so impactful. And that's kind of where I've always fallen after that, too, is in that world of operations that speaks the language to a degree of those developers, of those tech teams, of those things, but wants to get in the nitty gritty of the day to day, because that's where I found the most value in pushing that all back because I can think about things backwards. Sometimes I can hear a problem and say, well, we can do these types of things. I may not be able to execute it, but then I can articulate it, and move it along a lot faster or I was the person who was like, can I try this on you because I think that this is a solution for this. And it was just an opportunity for me to play with something and vet out a concept or whatever. So, sorry, it's a ramble.

Rob Collie (00:21:55): That's a good high quality rambling. That's what we do on here. Just wait till you hear me ramble. It's coming sooner or later. So you mentioned that was when there was also a transition into an analyst role. My question about that is up until that point, you'd had your hands in modifying the way things worked. I haven't heard what your analyst story is like yet, which is great. I can ask this question. Most of the time, business analyst or data analyst, the organization adopts it towards them. No, no, no. You're read only you don't change things, you just report on what's already happening and surface digested information about that. So you don't have any power to affect things. Did you end up in a situation where you almost felt like the power to impact things had been taken away?

Liz Rogers (00:22:45): Well, I think there was a time that happened in between the aha moment and the conversation about data cleaning. And that was where I really got a strong experience in the actual operation of the company. And I think from my time at the pain management clinic, I was forced to speak up. I was forced to say things. It created a backbone in me and it created a voice in me. So it's something that I struggle sometimes to tone it down. I've gotten better with it. But if I think something, I'll say something, and I can fight for it if I think it's worth fighting for it. And [inaudible 00:23:17] fine, but that was just kind of my personality. So during peak season, Thanksgiving to January, a lot of the home office staff at the company was sent to support the operations in the field.

Liz Rogers (00:23:28): And so go into those Amazon sort centers directly, work with those teams overnight, and just helped them get through this time because it was double, triple, quadruple what we normally were used to. And so it took like three days, because it's not rocket science, but it was, oh, this is a fast moving world, similar to what I was used to in the healthcare environment, but in a different environment. And I was able to put the customer experience in play because I was a customer. So if we didn't get the packages to the post office at the right time, I didn't get my package in 48 hours like Amazon promised me, then Amazon had to give me free Amazon prime for a month. And it's just this it all trickled down. The big thing for me when I went into the sort center was seeing the operation, seeing the business and what it was actually doing.

Liz Rogers (00:24:11): I thought we did trailers, 18 wheelers, and I didn't know what that world was. And so putting a really hands on concept with it and then understanding the metrics we were trying to meet. But every time they would send somebody out to a sort center it's because that sort center was poorly performing in the eyes of Amazon. And so every morning they would send out this performance metric in an email and it was the same across the board, the same format. And you had four different opportunities to pass or fail that night based on, they called them wave. So by the time the drivers had to be out of the building, and that was set up so that they could get to the post office at the right time so that the post office could get their packages delivered. So if those drivers didn't leave the building on time, we were penalized.

Liz Rogers (00:24:54): I started realizing that all of the sort centers got this same spreadsheet every day and the same set of information, but we didn't do anything with it. The one facility I went to, one of the guys on the team, he just could create really cool pivot tables, he would provide us the data in a way that we could say these are the actionable things we needed to do. And we could go then and make changes and see the changes. We had a board up that was a hundred percent one night. It was a whiteboard with all these metrics. And it was so cool because the drivers were involved, we were involved, they were involved. It was this weirdly intertwined obsession with getting it right. Nobody was financially gaining anything from it. We weren't having to give them any incentives. We were just excited to be challenged.

Rob Collie (00:25:35): It's the good stuff. And so it doesn't sound like, in your data analyst role, that you ever got pigeonholed into this read only kind of mode. So it's often forgotten in business intelligence that informing people is worthless. It's not the goal to be informed. The goal is to improve action, to actually make a difference. It's really ironic and unexpected, but you can be incredibly well informed, at the same time have no idea how to improve. And you organically never fell into that trap.

Liz Rogers (00:26:09): Yeah, I think it's because I was like, I want to do it first. I want to learn it first. And that was partly because of what I had to do at the pain clinic. I had to look at someone and tell them, you need to do this, and they would look back at me and be like, I can't. And I'd say I did it. I know you can do it. And so it was this mindset of, I need to understand it to expect somebody else to, but then I realized how important those [inaudible 00:26:31] points were when you started looking at it from a high level. I can paint a picture of what happened because I know intricacies of it at this point. And that was where I was able to utilize my relationships with Tad and Patrick on the data team because they started building out a web application to lay over our dispatch system.

Liz Rogers (00:26:48): And I was like, oh my gosh, we need all of these things on here that will help them during their nightly dispatch. And it was a roadmap of this perfect world that we could have. And that just was so cool for me to see what they could do and what I could influence just from an operational side. It was just really cool. And at the same time I was playing around with Microsoft Flow and a little bit of Power BI, but still in this world of self-service. What can I do and set the framework, I guess, for a lot of things.

Rob Collie (00:27:17): So when does Power BI enter your life?

Liz Rogers (00:27:19): Well, I looked at it originally when I was at the healthcare clinic. I saw it because I could download it myself. That was the first thing was my computer didn't stop me from downloading. I didn't know what to do with it. I just remember opening it and I think I just learned pivot tables. I called my mom I was so excited, but then that was it. So then I came to [inaudible 00:27:37] and they had all of these Microsoft tools that they were actively using. They were using SharePoint for their weekly meetings for their engagement and all of this stuff.

Liz Rogers (00:27:45): And so then we started using Power BI in SharePoint and I just started asking about it and that was something that they had a little bit more locked down. And so I didn't really have a lot of use case for it. It was really Flow and SharePoint that set the foundation for the power of the Microsoft tools for me. As I started getting into business intelligence further down the road, I worked with Google Data Studio, I worked with all of these other applications and I expected it to operate the way I'd seen Power BI and the little experience I had and they didn't. And I didn't realize how unique that tool was to that space because I just thought it was a standard.

Rob Collie (00:28:22): Yeah. This is something that Donald Farmer brought up on our podcast is that because Power BI is often chosen because it's so cost effective relative to the other alternatives, it's almost lost how special it is. It is really special. It's got a boring name, Power BI, everything about it just sort of says it's from Microsoft.

Liz Rogers (00:28:42): Exactly.

Rob Collie (00:28:43): It should be glowing it's such an intensity that you can't even look at it directly. It's that cool.

Liz Rogers (00:28:50): That's something that I've come to realize is people don't understand the power of not even just Power BI, but these other tools that go with it. And I really credit SharePoint to turning a lot of people away because if you saw it at the point when it was classic, you were like, heck no, and you didn't give it a second thought. The evolution of that came so far, but the same with the others, if you experienced Power BI in the early stages, it may not have kept somebody engaged. But then also Microsoft it's like this big company, it shouldn't be the leading standard for these things, but it is, it's such a cool suite of applications.

Rob Collie (00:29:20): There are certain types of problems that Microsoft is by far the single biggest and best culture for solving those types of problems. It turns out that the BI problem is one of those problems.

Liz Rogers (00:29:33): Yeah. But to your point, a lot of companies use Microsoft 365 for Outlook and those purposes. And I think because those other tools come as a addon to that level of subscription, they're not seen as that powerful. I've worked with companies who had Tableau, Microsoft Power BI and then a third one that they brought on to take over both of those. And I was like, why are we doing this?

Rob Collie (00:29:57): So on a scale of one to five, give me your level of affinity for the following term where one is, I feel no affinity for it, and five is, oh yeah, that's me. The term is citizen developer. No wrong answer here. Does that term resonate with you?

Liz Rogers (00:30:12): Yeah, it does. But I also know that I'm passion for these type of things. So I know some people aren't going to spend three hours reading about it.

Rob Collie (00:30:20): Of course not. Yeah. There's that data gene thing again. I think that in some sense, you're like the prototype of what Microsoft should be targeting. And this is something that they do talk about a lot is the citizen developer is something that they are actively trying to empower on all fronts. And there should be a picture of you in their hallways. This is who we're we're after. However, I think even within that citizen developer framework, they would get very spoiled thinking of you as their target audience because of just how intensely you grasp these things. You're driven for it. They would assume too high a level of enthusiasm on average in the user base. They need to go for people who are a little bit less into it than you, I think.

Liz Rogers (00:31:05): Well, and it's interesting because I know that I like these things a lot. I know that's not everybody. And I also know that there's various ecosystems that have existed that you can't flip it overnight and blah, blah, blah. But I've worked with companies who've used it in so many different ways that I've had the opportunity to see. And I was talking to Christy about this yesterday. I came on the scene and started getting into things as they started rolling things out. I don't really know a world of this non monthly updated Microsoft environment and people who have maybe shunned it away because of SharePoint or whatever and haven't focused on it haven't been able to see how quickly they can advance and how quickly they're making progress and maybe have just kind of turned it off. And so they don't know how easy it is to implement these things.

Liz Rogers (00:31:48): And I think Microsoft Flow or Power Automate now, it was called Flow when I started using it, is one of the easiest ways to get people to see how much they can do. You can just make a flow where you take a Excel sheet and put it into a file on your desktop. And it does it every day. Things that you can see the impact of, they don't touch anybody else's world. Nobody has to approve it, but it can make your life easier. And a lot of the things that I did were selfishly driven, like I don't want to do this again, so how do I change that?

Rob Collie (00:32:15): That's part of the data gene is I hate repetition. Some people love being paid to do the same thing over and over again. [inaudible 00:32:21] great.

Liz Rogers (00:32:21): Special people. Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:32:23): Yeah. Not us. In some ways you're like the inverse Kevin Overstreet. Kevin discovered the Power BI suite first and then discovered Power Automate and power apps and what you can do with SharePoint. And that became his true love. But Power BI actually back in the day, Power Pivot was sort of his gateway to it. You're coming from the other direction. You were already in the workflow and orchestration and line of business and then found your way into Power BI. Put a cap on that story. What was your peak experience working with Power BI? Did you ever find yourself like Kevin almost left Power BI behind for the power apps and Flow story? Did you ever find yourself so into Power BI that you neglected your roots?

Liz Rogers (00:33:04): Well, I think the Microsoft Flow and those type of things, they didn't go into everything I did. I just enjoyed playing around with them sometimes and seeing what we could do with them. But I really started getting into data after working with the Amazon team and really kind of seeing what I could do without, like I built out these really cool reports and spreadsheets and stuff, just seeing how I can manipulate the data in an operational impact way.

Liz Rogers (00:33:25): And then from there Austin Senseman, I don't even remember how he and I started connection. I think it's because he went to Sanford. We were connected on LinkedIn just by accident. But I kept seeing him post about Power BI and it was something I was interested in, but it was nothing I could really do much with because our team was so locked down at [inaudible 00:33:42] with all the other tools I could do on my own without asking. I just asked him some generic question and he was, I'm doing consulting.

Liz Rogers (00:33:49): And then he reached back out to me a couple months later and it was whenever he was back in Birmingham, he was like, hey, I've got a free Power BI class at the [inaudible 00:33:57], do you want to come? And so I did, it was 10 people. I'm like, I don't know what I want to know, but I just want to know. And I want to talk to people that do it too. And after that it ended up I took a position at a startup where during the interview I didn't need SQL, but week two I had to be the SQL person. So that was-

Rob Collie (00:34:13): We give you two weeks. We give you two weeks to learn SQL.

Liz Rogers (00:34:17): No, it wasn't that, I don't know what it was.

Rob Collie (00:34:22): I know how it works. It's necessity. It's the battle for promotion. Promotion in quotes.

Liz Rogers (00:34:27): Yeah, it was very clear during my interview that I didn't know it at that point. So I learned SQL and I learned all that and I started doing the data visualization, but it was in the Google suite of tools. So Power BI kind of paused as I learned the back end of data. And maybe it was not the fundamental ways to do things, but I was able to generate reports and write queries and stuff like that and saw that through Google Data Studio and then through other applications and then came back to Power BI.

Liz Rogers (00:34:52): And that's when I was like, oh my gosh, all of the things that I struggled with in these tools and I knew could be done here so much better. And it was one thing that Austin had said during his, whatever I went to, but it was talking about Power Query and the automated steps that it does. And so that stuck with me. And so I expected that in certain other applications and never really got it. And so I was so excited when I got back into a Microsoft company and I could start to vet out my skills with that.

Rob Collie (00:35:19): We're going to sell that last 30 seconds of audio to Microsoft for $1 million. Here you go. Authentic story. Went and had to use Google tools for a while. It seems to be working. And then I go back to Power BI and go, oh my God, I can't believe what I've been missing. That's what I'm talking about.

Liz Rogers (00:35:34): It wasn't even just Google because at the time before I left, they were like, okay, let's find another platform, but we don't want to go to Microsoft. So I literally tried every single free trial and all these things, even with Domo and Looker, pretty strong competitors, I still like this other tool better. And that's what was so confusing to me. It's included in your service and it's so strong and people are still purchasing licenses for other applications, because they're not giving it the time of day or don't have that champion person to say, here's what it can do.

Rob Collie (00:36:05): It's just not cool to use Microsoft tools. The cool people don't do that. That's the problem. You're working at a startup. They issue you your Mac.

Liz Rogers (00:36:14): Yes. And I had to learn how to use a Mac again.

Rob Collie (00:36:17): Welcome to the startup culture. We don't use PCs.

Liz Rogers (00:36:19): We buy really expensive computers. Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:36:22): Yeah. Every computer must be a work of art. It needs to be on display. I call it the Linux cool kids culture. I remember interacting with Twitter years ago with Hans Rosling's son. Hans, who has passed away, sadly, is famous for this talk he gave about the rise of quality of life standards from a United Nations perspective of countries over time. This very animated, literally two way animated, it's an animated bubble chart and he's super animated explaining.

Rob Collie (00:36:51): It's a famous talk, and his son Ola, I'm not sure I'm pronouncing Ola correctly, but he remarked to me on Twitter in a brief exchange is like, yeah, I've been really shocked lately at trying out the Microsoft data tools and just how insanely easy and better they are, but how no one wants to use them. He had been victim of this. The culture around him was all saying, no, no don't use the Microsoft tools. That's yesterday. That's the primitive way. No, no it is not, but this is the reality. This is the world we live in.

Liz Rogers (00:37:22): And I think there's something to be said with sometimes things get established at a different time and they just become a part of the organization and it's too quick, too fast. And people don't see the value in stopping and putting things into places they should go or using the tools that they have. And at the company I was at before they had the 365 suite, we used Power BI, if you knew what Power BI was, but we had this entire confluence library built out because when they went to create that SharePoint was at its worst.

Liz Rogers (00:37:53): And so they never went back. And so that led them to go to JIRA and to do all these other things outside of Microsoft. And I think that led them to not ever want to try Power BI. At that company, I fought for the longest time to get Power BI adopted and ended up piloting out a brand new BI tool because that's what they wanted to go with. And I just wanted to be a part of the piloting. So I was like, I would much rather be doing this in a different application, but I want the opportunity to try and learn it.

Rob Collie (00:38:21): Listening to you talk about SharePoint and it's come up a number of times lately, I really think we should get someone from Microsoft onto the podcast to talk about this evolution and transformation of SharePoint because I got a real good faceful of SharePoint circa 2010, running a SharePoint farm to run Power Pivot for SharePoint, which was the only way to publish to the web, a Power Pivot DAX model back in the day. We didn't have the fancy Power BI service back then we had SharePoint and it sucked.

Liz Rogers (00:38:52): A means to an end. Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:38:52): And it sucked, it sucked so badly. It was just the worst thing to administer. That thing bled and leaked in a million ways. By the time we were done, our mastery of it involved all kinds of scripts that were just constantly running, just constantly asking, hey, is this service still alive? Is this service still alive? Is this service still alive? And oh, oh, it's hung? Restart it. Forget trying to get to root cause. Forget trying to diagnose. That ended up being a fools errand. Just catch it every time it falls. Oh, did I hate, hate, hate, hate that experience. And it sounds like you have also glimpsed that darkness.

Liz Rogers (00:39:29): But I think what was the coolest thing for me was to see how quickly they went from something so non-user friendly to... At the very beginning, it was a very user friendly interface. It was evident that they were thinking in terms of user experience and beyond just those applications. They were thinking of a fundamental platform for bridging out to all these other places. And for me it was like, okay, how can I use this to be the central hub that it can be? How can I use this to get all the SOPs that I've been working on in a central place? And that's where I found Flow to be the most helpful was I was able to vet out multilevel approvals. I was able to do all these things and it was through SharePoint. And I think now SharePoint's a product that's part of Teams and it's a part of OneDrive, but nobody actually wants to go and do anything with it.

Rob Collie (00:40:19): So we're going to have you ever so briefly proxy for the Microsoft employee that we need to have on the show in the future. I'm going to ask you a question you might not know the answer to, but maybe you do. Do you think that revolution happened sort of in tandem with the move to SharePoint online? Because the versions we're talking about, the ones that really sucked-

Liz Rogers (00:40:36): On prem.

Rob Collie (00:40:37): ... were all on prem. My fundamental curiosity is, was the opportunity for them to re-simplify things sort of granted to them by moving to the cloud?

Liz Rogers (00:40:45): I don't know on prem at all, we had the on cloud version of the horrible SharePoint. If I can put a picture in my mind, that set the stage for them to then be able to go further.

Rob Collie (00:40:55): We've never met a non horrible on-prem SharePoint. That's something we can say for sure. Even the cloud version was horrible at one time.

Liz Rogers (00:41:04): It was just not friendly. Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:41:06): It's okay. Microsoft loves this. They eat this up. This is how we establish our [crosstalk 00:41:10].

Thomas LaRock (00:41:10): I have question.

Rob Collie (00:41:10): Yeah, go ahead. Tom.

Thomas LaRock (00:41:11): Is SharePoint something that Microsoft got through acquisition?

Rob Collie (00:41:15): No, no.

Thomas LaRock (00:41:17): They set out to build that. This was intentionally.

Rob Collie (00:41:20): Intentional. Yeah.

Thomas LaRock (00:41:21): This is on purpose.

Liz Rogers (00:41:23): I think the use of it was not bad. It was just the customization was hard.

Rob Collie (00:41:28): It's a perfect example of something that was good and well meaning that grew in a way that the cobbled together initial infrastructure underneath the hood was insufficient to handle.

Liz Rogers (00:41:41): And the UI was not appealing at all.

Rob Collie (00:41:42): I basically watched SharePoint coalesce into being while I was at Microsoft. I was amongst the people that were doing it. In Office 2000, there was something called web server extensions, Office Web Server extensions, which you just install on your IIS server. And now you sort of have an office friendly server where you could publish your word documents.

Liz Rogers (00:42:13): The OneDrive of the day.

Rob Collie (00:42:13): There was no syncing.

Liz Rogers (00:42:13): Yeah, I know. I know. But you know what I mean?

Rob Collie (00:42:13): Yeah.

Liz Rogers (00:42:13): Yeah.

Rob Collie (00:42:13): But because Office in '97, Office 97 had added the HTML file formats. So you could save a word doc as HTML. We didn't have web word or web Excel or web PowerPoint back then. So the only way that you could see a document in a web browser, web browsers weren't able to render .doc, so Word had learned to save as HTML. And then in the next release came web server extensions, two guys, Mike Morton and [inaudible 00:42:39], they sort of hand rolled their own server, their own spec server. It was crazy. This congealed into the next version of it, the next iteration of what was originally called Office Web Server. And then that got named SharePoint.

Liz Rogers (00:42:53): And that makes sense because if you think about what SharePoint does is it houses documents and it houses lists, and then all those things operate on themselves. Now it has a pretty face on it and you can do easy drop things, but it's a file management tool. And that's what brought us in as a company when we used it at it's first version of it being online. We [inaudible 00:43:14] we housed all your documents on there and we did lists during team meetings and stuff. And that's where I found value in it with those things.

Liz Rogers (00:43:21): I wanted to figure out how to add the apps and all that stuff that took hours. So when they came out with the second and third and fourth version of it, those only got better and that kind of synchronization it almost pushed against that Google Drive mindset of everybody can be in this shared spreadsheet at the same time. That was way later with the web app you're saying, but it was just a central repository for documentation. And that was cool. Like a single source of truth.

Rob Collie (00:43:46): We needed that. Now, Tom, have you ever had hands on experience yourself managing an on-premises SharePoint farm?

Thomas LaRock (00:43:52): I have my own SharePoint scars as do we all, but the focus of the episode really isn't on me, but first I'm very interested to know more about the evolution of SharePoint during your time, Rob. So maybe set that aside. Let's get somebody from the SharePoint team on the show so we can just badger them for an hour. But your scars, both of you, the scars that you're talking about are different than the scars I have. You're talking to a guy who was the SharePoint administrator, because as a SQL server DBA, well, SharePoint ran SQL and we don't have anybody else. So why don't you just administer SharePoint? And so I have different scars. I would say that over time, the real issue, not just with trying to work with SharePoint was how the end users are actually using it with little to no oversight.

Thomas LaRock (00:44:45): For example, a person working on the accounting department might be using Access or Excel and storing what you would consider to be a production value file, and just shoving it in this portal somewhere thinking that it's being taken care of, that's being backed up, that it could be restored, recovered, things of that nature. And I think those were the bigger struggles with SharePoint. And now that you've talked about it, it's that it was being used in ways that the people who built it never really imagined. They just had this thing go you could just use it. And people did.

Rob Collie (00:45:21): It's a good thing that your tool is being used that way. It's a bad thing that is not ready for it.

Thomas LaRock (00:45:25): Right, but you mentioned the online thing. And I will say this, that the ability for me, in the Google way, to collaborate and edit and work and revise a document online with somebody else and knowing that's all SharePoint online or Office online that's doing all that, that is just pure magic. And that is brilliant, so I'm very thankful for that. And tying it all to Teams. So these days, here's the thing, the beauty of the cloud is the less stuff that you have to actually administer for yourself. If I don't have to administer SharePoint, it's fucking great. One less domain controller or app for me to minister. 365's got it. I don't have to worry about active directory. That's what I pay for. So once that's out of our hands, I think everything becomes fabulous. It's when you have to administer it and fight it, that's where the struggle is.

Rob Collie (00:46:18): Well, plus they can re-architect things. When all of the server farms are out there running on companies co-located data centers, whatever, if you want to make an improvement to the way that SharePoint operates, even under the hood, oh my God, you can't really do that because then you'd also need to run all these conversion scripts that would reach out and touch their infrastructure in ways that wouldn't work. Think about in a way SharePoint was kind of like an early discoverer of the need for a different storage metaphor. Let's be clear, original SharePoint I'm sure abused SQL server in ways that it didn't need to.

Thomas LaRock (00:46:54): I'm pretty sure it still does.

Rob Collie (00:46:55): Let's slow cook this one. So SharePoint was designed by people like me, Office people, the nerdier versions of the Office people for sure, the little bit more tech oriented versions, maybe. People like me would make all kinds of incredibly expedient short-term decisions about how it should store things just so we could move on and focus on the functionality we're providing to the users. So you end up with every time a file was saved to SharePoint, there were dozens of stored procedures running that were chopping that file up and storing it in little itty, itty bits, trying to retrofit it. This is what the whole data lake revolution's all been about is that you need a blend of file storage and property storage. What we think of as columns. You need to able to store properties and files together, intermix them, and it should be effortless.

Rob Collie (00:47:42): This was purely tabular SQL server that was being used this way. It was an impedance mismatch. It was just things were bound to be high resistance from the get go. Whereas now with them on the cloud, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that SQL in the cloud is less and less and less important under the hood of SharePoint online. They're using more of the data lake type of stuff. They would have their freedom to do that and we wouldn't notice, and that's kind of cool. So we need the SharePoint person, don't we?

Thomas LaRock (00:48:12): Yeah. Because I'm not sure that's what's made it better.

Rob Collie (00:48:15): Well, imagine if you don't have to worry about that kind of stuff anymore, it does free up resources to innovate in other places.

Liz Rogers (00:48:21): That's why Tad originally so frustrated with me was there were things that were happening behind the scenes or whatever. It was once Microsoft took those restrictions, it was like I could create all these teams and these pages myself, nobody locked it down. But before that, I had to ask him and he had to create spaces for me to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out how to add a second page or something. But originally it was very much a point of like, don't ask, don't tell.

Rob Collie (00:48:47): So in this journey now, what brings you to P3?

Liz Rogers (00:48:50): Well, it really was an opportunity because it was like, I could step into the same role at a very similar company making slightly more because I was going there new and do what I'd been doing forever and ever, which is this operational person who's itching to get into the data world, but who's also found when I was at the startup that I didn't enjoy being the SQL person and the SQL person only. I couldn't keep my hands out of, well, why do you need this? Or how can I help you with this? Not because I don't want you to have it, but because maybe I can give you something that you didn't know you needed and without being disrespectful to them. So I knew my limitations and the things that I had gotten unsatisfied with and that I knew I could go and do something and be okay, but not be excited.

Liz Rogers (00:49:32): And I knew myself through my history that my boyfriend, he is a CPA, he went that route because it's very clean and cut. He clocks in the morning, he clocks out in the night and he went corporate accounting because that's the easy way to go. I'm the person who's like, I had no intention of doing all this, but I'm not going to shut this computer down until I figure this out because I have to figure it out. I'm just excited about stuff and I get passionate about it. And also I have this strong interest in the human side of it, whether it be an internal customer or an external customer, it's just something I've naturally always cared about. And I was a bartender the last couple years because I missed people interactions. So that's a side note.

Rob Collie (00:50:12): Filing that away in my head.

Liz Rogers (00:50:14): Yeah. No, but this idea of providing something to somebody and really being able to make an impact was what I wanted to do. I've enjoyed that for so long. And I was like, okay, I can either do what I've been doing or I can do something different. And actually I haven't even talked to Austin about this, but I went to his LinkedIn to reach out to him as a networking person. Hey, I know you did consulting. I had talked to a friend about he had a private consulting thing. He's like, why don't you try to do your own? I'm like, how do I even do that? And so I was like, well, maybe I can talk to Austin and just be like, is that a world in which is real? I didn't know about consulting firms or any of those things. And when I went to his LinkedIn page to message him, I saw P3 and it's still active or still part of his history.

Liz Rogers (00:50:54): And I was like, oh, what is this? And I clicked on it. And that was the rabbit hole that started everything. Not knowing that Power Pivot Pro, that blog was the same because I had used that in the past, but I just never connected the dots. And so I applied for it and I was just blindly doing things. I was a little bit overconfident, I think, in what I was doing, but I just didn't even know. But it was the podcast that I think that really got me energized about the human side of it. And don't have to be somebody who came from this world and only lives in this world and knows all the technical terms, because that scares me because I don't know a lot of the technical terms because I've never had a person talk to that does Power BI. I've always been the only person I've known. I also really love How I Built This. That was one of my favorite podcasts. And so are y'all familiar with How I Built This?

Rob Collie (00:51:42): No, I'm not actually.

Liz Rogers (00:51:43): It's an NPR podcast and it basically interviews founders of various companies like Patagonia or some startups. And it's like, how did you get to where you got? And it's very conversational like this is. And so when I first listened to this podcast, oh my gosh, it reminds me so much of that dialogue. But it's with people and positions that have made impacts like Microsoft people. It's really cool. And they're short episodes and just conversational dialogue of how did you create this tool? They do all these really neat companies and it's like an opportunity for you to hear the person behind the scenes. And it would always make me sad, because they'd always come to a point where they fold the company and I'm like, how can you pour your heart and your soul into something and then just be like goodbye. But that's what I heard when I was listening to this is this dialogue.

Liz Rogers (00:52:26): And I think the first episode I listened to was the one about the salesperson. And I was like, that's so much of what I love is this customer focused world that's not incentivized by... It's a different view of it. And I'd always struggled with putting myself in a customer service world because my background didn't read customer service or that, but it was so much of it. The patient care experience and all of that and working in restaurants and things, it just was so natural to me. And so when this all happened, I was like, I get an opportunity to be client facing, a thing that I really love to do. And then I'm going to be in a room with people who've asked me to be there. So when I give them my thoughts, they're more likely to receive it than somebody when I tell them that the process is wrong.

Rob Collie (00:53:11): By definition, almost, our clients are receptive. They've self-identified as being this kind of open-minded. When I was the one doing most of the consulting work, I used to tell everybody, yeah, I actually had this skewed view of the world. If I just took the sample of the people that I interact with when I go to work every day, you would get the impression that humanity was a lot smarter, a lot more forward thinking, a lot more humble than what we actually are. The crew that I work with is just insane. They're just such outliers. And I think that's still true to this day. We only attach places where our company's culture is a fit. No one hires us to be the boring, slow, we're going to ignore you, we're not going to make any use of what we learn working with you. That's not who hires us. You want that, go hire the big four.

Liz Rogers (00:53:59): And whenever I finally got the test, hey, you've passed. Is this like a sympathy thing? Are you sure? But then day one, I was like, I'm really intimidated. Intimidated in a good way. A team of people who know what they're talking about and who are somewhat normal. They're not that tech, they can do both sides of it. I was like, that's dangerous because I can talk around in circles. And sometimes people can't catch me, but they can because they know what they're talking about.

Rob Collie (00:54:26): That's what Microsoft did for me. Whatever bad habits I had that I could sort of get away with, my peers at Microsoft. I was so transparent. By the way, you and I have not had our welcome to the team one on one. But some of the things you've been talking about here, it's like you've been reading my script, things that I like to talk about. You've already mentioned that you're pretty much like the only person you know who is using Power BI. I absolutely talk about that with everyone that joins the team. I say, look by definition almost, if there wasn't an itch, you wouldn't join the team. You wouldn't come to P3 if there wasn't an itch and the itch is usually something along the lines of you feel like you can do more than where you were. So that means the organization didn't quite get it yet.

Rob Collie (00:55:06): I'm not talking about you right now, Liz, definitely not talking about you specifically. I'm talking about the demographic here. And that also means generally that you're alone. If the organization hasn't figured out yet these tools, Power BI, and it's cousins, they don't glow off the shelf we're different. They just seem like from the outside, they're just another tool. And so the people who get good at them suffer from that as well. You're just another person who knows a little bit about data tools, whatever you're a commodity. Oh my God, you are not.

Liz Rogers (00:55:36): Or in my case, you're somebody who keeps poking their nose in it and keeps raising their hand and you're an annoyance. It's like we're tired of hearing about this.

Rob Collie (00:55:44): Yeah. And this leads to a version of imposter syndrome that our company was almost built to inflict on its team, which is you go from being alone to being not alone. Isn't that great? That is really good. Not alone is awesome. However, there is a trade off, a dark underbelly of this, which is there was something cool about being alone, because you were the person. It's natural for that to seep into yourself image a little bit. And then you come to a place where you're not alone. And it's like that part of you's been almost taken away. And we didn't know this at first. For the first few years of our existence, we didn't know that we were doing this to people. And so now talk about it much more openly. It's like you should take this as confirmation of coming to the right place. We bring it out into the light. This happens and it happens for good reason, it's perfectly natural, but it's also the sign that you're in the right place.

Liz Rogers (00:56:36): I think for me, I'm like, now I get to learn how to do it right, a lot of the things right. I've already learned a lot of that over the past couple months, being able to talk to somebody who is intricate enough to explain something to me. And that is so valuable to me having that resource. When I think about what service we offer, I would've loved for somebody to have brought a team into my working environment and said, here's this tool and here's how you use it. And I would've loved to work for a company that thought it was worth investing money into a team coming in and doing that. I'm one intimidated, because I don't have that technical experience, but two I'm excited to learn and know and grow and I don't know, rewrite the wrongs that I've done or whatever.

Rob Collie (00:57:16): I'm going to step in here and be fair to you in a way that humility is good. With those words, you're not giving yourself full credit. So first of all, you were already doing it right. If you passed our interview, which you did, then you were definitely doing it right. There are other things that you can learn to do, which you didn't know how to do yet. And by the way, I don't know how to do many of those things. The members of our team can do things that...

Rob Collie (00:57:39): Remember I wrote the original old testament bible for DAX, and I go to this team for DAX help. When I wanted to get a projection curve of all of the podcasts trajectories in terms of the downloads over time, before what we call the Scree event where Scree absolutely skewed our podcast numbers to the moon. And then I wanted to see where all the podcast episodes ended up their new trajectory relative to the original trajectory. I wasn't going to do that. There was no way. So we just had the talk yesterday internally where Chris Haas walked through his model of building this logarithmic curve for every episode. And now we can measure the delta and put a lower bound number on Scree's lift on all of our other podcast episodes. It's crazy. I would've never been able to pull that off.

Liz Rogers (00:58:29): And that's what I mean by I'm excited to learn side of the world, the DAXs world where it's I can not even get my mind there yet. Just to see what's possible to do with it is really cool.

Rob Collie (00:58:38): And one other thing you said, I'm not picking on you, I'm complimenting you. You said you didn't have that technical experience. Are you kidding me? You are as technical as they come. You've been to the depths of horrible SharePoint. You've been into SQL. You've been into data tools that I haven't even seen. The Google stuff. I've never touched it. I know that it sucks, but I've never touched it.

Liz Rogers (00:58:58): It's actually not that bad. It actually looks a lot like Power BI in its interface, but it's just whatever.

Rob Collie (00:59:04): It's missing some really important things, like DAX and data model, and power [inaudible 00:59:10], which are the only things that really distinguish Power BI. Those are the brains, right? Those are the killers and you're the right kind of technical because you've always been grounded in the human impact of it. And so many people that get into technology, this is a little bit of a caricature, but they get into the technology as a way to escape the human. That's the appeal of technology to a lot of people. And that is very limiting to their quote unquote tech careers. You're a rockstar.

Liz Rogers (00:59:36): And I think that's what's always helped me. Everything goes back to this world of operations that I've always lived in because I've always lived as this middle person who's understanding the business, but really focused on processes, procedures, and people and the way that we can use the system to bridge all of that. And I can't really get my mind to not think in terms of those things. When I've focused just on one lane, like when I was just a SQL reporter, I couldn't get my mind to really just stop thinking about how is this being used, wanting to be a part of the conversation.

Liz Rogers (01:00:08): And I guess I didn't realize how different some of my experiences have been that I've been fortunate enough to have such a exposure to an operation and have so many people willing to work alongside me. A lot of what I learned coming before P3 came from the director and the data developer at the last company I was with because I built such a strong relationship with them that we were just a team. There was no reason for us to be, but we were. I feel like there's such a benefit in having that operational understanding into the world of technology. And I think it's missed a lot of time.

Rob Collie (01:00:40): Speaking of missed, this isn't the first time I've had this feeling and it certainly won't be the last, but think about what the world would've lost if you hadn't had that collision that you had. You were so built to do this stuff. It just jumps out at me.

Liz Rogers (01:00:57): And that's why it was so surprising when I think back on it. In college, I didn't know what I wanted to do. It was so whimsical. I didn't know this world existed and I didn't know it was something I enjoyed and it's also something I can't turn off. And that's a good and a bad thing at the same time. And I've learned to balance it. I think that was what was so exciting to me about P3 was to be exposed to all these different companies, these different challenges, these different ideas, and to work alongside a team that is hand in hand with Microsoft. It was just such a cool opportunity. And I kept thinking, one it's not going to happen. I was like, I'm going to be the first person on this podcast who's unemployed and just got rejected from them. And it just always seemed too good to be true.

Liz Rogers (01:01:37): And just another side note, I get so passionate and I make these romantic ideas of how something's going to look, like a company or whatever, and startups, for example, I romanticize them a little bit and I found out-

Rob Collie (01:01:48): Don't we all.

Liz Rogers (01:01:48): ... that they're... Yeah. I found out that the world that I thought existed within this team is not what I was expecting. And that experience was a very necessary experience for me because I stopped seeking out the fad companies. But so I kept thinking that this is going to be a situation like that, where it was one either not going to happen or two was just going to be something unrealistic. I can't even believe it actually happened. I don't have to come and improve myself like I've had to do. I do to an extent, but every time I stepped into a role where I'm trying to tell people I know how to do all these things, they're like, okay. And I spend so much time trying to show them or whatever

Rob Collie (01:02:26): You come in with the reputation, you don't have to establish it here because we know, and everyone that's here came through the same process.

Liz Rogers (01:02:32): Exactly. That's what I'm saying.

Rob Collie (01:02:34): This journey that you've been on through the world of tech and most importantly it's interface with the human. Have you ever sort of felt yourself pushing up against some sort of headwind? This is like a guy's sort of club. Have you ever felt anything like that?

Liz Rogers (01:02:49): So it's interesting you say that because I never experienced that in the first four years of my career. I experienced just continuous doors open. And I think I was in a position where there wasn't a lot of talk of that. So it wasn't this overshadow thing where I was trying to look for it, but I was promoted three times. It was a male company. I didn't do anything different. I felt very validated in myself at that point and confident. It wasn't until I started having to prove my technical skills sometimes that I felt like I can do this too. But it was more that I felt like because I'm not in the IT team, because I'm not in this team that I'm not considered capable and not necessarily anything else. And it's funny because I have been a part of the IT team one time and felt like, oh my gosh, we're not doing anything.

Liz Rogers (01:03:39): It's so boring. And because it was just like, I'm used to that impact mode of what we can do with this, and I think that I've sought out a lot of stuff. I have this eagerness. It's just as natural curiosity I think of business as a whole, because I've seen how these tools can help and make such impactful changes. And so I'm like, why wouldn't we want to do that? Also because I've not ever been in sales. So I don't want to attribute a lot of stuff to a revenue generator. I have a hard time getting validation on process improvement and things like that if I'm not in that world and of that team and of that credentialing and that's really it, that I've experienced. So I don't know if that answers your question anyway.

Rob Collie (01:04:21): That's okay. That's okay. Whether it answered my question or not, it was actually really, really interesting. Let me give you a possible alternate way to describe what you're looking for. Years ago, I wrote a blog post called The Cult of the Right Thing. It's like a religion. You're either in this cult or you're not. And I have found myself post Microsoft in situations where I felt like I was still part of this cult, the cult of the right thing. The right thing almost has a seat in the meeting. It's an entity in the meeting.

Rob Collie (01:04:51): It's sitting there nodding or shaking its head. It's approving of things or disapproving. It's contributing to the conversation passively. And I felt I was in places sometimes where that wasn't the culture, the right thing was wasn't as strong of a pull. So I wrote this long, long, long blog post called The Cult of the Right Thing. It was really kind of an open letter to my current colleagues that weren't really part of this cult. I was trying to encourage them. I sent it to them and I sent it to some of my other friends. Some of my friends, like out at startups on the west coast sent it to all of their employees they liked it so much. The people I sent it to at this other company said, hmm, yeah, no.

Liz Rogers (01:05:25): Don't tell anybody about this. Yeah.

Rob Collie (01:05:27): Yeah. And then I left and started this instead, which has worked out very well. So no sad endings here, but it was interesting that you said that your lack of membership in the IT tribe, when you did run into some headwinds at times, it was much more about that than lack of membership in the boys club. And I think that's certainly good. That's progress. We're always going to have business tribes, like it versus business, that's inevitable. There's something else you said that you felt like when you applied for a job with us, that you were almost being a little bit too over confident.

Liz Rogers (01:06:02): Yeah.

Rob Collie (01:06:03): Now this right here speaks to the decision that many people make to apply for a job with us or not. And some of them are listening right now. So let's really dig into it. You have to push yourself a little bit. Even people who've applied for jobs with us and not gotten an offer, even they learn.

Liz Rogers (01:06:20): And that was my thing with I think what I meant I was overconfident, I was like, oh, I got this. I know this. And I saw the test and I had done something similar in the past and went through a lot of the steps to learn it the right way. And I was like, even if I don't come out with a job offer, I just spent however many weeks learning this skill. I know all of this stuff so much stronger now. I was just more I want to figure this out for myself because I'm gaining so much from this. It was a really cool experience for me. But it was also a very strong balance of keeping it real of this isn't guaranteed. I've got to get this to this point in order for that to be a reality, I guess

Rob Collie (01:07:03): If I had known going in how hard it would be to build this business, I might not have tried. There's an element to that in everything. You need to be just the right amount of overconfident to push yourself. And then after you find yourself in that situation, then you have to like, oh, now I'm in the intersection. Now I have to grow into that. That's just everywhere. I think it's just sort of a fundamental life skill.

Liz Rogers (01:07:32): There were a lot of times that I was like, and I don't know why these were happening, but I was like, I just want the opportunity to fail. Just give me the chance to fail. Don't tell me no, give me the chance to try it and fail. And I feel like I remember having so many of those conversations after I experienced the world of, and it kind of goes back to the first four years of my career, a world where we were ever evolving, we were ever changing, we were always trying things new.

Liz Rogers (01:07:58): We weren't really concerned about sitting down, talking about it for three days before we decided if we were going to go to the left or right. It was in the moment, tried it, if it didn't work, we went somewhere else. But we were able to see impact immediately. And I think working around a team that was so open to improving kept me in this mindset of, well, why not? What's it going to hurt? Let's just try it. That's where I felt like I got a lot of pushback was like, you're getting over excited. This is not really that big of a deal or whatever. And let me try it and let me fail rather than just tell me no.

Rob Collie (01:08:31): Yeah. Well, I'll tell you, this is the first time I've ever met a new P3 hire via podcast. Pretty cool. And listen, I am 100% sincere when I say I am thrilled that you went through that process. I am thrilled that you learned all those things. Specifically, I'm saying I'm thrilled that you took the interview. I'm thrilled that you came to us and I also mean this sincerely. It is such a compliment, it is so flattering to me to find that someone like you would want to come work at our organization. That's the best thing that someone could tell me about our organization, is that we attract and hopefully retain for a while... You'll find out, you'll tell me over time if we're the place that you over romanticized us. But I think we're a pretty good place. I think you're going to enjoy it. I'm sincerely flattered that someone like you would want to join up with us. So we must be doing some things right.

Liz Rogers (01:09:27): Yeah. Well, there was multiple parts of the touch points that attracted me. And it wasn't just one thing. The podcast, Ryan, it was an unintentional circle of people.

Rob Collie (01:09:39): If we hadn't had the podcast, do you think it would've made a difference?

Liz Rogers (01:09:42): I guess, yeah, actually I think that was a big thing for me was hearing the relational side of these brilliant minds and hearing people have conversations that made sense in my mind. And I'm like, oh, I feel like I'm always talking to people that are not understanding what I'm saying. And so that was what really excited me, this idea that somebody who didn't go to school for it, or didn't have a degree for it or whatever could have these skills and could talk about it. And it could be, I don't know. It was just a whole eye opening thing to me.

Rob Collie (01:10:10): Ironically, I did go to school for this.

Liz Rogers (01:10:13): I don't mean it like that.

Rob Collie (01:10:14): No, no, no, no.

Liz Rogers (01:10:15): [crosstalk 01:10:15].

Rob Collie (01:10:15): I was going to say that you're still right about me.

Liz Rogers (01:10:18): Oh.

Rob Collie (01:10:19): Even though in theory, you'd think that I went to school for this. I certainly did not. I knew as little about this world as anyone else and had to kind of backdoor into it, just like everybody else. Just that everyone looks at me and goes, oh, you went to Microsoft, got a computer science degree. Yeah. I'm just as random as the rest of you. I'm camouflaged, but I'm just as random

Liz Rogers (01:10:41): Computer science degree is five years ago and today have probably advanced so much because technology has...

Thomas LaRock (01:10:47): So I need to drop. And it's been lovely chatting with you both, Liz. Wonderful to meet you.

Liz Rogers (01:10:53): Nice to meet you.

Thomas LaRock (01:10:53): You are technical. You do belong. [crosstalk 01:10:56] So stop doubting yourself.

Rob Collie (01:10:57): Yeah. Holy hell. Yeah.

Liz Rogers (01:10:58): Yeah. I'm really excited. And I feel like I've been here for longer than a week and a half. It's already a really good experience.

Rob Collie (01:11:04): Thank you so much. Thanks for spending two hours of your day yammering away with us. We're thrilled that you're here.

Speaker 3 (01:11:11): 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.

Subscribe to the podcast
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Other Episodes

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap