The Outliers Inn
About this podcast
The Outliers Inn is a place where people from all businesses and roles within business can examine goings-ons from different and hopefully humorous perspectives. It’s a place where we can be a lot less serious about ourselves, what we do, what our businesses do, and the manner in which they do it.
About this podcast
The Outliers Inn is a place where people from all businesses and roles within business can examine goings-ons from different and hopefully humorous perspectives. It’s a place where we can be a lot less serious about ourselves, what we do, what our businesses do, and the manner in which they do it.
The Outliers Inn
Episode-62; Getting the jab, optical rip-offs, mentoring, and getting back to nature
Video Version https://vimeo.com/539686974 About the podcast In this episode, JP starts by sharing his lack of "readiness" for his latest trip to the States when he was called to a project in Florida. You see, he had packed for February and March in Upstate New York (where winter attire is the call of the day) and not Florida (where its darn hot in comparison); forcing him to either buy suitable clothes or melt. Meanwhile, Mule shares that he got his "jab" and JP shares that he has also. Mule reported being tired afterwards while JP complained of a headache and buzzing in his ears for a couple of days as the newly implanted chip synched with the 5G network and caused him to pee his pants a little every time his mobile phone rang or when he used the microwave. JP also shares that he had his long overdue eye exam (it had been 7yrs). The exam itself was rather uneventful and had no surprises, but his eyes nearly bugged out of his head when he was told it was going to be $950 for two pairs of glasses - and that was with a "buy-one/get-one special" offer; and it was going to take three weeks to get them. Fridiculous. So JP contacted a friend who gets his glasses online and was very satisfied - so JP decided to give it a try. A mere 10 days and $350 later, JP had his two pairs of glasses (one pair of which, he is wearing on the podcast). Moral of the story; don't waste your money at an optical, go online! This brings our first guest, Doug, who is recently retired. Unlike a previous guest who was recently retired and thought it a good idea to "optimize" his wife's kitchen, Doug has decided to be a mentor and resource for business and industrial and systems engineering to those in school or early in their careers. Good man, there. We are sure his efforts will be rewarding. Don "The Beerman" makes an on-camera guest visit (although he is drinking wine). JP called him to help on the project in Florida and they are sharing a company-owned house. Zoom has its benefits, for sure. But there is nothing like seeing things first hand to add the extra details that are often necessary to get the complete picture and the ideas flowing. Esther joins us again from Sweden and is fast becoming a welcome regular. She shares that she is working on building a new career that finds her with working with people from all over the world. She is creating a network of people to help people go back to nature and reconnect with and embrace nature. She shares how she and her network believe that technology can help people achieve this ambition and get back to their roots; that nature and technology are not incompatible. And, ultimately, the more we connect with ourselves, the more that we can understand that we create is full-circle. Come give a listen. There is a lot of good stuff here...
Episode-61; More COVID nonsense, computer hygiene, and more beer
Video Version https://vimeo.com/520737822 About the podcast In this episode, JP shares his experience with the "mandated" COVID test to come back to the States from Germany; apparently, it is on the "honor system" because nobody actually wanted to see the results. It seems that almost all of these "mandates" are fictitious. Supposedly, quarantines are mandatory (same with negative COVID tests when flying into the States). But if they are not enforced, or even check, they are really voluntary. From there, we discuss the need for good "computer hygiene" after one of JP's clients caught a "ransomware virus" - this was really no bueno. To compound the challenge, the last valid backup the client had was from 15 months prior. It is a shit sandwich and he had to take a giganourmous bite out of it. From there, the conversations drifts to a favorite topic at The Outliers Inn, that being beer. And we are graced with a visitor from Sweden who brings a much-needed, and particularly positive, energy with her.
Episode-60; On two masks, the Superbowl, telemetry, and wool
Video Version https://vimeo.com/511917271 About the podcast JP and Mule are happy to welcome our guests to the new format at The Outliers Inn. Of course, we will always have an audio-only track of the podcast, but this is the first full video podcast at The Outliers Inn complete with guests. The video version will only show the hosts, JP and Mule, on camera with the guests being voice only; and we are reminded that the two of them really have faces for radio. And we have changed the recording day and time Saturdays in hopes that others will be able to join who could not normally during the weekday recording sessions we used to do. Naturally, the conversation starts with the latest COVID-related observations and the seeming perpetual stream of conflicting and unsubstantiated guidance; starting with the ridiculousness of wearing two masks. Seriously, if two are better than one, then three must be better than two, and so on. John joins us from the UK and shares his recent experiences. In spite of the extreme lockdowns presently in the UK, John has enjoyed an uptick in work (which thankfully keeps him out of the kitchen). He shares with us the peculiarities of traveling to projects and staying in hotels, with the biggest challenge being meals. But he (and his wife) is happy to be out in the field. Sharmi joins us from Tampa where they are preparing for the Superbowl where she is hoping the hometown favorites, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are triumphant. JP, being a diehard Giants fan, is not a fan of Brady (and Brady is undoubtedly not a fan of the Giants). Mule shares the analysis of quarterback movements based on telemetry that is collected. Sharmi also shares her professional experiences under COVID. From there, the conversation flows; at one point, Mule shifts topical gears without using the clutch makes the jump to wool being a better insulator than fiberglass. A really good first edition using the new format.
Episode-59; Introducing "Mule"
Video Version https://vimeo.com/504545656 About the podcast Although The Outliers Inn is sad to see the departure of Antlerboy as co-host, as they say; "the show must go on." So in this special episode of The Outliers Inn, we introduce David "Mule" Schneider who will join JP as the new co-host. We talk about how we met over LinkedIn and got to know one another some decade-plus ago over a bourbon (or two) in New York City. And, of course, we get to learn a little bit about Mule and what he does for his main gig and some other interests. And we also discuss changes in the format of the show. The most obvious is the introduction of a video version of the show in addition to the audio track (which will remain); a bold move, since both JP and Mule have faces for radio. We will continue with the call-in format for our guests, but only the co-hosts will be shown on video. The guest will be audio-only. It should give our production manager, Chas, some additional headaches with the editing. We are also going to try recording on Saturdays instead of weekdays to try to broaden the reach for guests who want to join, but can't because of work. So, belly up to the bar, grab a stool and your favorite legal beverage, and enjoy our hospitality from the hosts with the mosts.
Episode-58; Changing of the Guard
Recorded: December 20, 2020 libsyn here About the podcast This will be a bitter-sweet episode at The Outliers Inn. It’s the episode where Antlerboy (aka Benjamin Taylor) announces his retirement from pouring drinks and serving slop as co-host at the Inn. Between his part-time gig at the Inn and his other interests and pursuits (including running his companies, other podcasts that he produces, and writing a book), the time constraints have become more than obvious, and he regrettably has to step out from behind the bar. It all started on November 3rd, 2014. This was the day that Tom Magliozzi, co-host of “Car Talk”, was recalled to that great junk yard in the sky, to be joyfully reunited with all his previous vehicles. Car Talk was a radio show about cars, their owners, and maladies (of the cars, that is – mostly). Guests would call-in and share various symptoms they were experiencing with their automobiles. The hosts would roast the caller, their automobiles, and their maladies in a respectful manner; perhaps sometimes less respectful of the vehicles themselves and their manufacturers. Every episode was a lot of fun listen to and certainly anyone who did would smile and laugh at least once. When JP read of the passing of Tom, he posted the article on Facebook. And Antlerboy was the first to comment on my post. Even though Antlerboy is from the United Kingdom, he had just started to listen to the show and even shared his version of Tom’s obituary; “So, it happened again. You wasted a perfectly good life amusing yourself and other people and upholding the values of intelligence, science, eloquence, and rude good humour. And even though St. Peter himself will run screaming from the Pearly Gates when he hears YOU say it.... ‘That was Tom Magliozzi. And, don't drive like your brother...'” But then we got to thinking. There was a lot of absurdities that occur and opportunities to poke fun of the goings-on in our own profession; businesses and their operations. Heck, we were guilty of some of these goings-on ourselves. Why don’t we start our own show? And (eventually) The Outliers Inn was born with our first episode produced in October of 2015 (almost a full year later). You can read the mostly complete history of The Outliers Inn here. Since then, we have produced 58 episodes over a five-year period; not a bad run rate. So, we give a proper send-off to Antlerboy by taking a walk down memory lane with a few select guests. And it’s only appropriate that we start with Don Burshnick, our resident Biermeister Extraordinaire. When he’s not brewing his beer, he is drinking it as a regular at the Inn and is even an occasional co-host when we find ourselves short-staffed. Don shares with us his latest concoction; a “Gummy-Bear” IPA. We are certain it would not pass the German Reinheitsgebot. Other irregular regulars include; Stephane who joins us from the lockdown in France. Although from Belgium, and quite proud of their beer, he is very interested in Don’s Gummy Bear IPA and would be keen on having a sample; which JP promises to bring back a sample bottle from Don for Stephane’s tasting. Aiden is our next guest who gets Antlerboy to share the story of how he decided to prefer to be called Benjamin rather than Ben; confessing the real reason for the change was he read that people with longer and more formal names are perceived as being more intelligent, so; “Benjamin P. Taylor” it is. Marina joins us from Los Angeles where she has founded a design innovation studio and shares her experiences in 2020 having to quickly make the transition to the new business paradigm. Hal joins us from Seattle. He shares with us his enthusiasm for beer and appreciation for Don’s “Gummy Bear IPA”. He also shares a bit of trivia that Washington State supplies the majority of the hops used to make beer around the world. Switching to business, Hal shares his observation that those who have had the most success in navigating the challenges are those who have a culture of being nimble. Ed joins us from London and, listening to our discussion of travel policies and protocols and recalls a saying form times past; “There is no reason, it’s policy.” That about sums-up the way of the world in 2020 and how governments are engaging the challenge. He expresses concerns about the lock-ins (preferring to use this term over “lock-downs”) and wanting it to end sooner rather than later. Oli has some technical issues but rejoins us from the North Carolina after having them sorted. He is about to return to Germany and we are discussing travel protocols that are supposedly in place, but that the reality is different than what is being shared by the policy makers and policy enforcers. And Chas takes a peek from behind the curtain to offer his fair-thee-well. And lastly, although the corpus delicti of Antlerboy as co-host is still warm, we are happy to introduce our last guest, David “Mule” Schneider as the new co-host at The Outliers Inn. David shares a bit about himself, starting with the details of his being involved supporting STEM at the high school level by coaching and leading “robotics” as a high-school sport. Mule’s expertise in logistics and warehousing has kept him incredibly busy over the COVID pandemic as the rush to ecommerce created a huge demand for his skills. So, as the Great Bard, William Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet; “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” We all thank Antlerboy for his helping found and build the Outliers Inn and he has promised to grace the establishment from time to time. And those who remain are all better off for having had the opportunity to hoist a drink together with him and share insights into life’s goings-on. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
New Ventures and Longest Nights
Recorded: November 24, 2020 About the podcast Antlerboy starts off the show with a confession; that he has been seeing other people – in fact quite a selection of other people. Behind JP’s back but in broad daylight, he has been recording two other podcasts; “Joy and Work” for leading (public) service transformation, and “Transduction” for the systems, complexity, and cybernetics. He also shares that his launch strategy is rather atypical in that he is purposefully limiting his audience to a “need to listen” basis with a tight circle of trust and with limited outreach. JP thinks this is a rather odd launch strategy indeed. But then again, JP got a bit lost (but not surprised) when Antlerboy started talking about the subject matter having socialist and liberal leanings and academic wonks being the source for many of his episodes. JP expresses concern that Antlerboy’s appetite for strange is insatiable and that he should seek help – this before confessing that he too has recently launched a new podcast himself entitled “Supercharged Supply Chain”. But JP’s also shares that his new podcast is a bit of a struggle because he is not used to having a co-host who is so much smarter than he is, and it takes a lot of work on his part to be sure to be on his toes. Our first guest is Sam Storm from Sweden. JP has known Sam for some time and took notice of the complete personal transformation that Sam has undertaken in the past year; from hoodies and baggie-pants to custom tailored suits. In the spirit of John T. Molloy, Sam is “dressed for success”. Sam then shares that he has competed in the Swedish hip-hop cover competition several times and does a pretty good Dr. Dre cover. It is near peak darkness in Sweden now with a maximum of seven hours of twilight and Sam is finding satisfaction in working with others; coaching and mentoring them on agile tools and techniques with an eye to professional and personal growth. This leads to a larger discussion on mentoring; and how we often don’t know we are mentoring others (and that others don’t know that we are being mentored by them). Perhaps it is better this way in that each of us can be more genuine and have the real conversations without feeling the pressures associated with knowing we are examining or being examined. Our next guest to the bar is a regular, Stephane from Belgium and now in France. The conversation starts with the renewed lockdown in France and the challenges that will be faced with holiday shopping. It would appear that many people in France openly rail against Amazon whilst secretly clicking away. Absurdly, the supermarkets are open for food, but aisles within the supermarket are closed because they sell “non-essential” items (whatever that means) even though they are in the same store. This is to protect the small shops that sell these items, but are currently closed – even though you can buy these items online. Government Rules Hurt. Our. Heads. JP shares with Stephane that he was concerned for Stephane’s well-being. Usually, Stephane is responsive to eMails and LinkedIn messages, but there were a couple of weeks where Stephane did not respond – not even open a message on LinkedIn. Stephane shared that he was on vacation, or rather a “stay-cation”. He stayed in his apartment and unplugged from everything work-related. How can a person do that for two weeks, couped up in an apartment with restrictions for movement, escaped JP (who would have had to escape). Lastly, we again call to center stage, Mandalyn, with another acapella rendition of one of her original songs. This one is a personal favorite of her’s and is entitled “Breaking Up” about the end of one of her relationships a really long time ago. As usual, we sit around the table discussing what-not and such – mostly adding to the previous conversations of the evening, until the last call is shouted and the lights are turned up brighter letting us all know it’s time to go. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
Episode-56; Travel Adventures During COVID
Recorded: October 26, 2020 About the podcast Welcome to another “open mic” edition at The Outliers Inn with JP and stand-in co-host Don Burshnick who has co-hosted enough episodes that he can be considered the co-co-host. JP and Don start-off the conversation by sharing how refreshing it is to get back out in the field and doing some face-to-face work after being largely confined to quarters during the COVID Pandemic. For two guys who normally spend a lot of time in airplanes traveling to client-sites, being grounded for an extended period of time is as uncomfortable as it is unusual. JP has traveled from Germany to the States a couple of times and Don just returned from Mexico. We share the “myth” of border crossings. We read about all the rules associated with travel. But where the expectation is stringent controls, paperwork validation, and health-checks, the reality has been quite the opposite; with no observable differences between travel pre-COVID and during (so long as you have the proper passport and paperwork). The only real difference that JP noticed is that hardly anyone is on the plane. JP shares his ideas about business and rules. By and large, businesses don’t care what the rules are, they just want to know what the rules are and that the rules will not change with the wind. Sure, they might lobby and lament, but at the end of the day, so long as they are predictable, all is good with the world. We welcome our first guest, Neal from Louisville, who shares that he has not experienced business growth. While companies that directly serve the consumer seem to be busy, he believes that industry is holding back on investment in production apparatus. JP shares that companies are best to be in a state of readiness, but if you can’t be ready, you better be resilient (best to be both). Our next guest is Oli from Germany who shares his experiences traveling between the States and Germany; which largely corroborates the experiences of JP and Don. He shares that the only people who are reporting to the workplace are those working on the production floor or turning wrenches while the “knowledge workers” are working remotely; but even those on the production floor have changed their way of operations by minimizing close contact. And our last guest is Mandalyn who takes to the stage again to perform an acapella rendition of another song she wrote entitled “Cheater”. We wrap-up the show with a group conversation sharing what we are all going to be doing as we close in on the end of year; with Don sharing the latest updates in his beer-brewing “hobby”. Oli is working on renewing an outreach program to build his funnel with new prospects as opposed to relying solely on his existing clients. While Neal is hopeful for landing a new position and passing his ASQ Certification this coming January. And Mandalyn is just going to keep working, and no doubt will continue writing some songs. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant. Co-Host: Don Burshnick
Episode-55; And Now For Something Completely Different
Recorded: September 21, 2020 About the podcast It’s another “Open Mic” night at The Outliers Inn. And in this episode, Benjamin and JP discover there might be a couple of interpretations of that open invitation. It would appear that, in addition to our regular followers and people who might see our invitations as shared in our normal channels, people could also search EventBrite (our registration tool) for terms that might interest them; including “open mic”. This proved to generate some rather interesting guests; not the regular crowd talking about what our audience has come to expect, but rather, something completely different. Benjamin and JP start the show in the normal fashion; exchanging goings-ons, observations, and stories of our recent experiences. JP contemplates the coming autumn whimsically and nostalgically and Benjamin finds himself duty-bound to share some British thing that he considers relevant; “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. It’s actually poetically descriptive. Benjamin also shares the transformation of his business from a traditional to virtual. And though Benjamin is sad to see the past pass, JP (having been virtual before it was cool) is sure that Benjamin, and his company, will find themselves much better off for it. But this is where the show deviates dramatically from its norm. Our first guest is Dee Allen, a poet who has written countless poems and published several books of poetry. He shares two of his poems, “Breeder of Flames” and “Washa-quon-asin”, with a passion that is obvious and enthusiastic. In the poems he shares, he invokes his Native American heritage. Dee’s books of poetry can be found on Amazon by looking up the author Dee Allen. His new book is “Elohi Unitsi” and can be found by clicking here. Next up to the bar is Jamie Ryder from the UK who start by discovering they hail from the same parts of England. Jamie shares with us that he is an artist and a blog publisher who’s websites include; “The Comic Vault”, “Yamato Magazine”, and “The Rum Ration”. And our last guest is Mandalyn who takes to the stage (we didn’t even know we had a stage) and shares with us a song she wrote; and not only did she write it, she sang it for us! Indeed, The Outliers Inn welcomes all and is welcoming to all. Give a listen… Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
Episode – 54; A Varied but Interconnected Conversation
Recorded: August 3, 2020 About the podcast Topic: One of our regular guests, Don Burshnick, stands-in for Antlerboy and takes his place behind the bar - somewhere at which he is all too familiar and steps right into the roll. We start the evening off with a discussion about SpaceX and the successful completion of their manned mission to the International Space Station marked by the safe return to Earth of the astronauts aboard. From launch to splashdown, the mission was as perfect as any mission ever was - kudos to Team SpaceX. This episode finds us with an eclectic group of characters who have traveled far and wide to join us at The Outliers Inn. The conversation that is had is varied, but interconnected. And we learn a bit about the "Requisite Agility Movement" which seems to be the thread that binds most of the guests. Our first guest is Geordie who starts off the conversation from Fairfield Connecticut and has put aside his work in the garden for a spell to spend some time and share some thoughts with us. He has been out of work for a while because of COVID. He has been honing his skills and capabilities by participating in the "Requisite Agility Movement" and creating his own particular flavor of analysis he calls the "structures of work". Kyle joins us from El Paso Texas where he has been for 10 years. He is also participating in the "Requisite Agility Movement" and shares that he is a bit brain-dead from preparing for the PGMP Exam. He is currently working on the transit infrastructure program as part of the transition team. Anne joins the conversation all the way from London. And shares with us the current state of COVID in the UK and related goings-on. But she is not interested in sharing her thoughts about COVID and masks (or not), but rather wants to "share her feminist agenda" (rut-roh). Ann shares with us her thoughts regarding social contracts and what is expected (either implied or stated) of each of us to be a part of society. Mario calls in from even further - Pretoria South Africa - and shares with us his evaluation work in complicated systems and the challenges with the eGovernment strategy in South Africa. His work involves getting people to understand what others are saying and mapping the relationships - especially between management and workers. JP is remise his primary responsibility when it comes to the introduction of our next guest; Aiden who joins us from London. Aiden shares with us perspectives on artistry, specifically movies with some of his thoughts on two of JP's most favorite movies; "The Sting" and "Twelve Angry Men" Come listen in - the group conversation at the end is especially engaging. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
Episode – 53; Lady's Night
Recorded: July 14, 2020 About the podcast Topic: Okay, the notion was noble, but the presentation might have been better. If this was an episode of Master Chef with Antlerboy and JP being the wanna-be cooks, we would certainly have presented a repulsive-looking dish, but it tasted darn good. So here’s the story; Antlerboy and JP had noticed that all of the guests at The Outliers Inn have been men. Certainly, the men have themselves have been diverse in geography, industry and profession – but they have all been men. So we wanted to consciously seek to make our guests more diverse and we came up with the idea to devote a show only to guests who were women – and decided to call the episode “Lady's Night” (I believe it was Antlerboy’s idea). Try as he might, JP could not come up with another name with less sexist undertones, so we went with it. We won’t do that again – we will find another name if we do a repeat. JP starts by sharing his joy of being back in action; in the States, client-facing, and in the field. But JP’s primary engagement is with a nursing home and he is staying with his parents (who are both over 80 years old) while there. So his COVID-RADAR is up and operational; social distancing, masks, limiting who he visits and under what circumstances. It’s serious stuff and the risks are considerable. Better safe than sorry – really sorry. Our first guest, Maria, is an industrial engineer at Spirit Airlines as Manager of Business Process Optimization. She helps conduct improvement projects for the company and training employees in Lean Six-Sigma. Since COVID has effected the airline industry especially hard, I asked what effects has it has had on her and the goings-on at Spirit. It was refreshing to hear that Spirit was using the lighter load to improve the skillsets of their employees. Amanda joins us from Manchester, having crossed paths with Antlerboy recently doing a webinar on crisis communication (“which is exactly as it says on the tin”). She police communications for 20yrs in charge of all communication. She started before 9/11 and the world is a very difference place looking back. Amanda’s personal turning point and most poignant moment was dealing with the terrorist attack at the Manchester arena and how important the people and communication were so critically important in working through a crisis situation. She recently started her business (on the day of lockdown in the UK). Her book, Crisis Communication Strategies (May-2020) is available on Amazon. Our next guest is Sonia, who is a Lean Six-Sigma Master Black Belt. She is realigning her focus from process performance to personal and professional development. She recently launched her company, SS International LLC. She conducts workshops and masterminds and shares with us that she recently launched a three-month mastermind specifically for women to help them learn to unleash their potential, overcome obstacles, hold themselves and each other accountable, and reach their goals. This just skims the surface of the conversations and discussions. There is a lot of interesting ideas and experiences shared. Give a listen. We are sure you will enjoy it as much as we did. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
Episode – 52; Navigating Beyond...
Recorded: June 3, 2020 About the podcast Topic: We find Antlerboy in much better spirits and more positive. He has been a bit beat down due to being locked-down. But is finding working in his London garden - replete with a cherry tree, recently Amazon-delivered pond weed, potatoes and onions - is very therapeutic. JP is happy for Antlerboy, but wonders; just how big is this garden in London? JP is itching to get back in the game; getting on an airplane and client-facing. Sitting and working from home is not his bag. But JP shares that he has booked a flight to the States for a few weeks from June into July and is looking forward to it. We start the meat-and-potatoes of the conversation by discussing the shift in the work paradigm from office to home. In conversations with leaders of companies (admittedly anecdotal data and not empirical data), the near universal feedback is that people are more productive working from home. But although productivity might have increased in the near-term, what are the effects long-term? Humans being social creatures, is it healthy to be isolated from people for an extended period of time? Working from home, will people have the discipline to protect the borders of work time versus personal time? Our first guest is a regular at The Outliers Inn, David. He shares that he has not been successful working from home in the past because of the distractions and has continued to go to his office during the shutdown. Work-wise, he is as busy as ever and he is still experimenting with his hemp-sprouts. Neal, from Louisville (however you pronounce it) in Kentucky, is our next guest. He shares that his contract was terminated in March and he is trying to discover where the next step in his professional will take him. He is wondering what the need will be for social distancing at work; equipment and workstation placement, walking around the facilities, and so on. Stephane, a regular from France, joins us and shares his thoughts about globalization and remote work; if the world was flat before, it has become more flat now. We discuss the rapid adaptation and evolution of telephony. People and companies have readily and rapidly implemented Zoom (or some similar solution) and are conducting business meetings remotely. Can virtual reality be too far off where people will put on virtual reality googles and be able to walk-up to a virtual whiteboard and draw? Stephane shares that you can already virtually cycle the French countryside on Swift. So is the notion becoming reality that far off? Hal from Washington State joins us and shares that he has recently been having a riot (pun intended); that the economy is booming for gun and ammo shops and his opinion that the question of gun control has been settled for a generation. But getting back to his core business, he speaks about the challenges of getting back to business for those companies that were shutdown (non-essential businesses). Our last and most regular guest taking his turn at the bar is Don. He wonders about the social discourse presently taking place and the duplicity of the messaging. How can one group of protesters be called irresponsible and another group of protesters be celebrated; Further, how can violence and destruction be excused? There are a lot conversations had and ideas shared. But the interesting thing is that most thoughts are about life-after instead of life-during COVID and how we are navigating towards it. We thinks that optimism taking root. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
Episode 51 - Bangers and Mash
Recorded: June 3, 2020 About the podcast Topic: Antlerboy and JP welcome the first-ever, all male and exclusively British guest roster. It's a veritible sausage fest, except its more like Bangers. Come give a listen as we mash it up (see what I did there?). The episode starts with Antlerboy not being his usual joyful self, some would say "hacked-off", "fed up", or just "down in the dumps". And it all come down to too... Too long stuck indoors, too much disruption to business, too long a hiatus from life, too much time to contemplate his failures, just too much of everything negative for too long. It would appear some people do not do well in a sensory deprivation chamber. Let's see if our guests can bring him out of the funk. Our first guest is Paul, who does not help Anterboy's state by predicting there will not be a second wave of COVID, but rather one long, extended wave. Thanks, Paul, Anterboy is headed for the window-sill. But Paul does go on to share that the antidote for companies is to either generate cash or preserve cash. We welcome back John who bellies up to the bar. John's remedy to it all is to live a life of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Okay, John, you have our attention. But then John starts talking about being in the bath contemplating Maslow's heirarchy of needs and, in the middle of his mescaline-induced haze... NEXT.! As John stumbles aside, Andy snaps his fingers to place his order. We all know its rude to snap your fingers, but he's from Scotland. As we are taking his order, we ask how he is (just being polite, ya' know), and he tells us he is "outstandingly mediocre". Apparently, he is upset that he won't be taking a holiday anytime soon. Finally, a breath of fresh air walks into the Inn. And right behind them is Peter. But Peter has actually been having a pretty good go of things lately. Work is going well and his Mrs Peter is having him do a bit of gardening. Most important, he has had time to poodle about and contemplate life, what is important to him and what is not, and what he might do in retirement. By the time last call is shouted out, the mission has been accomplished. Antlerboy is definitely in finer spirits. A really fine, if sometimes dour and esoteric evening, at The Outliers Inn. We are sure you will enjoy giving a listen-in. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
Episode 50 - Coming Out Of COVID-19 - Gold Anniversary Episode
Topic: Antlerboy and JP celebrate the 50th episode of The Outliers Inn. The theme of today’s show is “coming out of COVID-19” and we will be talking about our plans for re-entering society after government-imposed lockdowns. JP, being blessed with abundant hair even with his years, shares that his first thing will be to get a haircut and to resupply on cigars which he has been without for some time. Oli from Germany is our first guest and boasts that he has shaved and is debating whether to use a pot and self-cut the top. He is looking forward to re-engaging his clients, but in the interim he just received seven TONS of cement to re-do his basement; remember 3-2-1. Next up is Isaac from New York City but presently in North Carolina. Besides promising to give JP his ’67 Mustang Ragtop, he’s working on the rehabilitation of a house in North Carolina and laying down 2,000sf of tigerwood flooring. He is also helping to launch his daughter’s business doing temporary tattoos G-Tat. Stephane from France joins us and confesses that he has cut his hair himself. He did the best he could, but managed to cut a couple bald-spots. But it’s growing back and he is no longer embarrassed to go outside. Stephane shares that he believes telephony will play a larger roll in daily goings-on in the business – but he’s looking forward to expanding the talent pool as telephony frees businesses to hire talent wherever they might be. Don “the beer man” enters the fray from Upstate New York. The lockdown has been more severe there than in many other places in the States including counting how many customers can go into the grocery stores. The City of Binghamton has a 10pm curfew. Why? Nobody knows. His business has not been severely impacted, but there is a backlog of engagements which will keep him busy. There is a serving of fresh fish at the Inn. Jason joins us from North Carolina and shares how he has been building a network in the Space Industry – that’s outer space, not commercial office or retail space. His mission it to “make space boring” in that he would like to see space travel become as routine as any other mode of travel. And there is another serving of fresh fish at the in with Dan from Iowa joining us. Being in higher education, he shares with us how telephony has become ubiquitous in the delivery of classes – even though Dan has been using telephony before it was cool. Like Stephane, he believes telephony is here to stay. A darn good episode – and a fine way to celebrate our 50th episode at The Outliers Inn. We are sure you will enjoy it. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant. Recorded: May 4, 2020
How I spent my COVID-19 Vacation
Topic: With everyone in the world being locked-down, bored rigid with nothing much better to do and in desperate need of speaking with someone other than their significant other or dog, it’s a full-house at The Outliers Inn with guests who hail from the States, the UK, Germany, and Iceland being represented. The episode is long, but the conversation is fun and lively. Standing in for co-host Benjamin “Antlerboy” Taylor is a regular on the show, Don “the beer man” Burshnick. We start off with Don sharing that his beers are being recognized by his peers as being pretty darn good. In a recent contest, his Raspberry Wheat won 1st place and his California Common took 2nd in their respective classes. And we discover that “gravity” is indeed relative. In beer parlance, it means that there is more sugar in higher gravity beers – and more sugar means more fermentation which, in turn, translates to a higher alcohol content. Hal joins us from Washington State and continues his work with small manufacturers. His main challenge is navigating how manufacturers can continue working during the pandemic and what working together will look like after this is all done. The biggest concerns is the potential over-reaction and the instilling of temporary controls that might become permanent. John from the UK whose passion is continuous improvement joins us. Being recently retired and bored rigid, he made the rookie mistake of trying to teach his wife “5-S”, starting in the kitchen. There is nothing a wife loves more than being told by her husband how disorganized her kitchen is – not. Needless to say, she was displeased and demonstrated her colorful vocabulary with enthusiasm. He reflects that he should have spent more time studying Sun Tzu before starting this war, and not just how Toyota works. Joerg from having just finished taking a cruise in the Mediterranean with his wife. He has recently taken on a new role within the company. But the new role will take him 500km from where he presently lives. He has been spending his time preparing for the new role, but also looking for an apartment near his new place of work. Due to the restrictions in place, he has had to look at apartments “virtually”. It will be the first time he has ever entered into a contract for a place without ever having seen it live and in person. Wolfgang, also from Germany, then bellies up to the bar. He is missing his daily workouts at the gym, but finds himself very busy. He changed the delivery of his consulting and training to be virtual and has landed enough work to see him through to the end of the lockdowns – even though he is thinking to make this a permanent offering for his clients – more value-add and less rumptime in a car traveling. Andy from the UK shares his angst with the UK regulation called IR-35 and the burden that has been placed on independent contractors. The confusion with the regulation has caused confusion with many prospective clients who don’t want to run afoul of the regulation and has been idle for longer than makes him comfortable. All the patrons at the Outliers Inn share their angst with governments squashing small guys while they dollop benefits on those who are large enough to fight back. So he is spending a lot of his time writing articles on LinkedIn. Stephane joins us from France were some of the most Draconian lockdown measures are in place. People are allowed to leave the house for only an hour a day, much like a prisoner in solitary confinement. When he does leave, he can only go for necessities (like groceries) and has to carry a diary with him that logs his time in case he is stopped by the authorities. He’s working from home and his new friend is Zoom. He is also socializing by having Zoom-beers with his friends. Oli is originally from Iceland, has lived in the States, and is now in Germany. Being used to being in the field, the lockdown makes him uncomfortable. Although he appreciates the “buy local” sentiment that is currently being expressed, he talks about the benefits of globalizations. Talk about global risks and the need for maintaining multiple sources in the supply chains – not just diversity in companies, but diversity in geographies. And David from Virginia decides to celebrate his 59th year on this planet with us miscreants at the Outliers Inn instead of doing – whatever else he can be doing. Why? We still don’t know. But COVID-19 or not, he drives to and from his shop every day to do what he does – and trying to living his life as usual. He is a Virginia licensed industrial hemp grower and is trying to develop a way where he can plant and harvest in 10days hemp-sprouts as a functional food. He does admit to enjoying the empty highways where he can open it up. His commute time is much shorter. We end the program with the biggest dog-pile The Outliers Inn ever had… Come listen in… Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant. Recorded: April 7, 2020
Episode 48 – Robots, Beer, Cash for Consultants, and Team Effectiveness.
Topic: This session starts off serious with Antlerboy sharing some rather serious endeavors he is launching. But the guests (mercifully) come to visit and breathe life back into the conversation with talks of; robot competitions, beer (again), heaps of cash for consultants in the UK, and the tragedy of a video being removed from YouTube causing one of our guests to actually do work. The episode starts off rather professional (read dry) with Antlerboy introducing some of his new endeavors. He introduces two new podcasts; “Joy in Work; The public service transformation” and “Transduction; the systems complexity and cybernetics” – neither of which pose any competition to The Outliers Inn (not even close). And he also shares another project; Requisite Agility managing change and uncertainty (http://requisiteagility.org/), where “requisite” is required by the nature of things and “agility” being the ability to successfully adapt, cope, or exploit changing situations. That (thankfully) being done and dusted (read buried) we welcome our first guest, David, who has been working with high school students design and build robots that have to complete a fixed series of tasks. The robot that completes the tasks the most completely wins. The team that David and five other mentors coach consists of 148 students. And although they came in force, the take-away lesson was “don’t forget the ‘Loctite”. Don is still brewing beer and promises to share with the other visitors to The Outliers Inn. He has been producing a bunch of lagers because the temperature has been cool. And they just did two high gravity beers; a “Scottish Wee Heavy” which will take months to mature and come in at 10% and a “Barley Wine” coming in at 9%. Made for sipping not for sessioning. John returns to visit us. He is in much better spirits than his last visit – and we are sure it’s not because of Don’s concoctions. Rather, he shares with us that the UK Government has a program with whole pots of money for helping smaller companies and the supply chain into aerospace – and that this will make consultants (including himself) very happy. In the interim, he’s found a job to keep him busy in logistics – as a delivery driver. Our last guest is Stephane, who is rather desperate today. He is working on team effectiveness and coming up with a brand new model. He was disappointed that a YouTube video by Richard Hackman – which used to be there – was now longer there. This meant he was going to have to actually do some work. After it is complete, he will be rolling it out to his team, and perhaps further. And the debate over the best beer continues; Belgian, German, or Don’s… Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant. Recorded: March 3, 2020
Episode 47 - Falling Iguanas
Topic: In this episode of The Outliers Inn, we talk about the risks involved in falling iguana’s, long-flights and sore bums, speculating on government numbers, eating bats, and preparing for retirement (or semi-retirement). Antlerboy and JP start-off by sharing their experiences on recent travels with Antlerboy going to Southeast Asia and JP going to Florida. We share some of our travel habits but the one we have in common is that neither of us can understand how a person can justify the added expense of a business-class ticket – even if we do sometimes end-up with sore bums on the long-haul flights. Really, what can the airlines possibly do to deliver on a 5x-plus premium on the cost of a ticket? Especially since neither of us are particularly large either vertically or horizontally – and our bums never get that sore. The conversation moves to the subject or “risk”, with JP sharing a particularly novel risk he had never heard of before – that of “falling iguanas”. When he was in Florida, it was so cold (dropping into the 40F’s), that the Florida weather service issued an “iguana warning”. Apparently, when it gets that cold, the iguanas lose their grip and fall from the trees. Reportedly, they are not injured and will re-awaken when they warm – but getting hit on the head with a falling iguana, which can grow to 6ft in length and weigh 20lbs, would make for a bad day. Our first guest to belly-up to the bar is Greg. He shares with us the risks he sees in the global supply chain where single-points of failure abound. Whether it’s an earthquake and tidal wave, or floods, or coronavirus’, it seems that companies have not learned to have redundant suppliers in case of catastrophe – or if they do, they don’t keep the secondary vendor sound enough to pick-up the slack when the unexpected happens. His particular concern is the present risks to the supply chains and the global economy from the coronavirus. Our second guest, Don, being thrifty and bringing his own home-brewed beer, shares is real-life experience with respect to the hypothetical disruptions to the supply chain that he is having to endure and react presently – giving tangible evidence that the threats are real and not theoretical or anecdotal. He shares with us that his deliveries are being delayed weeks or longer because of the concerns and actions related to the coronavirus. JP amends his Gastronomy Rule Nr.1 from; “No insects” to “No insects, snakes, or bats.” Our last guest of the evening is John. He shares with us a real and heartfelt challenge; what do you do when you have spent so many years in corporate and find yourself to old to be hired, but too young to sit on the porch and yell at the kids to get off your lawn? He feels he has so much to give but doesn’t know how or even where to begin. He shares some regrets and expresses concern for what his legacy will be – the evidence that he was here at all. We talk about various ways he can pass the wisdom he has gained over the years to others – including teaching and consulting. A really interesting part of the program which should give everyone cause for pause – and reflection. We are sure you will find the conversations as interesting as we did… Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant. Recorded: February 6, 2020
Eposode-46; Resolutions for the New Year
Topic: We do another theme-based episode, this time on “New Year’s Resolutions”. It doesn't matter whether they are funny or serious ones, but it does matter that your word and resolve is so useless that you can't keep a promise to yourself. In that case, you might not even have any resolutions. But if you do, you will probably find that no one other than yourself will follow up on them. As the immortal Shakespeare once said, "Please pass the bacon, I prithee." Oops, wrong quote. "To thine own self be true." JP shares some wisdom from Texas – which seems to be lost in translation to British-English. And shares his experiences with the extremists of continuous improvement – as he refers to them as the “Taliban of Continuous Improvement” – that he has encountered on social media, with Benjamin sharing similar experiences he has had. JP ponders whether Benjamin was involved in the floorplans that went missing at MI6 in a desperate attempt to improve his internet speed. Neal, a transplant from Atlanta now living in Louisville (however you pronounce it), Kentucky, joins us as the first guest. His resolution is to become more active in maintaining and growing his professional network. Neal shares that he engages in social medial, but has found it difficult to find peers for face-to-face meetings. JP suggests that Neal introduce himself to the Systems Science and Industrial Engineering department (or similar) at the local university as a starting point. Remarkably, Benjamin’s first – and perhaps only – friend has finally joined us at the Outliers Inn. Chris, who claims Benjamin did not have to pay much for him to join us, shares his interest in this emerging community. A maverick technologist for several years, he got the opportunity to form a “guild” at his organization – a grass roots organization dedicated to a professional practice. The idea of the guild was to bring people at work together in a non-transactional format. Although not generally into creating resolutions, Chris’ resolution for 2020 is to consolidate and grow the guild. Our last guest and frequent visitor to the Outliers Inn is Don. Don starts off by sharing some distractions and interruptions which made him less effective and efficient in his efforts in 2019, so his goal and primary focus for 2020 is to get organized. That being said, his one distraction that he will allow is his growing interest in brewing beer (how distracting can that be; wink-wink). It’s actually a father and son project; or perhaps son? After all, there is a stark difference in the approach to brewing between the two with the son being a sticker for adhering to a strict following of the formula and the Don being more “close enough is good enough”. The official launch of the Square Deal Brewery (as it will be called) is a year away. But when it is launched, it will be the official beer of The Outliers Inn. There are a lot of other great conversations, and we don’t mind you eavesdropping. Enjoy! Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
Episode 45 - Reflections of the year
Topic: In this episode of The Outliers Inn, we try something new – having a “theme” for the show. As we approach the end of another year in time and space, we (ought to) become reflective of things said and done, failures and successes, fulfillments and hopes yet to fulfill themselves. Like the Irish man who thought about the evils of drinking in the New Year – then he gave up thinking. So we decided the theme for this show should be “most impactful event” of the year where our guests will share what happened in their lives that had a significant impact this past year. Our first guest is Hal Frohreich who shares his transformative experiences in leadership development during his participation in a Kata Dojo workshop that he attended in “Cascadia”, a rather obscure region (except for those who live there) of North America roughly defined as Oregon, Washington State, and British Columbia. Hal is followed by Davis Balestracci who shares the challenges he faced in 2019, having been forced into “semi-retirement” by losing traction and having a lack of engagements. We ponder together what the root-cause might be and explore potential ways of taking corrective action. JP helps Davis to deconstruct the challenges and reconstruct potential ways forward; how to gain and retain the attention of the M.A.N (the person who has Money, Authority, and Need). And our last guest is James Considine, who shares his life-altering event in 2019 – the facilitated departure from corporate life and entering the world of the entrepreneur. He proposes that business owners care the most of these criterion; 1) Can it make me money, 2) Can it save me money, 3) Does it keep me out of prison, and 4) Does it make my life easier – these being in no particular order. James proposes that each of us must know and understand their own personal “superpower” and amplify the this superpower rather than to focus on improving where they are weak. Strengths should be amplified and weaknesses should be augmented. There is a lot of insight, perspective, and sharing in this episode. Kick back and enjoy. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
Episode 44 - German Waste Disposal, Food Waste, Logistics
Topic: JP shares his challenges with a recent move of premises. Many of the frustrations involve the discarding of waste in Germany; the myriad of bins and methods of discarding and the confusions that go with their use is but one of the challenges. The biggest challenge, besides JP holding the opinion that his landlords were assholes and all that entails, was discarding larger items. Since it is so difficult to shed yourself of such items, they have a tendency to stock-pile. It took a bin that held 5 cubic-meters (which was filled with 6 cubic-meters) and a dozen muelsacks that were filled to capacity and had to be purchased separately. Our call-in guest, Denis from Whales, shares his experiences at a recent conference and the information being shared. Of particular was Denis’ listening to a talk on food waste and the CO2 being generated by the food waste. JP’s thinking immediately gravitates to the carbon produced as a result of the value-chain of food; planting, tending, harvesting, processing, and the logistics involved in getting it to the consumer. However, the talk was actually about the CO2 generated by the decomposition of food. This led to a lively debate of whether this really adds to the overall carbon; after all, the plants consume carbon from the atmosphere and could only release the amount they consumed. This, as opposed to carbon which is captured underground and released. Our second guest is Dimitri from Texas. Having grown-up in a farming community, his observation is the closer you are to where you grow your food, the more efficient you are at consuming it and the waste is a lot less. With regards to carbon, Dimitri’s opinion was carbon in and carbon out, that it was close to neutral. His big concern regarding waste was how can there be so much, yet people go hungry. It all comes down to logistics. It costs a lot to move food without it spoiling. And that cost has to be recouped. It’s difficult for that to happen in the poorest parts of the world. With the topic gravitating between genetically modified food and towards logistics, JP wonders why “bulk/family” sizes don’t exist in Europe. This would certainly cut down on waste (excess production and packaging), lead to lower prices for the consumer, and generally be a good thing. These questions, and more, remain unanswered… Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.
EPISODE 43 - Artificial Intelligence
Topic: Antlerboy (aka Benjamin Taylor) continues to be plagued by substandard internet, although right in the middle of London and across the street to MI-6, yet can only get ADSL service to his office. How can that be in 2019? Broadcasting from home is not possible because Antlerboy is too “afraid” to tell his wife to be quiet as a mouse for an hour whilst we are recording. Not to be undone, JP laments about his “high-tech house from hell”. And so it goes… Our guests are Seth from Joisey Seth shares his thoughts on Artificial Intelligence and sets the subject for the rest of the podcast. He ponders the quality of the data being mined, whether people need all the information available to them – are they now being fed information for the wow factor or is all that time and effort waste? JP goes on the offensive to challenge the use of AI in the hiring process among other applications. But the conversation goes on to other introductions of innovation and technologies in general and on a variety of applications – and as experience guides us from the past; the knowns, the known unknowns, and the unkown unknowns. JP shares the tragedy of “unknown unknowns” of innovation in the early days of high-altitude, long-distance flights – where square windows in the de Havilland Comet resulted in metal fatigue at the corners and caused several fatal crashes. But this discovery lead to an understanding and that is why all windows in aircraft today have no corners. In the podcast itself, JP erroneously stated that it was the “Lockeed Constellation”. We regret the error and are sure it would not have happened if the hosts were AI bots and not live, and fallible, human beings. Hosts: Joseph Paris, Founder of the OpEx Society & The XONITEK Group of Companies Benjamin Taylor, Managing Partner of RedQuadrant.