MOD: Masters of Data

Bringing the human to the data

Matt Ballantine: Podcast Powered Projects

Advisor, Stamp

May 27, 2019


...the industries that will spring up in the moment about just turning podcasting into yet another channel for comms people to use to be able to communicate, that's not what we're talking about here.

Matt Ballantine talks us through his latest innovation - using podcasting as a way to define and promote projects in large organizations.

Ben: Welcome to the Masters of Data Podcast, the podcast where we bring the human to data. And I'm your host, Ben Newton. Our guest on this episode is a repeat guest, and that's a very good thing. Matt Ballantine is a multi-talented technologist who spends his days helping companies build and execute digital strategy with his company Stamp, and also hosts his own podcast, WB-40, with his co-host, Chris Weston.

I talked to Matt about his newest project, which brings these two worlds together in a way that could be truly compelling for organizations struggling to innovate and communicate. So without any further ado, let's dig in.

Welcome everybody to the Masters of Data podcast, and I am very excited and pleased to have on my good friend again, Matt Ballantine, the irreplaceable, unique and ever-interesting guest of mine, to have him on for repeat performance. Welcome on, Matt.

Matt: Hello, Ben. It's good to be back.

Ben: I've also been a gust on his own WB-40 podcast, which is always fun to listen to. And I know you're always doing very interesting things in that podcast and outside of it, so I'm excited to get you on and talk about what's going on lately with you. Do you have more time on your hands now that the end of the world has been put off for a little bit with Brexit?

Matt: I've actually made a conscious decision. There was two weeks where everybody shut down for Easter and disappeared, and the media circus around Westminster just got ripped down, and it was weird, because we had news that wasn't Brexit for a short period. And in that time of reflection, what I've realized is that, actually, we've got now two groups [inaudible 00:01:45] in the UK who are basically warring with each other on the basis of rationality, when it's all emotion.

And that doesn't work, because each side is just using numbers and confirmation bias to argue a position. It's not going to change the mind of the other. Emotionally, I've always felt more European than British. I'm Irish by birth. I was born in Northern Ireland.

Ben: Oh, I didn't know that.

Matt: So I now have my Irish passport, and my kids have their Irish passport, so I've maintained my Irish and European identity, and what the hell the Brits now do with it is up to them. And I've just kind of abdicated myself from the whole thing.

Ben: Yeah, well, we know nothing about that in the U.S. We have a very harmonious system here. We all get along really well. So I really have no idea what you're talking about, Matt.

Matt: [inaudible 00:02:35].

Ben: So, moving onto the things where data is actually potentially used appropriately. What've you been up to lately?

Matt: So, myself and my WB-40 co-host, Chris, we've been basically plotting and planning an experiment, and it's an experiment that we're calling Podcast-Powered Projects. And it started about six months ago when ... We'd been running our show for a couple of years by then, and we were starting to think about how might we take some of what we've been doing and what we've learnt through doing podcasts and apply it to be able to help some of our clients? And we've had a few offers about being able to get a sponsorship for the show, but we don't want the show itself to become a commercial venture.

Ben: You don't want to sell out?

Matt: Yeah, you know how it is. To be honest, I've driven work out of it, and I've got clients now who ... I've got those clients because of doing the show. So it serves its purpose there, and if we keep it without having to worry about compromising on editorial stuff through taking advertisement, that's cool.

But the thing that we both observed was that we'd been going out, and the podcast is a really good way to be able to have an excuse to be able to say, "Can I talk to you?" Because it plays to people's egos, and if you are curious about them, and you're curious about what they do or what they think, being able to say, "Can I come and talk to you, because I'd like to record an interview for a podcast?" It's a really good, open way about being able to start that conversation, so it's a good way to open doors.

And the other thing that we noticed was that when you talk to somebody and record the audio for something like a podcast, it doesn't freak as many people out as video recording does. If you go and put a video camera in front of people, it scares the crap out of them. It doesn't have the production cost of video as well, which, just in terms of time, whenever I do little bits of video, I say, "I'm never doing that again," because my life is not long enough.

But when people have got a microphone in front of them, they become more measured and more considered in their response, and if you get yourself reasonably good at questioning, you get yourself reasonably good at listening, you're able to able to help people to be able to tell a story. And the aim of it, of course, is to be able to create something that somebody else wants to listen to.

Now, at this point, I'm starting to get worried that -. So, how might that help, and what might that make? Now, put that aside for a moment. I think when we met first time around and we talked the show, I'm a social scientist, by academic background. Did my degree in sociology and did [inaudible 00:05:26] to bump my marks up, basically. And so I've always been really interested in thinking about social research methods, and particularly qualitative research methods.

So things like anthropology, and anthropological methods, things like participant observations, things like ethnography, things like semiotics, and-

Ben: What is semiotics?

Matt: Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols. So give you an example of it, if you want to know all that you need to know about the culture of an organization, you can tell most of what you need to know from their reception area. So when you go in, if you look at the signs and symbols around you, you will be able to glean an awful lot of information about what that organization is about, how they treat their staff, how they treat their customers, and you can get a feel of a place by just observing those things around that are seemingly secondary.

So, if you give an example of that, I did some work for a law firm. City law firms are all the same, they've got big glass and steel, impressive lobbies. There'll be a lift that'll take you up to the client meeting rooms and probably has nobody else using it. [crosstalk 00:06:40] the white glove treatment, and what you can read from that from thinking about it through semiotics is, "Here's an organization that likes to impress its clients, and to make it really quite clear that they are worth the enormous amounts of money that you're going to pay them for whatever services it is that you pay them for."

Conversely, I did some work for a big American magazine publisher a few years back in their London offices. Basically, their reception area was like a bomb had hit it. It was the place where the couriers dropped everything, where it was some poor guy, disheveled, sitting behind a desk with piles of paper and all sorts of things all around him. And if you've ever had any experience in the world of magazine publishing, you know it's this chaotic, crazy, everything's dumped all over the place, and eventually, they manage to churn out the episodes [inaudible 00:07:30].

Go to Google, and you don't even have a person meeting you these days. You have a machine that extracts data from you, which is basically all you need to know about Google. They just care about getting data from you. So that's the kind of thing around semiotics. It's something I'm getting increasingly into again, because I think it's a very interesting way to be able to think about what it is that underpins behaviors in an organization.

But all those kind of concepts, they're kind of alien to the world of technology, particularly. I know you've spoken to Christian Madsbjerg, who is somebody who talks a lot about these kind of rich, qualitative techniques of being able to sense make, and to be able to understand organizations. But it's a really hard sell for people who are very logical and don't like abstract, and like nice, neat lines to connect things, and like formulas, and like it to be absolute.

Ben: Right.

Matt: And so the idea came to us, through all of that and through this work we've been doing with running our own podcast for a while, what if we were to be able to package the idea of podcasting and use it as a kind of Trojan horse to be able to help get people who don't have those breadth of interrogative and curiosity skills to be able to start to learn new ways to find out about the organizations in which they work, which will give them insight, but give it to them in a way that they can contextualize? Because there's something nice and hard and concrete about it, like a [crosstalk 00:09:02] piece of audio content. So that's the kind of big idea behind this podcast project thing. That make sense?

Ben: Yeah, it absolutely does. When you first described it, and I'll look up the link to put in the show notes, but I was reading an article, I believe it was in the Wall Street Journal, it was either Wall Street Journal or New York Times, but I believe it was the Wall Street Journal, where they were talking about how there's a lot of corporations that have started using podcasts as a way to communicate within the organization, and how they're struggling with it.

Some of them do really well. I think it was Caterpillar, where the guy who does the company podcast is this kind of superstar within the organization. Everywhere he goes, people know him, and it's how people get a lot of their information. I think [CVS 00:09:46] has one. And it's really interesting to see how different organizations approached it.

But to your point, they talked about some of that, that there's something about the medium that can actually, if you do it right, can actually be more effective at communicating something you want to communicate than trying to do these videos or just sending out written documents, and for a lot of people, they actually absorb the information better that way.

Matt: Absolutely. There's something emotional, and then there's something very practical. The emotional side of it is the audio. Radio's always been my favorite medium. I did loads of stuff with radio in my student days. As a kid, I was obsessed with the idea of creating radio, and it's only now in my late 40's I've actually got round to actually doing something about it.

It's a very intimate thing, and it's much more intimate than any other medium. There's an emotional connection that people will have with listening that they don't get with watching. The practical side of it is, of course, the technology means now that we are able to be able to consume audio content and distribute audio content into these devices that we all have sitting in our pockets, now, with headphones, that often, now, don't even have wires connecting them to the device.

And we can listen when we're traveling, we can listen when we're driving, we can listen when we are washing up. There's a whole bunch of ways in which you can consume audio content which aren't dependent on you giving absolute, total, 100% attention with your eyes, which would make it kind of difficult to be able to consume video whilst driving.

Ben: I do it all the time. What are you talking about?

Matt: Yeah. How is that court case going? So, that kind of immediacy. Now, there are problems with there as well, because often, organizations want to keep this stuff kind of hidden and not public, and then you get into challenges about how do you make a podcast consumable, but yet also private to the organization? There's a few companies I'm talking to who are working around that stuff, but anyway, that was the idea.

I then had somebody I knew who got in touch with me, and she said, "Matt, I'm interested in doing a podcast. Can we have a chat, and can you give me some advice?" I was like, "Yeah, I'm always up for talking a lot, basically."

Ben: So honest.

Matt: I know, it's all about me. So I called up with Pauline, and we chatted for about an hour or so. And the thing that became clear as we were talking was that what Pauline had was an idea about a potential business, but she wasn't really sure about what that business was. She had a really clear idea about her kind of mission, and her mission was, she's somebody who works flexibly. She works four day week. She does that, but she wants to be able to get a better balance between her family life and her working life.

And she was being approached by big tech companies, and they were talking with her about really big, important roles. And she's worked at some big, important tech companies, and then the minute she'd say, "I do four days a week," would be the minute that the conversation would shut down. They were just unable to, in any way, get their heads around the idea of somebody working flexibly, particularly in senior roles.

Ben: Well, how do you fit 80 hours a week in four days?

Matt: Right, exactly. It's crazy. And then you've got your 20% time on top.

Ben: That's right, yeah.

Matt: So, what Pauline was driven by was this idea about exploring the world, a flexible working, and to be able to see how both employees but also employers could be helped to be able to make more sorts of flexibility more of a reality. And where she got to was, "Well, maybe if I do a podcast about this, then ..."

So, we helped her with a podcast called The Flexible Movement. We've had little to do with it after getting her up and running with the first two sessions, which was partly about helping her into it and giving her an introduction and partly about some of the technical stuff, but she was up and running with it really quickly.

But what it gave her was then the ability to be able to really get into explore this. And she's had now coverage in The Financial Times, which is one of the big, serious papers in the UK. She's done interviews with all sorts of people, and all sorts of organizations, and it's enabled Pauline to be able to really get her head around that whole thing, and to be able to be much clearer now about where opportunities might be for being able to build a business, and to be able to help organizations and help managers and organizations get their heads around all the different facets there are in flexible working.

She did that because she was able to put the focus into, "How do I create a series of half hour episodes of a podcast?" Now, the podcast was the vehicle for that, but it enabled her to be able to do that rich, deep, social research in a way as, for her, as basically a technology company salesperson, who, again, aren't the people you'd immediately associate with things like ethnography, and enabled for her to be able to conceptualize that in a way that enabled her to be able to get deep into that subject.

Ben: So if I'm understanding this right, because on the one side, when you talk about it, I've always believed this, is that, I started listening to audiobooks and things like that in college, because I had to drive, particularly in grad school, I had to drive 12 hours to get home, back to my parents. And so the only way I could pass the time was I would listen to PR, and then eventually, I found audiobooks, and things like that.

And what [inaudible 00:15:01] with me is that almost the only time, at least at that point in my life, I could actually sit and listen to audio was in the car, because it was like the ADD part of me was focused on driving the car, and then the intellectual me could listen to whatever it was. But it's really interesting coming from the other side, if I'm understanding you right, is that, by going through the process of actually having to make a narrative for audio on a podcast, she actually worked through ideas and consolidated and improved them through that process. Is that what you're saying?

Matt: Exactly. And actually, I think from when last time you and I spoke, when I interviewed you for my show, I think that's a similar sort of path that you've gone down, through, with [crosstalk 00:15:43] as well, which it started off with one thing, and it's kind of gone in these directions that you couldn't have predicted at the start of it.

Ben: Right, right, right.

Matt: And that's the whole thing. It's about an ability to be able to do curious research, to be interested in things, to be able to not have necessarily an agenda, which enables you to be able to explore things in a much richer way. And from that, to be able to make some conclusions about what path you should take, what things you should do, what it is your organization should head towards.

Ben: Yeah, no, it's interesting the way you explained it there, too, [inaudible 00:16:15] because one thing we've been talking about here is ... Anyone who works with me knows how much I love webinars, being sarcastic. And just having worked in this industry for years, and if anyone's listening and hasn't worked particularly in kind of the software industry, there's this love affair with webinars where you get a couple people and they drone on for 45 minutes through slides, and no one can follow, and it's like, "When in the world do we think that people thought this was interesting?" I really don't know.

So there's kind of this ongoing thing where there were times when that really works, but what we've been actually experimenting, too, is, is there a way to make it more like a podcast, and what we really mean is, can we make it more like a conversation, where you're actually having a conversation, and it feels like the people that are listening in are part of the conversation.

So the thing is, you can actually communicate more. Because the other thing that comes to mind, too, is, I think, when you're talking to slides, you're talking of this kind of well-formed things, there's something that the guys at Amazon say, and I think it may have been Werner Vogels or something like that, or it may have been Bezos, but they basically said that when you present to a slide deck, you can hide between the bullets.

And I find myself all the time as I'm basic conforming the information to the bullets on this PowerPoint deck or some sort of a slide, whereas when you have a conversation, you actually, in some sense, you actually have to be more concise and actually communicate it better, or it won't land at all. And you don't have the crutch of having some sort of a visual element to it. So it seems like that really is getting in line with what you're talking about, right?

Matt: Absolutely. And interesting, actually, Amazon was another point of inspiration for why we took this next. And I'm not a big fan of Amazon, I think there's a lot of smoke blown ... This is an organization that still doesn't really make any money. [inaudible 00:18:10] it's great.

Ben: I get my packages, that's all I care about.

Matt: That's it, exactly. But the thing that they have, and this is the press release model, which is the idea of rather than producing a business case, you should write a press release that predicts a future state where your new products, or new idea, has been launched, and what you'll be able to say about it as it's launched to market. And it's a sort of six-paged thing, and it's verbose prose, it's not bullet points. It has to be written like something that somebody would want to read.

And that was the final little piece of this jigsaw, because what we then thought, well, now we talk about the big aspirational goal, which may well never happen. But in businesses today, lots of businesses talk about agility, talk about wanting to be agile, and that's both big A, as in software development agile, and then small A, as in, well, kind of iteration and using data to inform decisions about where you should go next, and those kind of things.

But very few of them, from my experience, achieve it. And the reason they struggle to achieve it is because of the thing called the business case. And the business case is an act of fiction that is written in a language that nobody would ever want to read. And it's an act of fiction, because what it does is, it forces people who have an idea to emotionally and politically commit to that idea to such an extent that they will flex reality no matter what it is to be able to put something down that they, then, have to stand by, because to get forward in any organization, you need to get your business cases approved to be able to get funding to do things.

And the problem with that is the numbers that frame that from the outset are always, always wrong. They might be wrong good, they might be wrong bad, who knows, but they're always wrong because they're always made up. So if you want to do something new in an organization, you have to do something secretive to be able to produce a thing that's read by very few people, that is fictional, made up, and wrong, to see if you can influence people to be able to give you funding to then commit you to try to deliver on something that may well be impossible to deliver.

If there are any UK listeners, they might be drawing analogies to something else that's going on here at the moment, but we'll put that to the side. Now, the idea, the big idea is, rather than creating business cases, if you've got a business challenge, how about you go ask an investigator. You investigate it in such a way that you talk to people in your organization about that challenge, you talk about it with people at all sorts of levels in your organization, you talk with people who've got different opinions about what the challenge is and how it might be addressed.

You go outside of your organization and talk to people in other industries, or in other organizations in the same industry, to think about how they address such challenges. And as of all of that, what you do is, rather than creating a business case, you create a series of audio reports. We can call them, maybe, podcasts.

Ben: Novel idea.

Matt: And what that would do is enable you to be able to investigate research with a humility and a curiosity that producing something like a podcast forces you to do, because the format you're heading towards is story, but it's story that has to be a compelling listen. It enables you to do it without having a political commitment that means at the end of it, you can say, "Well, we've done this, and the conclusion is, this isn't a good idea," or, "We've done this, and the conclusion is, we should go in a completely different direction to what we thought."

And it enables you to do that whilst enabling you to communicate to your organization, because you're producing this thing that is communicative in its own right, and we could replace the business case.

Ben: I love it, Matt, though. I can't help but envision some sort of like, now you've got to have this really deep, rhythmic music before you start talking about something like off the dropout, or a serial ... In 2013,

Matt: Now, of course, that big vision, I know, is obviously ludicrous and never going to happen, but I hold it dear in my heart that it might. But what that does then enable me to do is to say to organizations, "Well, how about, though? If you built these capabilities, and you built these capabilities not as just purely communication skills, but as this kind of research and investigation skillset, and you did it amongst people who aren't comms people," because actually, internal comms people, and I'm going to upset a few now, but an awful lot of them are not very good comms people. And mostly, their job is stopping people communicating.

And what you then get is people who can't communicate very well outsourcing their communications to people who also can't communicate very well, and spend most of their time not communicating. This is not healthy, and it leads to some of the challenges about projects get launched, nobody knows what the hell is going on, because nobody was informed about any of it before it started.

Switch it round. If this is a skillset to be able to introduce things like ethnography in a nice, safe, comfortable way to people who aren't in that realm but extending out their skills and capabilities to be able to do the qualitative as well as the constitutive research that's necessary for an organization to do this stuff successfully, and to be able to do it in a way that isn't inherently communicative all the way through the process.

Now, we've got our first client, and our first client is a central government department in the UK. It's an organization that is, itself, about 3,000 people. Its extended organization [inaudible 00:24:00] various other public sector bodies that report to it. It's probably about 20,000 people. It's the result of a series of mergers over the years as government machinery has been moved around, so they've got kind of post-MNA type challenges where they've got lots of separate silos, they don't really talk to each other, and these kind of things.

And we're just about to start to go through the first set of workshops where we'll help about 20 of their people, and mostly people in tech roles and in, interestingly, information and records management roles, as well. Those guys, knowledge management people are really interested in this as a technique, because it's placed where knowledge management used to be before we got obsessed with SharePoint.

And we're going to take them through how to build a kind of editorial plan, so who's your audience, what is it that your audience, you might want them to do, how might you get them to do that, what are the stories you want to tell them, who are the people that you want to be able to tell the stories of? The second bit is then, what is it to interview? How is interviewing for a podcast different from, say, doing a job interview, or doing a business analysis interview? And how do you ask good, open questions, and how do you help somebody tell a story, and how do listen well? Because that's a big part of this, as well.

And then the third part is to be able to say, "How do you mechanically edit all of that together?" That's the geeky bit. That's the bit when you're into Audacity and chopping stuff and tidying it up and turning it from some raw audio into a show. And then the final part is about publishing and publicizing and building communities around it and being able to turn it into a thing that has substance, because obviously, if you just put a show out there with no publicity around it, nobody listens.

Their CTO has set, to me, the objective is to be able to help to break down some of their silos, which is a quite nice broad set of objectives, and then also, maybe, a bit further down, I'd help them with some of the talent management challenges they've got, because the need to recruit and a lot of new people into their organization. So to use it to build up and call it a brand. Will this work? I don't know. He's given us the opportunity to be able to do the experiments to see how it goes.

I'm really excited about it, because the idea of being able to give people a new set of faculties to be able to engage with people around them, to be able to help, ultimately, deliver better technology solutions within that organization. This feels like it could have some really interesting outcomes.

Ben: Yeah, I think it's really compelling, Matt. One thing that comes to mind is even an aside, with where the podcast industry is right now, there are so many different outfits out there that you can basically outsource the editing part to, right, so that you don't have to be ... And it's similar to video editing, but it's the same part as what you were saying before, significantly cheaper.

You can, particularly for a business, it's actually a really small part of the cost, and it goes back to that article I was reading, which I think definitely builds your case, because some of what they're talking about is, I remember from the article, is that, there are certain companies where you could tell that it was basically corporate shrill.

As you were saying, you could tell that it was built by internal comms people that were trying to kind of measure that stuff in the U.S., when I'm sure it's equivalent over in the UK, is like the announcements that the principal would give in the morning in a high school that just were painful to listen to, and clearly trying to achieve a certain purpose, right? As opposed to just conversations.

And it seems the ones that have been really successful, according to this article, are these ones that are really just conversations with people in the company, where they're trying to increase the visibility of what people are doing to try to foster innovation by connecting people. And so this sounds to me like you're basically taking that and making that a methodology, in some sense, which is fantastic.

Matt: Absolutely. I think there's two things on that. The first is, there are lots of people out there who are selling corporate podcasting, but it's as a production service rather than as a building skills, and we very clearly from the outset decided that actually ...

And interestingly, another government department in the UK recently, they spent a ludicrous amount of money to an external production company to produce some podcasts, external facing, to be fair, but they got one of the co-hosts from The Apprentice in the UK, like you want to go anywhere near any of the former people involved in The Apprentice.

And they spent a huge amount of money, and they had about 200 listeners, and it was in the press to say they spent like 700 pounds per listener to be able to produce this thing. That's just the wrong way round, because what they've done is they've just said it was just another media thing. This isn't what we're talking about at all.

But I think the other [inaudible 00:28:45] could you outsource the editing bit, I think it's possible, but actually, part of the richness of this is the analysis work that has to go in to be able to make the editorial decisions about what goes in and what comes out.

Ben: I hear you, yeah.

Matt: That takes time. Actually, if you can get reasonably ... Like the interview we're doing now, I don't think there's going to be a huge amount of editing to be able to turn this into something, because you won't be able to find a gap between my words. But actually, if you structure interviews in such a way that you're going to say this is a half hour, or even an hour long conversation, actually, you don't want to do lots of editing, unless you want to just take out bits that've gone wrong.

But listening back and being able to immerse yourself in the data again, in the same way that, every so often, I'll do something where I want to do some more quantitative kind of analysis, and I'll get into spreadsheets, and I'll do a lot of dull, repetitive things in spreadsheets because it helps me to understand the data.

This comes back to the thing I've talked about, I think, with you, before data [inaudible 00:29:44], this idea of being at a play with the data and understand it and be in it to be able to understand the possibilities of it, because it's not just a [inaudible 00:29:51] sitting on the top, it's about being able to get into the depths of it.

But the industries that will spring up in the moment about just turning podcasting into yet another channel for comms people to use to be able to communicate, that's not what we're talking about here. This is about actually can you allow others in an organization to be able to develop a richness of questioning and interrogation and research that gives them the ability to understand things at a different level to how they are at the moment.

Ben: Yeah, one of the things when you describe it that way that I really like about it, I think there's a tendency even today that people that get involved, even with the audio forums with podcasting, tend to be the ones that can already be ... They're very comfortable with it, and they can talk continuously for 30 minutes with no pause.

But really, in some sense, what you're talking about is helping people where that, just maybe, is not coming as naturally, but they actually could really go that direction. You're actually giving them the skills. In my mind, that's significantly easier than trying to teach someone how to be on video.

Because you can really, really focus, and I think that's admirable, because the thing is, like you said in the very beginning, focusing on an audio-only medium allows them to focus on what they're saying, and focus on how they're communicating, and focus on the humanity of the communication, not just getting a point across, and I think that's awesome.

Matt: Yeah. If you know a bit about how video is produced, if you've ever been involved in [inaudible 00:31:13] TV news, you know how much of a massive editing job that is, and how much of what you see on news, put aside all the concepts of fake news, but are staged. Even the convention of the way in which an interview is set up with one camera, when the interviewer is nodding along to the answer, that was recorded at a different point. That's made up. That's a fictional reaction.

You don't need to worry about any of that kind of fiction with audio, because it's much more natural in how you communicate.

Ben: Yeah, absolutely. And I'd say, even on that point, one of my favorite podcasts right now is one that Conan O'Brien is doing called Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend, but it's actually, to your point, it's actually a really interesting podcast, but how he operates on his ...

And he's basically someone that's come from the television world, and I don't think this has happened a whole lot before now, is someone who's spent a whole career, 25 years, making these talk shows, and then when he comes and does a podcast, as you saw him kind of get into it, it's a completely different feel.

And to your point, it's more natural, the conversations are more engaging, it seems like there's less constraints, it's not a staged, and this is a guy who knows how to do talk shows. So it's just the medium itself just completely changes it, and I love that. I think you will be able to achieve your vision. I believe in you, Matt. I believe in you.

Matt: That's very kind of you, Ben. Also, it's worth keeping in mind that some of us do have faces for radio.

Ben: Oh, I definitely have a face for radio. I'm comfortable with that now. Well, Matt, I think this is really exciting. I'm always excited to see what you're busying yourself with, and I think this is a pretty exciting thing you're going about. It's actually got me thinking about some things that maybe I can do on my side of the fence.

But let's stay in touch. Obviously, we're going to do that, and let's maybe bring you on in several months and talk about how it's been going, because I think this is pretty exciting.

Matt: That'd be fabulous.

Ben: Well, thanks everybody for listening to the podcast. As always, check us out on your favorite podcast app, rate us and review us so that other people can find us, and look for the next episode in your feed. Thanks everybody for listening.

Speaker 3: Masters of Data is brought to you by Sumo Logic. Sumo Logic is a cloud native, machine data analytics platform, delivering real-time continuous intelligence as a service to build, run, and secure modern applications. Sumo Logic empowers the people who power modern business. For more information, go to

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The guy behind the mic

Ben Newton

Ben Newton

Ben is a veteran of the IT Operations market, with a two decade career across large and small companies like Loudcloud, BladeLogic, Northrop Grumman, EDS, and BMC. Ben got to do DevOps before DevOps was cool, working with government agencies and major commercial brands to be more agile and move faster. More recently, Ben spent 5 years in product management at Sumo Logic, and is now running product marketing for Operations Analytics at Sumo Logic. His latest project, Masters of Data, has let him combine his love of podcasts and music with his love of good conversations.

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