CWJJ Ep 29 - Lauren Morton and Ryan Wicks

February 04, 2021 00:25:30
CWJJ Ep 29 - Lauren Morton and Ryan Wicks
Coffee With Jim & James
CWJJ Ep 29 - Lauren Morton and Ryan Wicks

Feb 04 2021 | 00:25:30

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James Cross Jim Schauer

Show Notes

On this special episode of Coffee with Jim & James, Lauren Morton and Ryan Wicks join us to discuss Product Innovation and Product Excellence here at Energy Worldnet.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:00:11 Welcome energy industry and more to another exciting episode of coffee with Jim and James today, we're going to get a little techie and in my world, techie frame, relay TCP IP S O E wait a minute, se something like that. I can't remember, but being, you know, very serious, I am consciously incompetent some of those things, but I am consciously competent to know that those things affect my world positively every day. And if it wasn't for my tech whisper, I guru the one that helps me all the time to do fantastic logos like that and virtual backgrounds. It's my brother, Mr. James Cross. James, how are you? This fine and beautiful morning. Speaker 2 00:00:57 I'm good. Jimmy. It's cold here in Texas. Uh, I think it was close to freezing when we got up this morning, but, um, you know, really all I do is just mansplaining things to Jim when it comes to technology. That's, that's my gift being called a whisper is so much fancier, but Jim today, um, we talked about the brand rebrand a few weeks back with, with Coleman Sterling, our CEO. And, uh, we talked about, you know, this rebrand being a lot more than, than just a logos and colors and that there really wasn't a commitment behind it. And that commitment is really centered on user experience. And you can take that in numerous different ways. This group, you know, being a little more tech technology minded, uh, you know, definitely can lean into things like UX, but, um, really what we wanted to talk about today and why we brought in, uh, our two special guests today that we'll introduce in just a second is really we've, we've restructured and use that same user experience, you know, with our own employees and with some initiatives within our own walls, that that really is dumping some of, um, some of the old stodgy behavior I'd say in the technology side of things really on its head. Speaker 2 00:02:17 And so today we're going to be bringing in, uh, number one, Lauren Morton, uh, our wonderful colleague and also Ryan Wix. And we'll let them give their Ryan is blessed. He's he's the most pumped about this mood because he used to have Jim, do you and Ryan have the longest titles in the company? Well, now do still do so Ryan was, I know most pumped about it, but first I want to bring in Lauren and Ryan. I'll let Jim introduce you and bring you on board and you can, uh, he can question you, but Lauren, good morning. Welcome to the show. Good morning. Thank you for Speaker 1 00:02:57 Having me. I'm thrilled to be of coffee with Speaker 3 00:03:00 Jim and James. I feel, uh, uh, pretty special being able to be on with you guys. So this is pretty awesome. Speaker 2 00:03:07 Well, I'll ask you that same question later. Um, say if you still feel the same way, but, but Lauren, let's bring you in and talk about this commitment to user experience. So it's not just external facing or that traditional UX that, you know, we've come to love, but it's also really a concept that we use to redefine and restructure the product side of our house. So if you don't mind, can you give us a fly over of this restriction that I'm talking about and honestly how you found yourself right in the middle? Speaker 3 00:03:40 Sure. Yeah, absolutely. So we talked a little bit about, um, the road to, uh, product innovation and where we came from being, uh, just technology services and then moving into that product innovation and then the, um, the, the systems engineering side of things. But really when we look at, uh, innovation, um, it's really the core of our business. Um, it's the backbone of energy roll net. I mean, really, if you think about it from the very beginning, going all the way back to, uh, delivering, um, the first to deliver computer-based training to the industry inform form of CDs. Now, how far have we come from from CDs? I think we're all thankful for that. Not to have to try to track those down, but innovation itself is nothing new to energy net it's, it's who we are. It's been ingrained in us from the very beginning. Speaker 3 00:04:28 And you know, when I started with the company back in January of 2012, it's been a little while now. Uh, we were a growing company and, uh, we had a few people and they wore many hats. And I think that that is common for a company that is growing and very entrepreneurial in spirit. And so when I came on board, I was actually one of 12 people back in 2012. So I've seen a lot of change, a lot of great growth, um, pretty exciting, uh, to see that now and where we are. But, uh, at the time it was common for me to move. You know, we're talking about wearing these different hats to move, uh, from, uh, talking with clients, to writing requirements, putting together mock-ups for these new features, I'd be in leadership meetings. Um, I would act as a project manager, I'd go from that to troubleshooting, um, hardware issues, uh, making roadmap, uh, recommendations for our product, and then literally even crawling around on the floor, uh, to set up new equipment for employees, but she knows, Hey, that was fine. I enjoyed helping people. So Speaker 2 00:05:29 Lauren crawl around the floor is user experience to the map. Yes, Speaker 3 00:05:33 Absolutely. Yes. Uh, you, uh, that, that is very true. So, you know, many hats, uh, were worn at the time. And so, you know, for me personally, I'm really did not, um, have what Stephen Covey refers to as, uh, you know, in his, his book, seven habits of highly effective people that dedicated quadrant to time, uh, that we focus on the important and the strategic, uh, things. And so, uh, the good thing is that we've continued to grow and as we've done that, we become much more specialized and we begin to drop some of those hats and we become much more laser focused, uh, on our roles. And so the same is true for me and, you know, my background being an information systems and systems development, and then being so ingrained in our product, uh, my natural inclination is to move more towards the product innovation and product development activities. Speaker 3 00:06:28 And so, uh, like many, I had to take a step back and say, you know, what is it that I'm passionate about? And although I enjoy helping people, you know, crawling on the ground and it's like saying user experience for sure. Uh, and, and helping with those sort of, uh, broad technology things. My true passion is in the platform and the product and seeing how that helps our clients. And, you know, Jim James, I know that, you know, this, that our clients, they have a lot on their plate and they're dealing with regulations, they're dealing with safety matters. They're wanting to make sure that their folks are again safe, that they're out on the job site, they're trained, they're qualified. And, um, you know, they need the smart tools to support them, not to hinder them, but to support them. And, and honestly, I get super excited when I see something that we've built, uh, truly help somebody and make a difference to them. So I, I believe that this move, uh, reinforces our commitment to the brand, to the user experience that you talked about, uh, to the product and to, uh, going back to our roots of innovation and most of all, uh, helping our clients in the industry. And so, you know, we put together some very passionate people, um, that are focused on delivering, I think, what really matters to the industry. So I'm super thrilled and very excited about this, this new opportunity. Speaker 1 00:07:51 Did you hear what Lauren said when she came on board and there were 12? Yes. I have 12 people on a zoom call yesterday that I had 12 people in my house this weekend. And, you know, and I think that's illegal in Florida, but we'll talk about that afterwards, but let's not make sure let's make sure that doesn't air, um, on a serious note. Let me, let me bring, uh, Ryan into the mix. And I have to say something to Ryan as well as everybody. The one thing that just enamored me with listening to Lauren was the passion in her voice. And I think that's such a strong trait and some such a, it gives you energy to hear that. So, Ryan, you know, I'm going to put you on the spot here. Um, we're going to talk about, you know, uh, product and services and having passionate people in the right seat doing the right job. And I want to learn about you as our audience. Does, you know, what brought you to product innovation? Uh, what drives you give us a little bit of, uh, your history Speaker 4 00:08:56 As well as, you know, what makes you get up in the morning, first thing, and say, I am ready to tackle this Speaker 2 00:09:02 And Ryan, how is it to follow Warren? How's that? Speaker 4 00:09:06 That's awesome. I am fortunately no pressure whatsoever at all. Um, yeah, I would say first and foremost, thank you all for having me cause Laura's a powerhouse in her number selves. So to have me alongside that's, I'm grateful for that. Um, but two, as far as passion goes, I mean, I have been fortunate enough to sort of stumble into my room. I, you know, walked into Mayo clinic Dan's, you know, as an intern and wanting to do more and learn more. And, and I was surrounded by extremely intelligent, extremely passionate people and just rubbed off. I learned from the best and, you know, I just took that forward. So, you know, Laura mentioned wanting to be able to help people. And that's just core to who I am from the get-go. So yeah. You know, passion is extremely important to us and it's one of those things that it's not a matter of just being passionate and being dedicated to what you do. But for me personally, it's about listening, not hearing listening, rarely actually able to, you know, meet people where they're at and hear where they're doing and what they're going through and taking that and turning it around to how we can help, how we can meet them, where they're at and make sure that we're providing what we need. But I'm extremely fortunate. I, you know, like I said, I stumbled in to where I am. I wasn't planning on being at AWN, but here I am, I've been here for almost five years now. Speaker 2 00:10:33 We got here as fast as we could. Speaker 4 00:10:37 Very glad. Yeah. And to that point, I would that say the timing of James and I starting right about the same time was just highly coincidental. Let's just, Oh yeah. You know, um, and James immediately recognizing that I'm a helper and I enjoy, you know, jumping into situations that have no business being in. Um, and, uh, recognizing that for the very first networks that we had, he needed a Navy guy. I'm an ERT, I'll pick it up. I can do that. So there I am first time working with microphones, working with, walkie-talkies trying to make sure presentations are up to date, have people walking up to me, mid show going, I need to change these slides. And I'm like, Oh, I, Speaker 2 00:11:21 Yeah, I'll get on it. Yep. Speaker 4 00:11:23 Well, we'll make it work. That's fine. We can do that. Um, and I think that's just one of the biggest things that Laura and I have in common is that we are absolutely driven to, you know, help those that we can help and just be able to say, hear you and say, yeah, we can do that. Speaker 2 00:11:39 That's our culture for sure. And Ryan, uh, thanks for that. You know, almost testimony I hope people realize stumbling into your career is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen. I think not stumbling into your career is probably the worst thing, but I'm Lauren, I'm going to bring you back in and fire off kind of the last set of question for you, both of you and Ryan, um, innovation and excellence. So that's kind of where we draw the line and, you know, have kind of the two sides of that are new and this and this rework. So Lauren, do you mind giving us kind of that 30,000 foot view of, of what inspires each team each day and really what are they shooting for what's there? Speaker 3 00:12:24 Yeah, absolutely. So, um, first let me just say, this is kind of a fun fact. So we went back to, again, we were talking about how many people there were when I started are what 12. So now in the product innovation and product excellence division, uh, we have roughly like that same number of folks, uh, dedicated to innovation to excellence. And so, uh, you know, again, we talk about being much more laser focused, uh, than wearing those many hats. So it's, uh, it's awesome that we are able to do that. And so when we, um, when we talk about product innovation as a whole, and then we have an essence, two areas, you know, you mentioned product innovation, product excellence, and really those are the beginning and the end of the whole product development life cycle. And so it starts with, um, product innovation and that is the ideation, uh, that is the why behind what we build. Speaker 3 00:13:17 And that is the, also the, what, what is it that we build? Um, so what does that Y um, with the features and the tools that we build and why is that important to the clients? Why is that important to the industry? And, um, it's the requirements gathering and then working with our development team to execute on those plans and those goals and that Y that we talk about. And so really wanting to make sure that again, what we deliver, uh, matters and on the flip side of that, you have product excellence. And so, uh, that is the commitment, uh, to the quality, to ensuring at the end of the day, that what we've delivered is the very best. And it also aligns with that vision and that plan that Y that product, um, innovation laid out from the very beginning. So again, it is the beginning of the end of that whole product development life cycle. And we've put together a team with some really talented folks that are committed, that are driven, that are passionate, that are curious, that are excited to not only try to be problem solvers, which I think that's one thing Ryan and I also share, we love to solve problems. Um, and then, but not only that, but actually going out and being a problem finder. So what are the issues before they even come to us? And so, um, those are some of the things that really drive this group. And, uh, so we're just thrilled, really, Speaker 2 00:14:44 Lauren that's, that's a great trait and I love what you said there a problem finder where you go out and try to not say, break it, Speaker 1 00:14:52 But see if there's any pieces that are, you know, just don't assume everything is perfect. And you go with, you know, with the assumption, you're going to find something out there. I love that aspect. Ryan, let me bring you a little bit. I want to take this down, maybe a little bit of a different path and much more into Jim's world. Okay. Let's pretend that I am a prospect, um, you know, uh, a client that user of the energy world net system, or again, just Jim, as I said, I'm consciously incompetent to everything behind this, but I'm consciously competent to what I expect when I go forward with it. So having said that, what will this now look like to me, you know, all the innovations that we're talking about, I'm not going to hold you to anything. Uh, but, uh, this will help people like me to help understand, uh, some of your world and how it transcends over into, you know, people like me that aren't mostly not really techie, but, you know, we use your stuff every day without it I'm dead in the water. So if that's, if that wasn't a, a loaded question that could, you could talk two hours on, I don't know what is Speaker 4 00:15:58 I'm telling you, man. And I would first say that, you know, taking it a little bit of a step back from just Lauren. Again, we are very fortunate to be with the company that we're at. We have several individuals. Um, if you're fortunate enough to work with us, you will find, have a passion for what we do. And like Lauren and I have a passionate about understanding, why do you need to do this? What are you trying to do? How do you do what you do? Um, we are experts in our field, you know, that is what we do. But part of being an expert is understanding that you don't know everything, and everyone has a little bit of a nuance. Everybody has a little bit, you know, difference and how they do what they do. Um, and so one of the first things for, you know, for you, Jim would for, for me personally, is to sit down with you and go, what do you do? Speaker 4 00:16:44 How do you do what you do? And that's what I've loved about my career. No one's ever assumed that I understood intimately how they do what they do. So that lets me just sit down and just learn you, how do you do what you do? What's important to you? What, you know, why do you go through this process instead of this one what's failed in the past and, you know, learn from you and make sure that at the end of it all, I can talk with you in the language that you share. So that way you understand, I hear you. And now I can take that back to my teens, my peers, my, you know, my groups and say, this is how Jim does what he does. And this is why this is important. And this is where we need to go because of that. And everybody gathers around that and we all take it forward. So that is what we do. That's how we work. Um, and so for individuals like yourself that are, you know, just, uh, tech workers, we have, you know, a very large group of individuals that are here to talk with you and to help you out, that they understand what they do. They know their passions and they know their knowledge areas, but when anything else Speaker 2 00:17:50 They understand you got where you are by doing your way, and you are an expert in your field, we're going to be here to hear you. So that's what we do. Speaker 1 00:18:01 And let me just jump in just to explain that it is true every single day and that passion that you have to understand my world, which is a little atypical and try to find ways to make it more synergetic or easier. I mean, you know, when you teach me things that, you know, if you do it this way, it might save you 20 minutes. That's a, that's a revelation to me. So thank you so that you, the whole team, everybody. Speaker 2 00:18:29 Yeah, absolutely. What a pepperoni. Um, well, we've, we've come to the end of our show sadly, but we have one more question and it's something we've been in the shows with them. I'm going to quit disclaiming that it's something that we had another show with, because I want to just assume everyone watches every episode all the time, but for this one, this is the last time I'll ever say it. Jimmy, we like to end our show with one question and Lauren, I'm going to start with you. So Ryan, if you pay attention, you get a jump on it and it can be ideate in the whole time. Uh, Lauren, do you love what you do? Speaker 3 00:19:09 Yes, I sure do. You know? Um, I think, uh, if you've known me, uh, you've heard me say that, uh, it is always an exciting time to be part of energy Roadnet and, uh, that is no different today than it was the first day that I started, uh, you know, those, um, um, many days ago, uh, back in 2012. So, uh, I enjoy the people that I work with. I enjoy, uh, the industry, our clients, you know, getting to know them, uh, and seeing them at conferences. Uh it's uh, it really, um, uh, continues to, to drive me. Um, the other thing is, is that when I see truly, when I see that something that we have built, when that really helps a client, um, and that helps them in their day to day. And, um, that really does inspire me. And so, um, I love it. I, I enjoy it. Everything is it's, it's, it's never dull. There's always something new happening, and that has been true throughout my career. So absolutely. I do love what I do. Speaker 2 00:20:24 That's awesome. You know, I think we all want to, you know, affect positive change. And so in you saying that, you know, saying it an action or whatever it looks like at that moment is one of the best results where I am. You're not off the hook, man, and have a little bit of extra time, and I know you work so well on the fly. Ryan, do you love what you do? Absolutely not. Speaker 4 00:20:48 Um, Speaker 2 00:20:49 I've been waiting for somebody to answer like that. I couldn't let you down. Speaker 4 00:20:54 I couldn't, I could not let you down in that moment. Um, again, Jameson, I started at the same time was just serendipity at its best. So, you know, again, Lauren said it all and she's absolutely right, but I will just say one more time. It's not just a matter that I love what I do. I love what I get to be around the teams. I get to be around the people that they get to be around. It's not just me. It's not just Lauren. It's not actually even just Jim and James that are passionate. We have so many people that you would be surprised. They are thinking about your problems night and day. They really are trying to figure things out that really are working to make, not just you better, but you know, your peers better and the industry better. Um, and for a lot of the people, if you were to, to get to know them, you'd be like, why are you worried about this? Speaker 4 00:21:45 Why, why, why does this keep you up at night? It's just because it's what we do. It's it's really, if you've never had a job that you just truly were passionate about, I am sorry for you. And, and to go back to what germinate, um, James and I were talking about earlier, as far as stumbling into your career, that's why I was able to sum up my career because I very early on found out what I was passionate about. And if you can find that no matter what that is, you know, hold onto that because that Mike, Jim, you know, Jim, even though he, you know, jokes about not being a technical guru, what drives the rest of us is his personality and his drive and his energy for James, you know, being able to lighten the load on everybody else and make sure that we're all connected and doing what we need to do. Speaker 4 00:22:35 We all find our passions. And we're all fortunate enough that we're in a company that allows us to find those passions. Again, for those of you that don't know me more than likely I'm on a call talking about extremely technical things, because that's my background, but I'm now in a team that all we get to do all, um, what we are are trusted with is the future and the new innovations for this company. And if you were to know me 15, 20 years ago, you probably wouldn't assume that that's where I would be. But here I am, because I've been allowed to follow my passion. And my passion has led me to the people that need help. They need away. And I'm here to, to hear that and to get them what they need. So, yeah, I absolutely love what I do. Speaker 2 00:23:22 Right. And I just had, I just had the biggest epiphany. You ready? Y'all are literally the dream team. Like that's what else job is, what are we talking about right now built your dream job, where you just sit around, you get paid to dream now, right. And then make it happen. We'll workshop that. I think there's some legs on that. Ryan. Great answer, Lauren. You're awesome. You're both awesome. Uh, Jimmy, you want to take us home? Speaker 1 00:23:54 Absolutely. I, I don't want to, I could go on for another hour just listening to this because I have to tell you every time I get inspired and I learned something more, but seriously, uh, our heartfelt thanks to Ryan and Lauren for joining us today. Absolutely. You guys make a difference each and every day. And I'm sure that our audience has picked up something. Hopefully they got a little, little bit of that inspiration that they can take back and have that spread. And I'm going to put Ryan and Lauren on the right on it right now that if you guys want to connect with them on LinkedIn, they're there in the, uh, links up above. So do that. Uh, you may even reach out to them to, you know, as you guys say nerd out, is that okay if I say that nerd out? Speaker 2 00:24:37 Okay. I think it's more geek out nerdy. Speaker 1 00:24:40 Oh, decal. Okay. I just wanna make sure I'm hibiscus. I want to make sure I'm giving the right vibe. Ask him it's good enough anyways. Uh, thank you everybody for tuning in today, doing some exciting news. You may want to check out the energy world that a website there might be a new corporate Tim and James area on there, and you might be seeing something very exciting on LinkedIn. Pretty soon, James, I just have to spill the beans of time, emotional. Well, I tell you it's because of our viewership every each and every week. We thank you all for tuning in until next time, please take care, stay safe. God bless you. God bless her industry. And we will see you on the next episode of coffee with Jim and James. Speaker 0 00:25:24 Thank you all.

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