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Future of Work Series: Q&A with Matt Wallaert

Q&A with Matt Wallaert on Vowel

At Vowel, we often chat with folks in our network (who also happen to be some of the most influential leaders and thinkers in tech) about where the future of work and collaboration is going. One day, we thought “Why not record it, and open up the conversation to be shared, right on Vowel?”

That’s exactly what we did, and that has turned into what you see here — welcome to Vowel’s Future of Work Series.

Below is a conversation between Vowel's Head of Growth, Ziming Yang, and Matt Wallaert. Matt is a behavioral scientist and a product strategist. He has spent 20+ years applying behavioral sciences to practical problems — in the past at Frog, Microsoft, and Clover, and today as the founder of, an applied behavioral science consultancy. He's also the author of Start At The End: How to Build Products that Create Change.

Check out the conversation in full on Vowel, or watch the video right here.

Ziming Yang: Awesome to have you join us on the Vowel of Future of Work series, Matt, I'm really excited to chat. I'll do a quick introduction about myself and I'd love for you to introduce yourself. So I'm I lead growth here at Vowel. So all of our kind of product growth strategy. All of our marketing strategy and really excited to, to talk about the future of work with you today. Yeah. Why don't you introduce yourself?

Matt Wallaert: Sure. It's great to great to spend some time with you Ziming. My name is Matt Wallaert and I'm a applied behavioral scientist. I've worked at. Microsoft and sold some startups and was chief officer at Clover health. And was most recently had to be able to science at frog design. And these days I run, which is a behavioral consultancy that helps companies embed behavioral science in their processes. So we don't do any project work. It's only capability building and it's me and a bunch of sort of folks who have been doing behavioral science for a really long time. So lots of fun.

Ziming Yang: That's that's fascinating. Can you talk a bit about what actually behavioral science is and like what you actually like, I dunno, give an example of maybe somebody or client that you've worked with and, and how behavioral science ends up changing their processes.

Matt Wallaert: Yeah, sure. So applied behavioral science. Is, it's not translational research, so it's not. There are social psychology studies that happen in a lab and I'm gonna go apply those in the world. That's valuable. But, but there's a poor transformation that happens there because lots of things that happen in a highly controlled environment don't happen when you get them out in the wild world, when there's a lot more noise and, and, and many more pressures that are happening. So when we talk about apply BS science, we actually meet applied science. So using the scientific method. Inu to change behavior. So I happen to believe that all the point of everything we do is, is to change behavior, right? Even this conversation you and I talking right now. We are trying to change people's behavior, right? We're trying to mutually tell people, Hey, why they should use vow. Both of us think this is great. Like we want to cause the behavior change of this people using Vowel.

And so you could think of this whole talk as an intervention that causes that. So, what we're doing is using science to make that better. So let's pretend you, and I could record this interview over and over and over again, we could do more than one thing. We could start to understand two things. One. What, what are the promoting pressures? What make it more likely? What could we say that would make it more likely that people use Vowel? And two, how do we lessen the inhibiting pressures? How do we make it easier for people to use Vowel? We could put a link in here. One of the things I love about Vowel, easy ability to sort of enrich, I can make things really easy. I can drop links in. I can take notes, you know, I can zoom back and forth. Those are all reducing inhibiting pressures. Cause all be behaviors that competition between those pressures. So apply behavioral science is using the scientific method in CIU. To try and figure out what interventions actually cause behavior change because to us. All businesses, just monetize behavior change, right? Visa monetizes, the behavior that is transacting. Vowel monetizes the behavior that is talking to each other, right? Like. We create some sort of behavior change, and then we monetize that behavior change. That's how business works. And so we think. If you get better at the behavior change part of it. And you have a good business model. You'll eventually end up in a profitable business.

Ziming Yang: That's that's fascinating. And I imagine that actually doing that with. Clients has probably changed over, over, you know, the last, last little while as, as you can imagine, you know, you're, you're gonna more remote and stuff. I'd love for you to talk a little bit about like, Like how you've experienced that. Application of behavioral change, changing. As you know, technology is more introduced into meetings and like what you've noticed about. How people even just, just work. Differently.

Matt Wallaert: Yeah, it's fascinating. You know, I've had, I've been doing this for about 20 years and when I started, no one was talking about behavior change. That wasn't a topic. You know, I came out of academia. And came on as I had a product at a startup. And no one was really thinking about product as behavior change. Now, I think that's a relatively common vernacular, right? Like people understand that the goal of product is to change behavior. In some ways they might not. Be always be articulating what behavior they wanna change. Right. Which is something we need to help people do. They might not always be. At the right place to do that. And they might not always be using the scientific method, but there's more. Discussion than there once was. You know, we didn't used to do a lot virtually for a variety of reasons. Now we get to do a lot of things virtually, you know, as someone I used to, you know, I gave 20 or 30 keynotes a year and then of course the pandemic happened.

Matt Wallaert: Right. And I started, you know, talking more virtually and things. Which about the time I started using Vowel for my public office hours and other kinds of things. And I actually find that I actually. Enjoy there's look being in front of a live audience. In the room is fun, right? As a, as a. You know, someone who's trying to communicate information. You can get energy from that, from that audience, but from a pure learning perspective. I actually prefer teaching online. I think it's great. Right? People can, for example, ask me questions as I go in the chat without having to interrupt the whole talk and I can sort of see what they're asking and work that into the talk as I'm going. You can't do that lot. Right because, I mean, I guess you could, if I had a screen in front of me, but then it's a little weird and people would've to like, You know, you could use some sort of pulse software or something so that people are putting live suggestions. And, but it's not an easy reaction, whereas like here.

Ziming Yang: Yeah, I was gonna say for learners, it's the exact same thing, right? Like, like learning within, like, I don't know, a seminar room or something like that. And you're like, you know, alright, well, this is all I have. I gotta, I gotta look at you versus like when you're remote. I, I know my last company I was at. Was the exact same thing where like learning online has fun to fundamentally changed. Right. And you now have the ability to learn probably. Three four X the amount of content in the same amount of time. Right.

Matt Wallaert: Well, and what I would argue is every meeting. Is a learning meeting, right? So I have degree in psych and a degree in education. I think every meeting is a learning meeting. We often think of learning in this like Sage on the stage, sort of like Matt passes knowledge to you, but there's a guide on the side sort of version of that too. I think every meeting that we have at a, at a company where we're trying to make this decisions and things is just learning new facts, right. We're trying. To get evidence from each other in order to collectively make a decision. So I, I think when you look at tools like Vowel, even when it's not in an explicit, like air quotes, earning environment, right. It's not teaching a class or whatever, there's still a bunch of benefits from the, what we often call scaffolding. Right? So in education we talk about scaffolding, right? The, the, the things that we do to our allow people to grow in their skills, to do things that they. Previously weren't able to do, you can slow this down. If you're not a native English speaker, you can re-watch this right. You can translate the, the, you know, you can take the transcript out of vow, translate it into your native language. And so you're getting Matt talking in English, but you're also getting a transcript in your native language. So the, like, there's a bunch of things that you can do. To make a meeting and the effects of a meeting. More accessible, more interesting, more impactful. If you're gathering richer data out of it.

Ziming Yang: Yeah, I actually wanted to, I, I love the point about like how people learn differently. I really wanted to double click. Into that point about like diversity and how like different people learn differently or work differently. Right. And I'm a big fan of your, your Twitter. And I think U2 of this really interesting thing, maybe it was yesterday. Around question where it's like, how long do you take for, to go from like zero to 60? And you were saying, you know, you can actually go from full sleep to, you know, teaching a class in like five minutes. And, and obviously that's, that's the, you couldn't do that back before, you know, you. We're doing things online, you know, in person you gotta get dressed, gotta like go to the place where the people are. I'm, I'm kinda curious, like how, you know, in your own business. How has like, you know, obviously going from like a pre COVID world to like post COVID world, how have how's your work kind kind changed or have you, what have you noticed about kinda yourself in the way that you work and, and how that's been different for you?

Matt Wallaert: Yeah. I mean, I think for someone like me who, you know, if you think of my work. Right. Primarily at a as advisory, right? There's a set of people trying to do a thing. And I have a particular lens to add to that. I can be a much more effective advisor. Because, you know, I can hop. Between, you know, hop between things where there's hotspot, you know, I get often companies that I work with will add me to their slack and don't get slacks all the time that like, oh, we're in a meeting. We're currently talking about something. We think we kind of have our arms around the behavioral part of it. Can you just come in and look at it for two minutes? And so I can pop into a meeting for two or three minutes. Like, and do that. And if I worked at your company, theoretically, that's also true, right? Like if a Vowel was in the old world, if Vowel was in. In one building, you could email me and say, Hey, may Matt we're in room blank, blank, blank. Would you mind dropping by for five minutes? But now I can do that across companies. Right? In the same day, I can help 20 or 30 different groups of people. Get through a particular problem that they're having in a facilitatory way. While, while being here for my kid and like, you know, all sorts of other things. And again, I think technology has an important part to play in this. I. Take credit for a Vowel feature in which I have, have forced them to, to put up the, the talk time percentage. Right. Which I also call the, shut the ____ up white guy meter. Right. Like a live percentage of who is talking how much, like right now I have been dominating. This meeting, I'm talking 72% of the time. Just seeing that as a reminder. Hey. Like slow down. Right? You could imagine other versions of that. What, how many words permitted are you talking? Right. If you put that up on the screen, which you could get trivially, right? It's trivial to add. Right for you to measure how many words per minute, we're speaking, cuz we're doing the recording and we're doing the transcript. So transcript can tell you, right. We just have to add time. Hey, Matt, you need to slow down, right? You are talking 120 word. Fine. Have no idea by the way, if that's right. So I can, you know, a million words a second. You need to like slow down, like optimal understandings in the 80 range. Can you slow down enough to get yourself in the 80 range? What an amazing piece of feedback. That like in a meeting, someone could raise their hand and say, Hey, can you slow down? But I don't know what slow down means. I don't know what too slow is. Whereas here in data, rich environments, you can gimme live real time thing. Right? Matt, you just cursed, like, did you mean to do that? Give a little bit of a little blooper symbol, right? Hey, you used an non-inclusive term. We've analyzed your meetings and here's some terms that you. Could drop and replace. Like, those are invaluable, right? They are invaluable because all of them could happen in person. You know, I could. I could say Africa as if it was a monolithic thing. Rather than recognizing it's a diverse continent. And maybe someone will call me on that in the meeting or give me that feedback after, but. Maybe not right. We know a lot of those microaggressions, like go unchecked. Data rich environments. Like this are an opportunity for us to actually help people become better. Give them that live real time. One-on-one coaching that makes them a better speaker.

Ziming Yang: Yeah, a hundred percent. I, as you know, someone who. You know, I'm, I'm probably a mix of like introvert or extrovert. I definitely get those feelings where sometimes I'm like, oh, I'm, I'm not speaking very much in this meeting. And, and. The other day I was in a meeting where. That exact feature that you're talking about, where like you have the talk time percentages allowed me to be like, Hey, so, and so what do you think of this idea? Because I noticed that like, you know, they were thinking, but, but they weren't weren't, you know, raising their hand or, or saying something. Right. And that's a huge part of, I think the, the. Possibilities that. Enriching our conversations with technology. Enables, let alone, obviously the, the amazing remote features, you know, let's you be in one place, let's me be one place. And, you know, obviously we get to have this conversation.And, and. I love that because you can, you could take that even farther. Right? We have private chat. So I can in a meeting notice, you're not saying anything, but see the thoughtful expression on your, on your, on your face without interrupting the meeting. I can just send you a little note that says like, Hey, it looks like you have a thought, what are you thinking? You can then send that back to me by text. And I can say, oh yeah, I think that's really good. I think you should say it out loud. Let me make space for that. Right. And then I can make space. Right. As the loud voice in the room for you to say a thing that you have gotten pre feedback is a good idea that gives you the confidence to say it. Right. Like, you know, The interactions go farther and farther, right? Because we start with this monolithic Sage on the stage model. Then we get the thing you just talked about. Hey, a simple percentage tells us. Hey, I noticed you haven't said anything. Do you have something that, that you might, that you're thinking. To wow. I could actually preview that with you? Validate that that's a really good idea. Create space, tee it right up for you so that you come in feeling confident and looking your best. All in this space of one meeting, which amazing.

Ziming Yang: Yeah, there, there, there's this huge, huge kind of open white space that. Of like either AI enabled or people enabled kind of coaching for people to get better. At just like co-working or collaborating or, or, or running meetings together. Right. I think it's funny. I, I, I used to manage engineers in MLS company. And the thing that I would kind of tell engineers who were, you know, incredible engineers who were looking to move into more senior roles is the thing that differentiates you a lot of the time. Isn't you know, that your, your pure engineering. Ability, it's actually your ability to work with other people, right. And communicate across those ideas. You can imagine a world where actually the, the total average level of like, Of conversations or meetings in an organization goes up because of the, these tools. Right? And you say, you know, the ability to message someone behind the scenes and say, Hey, I noticed you haven't been speaking up, but it looks like you have this great idea or, you know, Hey, a person who's dominated the conversation. You know, you can get to a better outcome. If you have a greater diversity of, of opinions. And, and that to me is, is absolutely fascinating for, for this conversation. I am totally okay with you, you know, having 70% of the talk time, cause you look way better on camera with your setup than I do. So that's.

Matt Wallaert: Well, this is all, this is all light magic here. Watch this. See, it's just, you know, it's all just. Just a sheet, it's a sheet, you know, I think people under invest in, we spend, you know, Depending on your, up on your role. A lot of times in meeting. So get a mic where people can hear what that, you know, the number of times where I just can't quite hear what some I'm old, man, I can't quite hear what someone's saying. I'm like, I wanna send you a better mic. It's on RS, right? Like I will, I will send you a hundred dollars mic just so that I can hear what you're saying. Cuz what you're saying is important. I wanna go back for a second though, because I like. Something you said with the, you know, talking about how you're coaching engineers, you know, I think we have to acknowledge two things. So one of these technology makes this possible, but it doesn't happen by default. Right? We have to. Retrain like we need managers, we need to, we need the talkative person to be able to say, Hey, I noticed you haven't talked. Like, do you have an idea? Like we need that human layer of a person. To be more conscious, right. Like we can't and that, and that has to be deliberate change. Right? Some of it is aging out. You know, you're gonna take people who are senior executives, didn't grow up in a, you know, world where management was a skill that was taught. In the same way and they'll, they'll they'll age out, but I think we need to be really explicit about like, Hey, there are things that we need to do to help people manage better. In this environment, right? There are tools that you can learn and use in this environment. Let me teach you how to use them. Hey, here's a way to use a poll. Here's a way to like, look at percentages, those sorts of things. So I think there's a human component. Where we just need, I mean, I think there's a lot of managers who are just not really. They struggle to manage a virtual environment. Right. And training them on sort of that. I think can help.

Ziming Yang: yeah. A hundred percent. I I'm gotta curious for, for you, man. You know, obviously you, you run, run business, run your own team, but what's changed for you or, or what kind of practice have you learned from like, you know, managers of the past or your experiences that like really lead to good management or good remote meetings? And, and pieces like that. Do you have any like tricks.

Matt Wallaert: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if we're talking about specifically about. Remote management. I think, you know, you do need. I think more intentionality. About bringing people into the conversation. When they're in a room, it's easier to tell if somebody's engaged, you could see if their laptop's open, you can see what's going on in their environment. You have a better idea of like, you know, you're in a controlled, remember we talked earlier about studies that work in the lab, but don't work in the world because the world is more complex.

Ziming Yang: Yeah. Yeah.

Matt Wallaert: There are meetings that work in a meeting room because it's. A controlled environment, but don't work when there's all these other variables going on. Right. And you can't hear the. You know, my next door, neighbor's leaf blowing and it's just, you know, like you can't see all of these things that are, that are. That are affecting people. And so. I think it calls for an elevated level of sensitivity and compassion and caring towards other people to sort of say, Hey, I acknowledge there's this thing in psychology, we call the actor observer bias. Where, when, when. You do bad things. I, my brain goes, you are a bad person. Right. And when you do good things, I think it's because of something in your environment. Oh, his boss told him to do that or, you know, whatever else. Right. And vice versa for me when I do bad things. I know I was late because the train was on fire. Right. Like I know it wasn't my fault. Right. I can see the environmental factor and when I do good things it's cuz I am excellent. I am amazing. Right. And so. This visual part can, can. Give rise to. Some that actor observer by us taking over where we're looking at people. And sort of assuming that their lack of engagement or their, their participation or their, the way they show up in a meeting is because of them. As opposed to lots of other stuff that's going on. Right. So we need, we need a different kind of management. We also need to be able to talk in a different way. You know, I need people to, I was on a meeting the other day and friend. One of the UX researchers who I'm friends with, you know, he was like, sorry, I'm not on video, but you know, my kids have the day off. And so they're, you know, they're running around my room while I try and have this meeting. And, and that's a whole new world of sort of like. You know, we have to create the space for him to be able to say to me, Hey, here's, what's going on. That's affecting how I'm showing up here. And, and so that we can, you know, work through that and around it, and, and in the right way, it's very easy to say, Hey man, do you wanna reschedule this meeting? And he says, no, no, I'm good. Like, it's just that extra level of kindness. I think that that has to come out in the digital environment and, you know, it's a. I it's a good reminder to me all the time. Right. As I, you know, I try and. It it's little things like the percentage thing that just, I need those little cues that just slow me down. And remind me, Hey, there's stuff going on for this other person. Right that I can't see. I don't know a meeting. You just came from the number of times. You know, there's zero passing time between meetings. Now this is a very simple, stupid example, but it's, but it's, I think very powerful. The zero passion done with any meetings. So if you just had your one-on-one with their manager, And your manager said, Hey, I'm really concerned about your performance. And then you come into my meeting. If we were in a building. You'd have five minutes between those meetings where. You go to the bathroom and cry. You can get some water, you can walk it off, you can do all sorts of things to control those emotional things. Here two seconds, right? Like every one-on-one ends and you carry that into the meeting. You know, I used to tease that, that if we had. Access to everybody's calendar. I'd love to know what meeting they just came from. Because absolutely affecting my meeting, whatever just happened to them is absolutely carrying over into whatever this is. On a personal context, but also on a business context, right? If you just had a meeting. With the data science team, and they're very vocal about thing A. You are going to overrepresent thing, A. Because it is salient in your mind. Right. Whereas you had a meeting with a qualitative team yesterday about thing B, which is actually more important, but because it was yesterday. You're not gonna bring it up with the same veracity as the thing that literally just happened to you. So like, how can you. Make clear the context that people are coming from. And two. To change the way that people meet.

Ziming Yang: Totally. And so much of that is like culture, right? Like, do you, do you. The person that you're meeting with or, or is the team that you're working on, do you have the kind of psychological safety to be able to like bring up, Hey, I'm not, I'm not showing up in this meeting, you know, a hundred percent because. You know, the previous meeting, I, you know, so someone said so and so to me, or it was really great and I'm like really, really excited, but thinking about this other thing, right. And I think it actually, you know, funny enough, going back to the remote. Environment thing it's different. It when you're remote, because it's not just meetings, right? Like back in an office, it might, it might be meetings now it's like, oh, you know, I, I just got an argument with, you know, my kid. And then, oh, alright, well now it's 12. I gotta gonna jump in this meeting. Right. And that fundamentally affects, you know, how you're coming into this. And so I think more and more. I, my hope would be like, You know, executives, managers, leaders are coming to, to the table and saying like, that is okay. Right. Here's how I'm gonna communicate. And here's how I expect, you know, you, you two and, and, you know, you make that. Permissible in that, in that work environment. And the companies that do that are, are gonna win, right? Because they're gonna just attract the, the best talent.

Matt Wallaert: Well, some somebody tell that to Jamie Dimon, right? Like, you know, Everyone go back to the office, even though it's the middle of COVID like go right. Like I, you know, I, I think. Mask wearing is always really interesting for me. Because at this point, unfortunately, most people are not wearing masks. And as someone who does have to travel a bit for work, I, you know, I, I wear a mask consistently and I see other mask wears and I go, there's always a story behind that mask. Right. Like maybe they've got a vulnerable person in their family. Like I do maybe. Like, you know, something's going on. That causes that behavior and there's always a story behind it and I'm sort of fascinated by that story. And I'm also fascinated by. Leaders who aren't fascinated by that story leaders who are like, I don't care, take your mask off and get back in my office now. Like, I'm like just, it's sort of a. I'm sort of mystified by people like Jamie Dimon. I don't know if they, if they. Truly don't care or if their environment is CRE is encouraging up to the care or they get bonus points from other white male CEOs for not caring. I just don't, I'm, I'm really interested by like, What causes people to make? What? To me seem like very unkind. Non situationally aware decisions. There's there's a situation in which they're making that decision. And I'm curious what it is because I, you know, look. At this point, there are, there are people who, who are bad, but I don't believe that most, for example, sexists are out there like steeping their fingers being like. Whoa, we will take the power from the women. Well, you know, like, I don't think that that's happening. Right. It's all of these sort of situations that people are in. And so I'm, I'm curious. You know, Why Jamie diamond, what in Jamie Dimon's life telling him that we should all go back to the office.

Ziming Yang: Yeah. I, I mean, I'll take this out after I'll tweet, Adam. And be like, Hey Jamie, you should, you should chat with me. Me and Matt. And see what he says.

Matt Wallaert: I, I am fairly certain one that he doesn't care what I think he appears not to care what anyone thinks. I'm fairly certain that he doesn't care what he thinks, but by ____, if we get Jamie Dimon, how conversation I have some. I have some questions. I have some living wage questions. I have some. Some, you know, sort of. Equitable questions. I have some CEO. Compensation questions. I'd love to talk to you about Ms. John. Let's talk.

Ziming Yang: Well, I, I think it comes back to, to compassion. I, I think this was an awesome conversation about, you know, compassion and the. The day and age of. Of remote work in the future of work. Huge. Thanks Matt, for, for joining us on, on this series. Love the insights here. We'll we'll share this out. And hopefully the people who, who watch us take something away from it. This is excellent.

Matt Wallaert: Yeah, absolutely. I, I love that we can enrich these meetings with things. I gave a Ted talk. In the middle of the pandemic, like you wanna talk about pandemic fun, like trying to film a Ted talk. They're like, we need two camera angles. I'm like, I get two cameras. I got iPhone here and a TSR here and then propped up on boxes. And I'm like, I don't know how to do this. I dunno what I'm doing. And, but the, but the talk was on compassionate, scientific activism, right? The idea that like, And I use the, the analogy that is a spider web. Right. So if you see someone from afar, walk into a spider web, they look crazy, right? Cuz they just walk into they're whatever, but you can't see the spider web. So you're just like what the ____'s wrong with that guy. Matt wall is going insane. Right? Compassion is that I'm gonna assume that Matt is doing that for a reasonable reason. I don't know what it is, but I assume there's a reasonable reason. And I think that's important for all of us. Why as a behavioral scientist, why I love science is. Then you get to go investigate, right? Science is saying. Not only do I believe that Matt is doing this for a reasonable reason, but I'm gonna go find out what it is. right. Like I get to go pursue, like, what is behind this weird thing that he's doing when you and I talk about, you know, remote, remote meeting culture. Why people are doing it's great joy of my life to be able to investigate why people are doing what they're doing. But then there's that last word? And we have to not forget it, which is activism, right. What if you, if you, if I acknowledge. That doming is like doing things for a reasonable reason. And I go and find out what those are. Then you gotta tear it down. Don't just like, watch the spider web happen. Like, you know, you gotta get in there and help him get it off. Right. And, you know, like, it's that, it's that, it's that active part. I think in tech, sometimes we get the curiosity part, right. We get the science part right. Where we're like, cool. I want to go understand why people do things. But then we write articles about why they do things and we stand back and watch. Right? It's like the last episode of Seinfeld, there's something where we're like watching the guy gets, you know, get mugged, but we're just like commenting on it. Stop commenting, get in there. Like I'm so tired of pontificating folks about the nature. Of remote work and things get in there and do something about it. Like we have an opportunity, go take something like Vowel, like go make sure that you are you using a platform that tells you how much people are talking. Right. Like, don't tell me about, don't do some stupid interview on the future of work and then not do anything about it. That seems so unsatisfying to me. Like you as Vowel, find a plugin for Zoom that makes that, I don't know. Is there a plugin for Zoom that tells you top percentage? I don't think you can do that cuz of the way. Is there something, I don't know.

Ziming Yang: No, no, I don't think not that I've come across. I mean,

Matt Wallaert: Yeah. I don't know if you can even technically do that inside of Zoom, right? Cuz they're not doing. Live, what wakes that possible is the fact that you're doing everything live like live transcription and it's.

Ziming Yang: Exactly.

Matt Wallaert: Like do something about it. Right.

Ziming Yang: I, I, I could not, I could not agree more. I, I, I mean that, that, that. Changing fundamentally, like who is successful in meetings, who, you know, how meetings help companies become more successful is. Kind of a core of, of why I even, you know, decided to join this team and help help grow, grow the, grow the business. Right. So, Absolutely. Couldn't couldn't agree more on, on the, doing something about it part once, once you've understood, you know, the underlying. Underlying cause, right. I think more people should. Can look at how their empower more leaders should be looking at like how they're empowering their, their teams with the, with the tools. And, and, you know, like, you know, we're talking about Vowel today, but like at the end of the day, like, it doesn't really matter what tool you use it it's, it's how you bring that, bring that, that to life. Right? Like, sure. I, I, I would love it. If at the end of the day, you know, we do something like, you know, I always think back to the story of. Volvo right. And Volvo created the seatbelt and fundamentally fundamentally changed how safety works. In cars and they're like, yeah, you know, like we, we did this, you know, this is our brand, but go and use it every other car company. Right. We're gonna open up the patent. You don't, you know, we're not gonna charge a licensing fee. Licensing fee for this technology. That's fundamentally gonna save lives. I think a lot about like the stuff that we're doing and like, yeah. You know, great. We have better AI. We have better features. It looks better. It's easy to use. But, but that, that's how we create our business. I would love it out that people to kind of take this idea and like, fundamentally use it to change how they run their business and how they run their meetings.

Matt Wallaert: Yeah, it's. I gave a talk at Columbia. In, in their like entrepreneurship. And they had like an entrepreneurship program that was run by a friend of mine for like young people, like high school age kids. And. So the, the, I asked the question, there's a, I dunno, 50 kids in this room. And I said, how many of you wanna be the CEO of your own company? And every single one of 'em raised their hand. And I'm like, great. Where's our CMOs. Where's our Chief Product Officers? Like where's the other roles? Right. And so I was talking about like, well, what I said most of my life. I have been a product person, right. With a capital P that's been my job. Right. My, my, my job has been. To be a product person and you know, one of the home. And so someone asked me, well, what's the difference? How do you know if you're a CEO or chief product person? I said, I want you to imagine the following example. Right. So you notice a problem in the world and you work for like six months to solve it. And the day before your thing comes out, something else comes out and solves it better than you. If you're like, ____ someone beat me to the punch. You're probably a CEO, right? Like you care about that competitive advantage. You care about the, if you are like, oh, thank ____. And you, now I can go work on something else. You're probably a product person, product people are like, Great. Someone else solved this problem better than I did. Fantastic. Because there's an endless list of problems. If someone built something that you and I were talking about here at Vowel. I got lots more Vowel ideas. Right? I've got plenty of other things that we can do. Fantastic. If somebody else does it, like I'm onto the next thing. We're like, I'm moving beyond the seat belt. We're going airbags. Like, you know, we got, there's always, always, always more to do. And I think people forget that they get to a place where they're like, You know, my problem, the problem that I've fallen in love with the solution that I've fallen in love with is the only thing. No, it's not. There is an endless list of ways that we can go improve meetings. And you and I can work for the rest of my lives to make that happen. We still will barely dent. Right. What we could do to make optimal meetings.

Ziming Yang: A hundred percent fall in love with the, with the problems, not the solutions. I love that. Cool on that note. Let's let's call it. I think this is an awesome conversation.

Matt Wallaert: Vowel audience, everyone use Vowel. I love it. I used my open office hours. It's fantastic. Open platform, lots things like the shut up white guy meter live transcription, all sorts of other things. I love, I love the product and, and I hope everybody gives a chance to at least try it. And if you wanna try it, you can schedule open off hours with me. Actually, we should put the open office hours link in here. If you wanna try out Vowel, I use Vowel to run my open office hours. So if you schedule time with me, You will be using Vowel because that's the platform we use to do it.

Ziming Yang: Well that we'll definitely drop that in the, in the post meeting notes.

Matt Wallaert: I like that idea.

Ziming Yang: Cool. Thanks, man.

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