Product Leaders Make Great Facilitators

with Adrienne Tan of Brainmates
Jan 22, 2019
Back to Leading the Product
Product Leaders Make Great Facilitators | 100 PM
Product Leaders Make Great Facilitators | 100 PM

Adrienne: Hi everyone. I'm Adrienne. I work in Sydney, Australia for a company called Brainmates. I don't have a title. I make a title up every time I feel like it. And at the moment, my title is Chief Mischief Officer.

Suzanne: I was gonna say, you do have a title. It's Chief Mischief Officer. What is a Chief Mischief Officer?

Adrienne: Oh, I see myself as someone with lots and lots of ideas. And sometimes ... Well, we know what happens when you have lots of ideas and you kick 'em around and you overshare your ideas. You expect people to come and help you work on them. And they're kind of naughty in a way, and especially in product when you have lots of ideas which aren't prioritized. It does kind of cause a flurry in the business. So that's why I call myself the Chief Mischief Officer. I tend to do things randomly.

Suzanne: I kind of like that.

Adrienne: Which is not what I tell people to do.

Suzanne: Tell us ... For the folks listening in, what is Brainmates?

Adrienne: We're a product management training and consulting business. And the term is so kind of staid, but that's essentially describes what we do. We teach people how to do product. We go into organizations to help them build product management capability in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia, essentially.

Suzanne: How long have you been with Brainmates?

Adrienne: I've been with Brainmates for 14 years.

Suzanne: 14 years. The company ... How old's the company?

Adrienne: 14 years. I started the company.

Suzanne: Gah. Look, I'm like making discoveries about ... we've been hanging now …

Adrienne: Really? You didn't know that?

Suzanne: I didn't know any of that.

Adrienne: Well-

Suzanne: Nobody told me.

Adrienne: Ah, well, there you go.

Suzanne: This is why we do this. We sit down-

Adrienne: This is why we do this, yes.

Suzanne: So we can learn about each other.

Adrienne: Well, I was a product manager and I thought, "Really?" I mean, I love product, and I was in a business for four years and while I loved the people, I just felt really kind of crammed in. You know, I wanted to go and explore different businesses. Be around lots of different people. So I essentially up and left and started this business.

Suzanne: You know, so the listeners don't know this. So I've been down here in Australia. The good folks at Brainmates invited me to come and participate in Leading the Product ... The conference here in Melbourne and Sydney, which we're going talk about. And, as a speaker, part of the requirement is you have to go through Adrienne to basically get the green light on your talk.

And it's like well known on the circuit that it's like ... I think they call it "Adrienne's Slash and Burn".

Adrienne: Oh really? Oh my goodness, that's so scary. I'm not so scary.

Suzanne: You're not so scary, but, so I'm thinking "Okay, well, she's the gatekeeper." But, it makes sense. You care about quality. This is your baby.

Adrienne: This is my baby. And I ... quality is number one for us. So, in terms of the Brainmates business, there's really four or five themes that we work around.

And number one for us is all about delivering great outcomes for our customers. That's the number one thing that we strive to do. And that's so important for us. And, so, we'll bend over backwards to make sure that we get something right, that you get the results that you're after. And, obviously, when you come to a conference, you want to listen to new content. You want to listen to content in a way that's framed differently so that you walk away hopefully having that kind of A-HA moment.

So, one of the rules is "Please, if you find it on Google, don't copy and paste it."

Suzanne: So, was it just you as the lone consultant for some period of time?

Adrienne: Yes. It was lonely as hell. And I'm such a people person.

Suzanne: Does an organization ... we talk in product about customer readiness as "I've connected with the pain, or the need that I have. I've visualized the solution I maybe attempted to build or buy it." Do organizations recognize in themselves "We gotta learn this product stuff better?" Or, do you have to educate up front about the value of training?

Adrienne: Initially, well because we've been in business for 14 years, the first probably nine years of our business was educating the Australian community and the Australian businesses about the importance of product management. And how product management delivers great business outcomes. But recently, because there's lots of new startups happening, there's a lot of talk in Silicon Valley, and clearly we're influenced by all the conversations around the world. There are organizations that come to us and say "Look, we make something. We don't kinda' have a product function and we think we need one. Do you think you can come and help us put one in?"

So, the conversation has certainly shifted, and we don't have to continually promote the benefits of product. People understand the value of that and are now approaching us, which is a really nice place to be.

Suzanne: Yeah, I mean that's the tipping point of any business, is the moment when you don't have to hunt.

Adrienne: Exactly. Exactly.

Suzanne: That's why you're so happy right now. You just got the …

Adrienne: We just have different problems to solve. You see, like any business, in its infancy, have a whole new set of challenges to overcome. And as it grows up, you gotta have different kinds of pain points. And if you don't, well then there's something completely wrong. So, in this stage of our business, it's really about scaling up as well. So like every other business, we're looking for some fabulous product people. They're hard to come by.

Suzanne: Do they have to be down here in Australia, I guess?

Adrienne: Yeah.

Suzanne: Yeah.

Adrienne: For the moment. Until we grow.

Suzanne: Until you take over North America.

Adrienne: Oh, wouldn't that be nice? That's kind of funny.

Suzanne: What is the product community in Australia like?

Adrienne: Very engaged. We've been nurturing it for so long. Our first Meetup in 2007, I think we had nine people show up. And there was no Meetup platform in that stage. I think we used Eventbrite. And nine people showed up to our office. And we're like "Oh my God, you actually know about product." Nine people.

Now, we've got thousands of people on our Meetup groups, and they're all very, very engaged. They come every month. They want to learn more. And some have said that just going to a Meetup on a regular basis gives them enough learning, enough information and conversation to essentially help them get that product job.

I had a product manager who used to work at the Commonwealth Bank, which is a really big bank in Australia. And set her sights on going to get a job in Silicon Valley. So she stopped work, quit her job, off she went to the US, and she practiced interview after interview to get her first job with Amazon.

And she came back and she said "Thank you so much." And I had nothing do with it really. But she said "No, the Meetups gave me the confidence, helped me think, gave me the language skills I needed to be able to hone my message when I was in the US." So, I mean hey, yeah, cheers, one person.

Suzanne: Look at you, you're creating value all over the place.

Adrienne: Yeah, yeah, that's right, right?

Suzanne: So, do you ... do you still lead trainings yourself? Or have you graduated to some level of "I don't do that anymore"?

Adrienne: Well no, I'm not a trainer, see, I think trainers are a special breed. I think you need to have the ability to listen and find a way to impart ... impart learning, knowledge. I'm more of a facilitator to help you get an outcome, as opposed to train you and leave you with more information and knowledge than what you came into the room with.

I think teachers essentially is ... it's a love that only certain people have. So I find it fascinating that people all become trainers. And they're teaching people in classrooms, which ... I'm not a teacher, so I don't ever stand up in front of a classroom to teach. But I'm happy to facilitate a conversation to get an outcome. I'm happy to design a workshop to make sure that everyone's in a safe space, and everyone has an opportunity to participate. And together, we get an outcome. Which I think is a very different kind of skillset.

Suzanne: Yeah, no I'm feeling into the nuance of how you're separating teaching from facilitation, but I'd love to stay on it for a little bit more.

First of all, what is the value of facilitation and how is that different from just shipping a bunch of employees off to a more formal training issue?

Adrienne: Okay, let's start with the formal training.

I think anybody can come into a room and sit in a room and learn something from the trainer. The teacher who wants to impart knowledge and share their experiences with you. Whereas I think facilitation, especially of things like workshops and meetings, is more designed where you have certain types of people in the room. If you don't have the right type of people in the room or a different set of people in the room, you're going to get a very different outcome.

I find that training is a more ... when you're in a classroom, you're teaching ... even if there's lots of people in the room, you're teaching and imparting knowledge on a one on one basis. And you're hoping, and you're watching for signs that people understand and take in what you're offering them.

In facilitation, I think it requires a designed group of people to essentially get an outcome that is required by the business for example. And so, you want to make sure that you have the right set of people in that room. You want to make sure that you have a certain set of activities that draws out the right information so that you can kind of answer the question that you're there to answer.

Suzanne: Great. What are the skills of a great facilitator?

Adrienne: I think it's somebody who listens, sets the scene, brings some energy. Summarizes, listens and hears and summarizes the conversation that's happening in the room. Puts up that information in a very visible way so that people get an opportunity to see how the workshop ... the day pans out. The outcomes that have been obtained.

And so, it's almost like a juggler. You've gotta juggle lots of different things to make sure that people do what they're there to do.

Suzanne: So, this is an audio only podcast. So the audience doesn't have the benefit that I do, of your electric green hair.

Adrienne: Ha ha ha ha.

Suzanne: But …

Adrienne: It changes all the time.

Suzanne: So, what are some of the other colors it's been?

Adrienne: It's been blue. It's been purple. And it's been a failed pink.

Suzanne: Failed pink. Why did pink fail?

Adrienne: It just wouldn't stick. It's too dark.

Suzanne: Got it. So that's part of the bringing the fun in as a facilitator?

Adrienne: Ah, completely.

Suzanne: People are like "Okay, this person, I don't know what's gonna happen now."

Adrienne: I don't do it for the facilitation. I think I do it for ... I do it to challenge the norms. I love that I can walk down the street and nobody knows exactly what I do.

Suzanne: Great.

Adrienne: I love that ... kinda mysterious.

Suzanne: And mischievous.

Adrienne: And mischievous. And I'm sure people must think all sorts of things about me.

Suzanne: So, Leading the Product is a conference. I'm going to let you describe it in your own words. But, it was born out of Brainmates?

Adrienne: It was born out of Brainmates. Again, this is where the mischievous part comes in. Some friends from Seek ... at that stage, Doug Blue and Sarah Beck and I did this global tour of all of these product conferences around the world. And during my time with them, and bless them, they do love me and I love them too, I said "Wouldn't it be great if we did this too? Wouldn't it be great if Australian product managers get an opportunity to hear from their other product practitioners ... global practitioners plus local practitioners to hear what's going on in other people's businesses and how they do product? I'd love to be able to create something like that in Australia."

And so, bless them, they sponsored, funded, organized every ... leading the product for me since.

So, because they kind of share that vision and that passion of bringing the community together …

Suzanne: When was the first one?

Adrienne: The first one was in 2015 in Melbourne.

Suzanne: So, still kind of an emerging …

Adrienne: Yeah, it's very brand new. But I think it's growing nicely for such a small country.

Suzanne: Yeah.

Adrienne: Only 24 million people I think.

Suzanne: Yeah. And it's far. I was talking about this with one of the Ambassadors here at the Sydney conference, and there is definitely a sense that you're on the other side of the world when you're down here. And I've noticed it in having conversations with some of the other great folks that have been here speaking. A number of them which are product leaders right here in Australia. That it's an economy that lives on its own, so there's all of these brands that are thriving here, that we're not exposed to in North America. There are different challenges about being global or trying to break beyond this market.

And there is disconnection to some extent. So it is important …

Adrienne: That we have our own community, absolutely.

Suzanne: Yeah.

Adrienne: Which is why I love it.

Suzanne: Amazing.

Adrienne: I know. It's great. For us, it's also a platform for our product managers to graduate to. We rarely go out and talk overseas. It would be rare for us to hang out at ... Mind the Product and take stage or hang out at a product management festival and take the stage. So, there must be something for them. So I think that's what we're here to do.

That they have an opportunity to share how they've built product, how they build product teams. Otherwise, those stories are not captured anywhere. So we need a place for Australian product people to tell their stories, and this is it.

Suzanne: Yeah.

Adrienne: So it's important for us to have that mix of speakers.

Suzanne: What about getting that knowledge back the other way? So, 100PM, we're a US based podcast. We're gonna take these conversations back but ... are there aspects to how product management is unfolding in Australia that you think are unique or specific to these challenges? Or is it just like "No, man, we're doing it just like everyone else is trying to find a way to do it."

Adrienne: I think we're doing it just like everybody else is trying to do it. People said we're less advanced, but I'm not quite sure …

Suzanne: Who are those people? Show them to me.

Adrienne: Yeah, exactly, right? People from overseas, it's like "Hang on a minute, why are we ...?" There's always going to be some less advanced elements in the community than others. And because …

Suzanne: Is that just like a general discrimination against Australia?

Adrienne: Exactly. We're less advanced. We're not as skilled. We don't have the skills. Well, we've been doing the skills for a ... well, I've been doing the skills for a long time, and I've had people along the journey with me being product managers as well. So clearly there's some around.

But yeah, I think we do it just as well as everybody else. I think the problem is that because it's such a broad discipline, there's some aspects that we do better than others. And there's ... there'll always be aspects where some will do better than us.

Suzanne: What do you think are some of the inherent disciplines of product management that are behind here? Or, that you say are maybe not as strong in those things and they're coming?

Adrienne: Different businesses have different kinds of focuses. So, we've got a lovely startup economy happening in Sydney and Melbourne, and I'm sure it's starting up in Brisbane and Perth as well. So those kinds of businesses are doing a lot more product discovery. Because they're new right? They've got to discover some of those important customer problems. They've got to discover whether that solution solves that customer problem.

But then you've got the more advanced businesses. And we've got a great financial kind of community, where you've got lots of banks, they're making tons of money, yeah. And so, their aspect of product will be different, and there'll will be more lifecycle management based. It'll be trying to understand the financials. And potentially they're most commercially minded. They're better at managing stakeholders and the kind of politics that comes with product.

So, different kinds of business. Different parts of their life cycles will have different strengths.

Suzanne: What's your favorite aspect of product management?

Adrienne: Hey, I'm the mischievous person, so I'm at the other end.

Suzanne: Yes.

Adrienne: I like to uncover new ideas. I like to build new products. But I'm not very ... and maybe it's just because I've been doing it for so long. I probably am not as detailed as others. So when it comes to doing that more detail ... user story, acceptance criteria development …

Suzanne: Yes, look your whole body is cringing just thinking ... I think it's the idea because I've noticed you bop in and weave in around here over these past number of days. I think it's you don't like to be still.

Adrienne: I know, isn't that terrible? I'm already thinking ...for 2019 …

Suzanne: So imagine sitting at your desk, writing user story after user story …

Adrienne: Yeah no.

Suzanne: That's punishment.

Adrienne: Yeah, I know. But we have great people in the business that do that.

Suzanne: We sure do.

Adrienne: And we complement each other, which is great.

Suzanne: Yes, incredible.

Adrienne: And I think that's really important, right. When people are "I just haven't found the right product manager."

Because you're never going to find someone with big picture thinking, a strategic vision, a desire to grow something and ... alongside that kind of more detailed documentation. Even the user story generation, the acceptance criteria documentation, playing around in JIRA, God forbid, and …

Suzanne: Have to ... I mean those are your brethren right there.

Adrienne: Yeah, but you can't have that unicorn. We've thrown around that word for the last week. But you can't have that person right, because they don't exist. I'm not that person. I don't want to be that person.

Suzanne: Yeah, yeah. What would be the skills, looking at your own toolbox, and thinking about growing or getting deeper within one of the domains? What would be the ones that if you were like "If I had the time to really nurture this body of skill, I'd love to get better at x?"

Adrienne: I love the whole ... the customer-centered design piece. And probably that's where my strengths lie. I love doing that customer research and interviewing piece. I've been doing it for a really long time and I think there's a lot of skill required to do that. And if I had my time again, that's where I'd spend ... I'd do more.

I'd learn about psychology, and humans, and how they think, and how they behave. I'd learn about anthropology, philosophy and apply that in a product design way. And that would be my bucket of love there.

Suzanne: I'm with you on that. Customer conversation is among my favorite aspects of the role and I led a workshop here in Sydney just before the conference. And we did some of that exploration. And one of the things I say often to product managers who take my classes when we do that work is "Take these interview techniques and make them your dinner party shtick."

Adrienne: Yeah, and practice all of them.

Suzanne: Because one, you just go "Your conversations are gonna get infinitely better than 'What new show are you watching on television?'" Or even if you say "What new show are you watching on television?" And then you go "Why?" And now …

Adrienne: Why did you love that?

Suzanne: Yeah. "Tell me more about that."

Adrienne: And, "When do you watch it?" And "Where did you watch it?"

Suzanne: "Interesting. Fascinating. Tell me more." I'm super with you.

What's been the biggest challenge of managing a conference as a product?

Adrienne: There's challenges managing a conference, full stop. But managing it as a product has been genius. Because product management gives you a way of thinking, a structure of approaching how to get a product to market. And we've approached it that way.

We'll do a lot of customer interviews up front, with buyers and users. We want to understand what a conference might help them do in their business and in their jobs. We use all those kinds of tools and techniques before we design the conference.

But for us, it's the entire experience. So, it's about "How did you find out about us? Was it a good experience?" To "Hey, did you enjoy that cup of coffee? Was that great? Are there enough bins around for you to put your coffee?" Those ... all those sorts of little things are really important to us. And we treat the experience as the product. And we try and design for everything.

And even today, at the back of the room, Sarah and I are like "Okay, well you know, next year, the lighting needs to be a little more exciting." It might be a little dull for the moment. Let's try and figure out a way to spice it up, to excite our audience a little bit more.

Suzanne: Well, the venue is very different here in Sydney than the venue in Melbourne. And is that also a reflection of the differences of the cities?

Adrienne: Yes. Melbourne is ... sorry, Sydney ... more community minded. They're actually good friends with one another. And Sydney is a little bit more isolated. And a lot of that could be geography. Because people come into the city and they disperse after work. And whilst we've got a nice little thriving Meetup community here, the conference attracts more people than that. And so for them, it's the first time that they might meet somebody and it's awkward.

Whereas in Melbourne, they live closer to the city, they don't disperse as much after work, and they know each other. They move from one business to another, they know each other. So, it's almost like "Hey, haven't seen you since last year. What have you been up to?"

Suzanne: I've been trying to be super divisive since I got here.

Adrienne: Awesome.

Suzanne: You know ... Melbourne or Sydney ... Melbourne or Sydney ... And you're right, they do love it because people are reluctant to say. They'll offer a very diplomatic response "Well, you know, Melbourne is great if you like coffee." That’s what I keep hearing, “if you really like coffee, you should go to Melbourne, there's great coffee there."

Adrienne: Oh, Melbourne's got more than great coffee.

Suzanne: Ha ha.

Adrienne: Melbourne's got great architecture. It's beautiful, it's easy to get around. It's got great food.

Suzanne: What was your favorite aspect of this year's conference? You can say my talk, and then force rank …

Adrienne: Yeah, your talk, meeting you …

Suzanne: Yeah, okay, I'll take it.

Adrienne: I think for me, it's always about the people. I'm a really people-oriented person. It's expanding my network, meeting people like you. And that's probably the best aspect of my conference ... of the conference, sorry.

I see all the talks beforehand so …

Suzanne: You slash and burn them.

Adrienne: I slash ... well, I mold them. I like to mold them. And it's the anticipation of how people perform. And making sure that they do a great job. My fingers are always crossed. And I'm so super excited when they come off the stage, going "Yeah, you did a great job."

So, it's less about the content but more about meeting new people, hanging out with people. And making sure that people know each other. Introducing others, trying to grow that network, because you never know when you need a job, you need some help, you don't understand something in your job. So you want to reach out.

And the people that do that, I feel, are more ... are happier and more successful.

Suzanne: Was there among the keynotes this year, was there one that particularly caught your interest or just felt very resonant for you at this point in your career?

Adrienne: That's a good point. Look, I think Gibson Biddle did an amazing job. He's certainly a professional speaker and presents very well. But I would have to say that I take away something from everybody's talk. There's always, I call it "micro learnings". And I think it's ... we've heard a lot of this content before, this is not new.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, on the interwebs, we have access to so much content and information. It's at our fingertips, it's here me speaking right now. It's you doing these talks. We have access to so much. But what I like about coming to these conferences is really just trying to listen for the nuance. And to hear how people might express something a little bit differently. I'm looking that for A-HA moment. And it could be as simple as Sarah Wood standing up today, saying "Now guys, your portfolio investment strategy isn't a list of projects." And you're like "Right, I'm writing that down." It's so obvious and I know it, but I'm going to remember it and next time I'm faced with this, I'm going to say "Right, it can't be a list of projects. How will we best express this?"

Suzanne: Yeah. I love that reflection.

Adrienne: The conference is about taking the time out and marinating in content. And trying to see what sticks to you. And figuring out how you might apply it to your own practice, your own job, or your own business.

Suzanne: And I think there's merit in what you're saying. That the same idea can be talked about a hundred different ways. And so it's good ... I think it's a good lesson for anybody listening in who's thinking about taking that step in their career, to move on to the conference circuit, or give a presentation. Or participate more meaningfully in panels or other things at Meetups.

Because we talk a lot about imposter syndrome. We talk a lot about "What could little old me have to say that could be valuable. But the truth is everyone has an interpretation and it's those little nuggets …

Adrienne: Absolutely.

Suzanne: Like you said Sarah's talk, and something came out of that, and it's with you.

Adrienne: Yeah, it's with me. And I'll sit back and I'll reflect and I'll think about who said what and what sticks with me and what resonates. But it's simple things. And so I think sometimes people expect, and there's no silver bullet in life. People expect to be wowed by everything, to listen to hear something completely new. But it's not that anymore.

I can go to TEDx and listen to lots of talks and go "Yeah, I've kind of heard some of that before." But what I'm looking for is how someone says something. How they interpret their own experience and tell that through their own story and voice. And that's the more powerful thing than learning something new and being practical.

Suzanne: Is there a goal for Leading the Product conference to encourage more folks from Asia, more folks from Europe, more folks from North America, just to jump on the plane and get down here?

Adrienne: Oh my God, we would be so super excited. So there's been a couple. There's been a guy who flew from the Ukraine, I think he went to your workshop …

Suzanne: In Melbourne.

Adrienne: In Melbourne. Then he went to the conference. And then I think he flew to Sydney to do Saeed's workshop on Monday as well. So he tried to get the full experience. So, there's one guy who came from the Ukraine.

And then there's been a couple from Indonesia and a couple from Singapore who've attended. And Malaysia, who've attended the conference.

But we'd love to be able to share more of what we have here with others. But yet, I realize we are far away, and it's a long trek to make. But make it a whole learning experience. Don't just come for the conference. Come and hang out with us. Ask us to introduce you to different companies. Go and check out how Australian companies are doing product and what works for them.

Suzanne: Yeah.

Adrienne: Reach out, make it a bigger kind of event, as opposed to flying 15 hours to come to a one day conference.

Suzanne: Be careful, we're going to construct a call to action around exactly that. Because I know that so many of our listeners are precisely in this place of wanting to build their networks and wanting to build community. And I think this is ... I had asked you about this the other night. And I may or may not have been drinking wine, but I …

Adrienne: And I may not not have been drinking wine either …

Suzanne: But it was about the differentiator. And I specifically said "How does leading the product position itself away from some of those other conferences, aside from just being more based in Australia?" And you spoke exactly to that. That's it's community orientated.

And the feedback that I'll give you, just from having experienced it firsthand is it really does feel that way. It genuinely feels like there's stuff going on, people want to make it awesome for you. The tea is really good.

Adrienne: The tea is great.

Suzanne: You write great cards.

Adrienne: Oh, thank you. That's because I want to be like you. I'm going to be like you when I grow up.

Suzanne: So, I think it's great. And if you're listening in from the US, and you've never been to Australia, and you're in product, it's a no-brainer. Come down, you can do Melbourne and Sydney. You can go to one or the other. You could, you know …

Adrienne: Do some workshops.

Suzanne: Adrienne's going to personally show you around.

Adrienne: I'm going to personally show you around.

Suzanne: She's going to change your hair for you.

Adrienne: Yes, yes, I can do that. I can sort all of that out.

Suzanne: Alright. We do a segment on the show called "Get the Job, Learn the Job, Love the Job." And I'm going to ask you these questions.

Adrienne: Sure, go for it.

Suzanne: What advice Adrienne, would you offer to someone listening in who wants to break into product management?

Adrienne: Firstly, look at your experiences. With some product management frames on. And try and convert the things that you do into product speak, product language. So that the person who's receiving it can ... you've translated your experience for them already. So that person doesn't have to go "Well, I wonder whether they can do x, y and z." Because look, product isn't anything magic, there is no magic to product. Product is hard work. And more than likely, most people have done some of the product work. It's trying to figure out what experiences and skills you have and translating it for potential employers.

Suzanne: The learn the job question that we ask if often about where you see people fall down. But I think that your experience as a facilitator offers us potentially a unique lens. So, in facilitating so many groups, what do you think are those really difficult challenges that teams face, such that they need facilitation around key ideas and product?

Adrienne: I think as human beings, we generally want to please others, right? That's the basis of how we relate to one another. And that lends itself to wanting to do lots of different things, wanting to make all sorts of different products and features, wanting to do lots of different projects.

I fall into that camp. But the facilitation comes when we have to agree on which ones we should do first. The facilitation comes when we have to pick the ones that are best suited for our business and that leads us in the path that we want to go. The facilitation comes when we have to get that agreement.

Suzanne: Yeah, truth. What do you love? I mean you love everything. You have the best spirit. But what do you love about product?

Adrienne: Look, I've loved product since day dot. I've loved ... so I started my career as a ... well, no, I started my career in education, as a researcher. And I used to walk down freeways in Australia interviewing people that are making those freeways. And so I got that love of talking to people and exploring how people work and what they think.

And look, that's been ... I've taken that in my career until now really, having lots of conversations with people. But, I loved making sure that I can solve for their needs, solve their problems. It's that desire to give back and create happy customers. I think that's my first love.

Suzanne: Yeah. Do you have any recommended ... obviously Brainmates is full of resources and we're going to add that to our list. Actually, I think it might already be there. We had a great episode featuring Jen Marshall, back in Cleveland last year, at the industry conference. But, other books, blogs, podcasts, resources that you/we can put up at, as recommended by you?

Adrienne: Well, I also run a podcast.

Suzanne: Do you?

Adrienne: Yes.

Suzanne: It's like, do I even know you? I guess not.

Adrienne: This is ... and it's called This is HCD. Okay, my mate, get Gerry Scullion, which I'll have to tell him I said so, does a lot of the interviews. But we have been crafting this podcast for about a year and a half now. And it's got some amazing speakers. One of them is Kirsten Mann, talking about the intersection of product and UX. Gerry does a lot around service design and service design thinking. So it's a great resource for people who want to love how to craft great experiences.

Suzanne: And it's out.

Adrienne: Oh my God. Yeah, yeah.

Suzanne: We can go to the App Store.

Adrienne: Please, go for it.

Suzanne: Got it. Alright, last question for you Adrienne. Is there a mantra that you use personally, professionally, that guides you through the world?

Adrienne: Yes, yes, I won't say there's a standard mantra, but I do believe in being brave and saying "What is the worst that could happen?" And so, that has led me to essentially crafting a life that I have. And it's led me to meet amazing people. But I think most people just need to build up your courage and be brave and figure out "You can do this, and if you can't do this, you'll figure it out along the way. And just go for it because we have very short time on this planet. And I want to make the most of it."

Suzanne: I agree with all of that, except as it relates to lightning talks.

Adrienne: Ha ha ha.

Suzanne: No, I'm kidding.

Adrienne: You did so well.

Suzanne: Only because you told me to be brave. So yes, you live into your principles.

Adrienne: Yes.

Suzanne: Thank you so much ...

Adrienne: A pleasure.

Suzanne: Adrienne Tam for being here with us…

Adrienne: It was fun.

Suzanne: is where you can go to learn more about the resource and we'll put more information in the show notes as well.

Thanks again.

Adrienne: Yeah.

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