169 FS Managing Multiple Projects and Clients

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00:50 - Managing Multiple Projects & Clients (Context & Experience)

13:46 - Committment Management

16:19 - Communication & Setting Expectations

30:07 - Avoiding Overwhelm

45:58 - Managing Requests for Your Time on Multiple Projects and Contracts

47:27 - CalendaringPicks

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**[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collections and prefund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support, and they’ll give you a $2,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $4,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow]****CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 169 of The Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Eric Davis. ERIC: Hey. CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone. CHUCK: Jonathan Stark. JONATHAN: Hello. CHUCK:**I’m Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. And this week, we’re going to be talking about managing multiple projects. Now, this was something that was suggested by Jonathan. Is there some context for this Jonathan, or just something [inaudible] about?**JONATHAN: It’s something that I've been asked about recently, and I thought it was a really interesting topic. I don’t really think about it that much, and it’s not the kind of thing we usually talk about, but it’s pretty important. So it’s one of those invisible things; I thought it’d make a good show topic. CHUCK: Sounds good to me. REUVEN: Find out. CHUCK: So when you're talking about managing multiple projects, is that like multiple projects within the same time period so they’ve got some kind of time overlap over weeks or months or within the same day or what? JONATHAN: Yup. That’s what I was picturing especially because, at least for me, it’s a little weird because I have lots of different kinds of projects. So it’s easy to get really busy on one kind of project like a development project – and those are fairly novel for me; I don’t do them very often – and then just get so focused on it that I forget to ping my more advisory-type clients or someone I’m doing a report for just to let them know that the work is progressing on their stuff. And there have been times when I've been like ‘oh yeah, this client paid me money and I haven’t thought about them in 2 days’. It’s a very unsettling feeling. So what are the systems that we put in place to prevent ourselves from making that kind of a slip and just having that uncomfortable out-of-control feeling? But maybe, more importantly for people are still billing by the hour, how to ensure that – you’ve got various 3, 4, 5, 6 projects going on, you're billing by the hour – how to let them know whether or not the meter’s running because if you don’t stay in touch with them, they're going to assume it’s running, and they're going to wonder if it’s running. And if you let a week go by like that, that could be anywhere from 40-80 hours billable time, and they're just like ‘what’s going on? Money is flying out the door. We want to know what's going on’. So what are the tools that we all use to make sure we’re keeping clients in the loop because a lot of the stuff we do is kind of a black box to them. CHUCK: How often do you or – and I’ll chime in a minute – how often do we find ourselves doing the multi-client and multi-project timeframes? JONATHAN: Speaking for myself, I always have at least 2 clients. For the past 10 years or so, maybe 6 years, I've had at least one retainer client, probably two at a time, and they typically – there's typically something that I owe them. They're expecting me to do – put together some research for an upcoming phone call, or I was putting together a teardown of their codebase or something. So I’ll have one or two of those going, and I like to keep my hand in development a little bit, so I’ll be doing side projects or sort of passion projects that I may still be getting paid for that are development oriented, and so those need a lot of attention and handholding. So I almost always had at least 3 going. If I look at my desktop, which is where I keep all of my project folders so that I’m constantly in my face what I need to be working on every day, at least every week. I've got like 14 things going on, and it’s a little bit too much to keep in your head. You need to outsource it to a place besides your head, or at least I do. CHUCK: Yup. ERIC:**I almost never do multiple clients at once anymore. I used to do it. I was doing hourly; had a budget of so many hours in a week, and had so many hours per client in a month, so I would like ‘ok, I can [inaudible] this guy in here, this person over here, this group here’, and I remember some days, I would literally work on 3 different clients’ code – 2 hours here and an hour and a half here, whatever. Probably 4 or maybe 5 years ago, I decided this is not working. It’s so inefficient. And at the time, I was working in Redmine so it’s one actual codebase, like one [inaudible] repository, so switching from one client to another was actually quite a bit of work. I could just walk away from one folder. I had to actually switch my environment around. And so, I started just basically making clients where if I’m working on your stuff, I’m working on just your stuff for today. And basically, I did that for a while, then eventually changed it so instead of blocking out the day, I've blocked it out to the week. So it would be like this week, I'm just working on client A; next week, client B. And now, that’s actually transitioned to I’m just doing weekly billing. So I have one client for this week, I’m only working for them, or like an emergency work for a client like server-on-fire type of emergency, and it’s been so nice. There's no switching cost. If you look at over a month or a couple of month-period, I’m working with multiple clients, but they're never concurrent. There's always a ‘starts on Monday, ends on Friday’ type of work for me.**CHUCK: Yeah. I definitely like that for the kinds of things that I’m doing. I’m slowly winding up doing less and less client work, and so for me, the projects are my own projects. So we’re talking about Angular Remote Conf or RailsClips, or working on DevChat.tv and doing some development there, or working on connecting with podcast listeners and things like that. And so those are all, in my head, different projects, and so I just make sure that when I’m planning out my week that they all get the time they need. And so I wind up just blocking out time in my calendar. Now, usually there's one project that will dominate a week, but there's inevitably some of the other stuff going on because the other stuff just doesn’t sleep, and it’s more than one customer on that stuff. So for the podcast, it’s the listeners and the hosts; for the RailsClips, it’s the subscribers; for the conferences, it’s the conference attendees and speakers. And so, I can’t just let those slide because my communication has to happen with more than just one person or one set of people. Now I am picking up the odd client here and there, and I just fit them in with the other projects. So I’ll schedule the time and make sure that they're getting their money’s worth out of it. ERIC:**And that’s kind of like how I was saying where I will – like this week, I’m actually neither in client work; I’m working on content marketing. That’s my week focus. And then, I think it’s Mondays and Fridays, I have – I think [inaudible] last time or a couple of times ago – maybe an hour and a half open, and that’s where I pick up the minor stuff like you're talking about, Chuck, like stuff where you have to continuously stay up all night for a conference speakers and stuff. Even if it’s not a client project, I still have a primary project each week so I can get in and focus.**CHUCK: Yup. REUVEN:**I've always also got a whole bunch of things going on, and for many years, it was juggling a lot of clients at the same time doing project work. And that was just constant triage. That was just – it was really bad working back because basically, I was always feeling like I was in this grind. I owe so many people so many things, and they were also dissatisfied , I think, to some degree because they're happy to work with me – I mean, they kept coming back, but I think they want a little more of my attention and a little more time with me. So the fact that I’m now doing mostly training means that a) my days are blocked off very clearly – most of them. And then, in between either at night or when I’m not training on a certain day, like last week I was working from home 3 days – I wasn’t training – and it was great. It gave me a chance to catch up with some of the other clients. So I've tried to keep that other work to a relative minimum so that one does not interfere with the other. And I'm sort of good at that, but the problem is I still take on a little too much of the non-training stuff; a little more than I should. And actually, right now, I've got a bunch of these [inaudible], and I've got a few of my own things, but I’m hoping the next month, [inaudible] stabilize a little more. But definitely, I think with Jonathan said about being in touch with people, I learned this lesson in a very hard way a number of years ago. I was working on this project and I thought everything was going great. They weren’t complaining, right? If they're not complaining, I must be terrific [chuckles]. And basically, after the month, the guy in charge of the project calls me and says ‘why haven’t we heard from you?’ I said ‘I thought everything was great’. He said, ‘no, no. Your job is to call me and make sure I’m satisfied. I am not satisfied’, and he was really upset and really [inaudible], and I have to say he was right. And I learned a ton from that that no communication means they assume you're not doing any work or you're not doing any work that’s a value or you just don’t care about them.**ERIC:**Right. That’s the important thing because when I do weekly stuff for clients, I talk to them on Monday, I talked to them on Friday, and then usually, we’ll just do some time on Wednesday; so it’s every other day. But if I don’t hear from them every day whether it’s an email they didn’t reply to, or maybe if it’s a more [inaudible] that are using Github, they replied to a comment or an issue in there, and have some kind of touch point every day, I’ll actually make it a point at the end of the day to reach out and say ‘hey, in case you're haven’t been following what's been going on, here's the stuff I finished. Here’s what I’m working on next’, just like a status update. And I know it sounds very corporate, very sucky, but usually it’s a short informal email, and it just keeps them like ‘ok, Eric’s moving forward. It’s just he hasn’t talked to us because there's been no problems. He’s just been busy working on stuff’. And every client I talk to, I do that for – they love it. They value it so much. It lets me not have a project management system if I didn’t want it. I still use it to track my own stuff, but one of my more recent clients, they have an account, but they don’t log into it, they don’t use it. But by having – by forcing myself to go toward they want a communication, they're still getting the benefit of it.**JONATHAN: Something nice about that end-of-day email to just mentally test like a development project like that, and I do that at the end of the day, it’s like ‘ah, look at all the stuff I accomplished’. I go through my commit messages, and I’m like ‘ok, here are all the things I accomplished today. I didn’t have any problems’, like you said, I got something done. It’s kind of a nice feeling. ERIC:**Yeah. At the end of the week, one is it’s great. I’ll pull in a high level like ‘here’s the features I did’, and when you put it up for a week, it’s actually a significant amount and then – it’s actually September 1st when we’re recording this and I just made an invoice for a client where they had an entire month, so four weeks, and my invoice is pulling what features, and I’m like ‘wow, there's like a huge [inaudible] of features I built for them’. It’s like there's the value I produced. Therefore, this invoice amount – it makes a lot of sense. But by having the daily, weekly and then the monthly for the invoice, it links it all together and firms up the value, and producing – firms up the justification for my rate, all that stuff. And it feels nice to me to see it like ‘ok, a month ago, they didn’t have all of these stuff; now, they do’.**CHUCK: I had a contract that kind of – and I thought it went well, but I've figured out after talking to the client that it didn’t go as well as I thought and something like that where I was sending them some kind of report every week and saying ‘this is what we got done, this is what we’re going to get done next week’ really would have made a difference. We were doing weekly billing and they were paying it up-front – we've talked about that structure before, but they would’ve been happy to pay the next invoice for the next week knowing that they're going to get a similar amount of work done that week. So, does it ever come up, though, Eric – you're saying that you focus on one project per week, does it ever come up where you're working on two projects in a week. ERIC:**Actually, that came up 2 or 3 weeks ago. Basically, what happened, I had my main client – the primary client scheduled for the week – a client I worked on a couple of weeks back came to me with some detailed, almost scoping questions, but it wasn’t quite like ‘that’s done and do another roadmap’, and then the client I worked on the week before came back with a rather severe bug; it wasn’t server-on-fire bug, but it was like this impacts our business communication pretty significantly. And so in that case, what I did is I still worked on the primary client, but I had to schedule after hours dev for the bug, and then I had to push back the scoping stuff until, like I said, either Monday – Monday and Friday openings – I pushed that back until Friday and it gave them some time and got on the phone for things like half an hour, 45 minutes or so. But that week, I was extremely stressed, not so much of the time, but the emotional tension. I was like ‘oh man. Did I really screw up? Do I really have all these problems?’ I got all of my clients getting mad at me now and it wasn’t anything like everyone was all happy and fine with it; they're just reporting concerns and stuff, but it was a – you can ask my wife; it was a very emotional week for me and I was up and down every day. I think that was probably one of the worst weeks I've had in probably a year, maybe 18 months. The last time, I think, it happened was like a typical launch week where I was actually doing a week and a half worth of work in one week. That’s an important point so [inaudible] this stuff is to build a buffer into your schedule. If you do weekly billing, don’t commit to doing 40 hours of work that week. Do 30, 20, 25; do enough so if all the things come up, you have a little bit of wiggle room to get emergencies taken care of; or if your laptop dies and you lose a day, you can recover it by the rest of the week even if you have to put in some night work or something. Don’t make it like a razorblade, like if you fall off you're dead type of thing.**CHUCK: Yeah. One thing that I’m looking at is picking up a retainer client for a spree commerce store, and so I’m trying to figure that out as far as having it fit in because it’s only going to be a handful of hours in any given month, but that could fall to any week during the month, and so just figuring that out and fitting it in is something that I’m a little concerned about as far as just planning my week and doing my managing the other projects I have. So I think that could get interesting especially if I pick up another client where I’m working them full time. ERIC: Yeah. A lot of this is commitment management. What are you actually committing to? Can you fulfill a commitment? If you don’t, what happens? I've talked about this story a while back, but there's a – can’t remember the book name, but they had – they gave you the idea of your life is a puzzle: a 6 piece, 9 piece, whatever puzzle, and each piece is one of the big commitments in your life. So it’s like it could be health, family, a certain big project you're working on, marketing for your business, and you only have 6 or – I use 6; you can use 9, I think, but you only have 6 that you can do, so if you actually want to pick up a new client that’s significant, you have to drop one of those. And it might be you're dropping time for your family, you're dropping your health for a little while, but you have to actually have that give and take. And I think visualizing that and actually understanding that if you're ok but if you have to pick up this new client and it’s not going to suck up all the rest of your time, what are you giving up in that? JONATHAN:**I have perhaps, an interesting counterpoint to that, which is that when I pick up new clients, most of them are retainer-based or some sort of advisor capacity, so it’s an indeterminate amount of time that they're going to take up since I’m not billing by a time unit, I could actually have – I've got 14 projects on my desktop. Some of them are personal stuff and side projects and that sort of thing, but at least 6 of them are paying clients. And a retainer type of approach, which to me is not a [inaudible] to me; that’s not really a retainer, it’s more of a maintenance thing; it’s just hourly, really. But if it’s a true retainer like they are paying almost like an insurance policy to be able to get me to pick up the phone at a moment’s notice because they have some kind of urgent decision that needs to be made on something strategic that I’m an expert at, and they want the assurance that they could get access to me ASAP. The puzzle piece analogy doesn’t resonate with me because I can handle quite a few clients like that because it’s not like a – it doesn’t automatically mean 40 hours a week or 20 hours a week or something like that, but I do run the risk that something could happen where – like you try to keep it to a [inaudible] if you will; I try to keep it to 2 serious retainer clients because it has happened to me where they're just like ‘look, you have to fly to Berlin tomorrow. We’re going to have an all hands on deck with 40 people from the company and we have to have you here’. It’s going to be like ‘I can’t remote in, it’s going to be a really emotional meeting, and having somebody on conference call is not going to call the mustard, so –’.**CHUCK: So you're saying if you get two of those calls, you have to be in Berlin and Miami at the same time? JONATHAN: Yeah. So that’s the thing. Usually, I just try and set the expectations around on that like the number 2 person – basically, both retainer clients will be made aware of each other, and before they sign them a dotted line so it’s like ‘look, this virtually never happens that somebody meets me at less than a minute notice to fly somewhere, but if does, my responsiveness might be a little bit screwed up and I will let you know if it happens, like I’ll check in with you’. If it turns out I have to fly to Berlin for client A, I’ll let client B know that ‘hey, I’m going to be in the air for 16 hours over the next 48 hours, so I’m not going to be as responsive as normal. If you have anything critical, let me know now, and I’ll check in with you at a layover and see if there’s anything critical or whatever’. But I feel like the overall takeaway that we’re presenting to people is that it’s all about communications. More communication is better than fewer communications. Communicating expectations and giving people updates and just keeping everybody in the loop is critical. ERIC:**I was going to say with the retainer stuff, that’s one of the few downsides to them as the scope – what the amount of work you put in, your time requirement; you don’t actually know that might be. For you, Jonathan, [inaudible] what your numbers, but if you started going out and signing like we had 50 retainer clients right now, I pretty much guarantee you had probably one of those calls every month. It’s just so much going on. And I think it’s just you have to look it not so much to commitments of client A, client B, client C, but how much do I have as far as retainers. How much is my time or schedule at risk as a portfolio or whatever, but communication is key for everything. If I'm very open with my clients saying I have another client scheduled or have someone who they're willing to bump or move around, I don’t like to tell them who they are, but they know I’m working with a couple of other people and I've got stuff to move around especially if there's a problem, like a very big problem they need me immediately, given that someone else book that time. I've gotten a client to shuffle stuff, and it’s been nice, and they know that I’m going to come back and I’m going to go above and beyond if I need to get stuff resolved.**REUVEN: I tell my clients also – in many ways, I say ‘listen, I’m busy. You know that I’m busy, but if I’m working with you and you had an emergency, I’m going to help you, and that might mean that you have to wait 2 hours until I’m out of a meeting, but if you call me and leave a message, you are a priority and I will get back to you’. I don’t think it’s ever backfired like there's never been a point when I could not just get back to people. And usually, also their emergencies are not necessarily that big emergencies; they just need someone to talk to and walk them through a process. CHUCK: Or talk about the ledge. I ran into that where it’s like ‘panic panic panic!’ and it’s like ‘look, you can still get paid. Everything’s ok. Yeah, this one little thing is sub-optimal and here’s what we’re going to do to fix it’, and then they're like ‘ok’, and then you can take a week to fix it and they're fine. REUVEN: Right. A lot of it is the communication almost like the psychology of it. Let them know that there's someone who is in their corner who’s going to help them out, and it’s going to be – and they’ll often be very happy about that. CHUCK: Yup. REUVEN: I guess there have been a few very few occasions where someone calls and said ‘systems aren’t working; you need to fix it now’. And there was one time I sat down on a park bench, and here’s my wifi, my cellular modem to log in to their server and fix something. And they were ecstatic. I think it was a one-time thing. JONATHAN:**Yeah. Just being able to send them a message back, it’s like ‘I’m on it’ is usually enough to calm everybody down. We have a monitoring system on a client project that pumps emergency messages into a Slack channel that everybody gets notified on. And it has happened twice now that I've been literally camping in the woods and that thing is going off – we call it the canary. So the canary cheeped, chirps [chuckles], and I pull out the phone and I’m like ‘anybody around?’ and the CEO can go on to the Slack channel and see that I’m on it. I might not be able to deal with it, but I’m aware of it; we can do some diagnostic stuff even on a phone and have some kind of prognosis, and that almost always calms everybody down.**REUVEN: When you said Jonathan – I've been relatively skeptical about Slack. It’s like yeah, you know, it’s a chat system, but how different could it really be. Now a growing number of projects that I’m on use Slack; and especially, one of them I found that when there's a server problems, instead of calling me, instead of emailing whatever, they'll just throw on the Slack channel and say ‘hey, what's going on?’ and I have to say Slack’s interface is really slick; Slack’s slick. The fact that I can respond very easily from my phone much better than I could say on Skype or even via email has been, suddenly, really convinced me that it’s a great tool for that. JONATHAN: Yeah. Big fan. It’s hard to describe if you don’t use it because it does sound exactly like IRC or IM or something, but there's something about it that is kind of magical. So should we maybe segue into tools we use to keep these communications organized? CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN: Ok. Eric mentioned earlier that he sets things up so that he goes to where their clients are most comfortable, and I kind of do the opposite because usually, my experience is my clients are most comfortable in email which is a horrible place to have important information because you don’t have visibility into everybody’s inbox and it makes searching and threading really difficult; it’s not compartmentalized topic-wise. So I use Basecamp for everything; even if it’s me and one person from the client, I’ll still force them to use Basecamp because what I say is ‘look, I don’t want anything to get lost in my inbox. My inbox is full of lots of different things that are not associated with this project, and I want everything in one place so that we could both easily find any conversation that we've had’. And the exception to that for real-time communications, we use Slack, but I don’t use that with everyone; I just use that with a usually bigger projects or somebody that has 24-7 access to me for a retainer. But Basecamp is really been a godsend for me. CHUCK:**There are issues that I have with Basecamp. The flipside of it is that Basecamp is something that is much more approachable, I found, for clients. I tend to favor something like Trello or KanbanFlow or something that’s a little bit harder core project management developer style, and the issue is that I can never get my clients to use them. If you use something like Asana or Basecamp or something where it looks like a tool that they can understand and it’s pretty and it has a nice styling to it and stuff like that, then that makes a lot of sense. So I keep going back and forth. In a lot of cases, I've just used the other tool and told them that that tool is the canonical place for stuff, and that if it doesn’t make it in there, then it didn’t happen, and I've had that come back to bite them or me once or twice, and [crosstalk]. You put it in an email and it never made it over to the other system and so it got lost in the mix, or we never completely agreed on it, and then you expected it to get done, and since we never completely agreed on it, it didn’t get in to the canonical system. And so, yeah, I can definitely see where Basecamp or something like that would work out nicely. But yeah, I tend to prefer the other ones; it’s just I've never been able to get a client to use it.**JONATHAN: I totally agree with that. Basecamp’s not perfect; it’s not the “best” project management system out there, but clients, for whatever reason, they are willing to use it. And they can even use a kind of via email that just respond to the notifications in their email but it puts everything into Basecamp. 37Signals nail that adoption thing. For me, that’s the most important thing. It’s more about being able to keep track of communications and not just about having Gannt charts or that sort of things. So it’s not perfect, but it works. It’s the only one I found that actually works for me. ERIC:**I've done a lot of work with project management through Redmine. I did a lot of what are the competitors doing is interesting ideas and all that, and you’ve really quickly discover that project management is – especially around applications, it’s one of those systems that it almost always has to reflect the organization that’s using it and the communication lines that are there. So if you have a very corporate, formal company you're working with like a client, they're going to want a very corporate, formal PM system. That’s almost the only thing they're going to adopt. If it’s a very startup Agile adhoc, they're going to adopt that kind of PM system. And the problem I ran into is, just as a consultant, I work with so many different clients that I would have to have Basecamp, a Redmine or ChiliProject install, Trello; it has to have all these different ones, and I have to build processes for those in order to get clients, and so that’s why I’ll go to with what the client wants, but we mostly fall back on email. And what I’ll do is I’ll say ‘ok, since you don’t have something we’re going to use my ChiliProject install, and we’re just going to use these limited features of it’. And like I said earlier, if they don’t use that, then I’ll come out of that and give them updates and all that and proceed of ‘I’m going to do X unless you tell me otherwise’. And it worked pretty good. A really interesting way is I use email and they’ll have a wiki page as [inaudible] like ‘here’s what we’re working on, here's the ordered list of stuff’, and then the client can update it, they can request changes, and all of that links into deeper into the system that they can reassign and stuff, change schedules, all that. But I mostly try to manage it for them just because getting them to adopt it, especially if it’s a large process, a heavy system, that’s just a struggle half of the time. If you could show them a little bit of benefit with using it, you might be able to get them hooked. And email integration is a key part for that.**REUVEN: I think, over the years, I've mostly, truth be told, used email for communication with clients, but the ones where we had more communication needs where there are multiple people, where it was not just them and me like one of them and one of me, but when I have people on my staff, and they have people in their staff, and there was communication going every which way, then having a ticket tracker or something like Redmine or even a – for a while, we used a little tracker, also different things like that, they definitely helped a lot. It definitely helped to communicate, know who was working on what when – definitely a good thing. But I still kept a lot of the communication going via email. And then I was wondering ‘well, why do I have all these email? Why am I always overloaded?’ which I still am, but in a different way now. And so by moving things into some sort of communication system definitely helps. Now, a big project that I’m working on, we’ve been using Basecamp. And I used Basecamp over the years, and I’m not a big fan of it. I think it works ok, but the good thing is it’s dead simple and easy for people to use even if they're not technical. And I found that the non-tech folks on the project I’m working on, they just use it and they're happy with it. And they find an easier time of that than, say, working with Github Issues which I figured out, but as not as quite as natural for them. What I find though is now we’ve got this multiplicity of communication channels; we’ve got email, and we’ve got Github, and we’ve got Basecamp, and then we’ve got Slack, and I’m trying to keep track of where things are going; it’s kind of annoying. And I think one or two of you guys said that there has to be like a canonical place where things go, and I think we might need to declare that at some point, because otherwise, it’s just going to continue to get out of hand. CHUCK: Yup. JONATHAN:**Yeah. Having multiple systems for communications is a disaster waiting to happen because you don’t know where to search it. So you're like ‘I know we had a conversation somewhere, but I don’t know where’. [Crosstalk]**REUVEN:**Yeah. We had that a little bit. We had that, but also had like if there's a question, they’ll put it – they’ll send me an email, and they’ll put it in Basecamp, and they’ll put it in Slack, and they’ll be like ‘oh, I’m finally [inaudible] also’ [chuckles], and then I discovered that I have all these new messages in all these systems, and trying to figure out ‘did I respond, did I not respond’ is really annoying.JONATHAN: It’s hard. It’s overwhelming especially if you have notifications set up. It’s a nightmare. I've find it’s easier to just have one and to force my clients to use it, and that’s why I like Basecamp because they're usually happy to do it. CHUCK: Yup. JONATHAN: I actually have a keyboard shortcut setup so that if somebody emails me something directly, I just type two letters and it responds to them ‘please put this in Basecamp’, send. CHUCK:[Chuckles] Nice. I like it. I’m trying to figure out how this would fit in to my system. You’ve kind of talked me into, at least, looking at Basecamp again. Just figuring out how this will go as far as my workflow goes and stuff. The other thing is that I've had the same issues with my assistant. We use Redbooth for a while, but it was just Mandy and I and a lot of our processes informal. And so by putting the information into Basecamp, I can see that that would also work because it has the built-in documentation system and stuff and so I can put all the stuff in there and then just make it work and I don’t have to maintain anything. So I can get documentation on different processes and stuff for my business.**ERIC:**That’s what I’m saying is you got to find what works for you and your clients. And I’m in the middle of repositioning so for me, I’m actually going to have a more standard client base that I’m going to be working with. And so, I might find out like ‘look, using’ – let’s say Basecamp because it’s been mentioned a lot – using Basecamp, for me, now is going to solve 95% of my problems, so I might move that as my main system and not be as flexible and just say ‘look, I’m working with Shopify shops and app development, Basecamp’s the best fit for everyone, so that’s – I’m forcing you to use that’. It could be because I’m a generalist. I have one client, we’re using Github Issues; one, we’re using a ChiliProject install; one, we’re using mostly email with a wiki page; another, we use – it’s called Rally, which is just garbage, but [chuckles] – so it depends on the client. All of these are all [inaudible] to all of my different industries, different focuses – I’m building different kind of apps. It’s a SaaS app versus an internal app versus just an online app. And so maybe as you get positioned, or you refine down on like ‘here’s the main type of client I work with’, your processes can get streamlined and even your tools can get more streamlined.**CHUCK: I’m going to change subject here a little bit with managing multiple projects is people get overwhelmed. Is there a good way to avoid getting overwhelmed other than just good planning? ERIC: Yeah. And I think you have to get overwhelmed a couple of times, and then fall back, and really understand what overwhelm means for you and what your limits are. JONATHAN: I heard a great quote about the word “overwhelmed” the other day, which is that everybody has too much stuff to do, but being overwhelmed – but that’s not overwhelmed – being overwhelmed is not knowing what to do next. And that does happen to me – every couple of days, I’ll be like I’ll finish something and I’m like ‘Ah, now what do I do?’ And I've got two places to look that tell me what to do when I don’t know what to do next, and one is my calendar. It’s about 50% schedule about every week. So about 20, 25 hours per week are blocked out so I almost certainly have some meeting coming up that I could prepare for. And if I really don’t, I go into my undated, and when I have free time, do one of these things. CHUCK: I did pick up and I really liked the definition you gave to overwhelmed, which is I don’t know what to do next. JONATHAN: Yup. And so I have two places that I look when I don’t know what to do next. The first is my calendar to see what I have upcoming in the next hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, and the other is my To Do list to say here’s 6 or 8 things that I've just always on my To Do list – not always, but I always have 6-8 things on a To Do list that aren’t specifically applied to a date, and I just do one of those. So I always know what to do next, and I keep all of my next steps for every project in one of those two places, and I just do the next one. CHUCK: Very nice. I like that. ERIC:**Yeah. [Inaudible] I keep a To Do list and people are shocked that I have over a thousand and 30 items on it right now. They're like ‘oh my god, what are you – how do you know what to do’. I’m like ‘well, today I have 5 things. This week I have 40’. It’s prioritized. In this month, I have a few hundred or – it’s all grouped and I review it daily to weekly to monthly, and I know that today these are the things I’m working on’. So I might be overwhelmed when I’m looking at the whole like ‘this is what I want to do’, but if I’m just looking at what I need to accomplish today or just even what I need to do the next 3 minutes, it’s a pretty easy choice, even if there is a choice. Sometimes, it’s like ‘nope, just next item on the list’, and move on.**CHUCK: Yup. REUVEN: So when you guys say being overwhelmed is not knowing what to do next, it doesn’t mean you're not sure what to do; it means you have so many things and you're not sure which of them to do – just to clarify that, right? ERIC: Yeah. Decision paralyzes – I can’t say that word. REUVEN: Ok. JONATHAN: Yeah, exactly. You’ve got a million things – everybody’s got a million things to do, but when you get paralyzed by it, that’s the problem. So you just need to know which one to do next. And sometimes, it means just picking one. ERIC: Yeah. I do Pomodoros, so it’s like 25 minute, 5 minute break. And one thing I learned that I’m pretty sure it’s from Merlin Mann is a thing called a dash where – especially when I don’t know what to do, I set my timer for 25 minutes and just start working on the first thing on my list. Do a little bit on that even if it’s 2 or 3 minutes, and then jump to the next one. And the idea is to do – just touch everything you can quickly. And some things, they're on your list, you’ve been dreading them for days, and it will only take 5 minutes actually to finish and get it off your list. And the point of dash is you just get through stuff and you actually knock out some items. At the end of it, ‘wow, I feel accomplished. Maybe I should actually focus on these larger things’ and it clears a bit of room and space in your head for stuff. JONATHAN:**I've got a funny real world side story that happened to me this weekend. That reminded me of just that my brother was moving out of the apartment, and he's been living there for 20 years, and it’s just full of stuff. I would characterize him as fairly disorganized – sorry, Tim – and [chuckles] we went in there and nothing was boxed; it was just a bunch of loose random stuff in a cluttered apartment. And if I had thought for one second – I was literally saying out loud to myself ‘don’t think, just move; don’t think, just move; don’t think, just move’ because if I sat down to try and organize this stuff or put together a box or – I’d still be there. But instead, I just filled up my two hands with whatever I could carry and I brought it up to the grass outside because there's a big steep bad staircase. So you just grab some stuff, run downstairs, put it on the grass, go back up. Grab some stuff, run downstairs, put it on the grass. And I was like ‘Tim, you stand here and you either move this to the trash pile, the [inaudible] pile, or the move-to-your-new-house pile’. And if I thought and didn’t just act, [inaudible] I’d still be in there. It was like a million things. And you know what, 2 hours later, we were done.**ERIC: There’s a book – I’ll put it in the picks – it basically talks about tidying up which is like the – decluttering  is the US term – and the process for it is like grab everything of a certain type, grab it all, put it in one place; that’s step one. And then step two is go through each item and decide what you want to do for it, like you said – trash it, donate it, keep it – instead of ‘I’m going to start in my kitchen and grab a few things. And oh, look, I need to fix this drawer. Oh, I got to do this’, and you basically get distracted. I did this twice now; I did it on my clothes, basically got rid of half my clothes. This weekend, I did it on my books like physical books, and I have basically about half of my entire book collection is on the floor to get sold back or donated away. These are books that I've already gone through twice trying to decide if I want to keep it. So breaking it out and making a process structure around it and just forcing yourself through a process actually does a lot more than you think. CHUCK: Yeah. Having a system makes a big difference. And then, if you internalize the system and you – then it’s just something that you actually do without thinking about. You're just doing the overall thing; you don’t have to worry about which step you're going to do next, you just do it. And in my case, a lot of times, I internalize the process by delegating it. And so my process is tell someone so it’s ready, but then, whatever you have to do, it makes a ton of sense and then it cleans a lot of this up. And even if you have to delegate some of this work for something like I get an email for my client that says ‘oh, I want this feature’, and you have a process for it that says ‘evaluate the feature, figure out if it’s in scope, figure out what the trade-offs are for the client, and then reply’, you can even put it in your To Do list, or delegate that to your assistant so that they put that information into your To Do list and schedule a time on your calendar. But whatever it is to trigger you to get it done, you get it done right, and do the next thing in the process. If you can automate that, be that by habit or by system or by having somebody else to do it, it makes a lot of sense. JONATHAN: Automate by habit because that counts. CHUCK: Totally. You sit down at your desk, and so you automate checking your email or doing whatever else you're supposed to do first. By the way, email should be really low priority so you might want to be doing something else first; but whatever it is. ERIC:**Yeah. And that’s the basis of getting things done. David Allen talks about it. You have processes and systems. You have an inbox whether that’s your email or like a physical inbox or a pile of stuff is what I call mine now. You have a process that [inaudible] you through it, like it’s pick something up, can you do it in 2 minutes? It’s probably worthwhile just to do it. If you can’t, it needs to go someplace trusted and you have a separate process you run at a different time to process that. And for me, what I’ll do is if a client sends me an email and it’s like a nice feature, I’ll typically reply back with ‘hey, it – should this go into this week? Is it important or should we just put it into the pile and we’ll look at it at later for another week?’ And if it’s a ‘later pile’, I have a process; I throw it at my PM system and it will come back, do all the scoping, do all the stuff that you talked about Chuck, but I know, ok, that email’s now out of this area. I don’t have to deal it. And if it is urgent and we have to do it this week, I’ll still put it into that other process, but I’ll execute that. That’s like a process right away on it.**JONATHAN: If we’re web developers, it’s exactly like job queuing. CHUCK: Yup JONATHAN:**So you’re like ‘I can execute this request and immediately return the HTML to the person who requested it’, or they just uploaded 20 images and I’m going to have to get back to them. So what do you do? You put it in job gear so that the server doesn’t lock up and so that their browser session doesn’t lock up. [Crosstalk] It’s what we’re talking about. So you don’t lock up, put it in a queue somewhere that you trust and you check regularly. [Crosstalk]**ERIC: Send a message to the client. Tell them ‘hey, we put this 20 items into your queue’ that your communication. CHUCK: And the other thing is that it’s all event-driven, right? So the event is there’s an image that needs to be resized or reworked or whatever, and so again, it’s back to that habitual trigger. So you set up that trigger so that it will set off that particular queue, be that somebody else or yourself. REUVEN:**Oh, you guys are so organized. I’m so jealous. These things, these are clearly things that people can do that you didn’t –you weren’t born doing them. But I’ve gotten better over the years of having a To Do list. I’ve gotten to that even last two weeks, I’ve really been good about getting stuff out of my inbox. But I feel like I always know what I need to do next, which is good, but the queue is just very, very long; perhaps not as long as Eric’s, but the queue is long, and to some degree [chuckles], [inaudible] I just can’t imagine adding a process in there, even though that’s probably the smart and right thing to do.**ERIC:**Well, let’s be honest Reuven. You have a process, it’s an informal one, it’s probably an adhoc one, and truth be told, it’s probably a very inefficient one. If you look at what you’re doing now, you could be like ‘oh’ – forehead slap – ‘I can optimize this and that and this and that because we all, [inaudible] the study or the statistics, but it’s like a very significant percentage of the stuff you do every day is a habit or routine; it’s like 70 or 80%. So we might think, oh, we’re working on these different things every day, we’re actually just doing the same habit process that we have; we just haven’t actually recognized and linked like ‘oh, I’m just doing that I’m sitting down on my computer, starting my day process which is involved in this 16 different habits’. But if you can actually step back and look at some of the more impactful – you could see places to change or optimize or actually like ‘oh, this habit’s actually causing negative effects on me, but I didn’t really realize that until looked at it’.**REUVEN: Fair enough. Right, so the time that I was having systems, it was a matter of changing the systems that I have, identifying them and improving them. CHUCK: Yup. ERIC: And I think that’s a big part of how you manage multiple projects whether it’s client or your own – I call them internal projects – is if you have a very inefficient set of processes and systems for you and your business, you’re not going to get as much done versus if you have finally tuned your client’s services business, all the processes around that, you’re going to be able to get more done without hitting that overwhelm layer and running into the ‘ok, now I’m broken of habit; I got to use my very limited cognitive resource to figure out what to do next’. JONATHAN: Right. What's the – there’s a quote that made around just recently that’s about how Barack Obama wears the same thing all the time so he doesn’t have to make that decision every day, you know, the uniform. ERIC: Yeah. The Steve Jobs turtlenecks. REUVEN: Yeah, yeah, that’s who I’ve heard it before. JONATHAN: I don’t know if I buy that, but it does make your like easier, and you have to imagine that maybe that does resolve the more cognitive energy or things that are actually important; more important than deciding which pair of brown shoes to wear. CHUCK: Yeah. I think the way I heard it with Barack Obama was like picking which tie to wear or something where somebody sets out this wardrobe and he just didn’t have to make the decision. JONATHAN:**It’s his mom, I think. [Laughter]**JONATHAN: It’s a school day, Barack. It’s a White House Day. ERIC: The science behind it backs it up. It’s the cognitive resources we use for making decisions and all of that. It’s all the same pool that we’re drawing from, especially if you have to do a lot of problem solving or creative work, which I believe Barack has to do a little bit of that in his job. If he can get even half a percentage point just by not worrying about his wardrobe, that could be an improvement. The science for it works, but I don’t know if it actually has – it’s never going to prove it, but it's never been linked in like wearing the same thing every day does actually have a productivity impact. But there’s other things that studies have proven a link, a causal link or something like that. REUVEN:**Eric, I’m so going to use that the next time my family complains about how I dress. ‘I don’t want the cognitive load of having to think about how I dress. [Laughter] This is giving me extra productivity’.**JONATHAN:**I don’t have time to pick which pair of socks to wear under my [inaudible].**ERIC:**If you want an instant fight with your significant other, tell them ‘I don’t care what restaurant we go to. It’s below me’. [Laughter] Not that I’ve said it that way, but I’ve said something and accidentally phrase it into that [inaudible]. That was not a fun dinner. [Laughter]**CHUCK: Complaining about what I’m wearing. So what if I pulled two shirts out and put one on my bottom half. ERIC: Yeah. But if you think about it, in life in general, a decision is really not going to hurt you; it’s not going to be a significant thing. It’s easy to reverse, there's low risk in it, you shouldn’t waste a lot of energy or even time on it. If it’s like I work at home, should I wear a black polo or blue polo? I don’t care. What’s the one that’s closest to my hand right now? That’s what I grab. JONATHAN:**Yeah. I have a stack of about 10 black V-neck t-shirts. Even my 5-year old – I didn’t even realize I did it – and then the other day, my 5-year old was like ‘Daddy always wears a black shirt’. I was like ‘yeah, I guess I do’ [chuckles]. Scrub the top one. Here we go. Day starts.**CHUCK:**Yeah. I am so not going to – [Crosstalk]**REUVEN:**Choosing black shirts and that doesn’t go over so well [chuckles]. My girl, my teenage girl especially is like ‘really? That’s how you’re going to choose you're what you’re going to wear?’ [Crosstalk]**JONATHAN: So here's what you do to please everybody. You let them pick your outfit, you buy 12 of them, and you’re done. REUVEN:**Yeah, I don’t know if that would do much better. But at least, [inaudible] a different thing.**ERIC:**For probably two years, all I wear is black polo’s and Levis. And honestly, underwear and and socks don’t even get there, but – [crosstalk] entire uniform [Laughter]**REUVEN:**I was worried there. [Crosstalk]JONATHAN:[Inaudible] trail run commando.**ERIC:**I [inaudible] with socks on, but that’s a different podcast. But I mean, I have a blue one and a green one, but that’s just because my wife wanted some colors for if we go out or that sort of thing. And my black ones are now turning gray, so my uniform’s now gray polo’s and holey Levis. But it’s easy because I can just go to the store and buy another 6 brand new Levis in my size, bring them home, and I’m done. It’s all good and I don’t have to worry about what styles are, should I wear a bottom up, should I wear this or that. And polo’s are – they're comfortable for me, they look nice enough for the client meetings I would have ever go to, and that’s all I need, and I could focus on the more important stuff. Because I’m never on camera, it’s not really that big of a deal.REUVEN: Well, this solves our fashion problems. CHUCK: And now I know why I get so tired whenever we have to pick a restaurant. ‘Honey, you make the decision’. ‘All right, do you want to go to Olive Garden?’ ‘No’. ‘Do you want to go Five Guys?’ ‘No’ – this is my wife – ‘no, I don’t feel like Five Guys’. And so yeah, 10 restaurants down the list. ‘Ok, well just pick one’. ERIC: Yeah, it’s strange. Rob Walling calls it the brain glucose or something like that. And if you have a very light day work-wise, it would be easier to pick a restaurant; or it’s like a Friday night date night, pick the restaurant in the morning when you have the energy. Spend the 5 minutes to talk about it, get it done, and then you – your work is going to suffer that 5 milliliters of glucose, but if that’s the important thing that day. JONATHAN: Well, this seems like a tangent, but we were talking about not getting overwhelmed which stemmed from managing multiple client projects. At the same time, it all makes sense. REUVEN:[Laughter] And for the [inaudible] who’s remaining.**CHUCK: Yup. So I want to just dissect a little bit the question too, and that is: how do you manage multiple contracts or projects? What are they really concerned about? Are they afraid that they’re going to get overwhelmed, or they're afraid they're not going to know what to do next, or is there something else there that we just haven’t discussed yet? JONATHAN:**I don’t know if it is obvious to be before this conversation, but it is obvious to me now which is that getting overwhelmed. And what we were talking about is how to not get overwhelmed. And it doesn’t have to be multiple client projects, I suppose, but it probably is; for people in the audience, probably is; like you go through a dry spell, and all of sudden you get a whole bunch of leads, and all of sudden they – looks like they’re going to land and I want to take them all even though I don’t know how I’m going to do it all because it’s going to make [inaudible] sunshine since –. So you’d end up getting overwhelmed. And how do you deal with being overwhelmed? But there's this maybe a side topic of how do you even out your work load year round, which is, I guess, probably another show. But I guess I’m the one that suggested this topic in the first place, and really, probably should have been how to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed with the client work.**CHUCK: Yup. And sometimes, the answer is saying no to stuff. ‘I don’t have time, I can’t do it right now, you’re going to have to wait a while’, whatever. REUVEN: Right, absolutely. Better to turn away a client and say ‘I’m not going to be able to service you the way you need’ than to say ‘oh yeah, I can help you also’, and then everyone gets upset. JONATHAN:**It’s so easy to say that, but when your mortgage is due, and they’ve got a check of – [inaudible] make a good show topic: How to even out your work load year round.**CHUCK: Alright, anything else to attack on this? REUVEN:**One last little thing just to – Jonathan mention earlier that he uses his calendar to keep track of things, and I've definitely, definitely found that my calendar is my – we’re talking about – we mentioned tools earlier; I haven’t thought about it – my calendar is my main tool. It assures that I can block off time for things, and I can look at it and say ‘oh yeah, I’m going to have time to do X, I’m not going to have time to do X’, or ‘oh my god, I’m going to be overwhelmed that week’ [inaudible] note in advance. And so, I’ve definitely started using my calendar. It’s been a few years now, but my calendar sort of runs my life and I’m very dependent on it, but it also allows me to – that’s my process, I put things on the calendar and then I know, ok, that’s what I’m going to work with things, and if I don’t have time to help people, then I just tell them. And that’s definitely been helpful as suppose to ‘ah, I think I can squeeze it in’, and then discovering that I can’t.**CHUCK: Yeah. And then, I also, like I said before, I make good use of my calendar and make sure that I can fit everything in. And if some has to fall off, then I have to figure out if it’s critical or not. And if no matter what I do I have critical stuff falling off,  then I know that I’m oversubscribe and I need to reevaluate what I’m doing. ERIC: Yeah. Just like what we talked about, the project management tools, I barely use my calendar. My calendar is for meetings I have to go to, and then I’ll use blocks for a week of schedule in work or schedule on different internal projects. Other than that, I rarely use my calendar. My calendar is like a point that’s only hit – it’s not for task. CHUCK: Alright, well, should we go ahead and do some picks? REUVEN: Sure. JONATHAN: Yes, sir. CHUCK: Alright. Eric, you want to start us off with picks. ERIC:**Yeah. I got three today. First on top of that book; it is called the Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The target reader for this is – I think it’s like the single Japanese female, but I read it with – I had a couple of people and business circles recommend it. And so I’ve read it in the context of business, and it’s very interesting. I’m using the principles to clean up the house, but looking at it as far as processes. And if you look at her, she’s a consultant who does this tidying up or teaches this people to do it. There’s a lot you can clean from it as far as how you build a way to train your clients into doing what they need to do and how you can – there's actually one whole chapter, I think, I almost read a sales page. It’s like ‘what if I don’t know how to do this’. Well, you do this. ‘What if I have this feeling?’ Well, this is why you shouldn’t feel like that. It’s pretty interesting if you get above the reading between the lines and all that. Next thing – this is a blog by Philip Morgan. Its 3 Content Marketing Ideas For the Time-Constrained Dev Shop. Philip Morgan has been doing a lot of writing on content marketing recently and these three ideas are great. I actually do 2 of the 3, and one of them I have tried to [inaudible] here and there. It’s really good, especially if you are trying to do content marketing just to make sure you don’t run out of work in 6 months, but you're still busy with client work, this is a nice way to work around that. And then, third pick is Get High-Value Clients With Social Media. It’s an interesting article, but once you again, if you read in between the lines, you can see how – like the story if someone gets started, they have a marketable skill, but they don’t actually have an authority position; they’re just like a generalist, and how over time, they can build up their name, their authority, their brand, and then start dictating what costumers they want to work with. I always love these kinds of stories because I went through a similar path, and it’s interesting that different people in different things doing different services all do the same upward trajectory with it. So that’s it for this week.**CHUCK: Alright. Jonathan, do you have some pick for us? JONATHAN:**I do. I got two picks. One is that Android Wear was recently announced for iOS. So this is probably a little random, but people may or may not know that I absolutely love smart watches. And it’s exciting to see Android Wear, which is a really, really nice software platform for a watch – style wearable is now a cross-platform. Basically – iOS and Android is basically the entire mobile platform right now, so it’s really cool that the Wear is now crossed-platformed. And Pebble, which is my previous favorite, [inaudible] – they’re both great, but a big weakness of Android Wear was I couldn’t use it with an iPhone, and now I can, so I can switch phones freely and still use – wear the same watch. So if folks are into smart watches, keep your eyes peeled. The new iOS compatible Android Wear’s initially only going to be supported on newer models, but I’m sure the Android community will hack it and make it work on older models too. So I was pretty excited about that news. Also, I will mention Calendly because it’s so on topic for the episode. Calendly is something that allows you to send a link to somebody who wants to have a meeting with you and gives them a really nice responsive web interface for picking a time in your calendar. And it’s just unbelievable. It saves that back and forth time about like ‘oh, here are free times, I’m available’, and they’re like ‘oh, I’m not available in any of those times’. It’s just really irritating back and forth email conversation. To have Calendly solve all of that – I’ve probably picked it before, but since it’s so on topic for this episode, I wanted to pick it again. And then finally I’m going to be speaking at the Brennan Dunn’s Double Your Freelancing Conference in Norfolk, Virginia on September 16th through 18th. I’ll be there for the whole conference. And if you use this offer code I’m about to give you, you get 15% off if you’re going to be in Norfolk, Virginia during September. So the URL – I’ll put it in the show notes, but it’s bit.ly/dyf-js or DoubleYourFreelance-JonathanStark, and I hope to see you there.**CHUCK:**Very nice. Yeah. Reuven said that he really wanted to go, but the dates don’t work for him, and that’s just to close to us to having a baby [chuckles].**JONATHAN:**They are selling – I think, he decided, finally, to sell videos of his whole conference. [Crosstalk]**REUVEN: He just sent an email, I think, it was a few days ago before our recording saying that if you can’t make it, you can pay a $100 for videos. And if enough people pay for them, then he’ll sell it. I’ll see if I can find – I don’t know if I’m supposed to post links; if we can, if we are supposed to, then we’ll definitely put it in the show notes. I find it really hard to believe that he will not be able to sell enough to make it worthwhile. CHUCK: Yeah that just sounds awesome to me. Of course, I think the real value in a conference like that is going in rubbing shoulders and meeting people, but if you can’t do that –. REUVEN:**Right, right, I mean look, what dates is it again, Jonathan? It’s like – [crosstalk].**JONATHAN:**Sixteenth, 17th and 18th of September. [Crosstalk]CHUCK:[Inaudible] September, not November.**JONATHAN: In a couple of weeks. CHUCK: Yeah. Just a couple of weeks. Alright, Reuven, do you have some picks? REUVEN:Yeah, I have some picks. So as frequent listeners know, I go to China a lot: I’m into Chinese stuff and Chinese. And when you go to China, their big [inaudible] app is this thing called WeChat. So first of all, WeChat is just a really cool chat program. It has some very interesting features, very interesting features. Second of all, if you go to China and you have WeChat already installed, they will just think the world of you. ‘Oh my god’ – I have heard this from multiple people – ‘oh my god, you have WeChat? You are so Chinese’. Now I installed it on my phone. This means nothing [laughter][inaudible]. But they're very impressed if you have it there, so it’s definitely worth a lot. Anyway the folks at Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capitalist of general rich people, wrote an interesting – or someone in their staff, Connie Chan, wrote an interesting article called When One App Rules Them All: The Case of WeChat and Mobile in China is a fascinating article, partly because it describes this huge – I mean, I knew it was big; I didn’t realize how big – this unbelievable huge ecosystem for WeChat in China. Yes, people use it for groups and they use if for businesses and they use it for individual chats. I’m on a group chat for Ruby programmers in Shanghai. Why? Because before I traveled there, I was put on it, and it’s great for practicing Chinese reading. But it turns out there are like, I’m guessing, hundreds of thousands of millions of these different groups set up, but you can also pay your utility bills, and you can do person-to-person transfers, and on and on and on. It’s fascinating what you can do, and I would say half to two-thirds of the functionality they described in this article, I have no idea it even existed; it might not exist for non-Chinese people. So I definitely think it’s worth reading, and seeing where the mobile is going or could be going and learning about that. Second thing is – I just discovered this recently; it might not be new for the rest of you; when I was in high school, I went to this Broadway show, this relatively new and up and coming magicians known as Penn & Teller. They're a little more famous nowadays, and they have this show that’s been on for a few years that had no idea about called Fool Us. Now, I’m not a big fan of reality shows even though I said a few weeks ago that I’ve been enjoying Shark Tank. But it turns out that this is a reality show where magicians come out and they say – they do a trick, and Penn & Teller try to figure out how they did it. And I found it to be both entertaining and fascinating and just a lot of fun. You can find a lot of episodes on YouTube; that’s where I've been watching it. And Fool Us is just a lot of fun especially if you're someone like me, who at an age of – I don’t know, 7 or 8, took a ton of magic books out of the library, was convinced that I could do it, and I was just so [inaudible] that and even most simple things. So I'm sort of in awe by people who ever will do that. And the third thing is I’ll just mention it, I mentioned in last weeks at our live Q & A show, but I am definitely ramping up this training and coaching program. I’ve got a few people that I've spoken to who are really interested in starting. We are probably going to start around October 1st with a handful of people, and I’m hoping to grow that over time. I’m going to put the URL in the show notes. I’m moving my website in the next week or two so I can figure out DNS stuff – long story. I’ll put the URL in the show notes, and if that changes, we’ll change it in the show notes as well, but if people are interested in doing technical training, if you're just learning how to do it, if you're just improving, if you're just in making more money doing it; and believe me, there's a lot of money to be made doing it. I will be happy to guide you through any and all parts of that. And we’ll have a little group going on and we’ll all help each other using a combination of what I've learned, and what I learned in both practically and in my education PhD program, we’ll do a whole mish mash and stuff. Anyway, I will talk to you guys. I guess I’ll pass back to Chuck [chuckles]. I’m now signing off here. It’s on my podcast. Chuck.CHUCK:Well, I just won’t do any picks, then we’ll be fine. No. So I've got a couple of picks. First one, I want to back the pick for Calendly. I've mentioned this on the show before, but I am talking to podcast listeners, and if you want to get 15 minutes of my time over Skype, you can do that at Calendly – is how I have it set up. If you go to freelancersshow.com/15minutes, that’s 15 minutes, then it will forward you to Calendly, and you can pick a time on my schedule. If you don’t see any free time, it’s because I’m booked out about 2 or 3 weeks at this point, and then intermittently after that, and then it’ll let you book out for a couple of months. So go get a spot and then hop on and tell me what you think. I’m getting some really great feedback on the various podcast, and I love figuring out who’s out there on the other end and getting a good idea of what you care about and who you are and where you come from and what makes the show kind of awesome for you, and so I’m going to pick that. The other thing that I want to pick is – so this last week, we talked to Sunny Bonnell – I think we just released that episode last week. That episode was so awesome and I've still been thinking about the way that I want to approach the various things I do business-wise and podcast-wise and stuff from that episode. So I know we have a few listeners that just listened to the episode, so we’re [inaudible] us, and I want to tell you that that episode, I think, really nailed it. So go check that one out. And those are my picks. Alright, well, I think that’s it. So we’ll wrap up and we’ll catch you all next week.[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN.  Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more]**[Would you like to join a conversation with the Freelancers’ Show panelists and their guests? Wanna support the show? We have a forum that allows you to join the conversation and support the show at the same time. Sign up at freelancersshow.com/forum]**

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