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omniscient digital the long game kitchen side podcast

The Long Game is a podcast we just launched which consists of our long-form interviews with experts and thought leaders on the topics of content marketing operations and strategy. 

But this particular series of the podcast is so meta. We call it Kitchen Side.

It’s an inside look at how the sausage is made at our company, Omniscient Digital.

One big benefit of running an agency or working at one is you get to see the “kitchen side” of many different businesses; their revenue, their operations, their automations, and their culture.

You understand how things look from the inside and how that differs from the outside.

You understand how the sausage is made. 

As an agency ourselves, we’re working both on growing our clients’ businesses as well as our own. This podcast is one project, but we also blog, make videos, do sales, and have quite a robust portfolio of automations and hacks to run our business.

We want to take you behind the curtain, to the kitchen side of our business, to witness our brainstorms, discussions, and internal dialogues behind the public works that we ship. 

Listen in on this conversation to hear about each host and their backgrounds (Alex Birkett, David Ly Khim, Allie Decker).

Find out what this podcast is about, who it’s for, and how we want to run it.

Without further ado, enjoy Kitchen Side: episode #1, Behind The Long Game Podcast.

Kitchen Side: episode #1, Behind The Long Game Podcast.
Top Left: David, Top Right: Karissa, Bottom Right: Alex, Bottom Left: Allie

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[00:00:00] Karissa: [00:00:00] Okay. So why don’t we start, we’re talking about behind the scenes, what goes into creating these podcasts? We’re all brand new at this, right?  No, one’s actually made a podcast. 

[00:00:09]David: [00:00:09] We released one episode so we can write an ebook.

[00:00:13] Alex: [00:00:13] Yeah, totally. 

[00:00:14] Allie: [00:00:14] We’re essentially thought leaders. 

[00:00:18] Karissa: [00:00:18] So I want to hear first,  a little bit about your backgrounds each of you, and what qualifies you to talk about the topics of content marketing strategy, operations, and all of that.

[00:00:27] So let’s start with that. David, if you want to go first, maybe. 

[00:00:32] David: [00:00:32] Yeah, sure. So my background in content SEO started in like 2013. started learning SEO on my own. Got my whole career started off in SEO. And there was a point when I realized wait, why aren’t people talking about SEO and content separately?

[00:00:49] They’re like the same. Like you can’t do SEO without content. And that was so freaking stupid the way people were talking about it. But, my first job was. Pretty much an SEO editor. It was an internship. And from [00:01:00] there I learned like technical SEO and all that, which I learned, but I wasn’t super interested in, but I got a job at this agency called single grain, which.

[00:01:09]that the CEO at the time had three different websites or something. And I was helping produce content for both sites and just learning how to create good content that people will link to and that people would read and subscribe to. And then after that, I got a job at HubSpot doing content marketing.

[00:01:26] And that was when I was like, wow, this is when I joined HubSpot. It was. A lot of new things for me to learn and also hostile. I was still trying new things. So I got to learn a lot. We implemented the first very version of the pillar cluster model that a lot of you will talk about. And from there I went from doing blog posts, content to figuring out how we can do the SEO on like product pages, like comparison pages, more bottom of funnel content that is lower search volume, but.

[00:01:56] It’s a different type of SEO. So [00:02:00] it’s near and dear to my heart. not something I do every day, because we have people who are smarter than me helping out with that now, but it’s something that I think about a lot. Cause a lot of companies just really suck at it. 

[00:02:11] Karissa: [00:02:11] Yep. So they probably stand out even more now to you

[00:02:17] and Allie, how about you? 

[00:02:20]Allie: [00:02:20] I started my career in content as a freelance writer. after graduating college in 2016, I worked like a nine to five cubicle gig and it lasted about six months. I always knew I wanted to write, I didn’t know how to do that in a business setting. but I loved writing about business and about marketing.

[00:02:38] I’d started a business in college and sold it. Actually, it was a pretty small gig, but it really gave me the inside scoop of. The people that I was writing to, and some of the topics were even relevant to me. And so I started feeling it’s writing and that was my niche was entrepreneurship and marketing.

[00:02:56]after a couple of years, I was recruited by HubSpot to come [00:03:00] in and execute on the pillar cluster model, actually. So I was one of the first hires on the pillar team. Since then I’ve specialized more in long form content. moved into a little bit of what I like to call creative journalism. So just working on like interviewing folks and turning that into like longer form stories, marrying SEO and thought leadership, even though that latter term is pretty overused.

[00:03:23]but that’s kinda my background, how I got to where I am today. And. Working on the content operations side of our mission. So I now hire freelance writers to help execute on our strategy for clients. and I consider that more of my specialty on the team. 

[00:03:38] Karissa: [00:03:38] Awesome. So HubSpot recruited you? 

[00:03:42] Allie: [00:03:42] Yes, they did.

[00:03:43] It was a LinkedIn message that I thought was spam, so I ignored it first and then never ignored. 

[00:03:50] Karissa: [00:03:50] Awesome. All right, Alex, how about you? 

[00:03:52]Alex: [00:03:52] in college, I wanted to find a way to stand out. I was studying strategic communications, which is like advertising and PR. And I was [00:04:00] reading authors like Ryan holiday, who at that time had just published.

[00:04:03] Trust me, I’m lying. And was mainly a blogger. This is before his kind of, Storied career writing about stoicism and all that kind of, bestsellers. And I saw, Tim Ferriss’s blog and I saw how people were getting attention, just writing about the things that they were learning about.

[00:04:18] So I decided to do that in college, and that kind of made me, visible for a couple of freelance gigs my senior year. So I was freelancing for a couple of different com companies like, an e-commerce, ski racing, website. And I continued doing the freelance content marketing several years into, my actual post-college career.

[00:04:37] But I also got my first gig at a tech startup because of my writing capabilities. so the first gig I had was at lawn starter, which is a pre-seed funded. They just finished. Techstars really early stage. I just joined the founders, pre product market fit, building an MVP. And, a large part of my job was scrappy SEO, content marketing.

[00:04:57] So we would do stuff like, ego bait, [00:05:00] listicles. it’s a lawn care, startup that basically it’s like Uber for lawn care. So it was operating only in Austin and Washington DC Metro area. So local links were hugely important. So we would write content about lawn care just to build up topical authority.

[00:05:15] But then we would do tons and tons of these like LinkedIn ego bait things, which were like local flavors. It’s like the best, Landscaped colleges in the South, and we’d always put university of Texas at number one, and then we’d do all this crazy outreach and link building tactics to get links from local newspapers and sites.

[00:05:34] So that was my scrappy education. I was doing a bunch of other stuff too, then, customer service and sales and product work. And. just like a bunch of like little things. and then I joined CXL, which, it’s like conversion optimization agency. we launched the CXL Institute when I was there and a whole bunch of other stuff, but I was primarily writing articles, on deeply technical topics.

[00:05:57] So I was writing about experimentation and data science [00:06:00] and predictive analytics. And. they were long form essays, three to 5,000 words, typically with images and technical diagrams and quotes from experts and white papers and stuff like that. So that was like my purest version of content marketing.

[00:06:14] We didn’t look at SEO, we didn’t design it based on keywords. We didn’t do any of that. We basically wrote about things that customers were asking about, or people were talking about conferences. And writing from like a purist technical, conversion optimization perspective. So I did a lot of other stuff then, but I was always publishing about two articles per week.

[00:06:31] And that was definitely my primary education in both the technical aspects. So experimentation and data, which I consider one of the pillars of my. A skill set. if I’m a T-shaped marketer, it’s probably experimentation and data and then content marketing. And I learned both of those at CXL. And then after that I joined HubSpot and that’s actually, when I learned more about the SEO side of things, HubSpot had already built a playbook and a machine really, with a highly functioning SEO team and [00:07:00] a high functioning, content team.

[00:07:01] And they fit together like puzzle pieces. And that informed a lot of how I think about content strategy. So an omniscient, I do growth, work with clients, a little bit of everything, but I think my main strengths are tying together, technical frameworks, quantitative, insights and, building those into how we do content strategy.

[00:07:21] So we’ve come up with unique frameworks, like the content economics, the barbell strategy, and more strategic ways of looking at content marketing. And I think that blending of my background is probably how we’ve come up with those different angles. But I’m horrible at, the basic stuff that most people consider content marketing.

[00:07:37] Like I’m not a very good at grammar, and stringing sentences together, but I can write a deep, deeply technical long form piece on AB testing. So that’s where my skill set is. 

[00:07:49] Karissa: [00:07:49] Yeah. Awesome. So you guys all worked at HubSpot together. What made you come together to form this? Because you might’ve seen skills in each other and you’re like, Oh, [00:08:00] we’d be perfect.

[00:08:00] If we came together, what did that look like? 

[00:08:04] David: [00:08:04] Alex, you can take that. 

[00:08:05] Alex: [00:08:05] David and I wanted to get rich. all right. We’ve got to build a business. I think both of us had entrepreneurial ambitions for ever. that was my earliest inclination was to be an entrepreneur. And, I don’t remember who brought up the idea.

[00:08:18]it may have been you David, that you were talking about starting a company, I know there was some impetus in talking to my old boss at CXL pep Leia. we were at a conference in San Francisco and drinking beer and he was telling us how hard it was to hire a content marketer. And he was looking into these agencies and they were charging.

[00:08:35]X dollars for, and number of blog posts and David and I looked at each other and we’re like, we can do that. So I think that was when the feasibility angle came to the agency. I think that you and I had talked about doing that business before, but we had never honed in on a specific iteration or a specific way to do business.

[00:08:54] And the agency presented itself because we had both the skills. And we just quickly validated the fact that there [00:09:00] were people willing to buy and, there was a market need. There’s a need. Yeah. I 

[00:09:04] David: [00:09:04] think zooming out too, we both had that desire to create our own businesses and yeah. Honestly become wealthy.

[00:09:10] I remember. A couple of years back every year I would do this year in review and what I hope to do in the next year. And the bullet item I always had was like build a business. And I would ask myself, like, why do I want to do that? And then the wealth part was Paul Walden item was part of it, but the other part was like, I was doing freelance writing for some period.

[00:09:33] And I was like, it’s really cool. Getting to work with new businesses and meet these founders. And. Other marketers and learn about what they’re doing and help them out. So it was also scratching an intellectual itch as well of like it’s cool working for one business, but what if I can work with five and learn about what they’re all doing and learn things I wouldn’t learn from my day job.

[00:09:53]so that, that was a big selfish part of it. and then I found out that Alex is also doing his own [00:10:00] solo consulting and I was doing mine and we were like, Why don’t we just team up. So it’s probably a much better to have a partner in all of this than trying to go at it alone. 

[00:10:08] Alex: [00:10:08] And it is too.

[00:10:09] Karissa: [00:10:09] When did Allie come in to the whole mix? 

[00:10:12] Alex: [00:10:12] We met Allie at a, a remote retreat in Lake Tahoe, right? 

[00:10:17] Allie: [00:10:17] Yeah. That was last February, 2019. And I think I was sharing some strategy I had for HubSpot. y’all knew I was a freelancer too. So they brought me on to work on a client at the end of last year, right?

[00:10:35] David: [00:10:35] Yes. 

[00:10:37] Alex: [00:10:37] Some 

[00:10:37] Karissa: [00:10:37] listeners might assume that you all know each other cause you worked together in the same building or something, but obviously you’re spread out. 

[00:10:43] Allie: [00:10:43] Yeah. Yeah. We’re all in different spots. And we were, when we initially met at HubSpot, But yeah, in March they brought me on full ish time as head of content.

[00:10:54] Yeah. We 

[00:10:54] David: [00:10:54] actually, we actually didn’t really meet, or at least I didn’t meet you both through doing a job. It was like, [00:11:00] Alex, you were joining a different team on a marketing team at the time 

[00:11:04] Alex: [00:11:04] we were on the same team for a little bit, very brief time when we were on Scott’s team. 

[00:11:08] David: [00:11:08] Yeah. And then we were like, we tend gently spoke to each other, but.

[00:11:12] Like we somehow ended up doing this Lake house trip together and we got to hang out and I remember we had a marketing team kickoff. I was sitting next to Alex and leaned over. I was like, Hey dude, do you believe in free will? Yeah, I think that’s when the friendship started. 

[00:11:29] Alex: [00:11:29] Really?

[00:11:33] David: [00:11:33] Yeah. I think. Correct me if I’m wrong. I liked from the beginning of working all this to be like, if you’re a cool person at work with Allie Decker, and then we got to work with you for a client, but then we were like, we got to bring Allie on as a partner at some point. 

[00:11:48] Alex: [00:11:48] Yeah. It was completely serendipitous and it laddered up step-by-step cause like, David and I briefly worked with each other and had hung out a bunch of times, like random retreats and we’d crossed paths via like conferences and stuff like that.

[00:12:00] [00:12:00] But then, Allie. I was in, emerging leaders with your boss at HubSpot and. We had invited her to the Lake Tahoe thing and she’s Oh, I’m gonna bring Allie too. and we hadn’t met you before then. And I think we were all working on random stuff that week. and I think that cracked open the shell, the idea to work with you with clients.

[00:12:17] Cause we were just working with, I think our first client at that time, like it was really early and yeah, we brought you on. For as a freelance writer and then we’re like, Oh, Allie is really good. We should definitely try to work with her more. And it’s just escalated, to the point where we asked you to be a partner as well.

[00:12:34] That’s 

[00:12:34] Karissa: [00:12:34] awesome. So whose idea was it to do a podcast and why? 

[00:12:41]Alex: [00:12:41] I don’t know. The initial seed of the idea I’ve been. I don’t know. that’s been an itch of mine for a little bit, so I don’t know if I like threw it out there. David’s probably threw it out there. I’m sure Allie had the idea as well. I think we’ve all simultaneously thought about doing this.

[00:12:57] Karissa: [00:12:57] What was appealing to you about a podcast? 

[00:13:00] [00:13:00] Alex: [00:13:00] Talking to smart people. something that I did pre pandemic days, was I would go get lunch with people. And, because I never worked in the office at HubSpot, I was always remote. I actually found that to be a strength because, you sometimes need a little bit of a.

[00:13:13]divergent thinking. And if you’re, if you talked to the same people too often, you get in a bubble or like an echo chamber in terms of ideas. So I didn’t have that crutch, that social network, which, it’s a downside too, because you don’t get as many deep relationships with your coworkers probably, but I would go out and do coffees and lunches with random people, from different companies in Austin, like big commerce and whatnot.

[00:13:35] And, I always loved those. Like they would just be like probing, the person for what they’re working on and what cool ideas they have. Yeah. so I always loved that style of conversation. It just learning from smart people. And I figure I want to have those conversations anyway. So let’s just record them and put them out there and become better at this actual, public speaking and interviewing and conversational thing and create this as a form of content as well.

[00:13:56] And then also we realized that we can use this as a seedling of an idea [00:14:00] that we can repurpose to other formats. So we can create this. What we’re talking about right now into a blog post. We can put it on social media. We can put YouTube clips out there. And in essence, it’s like a form of leverage because we don’t have to like, create like new things for each of these channels we create once and then it reverberates into all these different places.

[00:14:17] So it’s an effective mechanism to create more content, with minimal effort, I guess 

[00:14:22] Karissa: [00:14:22] I love what you said earlier about the name and mission, 

[00:14:25]Allie: [00:14:25] it’s, 

[00:14:25] Karissa: [00:14:25] this is who we are. It’s being transparent with. What you’re producing and the content you’re creating and then sharing that. 

[00:14:32] Alex: [00:14:32] So it’s pretty, we had no intention of that by the way, David came up with the name.

[00:14:36] I don’t know how he came up with the name, but, as we were putting together the behind the scenes ideas, which came completely randomly, I think it was when we wanted to put together the article on, how to build a content calendar. And, we’re like, let’s just talk about it. let’s, ask us interview questions and wait, let’s record it too.

[00:14:50] And maybe we can put it out and then it’s wait, we can do this with all of our shit. Like we can just show them behind the scenes. And then that got me thinking of the connection between the word omniscient, which is all [00:15:00] seeing all knowing and the fact that we’re opening the curtain to all of this stuff too.

[00:15:04] It’s you can be omniscient about, I guess what we’re working on. We should come up with a clever way to brand that 

[00:15:10] Karissa: [00:15:10] totally 

[00:15:13] David: [00:15:13] the podcast too. It was like, there’s the business side, there’s a personal side. And then there’s the well, people reach out to us to ask us for advice and stuff.

[00:15:21] Why can we just record this and talk to other smart people and share advice and scale that out? I’ve been thinking about this concept of every person is now a media company, in terms of entrepreneurship. And even if you don’t want to start a business, the fact that people are posting stuff on Twitter, getting followers, posting stuff on Instagram, getting followers, like people want to hear what other people say.

[00:15:43]and I get messages and LinkedIn requests, and I’m like, I can’t talk to all of you as much as I’d want to. so this is just one way to, to scale that out. 

[00:15:53] Karissa: [00:15:53] Yeah, that’s awesome. So who is this podcast 

[00:15:56] Allie: [00:15:56] for the long 

[00:15:57] Karissa: [00:15:57] game? Who are you trying to help? [00:16:00] 

[00:16:00]David: [00:16:00] I honestly don’t think we’ve talked about this.

[00:16:02]so I’m curious to hear what y’all say. I can start. I think a lot of this may be a deeper than expected, but I think a lot of media now it is. Creates this perception of like short-term wins or like hacks and tactics and tips to do things immediately. But a lot of things are just about doing something for a sustained amount of time and doing it for a long time.

[00:16:27]a lot of businesses fail because they do something on sustainable and they run out of runway. or they just give up or folks want to start a business. They’re like, they give up. But if you can just last long enough to survive long enough and outlast other businesses that don’t last that long, then I think there’s a good chance of survival.

[00:16:49] Like maybe you won’t become the next billion dollar company, but you’ll be a successful entrepreneur if you’d go at it long enough. And I think. That the hacks and tactics overshadow [00:17:00] that story and the effort of how long it takes to build something. And that can apply to both business and like personal projects and things like that.

[00:17:09] So that I selfishly wanted to learn about the stories and also. shift the frame, framing of how people think about these things into more of it’s okay to take a long time to build things out. And in fact that’s how a lot of things work out. 

[00:17:23] Alex: [00:17:23] Yeah. I resonate with that a lot. I also, I think I’ve framed it more from who we don’t want to build this for.

[00:17:29]I had a conversation earlier today, with a marketer and content writer who was, asking about, w everything’s moving so fast in this digital marketing world. What do I need to learn? what courses do I need to take? Like, how do I keep up? And I think that’s such a.

[00:17:44] A rat race it’s so there’s always new tactics and takeaways and tips and tricks and thousand things you can do. But then there’s these underlying kind of like fundamentals, that David alluded to, which you do over time. it’s not sexy stuff. [00:18:00] And eventually you get success. Like it’s not a survivorship bias thing.

[00:18:04] Actually. I think David , who we had on the podcast not released yet. had a tweet about survivorship bias. Being not a thing. If you play the long game or something like that, I can’t remember the exact tweet, but it’s interesting, like on a long enough time scale, if you’re playing the right game, Then survivorship bias doesn’t matter.

[00:18:20] It’s like you’re going to get that one win. So I think we wanted to do the long game. The podcast name means a lot. It’s something that, we’ve pulled from  tweet. One of my favorite quotes actually is a play long-term games with long-term people because compounding interest is everything. So I think it’s a reminder to ourselves more than anything to like, not take our eye off the ball, not, get shiny object syndrome and just continue plugging through and like putting out great work.

[00:18:44] But, back to my original thing of who I don’t want it to be for. It’s like the person who goes to a conference. And, like maybe flits in for a couple sessions, mindlessly pays attention a little bit, and then it goes back to the hotel room and skips the after party and [00:19:00] the networking and all of that stuff.

[00:19:02] It’s like the, misses the forest for the trees type of person who says Oh, what’s the executive summary. It’s that’s not the point. the people who are in it for the experience, and then you actually find out that if you stay for the after party, if you stay for the conference happy hour, that’s where all the insights are actually shared.

[00:19:18] Anyway, nobody’s giving you the fucking top three takeaways that I like. Those are all known. They’re all over the internet. They’re all over blog posts. You can learn about that anywhere. We want to get to the underlying stuff. We want to have those conversations that are a little bit more comfortable after a couple drinks and the kind of flourish after you’re a little more comfortable with each other.

[00:19:36] So I think we don’t want the people who are like, Oh, give me the takeaways. It’s such a, I don’t know, go listen to two X speed, like some 20 minute podcast or something. If you want that. 

[00:19:46] Karissa: [00:19:46] Yeah, totally makes sense. 

[00:19:48] Allie: [00:19:48] Gosh, I had something I was going to say, and then you guys talked and I was like, yes. a couple of things come to mind for me, just like quotes and articles.

[00:19:55] I’ve read there’s one by Steph Smith. And she says, you know how to be great. [00:20:00] It’s to be good repeatably. So that’s seconding what David said about the long game and how it’s not. Pretty, and it’s not fun. and then something else that comes to mind more in terms of writing is 80% of the ideas you have come after you start the essay.

[00:20:16] And so like I have, and that’s more obviously specific to a writing project, but it comes to mind in this case too. Cause Coming from my perspective from such a type a like I come from a very perfectionist, like background. Like I was a very good student and sometimes I regret having that background because it makes me want to be always good, always on making always pretty stuff and That’s not where the learning is.

[00:20:39] That’s not where, the takeaways are like, that’s not where the connection is, like not in the conference sessions it’s afterwards. And I’ve found that even we have conversations, like the good stuff comes after a little bit of talking and I just feel like the conversations we’re going to have on the podcast are the nitty gritty stuff.

[00:20:58]understanding not how [00:21:00] people are being successful, but how they got to the part where they trusted themselves. They got comfortable in the uncomfortable. They worked through the weeds to maybe come out the other side and it took a long time to do all of that. And I’m ready for more. I don’t want to throw around the word authentic because I feel like that’s also very overused, but just the real shit, honestly.

[00:21:18]there’s just so much out there. if I see one more hack, no. So I’m excited that we’re all pretty aligned on this. 

[00:21:26] David: [00:21:26] I almost 

[00:21:28] Alex: [00:21:28] go ahead. 

[00:21:29] David: [00:21:29] I was going to say Allie touched on something that I think is important. Like this idea of. cutting off our perfectionism short and shipping and just getting things out the door is something I’ve also been working on for years.

[00:21:42] And I’ve told Alex multiple times like, Hey dude, call me out. If he ever feels like I’m dragging my heels or just taking forever to get something out. And it’s even something I’m trying to do, like in my job at Fishtown analytics, It’s a series B startup. How do I keep shipping and not try to perfect things?

[00:21:59] Cause [00:22:00] there’s always going to be tons to do. It’s what I’m pushing myself to be more comfortable with for this podcast. Like maybe the first one, I want to change the intro music and remove four bars and add four bars at the end, but who the fuck cares? Let’s just ship it out and get feedback and see how we feel about it.

[00:22:16] And even with the webinars we’ve been doing, like before I would have been like, we need to have an agenda. We.

[00:22:27]Allie: [00:22:27] learning 

[00:22:27] David: [00:22:27] experience in the long game is being comfortable, knowing that. Doing something wrong or not perfectly. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It just that’s how you learn, 

[00:22:37] Alex: [00:22:37] fail fast, 

[00:22:38] Karissa: [00:22:38] fail forward. Something like that. 

[00:22:41] Alex: [00:22:41] I almost wanted to call the podcast, the sandbox, by the way, this is a thought that I’ve had like over the past, like couple of months, cause like I’m getting back into guitar and I’m like, all right, I got to use the old band name that I used to use.

[00:22:52] And if I come up with an album it’s going to be called sandbox or something like that. Cause it’s like experimental. So I can do whatever the fuck I want and make whatever [00:23:00] sounds. It’s not like a genre defined thing, but then also I’m just playing. It’s like a cool thing, and it demystifies and makes it less serious.

[00:23:07] I think the long game works actually a lot better because of the theme we’re going for with repeated iteration and success. It’s not necessarily just fun and all experimental. We’re not like going off in many different directions, but it still includes that word game. Which I like, it’s all a game.

[00:23:21] Like it’s, we don’t have to take it so seriously, but, over the long-term over the long game, we can iterate and experiment and just ship a lot. And that’s the ethos that we’re going for, but also David, you haven’t written your article for the thought leadership this month. So yeah.

[00:23:36] David: [00:23:36] My heels. 

[00:23:39] Karissa: [00:23:39] All right. So what kind of guests are you excited to have on? who are you excited to talk about or talk to you? What kind of people 

[00:23:47] Allie: [00:23:47] I want to talk to people about, people don’t know. I know that obviously people become popular and famous and well-known for a reason they’re valuable.

[00:23:56] They’ve got stuff to say. but I don’t know. I feel like the folks [00:24:00] who aren’t as very well known, I can’t think of anybody off the top of my head. They’ve got just as much to share because they’re creating just as much like in private as they are in public and they’re still going and pushing forward.

[00:24:10] And just because they’re not known yet, doesn’t mean that they’re. 

[00:24:14] David: [00:24:14] Know, 

[00:24:15] Allie: [00:24:15] not valuable. 

[00:24:16] Karissa: [00:24:16] Yeah. But they still have value to give. 

[00:24:19] Alex: [00:24:19] I think I mostly care about a passion. That’s my number one. That’s actually probably my number one criteria for people I hang out with in general is like people who have a spark of energy.

[00:24:29]and I like contrarians. It doesn’t, you don’t have to be like a, an annoying contrarian where everything you think is like against the mob or whatever. But I like people who think differently. to give just examples of the conversations we’ve already had. I think Tommy and David  they are clearly passionate about their ideas.

[00:24:48] I’m going to have unique ideas. Like they’ve clearly thought about some things from first principles and come to their own conclusions. And I think those are the conversations that are most interesting to have, because it’s like also the idea itself is [00:25:00] interesting, but how the hell did you come up with that?

[00:25:01]what are your, what’s your background? Like how did you get here? I think that’s the interesting thing. Yeah. 

[00:25:08] David: [00:25:08] Yeah. I, a couple years ago, I remember speaking to my manager at the time his name was Brian Balfour. And every conversation I had with him was about career development and professional development and how to like, get better at my job and everything.

[00:25:24] And he pointed out at one point, he was like, it seems like you’re really trying to rush this process and get really good and everything, which is great. But. It’s okay to zoom out and just do the job for a couple months and then reflect back. And, the thing that’s, hadn’t tied the knot on that was like he said, yeah, like all these people that you probably look up to in tech where like the markers and stuff, it comes in waves like this wave of folks that you pay attention to all know each other, you’re going to be part of one wave.

[00:25:53] Like maybe it’s not this next one. Maybe a couple of years later, you’re going to be part of a wave where you know, this certain group of folks that are all of a sudden [00:26:00] getting all this attention and why are like getting consulting gigs and all that. And that was really interesting to me.

[00:26:05] Cause I was like, how do I find more of those people in that wave? Or talk to the people like that are on an, the wave in front of me that are about to get really well known or something and get to learn from them before everyone wants to talk to them. yeah. So I want to talk to people who both, on the same way as us and people who are maybe like one or two waves ahead who like maybe David  is a couple of waves ahead, but that’s been a really helpful framework for me to feel like, just put into time.

[00:26:35]this wave is barely forming for us. It’s not going to crest yet, but it’s on the way there. So it’s been a helpful narrative, but if I had to name a name, one of the folks I’ve followed over the years is someone I used to work with at single grain. Eric’s too. But I’d say he’s really well known in marketing, but I don’t know to the extent what his reach is, but it’s been interesting following his long [00:27:00] game from sitting in a room with him, white boarding, his whole strategy.

[00:27:03] And now seeing over the last. Three to five years, all of that come to fruition. And this dude had a game plan and he trusted the process and I’m hoping to learn and like model that. and I want to dig into that with him a bit more and just understand his like mental models for all of that. Yeah, for 

[00:27:22] Allie: [00:27:22] sure.

[00:27:23] Karissa: [00:27:23] So what are some takeaways that you would hope that your listeners would take away from each podcast? Like 

[00:27:31] Allie: [00:27:31] what do you really want? 

[00:27:32]Karissa: [00:27:32] people to walk away with after listening. 

[00:27:36]Allie: [00:27:36] I would say confidence in themselves sounds a little simplistic given how tactical we can get. but the truth is I don’t really expect anybody to master a skill after 45 minutes of our podcasts.

[00:27:51]that’s first of all, not the purpose. Like we’re not again, giving hacks, giving tricks. that’s just not how you become good at anything, but. I [00:28:00] would love to instill a bit of an in my lane, if I’m in my lane, there’s not any traffic, like I’m doing what I need to do and talking or listening to these folks, talk and understand, the behind the scenes stuff that happens.

[00:28:13] And those after conference conversations that happen. not only can I hear them here, but I’m going to go seek out those behind the scenes conversations of my own, because that’s where I know the real. Education and inspiration happens. just creating a new wave of like educational norms, telling people like it’s gonna be all harder before it gets easier.

[00:28:34] And that’s means it’s working. that’s what you’re supposed to do. That I know that’s a pretty big takeaway, but that’s what I hope at least I can help. 

[00:28:44] Alex: [00:28:44] Yeah. Is that feeling after a good conversation with a friend, where it’s like sparks are flying and ideas are flying and you’re just excited to get started on whatever you’re talking about.

[00:28:53] If I could give that feeling away, that would be Epic. I don’t know if that’s possible, but other than that, I, [00:29:00] sorry, what’s that 

[00:29:00] Karissa: [00:29:00] inspiration basically. 

[00:29:02] Alex: [00:29:02] Yeah. Inspiration, but a driving force behind it. Like your eyes are brighter and you’re just fucking ready to go. I love that feeling. I actually missed that.

[00:29:10] Like the pandemic has made it more difficult to find those serendipitous conversations. You can do it over zoom. It’s not the same though. but yeah, I think that feeling if I could bottle it up, I love that one. But other than that, I think the best we can hope for on a feasible level is to be a, like an intellectual buffet of sorts where like you can come dabble in and try a bunch of different things.

[00:29:30] And maybe you’ll come away with an idea from a certain podcast and go dive in further. Maybe you find out about a guest who you didn’t know before, and you like. dive into their work. I think it’s a good starting point. I don’t think you’re gonna, yeah, like Allie said, you’re not going to learn how to build a content roadmap from a podcast, but we may do a podcast about that.

[00:29:48] And that leads you down the path where you seek your own expertise. So I guess it is inspiration either way. 

[00:29:55] Karissa: [00:29:55] Yeah, for sure. Plant the seed 

[00:29:57] Allie: [00:29:57] and then you can run with it. 

[00:30:00] [00:30:00] Karissa: [00:30:00] So the first podcast was officially launched yesterday. How did that feel and where do you hope to be? This is a two part question.

[00:30:08] Where do you hope to be by podcast number a hundred? as a business individually. 

[00:30:17] Allie: [00:30:17] Wild to see it on 

[00:30:18] Alex: [00:30:18] Spotify. 

[00:30:20] David: [00:30:20] Cool. I sent it to my girlfriend, so to, so my closest friends and I was like, this is cool. Like it was re it’s easier than people would think to get a podcast up, but just seeing it up and live.

[00:30:30] And knowing that we got over that hump was, it felt pretty good. And knowing that we got your help with the Karissa was. Amazing. I think we dragged our feet on it for a while. So it was cool to get your catalyzing force. 

[00:30:45] Alex: [00:30:45] It’s 

[00:30:45] Karissa: [00:30:45] fun 

[00:30:46] Allie: [00:30:46] podcast launch day. 

[00:30:47] David: [00:30:47] Yeah, I think for me, it’s hard to say in terms of metrics where they want us to be on episode 100, but one way I think about it is if I could have a handful of folks reaching out and being like, Hey, listening to this [00:31:00] podcast really helped me.

[00:31:02] Reframe how I think about what I’m doing and my career and my work that’d be helpful. Like going back to the main takeaway is if folks understand that a lot of this, the long game is mindset. It’s not about doing a bunch of hacks. It’s like trusting that a lot. This is just designed to change the way you work versus what the actual work is sometimes and thinking about it in a longterm is going to be a big thing.

[00:31:24] And then the other one is. Trusting the process, have confidence and trust in the process due to foundational work. And if you’re putting in that work, it’s going to come like you’re on that wave and you just got to ride it. And you can try to do some hacky stuff, but that’s like you played a lottery and hoping that one, that next hack will be the one that gets you, which maybe it’s a barbell strategy.

[00:31:48] You focus 80% of your energy on the foundational stuff, 20% Trinity’s hacky things, but really trust the process. And if folks can say you’ve helped me feel better about that and be more patient. I [00:32:00] think I feel pretty good. But 

[00:32:02] Allie: [00:32:02] relating it to a lottery. It reminded me of this weird analogy. I heard that.

[00:32:08]and I’m in no way, like enabling gambling or anything, but it’s like, when you talk about hacks and stuff, I envision someone walking and pulling the slot, like one slot machine at a time. But honestly, like you’re more likely to win if you sit and you pull the same thing over and over again, they don’t know a lot about the math behind gambling, but that’s what it reminds me of is There’s so much like boring, ugly, hard, so much stuff that needs to happen.

[00:32:32] That’s just part of the process and seeing all these quick wins online, especially now, more so than ever that people’s successes and more public than ever people are building in public. That’s all amazing. But it can leave you at the end of the day, feeling like you’ve crossed the line from inspiration into intimidation.

[00:32:49] And I just hope that like in a hundred days, like not only do I feel more confident in myself because that’s something that I’m still working on, but. Our network as a team is stronger and we’ve [00:33:00] encouraged and inspired way more people than we are today. Like positive feedback, great anecdotes, great stories.

[00:33:07]that’s what I hope comes from this. 

[00:33:09] Alex: [00:33:09] I just want to, nerd Splain something real quick. There is a methodology by which you can optimize your slot machine, pulling

[00:33:19] the multi-armed bandit problem. So it’s a whole literature there. Anyway.

[00:33:27] No you’re still worked. the multi-armed bandits an analogy too, but anyway, is 

[00:33:33] David: [00:33:33] it the multi-arm bandit? Like you pull a bunch of levers and when you see what leverage is working more, you focus more on that lever, 

[00:33:39] Alex: [00:33:39] but reinforcement learning and it assumes that all of the. Multi-armed bandits.

[00:33:44] The slot machines have different distributions of, rewards and outputs. And your goal is to find the one that gives you the most rewards on an expected value basis. So you don’t know anything, you have imperfect knowledge, when you’re going in. So you pull a broad variety of all of them. And then [00:34:00] as one starts to give you more rewards, you say, all right, this is probably.

[00:34:04] This is looking good. So you start to distribute your effort, your inputs to pulling that are more, and then things could change. Like maybe you see this other one is actually giving you a lot of rewards too. So it’s like a reinforcement learning machine learning tool. 

[00:34:14] Karissa: [00:34:14] I live in Vegas and I’ve 

[00:34:15] Allie: [00:34:15] never done that.

[00:34:16] Let’s scrap my analogy. 

[00:34:19] Alex: [00:34:19] No, your analogy was great.

[00:34:23] Let’s 

[00:34:23] Allie: [00:34:23] do our next team outing and Vegas 

[00:34:25] David: [00:34:25] let’s do a biggest budget and we’ll start playing the slots. 

[00:34:30] Alex: [00:34:30] I’ve actually never heard. Definitely. Oh, we should do that actually then. Yeah. we’ll throw a, Hunter S Thompson S remote retreat. Just kidding. We won’t do that, but, my goals are similar to, your goals that you’ve mentioned, but, I don’t have any quantitative goals.

[00:34:50]I would like to, influence some people and, Stop saying, and, and that’s fine by podcast number 100. That’s my goal. 

[00:34:57] David: [00:34:57] I wouldn’t be happy with getting to podcast number one, a [00:35:00] hundred, because that means we have not given up. 

[00:35:02] Alex: [00:35:02] I put, in our Google drive folder zero zero one and zero, zero two to imply that we will eventually be in the three figures.

[00:35:10] So that’s how 

[00:35:12] David: [00:35:12] it should be. Zero, zero, zero one.

[00:35:18] Kidding 

[00:35:19] Alex: [00:35:19] the next like Rogan or something. 

[00:35:22] Karissa: [00:35:22] I can’t wait to play these back. Like at hopefully episode 100, 

[00:35:28] Alex: [00:35:28] listen back shocking and embarrassing. And hopefully, that’s what we want. Is it to be something we look back on and say, Oh, I can’t believe that was us. 

[00:35:39] Allie: [00:35:39] It’s a good thing. 

[00:35:41] Karissa: [00:35:41] Awesome. Anything else you want to add about this podcast for the listeners?

[00:35:45] Anything else you want to share about the long game? 

[00:35:53] Alex: [00:35:53] Let’s try it out. You don’t have to listen to every episode. If one looks good, try it. If you don’t like it, try another one.

[00:36:02] [00:36:00] You can do whatever you want. you don’t have to follow us for everything, but, if one seems interesting. Give it a click. 

[00:36:09] David: [00:36:09] Cool. 

[00:36:10] Allie: [00:36:10] All right. 

[00:36:11]Karissa: [00:36:11] thanks guys. That was really great, I learned a lot and I see where you’re going with this and it’s exciting. So thanks for the time.

Click here for more episodes of The Long Game podcast.

Click here for more episodes of The Long Game podcast.


Alex Birkett

Alex is a co-founder of Omniscient Digital. He loves experimentation, building things, and adventurous sports (scuba diving, skiing, and jiu jitsu primarily). He lives in Austin, Texas with his dog Biscuit.