Jeff Willinger interviews Scott Hanselman

Jeff Willinger, MVP interviewed Scott Hanselman, Partner Program Manager, Microsoft, USA following his hugely entertaining ESPC19 keynote.

Video Transcript

Jeff: Hi this is Jeff Willinger J Willie on Twitter and I am absolutely thrilled to be here at the European SharePoint Office 365 and Azure conference and we have a special guest today which we’ll get to in a moment special but this is a happy hour version of our interview so cheers to my special guest, Scott Hanselman and Scott we’re gonna play like a fun little drinking game as we’re doing this interview every time I say the word SharePoint or Yammer we have to take a drink.

Scott: I will drink twice on Yammer.

Jeff: Cheers to that. You know Scott I’m a fan of yours first of all tell everybody who you are and not necessarily why you’re here in Prague.

Jeff: Okay my name is Scott Hanselman you can go out there in Google with Bing for Scott somewhere in the first 20 pages you’ll find me up there with Scott toilet paper my name is Scott Hanselman I’ve been on the internet for many years I’ve been blogging for 17 18 19 years I podcast 712 episodes every Thursday for 712 divided by 52, 14 years.

Jeff: Maybe I could you’re on my show maybe I’ll go on yours.

Scott: Yes as my quality continues to slip I will be sure to invite you on you when it really hits about here you’ll be primed and ready for the show.

Jeff: Perfect do you ever talk about SharePoint?

Scott: We have not but I understand that some exciting things are happening in SharePoint world SharePoint universe yes, I’ve had six or seven of these myself today so I think we’re gonna get along just fine the stranger strange people yes, some edgy drifter has just come by.

Jeff: So, Scott you know I’ve been a fan of yours believe it or not for actually quite some time I saw you speak about five years ago probably on episode maybe 200 how long have you been doing your podcasts?

Scott: 14 years

Jeff: Five years ago, would be no it’s probably seven years ago because I think you’re halfway into your career as a podcaster and the one thing that I always admired about you besides your pizzazz and your devilish good looks.

Scott: Sparkle fingers.

Jeff: I always considered you like a life hack and when I think about a life hack I think about guys or women that could get stuff done expeditiously faster, more productive yeah and I thought I’d focus our conversation today on how do we get more out of less you know organizations out there especially here at ESPC 19 you’re looking to, they’re doing more with less so what are some things that you’ve been up to that could help our audience with their sort of being more productive?

Scott: Well so there’s this joke that people always say that Beyonce has the same number of hours as you do but unfortunately she also has like a glam squad and an assistant and a bunch of other stuff and probably your own SharePoint instance that she maintains herself in her spare time yeah but what I do have been trying to do and I’m by no means an expert but I’ve been trying to do this for many years is have a level of intentionality or what is called deliberate practice. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re more productive it’s just that you’re not letting the defaults happen right you know you ever have that sense of it as a person at work who seems to have time to binge watch the latest whatever on Netflix but they’re just not shipping the thing that you need them to ship. I’m not saying don’t like work double-time but I’m saying be deliberate, there’s a lot of things that are happening right now in the in the science of work space where people are saying maybe we could get our work done in four hours well it turns out we’re really just goofing around at work for a lot of time so what if you sat down here’s a here’s a thing for you to try here’s some homework you ready for this. All right I want you to go to work on Monday wherever you work and don’t check your email until after lunch and what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna find yourself staring at a computer like I don’t even know what I do here. Right so checking exactly because checking email is the easiest way to teleport and time travel into the afternoon right then you have a long lunch then it’s 3:30 and then it’s like well I’m just starting to get my feet underneath me. Now I got to go home that time right think about three things that you can get done today three things you can get done this week and then organize everything around that where email unless your job is email and then if it is you know do your email right but deliberate practice schedule sprint’s. You hear of the Pomodoro Technique you familiar with that Pomodoro Technique? Okay Pomodoro is Italian for tomato, I think?

Jeff: I know Pomodoro’s and tomatoes go together.

Scott: Okay so the Pomodoro is this cute little tomato shaped plastic egg timer and you turn it and it goes to 25 minutes so a Pomodoro is now a unit of time okay so if you look at a project and you’re like that’s gonna take me about two and a half hours to do that project that’s five Pomodoro’s so you’re taking the timer and you turn the egg timer to twenty five minutes to pee sure that’s why it’s not a 30-minute timer so you turn into twenty five and you sprint and you do one thing for 25 minutes then you take a break do whatever and then you do it again so that’s five sprints.

Jeff: I love the idea of a timer I like the idea of a 25 minutes I love that then you take a break. Was this a Tim Ferriss technique or just Hanselminutes?

Scott: No this is long before Ferriss this is seven Habits of Highly Effective People this is Steven Covey the Pomodoro Technique is another gentleman there’s a lot of people who’ve been thinking about those things and if you go out and you google for Hanselman productivity tips I’ve got a number of videos where I’ve synthesized all of those people’s work into a technique that works for me, as you should do for you if you don’t like any one of these tips just don’t do that that’s a great thing about advice is you don’t have to take it right okay. But most people cannot sit and do one thing for 25 minutes there’s no focus anymore.

Jeff: Absolutely correct I believe that size we live in a day where we are distracted big time I mean I don’t know if you notice but my phone isn’t even near me I even took off my watch for our interview so I wouldn’t get distracted.

Scott: And that’s an intentional thing that is called deliberate practice when you sat down for this you thought about up hang on let me check my text messages right you can’t do that when you’re doing something like this, smart so deliberate practice is a big part of what I try to do.

Jeff: I love the deliberate practice and I am literally going to buy that timer on Amazon I love it.

Scott: Yeah you can do that you can you can get a Pomodoro, you can get Pomodoro apps for the phone anyway look like it for like a buck you can just use any egg timer but it’s having it there and noticing that you’re only gonna have this much time here’s another example of being really deliberate. I’m in Europe and my kids are had their birthdays last week they’re 12 and 14 it’s 52 weeks in a year every week that I’m gone is 2% of my kids year, so while I’m here I’m doing 11 talks in four countries and I’ll be home for lunch on Saturday. I didn’t come to walk the cobblestones my family’s not here I get in. You ever see you ever see the movie In Bruges with Colin Farrell he’s an Irish guy and he’s an assassin and he’s gone into Bruges in Belgium this little tiny town Belgium and he hates it he just wants to get in he’s gonna get in he’s gonna kill the guy and he’s gonna get out of Bruges it’s this whole entire thing. I’m the same way I come in I kill the guy and I get out of town so here I come in I do the job I go home as fast as I can I hang out my kids because that’s what I value you might value your kids you might value your exercise or your Netflix or whatever but is you decide what are you gonna care about and then optimize everything around that goal. Most people just let their lives happen by default they go all where’d the time go. If only I had another two hours a day.

Jeff: Yeah I haven’t said that in a long time because I am intentional I am crazy time management guy in fact when I asked you to speak today if you remember I said I told you the exact time that I wanted you here and you were spot-on everyone all the camera people were looking at me like Hanselman is not gonna show up, I said he is gonna show up and when you did they all they all gave me the high-five you’re like wow Jeff you were you did work some type of miracle.

Scott: I’ve got in my bag right here my trusty iPad and if I bring it out here and open up my got to do the little face ID pose I’ve got this little notebook that I’ve got this is my script for my talk that I just gave and in this notebook is in fact a swim lane, of where I’m gonna be what talks I’m gonna give how I move from place to place, it could have been done in Excel it could have been done in Outlook but it made me feel comfortable syncing to paper effectively this is the digital paper right and when I found a block of four hours I said that’s a waste of time what am I gonna do with that four hours right there I made a couple of calls and I’m going to do an extra user group in Latvia on Friday.

Jeff: There you go an extra user group in Latvia.

Scott: And it cost me nothing because I’m gonna be there anyway. That’s great I love that you’re intentional as well.

Jeff: You know Scott, a lot of people try to get more out of the day talk to me a little bit about getting more out of your day on the enterprise what are some tips at work I mean yes you could use the egg timer work the Pomodoro.

Scott: So, I like using well first there’s like apps like delve and my analytics that watch your email watch your head 365 your calendar I love that they’ll go and say hey you’re not having enough one-on-one time with this direct employee.

Jeff: Do you like that? Do you look at that? Do you look at your screen time where you are where you spend the most amount of time.

Scott: I absolutely do.

Jeff: And do you say to yourself you say to yourself I need to cut back on talking to Jeff.

Scott: Yeah well more likely I’ll say I need to spend more time with this person but I also block out meetings for myself with myself like we spend a lot of time going to meetings but how often do you ever make a meeting with yourself like Monday 3 to 5 figure out what the heck I’m doing here. That should be a meeting in itself. You know what I mean like setting up a meeting with yourself the other thing I’d like to do is I use a tool called rescue time. Rescue time runs in the background of all your machines looks at the window that’s in front whether it be the tab that’s in front or Outlook or whatever web page you’re on and then categorizes it based on your category system about whether or not it is productive, distracting, neutral, very productive, very distracting, and then at the end of the week it gives you a chart and says look you keep finding yourself on Reddit at work every Thursday at 3 o’clock what is it about Thursday at 3:00 because you can’t cut what you don’t measure.

Jeff: I love that I mean I think that’s why I’m sort of a closet data geek because I love that type of analytics I like to see my analytics and all the productivity tools that Microsoft is coming out with just to enhance our lives do you like to do?

Scott: Um actually I’m really big on to do right now and I love the way you love to do I love the way I didn’t used to be big on to do I was actually a kind of a to-do hater but now it’s lovely so I’ve actually got to do here I’m running a beta on my iPhone and what I like about it is being able to go and see a sign to you flagged email tasks all in one place and the idea that it’s everywhere, whether it be here on my Mac on my Windows machine you know and it’s it’s I don’t think it’s the graph is central right like it’s it’s everywhere it used to be to do dot text and it was on my desktop but now it’s here so much easier and it took me a while to figure out with the little idea thing at the top was a little okay sparkly idea that is basically the hey here’s some suggestions about what you can do today because it’s stressful to have a giant to-do list but it’s not stressful to have three things that I can do today so the to-do app along with Outlook Web Access you know like outlook on the web letting you have to do to the side makes it ever-present in my life and then I can just focus on the three things I want to do today the three things that I want to do this week it’s a great friend of mine at Microsoft named JD Meyer at getting he had this idea of the rule of three pick a time frame and think about the scope of just three things like this year what are your three things?

Jeff: You know you could say spend more time with my kids, get another job…

Scott: And for me like learn Spanish right that’s the level of thing you know I can’t learn Spanish in a week or a month in a year but then I can say well what’s the thing I could do today on Monday or Tuesday that’s gonna move that forward so that the goal at the end of the year is sustainable.

Jeff: Scott it’s not you know I don’t get to talk to you very often but before we wrap up, I’m very curious what your feeling is about personal branding. I mean look I don’t know everybody I know a lot of people I’ve known you for a while you don’t know me as well…

Scott: I know your shirts though.

Jeff: Thank you give our audience a couple of maybe one or two tips on your personal brand. I mean I haven’t looked but I recall you having thousands of followers obviously and I’m sure you’ve got thousands of listeners for your podcast, give our listeners our viewers maybe one or two tips I’m increasing their personal brand, what they could do tomorrow to improve it.

Scott: So, I’m not a big fan of that idea the personal brand, but I do feel that if you have to change yourself or fake it then you’re probably thinking too much about your personal brand. If you focus on your personal the brand will work itself out so I kind of have a nice guy personal brand because I am going out of my way to be a nice person.

Jeff: Just like spending time with me right now.

Scott: Oh you’re sweet but you know what I’m saying like I’m pretty much the same person now that I was hanging out with you earlier right as I am anywhere like it’s easier to be consistently you, so if you can be consistently kind and helpful and uplifting to other people in everything that you do, just do that on every platform that you have available to you and you’ll have a positive brand.

Jeff: I love that so just to let the audience know randomly I sat next to Scott in the speaker room and for whatever reason Scott was looking at what I was doing on my computer.

Scott: I glanced casually in your laptop.

Jeff: And you noticed and he noticed that there was a little white this is a bright spot on your own on my lcd I’ve actually never noticed it thank you not thank you and Scott happily suggested hey Jeff maybe you should you know it’s a lenovo maybe swap out the screen I never even thought about that and he suggested hey it might cost $50 or something very minor to save the Lenovo, never would have thought of it he said it’s something that even a non tech guy like me could probably swap out with a ribbon. That is what Scott’s non personal brand, personal brand is randomly helping a fellow American.

Scott: Well anyone from any country in fact I am nondenominational in my helping.

Jeff: Yeah Scott this has been super fun for me I know we’re at ESPC19 I know you are crazily busy I appreciate your time tell everyone what you actually do at Microsoft like…

Scott: What my job is, what exactly is it that you do here? So I manage community for Visual Studio and the developer division so I have a team of community folks we do everything from events both first party and third party so build and ignite and managing all of our speakers and things like that. I’ve got folks in my team that do things like live-streaming coding on twitch at

Jeff: That must be why we never hang out because I’m not a visual studio guy are you sort of like the John Leveque of…

Scott: I don’t know who that is.

Jeff: All right he’s the flow guy he’s kind of Mr. flow.

Scott: Do you know who the actor Bruce Campbell is?

Jeff: You know people have said that I actually look like Bruce.

Scott: I’m the Bruce Campbell of programming and the great thing about that is that there are people who are watching right now they’re like who the heck is Bruce Campbell and I’m like exactly right right if you know who that person is you’d be like oh my god that’s amazing you’re like Bruce Campbell I love that guy and otherwise you’re like I have no idea who that is at all. But my job is to make sure that people who are using visual any of our runtimes are having a great experience from the moment that they go in Google with Bing for learn c-sharp to when they go and they finally deploy their application to Azure my job is to make sure that that experience is smooth.

Jeff: That is an admirable job I’m a big community guy as you could see you know this amazing community so thank you for spending time with me super appreciate it enjoy your travels, Wow I’m sure you probably invented the term firehose but this has been a firehose but yet refreshing for me.

Scott: I appreciate it and everything that we talked about we can find online as well on my blog.

Jeff: Where were we find that Scott?

Scott: If you go to I’ve got my list of my podcast you can go and find all those things about that all right so go to my blog search for productivity I’ve got an entire section on it as well as videos of all my talks on the subject.

Jeff: Well there you have it.

Scott: You know what we didn’t do we didn’t say Yammer enough we did not say Yammer Yammer Yammer hmm.

Jeff: This is Jeff Willinger special happy hour recording from the European SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure conference not Visual Studio sorry Scott, signing off and thank you.

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