SECRETS & LESSONS OF BUSINESS WITH KENT SISCO

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EPISODE 43

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ABOUT THE SHOW

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Kent Sisco is an entrepreneur in the true sense of the word. Kent has been an integral part of some of the largest software development companies in the world, including being one of the original design team on Microsoft Excel.

Not only does Kent share his interesting journey throughout his career but he shares also the lessons he attributes to his success in business.

Kent has just released his new software project called SPEARE which is a modern-day word processor for busy content creators and he shares with us the pathway that led him to design and build this product. Take a listen!

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

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  • The entrepreneurial journey of Kent Sisco
  • Valuable lessons in business Kent has learnt along the way
  • Kents approach to business
  • The development of SPEARE and how the idea emerged.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

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Jason: You’re on episode 43 of the Business Made Easy podcast. How are we doing, Mia?
Mia: Excellent, Jason. You’re on the Business Made Easy podcast where we make business easy.
Here’s your host, Jason Skinner.
Jason: G’day. G’day and welcome to the Business Made Easy podcast where we make business
easy. Jason here again for another episode. How you doing? Whatever it is you’re doing, I hope,
I hope you get, I hope you’re doing well and uh, getting some things put in place. I know I have
been absolutely flat out putting things in place behind the scenes and I’m excited to announce
that we’ve got a brand new paid membership community that I have just launched with our
own Business Made Easy app as well which is available on iTunes and also on Android. The
reason I put this together, we still have the Facebook community. The free Facebook
community and you can join that uh, by going to BusinessMadeEasypodcast.com/community,
uh, that’s also in place. That’s also going to be happening and I’m still going to be in there adding
value etcetera in there but the reason I put this paid membership community together is
because I’ve had a lot of request for resources and extra tools and courses and things like that
to uh, I guess help business owners as in when they need it. So for instance if you’re uh, you’re
working along during the day and you need a particular template or resource, you’ll be able to
log on to this um, community and um, basically be able to, to get a copy of the template. If
there’s no template there for that particular thing that you’re looking for then we’ll create one
for you and put in there as well. So it’s — that’s that’s, the reason it’s just sort of upping the level
of resources and upping the level of um, content and, and I guess assistance for particular
people that, that want it and uh, that’s what the idea with the app is to. We’ll be able to — it’s
mobile friendly — so you’d be able to just click on the app and open up, open up the uh, the
membership area and get access from Mia so really great. Ah, excited
(2:00)
to be, to be, to be launching that. It’s got uh, a form in there as well so it’s very much looks and
feels like the Facebook feed. You’d be able to — as soon as you log on, you’ll sort of see a feed of
all the conversations that are going on in the group and all sort of things. It is very new so it’s,
it’s very thin. I’ll, I’ll be totally honest it’s very thin in terms of, um, of things in there present but,
but we’re gonna to build that out. That’s why we’re announcing it as a — I guess we’re
announcing a foundation membership for those who are interested that wanna get on board on
the early stages and help build that out. So uh, it’s really heavily, heavily discounted price. I
think it’s, I mean hundred dollars per year for the life of your membership um so yeah it’s just
about whatever the price goes up to you’re locked in at a hundred dollars which is pretty cool.
So yeah, check that out that you can — although there be more about that over in the Facebook
group as well and I’ll be releasing more on the, on the website at
BusinessMadeEasypodcast.come as well. So you can get all that info as and when it becomes
available. Looking to launch around the 30th of June 2018. So if you’re listening to this episode
after that date you can still get access, still, still be um, membership available over there but
may not be at that grandfathered um, prospect but certainly would love to see you over there.
So there’s two resources there now BusinessMadeEasypodcast.com/community, that will take
you to the free Facebook group. There where we we can have discussions and help you out
with any questions etcetera you have and then there’ll be the, the members area which you’ll
be out to get access to over on BusinessMadeEasypodcast.com and you’ll be able to uh, get the
more in depths resources and tools and templates etcetera over there. All right, that’s enough
about me. Today, we have a fantastic guest. His name is Kent Sisco. Now, I first met Kent when
we were at Social Media Marketing World uh, in San Diego and um, I kind of cross him by
chance actually.
(4:00)
I was, I was uh, listening to another speaker, uh, Chris Brogan and Chris introduced this
product that Kent had developed and I was blown away with, with how good this uh, program is
to sort of like this new word processing program on steroids that uh, is fantastically flexible for
content creation and being able to move then drag and drop things around. It’s all cloud- based
and Kent actually shares his story about how he got to the point of creating this product but
he’s got a fantastic story in the sense — I know I spoil it — but he does have a-a-a fantastic story
in entrepreneurship and, and his years with uh — he’s worked with some of the largest
companies in the world, Microsoft and being integral in their products and, and offerings as
well. He shares all the lessons he’s learnt along the way in it so really great episode. I’m going to
hand over to through the episode that I had with Kent and I’ll catch you after the interview.
Well, hello everybody and today we are lucky to have Kent Sisco in the house. G’day, Kent.
Welcome to the show, mate.
Kent: G’day. Uh, thank you for having me on the show. This is exciting.
Jason: Yeah, it is. Kent, uh, Kent, we’re, we’re going to talk about your, your latest business um,
that you’re, you’re working on at the moment very shortly but um, it’s great to have you on the
show but I’m really looking forward to this interview with you because you’ve got a world of
experience when it comes to software development businesses and, and I guess um, building,
building software, thought it was. Tell us how, tell us a bit about your journey and, and uh, your
background in, in business.
Kent: Um, I-I started out in um, trying to figure out what I wanted to do in my life. Um, started
out actually in building construction at the University of Washington and um, it was just during
the era of when uh, computers were — the, the, the PC was really hitting everyday desk and uh,
as soon as I got my first one, I had my uh, part-time job in building construction
(6:00)
I just got enthralled with it and uh, started playing around with it on my own and then um, my
father- in-law- came alongside me and says,”Hey, um, I think you’re, you’re gifted in this uh, uh,
area of computers. What would you think of um, taking night courses you know, in uh,
computer science? And so that’s what I ended up doing. Um, and so I went to um, uh, night
courses for that and about uh, couple of quarters into it, I ended up uh, getting a job
opportunity at Microsoft. So I hadn’t even finished my degree in computer science and they
hired me.
Jason: Wow, nice.
Kent: And so then uh, what ended up happening then was I-I-I worked with um, Microsoft Excel
as a developer thinking that um, I was hot stuff at that time and but when I got there, I finally
figured out uh, actually no, they’re here to train me. I’ve got a lot to learn here. So I settled up
next to a couple of MIT guys and uh, and glean as much information as I possibly could from
them [Inaudible] that I am today only because of that opportunity.
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: But uh, so yeah definitely seize the opportunities you get. Uh, That, that’s definitely uh,
point number one here.
Jason: Yeah. So, so was, was Micro, was Microsoft — was Excel a, um, a well-known tool at that
time or is it already released or was it, was it in at its infancy or –?
Kent: It was in its infancy. Um, we were working — it was on Windows um, 3.0 at that time and
um, it’s still Lotus 1-2-3 was the spreadsheet, uh, dominant spreadsheet at that time. Um and
within two or three years of releasing uh, Excel uh, the development team that I was on um, we
ended up crashing Lotus 1-2-3
(8:00)
and virtually um, made it a, a downhill slope for them till they went out of business. Um, we’re
just you know, obviously, you don’t want that to happen for other businesses but um, that’s
what ended happening.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. Wow. So from Excel and, and Microsoft, did you do other projects with
Microsoft from there or did you –?
Kent: Um, yeah, I worked in Microsoft then I had the opportunity to go back to my, my home
country. I-I grew up in Japan, spent almost twenty years there so I speak Japanese. The — I-I got
to work in the Tokyo office in Japan um, as well. Took a couple of trips with Bill Gates on the
same flight uh, out of Japan so I got to know him a little bit. I-I wasn’t uh, hobnobbing with him
at all in any way but the, just kind of gleaning uh, some of his business savvy way, way back
when I didn’t know that I would actually be a business man at that time. I was thinking I would
always be an employee.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s certainly learning from the bests, isn’t it?
Kent: Yeah.
Jason: Straight to the top.
Kent: One of the best, I guess.
Jason: Yeah, there’s plenty of them.
Kent: There’s lots of really great business people out there, yeah.
Jason: And so and then how did you end up being business for yourself from that point?
Kent: So uh, almost five years into Microsoft then I just happened to be there at the right time.
Uh, the stock went crazy. I had been awarded a lot of stock just because of the work that I’ve
been working on with the Excel and uh, then I retired as a multi-millionaire and so then uh, I
thought, “Well, you know, it, it — this is not the end of my career just leaving Microsoft.” I-I
thought, “Why don’t I start my own company?” And so I-I-I started up Sisco Soft which is a
company that was primarily focused around SAS products and that SAS was really just starting
um, and that was in 2000 and 2001.
Jason: So about SAS, SAS you mean software as a serve so this is sort of like a, a
(10:00)
cloud-based technology?
Kent: Right, yeah and we were — we had to develop out our own servers and, and co-locate
them in, in a location in Seattle to um, deliver the content worldwide but uh, so it’s really before
the cloud but uh, we were delivering a, a golf product at that time, um,~ where you have a little
tiny a two-dimensional maps of every single course in the United States and you can drag and
drop your ball position on it. It would automatically score your game and calculate, calculate all
your bets.
Jason: Hmm.
Kent: And so um, we we’re in golf magazine, golf digest, golf for women, uh, center folds for
most of those magazines for about six months and in during that time, six- month-time, it was
reaching an audience I guess probably around a three million golfers, something like that in
United States and we got uh, about 80,000 uh, users signed up.
Jason: Wow.
Kent: Now this is before you know Google and, and YouTube and all that stuff actually came
out and I didn’t really understand the value of an email list.
Jason: So many businesses don’t value that.
Kent: Yeah, it was uh — I was just sitting on 80,000 emails and really not knowing what to do
with it.
Jason: Wow.
Kent: So that’s, that’s where I ended up at that point and then uh, I-I grew the business so, so
um, [Inaudible] to this news agencies like uh, writers, uh, CBS, NBC’s and um, and a couple of
different sports reporting sites. Um, so I was, I was able to keep the company going because of
that, um, but not really to the stand point of um, selling upgrades to my users. The email list
actually wasn’t really high priority yet. I was thinking I need to actually sell off parts of furniture
to other companies to keep my company. And so um, I actually ended up in 2008 when the uh,
(12:00)
Lehman brothers issue happened, I really had to pull the company at that point because golf
wasn’t really high on the [Crosstalk]
Jason: Yeah. It’s the last thing on people’s mind, wasn’t it?
Kent: Right. Exactly. Yeah so, so I decided that uh, going back to Japan working with um, Epson
printers in Japan.
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: At software developer and then uh, developed out a patent for them and uh, after that
particular project was over then uh, that was I think about three years then I decided to go
ahead and come back and start up my own job, my own company again.
Jason: And, and how many, how many people did you say you have on your email list, 80,000?
Kent: 80,000, yeah.
Jason: Wow, okay.
Kent: And, and so by folding up the company I just lost all that.
Jason: Oh wow, okay.
Kent: That was [Inaudible] so all that uh, energy, all that uh, uh, collection, um, was, it was just
gone.
Jason: So, so was that a tough time for you in business or –?
Kent: Yeah, that, it was tough just from the stand point of uh, just you know starting up a
business is really tough. Wearing multiple hats not only just from the standpoint of developing
out a product and, and trying to just discover uh, through research you know, what, what
product the market wants. But then you know, how do you deliver it to them? How do you
make it so that they want to buy this thing? How do you find that pinpoint exactly and deliver it
with the marketing message.
Jason: Yeah and showing I guess showing the benefits of what you have to offer. And I get — is
that where you are now in business in terms of your new product? Tell us about that.
Kent: Yeah, thanks for bringing such a painful subject. Why don’t you actually [Inaudible] yeah
I’m right back to where I, I was back then 10, uh 15 years ago. Um, exactly the same spots. I’ve
developed a product. I’ve gone through the research. Um, we tested in the marketplace and we,
we’re right now have uh, around 1800 um, users. Um, so
(14:00)
it’s not a lot of users right now but uh, now I’m trying to build up that email list and again in
building this out, um, having come from another company, uh, a you know, brick and mortar
company as an employee, building an email was not um, the forefront of my mind. So when I
started again this new company, I didn’t really learn about it until just two years ago.
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: I-I, and it’s like that’s really should be the thing you’re thinking about right from the
get-go. How do you build that list as you’re doing your research and as you’re getting uh, ready
to promote a product?
Jason: Yeah and did I — can you, you really um, that’s a valuable point in business is, is the value
of an email list. I’ve actually, I’ve just recorded out a whole episode on email itself. It’s such a
valuable asset to a business because unlike Facebook and LinkedIn and all that social media
platforms, that’s rented real estate. You owned, you owned your email list and that’s your
audience. So I’ve, I have really uh, refer to it as an email community these days because the
value, there’s so much value in, in uh, helping those people.
Kent: Right. Yeah and, and, and it just like you’ve said, they are your people. They’ve signed up
for you. It’s, it’s not like you’re trying to um, spam your message out there to a, a wide audience
via some sort of uh, Facebook or social media advertising.
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: Um, these people are, are with you because they want to learn more about your product
or learn more tips on how to do whatever it is your product as to meet their needs.
Jason: Yeah, exactly and I think email has had a bad wrap in the sense that what people were
doing when it first came out particularly the automation stuff was buying list of, of names
putting them in, putting them into your database and then spamming the heck out of them.
Kent: Right, yeah.
Jason: You know that’s not email marketing. Email marketing is when someone like you say, has
chosen, have, has
(16:00)
consciously said, “Yes I wanna hear more from you and I wanna get to know you better and,
and be in your world.” So, yeah, these are valuable assets when done correctly. So so that’s a
priority for you now is, is building your email community?
Kent: It’s, it’s a — building the email list is a high priority from me right now, um, from the
standpoint of um, uh, making sure that I have an audience that is large enough for me to
develop my idea out and meet a need that’s out there um, without having kind of this uh, cash
flow model, right?
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: To be able to support um, there is no business.
Jason: Yeah, exactly, exactly. You need the cash. You need the cash going in.
Kent: Yeah and, and uh, there are lots of uh, gimmicks out there where you can use uh,
advertising or uh, you know investment capital or something like that. It, it — but that again,
doesn’t feel like a business at that point. It’s not the business model that you’re really working
at.
Jason: Exactly, yeah. Tell us about your business idea that you, you’re developing out now and,
and how, how you came about that?
Kent: Okay. Um, I’m currently developing a product uh, that’s called “Speare” and it’s short for
Shakespeare. Uh, the, the product is a writing tool and it’s to help you uh, write everything that
you write in a more productive way uh, from the standpoint of being able to uh, work problems
from the standpoint all the way through to content creation. And I came up with the idea
because, um, this is something that I, I found myself doing throughout my career. Back in at
Microsoft, um, the reason why I did so well I think in performance reviews was because I, every
day took the chance to write down in a block, in, in a row in Excel uh, just a few lines of what I
actually accomplished that day. And the, uh,
(18:00)
the benefit to having done that is that on a good face my manager and the performance review,
we were able to actually go over the rest of all the items that um, we had actually achieved as a
team. And that and the items that I have specifically done that and while manager was uh,
pretty prolific in writing as well, there were several items that actually he had forgotten and,
and had I not run through my own Excel spreadsheet, I would have forgotten as well. But I was
able to kind of bring those back up and that’s what actually gave me the, um, I guess the benefit
of getting more, you know stuck up and say no because you could actually see uh, what task
had actually been completed.
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: And [Crosstalk]
Jason: That’s — it’s such an interesting one as well because I think as business, as business
people we get so focused on working on the current problem that we forget about what we
actually have achieved, don’t we? Like we — it’s so easy to forget about the little milestones of
the journey along the way. Where you are today is completely different from yesterday.
Kent: Right and some of the uh, subtasks that we so are quite important. They get wrapped up
into kind of major task headings but um, it’s those subtasks actually that uh, where you can um,
leverage uh, to create other projects or to um, draw on for uh, really into other thought areas.
Jason: Yeah, that’s why, that’s why I’m a big fun of uh, journaling each day sitting down and
writing a journal or uh, you know, writing down your thoughts for the day um, just, just to. to
get clarity and, and I guess celebrate those um, achievements.
Kent: Right. Yeah. Yeah and that’s — so that’s super important. I, I didn’t really realize it. I’m not
even really sure how I got into it. Um, but uh that, that, that has stuck with me uh, all the way
until today or through today
(20:00)
and um, another aspect of uh, writing um, was that just looking at my mentors. The people that
um, either I was directly related to that you mentioned on me or people that I considered
mentors out there in the world in they didn’t who I was. I-I you know, follow on them and one in
key component but they all did was they were writing down their um, IBS. They were working
in the problem by writing. They were uh, writing down um, instructions for other people to
follow. Um, and just this activity of writing is, it’s a way to finish the job.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah it is. It’s excellent and so that’s what sort of um — is, is that what has
legend out to developing Speare?
Kent: Yes. Um, the Speare, um actually the, the project came about because I was um — I’ve
been developing you know the technical developments for my work and I just finished the thing
when um, I was asked to, to write a book. Um, uh, the uh — I was, I was confronted with the
problem of the blank page where I’d sit there and look at the flash in cursor and even though I
could fill up a page, a-a-a page um, then the problem was — I had two problems — one, I-I-I had
written down items or things, thoughts, that I really couldn’t organize very well. And then
another one was, I was confronted with the next blank page and so after I already put down
every page, [Inaudible] continually and so writing a book um, it, it really takes this ability to
manage in your brain all your thoughts and ideas um, unless you can actually have a really great
(22:00)
tool that can manage that for you. I’ve, I’ve done mind mapping. I did get out once and all that
kind of stuff but throughout the writing process, as you’re writing that’s continually happening,
right?
Jason: Hmm.
Kent: You’re not, you’re not singly focus all the time. The brain doesn’t or at least my brain
doesn’t work in that always. So I was continually getting stuck and so then I thought, “Well,
there’s got to be a better way to do this. What if, what if I can make it two of that to work the
way my brain thought?” You know, a kind of idea.
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: So that’s, that’s, that’s how Speare was uh, conceived.
Jason: And that’s so, so right like I’m now I suffer from that exact same, same problem when I’m
— I sit down to write and I have that, that cursor just blinking at you in a white screen. And it’s
like you want the document to come out of your fingers um, or out of your head through your
fingers in it, in its completeness if you like. So you don’t want to have to re-edit things or like it
doesn’t come out that way, does it? I mean, it’s a jumble of ideas ad thoughts in your head that
come out unto the page with the traditional word processing type program, doesn’t sort of
cater for that, does it?
Kent: Right and the, the reason that happens is because um, I believe we have this uh, we can
kind of see our audience and we’re expecting you know or we know what they are expected of.
They want it to be linear, right?
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: They wanna be able to follow your thoughts logically down the page and so you are just
fighting to make sure you catch the thoughts in order as, as the kind of you know jumbling
crown in your head, in your hand. Uh, so that’s, that’s how we also lose great ideas is because
uh, we’re on a picnic. Those ones I’m around and actually fit in the linear[?] structure.
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: So, uhm, that . . . that’s a big problem for, aahh, the splint[?] page model. When, when you,
aahh, think back your education, your, aahh, grammar teacher, your English teacher, writing
teacher, would say, you know, brainstorm first
(24:00)
and then organize your ideas, and then put them into an outline, and then write. You know, but
this, it’s not really just these three steps or four steps and then not really in sequential order
per se. It happens throughout the entire writing process, right?
Jason: Uhm, yeah.
Kent: You should be able to have access to those, even write up through to [inaudible] that final
gap.
Jason: Exactly, ’cause as you write, new information comes into your brain, doesn’t it? As you
write, new . . . new concepts or ideas are . . . are merged, so if you locked in to that initial outline
of draft, you know, that initial draft where do you put that new stuff.
Kent: Right. [Exactly?], and so how do you organize that? How do you capture it? How do you
keep? So the, we have this, uhm, misunderstanding of what the writing process really is . . .
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: And I think that comes from this notion that we, the word process that we use to
[inaudible] emulate the blank page.
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: And because they’re, they’re doing [inaudible] it kind of puts you into this step one, step
two, step three model, where you can do your [brands?] [starting?] on a blank page, then, okay,
put that off and then after the side. Now do your outline and then put that next idea in next
draft. Put that off in the side and then do your final draft. That’s okay, if you could actually see
all [inaudible] at one point and at the same time in a work space, you know, you could probably
work with that model but the goal really shouldn’t be to necessarily try and step to the steps or
. . . and the goal shouldn’t be to tryin’, aahh, have a word count goal for the day or to try to
complete a writing project. When it comes to writing, it’s all . . . the goal should really be about
building massive library of your thoughts. So what . . . what I mean by that is that what if you
could actually
(26:00)
. . . every thought that you, aahh, capture [becomes?] into a little building block. And imagine a
little kid sitting in the living room [inaudible] a pile of legos, right? Where you can snap in
together to build all kinds of cool structures and sculptures and stuff like these. If you treat
each thought as a building block and just build up this massive reservoir of thoughts and that’s
your goal, your lifetime goal is to do that, then when you do sit down to write, you will
[inaudible] just all pours out . . .
Jason: Yes.
Kent: Now you’re, now all you’re doing is just organizing it.
Jason: Yup.
Kent: Uhm, aahh, and you don’t have to worry about capturing [inaudible] because it’s all
captured.
Jason: Yeah.So that’s what speed does . . . is it, uhm, you . . you just enter your thoughts as you,
as they come out, so you sit down each day and it’s just how you [inaudible] and then you
organize within Speare those thoughts?
Kent: Yes. So there’s a couple different ways you can do it. What are the things? Let me just
back up here just a little bit when you’re . . . take a look at writing when I was a kid, I’m fifty,
almost fifty-five, uhm, years old, aahh, when I was a kid, I would have been lucky to have gotten
maybe, uhm, hundred thousand words in a decade . . .
Jason: [Is it?]
Kent: But that kind of writing, actually, is occurring right now for teenager . . . teenage boys, in
United States of the [East?] just through textin’ in a single year. So they are accomplishing that.
Why are they able to do that? Well, partly, there’s . . . there’s a lot of psychology to it. [At the?],
uhm, part of it is this texting just [chunking?] out your ideas. As soon as you think about
something, boom. What are you doing? You . . . you’re texting it, right? So, the laws in United
States say or do not say,”Don’t word process and drive.”
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: Do you wanna know why they don’t say that, because the word processor doesn’t have
your attention [alone?] They say do not
(28:00)
text and drive because that’s gonna be the first go to. It is a [thought option?] your head is
gonna text it. So we’re thinking, what if you did the same thing with lighter, you actually utilize
this, aahh, smaller area to writing by the text box, and you just chunk out your ideas and they
become these, uhm, more tactile, uhm, building blocks. They go on to a surface. Now you can
move those things around. You can move them left to right. You can put them into different
categories. You can move them top to bottom to logically order them, and then you can start
snapping them together, like, aahh, stitching them together an article or a document or some of
this things. So these all becomes part of your . . . your thought library. When you do that model,
you can do this throughout the day from the time that you wake up in the morning when you’re
having your earliest thoughts all the way to, aahh, just before, aahh, you’re saying, “Okay, I
gotta [inaudible] this down. Get out of . . .
Jason: Yeah!
Kent: [Prepare?] for bed. You can do it all over again after that time.
Jason: Nice. So . . . so, [Spear?] you enter these thoughts as they come, and . . . and you put them
in, and then you can have, I guess . . . say, you . . . you would have a picturing a document here
with all these, aahh, with all these blockses you were referring to them, a then do I have a si . . . a
document at the si . . . it is it . . . it has a document at the side or I can drag and drop those into an
order? Or . . .
Kent: Yes, uhm, so [your?] thought block itself can be a single place [inaudible]. It represents a
single thought, so in that way you can actually move them around and . . . and join them
together. When you do that, though, uhm, you’re actually building a draft in it. Uhm, so that
document, though, in . . . in our world. For example, if you’re building a book rather than
treating the book as one single document with many chapters in that one document, we’re
treating every chapter as an individual document or a sub-part of a chapter as a single
document,
(30:00)
then you stitch all that together . . .
Jason: Right.
Kent: When we ordered it, [one it?].
Jason: And it’s so once you’ve got that complete docume . . . so that completed document, the
process from there is to . . . to export that somewhere or can it just be formatted within speare
or what’s the next step from there?
Kent: Yeah. From there, uhm, you can actually format the product, format your content within
speare and . . . and post it within, uhm, your own channel, and you can print it from there as
well; but, uhm, it has the op . . . you have the opportunity to take it into some other third party
applications to build e-books, uhm, or, aahh, you know [composition?] or there of pdf files or
print it [themself?] Other third party, aahh, content delivery, last one.
Jason: It certainly say like a fantastic tool because . . . I just love particularly, particularly in the
current business world where there is so much going on. And I know myself, I . . . I can sit down
and start to write something, and you get the next distraction. And, uhm, it’s kind of you lose
that thread to write a lot of content if you like. Uhm, so if you seen [the other?] write for blog
posts, for instance, it’s very hard these days to sit down, and while I find it difficult, I’ve got . . .
my mind’s got about two second span or attention span. But, aahh, it’s very hard to sit down
and write continually, and get that document out, whereas this sounds like a great way to just . .
. just keep adding thoughts . . . just and . . . and come back to add some more thoughts and then
sit down and drag and drop and move it around into a . . . into a, aahh, context.
Kent: Right, yeah, and the . . . the model that I’ve kind of moved into is, uhm, aahh, collecting the
thoughts throughout the day for, not . . . not for the purpose of, uhm, actually building a blog on
that day. Most of that is actually the . . .
(32:00)
the assigned task, but, uhm, the . . . capturing all those ideas first in any order that they come to
me in, uhm, and then being able to have multiple projects up in the work space at once, because
then I can actually drag and drop those, aahh, ideas or those thoughts into the appropriate
containers or bins, if you will. When I sit down, aahh, on Saturday morning, aahh, for my
ninety-minute session to actually write out my blogs, then . . . the, aahh, it’s at that point that I
now have this wealth or reservoir of thought and ideas that I’ve been thinking about that I
could then produce the content. Uhm, so not necessarily thinking about, aahh, trying to
structure or produce the content, you know. In all to do, I’m just glad in all of the ideas that I’ve
get in, because I’m thinking about those text.
Jason: You know. So I . . . so your process is if I could just recap is you record your thoughts
during the day and Speare as you go through the week and then you have a set session on a
Saturday morning when you sit down and reflect over those. Is that?
Kent: Yeah, that’s pretty much what I do. The, uhm, one other aspect to this though is that,
uhm, it cause this particular technology, uhm, that I use everyday is, uhm, aahh, so . . . . is gotten
to the level of being so, aahh, [perfected?] it allows me three to four times faster, and that
technology is speech-to-text on my cell phone. Aahh, you know, maybe five, ten years ago, the
almost impossible to hear [is?], right? But today, even in fairly noisy settings. I can record my
voice, uhm, just speaking the idea out immediately from a conversation that I’m in or some,
uhm, experience that I have in the outside world, out in a field. Uhm, I can just [cover?] and just,
aahh, speech-to-text and capture, aahh, a hundred and fifty to two hundred words in a minute.
Jason: Yeah.
Ken: Uhm, so that means that if I do that, aahh, if I didn’t get
(34:00)
let’s say, make the math easy, a hundred and fifty words a minute, and I do that just ten times a
day. Ten one minute times a day, that’s fifteen hundred words.
Jason: Yeah.
Kent: What I’m finding is that I’ve had as many as 8000 words generated in one day with this
method. The average, actually, though, is just [inaudible] two thousand words, aahh, a day, aahh,
using the speech-to-text . . . text method.
Jason: So, so is . . . are you speaking directly into spear or . . .
Kent: Yes, direct . . . yeah, directly into speare using, uhm, the Google App Speech-to-text.
Jason: And . . . and is there an app on your phone or is it, is it, is it to . . . to your computer?
Kent: Uhm, yes, so it’s a, speare is a web app, uhm, that you can, aahh, log into your desktop or . .
. or Iphone. Uhm, so it’s not a downloadable app, uhm, but then when you click on the tiny
elastic text box, you, uhm, then get the opportunity to select, uhm, either the soft keyboard or,
aahh, the microphone . . .
Jason: All right.
Kent: Uhm, set the microphone [thing] there in speech-to-text mode in that elastic text box in
speare, and then I just start talking. And, of course, I . . . I add, aahh, at the end of every sentence
so I say period or dot, you know, to, aahh, indicate a sentence, but, uhm, aahh, other than that
kind of funky [laughter], little, aahh, speech-to-text, aahh, tip, it’s pretty much, aahh, just having
a conversation with myself throughout the day.
Jason: That’s a fantastic productivity tool, because of many . . . I mean it, if you just look at how
many, uhm, aahh, I call it dead time, but, you know. How much dead time you have during your
day where, you know, you might be sitting in the car or you might be, you know, waiting for
transport or whatever it is, and that’s usually when you are thinking, isn’t it?
Kent: Right, so . . .
(36:00)
Jason: So, so, uhm, you could really, you could really, aahh, get caught efficient. You think that
method; I love it!
Kent: Right, right, and . . . and it, aahh, for me when I was looking at the, aahh, blank page
before, when I was doing technical documentation or, aahh, aahh, writing larger content pieces,
uhm, that . . .that bigger, aahh, page, uhm, what made me do, aahh, was ramble, because I
wanted the satisfaction of actually seeing my text [wrap?] and growing in this body of lines of
text, right? As soon as I, uhm, [arrow?] with that field like into a half with that, uhm, of a page
and, aahh, put it into a smaller tiny text box, uhm, like a text message box, uhm, it . . . it help me
think and write more succinctly; and by doing that, then I was able to, aahh, articulate my idea,
aahh, more, aahh, clearly and accurately. So that’s kind of the beauty of this, aahh, the
psychology of this little, tiny elastic text box, if you will.
Jason: Yeah, it’s really clever. It’s . . . it’s taking, it’s taking, aahh, everyday task that we do now,
texting, as you say, and, uhm, yeah, merging that wi . . . with the word processing platform, yeah
. . .
Kent: Right.
Jason: For efficiency; I love it.
Kent: Yeah, from official stand point, the, aahh, we got to see the satisfaction I’ve seen. [It
make?] your thought encapsulated it in this little thought bubble that pops up to that top in
mention pops up and then you can kinda snap these together. And when you . . . you write a
whole paragraph in a blog, you can actually use a little, aahh, function in the top right corner of
the little arrow. It splits all the sentences so that they’re all separate little blocks. And now, you
can actually move those around. And sometimes when you’re writing a paragraph, sometimes,
uhm, it . . . just moving a single sentence around, uhm, makes all the difference.
(38:00)
In, aahh, presenting your idea to the reader.
Jason: Yeah, yeah. Fantastic! That’s . . . that’s . . . that’s sounds like, aahh, fantastic efficiency
tool, aahh, Ken and certainly, aahh, yeah, great way to approach . . . approach. Probably if I had
to put an . . . an area of business that I really struggle with the most, it would have to be writing.
[laughter] And, aahh, and, aahh, yeah, that, that, that . . . copy writing; and I, I interviewed, aahh,
Prerna Malik a few weeks back, aahh, all of that very topic of copy writing. But it’s, aahh, some,
yeah, some people can do it really well, aahh, others can’t; and I’m one of those ones, that
cannot [inaudible]. I’m really looking forward to developing having a goal and doing well with it.
Kent: Great. So it with, so without, aahh, even using speare, the challenge then, aahh, you could
do really simply there’s a couple different points you pick. Whenever you learn something new
and can explain it in your own words, write it down. When you have an inspiration pops into
your head, get it written down. When you have . . . if you find yourself saying, “I’ll remember
this,” immediately write it down because you won’t remember it. And if you try to work a
problem, write it down and then attack it [inaudible] are the problem from multiple angles. And
when you have a thought that you really like, write it down. And when you’re explaining
something to someone, write it down. Uhm, if there’s steps that are part of a task that you
perform daily, write it down as though you were instructing somebody else to do that, because
I could go on and on and on. I’m sorry, I don’t want to take up the whole podcast. [It?] goes with,
aahh, tips, aahh, that you could use to understand how this works.
Jason: Fantastic! I love it. I love it. Ken, thank you so much for sharing that because it’s . . . it’s,
aahh, it’s a really valuable, aahh, stuff there for . . . for people to take away the . . . aahh. Yeah,
can . . . can improve certainly efficiency and, uhm, particularly like the idea of, of recording tasks
like that as well, because how many times do we do things, aahh,
(40:00)
because they’re easy to us but we could actually be pressurizing them and training someone
else to do them, aahh, yeah, like you say write it down and get it out. Ken, thanks so much. I’m
conscious of time and, aahh, before we go what . . . aahh, I love to ask people, aahh, and you’ve
just shared some great stuff there, but what’s something that’s working for you in business
right now that, aahh, that you’ve started doing, obviously, you’re doing it right and things, but . .
. or stop doing, uhm, that . . . that you’ve been, aahh, and it could be an app, aahh, and you . . .
you’ve mentioned spear. Is there something in business right now that you’re getting great
results with?
Kent: Yeah, the, uhm, aahh, pretty [hot up?] landing page, uhm, with tips and tricks on not of like
what I’ve found, aahh, just suggest here, uhm, and then building a, aahh, an email list [alphabet?]
That’s been working great. Uhm, we’re starting to see more and more people coming to the
site, and it, and it’s really, aahh, those are our customers. Uhm, and so that that [going up?] for
me, aahh, I now see the brilliance in that and I want to do that more. I wanna get, aahh, aahh,
kinda bit, aahh, this, aahh, idea of building the email list so firmly [build to, to?] all of our, aahh,
marketing as much as possible. So that’s, that’s the thing that I’m switching on. The thing that
I’m switching off is, uhm, all of the meetings that I was having before, uhm, with the eager
investor types or, aahh, aahh, their idea [guise?] or, uhm, I’m kinda bringing that back down to
our manageable level, where I only do that a couple times a month rather than, aahh, a couple
times a week. Uhm, I’m finding that it’s just growing and it’s way too much and I’m, aahh, and by
focusing on this other,
(42:00)
aahh, area, it really has revolutionized my business. I can’t tell you how much that’s [left?] It’s
just so much fun to see us go from, you know, five hundred users to eighteen hundred, right?
Jason: Yeah! And that’s I guess the underlying messages I’m hearing in that, Ken. I guess you’re
removing, and to summarize you’re, aahh, sounds like you’re removing distractions from you,
your day, because all those investors and by these people are probably creating all noise and
yet, aahh, in your head, and you’re, aahh, you’re actually focusing more on, aahh, providing
value and helping people to achieve results . . . with your . . . with your product. Is that fair?
Kent: Yeah. That’s, you know, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. [inaudible]
Jason: And then the tips and tricks, are they tips and tricks in business in general or they, aahh,
how do you speare better or . . .
Kent: Uhm, the tips and tricks that I was, aahh, suggesting earlier just, aahh, for businesses in
general, aahh, that . . . that and you can those in speare as well, uhm, if . . . if you wanted to do
that, but, uhm, the idea is to that by doing these, aahh, aahh, tips, you now are focused on the
goal of building a massive library of thoughts, and that you can draw on you need to. So that’s . .
. that’s the brilliance of it.
Jason: Fantastic! Fantastic! Ken, uhm, thanks so much for your time today. If people want to
find out more about, uhm, the great work you’re doing and, aahh, where would . . . particularly if
they want to get to this, aahh, to your landing page. Where, how would people best find you?
Kent: [Ah?], the best way to find us is actually to do the discovery right at our website itself, and
that’s that speare.com which is [shape?] again, short for Shakespeare, and I’ll help you spell it’s
s-p-e-a-r-e.com. Uhm, yeah.
Jason: And I’ll put a, aahh, a link to that side in the show notes as well, and, uhm, yeah,
(44:00)
if anyone wants to check that out, certainly go over there to the show notes and, aahh, I’ll put . .
. put, uhm, all Ken’s links and things, information there as well, so, Ken, fantastic. Thanks so
much for sharing that with us. This really, uhm, amazing information there. So I really
appreciate you coming on the show today.
Kent: My pleasure. This was lots of fun, really enjoyed it.
Jason: Yeah, way, how ’bout that is Ken Speare, and I just absolutely love his story. I mean, his
just such a great guy and, uhm, knowledgeable guy, certainly [achieved?] to lot in his life, and I
particularly love the lessons he shares, and the idea of collecting thoughts as you go during the
day. You know, quite often we have this random thoughts when we’re doing things. They pop
into our head, and we think “Wow!” We’ll get to that later or, you know. We don’t . . . we don’t
get them out into a text, tangible sort of format. That’s what Ken is doing. He’s collecting those
dream, awake and sitting down in [batch?], organizing them once a week in a dedicated time. I
think that is so, so productive, and so, uhm, I guess, effective because, you know, he’s not losing
those thoughts and that’s where new ideas come from and new directions and concepts and
things like that so fantastic. Thanks for that interview, Ken, I really, really enjoyed having on the
show. And if you, uhm, have it already, uhm, for the link to Ken’s, aahh, speare program, aahh, in
the show notes, so you can just get that by going to businessmadeeasypodcast.com/episode43,
so if you type in there businessmadeeasypodcast.com/episode43, you’ll now have a link to all
Ken stuff in the, uhm, in the show. Now it’s even his, aahh, Amazon book as well, he’s gotta, he’s
gotta an interesting book on, uhm, it’s called “Finding Rest.” And, uhm, yeah. Ken . . . Ken
actually, uhm, developed the speare program
(46:00)
as a result of writing his books, so it’s quite, quite an interesting story there. But I’ll put a link to
that on the show notes as well. All right, that’s all I have time for this week. Thank you so much
for joining me. Uhm, remember, if you are interested in, uhm, some more, uhm, I guess, aahh,
detailed resources, and . . . and largest of valuable resources for your business, then feel free to
either drop me a line [email protected] or go over to the website
businessmadeeasypodcast.com, and you can join our membership program over there.
Download the app from the itunes store. It’s free to download, so you can get all the episodes
over there as well. So that’s something on itunes store or on the, aahh, Google Apps store as
well for Android, so you can download the app there and get all the episodes [or on me?]. Listen
to them. You can, uhm, send us a photo of what you’re doing from the app as well, which is
pretty cool. And, uhm, yeah, [touch bys?] I’d love to hear from you, and what you’re up to in
business already. Until next week, I hope you have a fantastic weekend business, and I am
gonna hand you over to Mia now. All the best, here’s to your success. Bye.

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Meet the thought processor.

SPEARE is a writing tool for thinkers, innovators, makers, and creatives. 

I call it the modern day word processor.

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