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How To Be Happier And More Productive By Working Remotely W/ Liam Martin

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“Remote work is going to be the most important work movement in the last few decades.”
— Liam Martin

Greetings, SuperFriends!

Today we are joined by Liam Martin. Liam is the co-founder and CMO of TimeDoctor.com, Staff.com, and is the co-organizer of RunningRemote.com, which is the largest conference on building remote teams – in fact, he has worked with remote teams for over 10 years. He is dedicated to furthering outsourcing and is passionate about getting insights and empowering people all over the world to work remotely.

Now, you might ask, what does this have to do with being SuperHuman? Well, every single week on the show we talk about different ways to become more productive – but, did you know that you can not only be more productive but also significantly happier if you work from home or remotely?

I also wanted to explore this because, as you all know, our team is 100% remote or distributed, however you want to call it, and thus I wanted to explore this trend and how it is impacting lives and businesses.

So this episode turned out into a fascinating conversation with Liam. You can tell that he and I definitely see eye to eye on a lot of different things, and I think it was very eye-opening to see just how much of a difference remote work can make in helping you live the ideal life.

Please enjoy!

-Jonathan Levi

Every month, we’ll invite top experts to host their own 30-day challenges, solely for the members of this group… Plus, each member will get awesome gear delivered to their home, AND discounts on various of our products! Click on the banner to find out more!

Every month, we’ll invite top experts to host their own 30-day challenges, solely for the members of this group… Plus, each member will get awesome gear delivered to their home, AND discounts on various of our products! Click on the banner to find out more!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Who is Liam Marting and what does he do? [3:40]
  • Why is having the option to work remotely so important? [4:40]
  • Why does working remotely increase productivity and happiness? [5:25]
  • How many people are really working remotely? [9:00]
  • How can you position yourself to be able to transition into a remote job? [10:30]
  • How do people feel with time-tracking software? [13:40]
  • The importance of using data to improve personal productivity [14:40]
  • What are the true levels of productivity in computer work? [16:45]
  • The problem of  “pretend working”, and what Liam thinks is a solution [19:00]
  • Why people often focus on the wrong things when it comes to productivity [22:25]
  • What are some other hacks Liam Martin utilizes to be productive? [24:55]
  • How does Liam keep himself performing physically? [27:10]
  • What are some products or services that Liam can't live without? [29:30]
  • Books that have impacted Liam Martin's life [30:55]
  • A conversation on the Running Remote conference [34:45]
  • Liam Martin's final takeaway message [36:30]
  • Where can you learn more about Liam Martin? [37:10]

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from Liam Martin:

“The primary reason why people quit is because of inter-office politics.”
“If you are not prepared for [the remote work movement], you are not going to be able to take advantage of the next generation of talent.”

TRANSCRIPT:

Introduction: Welcome to the Becoming SuperHuman Podcast. Where we interview extraordinary people to bring you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible and now here's your host, Jonathan Levi.

Jonathan Levi: Before we get started, I want to ask you a question. Every single week, we bring you these episodes full of dozens of skills, habits, routines, and strategies to help you become more Superhuman. Now be honest, what percentage of those things are you actually able to implement in your life? Of course not you need the accountability and community, and that's why in 2018, I launched the Becoming Superhuman Mastermind. Every month as a community, we invite a world-renowned expert to lead a one-month challenge. Past challenges have included an environmental design with Benjamin Hardy, Hacking Your Sleep with Nick Little Hales, who is Cristiana Rinaldo's own sleep, coach, and meditation with Muse founder, Arielle Garten.

On top of that, we send out a care package with all the gear and goodies you need to complete that month's challenge, and best of all, as a member, you get exclusive discounts to all kinds of events, courses, supplements, and gear, and those discounts alone are worth more than your entire membership. Look as a listener of this podcast, we know that you stand to benefit a great deal from being in the group, but also that you stand to contribute a lot and that's why we're offering 50% off your first month. To join, visit superhuman.blog/mastermind today.

Hey there SuperFriends and welcome to this week's episode where we are joined by Liam Martin. He is the co-founder and CEO of timedoctor.com, staff.com and he's the co-organizer of Running Remote, which is the largest conference in the world on building remote teams.

Liam has worked with remote teams for over 10 years, and he is dedicated to furthering, outsourcing and is passionate about getting insights and empowering people all over the world to work remote. Now you might ask, what does this have to do with being SuperHuman? Well, every single week on the show, we talk about different ways to become more productive, but did you know that you can not only be more productive but also significantly happier if you work from home or remotely, for that matter, it doesn't even have to be home. You could travel the world. I wanted to explore this because as you all know, our team is 100% remote or distributed. However, you want to call it.

And I wanted to explore this trend and how it is impacting lives and impacting businesses. Fascinating conversation with Liam. You can tell that he, and I definitely see eye to eye on a lot of different things and I think speaking of eyes, it was very eye-opening to see just how much of a difference remote work can make in helping you live your ideal SuperHuman life. So I know you guys are going to enjoy this episode with Liam Martin.

Liam welcome to the show, my friend, how are you doing?

Liam Martin: I'm doing pretty well. How are you doing?

Jonathan Levi: Not so bad. A little tired, a little jet lagged cause I've been flying all over God's creation, but uh, amped up about this podcast.

Liam Martin: So am I, I think that you know, my other life is basically being productivity nuts. So being on this podcast is definitely going to be exciting for me.

Jonathan Levi: Awesome. So, Liam, for those who don't know about you, and didn't get the advantage of stalking you before this episode, tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.

Liam Martin: I am a human being on planet earth, more specifically I'm currently in Canada next month. I'm going to be in Cairo. And the month after that, I'm going to be in Bali and I am the co-founder of a couple of SAS products, timedoctor.com and staff.com and then we also just recently started a conference that' ironically became the largest conference on building and scaling remote teams, which is called runningremote.com and we run that out of Bali every year.

Jonathan Levi: Very cool. So you are all about, I mean, the name of your game is remote or distributed or workforces ay?

Liam Martin: Our mission statement as a company is we want to empower everyone on planet earth to have the ability to work wherever they want, whenever they want. So our mission will be complete once everyone on planet earth has that option inside of their work life.

Jonathan Levi: So cool. Why, why is that important?

Liam Martin: Well, we can give you the quantitative statistics, which going remote on average makes you about 20% more productive and decreases or increases retention by about 30% for employees. Generally, it makes people happier, which also decreases the chance that they're going to quit your company and it also makes them more productive. So that's the quantitative components, but then just on a qualitative level, it makes people happier and I'm all about making people happier. I think that probably at the end of the day, if everyone thought like that, the world would be a lot better place.

Jonathan Levi: Hm. I totally agree with you. Why do you think that is? I mean, I'm going to play devil's advocate cause we're a remote workforce, but are people happier when they go in and see faces and, you know, have a work environment and get to hang out with people?

Liam Martin: Nope. They hate that. They do, I mean, so when you look at the retention component, so let's just kind of dive into that a little bit.

It is probably the biggest single thing that you can do to be able to increase retention inside of your organization. So the single biggest thing that you can do is to increase retention. If anyone's listening from an HR department, as an example right now, this is the biggest thing you can do is take your team remote.

So why? When you boil down into that data, you find out the primary reason why people quit is not because of economics, it's not because of the work, it is because of interoffice politics. It's socialization. They don't like their manager. They don't like their coworker. They get a pain in their stomach when they show up on Monday morning to work not because of the work that they need to do, but because Susie is going to be on their ass all day long, trying to make sure that they get that what are those boring reports from office space?

Jonathan Levi: TPS reports.

Liam Martin: TPS reports, right? That's the problem. When you look at what we call on-premise companies. So remote companies, remote-first companies are companies that are basically, they choose remote first and then the opposite of that person that are in brick and mortar businesses are on-premise companies and these on-premise companies, I mean there's just, there's environments where that type of stress can make people quit and can make people a lot less happy. These tensions still exists in remote work relationships, but they're more disconnected.

So you still don't like Susie sending in the TPS reports, but you're not as stressed out as you would be in a on-premise company because you're not seeing Susie all the time and you can disconnect from that process more often and that's the generally the biggest variable that adds to employee happiness in remote work relationships.

Jonathan Levi: That's really interesting because I thought you were going to take the angle of, you know, spending more time with family, less time commuting and I'm sure those are important things, but you're saying it's actually less time with Susie. That's going to make a difference for people.

Liam Martin: From a data perspective, from the studies that have been done.

There's a huge study that was done through Stanford, with a company that had about 16,000 workers and they took a department and they made them remote and that was the biggest insight that they had gotten. And from that study, they found a 20% increase in productivity and a 30% increase in employee retention, which is absolutely massive.

That's the largest study that has been done. There's a whole bunch of smaller ones, but I really won't mention those because they don't have the quantitative end that you would really be looking for. A lot of them are qualitative, but this is kind of, we're just scratching the surface at this point for remote work. I think we're probably, and again, me and you were probably in this camp, particularly me, I've put all my chips in on this. I think that we're looking at a work movement. I don't think we're looking at just kind of a little bit of a hack. I think that within the next 20 to 30 years, you're probably going to see a significant minority of the world's workforce working remotely.

Jonathan Levi: Wow, I mean, I know ATNT has a lot of people working remotely. I know IBM is predominantly remote at this point. I mean, is every company really going to go this way? Do you think?

Liam Martin: So there's an interesting phenomenon that's happening right now as it 2017, 54% of us workers worked remote in some capacity. So some capacity means remote Fridays, as an example, work from home Fridays and in comparison to that 54%, 2.1% of those workers worked full-time remote in the United States. So we're actually talking about a relatively small percentage of the population, 2.1% of US workers work full-time remote. The thing that is even more interesting is 2018's numbers.

From what I understand is about 3.8%. So to go from 2.1 to 3.8%, we're almost at an exponential curve level and that's a very interesting phenomenon. That's starting to happen. I'm projecting that within the next three years, we're going to hit 10% of all workers in the United States work full-time remote and once that happens, I think we're really going to see a change happen. In society, and this is mostly for thought workers. So people that work from their computer, but I believe that is the majority of long-term jobs at this point in the United States are jobs that you basically operate from a computer. So it's a very interesting future that I think we're going to be engaging in over the next couple of years.

Jonathan Levi: Definitely now I know a lot of people are probably listening in the audience and going, okay, great. You know, this sounds good. I want to be happier. How can people position themselves either to find remote companies or even to get their existing jobs, move to remote? I mean, you guys have tens of thousands of remote workers that you've seen. What are the things that help people make this transition?

Liam Martin: So the number one thing that Fortune 500 as an example, and I'll give you a couple of examples, you know, SMB example in a Fortune 500 example, fortune 500. The biggest thing that they're looking for is, well, I'd love to be able to take the team remote, but what are they going to be doing and how do I measure their productivity? And that's where a tool like time doctor can come in, which is a time tracking tool specifically for remote employees, the company that we run, you can use something else, but I think that our tool is the best and really clearly identifying remote work agreements.

So we actually have a little bit of content connected to that, which is negotiating a work remote work agreement with your employer and generally it is start small, negotiate the exact definition of success and failure. What are the core KPIs that you need to meet? And then running it on an experimental basis.

So whether that's a week or whether that's a month or whether that's a Friday as an example, to start just implement those types of changes and then measure your productivity and communicate that back to the employer for a Fortune 500 and that's probably the biggest variables that are gonna kind of move the needle if you're an employer or employee and you want to go remote in a Fortune 500. For SMBs, it's actually a very interesting new problem for employers. So the number one employee perk for millennials is remote work agreements. That's the number one perk that they want out of the sub 35 and that's a very exciting time to be an end for SMBs who are actually finding, particularly in technology, remote work agreements are kind of now almost the norm because the employee really wants them and the employer says, Oh, okay. I don't have to actually like get office space. That sounds great. I'm going to do that.

Jonathan Levi: Right, where's the risk?

Liam Martin: Yeah. I mean, and particularly doing these experiments on low levels.

So for short amount of time, as an example is probably the best way to do it. And we also find connecting with remote first companies. If you are a employee and want to find a remote job are probably the easiest way to do it because they just assume remote first. There's a couple of platforms that you can check out.

We Like Remote, Okay? and We Work Remotely. Those are probably two of the largest job boards, entirely committed just to remote first companies and there's a ton of employers on there that you can go check out.

Jonathan Levi: We like remote, remote okay? And what's the other one?

Liam Martin: Uh, we work remotely and remote okay. Those are the two platforms.

Jonathan Levi: Awesome really cool, because I'm trying to find my wife, a remote job. I think she would just be much happier working remotely, as you say, now, one challenge that I've had, because we don't use any time tracking software. Don't people feel spied on, I mean, with screenshots and stuff like that?

Liam Martin: Absolutely.

And it's definitely a component of remote work that you would need to adjust. So we, as an example, inside of the company, everyone that uses our software, we do not have screenshots turned on for any of our employees and everyone gets to see my data. So it's an accountability tool. So everyone inside of the organization gets to see each other's data.

And that way everyone knows all. Man, Liam worked 53 hours this week. Okay, guess I can't have asset and throw in three hours this week. That's something that we've been really adamant about and it's a cultural component of what we do as a company. So productivity and quantitative data is a core component of our culture, but for anyone that's just kind of you know, looking to start, I think the biggest variable is a productivity. So how can you improve your own personal productivity? What data can you pull out from the insights or what insights can you pull out from the data? A perfect example is I take Tuesday afternoons off. Now, because I was looking at my data for a couple months and realized I had horrible productivity metrics on Tuesday evenings, and I didn't really know why.

And then I realized the next Tuesday what was happening, which was, I don't know if you have this where you are Jonathan, but in Canada we have cheap movie Tuesdays. So Tuesdays are half-price or Tuesday, evenings movies are half price and what had ended up happening to me is my girlfriend would start calling me at like 2:00 PM saying, Hey, do you want to see Batman or Superman? And I'd say Superman, of course. And she'd say, Oh, well, I don't know if Susie really wants to see Superman. Maybe she wants to see Batman. Can you call up Suzy? What showing do you want to go to, do you want to go to dinner first? And it would just be a constant barrage of notifications that were destroying my overall productivity.

And I really want it to go to cheap movie Tuesdays. I liked going out to cheat movie Tuesdays, and I said to myself, well, what if I do this instead? I just take Tuesday afternoons off, spend that time with my friends and then just make it up on other days throughout the week and since I can work wherever I want, whenever I want, I did that and my productivity has had an overall huge boost.

Jonathan Levi: I love that. And that's funny because Tuesdays are also supposed to be my free days. I'm guilty of not always taking them free, but a fun coincidence there and really, really cool. I mean, I use, um, rescue time to get insights like that, but I love that you can do a team-wide with your product. So I think we might have to check that out. What are some other suggestions for people? I mean, I know. When I started working remote, it was really, really hard for me to be productive because I didn't feel accountable to anyone and I'm wondering since you, I mean, you have access to data of tens of thousands of people who are working remote. What are the trends that you've seen? Because people out there, if they do want to try working remote, they're going to have to prove to themselves and their employer that they're able to be productive. Any suggestions you have on that?

Liam Martin: I think you could probably bring them in this podcast. And I could tell the employer, the average work week of reel on computer work in the United States is about 22 hours. So on computer work is about 22 hours per week. The standard is 40 hour workweek, right? That's what everyone kind of communicates the nine to five, but a lot of that time is just spent wasted, meaning that is bathroom breaks, lunch, just hanging out, watching YouTube videos, whatever it might be. Some of them are kind of around work, but they're not the true productivity of work.

So we actually tell employers, you should really kind of target a 25 hour work week. And when we look at the data, we find that productivity overall goes up when you have a 25 hour work week. So number one is the actual output of hours should be targeted towards that 20 to 30 hour range and anything above that is actually somewhat problematic. Meaning I think that basically people are being overworked or they're not really putting out their best work inside of that data. So, um, that's probably the biggest one is making sure that everyone is on the same page with regards to what the output is and how that output applies to those KPIs and there's a whole bunch of other variables that I think probably.

Working to remote work that you can take a look at, but that's the biggest thing that your employer is going to try to overcome, which is wow. Okay. Well, I'm seeing only 30 hours of work per week here what's up? And you could actually say, well, that's actually an increase over what I was doing previously.

Jonathan Levi: That is really, really interesting and part of me wonders if that was the same 40 years ago right? When there was no Facebook or YouTube, you know, was it smoke breaks or have people just become less productive? I mean, we love to think that we're more productive than someone in 1950, because of all the technology we have, but it actually may be the other way around.

Liam Martin: I think that there are tools that facilitate massive increases in productivity. However, because we have these tools that have increased our overall productivity and we still have the same 40 hour work week, we've now filled up a lot of our work week with kind of pretend working. Which unfortunately just doesn't serve anyone.

My philosophy is if you've put out the same amount of output as everyone else, and you've done it in three hours, then everyone else is taking eight hours to do that work. You can work longer and that's, I would love that or you can just go home or stop working and I think that that's also just as useful.

You don't have to fill up that extra amount of time with pretend working and what I mean by that is kind of like looking at an email, but then switching between Facebook and YouTube and looking at an email every three to four minutes or something like that, which is really kind of another variable that I'm sure you have experienced in which I like to call the distraction economy, all of these things that are constantly trying to distract you from your goal and I think they're really bad towards work. There's all these things tools that allow you to be able to be a lot more productive, but there's also all of these tools that are now distracting you from your true goal and it's a constant fight between those two extremes.

Jonathan Levi: Absolutely. Absolutely and I do think it's interesting that there is that twenty-five hour maximum, that people can really, really work because this whole 40 hour work week thing is based on factory shifts. When you know, it was more about how many daylight hours do we have that people can produce widgets. It's not designed to take knowledge, work into account.

Liam Martin: Absolutely. We look at developers a lot and we've been trying to study what makes a developer productive and we've had some, you have some unique insights because we have the largest second-by-second work database on the planet. And the interesting thing about developers is they act almost exactly like creative writers. So they literally, they can work from 9:00 PM till four o'clock in the morning, on a Tuesday, and then maybe they don't work all on Wednesday and then maybe they work on Thursday from 9:00AM to 2:00 PM so they don't have a set workweek. And when you look at their output, the people that have that set workweek don't really have that set workweek. They just pretend to exist inside of that work week. And the real work is done when they're just in the zone. When they're in that writing zone or coding zone and so for us, we try to figure out, well, what can get you into that zone, that flow state as quickly as humanly possible and we haven't really cracked it yet, but the data definitely shows that developers don't exist on a nine to five. They just, it doesn't work for them.

Jonathan Levi: Right and I doubt many creative people do. I doubt any of them do really.

Liam Martin: But they're forced into this way of working, which unfortunately just, I mean, when you look at it, and this is a constant argument that I have with large companies, uh, we recently fired up a huge media company and thousands and thousands of employees, and we got the data back and we said, well, It looks to me like you're really operating this company improperly, and look at this one department that doesn't have set hours and look at their output per hour in it's huge.

It was like a third higher than everyone else. We should just switch everyone to that model and, you know, the board is just like, no, wouldn't be because they want control over that environment. They want to be able to control when people show up and when people leave, they're not really truly interested or they're fearful and scared about true measurements of productivity as they apply to KPIs and, um, that's quite sad, unfortunately, but it's just the reality of the world that we live in today. That's another passion of mine is trying to break down those barriers and say, do you want to be productive? Or do you want to control your employees lives? I would prefer to be productive,

Jonathan Levi: Right, though there is that fear, right? Once you give people a 25 hour work week or something, if it doesn't work, you can't exactly take it back.

Liam Martin: That's true. And I think that's why you need to run small experiments. You need to do those Friday remotes. You need to do a experiment on overall data and you need to be disciplined about those KPIs. So as an example, inside of our company, we do stand ups for every department one day a week. And the conversation is, well, what are the core metrics that you're trying to hit? Have we hit those core metrics. If you have not, what's stopping you from hitting those core metrics. And we measure that very clearly and very intently.

And if you start to see those numbers float into the negative side of the spectrum. You need to kind of nip that in the bud as quickly as possible, which a lot of managers in large companies just don't do. So that's another variable that is important is making sure that you're paying attention to what's happening in terms of output and productivity and making sure that everyone's accountable.

Jonathan Levi: Right. I think that's the hardest part and I'm guilty as charged of not holding the accountability there for KPIs and things like that, because it is hard.

Liam Martin: Absolutely.

Jonathan Levi: So tell me, since you, you mentioned yourself as a kind of self-identified productivity geek, what are some of the other skills, strategies and tips that you use to stay productive now that we know your whole team can view your productivity statistics?

Liam Martin: So time doctors, specifically, one of the best tools that I like inside of it, and you can turn this on or off is if I go to a website that is distracting, I'll get a pop-up within 10 seconds saying, Hey, you're supposed to be working on podcast task right now, but you're on Facebook. Are you really working on podcasts or are you on Facebook? And that's really great for I'm in flow state. Everything's working. And then unfortunately I get some type of notification that pops up I'm on Facebook now and time doctor just gives me that little kind of tap on the shoulder saying, Hey, you're flying, you're leaving productivity land and you're entering distraction town.

Do you really want to do that? And a lot of the times I do, I'm just as distracted as everyone else, but there are a lot of instances in which that basically catches me from moving out of that productive state. I also turn off most notifications. I have a great video actually. Well, maybe not great, but an okay video on how I deal with Slack, which I think is now become probably one. The biggest productivity sucks in the work world at this point, which is all these little beeps and bobs that you get on Slack, you need to be able to make sure that they are really productive or that they don't pull from your clear your focus, which is writing a blog post or doing a podcast or something like that.

So that's something that is really important like I pull all notifications off of Slack. I make sure that there's only one Slack channel that actually I get a notification for which is called emergency room, which rings my phone if there's a problem in there. But outside of that, I get no other notifications is really kind of just managing all these distractions. I think that's probably the biggest variable towards overall productivity.

Jonathan Levi: I love that and you're absolutely right. I completely agree with you on Slack. And also just that the best thing people can do is really eliminate distractions. What about on the health side? I mean, how, how do you keep yourself performing at your absolute best, any kind of routines that you can identify that really help you perform?

Liam Martin: I would say for me, uh, having a really nice gym, a three-minute walk from my house has been probably one of the biggest growth hacks for overall health increases. So I'm very simple. I do strong lifts five by five every two days and that's an app, which is just squats, dead lifts, the Gates been row, and it measures everything on that app.

So I'm able to measure how much I'm lifting and all that kind of stuff and then secondarily to that every second day, I just go to the gym and I do some type of cardiovascular work. So I always make the commitment to go to the gym every single day as well. I will not go as far as I have a friend of mine who runs a technology app that will basically create these environments where, so you're going to be at the gym at 9:00 AM. It will like take $20 out of your bank account. If you're not in that geo-fenced area, that kind of stuff. That's a little extreme, but you can absolutely do that. That's probably a really great way to be able to improve productivity, but I've just made the commitment, small barriers. I go to the gym every day and my definition of go to the gym is I actually have to just walk into the gym.

So there's been some instances where I'll walk into the gym and walk right back out. But I've just made that personal commitment to myself to be able to go into the gym and that discipline is, is relatively easy because when you go in, you say to yourself, Oh wow. I really don't want to be here. But once you show up, you'll probably do 15 minutes of cardio and then after that 15 minutes of cardio, I feel fantastic and sometimes I'll even make videos for myself saying, you know, it's, it's 11 o'clock at night and I'll do 15 minutes of cardio feel amazing. Come back out and do a video and say, Liam, you feel amazing. You need to go to the gym more often. You need to make this commitment because you felt so horrible at 10 and now you feel great and it's 11:30 and that's something catching that moment where you really feel great is another thing that I do and then I basically watch those videos when I'm on motivated.

Jonathan Levi: I think that's a really, really smart takeaway. I love that. Now let me ask a few more things, because I always love to catch people who geek out on little hacks like me besides time doctor, what are some products or services that you just can't live without?

Liam Martin: I'd probably say, and yeah, I could go down a really long road with this one. I really like Jing for work. So Jing is a little app that sits in the top right-hand corner of your computer and you can make a five minute video, a screencast of anything. So I communicate like problems that I have with software or UI UX issues or anything like that. We can communicate that very quickly and efficiently in a remote team. Obviously we use tools like Slack. We use tools like Trello base camp JIRA, which is project management for developers and Google. I mean, everyone kind of doesn't mention this, but I think it's probably one of the best dollar spent inside of our business, which is Google apps for business. It's like, I can't remember what it is. It's like 20 or $30 per year per employee and the collaboration capabilities that you have inside of that platform are insane. And just everything is so beautifully streamlined. It's, it's probably one of the best dollars that we spend per year.

Jonathan Levi: Agreed. Any books or, uh, specifically books, I guess, any books that have really impacted your life?

Liam Martin: A lot. Impacted in what way?

Jonathan Levi: Well, I guess what are your top books that have kind of changed your life that you feel like everyone should read?

Liam Martin: I would say from a business perspective, the Peter teal zero to one is probably one of the best theoretical frameworks for how to be able to build a company and particularly a tech company.

And his philosophy is don't build something, unless it can either be 10 times cheaper or 10 times better than the competition. He says competition is stupid. Get away from competition as much as humanly possible, which is a really interesting insight and very useful for tech companies and then on the application side, I would say the lean startup by Eric Reese is probably one of the best things that you could possibly read in terms of really operationally starting a technology company or any company that's kind of online and just very quickly iterating through that process.

Outside of that, I mean, from a theoretical perspective, this is probably something that maybe some people will agree with or not agree with, but, uh, you should read a lot of marks and I used to actually teach Marxism in university. And it teaches you to be a much better entrepreneur because Karl Marx probably has the best definition of entrepreneurship or story of capitalism.

He's able to understand capitalism better than anyone else and all of his abridged works are like DAS capital as an example gives you the very best definition of what capitalism is and how it works. And I actually disagree with Mark's. I think that his philosophy is incorrect, but he came to his philosophy with probably the best definition of capitalism that you can possibly have, which is an organic economy.

Most planned economies fail because people who plan things generally always fail at making those plans. Whereas organic economies kind of just evolve on their own and that's what he's been able to define better than anyone else. I actually have read just recently a really good book on management, which has completely changed my life, which is, um, it's by, and I can't remember the name of the woman right now.

I can't remember the name of the book, man. It was just tough. I've read in the last month and a half and it's been amazing. Radical candor is the name of the book. And so this book is basically on measuring, being a manager. How can you be a better manager? And it particularly spoke to me because my problem was her problem, which was, I would not tell people the truth about their output.

So if someone gave me a crappy piece of work, I would always look for the positive aspects of that work saying, Oh Jonathan, thank you for this TPS report. I really like it. You know, there's some positive aspects of this when in reality it's complete crap and it's going to have to be redone.

Jonathan Levi: Right.

Liam Martin: And being radically candid with employees is the best way for you to make them more productive and also create an environment in which they understand the output that's required as soon as possible because you'll get into these situations where you'll fire someone and I've personally had this happen. You'll fire somebody and they'll be completely surprised because they never got any negative feedback and that's something that I have had a big problem with, and I very much changed the way that I manage people after reading that book.

Jonathan Levi: Well, that's a pretty good endorsement. I will have to check that one out now, Liam, I want to ask you about the conference that you put on because I think it might be really, really interesting to people to hear about runningremote.com.

Tell me about that for a minute.

Liam Martin: Sure. So conference is the largest conference on building real teams. So if you run a remote team or if you are a leader inside of remote team, it's for you. If you don't run a remote team, it's probably not for you and we've assembled the biggest leaders in remote work. To be able to basically unlock what's the playbook for building and scaling these teams. There's very little written about large scale remote team building. So there's a lot of information on how to hire a virtual assistant, but very little on, as an example, Merci Marie, who runs who's in charge of customer support at Shopify, she has 2000 remote support reps.

So she's going to be talking about how she manages a team of 2000 remote support reps and what metrics she measures and all that kind of stuff. Andrea's Klingler, who's the CTO of product hunt. He's now the director of HR at angel list and he's going to be talking about how to build a development team. Literally like every single thing that you can think of to build a remote development team, and he's done it in two huge capacities, and there's a ton of other people that I could mention. We have about 20 speakers that are coming, but it's basically going to be all about that. So if that's something you're interested in, come on down to Bali.

Oh, by the way, it's in Bali. I don't know if I mentioned that, but, uh, Bali's probably, yeah one of the most beautiful places on planet earth and if you have not been there, this is a perfect excuse.

Jonathan Levi: Very very cool and we will put links to all of that different stuff in the show notes. Now I do want to ask you before we let you go, if people take one message from this episode and they carry it with them for the rest of their lives, what would you hope for that to be

Liam Martin: Remote work is going to be the most important work movement in the last few decades and if you're not prepared for that, you are not going to be able to take advantage of the next generation of talent. So you have to be able to prepare for it in whatever way you choose. I suggest you go to that conference, but it's totally up to you.

Jonathan Levi: Awesome and where should we send people in the blog posts, Liam, to get in touch with you? I know you're doing a hundred different things.

Liam Martin: I think probably the best place to go is YouTube.

So go to youtube.com/running remote. We've been putting out a bunch of content on there. You can actually watch all of the talks that we did last year for free and we made that commitment cause we really do want to share the messaging of building and scaling remote teams and I also think that YouTube is probably one of the most undervalued social media platforms that are currently in existence and so I'd like to be able to interact a lot more on there. So if you read a comment, I'll get back to you within 12 hours.

Jonathan Levi: Very cool. Liam Martin, it has been an absolute pleasure chatting with you today. I've learned a lot and I know our audience has as well. So thank you.

Liam Martin: Thanks for having me.

Jonathan Levi: All right SuperFriends. That is all we have for you today, but I hope you guys really enjoyed the show and I hope you learned a ton of actionable information tips, advice that will help you go out there and overcome the impossible. If you've enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher, or drop us a quick little note on the Twitter machine @gosuperhuman.

Also, if you have any ideas for anyone out there who you would love to see on the show, we always love to hear your recommendations. You can submit on our website, or you can just drop us an email and let us know that's all for today, guys. Thanks for tuning in.

Closing: Thanks for tuning in to the Becoming Superhuman Podcast for more great skills and strategies, or for links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode, visit www.becomingasuperhuman.com/podcast. We'll see you next time.

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5 Comments

  1. Luiz
    at — Reply

    Thanks, I learned a lot of interesting things in past episodes.

  2. Shivaditya Purohit
    at — Reply

    loved th heart and the depth of the conversation. The way that Dr. Metivier shared from his enormous experience and insights was just amazing. Thank you Jonathan for doing this podcast!! 🙂

  3. Rob
    at — Reply

    Great interview with Dr. Greg Wells! He mentioned a doctor from Colorado around the 42:30 point of the podcast, discussing turmeric and black pepper. I couldn’t make out the doctor’s name. Can you provide me with his full name and maybe his website or contact info. Interested in his products.

    Thanks,

    Rob

  4. Muhammed Sani Ibrahim
    at — Reply

    I am new here, and learning really fast.
    Thank you.

  5. Leonia
    at — Reply

    Maybe oarts of the things he has to share are right, maybe not. If I look at him which impact his nurturing and living style has on himself I see a very old looking man! He is year 1973!! That is not old and he looks definitly much older!! If I would not know his birthyear I would guess that he is in his mid-60ies!! A bit concering for someone who claims his lifestyle is suitable for a long life, isn’t it?

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