Connecting & Coaching Underrepresented Communities in Tech with Susan Liao

Connecting & Coaching Underrepresented Communities in Tech w/ Susan Liao
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Brian Casel: [00:00:00] Hey there, Brian Casel here. I'm the founder of Clarityflow. And today on the conversation here on Claritycast, I am talking to Susan Liao. Um, this was a wide ranging conversation and we got a little bit into some, some technical talk. So, uh, you know, fair warning there, but don't worry, uh, nothing too, nothing too complicated.

We're, we're just talking about the, the tech startup scene. Um, you know, going back decades to what it's like today. Um, Susan runs Startups For All. org, which is an accelerator for, for startups, um, and really focusing on underserved, underrepresented communities, which is fantastic.

Um, and we talked all about, um, kind of the, the, the, the challenges that folks in these communities have in the tech space and then how Susan is, uh, meeting and, and, and bringing these [00:01:00] communities together in the form of training and coaching and group, uh, cohorts and communities.

And, um, what's known as accelerating startups, helping them get off the ground. So, uh, you know, a really wide range in conversation. We also got into, uh, Susan's other work, which is related, uh, user experience, you know, working with software product teams on shipping and developing and, and, um, you know, growing software products.

Um, and her coaching and consulting in that capacity. So, uh, yeah, we talked all about that. Of course, we, we had a good conversation about, um, you know, communicating asynchronously with these groups and clients, um, and a whole lot more. So here it is. Here is my conversation with Susan Liao. Enjoy.

Susan Liao, great to connect with you again,[00:02:00]

Susan Liao: Hi, Brian. Yes. Uh, always great to be in conversation with you, whether it's asynchronous or live

Brian Casel: You know, are not the first guest on this podcast who I have had many conversations with, and the first live one is actually on this podcast. So, um, that's, that's sort of like becoming a trend here, I guess

Susan Liao: Yeah, no, this is great.

Brian Casel: So, uh, so yeah, I mean, it's great to connect with you. Um, we've been in touch, uh, quite a bit, you know, through, through Clarityflow. Um, asynchronous, uh, has been everything up until now and you've been giving a lot of really great feedback on UX you know, user experience, um, in, in our product. Um, but you know, really I want to hear more about your work in, in UX and working with startups and your story as a coach and running all different types of programs. So, so we'll get into it.

Um, we were just talking off air, uh, a little bit about, um, Startups For All. I mean, why don't we start there and, uh, and tell me a little bit about the, uh, the organization.

Susan Liao: Sure. Um, and again, thank you for the [00:03:00] invitation, um, to share a little more about my story and, um, so the, the TLDR's, I've been in tech for over 20 years, so I'm one of those veterans that have been around when email was just a command line experience kind of typing on a keyboard with a blinking cursor.

Uh, and I've been through, you know, the launch of, you know, the, the first browsers like, you know, uh, Netscape, , Mosaic, um, and

Brian Casel: good old days,

Susan Liao: Good old days. Yes. And old fashioned cell phones with two line displays and the iPod and then the iPhone. Uh, and then, yeah, kind of, I've been around when, when startups kind of came to, started booming out of the woodwork.

And what I say, uh, to everyone, uh, to a lot of what I share about my story is that chapter one was really about, uh, my journey in, in just navigating the tech space as or a recent graduate with a computer science [00:04:00] degree trying to figure out, you know, do I really wanna spend my time kind of, uh, kind of coding behind a screen?

Um, but also learning about like being in the agency world, just what are all the possibilities in terms of things you can build with people, not just myself. And so chapter one was, I'd spent a lot of time in the digital agency world on the East coast, the Boston New York scene. Um, yeah, developed, for example, one of the very first iPad apps for Pampers and one of those situations where we're testing the actual live experience when the iPads actually launched.

So we never were able to test on a real device. So the day the iPad free story, when it launched, I, my job as the producer, um, was to run to a store, bought, purchase an iPad, load up the app and see if it actually worked.

Brian Casel: We were probably working in New York around the same time. Um, I was, I was working in a digital agency [00:05:00] in New York around the time that the iPhone launched, so I guess a couple years before iPad,

Susan Liao: Yeah. Kind of like late or maybe 2006, 2010

kind

Brian: Yeah.

Brian Casel: So like before I went out on my own, I was, I was building websites,

Brian: uh, at an

Brian Casel: agency. And I just remember like designing for mobile was not a thing, you know, we were using layouts and like all this, this, stuff. And I remember like a friend who, who worked at the agency with me, like brought in like the very first iPhone and it was like, oh my God, that changed everything.

Susan Liao: I know. And yeah, I mean, HT M email is still a thing, but even back then, that

was always like, uh, kind of designing tables and Yeah. Understanding your TRS and tds , just kind for those who are familiar with

Brian: Well,

Brian Casel: well, we've just like lost half the audience, but yeah. ..

Brian: Um,

Brian Casel: I mean, like where, so in, in tech in the early days. Uh, where, where'd you go from there? As in terms of like transitioning out onto your own?

Susan Liao: So chapter two was then my [00:06:00] foray into the startup world as a product manager. Uh, I've kind of starting to become, kind of learn what it was it to be, you know, that central role where I worked with a lot of different functions. The developers, the designers, um, leadership to really, uh, steward, kind of trying to balance business needs with user needs, uh, getting to know customers.

And I worked in a lot of different environments as the first product lead typically for these various startups. So they had an MVP, uh, they had an injection of, typically there's some sort of event, whether it was, um, around a funding or an opportunity for kind of rapid growth. And my role as a product lead was to help, um, kind of not go from zero to one, but like, you know, maybe it's the next step from, from one to a hundred or, or beyond.

And so in that process, in kind of helping to build the organization and also looking at ways to kind of further the product itself, um, I learned a lot [00:07:00] of, uh, kind of do's and don'ts around , kind of, um, how to best scale in a way that still allows, um, to kind of for your team to grow as well, not just the product. And then also balancing the needs of the stakeholders and the users.

And that's where I just saw a lot of friction. People might kinda be familiar with this, when you grow really fast from like 30 people to over a hundred in like couple months, right? That sort scenario. You have a lot of, um, kinda you're trying to figure out like, how do I put the right people in the right seats? You know, you might have your first developer who becomes your CTO, but now has to manage a team of like 20 developers. . You gotta figure out, oh, I need to hire a designer. Um, and there's a lot of, uh, like wrangling of, uh, kind of like how do I help kind of align purpose, like, and vision, um, and still give space, uh, for people to, um, I. I guess, develop their own [00:08:00] skill sets, but still drive the roadmap forward.

And so that was the, uh, kind of, I guess, catalyst for Startups For All. Um, just kind of at the end of the day, Startups For All, we're an online incubator, um, for purpose driven founders who wanna bring their North star to life. And so most folks are at the idea stage and we help them clarify their kind of what they care about, their product strategy, so to speak. And operate the first pilot. And do it in a way that hopefully skips a lot of the road bumps bumps that you typically see further on in your, in your startup kind of development. And if you can address some of those road bumps up front, then the hypothesis behind Startups For All is that you have a better chance of success.

Brian Casel: I mean, I definitely relate to this. Um, it, I mean, I can't even it must be like for a for one of these like high growth startups to.. I mean, I, I have a small team and I, I it challenging enough just to get, make sure that we're all on the same page in terms the, the vision and the priorities of the roadmap [00:09:00] and things like that. Um, but yeah, to go from my team is, is, is around, I don't know, six or seven people right now, but if we, if we're growing 10 to 20 to a hundred people in a, in a couple of months, it's I don't see how that, how that works, but, companies like somehow figure it out. Right?

Susan Liao: Yeah, they figure out, I mean, and it's tough as a leader because as you know, and I know as well, you have to wear a lot of different hats there because you're, you know, at one point, usually early on, you're the co-founder hat, you're the product lead hat. You're doing making technical decisions as well. You're managing the investors, you're doing outreach, marketing, all these things, and then all of a sudden, okay, it's like, oh, I'm building a team, so how do I still drive the strategic kind of guidance roadmap, but still like operationally onboard all these different people, right?

Brian Casel: So I, I do wanna get into the, like, what it, what it means

Susan Liao: Yeah.

Brian Casel: to, to figure that [00:10:00] out. But before we that, I mean, how, how how are things actually like structured? What, what do engagements look like for people who join, uh, Startups For All?

Brian: Um,

Brian Casel: are the, you know, the programs there?

Susan Liao: Yeah, so our own North Stars are, um, founded on kind of being community first, um, being heard and seen, like creating safe spaces to just . Talk out loud about what's going on in your mind and make mistakes. You know, it's, it's less of fail fast, kinda shit fast and more of like never a failure, always a lesson.

Um, and then also prioritizing purpose. And because it's really, at the end of the day, as a founder, we're trying, we're focusing on the journey, not the destination. So how do you navigate all the different decisions that you have to make? It, like, how much should I spend , uh, on development? Or is it even the right time to, you know, spend money on development or, uh, you know, do I need to become an LL you know, incorporate now versus can I remain an LLC?

So all these questions, um, [00:11:00] we, uh, prioritize kind of being clear about your North Stars, kind of developing your compass, so to speak. Um, and hopefully again at the end of the day that you're optimizing your, your time and resources and labor.

Brian Casel: So, um, I, when I hear about accelerators, I, I feel like there are so many different models this in startup ecosystem. Um, is this, is this like, is there like a funding

Susan Liao: Yeah.

Brian Casel: to this, or is it like, uh, more of

Brian: a

Susan Liao: You know, this is, um, you know, it's a tuition based, so it's almost like a academy or an institution.

And how we're different from other accelerators or programs. Um, is typ a typical accelerator? Anyone listening to this? You know, typically you have courses or, um, it's like a cohort of a couple weeks. You have homework assignments. It's a group.. Usually there's some mix of self-paced learning, um, like watching videos, doing readings, and then you have a group discussion, right? And then often there's like one-on-one introductions with mentors.

Um, [00:12:00] we, we do much of that. We just do it in a slightly different way, and that's where kind of the coaching and facilitation comes into play of and why tools like Clarityflow are so important. Um, we're virtual. We have people that come from a lot of different backgrounds, different time zones, and so.. It's hard to, as many people might know, trying to schedule a, find a time, regular time for everybody to come together.

And then if you have a cohort of even more than, you know, some cohorts I've been in are, you know, 20 to to 40, 50 people. Ours are kind of average between, yeah, usually like 12 to 15, but even at that size. If you have an hour and a half, two hour session, how do you divvy up the times so everybody has opportunity to speak, to reflect,

Brian Casel: Yeah.

Susan Liao: uh, and so

Brian Casel: Even in small groups with like four people,

Susan Liao: Mm-Hmm,

Brian Casel: we can't all speak

Susan Liao: right?

Brian Casel: you know, today.

Susan Liao: And it's hard to navigate those nuances of airtime, like sharing airtime, even in a small [00:13:00] group, right? I mean, even the conversation that we have here, I could go on and on if I don't stop to pause.

Brian Casel: could talk about the early days of the iPad for, for the rest

Susan Liao: Right, exactly. Uh, so that's where fac we, um, apply, use special facilitation techniques. Um, kind of informed from say, practices like Liberating Structures. We have timed kind of, um, timed turn taking. And then, uh, also using asynchronous means, like, and that's again, like we know the value of being able to, if anyone uses WhatsApp or you know, you're using iMessage when you're talking with friends. The value of asynchronous, like talking over video, audio is that you never get caught off. I mean, the other person, could stop anytime the the listener has autonomy to decide, oh, you know what? I'm gonna speed this up because I'm, you know, yeah. I just wanna,

Brian: use the two x

Susan Liao: right, exactly. Right.

Brian Casel: know, the, and this is definitely a running theme on this, on [00:14:00] this show, in these conversations, obviously async is, is a, is a running thing here. Um, and I, I really believe that it's not.. I just see it every day where it's not even just the convenience factor where like, yes, we can wrangle different people in different time zones, that's great. And, and it make, it does make it more inclusive because like somebody in Europe or like Australia, like that would be a deal breaker for them to group if we were meeting business hours in the US Right.

Um, so there's, there's that, and it makes it easier, but it, but it adds space to be able to think about what you wanna contribute or answer someone's question, rather than just be being put on the spot and hearing something and having right now and have, have the first answer ready to go. Like time to think it over or do some research or jot down some notes or like record a take and then rerecord, like it just, just makes a more productive conversation overall, I find.

Susan Liao: Yeah, I, when we [00:15:00] talk about accessibility or inclusion, it's also thinking about, well, if I'm asking founders or participants to reflect, 'cause actually much of our work as entrepreneurs is trying to be, you know, be, become aware, like language out loud. It's what I say, like, to develop our own vocabulary for what we care about, we need to talk things out, right? We need sounding boards, um, circles.

And in a ti kind of two hour workshop even, or even an hour and a half. For many people, it's hard to think on the spot, like brainstorm, you know, on the spot. How many of us have been in those design thinking sessions, right? Where it's like, okay, we're gonna turn on the timer. Everyone take a couple minutes and just like brain dump as many things as you can on these stickies,

Brian Casel: Right.

Susan Liao: And you and I, or maybe some folks where we're used to this because we've done it so many times, it's not as much of a big deal. But for some where it's just their way of life, of, you know, of conversing is to take time to reflect or for [00:16:00] other reasons. Um, you know, there's myriad other reasons where they just want that kind of solo time. Asynchronous is awesome. Um, I think,

Brian Casel: mean, I often look back

Susan Liao: yeah.

Brian Casel: conversations that I was in earlier today or yesterday and be like, oh, I should have said this,

Susan Liao: Mm-Hmm?

Brian Casel: should, if only I had the idea in the moment, you know,

Susan Liao: yeah.

Brian Casel: um, I was talking to Rob Hatch, a coach on this podcast a couple weeks ago, and you know, he had the other great point where if we're coaching, um, you know, really busy startup founders or, you know, executives and companies, maybe the content. Or maybe even just, just attending a coaching call or a group session

Susan Liao: Mm-Hmm.

Brian Casel: is not the most important thing that they need to be doing on in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon. Right. It they, have a lot more work. So it's like the, the content that, that, that they're being coached on, um, shouldn't actually live in the same space. Like time, space as like the actual work that you're talking about, you know?

Susan Liao: Right. It's [00:17:00] uh

Brian Casel: It's, it's, I mean, there's a balance. I think there's, you know, I see a lot of like,

Brian: people kind of

Brian Casel: matching the two, having some live interaction and, and async, but, um.

Susan Liao: Yeah, there's, it isn't a one shoe fits all. I mean, because I work, I work with, so most of the founders we work with are what we say from underrepresented founders. They identify, personally identify as folks from intersectional identities like being queer, trans people of color, or, um, women of color. And we don't exclude anyone. We just say we're here because it's, we understand that. Yeah. It's not one shoe fits all.

So . the content, yes, has to be accessible in different ways, but we know that progress happens again when we start to action, right? Turning intention to action by talking with other people. So that's really our focus is how do we help facilitate conversations and give people time to be practice being both the speaker or I say it, the client, and also the consultant, right? Like being able [00:18:00] to listen and as founders, as entrepreneurs, our value actually is uh, as we like network and meet other folks, trying to understand like what is the value that they could bring to the table? And much of that comes from just listening, right?

Brian: You

Brian Casel: know, want to get into this, um, like how you are bringing together and, uh, these, these different communities. Um, I, I mean, you know, in, in the tech world, it's, it is just notorious for, for being, I mean. Like,

Susan Liao: you can see to pull from your own, yeah. your own,

Brian: like, just

Brian Casel: like the overall lack of diversity overall is like maybe worse in tech than like any other industries. Right. So, um, how are you, uh, reaching out and attracting who are interested or already like, well on their way active in the, in the tech and startup space to, to come, you know, work with you and meet other folks who are, who are doing this?

Susan Liao: Yeah. Um, much of my outreach is actually community based because I myself identify as, um, [00:19:00] of, you know, women of different identities, women of color, also queer, and I. You know, I've been a pro in product, in the startup world for a long time. I've been in the non-profit world as well.

So, uh, I'm one of those people where I have like a hundred tabs opened at one time. . I also, my Slack has, you know, probably have another 50, uh, Slack groups that I'm part of. And so, um, our outreach is not, uh, I would, you know, this might surprise people or you know, it there, it's not automated for many people. They do a lot of, um, you know, we've, we've done a few ads, but we find a lot of the traction comes from, um, kind of trust-based communications of just putting the word out there in these various Slack groups that focus on certain, um, groups like Tribaja focuses on kind of developing Yeah underserved Bipoc folks in, in tech. Um, I have other groups that focus on female founders, other groups that focused on like, um, out in tech is one for kind of the [00:20:00] LGBTQIA community. Um, yeah.

Brian Casel: Are, are you working primarily with founders and and and owners or also like people looking to just work for a startup or, or, or,

Brian: you know, find

Brian Casel: employment in this space.

Susan Liao: S So we're, I'm year three and Startups For All, it's primarily founders. And it's interesting 'cause every once in a while I'll look at my LinkedIn stats, like who are the people kind of following and it is overwhelming me. Um, like I would say like 80% of the people that kind of kind of come across my posts are, have the title of founder, co-founder. And that reflects the people we have.

But we, um, . , but they, they may not call themselves founders. So that's kind of more the interesting part is we, us, usually people we work with are folks who are trying to transition into tech or transition, kind of dip their toes into entrepreneurship. And what they find compelling is, um, actually we do have, some people have gone through traditional like accelerators, like YC, [00:21:00] you know, uh, Y Combinator, um, 500 Startups, Techstars. And even still, they are, um, drawn to our offering because of the focus on purpose.

And also, um, what I say is space, pace, and grace. We're place incubator. So it's not about, Hey, let's try to launch your pilot in six weeks. Um, let's give you space to figure out, um, kind of your time your schedule. Who do you wanna be in conversation with?

Like you can anyone, can set up a Calendly and talk to a hundred people, but do you wanna spend your time talking to a hundred people for insights or at a certain stage just, um, have some guidance on like, who are the five people that I want to invite to my space? Yeah.

Brian Casel: So I'm, I'm also kind of wondering, like, getting back into the structure of how the, like the cohorts work and, um, you know, uh, the, the benefits and the value that that members get by [00:22:00] interacting here.

One, one thing that I'm, you know, I'm, I'm a startup I'm,

Susan Liao: Yep.

Brian Casel: I have, you know, many friends who are in different like accelerators. Um, and I'm in Calm Fund, is, I don't, I don't think they really consider themselves an accelerator, but it is a network of mentors and funding and stuff.

My question here is like, how, you know, because startups are, are, is like a bunch of chaos all the time, right? Like, there, there's so many priorities, competing priorities at any given moment.

Brian: So

Brian Casel: How, how does it work in a, in a typical accelerator, but in your accelerator like how do you, how do you strike the balance between like, okay, here is course curriculum, here are mentors available to talk about X, Y, and Z topics? Um, and then here is what's going on in your startup right now that's actually a priority. How do you kind of balance and triangulate all those things.

Susan Liao: Yeah, so we [00:23:00] actually, I've developed a, a Startups For All blueprint,surprise surprise. Most accelerators may have something like this that is more than just the business model canvas. Um, we focus on, so we have a little bit of structure. We have five core pillars. So three are what you might, you're probably very familiar with your business, um, understanding your business, understanding your customers, or we call it your audience. And also understanding your purpose or mission.

Um, uh, some folks are kind of less kind of developed on the purpose, and they're more, um, so th those are three. And then the fourth pillar is capacity. So some accelerators might kind of talk about capacity. We really, I bring the product management lens to that is when we think about capacity, right? That's where like prioritizing your time and time allocation is,

Brian Casel: Yeah. So when you say capacity, you mean like what are we actually capable of shipping in the next six months.

Susan Liao: Yeah. Well, as a founder, as a [00:24:00] early stage, even before shipping, just how do you wanna prioritize your own time actually? 'cause we have many people are still working full time and so . Yeah, it's almost like, um, yeah, when I say time allocation, it's, if you're working full time, how do you not burn yourself out

Brian Casel: Mm-Hmm.

Susan Liao: And how do you, um, make sure that you're, if you say have 10 hours a week to spend on this side project, uh, you know, that you have, that hopefully becomes a startup. What should you do first? How do you wanna allocate that time? Um, are you gonna do customer discovery? Are you gonna yet build, are you gonna try to find co-founders, pitch to investors? Right? There's all the different choices i. Um, and so that's what we talk about capacity.

The, the other fifth pillar that is really important actually in the founder journey, what we talk about is, is wellness. And so that's developing. What are your boundaries? It's very intertwined to everything else, right? About, um, how are you going to be able to [00:25:00] say, sustain your journey so you don't burn yourself out? 'cause we all know that , you k.

Brian Casel: It's incredibly important, you know, um, I mean all this stuff is, but personal health is something that I've, I've been trying to focus more on in the last few years, especially this year. And it's one of those things, you know, 'cause it, this is so related to burnout and overworking. Um, because I think that it's pretty common for, for a lot of startup founders to just actually like what they do. Like they love to work, it's hard to break yourself away.

Um, and what I find is, is when, um, I let health, uh, you know, take a backseat because I'm working much. I end up not working so well, like, like lacking focus and not making progress. But when I actually make time for, for health, um, and activity and proper diet and of stuff, it, actually, it help, it actually helps the business work better when I'm actually working

Brian: fewer hours,

Brian Casel: know?

Susan Liao: And so we tried to,

Brian: yeah.

Susan Liao: you know, [00:26:00] it's the old school kind of thought that, hey, if I'm going to become a founder, that means all of a sudden I need to like, um. Yeah. Kind of make, just burn the midnight oil and either I'm working or I'm working on my startup like in the basement. Right. with another developer or designer all night.

And we want at Startups For All wanna show that, no, that is, if you're wanting to really build a sustainable business, give yourself some space, um, and some grace. Yeah. To make sure that you are prioritizing your own health and wellness.

Brian Casel: For sure. And you know, I, I really like the structure of, um, you know, the framework here, like being able to mix and match different pillars based current need. Um, I think that's a, a commonality that I see from a lot of coaches who, who do that, that matching of like courses or course like programs and like libraries content with a group and with individualized coaching. Because each individual is, is at a different point. They, they might different, needs, a different focus [00:27:00] right now. So, you know, rather than going like, here's lesson one, lesson number two, lesson number three, um, you know, you can sort of like mix and match based on the person I.

Susan Liao: Yeah, we do have, you know, some, um, instructional workshops on, you know, product strategy, you know, jobs to be done, user journeying. But we again, do it in a way that, um, . , like understands that we're all, most of us are solopreneurs and we just don't have a lot of time. So it's like we allow people to be scrappy, but we give them a little bit guidance of the guidance so they're not floundering on their own. Right. We're not just like throwing them in the pool with, with, a, yeah with a buoy and like, okay, figure it out.

Brian Casel: So, um, I did wanna touch a little bit on your other work, like outside uh, startups for all. Um, I know that you, you do a lot with, uh, UX user experience work. Um,

Susan Liao: Yeah,

Brian: Tell me a bit

Brian Casel: about that.

Susan Liao: So my, my formal training or and experience is product management, product strategy, [00:28:00] but I've always had a soft spot for UX as well, just because, you know, I used to be a developer in old school. Like back then, you know, information architecture, for websites was all the rage. And my, my brain likes to do like that.

Likes to work almost like an architect, right? Looking at your content, understanding needs, and really getting the shoes of the user of, um, at the end of the day, you know, the, the tech doesn't actually have to work, right? We all know it doesn't . There's always bugs in what we ship. Um, but the, your most loyal fans come to you probably because they believe in your, it's more likely, I wouldn't say probably, but it's, you know, there's study out there, but they're more likely to kind of overlook and have those issue, those tech issues because they believe in the overall vision or, and also because experience feels, you know, people say delightful, right? It feels easy to use. And um, so, you know, being able to, for example. Uh, [00:29:00] I mean people still use Slack , even though they maybe hate all those notifications because it's still really easy to just like, you know, type a few notes and exchange, kind of engage with other people.

Brian Casel: Yep.

Susan Liao: Um, and so with the UX kinda, I advise a couple, um, startups on both product strategy, but trying to bridge that gap where many of them don't have like a full-time, uh, product design team,

Brian Casel: Yep.

Susan Liao: you know, they have basic, uh, brand assets. And so much of their kind of UX work is not about like visual design versus, um, understanding, Hey, if I'm gonna have one button on the page or on the screen, what should that button do? Right?

Brian Casel: Yep. Yeah, I think that often goes, uh, overlooked or misunderstood, really, UX and kind of being lumped in with like design or styling, which are, they're or, or even like user interface. They're, they're really not the same thing. It's. You know, UX to me is, is so much more about, and, and, you know, [00:30:00] uh, you know, you, you've been, um, offering some, some really great insight, um, on the UX in, in Clarityflow over the last several months. And, um, the way that I think about it is, is that it is so much more connected to, like, jobs to be done and like, does it solve the, what the user's trying to do here,

Susan Liao: Right.

Brian Casel: um, in the, in the most efficient way, you know?

Susan Liao: Yeah. Uh, actually I just, um, we just had a workshop on jobs to be done versus where we talked a little bit about jobs to be done versus kind of use stories. And for those who are maybe are new to this language, um, in essence if why jobs to be done sometimes is helpful is because you might have, um, different personas, so to speak, like people that come from different backgrounds using your product and your, um, kind of jobs to be done allows you to normalize, I guess in some ways kind of the core function or kind of emotional, it can be emotional as well, kind of like need that they have, uh, without, um. Like dumbing down, honestly kind of your persona, [00:31:00] right? To , to like a name and a, and a photograph, right? a persona card.

So for example, in Clarityflow, um, what I really kind of appreciated was kind of just feedback on understanding how do you navigate conversations and threads and replies, right? Some even language is really, um, can be challenging for, for pos that come from different backgrounds. 'cause they have different references for like, yeah.

What does it mean to reply to a conversation if you're used to Slack ? You know, most Slack users are very experienced with threading. Um, if you're just not a Slack person, not a tech person, but you, your coach or your audience uses WhatsApp a lot, maybe you, you're not familiar with threading. 'cause WhatsApp is not, , doesn't, isn't really about threading, you just reply. Right? So it's trying to find that, just to be honest, tries to find what's the commonality pattern between these different audiences from different backgrounds.

Brian Casel: So how, again, like getting back to like structure of how you, work and how you work with [00:32:00] clients. Um. yeah. What does that look like on the consulting end? Um, are you, do you have like formal engagements where it's like, you are like a, like a UX,

Susan Liao: Yeah, sometimes I'm hired as a, product, so it's more or less UX, and more product focused. So, um, I, so they're Startups For All and then I. I also, um, advi, I'm a product advisor typically for startups where it's, yeah, hybrid kind of product and UX, but it's really driven by understanding kind of product needs and balancing the business as well.

Um, and then I do have some corporate clients, and that's more, um, kind of in the, it's, I'm more as a, like a product coach, product instructor within the, the organization.

[00:33:00] ‚Äč

Brian Casel: So that wraps up today's episode of Claritycast. I hope you were able to get a few nuggets of clarity to help you grow your coaching business. You can watch the videos of these conversations on our YouTube channel, like, and subscribe to us there. And I'd really appreciate if you'd give the Claritycast podcast a five star review in iTunes, that really helps us reach more folks like you.

Today's episode was brought to you by our product, Clarityflow. Try it for free at Clarityflow. com, or you can book a free demo and consultation call to see how you can grow your coaching business on Clarityflow. Thanks for tuning in. I'll see you next time.

Connecting & Coaching Underrepresented Communities in Tech with Susan Liao

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