Catch Aman Venkat on the #PirateBroadcast - russjohns

Catch Aman Venkat on the #PirateBroadcast

Welcome to the #piratebroadcast: 

Sharing Interesting people doing interesting things.

I love sharing what others are doing to create, add value, and help in their community. 

The approach people use and how they arrived at where they are today fascinates me. 

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Introduction 0:01
Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.

Russ Johns 0:19
It's another beautiful day for the pirate broadcast. I wanted to start the day off with another #interestingperson doing #interestingthings. I want to talk a little bit about how you can make connections, introductions and just kind of expand your availability of resources by making those connections. The pirate broadcast is all about how you can get involved in a community, engage, make those connections. Also, once you're involved, there's so many things that you can do and so many connections you can make, that will amaze you. Over the years, I've made some amazing friends incredible acquaintances that I still engage with every single week. Today, I want to bring a special person on because I've learned to admire this individual. She's doing some incredible things in the world. I think she's an #interestingperson doing #interestingthings. So welcome to the #piratebroadcast, Aman. You're now a pirate.

Aman Venkat 1:31
Thank you, Russ. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it,

Russ Johns 1:34
You started an organization that is based out of Houston, Texas, but it's a global organization really. There are really no barriers or borders involved in what you do. I want to dive in a little bit about your backstory. We talked a little bit about this last week, and the opportunity to, I think, plant the seed of #inspiration for other people to say, sometimes your greatest asset is in something that may not be something everybody wants to do. That's kind of how you started. So share that story in how you got engaged in this type of type of business?

Aman Venkat 2:22
Well, it all kind of grew from intent, right? So there was an intent of just wanting to help and do something. That kind of fostered into an idea. There was a void, there was a void and I was consulting with big firms, and a lot of big firms have, unfortunately, this notion of, you learn as you go component. So I just felt like having mastered into one arena, one domain, will actually help an organization. So, that's where we can all form and just wanting to help an organization, having empathy when you actually go on site and listening to the organization's needs. Just connecting with that and then providing a solution, when you actually connect with exactly what you need. They're on the ground and providing that and seeing that fit? That makes my day. So that's how it all started.

Russ Johns 3:28
Yeah, we have that in common because it's so you can't really be upset or disappointed when you can help people do something amazing, right? A lot of large organizations, they don't necessarily have all this information at their fingertips, they don't necessarily have it all organized. They don't have it all in a place or a format that works and just to kind of scale it back, it's called the the practices, what's considered knowledge management, is that the correct term?

Aman Venkat 4:03

Russ Johns 4:04
So describe to people that may not be familiar with that term, what that actually entails, what that encompasses?

Aman Venkat 4:12
Sure, I mean, everyone's familiar with the actual term knowledge, right? So in the business definition, knowledge is what allows a human to make a business decision. So if you have the right knowledge, you will be able to make the right call given the situation you're in. So you might have access to data, which is just a collection of facts. Then you have information which is refined. Then, if you take those refined facts and take it a step further, and only extract information that's relevant for you to make decisions correctly, that's your knowledge. So we're in the intellectual capital for an organization and that's what we do.

Russ Johns 4:59
It's amazing to me, having been in and out of large organizations and things that require a lot of information. Alot of companies, like you pointed out, and we've talked about is that they're kind of bumping along and doing their thing, they're growing, expanding. The last thing that gets taken care of is the organization of information. So what you have is this behavior of either always recreating information on the fly, you know, that proposal that needs to go out, or that safety procedure that needs to be followed, or the understanding of what needs to take place next. Employee training is a huge part of it, all of these elements, when people have to take extra additional effort to find it, track it down or create it, that's wasted energy and what we talked about last week and I wanted you to share is, when that's all organized, that could save millions of dollars a year on wasted time. Are there some things that you want to kind of expand on?

Aman Venkat 6:11
Actually, it's billions. So according to Forbes, Fortune 500, companies, roughly save $31.5 billion a year if they fail to share knowledge. So it's in the billions, actually, and just on an annual basis, and it's because if you're not able to take care of the most important asset of your company, you do lose money. It's just a simple equation. So making sure you extract your information and convert it into your knowledge asset and keep it and maintain it and make sure you address it correctly. You will lose money. if you don't.

Russ Johns 6:52
I know, for myself personally, having been through this process a number of times, building systems and building information. I don't know how, I mean, there are a lot of different systems, you know, CRM, customer relationship management. I've been an admin for Salesforce in the past. I've built engineering systems that capture engineering processes. When you can't find information, it's painful, it's painful for organization. It's not hands on, it's not easy access. So how do you structure your process when you go through this exercise with an organization?

Aman Venkat 7:42
We have different methods to go about it and it all depends on the actual project and their need of what I mentioned earlier, right? And that's something we stay away from and definitely are very, very, very careful about going on ground and trying to fit the same glove into every organization and try to say, yes, this is the right model. This is what we use across the board. This will work for you, too. We stay away from that. So we do try to see what happens at an organization and fit accordingly. For example, if what you're doing currently, you have so much content, you're talking and interviewing people left and right. If you don't keep it organized, the show won't be successful as it is right now. Correct? So it just depends on what you're dealing with, what the organization is doing, and then conforming towards it. Right? So that's what we do. We try to get on the ground, we do a lot of workshops, which we calling discovery workshops, we get on the phone, and we have interview sessions with the SMEs and the stakeholders, get to know the organization and then dive in and create a program for them.

Russ Johns 8:54
So it's really the discovery phase that allows you to understand what their personality is, what their position is, what their pains are...

Aman Venkat 9:02
What their behavior is. So if and how they get to the information, what are they clicking around to get to the information if they're accessing a portal within their organization, or if you're just going through the filing cabinet? Unfortunately, a lot organizations that we go to sometimes on the sites and the facilities, that's where they have their binders stacked up, so we have no problem connecting with the most high tech organization to someone that does not have the means. So it varies. It really varies.

Russ Johns 9:34
How can this process translate to the small business owner, the freelancer, the entrepreneur that might have one or two people? We're not necessarily an enterprise organization here at #piratebroadcast. Yet. I like to add yet. So, what can we do through our growing pains that maybe can help us move in the direction of organization and what it takes to really start thinking in the knowledge management kind of thought process?

Aman Venkat 10:12
Well, one of the scenarios that I try to walk through, which I know everyone has been to the grocery store, right? When you walk into a grocery store, you see aisles of information. And what they've done, they've used knowledge to extract the little labels on the top telling you what, if the pasta is there, the pasta will be there with the sauce, and it won't be next to something else that's not relevant. So that is categorizing and getting information and objects together for the customer that is shopping as you're going down the aisles. So the same way, if you were to use that same methodology as simple methodology as a grocery store, right, that's called information architecture. So if you were to just architect your own space, and organize it the way where you're taking relevant information and just putting it into buckets, right, it could be folders, it could be just actually on your desk. I'm not sure how you you know what your working space is like, but just put it together, and then label it. Then you go down another round, and then another round, and you'll have an organized workspace.

Russ Johns 11:19
I love that. I love that. I want to say hi to a couple of people in the community. So Hello, everyone, how are you doing? Gabriel. Gabriel runs another show in the evening and he and I always collaborate on on projects and everything else that's going on around us in the live streaming world. Nick, Nick Gemmell is here. He's in the trades of the oil and gas industry. He's up north of us in Canada doing great work. Nick, let's catch up soon. Michael Baker is here. He's from Florida. Cathi Spooner, thank you so much for being here today. Michael says, procedures and processes, it's all important. It's all important. I really thrive and I enjoy...I'm like you, I like the process of organizing the information.

Aman Venkat 12:22
Yes, it is. And it's one of those things taht when you walk into a space, and I can see clutter, in terms of information, it's a lens that I've formed over the years where I can see exactly how this information can be laid out and how it can be organized. As I listen to people, it just becomes more and more clear on how this could be useful. So that's something that I absolutely enjoy. That's something that gets me going. That's what's fun, doing what I do, and having an organization of people, you know, a team of amazing people doing the same thing that I love doing.

Russ Johns 13:04
Yeah. What is it that you hear most in organizations as far as their pain points? What is it the that really resonates when you hear it and you say, I know I can make an impact here?

Aman Venkat 13:19
Sure. One of the main pain points is not having enough time. So it's about, say, a field administrator that's sitting at a facility. He's running and making sure there's no incidents, their team is safe, and taking care of their daily tasks, right? They're not thinking abou, oh, did I capture all my records correctly? Did I capture every line item and have organized it correctly? That's your day to day task? Right? That's not their priority. So that's one of their pain points is not having the time to do it. Then another thing is where they just don't want to do it. They don't want to write. They're not writers. That's actually how I fell into writing is because, working with engineers and trainers, no one wants to do the writing part. It's simple and that's okay. So, those are the pain points that we come across and that's why we're in the business of what we do, because if you don't want to do it, no problem, we'll take care of it.

Russ Johns 14:21
I would be a writer if I could type or spell.

Aman Venkat 14:25
Well, there are all types of tools.

Russ Johns 14:29
That's how I got into technology. When I was in safety and writing reams of documentation and procedures and fall protection and all that kind of stuff i I learned to appreciate the little things and you're absolutely correct. It does take time. It does take effort, and sometimes a lot of job descriptions, I don't think organizations really allow for that time and space to engage in the documentation side. So it's really great that you're out there doing some great work for organizations. Are there any trends that you're seeing or noticing that might be able to assist us going forward? Like you talked about AI, or artificial intelligence or anything like that? I'm thinking in terms of, like HR has, the systems where they can bring in batches of applications and they can kind of sift through that quickly through data analysis. So it's almost on the reverse side of that. Is there anything that's emerging in the industry that you notice that's kind of interesting,

Aman Venkat 15:44
There are a few things that are coming about in the AI world, but, it's not connecting to knowledge management, yet. Unfortunately, I think we're the practice that's the last to get everything, but actually, Spark Thought, we are connecting with some universities, trying to see if we can get in the forefront of that and make sure that our practice is heard. But with AI, there's a lot of work going on with facial recognition, where, if there's some distress during a work process, then it is alerted to say fear in the field. Again, if you're in oil and gas, especially, for example, if there's some distress in the control room, someone's alerted to let them know that there is something going on with that field technician and to be advised to go take protocol accordingly. So there are certain things that are out there at the moment, but within knowledge management now, unfortunately, there isn't that I know.

Russ Johns 16:41
Well, I experimented a lot in the past with doctors, because I was setting up doctors' facilities, and a lot of doctors use transcription and transcription services. I thought, well, if you could do voice translation, if you could record that might make it easier. Then you could just make the corrections and it would be a little quicker. Close, not always as efficient as it could be and it's getting closer. There's a few things out there that I've seen that might be interesting to look at; however, still, it takes time and effort to sit down and document a process Even organizations that may do things a certain way, however the person has been doing that, started with the company and in order to train and expand and scale, you have to document all of this stuff to actually allow that knowledge to transfer to the next person that come in the door. I think there's a lot of people, especially in the oil and gas industry that are here getting ready to retire, it'd be nice to collect all that information and that knowledge and put it in a place that new people coming into the industry could actually use. Is that a trend you're seeing?

Aman Venkat 18:00
We are and there's a big project that we're working on currently to do that. Just get those retired, the folks that are being sent out or actually moving and changing jobs. So job retention is one of those things, as well, in any any organization, any field, any industry. So getting that information while they're there, and keeping that in house is a challenge. The way we can do that is instruct that while they're there on ground, not after they leave. So that is a loss that is money lost in value. So yeah, that is a trend, but that is an ongoing trend for years and that's part of the calculation that I shared earlier.

Russ Johns 18:48
Yeah. Yeah, that's part of the billion dollars lost.

Aman Venkat 18:53
It's not all of it, but it's part of it, yeah.

Russ Johns 18:56
Yeah, I find it fascinating, too, because we were talking about doing some research on this and I know there's a lot of research out there coming to the conclusion that it costs a business a lot of money when people leave. Retention is key, culture is key and it would be nice if they had scribes of sorts, following people around saying, okay, how did you do that? What was it about this process that you did that was unique for that way? That little detail that is lost along the way. The generations because, okay, they've had experience, they've actually had the experience of doing that. I was reading a story about NASA, and how some of the early engineers through experimentation, tweaked and adjusted these rocket engines to the point of success through hundreds of experiments and adjustments and things like that. That minutia was never documented, so they couldn't necessarily just take a set of plans, like an architectural drawing and rebuild those rockets. It strikes a chord with this conversation, because there's a lot of organizations that people do things the way they're doing it because of experience and that little nuance of experience often gets, it goes undocumented.

Aman Venkat 20:31
Correct and that is something that, for example, if we were to switch roles today, if I were to walk in and just say, I'm going to be the new pirate, what do I have there that is structured for me to just look through the information knowledge, and say, I can do this job today? So you have to think of that way. Then, also, we ask the right questions to extract the information instead of just following people around and shadowing, and just getting them to ask random things. You'll be amazed that people talk about their articles and big news that's launched Wednesday, a C level individual transfers from company to company, but if someone from the ground at a tech level, transfers from company to company, there's more loss of value there. People don't realize that, because they're doing the daily tasks, they have good information of how to keep an incident-free facility, for example, again, really relating everything to oil and gas, because that's what we're kind of stepping into, you'll be announcing that soon. But that's what we're stepping into, right? So ensure that the person on the ground, gets that respect and gets that information across to us as the kind of techniques that we use. So that's something that we do differently.

Russ Johns 21:57
I've been through several projects and one of the personalities that I've been involved with at some point in time is the, the personality, why do you want to know what I do? Are you trying to take my job away from me? That has to be handled with empathy, understanding, compassion. Then it's like, no, you're a valuable employee, we want to keep you we want to maintain your position, we want you here. We want to make sure that when you decide you want to retire, or do something else, or get promoted, that we have an opportunity to fill that vacuum with somebody that can understand what is required to do the job. So that's kind of a negotiation, and probably a little bit of a dance you have to play at times in organizations. Is that is that your experience?

Aman Venkat 22:55
Actually, we just go with a simple formula...respect. We just look, I mean, I've used this personally, by just giving respect to that individual and saying, you're so good at what you do and you're gonna leave your legacy behind is what we're trying to capture. That's it.

Russ Johns 23:13
You're so smart. That's true. Yeah. True. Michael Baker says, definition of purpose and process plans for achievment. Absolutely, Michael. And then patience, and time, motivation and determination, mutual goals and beliefs. Arthur says, taxonomy. That plays a big part in that, I'm sure. Then evaluation of everything every day. Raul says, author organization hits home for me. That's fantastic. And then also, Heather says, Hello from Boston. Hello. I used to live up in Stoneham there. So I love Boston. Kenyatta, says, Hello to the #piratebroadcast friends. Then Michael is sharing that, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of those on your team is essential to delegation. One of the things that freed me up a lot was document and delegate. If I can document it, I can't hand anything off unless it's documented, right? It's difficult to manage information unless you document it. Going back to the #pirate#broadcast, a real world example is, I did the first 30 episodes all on my own so I could document the process and then I trained Mel and I went through and then she's trained other people. So now we're on like, three different people that have done the #piratebroadcast on the production side. So all of the things that go into it, all the bookings, all the process, all the follow up, the transcription, all of that stuff is done as a result of that documentation process. It's always improving, it's always in a process of, okay, we can tweak it, adjust it, improve it. And what really happens, at least what I've noticed is unless you take the time to document that to the degree that you need to, it always falls behind. Then there's a gap. It's like, well, that's how we used to do it. That's what's in the documentation. Now we've adjusted that process to this in a new process. So really, once you have an organization and you get this organizational process in place, do you come back and continue to update that? Or do you teach them kind of how to fish and then they could go on and move and do their processes on their own?

Aman Venkat 26:04
Well, first thing, what I'm hearing, I would like to congratulate you. You are practicing knowledge management, the term that you were asking for the definition, you're actually doing it, so congratulations on that. Then, secondly, the question that you've asked is that it depends on the maturity of the organization. Sometimes, organizations just say, do this, so we can be compliant, and we just want this done, and please don't come back. Or they they have that bond. So majority of our clients actually have us come back on a yearly basis, which is a healthy time to kind of come back to a good health check on the documentation on their processes and procedures that they're doing, and can tweak them accordingly. So yes, there is a continuum as you proceed.

Russ Johns 26:53
Yeah, which is a good thing. So what kind of organizations are an ideal fit? I imagine a few in my head, because I've dealt with some large organizations that need a lot of knowledge management. However, what could you describe, so if any of the pirates out there know of anyone that needs to be contacted, they can they can follow up and give you some offers and opportunities?

Aman Venkat 27:24
Well, it's any industry, to be honest, but we've worked with oil and gas, mass media, financial, healthcare, yso the list goes on. We've kind of fit into any organization, but at the same time, we work best when an organization really wants us and needs us. So when you feel like you know, we can actually come in and help. That's where we connect the best when there's a desire to get help.

Russ Johns 27:53
Yeah,it has to be a win/win situation. Is it typically from the top down and saying, hey, I know I need help. In order to grow, we need to get all this information organized? Or is it like from HR that needs to work on compliance that says, hey, I need somebody to help get this organized? Or is it just as an organization?

Aman Venkat 28:20
it's a blend of both. The more regulations out there that are coming out, and now at the moment, they're at a pause, but regulations that come out that need to be met, and addressed, but a lot of organizations that I've been fortunate enough to work with, they want to go above that because they're not wanting to police their organizations. They want to make sure they keep their environment, their people safe. So they actually go above and beyond just the compliance from, so it's blended

Russ Johns 28:51
Yeah. I love that. So Don says, documenting processes right now. Congratulations, Don. Love that. He continutes, there is no mentorship programs, who wants to train their replacements? Fear of being replaced is surreal. So it is real; however, there's a certain freedom in actually going down...for myself, this is me talking and because I am a fan of systems and documentation is that there's a certain freedom that takes place when you don't have to think about how you're going to do something in the future, because you've documented it now and in the past. So you think, okay, how does this need to take place? I know I had a document and the format and a template that was created for this purpose, right? Going forward, it's really great to be able to copy that and say, okay, I'm gonna do this again. Here's the process and this is the way we handle it. This is the way we manage it. Heather says, EI is more important than book smarts these days, I think. There's an advocate for you. Heather, thank you so much for that. It's awesome. Jane says. it's awesome.

Aman Venkat 30:12
Thank you guys.

Russ Johns 30:13
Don says, people, process product - gets your "P's" straight. So, then Michael says, documentation leads to clarity. Proper planning prevents piss poor performance. Alessio says, I am open to new connections to widen our knowledge.

Aman Venkat 30:39

Russ Johns 30:41
Thank you so much. This has been encouraging, Aman and I know that you just launched a new website. We've got an event coming up, talk a little bit about this event and what people can expect in this event.

Aman Venkat 30:58
So this event, you're part of it, as well, which has been a fantastic journey, working with you, again, grew in intent to do some good within the oil and gas industry, with everything that's happening with the pandemic, and loss of jobs and just the lovely 2020 that we're all thrown into. This idea that just came to mind was, wouldn't it be great to have some good knowledge out there where people could just tap into and connect? So that one little idea, that seed, just kind of grew. So I gathered some amazing leaders in their industry and they're going to be hosting and speaking on their sessions in their domain on October 5th-9th, and it's called SparkCon. It's Spark Thought's conference, and that events coming up soon, so you guys can join.

Russ Johns 32:03
Yeah and we'll put all the show notes and everything in the post that will be up later today because of the process that we've developed. So we'll take this broadcast and convert it into a podcast and then convert it into a transcription and then a blog post. There you go. All this information will be produced by the end of the day, so it's like I like to say, broadcast in the morning, podcast in the afternoon.

Aman Venkat 32:31
There you go.

Russ Johns 32:32
So, Aman, this has been tremendous. Everybody go right now to and register for this session. I would love to have you join us and learn something about the industry and also meet some amazing people that are going to be involved in this meeting. As you know, just like the #piratebroadcast, we have one conversation and it can change the way we think, it's changed the way we live, we change the way we think about what we're doing and why we're doing it. There's some amazing people that you're going to meet through this process. Get involved get engaged. I'm going to be there, Aman's gonna be there, we're going to be having a great time, we're gonna be sharing a lot of amazing knowledge. You never know who you're gonna meet, so I encourage you to sign up at and register now. Aman, thank you so much for being here.

Aman Venkat 33:39
Thanks, Russ, for having me.

Russ Johns 33:41
It's awesome. Well, everyone, thank you so much for joining the #piratebroadcast. I know this is a quick 30 minutes that goes by, I know we could talk for a little while longer and I know that you have things going on in your world and you got things to do. So, as always, #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and you #enjoytheday. See you soon.

Exit 34:13
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