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Chris Vaughn Podcast Transcript

July 20, 2020
To listen to the full episode, click here

Joe: (00:00)
Welcome to the DNA and Experience podcast from CloudApp, where we discuss how and why creating an experience is so important and the psychology behind what makes an experience. So great. Thanks for joining us. Hello everyone. I am so excited today to have Vaughn with me from Chris Vaughn is the head of marketing and, uh, has a pretty great story. And also crisp is, uh, a tool that I love to use and has definitely, I’m sure seen a lot of growth during this time. Uh, Chris is a great product that fits seamlessly into Chrome and also has some desktop app capabilities to, uh, help limit all the background noise that all of us might be dealing with while working from home or remotely. Uh, so I want to go ahead and let Vahana talk a little bit about himself and how he ended up at crisp and, uh, we’ll go into some, some questions.

Chris: (01:05)
Hey Joe, thank you so much for having me here. It’s a pleasure. I’m a big fan of your podcast and it feels great to be here as a guest. So, uh, my name is wagon stark, Sianna, as you mentioned, I am working as the marketing director of crisp for a year now, and I’m working as a merit marketer since 2008, right before Chris buy was working in a snap group, which is the first a unicorn startup in Iran. It’s initiated, initiated by a German rocket internet back in 2014. So, and about my education, I got my master’s degree and a business. Then I decided to continue my education in the online extension of UC Berkeley university called Berkeley X. And I started to study marketing analytics there. So yeah, that’s a brief introduction.

Joe: (01:58)
That’s great. Yeah, I’m such a big fan of crisp and what you and the team are doing over there. Uh, you know, we’re kind of, we’ve, we’ve forced seven years of digital transformation talk into seven weeks. Um, we’re kind of all embracing the modern workplace. Uh, what do you think that looks like to you?

Chris: (02:22)
So, uh, when I think of the modern workplace, the two main characteristics that are coming to my mind are, uh, connectivity and flexibility. So, uh, we are living in a highly connected world and is not just limited to humans. Um, I’m an, the recent IOT advances, for example, I also enabling the constant machine to machine connection and this aura level of connectivity in the world is increasing every day and if not every hour. So, uh, this highly connected regime is also applied in workplaces every week. We see tons of new tools and softwares coming to the word that they main purpose is to get people connected with their colleagues in the best possible way. And, um, on the other hand, we have flexibility where employees are allowed to choose the way they want to stay connected. And when we combine these two together, I mean, connectivity and flexibility, the modern workplace will be a place where people are highly connected, but they’re also allowed to choose when and how to do that.

Joe: (03:28)
I love that thought that you put into that. I think it’s so important to recognize that, you know, maybe a nine to five, isn’t exactly what people want, uh, or, you know, in crisps case you have offices in Armenia and in the States. And so nine to five probably doesn’t work so well for you. Uh, you know, if the, if you’re trying to communicate with, uh, your colleagues in Armenia, then you’re gonna always be 12 hours off of each other. Um, so you got to have that flexibility, but also find ways to really connect, which I really enjoy that you added there. Exactly. You know, this, this trend was kind of moving towards remote. Anyway, we did this re cloud app last summer that showed over 50% of millennial and gen Z generations were working remotely. The majority of the time, uh, that can be due to, you know, San Francisco is just really expensive. Uh, so people have to live further away. Um, big cities in general are expensive and may, you know, people have debt coming out of school and may not have that money to be able to pay live close by. So what do you think the kind of current conditions the last really two months have helped accelerate that kind of move to remote and how businesses are seeing that?

Chris: (05:00)
So, uh, I’m sure you have heard the resemblance was from Twitter’s CEO objectors. So in us that their workforce is allowed to stay removed even after dependent against, and they are not the only ones doing this. I mean, there are lots of, so as researchers we’ve been going on in big corporates, and last week I was reading something from Gardner, it was a survey, uh, in top executives and us, and the results are suggesting that maybe remote working is a better option. I mean, for lots of companies, it was a discovery. They have not experienced this before, but now most of them, I realized that indeed it’s possible to work from home. And it’s still a product team and very much work with a strong option to consider for the future. So, um, it was also a new experience for employees to people realize that it is possible to work from home and still stay productive and accomplish goals. Um, but there’s also one another perspective I want to talk about. Uh, so some afternoon with working evangelists and influencers are worried that people may become disappointed with remote working because, uh, they may confuse this kind of forced working from home experience with the real remote working experience as it was before the abandoned week. So, uh, it’s, it’s really important for us to distinguish between the real room with work experience and it’s kind of forced working from home regime, um, and that’s something companies need to consider. So

Joe: (06:36)
That’s, that’s a really good point. Yeah. I know I’ve, I’ve said, and I’ve seen lots of other people say this, that this is far from the remote experience. You know, this is people having to work from home during a pandemic and, uh, you know, I’ve, I have three kids and so like we’re trying to homeschool them and, uh, you know, balancing things that I have to get done each day with what my wife has to get done each day. Um, and that’s, you know, far from a normal remote experience, uh, where you have kind of that flexibility and maybe not that mental strain that has kind of come with all of this.

Chris: (07:11)
Exactly. So there’s in a normal working from situations, you have the right to go to gym after the work, you have time to relax and that’s something that is not happening now. And you need to consider this.

Joe: (07:25)
Yeah, I think a big piece of it too, is just that a connection. Like I know a lot of my friends who, um, work remote would like meet up with colleagues at like a coffee shop in for breakfast. And then, you know, they’d go out with people for lunch and then the rest of the time they’re kind of working from home. And like you said, yeah, they would take a break and go to the gym. And so there’s like, there’s no entertainment, there’s no like peer to peer interaction. And so it’s definitely a much different

Chris: (07:58)
Yeah, exactly.

Joe: (08:00)
How do you think, you know, zoom has obviously exploded, blue jeans was acquired by Verizon kind of, uh, acquisition pending, um, Google video, uh, Google meet came out as free and has really expanded things. Facebook has added video into messenger app. How do you think, uh, tools like, like a cloud app that provides kind of a sync video, um, and, and visuals can really help a distributed workforce or remote team during this time?

Chris: (08:36)
So, uh, that’s a good question. When I look at a bigger picture, we, the collaboration is not something brand new, so it takes us for a few decades and what zoom and other video conferencing companies are doing now is basically, uh, presenting a more beautiful, uh, easy and pleasant solution for that. So, uh, and we see that these big companies are also adding new, smart and AI features to we do collaboration everyday, and that is changing the videoconferencing as we knew it a few years ago. And as you mentioned, for example, Virginia’s is, um, adding that smart meetings that, uh, is awesome. And it’s really, uh, an, a level up in the videoconferencing experience, I would say, uh, for apps like cloud app. Uh, I believe that right now, the main thing that is making the cloud app screen recorder and screenshot tool a unique and great product is the fact that a cloud was a package of solutions for some problems that we all face during the day. And that’s the beauty of it. So, um, I mean, on the other hand, when we compare it to crisp, uh, grease results are trying to enhance the quality of communication and it has that to experience, uh, Y working cross platform and between all conferencing gaps. So, um, I think the smarter and faster love with the communication, like what zoom blue jeans are doing and mixing that with easy and flexible sharing and collaboration options that cloud app or offering will be the future reality of, uh, videoconferencing at collaboration. I mean, these two should work together is to come hand to hand offline that live video conferencing things.

Joe: (10:26)
Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think there’s, there’s definitely a space for, you know, meetings are not going away. Uh, you can’t eliminate all meetings. Um, you can certainly eliminate a lot of them. Um, I’ve found going from a massive company in Adobe to cloud app, I probably freed up three hours of my day, at least that was in meetings. Um, and I’m sure, you know, you probably had a similar experience. Um, but yeah, it’s, it’s so nice to kind of find a middle ground where you can kind of combine those, the synchronous and asynchronous.

Chris: (11:03)
Exactly. Yeah.

Joe: (11:05)
During this time, you know, it’s been pretty crazy. Um, I know, like everything moved pretty fast on our side and I’m sure it has a lot of other companies as well. Um, as a leader, how have you tried to, um, support kind of the company’s goals, uh, kind of keep morale high, um, you know, really engage the team and keep things rolling during, uh, difficult times. And also, I, I, you know, assuming crisp is, is doing really well right now, uh, during kind of remote, uh, playbook needs. How have you guys kind of jumped in on that wave?

Chris: (11:51)
Yeah, that’s a good word. Good question. So actually, as a young leader, I learned a lot during this past month. And, uh, in fact it was the first time that I was managing a team in a global crisis situation. So, um, as you mentioned as a managers and execute, if you have to go this issue, you need to keep the morals of the team. And also you have three KPIs. So I don’t want to sound like a religious preacher here, but, uh, the most important thing that I learned as a manager is that, uh, offering kindness is a great solution to all the product problems that you face during situations like this. So, um, I took into consideration that during the crisis like this, everyone is worried everyone is anxious. So some people may struggle with chronic disorders or they may be locked down abroad from their families. So, um, I decided to be as kind as possible and offer maximum empathy, empathy to the team members. So this is one side of story. The other one is that, uh, you have strict KPIs and goals to achieve. I realized that, uh, kindness is serving both. And in fact, um, this is backed by science too. I mean, there are lots of papers researchers out there suggesting that happier teams are more to, uh, tend to achieve more goals are, tend to accomplish more tasks. Uh, they are more creative with ideas and that’s a completely a win, win situation for everyone, I would say. So, um, to wrap it up, I would say the lesson I learned is that kindness is a strong solution to lots of problems that may occur in a chaotic situation like this.

Joe: (13:37)
I love that. Yeah. I mean, you’re really trying to, you’re, you’re really preaching back to what you talked about with modern workplace being, uh, flexible and connected. Uh, you know, you can’t be connected unless you see the human element of all of this and kind of recognize, like I have people on my team who have kids. And so I know, you know, sometimes it’ll probably be a couple hours during the day where I may not hear from them, um, when I’m trying to get ahold of them. Cause they they’ve got, you know, similar challenges to me. Um, and really just kind of like recognizing the human element of all of this is really important.

Chris: (14:16)
Yeah. That’s completely true that human element, that the emotions is important, but for managing a team also as a marketer, that’s important to how you’ll be able to customers are you, uh, communicate with the customers that you want to limit is something that is helping always

Joe: (14:35)
Vaughn, this has been a really fun conversation. It’s been great to kind of hear how you’re leading things at, in marketing, at crisp and how you guys are kind of embracing the modern workplace. I want to understand, you know, with, with all of this on, um, companies are building remote playbooks, uh, they’re being forced to, right? So the Googles and Microsofts and apples and Facebooks of the world are having to come up with policies to support remote work. Uh, you know, Twitter came out the other day and said that they were going to support working from home policies in the future. Uh, how do you see, you know, with remote playbooks in hand, what is the new normal kind of look like?

Chris: (15:25)
So yeah, everything is changing. I mean the new normal will be a remote first workforce, definitely at least for the it sector. And so it may not happen right away after this pandemic is it may not happen in the next six or 12 months, but it will definitely happen for the next few years. And you are going toward a remote first or workforce. So as an example, I would say maybe a tick like budget for setting up a home office will be a solid part of all compensation packages of employees and things like that. So, um, and I think that will be a good word because athletic crease and cloud app will be running and, uh, millions of devices because that would be a necessity for everyone that is planning to, um, be a productive remote worker. So, uh, nobody knows what will exactly happen, but I definitely remote very much first word for is something that we are heading into.

Joe: (16:27)
Yeah. I agree. I’d love to just kind of get some closing thoughts with you. Um, are, are you, I can’t remember, are you primarily based in Armenia, are you in the States? So right. I’m in Armenia. Okay. Do you, what is, what is a kind of a way that you guys, um, work to communicate with being, uh, you know, in such different time zones, if you have, you know, people in the States working kind of while, while the Armenian people are sleeping, how, how have you guys kind of balanced that?

Chris: (17:03)
Yeah, so, uh, we are using lots of tools. Uh, we have Slack that are, we are using for day to day communication. Uh, we have our daily, weekly sync ups, uh, with zoom and we are also using emails for more longterm project. I don’t think that’s my day to day communication. So I think that’s something that you get used to when you work in a company that is active in different times on different situations. And it has two parts. One is the culture and things that you learn when you, when you work in companies, such as this. And the other aspect is tools that you use that kind of enhanced your experience are working in different times on and, uh, in different countries. So I would say, uh, still we are not a perfect, a remote first company, I would say, but, uh, we are heading to that and we are trying to learn that. So writing lots of, uh, blog posts in our website and our blog about what company is remote management in which work, and they also have to, we are reading that post to, to learn how to the remote work. Yeah. I hope that very soon.

Joe: (18:19)
Yeah. I feel like I’m kind of similar. It’s, it’s just, it’s fascinating to me to hear. I mean, a lot of startups, you know, startup remote, uh, cloud app was very remote in the beginning and now we’re still like 60% remote, but we have a central office, um, in Utah where we have, you know, kind of go to market stuff going on. Um, but yeah, like the global distributed team is just really interesting to learn. So thanks for diving in on that a little bit.

Chris: (18:49)
Yeah, sure.

Joe: (18:51)
It was a pleasure having you. I really appreciate you taking out some time today to go through a crisp and how things are going over, over there during the remote movement. Uh, everyone did go go, definitely go ahead and check out crisp. It’s a really slick add on two tools that I’m sure you’re all using and it’s really a great way to, um, clean up any audio that you’re working with. So thanks for again for your time today, Bajan, and look forward to talking again soon.

Chris: (19:22)
So thank you so much, Joe. It was a pleasure to be here. Thank you.

Joe: (19:29)
Thanks for joining the DNA of an experience podcast. We hope you learned something that will help improve your collaboration and enhance the experience you create for your customer. Join the collaboration 2.0 movement today by getting cloud app, the instant business communication tool use to create instantly shareable videos, screenshots, and GiFs. Perfect for both internal and external communication. Get started for Thank you. We look forward to seeing you next time.