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Listen to Episode 96

What was Dude University 2019 like? Whether you were there or not, we give you a sneak peek (or listen) into the highlights of our recent user conference. 

Show Notes:

Show Script

Brian
Welcome to the Operate Intelligently Podcast, the podcast for all things operations.

We're coming to you live from the floor of Dude University 2019. And joining me now is Grace Flack our Podcast Producer extraordinaire with a little recap on our thoughts of Dude University 2019.

Grace
I don't know about you, Brian, but it has been a super exciting and fun couple of days here in Raleigh at the Convention Center. I'm really excited to hear your thoughts as a first-time, Dude University attendee This is my second, it was amazing. So many cool thoughts from clients got to meet a lot of people, obviously, they're just a really cool community family aspect of our clients with us as well working with them throughout the year. So what were some of the highlights for you, or what was surprising, your first time being at Dude University?

Brian
So a couple things. The first one was really kind of, I guess that hearing from clients that that message of you guys do a fantastic job, you really care about us, you know, the products, do what they say, you know, everybody does that everybody kind of has that marketing speak of, you know, where the best or the greatest, but it doesn't really mean anything till a client, especially some of the long term ones, you know, because that means they've seen that value over a long period of time.

Attendees
Right off the bat, you can tell that everyone who works at this company really enjoys their job.

It's not like going to a conference. It's going to where basically, you're meeting family that you met over, you know, talking to them on the phone and developing your product, the customer service with do solutions, is this something that you don't experience anywhere else, I mean, you can meet those father in person. And then the experience with the classrooms. It's not just Dude Solutions folks telling you how to use the product, you get a lot of folks like myself, clients and users. And you're able to experience things that they're doing both good and bad. And then you're able to work through that, in reference to solving problems.

I always have a good time. I just I try to have fun with it. But I also come back with a lot of what I have learned that I can tell my people. 

Brian
Doing the podcast here was fantastic. Because I got to hear a lot of stories, we got to hear a lot of stories. I think both you and I have heard of some of these clients from other dudes. And so to get to meet them in person to kind of hear their story, see their passion was absolutely amazing. I would also say we had a fantastic keynote, I thought Brett Culp did a great job. And a few of the interviewees talked about that.

Brett Culp (speaker snippet)
Real leadership is a mission that you invite people to be on. It's not an average or ordinary mission. It's an extraordinary mission. We all know this thing we're doing matters. It's important. And as a leader, I will articulate it that way. Ready, stand up, shake someone's hand, look them in the eye and say: You are a hero!

Brian
So it wasn't kind of the standard kind of run-of-the-mill keynote I've seen that a lot of other events. I did compare this to other user conferences I've been to that I've worked for or attended. And I and I'm not saying this because I work for The Dude, but it it was the best part of it. I like that it's here in our hometown. But I think part of it was just really that that the culture, we have the connection we have with our client base. And I think it really manifested itself last night when we had the big celebration. And so for me again, this is first time experience of we all lined up, we rolled out the red carpet for our clients. They came down the escalator and we're all there. Clapping our hands cheering high five. And they reminded me of when It was like in eighth grade and played football. And we're the football team walking into the pep rally after the cheerleaders got everybody all juiced up, the energy was amazing.

I had a chance to actually talk to Kent and Lee. I had a chance to sit and listen to the podcast where Ed kind of recapped the history. So I felt very fortunate to kind of sit in on those conversations. It was awesome. But every single one of those conversations just kept reaffirming the great culture we have the great job we do and the fantastic clients that we have.

Grace
Yeah, you definitely hit some of the high notes. For me, the client appreciation dinner on Tuesday is always one of my favorite parts. Just like I said, getting to be together community and celebrating the work of each other, and especially the work of what we call these unsung heroes that are behind the scenes making sure our facilities are safe, efficient, and conducive to whatever, whether it's a school, hospital manufacturing facility, whatnot, they work long hours, they come in early, most of these people start their day much earlier than we start our day. And it's just neat to see the smiles on their faces and that they've hopefully they feel appreciated. And that technology is empowering them and adding skills to their skill set. I mean, it's huge. Like you're saying it's huge to to see the end result of the impact that software has some of the words that you use, I feel like it's been cool to see similar words that have been used in different sessions and speaking opportunities, passion, and purpose in culture, I think those are the things I've been hearing a lot about, that Brett cold talked about, it really is important. And I think we're all aligned, knowing that when you have purpose in your work, and in your life, you're happier, you when you're helping people, you're happier. And that's one thing that I think kind of unites us with the employees and the clients is they and we rub off each other, they have this incredible passion for the people they serve. And the work they do to make the world better for us. And we want to do the same empowering them. And so it's really cool to see that intersect.

Brian
And I think for our fellow Dudes that get to work closely with our clients, you know, the CSC team and sales team and such. I think it was great. They get to kind of continue their relationship, you know, have some fun, or had some great stories, people going out and having, you know, fun with karaoke and stuff like that. I think for you and I and other people that don't always really have that one to one connection. It's invaluable. It made me feel great and made me feel proud to be a dude. But it just reconfirms what we're doing and why we're doing it.

Grace
Yeah, you get to really learn more about a day when a day in their life is when you know, sit in on some of the sessions and hear the questions they're asking or ways that they're helping their budget get approved, or capital planning and using data. I think that's been another huge theme is we've had so many sessions by clients, and by employees on data-driven, making data driven-decisions, and people are doing that. And they depend on that. And I feel like a lot of people I've talked to want to be growing in that they want to be taking all this data and distilling it into what are the most important things and what do I need to share. So I can hire full time painter, or whatever the need is.

Brian
Yeah, I agree. I think being able to use data to make data-driven decisions. It was very interesting to talk to several people about how they're actually implementing that. Because, again, that's a cultural shift. And it's, you know, it's easy to just sit there and like, Okay, well, here's the dashboard. But that's just the start of the journey.

Grace
These people are starting really cool things in their organizations. It's amazing, you know, being greener, being more efficient. One thing along with the data and technology that we added this year that we haven't had before is Dude Labs, our innovative group at Dude Solutions did an innovation station and they had a VR headset, I don't know, if you got a chance.

Brian
I did. I went down there this morning. I got a chance to chat with some of the Dude Labs, one of the gentlemen did a facility tour with me. And he was talking about collecting assets and kind of gave me us a tease on it on day one. But this morning, I went down and checked it out. It was really neat. I basically like I picked a school. And then I was able to kind of, you know, zero in on it and the menu items and being able to select those and get data, get comparative analysis data, being able to easily view and call out.

Grace
So we're here at Dude University at the Innovation Station that Dude Labs doing. So I've got bricks here and Chris, guys, tell me about what's going on. And what's been fun to see people do with us

Brooks of Dude Labs
Well, we're running completely out of t-shirts. Yeah. So that's good. Have a lot of clients coming through a surprising amount of interest in the Facility Innovators Program. I had no idea what percentage of clients would really want to like, put it on the line and help you have a feedback and exchange for basically a t-shirt and a family and really wanting to be part of the future of the industry. And it's just been an outpouring of support for that. And that's been incredibly awesome. 

Chris of Dude Labs
We have people trying our VR demo for roof conditions. They're really having a lot of fun with that and the Dude Vision goggles that we've created, as well as trying out our mobile asset collection app. And we're working on getting interest in showing out people how you can scan your barcodes easily. We're excited to work with more people on that.

Grace
So I just did the VR thing. It was really awesome. So what have people been saying after while they're doing it? Like what are their reactions?

Brooks
I think people have a lot of fun. It's a really emotionally engaging experience. Because it's, I think, really natural, because it's what you're kind of used to seeing. 

Grace
Can you explain more what people are seeing?

Chris
A representation of their building. They're going to see a roof condition. So the roof is colored red, yellow, green, so they know kind of what state it may be, and based off the record history, and then they're also seeing some pie charts based off work orders, splits, and other categories, and you compare it to your peers, as well as your preventive maintenance percentage. And compared to where you're at with your peers, and where we'd like you to be with The Dude.

Brooks
And behind the scenes, there's a lot going on. So the art of this was to take some technologies that are really deep kind of obscure technologies that people want might not understand and bring the surface in a way that people love. And that was really the challenge of this to kind of test our skills and doing that. So under the scenes, we have predictive analytics, you have data synthesis, where we're synthesizing public data sources with proprietary data sources and proprietary algorithms, and exposing insights from that. And then giving clients really kind of distilled insights from what is some pretty complex statistics. Roxanne says they're very rudimentary, but they would baffle me. So that's really very cool stuff. And then we're doing data visualization, you know, and things how people want to actually look at things. And the predictive insight, which is this concept of like a green, yellow, red, check engine light on assets, where we're able to use our huge what's called corpus of data to inform clients that they may be an asset that's going off the rails, and that bit clients that they respond very positively to, they like that idea of just being informed that there is something coming that they might not be aware of.

Brian
So I think they did a great job for their first time here, and really putting out some things that were very innovative, but very well done.

Grace
And we're kind of the big theme of Dude University this year was, you know, the future starts here the future of operations management and excited about the new technologies. And it's really powerful to be able to actually visualize some of those. And I mean, I think, feel like everyone's very excited to see you know, what the dudes going to be doing next, like what technologies we're going to be using, and also what ideas clients are going to continue to give us to make their work easier and more efficient and better. So another thing that was special about this year is it's our 20th birthday year as The Dude. So that was fun to do the university to get to do a couple of special things. We had a big birthday cake last night. We have one point I think we saying Happy Birthday to the do me saying Happy birthday, more than one. Okay, yeah.

Or at least shouted, we all shouted Happy birthday.

And The Dude was out last night. But what is it been like for you hearing people's impressions. That's another thing, when we've been doing these podcasts interviews, which we're really excited to release some of these podcasts interviews throughout the year to all of you listeners, what were some of the things that stood out to you from people's memories or thoughts about The Dude overall? 

Brian
You know, I think one was, you know, our culture definitely is transparent to our clients, and they see it and they get it I had met one gentleman was talking to him. And he asked her, he says, you know, based off when I see like your company treat you really well. And I was like, Yeah, they do. And, and, you know, that's, that's a big motivator for us to do a great job. I mean, you know, good work happy, you know, we've, we've had come on, and talk about employer value proposition. And that's been several months now. And, and I would say, you know, they've held their end of the bargain. They're, they're supporting us, they're making sure that, you know, we're staying productive. But you know, we're also staying happy we're staying balanced. So I was really awesome to see that culture be so transparent to our clients. The other thing I thought that was really interesting was you and I got to listen to do another podcast where he interviewed Lee and Pat and several of The Dudes that have been around and kind of the history and and what did you was like, back in Myrtle Beach in the early days. And I think the one thing that really was a strong impression, again, was just the integrity of those gentlemen and others that started this company, and that it has persevered throughout.

Grace
Yeah, that culture, definitely a lot of people bring that up and even wanting to get training on like how to bring that back to their Yeah, organizations, which is really cool. And I agree with you, I think it started with the founders and the people that we serve, you know, having that like minded of helping others. And it is cool to to always have the conversation with clients and hear about the support they're getting from us. And that's one of the big standout things, most people talk about the client sport folks, and how they're always willing to help and go the extra mile. And that's just need to hear from people that really does.

Brian
I can't remember who said it last night, somebody said, you know, this, this is like your family. And, and I can relate to that and say, other groups I've done, I've done, I've done some events, or I've done volunteer work for professional development organizations, and, you know, you get really tight, especially when you're volunteering, and done like a long term track with that. And that was the word coming out of those experiences, you know, like, this is like my second family. So it's, I think it's very rare to see that and and I think it's tough, because, you know, when people think culture, sometimes they're, they think like, Oh, we have these ergonomic desk and, and we have this snack room or, or like these kind of thing that they're nice to have. But at the end of the day, I want leaders I can look up to I want clear structure on how we're going to deal with our challenges and how we're going to approach stuff. I want, you know, a team that I like to work with that we respect each other, that we're willing to support one another, and open and honest communication. And I think we have them.

Grace
I think Josh Peach said it really well when I was interviewing him, it starts in the heart, it starts with that you genuinely you have integrity, and you care about the people around you. And you want to make the world a better place. And it's awesome to be surrounded by like-minded folks who have and I'm sure also, you know, employees and clients feel like in some ways, we've been through trenches together. And you can see people, you know, hugging folks, or, you know, I've worked so much with this person over the phone, it's so exciting to get to meet them in person. And they're really those relationships that are formed. Another thing that's been interesting is this is our first University to really be podcasting it. Y'all might notice we've had some interesting sounds in the background, loud cars on the street, but also it's kind of fun to feel the energy of people here setting up taking down the conference of this like you're here.

Brian
As you mention that, they're taking down the red carpet from last night. So you hear a little banging in the background. I think they may be the last loud noises will have unless somebody drives but I mean, we are actually sitting in a very beautiful part of the Raleigh Convention Center, lots of natural light. We're sitting me directly across, we can see the entrance to Red Hat Amphitheater. You know, this is right in the heart of downtown Raleigh. So I did like it. I think, you know, the audio file me was kind of worried at first, but, you know, I'm kind of interested to see how these podcasts come out. You know, like sometimes hearing the roar, people coming out of sessions while we're recording, or others. And I want to thank every single person that came on and spoke with us. Because boy, they didn't let it faze them one bit. I think you and I are more fazed.

Grace
We're more used to our little studio back office. But yeah, I mean, everyone says this, but you just come to do University and whichever side you're on client, employee, attendee prospect, whatever you get inspired, you get inspired about the people you serve, the work you do, what you can do more, how we can help clients more, and having those conversations with clients are just so inspirational about successes they've had, or ways they want to use the system to do new things. And I'm so excited to share all these interviews with all the listeners.

Brian
Yeah, I mean, we've talked about some really neat stuff. I mean, we talked to people about how they're using drones, how they're using, you know, different new technology, how they're looking at data, looking at comparative data, being able to really communicate the value of their work through that data, and through the reports that comes through. And, you know, again, you hear the stories and so, you know, it's hard to always know all the pieces because you're hearing someone else tell the story. But then, in interviewing everyone and hearing them tell their story, it just, it made it even more solid.

Grace
In my mind. I totally agree. Well, I guess it's officially a wrap. This is it on Dude University 2019. Thank you again, Brian, for being an awesome host and interviewee and can't wait to share all this awesome podcast content with the rest of you throughout the year.

Brian
And thanks to grace for putting together all the interviews, getting questions and putting up with me during the entire event. 

Thank you for listening to the Operate Intelligently Podcast produced by Dude Solutions. You can reach us by emailing bs podcast@dudesolutions.com or check us out on the web at dudesolutions.com.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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