Connected & Ready

Rebuilding your business online, with Richard Wang

Episode Summary

As businesses have had to make the switch to contactless shopping almost overnight, they are finding new ways to connect with their customers. In this episode of Connected & Ready, host Gemma Milne is joined by Richard Wang, CEO of Coding Dojo, to discuss how volunteer coders have helped small businesses move online, the trends they’re seeing, and how business owners can stay focused to launch quickly and enable business continuity. To get started with contactless shopping, request a live demo of Dynamics 365 Commerce today:

Episode Notes

Host Gemma Milne talks with Richard Wang, CEO of Coding Dojo, a partner in the Microsoft Reactor Program, that's dedicated to teaching coding skills to people with no software background. Recently, Coding Dojo has launched a new initiative called, Tech for America, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic by helping them move their businesses online. Learn the origin story of Tech for America, inspiring stories of traditional brick-and-mortar businesses that have quickly expanded their online operations, how to help employees adapt to change, plus lessons and advice for the future.  

About Richard Wang 

As the CEO of Coding Dojo, Richard is dedicated to empowering everyone to participate in the digital economy through the universal language of coding. Coding Dojo recently rallied hundreds of alumni members to volunteer their talents to help local businesses build digital platforms and meet their customers on their terms.  

Learn more about Coding Dojo:  

Learn more about Tech for America:  

Topics of discussion  

Sponsor link  

Explore how Dynamics 365 Commerce can help your business achieve a seamless, omni-channel customer experience. Request a live demo today.  

Helpful links  

Follow us on social media  




Episode Transcription

Music playing [00:00:01]

Gemma [00:00:05] Hello and welcome. You're listening to Connected and Ready an ongoing conversation about innovation, resilience and our capacity to succeed. Brought to you by Microsoft. I'm Gemma Milne. I'm a technology journalist and author. And I'm going to be exploring trends around how companies are adapting to a disruptive world and preparing for tomorrow. We're going to speak to the innovators who are bringing products, operations and people together in new ways. On today's episode, I'm speaking to Richard Wong, CEO of Coding Dojo, which recently launched a new initiative called Tech for America. They're connecting their alumni group of coders to small businesses that need development help during the Coronavirus crisis, all for no charge. We’ll dive into some of the projects they've launched, the challenges and doing digital transformation on a budget and its speed, and how they worked for small businesses to enable contactless commerce, continuation of jobs and more. 

[00:00:57] There's loads in here to learn from Richard's experience over the last weeks and months. So with that, on with the show. 

[00:01:06] Richard, thank you so much for joining us on the show today. So we're here to talk about what's happened with you guys recently. So the coronavirus crisis has uncovered a way Coding Dojo could help businesses in need. Can you tell me a little bit about the story of how Tech for America came into being? 

Richard [00:01:23] Yeah, absolutely. You know, we've been in business since 2013. And Coding Dojo is about training people with no self art background to learn how to code. And our mission is about transforming lives through programming literacy. And so we see it as a platform, not just an education company. So when COVID hit, we realize that there are so many other small businesses that are being impacted. And they cannot open the shopfront. So we are thinking about how do we leverage the people that we have trained over the years and other, you know, software enthusiasts to help brick and mortar, mom and pop stores. And so we launched Tech for America, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. And this nonprofit mission is to, you know, help small businesses to overcome COVID by building digital platforms, websites, apps, so that they can connect to their customers and hopefully able to weather this storm. 

Gemma [00:02:17] So I would love to hear a little bit of the story of how this came into being because, you know, launching something in the middle of a pandemic is is pretty, pretty impressive and pretty interesting. So did you sort of see one example and think God we need to do something about this, or was it more a kind of natural evolution to what you guys had already built? 

Richard [00:02:35] You know. We always had thoughts about how do we use technology to do stuff for good. And, you know, in the past, back in 2016, we launched some programs with the Jewish Family Services, trained highly skilled refugees to learn how to code. And as we start to see, you know, when COVID first started back in, I think the very first case in the United States was sometime in January, February timeframe and March. That's when everything just fell through the roof with COVID hitting the economy. And then we start to see other people's having this aspiration to volunteer. And then we are like, hey, you know what, can we leverage you know, six, seven thousand alumni we have to help local businesses. And we put out this call to action to help local businesses. And I think we had close to 200 volunteers signed up within a week from 33 different states, 12 different countries. I think so far we're able to connect with multiple different types of businesses to help them to build digital products and tools and platforms to weather COVID, if not thrive in the COVID period of time. 

Gemma [00:03:38] That's incredible. That must have been, I think, for a lot of people, you know, the ability to suddenly do something and offer something and volunteer something that's going to be really useful for people. I think a lot people here feel quite, quite helpless to some degree at the moment. 

Richard [00:03:51] I think, you know, as you know, cash flow is super important for these small businesses and they essentially cut off their revenue, cut off their cash flow. They cannot they don't have the money to pay. And as you know, it’s extremely hard. And everybody's competing for the PPP funding right now. So, you know, the thought we had is how do we help them be self-sufficient during that period of time? 

Gemma [00:04:09] So tell me a little bit about some of the problems that you guys were seeing, that you felt the alumni could help with. What were the sort of digital problems that you were seeing needed to be overcome? 

Richard [00:04:20] So we helped the local GMU, Orange County speed up their e-commerce system. And as you can imagine, with COVID impacting our society, every single gym went into lockdown. So there is no gym that can open up and provide services they normally do. And when you cannot do that you will have no revenue whatsoever. And so a lot of gym owners now it's like, okay, how do I find a solution that's able to serve my customers at the same time we can get revenue in the door. And that's a crucial challenge, right? Because when you don't have revenue, you still have to pay rent. You're not going to have a business. And so this gym, specifically— they adapted to COVID by producing and selling on demand fitness videos and training sessions for their customers. And they're producing new videos every week that customers can subscribe to. And that's a great idea. But the problem is that, you know, there was a huge lag time between a customer purchase and they actually couldn’t receive the content. And as you can imagine, you know, myself, I work hard every single day, so why purchase a content, partial work? All I want to work out within the next five minutes. So when you delay that content for, you know, two to three days, it really defeats the purpose. And also, we look into their back wns technology tools because of email automation tool and the backhand business software just didn't have a direct integration. This is really what led to the lifetime of two to three days before their content was able to be delivered just in time. And so we looked into this problem and we were like, hey, can we build some kind of connection system between building a new database connected too so that when the order comes in, our payment system recognizes that. And then we are able to communicate directly with an email automation system and a different database to trigger that email to send off the content right away. And so this is actually the challenge that a developer is facing, so we streamline the volunteers and build out additional functionality so the gym customer can receive their content very quickly. And we had about two to three different front end developers working on this and a couple on the back end. And so the result is that, you know, customers now receive their content in minutes, not hours or days. So this is critically important for a service based business, especially in the gym sector. Right. Because people want to work out at that time. And when they make the purchase, they might be, you know, at 4:00, they might be ready to go down to their garage and start to workout. So how do we solve that just in time from this? That's how we were able to solve that with the team that we had on hand. But too, based on the conversations it didn't make a significant impact or retention rate and also help them to communicate to their customers, because with those new features being launched, the business owner also knows when a time of the day people are looking at their content, viewing the content so they're able to really customize many of their workouts, during different times of day from livestream, or people can understand their behavior and provide a workout that fits into people's different schedules. 

Gemma [00:07:13] I mean, for me personally, if I bought a workout and then had to wait two or three days to receive it, I would have lost interest in doing I would be sitting on the sofa having my dinner. I mean, so it is not just solving a business problem, but very much solving a behavior problem, too. I wanted to get into that first example a little bit more, Richard, because this is absolutely fascinating, this idea of kind of, I guess, pairing up with a local gym and being able to essentially completely change their business in a really short amount of time. 

Richard [00:07:39] How did this collaboration come into play? Did approach the gym that they approach you?

[00:07:45] And how did you sort of manage it, you know, immediately kind of getting the small business on board with, you know, remote development, building digital products they didn't previously have. Give us a little bit of flavor as to what that was like to work with the small business. 

Richard [00:08:01] Yeah. To be honest, I think there are a couple of dimensions to this. You know, local, small businesses are already hungry for, you know, What we are calling in the industry and digital transformation. Right. So we're in the fourth industrial revolution where everything is digital, that this industrial revolution is all about digital economy. So AR, VR, machine learning, artificial intelligence data science, all that stuff is really building this 21st century economy. And I think they wanted to lean in, but because we don't know about much about technology. So they are somewhat like scared. Right. And with COVID it's forcing them to have to watch survive a second. As you know, the way to surviving COVID is when people cannot visit your stores. What can we do as digital go online? Using apps can give customers us what we'll make launched tech for America. They were already hungry for some kind of service to do this. You know, in my head I'm thinking about why don't we help American business, small businesses, which is back on business to thrive and to find a way to operate within COVID. So once we launched this initiative, we have just tons of requests. And so it was not hard to recruit businesses to join. It's more about, hey, I think the challenges here is about how do we make sure we have the right team members join different projects so they are expertise and can contribute in a productive fashion. 

Gemma [00:09:25] Yes. To talk me a little bit more more through that, Richard, because, I mean, even in high, you know, businesses, they're taking a whole lot of time to think about, OK, how do you do digital transformation? How do we get teams that, you know, this can be a process that can take a really long time to working out, you know, who's the right people to work with. And you guys had to do it very quickly. So tell me a little bit more about how did you essentially manage to bridge that culture between small businesses? They're used to doing things that maybe are not so digital with, you know, coders and designers and people who are very, very comfortable with using all these kind of online collaborative promote systems. 

Richard [00:10:00] Yeah, I think that's a great question, Gemma. You know, Sprint and you know, the terms that we often talk about in Tech, spring cycles, front end, back end, server side, they're not familiar concepts to, you know, small businesses or gym owners or, you know, athletic trainers, right? 

[00:10:17] So this is a completely new concept to them. But I think where we try to gain the trust and try to speed things up is that we're trying to really nail down on the problem statement. Right. 

[00:10:29] So what exactly is a customer experience we want to create and what exactly is a problem we try to solve for you? So once we understand that problem statement really well, they give it to us, and we understand what's a front and back and server side and things so we can get a project team really focus on that. And then really the second thing is make sure we set a right expectation for the business owners to understand, hey, within the severance cycle, this is how we conduct a press burn cycle. You know, this is how we deliver the end product. This is what MBP sounds like. You know, when they don't come to us, we go to them. It's like when you get an order when the chef is making an order from first receival to deliver on that plate, you tend to not bug him with anything else, right, when he's making that steak. So that may be a spring cycle. So, well, we have to find ways to speak their language. And a lot of times, you know, in the small business owner, they wanted to build things, which is perfect for us, is all about being lean and launch. And you're ready for landing feedback for that. You always have customer feedback cycle. So that's something that's kind of like hard initially to understand, is that you don't have to be perfect. We have to meet the solution steam and they are trying to solve for us. So those are some of the challenges we have to deal with. 

Gemma [00:11:40] Quick one then. How did you I guess once you’ve built the tool and worked with the small business to make it to meet their standards and explain all these things, you know? How did you sort of transfer the idea of maintenance? Because obviously, as we know, digital tools, it's not that you just build something, then you leave it. There's always more to be done and a great thing to be done and and whatnot. And I know that these things have been built sort of in a time of crisis and they're trying to, you know, fulfill a need right now. But how would you envision, I guess, handing off these products to these businesses so that they can keep using them beyond the crisis? 

Richard [00:12:14] You know, a sort of like as always, we all know for these small businesses that they don't have a developer on their staff. Right. They they don't have tech analysts or project managers or scrum masters, you know. And also, payroll is one of their biggest, most important thing. You know, when you hire wealthy software engineers that the right job, two one hundred fifty thousand dollars a year, that's four to five, six people they can hire, you know, to work in the restaurant. So for us, you know, in the beginning is really about creating a solution for the product for them. And as we start to end the engagement, we want to make sure it's for them to understand that, hey, these is the requirement. These are things rather to build. And also we try to educate them as much as possible so they can be self-sufficient in selecting different platforms, perhaps that they can use to host their services like cloud or like different platforms. You can do different things that you already have people to maintain. And then maybe once a month you can get a contract developer on hand to help you to run some kind of reports or build a couple of things here and there, the improved solution you're looking for. But generally speaking, we try to make sure they are as self-sufficient as possible. 

Gemma [00:13:24] Yeah, because I think that's the whole thing about when we talk about digital transformation. Right. There's this know, not just in this or current pandemic time, but in general, it's not just about building something quickly and, you know, doing a new product or trying something new. It's about literally transforming the core of the business and being able to therefore continue to grow and not with that digital footprint. And it seems to me like what you're saying is that what you've done for these businesses, not just keep them, you know, afloat right now, but try and essentially, for lack of a better set of words, bring their businesses into the 21st century and give them that little, shall we say, boost that hopefully keeps them relevant beyond. 

Richard [00:14:04] You don't have to be just totally transformed to be competitive. You just need to be digital ready, you know? So that's the thing. You may not need all those 12 cylinder engines to be successful, maybe only need two in the beginning. So I think so far, a lot of them doing a good job. 

Ad [00:14:20] Dynamics 365 Commerce delivers a complete omni-channel retail solution that unifies back-office, in-store, and digital experiences. This end-to-end solution empowers retailers to personalize customer engagement, increase employee productivity, and optimize operations across physical and digital channels. Request a live demo today by following the link in the episode description.

Gemma [00:14:45] Let's talk a little bit on consumer expectations, because, again, what I think you guys demonstrate with tech for America is this idea of being able to create something fast, get it. You know, on the market, get it being used. You know, we change it, make it better quickly so that you can fulfill an immediate needs more so than, I don't know, spending a lot of time creating something that you said is perfect. How do you balance customer expectations? Because nowadays, you know, we all have our favorite apps and websites. Most of us, you know, in particular people who are going to be listening to this podcast will probably be listening on a mobile phone and a smartphone. You know, I think consumer expectations around websites and apps that don't work are a difficult thing to sometimes manage because we are particular people who are not very techie assume that it must be easy to just build a website nowadays. And why doesn't this work? Why can't I just buy it? Why can't I, you know, get my gym video right now? Because I've paid for it. Why isn't it on demand. So how did you balance meeting customer expectations? But at the same time making sure that you had a solution quickly for these businesses? 

Richard [00:15:52] I think the great thing is for a lot of these small businesses, for, for example, some of our I think we all have this young lives, some of our favorite food trucks. Right. We already have a strong following. And the key is that the consumer wants to know is is a what, when, where? Like, you know what? How are you gonna serve how am I going to get it? 

[00:16:09] When when are you going to operate? And so when we build these apps, we make sure we are not over delivering on the scope. At the same time, really, we are communicating clearly to the consumers and customers of these small businesses. Hey, this is how you come to these things on a menu. These are the things. How does the money get it for you? And this is what you can order. So we want to make sure, you know, the consumer behaviors. They are at the same time, I think. Human behavior doesn't change, whether for COVID or not. I think human we still like to touch. We still like to feel we're still, you know, want a human connection. And, you know, if you look at a retail channel, everybody's working on the perfect, what they call the omni channel strategy, which is a combination, blending it between the on site and also online. And so I think it is just great for these small businesses. Now we have, now before they all we had to just stay on site presence, brick and mortar. But now they're able to have the online presence as well. So blend the two, and I think they are ready for anything. And for the consumer. You know, you are able to get the best of both worlds and at the end of the day is always just about providing the service when the customer needs it. How are they going to need it? I mean, the format they are needing. And so really, is it just about customer centric? 

Gemma [00:17:20] Interesting. I hadn't heard that before, that sort of who, what, where. An interesting way of, I guess, instead of saying, OK, we need to make sure that we have all these, I don't know, the UX that everyone's expecting and copying us and that and the other. It almost seems like what you're saying is it's more of a communication challenge and, you know, being able to be open with your with your customers and with your fans, you know, people that are already wanting to engage with you as a business and and sort of letting them know and bringing them along the journey, perhaps as you transform digitally. 

Richard [00:17:49] Yeah, absolutely. You know, all this you know, we talk a lot about A.I. machine learning. And at a day, it's really about creating a personalized service. You know, add a need of the customer at that time for their specific taste delivered to their specific need. So I think that's going to be the future of retail and that's what we're going to see. It's all about you start off, you know, one to 1000. I have this one fixed service format is how about how do I deliver personalized customer service just for that specific customer? I think that's always will be the trend. And that's where A.I. and machine learning comes in. 

Gemma [00:18:24] I want to talk about by the employees of these small businesses, because I think one of the things that comes up repeatedly when new digital tools enter businesses, there's a sort of feeling from people who maybe aren't into, you know, the tech jobs or are delivering. And I guess in places that suddenly are becoming automated, that they feel that these, you know, programs that, you know, they have to work with or maybe too complicated or maybe possibly taking work away from them. And I wondered, how did you know? Is there any examples of some of the businesses that you're working with? How did you sort of, I guess, try and manage the culture change that's also required within these businesses when you suddenly start for a lot of people really inflicting quite a large change on their day to day job. Of course, the pandemic's created a large change in everyone's job, but specifically with these kinds of digital transformations. 

Richard [00:19:18] Yeah, I think that's a great question in terms of, you know, a lot of these we call the service workers. You know, how do they think about digital transformation? Because we traditionally think about it every single time we talk about transformation. It's always a robot. Robotics and robotics, only two. It's a combination of jobs. Right. That's not good for people. And I think this is I think that this is a fantastic question. I think this is also a broader topic that, as a society, we have to confront. You know, in the fourth industrial revolution right now with everything is being digital, how do we make sure you empower everyone to be competitive in this digital economy? 

[00:20:00] I think, you know, as we can see, sort of like every single company, a new store digital storefront. And what that also means is that whether you like it or not, whether you are selling tacos or selling hamburgers, you are a tech company, because you'll need digital interfaces to be in touch with the consumers. If you're a tech company, you'll have to speak some other tech language. And then that's really the implication to us. What does that mean for people working these kind of businesses? I think, you know, they all have to know somewhat about technology. You know why I first come to the United States? You know, in China, English was the must-learn language. Why was he in much of school? But now China is teaching that in kindergarten. And I think in the United States now, the global language is no English. The global language is coding because our entire economy, the back market economies build on this digital platform. 

Gemma [00:20:57] I think as well there's also the discussion around just basic usage of different technologies. You know, I read this. I would say it wasn't really a statistic. 

It's probably more of an anecdote where someone was saying if you were born in 1990 or after, then your first language is actually the language of the Internet because you've grown up online and you have a level of, I guess, inherent understanding of how digital products work. And, you know, I'm born in 1981, so of course, I'm going to agree with that and say, yes, well, I understand the Internet, but of course, there's lots of, you know, education that's still required in terms of basic digital skills with us from a security standpoint, whether it's from even just an etiquette standpoint or just allowing people to understand how to use technology to their best advantage without it being burdened some or, you know, possibly even damaging? So, you know, I'm curious about how do you think we can talk about technology more as an enabler as opposed to this kind of scary thing that people feel very intimidated by? 

Richard [00:22:02] Oh, yes, absolutely. You know, we're we're all consumers of technology. And, you know, people are saying that I'm scared of robot, but really the robots here are working for us. And if we can use technology in the right context and then be constructive and productive about it, it's really to help us solve problems.

Gemma [00:22:20] I love it. Richard, I want to hear about some of the companies that maybe you've taken inspiration from and over particularly over the last sort of, shall we say, the pandemic months that we've had. 

And it also maybe more generally, perhaps, and who you think are doing it well, in terms of being able to really quickly transform business and sort of, you know, adapt to these circumstances in a way that you find really particularly compelling some time. 

Richard [00:22:45] The health company has done a great job in terms of they already in the space and leveraging their platforms, you know, patients. Now, does I have to go into the hospital? I think I have a ton of health platform to talk to our consumers. For example, you know, the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, they've done a great job. And then a technology startup out of Boston cut a bio health is doing a great job in terms of using their data sets, will be able to actually predict where COVID will all break next, because a lot of people are sitting on their platform. So that based o, all this abnormal level of searches, they're able to see that. And I think, you know, from a digital transformation perspective, you see all the small businesses just has a hunger to leverage this to be better, do better and thrive. I think that's tremendous as well. You know, you see kids right now stepping up using their 3D printers to build these face masks and different things. I think, you know, you see a lot of different tremendous innovation out of different pockets of the economy. It's not just one or two, but more seeing this like resilience spirit, this American entrepreneurial spirit. It's just so great to see, I think, as well. 

Gemma [00:23:56] One of the things I've noticed, I mean, I'm over here in London, so it's not an American entrepreneurial spirit here, but it's certainly something similar along those lines. I think one of the things I've noticed as well as I feel like and this maybe sounds a little bit cheesy, but I feel like in some sense, doing business has become a little bit more personal at the moment, too. You know, I'm finding I'm sending emails to businesses and talking to a real person in particular when it comes to ordering foods. For instance, here, a lot of them small businesses are, you know, that used to supply restaurants or no, let me do it direct. And, you know, you get what's up from Dave from the butchers saying we're going to, you know, deliver on Wednesday. Does that suit you? And, you know, there's an element of me thinking, how sustainable is this? 

And, you know, how how do we use technology to try and replicate this? But there's something here that’s really quite lovely. I hope this stays beyond the pandemic, this kind of much more kind, shall we say. We are going about business and also people kind of really appreciating the role that small businesses have and frankly, keeping us all alive and keeping keeping life moving. And I wonder if you've seen the same with particularly the small businesses that you guys have worked with. How this maybe changed the relationship they have with their customers. 

Richard [00:25:13] Yeah. You know, even for example, wineries now they're doing virtual tastings, you know, small wineries. Right. So that's really interesting. And I think as we go through this, they are getting closer to their customers based on emails. You got to have a conversation, you know, briefly or through email, whatnot with the business owner you previously have not had, I think, the challenges that how we are able to sustain the human element side of the intimate touch at the same time scale to the services to hundreds, if not thousands of people at the same time. I think that's what would be the challenge for retail, in a sense is purely personalized. I think that's something everybody's trying to figure it out. 

Gemma [00:25:57] What do you think companies can learn from this sort of period that we're going through in the years to come? 

Richard [00:26:03] I think what we can learn. Gosh, I think there's so many. I sense a lot of this. You know, we encounter all these different challenges. We have so many constraints within the business. Looking at the customer sets has changed. Now, the economy now has changed. And just so many companies are being creative in finding solutions. And I think that's something that's really creative as well. It just really I feel from my point of view. You know, the harder we are being squeezed from multiple different dimensions, that's when a lot of these unique innovations comes out. And then to be creative and do a lot with a lot less. So, yes, it's really inspiring to see.

Gemma [00:26:43] What it seems I think is interesting throughout this conversation with you, Richard, is it seems like what you guys have been enabling and, you know, proving as is true is that real creativity can come from constraints or, you know, come from having to adapt really quickly to really difficult circumstances. And I wonder what puts us that idea of, you know, creativity and from constraints mean to you? And do you think this is something we can kind of apply beyond this idea of just building tech to get through the pandemic? 

Richard [00:27:15] Yeah, I think my thoughts on this is that nothing is new under the sun and anything we can think of is already there. But I think what's so what's so great when you are forced into the solution space is that why call recombinant innovation factor combinatorial innovation when you combine two or three different things, put them together and now you are able to create a new, completely new solution to existing problem and just things I can't think of. You know, education, for example, you know, traditionally speaking is really hard to reach this under-served minority community. But now, you know, we are able to leverage technology to really reach out to them when we are forced to adapt to different technology solutions. So I think in terms of innovation in products, it's really forced a lot of people to look into multiple different disciplines or come out with a new solution, which is very inspiring to see. 

Gemma [00:28:15] I guess we all get caught up sometimes in thinking about too many ideas and how should they execute this. And, you know, you mentioned the other on this. Which tools should I use and all that? I think sometimes being having these constraints and being forced can, I don't know, get rid of overthinking or over planning or even sometimes talking yourself out of stuff. For people who are listening to his podcast who might be, you know, thinking, OK, I need to quickly get myself some kind of digital tool on the go or I need to quickly try and transform things. Maybe they've already given it a shot and it hasn't worked. Or maybe they want to try another thing that's new. Well, what sort of advice do you have so based on your experience over the last weeks and months and that you can of give out to help people that are thinking about transforming their business quickly, efficiently and to sort of meet a media demand? 

Richard [00:29:12] Yeah, I think my advice is this is I always focus on the problem statement. It's what is a problem you're trying to solve and that was you understand what problem you trying to solve and then go down to the tool selection process, because if you could just go with the tools, there are so many digital tools out there. And, you know, as you start to search those initial tools, you're going to see hundreds of pages of solutions out there. And so you are going to quickly get distracted and you are going to get why I call tool fatigue because there are so many tools out there. And so it's really about understanding the problem. Statement a second understanding based on their problem, which tool is the best to solve that problem. I'll say a third is to really understand, you know, for the tools you're about to acquire, what is the level of effort to implement that? What is the effort to train employees? And also, can you go with something less to get out faster? Maybe, you know, a little bit more iterative process. 

[00:30:14] So those are my three advice to anybody that is in the beginning process of this de-stress transformation to be honestly, I think this applies to a five to ten person brick and mortar business. This also apply to thousands of people who are employed at big companies as well. It's really about what is the problem we are trying to solve and then we go from there. 

Gemma [00:30:31] Richard, thank you so much for joining us on the show. I think what's been really interesting speaking to you is both getting these really practical examples, because sometimes you can be really high level talking about digital transformation. It's lovely to kind of really get into the weeds and hear how it's done. And hopefully with some of your really candid responses, people listening can go on and change the businesses and change the world, shall we say. So thanks so much for joining us. 

Richard [00:30:55] Thank you so much for having me on the program to have this opportunity to discuss some of the innovations we have seen out there. 

Gemma [00:31:03] That's it for this week. Thank you so much for tuning in. And you can find out more about Richard's work, Tech for America and read some of the broader themes we discussed today in the show notes. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. And to tune in next time to continue exploring how the trends around tech companies are adapting to a disrupted world and preparing for tomorrow. 

Ad [00:31:26] Learn how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce can help you personalize customer engagement, increase employee productivity, and optimize operations. Request a live demo today by following the link in the episode description.