A Cofounder Convo with Collin Vine

A Cofounder Convo with Collin Vine

Today’s guest is a wealth of knowledge from both sides of the remote-work table and my former cofounder at Zirtual.com. During our time at Zirtual he created the infrastructure to hire and train up hundreds of fully remote employees, and currently he’s building and leading remote teams at Colony.io. Listen as Collin Vine discusses how to submit a thoughtful job application, having accountability in remote roles, and the interpersonal skills that are required for successful remote work.

Photo of Collin Vine
Collin Vine

The co-founder and CPO of Colony.io, which is an online platform for community collaboration.

Maren Kate 0:00

Welcome. So today, my guest is Collin Vine. He is currently the co founder and head of product at colony. But previously, he was my co founder at zirtual. And we've known each other for over a decade. We've worked together for years. And Collin is also one of the people that knows, at least to me the most about remote culture building remote teams, and his thought a ton about both sides of the table from both getting a remote job and also building and leading remote teams. Collin, welcome. American, bad to be How are you? Yeah, so my first question is, and I think I kind of know this, but everybody else doesn't. What was your first job? Like very, very first job?

Collin Vine 0:48

Actual, like, get a paycheck or that entrepreneurial things as a kid?

Maren Kate 0:53

Get a paycheck.

Collin Vine 0:54

I was a cook at a restaurant.

Maren Kate 0:57

Oh, yeah. Yeah. What restaurant was that?

Collin Vine 1:02

It was in Canada It was called the keg. It was a steakhouse. But the interesting story is that me and a group of my 16 year old friends applied it was a new restaurant opening. And when you applied and said what you wanted to work as you had to select three choices, and we all assumed that because we're young, we default to dishwasher and no experience. All my friends put as their priority choices dishwasher and now like two other things, and I was like open to being a dishwasher, but it definitely was my first choice. And like dishwasher was lower on my list. And we all got our first choices. So a lot of my friends there was like five of them who worked here. We all got their first choice of being a dishwasher, and I was a cook, and we just tormented them. It was amazing.

Maren Kate 1:49

Did you have any background in cooking? Do you cook a lot now? That's amazing.

Collin Vine 1:55

No. Oh, bypass bypass dishwasher. Jeff A lesson in there somewhere Don't sell yourself short or something.

Maren Kate 2:03

Yeah, for sure shoot or dress for the job you want not the job you have. That's right. So that's i. So I think what would be really cool is understanding. So from there your first job as a cook at kegs and Canada, how did you what was the journey from there to what you're doing now?

Collin Vine 2:21

I worked in trades for a while doing construction and going out with some crews, we're doing powerline technician. I did that for about three or four years. I actually thought that was going to be my career path. It's was the family career path. And then I went on a mountaineering trip and came home and decided to burn it all down and go to college and do something different. The only thing college taught me was that I was highly unsuitable to be employed somewhere which left the only other option was to try to start a company. I think you and I met each other shortly after that, but basically both coming out of college being like, well, we're probably pretty unhireable. So we might as well start our own things.

Maren Kate 3:05

Yep. When I was blogging I was doing escaping the nine to five. You were doing what was the word you doing like a exercise thing with your friend?

Collin Vine 3:16

Yeah, we were coaching the varsity. One of the varsity sports teams, a college and we're still doing some some services around that afterwards. But I remember being in Vancouver just sort of throwing stuff against the wall trying to find out what would stick and learn this whole startup game internet thing. And then anything? Yeah, I think that's Yeah, that's how I met you through your blog.

Maren Kate 3:38

Yep. Yeah, I think you and I were both kind of just like reading learning everything. And then about I think, I had moved to San Francisco and in 2010, with like, kind of the idea of zirtual it was named something different yada, yada. And then our other co founder, Eric has just lost his job. He worked at a Was it a design firm? in Reno, it was an agency. Yeah, he worked at a firm in Reno. They downsized, and he was kind of like Screw it. I was living in a studio teeny studio in the tenderloin. And I Eric was a designer and I was like, Well, you know, I need a designer would you want to come out and like kind of sleep on the floor for a month, he was best friends with my ex. And we did that and then I forgot, like, within a week or two, I was like, This guy column is going to come down and we're gonna all kind of like try this together. It's literally I think back it's like a blur and more or less. That's how we found it. zirtual from a the tiniest studio I've ever seen and three grown adults all living in it.

Collin Vine 4:50

There's so many funny stories and I remember meeting Eric for the first time and you introducing us and we probably thought the worst of each other because I saw Eric's photo online. He had this stern look in his face and this massive beard. And I was like, and you introduced me to him as a hair model because I, by by a hairdresser took a photo of me put it on her website, yes. for that. And he was like, Who's this loser is the hair model? And obviously now we're great friends, but we went in expecting the worst of each other. And it didn't turn out that way at all. And then we spent six months in that studio in the tenderloin in San Francisco. And literally, I think that place was maybe 150 square feet, maybe 200. Well, it was wheelchair friendly to so we have an enormous bathroom. Yep, like relative size of the place. The bathroom was huge. And then we have this small living quarters and the three of us crammed in there.

Maren Kate 5:49

Yeah, studio style loft bed. I slept on the yoga mat. Yoga bed, Eric slept on the sofa. I slept in the loft bed above it. It's amazing to look back and think that we literally like we just did it like we I didn't really think of it as too much of a. I didn't I don't feel like I didn't think about it like, Oh, this is such a sacrifice then in retrospect I look back and I'm like, I can't believe we did that but read times the early early starving entrepreneur days.

Collin Vine 6:21

Yeah. And I think the first time we paid ourselves anything which was probably like $50 or something like that. I walked on to Rei and bought one of those camping mattresses. Yes. And I remember upgrading my yoga mat to one of those inflatable camping mattresses. I remember that I had, I had to deliberate whether I wanted it was like the two inch or three inch thickness. And it was a really tough decision because the three inch thickness felt like so much luxury that I couldn't afford. Oh my god. like such a big purchase is probably like $40 or something.

Maren Kate 6:58

Well, I remember how our first payroll Run is like we would get paid, I would go to the ATM of the bank we were using, I think it was Chase. I would take out money like 100 bucks in 20s. And then I divvy it up between the three of us. And that was what we had for the week. And we all lived off Subway sandwiches those $5 footlongs. Back in the day, you could make that your breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Collin Vine 7:20

Eric and I would come back to the place and be like a 20 on our bed and like, hey, oh my gosh, it's so funny to think. It was like it was fun, though. It was also fun work. Because why would you go back home?

Maren Kate 7:38

Yep. And I think also not knowing in the early days of a startup, especially when it's your first because none of us had done it before. So we didn't know how hard it was going to be or how much it was going to require. Like I've noticed starting businesses since then, that I I still underestimate the pain. I'm like, Oh, this will be fun. Fine, but when the pain hits, I'm like, I remember this. But with zirtual, we had no idea. We're like, this would be great. And we just like we didn't know what like if we hadn't had any idea how much work we would have put in the next five to six years. I think it would have been overwhelming. And I think that's what one of the beauties of I mean, you make a ton of mistakes as a first time entrepreneur. I know I made literally everyone, but like, you have that kind of you don't know what you don't know. So you just can go into it with this like, I don't know, like beautiful naivety.

Collin Vine 8:34

Yeah, it was felt important in the story that stands out to me from them was you went out for for dinner, we're hanging out with the founders of Airbnb, and Brian chesky said, Oh, they totally missed the stage that we're at. Well guys are bonkers like, no way we can't wait to get out of this. And yeah, like well The problems don't go away, they just get bigger. And you sort of have your idea in your mind at the time when you're really little like, if only we could solve these problems. Finally, we could, like find the service the product that it's going to have some fit in the market and users and like, then it'll be good. And it was so illuminating to hear that, especially when you look back now, but the problems don't go away. They only get bigger, which we absolutely ran into that. But the naive it you have in the beginning, makes it so you don't know what those problems are. You can just sort of like step by step to work for it. But again, if you're if you're like starting day one, knowing what you're going to do in five years from now, when you have to deal with it. So feel so daunting and like, unattractive, that you probably wouldn't even get going.

Maren Kate 9:46

Exactly. Yeah, I remember that conversation. I remember him telling me that and I was just thinking like, Yeah, I don't believe you. And now in retrospect, I'm like, Damn, I missed when like a $5 footlong was like the best thing that happened to me all week. That was actually kind of weird. weirdly simple and nice.

Collin Vine 10:01

So simple. So nice. Yeah.

Maren Kate 10:04

It's interesting. So especially considering that like a lot of people that listen to this podcast are thinking about making a shift to remote work have done it because of COVID or are on the job search, looking at where like your role now what you do at colony, your co founder, your head of product, versus like your career path is interesting, because it's, it's just like how you got into product is really interesting. And I think it's encouraging because a lot of times, especially millennials, and younger, we have such varied career paths. I honestly think it hasn't been until this last, literally in this last year, I've realized what I'm actually good at, like I didn't even know up until then after zirtual I thought I was going to go back to bartending because it's like, well, I don't have any skills. So guess I'll be a bartender. That's the one other job I've done. So I think it'd be interesting to kind of, you know, quickly explain like, how how you got into product being like your focus now?

Collin Vine 11:05

Yeah, well, the first thing that comes to mind is just the feeling of being a founder. And having no specific skills. I've talked to so many founders now who feel like if a company ends, or they do have to get a job that they, like, have no clue what their value in the job market is because total as a generalist. And it can be weird to be like, well, what are my skills because you have to do so many things. But then as soon as like one thing's working well on your startup, you hire somebody to handle that you move on to the next problem. Yeah, for me to get into product, I mean, at search wall, we didn't have a lot of product development. I don't think we knew it or realize yet until later on, we didn't even know what the word product meant. Yeah. And it was just like very service oriented and setting up systems and processes and once I got to colony, we were a really small team, but it was very engineering heavy, had really intelligent people in the room. And it was all product development. And it was just a gap within the team. And again, like wearing my founder had, somebody had to do it, I was pretty excited to do it. It felt like one of those opportunities to throw yourselves into the unknown into a role that you could get some skills, learn more about, but it was also a need within the company. Somebody had to do this. And we had one designer at the time, and I think five engineers and I was just the product manager and pretty clueless to exactly what that was. And just remember reading a ton of blogs and trying to talk to friends who were in product and get tips from them. And over time he started to like, fill the gap of knowledge and start becoming a little bit more comfortable with it. But really just started off with somebody has Do this, I guess it'll be me. And being thrust into those environments, you don't know anything, you just have to figure it out on the fly.

Maren Kate 13:07

I think that's so true about the founder thing I haven't really thought about it until now is that as founders, we are generalists. And then when our venture ends, whether it's you know, a good ending a bad ending where like exit you make money or you know, crashes and burns, most founders don't stick with one company their entire life, like most people aren't doing the basis model of like, he'll do this till he dies, maybe. But afterwards, and I've heard this too, like regardless, even Pete founders that have exited, you know, made enough money, they don't have to work again. They're kind of lost it like what is my place in the world? What do I do? Because you don't have that? The benefit of like one of my best friends Maggie went to school for finance, got her CPA, she's been in tax and accounting like that is her job. She knows like, this is her skill set this she doesn't she's great at But I think it's founders because we're generalists. It's kind of like, and I mean, there's different proclivities for different people. But it's interesting figuring out like, how you how you find that out. Do you take tests you do Strength Finders, do you do Colby? Do you do unique ability? I've tried all of those in the last month writing this book. And it's been pretty interesting. But more than anything, it's almost just like sitting there and really finding, like, what are the what are the types of work I can get lost in and I find easy and tend to add more value. And then what is the stuff that just drains my energy, like detail orientation, like, you know, things like that?

Collin Vine 14:44

Right. I was just having a conversation with somebody today about well, the conversation came up back when we started searchable and you Eric and I were there original assistance. Yeah. Oh, bad. We all were at that.

Maren Kate 15:00

Dude, I wasn't too bad though. I was the worst you guys took me off at first and stuff is on your clients, too, because Eric was so slow and like Merrick was too detail oriented, he would take forever because he'd make it perfect. I would just run through things you like, yeah, it's fine.

Collin Vine 15:21

But it was it was so interesting because once we started to hire really good assistants, you found this difference that some people are thriving in this role, like give them a task list, and they just will knock it out, and they'll be focused and it'll be very rewarding. And we just weren't those people. And it was very clear like we just did not have the abilities and to do that job well, and other people do.

Maren Kate 15:49

And I didn't realize that until years later that there are different people that thrive I I always assumed that the really smart people They're really good entrepreneurs, they're really successful professionals. We're good at everything, and worked manic hours because we were in Silicon Valley. And I was always meeting mostly dude founders, who would like brag about how much they worked and, and had, I guess more, I don't know, more confidence in themselves than I did. And they would always like, you know, they were so good at all these things and blah, blah. And I was always like, Damn, like, I'm just failing, but I thought I was supposed to be good at everything. And it's only been recently that I realized, like, I need to be good at a very small amount of things. And then I need to delegate and communicate the rest and find people that are good at the rest of things. The all the other things um, it's Yeah, it's interesting. I think. It's kind of crazy when you think about University. We don't learn that in school. I had no idea like, like, we are all awesome. All of us have certain ways we work all of us have certain proclivities, you know, nature, nurture, whatever it is, that make us better at certain some things and less good at other things. And we were just kind of left on our own define that in the professional world, versus that being a very big part of the education system, and maybe even your early career.

Collin Vine 17:21

Right, discovering what you are good at. Yeah, yeah, what you're good at and also discover what you're not good at. And then you know, there's things you like, like, I actually like product stuff a lot in design. I, I'm really into it. I'm not good at it. But it's interesting to me, I could learn about it. I can poke around, I can have conversations, but it's not like my skill set. And then there's things I don't like, which I'm okay at or good at. And it's just like figuring out off that quadrant. Yeah, it's interesting. I feel like that was both design and operation stuff. I feel like I'm pretty good with operations and system stuff by generally Don't like it that much. And if I'm pigeon holed into that role, like Fine, I'll do it and I'll probably do it well, but it makes me squirmy like I don't want to do it. And designs a funny other one, like actually like doing product design and going into figma and mock ups. Oh, my goodness. Am I bad? I just don't have the iPhone. Like I would. I think like it's one of those things that I could train a long time and still just not be that good at it. Totally error. It's just designer.

Maren Kate 18:33

Yeah, surely.

Collin Vine 18:35

Yeah. I'd be lying if I trained and actually spent a bunch of time to be an engineer. Like I think it could be a half decent engineer. But designer stuff like I have it.

Maren Kate 18:47

It's true. I mean, there's all of us have, have, yeah, things that we that we're just naturally going to have more of a bent towards. So one thing that I wanted to I thought was interesting is you and I have both hired hundreds Hundreds of virtual assistants, executive assistants over the years through zirtual, and then elsewhere to, but just you've hired tons of people, not product engineer or what have you, and specifically remote. What have you seen over the years that the best candidates do to stand out? Because one of the things right now, you know, everyone who's interviewing, they're interviewing remote, and it's just such a different world.

Collin Vine 19:25

Yeah, yeah. I mean, the very first thing that comes to mind is being thoughtful in an application. You know this as well, but going through a slog of applications can be so boring and mind numbing a time that just having somebody give a thoughtful response to question like, why do you want to work here or something along those lines can really just help change experience and make them stand out and it's almost shocking how many people don't do that? Probably because it's gone. Yeah, like people, people are in the job market and RJ can be a volume game. But if you take the time to write a thoughtful response, it can be so important. I mean, what we actually did later call me, because we just ended up with candidates who are like, I would I would get on the column back, why do you want to work here? And I remember somebody said, Can you remind me what company you are? Again, I've applied to so many. And I was just like, let's not bother, let's just end the call. But we ended up planting tests for people. Like when you're applying, we're going to have a specific ask for you to fill it out. And when you read a response, like we want you to mention this in your response. It's just a way to test if people are actually paying attention, putting any sense of effort into this, like really low level task, like at the bottom of your application, like write this word, you know, something silly like that. But people just comply with such half assed effort just really gets off on the wrong foot. So having some way to show that you care beginning can go a long way.

Maren Kate 21:09

I think too, is that on the candidate side of things, it's a numbers game and sometimes he will put a ton of effort in and never hear back, you know, all this stuff. I think on both sides, there's something broken that I don't know how to fix, but I spent a lot of time thinking about it, where it's like, yeah, you're going to apply to 50 or 100 places maybe or something like that. But it would be so much more interesting if instead of these if almost like you could break up these applications into micro tasks, and those micro tasks could somehow add credit or add add credit to your you as the person because the you always find out if people are good at something and if they're a fit based on like the culture side and then can they do the work especially remote. So results based. And I think that we do the same thing it at offer. We run people through test tasks, projects, we always pay for our projects, the test tests are pretty small. But I think it would be even better if you could just break things down into these micro tasks. And then once people, you know, pass phase one, phase two, phase three, they're showing that they're, they're good at it, they can do the work, but then only one person is going to get picked. How do you? I don't know, how do you make it a win win for both the person applying, like imagine if at the end of each application, whether you're the candidate or the company, you feel like you walk away with something?

Collin Vine 22:44

It's a it's such a big question. I don't know the right answer across the industry, but I really like the model they bring up and make it more task based. And before we get too deep into this exploration, production, Have you out there that on the applicant side, this can almost immediately flag just like a list of concerns? Because if you spend enough time on Twitter or reading about applicants experiences, there's anger at this at this request to spend, like, many, many hours doing tasks without getting paid. Yeah, stuff like that. Like, I don't think that is necessarily the right answer to give people these, like huge projects to complete for free. Um, but, but I mean, the question you have to ask, right is, is this person qualified to do the job? And will they be a fit here, and then the whole process is about de risking that decision. And so that's why you have so many hoops to jump through. But it almost feels like the closest you could get to that answer is by actually working with people. Totally Oh, if you can do tasks that give you an actual experience of working with somebody um, if you can pay them for that even better from a hiring person side again, if you're in like, extremely large volume, that's probably an untenable couple of things that I feel like we did really interesting both that zirtual and then a colony was, we had room to get really close to what it was like to work with these candidates. So how are you searchable assistance. We had that really long, extended training period to three weeks. We got to see what it was like to work with these people. And our hiring process was somewhat thorough, but it wasn't. It wasn't like the final decision, you know, there's still room to evaluate at the end of training. Is this a fit or not mutually, like maybe you don't want to work in our culture because it's not a fit for who you are, what you're good at or not. But it was also a chance for us to say, Is this really a good fit or not and it gave us a chance to get a lot closer to the applicants and direct the situation. At colony be remote, you can do this, probably more than not. But we always try to have one to two week assignments. So when we're hiring engineers, as much as possible, we would pull an engineer into a two week sprint, and pay them for it. And it was it was a, it was a real life experience of what it's like to work with this person. How do they fit with the team? How is their communication? How's their code quality? how capable are they at picking up tasks and going with the flow and understanding your code base? It gave us the real experience of working with them were interviewing and these one off tasks don't quite get you. So as much as possible, I feel like it's best to strive for those experiences that mimic the real thing of working with somebody getting it's not always possible to do that. But when you can much better experience.

Maren Kate 25:55

No, absolutely. I just scribble that down in my notebook. So I was thinking it's like the application process. It's like, really quickly you can tell like, do people give a crap or not? Like, are they answering like, did they take the time just to fill in the basic questions. I mean, I tell people, candidates are professionals who are looking to apply for jobs. And like, create a document in G drive or something that is like what companies create, we have how we talk about envy as a document. It's our, you know, high level paragraph like pitches, you can create a document that just has your your standard application answers, you can cut and paste, you can tweak, you can edit as a candidate, so you're not repeating the wheel all the time. But then after the basic application process, it's almost like, like an engagement period, like is this really going to work for both of us, and then at the end, like a 360 evaluation, they can evaluate the company, the company can evaluate them, and sometimes they decide to put a ring on it, so to speak, and commit and go into That, you know, that employee relationship. And sometimes maybe it's like, oh, actually, this isn't, you know, this isn't a mutual fit. But if there could be that 360 review, especially if then the candidate could take, maybe like I do a two week or four week trial with colony and operations. And at the end, we realize actually, Marin's not going to work out as the head of operations we're looking for, if maybe some of the work I did there could be then added to my probe portfolio or whatever. And then the next row and have a good understanding of why colony wasn't a fit for me why I wasn't a fit for colony, and actually using that knowledge to then inform the next place I try out. Like that would be a win for both parties. It's obviously much more complex. But I do think that there's, it's like there's a middle part we're missing in the hiring process and the way it's done now We've got the application. And then we've got, you're an employee or you're a contractor. And now we've both, especially if you're employee, we've both put a lot on the line, you've updated your LinkedIn, you've said, Hey, I now work for x CO, and you may be stepped away from your old job you whatever. Versus like, there's the application process, which is like the, you know, high level, and then there's a longer experiential part. And then it's like, hey, let's, let's actually try this long term.

Collin Vine 28:36

Yeah, I mean, my ideal vision for this, which again, I can't quite tell if it's insane or not, is also in line with like a more open future of work, where there are assignments to be done and there's work to be done. And you can get work that is meaningful to the company, but is available for outside contributors to contribute to any This is a much more realistic experience of whether this person would be a good fit within the team or not. I think there's work to be done about scoping and defining the work tasks, but you know, pay per task, pay per project that's being done. And also have that evaluative stage of How good was this. And I think it gives you a better chance to test out the relationship, work experience at the company. So it's both sides. For the company, you get a much more real experience what it's like to work with somebody from the African side, you actually get more work experience, you get an inside view of the culture, but you also get paid for the work that you're contributing up. So I mean, this is like a, an ideal situation for me and how it might improve. Getting towards a more open future of work, where it's easy to make contributions to projects and companies also Having a much more intimate hiring experience while getting compensated for it. There's like, things that like, are complicated about that.

Maren Kate 30:09

But yeah, there's totally, but it's like open source employment almost. It's like once I pass a certain, a certain, you know, threshold where, you know, you're not just anyone off the street, because, again, a lot of people, I could think I'm a good designer, I'm not that I could easily like, be like, yeah, I'm pretty good at that. I could start working on a project and the company could be like, Oh, no. So it's like, there's a certain level of vetting, but then it's actually Yeah. Hey, I love that idea. That's why I think you and I have actually, we've talked about this before, and I think you and I both think about this a lot. where it's like, What is that, like, to me? That's the future of work. When I think of the future of work. I think that remote like remote is a mode just like working in person or working on an oil rig. It's a mode of work. It's not you know, it's it's so It's like the how. But when I think of the actual work, I could see a future in 10 or 20 years, where instead of saying like, I'm Marin and I work for calm, you're calling you work for collinear, your co founder there, whatever. Like, it's like I'm married and I work with calm doing some operations stuff. I also have my own recruiting outsourcing firm offer talent. And I'm also working with Deloitte doing XYZ. So it's like a future where you work with versus four. And I always think back to the, the way that the chronological way that LinkedIn profiles are created. It doesn't fit the way work is now you don't work zirtual than colony then blah, like you're doing all these things in between, like there's it's almost like a can band board versus a chronological drop down list and could see a future work where that would actually be really meaningful. And then exactly what you were saying. That creates a lot of opportunities for like apprenticeships and internships and upskilling. Like, if we can figure out people's natural proclivities, skills, interests, then they start getting actual real world experience and work experience, they'll be able to, to find kind of what their true geniuses because everybody has something that if they're willing to and put in the work they can be really good at.

Collin Vine 32:31

Yeah, well, I always thought LinkedIn would be a lot more interesting if it was less focused on the resume and more focused on the project. Again, be sure to have a feed of the projects people are actively working on within ensure an organization or board project that they're currently at. And then within each of those projects can be invitations for collaboration or panelists. And I think at that level, like I would much have been much more more interested in like browsing a feed of people's projects and what their requests for help would be. But I also think that overlaps with how could hiring you prove. So an example could be our other friend, Eric yar grant. And he went and worked at Uber. And he was building out their learning systems, which is basically what him and I did search. Well, I would I would want to see on LinkedIn now some application that I feel like air is now working on the project is aware that the learning system at Uber and it could have been like a reach out to me on this platform, to Hey, like, help me build this. And it's like an interesting opening up of work where it's more project based in a feed but with these like, like tentacles out into the market, of getting expertise to contribute it if necessary.

Maren Kate 33:59

No, no. Love that. I mean, yeah, it's the ideas opening, opening up of things. And I guess some of the takeaways for, you know, this is a ideal world we're talking about. But some of the takeaways for, you know, if you're someone right now and you're, you're early on, you're getting back into the workforce, you may be, uh, you know, or you're just you want to really stand out especially, we're in a competitive job market right now, because the economy is down and a lot of stuff is different than it was six months ago. You can create your, you can do this yourself, like you can build your own professional website, you can look like Eric Grant, he could build his own site, he could list out all the stuff he's worked on, he could outline almost how designers and product people will show portfolios. I've been obsessed with this new word that I've been calling like a pro folio like your your visual portfolio, but for any professional You break down? This is what I did. This is how I did it. These are the stakeholders I worked with. This is what I learned what would right what went wrong. That is so from a from a hiring managers point of view, if I could like, look at Collins, all the projects you've worked on, I would be able to see threads you probably can't see and be like, oh, Collins really good at this. Like he really thinks deeply about product but also at the intersection of, you know, humans and meaningful work and then open source. And I could start being like, Oh, this is how this person could contribute. So it is something that people can at least begin themselves like I just heard read this statistic the other day that 7% or so of professionals actually have their own personal slash professional website. And that's insane. Like don't leave it to LinkedIn or Angel list or another, you know, another company to own all that data like create it yourself. Like tell your own story.

Collin Vine 36:04

Yeah, for sure. Also, just a quick anecdote to on some of the things we're talking about. I have a friend Chris, who was in the job market. And I was applying to some firms. But then he changed his strategy. And he actually started pitching firms. Directly applying, he started pitching them. And I thought he was a founder, but then also had some experience in product. And so he was pitching them on on some version of consulting for whether or not he would study them on LinkedIn or Angel list, see a job listed and then pitch them like, Hey, I can give you these services. And he got three contracts at three different companies. And after a month, he actually got three offers at those three companies. And it was an interesting in of him trying to go through the normal application process wasn't as successful but when he flipped it and put himself as now, a consultant or somebody who can make contribution pitch them as services ended up getting three offers out of that.

Maren Kate 37:04

So I feel like there's connect me with him. I totally need to hear that story.

Collin Vine 37:09

Yeah, for sure.

Maren Kate 37:10

And that's, that's great. Exactly what you're saying. Like it's, it's, well, it's what businesses do they they, you know, go to the consumer or they go to another business and they say, here are your pain points. Here's how I can solve them. as professionals, we need to be doing the same thing. So it's creating your own luck and a lot of ways Yeah, yeah. So I crap I wish we had more time I knew this will happen. When you think about kind of the future of work and everything like if you are giving advice to someone right now, what are you what do you think the most important soft skills hard skills are going to be to actually just future proof your your career and stay relevant in the next decade? Like because there's gonna be I think there's gonna be more change than people realize.

Collin Vine 37:59

Yeah. On this on the soft skill side, I guess I'll start there. Because as things move remote, there's the concept of ownership and accountability that become a lot harder to measure when your remote becomes so much more important as well. Because you don't have that type of authority and oversight as you do within an office. And I don't know if you've experienced this, I mean, surely we did search well, but a colony as well as trying to define processes or systems for assigning accountability or ownership and getting people to step up into that can be hard. And for a lot of people, it doesn't always feel natural. You can feel more natural to have a boss or manager telling them what to do. Just feels with remote culture, though that opens up space for people to step up into ownership or ease. Leadership like roles. And a lot of times people don't know this, but leaders are just dying for more people to step up into ownership and be accountable totally stuff. And a lot of times people think like they need to be assigned back. If you're founder or manager or a leader in some capacity and you have somebody who's stepping up is very accountable is owning projects, whether they go well or don't. But the buck stops with them. They they oh my gosh, that changes like people you want diversity for that type of ownership and and in a remote setting, that accountability and ownership is just so important to keep the remote team running. And I just think finding that within yourself or being having self authority and finding ways for you to be Effective manage remote settings and stepping up and taking ownership over over projects and being accountable. It's just so important in remote settings.

Maren Kate 40:12

Yeah, that had the person of course. I mean, we know so many we hired so many. We were lucky with some wonderful people. I think Joanna? Yeah. Yeah, instantly, I think Joanna, right. Um, yeah, gosh, that's so true. Okay, so, and then in terms of hard skills, and probably just coding and data science come to mind designing fun, you don't know. Don't think, what's that? Okay. So it's not specifically engineering. It's funny. It's being able to build.

Collin Vine 40:48

Like having the skills to build is just really valuable, whether that's within data science and making sense of data, whether that's being able to code and actually know Create valuable experiences, that being able to design whether that's being able to have the skill of marketing. These are just hard skills that don't go away. And they're, like, valuable.

Maren Kate 41:12

Yeah, it's like creating, creating, whether you're creating content, whether you're creating code. Yeah. Whether you can, you know, pull together no code blocks and make something that works and is a pretty product. Yeah, that's a really that's a good one. Um, okay. Last question. So what product or tool Do you rely on the most to do your best work and it could be anything and don't say like slack because everybody's okay to come to mind.

Collin Vine 41:38

Have you ever heard of bear? No. Bear is it's a it's a Mac and iPhone app for writing and there's some like spelled like the bear. Yeah, that's right. Okay. It is just my absolute favorite place to think and to write for writing, but this has completely replaced google docs for me aside when you collaborate with people, and you love Google Docs, I used to, I used to Oh, wow. There is amazing. And I've turned so many people into bear users, because you just tried. It's such a good experience. The other one is figma you've ever used.

Maren Kate 42:21

Yes. I just started. That's a game changer.

Collin Vine 42:25

Was just so good. I love working in figma. And, again, it's it's another amazing tool to Think. Think through design things for products, you can do anything to visually, visually, it's collaborative. Such a powerful tool and it's just getting better and, man, go to.

Maren Kate 42:45

Okay, what uh, what's your favorite podcast or book from the last year?

Collin Vine 42:51

Eric Weinstein. He came with the podcast recently. I really enjoy his What's it called? The podcast is called the portal. This dude oh,

Maren Kate 43:05

I saw that I haven't listened to it yet. Is it really good?

Collin Vine 43:09

Yeah, he's very nerdy. Very intelligent just thinks on like what's going on in the world works with Peter to teal capital is the managing director for there. Oh, interesting. quite liked his his perspectives on everything. Oh, yeah. Okay, what's yours?

Maren Kate 43:30

Oh man, I mean, you know me I'm a freakin podcast dork. I recently read a book called The formula by Albert Laszlo. He's the guy that wrote a book called blink. And it's breaking down from a data point of view. What makes success but across a variety of fields, everything from sports, to business to media, and then breaking it down to these super small data points, and it was really good. I'm just super super good. I'm actually trying to get the author on the podcast because I think he's brilliant. And his book before linked was just about how everything is linked and it was also brilliant. And then podcast wise. I mean, I've been obsessed with this podcast called crime junkie.

Collin Vine 44:21

And that's just my, you know, where things sound tense about right? I'll give you an episode though, of a different podcast. That was amazing to me. And it was against the backdrop of what's going on in the world right now with Okay, the protests and the lockdown. I listened to this episode of The Sam Harris podcast called a good life. And it was an interview with Scott Barry Kaufman, who just came up with a book called tickets to transcend. And they talked about well being, oh, I loved this podcast because it just felt like such a nugget of optimism and good feelings out. That's what he wrote a new book kind of about Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the new science of well being and actualization and transcendence for so long like this content hasn't been that interesting to me, but it just it like hit at the right time and it was such a good. Such a good episode amongst what's going on in the world.

Maren Kate 45:31

Okay, I'm going to add all of these to the show notes. And I'm going to listen to both of those because I need that right now. Yeah, um, as a realtor. How can people find more about you, Collin online? What do you use the most? The Twitter emails?

Collin Vine 45:50

Yeah, Twitter, but I don't tweet very often, but I'm calling by people can find on most platforms.

Maren Kate 45:57

Yeah, you got you got the name early. Like I did. Okay, great and it's colony.io put all the links and awesome thank you so much.

Collin Vine 46:06

Aaron's been fun.

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Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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