The Barry O’Reilly Hypothesis: You’ve Got to Be Comfortable With Getting Uncomfortable

Barry O’Reilly is the Founder of ExecCamp and author of Lean Enterprise. This week on the Product Science Podcast, we talk about the lessons he’s learned from software development, and how he works with business leaders to create an environment that’s safe to fail. Learn about the principles behind his new book, Unlearn, and what startup founders need to think about as they make key business decisions.

Questions We Explore in This Episode

  1. How did Barry originally get involved in software development? What influences did software development concepts like paired programming, extreme programming, and agile have on his career?
  2. How did taking the time to write help Barry synthesize the business leadership lessons he’s learned? What concepts became the basis for Lean Enterprise, and how did Barry, Jez, and Joanne develop them? How did they work effectively as a distributed team? What is the role of fast and frequent feedback in that process?
  3. What has technology done to change the game for big businesses? Why are some companies slow to adapt? How are the behaviors that made big businesses big counterproductive in the face of new technology? How does Barry help business leaders adapt to the landscape? What happens when executives test their own processes as customers?
  4. Why are many organizations’ mechanisms for disseminating information ineffective? How can you improve the level of information in your company and shortcut the feedback loop? What is an “unlearning moment?”
  5. What qualities help business leaders make breakthroughs in their thinking and make better decisions? How do you create a safe place to fail? How do you take accountability for failure and not push the blame onto other people? What experiences lead Barry to the ideas and concepts in his new book, Unlearn?

Quotes From the Episode

“So much of gaming is about teaching people new behaviors.” – Barry O’Reilly

“I’ve seen the value of fast and frequent feedback and I try to incorporate that into everything that I do.” – Barry O’Reilly

“The shift in how much technology is impacting business models is exponential.” – Barry O’Reilly

“A lot of the methods that worked before with slow feedback loops weren’t designed to be challenged.” – Barry O’Reilly

“All executives want to do is make good decisions, but they need good information to make good decisions.” – Barry O’Reilly

“The current mechanisms that organizations create to get good information are actually very poor.” – Barry O’Reilly

“When failures occur people feel embarrassed, so the reaction is to push it onto other people rather than own it.” – Barry O’Reilly

“You have to act in a new way to shift your mindset, you can’t just think about it.” – Barry O’Reilly

“Learning isn’t the hard part, it’s unlearning behaviors that made you successful in the past in order to make you successful in the future.” – Barry O’Reilly

“You’ve got to be comfortable with getting uncomfortable.” – Barry O’Reilly

Transcription

Holly Hester-Reilly: Hi and welcome to the Product Science podcast where we’re helping startup founders and product leaders build high growth products, teams and companies. There’re real conversations with the people who have tried it and aren’t afraid to share lessons learned from their failures along the way. I’m your host, Holly Hester-Reilly, Founder and CEO of H2R Product Science. Now here’s my interview with Barry O’Reilly, author of Lean Enterprise and Unlearned.

Holly Hester-Reilly: I was thinking a good way to start would be for us to share a little bit about what are you doing these days? Like who are you, how’d you get here? I first came across you, I think probably when you were doing workshops. Well, first I found you online, but then I first came across you from there through the workshops and the work you’ve been doing with Josh Sheet and Jeff Gothelf. And then I sort of went backwards and I was like oh, lean enterprise. That’s really awesome. So tell me more about how you got to this and how you see it today.

Barry O’Reilly: Yeah. So thanks for following that path. That’s really nice to hear. Yeah, my background is sort of pretty varied. When I went to the university, I thought I was going to do a business degree. The course I signed up was called Management Information Systems. And then the first class, the lecture walked in and they started talking about Java programming language. And I think for the first like 15 minutes, I thought it was in the wrong course. And I found out I was in the right course. That I had sort of signed up for this university which was going to be more computer science space than actual business space, which was a bit of a surprise. And it was one of these things where I sort of adopted it. I liked technology anyway. That sort of started me off on a bit of a journey in that respect.

Barry O’Reilly: And then when I finished university, I took a job in Silicon Valley. I studied in Ireland and came out here and worked for a company called CitySearch. They were like one of the first companies that were putting people on the Internet. So people would pay them, I don’t know, like $50 a month. And they would come and build a thing called a website, which would be like, a pretty static HTML page that would like if you were a restaurant would have like a few photos of the restaurant, maybe your menu and your opening hours and you pay $50 a month for this. And because I could write HTML, I was a software engineer all of a sudden. So it’s pretty fun.

Barry O’Reilly: But that gave me a little bit of exposure to the craziness of a growing company and what’s involved in making stuff work. That was kind of fun. But I stayed here for a short period of time. I sort of like on a student working visa and then went back and finished university. And then my sort of first job was in a startup in Scotland. We were building mobile games development. So just after … And Nokia. I don’t know if people remember Nokia phones even, but Nokia had this game on it called Snake where you would basically chase this like little-

Holly Hester-Reilly: I definitely played that game. Yeah [crosstalk 00:03:11] They’re like little dots and you were trying to catch it.

Barry O’Reilly: Cool. Yes and that was like yeah, gaming on phones. But just around that time after Nokia phones, they put really small job or micro machines or compilers on the phones. So you could sort of basically port games from like the ’70s and ’80s onto phones and they would run. And so we built these games. And not a lot of people were really doing it at the time. And suddenly, the company we were working for … Like our startup just exploded. We were building stuff for Sony, for Disney, Sega were ringing us because nobody knew how to use this technology. And we built a game called Wireless Pets, which was basically Tamagotchi for your phone. And it was the most popular game in the UK’s network. Yeah, so suddenly it was like we had all these crazy businesses calling us up and we had no idea how to run a company. We were at four people in this tiny little shared office space outside of Edinburgh.

Barry O’Reilly: But we had a lot of fun for two years and we built some games, but we just didn’t know how to build a company. And eventually as that sort of fell apart for us. And I took six months off and backpacked around South America and then ended up in Australia. I started working in the education system, mainly because they were quite interested in my background in gaming. So much of gaming is this idea of experimentation, teaching people new behaviors, leveling up your skills, all these like little nuance things that are about teaching people new behavior. And what I was doing was in Australia and New Zealand and Southeast Asia, they had invested nearly, I think it was like $800 million at the time, to create next generation e-learning content for kids. So they wanted to teach them things like arithmetic or Japanese through gameplay.

Barry O’Reilly: And so I was working on this program, it was called Learning Federation and people were … So my job was to sort of help build this sort of a repository where all these artifacts could be stored and then distributed to schools and education systems throughout Asia and Australia. And it was super interesting, super fun and did that sort of four or five years. All the way along, I was just sort of like, a lot of the times I was like struggling to find good ways to build products and services.

Barry O’Reilly: And like when we were in this startup in Edinburgh, the technology was really bad and we had very low knowledge about how it worked. So we were constantly … Like I’m always trying to research things. I came across this concept that the Department of Defense were using for building really complex satellite systems where they would have two engineers sit at a desk and one would write code and the other would observe. Right? And that sort of like help me discover this concept like paired programming, which at the time, it made sense for us in the startup because people sort of knew has some parts of the technology worked, but they didn’t know how all of it worked. And we didn’t have like QA departments or we didn’t have like different disciplines. We basically had four people.

Barry O’Reilly: So what we would do is have two people work on a game and we designed it together. We’d test it together. One writing, one reviewing. And so that’s sort of like exposed me to a lot of these sort of concepts and methods that eventually turned into extreme programming, which came sort of later under that sort of agile banner. And yeah. So I’ve just always been someone who’s like researching, experimenting with new practices, trying to solve problems, trying lots of different tools to see which works and which don’t.

Barry O’Reilly: And what I often find is that something that worked for me last time isn’t necessarily gonna work for me exactly the way I think it is the next time. And-

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yeah, not [crosstalk 00:07:36] right?

Barry O’Reilly: No, right? Because we’re creatures of habit and we also get anchored to well, this is the way I did it and I was successful, so I’ll always continue to do it that way and be successful. And that often actually limits our ability a lot of the time. But yeah, that’s sort of led me. Afterwards in Australia. Then my wife was based in the Philippines, so I moved over there for awhile and then we ended up moving to London and I joined ThoughtWorks, which is sort of like one of the companies that first advocated the use of agile software development and had sort of pioneered techniques like continuous delivery, multiple deployments. I just I had a really phenomenal experience working there. At the time the company was sort of starting to adopt more design and product people into the organization. And engineers still would ask like why the hell do we need an anybody apart from engineers? It was quite funny.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yup.

Barry O’Reilly: I was surrounded by fantastic caliber and a humility really of people there. And I just like learned a lot from these really interesting ways of solving technical problems. And through being there and when I joined, they had Jez Humblee and Dave Farley had just published Continuous Delivery. And then that was sort of really resonating in the industry or people were interested in push button deployments and like thousands of deployments a day and how to do that. But the time I was there and doing more work around teaching people how to do better experimentation on the product side of the picture. And adopting new behaviors in their organization to allow innovation to flourish, to change their processes to allow more incremental type funding mechanisms are better portfolio management.

Barry O’Reilly: So after maybe two or three years, people were asking well, we’ve got continuous delivery, what’s the next thing? And at the time, I started to write a few blogs, like I’m the worst writer in the world. Like I have a solid history of D pluses in English through high school. But people were trying to encourage me to just try writing or try and write down some of the stuff I was doing. And I found it actually a really great way to retrospect, to be honest.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yeah, writing is great for that.

Barry O’Reilly: Yeah. It was really, really good method for me to sort of synthesize my learning. And one of my colleagues, Jez Humble who’d written Continuously Delivery sort read one or two posts and next thing he dropped me an email and said “Hey, I’m working on this new book, which is sort of what does experimentation look like not just in engineering, but in product, but in finance and portfolio management and culture.” And that he was working with one of our other colleagues, Joanne Molesky who was the Head of Governance, Risk and Compliance in ThoughtWorks. And we sort of formed this little cross functional teams really and decided we had to sort of write this book. And that that turned into Lean Enterprise over the course of probably over two years.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Did you apply some of these practices and principles as you were writing the book together?

Barry O’Reilly: Yeah. It’s really fun ’cause we only spent probably five days co-located over two years. So-

Holly Hester-Reilly: Not a lot.

Barry O’Reilly: Not a lot, no. Joanne lives in Vancouver Island. Jez lives in the Bay Area and I was living in London. So we were distributed team. We would use a lot of the methodologies actually of what principles of continuous delivery. So we work in small batches, writing small bits of chapters, shipped them to one another to get fast feedback and constantly iterate our chapters rather than try to get them perfect. We’d sketch them out, get feedback, write some more, ship it, get feedback. And as we got confident with some of the chapters, we then ship it to the next sort of group of people, which might be a set of our friends or reviewers inside ThoughtWorks or in our networks.

Barry O’Reilly: So we started mitigating the risk of writing a terrible book by testing it with customers throughout the process.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yeah. Yeah, I love that.

Barry O’Reilly: Yeah, it’s pretty fun. I’ve just actually about to publish a white paper on this. It’s called Unlearning How to Write a Book and we shared sort sort of the process I’ve had to go through to create a book, which is a product, when you think about a book like a product, and when you use a lot of the methodologies that both you and I advocate about how to build great products. And they work even in the most waterfall-y type context that the publishing and book writing industry is.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yes. Yeah, I [crosstalk 00:13:07] I’ve heard that from others too. I don’t know if you’ve come across that when you speak to other authors or things like that. But I was actually seeking out examples of experimentation and lean startup methodologies outside of software. And came across a handful of people. The one who stands out to me was Nir Ayal had written some public posts about how he put small pieces through feedback and got to his … That’s how he wrote Hooked. I love that there’s some great examples of really amazing books that were written that way. Do you hear that much or did you guys kind of figure it out yourself along the way?

Barry O’Reilly: Well, it’s sort of one of the things where we’re sort of conditioned to operate in that way, if that makes sense.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yes. Yeah.

Barry O’Reilly: And you know, when you’re working with people who almost intuitively have been working in that way for so long, it feels odd to disappear for a month and write half a book and then just suddenly present the whole thing to somebody because I guess we built this sort of system, I guess, in ourselves to go I’m not sure if this makes sense. So rather than persist and keep making things, why don’t I check it with somebody? Why don’t I test it? And that sort of behavior has been conditioned into me, I think, because I’ve seen the value of fast and frequent feedback during the creation of something that’s complex..

Barry O’Reilly: So I think I naturally tried to sort of incorporate that into a lot of activities that I do. And it’s not just like building software. It’s like as so much of things that I try to do in life, I’ve always looking for feedback mechanisms to help clear the uncertainty. And I think it has helped me. But again, I’m conditioned in that way. And there’s always the question to say is that good? You know? Like is there instances where that strategy mightn’t be helping me? So it’s something I sort of ponder. But it’s definitely the way I sort of tackle problems that I generally tried to go through.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yeah. One of the things for me that that makes me think of is my own experiences, I think there’s similar … You know, I also went to engineering school and learned a lot about process engineering. And so I really took to heart. I know the principles behind agile and that we need these feedback loops to grow. But one of the things that I find is that once you’ve been doing this for awhile, it becomes so standard to you that sometimes it’s hard to explain people who come from a very different experience, right? Like why are we sharing so much? Why are we making what we’re doing externalized and putting it on boards with information and why are we sharing unfinished work? Like I get a lot of pushback where people are like but it’s not done. I don’t want anyone to see it yet. And I’m curious to hear like how do you help your clients overcome that and what have your experiences been like on that side?

Barry O’Reilly: Yeah, I’ve got some pretty fun stories I think I can share on this. I work with a lot of senior executives in very large organizations who have been in the industry for like 20, 25 years. They started on the shop floor and now they’re running like 50,000 plus companies, right? And they’ve learned and worked their way there by just the behaviors that they knew and the way they got stuff done. And I think a few decades ago, the pace of change and technology change is quite slow. And I think if you had a business model that worked and operated well, you could build a moat around that business. And it was really just about building that business as big as you can, as quick as you can, and then building moats to stop other people taking it over.

Barry O’Reilly: And I think this is why you’ve seen a lot of industries like airlines and banking and retailers were successful in those sorts of modes. But I think the exponential shift now and how much technology and software is impacting a lot of business models, they’re shifting them in ways and at speed that people probably aren’t used to seeing. So a lot of the methods that worked before that would have slow feedback loops or could move out at almost, not a glacial, but a slower pace, weren’t actually up for scrutiny or weren’t up to be challenged.

Barry O’Reilly: So now when you see everything from companies like JP Morgan, who are now trying to hire a thousand developers in Silicon Valley to attract a new breed of talent into their organization to help them build financial software because they’re losing to people like Robin Hood or to Coinbase or to these companies that literally have a few hundred employees. And yet they’re having this exponential impact on the market and people wanting to use their services because they resonate with them. They’re simple, they’re efficient, and they’re teaching them how to become very good at making investment decisions. Right? And that is very naive people before can suddenly build confidence and knowledge in how to make investments. And that scares the life out of a company like a JP Morgan, because before they locked up the industry. They knew how to do it and there was a way that they did it and they dictated how that worked. And that’s no longer the case.

Barry O’Reilly: So this sort of byproduct energy individuals who lead those organizations is they’re used to being right. They’re used to the behaviors that made them successful and brought them to the CEO’s office to be correct because I’m the CEO. Why wouldn’t what I say do work. But they haven’t had this exposure to the idea of what technology really means. So one of my funny examples. I have a business colleagues ExecCamp where I get executives to leave their business for up to eight weeks with the goal of launching new businesses to disrupt their existing companies. And it’s a forcing function to give them an opportunity to experiment with new behaviors, build new products, understand technologies. But the real trick is that it’s shifting their mindset. It’s breaking their mental model of how the world actually works today. How they think it works versus how it actually works.

Barry O’Reilly: And I just have so many fun examples of leadership teams like I work with a really well known phone manufacturer, let’s say. And they had designed this perfect strategy about how they were going to roll out their new phones all over the world. They were 100% confident that this works. They had done it so many times. It was going to be perfect. And so then the question I said to them was “Well, how do you know it’s operating the way you expect?” And they’re like no, we’ve designed it. It just gets executed and rolled out. So what I gave them is then I gave five of them $200 prepaid cards and then I told him to go out and try and up to their service in two hours because that’s what their SLA agreement had had and sent them off to do it. How many of them do you think of the task done?

Holly Hester-Reilly: Oh my goodness. I love those stories. One?

Barry O’Reilly: Yay!

Holly Hester-Reilly: One of them.

Barry O’Reilly: The whole point was not to make them look silly or make them feel stupid. It was to create a safe environment for them to experience what it’s like to be a customer of the processes they’re designing and understanding what works and what didn’t work because their strategies is a set of belief and assumptions. But until you test those assumptions, you don’t actually know how they’re operating. And so when they came back and only one of them, one of the five had actually onboarded to their service, some of them were really angry, some of them were blaming the people behind the desk. But then, by sort of unpacking it slowly, they started to realize that it’s not the people on the desk’s fault. It’s not that the credit card didn’t go through the machine the way it wanted, that it’s actually the system that they’re trying to build and they’re responsible for. That’s what needs to be improved. And how it’s operating is not how they expect.

Barry O’Reilly: And when they get this sort of mental breakthrough, when they sort of unlearn their existing behaviors and relearn these new behaviors, they get these amazing breakthroughs and then they start to see this, you know, everything has an assumption and ultimately they need to be testing them and seeing what works and what doesn’t and then improving the system based on what they discover. And I think when you get people into that space, it becomes a sort of profound moment for a lot of them. It’s like I called them unlearning moments and they have this sort of crisp vision of what’s actually happening. And all executives want to do is make good decisions. That’s all they really, really want to do. And they need good information to make good decisions.

Barry O’Reilly: And unfortunately, like the current mechanisms that a lot of organizations create to get good information are actually very poor, like the weekly report, the red, amber, or green. It’s sanitized as it moves through the organization. So a lot of executives are making what they believe to be good decisions on poor information and that leads to poor results. And then people start to wonder well, what’s the problem? So a lot of what I’m trying to do is like shortcut that feedback loop so people are getting raw, unvarnished and sometimes uncomfortable data, but the great leader sort of recognize that’s actually what they really want because then they can start to take action to fix it. And that’s where you start to see just acceleration and innovation and better outcomes.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yeah. Yeah. That really rings true for me as well. I think one of the things in there that really strikes me as how you talk about the unlearning moment and you know, experiences that I’ve had as well where I think about somebody that was so sure that their worldview was right and that they just needed to make this plan and go execute it. And they were good at what they did because they’d seen these results in the past. It’s never something that you can change … Well, maybe you can, but most of the time you can’t change it in a conversation, right? Like you have to put them through some experience where they’re going to kind of have to readjust their worldview and it takes time. And it’s not necessarily easy, but if they’re really driven to try to get the right outcome for their project, for their company, in the end, that’s better, right? I’m super curious to hear more about how you get them to sign up for that experience in the first place.

Barry O’Reilly: So I often tell people that I think I have the smallest customer segment in the world in some respects. But the thing about it is it’s such a great customer segment because they’re curious, they don’t mind giving uncomfortable They’re constantly looking to cultivate this sort of thing in themselves to help them grow all the time and challenge themselves. So when I find the people who want to work like this, it’s like fireworks. And so they love the mechanism to help them find this information to make better decisions and they’re okay with finding out what they thought was true not being true because they see the result is I’m going to make a better decision. They don’t see I look stupid or my ego is bruised. And you know, not everybody is like that when they show up on day one.

Barry O’Reilly: And I think one of the reasons why you have to bring people there is creating so much safety. So like the reason I could take those five executives and get them to go out and try and sign up for their service, it was safe to fail because first of all, most people don’t know who the executives are in their company. They wouldn’t recognize them if they walked into a store. The only people who knew we were doing this was the five of them and me and one other person in the room. They weren’t doing this sort of big showcase in front of the whole company where hey, watch the executive team try and go sign up for our service. Right? So it was a safe place for them to fail and a safe place to break their mental model of the world.

Barry O’Reilly: And I think until you can create that safety, it’s very hard for people to then sort of filter out the noise of that experience to see what’s the real lesson here. It’s not that you’re silly that you can’t sign up for your own service. It’s not that the customer or the person behind the counter is incompetent at your job. It’s not all these other reasons we often come up with when we experience failure, where we push it on to other people. It’s actually taking the accountability to say my job is to create systems for my customers. So if the system is failing, it’s my job to fix the system, not to fix the person behind the counter. And that’s not the fix somebody else not. It’s to fix my perspective and actually take good action. And I think having a safe to fail environment allows people to get to that type of conclusion a little quicker.

Barry O’Reilly: And it’s very hard to do when you have this sort of showcase really of theater, of innovation in front of hundreds of people inside organizations because when failures occur, then people feel embarrassed. So the reaction is to push it on to other people or finger point rather than own it. And I think that’s one of the most important things for me. And we talk a lot about on the ExecCamp is how do we create these safe environments? How do we make these experiments safe to fail so we’re learning good information and we’re able to sort of incorporate that into our own thinking and our action and our behavior as we go forward. And that’s what shifts the mindset. Ultimately you have to act in a new way to shift your mindset. You can’t just think about it. That’s sort of really how I try to talk about things.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Well that sounds awesome. I’m glad you’re making those changes, no matter how big or small that group of people is. I think we all sort of educate the people around us and then they educate the others and we share experiences and hopefully we all get stronger and smarter, right?

Barry O’Reilly: Absolutely right and it is one of the strategies of ExecCamp is that these people go back into their organization to coach other people how to do this stuff and when they’re the executive team, that has a profound effect on the organizational system because they’re some of the major notes and people will replicate their behavior. So I think that was one of the tactics about trying to transform these organizations is if you can change the head, the body may follow.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yes. So did these experiences and I guess challenges as well contribute to your most recent book?

Barry O’Reilly: Yeah, well the whole concept of unlearn really came from those experiences, right? It’s like not only working with these amazing people who were sort of breaking their mental models of the world and rebuilding themselves, but also for me, working with companies, like I was working on these transformation initiatives before I was doing these little innovation projects inside these massive companies. But you know, they weren’t changing the company. They were just like a story to tell at the next quarterly meeting. But the company wasn’t changing. So I had to unlearn the way to tackle innovation in organizations, to systemically change them. And that’s what led me to thinking about this idea of trying to work with the leadership team and create a mechanism for them to unlearn their behavior because what I constantly found is people now accept that they continuously have to learn.

Barry O’Reilly: So learning new stuff, while it is hard, is not the limiting factor. It’s actually unlearning your existing behavior and letting go of things that made you successful in the past to sort of relearn and adopt new behaviors to make you successful in the future. And I think that was the thing that really stood out to me from doing a lot of this work. And that was really the inspiration for writing unlearn. And it’s really just packed with case studies and stories of different companies I’ve been working with and going through this process with. And also my own experience of what I had to go through and learn and unlearn to get this sort of breakthroughs. I’m constantly sort of looking for and it’s kind of fun ’cause it’s reignited my curiosity in what I do. And hopefully it will maintain it for many years to come as well.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yeah, that’s great. I think the idea that it’s taking this mindset of unlearning and realizing what may have worked in the past, but you need to let go now has actually impacted just your personal experience and helped you be reinvigorated by your work. I think just that alone is a really exciting thing because there’s so many people out there that kind of reach a point and then they’re like well, I feel like I know this and I’m not excited anymore. So can they use that to become excited again?

Barry O’Reilly: That’s it. Reignite your curiosity.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yeah, that makes me feel excited too. I’m like okay, great. I’m going to go learn some more things. Going to unlearn some stuff. Figure it out. Yeah.

Barry O’Reilly: Awesome.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Well, it’s been really awesome talking with you. What are sort of the key things that you would say, you know, I guess the people that you want to reach with unlearn. What are the key takeaways that you want them to know?

Barry O’Reilly: No, I think this idea that there’s sort of a number of characteristics you’ve got to have if you want to cultivate unlearning in yourself. And I think it’s like be curious, right? When you hear something that contravenes your expertise opinion, why not ask a little bit about why somebody has that perspective? And have the courage to recognize when the behaviors you’re using aren’t working and change them basically. And I think the other two that really jump out to me is you’ve got to be comfortable with getting uncomfortable. Like trying things that feel alien or not right or awkward because they could actually give you a breakthrough in a way that you didn’t anticipate before.

Barry O’Reilly: And the way to sort of create the environment to do that is really through safety. And think about when you’re trying these new behaviors, just make them safe to fail, right? If you’re going to try and learn a new instrument, don’t put book Carnegie Hall and get a thousand people to show up. Start at home and play a few chords and see how you get on. And build from there.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yeah. That just made me think. Sometimes I wonder if in today’s world it’s even harder to remember that then before because we’re sharing so much. There’s almost more of a performative nature of daily life with social media, you know?

Barry O’Reilly: Yeah, I agree. And I think for me a lot of the time it’s like what’s the substance of that? It’s a question I think everybody has to answer for themselves really, is what do they want to spend their time on and what did they want to try and grow and improve about themselves? But that’s my mindset on it. And yeah, I’m most curious to learn what other people’s are.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Me too. I think for me, one of the things that I fight to remind myself of is that what people show and share isn’t their whole truth. And so if you start to feel like oh, maybe it’s too hard and I’m never going to get there so I won’t try. That’s why I want to get on the phone with people like you and hear about how they got there because no one showed up fully formed as a social media star or whatever other thing they’ve achieved. And we all are steps along the way and you just got to remember they existed.

Barry O’Reilly: Sounds awesome.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Cool. Well thank you so much for your time, Barry.

Barry O’Reilly: It’s been a pleasure. Thank you.

Holly Hester-Reilly: Well, I dunno about you, but I really enjoyed that episode with Barry O’Reilly. If you’d like to find him online, you can follow him on Twitter @BarryOReilly or visit his website, www.barryoriley.com. Enjoying this episode? Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss next week’s episode. I also encourage you to visit us at productsciencepodcast.com to sign up for more information and resources from me and our guests. If you love the show, a rating and review would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.