In a single minute, more than 230 million emails are sent around the world. For businesses, this massive volume of information highlights how important it is to manage data appropriately. Handling data efficiently helps keep things running smoothly, protects sensitive information, and allows for better decision-making. Good data management boosts productivity, ensures data security, and helps businesses stay competitive. 

In this episode of Fast Break, Matt and his guests, Erik Vandermause (Vice President of Applied Intelligence), and Paul Krause (Data and Analytics Manger) explore how data-driven insights can drive strategic choices, enhance operational efficiency, and uncover new opportunities for growth. Tune in as they reveal the power of data in shaping the future of business success. 

Data-influenced decision making starts with impact and value. And it starts with looking across the business to find those pockets of trapped value. And finding those is really done through a strong focus on the end user.

— Erik Vandermause
Vice President of Applied Intelligence | M3 Insurance

There’s so many different applications that where data can provide insight that we would otherwise just miss. You can’t keep up. You can’t spot everything.if you’re not using it to your advantage, you’re eventually going to miss opportunities. You’re going to fall behind and your competition is likely using it.

— Paul Krause
Data and Analytics Mange | M3 Insurance

Matt Cranney

Welcome to the Fast Break. Today, we’re diving into a game changer for small businesses, data-driven decision making. In a world overflowing with information, it’s easy to feel lost at sea. But what if you could harness that very data to steer your business towards calmer waters and uncharted success?

(00:20) Here’s why this topic is more relevant than ever. Did you know a recent study by PWC found that highly data -driven organizations, are three times more likely to report significant improvements in decision making. That’s a massive advantage.

Plus, with the rise of affordable analytics tools, there’s no longer an excuse for flying blind. So, buckle up, because we’re about to show you how data can become your secret weapon for growth. To help us unpack this, I’m joined by two incredible guests from our team here at M3 Insurance, Erik Vandermause, and Paul Krause.

(00:58) Erik Vandermause is the Vice President of Applied Intelligence at M3 Insurance. In his role, he’s responsible for the overall direction, strategy, and performance of M3’s data analytics, digital, and CRM capabilities. combines these capabilities with human ingenuity to deliver new levels of value for our current and future clients, employees, and partners.

(01:22) Paul is a Data and Analytics Manager at M3 Insurance. He leads our data engineering team in developing and maintaining a robust data infrastructure, ensuring data quality and accessibility. Additionally, he guides our analytics team in developing quantitative solutions tailored to our clients’ needs, empowering them to predict trends, proactively manage risk, and drive strategic decision making.

Erik, Paul, welcome to the Fast Break.

Erik Vandermause

Thanks, Matt.

Paul Krause

Thanks, happy to be here.

(01:53) Matt Cranney

Yeah, you guys had the most big words in your introduction of any guests that I think we’ve had so far. And to that point, I’m hoping both of you can share more about your journeys that led you to do the work that you’re doing today. Erik, maybe I’ll start with you.

(02:07) Erik Vandermause

Yeah, thinking about my journey towards data, I’m a Gen Xer. So, when we were kids, we didn’t have data at our fingertips like we do now. So, my journey started when I was a kid. My dad was an accountant for a Wisconsin manufacturer. And as they were transitioning to using computers way back in the day. This must have been in the 1980s He would carry home; he would physically carry home these huge heavy spools of tape and you’d have to take them home every night and they were the backups of the company’s general ledger.

And at first I thought this was weird, you know, what are you taking home? But then I you know as it grew up a little bit I became a little fascinated with how it all worked and over time the tapes he would bring home got smaller and smaller. I could see it.

(02:58) And as I was leaving for college, the tapes were more the size of small cassettes. But they were huge, heavy things at the beginning. As I think about that, my dad, I think he was essentially the first cloud provider for his company. He was carrying these things home in case the company burned down or the office burned down.

That was my first realization of what was happening here. Fast forward to the early 2000s, I was pulled into a project where the major implementation of a new system failed. And the data it was creating for clients was corrupt because the system was implemented too quickly. And the product line was one of the largest product lines for this company. And that revenue for that line was cut in half in a year. We were bleeding clients. And I was brought into fix and transition that product line to a new solution. And it was really then that I realized the impact of poor data quality and the impact that data can have on a company from a negative perspective.

(04:04) But then later, as I. continued my career at a large global consulting firm. I saw countless times the upside of strong data, of high-quality data.  When we talk about the value that data can create, if you think about the law of large numbers, automating seconds across millions of transactions means millions of dollars in value. And even for small businesses, taking out or automating five minutes here, five minutes there, that adds up. That means faster response to the client, more efficient operations.

So now I get to work with Paul and you and the M3 team to focus on bringing those same technologies that we were using at Accenture to my internal clients and M3’s clients to innovate through data analytics and CRM and digital.

 Matt Cranney

Awesome, Erik, great, great stories. Paul, what about you? How did you get to where you are today in terms of your focus on data?

(04:55) Paul Krause

Yeah, it was a long and winding road. I’ll save the long version of it and try to sum it up a little bit. I was at the postal service, and I was a supervisor where I was supervising city carriers, rural carriers, and, and our front-end office staff there. As I was doing that, efficiency was a big thing. This is in around 2008, 2009, a lot of financial pressure on the postal service. Looking to optimize everything and bring our efficiencies up and expenses down and just really trying to save some dollars.

So, I got tasked with doing a major overhaul of our routes and figuring out like, where’s, why, how can we trim this and how can we make everything more efficient and save some money? I dug into the data. I didn’t go the traditional way of walking with carriers and figuring out, okay, what, what should we do differently?

(05:44)I went into the data, I dug into that and I found a whole bunch of areas without going into great detail. There was just a lot of things that stood out. Like this is highly inefficient. We have so many stop points in each route. We can, we can do better. So there was some optimization that happened and it was really successful. I think that year I saved 10 % on expense and that kind of brought in a whole influx of different projects. Then our division manager saw it, saw the potential to expand that out and do a number of other things. So, as he gave me more data related projects, I just kind of grew a passion for that. And that’s all I wanted to work on. I didn’t want to do anything else.

And that kind of led me down a path of, hey, there’s an entire career out here that does only these things that I’m really enjoying. So that brought me into the insurance world. That was 13 years ago that I stepped into the insurance world as a business intelligence analyst and worked through a number of different roles and saw just about everything. And it brings me to here where now we have a really exciting way of doing it. We’re working with external clients trying to help them optimize things within their business and understand how they can help drive strategy using data.

(06:52) Matt Cranney

Yeah. Thank you so much, you two, for sharing your backgrounds. And I think already our audience is going to get a flavor for why this conversation today is so important and so timely. But as we shared in the opening, we want to talk about data influenced decision making.

 And Paul, your example of from a mail service, like how that data influence, which routes your carriers were taking. That’s a great example because we want to dive into how our audience today can apply that same sort of methodology to their business. So, I think it’s really important for us maybe to start by, you know, working to define what does data influence decision making mean to you? So, Paul, maybe you can keep going on that one for us.

(07:32) Paul Krause

Yeah. And without getting too complex with it, I mean, really to me, it’s just making informed decisions by leveraging our data rather than like relying on anecdotal evidence. That’s something that I’ve said for years of why should I use this data? Why should I look at these reports? Who cares about the trend? And well, you know, yes, we all have instincts, and we can rely on those in some cases, but that’s not always going to bring us to the best results. So, you know, you’re still in control of that decision. ultimately, but you’re using evidence to support that. So, you’re not just flying alone in this one. You have some something to base your decisions on that can really help steer. So as trends change quickly, you’re well informed.

(08:12) Matt Cranney

I love that. Erik, what about you? What’s your definition there?

(08:16) Erik Vandermause

Yeah, piggybacking off of what Paul said there, data-influenced decision making starts with impact and value. And it starts with looking across the business to find those pockets of trapped value. And finding those is really done through a strong focus on the end user. I’m an engineer by background, and there’s a saying, go to the GIMBA in engineering. And what, that’s just a phrase to mean go to the front line, go to where the work is being done. Sit with those people, be close to the front-line person. What do they need? What are their ideas? And then be responsive to that.

Even the smallest changes make a huge difference. And so, when we’re trying to make better data-influenced decisions, it’s all about what decisions are or is the front line making. and how can data help them make those faster, make them better. And that’s really what it’s all about because those people at the front line, whatever your business is, that’s where the work’s being done and that’s where they’re closest to the client, to your customer. And I would say that’s, yeah, for me, that’s really where it starts.

(09:27) Matt Cranney

I love that. I was listening to a podcast yesterday actually that the title of it was smell your customers. And I think it was a little sort of, you know, evocative, but essentially pushing people to think about if you don’t know what your customer, you know, in this example smells like, if you haven’t been close enough, if you haven’t been in proximity long enough, then you need to do that. Because that sort of proximity, is going to determine your perspective to the problems that you’re going to solve, right?

And it’s not measuring and tracking data for data’s sake. It’s for the impact that it can have on the end consumer, your product, your team.

Paul, I’m going to come to you first on this one as well. I’m curious. It feels like everywhere we look now or read; data is the topic. But, you know, sometimes it’s data in the conversation or context of AI, but it’s data sometimes on its own as well. Why do you think data is becoming such a critical trend for businesses of all shapes and sizes to think about and strategize around.

(10:30) Paul Krause

The easy answer there is that everybody’s using it, right? I mean, you kind of just said that yourself, but everybody’s using it. So, if you’re not, you’re probably falling behind. It’s becoming the norm in all industries. You know, that’s how we’re going to optimize production. We’re going to spot trends and be able to adjust in real time rather than being reactive to everything. So, you can take more of that proactive approach. You know, there’s so many different applications that where data can provide insight that we would otherwise just miss. You can’t keep up. You can’t spot everything yourself and react to it. That’s one thing where it’s completely critical is that if you’re, again, if you’re not using it to your advantage, you’re eventually going to miss opportunities. You’re going to fall behind and your competition is likely using it.

 And that’s why we hear about it so much. And that’s why it’s becoming a buzzword. It’s one of those things where, as more people start to use it, it’s going to be more and more critical. It’s the expectation of our clients that we do business with from our perspective. That expectation is coming that we are using data. We’re not just coming and giving them advice off the cuff. It better be driven by something.

(11:32) Matt Cranney

Yeah, I love that Paul said of the thought that maybe in the past, Erik, when your dad was carrying those tapes, data was a nice to have. But now it’s not a nice to have, it’s not an add on, it’s not an extra thought. It is the core of what our businesses need to do to run effectively and efficiently. Erik, what about you? Why is it now that you think this is becoming such a critical trend?

(11:57) Erik Vandermause

Paul hit it on the head. The supply of data is just mind boggling. I thought stat there are 230 million emails sent every minute. So, you add that up, it’s just mind boggling to think about. So just the sheer supply. Paul said it. It’s really impossible to ignore that it’s everywhere. It’s all around us. But more importantly, the buyer of today demands proof. Show me the reason. Show me the why.

Show me how you got to that conclusion. It’s not just enough to have the relationship, although that will always be important and critical. It’s a yes and. I have the relationship, but I also am backing up my recommendation to you with the data, with my reasons.

But making sense of it in a high-quality way is really the trick. It’s so easy to find the data, but how do you make sense of it? How do you back up your recommendation with high quality data from your own business, your own clients of your business, versus just some research report? That’s really the trick. And that’s not easy. It takes time to do.

(12:55) Matt Cranney

Yeah. This is going to be sound like a captain obvious question, but I think it’s important to sort of draw it out. Why are data influence decisions better than just sort of, you know, maybe some people are listening to this and, you know, they’ve built really successful, smaller or bigger businesses and they’ve done that with maybe sort of intuitions, you know, strong leadership, you know, those kinds of things. Why do you think, Erik, again, I think you were starting to go there, why are data-influenced decisions better than non-data-influenced decisions?

(13:25) Erik Vandermause

Number one, credibility. Credibility as a leader. It’s key. Number two, as a leader, being able to see the trend over time, to see the change in a metric. Where did we start? Where are we trending? Can help guide.

But even more importantly, back to the front line. People that you’re hiring, you’re bringing into your organization, they might be right out of school. They might be looking for guidance. And they’re already used to using technology and data. And so, bringing to them, here’s how to become more successful at your job faster.

Think about your company’s sales force or your company’s internal operations team, if we can make those early new hires more proficient faster, that means dollars to you. So it goes to credibility, it goes to being able to see trends over time and using that, using those to make better decisions at the front line for those people that are just starting out in their career.

(14:20) Matt Cranney

Yeah, yeah, I love that. Paul, anything you would add to that?

(14:23) Paul Krause

Yeah, I think I’m going to, I’ll take it a different route. And it kind of toes the line of what I was saying before about leveraging data rather than going on intuition or instincts. I think, you know, for a long time, business went that way. This is what we’ve always done. This is what we’re going to do. This is how we’ve been successful. Now that we have data, I think that’s, that’s changing.

And so, I’ll use a simple analogy here. Picture you’re planning a route to go to a business trip this afternoon or go to a meeting. You can take the gut feeling approach and that’s where you’re going to choose the route because it’s the route you usually take to get there or it just seems like the best way, the most logical way to get there. So, you’re blindly picking a route without considering any other factors that might exist today in real time that are going to impact you. Now, if you take the data-influenced approach, you’re using navigation, likely on your phone or your car. Its data driven; data influenced. It’s now using real time traffic data to plan your route. It’s making decisions based on empirical data. It’s looking at factors like traffic congestion, road closures, estimated travel times as a way to make an informed choice about the best route.

So, what your gut feeling might get you there, it might do it successfully a hundred times. If you want to make sure you’re on time for this one, your best way to do it is to take that data-influenced approach, use the navigation, and see here’s what time I’m estimated to arrive there. 

Apply that to anything in business today and think of it in your own context of how that might fit in your business. And I think you can see that, yeah, okay, if I, you know, here’s what’s worked and here’s what we’ve always done. But what if things change? How do you know until it’s too late?

(15:53) Matt Cranney

There’s times where I use my Google Maps and it says, no, take this exit versus the one that I would normally do. And the tension that exists in my mind in that moment in terms of, no, straight ahead is better. It might be telling me that there’s an hour and 30 minutes slow down. And, you know, all the time I will do what it recommends to do. But there is that tension that exists.

And I think you’re calling out something that probably in decision making for some of our audience is present. It’s I know that that data-influence decision is going to be better, but there’s still that moment in our gut that sort of kicks up and go, how do I, how do I put my trust increasingly in this without it feeling like, you know, sort of a blind demonstration of trust.

So, I just, I love that example, Paul, because I think it speaks to that, hey, we’re here today saying we believe data-influenced decisions is the right way to go. But it’s not without a change management process, right, or a different mindset or acknowledging that there might be tension there. So, I love that. Thank you so much for sharing that.

So, if I’m listening today, like where do I start? Right? So, if I’m a, especially if I’m a small business, how can I start using data to make better decisions in my business? Even if I don’t have a lot of experience like both of you do. So, if I’m a small business owner and I’m listening, And I’m not, I would say I’m not doing that data influence decision making today. Where would I start?

(17:21) Erik Vandermause

I’ll go back to value. So, use value as your guiding principle. Where do you see the most trap value in your organization? Where are your people at the front-line spending too much time on repetitive things, creating manual documents? Where do they need insight in their day-to-day? And then look to tools that are out there already and look to expertise.

If you are looking to invest in data, look for people that have “Python skills”. Paul’s team has a lot of Python skills. And if you can, even as a small business, invest in someone just out of school or maybe someone that’s in college now that is taking those classes in computer science, learning about Python. you can let them loosen your organization but direct them towards the value. They will start to show you things that, wow, never thought of it that way.

(18:13) Matt Cranney

I love that. Paul, anything you’d add there?

(18:14) Paul Krause

Just that you can start really simple. Even if you don’t want to go the route of bringing in somebody with expertise. You’re a business owner of a small business. You’re not sure what to track. Start with your goals, like Erik said. Figure out what’s most important. Where does the value lie? And from there, start to figure out what drives that? What factors surround that goal? So, what is the measure you’re trying to do if that’s an expense? We’ll just say some random expense that you have that’s been creeping up on you. What are the factors surrounding that? If it’s some supply or some raw material that you’re bringing in. Where is it sourced? What time of year are you purchasing? Is it the shipping method? Start to track all that if you don’t have it today.

And then once you have some data, start to wrangle it in and figure out, okay, let’s put this in a spreadsheet in Excel. Start simple, put some graphs over it, and see if you can spot any trends and really start to drive into what are my key performance indicators. I think that’s an approach you can take to get rolling instead of the big bang stuff.

(19:09) Matt Cranney

It’s even just understanding that data is all around us. Even things you might not think of as data can be data. Right. In terms of, you know, number of customers coming into the store every day is a data point. Right. Number of sales every day is a data point.

And then once you have that data again in a computer program, in a spreadsheet, then you’re able to look at and identify trends, right? And things that you can then move into that data influence decision. But even just understanding every business has data.

If I’m listening today, I’m a small business owner. You know, what are some of the…potential pitfalls maybe, right, or common mistakes that you would think maybe small businesses make when trying to use data either for the first time or in the first sort of iteration of their business.

(19:50) Paul Krause

Yeah, real simply, it’s just trying to use any data you have without really a clearly defined purpose for it or understanding what is your goal in looking at it. So, if you have an expense, what are you trying to do with that? And are you looking at it through the right lens? Do you have the right information around it? Do you have enough data? You know, trying to base a decision off of two data points, that’s not going to be practical.

Data quality goes right along with that. Whatever you’re tracking, make sure it’s consistent, make sure it’s clean. Don’t muddy it up. And then, and then the biggest thing that I’ve seen in the past is when a company buys a tool without having a plan for it. So you go spend money on an analytics tool, regardless of your size, there’s tools for every company and trust me, you know, people, the vendors try to push everything down your throat constantly and hey, this will work for you. But if you don’t have a plan in mind and a goal for how you’re going to implement that and understand the value you want to get from it, nine times out of 10, that’s probably going to fail and it’s going to be a sunk expense.

(20:41) Matt Cranney

Yeah, it’s kind of like, I don’t know, if at home, if I buy the world’s most complex machine to help me mow my lawn, but I don’t know how to operate it, the lawn is not going to get mowed. Right? So, the best tool is one that you know how to use and how to use consistently and maintain and all those things. That’s a great that’s a great call out. Erik, what about you? Anything you would add there?

(21:01) Erik Vandermause

Paul said it well, but a small business mistake, I think, in using data is thinking that they’re too small. For example, my cousin, he runs a photography business up in the Green Bay area. And, you know, he’s got about, I think he’s got about 20 to 30 employees. So really good small business, but a photographer.

And he’s telling me the other day, he was saying, you know, my competition now is these AI generated tools. You know, he’s competing against generative AI now. And, but at the same time, he’s not just giving up. He’s saying, look, I’m going to invest. He’s, you know, he has small business, 20 to 30 employees, but he’s looking for, he’s like, Erik, who should I hire? I need to hire a data guy, data person. And so, you know, he’s, he’s looking for those skills. And so he’s looking for to hire somebody with, with those Python skills that, that can help make sense of what he’s got in his shop, but he’s making investments in it because he sees the competition is more and more, it’s not another photographer, it’s the computer.

 (22:02) Matt Cranney

You’re never too small to start thinking about this. And it’s never too early to have this be a competitive advantage for your business. If I’m listening today and I’m hearing you, too, and I really want to get started here, you know, how can I overcome challenges? Right. Like, data security, right? Like the more data I track, the more secure, you know, I have to think about security or, or maybe employee resistance, you know, people who haven’t sort of been used to data-influence decisions. Do you have any advice or guidance for how we overcome those, those types of challenges?

 (22:31) Erik Vandermause

Yeah, I’ll start with security. We’re seeing cyber-attacks hitting school districts, hitting small businesses. It is everywhere. So, number one advice, be vigilant with your employees. Double down on ensuring that they know how to avoid phishing attempts. Because it’s really just that one email that they click on that’s a phishing attempt and now they’re in.

Next, I would say start with collecting your use cases. Start with finding and talk about it that way. Talk about use case, and you’ll end up with probably over 100. Start to categorize them. What kind of theme is it? Is it trying to grow? Is it trying to automate? Is it trying to bring new insight to this decision? What is that use case trying to do and what kind of themes are you seeing?

And ensure that you can measure the value that you’re creating. So often, you’ll go after a use case, but now once you put it in place or you put some solution in place, you can’t really measure what the value is being created out of it. And so probably don’t even implement it if you can’t measure the value on the back end. That’s what I would say.

(23: Matt Cranney

Yeah, love it. Paul, anything you would add there?

Paul Krause

Just a little bit to add, I think Erik hit it all on the head there, but just thinking of the security aspect of it, when we hear things like AWS, you know, Amazon Web Services, we hear that as something that’s huge, probably for corporations, that’s not necessarily true. You can access that very cheaply and at a small scale. So when we think about securing data, putting it in a place like that not only backs it up, We talked about the hard work of finding that data and then started to track it. You don’t want to lose it all. So backing your data up, but then storing it somewhere secure. And then ultimately just do your homework. Don’t understand the risks that you have. Don’t email spreadsheets outside the company to random areas that’s going to expose everything you have. And then the only other thought I had was on employee resistance to using the data would really be around starting small.

Don’t overwhelm your end users with too many features or too many things to look at all at once. Start to engage them in small bite -sized pieces that helps them to not only grasp the tools that you’re going to display them in or present them in, but also just to get a feel for how maybe the culture shift is going to change a little bit to starting to use data.

Matt Cranney

Yeah, no, that’s awesome, you guys. I think those are really wise and practical sort of thoughts and ideas. So maybe our last question in this section and will be practical. But, you know, what are some, you know, affordable user friendly tools I can use to start to collect, maybe and analyze the data? I think we’ve referenced a couple of them, but let’s call them out specifically so that as somebody sort of getting ready to hit stop listening, you know, today, they can be like, OK, I’ve got to. I’ve got a next step or I’ve got something that I can go research or think about. Paul, maybe you can keep going.

Paul Krause

Yeah, I’ll just, again, keep it super simple. I’m thinking if you don’t want to incur any additional expense, Microsoft Excel is the obvious one. Most of us have Excel. If you don’t, Google Sheets has essentially the same functionality, and that is completely free. So you don’t have to have any licensing for Google Sheets. But they’re tools that most of us have, we can access. They offer a ton of functionality, and you don’t need to get overly complex right away.  

Again, you can start just throwing your data in there, put a graph over it, understand what you have a little bit, and then dial it in to more specific things that you’re trying to measure. Also, don’t be overwhelmed by those tools. When we get with more simple, basic tools like those, and I wouldn’t even say simple or basic, when we get to the more widely used tools like those, there’s a ton of resources on the web that can get you started. Whether you’re just out Googling things and finding out information, there’s videos all over YouTube. Just Don’t be afraid to start digging in and trying.

Matt Cranney

Yeah, I love that. Erik, what about you?

Erik Vandermause

Yeah, I would start with Grammarly. The AI tools there have helped me become a better writer and a faster writer. They’ve gotten quite good at helping to, with their AI tools, helping to improve my grammar. So I would start there. ChatGPT, you know, that’s all the buzz, of course. It really has become part of my day. I use it probably, I’m asking it questions every other hour or so. And I use it as a first draft. I use it as just a way to get me started, as a way to, hey, create a first draft of this email I need to send. Or here’s a little bit of data that’s, there’s not, you know, there’s not private data in it. You couldn’t ever tie it back, but help me analyze this quickly. Things you can do just to get, get started, get a jump, get a first draft going. It’s saving me time. And I’d say over the last, you know, since it came out over the last year, nine months or so, I didn’t use it every day at first, but now I can tell it as I look back. Yeah, I’m using it more and more. So I would go there.

Matt Cranney

Yeah. Awesome, okay. Well, Paul, Erik, thank you so much for all those responses as it relates to sort of data influence decision making. I think you’ve given our audience a ton to think about today. So as always, before we let you go, our last set of questions is our fastest break set, and we’ll do this round robin. I’ll ask each question to each of you, and then we move on to the next one. We’re just looking for a quick off the top response to each one, and then we’ll move on. Does that sound okay?

Matt Cranney

All right, Paul, I’m gonna come to you first. Favorite book that you’ve read in the last 12 months?

Paul Krause

It’s talking to strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. It kind of gives you insights into how others think and help be effective in communication.

Matt Cranney

Love it. Erik, what about you?

Erik Vandermause

The Everything Store, it’s the story of Amazon. Just a great read.

Matt Cranney

Awesome. Complete the sentence. Paul, for you, leadership is.

Paul Krause

It’s an art. There’s no definites. Different people, different situations all require different solutions.

Matt Cranney

I love that. Erik, what about for you? Leadership is.

Erik Vandermause

I just learned this by reading wisdom of the bullfrog. Leadership is being able to stand before the long green table and make your case to your peers.

Matt Cranney

Love it. Paul, the most impactful coaching advice that you’ve ever received.

Paul Krause

Make it happen. Commander of mine in the Army always used that phrase and it stuck with me. It’s what can I do to make this happen, not wait for something or wait for it to happen miraculously.

Matt Cranney

I love it. Erik, what about for you?

Erik Vandermause

So similar, so my grandpa was a World War II vet and his saying always as a kid was do it now. That I would always hear from him, do it now, do it now.

Matt Cranney

Do it now. Love it. Okay, Paul, your favorite podcast that you would recommend to our audience.

Paul Krause

You mean other than fast break? Okay, I’ve been listening to the AI breakdown. It’s all about AI as we’re delving more into that world here. I just want to learn as much as I can.

Matt Cranney

Other than fitness break, yep.

Matt Cranney

Love it. Erik, what about for you? Favorite podcast?

Erik Vandermause

I’m a big fan of Lencioni at the table. I really like him. And yeah, you’re right that smell your customers. I just started that, but he’s great.

Matt Cranney

Yeah, no, he’s we’re huge. Lencioni fans here here at M3. OK, you can’t live without it app on your phone and Paul, maybe you’re going to say to our example before say maps, but I will. I’ll come to you on that one.

Paul Krause

Yeah, it’s one note. I also have it on my laptop, obviously, but it just really helps me keep life organized.

Matt Cranney

Love it. Erik, what’s your favorite app?

Erik Vandermause

Mine right now is the Aura. I just bought one of those Aura rings and it’s speaking of data. The amount of data I’m getting on myself is crazy. It’s telling me when I’m about to get sick based on my body temp, my stress level. It’s ridiculous what it’s telling me.

Matt Cranney

Yes. Yep. Yep, yep, yep. No, as you know, I wear like 19 data devices all over my body. So I know exactly what you’re talking about. Okay, Paul, last thing you did that truly scared you.

Paul Krause

Ah, recently my oldest son turned 16 and handed over the keys right after he got his license to watch him drive away without me in the car. That was scary.

Matt Cranney

Oh, oh, you know, I think you’re the second guest in a row to talk about driving with a teenager. So although they said the scary thing wasn’t watching them drive away, it was actually being in the car with them. So, so good, good example. Erik, what about for you?

Erik Vandermause

Last thing was slalom water skiing. I can still do it, not for very long, but scary every time.

Matt Cranney

Okay, well you made it, so that’s good. Okay, last one, Paul. If you had to give a TED Talk, what would be its title?

Paul Krause

Take the time to be efficient. I have a sign in my office that I like to reference all the time. It’s the three cavemen. Two of them are hauling a wheelbarrow full of rocks, but it’s got square wheels on it. There’s a guy in the back holding round wheels, and the other guys are saying, no thanks, we’re too busy. So I always feel like us data people are building solutions, holding that round wheel. We just got to make time to embrace it.

Matt Cranney

Love that. Erik, what about you?

Erik Vandermause

Mine’s not as good. Actually mine is a joke. It’s just how not to do lawn care. I’m just terrible at it.

Matt Cranney

For those listening at M3, Erik’s state of his lawn has been questioned by multiple people at multiple times. So that makes sense. That would make sense. So, okay, Erik, Paul, thank you. As we wrap up today, if our audience wants to know more about each of you or how they can connect, where’s the best place for people to find you? Erik, maybe you can go first.

Erik Vandermause

Yeah, just search me on LinkedIn and I’d be happy to connect.

Matt Cranney

Well, Erik, Paul, thank you so much for being willing to be with us today to shine a light on data influence decision -making, such a critical topic for everybody listening. We’ve appreciated your wisdom, your insights. We really, really appreciate you both. Thank you so much.

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The Fast Break podcast is hosted by Matt Cranney, Executive Vice President of M3 Elevate.


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