CEO HackCEO NuggetI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM1825 – Co-Founder and CMO Helps to Further Outsourcing and Insight Into How People Work

Podcast Interview with Liam Martin

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

This episode on CEO Podcasts features Liam Martin, the co-founder and CMO of TimeDoctor.com and Staff.com. Liam is also a co-organizer of RunningRemote.com, which is the largest conference on building remote teams. With over 10 years of experience working with remote employees, Liam is passionate about furthering outsourcing and gaining insights into how people work.

During the episode, Liam shares his CEO hack, which involves using Time Doctor and the Twist app. These tools help with time management and team communication. His CEO nugget of wisdom advises entrepreneurs to focus on what they're really good at and work hard to excel in those areas. Liam defines being a CEO as having the responsibility and freedom that comes with being a business owner.

Listeners interested in learning more about Liam and his work can visit the TimeDoctor.com website, the Staff.com website, and the RunningRemote.com website.

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Transcription:

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Liam Martin Teaser 00:00

Trying to figure out how to get more people to work remotely. Our mission statement as a business is we want to empower people to work wherever they want, whenever they want.

So that connects to software, that connects to conferences, and it could connect to a whole bunch of other stuff in the future.

Intro 00:15

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:39

Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we've hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners, just like you, what I like to call the CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focusing on CEO Hacks and CEO Nuggets. This is by far one of my favorite questions I asked on the show. In other words, I asked, what are the apps, books, and habits that make you more effective and efficient? Those were the CEO hacks. Then I asked for a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, or something that you might tell your younger business if you were to hop into a time machine. Those were the CEO nuggets. That's what we'll focus on this month and some of the top ones that can instantly impact your business.

I love all the questions, but with every episode, I thought I would walk away with something I could look at and implement right there to save the precious resources, time and money. Or I would also learn about the advice, tips and tidbits or tools of the trade on how to level up our organization. So you'll hear some of these this month. So sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Liam Martin of timedoctor.com, staff.com, and runningremote.com.

Liam, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Liam Martin 02:17

Thanks for having me, man. I really appreciate it. I also really appreciate that you pimped out three different URLs of mine.

Gresham Harkless 02:22

I had to. I had to, you're doing so many things. I had to make sure to let everybody know all the awesome things that you're doing.

Liam is a co-founder and CMO of timedoctor.com, staff.com, is a co-organizer of runningremote.com, the largest conference on building remote teams. After working with remote employees for over 10 years. Liam works on furthering outsourcing and is passionate about how to gain insights into the inner workings of how people work.

Liam, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Liam Martin 02:52

Absolutely.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:53

Awesome. Let's do it. So the first question I have was just to hear a little bit more about your story and what kind of led you to co-found and co-start your organizations.

Liam Martin 03:00

Sure. So I was probably like a lot of people that are in their thirties. I was finishing grad school around 2008, 2009. I don't know if you know what happened around then, but the economy completely collapsed. I actually was teaching a class in university and I thought I was just going to pursue a career in academia. That was really my goal and then I taught my first class and very quickly realized that I was absolutely horrible at teaching. I remember I started the first class with about 300 students and ended up with around 150 by the end of the semester. That's really bad by the way. I got some of the worst professor reviews in the entire department.

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I remember coming into my supervisor's office and I said, I don't think I'm very good at this. And he said, no, you're not and I said, so where does that leave me? He's like you've really got to get good at this teaching thing if you want to actually enter academia because you got to do this for about 10 to 20 years before you get to do anything fun. So I instead submitted a master's thesis. I was at a grad school and then entered another tier of my life, which was doing online tutoring. Because I figured out that I really liked teaching, but I didn't like lecturing and that actually turned into a business.

So I had dozens of online tutors throughout North America and Europe that were teaching people, primarily their pre-med prerequisites, to be able to make sure that they got really good marks on those pre-med prerequisites. The problem that I had inside of that business was I couldn't scale the business any further because a tutor and a student would have discrepancies towards the amount of hours that they did. So I would bill a student for 10 hours and then the student would say, I only worked with my tutor for five hours. Then I'd have to go to the tutor and say, Hey, did you work 10 hours with a student? And the tutor would obviously say, yes. So I'd end up refunding the student for five hours and paying the tutor for the full 10 hours. I would make no money out of that deal.

So time doctor, which was one of the first businesses that I really got into that was pure software was with me and my co-founder Rob and it basically completely solves that problem. So it very clearly quantifies exactly how long you worked when you're working remotely and how effectively you actually worked. That led into staff.com, our enterprise product, and then running remote, which is really a passion project for me and for the rest of the company, which is trying to figure out how to get more people to work remotely. Our mission statement as a business is we want to empower people to work wherever they want, whenever they want. So that connects to software that connects to conferences, and it could connect to a whole bunch of other stuff in the future.

Gresham Harkless 05:37

That makes perfect sense. I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper and hear a little bit more about, time doctor and all the awesome things that you're doing with that organization.

Liam Martin 05:44

Sure. So time doctor is primarily a tool that doesn't just measure how long someone worked, but what they did while they were working. So it measures all of the variables connected to work. So right now I'm doing podcast as my task and I know that I've been doing this particular task for, to see here, 17 minutes and 32 seconds. At the end of this, I can compare this to all the other podcasts that I've done and measure exactly how much time I spent on zoom on Gmail, on Google calendar, all of those different variables, and then signals will start to jump out of the data so I can actually being myself a lot more productive.

So all of those things we just amalgamate and we use a lot of machine learning to be able to also understand how people are productive and where they can become more productive. But fundamentally, it's a tool to number 1 measure what people are doing when they work remotely because that's a major component of barriers towards people really openly working remotely, particularly in the large corporate world. Then secondarily, on top of that, let's actually make you more productive while we're measuring all this data.

Gresham Harkless 06:49

Yeah and that makes perfect sense. Time is one of those resources that you don't get back. So I wanted to ask you now for either you or your organization, or maybe a mix of both for what I call your secret sauce. What would you feel distinguishes you or set you apart? Do you have an example for us?

Liam Martin 07:01

Sure. I would probably say it boils down to two variables, and I'm going to talk about one is a product advantage and the other one, which is just a mission advantage. The 1st one is mission advantage, which is we are not necessarily focused on how much money we make. I think that opens us up to other opportunities that we wouldn't have otherwise gone after. So as an example, running this conference, we have this beautiful conference that we run in Bali. It was the first year that we ever ran it last year, and it became the biggest conference on remote work in the space, and that was very exciting to us.

It was definitely something that kind of took us back. And for us, we weren't really doing this for the purposes of making money. We were doing it for the purposes of what we really want to learn about this and we're genuinely interested. Then on our product side for us, me and my co-founder have had a real passion to pursue insights into productivity. I'm a sociologist by training and my desire to unlock the secrets of how people work, the insights into work has been something that's been a very strong signal for us throughout the years that we've been working on these businesses.

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I think that brings us into other directions that initially we didn't necessarily think were that important, but we really liked them. And we found out that they were critically important name and point. We currently have the largest second-by-second work database on the planet that measures websites, applications, mouse movements and keyboard movements. So that was useful to our customers, but it's infinitely more useful if you're trying to build an AI to be able to gain insights into how people work and how to make them more productive.

We didn't necessarily think about that when we first built it. We just really wanted to build something for ourselves that would make us more productive. But now it's much more effective for us to be able to build out something like that because we have those insights that just for any data would come tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

Gresham Harkless 09:03

Yeah, absolutely. So maybe there wasn't like you have to go from A to B necessarily. There wasn't the direction to take it to that level. Is that correct to say?

Liam Martin 09:10

Yeah, I think probably for anyone that let's say is running a business over a million-dollars a year, if you can take 10% of your budget and put it directly into pure research because that's where you're going to get. If anyone has a million-dollar business right now, and you're in software as an example, you pretty much could walk away with over half a million dollars a year in your pocket if you wanted to, and you'd be okay. Maybe you'd get 2 or 3 million over the next couple of years if you had a pretty good product.

But if you take that money and you reinvest it back in, then you can really have the opportunity to target a hundred million dollar business or a billion dollar business. And a lot of people go for the short win and cash out and say, yeah, I'm going to get a Tesla and get a big house when in reality, at least for me, it's a lot more fun to go after these other passions of mine in work. If one of them pops, you're doing really cool stuff. And that's the other thing that's neat about software too, is that we're doing stuff that governments can't do. Just look at most of the tech startups today, a lot of them are doing things that maybe governments will catch on to in the next 10 to 15 years.

So you've got open seas and you can go out and do whatever you want over the next decade and they're really not going to catch up. It's a very exciting time and also a very profitable time if you know where to put your energy.

Gresham Harkless 10:37

Awesome. Awesome. I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This could be an app, a resource or a software tool that you use to be super effective and efficient.

Liam Martin 10:46

Other than time doctor, obviously.

Gresham Harkless 10:48

Yeah. Or you can talk a little bit more about time doctor, how people can use it too.

Liam Martin 10:52

No, so, I do use time doctor every single day. It's something that we use as a tool to improve our personal productivity and report back all of our data inside of our company, but I would probably say another one, which has not really been well received or maybe not well received. It's just not known that much, is a Twist. So I've been using this new app called Twist app and it's by the makers of dewest. Which is another task management tool. They have a very interesting philosophy as it applies to instant messaging and remote work and they believe that synchronous communication is actually really problematic to overall productivity. I would tend to agree with them.

So we've been using Twist very recently inside of our company, and it's been great because I have not been getting instant messages at 3 o'clock in the morning that I have to then respond to. I call it the distraction economy, usually online products, the better they are distracting you, usually the more money they make. That's a little disingenuous when you look at where Facebook is right now, Instagram. One of the major reasons why I think Twitter hasn't succeeded is because it's not as visual. It doesn't distract you as much. Something like Instagram in comparison is very visual and it distracts you very quickly and easily.

So whoever can distract you the most usually wins and you are the one that ends up losing. So a twist is in conflict with another very popular app for remote teams right now called Slack. So if anyone really wants to just focus on work and remove distractions from their workday, I would say Twist is one of the best tools to use. And we've been using it at the company with a significant success.

Gresham Harkless 12:33

Nice, we appreciate those CEO hacks. I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget, and you might have already touched on this, but do you have any kind of additional words of wisdom that you would give to us as entrepreneurs and business owners?

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Liam Martin 12:44

I think that there are two major variables that makes you a successful entrepreneur or person in general, but I think it actually particularly applies to entrepreneurship. You either have a work ethic or you're intelligent. So it's 1 of those 2 things and you can read a whole bunch of books that will make you wiser, but it won't actually improve your hard core just IQ, not generally. So everyone tries to get better at things that they're not good at, and I would suggest that you do not do that. Instead, just focus on what you're really good at and double down, triple down on it.

So, if you're not really good at data analysis, as an example, then don't do data analysis. Hire someone to be able to do it and just work really hard on the things that you are really great at. You really have to know who you are to be able to know that type of information. I know for me, I'm very quantifiably. I have a very quantifiable mindset. So I treat everything with data. I'm not as much of a people person. So it's a little bit more difficult for me to be able to create partnerships. As an example, I have a partnerships manager, someone that actually works with me to be able to handle the human side of the business, then I can focus on what I'm really good at.

So I had to give you that nugget. It's just focus on what you're really good at and then once you figure that out, work as hard as you possibly can to be able to maximize it.

Gresham Harkless 14:02

That makes perfect sense. I wanted to ask you now for my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. I wanted to ask you specifically, what does being a CEO means to you?

Liam Martin 14:12

You asked me that question a couple of weeks ago, and the first thing that popped up into my head was responsibility because there are almost 90 people right now that are in the company. My responsibility is to make sure that those people don't lose their jobs. Number one, that's the kind of the first emotional snap that came into my own mind. But then I would also say the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, however long you want with whoever you want, but that's more of a business owner mindset that isn't necessarily the CEO that works inside of it.

But if you're the founder and the CEO, that's a big advantage, and or founder and CMO, in my case, me and Rob. We can choose whether we want to wake up in the morning and go to work, or if we want to just sit on the couch and eat Cheetos all day long and watch Ozarks. By the way, the second season just came out. It's really good. So you can just make those decisions and you have the responsibility to the people that you work with to be able to make sure that you're writing the ship at the end of the day.

It really comes down to just make sure that you don't build a business that you hate. Because then you won't be coming in as often and you'll be doing more Ozark binges instead of focusing on what you really love. But I would say it's the responsibility, but the responsibility that I welcome, because I'm very excited about what I do in the morning, something that I get up for, and very rarely do I not want to go to work.

Gresham Harkless 15:29

That makes perfect sense. I love that definition. Liam, I appreciate you truly for taking some time out of your schedule. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know, and then also how best people can get ahold of you and find out more about Time Doctor.

Liam Martin 15:44

Sure. So if you want to learn more about Time Doctor, just go to timedoctor.com. If you want to join our passion project, go to runningremote.com, which is something that I've been very excited about learning over the last couple of months. Just doing a deeper dive into remote work.

Gresham Harkless 15:58

Thanks. Perfect sense. I appreciate you, Liam, and we'll make sure to have those links in the show notes so that anybody can follow up if they're interested.

But again, I truly appreciate your time and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Liam Martin 16:09

Thank you.

Outro 16:10

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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