Delivering Flawless Digital Experiences

Jeena James
VP of Developer Products and Platforms at HeadSpin
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Joe Toste (00:00:15):

(music). You're listening to the TechTables Podcast. A weekly Q&A podcast dedicated to interviewing industry leaders from across the world, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Mixing it up each week with topics ranging from design and product innovation to IOT and industry 4.0. Let's do this.

Joe Toste (00:00:33):

We're back for another week in the world of Tech Tables, with me, Joe Toste. I'd love to thank the behind the scenes on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. There, you can even message me questions for future guests coming on the show. But today, we're going to shift our focus to digital experience intelligence best practices with Jeena James, VP of developer products and platforms at HeadSpin.

Joe Toste (00:00:50):

If you haven't heard of HeadSpin, they're a wicked fast growing series C Silicon Valley company. HeadSpin is leading the digital experience intelligence solution that utilizes automation, AI, and analytics to unify end to end testing, performance optimization, and experience monitoring. HeadSpin empowers development, QA, operations, and product teams to deliver flawless digital experiences across all channels. Huge thank you to Jeena for taking time to come on the show with me today. But that's quite enough for me. Without further ado, I'm thrilled to welcome Jeena James to chat all things digital.

Joe Toste (00:01:23):

Okay, awesome. Well, welcome back to Tech Tables. I'm super excited to have Jeena James on today. Jeena, how you doing?

Jeena James (00:01:29):

I'm good. Thank you so much, Joe. I'm so happy to be here.

Joe Toste (00:01:32):

Oh, I love it. I love it. Okay, so let's kick off today a little bit about you and your background around actively mentoring and coaching working professionals, along with startup founders, and being a member of the Expat Woman's community in California.

Jeena James (00:01:46):

Yeah, thank you. So a bit about my background, I grew up in India. I moved to the US in 2012 with my job at Google, where I was for 13 and a half years before I moved to HeadSpin. It's been about eight months at HeadSpin. It's a startup in the Bay Area, based out of Palo Alto. We're a series C funded, primary backed by Google Ventures, Iconic, Nexus Venture Partners, as well as Dell.

Jeena James (00:02:12):

And we're very excited to be in the digital space. We're a digital experience AI platform. And we work with businesses of all shapes and sizes to help them manage their digital experience across mobile web, desktop, apps, as well as 5G, and other experiences. So yeah.

Jeena James (00:02:30):

And when I'm not working, when I'm not looking at heading up our product ... Development products group, I'm actively looking at places where I can travel, which unfortunately has had a pause for the last few months. But also now being focused in mentoring, as well as advising other startups, as well as businesses.

Jeena James (00:02:51):

And also, the Expat Woman community, we have a strong community here. And now it's also gone virtual and global in terms of women who are looking for opportunities, or looking to make certain changes in career, or just understanding how to navigate their career, and are not local to the place that they are currently residing in. So that's the premise. It's founded by [inaudible 00:03:15], a wonderful and passionate individual who's really invested in the community. So yeah.

Joe Toste (00:03:21):

Okay, so I really like that. I actually had never heard of it before. But I'm also a man.

Jeena James (00:03:28):

There are men part of the community too.

Joe Toste (00:03:31):

Oh, there are. Okay. There are men, okay. Well, what's the website? Where can people go find out more?

Jeena James (00:03:35):

It's theexpatwoman.com. So yeah. And there's a Facebook page, and there's Instagram as well. So yeah.

Joe Toste (00:03:42):

Awesome. And are you just a member there? Do you lead anything there? I didn't ask you before, but I'm curious now.

Jeena James (00:03:47):

I'm a member mainly. I'm also one of the mentors on call of sorts. I participate in a lot of the events that they have, whether it's panels, or webinars, or even networking events. I do that a lot in person. Now we've moved onto ... We had a global summit recently, and Empowered was the name of the charter, and the chapter.

Jeena James (00:04:08):

And so I hosted a round table, moderated questions around career, and navigation through your career journey, and then how to keep a pulse on what opportunities are out there. And that was a panel moderated by me. And we had folks from PG&E, and Pandora, Salesforce, and Ascena. So yeah, that was actual a pretty interesting event. I got to learn ... The best part about any of these community efforts are always, you also learn a lot while you are contributing. So it's never just one way. There's a lot that I learnt from different people, and diverse backgrounds, and the way how they have grown in their careers, and in their lives. And so there's a lot that I learn, as well as however I can help. So yeah.

Joe Toste (00:04:56):

Oh, no, I love that. I'm a fan. I definitely like that word, empower. And especially as the moderator, you get to learn. That's really funny. That's basically what I'm doing with you right now.

Jeena James (00:05:05):

Yeah, it's actually the only time I don't talk much. It's the same thing if I'm hosting someone, or if I'm talk ... If I'm interviewing someone, I talk less. Otherwise, I'm always talking.

Joe Toste (00:05:17):

Yeah, I love that. And we're on video right now. I guess, if you listen to the podcast on iTunes, you won't be able to see the video, but I actually have a notebook right here, and I'm ready to take any notes for anything you drop. I'm sure you're going to drop some really good stuff. Okay, so you talked about Google, and then the jump to HeadSpin. Talk about the story about the beginning of HeadSpin. I'd love this when I was doing a little bit of research. How did HeadSpin get it's name?

Jeena James (00:05:40):

Yeah. So actually, this is a really, really interesting and speaks to the foundation of the company as well. So the company was founded early 2015. And before that ... So the founders are Brien Colwell, and Manish Lachwani. And prior to that, Manish actually sold his previous startup, Appurify, to Google. And they were at this airport, and he was with his family at an airport. And his daughter was looking at, I believe, a YouTube video on her iPad.

Jeena James (00:06:14):

And at some point, she was like, "Why is this ..." And it's buffering as usual. And back in 2015, that was still ... It was very prevalent to see the buffering icon that just keeps on spinning. And so she was like, "Why is this constantly doing this? My head is spinning." And that's how the company decided, well, Brien and Manish decided that that's the name of the company. Prior to that, it was called Project XYZ.

Jeena James (00:06:37):

And so that's pretty much how the name came about. And then of course, one thing led to another. And in terms of focused on, how can you provide seamless digital experience across any form factor? Where your users are consuming your content, or engaging with your product or service. And you want it to be as uninterrupted as possible, which is what we want as consumers, right. You don't want to sit and wait for a video to load forever, or a content that you're trying to scroll through, and it's taking forever to come in front of you.

Jeena James (00:07:14):

Because your attention span is very finite. And so being able to put together all the content that the company, or the business has actually tried their best to get a delightful user experience, and then you're stuck with, whether it's a phone problem, an OS problem, or a network, or maybe it's the version of the app, everything else that then can lead to a delay in, or latency in how long it takes for that content to render, or be ready to read and usable.

Jeena James (00:07:45):

And so that's how our company has been thinking about problems, and solving that across any partner that we work with, channel partners, or large businesses, enterprises, to the medium and small businesses as well. And being able to help them through that journey, but not just before when you're thinking about launching something, but also across the development life cycle post as well, post launch experiences.

Joe Toste (00:08:09):

Yeah, that's really great. So I don't know how old Manish's daughter was at the time, but I mean, he probably could have paid a marketing person to come up ... Probably 10s of thousands of dollars to come up with the name, and his daughter just nailed the problem and the pain all in a really great name. I mean, it's so good. It's just so good. And I mean, obviously kudos to him for ... He obviously was listening to her. I mean, she probably only said it one time like, "Oh, my head is spinning." Or maybe she said it a couple times. But I really love that story as someone, I have a 10 year old daughter at home. So I hear funny stuff sometimes, and I'm like, "I got to jot that down."

Joe Toste (00:08:48):

So let's dive in a little bit. Let's talk about the importance of delivering flawless digital experiences across all channels. I think this is a massive gap in the marketplace for a large number of companies today. Why don't you just unpack that?

Jeena James (00:09:02):

Yeah. So where do I begin I guess? That's the-

Joe Toste (00:09:08):

With everything. With everything. Begin with everything.

Jeena James (00:09:10):

With everything, okay, in the beginning. Well, I think it would be better to use it as an example. So give me a name of an app that you use a lot.

Joe Toste (00:09:20):

Not a lot, because my wife would kill me, but I would say Domino's Pizza is a secret guilty pleasure.

Jeena James (00:09:28):

Okay, great. I think Domino's is a great example. And you can actually imagine in the last couple of months, there have been more ... They've suddenly become an essential app if you think about it. And many other food delivery, and restaurant delivery companies, apps and web, I mean, desktop experiences, because people want food. And as opposed to going to work every day where lunch is taken care of for most of the companies. You have to now start planning your meals.

Jeena James (00:09:57):

And so when you think about the Domino's app, and when you're looking at a ... I'm going to [inaudible 00:10:03] example here. When you launch it, there's that key moment where you know what you want, or you're probably looking to discover something on the platform. And so at that point, there are so many touchpoints where you have a critical user journey that you want to make sure you're moving quickly.

Jeena James (00:10:18):

So it would come from the launch of an app, to searching for a place, or even hitting what's near me, right. And then it takes a while to actually recognize where you are. And then moving onto selecting your pizza, and adding what you have to, and then add it to cart, and then you are checking out. And so these are all critical user journey flow that has key performance top points where you will be waiting for content to load, or for you to go to the next screen.

Jeena James (00:10:48):

And so what HeadSpin as a platform, what we do is, our platform provides this opportunity for any business to actually be able to test this experience, and measure performance on real devices. So you could be on your iPhone, I could be on my Android, and then with all the fragmentation in the world, you could be on different versions of your iPhone, and versions of Android, and all possible combination, and [inaudible 00:11:13] you could be on home wifi, I just decided to use my Google Fi connection for some reason. And our experiences can be very different based on these combinations. And all the developer wanted to do was just get you to order your pizza, and have it within 30 minutes.

Jeena James (00:11:30):

And so those areas are the points where HeadSpin, as a platform, can measure on real devices. And it could be anywhere. So if you're looking at Domino's experience, and you're in, say, Nashville, and I'm in Palo Alto, and that could also be different. And how do you reconcile, how do you understand that before your real users end up complaining that, "Hey, this is crashing." Or, "It's taking too long to order."

Jeena James (00:11:55):

And so being able to measure. So understanding, for a business to know what are your key performance indicators that you care about? So those are KPIs. And then how do you measure that? And that's where the platform, HeadSpin, is able to help you measure that user journey. And then how do you identify what are the bottlenecks? And they could be performance related issues like for example, the app might take 20 seconds to launch. And you don't know why it took 20 seconds to launch, and you have to really drill down into it.

Jeena James (00:12:22):

And you want a reliable platform that can give you not just, "Oh, it took 20 seconds to launch." But also drill it down to specific performance issues, like it could be that you are downloading extra content after the app has launched, or it could be that you're depending on a lot of SDKs. And so they are all front loaded as soon as it's launched, rather than actually being staggered across the user journey experience.

Jeena James (00:12:45):

So what are the things that are bloating, that are delaying the user to get into the real content that you want them to see? And then being able to track over time. So okay, I've figured out my issue, I know exactly what's going on, and the data science there, and the AI engine that HeadSpin has, and it's proprietary, is able to detect all of that. But then how do I know that when I make the change, it's actually changed?

Jeena James (00:13:09):

And so being able to test it continuously over a period of time can also tell you, "Okay, my issue has gone up, or it's actually gone down. And here are all the steps that I took to fix it. So then that's why it's gone down." Or maybe it's not, and then it's continuing to go up as total time taken to engage.

Jeena James (00:13:27):

And so that's where the platforms able to help you. And the only way that you can't necessarily ... I won't be using the platform every day to pull a session. And that's where the beauty of automation kicks in, because you actually want to see this across many factors, and you want to be able to get enough data to actually say, "Statistically significant, this is ... Remove all the anomalies, and this is the trend that you're seeing across a period of time, and how, say, app launch, has improved over time, or has declined."

Joe Toste (00:13:57):

Yeah, that's really good. And I think especially with Domino's and a lot of the other apps, getting the user exper ... Fixing the experience and the latency before it gets to the user is really genius and super powerful, because by the time it gets ... I think it's within three seconds, and I don't know, I just made this number up, I'm getting frustrated like, "My head spinning." See, now I'm going to use it every time. My head is spinning. And I'm going to chuck my iPhone, because I can't order Chipotle, or Domino's, or, "Whoever designed this is terrible." And next thing you know, I'm moved on from Domino's and I'm going to some other food.

Joe Toste (00:14:35):

So yeah, no, I think it's just pure genius, and being able to ... Because it really comes down to the experience, right. And if they have a good experience, they're going to come back, and they're probably going to go tell their friends, "Hey, go use this app." Or, "Go use this, because it's better." And we'll talk about it a little bit later. But an app I have a big issue with is the Costco app. I'm going to chuck that out the window. But not to jump, so-

Jeena James (00:15:02):

But you depend on it, right.

Joe Toste (00:15:03):

Well, actually, just as a side note, just as a tangent ... And I can do this because I host the podcast. On the Costco app, it used to be like, hey, they just allowed you to show your membership. And I won't actually search for anything on the Costco app, it's just too slow, it just doesn't work.

Joe Toste (00:15:21):

But what I'll do, what I did was, there's a third party, an Apple Wallet, you can just take the ID number and create your own custom card, which then creates a barcode in your Apple Wallet that then, now for self checkout, I just scan it, and I don't have to wait. But as far as for searching for anything on the app, forget it, I won't even do it. I won't even go to Costco online dot com. It's terrible. And I love Costco the store, but their whole mobile and web experience is just terrible. Sorry, Costco.

Jeena James (00:15:53):

It sounds like you had to figure out a detour through another platform, to actually be able to use the real destination that you wanted to be at. Actually, to the point on the food, there's also the other part is ... And I feel like it's become more strong now, because ... It was always there, you could find the same food. And if you're looking for pizza, and you're not really tied to one company over another, or one restaurant over another, if you're looking for good pizza, you can find the pizza place, or you can find a restaurant, or you can find the same shirt if sometimes on different platforms.

Jeena James (00:16:30):

So there are very few ... There are indie brands of course, and they are shop as a company, Shopify, shop, they're doing a really good job of bringing all the ... The indie brands that they've been working with into one portal, one platform. But you could technically find a pair of jeans on other platforms.

Jeena James (00:16:49):

So if you're going to spend time on one purely because of certain reasons like, say, "I only want to order from this particular food delivery place because I know they serve from that restaurant." If anything, in the last two months, all restaurants have been ... Almost all restaurants are now available on all the restaurant, or food delivery apps. And it's a need of the hour. I mean, there's not so much ... They have to be part of this collective, or ... Yeah, a collective of sorts.

Jeena James (00:17:16):

And so if you can find the same restaurant on another app, or a website, and this one app or website is giving you so much trouble, then over a period of time, you're going to gravitate towards where you can get the same content, same food, and same product, but at a much more experiential service, where service is great, or where the user experience is really looked at. And it's not necessarily about now the brands that they want to get affiliated to, it's going to be the experience that you have that actually matters.

Jeena James (00:17:45):

And that has been true, even in the travel industry for a while, right. It's not the millennials and the gen Zs are seeking experiences more than just checking the places off a bucket list, and to dos. So yeah.

Joe Toste (00:17:58):

Yeah. No, and that's ... I like everything you said there. I mean, especially for airlines, there's so many different options. And my own personal preference is Delta. But it literally comes down to the experience. There's a human experience, which you would also get [inaudible 00:18:14] DoorDash, right. Although there is an app, there is still a human experience element. Did they chuck your food at the door? Did they leave it in the wrong place? So there's a human element, and then obviously there's, like you said, if all the restaurants are on the same app, and it just doesn't function, over time, yeah, people are going to leave.

Jeena James (00:18:32):

Yeah. I can totally see we love food.

Joe Toste (00:18:35):


Jeena James (00:18:37):

But I don't know how to cook really well, so I'm always ordering from one or the other. So you can imagine, if I'm really hungry, and the food doesn't show up, or it takes a long time for ordering the food, I get very hangry. So yeah.

Joe Toste (00:18:49):

Yeah, I'm not really that good of a cook. My wife is really great, I'm not so much. And so when she's not in control of the kitchen, I'm going to my phone and figuring out what app can help me right now, alleviate my pain. So you mentioned this phrase in our podcast intro call, you said, "If your app web game that can be connected, it can be tested." With more data than ever before captured by companies, how does HeadSpin help those companies benchmark against this competition.

Jeena James (00:19:16):

Yeah, very ... Yeah, that's something that I'm very happy to talk about as well. It's something that my teams been also very passionate and excited about bringing out these insights, and intelligence to the industry, and to our partners and customers, as well as, yeah, and our team.

Jeena James (00:19:36):

So in terms of ... I had mentioned being able to test on real devices. And we're able to do that compared to anybody else out there, we're able to do that without any SDK. So there is really no other code change, or implementation that is really needed. And the platform fits into all the dev workflows like CRCD integration, alerts. And throughout that lifecycle of how a team conceives idea, but brings it to fruition, and goes to market. And there are specific areas where HeadSpin, as a platform, can actually help and deliver great user experience, and the end user experience as well.

Jeena James (00:20:14):

And so when I mention anything that [inaudible 00:20:17] if an app, game, or a web experience, or a desktop experience, at the end of the day, you're going to consume it on a form factor, and that is your Android, or your IOS, or your Windows phone. And then it could be a gaming console, it could be a wearable, it could be any of those places where the user is consuming the content. And those are ... So we support thousands of devices, real devices, and being able to test and measure performance on them across 100 plus countries. And [inaudible 00:20:45] networks on and wifi in those countries.

Jeena James (00:20:48):

And so what happens, and one of the use cases, and a key use case that customers and businesses look at for is, "Well, I am a brand and a company in the US, and I have a digital content. Say, I'm a music app. And consumed primarily on app. And because it's digital, and I might have the rights to also distribute it outside, or and have specific country, different location geography rights. I would love to ... I want to figure out how can I do better in the UK."

Jeena James (00:21:20):

And the UK might have other apps, and more music experiences that are very particular there, and users are used to consuming content on those apps and sites. And they also are on different phones, and telco connections like you don't have the AT&T there. So there'll be a version of this, and there'll be top carriers there.

Jeena James (00:21:40):

And so a business here is able to actually understand how their product is actually working, or being consumed, or perceived in those ... From a technical standpoint, and how it's performing compared to peers in those markets. And so I call them peers, because at the end of the day, yes, there's always healthy competition, but there are also ... Sometimes companies, and in my experience, especially even in Google Play, as well as in HeadSpin, not every company that you think is in a certain category, will want to always compare themselves with the same category. They could be a travel app that considers themself to be more social. And so they want to be ... They're more experience driven, they want to have daily engagement, weekly engagement, so they concern ... They might actually look at, "How do I compare with other apps and games, or other apps that are more social in nature."

Jeena James (00:22:28):

And so peers, our aspirational peers that they consider. And then of course being able to test on real devices, on those network conditions, in those markets. And so that's an insight and an intelligence report that we provide, and we call them benchmark, and intelligence reports. And you're able to benchmark against peers in those categories, and the telco providers that you're looking for.

Jeena James (00:22:50):

And being able to see that in as you're thinking about going to a new market. So it helps you with launching in a brand new market. It could also help you with launching a new feature, or just even gut check as to, "How do other apps perform for the same kind of service that I'm providing? And am I doing better? Is my overall index, or overall performance score similar? Or is it worse? And what are the areas that I'm really bad, and how do I improve there?"And that's the kind of insight that we work with our partners to provide them, and work with our customers. Yeah.

Joe Toste (00:23:22):

Yeah, that's really great. Okay, so quick follow up on the digital experience front. What are some of the traits that you're seeing ... You guys have worked with obviously a lot of companies, see a lot of companies, even for test data. What do you see them really leading on the digital experience really well? What are these companies doing really well?

Jeena James (00:23:39):

So that's a great question. Because most of the time, I get questions like, "What are they not doing well? Give me all the problem areas." And I'm like, "But there are good things that they're doing." And then the rest are all fine tuning, and maintaining as well as growing, right. So when they do well ... And what we've seen is, when you have strong engineering and product culture where the culture is not just only left to the [inaudible 00:24:06] to actually solve for all the testing issues. But it's also to the dev ops team, and the product.

Jeena James (00:24:11):

And then other parts of the businesses are also aware of new features, new areas, or even existing fixes that you are making, putting into production. It's thought through, and you're testing, and you're measuring, and you're not just doing it for only one area. Someone in, say, India sent you a screenshot of how your app is just stuck, and then you're trying to triage it, and figure out what happened. But it's actually something that you probably know of, and just maybe you haven't prioritized it enough. And so how does it stack rank in terms of prioritization?

Jeena James (00:24:43):

And it's a culture throughout. It's not just the responsibility of one team, or one person. But it's actually something that others also recognize, and is able to work together. And then a platform such as like our platform, we're a platform that helps you also get you that kind of data ahead, or even during. So even when you do get that screenshot, it's not starting from scratch to go and figure out, "Okay, let me go and test on all devices." But you will actually know which device you're testing to, and you can actually use the platform, and test on that device, and understand, recreate that user journey, and see where it's falling.

Jeena James (00:25:19):

And so companies that do this really well have a strong mindset around testing, and performance. And it's not necessarily only for companies who have ... Sometimes it's, oh, it's a big company problem, or it's a large company. Because they're so large, and they have to keep a tab on everything. But even the startups, or a nimble company that just comes through, is setting up their business and growing, they do need some level of testing, and performance management, because they ...

Jeena James (00:25:49):

I mean, whether you like it or not, you are launching a product and solution in a world and environment where there are so many combinations of the wild where ... Into the wild that you're actually putting out your content. And having a good pulse on what are the ... Narrowing it down to, "Here are the top markets I really want to do well in." And markets could be cities in the US for example, or cities in UK if you're ... Or Korea. "And here are some of the popular devices that users are consuming content on, these are the networks that are really important in that market, here are the network conditions, the OS versions." And if you're able to at least prioritize that, and make sure that you test on those, you may solve for a lot of the issues, and not just start out with, "I've solved for the most important ones, and let the world tell me what is wrong."

Jeena James (00:26:42):

Because when something new comes in, it's also taking mind share from users of something else that they were previously using. And so if you really have to get into that space, you have to make sure that you deliver a really good experience rather than coming out with a sub optimal experience. And that doesn't require ... It doesn't have to be too elaborate, but it definitely needs to come from a place of testing and performance management.

Joe Toste (00:27:06):

Yeah, that's really great. We're going to talk about the HeadSpin app performance index in a second. Everything about HeadSpin, I really ... I was thinking about this, when I launched the podcast for Tech Tables, one of the things was, I had people ... And it was amazing how many people started coming to me, "iTunes doesn't work on this device, doesn't do it on this device."

Joe Toste (00:27:26):

And I'm thinking, as I'm just processing what you're saying right now, I'm thinking, "Oh, man, if this could have been handled before just for the website alone, and it plays in browser, it doesn't play in browser, it doesn't work on my Android device." I'm thinking, "Man, this could be really ..." Then that's just a microcosm of, obviously the actual real work that you guys put out there.

Joe Toste (00:27:47):

But yeah, if you can get ahead of the game, and really have that seamless experience, it's going to cause a lot less headaches. So talk about the HeadSpin app performance index. I know it recently came out with that, right. Was that pretty recent?

Jeena James (00:28:02):

Yes, it is. It's actually a ... It was a good segue, or ... How would I say it? A transition in terms of some ways, from the peer benchmarking content that we were already evaluating, and we were sharing with the community. And so being able to having content around top music apps, top grocery apps in the UK.

Jeena James (00:28:26):

Our team was looking specifically around, what are the essential apps and services out there today? And the need of the hour is that they have to be more or less always up and running, or at least performing. So it could be video conferencing apps, it could be the medical sites, and medical apps. I mean, all the times we get those alerts on the phone with the county sending you notice around shelter in place. My personal experience always ended up with, I click on it because it's high alert, high alarm. And then I'm waiting for 45, 60 seconds to wait for the content to load on the website, because guess what? Hundreds of people, thousands of people are all flocking in at the same time for the same content.

Jeena James (00:29:04):

And so being able to anticipate that kind of demand, and being able to have an experience that's ready when many people come together at the same time, or access the content at the same time is really important, because you want important message to be told. I don't want to go to Twitter to read what the Santa Clara County talked about on my ... As an alarm.

Joe Toste (00:29:23):

Yeah, yeah.

Jeena James (00:29:24):

So I mean, I [inaudible 00:29:25] the alarm if that's going to work or not. So being able to see that, and being able to benchmark that, that's been something that our teams constantly been doing, because it also affects us individually as well as, as a group, right. And putting that content. And then the HeadSpin App Performance Index, which is also HAPI. In some ways, we want our users ... The end users ... All businesses want their end users to be happy at the end of the day.

Joe Toste (00:29:49):

I was going to ask you about that. I was hoping it was HAPI. I was hoping. Okay, awesome.

Jeena James (00:29:53):

Yeah, it is HAPI. Yeah, it was actually ... We play a lot with that word, I even got a HAPI birthday cake recently. The cupcakes. So that was actually fun. We make our lives fun. I mean, there has to be a way in which we see through all this. So yeah. For indexes, the metric of performance is very ... It's simplified as much as possible. We've taken a stab at the four crucial points of any of a user journey. And we used contactless delivery experiences, because they are to begin with, and that's our inaugural report. We looked at shopping, we looked at food delivery, and restaurant delivery apps.

Jeena James (00:30:31):

And US to begin with. And we'll look at other markets as well across major cities that are impacted by COVID-19, and devices in these markets, IOS and Android. And we ran these sessions. It's a suer journey. You launch the app just like how we talked about the Domino's experience. Launch the app, search for something, load the content, load the item, and add it to cart. That's four things. And just for four of those, there is a time taken. And so that's what we call it as total spinner time, which also comes out to some test.

Jeena James (00:31:02):

So we play. We did all of this internally, and I'm very proud of that. It was all internal, no external forces. We just came up with all these words and terminology. But it's what we call the total spinner time. And the punchline there is making an attempt to get rid, or eliminate the spinner wheel for good, or reduce the time overall. And that is the index, it's the total time. And we looked at all the sessions across Android and IOS, and the report is actually there on our website. So if you go to headspin.io, you'll see HAPI, the index report, take a look at it. We've basically put them on this slowest to fastest, and it's TST that is used as a measure of how fast or slow overall across those KPIs.

Jeena James (00:31:48):

Now, it's our stab at this index. Of course, for a customer who is interested in finding out where they are on that spectrum of fastest experience and slower, they might have other KPIs that they care about. You might think about, "Oh, I want to know ..." You may not always sign into your Amazon account all the time. You might have a signed in experience, right. So how would you have the same metric, or same measurement, but I want to now look at it from a signed in user perspective?

Jeena James (00:32:18):

And maybe I'm not interested like, "Jeena, you and your team figured out to do it for Bluetooth speakers, but I want to actually do it for something else." Maybe it's another kind of content that is really popular, or a search term. And so whatever the customer is looking at, for those KPIs, we could do the same thing. And we plotted. This was just our attempt to give a sample of what that looks like. But that sample is also core user experience. And so plotting that is our HAPI, or our HeadSpin App Performance Index.

Jeena James (00:32:47):

And being able to measure that across time, and over time, maybe having a much more regular cadence in bringing out that report for those categories, we'd be able to also see the index move positive or not. And so that's our index. And we found a lot of interesting insights in that in terms of how popular apps, where you think are really popular, may not actually have the best experience when it comes to time taken for a user to consume the content. A usable content about the [inaudible 00:33:16].

Jeena James (00:33:16):

And there could be various reasons, and some of them popular reasons why. And areas that companies are looking to improve on are SDK dependencies, [inaudible 00:33:28] images are loaded multiple times, and all those images have a certain weight in terms of size that it consumes on the device. And so that can add up. And if you're loading the same image 10 times, and there are X number of KBs, then that adds up to how long it takes for the content to render, or it could be that your user is in, say, US, but your server is somewhere outside of the US. And that's why the time hop is pretty long.

Jeena James (00:33:55):

And so these are all the areas that you can actually drill down into, and see, what are the top areas that are leading to your app, or this experience being so slow? And the HAPI would give you the sum of all that, the time taken. But then you can actually drill it down to, is it launch that is taking longer, or is it add to cart? What are the areas where the users spending more time on my app, and not being able to get readable, usable content?

Joe Toste (00:34:20):

Yeah, that's all really, really great. What I was processing ... It's funny, when I think about the HeadSpin, have you done it for Slack at all? I'm just curious.

Jeena James (00:34:29):

Maybe. Maybe not.

Joe Toste (00:34:32):

Maybe. Maybe not. Okay.

Jeena James (00:34:33):

But, yeah, maybe. We use Slack actually. We're heavy users of Slack. In fact, I actually ... I also think there's value in, when you consume content across ... In WhatsApp, Facebook, these are all great examples of one where we wake up in the morning, and we're probably on our phone looking at this, and then we get in front of our laptops. And so you have that ... You actually changed your medium of consumption of the same brand. So you're probably on WhatsApp on the desktop.

Jeena James (00:34:59):

And so across that, how do you have a good seamless experience? Because you might be used to one thing on your phone, and the I get ... There are so many apps where I'm able to do certain things on the phone on the app, but there are 10 other things that are really important that don't work on app, but I have to go and open it on the desktop.

Jeena James (00:35:16):

And that drives me mad, because I'm like, "I don't have my laptop right then, so why can't I have all the features in one place? Or at least where I am most, as a user, using the brand or the content." So yeah. What about Slack were you-

Joe Toste (00:35:31):

Just maybe the last couple months, it's happened a couple times where there's a wheel that's spinning. And it's on the office wifi, or whatever, or my home wifi, and it's just like, "Oh, that's so frustrating." And then I go hop on my phone, and then I can see the messages, or the messages didn't arrive to my Mac, or my iPhone, but they went to my Apple Watch. I'm like, "What the heck is going on over there?"

Jeena James (00:36:00):

We're too connected. Imagine that. When we're too connected, what happens?

Joe Toste (00:36:03):

Yeah. So I do want to round out. I think you did some pretty interesting studies. I might be wrong. But on the video conferencing side. Talk about that. Talk about Zoom, BlueJeans, a couple of the other ones out there.

Jeena James (00:36:14):

Yeah. Yeah. Actually, we did that because as every other company out there, we are also ... We were trying to, early on, when shelter in place came into place, and work from home, we were trying to figure out how we all work. And for the most part, our teams, even though we're globally distributed, a good number of people work out of the Palo Alto office.

Jeena James (00:36:35):

And so you're very used to seeing folks, and walking up, and talking about challenges, or insights, and success, and what's working. And then having to switch entirely towards this screen in front of me. And many times you just have to ... And on top of that, we were in a really interesting position. So when I was at Google, the only video conference of choice, or whatever, is Google Meet and Hangout. So I'm very familiar, because it's just so organic when I'm on Google Calendar, and it automatically just opens ... Gives me the recommendation to use Google Meet, or Hangout, and being able to jump into a conference when the meeting is ready.

Jeena James (00:37:18):

So you don't get to try out other apps. But then at HeadSpin, we're a growing startup, and we work with customers of all sizes. And they use different platforms. So as a result, we got to use all those platforms. So in the first two, three weeks alone ... And we definitely have had obviously video conferencing calls, and calls with customers in the past. But it just amplified, and accelerated even more with shelter in place and work from home, because our own team members are communicating.

Jeena James (00:37:50):

So all said and done, obviously video conferencing apps, was just ... We had to really look at it, and look at how we were consuming, what kind of dependencies were there, and how is the experience seamless. And so what we did was, we looked at the top four to five video conferencing apps. And we started out with the IOS study, and then we followed up with Android.

Jeena James (00:38:10):

And we looked at key areas like how long it takes for first byte, when you launch the experience, how long it takes for it to load. And then we did that for BlueJeans, for Teams, for Zoom, for Webex, and then Google Hangouts, Meet as well, the Meet app. And it was interesting, because we talked about shopping apps, and the user journey is very clear, right. And the video conferencing is also super clear.

Jeena James (00:38:34):

I mean, if you think about it, you launch, and you want to be in the conference room, or the meeting room. And it shouldn't be so ... It shouldn't be all over the place. You should really join ... Unless you're the host and you're setting it up. And the second thing is screen share. Because that's super important. And we keep on asking, "Can you see my screen? Can you hear me? And can you see my screen?" Those are the two phrases that keep on happening, and I don't think you'll ever grow out of it. It just keeps on happening. You can see yourself, but you'll still ask, "Can you see me?"

Joe Toste (00:39:00):

You did that. You just did that coming on here.

Jeena James (00:39:03):

I did. I did.

Joe Toste (00:39:03):

Can you see me?

Jeena James (00:39:03):

And we had trouble.

Joe Toste (00:39:04):

And we had trouble, yeah, I know.

Jeena James (00:39:08):

Yeah. So these are a few things that keep coming up. And so we use that. And we looked at the metrics of how long it takes. And we had a laptop, and we had two phones. For IOS, we looked at both a device in Palo Alto, and another device in Japan. And then for Android, we did the same thing on a mobile phone in the US, and then in India.

Jeena James (00:39:28):

And what we really wanted to find out was just like any user experience, users dialing in and are using our platform. We recreated that user journey, and being able to dial in, how long it took to dial in, and they what kind of data was being consumed, or battery consumption. Because apart from all of the other stuff, there's also memory, battery, CPU, a bunch of other resource utilization metrics that are really important. And if you are ... I mean, if you're at home, you'll have your power source nearby, so maybe it's not a big deal. But if you're on the go, then you definitely do need to carry ... You're not going to carry a battery pack all the time while you're also on a video conference, or an audio call.

Jeena James (00:40:10):

And so we looked at those metrics, and then we plotted how every provider was doing. So I highly encourage you to check that out, it's on our blog, the report. It's quite interesting. Without going into too much details, we tried to stay on a high level overview of the user experience, but also the metrics that support it.

Jeena James (00:40:33):

And one of the key things that I find very interesting is our data science team, we're always working on fine tuning our metrics. And we have this video quality metric called the mean opinion score. It ranges from one to five. And that is our reference free score that we use for understanding how ... If the blurriness, the blockiness of a video experience. And reference free meaning there's a lot of data, and a lot of thought, AI, that goes behind making sure that this metric is actually a true representation, or as good a representation of the user experience, and how well they think the quality of the video has been rendered.

Jeena James (00:41:17):

And it takes a lot of learning and training data to actually get to that point. And our teams been invested, and has been investing in it for a while in terms of improving that. And it's a really powerful score, because it's also reference free. You don't necessarily have to have too much of past data in terms of, you may not have to see the same content, exact same content on different devices to actually come up with a score, you could have seen similar.

Jeena James (00:41:46):

And so videos are actually shown to users to build that model. And then you're calibrating it against the real experiences that users have. And then you're looking at subjective quality scores across diverse video content, and you're coming up with our models estimating what the score on the video that you are looking at. And that video may not have ever been seen before. So you don't necessary ... And that's the reference free part of the model, because it's backed by intense analysis of video or data set, but not necessarily the same video.

Jeena James (00:42:16):

So if you're, for example, the next, I don't know, let's think of a show that is going to happen. I'm going to blank out, but I'm going to just say some ... Stranger Things for example, the next episode.

Joe Toste (00:42:29):

Yes, that's my favorite.

Jeena James (00:42:31):

Yeah, okay. So yes, if we do that. And you're looking at that video for the first time, and you're trying to figure out the quality score on it, you haven't seen it before, so you'll have to then train the data. But our reference free is able to ... We've gone through enough of it to see, "Okay, now we can actually put a subjective score behind this video that we've not seen before."

Jeena James (00:42:50):

And that's pretty powerful, because you don't have to wait too long to actually get that kind of metric. And so yeah, and that's something that we use also in the video conferencing post that we put together in the report. So you can actually see the [inaudible 00:43:04] scores as well. And similarly, we've done other analysis for other partners and customers as well who wanted to understand live streaming.

Jeena James (00:43:11):

For example, a live match is going on, and you want to understand how the video content is being rendered on, say, different sports apps, and other live streaming apps. And you want to understand the [inaudible 00:43:22] as it's happening. I mean, as the content is being delivered. So it's not something that is post production, and then figured out after looking at 10 more other videos, 100 more videos. It is something that we can actually look at a video that's fresh content, and you'd still be able to find the score around it.

Joe Toste (00:43:40):

Okay, okay. So you're leaving everyone hanging right now. You just ran off that you have this video conferencing report, to go reference it. I want to know, did Zoom rank higher than Teams? I want to know. I want to know. Tell the audience. They want to know too.

Jeena James (00:43:59):

I won't be able to ... I'll tell you [inaudible 00:44:01]. So because unlike other provider ... And you know this. You probably know this already that Zoom has the least end friction to enter. There is no barrier to enter that provide that service. In fact, you and I, without having a corporate account, and without having the company premium membership, or any of that stuff, we can actually access Zoom for free.

Jeena James (00:44:26):

Many of the other providers out there are not. Necessarily it;s backed by corporate. Your company would have to have that, or you would have to have an enterprise license to be able to access. And so when you have this least friction. And then there's different qualities. Paid versus non paid, and things like that.

Jeena James (00:44:44):

So there's a lot that goes on when you have to decide which one is better. It's something that I use a lot. I think one of the best parts that I really like about Zoom, and that you can see here is, I'm behind a ... There's my living room behind me, but this is the picture that I choose to show. And for the ... As I'm speaking to you, I don't actually see too many issues of ... Because when I'm moving my hands really fast, then I've got ... But it's pretty fascinating. I mean, it's pretty powerful that way. It's actually able to put you ... Give you a really interesting experience where people have dynamic ... I've been on Zoom calls where people are sitting on a beach, and the coconut trees are ... The leaves are swaying. And it gives you this feeling of you're somewhere else. And that's a very delightful experience.

Jeena James (00:45:31):

Of course, in order to put all of the stuff together, they'd have to really look at performance, and really look at quality of user experience throughout this. And so there is no, who is better than the other? It's actually all of them are, I think, striving to just be able to deliver content, or a video stream, or being able to look at live, and have least amount of friction. So yeah. You should check out the report, because the report has a little more insight into the mean opinions core, and how that is amongst the different apps.

Joe Toste (00:46:05):

That was a very political answer. I will look at the report. But I will say-

Jeena James (00:46:10):

My intention is to draw people to go check out the content.

Joe Toste (00:46:12):

I know. I know. I know. So my vote, and it doesn't matter for anything, but my vote, yeah, Zoom and Team, I would take ... And I use Teams every day, along with Zoom, just for different aspects of the business. I'll take Zoom and Teams, and then everything else trash, I'll scratch off the list. That might be terrible, but I mean, I think it's a two pony race right now. So that's probably not what your report says. But for the audience.

Jeena James (00:46:43):

I mean, it's as ... Obviously it's unbiased, because its technical performance.

Joe Toste (00:46:44):

Yeah, I know.

Jeena James (00:46:46):

I think the beauty of having something as performance is actually that you don't have to be the most popular app, or most consumer website, because everybody ... I mean, that's also ... That's dependent on marketing, and awareness, and product adoption, and so much other stuff that goes into why one company, or one brand, or one service is with you all the time, or you're accessing it all the time. But when it comes to technical performance, I actually feel like it's one of those things of pride.

Jeena James (00:47:14):

You could be a small or medium business that has an eCommerce app, or a site experience. But you want to be better than the best. And you could be leading the charge, because when it comes to technical performance, there is no ... It's about the delightful user experiences. And 100 people will actually have a great experience versus a million people who would also have a great experience. The experience is still crucial, versus the absolute numbers. Of course, everybody wants to get those million users and billion users. But from a technical performance standpoint, everybody wants to be better than the other.

Joe Toste (00:47:49):

I know. I know. I'm just being funny. Zoom is marketed to me really well, that's why I've ... Okay, so let's wrap up the podcast. I call it the 60 second Tech Tables. Pretty easy. Three questions, 60 seconds. Although, I don't know why I say 60 seconds, because I've learned that no one ever gets it in 60 seconds, so I should just cut-

Jeena James (00:48:08):

Am I getting 60 seconds to answer the questions?

Joe Toste (00:48:12):

It's okay, I'm just going to scratch it. For season two ... I'm hinting, season one will end at the end of July. But for season two, I'm totally going to scratch the 60 second piece, because everyone is like, "I want more than 60 seconds, Joe." Okay, question number one, favorite mentoring moment?

Jeena James (00:48:27):

Yeah, favorite ... To me? Or where I have mentored?

Joe Toste (00:48:33):

Ooh, both.

Jeena James (00:48:35):


Joe Toste (00:48:35):

And this is why it goes over 60 seconds. Go for it. Yeah, let's go both.

Jeena James (00:48:40):

My favorite mentoring moment are moments where people feel comfortable to tell me real time after something, or while it's happening, privately, areas of improvement, or feedback. And most of the time it's, "Jeena, you should pause before you talk." Or, "Think a little more." Or things like that.

Jeena James (00:49:02):

And that's actually great, because I actually, I actively ask for feedback. And then I also ask for, just tell me when you see it, because I won't take offense, but it'll be great to know that you see that. And then tell me immediately after. Don't tell me a quarter later during a performance thing that, "Oh, you should have done X, Y, Z things." Then I'll be like, "That doesn't make any sense." Because there's a lot that I could have improved over time.

Jeena James (00:49:27):

So those are ... My favorite mentoring moments are when people feel comfortable to tell me after or during, and not too far out, where this is something I could have improved, or this is something that I ask them to hold me accountable to. And so they'll share. And that's great.

Jeena James (00:49:44):

Where I have mentored, those are ... I always say this, the four words that I like using a lot, and I believe in it, is just asking for, "How can I help?" And when you ask that, or when you offer that, there's a lot that people tell you, and share with you. And so when I share certain insights, or advice, not everybody will come back. And maybe I should do a good job or checking in. I mean, I do check in on how people are, but not necessarily on, "Remember that thing that I told you about, and I advised you, did you actually do it?" I wish I did that. I don't.

Jeena James (00:50:21):

But the beauty of it is when someone comes and tells you, and months later, out of the blue, and you'd be like, "What did I tell that person again?" They're like, "Jeena, remember that you said this, and I did this. And this is what happened. And this is really great, thank you so much for sharing."

Jeena James (00:50:36):

And when those surprise serendipitous moments come by, those are my favorite moments, because then you know, if you've talked to 100 people, and not 100 people will come back. But then two or three will actually remember, and remind you of how it mattered to them. Those are my, "Okay, I'm doing something right. Let's do more of it." And so those are moments where I really like. No specific ones, but they happen on and off. And when they do, they make my day. And yeah.

Joe Toste (00:51:06):

Okay, so I love that. I didn't actually have this question down, but I'm curious. What's the one book that you've really internalized? So for me, I have a boss. And one of the big things he works on with me is leadership, and with the team. And one of the things is seeking first, which is one of the big principles in How to Win Friends and Influence People, is seeking first to understand the other positions party.

Joe Toste (00:51:33):

Because often times, I'm the first one to be like, "Man, that is not a smart idea, you should not do that." But instead, first taking the opposite approach, and listening. And so I'm just wondering, what's the one ... Do you have one book that really ... Okay, I love it. Give it to me.

Jeena James (00:51:48):

I have a lot of books. But one that I always read, and I read at different points in my life, and read once every year of sorts. And every time I read it, it means different ... I'm at a different place, and then it [inaudible 00:52:01] in me different feelings, and action items I guess. But it's this book by, recently passed away, Clayton M. Christensen, How Will You Measure Your Life?

Jeena James (00:52:10):

And it's just ... And there are two other authors as well. So it's a very simple book. I mean, it's nothing ... There's no groundbreaking, "Aha." Moments, or any of that. But it's just getting you to see, how would ... To call yourself your life a successful at a certain point in time does not always have to be with how much money you've made, how many places you've visited, or how many promotions you've had, and things like that.

Jeena James (00:52:41):

But there's some the qualitative and quantitative index of your life is much more than just a few things that you think others are doing. So you could come out from the best college in the world, and you could be part of the best alumni network. But somehow, the choices, why you do what you do, and how you do them, they define your success, and they define your happiness.

Jeena James (00:53:02):

And so there are plenty of stories. And I really like behavioral economics overall in general. So learning about why people do what they do, and how they do it, or when they do it is always interesting. So when I read this book every year during certain moments, I actually get different values out of it. And somehow, I've just gravitated towards this book again and again.

Jeena James (00:53:25):

So even when I look at referring it to others, I actually buy the book for them, or I'll ask them to get the book, but I will not lend them my book, because I'll keep reading it every year. So yeah.

Joe Toste (00:53:36):

Nice. Nice. I think I actually own the book, so you don't have to buy it for me. Yeah. No, that's I think what I really like about that is there's reading the book, and then next to the book, as far as How to Win Friends and Influence People ... Because I tell people all the time, "Yeah, I'm just reading this book." And they're like, "Oh, yeah, I already read it." And I was like, "You know, I had the same response from my boss. And then the biggest challenge was, how are you internalizing it?" And I was like, "Ooh, wow. That's a really great question."

Jeena James (00:54:03):


Joe Toste (00:54:03):

So I've got it on audio book. And when I walk my son, who's two, throw him in the stroller, I'm listening to it on Audible. So yeah, constantly [inaudible 00:54:13] how to measure your life. I also go back and I'm constantly thinking about that, which is just so good, I love how-

Jeena James (00:54:20):

There is another one that I actually write while I'm reading it, because it requires you to write. But designing your life. I like design in general. I'm not a designer, but I look at things, and I'm always looking at like, "Why is that ..." You're at a conference, and you're trying to get coffee, and then things are all over the place, and why can't they just be in a certain way that you can just move on and don't keep people waiting?

Jeena James (00:54:42):

And so I think about design a lot in terms of every day stuff. But this is about designing your life, but using the same principles of design. And so it requires you to also write about, we think, we read, and then you're writing it out as well. And then you go through the chapters. And that's pretty fun as well. But that gives you a little bit of onus to do something about [crosstalk 00:55:02].

Joe Toste (00:55:02):

Yeah. Yeah, I love that. Design, and then it also incorporates the process of reflection, and improvement. Yeah, love that. Okay, so you mentioned Stranger Things. I love Stranger Things. Favorite Netflix show? Is it Stranger Things?

Jeena James (00:55:16):

No. All the Marvel ones.

Joe Toste (00:55:17):


Jeena James (00:55:17):

All the Marvel ones. I used to like the Agents of Shield, yeah, Daredevil, everything. Jessica Jones. All of them.

Joe Toste (00:55:28):


Jeena James (00:55:28):

So yeah.

Joe Toste (00:55:28):

Nice. Nice. Are you a Disney+? Are you on Disney+?

Jeena James (00:55:32):

Yeah. Yes. But I don't watch shows that often anymore. And if I do, I actually end up watching a lot of the comedy ones just to take my mind off, and just laugh a little, and have some other different viewpoints, or listening to news in a very comical fashion I guess, sometimes. So yeah. But I don't get the same time as before.

Joe Toste (00:55:56):

You don't have any young kids at home, do you?

Jeena James (00:55:58):

No, I don't.

Joe Toste (00:55:59):

No, because you'd be playing Frozen two all day like I am when I'm in the house. That's why I have to escape, because Elsa is singing, and my son is in love with it. Elsa? Elsa? I'll put Frozen two on and just sit there, I'm on a call.

Jeena James (00:56:15):

That is funny. That's awesome. Do they use Smule? There's a singalong app.

Joe Toste (00:56:21):

No. Yeah, I think Frozen two pretty much does it. Bears on Disney+ too is another great one. He'll sit there for that one. But yeah, no other apps. He's pretty good with Elsa.

Jeena James (00:56:35):

Okay, that's awesome. Yeah, that might be interesting from a ... If he wants to singalong and record it, that might be fun.

Joe Toste (00:56:42):

Yeah, yeah. There's a really great app where you can read the book, like Where the Wild Things Are, and it will incorporate the sounds from The Wild Things Are, from your iPhone. So it's reading along, but it brings the book to life. Yeah, it's totally amazing. And the-

Jeena James (00:57:02):

You have to tell me what that is. That sounds fascinating.

Joe Toste (00:57:05):

The founder is going to kill me, I'm totally blank. And I use the app too. And I know the founder, I've actually had him ... I interviewed him before. Oh, shoot. I'm totally blanking on this right now. I'm going to have to add it to the followup notes. I'm so sorry, he's going to kill me.

Jeena James (00:57:21):

It's not iReal Pro? I'm Googling as we say it. [inaudible 00:57:23].

Joe Toste (00:57:24):


Jeena James (00:57:25):

No, no, that's not it.

Joe Toste (00:57:27):

He was on Shark Tank. Oh, and I can picture his face. He's going to kill me listening to this podcast right now. Oh, I'm going to get crushed. This is that moment where you just think-

Jeena James (00:57:37):

Oh, I have this all the time. I blank out and ... Yeah. Okay, is it BUBO?

Joe Toste (00:57:45):

No. I would know it. And in a second I would know it.

Jeena James (00:57:50):

When you're not thinking about it, and you can just message me.

Joe Toste (00:57:53):

Yeah, okay. We're going to have to move on. I'm sorry. For everyone listening to the podcast, I totally dropped the ball and I'm just totally blanking. I'm going to hit myself after this. Okay, so let's just wrap it up. I know you love to travel. I also love to travel. Top three cities, before COVID 19 happened, that you love to travel to?

Jeena James (00:58:13):


Joe Toste (00:58:15):

Ooh, I haven't been there.

Jeena James (00:58:16):

I like traveling ... I love traveling to places in general, just anywhere that I can well plan everything. But then I'll try to get lost in the streets, because I like running when I'm traveling. So in the mornings, when there are no tourists around, you get the best pictures, and you also get to run around the city, so you get to see the city from a much more quieter and calmer place. And so that's how I like exploring cities. So Barcelona was one.

Jeena James (00:58:43):

And then I really liked ... I love Sydney. I haven't been there in many years. But I've been there twice already. And just any place that has proximity towards, which is why I live in the Bay Area also I guess, water, mountains, and the city life, and then cosmopolitan nature of people from different parts of the world are all there. So you have more open culture, and more open mindedness.

Jeena James (00:59:07):

The third one is actually not necessarily a city, city, but it's the most recent one that stays in my mind. And that's Tromsø. I went to see the Northern Lights in December. And well, I wanted to maximize my chances of seeing the Northern Lights. And so I went to the Northern most part that I could, or we could in Norway. And it's this town called Tromsø. And that was really beautiful. A small place, nothing ... It's very popular for all the tours that go through it. But then there's also a scenic ... The [inaudible 00:59:37] are in front of you, so you can actually go up one of the mini hills and see the city in front of you as the lights come on. And it's just beautiful. Freezing cold, but if you dress accordingly, and you pack well, which I'm very glad that we did, it was good. It was a good trip, and it was a beautiful place.

Joe Toste (00:59:55):

Love that. Love that. That's great. I also love running. And I've run a couple marathons. And that's one thing, actually one of my favorite things to do, is in the morning, go for a run when no one is awake, and then you get the whole city to yourself. And top three cities for anyone in the audience that cares. I really love London. I would put Kyoto and Tokyo together, I know they're different cities, but Japan just in general was really great. And then I would probably throw in, there's a little town in France called Ancey, that sits on the border between France and Switzerland. And it is amazing.

Jeena James (01:00:31):

Ancey, how do you spell it?

Joe Toste (01:00:34):


Jeena James (01:00:37):

Okay. Wow. Thanks.

Joe Toste (01:00:39):

And yeah, beautiful little town. Yeah, absolutely gorgeous.

Jeena James (01:00:45):

[crosstalk 01:00:45] I have a quick question for you. So when shelter in place is properly lifted, and then you find it safe to travel on Delta again, where would you go first?

Joe Toste (01:00:55):

Ooh, where would I go first? I have a buddy who's itching to get married, and he's up in Portland. That'll probably be the first one. It's nothing impressive, but-

Jeena James (01:01:05):

That's the most interesting phrase I've ever heard, itching to get married.

Joe Toste (01:01:08):

Yeah, I'm like, he's like, "I don't really want to do it on Zoom." I'm like, "It would be weird to do it on Zoom." Yeah. So I know he's holding out. Interesting fact, I probably won't fly Delta. So I love Delta, but United has a monopoly in Santa Barbera. So unless I fly farther than the West Coast, it will be United. Yeah.

Jeena James (01:01:31):

Okay. Okay.

Joe Toste (01:01:32):

So how about you?

Jeena James (01:01:34):


Joe Toste (01:01:35):

Patagonia. Ooh, okay.

Jeena James (01:01:36):

Yeah. Probably Argentina or Chile, one of them. But yeah. And there's a picture. There's something I have in my mind that I want to see, and somehow, I've just been ... That seems to be a happy place I go to when things are going crazy. I just think about it. So I want to go see it.

Joe Toste (01:01:52):

I love it. I love it. Okay, we're going to wrap up this podcast, because I think me and you could hangout and talk for a while. And the viewers probably don't care. They're like, "Is there anymore technical information coming out of this?" So thank you for coming on. Where can people find you?

Jeena James (01:02:06):

LinkedIn. Yeah.

Joe Toste (01:02:07):


Jeena James (01:02:08):

I'm on LinkedIn. It's J-E-E-N-A J-A-M-E-S. And Instagram. And yeah.

Joe Toste (01:02:14):

Awesome. Love it. Well, thanks for coming on today. And looking forward to releasing this episode. This was a lot of fun.

Jeena James (01:02:22):

Thank you so much, Joe. And thank you so much for setting this up. It's actually a pretty amazing experience. Obviously you get to meet so many different people, and ask amazing questions, and get to know them. So yeah, this has been great for me.

Joe Toste (01:02:34):


Jeena James (01:02:34):

Good Monday morning.

Joe Toste (01:02:36):

Yeah, good Monday morning. Love it. If you're interested in seeing what Nagarro, a high end technology solutions company to some of the worlds leading organizations can do for your business, you can email Joe at joe.toste@nagarro.com. J-O-E dot T-O-S-T-E at Nagarro dot com. Or message Joe on LinkedIn. For all information on Nagarro, check out nagarro.com. That's N-A-G-A-R-R-O dot com. You've been listening to the Tech Tables Podcast. To make sure you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you have an iPhone, we'd love for you to open the Apple podcast app and leave a review. Thank you so much for listening. To catch more Tech Tables episodes, you can to go techtablespodcast.com. And to learn more about our sponsor, please visit nagarro.com. That's N-A-G-A-R-R-O dot com. And of course, you can find Joe Toste, your podcast host, on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. That's Joe Toste, T-O-S-T-E. Thanks for listening. (music).

Joe Toste
Joe Toste
Host of TechTables Podcast

Host of TechTables 🎙- Conversations with Top Technology Leaders