Episode

30

Season

2

The Future of Work: Transforming Your Culture by Understanding Organizational Behavior and Values

With
Tony Batalla
CTO & Head of IT for the City of San Leandro
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In today’s episode we’ll cover:

  • Organizational behavior and values in IT and technology teams.
  • A balanced IT strategy means for the present and future of the organization as a leader and manager.
  • Tony's favorite smart city innovations
  • What challenges Tony's had to overcome in the organization when adopting new technologies for the City of San Leandro
  • A really great management book is “Good to Great” by Jim Collins where he identifies eleven great companies and compares them to similar companies that failed to attain great growth. His main thesis is Good is the Enemy of Great - talks about organizational culture and the process of building a great IT org.

Transcript

*Transcript generated by Descript

[00:00:00] Tony Batalla: [00:00:00] a balanced strategy is really about innovation and security and having a strategy that gives you both so that you can be innovative and you can put new projects out and you can do things. You can take risks, but you're not compromising. Both your cyber security and also.  You're, stability in doing so.

Joe Toste: [00:00:19] welcome to TechTables conversations with top technology leaders, taking a closer look at the world of IT and digital through the lens of agility and innovation. I'm your host, Joe Toste.

Thank you to Tony Patala for taking time to come on the show and meet with me today. In today's episode, we're going to cover the importance of organizational behavior within it.

We're going to talk about what a balanced it strategy means for the present and future of organizations. As we look at leaders and managers, we're going to talk about smart cities. We're going to talk about remote work and it that's a big theme right now. And then we're going to quickly talk about the management book.

Good to great. By Jim Collins, but that's quite enough for me without further ado. I'm thrilled to welcome Tony Butala CIO at the city of San Leandro. Hey Tony, both the [00:01:00] tables, so pumped to have you on today. Yeah, man. 

Tony Batalla: [00:01:03] Excited to be here too. Thanks for having me, Joe. 

 Joe Toste: [00:01:05] Let's kick off today with a little bit about you and your background with the city of San Leandro and Northern California and why the leap to the public sector?

Tony Batalla: [00:01:12] No, that's a good question. My background first started off in the private sector and I found myself at a pretty cool biotech firm in South San Francisco. Didn't have a biotech hub there and that was a good run. And it was a global company. I got to travel around a bit, meet a lot of cool people, a lot of smart people.

But when I was looking at and I started doing an MBA at the same time, and you wouldn't think that you would start doing an MBA and then say, what I need to do is move into the public sector with this business education, but that's what happened. And so when I started looking at what I wanted to do next city of San Leandro, which is an area where I grew up, so I grew up in this area.

I'm from the East Bay. I was living in San Francisco at the time. No, but [00:02:00] long story short, they had started embarking on some pretty cool stuff with a fiber optic loop and they had this public private partnership. They called lit San Leandro, and I thought, Oh, lit San Leandro, man. Ease to me. It's something different when I was growing up to say, let family Andrew.

But when I heard about it, I thought it was pretty cool. And I was impressed that the, that they were trying to do something like that and trying to be an innovative city. Then the head of it opened up and it seemed like a good fit. And as it turned out, my, my business education has served me really well here.

And I've been able to approach it with a more entrepreneurial style. So I call myself now like an entrepreneurial bureaucrat, which, It may seem like it's not such a thing, it does provide me with the sense of fulfillment. I think as much as I liked working in the private sector.

And once you reach a point where you're working for a really big global billion dollar firm, you get to do a lot of cool things, but it doesn't necessarily bring [00:03:00] you the same sense of fulfillment that working in government does. So that's how I got here. 

Joe Toste: [00:03:05] Love that. From our podcast intro call, we were, you were telling me you were pretty passionate about organizational behavior. I'm sure that's definitely tied in with what you just said. Can you just unpack what you mean by organizational behavior? 

Tony Batalla: [00:03:17] Yeah so I mentioned that I was Doing an MBA.

This would've been, back in 2012, 2013 at time. And a lot of my classmates, we're similar. There's a lot of people that come from tech, who, of course in California, are looking at the MBA as a way to take the next step. And so I was surrounded by a lot of brilliant.

Engineers. And they were all really into like finance and product management. And I w I, I loved the OB class, the organizational behavior class, and they were like, Why do you like that squishy class? It doesn't make any sense. There's no formula that you can just,  apply and then [00:04:00] derive the answer and off you go,  it's all about people and people are.

Irrational and have their, feelings and stuff. But that's what, it's really the study of people in organizations. And it just sound to me, I just I was really interested in this idea of the psychology behind. Why people do things, now I had come from like I said, I was at working at a global firm and I saw a lot of different dynamics.

You saw the dynamics between managers and subordinates, between peers, between executives and you get, you learn about executive presence. And the idea that we could understand the psychology underneath that was just fascinating to me. That's what drew me to organizational behavior.

Joe Toste: [00:04:48] Understanding that there is the organizational behavior piece and then on a deeper level, an organization's made up of people, right? So talk about what a balanced it strategy means for the present and the [00:05:00] future of organizations as a leader and manager. 

Tony Batalla: [00:05:03] So balance is something that I've come to. Really think of as like this overarching philosophy and it applies to it organization, but it applies to organizations as a whole.

I can't think of a place where it's more applicable in government because in government, a decision is going to be made. A policy is going to be put in place. A project is going to be approved the housing project or parking or whatever. There are going to be people who are mad. I don't want this thing.

I hate it. This don't take away the don't change my thing here that I got, and there are going to be people who love it, who say, this is what we need to move forward. And so you're going to always have these competing interests. And so this idea of balance, just to me, perfectly encapsulates what you need to do as an administrator in government.

But I think it applies more. Widely and broadly, not just [00:06:00] to these, issues of politics, but when you think about it, there's a balance. And so really what drives a balance is attention. And you can always find tension. And this is part of organizational behavior, as well, as you can always find tensions within your organization, tensions between people, the finance people are saying no, we have to follow.

You have to do an RFP and you have to do all these things and you have to do it this way to ensure that we're not, Wasting money and that there's no corruption  and the people trying to get the project done and say, Oh we gotta move fast.  And there's a great opportunity right here.

And we can, how can we get our procurement through faster? And so when you look at that, you see a tension. And so when I talk about balance, I'm really talking about. These two tensions and figuring out what the right, how much of this side do you want and how much of this side do you want? And where's the medium that you can find the middle ground to achieve a balance.

And so an it, a [00:07:00] balanced strategy is really about innovation and security and having a strategy that gives you both so that you can be innovative and you can put new projects out and you can do things. You can take risks, but you're not compromising. Both your cyber security and also.  You're, stability in doing so.

So that's what a bounce strategy is. It's finding enough innovation that you can be nimble and you can try new things, but you're doing it in a way that, if it fails, it's not going to take down the whole company, you know? 

Joe Toste: [00:07:32] Yeah. No, that's really great. So can you maybe go a little bit deeper on the medium between the procurement and the it team?

Specifically with how you've been able to balance what the finance team is looking for versus the innovation that you're looking for.   

Tony Batalla: [00:07:46] It's about at first, let me say that I can clearly understand where the finance folks are coming from and, it's easy to find new here.

It all tile procurement is just this big problem. And you talk to [00:08:00] any vendor or they're going to. Give you all kinds of gripes about it, but at the end of the day, they're doing a service and they're protecting the integrity of the finances. They're there, their job,  they can't allow corruption to, to seep in.

And so this is why they have these processes. So first you try to understand those processes and you try to understand like why they're there, what their goals are and what they're trying to achieve. And then, you can start to say Look, I think, I have a project with a vendor that I've done a.

 Procurement within the past, it was a competitive bid. They did great work. I'm super thrilled with the outcome. Can we skip the RFP this time and go with them? Because it's a very similar scope of work for a similar project, with a firm that has proven themselves and already gone through our process.

So and they were saying, yeah, that's fine. Like you, you find a way to justify what you're trying to achieve. But in order to do you have to understand what their goals [00:09:00] are, what they're trying to do, and then you can come up with ways to maybe streamline it. So that's just an example but really it's about understanding what the goal is, which is to prevent corruption and prevent, profit spending.

And so then if you can demonstrate that you can do that. You might be able to find some flexibility in there. 

Joe Toste: [00:09:18] Yeah, that reminds me of a I'm sure you've read the book. It's your business guy. How to win friends and influence people number one, seeking first to understand. So understanding procurement, where they're coming from.

So   one of the topics that's super fun for me is smart cities. I know, from what I was researching and getting ready for the podcast, I know smart cities is pretty fun for you too. I'm actually stoked because usually every year I go to CES in Las Vegas and they've got a giant smart city floor.

It's huge. And they always have the latest and new cool tech shiny objects. I don't want to dive too crazy into the shiny objects, but I always love walking the CES floor and actually a future episode in season two, I'm actually going to interview the. [00:10:00] President and CEO of CES. So that's gonna be super exciting.

But I was curious, what are some of your favorite smart city innovations that you've seen to date? 

Tony Batalla: [00:10:08] That's a good step. There's definitely a lot out there and there's been a lot of things that fall under the umbrella of like a pilot. There's a lot of pilot projects, a lot 

Joe Toste: [00:10:18] of stuff, a lot of pilot projects.

Yeah. 

Tony Batalla: [00:10:20] Pilots and this and that. We're still not at a place where this stuff is like, Widely adopted. So I think internet of things and that's its own umbrella of technologies, but there's a tremendous amount of promise there. Not yet realized promise its latent potential, you can envision a day in the future where.

There's just sensors, built in the built environment that are really delivering on a goal. But not just tracking everyone and trying to understand and all the big brother stuff, but actually deployed in a thoughtful, ethical manner that achieve certain goals, whether it [00:11:00] be in transportation or, in pedestrian bike.

 So I think that there's certainly a whole host of things that can happen there. Some of the most experimental things that I thought were really interesting was there was one technology that was like a pothole prediction. And where they would actually be able to predict where the pothole is going to come.

So they could do preventative maintenance ahead of time. That was in Kansas city. I don't think that ever moved from pilot to production, but it's a really cool idea. I think when you look at a city budget and you see how much money they spend on roads and maintenance of roads you'll be pretty surprised.

I think just to know how much money it takes to maintain roads and infrastructure. So this pothole prediction service could be, pretty something pretty, pretty cool. There was another one I saw where it was. It was a blight index and this was in LA. They, and they drove around with the car just like Google driving around and taking pictures and stitching all the pictures together.

And then they created an [00:12:00] index score so that they could see how much blight there was. And this gets at the question of you'll have people complain how the city so dirty it's so it, it's a kind of a gut feeling. You don't have data to tell you, is it really more dirty than it was a year ago?

Or if we've put a lot of effort as the city organization into cleaning things up, how do we measure that? And know if we've made a difference, besides just walking down the street and saying, Hey, it looks pretty clean to me. The sidewalk looks great, which we do, but this was actually a a quantitative way of achieving it.

And I thought that was just brilliant, and so I think that one's live that's the city of LA has like this blight index. That they maintain. So those are a couple, I think chatbots hold tremendous potential. The challenge with those is the backend integration. Obviously if you can get a chat bot to where it is as efficient and good at answering calls as a humanist, and it knows the organization as well it really knows that when someone calls [00:13:00] and says, I need a, like I just, I got this.

Parking issue in front of my house and people keep blocking my driveway and I can't park, and in my own driveway cause people are blocking it. But what they're really asking about is maybe can I get a little red Stripe on my curb that would prevent people from. Parking right there, and lots of cities have that, but you don't know who, or is that an engineering or a public works or is that community development, like who, who, even in ministers that the lay person would know.

So they call in and you just need a human who knows the organization to answer that and say, Oh, you're really looking for, the engineering group. They're the ones who do that. If you could get a chatbot to be that smart. That knowledgeable. That would be huge because we're all short-staffed for customer service.

There's no shortage of calls coming in. So I think that potential when it mature or that technology, when it matures has, could be really valuable, but we're not there. I haven't seen it. Get there yet. 

[00:14:00] Joe Toste: [00:13:59] Yeah, no. Okay. So you brought up a couple of things. So I think the preventative maintenance piece is, and it was huge for manufacturing company.

It's just, when I talk to executives on that level and then taking that to the public sector, whether it's potholes or whatever, I think is huge value add and being able to. Actually gather and make those data-driven insights, super powerful chat bot they've come a long way, a long way. And then there's some companies out there doing a lot of custom work

Tony Batalla: [00:14:27] yeah. One of the challenges with the chatbot is if you're Amazon. You've got that back end. So well integrated already that you can hang a chatbot off of it, and then it gets you pretty good information because you've got an account and it ties in and it knows all of your,  your history.

And we just don't have that in government or services tend to be very fragmented. And they're not unified on the backend. So until we have that, like unified backend it, we can't make the same gains with the technology. At least my experience, I think there is, but I believe that there are some [00:15:00] governments out there that are going to steam ahead on this and really make some gains on it because it is hugely valuable.

If you figure it out. 

Joe Toste: [00:15:07] Yeah, no that's really great insight. I was actually just reading the other day about the death of the call center. It's not the same, but I know call centers around the globe, especially with COVID right now is just killing them. So I'm sure, one of the cool things is innovation is booming right now.

 It'll be fun to keep our eyes open on the on the chat bot world, just to see. Especially in the public sector, how cities States and other local governments starts to deploy that and be really fun. Okay. So let's Oh, 

Tony Batalla: [00:15:36] that was a great example of how I might measure something like that.

Like state of California is being killed right now for its unemployment claim. They have this like 45 year old system to Maine manage unemployment claims. The day that chatbots can answer calls. And be effective in helping people get information like on a pro program like that you'll say [00:16:00] they've arrived.

You know what I mean? Yeah. That's like the highest bar. I think it's something that massive, but there's no reason that can't happen. We're just not there yet. 

Joe Toste: [00:16:09] Great. So let's jump back into the organization. What challenges have you had to overcome when adopting new technologies for the city? 

 Tony Batalla: [00:16:17] In general.

I think there's a strong appetite for new technology as a means to deliver a better service. And there's certainly no shortage of sales pitches out there directed at, different business units about new technologies that can help them. So there's lots of great technology out there where the challenges are is one, is it.

There's always more human time costs. Then you spelled out in the implementation, meaning that it's, there's always going to take more work on the staff to really, [00:17:00]  adopt and implement and benefit from a technology than just putting it in place. You do the initial project, you scope it out, you get it even implemented, it's running, but then there's a learning curve.

And there's an adoption where all these staff people now have to use this new technology that. Can be a tough transition and that can be difficult. And that can be painful where I've seen some things go sideways is not having the full buy-in of all the other departments who are using this, so you've got an enterprise system and you've got multiple departments using it, but one department is just, we hate it.

It's junk. We didn't like it from the gate. And Essentially become, It's just, it's hard to get them back on board once you lose them. And then the perception changes, and this goes back to organizational dynamics about perception. And a lot of it is, how do [00:18:00] people see what's happening and what are the judgments they make about it?

And then how do they communicate those feelings to their counterparts and their colleagues and their coworkers. And before you know it, you've got a whole,  department. Who have a certain view of something, which you may say, ah, it's not the view that I have, but it doesn't matter because they're not on your team anymore.

 They're not supporting the implementation of this. Technology. So that's, I think probably that, and that's not just specific to us here but that's can be the biggest hurdles when you're rolling out this brand new technology and you have to get multiple disparate, players on board losing some of the support.

Can really sink the whole thing, 

Joe Toste: [00:18:47] yeah, no, that's really great. When I interviewed Gary Bradley, that was a big one. It's focusing on people in the organization and it's almost never the technology. And  the challenges of the human being involved into [00:19:00] it, the time cost and not effectively accounting for that.

And the implementation is, yeah, it can be a huge headache, huge challenge. When the coronavirus hit, most it teams had to transition to a remote work model. How is your team handling the transition? Both for yourself and for the services across the city today? 

 Tony Batalla: [00:19:20] First and foremost, the transition to tele-work went really well.

I was super proud of my staff, but super proud of everyone involved. So we were able to convert more than half of the organization to telework in matter of it's like a week and a half, which is lightening speed. And. That was pretty much, we, after a few months we surveyed all the telework staff and asked them, how are things going?

 We're introducing new services. So we have different ways of connecting, different VPNs and different connectivity. Services. And of course we're pushing out [00:20:00] information about zoom and office three 65 and teams and everything else, and they were hungry and asking us and,  and so we put out a survey, how are we doing?

And the results were really good. People were super happy with the technology they had with the support they got from it both remotely. So I overall felt that transition went really well. What, on a deeper level? You know what the whole thing gave us now, the coronavirus, the pandemic on one sentence has been, just a tremendous tragedy, but on another sense, what it gave us was this amazing sense of urgency that I just, frankly, never.

I hadn't seen in my near, near seven years in public service, I did not see that sense of urgency in the organization before. And it was there. People wanted to act now they wanted to respond. They wanted to make things happen. So now the question really [00:21:00] is like, how can we maintain that urgency? Or are we gonna, are we gonna use this to really push forward and do some breakthrough type of digital transformation?

That's been moving along for quite a while, but never really had that momentum. Are we going to use it now? Or are we going to go back to our status, which was where if it takes nine months longer than we thought, that's fine.  So that's where I'm looking at things is how can I maintain this urgency?

Joe Toste: [00:21:29] Yeah, no, that's, that is a really great insight. And I think being able to maintain. Cause if you think about like government and typically how slow the government moves, it's really just a mindset shift and you have this kind of external shock and now people are moving faster than they ever thought.

I like the story that.  Not to keep dropping in Gary's name, but they moved the whole city of Atlanta at a paper. I think it was like less than two weeks or something. And we didn't have the coronavirus. It [00:22:00] may have taken nine months. And so this, how can you remove the mental barriers for your team?

Just maintain that urgency and thinking Hey, how can we just keep breaking through, how can we keep the innovation going at the city is a really great insight. 

Tony Batalla: [00:22:17] Now, one of the things that, that I've seen now, and that I'm doing is to identify these really motivated business unit leaders, department heads who.

Now see digital transformation as like the key to their operations, they see it now. And so identifying them, saying that as a motivated partner, let's get with them and let's make it happen because there's a demand now. For digital transformation that wasn't there.

So that's really how that's my strategy to maintain it, to sustain it is to identify these department heads and these leaders who are now saying, we, I want, this is my number one priority. Whereas [00:23:00] maybe before it was their fifth or sixth day, if it happens. But now they're like, this is the number one thing.

So those are the opportunities that. I can't squander, if I miss those opportunities of this really engaged, ready to go department, and I don't act on that and convert that into an actionable project, they're going to do it on their own anyway. But if I don't help lead that and make it happen, then that's the biggest going to be the biggest missed opportunity for me.

Joe Toste: [00:23:26] Yeah, no, that's really great. I think that leads into my last question. So a really great management book is good to great by Jim Collins, where he identifies 11 great companies in comparison to similar companies, which failed to attain their great growth. His main thesis is good is the enemy of great talk about organizational culture and the process of building a great it team.

All 

Tony Batalla: [00:23:47] right. No, and I, I. Wholeheartedly agree with the seat, the thesis, as you've interpreted it, as don't let perfect be the enemy of good if that's what I'm hearing. Absolutely. And [00:24:00] I can I share, I can share something about that on the book itself though, I am a little familiar with it and I would have a criticism that the way that.

Jim Collins, the author measures good to great is in their stock market performance. So number one, it doesn't really have any, they just. Eliminates public sector. It's a nonprofit from even being considered, although I'm sure he would argue that the lessons still apply, which is fair. But the other thing is the stock market is  highly manipulated.

There's stock buybacks, and there's all kinds of stuff that organizations can do to make their stocks. More profitable or, more valuable, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they're a great organization that said, Joe, I do totally agree with you that don't let good be the enemy of great.

And I think the example in tech is really, there's, it's really acute because. There is a danger when you [00:25:00] develop a technology for a business unit or in an organization customer, and I've seen it firsthand it's because something happens when you tell a business unit we're going to build a technology for you that they suddenly just start thinking we're going to get the perfect thing.

It's going to do everything we ever wanted. We're like, if you just bought some SAS solutions, some cots. No system and just put that out there. They would just take it, it's just, that's what it is. They're the, you guys selected this one at all the other ones. And the system is the way it is.

It's built and it's due and they would use it. And that would be it. But when you say you're going to customize it for them  you're going into some dangerous territory, Joe. Now it could be a 

Joe Toste: [00:25:43] rabbit hole for sure. 

Tony Batalla: [00:25:45] And the reason is I thought about this because I've experienced it is that. What ends up happening is you end up having the subject matter experts who are absolutely have expertise in the process and what needs to happen for that business [00:26:00] unit and then whatever service or process they have designing the technology.

But they're not designers, they don't, they're not thinking about where's the best place to put, the form box and how many questions should I have on the form? And, is this form too onerous or does this really work well for the end users who need to fill it out to get me the information?

They're just thinking about me getting the information and processing it. And boy, wouldn't it be great if I had 55 different forms questions all on the same page and you say. No, that wouldn't be that good. So that's what happens is you end up getting into the situation where the subject matter experts are trying to dictate the design and it can end up in you end up having a less than ideal design, a less than ideal outcome.

So that's a perfect example to me, of where. I've seen projects take, months to develop like a form like that that could have been done in a day, but it was because you had this constant [00:27:00] back and forth of , I don't want, I want the form to, I want the dropdown to be here and I want this to do that.

And this should be here and you're like, Is that really gonna make the difference between somebody sending you the form online is like we're trying to convert a paper form to an online form and it takes nine months because there's this back and forth about what the form should look like. As opposed to just saying let's just make a simple form and put it out there.

And then the other big shift that happens when you're building these kind of custom things is iterative design, getting. Organizational folks, to think about it. Hey, I can put it out, put out the first iteration of it and if it's not perfect, that's fine. Cause we can always revise it. We can always change it.

Hey, here's her. Oh, we've got a new update. We're happy to say we've changed this form location from here to here based on all this feedback we got. I don't think a lot of organizational people have made that leap yet. They're still thinking it has to be perfect before I can release it. Otherwise everyone's going to complain.

Everyone's going to [00:28:00] complain anyway, so you might've put out the first version of it, call it a beta and then get their feedback. And tech companies figured this out internal tech teams working with business units. I don't think have figured it out to that level yet. So that's the next leap we need to take is we need to get to where.

Business units feel comfortable even with internal services releasing the first version. Even if it's not perfect, knowing that you can iterate on it and maybe nine months from now, we'll have it. And it will be really nice, but they want to wait and keep building on it for nine months before they even open it up because they want it to be perfect.

So  it's a shift, it's a mindset shift. Just like we're talking about everything else, trying to get people to see that, it's probably better to just put it out there. And start using it then wait, make 

Joe Toste: [00:28:54] you look perfect. Yeah. Yeah. That's I think one of my, definitely one of my favorite [00:29:00] pieces in the tech world of, it doesn't have to be beta let's just ship an alpha and it's really where, what you think the software.

May or may not like land, but you start to get feedback from the marketplace. And in the case of, if it's your own users or the city or its residents, they'll provide you with feedback and we're gonna provide you with feedback anyways. So yeah, you might as well ship it, and everything will always get better.

I'm trying to think I'm shooting two of the podcast. He goes with anything. If you were to go listen to the first episode versus it's like episode 40 at this point, I don't know, episode one is way different than episode 40, because I started to figure out things along the way I could streamline the process.

I was able to shoot more podcasts, got the questions dialed in. I get more of an understanding and no one remembers episode one. And I always love this tape because episode one didn't even have a podcast name. It had, it didn't have a title. I just recorded the first podcast. And but no one goes and listens to episode one, no one listened to 

Tony Batalla: [00:29:58] episode one.

I got to have youth [00:30:00] come in and do a persuasive presentation to everyone  to demonstrate why. You learn as you go and you put out the first version and it'll grow as opposed to  the analog here would be you I'm recording all these without releasing any of them and learning all this information until you finally felt like, Oh, now it's perfect.

Spending two years perfecting your craft before you ever even publicized it. So yeah, maybe you can persuade. Persuade everyone. And I don't think, again, this is not a criticism. I don't want anyone listening to think, take this as a criticism. It's an observation that I think people's mindset is still, if I'm building a custom service for internal use.

I want it to be perfect before I can let it release it. There's a real fear and resistance to just put something out there that they don't feel it's perfect. But as we've just discussed, there's real. Trade-offs. Again, going back to the whole thing about where's the balance. You don't want to release it when it's too young and it's got failure [00:31:00] but you don't want to wait too long to where it's too mature and you've lost months of time.

As you could have been gaining from having a service out there. 

Joe Toste: [00:31:09] Yeah no, that's really great. We'll work. We're close. I'm in Southern California. It's the Barbara. So at some point we'll definitely have to we'll definitely have to connect. And actually I was just in the Bay area. Just flew there for a meeting this week.

So it's travel, starting to pick up, come back a little bit.  It's great. This is the third or fourth time I've flown since COVID and I haven't had an issue. The airplane basically smells like Clorox  as like clean and sanitize, the whole thing. It's fine. The airport is RMT. SFO is a ghost town, for sure.

And so that was a, that was an interesting experience going from just seeing it packed to just dead empty, but it's. I feel safe. I didn't have, I don't have an issue with it. I've taken a couple of Uber's totally fine. I think Uber just requires you, you wear a mask and the windows down in the back and  it was [00:32:00] great.

So it's slowly coming back. And yeah, that's the experience so far, so I've pretty good. I also love to travel, so I like, I really had the itch to want to get on the road. A little bit.  But it's fun. It's fun. I'm really hoping that we can get a vaccine and have this thing come roaring back.

So to wrap up season two, I got a new question that I'm asking every guest and that's a, here it is. What's the nicest thing someone has done for you, Tony. 

Tony Batalla: [00:32:30] Oh the easy one  most obvious one is all the support I have from, the people closest to me, like my wife in particular, I know it's hard enough just going through marriage and life and all that, but doing it in this.

Time and we're all around each other 24 seven can be really tough, and so she, but she continues to we'll continue to figure it out and help each other [00:33:00] grow. So she helps me grow and I hopefully help her grow. But first and foremost, I have to thank her for just every day,  dan being here with me through this, but the nicest thing, I don't know if it was a nice thing anyone's ever done for me. The other day. Like my daughter made a little she drew a little picture. It was like a little heart. And I went out, I came back and my, my computers right next to hers.

Like we both work on the kitchen table and she had put this little picture of a heart on my and said, Oh, you seem like you, You, I wanted you to be happy or whatever. So she drew me this little picture, like little things like that are super sweet. So it's not any one thing I think actually that's not unlike Jim Collins is a theory and good to great, which is, there's not one thing, but it says build buildup of all these things over time.

So all these little nice things every day, you get to where you are. So you started off by saying you were excellent and you're a, so I'm sure. [00:34:00] You have lots of great little things every day that helped keep you there, you know? 

Joe Toste: [00:34:04] Yeah. No, I love that. I love that. I also shout out to the wifey great, big super supportive.

And then we have a daughter also and yeah, it's super fun. When I have podcasts, I can't be home cause we also have a toddler to run around, so it makes it impossible. But. When I'm home it's a lot of fun. And actually one of the coolest things now is the Apple watch update. You can now have Apple watch family.

So now I'm just. She doesn't have a phone, but she's got the wash. And so she's constantly texting me all these little cute emojis and all that kind of stuff. So it's fun. It's fun. So I was trying and figure out what I'm grateful for. And yeah, so typically every day is a pretty good day. Can't complain.

Awesome. And so where can people find you? Where are you hanging out at LinkedIn Twitter? What's your spot. Yeah. 

Tony Batalla: [00:34:52] Mainly LinkedIn. I I S I, LinkedIn, some I'm on Twitter too. I'm not using it as much actively, but [00:35:00] definitely on LinkedIn. They find me online there. 

Joe Toste: [00:35:03] Awesome. Awesome. And then, okay.

Right before we leave so you can find Tony on LinkedIn, Tony, you're getting your PhD, right? Did I get that right? Oh, it's 

Tony Batalla: [00:35:10] a doctorate. Yeah. PhD. So doc, it's a doctor of business administration. So it's a, it's intended for like seasoned business folks who are looking to add, do research. But it's not like a PhD where this more, like you're fresh out of college and you're going to go straight into a research career.

This is more like you have years of experience and you've really observed interesting things. And you'd love to put some research theory around that. Love 

Joe Toste: [00:35:39] it. Yeah. I saw that when I was scrolling LinkedIn. 

Tony Batalla: [00:35:41] Yeah. Yeah. That's another thing where my wife will tell you that didn't just happen. That's something I've talked about and she's heard it for her.

10 years. Oh, man. I want to do a doctorate. I want to do a diary and just planning, thinking about it. Always, researching, reaching out to schools, reaching [00:36:00] out to professors, trying to find the right fit, trying to find the right time. When do you think it'd be a good time when our kids get a little older and I can spend more time.

And then finally, now was the time happened to coincidentally be during the pandemic, but yeah, that's something where. She's been really supportive and, had to listen to me, talk incessantly about this for 10 years. So I better go F and do it now, but I execute.  Yeah, no that's a really good example right there.

Joe Toste: [00:36:28] Awesome. Thanks for coming on tech day with Tony. I appreciate it. 

Tony Batalla: [00:36:31] Yeah, no, thanks for having me, Joe, 

James Carbary: [00:36:33] if you're interested in seeing what Navarro a digital product engineering company that excels at solving complex business challenges through agility and innovation can do for your company. You can email Joe at Joe dot  that's T O S.

T E at  dot com or message Joe on LinkedIn. For all information on the Gorrow checkout nagarro.com. That's in a G a R o.com. You've been [00:37:00] 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 podcasts app and leave a quick rating for the show, just tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves.

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Joe Toste
Joe Toste
Host of TechTables Podcast

I'm passionate about investing in communities locally and internationally across several organizations (Young Life, Compassion, and DP Basketball 🏀 (high school basketball coach). This passion intersects across technology and the public sector too.