CEOs are the big-picture people in their organizations. And successful ones keep tabs on how their teams are communicating (or aren’t communicating) with each other. We wanted to know how the head of one successful agency solved the problem of communication breakdown using Textografo’s lightening-fast diagramming tool.
That’s why we got in touch with Dev Basu, CEO of Powered By Search, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency that helps companies double their growth by focusing on search and user experience. Here we share that interview with you:
First, could you tell me a little about your job role?
I’m the founder, and in terms of my current role, I’m head of operations. I’m the CEO, but I call myself the “Chief Experience Officer.” So my job is really to make sure that–starting from the industry and the people who consume our content, all the way to our clients and staff–everyone has a good experience working with Powered By Search or interacting with us in any way.
What challenges and goals are you facing? And how does Textografo help you overcome these challenges and reach these goals?
The thing is that, when you have 30-40 smart people working together, there tend to be lots of ideas. But those ideas sometimes break down in communication. Because what you’re thinking is not necessarily what the other person is hearing when you communicate those ideas.
Being able to communicate simply has always been a challenge, so visually representing information can be useful.
The challenge is the time that it takes to put together that kind of visual. So what we needed to do was to find a simple way for the person who had the idea to build out that process and communicate it without having to be a technical wizard or a designer.
And so using something like Textografo is useful, because the visuals are already automatically created. All you need to do is be able to branch out the relationships based on text and bullets, which I think is quite intuitive.
Right now our entire senior leadership team uses it. The heaviest users are probably myself and an agency operations manager, who uses it fairly in depth. We’re able to communicate in the way we think, by writing down bullets and sub-bullets, to see those ideas take shape and to create systems where the relationships are really apparent.
Could you give two examples of diagrams you have created with Textografo and explain why you created them?
One of the more recent ones was a marketing automation funnel that just goes through how we would like web visitors to be treated, as in what happens when they come to our website. What happens when they opt in to certain things, and how do they get put into different sequences, and the decision trees involved with that.
And then we did another that was a simple process diagram for our SEO team that would look at all the processes they would follow every single month, depending on how a client’s process went.
That one is actually quite special because one of the members found it so valuable that they printed it out on a large sheet of paper and laminated it. So you’ve got Textografo processes laminated on their tables.
What are some tips or resources about your way of diagramming that you would like to share?
I like to think about, before even going into diagramming, what are all of the decisions that could be happening in a diagram. Like if I say “yes,” what happens? And if I say “no” what happens.
Then try to sketch that out as a simple decision tree on a piece of paper or whiteboard first, before getting into an online tool like Textografo. Because I think Textografo can help you execute an idea once you’d solidified your thinking.
My advice is to sketch out the start-to-finish process that might be happening.
Even if you just write down the ten steps of whatever your process is, making a diagram will become a lot easier once you know what that process is. Then run it in your mind as a dry run.
What are the main pains of conventional diagramming tool?
I have used everything from Visio to Gliffy. Most are the same. They give you a drawer full of shapes and then you put the shape onto a canvas, and then you have to draw and connect it with lines. And it’s a pain, because just connecting two shapes is usually nine clicks at the least. And then you have to name the shapes.
Someone like me just wants to communicate the idea and is not necessarily looking for how visually pretty it is. But if you also have a certain level of OCD, you want your lines to be straight. You don’t want them to be not connecting the dots and things like that.
I think that most of these diagramming tools come from the mistaken notion that ideas only come from people who are in the process of architecting the solutions. As opposed to, ideas can come from anywhere and the goal is to get to an output as simply and efficiently as possible.
Why did you choose Textografo?
I can communicate my ideas simply and efficiently in probably ⅕ of the time it would take me and 5% of the frustration it would take me compared to any of the other tools I have used in the past. I can do it all myself. I don’t need anyone else’s help to do it. And then I can download the actual diagram and email it or just share the link to the diagram. The idea is communicated simply and elegantly.
French people (like me!) have a reputation for loving good food. So I have to ask you– What’s your favorite dish?
That’s a tough one. I am a big fan of good Mexican food. As for French food, I like a good ratatouille.
What is your Whatsapp status today?
It says “No status.” That’s probably because I don’t want other people to know what I am up to!
What is one thing you are passionate about (professional or otherwise)?
Professionally, I’m really interested in understanding why people do what they do–what the motivation and intent is behind their needs, wants, and desires. That is where I’ve spent a lot of time in understanding where marketing meets the goal.
Personally, it’s traveling. I love traveling around the world and immersing myself into the local culture of wherever I am at the time.