Empathy Deployed: Customer Interview Examples

Carl Jeffrey is a customer of ProtonVPN. ProtonVPN is an open-source privacy-first virtual private network.

I’ll be trying to understand why Carl purchased ProtonVPN, how he uses it and what alternatives he’s considered. Carl’s a designer and he’s helped in the early stages of various Coworking and SaaS businesses. He’s currently the first employee of Buzzshot. Buzzshot makes software for escape rooms to engage players before and after their games.

Carl also shares why he uses AirTable, Affinity and Project Meta.

Show Notes

Carl Jeffrey is a customer of ProtonVPN. ProtonVPN is an open-source privacy-first virtual private network.

I’ll be trying to understand why Carl purchased ProtonVPN, how he uses it and what alternatives he’s considered. Carl’s a designer and he’s helped in the early stages of various Coworking and SaaS businesses. He’s currently the first employee of Buzzshot. Buzzshot makes software for escape rooms to engage players before and after their games.

Follow Carl on Twitter @FellowCreative

Carl also shares why he uses AirTable, Affinity and Project Meta.

Mentions in this episode include:

What is Empathy Deployed: Customer Interview Examples?

Improve your customer interview technique by listening to someone else conducting one every week. Each episode explores a different software product from the perspective of a different user. Hopefully, this will help you to discover new perspectives, make better products and do more customer interviews for your own products.

Jon: Welcome to empathy deployed the
podcast where you can experience an

example customer interview every week.

You'll discover new perspectives on
different software products and improve

your customer interview technique.

As I attempt to do the same

I'm Jonathan Markwell and this week
I'll be interviewing Carl Jeffery.

Carl's a customer of proton VPN proton.

VPN is an open source privacy
first virtual private network.

I'll be trying to understand why
Cole purchased proton, VPN, how

he uses it and what alternatives
he's considered Kaza designer.

And he's helped in the early stages of
various co-working and SAS businesses.

He's currently the first
employee of bus shot by shot.

Make software for escape rooms to engage
players before and after their games.

Hi Cole,

good morning.

Thank you very much, uh, for,
uh, giving up a little bit of

your, um, Thursday morning today.

Carl: Um,

Jon: I'm very excited to, uh, to
have a chat and, um, catch up, um,

before we get started, uh, I wanted
to ask if you have any questions.

Carl: Uh, no, um, I've come
to this very unprepared.

So, um, yeah, I'm just gonna
roll with the punches as it were.

Jon: That's absolutely fine.

No need to prepare to, um, before you
get started, um, want to just double

check that you're comfortable with,
um, with recording this, um, if it

was a normal customer interview, it
would just be for internal use within

the company, um, then recording it.

And for this one, there's
obviously a podcast episode.

Um, and, uh, and so it's going to be
shared publicly for the, for the benefit

of, of others is what I say ourselves.

Uh, is that.

Carl: Yeah, that's cool.

I just hope it's useful for you.


Oh, I love it.


Jon: sure it will be.

Uh, so let's get started.

Um, can you tell me a little
bit about how you got to needing

a VPN in the first place?


Carl: yeah, sure.

Um, so.

Work remotely.

Um, and certainly before the
pandemic I was working remotely too.

Uh, so I constantly used to work
from coffee shops and pubs and

just all sorts of places, um, and,
uh, hopping between other sort of

coworking spaces, that kind of thing.

And so, um, I, and I deal
with quite a lot of customers.

For some of the companies
that I work with.

So it seems sensible to add an
additional layer of protection

to my outgoing connection.

Um, I also many years ago,
uh, used to do a little bit of

work in the telecoms industry.

And so, uh, sort of, uh, security of, uh,
sort of mobile SIM data connections and

stuff was something that was on my mind.

So VPN has been, been on
my mind for quite a while.

Um, Uh, yeah.

Uh, and I decided to start using
one probably about five years ago.

Um, for certain things I don't
have a VPN turned on all the

time, but in circumstance dances,
I'd definitely turn it on.

Um, uh, yeah, that's,
that's probably the summary.

That makes

Jon: sense.


Um, so you mentioned four or
five years ago was when you

first felt the need to get one.

Carl: Yeah, I just, I, at the time I was
working a lot from coffee shops, um, and

I was dealing a lot with customer data.

So sending lots of emails to customers,
um, downloading data and stuff,

just over a connection that was
going via my, usually my mobile sin.

Um, so, uh, my, my mobile phone
was tethered to my sort of.

Um, in public settings.

Um, but, uh, I, I would also sometimes
if mobile signal was sketchy, uh,

I would connect the laptop directly
to, uh, a third party's wifi.

And so, uh, just another level of security
over that connection seemed sensible.



Jon: sense.

Makes sense.


And can you tell me a little bit more
about, um, the work that you were

doing at the time and why you felt,
um, uh, it was, it was so sensitive

that you needed that extra layer of

Carl: protection.

Well, I suppose, uh, Uh, so at
the time I was involved in, uh,

well, I suppose my role has changed
quite a bit over X number of years.

So I've jumped the jump that like, sort
of my, uh, my background is as a designer,

but I found myself doing lots of different
things over, over, over the years.

Um, and certainly over the past sort of
four years, I found myself doing two.

Uh, customer support esque roles.

So working as part of a software product
company, um, as well as a sort of a

larger community where I was, or have
been the contact point for customer

service, inquiries, checking emails.

But also dealing with things like
Stripe payments, um, sort of, uh,

sort of CRMs, lots of customer data
and accessing, uh, SAS services.

So, uh, it's just been on my mind
that if I'm accessing those services

over insecure, uh, Connections
that that wasn't a wise thing.

So, uh, I took it upon myself to
make sure that I had a VPN in place.

So that effectively, that connection
was, was wrapped in some other way.


Jon: I can see that.

Um, and, um, and so before you
use proton VPN, um, were there

any other ways or other tools that
you were using to secure your.

Carl: Uh, well, so I, the things like,
uh, two factor authentication, uh,

various logins, I use a password manager,
all of that kind of stuff is stuff

that I've done for a very long time.

Um, uh, so the, the VPN was literally
just an additional thing, an

additional layer that I decided to.

So, uh, yeah, other than what I would
consider standard, uh, no, there wasn't

any other tools that I was using.

Jon: Right.

Um, and was there.

And I think that prompted you
to think that the VPM was then

the next thing that you needed.

Carl: Um, I it's weird because I would
say that, um, as much as, uh, I felt a

VPM was a sensible thing to do, uh, at
the time that I started using them, not

a lot of other people were using them.

So, you know, uh, it felt like, uh, it was
maybe, uh, maybe an excessive measure or.

I think the per the, the point of
purchase or the, the point that I

decided that I was going to do that
my choice wasn't necessarily led by

the, the, the actual tool itself.

I think it was possibly led to,
or probably led by, um, The, the

principle or the mission that the
tool stood for, um, in regards to

it was a fairly new technology.

I think lots of people now know about
proton VPN, which is the VPN that I use.

Um, I think it's the
largest and most used VPN.

Um, but it's also got some very, very
good, uh, sort of privacy security,

uh, Uh, credentials should have say.

Um, and it was started by the, I
believe the scientists at CERN, uh, in

terms of sun was one of the original
sort of funders and founders of it.

Um, and so it felt at the
time that I was supporting.

Innovative new technology that was
likely to be needed for the future.

So my purchase was partly an investment
in something that I thought was valuable

to, I suppose, the way that humanity
would be too much of a big call, but,

um, you know, I thought it was a, I
thought it was a useful technology that

would be, uh, would, would have value
in the future and was worth supporting.


Jon: That makes it makes a lot of sense.

Um, uh, Um, so you see, you
said you weren't, you weren't

actively looking for it.

Um, but you, you, you, you came across
this product that had a, had a mission

and you ultimately decided to, um, to
support that mission and, um, use it.

Um, so, uh, just talking on that
thread a little bit more, do you know

where you may have, um, discovered.


Carl: or so I, I don't, um, uh, I, I
like you hear about new software all

the time, so at nine pops up, um, and
then disappear again, but sometimes

stuff pops up on your radar a couple
of times in the same week or something.

And usually that to me is a flag that, oh,
there's some people talking about this.

I should go and investigate.

Um, when it came to the VPN, I'm
not entirely sure where I heard of.

Um, I think it may have been
related to my telecom days.

Um, it may have come up through that.

Um, I don't think it would definitely
wasn't introduced to me by the company

that I was working with at the time.

So it wasn't a corporate policy kind
of thing, but, um, yeah, just the

whole idea of securing networks.

Uh, yeah, I've also got a very good
friend of mine who, uh, I suppose

works in it infrastructure for some,
uh, large, uh, company in London.

And it's the kind of thing that
he may have mentioned to me.

So yeah.

I don't know the exact source.


Jon: that makes sense.

Um, uh, okay, now let's dig into
when you're, you're using it.

So, um, Let's look at what was the
last time that you turned it on and

what were the, what was the reason
for, for doing that and the steps

that you, that you went through?

Carl: That's a good question.

Um, so, uh, let me try to think.


so, uh, I think the last time he
used it was, uh, checking some.


And for one of the companies I
worked for, uh, that would have

been probably a couple of days ago.

Um, but that is given some context.

So I've been literally working from
home for the past couple of years.

And so I haven't been venturing out and
working remotely as I normally would.

So I'm on my.

Wifi network at home.

Uh, and this, the, um, in terms of
the, sort of the whiter re route to

set up and various other bits, um, I
feel very comfortable and confident

with the passwords and security that
I've got on my own home network.

So I'm less secure, uh, sorry.

I'm less concerned about connections
from my home network than I would

be if I was working from a coffee
shop or something like that.


Jon: Yeah, that makes sense.

And so, but you, you're saying when
you, when you do have a need to log

into Stripe, you feel that's the moment
where let's put an extra, an extra

layer of, um, security or privacy.

Carl: Yeah, yeah.



Jon: And that's, that's just, you
personally, are you, you know,

you're just about to, uh, type in
stripe.com to sign in and it's that

point you go, ah, let's just turn the.

Carl: Uh, yes.

Um, I suppose, um, I don't really
have any hard and fast rules, as I

say, this is more of an additional,
an additional layer of protection.

Um, and I suppose over where the
technology, so I'm, I'm, I'm aware

that, um, Sort of we've got pots,
possibly people listening to this

interview and, um, we haven't actually
covered what sort of a proton VPN is.

I don't know whether everybody
would be familiar with VPN or not.

So I don't know whether you want to
give a little summary on that one, but,

Jon: um, description of it, if you
tell us, um, what w w w what it does

for people when it does for you.

Carl: Okay.

Um, right.



Let me, I'm trying to think the, so the,
the easiest way to probably explain this,

um, would be in the context of Netflix,
for example, because that's a good user

case that, uh, lots of people, uh, found,
uh, VPNs or so, uh, VPN stands for virtual

private network as far as I'm aware.

Um, and I'm not an expert
in this by any means.


If you're using a VPN to connect
to Netflix, for example, um, if you

are the VPN has servers all over the
world, so you can connect securely

to servers in different countries.

And, uh, that connection effectively
masks your own internet connection

so that, um, people can't tell that
I'm sat in a room in Kent, in the UK.

They think that I'm browsing the
internet via a connection in the us.

So if you connect to a service such
as Netflix, as far as Netflix is

concerned, you are an American citizen.

Accessing, uh, Netflix via the account.

So you are shown the American version
of Netflix with, um, the, with the

American selection of movies for.

Um, but so that hopefully explains the,
the ability to mask, uh, connections

dipping on different locations at
different countries, which makes it,

which it makes it harder for people
to, uh, I suppose, access your data.

Um, if they're snooping on your
wifi network, that kind of thing.

So as far as I'm.


Jon: Yeah.

Um, I can see and see how
that, um, that makes sense.

Um, and so is it, is it helping
you, what you hoped it would do?

Does it, does it feel like it does
that, um, do you think it does.

Carl: Yeah, I, I believe it does that.

Um, and, um, I, I, to be honest, as I said
earlier, for me, it's more around, um,

the purchase, the, the, my, my decision
to make the purchase was, uh, heavily.

The, the idea that I think it's a
valuable technology and worth supporting.

So, um, that I get some of the
value just out of the, the mission

of, uh, of have been a support.

Why deem as a, as a, as a mechanism
of free speech, really, but

without getting into the politics
and things of it, but, uh,

Jon: Yeah, no, it makes sense.

Um, makes sense.

You, do you think that I can, I
can definitely see that connection.

Um, and so before you started using
it, um, was there anything you were

unsure about or that was unclear?

Carl: Um, that's an interesting question
because now I'm starting to talk about it.

Um, I said, I told you I hadn't.

Um, I I'm now finding myself questioning
whether some of the things that I

understand that VPN does, whether
they are totally correct or not.

I sense some hesitation there and
you know, much more about the, uh,

technology networks, um, as, you know,
wifi networks, I kind of stuff than I do.

Uh, but, um,

Sorry, I'm not, I'm not sure

Jon: that I do no more, any
more than you do about it.

I mean, we've, um, we've both been
through setting up Wi-Fi networks for,

for coworking spaces and, and things
like that, which has caused us to,

to learn maybe more than most people.

What about the us being split?

Um, uh, when you you've been
employed by a network provider

and, and, uh, and therefore
probably a, um, a little bit more.

Uh, clear about how those bits
and pieces work than I am.

So, um, yeah.


Carl: so, um,

Jon: When this kind of touches on, um,
that, my next question, which is, uh,

so before you decided to use it, um,
was there anyone else, um, you asked

about it or places that you looked
about, it looked for information.

You mentioned one person,

Carl: yeah, I, yeah, I've got a
friend who, um, who basically set some

networks for living for large companies.

Um, and, uh, he works for a
particular company that have,

uh, sites in the us and the UK.

Um, and so when it comes to,
uh, sort of wifi connections or

anything along those sort of lines,
he's definitely a go-to for me.

Um, but, um, Yeah, I, I genuinely so
long ago that I made the decision to

start using, uh, or at least start
paying for, um, proton VPN that I

can't remember that conversation.

Um, uh, so yeah, I don't know where he
was the original source for it or not.

Um, I don't think that I, uh, had
a conversation with anybody about

it before I made the purchase.

Um, I tend to do my own sort of research.

Um, so read, you know, chat rooms,
forums, those kinds of things.

Um, And yeah, and those are
usually the, I convinced myself

and then I make the purchase.

Um, if, if it's a, if it's a decision
about buying software for a business,

uh, I would certainly be talking to the
people that I've worked with about that.

But, um, when it comes down to just sort
of, I suppose my own tools, um, yeah.

Uh, I just tend to be the person
that makes those decisions

tend to make the decisions.

I tend to make the decisions
pretty early as well.

In regards to, I hear about software
all the time, um, you know, sort

of the early bird announcements
to software, that kind of stuff.

I'm definitely one of the people that if
I find something interested, I will sign

up for something, uh, and check it out.

Um, and you know, that obviously
means that I wasted some of my time

exploring software that turns out to
be nothing or, but, um, occasionally

you find a little gem that sticks
with you for, uh, for a few years.

Uh, and also you end up, um,
sort of learning about or using

something way before anybody else.



Jon: Yup.

I'm a, um, I'm probably very similar,
um, and, and sort of my, uh, choices.

Um, so you mentioned
chat rooms and forums.

Uh, are there any specific ones
that you might have, um, checked

for for this, that you, that you

Carl: go to?

Well, uh, my, my go-to as well.

So I suppose there's a couple
of things that I will check

if I'm talking about software.

So, um, I will quite often
check articles on cora.com.

Um, so, um, if.

So if people don't know cora.com Maya
and I, I suppose this is interesting.

I find myself talking about stuff that
I'm, I've not researched or, uh, dynamic.

So, uh, cora.com is a website I've used
for a very long time to my knowledge.

Started by a startup in San
Francisco as I knowledge-based for

certain things to people to have
conversations and share information.

Um, and more importantly, people
can ask open questions in public,

and then hopefully somebody
that knows, uh, that knows about

that is an expert in that field.

We will provide an answer, um, Because
it was started in the, I believe it was

started in San Francisco where there was
a lot of technology companies at the time.

Lots of the questions that got asked on
that platform were technology related.

There was a lot of software questions and
there was a lot of community members that

had the ability to answer those questions.

So certainly a few years ago it was a
very, very good place to go and find

information about new technologies because
quite often, There was experts in those

fields that would answer those questions.

So it became my go-to point
for exploring software.

And I will also quite often go and check
Crunchbase, which is, um, for anybody

that reads tech crunch, um, Crunchbase.

The database that they keep of
all of the software companies

that they write articles on.

Um, and they have also information
in regards to, you know, the founders

of those companies, the, uh, the,
the, uh, the competitor, the company,

competitors, that kind of stuff.

So those are, those tend
to be my go-to places.

Um, as well as.

So, um, I follow quite a lot of
different people across different

industries on Twitter, um, verified
journalists, that kind of stuff.

Um, I don't tend to follow brands.

Um, in fact, I don't follow any brands.

I don't think so.

Um, if, if there is new software
that is getting known about or talks

about it in a particular field or a
particular segment, all hear about it.

Jon: Interesting.


So Quora and Twitter and
Crunchbase, um, any, any others?

Carl: Um, let me think.

Um, I, I, I'm a big podcast listener,
um, but, um, I don't listen to

any, uh, Uh, podcasts religiously.

So I, I would, yeah, I'm not
going to, there aren't any

there that I'd, I'd really name.


Um, yeah.

Um, makes sense.


Jon: you.

Um, I'm conscious of, uh, of, of time.

We've probably been going
for at least 20 minutes now.

You okay to, um, To answer a few more

Carl: questions.

Yeah, I'm cool.

I'm cool.


Jon: Thank you.

Um, so I'm just going to
a few more to wrap up.

Carl: Um,

Jon: when you, you you've
talked through the.

How you came across proton VPN, um, and
how it was very much driven by proton as

a, uh, you know, that and their mission,
almost your, your purchase rather than

a specific need that was making you
look for, uh, for a VPN at the time.

Um, uh, but did you
consider any alternatives?

Uh, did you, do you remember if
you looked, um, or have you since

looked at any other alternative VPN.

Carl: Uh, I have, uh, I remember
about a year ago, uh, there was

more and more advertising on telly
for VPNs, that kind of stuff.

So I was becoming more aware of the
competitor services out there, but, um,

I have to be honest, like, I, I wouldn't,
I don't, I wouldn't change from proton.

Um, the, the reasons I wouldn't change
from proton is that everything about

proton for me, um, Uh, feels right in
terms of the interface is really good.

It does what they say they will
do, but also the technology, the

engineers, the team, and the fact that
he is based, or the fact that the,

the company is based in Switzerland.

So, uh, which in terms of privacy
and security and those kinds of

things, and, and, uh, what civil
rights I would say that it's

probably a good place to be based.

The alternative would probably
be replaced at Iceland.

And so, um, so for me, they've got a
solid product built on solid foundations,

whereas, um, the majority of other
VPNs that I see pop up, um, and I,

I, part of me excludes Mozillas.

So I know that Mozilla, if now
I've got a VPN that I'm seeing

sort of what I use Firefox.

So I see that they, they push.

Um, and that's certainly something
that I've been aware of, but I haven't

felt the need to go and explore.

Um, whereas lots of the other VPN
services for me just sound like private

companies, um, setting up silos.

Um, and I, I, I, as much as there's a lot
of, probably lots of people out there that

are willing to pay a subscription to a
company for something, and I know that a

lot of the, uh, you know, uh, antivirus
companies and that kind of stuff are all

on or all moving on onto that bandwagon.

Um, it just, isn't something.

Um, I'd consider from another company.

I think proton is, is, is
the right, the right choice.

And, uh, I think it's, uh,
a long-term choice as well.

Um, that makes sense
actually also, sorry, sorry.

Uh, and also, um, I was very clear
originally that there, the mission

I supported in terms of the proton
VPN was likely to lead to other.

Products that would enable, um,
sort of, you know, privacy, freedom

of speech, those kinds of things.

Um, and, uh, things like, uh, so
they they've they've they're now,

uh, what seems to be developing
is a suite two rival group.

Uh, for example, say the Google G suite
in terms of Google calendar, um, uh,

as well as Google, Gmail, Google Mau,
and so proton now have a proton mail.

They also have proton calendar.

They also have proton
drive for document storage.

So those kinds of things are
all coming off of the back of

the support that they're having.

And obviously everything
is hosted on the site.

Decentralized secure network.

So for me, um, it, yeah, the product
is growing and only has greater appeal.

Um, I'm

Jon: sure that, um, personal VPN
would be very happy to, to, to hear

that if, um, you know, I deal, I
love a customer interview where I'm

asking you about a specific product
that I'm involved in and, um, and

someone says such, such nice things.

So, um, Wonderful.

Um, and, um,

so I, I think you've, you've
kind of touched on this, uh,

the answer to this question.

Um, but I just wanted to double check it
if, if you were to, uh, if you weren't

able to, if you weren't able to use
proton PBN for any more, any more for any

reason, um, what would you use instead?

Carl: I would explore the Mozilla
one, I think, um, that's just off

the bat in regards to, that's the
one that I see more often because

I'm a Firefox, I'm a Firefox fan.


I use, I use the Firefox
web browser all the time.

Um, and so yeah, that, that, that
would be the one that I would

check, I think, um, I'm sure that
there's alternatives out there.

Um, I just can't name them off the top.



Jon: Um, and just related to that, and
are there any other tools, um, that are

sort of you've you've purchased or that
you use regularly for similar reasons to

your, um, because I think the reasons, it
sounds like the reasons you use proton VPN

are very similar to why you use Firefox.

Carl: Maybe.


So, uh, so I dunno, th there's there's
the relation of, um, sort of open source,

open source software, um, uh, and, uh,
and also just, um, The open web really.

Um, and I believe in those two things, um,

there are, I believe in those two
things and I believe that the, the.

Has fundamentally changed over the years
in regards to lots of private silos,

privatized private areas of the internet.

And I believe that, um, that's
not necessarily healthy.

Um, so the, the, the idea of, uh,
tools and technologies that, uh,

can create a decentralized web,
uh, and an open web through open

source software, that kind of thing.

R a big positive for, um,
I suppose society longterm.

And so, yeah, and the tools that I,
that there are other tools that I

use that, uh, would fall into that.

Um, I it's interesting.

Cause I think some of these makes actually
start to get cannibalized by proton.

And so, uh, so I have.

Uh, I have hosting, uh, and
I host in, I actually have my

hosting account in Iceland.

Um, which, uh, I know it sounds weird.

I mean, I, I have, I used to blog
years ago, so I had a blog to upkeep

in terms of built on WordPress.

I stopped blogging quite a few years,
uh, years ago as to whether I'll continue

as to whether that will come back at
some point, who knows maybe the, uh,

the thought does arise every so often,
but at the moment I'm paying for a

hosting package, uh, In Iceland that I'm
definitely not getting the use out of,

but the mission of the hosting company
in terms of green, sustainable hosting,

uh, and, uh, the, the idea of, uh, sort
of safety and security and privacy,

uh, for me, those are things that are.

Investing in.

Uh, so, so, so I stick there,
um, uh, off the back of that

hosting company that I use.

Um, and please bear in mind.

I'm probably, I am like you in
regards to I own various domain names.

And that means that I inherently, I
have multiple email accounts as well.

Um, so, um, my hosting in
Iceland, um, the email.

Uh, client, uh, that, that uses
is a KZ is an open source client

called rain loop, which I used, or
which I, which I found originally

simply through my hosting company.

Um, but.

Um, and it was very, very basic,
very, very basic compared to

the alternative, like Gmail that
was out there and various other.

And, and also things are just
things like, um, like Mac

Mayo and those kinds of stuff.

Ray loop at the time was very
primitive, but I decided that I

was just going to stick with that.

And, and so that's what I've
used, where was now things like

proton mail have come along.

Um, and they are.

Much better than the primitive rain loop.

Uh, so I am probably going to, as part
of my, you know, I suppose constant

use of proton, um, I will probably move
things over to proton mail because that

exactly the same as Gmail allows you
to assign a domain name to a proton.

I dress.

Um, but all of these kinds of
features are only now starting to

come online as far as I'm aware.

So, um, yeah, but they
certainly weren't available four

years ago or five years ago.


Jon: Alright, thank you.

Um, that's, that's all of my,
um, main questions covered.

Um, I'm conscious of time and I want
to give, uh, You used some time, uh,

as well, but is there anything else
that you think I should know, um,

on this, uh, on, on, on the topic
of your decision to buy proton VPN?

Carl: Uh, not that, uh, I saw I've
got, I wrote a couple of post-it notes.

I'm just actually looking at my
post-it notes now, but, um, no, not,

not that, not that I can think of.

Uh, no, not that I can think of.


Jon: Thank you.

Uh, we we've, we've covered so much.

I've I've learned loads.

Um, so it's yeah, super, super useful.

Thank you so much for your, for your time.

Um, covering that.

Um, uh, is there anyone else, um, that
you think I should talk to, or, um, worth

talking to on the topic of, I guess,
VPNs, um, Uh, I guess you don't have to

name names live if you don't want to.

We could, we could, we
could follow up later.

Um, but what would you have a
few people that you would, uh,

Suggest I speak to if I were,

Carl: uh, so, uh, no one
off the top of my head.

Um, uh, well actually I can think
of two people that probably have,

uh, so, uh, I said that I've got
a friend who, uh, I will tell.

Uh, if you wanted to interview him, I'm
very happy to make a phone call and find

out whether he'd be interested in that.

So, yeah, happy to make that phone call.

Uh, the other person that I would
be fascinated to hear from in terms

of the VPN stuff is, um, and I don't
want to mention any names here.

So, uh, but, um, so we both know
somebody who was involved in the

network setup and configuration.

The skiff coworking community network.

I would be interested to get
that person's take on VPNs.



Jon: Definitely.

I think I, who you mean anyway,
I became to come on this, um, uh,

podcast anyway, cause um, yeah, real
nice guy, um, chat, but I'll get his

permission before we talk about him.

Um, so, um, uh, and, um,

Carl: uh,

Jon: I guess finally, um, where can
listeners find out more about you or do

you want to tell us a bit more about what
you're, what you're up to, um, at the

moment, um, in, in business or, uh, who,
who your, your current clients are and.

Carl: Uh, so, uh, well, I haven't
really got anything to sell.

Uh, uh, so a bit about me.

Uh, so my background is a designer, uh,
part project manager, and I worked, uh,

worked freelance for quite a number of
years, uh, under the name fellow creative.

So anybody is interested.

I'm a fellow creative on Twitter.

I'm not on Facebook.

For me on Twitter, um, in terms of my
current day-to-day, uh, I am part of a

software team, uh, called bud shots and
we produce a software for escape rooms.

Um, so that's my day-to-day.

Um, if you're interested in that, um, you
can find, uh, more at bus shop dot cope.

Um, yeah.

Um, I think that's probably.

So if you,

Jon: if you are someone that, you know,
uh, the listener, um, uh, is running

an escape from this checkout, uh, bus
shot, um, dot co, uh, and, uh, if you'd

like to hear more of, uh, Uh, thoughts,
um, then, uh, fellow creative on, on

Twitter is the place to, to get them.

And, um, I can also vouch for Carl
being a fantastic addition to,

um, uh, uh, a team and that we've
worked together for many years.

Um, Is it getting on for two decades,
we've known each other for may, maybe.

Um, and having co-founded, uh, the
skiff, uh, co-working space together

and worked on that, um, at various
points, um, Pruitt's lifetime and

I'm thinking of various software
projects together, um, as well.

Uh, and, uh, yeah, I'm, I'm a big fan of,
um, Karl's, uh, design style, uh, as well.

Uh, and I, uh, I wish I could
incorporate in more of my things.

And in fact, um, even though that's a
smaller part of your work, uh, these

days, um, but yeah, thank you very much.

Um, Carl, for your time, uh, it's
been, uh, uh, it's been great.

And if anything comes to mind that you
want to follow up with, um, when it asked

any more questions, Please please do.

Um, and I can help you with just let me

Carl: know.

Thank you very much.

Yeah, no, I hope this has been useful.

Um, yeah, I've been, I've enjoyed the chat
and sorry if I've rambled on a little bit.

I don't know.


Feel free to edit away.

Jon: Um, I, I think it's,
um, it's been brilliant.

There's all sorts of little gems
hidden away in there, which I'll

be, um, listening back to and
I'm taking some notes on, so.

So can you tell me three, um, new pieces
of software, um, that you started,

um, using recently, or that you'd
recommend, uh, listeners to check.

Carl: Yeah, sure.

Uh, okay.


I have been a registered as a user of
a piece of software called air table.

So air, table.com for quite a
few years, but, um, they, uh, and

it takes to describe air table.

It's like, uh, XL spreadsheets on steroids
in terms of, um, it really does allow

you to do some very interesting things,
um, uh, with different views of content.

Um, Uh, but air table have been adding
new integrations and automations,

uh, which are pretty exciting.

So that's something that I
am exploring at the moment.

Um, another tool that, uh,
I, so as a designer, I.

So many years using Adobe
products and Adobe products.

For me, I've got very, very tiresome
and they not as good as they used to be.

And so, uh, I, I, over the
past few years, I've slowly

started to convert to infinity.

Um, and so there's a product, there's a
company out there called affinity that

produce alternatives for Photoshop and
Adobe illustrator, that kind of stuff.

So I definitely recommend exploring them.

Um, if you have a design ilk.


Uh, and then, uh, the final thing
would be, and I know that you've

been sharing an app called reflect
app, uh, which, uh, is about sort of

keeping track of thoughts and books
and meetings, that kind of stuff.

Uh, and, and mind mapping ideas really.

Um, I discovered a co uh, like
a startup really, um, called

project Metta, um, a few months
ago, uh, which I contacted them.

Uh, they gave me a one to one introduction
to their software, that kind of stuff.

Uh, and so that.

Interesting, uh, for mind mapping,
um, and they're doing something

that I think is quite unique.

So yeah, if you're interested in,
uh, sort of, uh, jotting down ideas,

uh, mapping sort of stuff on post-it
notes or planning things, um, or just

trying to organize your brain, which
is something I tried to do quite

a bit, uh, project Metta is worth.


Jon: Thank you so much for
sharing those coal out, get links,

um, in the, in the show notes.

So people can check those things out as
well as the things that you're working on.

Carl: Thank you again.


No worries.


Jon: That was hopefully a useful
example of a customer interview.

You can find notes from this episode,
including links to all the products

mentioned at empathy, deployed.com.

If you know anyone who might benefit
from hearing this perspective,

please share the episode.

And word of caution.

This interview is a snapshot of
just one person's perspective

in an artificial situation.

You should be very careful about
drawing any conclusions about

the guest people like them or the
product from this single data point.

Customer interviews are most valuable
when you see parallels across, many

of them will be in a specific context.

I'd suggest a minimum of
five and ideally 12 to 15.

I recommend the book, deploy
empathy by Michelle Hanson for a

practical guide on how to do it.

Well, if you'd like to join
me as a guest on a future

episode, please send me a note.

I'm jumped on Twitter.

That's J O T.

My DMS are open.

You can also use the form at
empathy, deployed.com or email.

Hello at empathy deployed.

Please include the names and
addresses of free software products

you use regularly and or pay for.