In this episode, our guest is Aiden Wollner, CEO of Away Digital Home, on Talent Density, Meditation For Busy People, and Embracing Technology.
We talk all about:
- The importance of honesty in business;
- Talent density and finding star employees;
- Meditation techniques for busy individuals; and
- Embracing technological opportunities and turning them into meaningful strategies.
Connecting with Aiden Wollner
Books and resources
- No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention – by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer
- Transcendental Meditation
“It started off as a coffee and we decided that there was an opportunity for me at Away Digital, with the arrangement being that I would do the business development and Gary would run the technical side of things. So we made the decision to leave the law there and then and take on no salary.”
On talent density and finding star employees
- Talent density is about having a lot of really good people who just do their work and you don’t have to spend time managing them and all of the kind of unproductive stuff like pulling someone back into line or making sure they’re doing their work. They take ownership of their work and they communicate well around it. And they’re technically good at what they do as well.
- In terms of finding stars, I don’t have a specific interview question necessarily, but it’s finding what is this person looking for, what drives them? What excites them about the role? Why are they leaving their current role and what are they looking for? You ultimately want to find somebody that has alignment with where you want to go, that what you’re offering motivates them. But it’s not a perfect science.
On meditation tips for busy people
- Most mornings when the alarm goes off and if it’s a morning that I’m not exercising, my wife and I sit there and meditate together in the mornings.
- I used to put the alarm on to end the meditation and I didn’t like it, it was a bit jarring when I came out of it. She said, “I just do it when my body comes out of it.” And I was like, “All right.” So a rub on the arm or rub on the leg and an acknowledgement that we’re done.
- We both separately did courses in transcendental meditation, and practice does help too.
- Like with any distracting thought, the more weight you give to a distracting thought, the more it distracts. So it’s, “Okay, I’m having this thought, all right.” With transcendental meditation, you have something that you repeat in your mind. So, “Okay, I’m having this thought, I’m distracted here.” Acknowledge the distraction and then come back and not be hard on yourself about it.
On embracing technology
- I think for us it’s about speaking to customers and asking, “What are your needs? What are things that you’re still doing that you were doing 10 years ago? What are the things that are not very efficient in your process?”
- Then we can look at technology and say, “All right, well, how can we create something that speaks to that? How can we take tech to apply to those jobs to be done in the customer process?”
Final message of wisdom and hope for future leaders
- Give it a crack. You don’t know what you don’t know. As I said, I don’t think I’m the smartest bloke going around, definitely don’t have the biggest business in the world, but I’m having a go. You make mistakes, but don’t sweat the small stuff. There’ll be a ton of issues, just deal with it and move on to the next. There’ll be good times, there’ll be bad times.
- Really embrace tech. Put your arms around people who are techy, who you can have good relationships with, they will be invaluable. Learn it. I feel that if I could turn the clock back, that I would do coding from a young age and just understand the space because it’s just exploding.