August Coffee Talk with Admin Evangelists


Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down for another cup of coffee with Gillian, myself,  and Josh Birk. Join us as we chat about the ever-changing nature of work and preview Skills for Success September.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation.

How we work, then and now

Every month, Gillian, myself, and Developer Evangelist Josh Birk sit down with a cup of coffee and a topic. For August’s coffee talk, we’re reflecting on the ever-changing nature of work,  how things have changed in our work lives, technology that has changed the way we work, and a look ahead to our Skills for Success series.

Join us as we discuss:

  • How email has gone from something you’d check every so often to something that’s in your pocket
  • How Slack has helped with email overload
  • Camera on or camera off in videoconferences
  • How perceptions of work-from-home have changed
  • Why changes in our work lives are opportunities and what that has to do with business analysis
  • The Skills for Success series coming to YouTube this September
  • How that’s going to tie in with upcoming episodes on the podcast

Podcast swag

Learn more

Business analyst August episodes


Full show transcript

Mike: To wrap up Business Analyst August, we’re chatting about the ever-changing nature of work, so how things have changed in our work lives, maybe notable changes in technology that have changed the way we work, and maybe even discuss some crazy processes that we’ve had to unwind as admins or being in the tech world. I don’t know.

We’ll see where this conversation goes. But I also have Gillian on to give us a preview of the Skills for Success September, which is next month’s theme, because we’re also launching that as a YouTube series. To help me do all of these fun, conversational things, joining me is fellow podcast host Gillian Bruce and host of the Dev Podcast and evangelist Josh Birk. Hi, everybody.

Josh Birk: Hey, everybody.

Gillian Bruce: Hello.

Mike: Let’s start with the ever-changing nature of work, which is what business analysts deal with all the time. I’ll just throw out there, I was thinking this is probably the lowest of low-hanging fruit, but how email has changed. Because I remember a time, I don’t know, many, many years ago, when I used to go to the public library to check out a computer to check my email. I didn’t do that every day, and now it’s, what, I mean, how many times have you checked your email this hour?

Josh Birk: I feel like it checks me at this point. It’s just watching me. I think it’s a bidirectional route now.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I think it’s been quite an evolution, right? Because it went from like, oh, there’s this new thing called email that you check when you can, to being like, this is the thing that runs your work life. I literally would spend all day just in email answering things, to now I check it once, twice a day maybe, because everything I do now is Slack.

Josh Birk: That’s right. If we’re centering an email, we’ve definitely drifted away there. I remember my first days in the cubicle, the company had a proprietary… It was a proto email kind of thing.

Mike: Oh, they built their own thing.

Josh Birk: They built their own thing, and then they got Outlook, but the proto email thing had the ability to cancel an email. If your recipient hadn’t opened the email, you could cancel it and they’d never see it. They never knew you wrote it. The entire company went up in arms because they suddenly lost the ability to send their bosses angry email at midnight and delete it at 6:00 AM.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. Because with the unsend now is you have to do it within the first five seconds after you hit the send button or something. Interesting.

Mike: Ridiculous. I remember pre cubicle land when I was in retail and part of your morning startup besides counting your drawer was checking the company email. You had to sign in. I mean, you never responded because it was basically just one way, like here’s the thing from corporate, or here’s the stuff that’s on sale.

Josh Birk: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Well, and I also remember, I mean, you used to have to physically be at a computer to read your email. I remember my first few office jobs, I had to wait until I got into the… Commute into the office, fire up the computer, and then log into the email. Whereas I mean, gosh, now it’s like I just roll over and look at my phone and I can see the email, to the point where I now have to have a really good boundary about, no, we’re not checking work email until it’s a very normal hour to do so, because then I’ll just start doing things. It’s also interesting how that has changed.

Josh Birk: I will always recommend people to have two phones, which is not a phrase I thought I would say five years ago, but it’s like have a work phone, have a life phone. And that way if you want to go walk the dog, just leave the work phone at home, just turn it off for a good couple of hours.

Gillian Bruce: I’ve had Slack creep in that way.

Mike: I’ve always been a two work phone kind of guy. Always two. That way, you go on vacation, my phone can just do whatever.

Gillian Bruce: I used to be very good about turning off the apps or even uninstalling the work apps because I’ve been a one phone person for the last 14 years. I’m starting to realize, okay, maybe it’s getting too complicated to untangle the unification of both personal and work on one device, and maybe I do need to go to two devices at this point.

Josh Birk: Speaking of that, because I was just realizing my work phone is not really a phone. If you look at the call history, it’s all spam and lies and misinformation. Nobody from work calls me on that phone, which is fine because almost nobody from work ever actually calls me anymore. And yet, I remember once again going back to my cubicle days, I remember being told the strategy of when to call somebody when you had to talk to them.

You don’t call at 9:00 because everybody just got in the office. They haven’t had their coffee yet. You don’t call around noon because they’re probably out to lunch. Strategize how you’re going to have a phone conversation with people, and now it’s just like I don’t talk to people. I think there might be a mental emergency if somebody calls you on the phone.

Gillian Bruce: Well, now your phone doesn’t even work if you try to call. Half the time I try to make an outgoing call and it fails.

Josh Birk: Oh, I mean, I just don’t even answer. I got a call the other day. I was like, oh, neat. They can leave me a voicemail.

Gillian Bruce: Thank goodness for transcription of voicemails. You don’t even have to listen to it. You can just see what’s written in the… Gosh, Josh, you’re bringing back so many vivid memories of like remember all of the learning how to use the complex phones in the office.

Josh Birk: Conference calling. Conference calling.

Gillian Bruce: All the headsets everybody would wear and everything was a GoTo Meeting or Cisco. It was a whole other culture and things that we did. I still have a technical landline at Salesforce that I don’t know how you would even access. Occasionally I get an email with a voicemail from that line that I never check. That was a whole thing. How do you record the right greeting and how do you know how to dial the extensions?

I mean, that’s a whole nother thing that, I mean, people these days probably have no idea what that even means. If you’re starting in your professional first ever office job at this point, the concept of a physical intercom, one of those big phones with all the buttons on it, would just be like, “What is this?”

Mike: I mean, you remember those UFO looking phones that they had in conference tables with speakers and all the… I remember every Monday we would have a sales call and people from the field, that’s what we called it, called in, and we’re all sitting around a table and it’s like, Bing. John Smith has joined the call.” And then it’s either they’re in their house or they’re driving, and that was cellphones mid ’90s, which is like a wind turbine. Can you hear me? Can you hear me? Go on mute, John.

Josh Birk: I will confess, one thing I miss about those days is when I was working in a consulting firm, we would have conference calls. If the client was, shall we say, particularly rowdy sometimes, somebody would just put a plastic cup over the speakerphone and all of a sudden they sounded like they’re just like [inaudible] Then we just all laugh at them without them knowing. Harder to do that…

Mike: You do that now, everybody’s on camera. It’s all Zoom and Google Meets. It’s super easy to join. You actually have to say why you’re not on camera.

Gillian Bruce: That’s the thing. How quickly has that culture shifted? I remember, this was probably three years ago, this was before the pandemic, which I think also drastically changed a lot of culture around this, but I was with a couple of friends and we were together, but we were still working our respective jobs for a few hours until we were doing whatever we were doing.

I don’t know if it was weird. It was like we’re doing a wine country thing or something, but we’re all in our respective corners doing work and I’m on video calls. One of the people is just on an actual phone call most of the time, and all of us looking, “What are you doing? The expectation is not to have your camera on?” They’re like, “No. Nobody does that.” We’re like, wow, that’s different.

Josh Birk: I mean, I’ve been remote since well before the pandemic. It used to be you were expected not to be. You were distracting people if you were on camera. And then the pandemic hits and it’s like, “How dare you not show your face? You’re not being social.”

Mike: That changed. It was also kind of weird too, because when you were… I’ve been remote, let’s see, 10 years now. There was a period of time too where you had to have your camera on because it’s like, are you really at your desk slaving away over a keyboard? Because the perception of work was, well, you work from home, you’re just out lollygagging, walking around and enjoying the weather, while the rest of us are stuck in cubicles, slaving away over hot keyboards answering emails.

Gillian Bruce: Before those of us who were office based, we’re all forced during the pandemic to be home-based. That was absolutely the perception from those of us who had to go to the office every day. Oh, cool. You just woke up and turned your computer on. Congratulations. Yeah, that’s working. And now I’m like, actually, I prefer to go office because I don’t have to work as hard in the office. I chat with people, and I’m late to meetings, and I have an excuse not to go to a meeting. It’s so fascinating how that has shifted for me.

Mike: Sorry, the elevator, I’m stuck. I can’t make it.

Gillian Bruce: Meanwhile, those of you who are back to back meetings at home are like, come on, people. You office slackers.

Mike: Click, click. Why are you so late? Why are you 10 seconds late?

Gillian Bruce: I was getting coffee and having a chat in the hallway with so-and-so.

Josh Birk: I had to change rooms, which feels so weird.

Gillian Bruce: I couldn’t find a room.

Mike: When you work from home and people are like, “Well, I had to change rooms,” you’re like, “Oh, yeah, that’s weird.”

Josh Birk: Like what, to the living room? I don’t understand.

Mike: I know. Why? Why did you have to change rooms? I never get kicked out of my house. Well, August was great. Gillian, you said you listened to Amber’s podcast. It rounded out the whole Business Analyst stuff.

Gillian Bruce: It did, yeah, because it connected like, hey… I mean, it connected to what we just talked about. Mike’s very thematic. There’s different moments in time where work cultures shift and how you interact and get work done shifts. Being a good business analyst is all about identifying those opportunities and figuring out how you can make that happen, well, in the Salesforce world with Salesforce technology.

But I think what I really liked about Amber’s podcast is it kind of tied it together because it’s like, oh, it’s not specifically tied to one specific platform, but the advent of something like Slack really gives you an opportunity to reexamine how your team works together, what is productive, what are the outcomes, how do you maybe take a step back and look at this strategically to find ways to make people more productive and happier. It was good. Good job, Mike. I enjoyed Business Analyst Month.

Mike: Well, good, because next month is actually a pairing or a cousin to what you’re launching on the YouTube channel. Let’s talk about the Skills for Success series.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. Well, Mike, you are also a part of this.

Mike: Very small. Real small.

Gillian Bruce: You know what, small but mighty.

Mike: Like 30 seconds.

Gillian Bruce: It was a great 30 seconds, I’ll tell you. We are launching a five part video series on YouTube all about skills for success. We go through all of the 14 skills that are in the Salesforce Admin Skills Kit. It’s not just me talking about them, it’s actually experts and industry leaders within the field. We have real life awesome admins, some of whom, Mike, I know you’re going to have on the podcast, and we have industry leaders. Mike, I’m sorry, I’m calling you an industry leader because that’s what happens when you do this stuff for a long time.

Mike: Because I answer a lot of emails.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, yeah, probably more Slack messages now. We have some industry leaders. We also have some people who have expertise in hiring Salesforce administrators to get that employer perspective on why these skills are important, how you develop them, how you represent them to potential employers, what employers are looking for. It’s a fun series.

We had some fun, as we do with our YouTube series, injecting some fun in it, but it’s a really great way to hear from different faces and different people and perspectives and hopefully really help you get a more in depth view into how these specific skills can help you be a successful Salesforce administrator.

Mike: Yeah, it’s really cool. As of this recording, I’ve already spoke with one of the guests, which was Emma Keeling, to talk about project management. I’m trying to delve into some of the people that you had on that video series. What was the things that you wanted to talk about but maybe ran out of time, or what was other things that maybe are left on the cutting room floor but are still really good?

Emma and I had that chat and I’ve got a few other guests coming up that will be part of the series. Of course, we can’t feature all of them. You have so many people on the videos. Thankfully, there’s not that many Thursdays in September.

Gillian Bruce: We got lots of awesome admins out there and lots of experts in these arenas. It was really fun to work with all of them and put this together. I’m happy that you’re going to have some of them on the pod to dig a little deeper and get that full picture, that longer soundbite from the 45 seconds or whatever they are. I mean, Mike, you talked about change management, I believe.

Mike: Yes. I talked about a lot of things.

Gillian Bruce: And Josh, I also know that you were part of the series. I think you had a product management section you talked about?

Josh Birk: Something along those lines. I think I pretended to be a product management expert. I just talked about a feature for 15 minutes straight I think was the right thing to do, right?

Mike: Wow, 15 minutes.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, you’ll have to tune in to find out how it all turns out.

Mike: I’ll link to those in September too, so that the podcast can share the love with the YouTube series and back and forth.

Gillian Bruce: It’s like they’re connected or something.

Mike: Look, let’s be honest, as you’re listening to this, we’re like, what, 10 or 12 days out from Dreamforce too.

Josh Birk: Don’t say that.

Mike: Because that’s going to happen in September, but that doesn’t happen to everybody. Now, you have this whole series of videos and podcasts to listen to in September as the leaves fall. I don’t know, September is that weird fall month where it’s like, is it summer? Is it fall?

Gillian Bruce: Well, in San Francisco it’s summer.

Mike: Heat advises already at the coffee shops.

Josh Birk: Are you getting any of those heat advisory stuff over in Iowa?

Mike: Oh yes. It’s going to be melt your face hot today. Not going outside. But who knows what winter will be? I don’t know. Pick one.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, I’m looking forward to… San Francisco summer is literally beginning right now. It goes from late August until mid-November, and this is the second day in a row where it’s gotten above 70 degrees and it’s glorious.

Mike: Wow.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, it’s been foggy basically from May until a week ago consistently. It’s really nice to see the sun and get some warmth, and I’m soaking it all up.

Josh Birk: Well, as I look over at my dashboard, it’s going to hit 102 here tomorrow.

Gillian Bruce: Oh!

Mike: Yeah, we’re in the same boat, Josh, because it’s just really in the heat advisory, because our dew point, I don’t know what your dew point is, but they always say in the Midwest, it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. Oh, it’s both right now.

Josh Birk: Oh, it’s both. Yeah, it’s both. I think the weather report today is something like 85, but feels like death.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. Well, you will be here in San Francisco with me soon, and you’ll enjoy this beautiful 71 degree weather with a, let’s see, I’m looking it up, a 72% humidity or the dew point is 61.

Mike: Oh, well, that’s not too bad.

Gillian Bruce: No. I mean, it’s humid for us. It’s abnormally humid, but it’s beautiful.

Mike: But Gillian, I bet Josh’s dew point is probably the same as mine. We’re in the 80s, 80 degrees. I woke up this morning literally all the windows in my house were wet because the dew point and the temperature were like one or two degrees apart.

Josh Birk: This is the time of year we’re reminded that Chicago was built on a swamp for sure.

Mike: Full of concrete.

Gillian Bruce: Come on out to the dunes of San Francisco. It’s glorious.

Mike: And then when you’re not in Chicago, and this is a real thing, you can look it up, I don’t know if I’m going to say it right, but it’s not evaporation, but it’s evapostoration or something. It’s literally the fact that Iowa and some neighboring states, but really Iowa has so much corn with so much moisture that it raises the humidity level. Because as it heats up, the corn evaporate. It’s all over The Weather Channel, and you can smell it too. When you walk outside, it smells like corn.

Gillian Bruce: In like a good way?

Mike: Oh, very good way. Very good.

Josh Birk: I can see that one falling either way.

Mike: Right. Right. No, this is a very good corn on the cob on the grill. You’re like, ooh, let’s go get some corn from the farmer’s market.

Gillian Bruce: Speaking tangent, because we like talking about food, I made the most epic elote salad a week ago. Elote is that Mexican street corn basically. They grill it and they put a bunch of aioli on it. Deliciousness.

Mike: I’ve wanted to do that.

Gillian Bruce: And cotija cheese. I made a grilled corn elote salad that I still think about. I think I might have to make it again tonight. It’s basically you grill the corn, you put a bunch of tomatoes and avocado and cheese and deliciousness. You mix it together. Holy moly! I mean, Damon and I ate the entire bowl in one sitting.

Josh Birk: Nice. Nice.

Mike: You kind of live like a Mid-Westerner because I will confess that it is sweet corn season right now. It’s almost at tail end. I really need to go to the farmer’s market. But we’ve had sweet corn for dinner, same as the elote salad, just on the cob with butter on your cheeks. Look at that. Well, there we go. That’s how we’re going to end it, butter on our cheeks or mine at least anyway.

Gillian Bruce: Butter makes everything better, right?

Josh Birk: Yep. Secret ingredient.

Mike: Real good butter. If by chance, by chance you enjoyed this episode, maybe pick a different one and then share that with one person, because that would be awesome. Here’s how you do it. If you’re listening on iTunes, all you got to do is just tap the dots. There’s three little dots. You choose share episode, and then you can post it to social. You can text it to a friend. Maybe you text an elote corn salad recipe. We’d love that too. There’s more recipes.

There’s more resources on our website, which is literally everything admin,, including a transcript of the show. I will bug and see if we can get Gillian’s recipe just because that would be fun and it’d be great if it showed up in the show notes. Be sure to join the conversation in the Admin Trailblazer Group in the Trailblazer Community. Don’t worry, the link is in the show notes. Because remember, everything is on With that, I will see you in the cloud.

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