Episode 10 - Transcript

Building Team Trust with Daniel Jilg

00:00 // Benjamin

Welcome to CTO Coffee. This time I’m talking to Daniel Jilg. He’s a freelance software developer from Augsburg, here in Germany. And he has just lots of experience in many different roles in the industry and as such, I’m not even going to try to explain anything, tell you anything more about him, but, give him the opportunity to, to introduce himself. So, hi, Daniel.

00:28 // Daniel

Hi. Thank you so much for having me.

00:30 // Benjamin

So, tell us about you.

00:33 // Daniel

Right. I’m Daniel. I, I have like a bit of a weird career. That’s correct. I started, I started like after, or even during university, like doing like these small freelance jobs in various, mostly doing like web apps and stuff like that, but it’s kind of translated into an job at this agency that was just forming.

So it wasn’t like just two people. And after a while I kind of like, who became the CTO of this app development agency. So, I kind of started my career as a CTO, which was, which is very weird and was a kind of roller coaster of an experience. I got to tell you and I learned a lot. Then I also, I switched jobs a lot because I love startups and I want to be, I wanted to be at like, at the very cutting edge of. Technology and, and progress and stuff like that. And so I kind of became a freelancer after a few years of CTO-ing. And I also was a teamlead in many of these, many of these positions. I’m just sending you, Oh. But if somebody has just to be on podcasts called CTO coffee, and what it also did was, I tried to launch a space startup last year, two years ago, two years ago.

01:53 // Benjamin

You’re, you’re not Elon Musk, right?

01:55 // Daniel

I’m not Elon Musk. We didn’t want …

01:56 // Benjamin

Otherwise we would have to stop right now.

01:59 // Daniel

I’m definitely. Almost nothing in common with Elon Musk.

02:03 // Benjamin

Except for a space startup.

02:06 // Daniel

Pretty much. But we didn’t want to build rockets. We just wanted to, wanted to build satellites and have them filled with computers.

I can tell you more about this later if you want. I am a huge advocate of feminism and in my spare time, I also try to write my own apps every now and then. But. Right now, I just have one app in this store and the rest is kind of way past in history. But as a claim to fame, I do have, I had one of the first 100 apps in the app store when it launched because I was just like so excited about the iPhone when it came out.

But it was like, okay, I got to do something. I got to teach myself how to, how to write iPhone apps. And I created like this tiny, tiny app that gave you this timer for 10 minutes, and then it gave you the ding and then it gave you another timer for two minutes. And the idea was that you would concentrate on something for 10 minutes and then you’d get a two minute break and then it would start again. So you have these little breaks in between so you could stay more motivated. That was like kind of during my university days and it helped me and others like study better. I hope.

03:05 // Benjamin

It’s like a half Pomodoro,

03:08 // Daniel

Like the same, the same idea. And I think, I don’t think I invented the thing. I think I heard it from, do you know Merlin Mann? He’s like this productivity guru. And I used to listen to his podcast, so it was kind of like his idea. And I also credited him in the, in the app. But I felt like this is the right technique for me because I lose concentration easily sometimes. And so, so this was very good.

03:30 // Benjamin

Interesting, you said that you started your career basically backwards, like starting as a CTO. And of course as such, it’s super interesting to hear about your learnings with, or what you think like. Maybe what makes a good, good CTO or so, whatever you learned, what do you think is like the most important thing that you’ve done or have learned?

03:56 // Daniel

Oh, that’s a very good question. I think the most important thing that I learned, is that like, this is something I needed to learn because the, our team had grown and grown and I was like. Kind of de facto technical lead. And then after, after a while, like I was like the kind of CTO, but then when it, when it became official, I thought like nothing would change, right?

I, still left my friends in the company who I like more than others and I can just like talk to them. And, but the thing that I realized, and I didn’t realize this alone, like had people, I had people who told me this and asked me to really reconsider. This is. When you are a leader or a technical leader in this, in this, and this time, then you have to make decisions.

You have to be willing and able to, to be the final decision, even if it pisses some people off. Of course, you have to be careful to like. Take everyone’s opinion and be fair to everyone. But the mistake that I did a lot in the first year or so, I was just waiting for someone else to take the decision off me.

Whereas I sort of, I should have just like say, okay, I am in the position that I am the final decider in these, in this field. So I’m making this decision decision after talking to everyone and then after like listening to everyone, but. Like someone needs to make a decision. And in my situation, I needed to realize that I was the one who had to make this decision, even if it was last minute, not the perfect decision, even if it’s not, the decision for the next 100 years.

But you give a direction and then you stick to it unless and until you are either. Convinced by someone that it’s the wrong direction or that says a better direction or the situation changes and you need to reevaluate. And that’s also important of course, right? Like just because you decide something that’s not set in stone, you, you should be able to reevaluate and someone comes to you and tells you like, Hey, Benjamin think about thinking about this and this and this. Maybe reconsider your decision. Then of course you should do that.

06:00 // Benjamin

That makes a lot of sense. During my time as CTO and elsewise afterwards, I always think of these kinds of situations as kind of like where I always call it like last line of defense. Like. When everything else fails in, in that case, like others making a decision, then you’re ultimately responsible that as a decision gets made.

Of course, you can take lots of measures to kind of delegate these decisions and create frameworks or processes or rules or guidelines. To, to kind of like let other people do, make certain decisions and take over lots of decision making from you. But if all else fails, if all of these systems that you put in place then ultimately fail at one point, maybe then you’re the one who, who needs to, who need to make that whatever decision.

06:58 // Daniel

Right. That’s kinda the second thing I learned. Like. I started like making all the decisions, but I kind of became almost a micromanager until my coworkers went up to me and were like, Daniel, like slow down and delegate. So that was like the second learning really.

I should really listen to people and hear what they’re saying. And then also like delegate and be able to leave off the small decisions to others and just, just make sure that the, the general direction is clear that the rules and goals of the company or the team are clear and the people have the space to breathe and to do their work.

So, so what I settled on was I would, I would try to talk to people about the direction that I wanted to go and make sure that they would be on board with that and then like, leave the implementation to other people, but like make it very clear, like where the responsibilities lie. Like this, this coworker would be responsible for this part and this coworker would be responsible for this part and what they would do there would be more or less up to them.

As long as we’re all clear about the general direction we want to go, the rules and values that we have, that kind of thing.

08:10 // Benjamin

Sounds good. One interesting part of that you just said is like, delegating, learning to delegate is, was one of your key learnings and in my experience and when talking to other people, that’s also always like a hard thing for people to accept.

On the one hand, it’s like this classic, one of these classic advice. Pieces of advice, where other, I don’t know. Wherever you go, people say, , you need to learn to delegate as a leader. Everyone says it, but nobody does it. And, and, and it’s very hard to accept. So, let’s, let’s just pile on to that pile of advice, right.

08:50// Daniel

Because it feels like when you’re delegating, it feels like you’re, like, things are slipping out of your hands. You’re losing control. So it’s very hard to, it’s very hard to give away. Like, what I try to do is, be very much in close contact with the people who are delegated to so, and be able to listen to them when, when, when any problems would arise.

So I could be there. But try not to step on their toes while they do important work.

09:17// Benjamin

That, that’s another interesting part. Two interesting parts actually. For one that find it very interesting that you now already multiple times used the word listening. So listening to people is very important. And there, and of course, it’s the question of like, how do you listen properly. And then also like leaving people alone and not stepping on their toes.

And I personally always find it, depends on the situation and the people of course, but it’s not always easy, let’s say it that way, to listen to people. No, that’s, that’s, that’s wrong. What I’m trying to say where the classic situation that, that I sometimes face, is that, you want to talk to people, you want their opinions, but you also don’t want to like disturb them more.

Step on their toes, bring them out of their step. And like all of these modern tools like Slack and co and all, they make things worse because. I so often wish for like an option, like, okay, I want to write this person. And whenever they, they are ready for it, that message should appear and not earlier. And, anyway, so how do you listen to people? How do you, do you have any tricks or tips to ask people about their opinions without like, stepping on their toes in terms of, like interrupting them?

10:48 // Daniel

Totally. Totally. so, one thing you kind of like. Oh, I gotta start again. Hang on. So when I was young, I did this a civil service thing in Germany. Like instead of like military service, you could also do civil service thing. And where I ended up in a drug rehab clinic, I often tell people like, Oh , I spent nine months in drug rehab clinic. I did work there mostly as a secretary. But of course, you also learn a lot about interacting with people about, like listening and talking to people and also like, like just like self awareness because like, I used to have to, I have to do these night shifts and I would read all these books about applied psychology. And like, my favorite author was Paul Watzlawick, for example, who has this whole theory about like, the different layers of communication and stuff like that.

And I think a lot of it rubbed off on me in a way that, and I still like to read these kinds of kind of books or texts, like about, like how people communicate and it’s, it’s very hard to, to fit into like a sound bite or something. But you have to be willing to be open to someone. Like you have to be willing to be really interested in, into someone, even if they’re, even if you are their boss or their manager and you kind of have to project that you are willing to listen. So that means, having, having like a dedicated time and space for them where they can, where they can really speak. Like some people are very skeptical of one-on-ones if they’re like too often or something. But like just going with your employee out for a coffee, like asking them, Hey, do you want to grab a coffee later at this time, this time, and just like chat about how is, how’s it going for you? By the way, tell them that it’s just a chat, I’m not like, they’re not being fired, and then just like, and just like the showing through your actions and through your words that you are willing to listen, that you are willing to act on what you, what you learned from them and then also that you are going to be respectful towards them.

I think that goes a long way, especially with us in tech, there are various minorities, right? There’s like women in tech are still a minority, which is kind of sad. And the same goes for people of color, for example. And these people especially they have, they’ve had such a huge amount of bad experiences with casual racism or sexism where people don’t even realize that they’re, that they’re doing it, right?

Because as white, cis men, we are, we are often unaware of the, the damage we’re doing. So if you have such an employee, then it’s even more important that you are, that you educate yourself about, about their situation and try to empathize and be willing to listen about their experience in that regard, for example. Does that make sense?

13:40 // Benjamin

Yes, yes, very, very much of course. And it’s kind of like , one of my core beliefs of course so what you basically also just talked about is like how to build trust, how to build a trustful relationship with, your reports, employees, teammates.

14:01 // Daniel

I’m sorry, I’m interrupting. You would also have just thought about this is like, like explaining your reasoning. Like you can just say, Oh yes, I want a bridge there. But instead, if you say, Hey, we should build a bridge together because it will help us a, B, and C, and I think this will be the best solution. Then, this is, this helps motivate people a lot as well because if they can and can understand your reasoning, then they can, they can discuss this with you. And if they have a problem, they have a more easily point of insertion where they can say like, Hey, this is, you said this about the bridge, but I disagree. Can we talk about this?

14:40 // Benjamin

It’s, it’s totally funny because I’m like literally 15 minutes before we started this talk, I was reading an article by Claire Lew, the CEO of Know Your Company. And, she literally raised these two things that you just said, as two of the three things that leaders can do to build trust, with whoever they lead, and so communicating the intent of your actions being one and the other one following through on your commitments. And, the third one, which is also like a good one, and I’m just like getting here for completeness sake is I’m showing vulnerability as a leader, like showing, okay, I am a person too.

And I, I am a not perfect so, it’s just interesting that you raise exactly these points and, without us talking about this article. Very cool. So, one of my favorite topics is, and you, you were basically just talking about that is like, how to build trust, how to get to, how to get a team, to work, to trust each other, to work together in a trustful manner, and, all of this, these kinds of things. Which is often overlooked in, in my experience when, you know, when it comes to building teams or working together and especially in a tech setting. Instead, our teams rather often focus too much on like the technical parts of a project. Like, okay, which programming language do we use? And, all this kind of stuff.

So, it would be interesting for me to hear like, what happens, in your experience when teams don’t do that, don’t spend enough time on building trust. Don’t spend enough time on actually taking care of the human side. And it’s that like lose themselves and the technical parts.

16:30 // Daniel

Right. And that’s when you get bro culture, or at least not like, not definitely, like it doesn’t always need to bro culture, but it leads to this very isolated, very disconnected, kind of like bitter culture.

I bet you’ve seen this before. You have the, you have these cliques forming about like the smokers outside or the coffee goers on the other side of the office and they just talk amongst themselves, like complaining about everything, but not never going to their manager because they feel like it’s not worth it anyway.

And it’s just like, it’s like these bitter clique’s going and. Especially once this idea like takes root that like management is unapproachable or that you can’t change anything because it’s just shit anyway. And I mean, we’re only talking about whether to use PHP or Pearl, then like, it’s very hard to get out of people and it’s like very weird kind of setting where you go to work and you feel like you feel disconnected from, from your coworkers.

Right. And I mean, they’re not. . They’re not your family. I, I kind of disliked it when, when companies talk about themselves as families, like, this is kind of an aside, but because my family can’t fire me, my family doesn’t, doesn’t pay me for work. But you have to have a friendly and open environment because otherwise you can’t do your best work.

Right. Well, you want to have like a environment that focuses on the people .

So why is that? Maybe management is only concentrating on the technical issues because they just, I don’t know. They just don’t know better or they are always busy and they give off this impression that they’re completely unapproachable or they themselves like have this toxicity in their culture and are unaware of that.

For example, in many companies, like not in all of them, of course, and I don’t think in the majority, but there’s these, there’s these companies where the boss and the first three men, and it’s always men, have this super bro-y sexism kind of culture. And of course, and of course that trickles down where everyone like quickly learns that you can’t talk about your feelings, you can’t talk about vulnerabilities and like jokes about women or people of color.

Whatever are commonplace and just accepted and the way a way of gaining social capital. But there’s also like also these places where it’s just like, it’s just very like clinical and just never an issue, right? They, don’t know that they could have could have a such a way better atmosphere where people are, are happy to be, like, to express themselves through their work. To have the freedom to make errors, or mistakes, and to be like, to have the freedom to, to float like wild ideas every now and then where they are not sure themselves. Whether this is good.

So you have to make yourself approachable. And I mean, we talked about this just right now. You have to make yourself open and be able to an end vulnerable and be able to listen. And you also have to lead as a good example, like you have to call out the bad jokes because they make everyone uncomfortable and they, completely poison the atmosphere.

You have to find other ways of team building except like a kicker, a foosball table, right? I mean, I love foosball, but if that’s the only way providing team building, that’s not, that’s not good.

If you want to do team building, you have to find a way where people can talk to each other and you have to be, you have to be able to, we have to be able to create an atmosphere where people can express their concerns and improve their work environment and where that is not, where that is, that is welcomed and where that is like normal thing. Like, Hey, someone has an idea and they just speak up about it.

20:09 // Benjamin

So before it, before that we talked about like, okay, what can leaders do in order to build trust for relationships?

But, let’s assume there is a team or a company, that doesn’t show all these signs that you just talked about is not bro-y and all that. have great leaders, but then, I think it’s also not always super clear and straight forward what every individual of the company who doesn’t have like authority, who is just like a regular person, a regular developer or marketing professional or whatever.

What can, these people without authority do in order to kind of, play their part in creating a great culture where, empathy and understanding for others is, is a real value.

21:00 // Daniel

Right. and I, I felt myself in these situations as well, right? Like, I, I was once in a company where, where it was very bad, but I had this coworker Piotr, who, who just quickly became my absolute hero in that regard, because whenever something went wrong and take, the whole company was like, Oh this is just normal. Like when the boss would just come in and shouted all the developers for two hours, not because they’d done anything wrong, but because he just wanted to motivate them, air quotes. And everyone else would just like the like, Oh he’s just like that, whatever. And like the whole company would be in, in this, in this kind of Stockholm syndrome, but he would speak up every single time he would go to the appropriate person and say in a very calm tone, this is not okay. I did not like that. I felt very threatened by this, or I felt sad about this and I would like this to change. And. Quickly. What happened was that we became very good friends, like he’s still one of my best friends now. If you listen to this, hi, eh, quickly we learned that, we, we could band together and even though it was already effective when he did it alone, because he was doing it in a, he was very courageous about it. He would just like, go there, be quiet, be be respectful. But. Unrelenting, like whenever something bad happened, he would point it out, like be it in software or in the team. And quickly we learned that if we banded together, if he talked about this before, just between us and then went to the managers as a group, it wouldn’t be even more effective.

So we would, we would find an issue and just three or five of us would go to the manager and be like, Hey, we would like to talk to them and talk about this, and to be honest, we didn’t turn the place around or anything, but we consider it probably improved our, our surroundings. And of course I’m saying this as someone who’s like well-spoken, who’s, Oh, I gotta I gotta bring up the sexism again. I’m sorry. But like, as a, as a white guy, who has very little discrimination, so I can do this. So it’s even more important if you have people who experience more discrimination in your team that you are the one who speak up. Because as white guys, we have so much privilege that, we can use this to our advantage and improve the situation for our whole team.

23:20 // Benjamin

I always find it interesting. Everything you said I agree with it 100% and also that you can and should use your privilege if, you have some, to improve others.

23:35 // Daniel

I just thought of one more thing, like most of the time is not that bad, right. Most of the time it’s not a horrible situation where everything is shit and you have to kind of say shit on this podcast, I hope.

23:45 // Benjamin

You already did multiple times. So yes.

23:48 // Daniel

And you have to fight for every centimeter of ground, right?! But like sometimes it’s just the way that things are okay. But they could be a little bit better. And even then. You can do, do the, you can use the same strategies. You can be, you can be respectful. You can bring out, bring up things at the appropriate time in a good, good manner, and just make good suggestions.

Like, ideally you think about a specific way of improving things. Like you don’t say, I don’t like this. You say, I don’t like this, I would like to try it this way instead. And you try to form alliances where you’re with your coworkers. And gain social capital kind of this way that you talk about your idea and if you bring it up, then you know that at least three or four of your coworkers all think the same way kind of.

And so therefore you, they have your back. And so this way you can, if you have a good team already, this way you can improve it even more and you can like gently nudge it step by step into a really good team.

24:44 // Benjamin

And I still liked the approach also because it’s, super universal, in that, whenever you feel like, okay, something is not going as you would actually like it to, which doesn’t have to be like super bad for that situation to be the case. But , whenever you want something improved or changed, then, make a small first step and talk to someone else. Find allies, or find other people with, who can reflect on you and maybe sometime even tell you like, okay, it’s this time. It’s really you. That’s not a problem. It can stay that way. That that can also happen. Of course. And then it’s a good thing if you hear that from, from a trusted source. And then, if you band together, if you’re in a bad system, in a bad team, then you can have more impact. And you can protect each other. In terms of like what you said with privilege, like when multiple people speak up, they cannot, of course, then everybody can still be punished. But, that’s a little, maybe less likely than, if just one person speaks up and it’s like.

So, another thing very interesting that you raised, which is also, like speaks well to me is, like companies, not a family added, hasn’t that had an aside there. And, I think that’s, that’s, I believe that too. But at the same time, I kind of have this conflicted relationship with that idea or term, if you want to call it that, because yes, I totally believe a company’s not a family and for one family cannot fire me. But, at the same time, I’m, in order to be really productive, in order to be a really creative, I really need to have a good relationship with my coworkers. So, and in order to have a really good relationship or the, some, signs of a good relationship are very similar to having like a family, like relationship with, with someone. Like I trust them when, when I have a good relationship with someone then I’m trusting them.

And, so while yes, they are not my family, but when I’m working with them in a really, really good way, then they’re still pretty close to me. Totally. Like, I don’t have to love them. Like I do love my kids or my wife, but, still I have a very good relationship with them. And so. What do you think about that?

27:16 // Daniel

I totally see what you mean and I, I very much agree that you want to have good, really good relationship with your coworkers, with the people you manage or the people who manage you. What I mean by this, this is not a family is that especially when power dynamics are involved, like not the people who are next to you in the hierarchy, but the people who are below you in the hierarchy and above you in the hierarchy, is that the people, the people who give you the money, they and you are in a business relationship. So you, you, you can have, you can be very, very warm with them and you can be very open with them, but you can’t really forget that. But this, at the same time, the people who, who you manage, those people are very dependent on you. They, you are their boss. So you have to be, how do I say this? You don’t want to be distant, but you have to be very fair and you don’t want to be playing favorites with them. Like even if I, if I have like a five people that I manage and one of them is in, into exactly the same things that I am, he’s into, or she’s into computer games, space and race cars, let’s say, and cats. Then of course, we will talk more, but I must be very careful that I don’t, give her the, all the, all the good projects or like give her more time with me then, then all the other people in my team, even though they’re not into cats. And so, so this is a very, these are things that I have to keep in mind when I work in a company.

At the same time, the people who are on the same level as me in the hierarchy. They, they sometimes we become really, really good friends. And I try to shy a little bit away from making too good friends with, people that I manage or people who manage me. Like there should be like a little bit of distance. But , I think, I think we’re not so far apart from each other here that it’s not the same model as a family, but it has relationships and it has trust. And it should be, it’s like all these relationships should be held in a way that allows this trust to grow and allows this openness. Does that make sense?

29:14 // Benjamin

Definitely. Definitely makes sense. Yes. And, I didn’t expect us two to disagree there. And, as so often with these topics, it’s of course totally not black and white, but it’s, it’s always like. Depends on the actual people.

29:33 // Daniel

What I’m saying, like, the people, I say this saying to. Like the company is not, your family, they’re usually in a relationship with their company where the company is kind of taking a little bit more than they really should, or that the people are giving a bit more than they should and getting not really all that they need in return. But of course there are companies, and I’ve worked with many of them where this is not the case and we’re where the whole company is really laid out in a way that they take care of their employees and they take care of each and every one in the way that they deserve.

Right. And in this case, like you can push this very far away. It’s not the, it’s not the main thing on your mind anymore, but, like there are companies and I had friends in a, in a like in jobs that were kind of like abusive relationships, and this is then, then this is when you really need to bring it through to the forefront of your mind.

You don’t, you don’t like, like there’s no owing your company really. Like you should feel loyalty and you should feel like ideally, because if it’s a good company and if like there’s a lot of trust in there, good relationship, like you should continue building that trust. But if, if you are being exploited, it’s okay to say goodbye.

30:50 // Benjamin

Yes, definitely. Definitely. And so, loyalty. You should, should feel loyalty. I, I would even like, take, take that with a grain of salt. Because of course, loyalty should definitely, at least have, good to have the loyalty to what’s your company towards your employer. But, it definitely should also have, limits. But that’s, I mean, you basically said that, so again, we’re not very far away there.

Another thing that came to my mind, while you were talking is that, it’s, it shows that you’ve thought a lot about all of these different kinds of things, and that you reflected quite a bit on, power relationships, or power imbalances in relationships, rather, privilege, cats.

And also recently multiple times realized that I really, really like working with people who are reflect it. To think about. Themselves and the people that are around them and like, I dunno, I have to look up what reflective actually means then what’s what the definition is. But, for the sake of this kind of like question that I’m somehow getting at is like.

You, you seem like a very reflective person and, I’m often wondering how, how can we show others, who are maybe not us or how we perceive or how I perceive as not as reflective, that’s, being reflective is, is a good thing because I don’t know, because what, and okay, how can I show others that. It’s a good thing.

32:33 // Daniel

That’s such an easy question. I mean, I have a few ideas about this, but you have to keep in mind, like I, I’m just grasping in the dark here.

32:44 // Benjamin

And this is also just like a conversation in the dark. Not actually.

35:06 // Daniel

I mean, I bet there’s like, sociologists who could do this way better or explain this way better.

So what I know is that. On the one hand, you can show people that it works. Like if you get one person who is not yet as reflective as you say, and you put them in an entire group of people who are already very respectful towards each other, listen to each other, respect their boundaries and different needs and stuff like that.

Then I feel like this, this person who comes into this group will learn that, Oh , this is actually good. It feels nice to be this way, and it feels, it feels good. It improves the group morale. It’s good for me. And just because you are in this group, you kind of become like that and then a little bit, right.

So the one hand would be like, just lead with good example, like, be that way and just let others see that it’s good for the world and good for us that not, if it’s not society, then at least the people around you.

And then the other hand is like, call out people who try to destroy that. Or maybe that’s too harsh. But what I mean is like when someone is. Is being an ass and not very reflective or not very respectful. It’s okay to call them out on it, and I think it’s even, it’s even very good thing to call them out, like, an example from my, from my own past, for example, during university, I was one of those guys who use the word gay as a slur. But like as a word for something bad. And it was only then when I came into contact with a different group of friends, they would always call me out on it. They would, every time I would say it, they would be like, stop saying it. Stop saying that. We don’t say that here. And at first I would, I would be like, try to discuss it and be like, Oh, but why? It’s just a word. Right? But they. Explain to, to me in very clear words, this word is not welcome here in this context. And also like if you come across someone who is gay. Imagine how they would feel if their personhood would be used as an insult. Like that’s just a very shitty thing to do. Right? And just because these people were. Respectfully even telling me like, Hey, cut that out. I did cut it out and I, that was actually good. And then few years later, kind of Hmm.e I go a lot to them, to the chaos computer club congresses and I fell into a group of people who are like very strong advocates for feminism and they would do the same, when I said something that was sexist or maybe just like borderline kind of.

Sexist, they will say, okay, explain that please. Like, why? Why would she say it like this? Like I remember one thing where I was in the gym and then afterwards I texted someone and was like, Oh, I feel so manly now. They were like, wait, wait, why? Why manly? And like, , because I’m so strong. And, and she was like, look, why is strong manly? Like, what does this have to do with anything? And like, we, we were kind of like back and forth, and I was like, ah, I was kinda annoyed at her, but in the end I was like, you know what? Yes, you’re kinda right. Like, I feel strong and it feels good and it doesn’t have anything to do with my gender.

So even for me, like friendly people who call, who called me out, for, for missteps that I took and like, but they called me out in a, in a nice way. They were like, Hey, please don’t do that. Or Hey, please let’s talk about this, these people helped me a lot and I’m incredibly thankful for them. And I think we can do this as well. Like if you have someone who is rude to his or her coworkers, you can, you can say like, Hey, please don’t be rude. Or just say, even just say like, not cool.

It sounds so weird, but if you, if you just don’t react at all positively to some weird joke or some insult or something, then people will learn socially that, Oh, this is actually not acceptable, but me as a person, I’m still accepted. Of course, there’s people who are like incredibly extreme, and I don’t know how to, they help these people, right? I mean, there’s, there’s racists, like proper right-wing racists who you can’t help. There’s people who are just absolute assholes and you just can’t help them. But for a lot of people, You can just like try to nudge them into the right direction and also be open to be nudged in the right direction because we’re all in a journey, right?

And if we are open to making mistakes and admitting our mistakes, then people will like call us out on those mistakes and we will learn or learn something about it and feel like actually feel better.

So that’s my take. Like. Call people out if possible, and not in a super aggressive way, but I mean, if they are aggressive towards you, you sometimes have to be aggressive, right?

But especially if you’re, if you are personally unaffected by something, then totally say something. Don’t let it be, just don’t be, don’t be the silent bystander, but be the person who, who says like, Hey, not cool. Hey, think about what you just said.

37:58 // Benjamin

Yes. Yes, yes. Makes a lot of sense. Everything. And again, I like it how everything, almost everything that you said is basically generally applicable to so many things.

38:15 // Daniel

These are not my ideas, right? I mean, these are ideas by people who are way smarter than me. Who are just like, but I like reading about them and informing myself about them and then talking about them of course.

38:28 // Benjamin

Yeah, and talking to you was great fun. Exactly as I hoped.


It was a pleasure for me as well,


To have such great fun. And as such, I thank you very much Daniel, and I hope we, get to meet each other at some point.

38:45 // Daniel

That would be awesome. You’re doing this conference in May, right?


Right, right. Which is also not so far away from, from Augsburg.


So I bought a ticket. I have to look it up. Like I have a three conferences in May. .


So there are no tickets yet, so maybe you bought a train ticket.


Oh, okay. But it’s in my calendar.

39:00 // Benjamin

That’s very good. And for the record, Daniel is talking about #humansconf, which will happen on 21st to 23rd of May in 2020 and hopefully this episode will be live before the conference. So thanks for the shameless plug. That was much appreciated.


Awesome. Hey, can I plug something as well?



39:19 // Daniel

If you want, you can follow me on @breakthesystem on Twitter and if you want to track your own mood and sexuality, check out my own app Libi on the app store.


That was a great plug.


Short and sweet.


Yes, so again, thank you Daniel. That was great fun and, yeah, see you soon.

39:38 // Daniel

It was awesome. See you soon, it was a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much. Bye.