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Episode 9 - The Metasode

On this very special episode of Zebra Smash, we don't just break the Fourth Wall, but the Fifth and Sixth Walls as well. With 10 episodes (counting the Prequel), we figured we would share a little bit about what we've learned about podcasting, particularly as the first CFP CE-eligible podcast (to our knowledge).

So it's not just a regular episode...it's a META-sode! (Insert heavy timpani drums here.)

We touch on the following key points:

  • Why did we choose Squarespace and not Wordpress to host our site?
  • The challenges of having a sister site (www.cesmash.com) for our CE-eligible quizzes
  • The issues (monetary and otherwise) of being a CE sponsor with the CFP Board
  • Successes and failures with audio recording, particularly when 3 people aren't in the same location
  • How a recording becomes a podcast. (This is admittedly less interesting than how a bill becomes a law.)
  • Realizing how hard it is to track listening and download metrics
  • Grading ourselves against our original vision of being, "A conference in your pocket."

Links to Things We Mention

  • Audacity - free audio software for recording
  • Fiverr - freelance services for the lean entrepreneur
  • Zencastr - cloud-based podcasting site. It didn't work as advertised for us, but maybe it will work for you...
  • Ecamm - call recorder for Skype; good back-up for Audacity, hopefully better outcomes than Zencastr for episodes with 3+ people (Mac only)
  • Libsyn - Podcast Hosting Services (maybe future home of Zebra Smash...?)
  • Blubrry - podcast directory service; podcaster dashboard allows us to monitor the number of downloads for each episode. It's how we know 5 million people are listening! (Stats may be exaggerated.)

Episode 8 - Angry Man Yells at Cloud

When I (Ben) played basketball in high school, we used to have plays called "quick hitters," where the play involved 1-2 passes at most. (Having said that, my junior year we went 3-22, so...).

Nostalgia aside, we have a Quick Hitter episode for everyone this week. Roger compiled some data on what it might cost to move to move his document storage to the cloud and nearly burst a blood vessel. And rather than do anything about it, we thought it would be therapeutic for him to share his information and his rage. Ben tries to talk Roger off the ledge, and more or less succeeds...or does he?

No real show notes for this one, but we thought we'd share links to our respective document management solutions.

Episode 7 - Persuasive Writing [CFP CE Credit Eligible]

In this episode, Ben and Roger welcome Ben Opipari, writing instructor and coach and the founder of Persuasive Matters, to talk about persuasive writing. (Two Bens on one podcast? What are the odds? Let confusion reign!)

The ability to communicate clearly and effectively in client letters, emails, blog posts, newsletters and even Twitter is critical to a financial advisors' success, particularly when you are trying to encourage a prospect or client to take and act on your advice. This episode is full of actionable takeaways:

  • What persuasive writing is, and what it very much isn't.
  • How to become a better writer
  • The golden rules of sentence construction, and why embedded clauses, semi-colons and commas can stop readers in their tracks
  • The importance of avoiding the "nominalization" of verbs. You'll have to listen to learn what this means. It blew my mind.
  • Common myths and misconceptions about writing. Starting a sentence with the word "and"? Splitting infinitives? Prepositions at the end of sentences? All cool. (But passive voice is still bad.)
  • Tips on creating and maintaining a firm-wide writing voice.

Links to things we mention

Episode 6 - I'm Ok, You're Ok, 401k: Dave O'Brien Talks About Advising Workplace Retirement Plans [CFP CE CREDIT ELIGIBLE]

Through our experience on various NAPFA boards, we've been lucky to make the acquaintance of Dave O'Brien of Evolution Advisors in Midlothian, VA. In addition to his advocacy of fee-only planners and the fiduciary standard in the public policy realm, Dave is incredibly well-versed on the role that advisors can play with workplace retirement plans, having presented on the challenges and opportunities in this area at multiple conferences.

Dave joined us and walked us through all the things that advisors who are interested in this space should know, including:

  • Decision matrices between SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, Solo-401ks and profit-sharing plans
  • New comparability and legal discrimination (which isn't as icky as it sounds)
  • The four essential roles and responsibilities for any profit-sharing plan
  • The advantages of creating a "safe harbor" 401k, and the necessary requirements to do so
  • Some AWESOME acronyms, including QACA (Qualified Automatic Contribution Arrangement), QDIA (Qualified Default Investment Alternative) and QBERT (ok, we made up that one).
  • Considerations when constructing the investment menu for 401k plan participants
  • The different levels of fiduciary service to plans
  • Four different "service models" when working with workplace retirement plans

Some helpful links about stuff we mention in the podcast

Episode 5 - An Opinionated T3 Conference Recap

Roger was at the February 2017 Technology Tools for Today (T3) conference in California. He came back with a 102 degree fever and some notes on the experience.

We can't resist some bullet point takeaways:

  • THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE IS CHANGING!!! (Says tech vendors with a vested interest in helping you change the client experience.)
  • Should technology help make life easier for your current clients? If so, why the emphasis on sales and prospecting in vendor presentations?
  • Disney takes trademarks stuff very seriously, as evidenced here, here and here. Don't mess with the mouse.
  • We blanked on the name of Junxure's CEO. It's Greg Friedman. The name of his advisory firm is Private Ocean, not Blue Ocean. But Blue Ocean Strategy is a great book!

Links to other things we mention: