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Advancing Production with Digital Asset Management | Mike Michonski on the Widen Implementation Podcast

by Nate Holmes, March 16, 2018

I've learned that proper delegation will actually get you across the finish line a lot faster and a lot better than if you try to do it all yourself. – Mike Michonski

In episode three of the Widen Implementation podcast, Mike Michonski shares his experiences of rolling out and maintaining the Widen Collective®. Mike is a national production director at Total Traffic & Weather Network, the leading provider of traffic, transit, news, and weather information in the United States. TTWN plays part in the daily lives of more than 120 million people!

Mike has worked in a variety of roles at TTWN, spanning about a decade. Recently, he’s played an important role in evolving the production department within TTWN to meet the growing desires of their clients.

Listen to the full episode of this Widen Implementation interview to get insights from a production director.  

Check out the podcast here.

Episode topics include:

  • Getting internal teams trained and ready for the DAM kickoff
  • Leading groups and managing access during the implementation stage
  • The role of the production team within the Collective
  • Understanding and evaluating integrations between DAM and third-party systems
  • Who should be the keeper of your DAM system

Listen to episode 3

The Widen Implementation podcast helps customers prepare for and execute their digital asset management system rollout. Each episode features conversations with a DAM champion who has implemented the Collective. We hope that these podcasts will equip future Widen customers with the tips and insights they need to execute their own successful implementation.

Want to hear more? Listen to the bonus soundbites:

About our guest
Mike Michonski is a national production director at Total Traffic & Weather Network. TTWN is the leading provider of traffic, transit, news, and weather information in the United States, and plays a part in the daily lives of more than 120 million people. TTWN delivers best-in-class content and programming services to broadcast television and radio stations nationwide. The media brand has more than 1,200 professional traffic reporters and producers, serves 200+ metropolitan areas across the country (including 96 of the top 100 MSAs), and partners with leading technology companies in the traffic industry to provide the most accurate, up-to-the-minute traffic reporting and solutions for consumers.

About our host
Bill Banham is a marketing and publishing professional based in Toronto. He is the founder of the HR Gazette and Iceni Marketing as well as the co-founder of the WorkingTech show and the InnovateWork event series. Bill hosts several CPSA podcast shows on topics including social selling and tech, business strategy, and sales strategy.

Full episode transcript

Please note this podcast is intended to be heard. This transcript may contain errors.

Bill Banham: Hi. My name is Bill Banham, and I'm happy to be the host of the Widen Implementation podcast series, focused on helping customers prepare for their digital asset management implementation. In this series, we are going to talk to people who have implemented the Widen DAM solution. It's our hope that each episode will help future Widen customers by giving them a few tips regarding the implementation process.

In this episode of the Widen implementation show, we talk with Mike Michonski about experiences of rolling out and maintaining the Widen digital asset management system. Mike is national production director at Total Traffic & Weather Network. TTWN, as they're known, is the leading provider of traffic, transit, news, and weather information in the U.S., reaching nearly 200 million listeners each month.

Mike Michonski, National Production Director at Total Traffic & Weather Network, welcome to the Widen Implementation show.

Mike Michonski: Bill, good to be here with you, man. Thanks so much for having me today. I really, really appreciate it.

Bill Banham: And I appreciate your time. We've got lots of really interesting things to talk about. And listeners, before we go any further, I should just add a big caveat in here that Mike and his team are actually going through the implementation right now. They're in that initial stabilization stage, so everything's very fresh, and very current, and very relevant for Mike. I think this is going to be a great interview. To begin with, tell us a bit of your role with TTWN when you were tossed with implementing Widen.

Mike Michonski: Sure, sure, to be honest with you, as you just mentioned, I'm still pretty fresh to the process, not only with Widen but in terms of my new role as well. I've been with Total Traffic & Weather Network for about a decade now. Came on with a background in radio and broadcasting and had a lot of positions within the radio world, and climbed the ranks, and because of my colorful background, really saw an opportunity with Total Traffic & Weather Network to land on a different side of the radio coin that was very attractive to me at the time, and climbed, again, the ranks pretty quickly. About three years later, I became, after starting with Total Traffic, about three years almost to the day, I became the operations director for Total Traffic & Weather Network for the Chicago hub. That position I held for about five and a half years.

Most recently, the opportunity for me to marry two loves, a past life of radio production and audio imagineer, if you will ... clearly, I know that's a Disney phrase, just so we can get that properly accounted for ... but nonetheless something that I loved, and then operations, too. Having a staff of 80 plus people at a period of time really helped my management skills come into focus, and we fine tuned some of the craft there. Again, recently the production director job really didn't exist, but we saw how the production department within Total Traffic & Weather Network really becoming much more robust than it had been even four or five years ago, and identified a need for someone to really take the helm, start to drive that ship and structure it a little bit more and getting done. Again, much like anything, you don't quite see the end game.

Early on in the production process of TTWN, it just became an added value for a lot of different clients and a courtesy for clients to produce their stock for them, but over time, again, they started see their value in it, started to grow, and here we are now in the growing process, the restructuring process within the production department with Total Traffic & Weather. Having been segued into that position, I immediately started to get contacted by some folks, because I started peeling back the layers myself, asking some questions about the way things were currently being done, how we could tap into some of iHeart resources. iHeart, who we're owned by, we're a subsidiary of iHeartMedia, and really wanted to find out if we were utilizing everything that they have access to. With that, started again, peel back the layers and then was exposed to the fact that iHeartMedia has a relationship, budding at the time, but a relationship nonetheless, with Widen, and it seemed to be a really good opportunity for us to consider Widen as a repository for all of our audio. The audio being the pieces of advertising content that we play the middleman on with Total Traffic & Weather Network.

I know I've gone off in a couple of different avenues with the answer, but that's where I landed with Widen having continued the momentum that TTWN into the production role, and then having asked some questions, was exposed to Widen via a need for, again, a repository or a storage location where many users could have access to our audio that we have a lot of. That's how the marriage came about.

Bill Banham: Awesome. Thank you very much. That was a great overview intro. What were some of the fears that you had regarding implementing a DAM system?

Mike Michonski: Well, some fears, I think, quickly the unknown, because I was still fresh to the production the department, the way they'd been doing things. Granted, I was on the operations side, so I was on the receiving end of a lot of the work, and the workflow, that takes place between sales and copy and then the production, and then, ultimately, the fruits of the production labor land on the plates of the people basically implementing the spots, or the commercial. In my case, it was traffic reporters. In a lot of cases, depending on the affiliation or the relationship we have with different radio station, again, there's all kinds of different custom agreements or arrangements that we have with an affiliate or a talent who works for TTWN or a talent who works for iHeart. There's a lot of different end games.

I did have some experience with one particular endgame, or end user, and that is with the operations side and implementing these spots for the purposes of traffic reports and weather sponsorships, even, but the fear, again was with the unknown. Just, am I equipped to start to really dive in head first here without really having had the opportunity to digest all the layers that are already involved? I was learning as I was going, and I was fearful that because I didn't have the years of the production experience within TTWN under my belt, that things wouldn't jump out at me while I was going through the onboarding process with Widen as they would if I had that experience. Because of the patience and the understanding, and I was up front about that with our onboarding coach with Widen early on. As a result, they were able to take things in an appropriate speed and really cater to my needs, to sometimes stop where we were at in that particular process, go gain some knowledge on my production side, and come back to table with a well-rounded understanding of where we were with the Widen onboarding and how it applies to the production department.

Bill Banham: It sounds to me then like you had some fears at the start, but they weren't realized. It sounds like things were pretty much okay? Is that fair to say?

Mike Michonski: I think that's very fair to say, Bill. It's a warm, comfy blanket, really. I called Emily, our onboarding coach, a warm, comfy blanket on a couple of different occasions, just because, again, the fears are certainly justified early on, but, as you put it, not realized in the end because they weren't really fears at all.

Bill Banham: Listeners, before we started this recording, Mike mentioned to me that he's a metaphor kind of a guy, and I'm loving it so far with the warm, comfy blankets and so on and so forth. Thanks for sharing so far. Let's get into the details now of your environments. Can you give us a sense of the volume you had to migrate? How many digital assets? What types? And how many users?

Mike Michonski: Sure. To be honest with you, that was one thing that struck me early on in terms of the capability of a platform like Widen and the DAM they provide really started to, as I mentioned, it was something that landed in my lap. I started to ask questions in my new role. How do we do this? What do we do that? How can we make this better? And the Widen idea, again, landed on my lap. As we started to peel back the layers with Widen, I realized, wow, this is so much more capable of what we really need it for and questioned that earlier in the process, if it's the right platform for us.

Our assets are audio only at this point. But having gone through the onboarding process, I see the potential for so many other assets that we can start to tap into. Just because we hadn't done it before, doesn't mean we can't start to revamp our thinking, especially with the platform like Widen provides for us. It was very apparent early on that we were jumping from a repository like a FTP site, which simple and streamlined and all that, sure, but it can get clunky. The audio player in it was embedded within the FTP what we were using. And clunky, it just wasn't as user friendly as it needed to be, and the search ability of the site wasn't, the FTP site that we were using, wasn't up to what we expect standards to be, especially in this modern day and age.

Again, we got exposed to the Widen platform, and I thought to myself really on, geez, we're really tapping into a small percentage of what Widen can do. But Emily, among others at Widen, really helped us see the forest through the trees with that, really see the potential for where we can take our imagination when we revamp and restructure the production department, where our assets currently are primarily audio, because again, we're still in the process of connecting a lot of dots, and haven't really been given the opportunity to expand based off of test practice and future practice. The ideas are there, and if it wasn't for what Widen exposed us to, we wouldn't have really realized where we could take some of these what seemed to just simple audio files that are just sitting there and can be searched by a human at any time.

In the day and age of automation and automation systems and automation broadcasts systems, something we also really wanted to tap into was how can we connect these dots without much human intervention. Again, the Widen platform allows that kind of modernization of our particular process. The people there, from the onboarding coaches to the tech support to just 24/7 support across the board is just, again, that warm, comfy blanket that you know is always there and was always going to help cater to your specific needs and never give you a blanket answer. Everybody's a little bit different, and Emily exposed us to some different test platforms and showcase platforms that they'd developed for other companies, and it really helped seeing those kinds of things, and seeing how we could take little nuggets of each and implement it for our future success within Widen and with the Total Traffic & Weather Network's production department.

Also, to answer your question in regard of the frequency or at least the volume, we're dishing out what started as ... about 10 markets of actual workload, and now we're at about 51 markets, fast forward about four years later. We're looking down the path of taking on maybe 150 markets by years end, in 2018. Big aspirations, but with help like a platform like Widen, I know we'll get there.

The volume is strong now, and it was only going to get stronger as we progress within 2018 and beyond. I couldn't give it a specific numbers for you, but we're talking the hundreds of audio pieces per week. That's with 51 markets, and we're looking to triple that workload, or that work volume, by the end of 2018. That could tap into the thousands per week, which is quite a lot. The margin of error there gets bigger and bigger, but, at the same time, again, Widen becomes that platform that is so regulated and so finetuned that I know that was we grow, Widen will grow, and I'm very confident in that. In fact, I've seen evidence of that already just from small suggestions that I've made to Emily and to other people at Widen.

They're so receptive to that stuff. They're constantly thirsty for more growth, more feedback, and more insight as to what can make their clientele and their affiliations stronger in what they're trying to do, and then, in turn, it makes them stronger because they've literally considered every facet of our business and how it could potentially impact others, which is something I applaud every day.

Bill Banham: Well, what would you recommend to others going through that data migration? What should be first and what should be ignored?

Mike Michonski: Sure. Well, I think it's important to consider the type of assets that you plan to upload or to migrate. In our case, it was minimal in terms of the types on file types even. It was just all audio. Emily, our onboarding coach, made it very clear of the different options we had. Anything from tapping directly into the FTP site, that's an option they made clear they could easily do just by telling these machines, hey, you talk to each other, you speak your language, you do your thing, and go grab this audio off the FTP site. That was one option.  

Emily also made it clear that she would provide a big exterior hard drive and just have us upload stuff there then send it back, and they could go through the motions in terms of identifying redundancies within the data. They had a lot of capabilities there as well. She made a couple of different things available to us with regard to Widen and teams there doing the actual migration, or the bulk upload, if you will.

She also made it clear that it was something that we could do ourselves and really temper the overall uploading because ... and I thought that was important. That's what we actually gravitated towards, and the reason for that is because the pieces of audio that were sitting on the FTP were just that, pieces of audio with a filename. Yeah, they were identifiable, but at the same time, they did not have any metadata attached to these filenames. If we were to do a bulk upload, then it's a matter of going through it with a fine tooth comb and adding metadata to these tens of thousands of pieces of audio. It would be exceptionally laborious and not something I certainly wanted to do. Because of the nature of what we do and the lifespan, or the flight time as we like to call it, in terms of a piece of audio, I felt it would be important for us start to trickle out with the effort of them team, myself and my other close production team. While we're uploading to the FTP, start the process of uploading as well manually to the Widen DAM, and, as we're doing that, adding metadata as we go so that if we stay ahead of it, months down the line we'll have really nicely built out selection of audio that is properly labeled with metadata and whatnot, and as of the time that we launched, we're many months into that layering process. By nature, that fine-toothed comb would take care of itself. That's why we gravitated towards a manual upload. There was nothing but options available to us, and a lot of attractive ones at that.

Bill Banham: Okay. You mentioned there were three or four major folk, super users if you like, involved in that part of things. Can you give a bit of a picture of what their roles were related to that DAM implementation?

Mike Michonski: We first looked at it from the perspective of who's going to need access to the DAM on a regular basis. As it were, the FTP that I've mentioned a couple of times, which was a repository for all the audio, was accessible by a lot of different administrators, if you will. A lot of people had their hands in that cookie pot, and that's okay, but we wanted determine early on whether that was going to be something we needed to DAM, or could we finetune that or streamline the actual exposure.

We saw a lot of opportunities there with the layering. For example, within Widen, you can access, or a certain level of access with your asset groups, that give you certain permissions, but you can't really take an asset over the finish line, if you will. You have the ability to load it, but then future admin or super admin, if you will, then have the ability to go and review something, make sure something is in there properly, and then release that asset, which is a nice built in checks and balances that I appreciated.

We identified the heads early on that would be the people I think would have direct access on a regular basis to the Widen band. Because I also, as I alluded to, we see other platforms integrating within Widen, not only on the front end of Widen, but also on the back end. I also was hesitant at first, that I'm including too many people because ultimately, in the end, are these people even going to need to access Widen, or just the people that are designing the APIs as well as the people who would need direct access to the assets themselves, myself and a couple others. At least for the interim period, those were the people I wanted to include. We checked a couple of different angles in terms of who we wanted to include and tried to do the maze backwards, if you will, and understand our end game, understand the different layers that we were going to add as we moved forward, and then decided which people needed to be involved early on and then thoroughly throughout.

Bill Banham: Is there anyone you regretted not including earlier on or wished could be there but wasn't able to attend?

Mike Michonski: No. That's a good question. I often thought that with regard to, listen, like I mentioned, we work for iHeartMedia in the big scheme, and Total Traffic & Weather Network, along with other entities like Premier and whatnot, we're all within that same iHeart house, but we certainly have our own identity and own rooms, if you will, within that house, back to the metaphor of things. But I think that's important to consider, and while the roof that we all live under is that of iHeartMedia, we all have our different identities, and we certainly cater and service all different kinds of ownership groups. We don't want to hit them every time they go to our websites, that being Total Traffic & Weather Network websites, with that of our bigger owner, or our parent company, because they may be competitors to that bigger company of iHeart. Again, we cater to a lot of different ownership groups, so it's important for us to fly our own flag and make sure we draw that line in the sand.

Having said that, now, and to fully answer your question in regard to regret, I would have loved to have had more exposure to some of the people that are building the APIs between some of these other platforms. I hesitate to mention other companies in our interview here. On the front end and on the back end there are somewhat proprietary expertize and platforms that we need to tap into. The people that are building those gaps, or building those bridges in between, I would have loved for them to spend a little bit more time with the onboarding process. The people that I mentioned during the last questions, they jumped in midstream, jumped out, and then jumped in a week or two later, those were some of the people that I'm alluding to now. That's okay. Listen, they're busy, and it wasn't part of the plan, but we did have a little taste. They had a little taste there as well. Having now seen, hindsight being 20/20, I would have loved to say instead of hey, guys, in so many words we said, "Hey, don't jump in midstream, let us do our thing." I should have been more, "Hey, if you're going to do this, we want you and join us every single time." Because I think that would have been more beneficial in the long run, because while we're covering some ground now that could have been covered earlier in the process. I guess, it remains to be seen. This is just more theory of mine than anything else.

I do know for certain that the people that are designing the APIs and working in that regard, in that playing field, I know for certain that they've had, probably with their own onboarding experience with Widen, and have had a totally different language spoken on their meetings. They're much more tech savvy, and they know their language. They speak their language, and likely they've had their own sessions with the folks at Widen that speak that language as well. It's probably smart that we don't overlap those two worlds too much because, I mean, I would be left behind in a lot of ways. Those guys are very smart people, But to come full circle on the answer. I would have loved to have been more involved with their process and then, maybe, them ours, but nothing we can't make up for lost time with. It's just something that, again, we look on it, I wish you would have covered that ground in the process. But no harm, no foul. We're doing it now and it's all good. Aside from that, people in my immediate world, no, I think we're pretty good.

Bill Banham: The people involved in the implementation is one group. It's that dream team that we mentioned earlier, and while those people are key stakeholders with DAM, there's also a large audience in mind for those people who need to use the content, commonly called the users, of course, Mike.

Mike Michonski: Yeah.

Bill Banham: Did you focus on satisfying a certain group of users while going through the implementation process? Or were there groups that you intentionally ignored to stay very focused on the mission?

Mike Michonski: That's a great question. Yes. I mean, we definitely considered a lot of different end users. As I mentioned earlier on in our conversation, too, we pride ourselves on this. The ability to not so much customize, but what are the points ... adjust slightly for different arrangements. We certainly do that from and operational standpoint.

I'll give you an example. If I'm in Chicago, and I'm servicing a multitude of radio stations where we provide them not only the traffic content that we're very proud of, the traffic data as well, from a GPS standpoint, but also the talent, the actual person presenting the information that is traffic or weather or sports or news or whatever that person is and whatever role they play on the radio station, that comes with a certain level of customization. We pride ourselves on taking a back seat to the exposure to TTWN or Total Traffic & Weather Network. I often used to say to people, "You may not have heard our name, but I guarantee that you've heard the results of our work. Not only from GPS standpoint, but also just radio stations, TV stations." I mean, we reach, as a company, TTWN, we reach 192 million plus individual people a month, which is a huge footprint nationwide.

If you just take that understanding and then you break it down to, again, each affiliation being slightly different in terms of what kind of talent they need, and what time they want their traffic reports done on their programming clock, what's the duration of that report. There's a lot of different end users there. That same rational can be applied to the production department in some way. I don't think we have as many end users, but again, there are reports that work for TTWN that take the audio and need the audio to play embedded within their traffic report, for example. This report brought to you by xyz, and then play that spot or that pre-recorded spot, or read it live in some instances. And that's one end user would be the reporters that actually work for Total Traffic & Weather Network. Then there are the other end users that are production department of people that are on a local level that work in Minneapolis, for example, or in Phoenix or wherever they might be. That production director oversees the spot load and whatnot for the cluster of stations in which they work there locally. Different ownership groups, so it might iHeart. Some might be completely different ownership group, but again, those would be categorized differently in terms of their access. We had to consider a lot of those end games and then look for ways to trim the fat, look for ways to streamline the process and to determine, if we're relaunching here with a new platform, we don't necessarily want a repeat some of the got-you moments that we're identifying now. We don't want to put ourselves in a positions where we are basically taking one workload and regenerating it on a new platform but literally keeping every step in place. To me, that seemed like we're missing an opportunity to streamline, to modernize, and to consider what it is that we have been carrying that unnecessary for the past few years, and this is a beautiful opportunity for us to trim that. A way to do that was to consider the end users.

Then also the level of automation that we want to be aiming for. If ultimately what now is a manual process in time will become an automated process, we want to consider that as well and consider who we'd be exposing the Widen platform to and who we basically, intentionally, want to keep in the dark because, ultimately, this is something we're going implement on an automated level, and they really would never need access to Widen so why muck up the waters now and try to keep them as crystal clear as we can.

It's been a slow process, and a necessary slow process at that, but I think it's been a blessing in disguise in some ways because, again, we had early exposure of the Widen platform, and now it's really coming into focus how it plays and integrates with these other entities, the other pieces of the sandwich, if you will, that I've alluded to before.

Bill Banham: Okay. You guys obviously gave a lot of, and continue to give a lot of thorough thought to the different technologies and how to automate and how to do lots of awesome things to make it accessible to different types of users, but now let's move onto how the DAM system connects to other technologies as a whole structure that needs attention. How did you get your arms around all of the possible integrations between DAM and other systems? If example, Widen integrates with Salesforce.

Mike Michonski: Sure. Well, I'll tell you how I got my arms around it. I have a big hug to a lot of people that actually know how to do that stuff. To be honest with you, I literally put my arms around them and hugged them and said, "Please, help." In my management experience, I've learned that proper delegation will actually get you across the finish line a lot faster and a lot better than if you try to do it all yourself. That was actually something that was very attractive early on.

Something that I mentioned to you, Bill, is that I was thinking maybe this is overkill for what we need. Widen maybe it's, in a lot of ways your imagination is really its limitations. When you've got that kind of expanse, that kind of console of a colorful platform or palette, if you will, then you often think to yourself, "Geez, if I can make a tap into one percent of this, maybe there's an entity out there that's more suited for our immediate needs." Again, as we started to peel back the layers, how wrong I was, and how Widen is actually the perfect platform was for us, not only to allow us to grow, but then this gets us right into your direct question on how we can marry with technologies.

That was probably the biggest element to why Widen became the answer to us. These dots can really properly connect with not only a platform like Widen, but the support system that comes with Widen, and that's the people, the IT people there, the designers and the actual programmers on that side of the equation that are the unsung heroes in it all. They can communicate with our people and really connect these dots really beautifully. Those scripts for the APIs that those guys have been creating are certainly a joint effort, but at the same time it becomes very clear that Widen, I would imagine, prides themselves on being able to bridge some of those gaps, and maybe they may not have something built right now, but that's the beauty of Widen, they grow with each new clientele, with each new company they onboard or whatever, and say, "Hey, we're going to customize our efforts to what you guys need, and our platform is already so very customizable, but if you're not throwing us a curveball and saying, hey, you have something new that you want to integrate or whatever, then we haven't done that yet." What I love about Widen is they'll come to the teaching table with you and say, "We can learn a lot from each other. Let's rock and roll and figure this out together." They've done that, and they continue to do that literally as we speak today.

While I can't speak super intelligently on the actual creation of the bridge between Widen world and a couple others, ETO being one and then this other Mr. Master era that we look to enter in the next few months, that automation and that integration is paramount to our success. If it wasn't for the flexibility and the desire for folks like that of the Widen team, we wouldn't be making the waves that we are. For the first time in a long time, I'll be honest with you, that I have heard nothing but ... we set goals, and I believe that we have 30-week goal set on I think it was November 1st. They said within 30 weeks we've got to be launching all these different platforms. Widen being a huge fulcrum to all of that activity. Every time we have these standup calls and weekly check-ins, I haven't heard word one ... we're still pretty early. Again, this started in November ... word one, in terms of even thinking that we're going to extend that deadline. Often times, in these big huge relaunches and revamps of different platforms with a lot of different people involved and a lot of different departments involved, those things have a tendency of getting ... You set a goal for 30 weeks, it ends up being 60 weeks, and it's understood. At this point, we're really looking like we're on target in terms of launch dates. That wouldn't be possible without the constant buttering of the bread, if you will, from Widen and the folks on their teams. I've never seen anybody, honest to God, respond like Widen has to questions, concerns. We talked to Emily and say, "Hey, we have this one concern." And she would say, "Okay, cool." We would have an onboarding session the very next day. She would be, "Hey, that's all done already, and our IT team did this, this, and this, and they relaunched this." It's unbelievable how fast they get on their game. Again, it's something I applauded from day one and continue to do with Widen.

Bill Banham: High praise, indeed, Mike. Thank you very much. We are coming towards the end of this particular interview. Before we wrap things up, I just like to ask you one more question. It's quite a big one. If you were able to offer a couple of key bits of advice, maybe that's do’s or maybe don'ts, around the implementation process, what would those key tips be?

Mike Michonski: Sure. I have a few, I think. I honestly believe that the biggest one, and like any tips, they're burns from my own personal experience with all this. While I certainly did the homework and paid a lot of attention when Emily was speaking, and there's a governance worksheet that the onboarding process demands from anybody involved. Emily was very cool about reviewing that with us. She would give us homework to do. She would give us the materials, links. She would record the sessions for us. She literally provided every last little nugget that we could ever imagine in terms of reviewing where we were at, considering future sessions and whatnot. There is homework that's to be done at the end of every session. My advice is, do the homework. I know that seems like a no brainer, but because Emily is so thorough, it's almost like they're holding your hand through the process.

I think it's human nature to gravitate toward, hey, I've got another job to do. I'm going a lot of other things is my day, so as a result, I can breeze over this homework, kind of get a level of understanding and get ready for tomorrow, but do it all mentally. That's, okay, do it on the train. I could do it in during my commute. Sure, sure. And that's understood, and I still feel like we had very successful homework sessions and sessions nonetheless, but my advice would be do the homework to the nth degree. I mean, cross every T, dot every I. Watch the videos that Widen provides. Their training videos are exceptional. There was a woman named Lexy who did all of the training videos, or at least a vast majority of them, who I feel like I know. If she came walking into my office right now, I feel like it would be like an old friend even though we've never met in person.

Even more, to take it a step further, not only do the homework, but demand that your coach hold you to it. No joke. Say that early on. Be like, "I want to do my homework, but this is going to be one of those things that could easily kind of I could mail in." I've got so much other things going on at the end of my day, even a half an hour before I know that I have my onboarding session for the day, that's when I start to do my homework like in just preparation for that call. That's good. That helps certainly, but no. Take it the night before and do your homework 'cause you want it to take a little bit longer. You don't want to have that hard end to you doing your homework by that being that day's session, and I'm rushing to finish my homework and copying off my neighbor kind of thing before you hand it into the teacher. No, you want to demand that your onboarding coach hold you to you doing your homework and doing it every night or every session because I think it's very, very important. It's something I wished I did more thoroughly.

Bill Banham: Wonderful. Well, that just leads me to say today, Mike Michonski, national production director at Total Traffic & Weather Network, thank you very much for being the guest of the Widen Implementation Show.

Mike Michonski: Thank you so much, Bill. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to express my excitement for the Widen process, the people at Widen. That's a big deal to me.

Topics: DAM Implementation Podcast

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