The Future of Content Episode 22: Nerding Out

Key ideas:

  • “Business processes” are sequential steps that need to be taken in order to achieve a particular outcome. They are applied in a business operations setting and are used to operationalize the delivery of goods and services to customers
  • “Operationalizing” is understanding what repeatable and consistent procedures are needed in order for the business process to succeed. “Operationalization” makes sure that things are done in the most optimal and efficient manner.
  • Nerdcore began as a musical genre, but it’s become more than that. It’s become a community. People express nerdcore in lots of different ways now. 

Some concepts aren’t easy to remember or put into practice. As a Business Process Engineer for Fisher Investments, Emmanuel Aouad combined his love of process improvement and music into a song that answers the questions he’s consistently asked about the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) framework.

Emmanuel understands that “business process” and “operationalization” can be heady terms, but he also knows that how they’re put into practice can actually be quite simple: If you’ve ever written a report or helped a customer, you’ve participated in a business process. 

“There are two situations where someone hires a process engineering group or team. The ideal situation is when the CEO or GM realize they have 10-year growth targets but don’t want to grow their operations with crappy processes at the same rate they’re growing their revenue and customer base. The flip side of that is the ‘burning platform’, where everything is on fire and they’re just waiting for the bottom to drop out and someone says, “I’ve heard about this thing—let’s do Six Sigma stuff or these process projects and hire a team to fix all of these things we decided to suddenly pay attention to’, but it’s too late.”

Emmanuel Aouad, business process engineer and nerdcore rapper

I’ve found it’s always a good idea to think about business and operational processes from the recipient’s perspective. Thinking of them in that way has shown us that not every customer understands or realizes everything we do that provides them value, and forces us to model our processes based on what they might perceive as valuable.

“Strategy deployment starts with a vision. Say you want to land on the moon in 10 years. Before you start, you need a process to help plan your strategy—what structures and materials will you need? What teams do you need? The teams will need something to focus on incrementally, leading up to the execution of the strategy. Strategy development helps link how to plan and how to deploy. When you deploy a strategy from the top down, everyone’s strategy becomes shared. There may be four or five big projects that are co-owned, but resources are aligned in support of major initiatives.”

Emmanuel Aouad, business process engineer and nerdcore rapper

As our customer base shifts, this allows us to continually evaluate our operational methods and ensure they meet the needs of our target customer base, rather than assuming that they do. 

If you want to have fun while figuring out how to remember and execute your business and operational processes, click here to listen to Emmanuel’s song, “Take it Back to Define”

Emmanuel Aouad

Emmanuel Aouad is a business process engineer and nerdcore rapper.

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Stream Episode 22 now, or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform below.

Episode Transcript

Note: This transcript may contain some minor wording and formatting errors. Apologies in advance!


Todd: Welcome to The Future of Content. I’m your host, Todd Nienkerk. On this podcast, we explore content, its creation, management, and distribution by talking with the people who make content possible. Our goal is to learn from diverse perspectives and industries to become better creators. The Future of Content is brought to you by Four Kitchens. We design and develop digital content solutions that get results. Today, I’m joined by Emmanuel Aouad, a business process engineer and nerdcore rapper. Welcome to The Future of Content, Emmanuel.

Emmanuel: Hey, hey. Thanks for having me.

Todd: All right. So we’re going to break this up into two parts because these are two very different things, although they all kind of come together in the end [laughter]. So not to ruin the narrative for anybody— So let’s talk about business process. You’re a business process engineer. What is business process in layperson terms?

Emmanuel: Business process is any steps that you do in a sequence to achieve a particular outcome. So you could just think of it as a process that applies to a business operation setting, right? You have a process for cooking, right, the same way you have a process for creating a report at a business or serving a customer, right? Those are all business processes. They operationalize something that you’re delivering to a customer, like somebody who’s internal or whether it’s somebody who’s buying a product of yours off the shelf. And so that’s probably the most basic definition of business process that I can give.

Todd: And so operationalize— As a business owner and operator myself, I swim in these waters [laughter]. I am totally tuned in to what you’re talking about. But for those who aren’t fully aware of what the concept of operationalize means, how would you explain that?

Emmanuel: So I would explain operationalize as, “I have a thing that I know I want to achieve. What is the order of operations, or what are the things I have to have in place to achieve that?” So let’s say I want to become the best latte drink-making company. Right? I have to have a set of processes and technology and ingredients and just things that basically make it so. Yeah. There we go. Operationalize.

Todd: And repeatable and consistent, right?

Emmanuel: Exactly. Exactly. So that one day, I don’t make a latte, and then the next day I go to try and make a latte. And I accidentally make a hot chocolate, right? It’s—

Todd: Exactly. And it has to be something that another person can pick up and do, and it’s not locked inside one person’s head or it’s not limited to one person.

Emmanuel: Exactly.

Todd: Got it. Okay. So how did you get interested in this line of work?

Emmanuel: So I guess I’ve always been interested in process—looking at how to do things in the most optimal manner. I just never knew what it actually was. When I was in college, I studied economics, and I did a focus on microeconomics and econometrics-based courses. A guy that I bought a book from my sophomore year when I was working in Texas at my first job— He texts me and says, “Hey, do you want to look into this process engineering job I have on my team?” And I said, “Not really [laughter].” And he replied, “Shut up, nerd. Come and apply. You’ll like it.” And so if we want to be completely honest, that’s what got me interested in the actual career. Now, I’ve always been a process-minded person, and maybe it comes from video games— Trying to speedrun. I don’t know. Trying to figure out the fastest way to do things or the—

Todd: That’s interesting. Okay, so the fastest— And something that you can document. You know at this stage you jump this far, and then you do this this many times and—

Emmanuel: Exactly.

Todd: Okay, and you practice and repeat and repeat and you refine and you— Yeah, exactly. Okay.

Emmanuel: Like how I jump to video games when I ran track and field and the hurdles and like the most technically sound. I know.

Todd: You could have done that. Yeah. You could have gone to sports, but no, you picked video games. So who typically hires you to do this kind of work? What are they trying to achieve?

Emmanuel: So generally, there are two situations where somebody will hire a process engineering group or team. You have the ideal scenario where a general manager or a CEO will realize, “Hey, we have these growth targets for the year. Or not for the year, for maybe like 10 years, 20 years. Maybe we shouldn’t just grow our operation with crappy processes at the same rate that we’re growing our revenue and our customer base.” Right? That’s the most ideal situation. Any company— Because like I said, a process exists anywhere. So you have health care companies, you have insurance companies, banking companies, manufacturing companies. Now, there’s the flip side to that which I like to call the burning platform, where a whole bunch of stuff has blown up. And somebody said, “Oh, I heard about this thing. Let’s do Six Sigma stuff. Let’s do these process projects, and let’s hire a team and they’re going to come fix all this stuff that we decided that we wanted to pay attention to,” when it was too late. So it’s less of an industry that hires you. It’s more of the scenario where you get hired into.

Todd: Got it. Okay. And in a burning platform, I assume what you mean is that like everything’s on fire and you’re just waiting for the bottom to drop out or something.

Emmanuel: Exactly.

Todd: Okay, got it. Okay.

Emmanuel: And so. Yes.

Todd: So. Now the reason why I’m intrigued by a business process as it relates to content is that one of the things that— in my own experience with business process are things like it, such as project management methodologies. Right? So Scrum Agile, Six Sigma, Waterfall. And then in the business world, in the business management world, you might have things like— There are some businesses that adopt Agile Scrum for their business. There are platforms or methodologies like EOS, the entrepreneurial operating system. That’s what Four Kitchens runs on. But there’s lots of different methodologies and recipes and all of that. The content aspect that all of these have in common, that I found, is that they all have certain tools, what we’ll call tools, and we’re going to unpack that, certain tools and ways to document and meeting agendas and outcomes and a repeatable set of things that result in pieces of paper that results in Google Docs that result in tickets and Jira, which is a ticket tracking system. Right? So you have all this stuff that’s created this content, and it’s all about trying to build something or improve something or operationalize something or whatever. So when I said tools earlier, what I was referring to is something that I just recently did myself, for example. So in the world of management, there’s this concept of the delegate and— In the business world, there’s this concept of delegate and elevate. Are you familiar with this one?

Emmanuel: Mm-hmm.

Todd: Okay, so I just went through— I do that periodically myself to figure out, all right, what should I be doing more of, elevate, what should I be doing less of, delegate, right? Things you don’t like, you’re not good at, whatever, delegate those to somebody else. The tool is literally just like four boxes on a sheet of paper and you just write stuff in them. So that’s what’s meant by tool. So I’m curious, like in your work with business process, what are some of the tools and the assets and the things that are created in the kinds of work that you do?

Emmanuel: I mean, how much time do you have? I’ve created entire course works for or training, process engineering frameworks, including all of the tools that are associated with them. So, I mean—

Todd: What’s an example of a go-to tool that you find that’s good across multiple methodologies and systems?

Emmanuel: I would say it’s a flowchart and a swim lane, so a process flowchart. It’s a visual representation of those activities in the process. And it consists of activity boxes, decision points, and it shows you the logical flow. But then on top of that, it actually layers in what’s called a swim lane, and so it’s the person who’s actually executing those series of tasks that you’ve listed in those activity boxes. And so I always encourage people to do that because it’s one of the most versatile tools that you can have in any project that you’re doing because you use it as the foundation for other tools. And so it’s almost like I would count that as the floor of your house, right? Or the foundation of your house. If you have it, you can do basically whatever you want. And it gives you this open-ended approach to how you want to figure out the other things. You can analyze for process breakdowns. You can figure out how to set up time studies doing that. You can figure out— You can do waste analysis. Yeah. There are so many things, so.

Todd: The swim lane is a metaphor that’s derived from— Think of an Olympic swimming pool or something. And there each person, where the person is a metaphor here, each person is kind of staying in their lane. But the idea is that they’re moving forward in this lane at a certain speed. But there are other people in other lanes also moving forward at a certain speed, right? So it’s sort of visualizing multiple things happening at once, but each sort of has like an isolated area that they operate in, and they don’t try to get into other people’s lanes because that can cause problems.

Emmanuel: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Todd: Okay, got it. Got it. So there is another aspect of your work that I find really interesting, and that’s strategy deployment. What is strategy deployment?

Emmanuel: All right. So let me try to explain this without— I mean, it’s even confusing to get people who have gone through the training to execute it correctly. So imagine— I’ll give two examples. The example I always give people is you have a vision and let’s say your vision is landing on the moon in the next 10 years, right? You don’t just wake up every day and just be like, “All right, that’s our vision. What are we doing?” Right? There’s a whole process to plan your strategy. So how are we going to get what we need, the structure in place, the teams in place, and then what are we going to have them focus on in increments leading up to the execution of that strategy? To use one of my sports analogies, let’s say my track team, we want to be a championship, national championship team in the next six years, that’s our vision, right ? I have to come up with a strategy and a series of big focus areas that— Oh.

Todd: Oh, what?

Emmanuel: Did you hear Siri? I said “series” [laughter]. That’s great.

Todd: Siri.

Emmanuel: And then my MacBook just picked it up.

Todd: Of course.

Emmanuel: But yeah, let’s say I want to become a winning track team, and that’s the vision, right? And so I have to do some things. And so I have to come up with a strategy. What am I going to do? I have to recruit top-tier athletes, right? I have to have a great program. I have to win conference championships. So at a high level, you could layer those things in, right? Then I can start saying, “Okay, what’s my strategy to accomplish those things? What can I do to move the needle for this year, right, and creating sub-projects under those three things, right?” And then I’ll bring teams on, right, maybe my coaching staff. And they would assist. And so then they would have tasks as well. And so it’s a process to link a very high-level vision that’s pie in the sky, very fuzzy, warm statements, to incremental, yearly, or two-year projects, down to focused project teams, down to focused tasks, and for those people who participate on the project team. And so it helps you link how you plan your strategy and then deploy it. So it’s just like the process engineering framework, but for something even fuzzier and more, I guess, abstract.

Todd: And perhaps with bigger goals or multilayered goals or something like that, right? Like a much bigger thing than just like, “Man, we’re inefficient. We need to be more efficient.”

Emmanuel: Exactly.

Todd: We have nine years to get to the moon. That’s a very different kind of goal.

Emmanuel: Then, the other thing that it does, if anybody listening to this has ever worked in an organization where you have your sales department, and you have your marketing department, then you have maybe your customer service. And they’re all ran by different maybe VPs. And they all come to the table every year, and they’re like, “This is my strategy for next year,” right? And you end up having a squabbling for capital dollars to spend. When you deploy a strategy from the top-down, everybody’s strategy becomes shared, right? And so they may have independent— There may be four or five big projects that the sales VP and the marketing VP co-own together. And then, customer service and maybe the engineering and product VP, they own another project together. And so then, everything that they’re aligning their resources on to work cross-functionally are all in support of those major initiatives that started with the goal of winning the championship, and then the three subgoals under there, right? And then they can create all the subprojects that they want. They have the latitude to say, “Okay, well, I need to do this thing. Now, let’s figure out the best way to actually accomplish that thing.”

Todd: And all along the way, there’s documentation. And there are plans. And there’s communication. And you have to have a regular cadence of meetings to keep everybody on board and update and all of that stuff. And this is all– all this content is generated as a result of how to deploy the strategy. Okay. Got it, got it. Okay, so, we’re going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we’re going to talk about nerdcore, and how you have been able to merge business process, strategy deployment, and nerdcore rap. All right. We’ll be right back.


Todd: Hey, everyone. Todd here. We’ll get back to the episode in just a moment. But I wanted to quickly tell you about Four Kitchens. You probably know that we make websites, but we do way more than that. Our team of Web Chefs can help you make better use of your content, scale your web team, and create world-class digital experiences. And most importantly, we get results. To find out more about how Four Kitchens can help, visit us at Now, back to the episode. [music]

Todd: Welcome back to The Future of Content. Our guest today is Emmanuel Aouad, business process engineer and nerdcore rapper. All right, what’s nerdcore? What does that mean?

Emmanuel: “What is nerdcore,” right? “Nerdcore does not exist.” [laughter]

Todd: [laughter] It’s a state of mind.

Emmanuel: It is. I mean, that’s probably going to be kind of my answer to the question.

Todd: Sorry to interrupt.

Emmanuel: Ultimately, it will lead to that, right? Because what it started out as was just people making music about nerdy content. So what was traditionally deemed nerdy content, I feel like everything is nerdy now. So it’s kind of a moot point. But the tag still kind of stays for people who remain in the community as well, or people who have just been absorbed by the community. And you don’t get let go. That’s what happens. It just claims you, and you become part of it. [laughter]

Todd: You raise something really interesting. This becomes kind of philosophical in a way. What does nerd-dom mean? What does it mean to be a nerd? What does it mean to be nerdy? What does that mean to you?

Emmanuel: So, I grew up in the era of sitting in the basement, eating pizza rolls, having LAN parties, people making LAN cables, right?

Todd: They were the best.

Emmanuel: I know, right? Yo, these kids do not know.

Todd: They will never understand how much fun that was.

Emmanuel: [laughter] And we would anime on seedy sites that probably were infecting our computers. And so, I grew up in that era. And so, to me, that’s what nerdom was, because that was the stuff that people made fun of us for, right? It was like, “Oh, nerd, what are you doing?” Right?

Todd: It’s a thing that people made fun of you for liking, right?

Emmanuel: Yeah. There you go.

Todd: And it’s sort of like nerdom becomes this identity that is an opposition in a way. And as a result of being an identity that’s an opposition, it becomes an identity of inclusion. So you are excluded, and therefore, the excluded people are included together, right? They all get lumped together.

Emmanuel: Exactly.

Todd: The way that I like to envision nerdiness— I guess this is more aligned with the phrase, “To nerd out on something,” which is to just really, really like something that— It doesn’t have to be popular or niche. It’s just to really, really like something. Everybody has a lot of nerdy things about them. Now, whether they decide to use the word “nerd” is kind of, I guess, a personal choice.

Emmanuel: And I think that’s what it’s merged into or it’s morphed into, right? Before, it used to be something that you were made fun of, right? I played in band for many, many, many years, third grade to graduating college, right? I played an instrument in some band or some orchestra. And that was considered nerdy, right? “Oh, the nerdy kids in the band,” right? “The choir kids are cool,” right? That was the thing.

Todd: Really?

Emmanuel: Yeah. At my high school, that was it. The choir kids were cool.

Todd: Okay. They were the ones that ruled the play yard. All right. Okay. Sure. Choir.

Emmanuel: I don’t know. One of my friends was in choir.

Todd: I say this as a choir kid.

Emmanuel: Oh really?

Todd: So that’s why I’m allowed to say this.

Emmanuel: I would say that the choir kids were the coolest of the music people at my high school.

Todd: Oh, wow. Wish I would’ve gone to your school. Sure.

Emmanuel: But a bunch of us on the track team, we were actually in band. I don’t know if— Yeah, I think we all played in band in middle school, elementary school, and stuff. And then, in high school, we all continued in band. And then we met on the track team. But a bunch of us were, yeah, band and track. Yeah. Maybe it helped our lung capacity. But I digress. [laughter]

Todd: And also, were you in marching band, too?

Emmanuel: I was not in marching band. That was the one that I did not do.

Todd: Okay. Well, so nerding out is just something that you really enjoy doing, that you gravitate towards.

Emmanuel: Yes. I think it’s kind of gone—to run it parallel with the terminology—extreme fandom. That’s kind of what I consider nerding out now. Right? I have a Power Rangers extreme fandom. I already told you I have all of that signed stuff back there. I nerd out on that. You get super excited to the point where people don’t get it, and they may think you’re weird for enjoying it so much. And so it still has that kind of— It still kind of has that exclusion factor, right, of, “I’m so obsessed with this thing, and people will probably look at me funny. And they will— But I don’t care.” And I’m—

Todd: And when you find somebody else that’s into that thing that you’re into you become the people in the party who just stand in the corner for hours and—

Emmanuel: Exactly.

Todd: You’re like, “Who are they? What are they doing?” You become this weird, social/antisocial thing because you finally found a kindred spirit. Yeah. So nerdcore, then— It sounds like it began as a musical genre, but it’s become more than that. It’s become a community. People express nerdcore in lots of different ways now that aren’t necessarily music. So this would actually be a really good time to just pause for a moment. And I’d like to play your tracks. I’ll include a video on the blog post for this episode, but I think just so you can hear an example of what nerdcore sounds— Well, I guess traditional nerdcore sounds like— We’ll include that. Here’s a little bit of “Take it Back to Define” by Creative Mind Frame, aka Emmanuel Aouad.


Todd: Here’s a little bit of “88-Bit Hero” by Creative Mind Frame, or as we know him, Emmanuel Aouad.


Todd: So you have found a way to merge nerdcore with your work because—you kind of hinted at this earlier—you are really into speed runs on games, which for those who are unfamiliar, this is the idea of trying to complete a level or a game as quickly as possible. Not necessarily getting the highest score or achieving full completion or anything like that it’s just get through the level as quickly as possible, which often involves finding really tricky or secret ways to do it. Right? So that version of nerding out on process and speed and efficiency and all of that, maybe there’s some aspect of that that appealed to you in business process. But how have you more explicitly been able to merge business process and your love of music?

Emmanuel: Yeah. So in my previous job, I spent a few years as a program administrator for their Six Sigma training program. So I was teaching classes, certifying people in addition to doing process improvement projects and doing the strategy planning and all that fun stuff. So about early 2019, I want to say it was, I had the idea. I should make a song that covers the things that people are consistently asking me questions about when they’re asking how to do their certification project. “How do I use the DMAIC framework? What do I do in this phase? What do I do when I have to measure the process? What do I have to pay attention to when I’m doing a regression analysis?” Right? That type of stuff. So I decided to make a song about it, and it ended up going on my album that came out I think this year maybe, this year or last year. I don’t remember. Time is just flying together now, so. [laughter]

Todd: So true.

Emmanuel: It’s a bit of an issue. But yeah, I would send that out to people after class. My last four or five classes I did, I sent it out to them to listen to before I even put it on streaming stuff. I just would share them a Google Drive link and say, “Hey, if you forget stuff, remember this, and it’ll help you get through your project.” One of my friends helped me shoot a music video for it, and so we actually ended up making a music video for it and putting it on YouTube three or four weeks ago. And yeah, I just recently sold it to a company, so it’s going to go off my YouTube now. I’ll just have the preview version up, and it’ll be on their website. But yeah, I literally merged the two things that I like to do.

Todd: Yeah, yeah. And DMAIC is a framework, D-M-A-I-C, which stands for?

Emmanuel: Define. Do you define your problem that you’re actually trying to solve? Then you measure. So you measure the process or the area where that problem lives. Then you analyze, and you analyze that actual process that you just measured to see, “Okay, what are the things that could be causing the problem that I defined?” And then, when you hone in on a few likely contributing causes, then you improve those specific things, right, so that you’re not wasting time, energy, or resources fixing things that aren’t going to solve your problem. Right? It’d be great to fix them, but if they don’t solve the problem, then what’s the point of doing that project? And then the last part is control. So you don’t just fix it and walk away, right? If you fix a broken thing in your house, right, you don’t just walk away. You kind of look at it for a little bit to make sure that it doesn’t break again. You have to do the same thing. Right? You’re like, “How am I going to measure this? What are going to be my process control limits when I see something go past a certain threshold? When am I going to go investigate? What are the standard operating procedures that I wrote? Are the employees— Are they taking to the new change? If they are, great. If they aren’t, why not? What did I do wrong?” Right? That type of stuff. So it’s that framework.

Todd: And so in creating this track which you call “Take It Back to Define,” the idea being, you just always go back to the defined stage.

Emmanuel: Yeah, yeah. Exactly.

Todd: Right? So this is an example of not just you merging these two things that you’re passionate about, but it’s also art influencing learning, influencing education. Do you have any thoughts on where that’s headed in general, the idea of art influencing that?

Emmanuel: Yes, I think that it already started kind of trending that way as people started— People who were artists are becoming more dual, right, playing in multiple areas versus just, say, “I’m just going to go create music full time.” Right? You have a lot of people wh— A lot of my music friends, they have full-time jobs. One of my friends, he’s a cybersecurity professional. He’s probably the person I collab with the most as well. And now that we have COVID and there’s likely going to be a shift towards a lot more virtual learning, right, it’s— I want everybody who’s listening to this right now to think back to middle school and a song that if it started playing now, you could still sing the words, right? Ludacris, “Rollout,” I can get through even the fast part, right? “You must have eyes on your back because you’ve got money to the ceiling. And the bigger the cap, the bigger the peeling, the better I’m feeling, the more that I’m chilling, willing, and drilling, and killing the villain.” Right? Bam, right there, doesn’t matter—what is that?—18 years later, 20 years later, I don’t know, right. And I am a firm believer that music has this magical element, right? There’s just something that makes people resonate with it. And by adding that extra dimension and layer into trying to just explain something to someone, explain it in a way that utilizes something that they’ll resonate with. And we all resonate with a certain kind of music, right? And so combining the two together allows people to remember, right, because then you recall, right, all those childhood jingles, too. It’s easier to recall and be like, “Oh, yeah, I remember that catchy thing.” Right? And you retain the information, so—

Todd: I mean, marketing uses it, why shouldn’t education?

Emmanuel: Exactly. I mean, education is like your marketing information, right? That’s—

Todd: Yes. That’s if you’re making it accessible.

Emmanuel: — in its most basic—

Todd: You’re making people want it. Yeah. What was that? I feel like I should have this right on the tip of my tongue. But that show from the ’70s or ’80s where they did those songs about civics and science, and they were animated and what—

Emmanuel: Schoolhouse Rock!

Todd: Schoolhouse Rock!, thank you. But why don’t I just instantly remember that name?

Emmanuel: “I’m just a bill, just a— [crosstalk]”

Todd: Just a bill, I think of that song all the time because when I think about the legislative process, that’s absolutely how I think about it. It’s just so much easier to think about that song and the visuals and how it merges all of that stuff. But it’s substantive, too.

Emmanuel: And people always say— They’re like, “Oh, learning is so boring.” And it’s like it’s not that learning is boring. It’s the delivery mechanism is boring, right—

Todd: Or just—

Emmanuel: If you—

Todd: — To a specific individual, too, right?

Emmanuel: Yeah.

Todd: Somebody might be—

Emmanuel: I mean—

Todd: — More of a visual learner or more of an interactive learner. Yeah.

Emmanuel: Yeah, exactly. And I mean, think of even video games, right? It’s the change in how stories are told and the cinematics behind them now. It’s like there are plenty of people who thought video games were stupid, back in the day, right? They were like, “Oh, what is that?” And of course, with Atari, right, you get the little Pong game with— Did you ever play that Pong game, where it was like four people, and you had to use a little circular thing?

Todd: My parents actually had the circular knob. They had the version where they didn’t even have— It was such an early version that they didn’t have the borders. The borders, it was a piece of paper that you had to tape on the television. This way predates me. I am not old enough to have played this contemporaneously. But they just have it lying around, and I dug it out of the garage one day. And I was like, “What is this crazy-looking sci-fi device?” And he’s like, “Oh, that’s the original Pong. We need to find a TV that’ll fit the border thing.” And literally, all the video was all it could handle where— I don’t even remember if there was a score, but it was just the two paddles and the ball. That’s all it could do. That’s all it could process. But yeah, it had the dial—

Emmanuel: I mean—

Todd: — Of all things. Yeah.

Emmanuel: And think, if today that’s still what we had for video games, would it be the— And this that it is today. It’s like they have full orchestras, right? It’s grown so much and it’s the delivery mechanism, right? Like RPGs. I loved RPGs back in the day, right? I love the old 8-bit, 16-bit RPGs as well. But there are plenty of people who— The way that I think of it too is if you have a very booming imagination, it was easy to get lost in those things because you see a realm of possibilities. And not to say that people who didn’t enjoy them— I’m not insulting you. I’m not saying you don’t have the imagination. But it opens up, right? If you say, “Okay. Well, why should everybody need a very vivid imagination to enjoy this thing?” Right? And so how can we change our delivery mechanism to convey more of what you would normally be using your imagination to try and piece together, right? And I think the same thing goes for education, right? It’s like so why should you only educate in a way that gets specific people excited if you know the things that don’t make the other people who aren’t excited about what you’re teaching excitable then create this super education product, right? And so it almost gets to the value analysis, right? Is something that is of use and valuable to your customer, right? So they’re going to spend their time and they’ll be there. And it’s like, “Well, yeah. If you teach like this, I find it valuable.” Right? And that’s the whole approach to Six Sigma is thinking from the end recipient’s perspective, right? And modeling your processes and your approach to what they may perceive as value, right? And there are always going to be things that you just have to do from a business perspective, right? A customer can’t know and find everything you do valuable. But if you take that approach, then as your customer base shifts, it allows you to continuously evaluate, “What are my methods for operating? And do they meet the target customer base that I’m looking for?” Right? Versus just saying, “Oh. Well, that’s just how it is.” Right? And we’re just going to operate this way, right? That’s how you get left behind. That’s how businesses get left behind. BlackBerry, right?

Todd: Yeah. Yeah. While I have to admit, I had a BlackBerry back in the day—

Emmanuel: I did too, right?

Todd: Yeah. The keyboard is still easier for me to use. I say “still.” This is from memory. This is like 10, 11 years ago. It’s so far. But from memory, I remember it just being a lot easier to use. Now, every other aspect of that device was pretty bad. But that keyboard was just— I like tactile stuff. It was easier to thumb through. I find myself making way more typos on just a screen. A touchscreen. But maybe that’s me and I’m—

Emmanuel: Autocorrect.

Todd: — Just sloppy and I don’t know. Well, okay. Let’s leave with this. Where do you see business process as an industry heading? And where do you see nerdcore heading?

Emmanuel: So business processes and industry— Once again, I’ll blame it on COVID, right? I see it growing exponentially as they start needing people to— Because you’re essentially applying engineering principles to business processes, right? And so you need a specific type of person who can see those links and see business actions as widgets in a machine. And so as we disperse, it’s not as easy to just— I’m sure a lot of offices are going to stay remote for a long time, right? It’s going to be that much more difficult to understand—

Todd: A lot of businesses. Yeah, permanently.

Emmanuel: Yeah. Data transfer, information transfer. You have to think of those processes as machinery. Where there will be more— maybe they may not be huge burning platforms, there will be many burning platforms that need to be solved. And so as people become more familiar and understand process engineering has grown over the last 10 years and will continue to grow as more problems arise, right? So I think I see it growing. But the people who will be successful in it—It’s very tough in a remote capacity, right? Even somebody who has nine, 10 years experience in it, it could be frustrating for me right now being remote. So that’s kind of where I see it going.

Todd: So there’s some kind of adaptation that needs to happen or modification maybe to make that work?

Emmanuel: Exactly.

Todd: Well, what about nerdcore? Where is your core as a concept, I don’t know, as a community, as a thing, as a production style? Where do you think that’s headed?

Emmanuel: I think nerdcore as a label is going back to the inclusivity by exclusion.

Todd: So it’s like rubber banding back maybe.

Emmanuel: Yeah, I would say so. Because there are plenty of people who are– they do nerdcore or they do nerdy raps but they don’t want to be seen exclusively as nerdcore artists, right? And so once it start hitting that tipping point where— Like I said, everybody’s nerdy. Everybody references Dragon Ball Z in their rap. Yeah. So I think that once that tipping point started happening, everybody started making nerdy music, right? That’s where it started becoming— Okay. Well, now it’s more of a community of people who just tend to interact with each other. People can adopt a label if they want. They can shed it if they want. If they shed it and people still in the community consider you’re nerdcore, they will call you “nerdcore” whether or not you like it. So I see it— It’s kind of weird because it’s like it gives it a little bit slower of a growth because it’s a more concentrated community. But it also gives it the opportunity to last longer, right? I feel like when you have that level of growth and that level of community, it makes something that has a stronger foundation. And so at some point when maybe people stop rapping about nerdy stuff, they’ll move on to something else. Nerdcore, as a genre, will continue to live on.

Todd: Well, thank you, Emmanuel, for joining me today. This has been fascinating. And thanks for bringing us a twofer. That’s a first on this show. But I love to see where people’s passions and concepts of content kind of start to blend together.

Emmanuel: Yeah. Thank you for having me. This is super fun.

Todd: Oh, thank you so much. Well, to everybody listening, I’d love to see the kind of content you’re creating. Feel free to send it my way by email at You can also reach out to me at @FoCpodcast on Twitter. To find out more about Four Kitchens and how we solve complex content problems, visit And finally, please make sure to search for The Future of Content in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts—wherever you find your podcasts. And click subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. Until next time. Keep creating content.