Shape Up with Clientswith David Nichols
Since releasing Shape Up, the book by Basecamp’s Ryan Singer about our approach to product development, we’ve heard from other companies who’ve also adopted this methodology. David Nichols is the co-founder and CEO of Loupe, a company that helps design machines for clients in sectors from aerospace to packaging. He comes on Rework to talk about using Shape Up principles with clients who come from a world of complex contracts and project overruns.
- Our previous episode, "Shape Up: The Print Edition" - 00:11
- Shape Up - 00:16
- David Nichols on Twitter - 00:45
- Loupe - 00:49
- Six-week cycles - 7:56
- Circuit breaker - 13:50
- Loupe's explanation of how they "Ship in Six" - 17:30
- Our episode introducing Shape Up - 24:52
- We featured Hearth & Hammer on the episode "Bubble Wrap & Prayers" - 28:02
The Full Transcript:
[00:00:00] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Shaun: [00:00:02] Welcome to Rework, a podcast by Basecamp about the better way to work and run your business. I’m Shaun Hildner.
Wailin: [00:00:07] And I’m Wailin Wong. Last week on the show, we talked to our colleague, Ryan Singer. He leads product strategy at Basecamp and he just released a print edition of his book Shape Up, which is about how we develop products at Basecamp.
Shaun: [00:00:20] The first version of Shape Up came out in digital form last year, and some other companies started using the methodology that Ryan lays out in his book. Today on the show, we talk to one CEO about how he’s applied Shape Up principles to his business. And we recorded this episode in two separate interviews. So here’s the first half.
David: [00:00:45] My name is David Nichols, I’m CEO here at our company, Loupe. That’s L-O-U-P-E, like the little magnifying glass.
Wailin: [00:00:53] Loupe specializes in automation and helps design machines that go into factories. David’s Twitter bio says, “I make things that make things.” As you’ll hear him explain, a single factory might have dozens of machines that come from different manufacturers. Those manufacturers, the ones that make the machines, are David’s clients, and working with clients is really different than what Basecamp does. Here, we really just answer to ourselves. David’s company does client work so that adds another level of complexity to the Shape Up process.
David: [00:01:23] If you’re driving by, let’s say a Kraft factory that makes cheese slices, the company that makes the cheese slices doesn’t make the machines that are in their factories, hey rely on other companies that do that. And so if you were to go into that building, you would see machines from probably 10, or 20, or 30 different companies that make the machines for different aspects of that production. So there’s a machine that would take that cheese slice and wrap it in plastic. There’s another machine that would take those slices and stack them into a box. There’s another machine that takes those boxes and makes a stack of them that would go onto a pallet that ends up in your Costco or wherever it’s headed.
[00:01:57] So we tend to work with the companies that are making the machines. We’ve worked on projects involving alternative energy, we’ve worked on projects in packaging and aerospace. We come in, usually in a new product context. So It usually starts at that whiteboard, that kind of lightbulb moment of we think there’s an opportunity to do something here. And the development proceeds from there.
[00:02:21] Pushing the boundaries and making new machines that hadn’t existed before is a very exploratory process. And there’s a lot of things that are unknown about it when you go into it. So I was taught, the way to deal with that uncertainty is you sit down with the customer, and you start making a list. And that list is a specification of what is the thing that we’re trying to build here. Depending on the project, you could end up with hundreds or thousands of bullet points. 50 page Word documents of the machine will do X, Y, and Z. It will move this speed. When you push this button, this will happen. And the way of describing the product that needed to be built was in prose or in bullets that would be eight levels deep.
[00:03:04] For many years, that was the foundation of how we would work with our clients. We would sit down and have that agreement. Someone at that company would sign it. Then we would go and we would start working. And we would often find… I almost want to say every single time, we would find that a lot of our assumptions or most of our assumptions, so many things that we thought were important, turned out to be completely wrong.
[00:03:28] For many years, we spent a lot of time thinking, “Well, how do we put enough of a safety factor into our estimates?” How do we allow for the client to be able to inevitably change their mind about what it is midway through the project and and still not end up drowning or having overruns that we would have to absorb because we promised that we would deliver you what’s in this Word document for X amount of dollars.
[00:03:58] All of that juggling, we just noticed that it didn’t work very well. There’s so much uncertainty in it. In fact, it became kind of a punch line that as soon as we show this to the client, they’re going to change their mind about what it should be. I didn’t really like that feeling because often we would agree with the client. It needs to be something else, we wanted to be in a position to be able to make it better instead of saying to the client, we can’t build that we have to build what we promised to build you three months ago, six months ago. And if you want to do that, then we need to renegotiate a contract or do a change order. There’s all these terms for how they’re going to give you more money to keep going or do that instead of what they asked you originally to do. That was how we started to integrate the idea of fixed amount of time flexible scope. We have a list in our minds of what we’re going to attempt or what we’re going to attack and we’re going to go after that with a fixed amount of time and kind of iterate along the way
Wailin: [00:04:51] In your business. Is there such a thing as a typical deadline? Or would it range from one month to a year or even longer than that?
David: [00:05:00] I would say a typical deadline is there’s a major trade show, it’s on July 17th. And you’re gonna get the machine on July 10th, and have to ship it and it’s gonna have to work when we show it to our customers. That’s a typical situation. Another typical situation is a yearly budgeting cycle, or there’s milestones that we’re trying to achieve by December. And if we hit it, then we have a budget for next year. If we don’t, then the project is cancelled. A lot of our work, because we work with equipment builders and product development, it’s much more of a continuous process. They’re responding to things that they’re seeing in the field. And so that’s something that really never stops, or, in my opinion, should be happening all the time.
Wailin: [00:05:45] You had mentioned that you decided to look at your timeframes and work with more fixed scopes or time scopes for your work. How did you go about having those conversations with clients? Did you have to kind of find a client who would be more flexible along with you, or was able to kind of be your guinea pig as you were trying out some of these new workflows?
David: [00:06:08] Yes, absolutely. And I have a lot of gratitude for some of the clients who really trusted in us when we came to them and said, here’s an idea for a project contract. You’re going to give us this much money. And at the end, we’re not going to promise what we deliver to you. Sometimes the question would come back, so we’re going to give you this amount of money, for sure, and then you’re not on the hook for anything in particular? And we would say, right, that’s how the contract works. We learned how to talk about it better because there are things that we were delivering with certainty. It just didn’t look like how a fixed scope contract would typically be done, which is, everything about the project is fixed. What you guarantee to deliver is written down and it has to be that and it has to be done in this amount of time for this amount of money.
[00:07:01] The way that we learned to talk about it was we’re going to guarantee some version of this feature, or the best version of this feature that we can deliver in this amount of time, in this six week cycle. That is something that is unique about it.
[00:07:14] When talking with Ryan and kind of following his work and his explanations, I really related to we’re going to ship something. And that, I think if you talk with people that run development contracts, is a unique guarantee. Because what you know from doing those fixed scope contracts is often they don’t ship. Often they’re not finished. Often they’re half built by the time the budget runs out. And then you’re all looking at each other like, okay, what do we do now?
Wailin: [00:07:41] How did you settle on six weeks? Was that like a Ryan Singer idea? Or did you also just land on six weeks the way we landed on six weeks at Basecamp?
David: [00:07:50] We’ve tried different amounts. The six-week cycle, I like the way that Ryan talks about it, where he says you can feel the deadline from the first day, which is critical. Six weeks is really a sweet spot in terms of giving the team time to do something meaningful, and really dig into it and have room to operate but also be under pressure. That pressure, that deadline is really really important for making trade offs, for making decisions. If you don’t feel that, then you just feel like you have all the time in the world. And the lack of that constraint can lead you astray or lead to a lot of a lot of wandering around. There’s an urgency to it when you know we have to be finished with this in six weeks. And then also there’s the whole death march aspect of we’re going to be done. And then when we’re done, we can do something more or we can stop. And kind of that feeling of relief of we’re finished with something is not something that a lot of engineers in our industry experience. As far as they can see in the future, they have they have work, and they’re going to have to do it and suffer. The idea that you could be like, we’ll be done with this in six weeks. A lot of times that can be a big relief to to see, even from day one.
Wailin: [00:09:00] And then is the understanding with a lot of your clients that you set the scope for six weeks and then after that six weeks, you might tackle another six weeks of work? So it’s like an ongoing six-week renewal?
David: [00:09:12] Yes, although I do appreciate some of the things Ryan said around the default is, you don’t have to do anything. There’s not something that you’ve signed up for beyond that. And if it makes sense, because it’s obvious, and it’s clear, let’s do the next thing and the next thing and the next thing, because the project has momentum and that’s clear. Then, that’s great. Sometimes you know that it’s gonna take many cycles to do something. And in fact, a key element of that process is that North Star of there’s something far in the distance that you’re going for, and everybody needs to have a pretty clear idea of what that is. Oftentimes, we know going into it. There’s probably years of work that’s gonna get us to that point, but we’re gonna do it six weeks at a time.
Wailin: [00:09:52] Do you find that there was also an adjustment period for you as the business owner to start thinking in essentially six-week contracts Instead of these longer term contracts?
David: [00:10:01] Yes, there was an adjustment period. But it was more of a feeling… more of a relief, because the contracts that you need to put in place to sign up for something that you’re going to put a team onto for six months, there’s a lot more at stake. You have to predict a lot more in the future, if you’re trying to look six months in the future instead of six weeks. And so the boundaries of what’s possible, the scenarios you can envision about it going off the rails, you have to be much more accommodating of that. You have to have much higher safety factors, you have to protect yourself, you have to write a lot of specifications, you have to, again, knowing that they’re going to be wrong, you have to put all this work into place to protect yourself.
[00:10:40] There’s a lot less of the future to predict in six weeks. And so the scoping and the contracts actually can be a lot lighter weight, and you’re not as worried about trying to pin down every single aspect of the detail that could go out of control. The entire project process is designed around our ability to get into that feature, to work it, to work out the details of it, and then bring it in for a landing at the end of the budget. And that means we have to sometimes cast things aside, we have to make compromises, we have to say, well, we can do 80% of this feature with the two weeks that we have left. Or we can just not have this feature at all. We can we can course correct with the client during that process and they really appreciate that oftentimes, because you can have that conversation more side by side instead of more adversarial where they’re saying no, you’re definitely going to deliver it according to what I had in my head six months ago.
Wailin: [00:11:33] Have you found that some of your clients have been pleasantly surprised at what they can get out of six weeks? Where before, if the kind of internalized thinking was that, well, a project of this magnitude and this importance, of course, you need six months plus another six months of overrun to get it done. Have you gotten some interesting feedback from clients where they’re delighted to see like a working piece of something at the end of six weeks?
David: [00:11:58] Yes. It’s hard to make new things. Any company that’s tried that knows it. In fact, we joke about it sometimes. And they say, oh, we tried to do something new once it didn’t go very well. So we don’t do that anymore. So a lot of times, it’s not so much what we can accomplish in six weeks as that you could accomplish anything at all. If you had tried to pitch a six month project, the approval chains and the money and all the things it would take to do that are just, there’s such a higher bar. And then all these interesting things that you would otherwise attempt, that could have huge payoffs, people are just afraid to do. Maybe the final budgets end up being more than what we would have done if we had tried to do it all in one go. But all along the way, they’re kind of excited, or they can see progress. And that’s something that I think people do really appreciate.
Wailin: [00:12:43] Yeah, it must feel so different from your previous job before you started the company when you were the application engineer.
David: [00:12:51] Yes, it was a different group of people that would make promises to the clients about what was going to happen, and a different set of influence and a different set of motivation, actually. I love salespeople, but I’m going to pick on salespeople a little bit. And they would say, oh, wow, if we get this client to use our products, it’s going to be millions of dollars in hardware sales. Hey, engineers, go jump into this meat grinder for the next year, for no money to try to make that happen for me. I’m exaggerating only very slightly.
[00:13:20] And so they would make claims of yeah, it’s going to be easy, we can do it in this amount of time, we’ll do it for you. And then the engineers would just have to just do it. I feel very fortunate that, coming from that background, to be in a position to lead a company where we could change that relationship to the client, because I think it works better for the people that are on the team. It works better for the clients as well.
Wailin: [00:13:41] Have you ever had to employ the circuit breaker? You’re working with clients, which seems to make the concept of the circuit breaker that much scarier. Have you ever had to use it?
David: [00:13:53] Yes, we’ve had to use the circuit breaker. As I mentioned, R&D, creating new things, there’s so much uncertainty around it. Even the best ideas sometimes turn out to not be great ideas. Which is the entire point behind making smaller bets. That’s fine, because you know, you do 10 of them. And the two that work or the five that work or whatever they are they have such nonlinear returns that they pay for all of the failed experiments. That’s the nature of it.
[00:14:21] And so yeah, we’ve pulled the circuit breaker, we’ve had the circuit breaker pulled on us. We’ve had people say, yeah, that’s really promising but in order for us to hit our scale, or to do what we need to do, we’re gonna have to do this 200 times, and so far, you’ve only done it once. And we’ve had people sort of like run out of appetite, basically.
Wailin: [00:14:39] That was my first interview with David Nichols and it took place a full year ago. I caught up with David more recently to see how he’s been doing and how he’s continued to evolve and refine the Shape Up approach with his clients.
[00:14:51] How have you been?
David: [00:14:52] Uh, I’ve been fine. I think that’s the greeting these days. I
Wailin: [00:14:58] I know, that what a loaded question. I should stop asking it.
David: [00:15:01] No, it’s impossible to stop asking it, so this is the conversation we have, where you’re like, it’s really awesome. And also completely horrible at the same time.
Wailin: [00:15:10] I mean, here’s another impossible question to answer almost because it’s so broad. But how was your business impacted by COVID?
David: [00:15:17] Oh, wow. It’s been very interesting. Things were happening so quickly, especially in the early days. And so you have that extreme existential dread. And at the same time, we I remember looking at our kind of plan for the year, I said, well, actually, I don’t see anything here that needs to change. Because what’s different is we went from 30%, remote to 100%, remote overnight. But none of our purpose, none of our values, none of that has changed.
Wailin: [00:15:48] I was thinking about the line of work you’re in and the different kinds of clients you work with, and I could not figure out whether you would have seen, business go kind of up or down broadly. Because it’s like, the supply chain everywhere in manufacturing has been so wackadoodle that I was like, I have no idea what it’s like from your perspective. If you had like a toilet paper making machine that you had to suddenly do a lot of work on it, because everyone wanted toilet paper. But then maybe you had another machine you’re working on that makes I don’t know, something for like hotels, and that would have gotten mothballed.
David: [00:16:29] Or airplanes.
Wailin: [00:16:30] Oh, airplanes, sure.
David: [00:16:32] Right? Right. The answer is it can go up and down at the same time. There’s some businesses that we you look and they just instantly vaporize, right, boom, they just hit a complete brick wall. And there’s other ones where it’s like, they can’t produce fast enough, because everybody needs their product all sudden. And we had elements of both of those in our company and in our in our experience of COVID. The thing about equipment and manufacturing is that it doesn’t tend to get turned around in three, four weeks. A lot of the projects that we work on have such long lead times, or if someone’s going to build a new factory or change up things like that, it can take literally years.
Wailin: [00:17:07] Since you and I talked, I feel like you have really gone even further into Shape Up as a business philosophy and methodology. I was on your website and now you have this big beautiful page explaining your entire process. And that I think is new since we talked, right?
David: [00:17:25] Definitely, definitely. When we talked maybe a year ago, I was talking to people on our team about, we really need to explain how this process works front and center on our site. It’s been a huge communications challenge because it’s a practice. It’s a practice of a team of people. It’s a cultural change. It’s very difficult to put into words.
[00:17:43] When you do this work on behalf of clients, you’re selling the approach to them, they’re the ones who have to sign up for something called a flexible scope. We’re giving you the money, for sure. How is the scope flexible, right? Like that’s how primary the difficulty in explaining is. You have to explain it to sell a project because you can’t you can’t run a Shape Up project with a fixed client expectation. That is truly incompatible.
Wailin: [00:18:11] So it sounds like you’ve really been honing the art of how to talk about this in a way that maybe more old fashioned clients in the manufacturing sector, or some of these more old guard sectors will respond to.
David: [00:18:25] Yes, we have. And I hesitate even to call them old guard because it’s literally every part of the industry. The truth of it is, it is a powerful way to make new things. And people that make new things, they know kind of in their bones that you have to figure it out as you go. So that’s really the foundation of the explanation. And even people who are used to fixed bids, they know that to be true. And so when you find a way to explain in those terms, you find that common point of reference, that’s where you can see some light bulbs go off. Or some people say oh, yeah, of course.
[00:19:03] You don’t know anything when you start, typically. You know that there’s going to be surprises. Those are things that you can build into a process like Shape Up where that’s not a catastrophe. We’re saying, listen, we’re not asking you to sign up for a $1 million, $2 million, multi thousand hour development here. Let’s just make the first bet of a 10th of that. And let’s do it as we go. And if it doesn’t work out or it doesn’t come together like we thought, well, then we’re betting 10% of that. And we can put it down.
[00:19:31] Clients who are commissioning new things also appreciate that right? Because it greatly reduces the risk and greatly reduces the amount of money they have to ask for to get things done. And then they can go back in with phase one or phase two. They can pitch to get to that million dollar budget with what they’ve learned from the first phases or with demos or with things that we built that show progress and validate those assumptions. It changed their budgeting dynamics. It changes the kind of approvals or the kind of signatures that have to get to get something done.
[00:19:58] Putting Shape Up into a client services context, there’s an additional group of people that really are outside of your control, right? That’s a different organization, they might have a totally different mentality. You also need to get them on board with this process. And so we’ve done a lot of work to explain and help people be comfortable with that. How do we explain that in a contract that would make it through a Fortune 100 legal team?
Wailin: [00:20:20] Sure.
David: [00:20:21] That’s something that is not easy. But we put in a lot of thought and effort.
Wailin: [00:20:26] On your end, now that you’ve been doing this for a while now, have you noticed any change in, let’s say, your team’s own appetites and enthusiasm around projects? Or ability to take on certain kinds of projects that maybe at the beginning of this journey you might have been too nervous, because you were still kind of figuring out how to apply the methodology to your business?
David: [00:20:52] Yes. And what’s been really powerful is to have a common language, to have common terms, we can say things like, it’s a two day bet, it’s a two week bet, it’s a three month bet. And those are kind of terms that we can use to calibrate each other’s expectations when we’re trying things or we’re doing exploratory processes. Especially with new people or people that come in with more of a kind of rigid expectation of how projects get specified. That really helps them be comfortable in that context.
Wailin: [00:21:23] Are you still like the chief shaper? Or do you have enough co workers and folks at your company who are fluent enough in this process now that they’re kind of shaping alongside you, and you can share that responsibility?
David: [00:21:38] I’m definitely not the chief shaper anymore. I’m definitely at the betting table because what gets approved and what actually goes forward, and what are we going to propose to them? Those are important decisions that involve the future of the company. But teaching somebody how to scope a sprint is definitely something that now we have whole teams of people where we would say, hey, put this scope together for this sprint, and they’ll come back and yeah, here’s the 10 bullet points. It’s like, here’s a couple tweaks but you’re ready to go. And so yeah, we have a Services lead, Dominic, who I’ll call out who’s been incredible about institutionalizing that. And he’s the other real head shaper.
[00:22:17] And then also, how do you execute it, right? Because executing this kind of project with a team, with a client, it can be quite tricky at first because you have to learn how to do that, hey, we need to bring this thing in for landing, we have two weeks left, what are we going to throw out of the scope here? How are we going to make that so that we can have a clean finish?
[00:22:33] I don’t actually work in the projects. We need people that can execute those cleanly and we need to teach people that come in, the assumption isn’t that you’re just going to continue working forever on this. And that is the assumption at 99% of other projects.
Wailin: [00:22:47] Do you find that having adopted Shape Up and gotten so much experience with it before COVID happened, did it help in other ways as you’re dealing with how to run a business in a pandemic? Does it make you flexible or adaptable in maybe other ways that you weren’t anticipating?
David: [00:23:10] There have been some things that have become much more obvious about the practice from running it with a 100% distributed team. And I would say the biggest one is that it decouples the strategy of the company strategy of the growth of the product, what does the product need, from the execution of building the features. The strategy and the product people can then have time to think about it, instead of being in the weeds with the development teams. Those are really distinctly different cognitive tasks, and decoupling those activities is really powerful. And when you work with teams that all sudden are in all different places, it supports that because your strategy people don’t need to be sitting shoulder to shoulder with the execution team to guide the work. And that’s really important and powerful when everybody’s in a different place.
[00:24:00] Because a lot of our work is software engineering, we tend to assume that it’s a technical task, meaning it involves bits and bytes and technical things. Most of our team is engineers. And this type of work is actually a cultural type of work. It’s a different way of operating. It’s about human interactions. And that is a very different thing. And that’s invisible to a lot of engineers. A lot of engineers don’t understand or appreciate, necessarily, that kind of work. And also, it changes our attitude about we need to be explaining this as a cultural change versus some kind of technical win. It’s about how does our team work together? That applies to clients, it applies within our own teams and so the people that are thinking about it, I think it really benefits to think about it in cultural terms.
Wailin: [00:24:50] I remember talking to Ryan when we did our very first episode on Shape Up and I was like, this book is secretly about feelings. Because it’s like, this book is about how to feel better about your work and it should be okay to acknowledge that you want your work to feel good, emotionally. Which is not something that I think gets talked about very much in this industry. If it is, it’s kind of like shunted off to a specific category of person or something, but certainly not the engineers.
David: [00:25:19] No, that’s different. That’s for HR, right.
Wailin: [00:25:21] Yeah, HR, or the women in the company or something. But it really should be about how does the work feel and if it doesn’t feel good, how could I make it feel better, and it often comes back to like, how you relate to one another and how you care for your co workers. And I also feel like Shape Up speaks to that, even if it’s a little bit more subliminal.
David: [00:25:43] It totally does. And engineering as a culture, feelings are either disregarded or they’re irrelevant, because they’re not quantifiable, analytical. And if you can’t quantify and analyze it, then it’s useless. The truth is that human interactions and ways that people collaborate, and teams of people that work together are actually just way more complicated than you can analyze in a closed form.
[00:26:11] When it feels right it’s because you’re getting information that it’s working from this very complex analysis that you cannot articulate in words. And something like Shape Up is a way to try to get a handle on that complexity. Or build that practice as something that could be shared with other people versus pure intuition. And there’s a lot of power in that. And it’s really important, and it’s really valuable. To be able to get a complex system like that working even slightly better is really, really powerful.
[00:26:44] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Wailin: [00:26:50] Rework is produced by Shaun Hildner, and me, Wailin Wong. Music for the show is by Clip Art.
[00:26:54] Special thanks to Deena Prichep for her help with this episode.
Shaun: [00:26:57] David Nichols is on Twitter at @DavidNIN and Loupe is it Loupe.team.That’s L-O-U-P-E dot T-E-A-M. They have a detailed section on their website about how they work in six week cycles. We’ll link to that in the show notes for this episode, which of course you can find at rework.fm. And if you want to learn more about Shape Up go to basecamp.com/shapeup.
Wailin: [00:27:35] And now it’s time for Shaun Wick, our show within a show where Shaun reviews a candle. Are you doing one of the IKEA ones?
Shaun: [00:27:43] No. I was gonna do The Raven this time.
Wailin: [00:27:47] Okay, let’s do… Oh, we did promise people you are going to talk about The Raven.
Shaun: [00:27:50] It’s a very cool candle. It is from our friends at Hearth & Hammer, which we did an episode, or they were featured on an episode not too long ago.
Wailin: [00:27:58] Yeah, they were. We interviewed them at the beginning of the pandemic when we did an episode about retail businesses. And so, Hearth & Hammer is a little store out in the Chicago suburbs. It’s in Batavia, I believe. Batavia, Illinois. And they started out as candle makers and they did this line of literary candles, which are scented candles named after famous books and characters. Like I think they have some Austin themed ones and they have… their bestseller was called Walden Woods.
Shaun: [00:28:30] Cute.
Wailin: [00:28:30] It’s a really cute business and they had a, well you can talk more about it. They had a special edition candle right?
Shaun: [00:28:36] I don’t know if it was special edition. You actually pointed out to me it’s jet black wax.
Wailin: [00:28:41] Okay, so this is a jet black candle. It—actually I’m pretty sure it is limited edition because I tried to go back to the link recently and it was dead. So I think when they sold out then that was just it.
Shaun: [00:28:51] Oh, perfect. Well, then here is your review of The Raven from Hearth & Hammer. [Match lighting, candle being blown out.]
[00:29:01] Okay, you know what this one smells like? It smells like you’re in one of those bars that’s supposed to look old that has some fake Irish name like O’Grady’s. It’s one of those places that’s a little too clean for a bar, like the bar mats don’t smell of old beer and the black tufted faux leather seat backs don’t have a single scratch on them. You just showed up after a banjo lesson because, like the bar, you’re also a parody and two cheap beers in 30 minutes of not saying a word to anyone but the bartender later, you pack up and make for the door. But you come to find out that it’s raining outside so you figure there are worse places to wait it out then O’Grady’s or whatever it’s called. You turn around, settle back into one of the faux leather booths and read some book that you only bought because it makes you look clever.
Wailin: [00:29:40] That sounds kind of nice, actually. Does it give you Poe vibes.
Shaun: [00:29:44] It doesn’t. It doesn’t make me think that I’m—
Wailin: [00:29:46] Lying facedown in a gutter? That’s not cozy. That’s not cozy.