An Interview With Kristina Podnar — Smashing Magazine

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Vitaly Friedman loves lovely content material and doesn’t like to offer in easily. When he isn’t writing or talking at a conference, he’s most likely operating …
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On this new collection of interviews, we attempt to spotlight fascinating individuals doing fascinating work and sharing a number of the challenges and lessons they’ve discovered alongside the best way. From privateness and internationalization to design methods and security.

The online is splendidly numerous and unpredictable because of wonderfully numerous individuals shaping it. In this new collection of brief interviews, we speak to fascinating individuals doing fascinating work in our business, and sharing what they’ve discovered.

For over 20 years, Kristina Podnar has worked with a few of the most high-profile corporations on the planet and has helped them see digital policies as opportunities to free the group from uncertainty, danger, and inner chaos.

Kristina is an lively and passionate problem-solver, and we’re honored to welcome her at SmashingConf Toronto 2019 for a stay session for creating and documenting a sound coverage and requirements, and some tools and techniques which can assist nurse your website again to well being.

Vitaly: So, hiya everyone. Thank you a lot for becoming a member of in again. This is a type of mysterious periods the place we interview fascinating individuals behind the scenes. I feel it’s truly essential to spotlight the essential individuals doing essential work just silently in the back, hiding just a little bit, making an attempt to make the world a bit higher, one step at a time and, that’s necessary, sharing what they discovered with the group, with all of us, so we will benefit from it.

Vitaly: And so, I’m very completely happy and privileged immediately to have with us Kristina Podnar who’s a digital policy innovator. And, for over 20 years she has worked with a few of the most excessive profile corporations on the earth, and has helped them see insurance policies as opportunities to free the group from uncertainty, danger, and inner chaos. This is the official description. What I can tell from my aspect though is that Kristina is simply such an incredibly constructive and energetic and nice individual. I’m so privileged to have you ever talking in Toronto with us, Kristina. So Kristina, how are you immediately?

Kristina Podnar: Thanks for having me, Vitaly. I’m doing rather well and actually excited to be here with you. You haven’t any concept. This is kind of a pinnacle of my profession and a path I’ve been on for some time. As you realize, I contributed to Smashing Magazine again in 2016, however having the opportunity to be with you in Toronto is, I feel, an ultimate high for me amongst all the things else that I’ve completed to date. I’m actually excited.

Vitaly: This is so good. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.

Kristina Podnar: Similar here.

Vitaly: So, Kristina, inform me, the truth, the story, how did you end up on this mess? Each time we speak about digital insurance policies and governance, and I heard rumors that you’re going to discuss that, everyone thinks about boring stuff. Paperwork, sluggish processes, and communication points, and upkeep issues. Messy, messy issues.

Kristina Podnar: That’s right.

Vitaly: How do you are feeling there?

Kristina Podnar: Nicely, you understand what, I don’t blame anyone for considering that because that’s all that we’ve all been taught, right? I mean, we all the time take into consideration insurance policies as these 20 page PDF documents which were signed off by authorized or HR, or there somewhere on SharePoint. We now have to search around for them when we have to know something, and all we’d like is a yes or no reply and any person’s saying, “No, no. Go read this document. Really, it’ll help you.” And, in case you are a digital, that often means studying 30 or 40 such paperwork.

Kristina Podnar: I don’t blame anybody for feeling like it’s a variety of paperwork. It’s actually, actually annoying. And, it’s the place I truly got here from in my profession. Nicely, that’s not true. It was slightly bit of a derailment in my career, but I got here from the world the place we used to reside within the wild, wild west. We did issues like migrate new websites in HTML with having a backup, which is how I personally made positive that one in every of my shoppers didn’t have an internet site for nine hours. Or, we might move credit card numbers by way of FTP without encryption. Right. It was the loopy days.

Kristina Podnar: After which, it looks like the world just went to this extreme of making an attempt to tie down anybody who was doing something artistic. And, for those who needed to do a very cool advertising campaign on-line, it was like compliance had to log off, and authorized needed to log off, and also you needed to say sure things. And, by the time you got thus far the place your actually cool concept came out the opposite end, you didn’t even acknowledge it. It was boring and it was uninteresting.

Kristina Podnar: And so, I lived in this world for many years, and what I discovered is it doesn’t need to be like that. We will even have a very good stability between understanding what must be achieved to protect the enterprise, doing things the best means when it comes to laws and laws, and but liberating everyone to do actually artistic and progressive work. And so, I’m on this mission to help businesses perceive that because I feel far too many individuals come into their work job every single day they usually’re not glad. And, I feel that’s really sad.

Kristina Podnar: So, I’m all about let’s create insurance policies that free the organization to do what it needs to get accomplished in digital, and let’s free the workers to be artistic and progressive and never should do the humdrum of reading these lengthy PDF’s or putting up with pink tape because digital insurance policies are enjoyable and thrilling and enabling. They are anything however pink tape.

Vitaly: However, Kristina it seems like a magic dream. It sounds like it’s one thing that it’s actually arduous to realize. So, with regards to something like that, and I assume this is also something you’re going to discuss in Toronto,-

Kristina Podnar: Yeah.

Vitaly: … where do you even begin? Think about you could have this mass group just in entrance of you and it desperately needs some better structure, perhaps higher communication. Each single company I used to be working within my career had communication points, including ours to be trustworthy for quite a little bit of time.

Kristina Podnar: No.

Vitaly: So, where do you even start? What’s the start line for you?

Kristina Podnar: So, personally what I like to do is admittedly sort of just come into the group fresh-eyed, and making an attempt to know really what are the most important challenges. And, I’ve labored with really, really giant multinationals all the best way down to actually small corporations. And, it varies. The issue varies. However, in most organizations that I work with, what I discover is individuals feel like they’ve to actually management digital because it’s something new they usually really feel prefer it’s something that’s really, actually dangerous and may sort of pose a menace to the organization as a lot as it will possibly sort of create that chance.

Kristina Podnar: And so, it’s all about looking for the ache level. So, for instance, I just lately labored with a pharma company, they usually had this really crazy assessment course of where it took 21 days to get content revealed. I’m considering to myself that would work if it’s a very huge product launch and also you’ve been creating the product for years. 21 days isn’t an enormous deal. However, should you had just like the measles outbreak in america, you need to act actually shortly and get the knowledge on the market. 21 days is perpetually.

Kristina Podnar: And so, what it was is individuals had to undergo the identical pain staking points for content material assessment time and again and their medical signatories had to really feel snug. They needed to do these crazy screenshots of the content on an iPad versus an iPhone versus this display, that display. Authorized needed to assessment things. And, what we discovered is that we will truly boil the steps down and creates certain guidelines that can’t be broken and do that in a means that facilitates the content material being created with consciousness throughout the whole sign-off group.

Kristina Podnar: And so, really ahead of time, what we might do is, as content was being created, we might do screenshots with the totally different units. We might ensure that, up entrance, whoever was in control of the advertising campaign was following certain type of rules and laws and truly displaying the place they have been getting artistic or the place they needed to sort of loosen up a number of the rules.

Kristina Podnar: And, what that meant is that there was a summary and a summative package deal on the end of the method that we might serve up, virtually in a restaurant where you have got your menu merchandise and you examine things off and go, “I don’t want the fish today, but gosh, the chicken sounds delicious.” We’ll go together with that basically shortly and get that order in. And, it was the same factor. And so, swiftly we found ourselves on this loopy pharma world, which is probably probably the most regulated of anybody on the market, 21 evaluate day course of down to 3.

Kristina Podnar: But, it has to do with understanding what the expectations are of type of this regulatory policy driven world and really ensuring that as creatives we tackle that up front, and that we truly give everyone the power to exhale, take a deep breath, and perceive we’re doing issues and dealing in the direction of the identical widespread aim, and we’re going to ensure we don’t get the company sued. However, at the finish of the day, we need to have lots of freedom. We need to make it possible for it’s progressive, that it catches the consumer’s imagination, that we’ve these great digital experiences, and that that may still be accomplished within that framework. Because it’s really freedom inside a framework, if you will. And, it doesn’t should be boring and it doesn’t need to be onerous and it definitely doesn’t should take 21 days.

Vitaly: Wow. Now, I truly getting enthusiastic about all that stuff. That’s shocking.

Kristina Podnar: Yay.

Vitaly: I didn’t see that coming at all. However, I’m questioning at this point, so would you say that every single firm of every measurement may benefit from a very clear digital governance and sort of coverage? Does each firm has to take a position time in it, or do you see it’s extra a deal for enterprise or bigger degree, larger measurement corporations?

Kristina Podnar: So yes, everyone must have digital policies, even me. I’m an unbiased advisor, however even I’ve to adjust to issues like GDPR. And so, final yr I truly wrote up how I did that and the way GDPR applies to the gig financial system. So, policies are really good for anybody, whether you’re a single marketing consultant all the best way as much as multinational. The thing that’s totally different I feel, and we’ve to be very, very cognizant of this because I don’t want everyone to run out there and create 300 policies. Don’t do this. That’s additionally incorrect.

Kristina Podnar: What we now have to be really cognizant of is in the event you’re a small startup, for example, you’re not going to have the identical policies nor the same variety of policies, that they’re not going to be as strong, maybe, when it comes to the way you implement them, as a big multinational. And, I really wrote my guide, The Energy of Digital Coverage, and that’s actually what I targeted on. I targeted on how are you going to get this finished, whether or not you’re a startup, or in case you’re a small company, for those who’re a big enterprise, and it truly is about where you’re in your maturity progress when it comes to coverage.

Kristina Podnar: So, when you’re just starting out, don’t fear about 300 issues. Worry concerning the 4 things that I’m going to inform you about on the conference, proper? Let’s type of simply get you started. Pay attention to crucial things and get you to the purpose where, for you, when it comes to what you’re making an attempt to get achieved, you’ve properly balanced out that danger and that chance that digital brings with it. Because that’s really what I would like individuals to know. There isn’t any magic checklist for insurance policies. Just because anyone else is doing the crazy dance over there with 300 insurance policies and that’s what they should do, the crazy dance in a cheerful means. That’s okay.

Kristina Podnar: But, the same factor doesn’t apply to you. You’re distinctive when it comes to your tradition, you’re unique when it comes to your beliefs. You’re unique when it comes to what you’re making an attempt to get completed. And so, don’t just take someone else’s go well with and put it on. It’s going to be constructive if it’s too small and too tight. It’s not going to feel good. Similar thing with policies. Don’t go off and take anyone’s insurance policies and put them on. They’re not going to feel good. We would like your group to be protected, to be productive, to do the proper issues for the enterprise. However, by the same token, we would like you to truly be capable of get some cool issues accomplished. And, that’s actually what digital insurance policies are and that’s what I’m making an attempt to truly get executed and help everyone else do.

Kristina Podnar: And so sure, one individual all the best way as much as multinational, everyone needs policies. What sort? It depends upon what you’re doing. It could possibly be accessibility, which I do know we’re going to also be overlaying it at Smashing and I’m enthusiastic about that. However, it might be anything from accessibility to user-generated content. It might be policy and privacy, numerous conversation around that today. It might be about simply actually who gets to pick the content material administration system we’re going to use inside a corporation so we don’t should have that conversation again and again every time we’ve a new digital martech stack or something else we need to introduce into the organization and get something accomplished. So, to me, yes, policies all the time sound boring, but the reality is they can be anything however that. And, it’s nearly how we get that completed and get it carried out in an inexpensive means that helps everyone out and is within the curiosity of everyone within the group. And, that’s where I see probably the most success.

Vitaly: I’ve to modify cameras now.

Kristina Podnar: Okay.

Vitaly: Fascinating. And, it’s also, for me personally, on the subject of insurance policies, I feel it’s all about streamlining. So, we improved a number of things just to streamline processes to make it possible for all the things is sort of clear, what’s following what, type of how can we transfer from a to b in a very predictable set of steps relatively than chaotic, just throwing every thing in the air and hoping that one thing will stick. And so, this was truly very helpful and it was very informal in many ways. Would you say that a coverage needs to be sort of said on a bit of paper or in a doc? How do you doc it? How does it present itself?

Kristina Podnar: So, it’s fascinating, I truly spent a yr serious about all of my experiences when it comes to what works greatest in a corporation and measurement, business, et cetera. And, what I found is insurance policies do have to be written down somewhere, right? Simply because most organizations, regardless of how small you’re, there’s all the time someone new leaping onto the workforce, or someone’s leaving for maternity depart and so someone has to step in, et cetera. So, it’s essential to doc things.

Kristina Podnar: Now, I feel, particularly in case you’re in a small group, you’re part of a smaller group, you don’t have to have a very formal template. You possibly can even write on the again of a napkin if everyone can see that napkin within the lunchroom and knows where to seek out it. So, I don’t assume we need to get caught on this is the template, that is the format, though in a larger organization that does assist.

Kristina Podnar: What I feel we need to actually give attention to, and this is the place insurance policies get the dangerous rap, policies aren’t just about how we doc issues and that’s type of old-world considering, proper? That’s how we did things 25 years in the past. We wrote it on a bit of paper and it’s in a file folder over there. However, right here we’re within the digital world, right? We’re making an attempt to make these really great consumer experiences on-line, but what we overlook to do is identical thing for our inner buddies and colleagues. And, that’s actually what I feel we have to be doing around policies.

Kristina Podnar: We have to be making policies and documenting them in a method that’s easily accessible by everyone and it matches into what you’re already doing. And, that’s what I see work one of the best. If you would like individuals to do sure things, for example, around content creation they usually’re in Drupal, truthfully simply create a bit checklist that they will truly hyperlink to from Drupal, and perceive shortly these are the issues I ought to be listening to. Don’t make them give up their day job and go in search of steerage as a result of no one needs that. Proper?

Kristina Podnar: Or, if in a very giant multinational, like we simply deployed a chat bot that’s really great. It truly tells marketers actual time what they have to be serious about and what they have to be doing when it comes to that campaign. But, what’s actually cool is it remembers and builds on prime of itself time and again. So, if a marketer is concentrated, for instance, on Asia Pacific, we already know you’re targeted on Asia Pacific and so all steerage we’ll ever offer you is within the context of Asia Pacific and you will get that actual time. We keep in mind final time you probably did a campaign, what you have been making an attempt to realize, and what your efficiency goals have been. And so, if they’re the same ones, we will simply monitor that going ahead and slender the quantity of steerage that it’s a must to take into consideration and even do.

Kristina Podnar: And, what’s actually nice is when you do that in the fitting approach, it doesn’t just empower the designer, the marketer, or the developer, the content material strategist. It actually also helps your distributors and businesses that you simply convey on board. Or, in the event you’re a part of an company and also you’re coming to the desk, think about how cool when any person brings you on board and says, “Hey, I want you to do this for me. Stand up this new website.” And then it’s like, ta-da. These are the things we anticipate you to do and that is how we’re going to measure you if you’re completed. I mean, that’s nice. You already understand how excessive you must leap and what it’s a must to obtain, and that lets you concentrate on the things that basically matter, in where you have got that freedom and creativity without having to worry, oh no, are they going to tell me at the final hour my website needs to be accessible and I haven’t built it that method. It’s like, man, no one needs to return to the first step.

Kristina Podnar: And so yes, it’s about documentation, but more than simply write it down on a bit of paper, though that can definitely work. It’s about doing it in the context of your tradition and the way individuals need to be delivered that info, and treating people who find themselves going to eat this info like they’re actual customers as a result of they are.

Vitaly: Oh, this feels like… I’m so comfortable now. I’m so completely happy.

Kristina Podnar: Oh good.

Vitaly: So, in the event you needed to sum up what you’re going to cover in 40 or 45 minutes at this insanity show referred to as SmashingConf Toronto, how would you sum it up? What is it all about in perhaps 40 seconds or much less?

Kristina Podnar: Positive. So, you already know what, all of us collectively, even should you’ve solely been in this subject for a couple of years, have contributed to an enormous mess. The mess has been underway in 25 years. It’s not going to get cleaned up instantly, however we will make an enormous difference when it comes to what we do, cleansing up the messes, and making our life simpler and more enjoyable. So, we’re going to play physician and affected person in this session. We’re going to have some fun and hopefully make it funny as properly. And, we’re going to literally undergo how can we diagnose a few of the sicknesses that our organizations have, a few of our tasks have, and ensure that we give the proper drugs, the suitable Rx, the fitting policies so that we will allow ourselves to have enjoyable, be artistic, and stability out that danger and that chance that I hold speaking about.

Vitaly: Wow. I’ve a question for you.

Kristina Podnar: Positive.

Vitaly: Kristina, are you planning to run for President? As a result of in case you do, I feel you will have excellent probabilities of profitable.

Kristina Podnar: Oh, thanks. I don’t find out about that. However, you understand what, and I shouldn’t say this publicly, it’ll be an fascinating scene in america when it comes to who’s going to run and the place the bar is. And, I’ll let everyone determine on the place they fall on that one.

Vitaly: Yes. So, perhaps the last one, are you able to perhaps share some insights with us about what you’re engaged on now, and in addition what excites you probably the most in this vast worldwide net of ours? Is there one thing you’re notably concerned with? Or, should you look into GDPR and all of these items, and I know that there’s a regulation coming in California subsequent yr.

Kristina Podnar: Yes. CCPA.

Vitaly: Sure, precisely.

Kristina Podnar: January 1st, yeah.

Vitaly: Oh, January 1st. Right here we go.

Kristina Podnar: January 1st, yes. Here we go.

Vitaly: What are you type of wanting ahead to? What’s something that basically brings you to life or retains you awake at night time?

Kristina Podnar: Okay. So, two issues. I’m engaged on something actually fun right now, which I really like. I’m truly turning into a spokesperson for this actually small company in america. They are lively in every country on the planet with the exception, I consider Cuba and perhaps Iraq. And, very tiny firm, really small employees, not a lot of money. They’ve decided to turn out to be GDPR compliant, but get this, they’re making use of GDPR rules to everyone, that’s their customer or shopper or prospect around the globe, they usually’re applying the same rules to everyone who works for them. Which is a large order.

Kristina Podnar: And so, for me, it’s really fun. It’s actually energizing. It’s somewhat little bit of a proof of concept because GDPR inherently conflicts with different laws all over the world and other issues that we try to do when it comes to greatest follow. And so, I’m type of taking this as an extreme case and a chance to do a proof of idea and see how do you do that in a sensible means, and what does a corporation do when there’s truly a conflict? Right? Where do you determine to type of go when it comes to your practices? So, that’s actually one thing that gets me up in the morning and I don’t even want espresso to get started. I just go.

Kristina Podnar: And, when it comes to what keeps me up at night time, I feel it’s this complete notion, what I call, the right storm of where we are proper now. We’ve a state of affairs the place there’s kind of the crazy dance happening in social media, proper? We’ve got the chance for violence to be streamlined in social media. We now have politicians utilizing social media as a platform, claiming that they’ve First Amendment rights in the USA, of freedom of speech on a personal platform, which is just crazy. We have now customers getting really upset around privateness and all the privacy legal guidelines you simply talked about.

Kristina Podnar: So, I see this as the right storm, and what retains me up at night time is are we going to take this as a chance and make one of the best of it, or are we going to only passively sit by and not contribute, by which case the right storm will cross. And so, I hope that each one of us step up and play a task as a result of we have now an essential one to play and it’s slightly bit extra essential than we in all probability understand. So, I hope all of us interact in that.

Vitaly: Yeah. Nicely, in order that sounds very exciting. So, with this in thoughts, thanks so much Kristina, for being with us in the present day. I can’t look forward to Toronto.

Kristina Podnar: Me both.

Vitaly: It’s arising in just some weeks from now, like six weeks or so from now.

Kristina Podnar: Yep. Countdown’s on.

Vitaly: This’ll be the first time the place we truly finally meet. We now have many associates in common-

Kristina Podnar: That’s right.

Vitaly: … and so I can’t wait. So, thanks so much, Kristina.

Kristina Podnar: Similar right here.

Vitaly: Everybody, thanks a lot for becoming a member of us right now. I’m wanting ahead to the subsequent little periods about individuals behind the scenes and all of that. And, with this in thoughts, signing off. Kristina, any final words you need to share with the viewers to type of ship a message on the market?

Kristina Podnar: I’m bringing cookies and I’ll depart it at that.

Vitaly: Oh, wow. If that doesn’t work, I don’t know what is going to.

Kristina Podnar: Sounds good.

Vitaly: All proper, thanks everybody. Thanks Kristina, and see you next time.

Kristina Podnar: Thanks Vitaly. Take good care.

That’s a Wrap!

We’re wanting ahead to welcoming Kristina to SmashingConf Toronto 2019, with a reside session on digital coverage, find out how to arrange one, and tips on how to clear up a few of the points most corporations are scuffling with today. We’d like to see you there as nicely!

Please tell us for those who discover this collection of interviews useful, and whom you’d love us to interview, or what subjects you’d like us to cover and we’ll get proper to it!

Smashing Editorial(ra, il)