Friends With Benefits #14: Perfecting the Flywheel with Adrienne Coburn

Adrienne Coburn, Director of the Global Partner Programs at Oyster, joins the show to share insights on perfecting the flywheel effect and the importance of being present at your job. She dives into the power of partnerships, emphasizing the need to start with the customer's needs and the benefits of building a strong network.

Adrienne gets specific about a team-building experience that helped her understand what she uniquely brings to the table (hint: it involved a jungle gym.) And she discusses how her time working in partnerships at Shopify influences her current approach to partnerships.

Subscribe & Listen On:


  • The 80/20 rule lives on. 4:48
  • Finding partners to fulfill the customer needs. 9:11
  • The importance of being present in partnerships. 14:00
  • The value of coming into a company. 23:23
  • What makes a good partner person? 28:05
  • Knowing your trajectory and boundaries. 30:51
  • Setting boundaries in your life. 35:56
  • Boundaries are good, and boundaries can be good. 41:58


Jason Yarborough 0:09
do welcome to the Friends with Benefits podcast, a business podcast about revenue generating partnerships, not a podcast about business time with friends. We're your co hosting couple. I'm Jason.

Sam Yarborough 0:23
And I'm Sam. Welcome to the show friends.

Jason Yarborough 0:26
Welcome back to the show friends. We are just cruise along with this podcast thing having an absolute blast out a good friend last week syndrome and love that conversation. We're here in Montana in the depths of summer just having a good ol time, Sam. Hello.

Sam Yarborough 0:43
Hey, friends, happy to be back.

Jason Yarborough 0:47
When another I know I see this every week. But dang it. I'm not excited about this episode yet again, I have known Adrian Coburn for now probably I can't keep track of time anymore. But six or seven years we've partnered together back when she was at Uber flip we've, you know, run the streets of Toronto during the Uber flip conics. Back in the day, I saw some pictures of me her and James King and some others recently and loved that. But Adrian Coburn is one that every one in the partnership world I think knows and loves been around the block with, you know, Uber flip. Shopify, you may have heard of that company before. And now, oyster doing some really great things over there. And one of the things I love about her bio, which I typically don't like to read, but she's driven by the desire to bring people together and find ways to create value through unique business relationships, which is what we're here to talk about. Welcome to the show, Adrienne.

Adrienne Coburn 1:40
Thanks for having me, guys.

Sam Yarborough 1:42
Total pleasure. Yeah, Adrian, you were one of the first to welcome me into the partnership community. So thanks. It's great to see you again. And we both had babies since so we can talk about that as we as we continue, but man, good to be here. So we like to start the show with a little bit of a fun question. But in your opinion, Adrian, what does friends with benefits in the context of business partnerships mean to you?

Adrienne Coburn 2:14
It this ruin the context on that one? Yeah. And it's given us some plot last night, listen to your show. I think for me, this is like, if you picture those jumble gyms that used to go to 14 building, and there is those walls that you had to combine. And if you're someone like myself, who's not necessarily athletic, you couldn't hack it alone. There it was, you needed the team, it was the team building the part of it right? Well, I kind of think of it from two candidates and context of partnerships, it's like, you're gonna boost me up, I'm gonna pull myself up, and then I'm going to pull you up, and then we're gonna do it again, on the next hurdle. I think that for me, outside of like, kind of the obvious partnership elements that we do every single day is that boosting, pulling, boosting, pulling motion, like, like Jason said, we've known each other for years. Honestly, the amount of actual partner actions we've done together, probably the ROI we brought our businesses maybe not even that high. Like I met him in a Ferris wheel in Vegas, we kind of decided that we're going to be partners, even though there might not really been a partnership there to be had. But over the years, we've definitely done that, like boost of each other, we've pulled each other up, whether it's a new job introducing to a partner we're trying to get into recently, we just upgraded and reveal I credit that to Jason and my follow up email. Hopefully he got the credit for that. But you know, that kind of like acknowledgement, you're better to do it with than without and to not try to hack it alone. But Flowood

Sam Yarborough 3:47
man, that might be the best answer yet.

Jason Yarborough 3:50
Yeah, yeah. I love the the boosting and pulling, I can definitely I love the analogy of the the obstacle course, you know, the ropes course is the heartland read if I need all the help, so that it's good stuff. So let's, let's just jump right into it. You know, you're in the business of relationships. And, you know, you've been doing this for a good while, you know, so you've, you've managed some partner programs that have a good amount of partners, so kind of want to talk to you about relationships at scale, if I may, right. So Shopify had, you know, however many 1000s of partners, maybe bajillions, I can't count that high. Wieser has got about 60 Plus on the marketplace, Uber had a ton, you know, so talk to us about how you prioritize, you know, mass relationships. So it's girl and, you know, all making them all feel a part of the team, so to say.

Adrienne Coburn 4:44
Yeah, so my thinking on this one has definitely evolved over time. I used to think of it very much as like your partners, or your family. And while I agree to that, to some extent, seeing programs completely operationalized and at scale, as I did on Shopify, or even someone oyster that I'm seeing, you have to be realistic. It's like that 8020 Rule lives on. And it's real, I think being able to look at that 20% As your family and 80% as, as your, your your buds is really how you have to look at it. But I think the key thing is here is like that fair value exchange and that expectation setting from the very beginning. So you know, if you're just going to be, but that's fine. As long as everyone understands that, as long as I know, what am I getting from this relationship? And what are you getting? And then obviously, that fair about as strange as it gets that 20% That really be able to like, go deeper with those guys, it's going to look a lot different, it's going to be a lot deeper. But having that generalized understanding there, right from the beginning, kind of keeps that like family relationship, even though it's a little different. It maintains that trust, which is what family is really?

Jason Yarborough 5:57
No, no, that's good. Have you ever seen it effective in moving those those like, friends in that 80%? To the family of 20%? And if so, like, what, what's worked for you? Yeah,

Adrienne Coburn 6:11
I mean, being a girl of analogies, I guess, in this episode, but I kind of think of like, it's like, ad side, says teen, where it's like, you leave a buffer there, where you can pull someone up once again, pulling someone up. Like when I look at, I just moved to a new city last summer. And like I have my friends that I'm dedicated to, I have my family that I'm dedicated to, but I've just moved to a new city. And I need to leave room for myself to make those new friends and become like deeper. And so those relationships that I didn't have otherwise. So leaving that room for those where you see that potential, I'm a quadrant based thinker very much so so I have all my partnerships in quadrants. It's like performance versus potential matrix. And if you're a high on performance, and a low on potential, let's like I don't need to invest that much here. But if you're high on potential low on performance, how do I invest into you? How do I enable you? How do I put some more resources towards getting this to the point of performance? So I think it's recognizing of that 80%, who just stays there and you can just operate, operationalize and, you know, send some, some more automated Keaton says that type of thing, versus who can I spend some more time with, even if they're not showing it right now.

Sam Yarborough 7:27
I love your perspective there on the buffer. Because I think that's something that I actually have never heard verbalized. But it's so important, like these relationships, this was the basis of this podcast, take time and take effort and adding more partnerships, or adding more friendships in your case doesn't just, there's not always just more time, you have to like give something else up in order to do that. So saving that buffer to help people move throughout those relationships, I think is really, really great. Um, let's talk about a flywheel. You've talked about creating a flywheel for your ecosystem. Now, this is not new. People talk about this all the time. And it's kind of like the golden standard of partnerships. Lots of people talk about it, few people actually do it. You've done this, how do you actually execute on this in your programs?

Adrienne Coburn 8:17
How do you do this, you join a company like Chuck, where he's already done it and then you go off others?

Jason Yarborough 8:25
The truth? Yes.

Adrienne Coburn 8:29
Okay, no, I think the biggest thing here is the acknowledgement, not just from your partnership team, from the company level that you need to look at your customer need. And always start with your customer need as a full pie, what your company can solve is a portion of that pie. And you need to rely on your ecosystem for a major of that pie to make a full customer need. So start with the customer understand what you can sell and what your partner's didn't can to sell. I think that's the mistake that people often make is you don't start with the customer, you start with the business relationship, you start with the How can you drive to to us, and it just, it's gonna fall flat. That's where the momentum comes from. So it kind of like I look at my flywheel as customer need. And then you find partners to fulfill that customer need, once you have those partners, and you're able to bring them in to fulfill the needs. So like referrals, solution services, whatever it may be, they're going to be more dedicated to you and be able to drive back and return that brings in new customers, which then brings in new needs. And that's when this kind of like flywheel starts where you know, when you're looking at it from a needs perspective and the ability to bring people in, then it's self propelling because you're not just focusing on like the build build build of channel of like, getting more with less effectively. And

Jason Yarborough 9:48
so let's take a company like Uber flipper, Toys R Us he mentioned Shopify kind of already had the motion going So Uber flip oyster, you know, the the likes of those that as you're working to help build those programs would have you facing the challenges and getting the buy in, to allow partners to come in and solve for those customers needs. Such as you know, you got to present a partner to Proserv.

Adrienne Coburn 10:10
Yeah, I think Reem partnership, but if you're a partner leader, you spend 50% of your time doing your jobs and then to street scenario time convincing people that you should do your job. So yes, absolutely.

Jason Yarborough 10:27
It's a rhetorical question, how have you overcome that to kind of get get the buy in?

Adrienne Coburn 10:32
Yeah, champions, huge amount of emphasis on champions. So find someone who's done it before, find someone who's worked at Oracle, find someone that's worked at Marketo, they've sold with partners before they understand this methodology that understand the value of bringing partners in and through bid. So don't go big, don't try to build out this like massive Solutions Program. And once you're building out, you know, package services with your partners, yada, yada, yada has gone down that road, it's very complicated. But start small start Service Champions, those champions will be able to identify what the true needs are. So what are the things that are nice to have one of the things that are need to have, and they'll be able to sing your praises, or your partner's praises and, and spread that to the rest of the usually sales teams. And we all know that the best way sales to sales peer to peer, it's like that's where things actually start to build momentum.

Sam Yarborough 11:30
So you've kind of talked about this a little bit, you think in quadrants, you know, performance versus potential. And then you've kind of just talked about need to have versus nice to have when you walked into these newer programs, do you have a framework for like, hit the ground running? Where do I start? Like, what do I look for first? And where do we put that attention to start small?

Adrienne Coburn 11:55
Do I have the playbook? You know, I used to think I did. And then every time I've gone to

Sam Yarborough 11:59
nuclear Yeah. What are the answers? You know, I

Adrienne Coburn 12:03
have the answers. You never have the answers. It's so different every company and I think that's something that like, I see playbook written on every partner resource that's out there right now. And like, yep, agree with it as needed. I'm so glad we have it. We didn't used to five years ago, that's for sure. But you need to start from scratch, you need to start from customer conversation partner conversation, being able to identify what the specific need is, what are the nuances, what are the things that might seem small on paper, but actually make a massive difference in how this team sells. So what I have brought over are frameworks in in applied thinking. So being able to look at like segmentation models, tearing models, being able to Yeah, the kind of like, give gets the performance versus potential, like all of those there, there are different applications or there's different frameworks that can be applied. But how you'd fill in those gaps is you need to like take a step back and really learn about your your surroundings.

Sam Yarborough 13:01
Couldn't agree more.

Jason Yarborough 13:02
Now, that's, that's good. It's gonna help when you've got I've done a few things and you have a few playbooks and things that have worked that you can bring with you. So, to that point, one of the things I've always been curious about and you know, I've kind of gone from job to job here and there is you've got done the impossible and in my mind, right you have you moved from industry to industry to industry, you've gone from content creation to Uber flow to e commerce with Shopify to now HR tech, or rec tech, whatever they call it. Each are kind of different worlds where their own network of partners, right, so what we're getting at here is there's a new relationships you get to form new partnerships, you know, I've got to say that martec were over I get to bring some partners with me along the along the way that you've essentially had to start from scratch you know, three different times from from my, from my view. So what's the secret sauce for you in doing this successfully, your three times over?

Adrienne Coburn 14:00
Yeah, no to listeners, just stay in one industry a whole lot easier to save yourself.

But, hey, so I'm not here for a challenge. What What am I here for? Okay, no, I think like exact present. Get yourself involved, like I was just talking about you don't understand the the nuances until you're actually in the weeds of it. Same with forming just partnerships. My first couple months, like first almost six months at oyster, I was really behind the scenes, I was working on all the operational components. I was working on building the programs and making sure they were running smoothly, and I barely talked to partners and it hit me hard. It was like, I didn't I was so slow in my learning. I didn't understand our product. I didn't understand that the problems that my partner managers were facing, and then as soon as I got into that driving seat of actually like driving partnerships and getting more involved in those conversations, it was like lightbulb, get it on understood it, I'm still definitely in the progress of like building an AI network and getting to the point where I'm a known entity in the HR tech world. But yeah, that that presence is like, number one, just be a familiar face, familiar brand, put yourself out there and kind of like, do things without the expectation of things in return, like have a conversation with someone that doesn't necessarily have an outlined agenda with like action items to follow. But simply for the relationship building component stuff takes time, but he's often

Jason Yarborough 15:32
no doubt. And I know part of that being present is you know, actively listening. So I'm sure you spend a lot of time just listening to what your partner's wants their needs to what your team needs and wants. And Dearborn, she got in the driver's seat and made the director of job going much easier through that listening. So we're all in in partnership leaders role in these communities. Have you ever been able to utilize some of these communities to establish the right connections? As you move from industry to industry? And what's that look like for you?

Adrienne Coburn 16:06
Yeah, you know, what, I don't actually use PLM that much in a industry, connection, networking apart, but more of a most frameworks, methodologies, personal connections, career development, connections, those types of things. So I wouldn't say that I've used partnership leaders as community itself that much to network within my my own ecosystem, but tweeting in general, absolutely. I mean, going to events getting in front of people. I kind of take the like both in partnerships, and in like my everyday, everyday life, I just take the the kind of methodology of like just being there. Just being present show isn't being consistent. I don't know if you want new girl, but there was an episode where like, she was at a wedding trying to pick up a guy and her like whole strategy was like, just to be there. And that's definitely the president. That's what I do. I'm just there and consistently there. And it sounds creepy and weird. But I feel like that's who I am as a person. I'm a very, like, just

Jason Yarborough 17:04
there put out the vibes. I'm just,

Adrienne Coburn 17:06
I'm just there giving robots. Yeah, I'm not like the loudest person in the room. I'm not necessarily the person that's like, on stage, taking the mic doing every single talk. But I am consistent. And I do what I say I'm going to do. So I think that's been like the biggest, biggest thing for developing network for me.

Sam Yarborough 17:24
Man, I feel like, it's so simple. But people don't do that. That's like, it's very obvious that you just show up and you execute over and over and over. And then that that is the playbook. Really. Yeah. So I can see how that would pay dividends for you.

Jason Yarborough 17:42
Showing up is half the battle.

Sam Yarborough 17:45
Yeah, and then the other half is executing. So you've got 100% of the equation. There's the point before we solved it done. So it's very clear, Adrian. Yeah, there it is. podcast over. Anyway, anybody that has been in the same room with you, or has heard you speak, listened to you on previous podcasts, it's, they know that you're extremely articulate and very well spoken. What advice do you have for women, or generally partner professionals to elevate their executive presence, if any,

Adrienne Coburn 18:22
well source that's very flattering. I don't always feel that way. So it's nice to hear it. But, but I think that kind of goes to the My advice that I would give. I'm not a natural public speaker, I get very nervous. I guarantee you, I'm gonna blackout this entire conversation, and I'm gonna have to listen to the podcasts. Now. We talked about, like, Will Ferrell from old school. Like, the nerves are real, like, I am a very nervous public speaker. But I know that about myself, and I play to it. So I prepare like crazy. If I'm getting up and doing a talk to a bunch of people, I am not just putting some things on a slide, I am writing speaker notes. I'm pursuing those speaker notes. I have like key sentences that I've memorized. If I'm going into an exact conversation with people on my team, I have like, even if I've just sent over like a really succinct agenda is like I have an agenda. Like it is like point by point agenda of what I want to communicate. It's like it takes a lot of effort on my end, but I know that it pays off. And I know that about myself. So I definitely play into it. I used to do like, because I've always been like this. I used to do like improv classes and acting classes when I was growing up. And one of the things they would have you do is just like stand up on the spot and talk for two minutes straight. And then at the end, they would tally and you have a score of all the crutch words that you use, did you say I'm like whatever it is, and then kind of like embarrass you go into never doing it again. And although we won't necessarily be doing those in like organized lessons these days, I encourage like the people that work with me, I encourage them Record yourself, listen to it, take note of fresh words of your cadences of how it compares to others. And really try to like actively change it.

Jason Yarborough 20:11
That's, that's so interesting and in fun for a number of reasons. Personally, for me, it's like, my buddy, Tim Washer is always telling me to go do improv. So it's good to hear as you know, someone in the space, talk about it, but also can't encourage the listening to yourself speak enough. Early in my career, I was a was a public speaker who did motivational speaking, I did not live in a van down by the river. But I did spend a lot of time listening to myself talk. And I was like, wow, that's what I sound like. That's how many arms and legs and solos, I say. And that's, you know, you tend to work on some things. And there's, there's a lot of value in that, especially if you're one who's not comfortable on stage, not used to hearing your self talk or, you know, expressing your thoughts, and you tend to talk a lot faster than you may think you have a lot of filler words. And, you know, it's good to kind of evaluate yourself and know where you're at to your point.

Sam Yarborough 21:06
And I want to have a follow up question on that, too. This kind of goes back to what we're talking about earlier with you how you've changed industry to industry. So first of all, when you get into partnerships, it's kind of like, Oh, my God, what the hell are we doing here? This is a very odd discipline. And then you get into a new industry. And you're like, and what are these people talking about? And how does what I do fit into that? And then you have to be articulate on top of all of that. And so you just talked about how you're highly prepared. But how have you combated we'll call it impostor syndrome, as you've entered new industries, new roles, when maybe you don't have all the knowledge base to super prepare.

Adrienne Coburn 21:45
Yeah, what happens when you can't prepare her? Oh, man, Taipei's worst enemy? You know, I think it's, it's it's a matter of knowing to say, when you don't know, leaning on your team, I have a couple on my team, where if I'm in a meeting with doesn't matter who my CEO or anybody all say, I don't know the answer. And you answer that one, like being able to really understand what you know, when you don't know is an important one. I don't want to pretend I know something. And I think that's where we will conflate between like imposter syndrome. And just truly not knowing like, I think that we can all get this like, when you don't, when you feel you don't know, you think you're having an imposter syndrome, sometimes you truly don't know. And sometimes you need to lean on others. And other times, you're like, my thing I always tell myself is if they're asking you to do it is because they think you can do it. And so like going in with that kind of like gumption behind it being like, they have no doubt in their mind that I can do this. So that means that I probably can. Yeah, it. And then the other thing that I do, especially when going into new industry is, as I've said a couple times, just listen to podcasts, read everything, you can build little pockets in your brain of this knowledge that you can draw on over time. And even though I can't prepare for every conversation, I didn't have that kind of like, back pocket.

Sam Yarborough 23:10
I think it's full circle too, because it goes back to your definition of Friends with Benefits of how can we help each other out here. So if you don't know, it's okay to pull in your network and ask those around you. So, way to stay true to your definition.

Jason Yarborough 23:23
Yeah, and I think too, like we'll move on after those. But I think there's a lot of value, you know, coming into a company, like you moved into oyster, I know a lot of things, and with, with us in partnerships, like it's our job to to know, each of the different departments and what they're doing. So gives us you know, I've used this play quite a bit a good opportunity, go to those teams, like teach me what you do, and teach me how to talk about this teach me how the product works, teach me this that right? And so you kind of build that relationship by going into them, and valuing their expertise and their knowledge to be able to bring that into what you do, simply by going and saying, I don't know, what I don't know, teach me the ways gives you a chance to build that relationship, but also gives you the chance to learn as well. So nothing does does a brilliant play for us in partnerships. Yeah, I mean,

Adrienne Coburn 24:14
plays into the hands of ask them, they want to be that person for you. So it gives them the space to be

Jason Yarborough 24:20
absolutely there that they they want to feel valuable. They want to be of help, they want to provide service, right? People want to know that their job is more than just you know, completing a project clicking off an assignment right? They can help others be better at their job. I think it gives them value in their role. So we recently talked to a good friend of mine and also just became a new dad congratulate and Mason Cosby about being a T shaped marketer. I believe we've heard you talk a bit about that or can you talk about that somewhere and you know, how how has that impacted your career and and talk about that at, you know, a bit in the world of partnerships and how you've, you know, kind of put yourself out there as a T shape partner professional marketer.

Adrienne Coburn 25:11
Yeah. Yeah, I haven't really mixed relationship with T shaped because I by nature of kind of mentioned, unlike my sister like that mention as frequently as she can, that I'm exceptionally average is what she's she likes to call me a dad and wants things in life, only a little sister can tell you that about yourself. But no, I think it is a good thing. It means that well, random data, that means that I, you know, I like I've tried lots of things, and I'm decent at a lot of things. And I am not an expert, anyone saying, you know, I've been snowboarding every winter since I could walk basically. But like, could not tell you that by looking at me snowboard, you know, and that that's fine. That's who I am. But I think that being able to have that in your career, you have to recognize that about yourself. And that's where like the T shaped thing I've always had a bit of a struggle with, I don't want to be an expert in one area, I want to dabble. And that's why partnerships is amazing. Because you can you don't have to be a marketer or a customer success person or a salesperson, you can like be all of those things all at once. So my recommendation on the T shaped methodology within partnerships, specifically, is if you're wanting to have your growth directory within partnerships, and like that is what you want to do, being able to navigate all the different elements, agency partnerships, tech and integration, strategic alliances, really being able to have an expertise in all of those areas throughout your career, is what you want is to progress to management level. Because as soon as you get that management level, you have to have the ability to do very, very fast context switching where you have to be like, Okay, in this conversation, I'm the expert on agency partnerships. And in this conversation, I'm the expert on tech partnerships. So being able to have the knowledge of how all of those work together is like essential. And then using things like partnership leaders to be able to then pivot and go to product leaders and be like, actually, I don't really know that much about this deep of the tea. I need someone to help back me up here. But having that like base knowledge that helps me navigate.

Sam Yarborough 27:24
I just had a light bulb moment there. Like that's why we're all in this industry, because it loves when you talk to people and all partnership people come from different disciplines. There is no like, clear path. But we're all we're all exceptionally average.

Jason Yarborough 27:42
Well, I always I talk a lot about the book range. And I'm not sure if you're familiar with that book, Adrian, but it's talking about generalist versus specialist people who have people who are generalists kind of have that wide range of experience a wide range of knowledge and can, you know, talk about a lot of things you're not necessarily as a specialist or an expert in one area. And I think you know, the best part are people are those generalist, right? I've got a background in motivational speaking, sales, marketing, and I'm in partnerships, right. I'm a journalist, and never really consider myself an expert in any of those backgrounds. But I think that's what makes me kind of the, you know, a good partner person. And, you know, Sam has been in marketing and creative and all sorts of other endeavors, you know, outside of the partner world, that's what makes sure great, we can pull from those experiences. And so I'll take exceptionally average all day long, if that makes me a good partner person in general.

Sam Yarborough 28:42
It's the new it's the new tagline partnerships exceptionally average.

Jason Yarborough 28:45
And it's the bio.

Sam Yarborough 28:49
Okay, so you touched on career curl with and trajectory. And I am very anxious to hear your thoughts on this because as we've talked about, yours maybe hasn't been as linear as others in terms of industry changes, and you've managed many different types of partnerships. We all know that the bottom line for like, how you measure and how you show success of partnerships is revenue. But as you have really showcased in your career, there's so many areas of impact for a partner leader. So how have you found your true north in your career and like what is that guiding like? What is your career trajectory? How have you drawn towards that?

Adrienne Coburn 29:34
Um, well I'll let you know when I find that Northstar. I've had three roles this year listen to that in but but I think that is it right? Like I my North Star is being a Swiss army knife as being exceptionally average is being well rounded. It is being a partnership's craft leader and able to come into a team and rugged are the assets more channel oriented, technology oriented, whatever it may be, I can help to grow and to scale it. So those two things exceptionally average, and, and being able to like, be dabbling in different areas with with the lens of operationally scaling. So through my experiences through like taking a company from like, zero partnerships to a decent, decently shaped partner program going Shopify over massive partner program, and now boisar was just like crazy fast moving, everything comes down to scale, everything comes down to really efficient operations. So I'd say like, if I were to pitch myself to somebody new, that would be, that would be it, whether it's a startup, whether it's a full fledged company, it's that operational efficiency piece. But you know, it's also like, knowing your trajectory, knowing that like my North Star, I have no intention of being a CEO, I do not want to own a company, I like to yell in the mail, or over email, you know, like, like, think that knowing that about yourself, helps you to then orient towards that trajectory and find things along the way. Like, what if you just want to be a product manager, and you don't want to manage people at all, like, don't worry about the people, the people outside, it's like, don't worry about that concentrate on your operational efficiency skills within the lens of product management. So I think that has really helped me as well to be able to say in my trajectory is growing within partnerships. And that is,

Sam Yarborough 31:35
man, I was just having this conversation with somebody else the other day, too. And I find it so interesting, what, how, traditionally, to show success is you get promoted, which often comes with people leadership. But those two things are not the same click just because you're good at your job does not mean you're going to be a good people manager. And that's okay. Like, there are ways to grow in your career and really hone in on your craft and become an expert at what you do without managing people. And I think that needs to just be said, more and more.

Jason Yarborough 32:11
Yeah, I think that's good for everybody here too, is that we place these the sea levels or executive roles kind of on a pedestal on this kind of like the end all be all when maybe it's not. Right, I think back to a conversation we had a long time ago, Sam with our friend spike, you know, he could go start his own company, be his own CEO? And he's like, no, no, I want to be right in this spot where I'm at like this, this level of leadership that I'm in, I don't need to go to the top. Now, that was good for me to hear as kind of we were, you know, on a new trajectory in our own careers. To think that someone like that, it was fine with being laid off maybe a director or a VP kind of thing. It didn't need to go to the top. But I think there's a lot of value. Again, I like to what you said earlier agent and knowing knowing yourself, your values and strengths or weaknesses and where you want to be. So I love that. I think it's worth you know,

Adrienne Coburn 32:59
yeah. And I think it helps you set your boundaries, too, right? It's like, I don't want to be in a role that's going to require me to work all hours. I don't, that is a no fly zone for me, is not for for 30. Thank you very much. And I think it's like, that means that I have certain limitations to my career, that means I probably won't be a VP at a big company, it means I definitely can't be a CEO. And that's fine. Because I know that for me, that is, that is not something that I'm willing to sacrifice is that like, time with my family that time to myself in order to like, get to a different degree of my career. And that's not for everybody, but it's definitely for me, and I've just like with time become to know that and, and work towards that.

Sam Yarborough 33:41
Man. Okay, I have to go there. I feel that so much and especially like, you have what, a year, a year and a half. How old are you little

Adrienne Coburn 33:55
one? I just over two.

Sam Yarborough 33:59
Two already. Oh my gosh. Okay. So, yeah, we have two kids also, in that's been a conversation that Jason I have all the time of like, I know, I need to work, it's really good for my well being for my mental health, like I love working. But I also love being a mom and balancing those two things and like creating boundaries for myself articulating those boundaries to my company, you know, working with Jason, who also has a full time career like those are things that I also feel like aren't talked about enough. How has your relationship with work changed and what kind of boundaries have you had to set in order to create your ideal of situation?

Adrienne Coburn 34:47
Yeah, I mean, it goes to what I was saying like, I am offline at 430. Now, I might answer a slide message here and there, but I am definitely go and pick my son out at daycare at 430 and so are like that is the boundary. It doesn't mean that I don't do a late night project once in a while, of course I, I recognize things need to get done. But it is the absolute exception when I do. And I think it's like, where where I've changed in that I've always kind of had a little bit of that boundary. But where I've changed it is like when I'm at my computer, I am 100% there, like when I am like working, am 100% working. I'm an online shop. And even though sometimes I try to wander, I'm not you know, doing well, I'm not like I totally, because in the next room, I like when I'm here I am like really, really here and very, very present and work very, very efficient. And that doesn't work for everyone, right? It's also recognizing that, like, I have a very good attention span. I can like sit down and plow through things all day if I have to for eight hours. But not everybody works like that people need time away from their computers, they need to take a long lunch break whatever it is. So like finding that working style. I've had to be way more intentional in that since having a kid.

Sam Yarborough 36:00
There's this I saw this quote the other day that I think about often about how your kids aren't demanding everything else that you're paying attention to is. And I think what you just said is so true, how if we try to divide our attention, at the same time between work and parenting and your relationship, everything is overwhelming and everything is demanding. But if we can set up guardrails and boundaries in our life, like you just talked about, we can be highly effective at all of it. But it's very important to articulate those to the people around us those boundaries, but then also hold yourself accountable, which is easier said than done. Yeah.

Jason Yarborough 36:43
100% I'd one of those mornings that this morning. Yeah, to your point. That was this morning, I got mad at Nora for pulling waffles out of the refrigerator because I was trying to do some work trying to be there with kids. I wasn't being present. You know, and this again, like I've said this before, but sort of this podcast is more for me than anybody else. And all this talk about being present and being intentional is something that I'm heavily focused on and try to think about right now. And you know, to be distracted as I was this morning kind of caused me to be upset because I couldn't be fully you know, engaged in the work fully engaged in our kids so therefore I was you know, a little a little rattled on both sides. So you got to kind of pick those those lanes to say no and say say in your belt your boundaries.

Sam Yarborough 37:28
I mean, there were frozen waffles all over the floor all over the

Jason Yarborough 37:31
floor. Yeah. Kodiak waffles for those listening to him. I gave my

Adrienne Coburn 37:37
on Eggo waffles for breakfast morning and he only picked out the chocolate chips. So that's the level we're at. So literally no judgement. Hey, oh, we

Sam Yarborough 37:47
Yeah. Okay, so let's continue this conversation a little bit. So you your husband also worked at Shopify and now he's doing his own thing which is I can assume has its own level of demanding needs um first of all, we want to talk about what he's doing. Can you tell us what free bar is

Adrienne Coburn 38:11
repairing? Yeah, for sure. I'm also for the record the day that he started that Shopify I asked because I was like me, I fought we already both work are both like the same. I wanted to ask about that too.

Jason Yarborough 38:25
To get tricky.

Adrienne Coburn 38:27
It was that but okay, so yeah, he has a company called free bar. So free bar is an online distribution of non alcoholic products so it's a right now dabbling in like craft cocktail craft beer hadn't really gone down the wine route yet and primarily Canada I think only Canada sorry guys. But yeah, I just really like riding this trend.

Sam Yarborough 38:49
We tried I tried to order some

Adrienne Coburn 38:52
special delivery coming your way well yeah like awesome the the trend that's happening right now that i Sir is not a trend is like this is the new wave and I know you guys are all about it. It's like yeah, different version of healthy living. All of a sudden people are like what all goes bad for you.

Jason Yarborough 39:13
That's kind of like when people figured out cigarettes are bad for him. So does that mean you guys are on the you both on the NA train as well?

Adrienne Coburn 39:22
I love a cocktail. Not gonna lie. I definitely has my drinking has a judgment here. Yes against Lee. Since he has stopped drinking, you know, our date nights a lot. No longer at the brewery. But no, I still will drink he is. Yeah, completely. Well, let's call it California. sober. But yeah, he's a he's on the

Jason Yarborough 39:45
that's amazing. So far. We Yeah, I've been doing it since January. And I think Sam, you picked it up shortly thereafter. But it's been it's been pretty great. And it's funny we were just talking about this other day. Our date nights are a bit different. We're not going out for that. You know, cocktail happy hour to kick things off anymore. You know, big athletic brewing. Gotcha. So on the free bar site, so really cool to see that.

Sam Yarborough 40:08
Okay, so you guys are jointly managing parenting careers, you have a high profile career, which you're very invested in, he's running a business. That's a ton. Can you talk about, like, how you guys are managing that and setting boundaries for each other?

Adrienne Coburn 40:25
Yeah, I mean, it's come up several times, but intentionality, it's just like, I mean, first and foremost, this is a learning curve, like being able to balance these different elements. He also just took on a full time job heads up on how all this so it's a lot it's like, it's a it's no doubt a lot and you're not nailing it. But what what works for us and what we see really working is this like concept of intentionality. We feel very like cool, free people, you know, call me up the day I will go out and grab a drink whatever it is, and I not like that anymore. And that's okay. That's the stage of life. We have to be intentional with our time together, we have to be intentional with our you know, trio time with like us and our son intentional for time apart like me having alone time I have to be super intentional book that nevermind, attention to all the work element, you know, being able to set those boundaries. I think the biggest thing for us is intentionality behind division of bleep, household labor. So being able to not just like, see how it goes. Because if we just like see how it goes with household labor, we can kind of guess how that might go. So you know, being able to have like, really only swim lanes, like if you are signing or sign up for gymnastics, you are owning the signup, you're owning the scheduling your own and getting him there, you know, really being able to like to go deeper and more intentional and to who's doing what around the house has been a game changer. I

Jason Yarborough 41:58
love that we there's always the question around here is like, do you want to get pick up the kids? Or pick up the kids? How do we diversify our jobs or the house?

Sam Yarborough 42:07
Yeah. But I think the other part of that is, you just said it, talking about it and not making assumptions because that's where, you know, as they say, you make an ass out of you and me

Jason Yarborough 42:20
a lot of the whole red thread of intentionality here and like that's, you know, that's something that we got into the same room last week as well. And like, you know, living a life of intention, living a life of purpose and doing everything you know, with that intention kind of gives you a better a better path forward. Sometimes boundaries are good and boundaries can be set with intentions. And that's kind of, again, I've mentioned this in the podcast before but kind of the path of peak performance is is having those boundaries and having those intentions to absolutely love it. We are we're going to bring this in for for a close and since you've listened to the podcast before, you know we'd like to end with a little bit of a fun question or fun ending. We're going to draw some a little bit different with you today. We're gonna go with some rapid fire questions.

Sam Yarborough 43:06
Sorry, we didn't know you were such a planner.

Jason Yarborough 43:10
Now we're gonna we're gonna rattle the cage a little bit and I'm kidding southern horde. rapid fire questions when it's ready

Adrienne Coburn 43:17
to go.

Jason Yarborough 43:20
Okay, visual learner, or verbal learner. Visual, introvert, or extrovert?

Adrienne Coburn 43:27
Introverted extrovert? Fair. You

Jason Yarborough 43:29
just said that. Yeah. Fair enough. win the lottery or land your dream job.

Adrienne Coburn 43:34
When the lottery baby for sure.

Jason Yarborough 43:39
Now we're talking speed or accuracy?

Adrienne Coburn 43:43

Jason Yarborough 43:45
Call or text? Text.

Sam Yarborough 43:48
Don't call me. Thank you.

Jason Yarborough 43:51
Why don't we even have a call function concert or a sporting event for a date? Causing friends or benefits?

Sam Yarborough 44:05
I don't even know what that means.

Jason Yarborough 44:07
Take it as you want it. Well, this has been truly awesome. Adrian, it's a pleasure every time I get a chance to speak to you.

Adrienne Coburn 44:17

Sam Yarborough 44:19
Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining us today and for your your vulnerability on being a working mom. And I mean your expertise in in the industry is super valued not only by us, but everybody we talk to you speaks your praises. So thank you. Thank you for joining. Thanks, guys.

Adrienne Coburn 44:37
Spend a lot of fun. Absolutely.

Jason Yarborough 44:39
Your friends, go be present. Go be intentional.

Sam Yarborough 44:43
See you next time.

Unknown Speaker 44:55

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