Tadum Case Study: Taproot

Tadum Co-founder Ashley Janssen had the pleasure of chatting with Karen Unland, co-founder of Taproot Publishing, to hear about how Tadum helps Karen and her business partner, Mack Male, get organized and stay accountable as they grow their business. Here’s what she shared:

Ashley Janssen (AJ): Tell me a bit about Taproot.

Karen Unland (KU): Taproot Publishing is a media company whose mission is to inform communities about themselves. We do that in a number of different ways. On a local property like Taproot Edmonton, we produce original stories, podcasts, microsites, and newsletters curating other people’s journalism on local topics. Taproot Publishing also produces internal information products for businesses and organizations, curating the information they need to do their work. Our mission as a media company is to inform communities about themselves.

The Challenge

AJ: How did you run Taproot meetings before Tadum?

KU: My partner, Mack, is a Microsoft 365 user and deeply ingrained in that ecosystem. When we first started Taproot we would keep an agenda in OneNote and take notes there. It was a shared place we could both access to add to the agenda and try to remember what we had last talked about.

AJ: What were the major pain points you were experiencing with your meetings?

KU: OneNote was okay, but:

  1. Since it was just a plan document, there was no structure or consistency to make either of us accountable;
  2. There was no mechanism to remind us to create an agenda before a meeting like an email reminder; and
  3. It also wasn’t easily searchable so it was difficult to go back to past notes and find things.

Beyond that, when we first started, our meetings were almost always ad hoc. Over time they got more rhythmic, but OneNote didn’t have any features that helped support those rhythms and keep us on track.

The Solution

AJ: Why did you try Tadum?

KU: I have been drinking the Tadum Koolaid for a long time! You introduced me to Tadum for regular meetings that we have, and that persuaded me to suggest it to Mack. I knew it would make it easier to share the contents of our brains with each other but it was a big ask to get Mack to try an app outside of the Microsoft stack. He needed a compelling reason to try something new.

I also knew that the logic of how Tadum works would appeal to Mack if he just tried it. Anything that we adopted had to decrease the amount of work involved or time spent and I knew it for a fact that Tadum did both because I was already using it.

The Results

AJ: What changes or benefits have you seen with using Tadum?

KU: It was an easy transition and we figured out how we wanted to use Tadum fairly quickly. It had enough flexibility that Mack could set it up in a way that made sense to him.

I always have a Tadum tab open and add items to it as soon as I think about it. Mack and I stay in contact all day on Teams chat but every message is an interruption. I essentially ask myself, “Is this something that needs to be talked about now or can it wait until our next weekly meeting?”. Most things can wait, but they still get written down on the Tadum agenda so I don’t have to try to keep it in my head.

Tadum reinforced our recurring meetings and kept them structured so that we stayed on our rhythms. Our meetings are more efficient and accessible. It also helped us reach more clarity about what our meetings are for and how we can use them to accomplish our goals.

AJ: Any other comments?

BA: One of the neat things about Tadum is that it is structured but still flexible enough to suit different approaches. Mack and I use it for our internal meetings, but also for our meetings with the organized mentorship group we are in (Threshold Impact Venture Mentoring Service). None of our mentors had used it before but it has been effective in making sure we provide them with informed guidance on what we want to cover in our mentorship meetings. It gives just enough structure to give clarity to the meetings.

I have also been using Tadum as part of the succession plan for another media company that I started, but don't have time to run anymore. Emptying your brain into someone else’s is really hard. I don’t know how my successor and I would have kept on track over the transition with everything going on if we didn’t have this running record in Tadum of what we say we were going to do and what was going on. It made a huge difference in transitioning so much knowledge.

I use Tadum a little differently in all my meetings and it is flexible enough to manage while still keeping everything on track and everyone accountable.

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