Nov 16, 2011

Hot Spotlight: Getting to Know Robert Kanes—Producer Extraordinaire

Tomáš Zeman's picture
Tomáš Zeman
Content & Marketing Intern

Robert Kanes is one of Hot Studio’s talented and super organized producers. Producers are responsible for making sure a project is completed on time and on budget. They serve as the direct contact for our client partners, and help make sure everyone knows what’s going on and what’s coming next. Robert is really interested in the technical end of project management and is a self-described "huge fan of tips, tricks, productivity tools, widgets and apps." I sat down with Robert recently and asked him to share some of those tips and tricks, and tell me more about himself and what he likes to do outside of work.

Robert and Holly Hagen discuss a project schedule


What’s your secret passion?
Avid mountain biker and photographer

What’s your favorite spot to mountain bike in the Bay Area?
Wilder Ranch State Park

Do you think like a producer when mountain biking?
"If you're doing a fairly stout ride and especially if it's someplace new, you're going to want to prepare and adjust for contingencies. On the trail, you have to be ready for whatever it throws at you."

What are three things you’re always thinking about as a Producer?
1. Determining who the stakeholders are and identifying their specific needs
2. Understanding how to report out on my project:

  • What kind of information is going to be needed, and who is going to need it when?
  • What is important for our clients—and other partners—to know?
  • What do we need to know internally?
  • How do we communicate the right information clearly, and in what format?

3. Properly setting expectations is crucial. It's an important life skill even that's not specific to producing. Everybody needs to understand what the deliverables are, and be able to define their success. I ask myself these questions:

  • Is this the right deliverable to answer the client's needs?
  • Does it meet all of the established criteria? Does it perform like it’s supposed to?
  • How could it be better?

Any advice for people interested in producing?
"Beyond learning the day-to-day activities, client interactions and software tools, what I’ve seen from watching some really experienced people at Hot is that relationship management skills are key. That’s emotional intelligence, politics, business savvy– learning where the levers are to get what you need done."

What’s one of your latest tricks?
"Caffeine is a tiny program that stops your screen from going to sleep, which is really useful during presentations. You could do the same thing by going into your system preferences and changing your sleep settings, but this is really simple." Some utilities do only one thing but do them very well. This app prevents the awkward scenario of accidentally "presenting" your screensaver.


This is the second post in a series of articles spotlighting unique Hot characters—real people I’m working with that have some interesting stories to tell! Read the first post.

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