Never Been Promoted Podcast

"Harnessing Hybrid Power": John Wichmann on Revolutionizing the Workplace

March 28, 2024 Thomas Helfrich Season 1 Episode 32
Never Been Promoted Podcast
"Harnessing Hybrid Power": John Wichmann on Revolutionizing the Workplace
Never Been Promoted
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Never Been Promoted Podcast with Thomas Helfrich

In this episode of Never Been Promoted, host Thomas Helfrich sits down with John Wichmann, the CEO and founder of Gather Sciences. Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, John's company specializes in optimizing hybrid work environments, ensuring that businesses can thrive in the evolving landscape of work culture. Through a detailed conversation, John shares his journey from co-founding Maptitian, a workplace management SaaS platform, to starting Gather Sciences with the mission of perfecting hybrid work models for companies.

About John Wichmann:

John Wichmann, leveraging his extensive background in software and professional services, has transitioned from the corporate world to entrepreneurship, where he now leads Gather Sciences. His company aims to help businesses implement hybrid work models effectively, ensuring that the transition is beneficial both for the organization and its employees. By focusing on intentional, data-driven strategies, Gather Sciences assists companies in creating a balanced and productive work environment that values employee engagement and operational efficiency.

In this episode, Thomas and John discuss:

  • The evolution of hybrid work and its impact on businesses and employees.
  • The importance of intentional, data-driven strategies in implementing hybrid work models.
  • The role of Gather Sciences in helping companies navigate the challenges and opportunities of hybrid work.

Key Takeaways:

  • Navigating Hybrid Work: Understanding the nuances of hybrid work is key to creating a strategy that benefits both the company and its employees. It's about finding the right balance that encourages productivity and fosters a positive work culture.
  • Data as a Catalyst for Change: Utilizing data to make informed decisions can significantly impact how companies approach hybrid work, leading to more efficient use of resources and enhanced employee satisfaction.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: John's journey highlights the importance of being adaptable and resilient, traits essential for navigating the complexities of modern business landscapes.

“Hybrid should never cause damage to a business or its employees. It's about finding the right balance that fosters growth and satisfaction.” — John Wichmann


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Welcome to another episode of Never Been Promoted, where we are here to unleash your entrepreneur. Hi, I'm Thomas Helfrich, your host. And if this is your first time visiting, thanks for coming. If you've been here before, thank you for returning. We're going to be speaking with entrepreneurs throughout the life of this podcast because it's my mission to help create more entrepreneurs in the world and particularly make them better, not only just entrepreneurship, but at life. And we do this if you, you've been here before, you know this. We do this through interviewing other entrepreneurs and learning about their journeys, their mistakes, wins, failures, and everything in between. And today we're joined by John Wichmann. He is the CEO and founder of Gather Sciences in here in Alpharetta, Georgia, where I am, which is great. John, how are you?

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Great, Thomas, thanks for, thanks for having me. Excited for the conversation today.

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Of course, yeah. So, well, listen, John, take a moment. You're an entrepreneur, you're a founder. You're going through all the fun things that we all get to go through as entrepreneurs. Talk about your journey or set up the stage a little bit here. What are you working on? And maybe first, how did you get there?

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No, it's helpful. So, Gather Sciences, our goal really is to help companies do hybrid. Right? And by right, we mean really right for them and their unique and particular needs, versus sometimes companies falling into a one size fits all approach to hybrid. And we really work to help them with that. So I landed here in terms of launching this company, really just out of, I think, a love for the problem of companies figuring out how to do hybrid work, or maybe the challenge there with it. My prior company, I co founded a company by the name of Maptitian, had come in to help a former co worker of mine who had put together really great software, and we took that to market. That was a workplace management SaaS platform. And that really opened my eyes up to, one, just the challenges around the workplace and utilizing the workplace well and using it as a place to connect. And number two, really the challenges that companies were experiencing with hybrid work. So I guess I managed to do two startups, all toward the most recent part of my career versus maybe when I was younger, although I didn't know as much then, so I might have done it in reverse order for some. My background prior to maptician and now Gather Sciences really was around software, software services, really, ranging from early stage companies through large enterprises such as Teradata, where we worked with very large enterprises to help them drive value out of integrated data solutions.

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I knew way more in my twenties and thirties. I'm getting dumber as I get older. I realize I knew so much when I was 18, man, I knew everything. My children know everything too. I don't know if you knew that. I don't. About your kids.

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I have.

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Do they know everything?

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I experienced that myself, yes.

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Yeah. Wisdom wasted on the youth, right? No, wait, is it youth was, youth is wasted on the young. Something like that. Something like that. So you said you did a couple startups, right? But you made it a very important piece. You took something you'd already had a passion for, you had some knowledge about, and you're focused and it's a big enough market and a relevant enough problem to solve to do a couple startups on. So I think for those who look to say, hey, what can I do? If I was in a company, I think that's a great place to start. I mean, did you something else you wanted to do, but you're just like, why would I do that? Or how did you, I mean, talk to me about focusing on what you know and then repeating, sure.

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So, you know, it is a question because at some point, you know, when you get probably ten plus years into your career, you get very competent and very confident in what you do, assuming you stayed generally with the same type of activity or same type of focus. And I think when I, and for me, that was really in software and software services and professional services, and I felt very confident and very comfortable in that and running large services practices and the related P and ls and the metrics and everything with that. And that was great. It was great for the people I got to work with and the people I got to meet on the client side. And it was a lot of fun. I think though, that I've always sort of leaned into if there's a problem to solve and I think I have an angle on helping to solve it, that's very, very attractive to me. And that's really when I first joined that first map Titian, we felt like, hey, there's an opportunity here to bring workplace management tools down market to smaller companies, and also to leverage workplace management tools in a way that hadn't really been leveraged very much prior to that, which was as an employee engagement tool and to help employees connect with one another and feel more comfortable when they start at a new company. We of course rode that. That was we launched six months pre pandemic in terms of the product launch at our first ten customers, and then we had to retrench and pivot a few times also using the core application. But that did give us, provided me with a very intimate front row seat of all of the nuances of hybrid work. And in the office, out of the office. And then I think, again, presented that next problem, which was Hybrid's an amazing, wonderful opportunity here. But companies, at least a lot of the company I was working with and we were selling software to, didn't truly understand and grasp how much value it could really provide, not only to their employees who could spend less time in the car, but also really for the organization overall. And that is really what led me to found Gather Sciences and build out the data integrated data platform we have for helping to solve this problem.

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Yeah, and we'll get it. I want to get into the weeds a little bit on your maybe how you're using science into how to make remote hybrid work just more effective, more productive, and more attractive for a company to implement and also an employee to leverage, like, correctly, because I have tons of questions on that, because we're a completely remote company. Outside of my Atlanta co founder, I've never met anyone in person which is completely remote. But I want the kind of the idea being is maybe just a top headline of the one thing you should or should not do, as if you're a leader of a company and you're thinking hybrid, what's the first thing that, like, just, you know, I always tell you what's the first thing you think you're going to, you should do, but you absolutely should not.

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Well, I think the first thing you should not do that has come naturally to many companies over the past three years, is to operate your hybrid strategy against a question of who has more leverage in their, in the relationship. Is it the employer or is it the employee? So three years ago, we were all running scared of the great resignation, and employers were letting employees do literally whatever they wanted as it related to the office. I worked with some clients who were scared even to mention the word return to office to their full stack developers because they felt, oh, my gosh, they might all leave if I even mentioned coming back into the office. And that was sort of the fear that was put into them. The challenge with that, obviously, is that that pendulum swings both ways. And now we're in more of a situation where you could say the economy is not quite as solid. Some companies are doing layoffs, and so a lot of organizations and leaders in those organizations feel, hey, I didn't really like that whole situation before. And so now it's my turn to apply some pressure and to tell people, hey, you know what? I need you back three, four or five days, and if you don't like it, there's the door, and that pendulum will swing again. And so really we focus on intentionality and a purpose based approach, say the things we do as it relates to choices around what a hybrid program looks like should be based on something, something that can be explained clearly to your associates.

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Well, and that's right. I think you're getting it is it's your own as a leader, your own understanding of the why you're basing on data science, things that make sense and customized to them, which allows them to make an informed business decision. So in smaller levels, yeah, you're going to go with your gut. You don't need to whatever. But in a bigger company, you can massively multiply a problem or massively improve a situation with data. Right. And then I want to get into that next of how you leverage data. But the big piece of that is that gives you the messaging with confidence to communicate. Correct. That's one of the end products of this is like, this is what you say and this is how you say it, and here's the whys. And this is how you handle the questions. So maybe talk about that endgame first, and then you'll back into the data. Because I think if you're an entrepreneur thinking, hey, I'm going to scale, I don't know what to do. I really want to have a mix of people being here and this now. So how do you talk about the process to get to the announcement, I guess, if you will?

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Well, I think one is really is assessing, you know, what's happening in the organization, what your options are in terms of reasonably bringing people together and how your organization is growing. I know a CEO who has a very fast growing organization, and he's very upfront with people they hire to say, you know, listen, you know, we're, we're five days in the office. He's, or he actually says they allow two days work from home, but those are Saturday and Sunday.

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And so was it Harvey Spector from suits.

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But he, but he, the point is he's intentional. So as Ed mentioned before, is being thoughtful and intentional and having a real reason. So he says, listen, we're growing so fast, we're hiring so many people. We can't, and I can, I can't figure out any other way to do this and to do it as well as we're doing it and to grow as fast as we're growing. Right. Without this whole thing imploding, if we are not all together every day now, he says in the same breath, I understand that will eliminate some of the talent pool from, we can hire, and we're trying to offset that by offering elevated benefits, pay higher, and try to account for that in terms of the packages and the compensation that they offer. And they've been able to find people who want to be part of an exciting, growing culture. So that is five days, but it's done with intentionality. Other companies may say, oh, three, four or five days, but say, oh, you know, well, it's serendipity. Well, you know, a general statement of serendipity doesn't hold a lot of water for somebody who's driving two and a half hours every day to get to an office. They sit there, and it's no different than sitting at home. I mean, that really drives some significant resentment into your organization if you take an approach like that. What we've seen.

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I think, talk about the data. I mean, I think, I think you're spot on. And I drove into, so if you guys, Atlanta is known for its traffic, you know, and where I live is about, you know, what, 20 miles or so north of it. And John, you know how it works, too. I drove into Buckhead for a couple days for an aunt, and I asked. I got out, and it took an hour to get there. And I'm like, why would anyone do this willingly every week? And she's like, well, there's families have to feed people, and they have, you know, and there's whatever. Like, and she made a good point. I go, but it's wasting 2 hours of productivity. I'm in a car, though. I was listening to a book, and that was okay. It's still like, from a client standpoint, I'm like, I'm coming in already. Burnout. And so take that idea that you have these people who work from home, people, they've set up their lives. Now it's maybe returning back to this work that people move further away because of COVID and all these little things that happen. Relate that now to the data and how you help a company navigate through that. And maybe the one of the data points I'd love for you to talk about not just so much of productivity numbers in this, but just the personality of control and the personality of, if we don't have people in the office, I don't feel like I have. And does that come up in the conversation? Or is it like, we've invested all this in office space. We're not going to waste it, even though it's a fixed cost at this point. So maybe talk to me about how tangible, quantitative, qualitative data factor into the plan.

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That's a huge part of it. So while there's a, let's say, the hard data side of what we do, there's also a very soft side of that. And that's really around perceptions. So some of the things you just stated are some of the biggest challenges and honestly, the biggest things that are the things that are most significantly preventing companies from moving forward on this topic in a constructive way. Along with their associates, you have associates who feel, well, the only reason they're being brought in is because they're not trusted or that somebody thinks they're not focused or not productive at home. And then on the other side, there could be some of that. But I think it's less specific in terms of what CEO's are responding to. My sense and what we've really talked a lot about is that it's not really a question of productivity. I think that's just a word that started being used and I think we should stop using that word. It's really a question about loss of momentum. Momentum really speaks to that forward progress in areas that matter. For the company, productivity could be activity that's just wasted activity. So productivity in and of itself is really of no value if it's not pointed and doing the right things at the right time. It's very hard to measure. For many areas of a business, what CEO's are responding to is, is what they feel is really, when they, when I talk to them, they go, yeah, that actually is what we're experiencing. It's a loss of momentum. Right. And that could be indicative in third quarter numbers, year over year numbers. They don't exactly know, but they know one of the biggest things that's different is that everybody's remote. And so it's not that they think everybody's slacking off. They can't. They think, well, maybe for some people, but I can't put my finger on it, but it's different. And I have to protect this organization and the people in it and our ability to be successful. So if I need to make a change, I'm going to make a change. So a big part of what we do is changing that mindset both on the employee side about, listen, let's talk about why it's important to come in. Let's not even talk about productivity. We're not going to talk about productivity. We're going to talk about all the other elements and all the other value you bring to this organization beyond your individual output. And then on the CEO side, it's really helping them understand as well the importance of being very thoughtful and targeted in terms of what they ask people to do and why, and make sure they have a reason, because otherwise it's not going to, won't hold any water and it's not going to be a convincing argument. And if you lose them on that, you know, it's just so damaging.

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Yeah. And on your website here, if you're listening, you can't see, I'm looking at his website on the monitor. So it's on the camera here, it says earn the commute balance hybrid. And I wish it was a little easier to read on the camera. So it just tells me I need to go work on something here, post script. But talk to me about how you came up with that earn the commute.

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Well, again, we're very focused on having a purpose, intentional, purpose based approach. And so, you know, so many employees we talked to, their main frustration was what's the point? Right. What's the point? Why, why do I need to come in the, in office days? No different. I'm more, I'm, quote, more productive at home since I'm more productive at home driving and just waste product productivity time where I could be otherwise be productive. And it goes on and on. Right. And so.

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You know, we have this question which I, I say sort of the, I believe it's a, you know, we believe it has the potential and it really should become almost the net promoter score for hybrid. So we ask a very simple question to everyone we survey and talk to. And it could be managers, it could be, you know, obviously individual contributors within an organization. But we simply ask, you know, over the last 45 days, how often as your in office experience been worth the commute? So just, just tell us. And there's five answers. So it's never, never worth the commute. Seldom. Sometimes. Usually or always? I'll tell you, we get more nevers than we get always. We do get that. But most companies, they land somewhere between seldom and sometimes. And so when I'm talking to executives, they say, you know, to put that in perspective, what your employees are telling you is that more than 50% of the time. Right. They're thinking that you're wasting their time by bringing them into the office. And that's, you know, for all of our focus on employee engagement. So there's, there's engagement. Right. And there's this engagement scale. And then they talk about sometimes the disengagement scale and they're disengaging. Well, I think there's another scale that wasting people's time moves you into, which is the resentment scale. And so when you waste people's time or they think you're wasting their time for no reason, and you're talking about traffic, which is not only time, but it's very stressful for many people. So you've moved all the way into resentment. And so now to recover, you have to go from resentment to disengagement all the way into engagement. And I'm not sure how that's going to be good for your company long term. Well, I know it's not going to be. And they're also not going to think very highly of their leadership if they believe that that leadership is ignorant to the situation and is actively, maybe even unknowingly, but actively wasting their time. So those are some of the things we really hit at the heart of and we help address.

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Listen, and I, you know, and I'm getting a perspective of the value behind that because you're also removing bias and noise in the decision making by doing that. And you're taking, which is probably the most critical thing of any of this, is the employee feedback. The decision might be made, but they'll feel better about it if they at least got asked and it was addressed. And I think that's a step that sometimes the bigger companies missed because they just look at, honestly, we don't care. That's what, they don't care what you actually think because we're so big and you, and work at Amazon, you work at Google is what it's going to be. Right. And I'm using those, too, because I think they went through something like this. But I, but the removing of noise and bias in any decision in an AI system to just, hey, should we change what we're thinking? I think it's just critical for transparency and just building a better culture because you're just being objective with it and then you've also communicated it with it. And do you have, do you get the situations where someone's rolled out the situation like a hybrid spot or, and now they're backtracking on it and they just, now they're like, I don't, we don't know what to do with this. Like, are you, are you in the front? Are you helping people navigate the next.

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No, for sure. So there's like two main areas right now. We can help and are helping so one is where you have working with a company right now where the CEO, us coming in, I mean, he was about ready to pull the trigger on just really throwing, throwing in the towel on hybrid. You know, he was at his wits end. He was seeing negative ramifications to the business. He felt that the hybrid approach, which was, you know, which at least, I mean, they were, they were intentional in it in many ways, which was good in terms of having some structure. But it just, you know, he said to me, he said, john, when this whole thing two years ago started and I was told by other leaders, well, this is something I just had to accept. No choice. If you don't do this, if you don't embrace this thing and you don't do hybrid and allow hybrid, we're going to lose all our employees and we're going to not be able to run this business. So he said, I just felt like I got forced into this. I didn't think it was a great idea then. I wasn't convinced it was good. I thought it might hurt the business, but I was told I had no choice. And so now two, three years later, I'm looking at it and I'm saying, you know what? It did hurt the business just like I thought. And I'm seeing these other very large companies even going to five days, you know, back in the office and I'm saying, you know what, I was right. And I'm going to put the hammer down and exert my authority as CEO to just say we're done with this. And we were fortunate enough to get in front of him and say, listen through what we're talking about here and the approach we're going to take to bring the right, which is really what balanced hybrid says is bringing together the right people at the right time and frequency into an inviting, collaborative office environment to do the things that matter most. Then there's an underlying foundation of accountability and things like that that we do to ensure that, you know, there's things are well thought out in terms of the work activity. But, you know, my point to him was, hey, this doesn't need to be, you know, where you lose and somebody else wins. This is going to be a win win or it's not set up right. And that means you should be able to, with this program, be able to attract, well, one, accept no damage or no loss to your business success. So that's a non negotiable. So what we say is hybrid should never cause damage to a business, the success or growth of a business or the success or growth of any of the associates within that business. That's our foundation. And my point to him was, but you should and should expect wins for the organization in terms of bottom line, spending less money on space, real estate over time, being able to attract top talent that other companies that are taking a more, you know, one size fits all, three, four, five days in, you can go attract those individuals who say, I don't, I don't want to go there. Similarly, companies that have no plan or are all remote, somebody may say, hey, I don't want, I don't think I can learn or grow my career in that environment. Nothing against that approach either, but you could potentially attract somebody who says, hey, this company really figured this out and took a very intentional approach. So I think for us that's really exciting when we can turn a CEO around who otherwise was going to give up on hybrid, and really where we can work to sort of save hybrid at that organization. And it's very fulfilling. It's fulfilling for our team and it's just great to see both sides come together.

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How does it come together? So maybe this kind of speaks to, so someone's listening, they're interested in no matter where you kind of are in the journey, maybe you already implemented, you're thinking about it, you've rolled it out, want to roll it back, whatever it is. How do they kind of start with you? Like what's the first few steps to have?

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Great question. So we have recently rolled out an offer called hybrid optimization assessment, which is essentially a benchmarking analysis, which takes data in from executives, from managers and from associates, brings together some corporate data and then some sentiment feedback data from those parties, and brings all that data together. That data gets integrated and then we provide a view back to the executives along with some recommendations. So it's something that we actually put together so that it could be utilized by not only an entire organization, but also if there was a group. So some very large organizations have teams or divisions, areas that have senior leaders over those. And it may be they may have a group or a team or an organization of 5100, 500, even 1000. Right. In some larger companies where that's just the divisional or the sort of the vertical functional area within an organization. So we can even help at that department or divisional level or at a whole company level. And, and we try to do that at a price point that allows them to. Where it's an easy yes. So, you know, for most companies that's at or under $5,000 as a, just a one time, hey, we'll get this done for you and give you new perspectives and give you some recommendations about how to move forward. And we do that in under 30 days for them and it really does enlighten the situation as a whole and starts that process of people thinking differently.

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Do you do initial just 30 minutes consultation to meet with them just to hop on?

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Yeah, absolutely. We're happy to jump on a call. And so that is where we would offer that. We don't expect somebody to just throw it on their credit card or stroke a check site unseen. Certainly have that conversation where we can listen to, you know, what is their, what is their current state goal state. And we can say, you know, hey, we've, here's, here's how we think the assessment could help you better understand that and here's where you might take that in going forward.

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Yeah. And I think, and I think if I tie it back to some entrepreneurial pieces too, so if you're thinking about using, you know, like you're in that, you're debating it, I would definitely call John. I've talked to John a number of times here off camera, like, easy to talk with, thoughtful. Yeah. I wish I could do what you do, just how calm you are. I don't have that. So I've just given up. So I just gotta surround myself with people like you to do that on the entrepreneur side for you. You didn't just land on this. So maybe speak to the entrepreneur just from a best practices as entrepreneurship of pivoting and oh man, that didn't work. Like take me through your couple years or so building this of what you've learned and how you've had to adapt. You're offering and messaging and brand and even logos and things like that maybe, right.

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It's certainly a process I would say probably helped a little bit that was already in sort of startup mindset, startup mode from the other one. And so then flipping into a second startup, the step isn't quite as much as it probably was going from corporate and corporate computer to that first startup. So it wasn't as significant. I would say though, that really figuring out that product market fit is super critical and to try to do that as quickly as possible and I think I could have potentially done that a little faster. And I think my advice, and I got this advice from a good friend who really helped introduce me to the commercial real estate kind of business, originally taught me everything he knew about it and he's been in it for 15 plus years. But, you know, he was a big fan, and I've become a big fan of just going in, even if you have to do work for free initially just to go find somebody who has the actual problem, right, that you're trying to solve and just going in and doing it and letting them understand, hey, you know, I'm not going to charge you for this, but I'd love to do more work with you or do a follow on or have you be a reference if this works out. You could call it an unpaid pilot, but I'll tell you, that will do so much. Two things. One, it'll help really refine for sure. Refine what your offer is and I guarantee you you'll find new things to offer that you weren't even expecting before you went and engaged that organization. The second thing I think is you'll, well, you'll see, certainly refine that. But it also creates essentially, especially if you're early stage solo and maybe you have a partner, but when you're answering to sort of just yourself, that can sometimes be challenging. And so the other nice thing about a pilot is you just make commitments, right? Make commitments and you're sort of self imposing these goals and objectives and deliverables, whether it be code or report or whatever it might be or functionality. You're now stating that and you're going to be staying up all night to get it done if you have to. So I'd say truing up of your value proposition along with having some sort of butt kicking goals that you've got yourself into are both super important, especially if you're solo or just, or just with a partner or maybe doing a part time initially.

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Yeah, the product market fits. Interesting. So even as an established agency, right, for instantly relevant any business, it's the entrepreneurial add that takes over. But you're trying to what's next? I think it's such an important device because you can test it through free and say, yeah, I really like that valuable. And once someone sees value, they will pay you for it. You shouldn't give away things forever because if you establish that there is value.

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Charge for it because.

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Because otherwise there is no value right with it. But the other piece is like when you add something that's ancillary. So in yours you could easily, and it comes to mind you could add in performance index of your employees to say, hey, how do your personalities line up with their answers for remote? And you could tie in other pieces and as you think of your business expanded, is that what that comes to mind is the science database? Things around the employee wellness? Well, their experience and how it ties to, you know, remote work is one thing, but at some point, you might run out of places to go with that, and you'll have to, like you, like, you know, like, you know, so to speak. The, the road will, a lot of people have done. It will be saturated. You'll be like, I'm gonna have to pivot this because the consulting ness of this might have to evolve. How are you, first of all, are you thinking like that? And second, how, how are you thinking about how I evolve your company from, you know, it's time zero, right. How do you look forward to what's next?

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Yeah, well, we think there's a pretty deep and pretty wide seam on this. We see some opportunities, for sure on ways to really accelerate that through. But it is, to what you said, it is really the idea about how bringing together these data elements, aspects of the data that aren't typically, that don't typically live together, I mean, honestly. And that really all came from our time and some of the folks on our team time at Teradata, and we work with the largest companies in the United States and the world that had massive, massive data sets, and they saw the value of bringing together data sets that didn't typically talk, that their biggest challenge was actually physically breaking those together without breaking whatever they landed it on. And so we're sort of taking some of those same core principles and the exponential value proposition of bringing these data sets together where one plus one isn't two, but you get to four. And so we don't see any end to the opportunities there. We're already leveraging AI in our analysis, and there will continue to be options to tap into generative AI to help speed the solutions here and build that in. So we're very optimistic about the Runway we have ahead. The market opportunity.

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Yeah, and I assume so. And I think I meant it more figuratively, probably because your remote hybrid, the balance is going to be international versus good, knows what I mean? Like, leveraging AI is in the balance. There's a whole bunch of ways this is going to evolve from computers and machines working more closely. I think the thing is, as you look at, you have a great market ahead. What do you do, though, from time every day is the opportunity of a new business moving forward? How do you manage, though, that? When do you think you, how are you assessing, even by data, even to make that next move, that next evolution, that next pivot?

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Yeah, you know, I think we're continuing to work to refine and make, you know, the offers. And so right now, we have a few offers. So we have what I mentioned to you, which is the assessment, but really, where that naturally leads to is a hybrid planning offer we have. And so that's really where we're now taking that data and helping various areas of that organization really do that targeted, intentional planning to say, hey, what is the best hybrid approach for my team, for my area? That's really where that leads to. And then we have essentially a space use analysis product platform. We have a dashboard view that just, you know, essentially provides that insight and visibility into, you know, who's using my space, how often are they using it? And there's a whole slew of, you know, value adds there. So you can say, hey, I got all these people who are flagged as hybrid, but they're only coming in, like, one day or less a week, and I'm running out of space because I got everybody assigned to one, you know, one to one sort of assignments, which is very expensive. Right. To do that. And so we helped a different client with that to really understand that space. And it ended up allowing the CFO to have the data necessary to go to the fellow leaders on the C suite and say, listen, we need to drop a floor and eliminate this floor. And I've got the data to show that we can do it. And so we were able to provide that data for him to go do that, and that probably $750,000 a year savings for them just on something that we probably was a pretty low cost engagement, and then to get things stood up, and then we just provide that on a monthly basis, those updates or whatever frequency they want, and they can really monitor how that space is being used and is it being used efficiently and effectively and according to plan?

0:35:21,000 --> 0:35:32,000
Yeah. I'll tie to a broader idea. Entrepreneurs. People buy for two things to make more money or save a bunch of money, and really nothing in between.

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0:35:32,000 --> 0:35:42,000
And so you can't quantify. So if you can do both, if you can help people make more money and save them more money, the answer for your investment is always yes.

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0:35:43,000 --> 0:35:56,000
Well, like you say, listen, if you do this, you're gonna 10% more here and save 10% more there, and it costs you only 3% of that. Someone's gonna. Whatever it is, the answer is gonna be yes. Let's do that.

0:35:56,000 --> 0:36:14,000
Yeah. And that's our focus. Our focus is always to say we want it. There to be no question in anyone's mind that whatever they're paying us, they're, you know, they're making back, you know, on a significant multiple in terms of savings or additional, additional revenue.

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And you said the right word, multiple. And the best thing about your business I love is that you're getting enough traction and you've gotten through the initial just forest of thorns right before you, and you're starting to see some more roses, so to speak, that as you get more in, you'll have more referrals, more, more data. Say, hey, you know, we knew it was this. This is our hypothesis. This is what we've seen in industry X, Y and Z. It becomes one of those things where it's like, you're gonna have to grow or turn away business at some point. I know you're probably like, well, we're probably never gonna turn away business, but the idea that you can choose to keep it to where you need to be from a size standpoint, like, hey, we're busy enough, you know, you can, you can get to that half million, you can get to that 5 million, you can get to the ten next. And I love that, how you've done that. And I find people like yourself who is really, who are data driven. Sometimes the journey is slower initially, because you're careful, you're going, you're using you qualitative and you're not going gut. Let's figure it out. But, man, when you get there, the repeatability of the model is gorgeous. And so, I mean, take it, say a couple words now, but I can see that already with your company.

0:37:24,000 --> 0:38:42,000
Yeah, no, you're 100% right. And repeatability is really what it's all about. And, well, you know, probably one of the hardest things we do is whenever we do something for the first time, it is just a grind. You know, those first time things, it's just, those are when you're like, man, this is hard. It's. That's the hardest thing we do, for sure, and trying to get it right, but then once you get it done and then you can, you're in fine tuning mode, and it is so refreshing to just be able to then replicate, automate and, and continue to just, you know, accelerate that, the business forward. And that's everything we do. We're always looking to, to replicate it. We don't want to do things one off. You know, if there's a market to do it for multiple people, we're up for that, but we're not up for doing kind of one offs. We really, while we're doing both services and technology, software, platform technology analysis now, I mean, our goal is really to be primarily a technology company and then leverage service partners where it makes sense for people who are already kind of working with companies around some of these topics and where they can really leverage the balanced hybrid framework and approach and then our underlying data analysis platform.

0:38:42,000 --> 0:39:15,000
Yeah, I think you're doing great with the approach and the repeatability. Something like self, though, by the way, like when you're selling something. I do fantastic when it's half baked and you got to get someone excited for it. I thrive in that zone. Once we start automating it. I'll give you by example, if this is your first time listening to podcasts or watching it, the first ones had one camera. Now we're up to five. And so once we get to the repeatability, he just knock it out. I'm kind of like, yeah, but we should probably add something and maybe streamline.

0:39:15,000 --> 0:39:47,000
And accelerate is probably a better descriptive term, Thomas, with those, I mean, we love working with people, but we don't want to do things that, you know, are just could be, you know, more integrated in terms of the output and leveraging, you know, further software development to help accelerate things. But for sure, there's, there's always going to be a connection, right. Both with the associates and then with the senior leaders and then the managers in between.

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0:39:49,000 --> 0:40:06,000
Well, listen, I maybe kind of take away, and I love to kind of leave sometimes with this along your way. Is there anything that's been an aha moment epiphany, a book, a podcast, somebody followed on social media? Is there any advice to someone coming up to say, hey, I did this, you should, you should do the same?

0:40:06,000 --> 0:41:09,000
You know, I would say that as we think about that, and one of the books that I really like is it's called a twelve week year, and it talks about really the importance and value of, instead of sort of looking at your goals across a sort of traditional one year period, which has some inherent issues with that, where essentially most of your work and most of your success ends up happening the last three months of that one year is to really kind of change that mindset into thinking about your year in essentially sort of four increments or twelve weeks apiece, and doing that focused planning and just being relentless about achieving what you've set out as if it's your year and then doing that four times a year. So I'm a big fan of that, maybe because I know how easily I can get sidetracked on stuff. And the power I've seen really, when those goals are set and defined at a more concrete level. And then they're pursued with vigor.

0:41:09,000 --> 0:43:01,000
Yeah, no, 100%. So I'm definitely, we're a 90 day company. I think, more because the leader, me, can't do any more than that. And it's a rolling twelve of, hey, about a year from now, I'd like to be here, but in the next 90, this is the one thing I want, big thing I want to get done. And if I can knock it out in a week, sometimes that happens, by the way. It's like you have the right balance of coffee and lack of meetings. You're like, holy shit, I did 90 days worth of work in a week. And you're like, I'll move it. And literally that 90 ends. The next 90 begins. Like, I literally, if I. If we've knocked something out, I'm like, I have migrated a mailchimp, or what. I thought it would take 90 days of time. Move on to the next 90. Just start a new 90. You don't have to be bound to, like, what am I going to do the next 74 days? Like, no, just new 90. What's the next one on the list? You're going to give yourself 90 days to do? And it's amazing how that works. I also find that, you know, from the metaphor of building a mountain, right? You're trying to, you're trying to grow your own little mountain. Just keep adding a pebble every day behind you, and you know that some are going to fall off, some are going to roll away. You know, you gotta, you gotta tend to your kind of pile of pebbles, but occasionally just look back and say, oh, wow. And I do that sometimes. I'm like, you know, heads down. I'm like, just kind of getting discouraged and, you know, screw it, I want to quit. I feel like I'm gonna get a job. And then you realize you're unhirable, but you're describing something to just kind of stick with it. Stick in a 90 day, and occasionally, you know, go look at your mRR or go look at whatever's going on. You're like, well, you know, over last year, I'm 542% up higher, and I'm like, doesn't feel like it. So I love that. Just keep it focused. Keep, keep the resilience. What do you think, by the way? So I've hinted with my kind of, I think trade is resilience and just being, you know, maybe for you. What do you think the number one entrepreneurial trade is for you?

0:43:01,000 --> 0:43:06,000
Honestly, I think it's that exceptionally average at most things that I do.

0:43:06,000 --> 0:43:14,000
And so I've never heard that answer ever. I am so commonly average because I.

0:43:14,000 --> 0:43:35,000
Think it allows me to understand if. If I'm having a problem, there's probably other people out there having that problem. And so I think it's a really good bellwether because I'm pretty normal and average in so many areas that it gives me a good sense of, I think, mark product market fit to a degree.

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0:43:35,000 --> 0:44:10,000
And there's a few things I think I'm probably better than average at. Not too many. And then I just try to get people around me who are, who are, you know, passionate and really good at those other things. And so that's. I think that's probably one of the most encouraging things over the past year, is finding some really, really great people who have complementary skill sets so that, you know, that it's more fun to work with people, too. I mean, it sort of creates energy and enthusiasm and some accountability as well.

0:44:10,000 --> 0:44:56,000
Yeah, well, you're spot on with that. And it's sometimes, yeah, it's not being good. It's recognized also when you're, you know, you're the problem over and over. I think it's like, that's another one. I fail at that one. It usually takes me, it takes usually extremes to see that I'm the problem in a problem set. So, anyway, I'm autobiography in here, but that's what I do because it's my podcast, not yours. Okay? That's how it works. Listen, it's all about being friendly people, okay? If you can't mess with your guests. And full disclosure, John has been to my house. He's a terrible poker player, but he is going to be invited to every poker game because of that. That's the reality. He's got a little money on the side. He can come out with some cash and be like, hey, I'll donate. That's who we want in a poker game.

0:44:56,000 --> 0:45:01,000
Exactly. I'm just there for the. There for the food. And therefore, it's good food.

0:45:01,000 --> 0:45:03,000
It's good food. And I'm happy.

0:45:03,000 --> 0:45:10,000
My money for that. Right. And just kind of wander around after that first, hey, I lose out of that firsthand.

0:45:10,000 --> 0:46:11,000
Yeah, it's a four hour. It's a four hour thing. I'm out in 20 minutes. What? This is dumb. All right, guys, I'm going to leave that in the podcast. I do that because in my own journey, I meet lots of good people and I do befriend them and I find them interesting, and I want to tell you from an entrepreneur standpoint, do that. Not everything is business. Not everything is. I'm trying to sell somebody. If someone's in your community and you're meeting people that are interesting, take the time to get to know them a little bit. Take the time to throw them on your podcast. Take the time to go to drink. It's so important just for your own wealth, wealth of health and your mindset. And just knowing that you're going to have some pretty shitty days as an entrepreneur and you're going to need to know that you've gotten more than just the financial reward or the time reward with it. It's going to take people. And what you're doing, John, with gather sciences extends that and makes it, it gets people. I like it because I feel like you're setting up more companies to have happier, more transparently respected employees. And I think the world needs that quite a bit. So I love what you're doing with that. Keep it up.

0:46:11,000 --> 0:46:12,000
Thank you.

0:46:12,000 --> 0:46:26,000
And John, thank you so much for coming on the show as well. I want to give you just a moment here, like, just please, and if you've made it here so far on the podcast, don't, don't, don't leave in this moment. This is shameless plug time. Just give him 25, 30 seconds. If he gets long winded, I'll tell him to speed it up, but he won't.

0:46:26,000 --> 0:46:27,000
How do you know, how do they.

0:46:27,000 --> 0:46:28,000
Get a hold of you plugs?

0:46:28,000 --> 0:47:03,000
But just as an appreciation for your audience, and I guess anyone who's made it this far, we do have a special page and a discount offer for your listeners so they can go to promoted and get 20% off of that hybrid optimization assessment I mentioned. So we'll go ahead and have that posted for folks to take advantage of or take a look at. And through that, you can just even just schedule a call and see if it's something you think would be a fit and we'd be happy to chat with you. And if it is, we'd love to work with you.

0:47:03,000 --> 0:47:17,000
Wonderful. Yeah. So, check it out. Promote. Right? And Vini, hold on. Wickman, it's w I c h M A. That's. You'll check them out on LinkedIn as well. John, thank you for being a guest today.

0:47:17,000 --> 0:47:19,000
Hey, thanks, Thomas. I really enjoyed it.

0:47:19,000 --> Unknown
And anybody who still here, and you made it through the shameless plug part, you get an extra ten dead points. And if this was your first time, I do hope you come back. And if this was your not your first time, you better come back. Come on. At this point, it's too much fun. Until I have the opportunity to interview another wonderful entrepreneur here on Never Been Promoted podcast, I want you to go out there and unleash your entrepreneur. Go make a difference and just go be better at being entrepreneurs. Thanks for listening.

Introduction to the Episode
Hybrid Work Challenges and Strategies
Employee Engagement and Workplace Dynamics
Data-Driven Hybrid Work Optimization
Adapting and Refining Hybrid Work Models
Services and Solutions for Hybrid Work
Entrepreneurial Insights and Growth
Expanding Business Horizons
Closing Thoughts