Sensei Labs was spun out of Toronto's life sciences brand development company Klick Health - initially they commercialized an internal intranet and then evolved it into its own enterprise SaaS offering called Conductor.
Spend time with this conversation - here's the full transcript
Sensei Labs, an enterprise SAS company, with a focus on program management and benefits tracking
Qasim Virjee 0:12
All right, welcome back to this the 1011 12/59 episode. Now this is the only the 11th episode of gathering a podcast by start well, that focuses on trying to examine kind of like the way we work in the modern world. And speaks with interesting folks from interesting companies based here in Toronto. And this time around. I'm with an old friend Jay Golden. From sensei labs previously click will examine that a bit. And yeah, welcome to Studio man.
Jay Goldman 0:45
Thank you. So great to be here.
Qasim Virjee 0:47
It's always nice, you know, for our audience at home. This is kind of fun. When Jay walked in today, you said, This is funny. I've seen episodes filmed here.
Jay Goldman 0:56
Yeah, it's so weird to walk onto a set that you've only ever seen on screen before. And this is a set, you know, a lot of podcasts at somebody's house. And they're just, they're using zoom or whatever. But this is a real set. So you sort of walk in and you've got a different perspective and angle on the table that you've seen and the microphones that people have been using. So yeah, it's cool to be here.
Qasim Virjee 1:15
Nice, man. Well, welcome. Yeah, the BTS that used to show the studio and kind of how I built it, I don't think it's online anymore. Because it's been upgraded so many times are irrelevant. So yeah, it's always good to give people that feel of being in the room and how does it feel compared to watching it?
Jay Goldman 1:30
I like it. I like the room. I like the setup. Nice. Yeah. It's great,
Qasim Virjee 1:34
wicked man. Okay, so let's jump into it. Let's do the little kind of like current state of Sensei. What is Sensei labs,
Jay Goldman 1:41
sensei Labs is an enterprise SAS company. We're based here in Toronto, but we have team members around the world. We work with the world's largest companies and government agencies to help orchestrate their most critical programs, typically, transformations, post merger, integration, procurement, supply chain work, any sort of large program that might go for five or six years typically involves 10s, or hundreds of people, and often tracking 10s or hundreds of millions of benefits toward the company.
Qasim Virjee 2:09
It's interesting because that the pitch has changed. It's evolved. Yes, since the last time I heard it years ago. So the project or I guess now the company grew out of something that was software born from another company, right?
Company growth and culture
Jay Goldman 2:23
Yes, we are a spin out of public health clinic is the world's largest independent life science commercialization partner. So they work with primarily biotech and pharma companies, although some med device and some payer networks and things like that, to help bring life saving therapies to market. Click today, about 1200 people give or take, oh, it's cool. Yeah, it's grown a huge amount. When I joined click in 2010, it was 130 people. So it's been an amazing, just growth engine over that time, traditionally, about 30 to 40%. Year over year growth every year since clique was founded in 1997. And click today he works with pharma companies all over the world. And biotechs has expanded to three main offices, Toronto, New York and Philadelphia, and is now just added 10 More cities. So Tokyo, Sao Paulo has just
Qasim Virjee 3:14
added 10 More, this is like a hotel chain. Yeah.
Jay Goldman 3:18
Yeah, with excellent accommodation, five star rooms in every city. So click has grown to be all of that, when I joined click and November 2010. So actually, it's my anniversary was last month. Congratulation. Thank you, thank you, my 12th anniversary being part of the clique family. So we had an internal piece of software called genome that click had built for itself. And it was really an orchestration platform as an agency for everything that clicked it, operating system. And so when I joined, part of what I joined to do was to help kind of grow and expand genome and bring some of my past experience from ripple and other places like that to bear on the platform. And so we started adding some new features and growing it. In 2014, we released a book called the decoded company, which is a book all about taking big data and technology, and then using it inside of organizations to build more talent centric workplaces. And we got very, very lucky with the book, the reason we wrote it was because of that incredible growth engine, people always wanted to know how do you keep doing 30 to 40% year over year growth? And how do you have such an engaged, happy, loyal workforce? And so we kept answering the question, but we thought, you know, this would be easier if we wrote it down. And we can hand people the book and say, here's how we do it. Sure. And our hypothesis was that people would read the book, and then they would want to come and work at click. So they would, you know, read this and think, oh, I want to work at a company that's run this way. And that that did bear itself out a little bit. We certainly got some people who applied because of it. But the very lucky part of this was that we wrote a book about big data, and about talent Centricity or culture centricity, just the exact right moment in history where those two trends became really, really hot. So the book became a New York Times bestseller, which was a phenomenal experience, we got to travel kind of all over the world and speak about the book, we got invited to conferences, and we say Who are your co authors? So I co authored it. Yeah, thank you. I co authored it with two of clicks founders, Liam Segal and Aaron Goldstein. And then a very dear friend of mine, Raha firefish, who's also from Toronto, you probably know, her longer lives in France now. So that's probably why. But Rojas at the time was working for the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. And we convinced her to come and join us on this journey of writing this book, so that she could bring an unbiased, independent perspective and bring her research skills, she'd worked with Don Tapscott on a number of his books. And so to bring all of that to bear on Decoded, and we didn't want to just write a book about clicks, so we could tell the click story, or have joined us to tell stories about other companies that were doing similar things. Okay. And so, so Liam, and I primarily did the speaking tour. So we were sort of traveling all over. And the very consistent pattern emerged that we would come offstage from doing a talk, and there'd be a lineup of people there. And they mostly wanted to ask us where they could buy the software. And so you know, we're entrepreneurs, right? I mean, this, that is like, a mock. Exactly, yeah. So that is like, this, catnip for a cat, right. And so we started to think alike. You know, that was not the goal here. But did we stumble on something by accident here, some unmet market need that we could maybe satisfy with this platform? And so we were kind of going through that internal debate, I don't know what this thing even work, how would we do it, it's never been used outside of click. And then we got approached by a CEO from the US. Excuse me, name's Matt Ashby. Matt is the CEO of a company called UW FM, which is now the largest mortgage lender in the US, they just passed Rocket Mortgage a couple weeks ago, the time they were about 1200 people, maybe 75th, on the list in terms of size.
Using a platform for managing drug launches
And Matt had been through cliques office on a YPO forum tour, he'd seen a demo of the platform. And he was quite insistent that we were going to sell it to him. And we were out on the speaking tour, we got a call from Matt. And he said, Look, here's the deal. Either you're going to sell me this platform, and I'm going to use it with my team, or I'm going to build it myself. But if I build it myself, then you are not allowed to call yourselves entrepreneurs anymore. And we were like, what, like, okay, tense, we find challenging to Challenge accepted. Exactly. So we agreed with Matt, that we would sell them the first subscription. We said, We need six months to get this thing ready, because no one outside of click has ever used it. He agreed that that was fine. Then he said, I want a 10 year subscription, though, because this thing's gonna be huge. And you're gonna raise your pricing. And I don't want to end up client of the century amazing one a 10 year contract. So
Qasim Virjee 7:49
single day contracts are most these days, they're
Jay Goldman 7:51
in your seventh or eighth. Now I think of that 10 year agreement. So it's been going very well, obviously, skipping ahead in time, but so we did, we got it ready. We launched it six months later. And UWS has been an amazing customer and partner of ours since then, that was June 2015. And it gave us some confidence to start to experiment a bit more broadly with this. So just as a team within click, we started to sign up some other customers and experiment a bit with some of clicks clients, and so some life science, some not life science. And that seemed to work well outside of click. And so we kind of kept going, adding customers as a side project really. And, and then we had another very lucky inflection point, we got approached by one of clicks biggest clients in the pharma space, who were launching a new drug that was going to be a blockbuster drugs in the pharma industry. Blockbuster means a billion dollars a year in revenue or more. Okay, so they were launching this drug Viagra well into the blockbuster stage. But yeah, so they weren't this was not a Viagra drug. But they were launching a drug that was going to be a blockbuster. And they were working with Qlik as their agency. And they had noticed that click was always on time and on budget, other agencies notoriously not on time and on budget, and they knew that click had this platform that we ran everything on, which is why we were able to continue to do that. So they came to us and said, hey, could we use that platform to manage this drug launch? Because right now, we're launching in 26 countries. So global launch, we have 26 Excel spreadsheets. Every week, the country manager is supposed to send the spreadsheet to a central PMO team. And this is one of the biggest pharma companies in the world. And, and maybe one of my takeaways, you know, in this sort of spirit of this podcast of how does work get done? And how do people work? Lots of fancy technology out there to help it we get into conversations about AI, we could talk blockchain, we could talk all of these things. The world's largest companies are managing these things in Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint decks. So that is state of the art still to this day in what we mostly encounter when we go into work on I'm
Streamlining global drug launches with data capture and project management tools
Qasim Virjee 9:49
sure you said another client kind of segment would be governments. Didn't you say that? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. worst worst organizations ever. or Yeah, you know,
Jay Goldman 10:01
you know, try interoperability generally trying to do good things for the people who are their constituents, but just hampered by very outdated it very limited ability to, you know, comply compliance requirements on what they're doing. So can't really experiment that much with new unproven technology. So, yeah, and Pharma is actually quite similar in the, in the compliance regard. So they came to us and said, We got to get out of these Excel spreadsheets to killing us, we have four full time project managers whose only job is to try to make sense of these spreadsheets, and to chase down everybody to get updates, because no one ever gives us the updates. It was the craziest Excel spreadsheet I've ever seen, it was like, change the background fill color of your cell, depending on the status of the task. It was full of Visual Basic macros, if you've ever had a problem that you tried to solve with a visual basic macro. Now you have two problems. That is about all I can say about Visual Basic macros. So you ran this, this spreadsheet broke all the time, because you put the wrong thing in the wrong cell. You were supposed to copy little visual icons from one sheet and paste them into the cell to show which team was responsible for task like it was madness that they were doing this. And clearly, it wasn't working and giving them the updates that they needed. So we came in, and they said, Look, we kind of don't care how much it costs to solve this problem. Which how many times in your life? Have you ever had customers say this is kind of a blank check problem, just solve it for us. But the reality for them was
Qasim Virjee 11:36
previous industries to the one that I'm currently engaged in. Unfortunately,
Jay Goldman 11:40
that you know, reality to them. If you think just about what is a billion dollars a year in revenue mean, at a day rate, it means several million dollars a day of revenue. Oh,
Qasim Virjee 11:50
yeah, the cost of inefficiency is so high in these scenarios,
Jay Goldman 11:54
and the risk of missing that launch date by a day already pays for any solution we would have put in place right now. So we took our existing platform, and we thought about the problem that they were trying to solve. And it's not a problem related to drug launch, it's just a problem related to getting large groups of people orchestrated and working together, it is a problem endemic to large enterprise, it doesn't exist in the same way, certainly at small enterprise a little bit at mid, but it's only just kind of at an early stage. But the problem is you have a highly matrix group of people that are trying to accomplish a very complicated thing. So think about a global launch in 26 countries, I want to know how Italy is doing in launch preparation. And then I want to know how Germany is doing in launch preparation. But then I also want to know how the medical team is doing across Europe, or globally. So that's a combination of different ways of looking at the same set of data. And it's very rare to come across a platform that's built from the ground up to do that. It's like yeah, you could extract this and build a pivot table in Excel, and then sort of get there. But it's going to be a lot of manual work. So we started from the assumption that we have to build the data capture here in a way that gives us that flexibility. That was a really key piece. The second thing was you have a combination of two different datasets. And although it seems like they're highly correlated, and they are in fact, they don't typically exist in the same platform. One is project portfolio management. So I just need to know timelines, the tasks were doing, are we on track? Are we going to meet milestone dates? Who's working on them? All of that kind of stuff? Yep. The second is data KPI captures. So we also need to know, are we delivering the benefits that we've said we're going to deliver? It could be in this case, billions of dollars worth of revenue. Or it could be a non financial metric, like we need to onboard sales team members, how many have we hired in each country? Yeah, so that stuff always ends up in Excel. And then the project portfolio management stuff used to be on Microsoft Project solution, Microsoft doesn't really push project anymore. It's kind of an end of life, you get a bunch of Enterprise Project Management Solutions, clarity, Clarizen, primavera, there's a bunch out there. They're really old school Enterprise Project Management, the PMO uses them, they can't get anybody else to pay attention. It's a world we've all seen, even if we've never worked in large enterprise. So we figured out how to bring those two things together and say, this really belongs in one platform. And when you combine them in a way where you can show those connections, so not just what's our estimated benefit realization across this entire global drug launch, but then let me break it down and say, Well, what's Italy expecting to deliver and what's Germany expecting to deliver? And how many salespeople have they hired? And are we on track? That turned out to be a pretty magic combination for this one customer that we were building it for? But we built it in a way that we hadn't built a specific drug launch platform, we had just built a solve lots of people working together platform. The third lucky thing that happened so after UW M signing up and then after this pharma company, was that there was a consultant working there on that launch from Kearney or at Kearney, as they used to be known. They've dropped the 80 now, but so the global management consulting firm, one of the top 10, management consulting firms in the world On, and he actually turned out to be the head of health for Kearney. So he looked at this and said, This is a really great launch platform, every customer of ours needs this. Every customer, every health customer of ours should be using this for launch. But actually, the really lucky part was he was working on a project with carneys at the time global managing partner to find an enablement platform for Kearney. And so this was sort of independent of what kind of project we're running. But this is the kind of problem we solve for our clients. And they're starting to ask us and this was in 2016. So they were only starting now. They're very insistent today, and especially after the pandemic, but they were just starting to ask for technology enablement of delivery, like let's get out of PowerPoint, and Excel, let's get into, you know, some collaborative environment
Streamlining project management with AI-powered tools
Qasim Virjee 15:44
at that point a couple years in No, this is how many years in three years in four years.
Jay Goldman 15:48
So this would have been 2016. When we were having that conversation, the book came out in 2014. So give or take about two years into
Qasim Virjee 15:54
what was the dedicated team on sensei. I mean, the dedicated
Jay Goldman 15:58
team on sensei only was zero. But what we had actually done was take the platform at click was called genome is still today called called genome. And there was a dedicated genome team at click the platform was so important to click and it still is today, there's still a dedicated genome team, that we had made the decision from a cost perspective to have a dedicated team working on it. Over the years that hadn't necessarily been true. It had been this sort of internal platform, I think of it in in some ways as the sort of famous the cobblers children go barefoot, you know, problem of like, we sell these solutions to our clients, but we never make enough investment to build them really the right way internally. So I upgraded my own office recently. And you have this beautiful studio here, because you're you believe in making those kinds of investments. So we had made the decision to have a dedicated genome team. And I just basically started working with the genome team. And we started using that team to deliver external solutions as well. So we were kind of same code base click was using an external team. And we were running clicks instance. And we were also building features and then click was benefiting from those features coming back into the platform. So this consultant from carne asked us if we were interested in a potential partnership with carne to use this platform for their delivery, which of course, we were, we met with the global Managing Partner, he totally agreed that this was really promising. And we should try some experiments together. And so we took what we built there. And then we generalized it into a platform for carne to use for any kind of client delivery, we brought that to market in 2017, under the name conductor, which is the name that it has today. And then have really leaned heavily into conductor as our primary focus. And so it was a bit of a pivot for us away from the sort of general kind of enterprise operating system model that we were in at the time into conductor as this large enterprise and government agency tool that they could use for orchestration. When
Qasim Virjee 17:54
you say orchestration, you mean, data moving in and out of different places.
Jay Goldman 17:59
Often data is a big part of this. So think about the typical enterprise environment you've got, I would say you have an ERP, but the truth is, you probably have like five ERPs, or 20, ERPs, you have a bunch of maybe highly specific point solution tools that are doing different things, you might have a product lifecycle management tool, if you're doing product development, you might have some ESG tracking software these days where you're doing carbon emission tracking, and that kind of stuff. So definitely, there's a lot of data movement around. And you can solve some of that with a tool like Power BI or Tableau where you can bring some of that together and dashboard. And we can embed those into our platform. But orchestration is also about the people side. So how do we get the people working in the right way? How do we track that they're, that they're delivering what they need to deliver? How do we become predictive about that? So predictive on a sense of benefits realization, if this is a five year project, and it's going to generate $500 million in benefit to the organization, it's not necessarily going to pay some million 100 million a year. It may be very backloaded toward the end. So how do we get into a place where each of our projects is predicting their curve of benefit realization? And then we can roll up report across all of that? And then how do we get predictive about things like risk management? So traditionally, risk management in an organization might be like, we have a risk registry, which is an Excel spreadsheet that someone is supposed to be updating, and, you know, hopefully we remember to do it. And so we've sort of taken that into a different approach. How do we ask people on a weekly basis to help identify risks that might exist in their project? And then how do we track those risks over time, so that we can look across an entire program and say, well, here's what our risk profile looks like. And also, we can remind people, hey, this date was supposed to be the day where we check this and so we can manage and mitigate some of that risk and kind of where we've got to think maybe the the easiest way to understand this an ROI is when we go into a program today and it's a large program in an enterprise. Typically about 25% of the effort of that team is status reporting, right? So think about that at a scale of maybe 100. People,
Qasim Virjee 20:04
like once a day, once a week, everyone's like writing up some bullshit document in a PowerPoint deck typically, right, because they have to present on a call with, like, 500 people, right, and then they're all
Jay Goldman 20:13
sitting on that call. So they're spending a whole bunch of time there. And so you know, if you have 100 people working on this project, that effectively means that 25 of those people spend 100% of their time on status reporting, or everybody spends a quarter of their time, either way, it's mathematically the same. And think about that as 25% of your of your team cost. You're paying for status updates. So when you put a platform like conductor, and there are others that do pieces of this, we're kind of the only one that do the whole picture. But there are others that do pieces, each one of those pieces reduces that 25%. And a platform like conductor brings it down to about 5%. So we can return to you 20% of the work effort of the team who are working on this massive program. And now they can have a four day week. And now they can have a four day week. Yep, exactly. Well, 20% That's exactly yeah, I mean, so they could you could move to a 40 week model, we have recently moved to a 40 week model, but But I mean, that's a huge ROI, saving and conductors about the cost of one team member. So you can kind of add a team member to your team cost wise, but you can get back 20% of the work effort of all the other team members on the team.
Scaling a business with a small market but infinite potential
Qasim Virjee 21:19
So yeah, it's like a why not? Software? Right. So as it stands today, it's been a decade, it's been a decade that the software has been kind of little last about eight years. Yeah. And how was your team grown? Because you started as this kind of like, incubator project, now went off into like your own company, sensei. Yeah,
Jay Goldman 21:43
we raised a Series A in December 2020. We officially spun the company out of click in January 21. And then have been operating as a separate business, obviously, with great support from click and libram sits on our board, so very close relationship with them. But operating as a separate business since then, when we close the series A we were somewhere around 4550 people. And today we're about 70 people. So it's grown not a huge amount, we're quite careful on headcount growth, to pace it to revenue growth, and you want to be
Qasim Virjee 22:18
cashflow sustainable, to some degree, right. But yet a seated company. So what does that mean, in terms of your kind of impetus to grow at scale?
Jay Goldman 22:31
You know, it's an interesting question for us. I think, sometimes you start out with a startup idea, and you go to raise funding, and one of the first questions you'll get is talk to me about total addressable market, or Tam, as it's called. And what investors at that point are trying to understand is, is this potentially big enough to give me the kind of return that I want to get on this, right? So if every investor and we'll just use some round numbers to make math easy, if they're looking to 10x, their investment, what they're trying to understand is, Is there potential to get to that number is the market that you're selling to big enough. And it's a bit of a trade off, because sometimes when you sell into a small market, it's easier to get market penetration, because it's a highly dedicated market, and they know exactly what they're looking for. But the problem is, there just isn't enough of them to get to the kind of numbers that an investor wants to get to. It can be a great, and I don't use the term, I think sometimes the term is used a bit dismissively, I actually don't think it is, it could be a great lifestyle business. It can generate a great income for you as an individual founder, and you know, your leadership team and whatever. But it's not going to get to the kind of scale where venture capital money makes sense. And that's totally fine. There's lots of amazing businesses that work that way. It's a great lifestyle for the people who are leading them. But it's not going to raise money in a sort of traditional venture capital model. total addressable market was never a concern for us, because our market is basically large enterprises doing stuff. So that is an almost endless market, it's big enough that it might as well be infinite. And so it was never even a question that we got into when we were speaking to potential investors, because it was kind of obvious. Not only can we get there on conductor, but we can build adjacent products to conductor that can continue to spread our footprint within those organizations and continue to grow our revenue base that way. And so we never had that sort of concern of is this a scalable enough business?
Scaling businesses and product market fit
Qasim Virjee 24:16
But I mean, even the investor expectation of follow on funding and the scale by capital injection question. Yeah,
Jay Goldman 24:24
I think we've seen a pendulum swing. So we're recording this in December 2022. We've seen a pendulum swing in the market where we've watched a whole bunch of very large flameouts of the growth at all cost capital model. And we're seeing a swing back to well, maybe the fundamentals of the business actually do matter. We've always believed the fundamentals matter. We very intentionally raised capital from investors who agreed with that model and didn't agree with the invest in growth at all costs model. My co founder Benji He, who was a longtime clicksor, he was actually employee number eight click so he goes way back there. His family used to have a family business in the smoked fish business. So they were providers of a lot of smoked salmon around Toronto. So if you've eaten smoked salmon in Toronto, you've probably eaten fish that came from their factory, because they were one of the biggest providers. And Benji likes to tell the story about going with his dad to visit one of their suppliers who was a fish supplier. And he was an industrial fish farm and they grew fish and tanks, and then they sold it to the market. And they're watching these fish swim around the tank and the guys complaining about how his business has just become impossible, because all of their inputs have got more expensive. So fish food costs more antibiotics cost more the, you know, fish, eggs cause more, everything costs more coming in, and the price of fish is going down. So he's getting squeezed out in the middle. And he's now at a point where every fish he sells he loses money on. So Benji looks at him and says, Well, how are you going to solve that problem? And he says, I'll sell more fish. That is the that grow at all cost model summarized, right? Yeah, you'll never grow your way out of that problem. If your Uber and you subsidize every ride on the belief that you're going to reach some market penetration number, where you can jack the price up,
Qasim Virjee 26:13
yes, scale at all costs, pyramid scheme, VC models are stupid, and
Jay Goldman 26:18
not for the investors who make a lot of money on them. Sometimes Sometimes, yeah, if
Qasim Virjee 26:23
they're not, you know, LPs in real ventures or something. That was another story that I found this week. That was kind of funny. But yeah, like, this episode is not specific about VC. So I won't, I won't go there. But it's an interesting thing. Regardless, if you're building a kind of like a business that has potential to scale in terms of grow your relevance to the market and satisfy many, many customers, you know, there's got to be a happy balance between the natural flow of a kind of achieving success. And then the, you know, like, I guess you can't scale an organization to satisfy the potential market all the time. Like,
Jay Goldman 27:08
yeah, their attention to market is not,
Qasim Virjee 27:12
let's say it's not a it's a fluid concept.
Jay Goldman 27:15
Yeah, and, and product market fit is a fluid concept. I don't like the idea. And you'll, you'll hear people talk about we attained product market fit, right, but it's a temporary state, the market changes the needs of your customers change the competitive landscape changes. So you never really attain market, product market fit, and then check it off your list and move on to the next thing. It should be a constant question of are we in a state of product market fit? How is the market changing? How do we need to respond to those changes in the market and the innovators dilemma is a little bit that problem of we got there. And then it was so convincing that we detained it that we stopped paying attention. And then the market changed. And new innovators came up underneath us who were smaller and more agile and didn't have all the legacy and all that kind of stuff. And they were able to out innovate us because we'd stopped paying attention to that question. Yeah. Yeah.
Qasim Virjee 28:07
And then now there's the marketers dilemma, which is, or the innovative marketer versus marketers dilemma of having to create a market, right, so many different things post pandemic, where markets have just splintered. And everyone, of course, is not, you know, fast or fast. So it's difficult to Yeah,
Jay Goldman 28:26
it said, I think the the first mover advantage, as it's often called, in the tech industry, elsewhere, as well, but it's a common tech industry thing is a bit of a myth. The first mover spends a huge amount of time and money educating the market into existence. And what they're really doing is taking what is sort of a, you know, footpath through the forest and paving it. But they're not really getting the benefit out of that. They just spent all the money paving it, the people who get the benefit are the people driving on the paved road right behind them, who are the second movers and third movers, who can thank them for having spent all the time creating this market for them. Now, that's not to say that it's not still a good pursuit, there's a huge amount of money that can be made in being the first if you're successful in creating the market, especially if you can own that term. If you look at a company like Gong, who has done an amazing job of creating what was first revenue intelligence as a market, but as become conversational intelligence and building a huge market, and they're now valued well into the billions of dollars, and it's a great product, we use it ourselves. But you can get there if you are convincingly that first mover what you don't hear are all the stories of people who thought they had first mover advantage and then spent every penny they had paving the road and then vanished. Right? And it's really the second or third mover who you hear about and it makes it appear as though they were the first because you never even learned the company name of the company that flamed out while they were trying to build the road in the first place. Let's
Qasim Virjee 29:53
talk about senseis senseis are conducted conductors of product since he is the company senseis T Game of 70. Where are they? Who are they?
Jay Goldman 30:02
They are mostly around the GTA, generally. So when the pandemic came along, and the kind of need to be in the office disappeared completely, and caused us to really rethink that sort of model, like how do we want to think about office space and collaboration? A lot of our team asked if it was okay for them to move outside of the city. And we said, yes, absolutely, you should go for it.
Qasim Virjee 30:23
What were the main themes for like the impetus? What were people saying? Was it too expensive in the city? Were they looking for better lifestyle, like they wanted?
Remote work and talent pool in Toronto
Jay Goldman 30:31
Maybe a bit of a combination, but generally too expensive? And so they were looking for? Where does my rent dollar go further? Or where does my mortgage dollar go further? Toronto has become a city where I think much like New York comes to mind, but other big cities as well. If you're growing up in Toronto, right now, your expectation is your lifetime renter, you're very unlikely to be able to buy property in the city, even condos have become very unaffordable. And so we can have a whole second way into like the real estate market in Toronto. I think everyone who lives here has become a bit of an expert on the real estate market in Toronto, if
Qasim Virjee 31:06
you want to actually, every single person I talked to who owns a house like me is like I could never leave my house. Yeah, that's forever house. Yeah, I sell my house. I'll I can't even downgrade. Yeah,
Jay Goldman 31:17
yeah, I know, the city's anyway. Yes. So part of this was how do we just get more out of what we're spending part of it was lifestyle, you know, get out of the city and have a big backyard and be able to have a family and do all that kind of stuff. So we said yes, absolutely, you should do that. And so we have a few team members that moved out to kind of London area, Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph along kind of 401, West from the city, we had a few who moved east. We had a couple of folks from Pei, who asked if they could just go home, and we said, Sure, so they went back to PEI. And so it kind of that sort of spread out that way. It also made us realize that we were far less reliant on hiring in Toronto than we thought we were. And I think it was just, it's one of those things that you don't realize is a default assumption until the default gets challenged. And then you're like, Oh, I had just always thought that was a fundamental law of the universe. But it actually turns out, it doesn't matter, right. And so that was one of those things, which was, the talent pool in the city is amazing. There's a lot of very talented people. But it's also an extremely hard to compete in talent market, especially as a tech company that's not as well funded as a lot of the bigger players. And Toronto has really come up on that tech scene in a big way. We're seeing a huge investment from the big tech players, at least pre, you know, pre pandemic we'll see. And with the economy where it is now, probably we're
Qasim Virjee 32:32
even seeing more recently, and on this series, we've talked to people that are explaining that, because of the quality of talent that's here. And probably that has been kept here because of the high ticket price, or the high salaries that have been paid. locally. You know, a lot of US companies, for example, are poaching and are trying to hire Torontonians for their American companies.
Jay Goldman 32:54
Yeah. And they may be actually just opening an office here and doing it here. They may be relocating people to the US. No other way just remote work. And a lot of
Qasim Virjee 33:04
1000s or 1000s of of senior engineering jobs. That would be like 200k Canadian, which is like ridiculous to me. A lot of money. Yeah. And
Jay Goldman 33:13
that's that's starting to become an entry salary. Not stop.
Qasim Virjee 33:16
Yeah, yeah, stop. And, but but the same job being poached from the US where the same person in Toronto can stay here is being paid 300 us right, with a signing bonus
Office space needs during remote work era
Jay Goldman 33:27
well, and that becomes highly unaffordable for companies like us who are in the venture backed stage. But it's also not as important to, you know, the same reason that American company can come here and hire somebody is the same reason why we can hire somebody in a completely different talent market somewhere else in the world and timezones aside. And that's realistic. It's both a factor to consider and collaboration within your team. But actually, for us, we have a very global customer base, we have customers across pretty much every continent. And so we need to be able to serve customers close as possible to their local timezone. Because running all of that from Eastern Time becomes really problematic. We have some amazing customers, for example, in Singapore, it's about the worst challenge. You can have timezone wise, it's either 12 or 13 hours, depending on daylight savings. And so it becomes shift Well, in order the super early morning shift or whatever, right, and so you can never overlap on a business hour with them. And we're always going to make it easy for our customers. And so that is a heavy load on our team. So we started to hire more internationally and outside of just kind of a Toronto focus. So we've got a team member in Ottawa. We have two in Alberta, two in the US, one in Brazil, one in India, and we'll continue to so how many people are left here in Toronto? It's still the majority of the team. So yes, still, because I remember, didn't you just get a new office? We opened an office in September 21. And we really built it we we started off let's go back and challenge the fundamental assumption. Do we actually need an office because we've been running through COVID with no office space at all? They could very generously lead us out of our very small portion of their lease of Toronto, but they'd said, You know what, don't bother paying us rent, the office is closed anyway. So that was amazing. Thank you click if you're listening for helping us out a little. And then we started to think like, Okay, well, pandemic's kind of lifting a bit. Do we want an office? And if so, why do we want an office? And so we went to our team and said, Let's figure this out together? Do we want an office? And the overwhelming response from the team was yes, I would like to be able to come in, not every day, but maybe, and we sort of pulled everybody on how many days a week, would you really like to come in if you had the choice? And so we had nobody answered five, I think we had one person answered four, we had a couple who answered three, and then the majority was one or two days, it was sort of evenly split between them. And then we sort of dug into that. Okay, so you want to come in one or two days? Why do you want to come in? Yeah, what do you want to do, and you come in, and what they wanted was connection, they wanted to spend face time with their colleagues, they wanted to get in front of a whiteboard, and do some big picture thinking. They wanted to just not be in a little box on a screen and have some connection, they wanted to have lunch, they wanted to get maybe out of their house and away from their family for a day a week, you know, whatever that reason might have been, but it was always about the human connection. It was never about the like, I really missed the commute. And I want to spend time on the subway or whatever. Yeah. So we said, Okay, so that's really interesting, because it tells us a few things. One is, there used to be a sort of default heuristic calculation of 100 square feet per person, it was like an easy math like, Alright, 70 people, 100 square feet per person, we need 7000 square feet. And then we're also going to grow. So let's estimate that we probably need 10,000 square feet. And that will cover us for the next few years. And then we always kind of want to find a space where maybe we can take another floor in the building, or we can knock down a wall or whatever. And so we kind of looked at it and said, well, that math doesn't make sense anymore, because we don't need 100 square feet per person, right? Everybody's in one workstation. Yeah, exactly. Well, and it's some workstations, but it's, you know, hotel workstations. It's not like dedicated workstations, we're not going to have Jay's desk that he only uses once or twice a week sit empty for the remaining three or four days. So we started looking for less space than we would have taken for sure, probably, probably, we ended up with 7000 square feet, but we probably would have been looking more in the 10 to 12 range.
Finding unconventional office space in Toronto during COVID-19
If we had been actually taking office space and expecting to grow the team and have everybody come in. That's a big cost savings. Then we also didn't want an existing build out. Because we didn't want traditional office space, we wanted a blank canvas where we could start from scratch because the whole thing was really collaboration space. That was what the team was looking for. And most offices are maybe pay lip service in a traditional model to collaboration space in the sense that you can point at some boardrooms and be like, Yeah, we have collaboration space. But that's not really collaboration space. It's just a room people can get into together. So we kind of said, Okay, let's find we worked with a an amazing agent who helped us to find some space.
Qasim Virjee 38:02
Did you work with Dave? We did. Yeah. Dave, Karen, Dave, Karen's,
Jay Goldman 38:06
perhaps the Dave Karen's, he
Qasim Virjee 38:08
was awesome. Dave Karen's was just on our he was in town. And we had him sitting here. He was sitting where you are in the hot seat. And he was on our start, well, podcast. So if any audience members are interested in learning more about this colorful character who posts on LinkedIn every five minutes, he
Jay Goldman 38:26
is a very colorful character. And you know, and I really respect that Dave is trying to just shake up a very traditional industry and really force it to rethink some of its fundamental assumptions and default assumptions. It has always been a model of the landlord has all the power and the tenant just has to put up with it.
Qasim Virjee 38:45
I do have a question. Okay. Sorry to cut you off. But like, as you're looking for unconventional space, or at least to have a space that you could make more contextually relevant to your team. You've got this kind of like, new look in 2001 21, on on what people want from their space. And they're all excited about input. Why work with a broker? Why did you have to work with a broker to find a space? I think it's just, it's just convention. It's
Office design and layout
Jay Goldman 39:12
just and well, no, it's a shortcut. To be honest, I wish we wouldn't have worked with a traditional broker. I've known Dave for years, okay, so it was easy to make the call of like, Dave, we need something that is going to really work for us, help us out. And not being all that familiar with the sort of commercial real estate space in Toronto. You also don't want to end up in a lease that's going to be really punitive or a landlord that's going to turn out to be a real problem in the business or any of those sorts of things. And so a broker can help you navigate that space a bit. I don't know that every business needs to do it. And in fact, I think if we were smaller, we would have come to start well and said, hey, help us out. You know, let's find some space together. Let's kind of work something out. So what we ended up with is sublet, and the sublet was really attractive because it was a complete The Unfinished sublet space, which is about the least attractive piece of real estate in a commercial market at any point in time and rent it, right and so when the when COVID happened and so when this wasn't right at the beginning of COVID. So we were in kind of, we would have been looking in maybe like early summer 21. Right. So we're like, a year and a bit into the pandemic, people are fleeing office space left, right and center, there is the largest available amount of mark of commercial real estate in the Toronto market that there may be has ever been, because of people abandoning offices and whatever else. It's only gotten more available, right? And so you rank that on a list of what's the most desirable space and unfinished sublet is about the bottom of that list, because most people are looking at that and thinking, Well, I'm not going to put any money into finishing the space. It's only it was a three year sublet. So why would I invest in, you know, making it better if it's just that time, this one had some really attractive properties to it. We wanted to say in the young employer neighborhood, we are cliques, offices, that blur in church. And we wanted to be close by our teams that kind of oriented their lives around getting to there for work, so they knew the space well, it's a great neighborhood for restaurants, it's got some really nice office space, it's super convenient for transit, because we have two subway lines intersecting at Yonge and Bloor, right. And so we kind of went up to click on that front, because we moved into the building connected to the subway instead of the building, that's one block away from the subway. So you know, nice bonus that you actually don't even have to go outside to get to our buildings, there's straight downstairs. So that was really attractive. The sublandlord, who had the space has three other floors in the building. So we knew that they were going to be around. And we knew that they had an existing relationship with the landlord. And they could shield us from some of that and kind of manage some of that. So that was really attractive. It was a perfect space in the layout was ideal for building what we wanted to build. But it's also three sides of the floor. So we have windows with east, south and west exposure, which means tons of light throughout the day, not just kind of one part of the day where we get sunlight. And so lots of reasons like that. It was it was just a really nice space. And then we worked with a Toronto company called ClearSpace, who have a really amazing model for Yep, exactly. Yep. Mark and his team were great. Their model is how do you do office build out really inexpensively end up with a great high quality product? And part of the answer to that is it's really sort of catalog driven. So we I think may have met with the clear space team 10 times between first time we met with them, and we moved into our office, and they were right on budget and right on time, the space was attractive because it had a tenant improvement allowance from the last break that was clear space do so ClearSpace. They are they're a general contractor. So they'll handle the whole build. Oh, they are also the designer. So we they have a I think it's four different kind of design themes you can choose from we chose the bold theme, it's the most matching to our brand identity and to our branding. And then there they took the the floorplan and then they laid out an office working with us like how to what kind of spaces do you want? And how do you want to use it and that kind of stuff did a great floorplan layout. And then the key pieces, it's all catalog driven from there. So here are five optioning, systems, furniture, all the furniture, all of the finishes. So here's five options for the chairs in the cafeteria. Which one do you want? Here's three options for couches. For these meeting rooms, which one do you want. And so you just go through and you pick out of it. And that makes it really cost effective, because they've got great deals on all of that stuff. Some of it is their own design. So we their standing desks, for example that we use in our workstation are actually built by clear space. And then some of it is just catalog. You know, I've gone into some furniture stores in Toronto and like, oh, yeah, that couch in the in one of our meeting rooms. So you know, some of it is just that kind of stuff. Yeah. And so yeah, aside from some COVID, some some funny COVID Supply Chain things like our big boardroom table came, but the middle leg, just that particular part four weeks, oh my god, so and so you can't build the table without it. So we just had like the chairs in a circle in the or in like a rectangle shape in that boardroom for like four weeks because the leg was missing for the table. You know, that's COVID life, right? I mean, what are you gonna do? So? Yeah, so that was great. We opened the office end of September 2021. So it's been just over a year, we just we had a first birthday party for the office recently. And he's got it a cake and in saying happy birthday, and
Qasim Virjee 44:30
so didn't need any of the kingdom. You have to help. Yeah, we all had to help.
Jay Goldman 44:34
And, and it's been really great. We vary on a given day, we might have no one there. So there are some days where no one's in. We might have five or six people in the space was well designed to not feel all that empty even with five or six people and we concentrated the workstations into one area. So when you know five or six people, it doesn't feel busy, but you can all see each other and sort of interact even if that's it. And then We'll have days where there's 10 people, 15 people, and we built originally a rotating schedule. So the sort of idea was, look, if you're going to come in, come in on the day when your team is scheduled to be here, because that way, you've got the highest chance of being here with the people that you're going to collaborate. Right, right. Because we were hearing stories and talking to people in other companies where they're like, We have a mandate to go in, we have to be in twice a week. So fine, I go in twice a week, but then I sit on Zoom calls or teams calls with the people who aren't here. So why am I here, there's no reason to be in the office, because the people I work with aren't here. We wanted to avoid that problem. And so we did quite successfully. So teams come in on the same day, we've moved a bit away from the fixed rotating schedule, which was like, okay, you know, this engineering team isn't on this day, and the sales team isn't on this day. And then the next week, the sales team is in with someone else. So we were trying to get to as much soon as coordinating all that stuff, we have an office concierge named pam, pam is awesome. And build the whole schedule. We moved a bit away from the the more fixed model, especially as we've gone to 40 weeks. So that's been an interesting twist on all of that. But teams are still coordinating to come in on the same day. So it's, it's still accomplished the same sort of goal. And so depending on which teams and you might get to 10 or 15 people in, and then we have coming up next week is our annual town hall and holiday party, we built part of the space as an as an event space. So it's a multi use space, it's our kitchen, it's our cafe, it's our event space, it can be easily reconfigured. And so we'll have we've out of our team, total, we've got about 55 RSVPs, to attend Town Hall live. And then the whole space is set up for live streaming. So we'll just live streaming to the rest of the team and they can watch remotely from home wherever home is,
Qasim Virjee 46:44
is that space or your your office in general. I mean, how welcoming is the company of that space being kind of owned by your team members, your staff, like if Judy wants to come in on a Saturday, because there's nowhere else to host her bar mitzvah for her kid,
Jay Goldman 47:01
you know, we've never had a Bar Mitzvah request. So I don't know that we would work something out if that was the case. Actually, though, on the weekends, we work with TKS the knowledge society, props to TKS amazing group who do extracurricular programming, somewhat STEM focus, but not exclusively for high school students. TKS started here in Toronto has spread all over the world, they are an amazing group highly recommend the knowledge society if you have kids of that age, and are looking for something for them to really dig into. So we partnered with them, and we host them in our office on the weekend. So the Toronto TKS contingent actually operates out of Sensei labs on Saturdays and Sundays,
Partnering with a non-profit organization for event space
Qasim Virjee 47:39
what's the partnership other words, other than you giving them space, that's
Jay Goldman 47:42
the partnership, okay, we give them space.
Qasim Virjee 47:44
I only ask because we've gone down the road with TKS. I love TKS for what they do programming wise. But we've never been able to hit the nail on the head for something that's like mutually beneficial,
Jay Goldman 47:55
you know, for us, it was an opportunity to give back to the community and to have a place for these amazing kids to come in and spend time, we didn't need to get anything out of it for ourselves. And we're not in the space business. So that makes it a bit easier for us to say, of course,
Qasim Virjee 48:09
I'm looking at real estate as needing to make money on that our you know, right. And we're looking
Jay Goldman 48:14
at it as the space was sitting empty. And actually, it by coincidence ends up being a perfect layout for them because they have like 60 Kids in at a time. And then they need breakout rooms. So because we built these collaboration rooms in the space, they can disperse throughout, take the breakout rooms do their group projects come back together and present in our main event space that easily lost 60 people. So it just turned out to be a really great layout for them. And yeah, and they've been great tenants actually are. And this is a testament to how well they care for our space. Our team didn't even know that someone was coming in on the weekends and using it. So it wasn't like we were finding like, you know, piles of garbage or the furniture was wrecked or whatever. Yeah, our team was actually unaware that this was happening until we shared some great photos. TKS brought a photographer in who did a really nice job capturing the kids working in our space. And then I shared them and a whole bunch of our team was like, wait, what? How long has this been
Qasim Virjee 49:04
going on? For there yesterday? What the hell? Yeah. Yeah, and they're good kids. You know, they don't put like bubble gum under the table.
The relevance of offices in a remote work world
Jay Goldman 49:10
I haven't checked for bubble gum. I will check for bubble gum. going yeah, now you're gonna get sorry, ticket. Yeah, so you're gonna get tickets in trouble. But But yeah, so that that was a nice side benefit to it. And, and we actually met TKS originally short, but sort of funny story. We were at Web Summit in Lisbon, which we've been doing for a few years. And I was speaking so we were sitting in the speaker Lounge, which is a beautiful lounge area backstage. And we're just having a, you know, bite to eat and a coffee or whatever. I was there with Benji, my co founder. And I'm looking at this group of high school, clearly high school kids who are in the speaker lounge at Web Summit. And so it was like a successive set of realizations. I was like, Oh, they're speaking English. Okay, what are they, you know, what are they talking about? Like, oh, they're talking about quantum physics. That's interesting. And then the conversation sort of shifted, and then it went I wasn't like creepily listening in they were standing right next to us. So it wasn't like, and that conversation shifted. And then they started talking about Toronto. And I was like, Wait a minute. So I got up and introduced myself. I was like, Hey, I couldn't help but overhear, you're talking about Toronto, are you from Toronto? And they were like, Yeah, we're from Toronto, we're part of this group called TKS. I'd never heard of it at that point. So when we came back, I connected with the TKS founding team. That said, I just want to learn more about this, I have a, my daughter's 13. So now she's old enough. But at the time, this was pre COVID. So she wasn't old enough yet to participate. 13 is actually the entry age for TKS. But I was like, you know, hopefully, one day, this is something she's interested in. So let me learn more about this. And so we sat down and chatted, and they said, our biggest challenge is space. And at the time, we were still in the click office and click has a beautiful first floor at right at church and floor space called the click cafe. And we make it available for community members to use. And I was like, Yeah, you know what, we can probably coordinate something and then COVID happened. And that was sort of the end of it, right? But then when COVID started to Lesson up, and we were kind of able to do things in person, again, they reached back out and asked about space. And I said, Well, actually, you know what we've moved out, but we have an even better space, because the the cafe wouldn't have had breakout rooms and that kind of area. So that was that was the partnership,
Qasim Virjee 51:09
small world, when you're in Lisbon for a while.
Jay Goldman 51:15
And what are some it's like 80,000 people. So that was a funny opportunity to bump into somebody,
Qasim Virjee 51:20
man, what a great, great story there. That's so cool. I think it's really important to hear these stories of offices still being relevant. And organizations taking a particularly focused look on like, what the workflows are that they expect from their office, and then also how their office can support something else is kind of interesting, too. Yeah.
Jay Goldman 51:41
And I would underline offices are still relevant, because I think that the shift right now, we're all in a bit of a chaotic, rewriting history period of this. And I love those go back to first principle moments where we can throw out some default assumptions and say, Well, this is only always been true, because it was always true not because you know, gravity is hard to fight. Gravity is one of those fundamentals, but like everything else about how we do work, and office space, and all that kind of stuff. That's only true, because we decided it was true. And it's only been true for a tiny blip of human history, seven years. So, so much of this comes from Ford and the industrial revolution, and the fight, the fact that there's a five day workweek comes from that whole, really Ford was the beginning of a five day workweek, and a whole bunch of those other things. If you think about that, in terms of human history, we're talking about less than 100 years that this has become so ingrained over our heads, it's a
Qasim Virjee 52:37
blip. And then of course, it's it's you know, like you said, it is American kind of Western worlds, you know, template, but it is very interesting. And I think also, it's funny because we both come from software. And, and I came particularly from, you know, open source software for so many years. And I was just telling someone else recently that in working with this entirely distributed community that supported each other to build a code base that we all got our living from selling, you know, not enough, I think, gets talked about the culture of participating in, you know, an open source project. But these are amazing experiences for distributed teams remote work from day one. And they were at least with Drupal. In the time that I was doing, doing it around Drupal, five to Drupal, eight, very successful international communities, you know,
Flexible work arrangements and productivity
Jay Goldman 53:34
automatic, the creators of WordPress have been huge proponents of remote work and remote teams from the beginning, an open source project that's also commercial and has made a huge amount of money out of doing so. I there's lots of great examples of that. Yeah, and I think some of the fundamental sticky bits of how you make a team work like that come out of those projects. Slack was output from a game company that Stuart had tried to build the second time around that he had, he should keep trying to make games because the first one turned into flicker, and the second one turned into Slack. So he's not very good at building games, apparently. But he is very good at turning some of the output into huge companies that he can exit very successfully from. But yes, Slack was just taking some of their internal communication channels and building better tools for themselves. Yep. And then turning it into commercial software.
Qasim Virjee 54:27
Yeah, man remote first. Anyway, it's interesting because I think it's still there's a long way for for companies around the world definitely here to kind of escape the you know, biases and of, of our upbringing through this kind of office, first culture in North America. And rethinking that and saying that, hey, we're not gonna throw it out. But we're gonna rethink it. We're gonna see how it fits our culture and actually define a culture in the process.
Jay Goldman 54:52
So I one of the ones that you'd asked me before we started recording about 40 weeks so this is a recent thing for us. Were a little Over a month into a global pilot, the first phase of the pilot just released results the other day hugely successful. It's an organization called 40. Week global. So it's a nonprofit that we enrolled into, in order to participate in the pilot. It is run by that group with a huge amount of support for the companies that are participating. Some economists who are doing an actual study on it. So there's real data being reported on this. So it wasn't just like, well, let's, let's see what happens. And we'll take one day off. So we enrolled in participating, or were in the second cohort, which the first cohort was mostly UK based, the second cohort is much more global. So there's a few Canadian companies, American companies, whatever else, and there's about 200 total, so it's fairly large. And the goal of the 40 week is to is to question some of those underlying assumptions. So we have a five day week because really, Henry Ford said, we should have a five day week, there's no other reason why you have to work Monday to Friday, and then take the weekend off. So the question was, could you be 20% more productive in four days, and then take a three day weekend instead? And it's not about compressing an 40 hour week in the four days. So it's a 10 hour day instead of an eight hour day? It's not that it's how do we remove 20% of the inefficiency in what we do. So we can still accomplish as much in a 32 hour. And, you know, some people might question that right away and be like this, there's no way that this works. But the truth is, 20% is not that much, you
Qasim Virjee 56:26
just see it work. But I personally, I am at odds with this whole, like four versus three, I fucking hate the weekends. Like I like taking time exclusively with my family and stuff. But I don't, in my mind, see my work at odds with my personal life. And that's, that's a very different place to get to, which is a percent and not every company can also embrace this kind of like, seven day half days, or come in whenever you want. And we'll see where we crossed fast, I have three meetings
Jay Goldman 56:51
admits it is easier in a knowledge based industry maybe than it is in some other industries. But you don't have to have a four day company week, because not everyone has to take the same day. So you can still run a five day week as a company, you just have a difference between when people are working. And one of the ways you can actually be more efficient is to move all of the kind of personal stuff, that's just life stuff. And you got to get it done doctor's appointments, haircuts, dentists, whatever, that kind of stuff to your day off, right. And so now it doesn't take up time out of those other parts of the day, you just kind of consolidate it down. So it's not necessarily that you're getting kind of an extra weekend day to sit around do nothing, although you can, of course, use efficiency, but its efficiency. And, and a lot of our team members are using that day to do something they've always wanted to do but didn't have time. So a number of them are taking courses, for example, and they're investing in themselves and they're learning something in that day,
Qasim Virjee 57:41
what's the craziest courses you've heard of? So mostly,
Jay Goldman 57:44
it's so far it's been mostly language courses actually sounds like training to be a pilot? No, no, none of that. I think some of our team members might be doing a bit of a side hustle on that day, which is awesome. Like if you wanted to, if you're a developer, and you'd always want to build a product, and you didn't want to take up your evenings and weekends away from your family when I got one day a week. So it's not a ton of time, but it's enough to kind of get something you know, underway and get built. So we're about a month in, we just did a check in with our team. And we asked everyone to estimate how much they've been able to get their their time investment down from 100%, where we were to 80%, where we're aiming for. And I'd say we're sitting somewhere around kind of 87 was kind of the average percent. I mean, it's obviously an approximation. But there's a kind of J curve to this, like there is too many things, which is we expected productivity to go down short term. And then way up long term, as we get into this, a number of the companies in the first cohort have actually found higher productivity as a result of going to this than they were at before. And part of it is how do you establish productivity metrics for your team that are real productivity metrics, not just vanity metrics. So you can measure how you're doing through this. And that was, there's about a two month prep before you kick off into the pilot of figuring that stuff out and getting it in place and getting recording systems in place and stuff. So I'd say about sofar, about a month, and we've been able to reduce maybe 10 to 12% of the time that people are spending. We're not quite down to that 80% yet, but that was expected. And huge results from the team just happier, more engaged. time with family time on personal stuff. Some teams have done we're all taking Fridays, or Mondays, we only did Fridays on Mondays. Otherwise, it gets a bit chaotic with random people out on certain days, right? And then other teams who are more customer facing and can't just have like half the team disappear on a day have figured out really innovative solutions to how do we make sure we're doing a 40 week, but we're also meeting our customer requirements and we're there for our customers and we're not letting anybody down. So some of our teams have to have a bit more of a coverage model but but yeah, so far and you know, we may rethink this as we get further into it but
Qasim Virjee 59:44
so far, three days a week. And then a two day Yeah, and then a one day a
Jay Goldman 59:48
week but you have to work 24 hours solid pee breaks or anything sponsored by Red Bull. Yeah, exactly. Well, I
Qasim Virjee 59:56
think it's interesting. I'm so glad to hear this kind of like example of Have your company kind of, you know, taking it head on and saying, you know, what can we do and think creatively about what can we do out of the limitations of the pandemic to really drive a new way of working for yourself? Yeah, awesome. Spending some time.
Jay Goldman 1:00:13
Thank you. Yeah, it was a real pleasure to be here. Thanks. Thanks. Cheers.