Making a case for remote work - with commercial broker Dave Cairns


After having left Toronto to move eastward and settle on Prince Edward Island, Dave Cairns presents an unusual case as a commercial real estate broker.

His practice has for years paired customers with office space in downtown Toronto, and most recently this has been managed online and with the occasional 2.5hr flight to meet with clients.

This great conversation was recorded for StartWell's Gathering Podcast - which explores corporate culture in Canada through the voices of people who bring teams together.

Read through the interview transcript

Remote work and its impact on connection in a big city. (0:01)

Dave Cairns 0:05 people can work in a more liberated way, let's just call it liberated, you know, because Because liberated can mean, I come to work at start well, but I'm effectively working remotely because I'm not proximate to XYZ person that I do business with in my own company. But I'm in a physical space, I'm interacting with other human beings, and I'm living in a big city, if that actually becomes more of a reality, all of a sudden, a lot of these community problems that exist in these large cities like Toronto should theoretically start to self solve themselves. I've been in multiple offices since I've been back in Toronto, do you know what I see a bunch of miserable people? Yeah, that are not connecting with each other in any meaningful way whatsoever. And we're like, you'll only hear it from real estate brokers. They're like, people need to get back into the office to connect and it's like, it's not a precursor for connection and less. You have a whole bunch of other factors humming and working together, right.


Remote work and designing life around work. (1:17)

Qasim Virjee 1:16 Dave Cairns! Welcome back for the did we say the third time in the studio? Dave Cairns 1:21 Yes, the third time but the second time you didn't there? There we go. We have is not because of me, Qasim Virjee 1:25 for fans of David Karen's people have seen this man on our podcast before. We do have some, probably some some good stuff in the can that we never aired. But it didn't make it to air because I think it was like we were talking about real estate stuff. And it was pretty boring. It's boring. It's boring. And today, we're gonna talk about something else there. Maybe involving real estate. Yeah, Dave Cairns 1:45 we can get there. But let's come around like the right where? Qasim Virjee 1:51 All right. Well, let's talk about this. You used to live in Toronto? The hustle bustle? The big smoke? Isn't people say? They say it's the big smoke a big smoker. Yeah. And then and then you moved out to Prince Edward Island, a kind of pandemic escape, and then you realize you loved it there. Yeah. And I think that's something very interesting to talk about, you know, whether you're an entrepreneur or whether you're working in some facet of, you know, employment, if you can choose a lifestyle that makes you more comfortable and more happy, gives your family value. You know, I think you, you're someone who has insight into that firsthand. And I'd like to dig into that and that kind of like, remote worker mindset as well. Because, you know, as a broker, you've been doing deals in Toronto and flying here, somewhat often. Dave Cairns 2:46 Honestly, that's the funny thing. Not that often not that often. Like, I'm currently doing a deal. That's conditional. So it's almost done with a multinational, multi, multi, multi billion dollar company, where I have not even actually seen the space that we're negotiating on. Now. I will put some notes like, like Church of Scientology, I'll put some disclaimers around it. The fact that I'm able to do that is predicated on the fact that I lived here and worked here for eight and a half years before I moved. So I know this market very well. Sure. But the even the interesting thing, even about a real estate transaction in commercial real estate, yeah, is that the amount of in person time required to execute that transaction is probably only about 5%. Honestly, what is needed. Now I've been on i the amount of emails, the amount of time that I've dealt worked on this deal is long, but it's all digital work. And so what I sometimes say to traditional people is like, you're just choosing to work remotely from a central office. But Don't delude yourself. Like and I'll give you a stat behind Qasim Virjee 3:57 it, like you mean that that person is not connected to their work or the people around No, that's not what Dave Cairns 4:02 I mean. What I mean is that we live in a world where the internet is actually predominantly where work happens, right? It's not necessarily always where a connection takes place like we're connecting in a way that is challenging to do on the internet. We can do it on the internet, but it's not quite the same, right? But the work. Qasim Virjee 4:19 okay go for it talk. Speaker 1 4:20 but yeah, exactly. It's like yeah, Dave Cairns 4:23 it's it's harder like we can we can send each other presents like like more, but like, death zoom, the work happens online. And there's like data to back this up and medium and large companies, this was a this was a study done by a company called Radical in May of 2023. With 1000 Plus enterprise companies with 1000s of employees at 1% of their teams do not work co located with each other, meaning within that organization, they are distributed, right only now 19% of people actually are co located with the teams that they work with. Right. And so it's not really to say that we don't need these, these hubs to come together. Like even if we're traveling from different places, or people who are within commuting distance. Yeah, but majority of the work is online. And so as the majority of work is online, it creates this really amazing opportunity. And it's so funny, like we're here really to talk about trying to, we're here to talk about the democratized opportunity to design our life. Okay, more and more and more people over time, I think are going to be afforded the opportunity to actually design work around their life right now. I'm on the bit of the bleeding edge of it. And it's not easy. We should also talk about the stumps, but it's not easy about it. Because I don't like what I kind of don't like It's like solopreneur ship and location independence gets romanticized as this really sexy thing on the internet. Yeah, amongst 23 year olds. Yeah. And it's really hard actually, like, in so many ways. So like, I actually want to talk about that.

The impact of the internet on entertainment distribution. (6:01)

Qasim Virjee 6:01 Like there are places where you can't even get soy milk. Dave Cairns 6:06 Can you imagine Can you imagine? Yeah, but like it's a mean like it's just also like the struggles you have to go through the compromises you have to make you know, like the distance from family like the the different job opportunities or not opportunities that are there in front of you or wherever, right. But like your beautiful book, sitting in the lobby, rolled the long tail by that Clayton Christensen guy, right. Is his name Clayton Chris, I think his name is I don't know. I believe that's the name. But Qasim Virjee 6:32 it's so I kinda was a Christopher Lachman. He co wrote that. Dave Cairns 6:35 I don't know. I mean, we'll have like, put it in the show notes or whatever. Qasim Virjee 6:38 But 10 Fact check. Okay, I'm like my mom. So yeah, Dave Cairns 6:42 look it up while we're talking. But regardless of who authored it, yeah, the book and I'm going to credit the scheduler poll leg as I as I unravel this thought, but the long tail is a concept that Chris Anderson, Chris Anderson, okay, so I screwed that up. I'm glad you clarified. Qasim Virjee 7:00 He used to be the editor in chief of Wired Magazine. That's how I knew him. He was a previous guy. Couple of editors ago, but like he was a guy in the golden age of Wired Magazine, when they were doing all those lovely Boom, bust. Yeah. And they were doing all those super in depth kind of editorials that were like, I don't know, taking that kind of like New Yorker approach to editorials, but focusing on tech and was like, wow, there's actually humans innovating in technology. And it's not just like, bros with pizza and beer. And there's like, drama and intrigue, you know, back before that was before wired, got sold a fria who bought them, and then they got amalgamated and made into this, like, you know, would you call it like dentist waiting room mag thing. So Dave Cairns 7:45 that's the guy wrote the book. Yeah. So tell me if I'm getting this right, then because I may screw this up. But that concept sort of ties into a long tail for creators, meaning with the modern day Internet, and notably streaming services, all of a sudden, the distribution model for entertainment, the music, or movies or whatever kind of got flipped on its head, where in a physical store model, you have a scarcity of space to hold the inventory, which means it's way more important for you to nail hits, that gets sold. Because if you have product on the shelf, that's, you know, too niche, you're not going to sell it, right. But when you have Spotify, what's actually happened is that the largest songs, the most popular songs in the world actually are even bigger than they've ever been. And it's an and not a but there's this long, long, long tail for all those niches that were never able to actually get into the store. Right.

Work and lifestyle choices in Canada. (8:44)

Qasim Virjee 8:44 interesting way to look at the thing. Yeah, yeah. So Dave Cairns 8:47 that mean, well, it's it's, it's true, right? Like the cost of having that content goes down, which creates this long tail opportunity. Right now, we could debate that Spotify, in many respects has not been good for creators. And Bob, I think we should just park that for a second. Yeah, that's its own episode. Yeah, so let's park that. But a guy named George Pola, who's sort of like a futurist around like cities and work and stuff like that has applied that concept, to the idea of living, okay. The idea being that as work is more of a how thing than aware thing. It creates this opportunity for a long tail of living. And so in other words, I actually would put myself in that category, because what I've done is not a conventional choice. And I actually think that it will probably look a lot like the music thing, where the largest and most engaging cities in the world such as New York, hopefully Toronto, if it gets out of its own way, blah, blah, blah, become more, you know, desirable to live in than ever before, as they reorient more around living and less around working right. And then also this long tail of Charlottetown Prince Edward Island, beach hands more possible, right? So I kind of think, and I hope actually, that as companies start to wake up to the fact that distributed work, basically distributes opportunity, it creates this, this democratized opportunity for more people to have the option to do what I've done. And I know and it will happen, more and more people will make these unconventional lifestyle choices. Yeah, Qasim Virjee 10:27 I mean, like, look, okay, so some of the lens is funny us laugh when I say like, contextualize the discussion by the geography of where we are, right? And I say, Okay, well, in Canada, or in the States, or in America and North America, it's like this. And it's not like that, and the rest of the world and the real world is crying at us laughing at us. But the thing is, like, I think there is an interesting thing here, where in Canada, we've got this two massive employment pools, which are the government, right 400,000 Odd employees across the country, federal, right down to municipal level, probably more than that. And then you've got enterprise, you've got these big corporations, that includes financial services, and insurance and all this stuff. So slow moving organizations that are, you know, I don't know, overly reliant on this kind of like power dynamics and hierarchies and structures and systems that feel like they've been around for a long time. So it's hard to innovate on now that they're not trying, there's a lot of, of wonderful, large corporations that I just know of in Canada, but of course, everywhere globally, that are creating incubator programs, accelerator programs that are trying to have intrapreneurship, side hustles that are, you know, sanctioned by their bosses for the employees to kind of innovate on their fifth day or something like that. So I think there's a want to change and a recognition in corporate Canada, that corporate evolution must require agility for the workers. The Wake Up Call may have been the pandemic for sure, with people kind of like, embracing the force out of the office, you know, like, no one was allowed to come into the office. So people started saying, at that point, a lot of people like you were like, Well, okay, where if I have the keys to my own destiny now? Where should we be? Where can we be? Where would I like to be? And because of the predominance of these two employment classes, I think a lot of people in Canada across the board, the working class office working class, never thought that they ever had that freedom. They always had the freedom, right? Where the freedom may require you to go and get a different job, or get a job from a different country. But domicile here in Canada, and do that work remotely. But yeah, I remember talking to people since I moved here in 2005, from New York. And I always told people about the way that I work in the open source community, and how in open source software, particularly like, you know, one project that I worked on, which was interesting, was was Drupal, which is an open source, CMS, you know, the Drupal, the people that built the software that contributed to the software, were geo dispersed and had nothing to do with each other, except that they love they geeked out on that software, and some of them were corporate entities. Yeah, yeah. And there were people all over the world that could shoot it to the software came together online in various ways, right? through discussion forums, virtual chat sessions, even group calls, way before zoom was given a probably a product. And so it's interesting to see how, you know, with the, the immediacy of the need to adopt that kind of working reality in the last few years, let's call it within the last four years. You know, Canadians kind of said, wow, and this is interesting to me, especially because we do have such a huge country. And this is something I want to ask you about because like, we always especially like the rest of Canada, who says, Okay, well, Toronto, has his head up his butt because it thinks that it's the center of the universe.


Canadian culture and regional identity. (13:21)

Dave Cairns 14:07 It does, and, you know, people from where I now live, like, you know, they feel it's us and them, like, you know, in Qasim Virjee 14:14 a lot of ways, yeah, and it's interesting, because, you know, us Dave Cairns 14:17 wear them should wear them. Like when I go to the fucking airport, I get like, put into the reject section at the bottom and like, the coffee shop closes like earlier than other parts of the airport. You know, like Qasim Virjee 14:28 when you fly to Toronto, they know when I Dave Cairns 14:30 fly back to Pei, we're like in the Toronto like, we're like no, like Toronto departures like we're in the basement they're like oh fuck here yeah, they put like Charlottetown they put like Newfoundland they put us all in the corner because they don't really give a Qasim Virjee 14:41 shit i That's a weird thing because I know a lot of people I've been hearing conversations about that topic for a while and it's really funny because I like like, talking about piercing because it has so much potential and Dave Cairns 14:53 it didn't feel I didn't mean to derail you sorry. I just was like more making the joke that like yeah, like, Qasim Virjee 14:56 like even when we fly to Calgary whenever we fly to Calgary, it Through the basement. Yeah. And I always want that might be a WestJet thing though. I Dave Cairns 15:04 don't know. No, it was Air Canada. But anyway, I want to get you back on your second class. Yeah, like East Coast is the second class or whatever. Qasim Virjee 15:11 So my point was just that, okay, so we've got this population that's primarily concentrated along the US border in in mainly in the densest cities. Right? And then you've got all the French cities second and third tier cities, no cultural issues and Quebec or make it a little bit different than the rest of the country. And there's this kind of like old school back to the 1600s like farmer culture and farming community culture, which is really cool. And Quebec throughout the provinces, or whatever you call it, Dave Cairns 15:41 Maritimes. Are you sorry. Well, I Qasim Virjee 15:42 was gonna say throughout the province of Quebec, Dave Cairns 15:44 yeah. Yeah. And like, yeah, you have I mean, I don't know a lot about that. I haven't gotten Quebec up. And I've driven through it, obviously, on my way to and from Charlottetown in Toronto. But I know a lot about the East Coast. mentale. I mean, you find two in PEI. And there's like Nova Scotia, Qasim Virjee 16:00 there's almost this different culture of kind of like, you know, I think people going back 300 years, maybe the settlers, you know, at that time, I think there's a culture of taking ownership of what was theirs. And that having a legacy until today, of like communities sustaining by this sense of responsibility and ownership and belonging, yeah. Which is really cool. And, you know, obviously, there's people that want to leave that don't find opportunity within those communities and come to the big cities, right. And then we have this immigration into the city like Toronto. But what I was going to say, is that because this country is so big, it's unfortunate that we have less connectivity between all of these communities, you know, the smaller ones and the bigger ones as well as the bigger ones and the bigger ones. Like, I'm shocked with how many people I meet that have never been to Vancouver. They've never been in Montreal. I keep telling people jump on a train. Go for the weekend, Dave Cairns 17:01 you'll find that in Australia to like people, you know, from Sydney and Melbourne have never been to Perth. Yeah. I've been to both and Georgia people who live there haven't done it. Right. Like, it's a massive geographic. So what's what is your like? Oh, main question to me. What I Qasim Virjee 17:16 was gonna say is like, part of this issue is okay, you could we can easily stack up excuses in Canada for saying that we've never kind of left our town, right. Yeah. Cuz Oh, a big landmass and cultural divide, and God knows what. But at the same time, there is this kind of status quo, no matter where you are in Canada have a kind of here? Yeah, I don't know, I think I think it could just be because people are either employed by massive corporations or by a government predominantly, there's a status quo kind of assumption of like, upward mobility is the way forward in life within your station, like, get a better job, make more money, buy bigger house, you know, you improve your neighborhood. And then if you need to go on holiday, what do Canadians love doing? Jumping on Sunwing vacations, or WestJet vacations or Air Canada vacations, go to a package vacation, in what's called a sunny destination have Dave Cairns 18:16 a ton of money and like, Yeah, I'm going to package up a cheap vacation to somewhere warm. But Qasim Virjee 18:20 I think people park their opportunity in their lives to two weeks a year. Like that's, that's the way they live?


Financial stress and mindset shift in the face of economic uncertainty. (18:42)

Dave Cairns 18:30 Yeah, you're Yeah, you're dead. Right about that. And I think the the interesting thing to me, and I'd love your opinion on it, because it's kind of a half baked thought, but like, you know, let's looking at Pei for a second. And it's not maybe representative of the rest of the country. But I looked this up recently, real estate lagged in PEI for a long time, and it started to correct itself and in value around 2013. So in the last nine years, between 2013 to 2023, the median home price on Prince Edward Island, which would include all the rural areas, and everything, right, went from $150,000 to $300,000. It's an increase by 100%. Right, right. The average median household income on the island went from $64,400 to $72,000. So only a 12% increase. Right? This is a major divide. Now we know that this is a major problem globally. It's a major, major problem in North America, across the board. Yep. And what I think is kind of happening actually, is that the generations that have many, many more years left to work in the workforce, right are realizing that this top, this chasing the top thing is more elusive now than it's actually ever been. And then in order to actually sustain one's life one needs to find greener pastures elsewhere. That might be Geograph Pick, that might be multiple income streams, the volatility of earning a living, and finding a way to make it work in a large urban market is really, really difficult. And so I think almost out of necessity, people are reconsidering things. And especially because they've been shown a different thing like the the, the veil got lifted, or whatever, in COVID. I think now out of that necessity is actually becoming a different ideological mindset that actually isn't directly correlated, to the financial pinches, that people are thinking their financial pinches, in other words, are getting people to realize that life is short, and that they don't actually need all those things. There's this great tick tock video where this guy, I wish I could remember who he was. That's quite the sentence. Oh, it's so good. He's like, Qasim Virjee 20:48 he's this great Tiki video. He's this guy who I have no idea. It's like, so funny. He showed it to me for 20 seconds, Dave Cairns 20:54 I don't even go on tick tock, I saw it on LinkedIn, actually. But this guy was basically playing both the manager and the employee in a performance review, okay. And the guy was sort of like, the manager is like, you know, you're not really giving 100%. And he looks at him and goes, either the manager goes with respect, you're not giving 100% And the guy goes with no due respect, no organism on this planet can work at 100% 100% of the time. And he goes on about all these other things about like, you know, when I really, if I really look at my financial life, I only get upset when I compare myself to other people. Like, I'm doing way better here in North America, with my, whatever my modest sense of living is, than anyone else in the world. And the only time I get mad is when I look at people driving a electric Porsche down the street, right. Which, by the way, in PEI, don't really see that, like, I've seen all these fancy cars here and stuff and all it's like the all this like excess, right? That I don't see in my day to day life out there. And actually, it breasts your nervous system in a lot of ways, right? To just not have all the it in your face all the time. Qasim Virjee 22:05 Yeah, I don't even notice that stuff. I have no perception of status by commodified Nino consumption to me. But that's because I have grown up in Africa. And so yeah, Dave Cairns 22:18 you grew up all these different places. But like, just to close this like point, I effectively what I'm saying is that the financial pinch that this world is experiencing right now, that does not look like how the boomers evolved yet, is actually forcing a different mindset. That's my theory.

Remote work, leadership crisis, and digital divide in enterprise organizations. (22:35)

Qasim Virjee 22:33 And I think that makes sense. And I think especially amongst the people that feel like they have the means to take their destiny into their own hands, right. So like, I'm very faithful, that people in their 20s and 30s, kind of like pre family mode, people in Canada, are going to be in the next five years, let's say, taking a leap that's entrepreneurial, or like you were saying, you know, moving to tertiary cities, maybe leaving the country, changing careers, you know, shifting up, what was that kind of very, like Anglo 1950s expectation of like getting a badge on your 50th celebration of being at the company? Dave Cairns 23:13 Yeah. Well, good luck getting there, right? Like, just look at the s&p 500. From 1950. To today, the average lifespan of companies is just massively shrinking. They're not even living the life of a 50 year career. Well, like, this isn't being a bit dramatic. But like, you know what I mean, like, Qasim Virjee 23:27 I don't know, but it's true. It's true. It's true, like something I keep seeing from the client reality, right, is that no matter how big the company is, the efficacy I should say the decision making capability within organizations is becoming poorer. As the business climate becomes more aggressive. And there's this kind of leadership crisis in corporate Canada, which I've been kind of noticing here and there, where, no matter what the size of your organization is, leaders haven't necessarily grown up in discomfort in Canada, in the business community, and especially in enterprise. So they don't know how to make tough decisions quickly. That impact, you know, multiple bottom lines. So it's kind of like it's gotten a little crazy where b2b business have been that's always been kind of pretty solid, especially large ones are, are questioning their economics but they don't know how to answer it. And employees don't know necessarily how they can contribute. And that's an interesting point where like, people are like we keep hearing on the gathering start well as other podcasts on the gathering podcast. We keep hearing from people saying, teams want in a lot of cases, people in culture and HR managers are speaking with their, their teams and people are like, we don't have enough information to contribute, especially in larger areas. cuz they're like, we're so far from the CFOs. Office, we want to do some cool stuff for this company. But we don't know if we can spend or we don't know if we can we need someone on our team to help us with this project. We don't know if we'll ever be able to hire that person. Well. Dave Cairns 25:12 So it's interesting that you say all this actually, because I think we can now move maybe a little bit into this whole real estate conundrum. But you bring up this really interesting point, which is basically proximity to power. Right? The quick, I spoke to a guy in the US government on the real estate side, who basically told me that the hierarchy of all these different services within the US government guard completely flattened through remote work happening in the pandemic. For the simple i The simple answer was, is that if you wanted to get a top government job, yeah, you had to go to DC. You had to build your career to the point of physically relocating to the power. Yeah, right. But then once the pandemic happened, all of a sudden, this more equitable, this more inclusive opportunity came about accidentally Sure, for people to be able to voice what they have to say, right, or what they need. And I think your your comment around, not knowing how to contribute, yes. speaks to the fact that how we work is broken. It's not where we do it. Yeah, it's actually the how part. It's creating transparency, and single sources of truth within the organization for people to be able to go and know what is going on. Yeah. What are the priorities of the business priorities? Qasim Virjee 26:33 What are the rules? Yeah, what are the Yeah, who can I talk to about what? It's so funny, there's so many companies where people can't and don't, or don't, and thus, assumptive Lee can't walk down the halls to a different office, like I'm saying, let's say they work in the office, okay. They're not like, because that's a whole nother issue as things have gotten remote people are, there's a digital divide, and not just about knowledge gaps, but our battle Dave Cairns 27:01 goes to hell, because they're just applying like a office way of working to the internet. And that's never going to work. But it's


Virtual workplace platforms and their features. (27:49)

Qasim Virjee 27:06 also like in the in the quote, unquote, in the capitol office, you could walk down the hall or go to who what's on floor 16 You've never been there walk around be like, Hey, Jim, I'm Judy, from the fourth floor, you know, your work, what do you do, and that doesn't kind of happen, you know, in like, big enterprise kind of corporate reality. But digitally now, you'll be locked out of access to that person because of the system architecture. So there's a whole nother cultural implication of digital work, which is, you know, systems designed around collaboration, and how do you program for innovation, and not just performance as KPI based, you know, grunt work? Yeah, it's really interesting. That's, that's a whole rabbit hole. And it's definitely something that we've been lining up on the gathering podcast to have like a roundtable of A is like, it came up in a recent episode where like, you know, what is the what's the digital OS that remote first teams are using to enable social media. Dave Cairns 28:08 It's funny, it's funny, you bring that up, because there's a company that I've gotten, like a loose understanding of lately called Rome. And they are a virtual workplace. So there's obviously the metaverse, which, you know, I have some some semblance of involvement in Yeah, but I for our listeners Qasim Virjee 28:28 who may not know we did a little video, that's kind of fun. We'll link to it. Where we had David at our events studio on Niagara Street, strapped into this crazy like rig and walking around through the metaverse conducting a roundtable discussion, a roundtable discussion. Yeah, and it was it looks pretty cool. And we had a chat after that session about what it meant to him and how the experience was so follow up on that it Dave Cairns 28:53 was epic. And I really appreciate that you did that for me. Because it actually gave me the ability to legitimize what I was doing and make it more understandable to people it's helped me get further guests and all kinds of things. So I our a video, right? No video is in massively powerful. And it's another reason why I'm back here with you. And I really appreciate it. We can do this because it's like this medium right to get the word out is more important than it's ever been in this world of AI and people not really hanging out and being together in person that much. But to get back to it. You're talking about what is the OS for you? We're saying Rome, yeah, Rome. But so let's just for a second, the metaverse part, I think it's really really great for immersive gatherings. Because it gives this sense of being actually together like we are right now. Yeah, that's very, very difficult to do in a fully two dimensional more zoomy kind of capacity or dimension. You need to be able to sit down in the seat need to be able to like wave you need to be able to shake hands emote that of course it's video game me but you're actually able to be more expressive with one another about how you feel Think about the interaction, the conversation, then you can like on Zoom. But I don't believe that that's going to become the virtual office anytime soon. Because it's just like too clunky. It's like it requires too much compute power, you have to download the software. If you stream it through the internet, the user experience goes way down. Like there's just a lot of hurdles for the metaverse as it's defined to be that. But Rome is this interesting platform, I'll try my best to explain it because I've actually been inside of it. But effectively, what it is, is a two dimensional office, where on the right hand side of the screen that you load up is actually the floors of this office, it doesn't they don't make it look like a building, but they're like marketing is on is is here and sales is here. And whatever is there, right, and you can actually like move to that floor, people are going in there to actually work. And I think one of the main things that they're trying to solve for is these, like burst communications that people want to be able to have, right, because it's like everything on Zoom becomes a structured 30 minute or 60 minute meeting. And you fill that time whether you need it or you don't need it, right. Whereas this is one of those things where you can have your own little virtual office with like a circle avatar view, you can even actually have artifacts of who you are like, memorabilia, pictures of your family in your cubicle, you're in your virtual cubicle. So when comes someone comes in, they actually get to like experience, what are those things for you? Yeah, and there's that element of like, I'm I'm on Do Not Disturb right now don't come in, or I'm open, feel free to knock, blah, blah, blah. And then you can actually quickly move into different meeting rooms, they've got a town hall space, where all of a sudden, you can actually be presenting and listen to this functionality. This was actually the coolest functionality I found from it. They have this like, townhall space that sort of set up like like Massey Hall or whatever, right? Like where there's a How would you describe that like an auditorium that's like an auditorium or whatever the way it's set up. And they've got these little little like benches are wherever you can sit in. So you could go and like sit with your colleagues that you want to. And they give you the ability to actually whisper to each other, while the other person is talking just like you might if you're in a movie, or if you were in a show, right? So you can kind of have the little Leland private chats without disturbing other people that are listening thing. Yeah. And then they've got like a backstage thing where like, they can talk to people backstage, they can bring you on, like, you know, all that kind of capability within one virtual platform. So like, I think it's pretty cool. Actually,


Remote work, personal growth, and ego. (32:35)

Qasim Virjee 32:35 that's so interesting, because even that what you described about the auditorium functionality, that's something that we were beta testing in the pandemic, as I was thinking through, like, the hybrid events, what our hybrid events gonna be. And there was, there was a Toronto based company that we played with their tech. And it was exactly that. And the whole thing was like, it's very natural to walk into a bar, and your, you know, auditory system changes as you sit at a table because you can hear the background noise, but it's muted in your brain. Yeah, right. We're just talking about this table. Yeah. So that's what they had been playing with. Dave Cairns 33:10 Who will win in that category? I'm not really sure. Yeah, Qasim Virjee 33:14 and also who I mean, this is now going back to the economic context thing, who needs to win and what is winning? And I really think that this is something that we're going to see more of and I'm hopeful for it in the next decade is far less energy and capital going into moonshot unicorn companies that are pump and dump schemes to rob the public coffers. You know, a and hopefully at least in Canada more bootstrapped approaches to financial sustainability within small and medium sized businesses Dave Cairns 33:49 that are that movements are already happening. But to go You're so you're on you're dead, right about all that. But um, the other thing is that this is a massive change in behavior as well, right? Like to to actually work in Rome, right? The the platform Rome, not the place, Italy, but to work in a role where it can roll it all up. Yeah, it's funny enough, like maybe in theory, working in on Rome, lets you be in Rome, or like, who knows, but to work within that platform, your cadence for how you work has to be that when I, when I start working, I load up Rome, and I work from Rome. Right. And I think that that's a major, major shift. And I think that one The one drawback and they've been they've been challenged the companies so funny, the guy's name is Howard Lurman. He's a cool guy. I've never spoken to him live, but I spoke to some other people in his company. But the one thing that they get sort of like knocked for is will this create the same president T problem? And the stress that's associated over being watched, like, you know, like, the expectation is that when you start working, you load up Rome, you know, like, will that just become the same problem that we face? He's in the office because in a virtual world, and maybe you know what? What's up? That's, that's that's a problem of culture, I think, right? Yeah, of Qasim Virjee 35:08 course it is. And I think there's a lot of bullshit that people like, you know, kind of lie to themselves and each other about the work in jobs that they hate. They work for companies, which they don't like, they didn't have no emotional connection to the output of their labor, they spent so much time doing it. They don't look for solutions to change their lifestyle. Because it's hard. It's difficult. And it requires discomfort, it requires saying, I need to earn my living somehow else. How do I do it? Where do I do it? How do I present myself like if you've been in a job for 10 years, and you want to make a change? Dude, Dave Cairns 35:41 I'm going through all of it right? Yeah. Now, because it's really difficult. And I threw myself into it, like headfirst, like, where I ended up being forced to solve some of the problems that you're mentioning without actually thinking about them. Before I made that choice. Qasim Virjee 35:54 So tell me about the like, your personal joy journey on that is, how have you dealt with the personal pain of if nothing else, just getting through your brain getting shedding your comfort zones? Dave Cairns 36:04 Yeah. Well, it's a process of individuation, not individualism. Because that can be kind of toxic, where they are like, you separate yourself from other people. Like, it's more like I had to say goodbye to everyone I knew, every place I knew, still work for the same company, but do it remotely in an industry that is, you know, somewhat resistant to remote work, although that's changing, which is good. I had to let it all go. And when I first got to my new destination, I had this massive sense of relief. Qasim Virjee 36:42 Yeah, I feel great. I missed that feeling. I want to, I want to pick up in a new location every month, Dave Cairns 36:47 it was incredible. Especially to go to a place like that, right? Where like, you're, you know, like, I was like sitting on the water like, like, in a small town of like, you know, 50 or 60,000 people. And it's just like it was this massive sense of relief. But then that classic saying, wherever you go there you are, right, reemerge us, right. And I've what I've realized is that there's been three things that have been going on for me, I have been shedding ego, I have been expanding as a person. And I've been ultimately returning to previous versions of myself, notably, like my more childlike self cool, which only really comes if you mean yet you have to be willing to do the work. And it's challenging. Only really comes if you can separate yourself from all those people and all those places. Because otherwise, you have these notions of who you are, that are tied to how other people perceive you. It's hard for you to figure out who are you when you have all of that going on?


Work-life balance and remote work in Toronto. (37:53)

Qasim Virjee 37:53 Oh, yeah, absolutely. recontextualizing yourself. Also in a culture that predominantly like here in Toronto, work life culture is very much work first, and you are who you are what you do, Dave Cairns 38:06 totally, that doesn't come up where I live at all. No one asks you what you do, nobody cares. Like, I'm like, many, many social media influencer, you know, the consideration of the real estate or future of work conversation, not a single solitary person where I live knows or cares, right? But actually a few my friends now now, but like, you're an influencer. Qasim Virjee 38:26 You get invited to events to like hand out candy bars. Yeah, it has Dave Cairns 38:30 no bearing on our relationship whatsoever. You know? Yeah. Qasim Virjee 38:34 Like, it's kind of cool. Write that in. This is a very interesting, I think, spin on this tape, which is I have always, until this business until start well, which is a physical business with an objective brand, you know, somewhat, and people can walk in the building and touch and feel what I've built, right? Yeah. I've always, for the most part, been working in media and digital media, particularly like so I had record labels, right? I had a film distribution company. And that distribution company was digital. So we were Netflix for India, in you know, all over the world. But before Netflix was in India, like I was licensing films and streaming them. So in working in digital for so many years, like I'm talking since I was a my first gigs were digital, like when I was a teenager. So let's call that 30 years, you know, working in digital. It was It has always been difficult to articulate what I do, let alone what I'm interested in. Because how do you articulate that to people who don't necessarily live the same digital reality as you now I do wonder about this in the hybrid story, right. And as things become more digital for work for other people than people working in very conventional industries, as they're out of the office. Granted now i There's a counterbalance that I already am thinking of here. You might say it, it was it didn't it was Different in an office to articulate out of the office with people that you didn't work with what you do every day. Dave Cairns 40:06 Yeah. You mean like explaining to the people that you, you know, in your personal life? What do I do at the office? Yeah, you're at the pub on a Friday? I don't know. Well, yeah. And usually people get pretty exhausted by those conversations, right? They don't want to try to explain to somebody what they do, they actually just want to get to know the other person and figure out actually all that other stuff. What do you value as a human being? Right? What interests you? what lights you up? What? What are your thoughts on the fact that we're hurtling around the sun? And none of us really know what the hell's going on? Yeah, like, all that matters more. Yeah. And that's real connection. Right? Yeah, Qasim Virjee 40:43 yeah. No, I know. And I've been on this crazy adventure, right? My whole career, my whole life is always about trying to use business to kind of articulate my passions and, and provide vehicles for expression and creativity and introspection, but also, you know, innovation. So it's kind of I look at business as art, you know, in many ways. Yeah. Here's a side to that. Yeah. Hopefully more people can do that with work. But but it's very interesting, because the majority of people Dave Cairns 41:13 of course, can't. Well, to go back to what you said. Right? You're like they to work. First is life second. You're totally right. Like, I got it. I'm saying it the oil cartel? Yeah, sitting there having my breakfast by myself. And what do I hear beside me? KPI, let me call my guy like all this stuff. Like, I don't hear shit like that. On PE, right, this is not the way people talk or interact. And so what I was going to say is that this, this thing that's been really cool for me about moving. I've had this amazing opportunity not just to work predominantly remotely, but to work flexibly with my time. Yeah. And by having time flexibility, I linger around all these places in my community, I spend more time talking to the guy who runs the pet shop, he's now my friend, I spend more time talking to the servers in the coffee shops, et cetera, et cetera, some of them have become my friends. Right? So I've had this weirdly amazing experience of shedding those socio economic divides. Yep, that tend to exist in large cities, because people just stay in their lane. Whereas where I live, everyone's just coexisting together. Right? And that's actually why what you do doesn't really matter. Yeah, where I am, right. So if people can work in a more liberated way, let's just call it liberated. Okay, you know, because Because liberated can mean, I come to work at start well, but I'm effectively working remotely, because I'm not proximate to XYZ person that I do business with, in my own company, right. But I'm in a physical space, I'm interacting with other human beings, and I'm living in a big city, if that actually becomes more of a reality. All of a sudden, a lot of these community problems that exist in these large cities like Toronto should theoretically start to self solve themselves. Because people like we talked about the loneliness epidemic. Right. And a lot of people love to weaponize that. And say that it's because we're not in the office. I've been in multiple offices. Since I've been back in Toronto, do you know what I see? Yeah, but most offices suck, but some saying a bunch of miserable people. Yeah, that are not connecting with each other in any meaningful way whatsoever, right. And we're like, you'll only hear it from real estate brokers, they're like, people need to get back into the office to connect. And it's like, well, it's not a precursor for connection, unless you have a whole bunch of other factors humming and working together, right. And for a lot of people, going back to your common around, you know, what interests me how I'm this complex person, which, by the way, so is everyone else? How do I find a way to be able to express myself and connect with other people that I that share my values or that are complimentary to me, it that goes so far beyond work? And what work could ever do to fill up what we need in our cups, right, then then is it just makes no sense to try to reduce it down to like, we have a work problem that we need to we need to rethink the whole notion. And that goes back to time flexibility, the more time flexibility humans have, the more they will themselves solve their own relational problems. They will do it because we are relational species. When I came in here, I grabbed your you know, bicep and fucking shuffle you and like, we connect, that's what we do. Yes. What we do, we're not going to stop doing it. Yeah, we just don't want to have to do it in this binary way. Yeah, it's

The future of work and office spaces. (44:35)

Qasim Virjee 44:35 so true. And like, look, I also my perspective on things is colored because of built this environment for people to be able to be themselves right. Like, that's the hope here at Star wealth where I like coming here. Yeah. And, and we see it every day with with meetings, right. So now it's actually like, it was interesting for those like that little gray area, I would say last year was the transition out of the pandemic year, as people get got more comfortable in physicality. and coming together for the often cases last year, it was the first time tears coming here for the first time they're getting, not just getting Judy got out of the house for the first time drove down from Vaughan, but like, which is a suburb for our non Torontonians. Listening, but basically, people coming together for the first time sometimes as teams because there was so much churn through the pandemic, and staff ranks, that, you know, like, Judy might have worked with three other companies before this company. Now they come to start well, for their first team session off site. They're here for a day or a couple of days. And they're vibing. Because the context enables them to feel comfortable, and they're happy to be together. Now, that whole context thing we've talked about it before, is not in every workplace. And it could be like, for all the people waving the flags and go back to the office. I mean, there's different kinds of offices and different kinds of organizations, right? So if you are like a financial organization, and you have very, very, it's, it's the post industrial, you know, factory, in the sense that everyone's work, it does enough work to fill the day, and that work is very functional work. Okay, fine, get in the office that you can be managed. But you're gonna get your million dollar bonus, and maybe that's worth the toil. All right, that's up to each organization to determine the culture, I don't believe that every company should have the same company, I will or same culture that I would, you know, ascribe to my brand, and what my staff should enjoy. So that's okay. But on the flip for the companies, and we do talk to them, you know, through the gathering podcasts, and a lot of people within an organization that are trying to create experiences for their teams, what they're finding for last couple years, they've been really trying, as hard as they can, personally, to motivate people to come together. Using the office, depending on what the budget looks like, to become a fun house of sorts, or learning center of other sorts, and Experience Center and Innovation Center for their products, lots of different ways to try and motivate people to kind of like, do things together and physical space. And I think this is really interesting is I don't think like it's kind of a new term, even that companies are using people and culture, right. That was HR three years ago, four years ago. I think that whole transition is just in the earliest of beginnings, where organizations are hopefully going to start adopting this idea of hiring people, leaders, whose role it is to encourage and coach people to be social creatures within work. Dave Cairns 47:45 Yeah, I'm right. I'm with you. And like, Qasim Virjee 47:49 so the nature of the office as being the place where they could do their work to bring people together like that. So like it we've press reset in many ways in North America. Yeah. And the potentiality of that. I don't think people even conceive, I think one office could be, well, Dave Cairns 48:05 it's in its total infancy still, like complete complete infancy. Because so and the more distributed work becomes, which is happening, it's a snowball, that is like rolling down the hill, the more it happens, yeah, the more these cultural hubs, and frankly, a start, well really could be actually one of those cultural hubs, because it's like a neutral ground in a lot of ways, which actually matters. That's why there's public libraries. That's why there's corporate politics, or Yeah, like, like party, yeah, you enter into a space that feels neutral from some of the stuff like the cultural stuff, right. Like, that's why there are public domain spaces within communities for people to come together that actually come from different backgrounds, right. And you enter a library, you're getting, yeah, this cross section of that community, which has different socio economic characteristics, right. So but anyway, I'm pumping start well, because I believe in it, I know. But if we just look at the data, so I'm going to peel back some layers on and Atlassian study. They're an incredible company. That really, they got to make JIRA. Yep. And they just bought loom and their, their, their software company that obviously has a horse in the race, for distributed work, you know, reaching scale, but I think that their the way that they are going about basically banging the drum is incredible. So they went distributed 1000 days ago, just over 1000 days ago, and they recently released a report called, you know, 1000 days going distributed or whatever it is stuff. And it's it's incredible, but like, let me give you some some stats, okay, in fiscal year 2020, yep, they hired 14% of their staff. Their new hires were remote and how they define remote is two hours or more from an office and from an office. They have 12 of them globally. Okay, think they're like 11 or 12,000 employees. 12 offices if your more than two hours your remote hire, right, so 14% in 2023 and the fiscal, that hiring jumped to 57%. So the full day for axed their remote hiring efforts, okay, another interesting stat 23. So of the people that live within a commutable distance to one of their offices, they're fully choice led, they do not have any form of mandate 23% Only 23% come into that office on one time or more a week. Now, I don't say only to be negative, it's just that, clearly we're witnessing a moment where offices are needed for people to actually get their work done, not just to come together to break bread and build rapport. Some people actually need that office to work for a myriad of reasons. But the amount of people that need it to work is actually very low. Yeah. In the knowledge economy, right. Okay. So what Qasim Virjee 51:03 they are saying knowledge economy to be nice and annoying, taller people, yeah, whatever, Dave Cairns 51:07 why call desk workers, desk, work desk workers, people that type away on computers. Okay, so of those people work is increasingly distributed. And now a company like Atlassian is sort of a blue flame or an on the, you know, they're at the bleeding edge of the change, right? They're not representative of the average, Qasim Virjee 51:24 they're not IBM. No. Dave Cairns 51:26 But if you play that tape for another 10 or 15 years, you're going to you're gonna witness all of the socio economic forces that are changing things, right. The s&p index has a shorter lifespan. So some of the, you know, legacy companies will die. A lot of new ones will be born through a distributed way of thinking and then behaving. Right. So they announced that well, I'll find really interesting to see is how will Atlassian redefine their physical workplace strategy? Right, yeah, to be more reflective of this distributed workforce. Because, take me I'm a perfect example, if I worked at Atlassian. I need co working space. My wife just said to me this morning, she's like, we need to spend less time together. Qasim Virjee 52:08 out of the house, David. Dave Cairns 52:11 So so like, I need co working space, but there's not a we work in Charlottetown? Yeah, so if you only partly work anyway, if you only other money, we weren't gonna die. Well, yeah, they might be weird, no nowhere, but let's just pretend they exist for a minute. If you only use all access with we work, that forces your staff to choose between coming into a financial district or not coming in at all, right. But if you leverage a platform, such as disana, to empower people to be able to access all of the third party co working space, now all of a sudden, I'm working at the co working space in Charlottetown. Right, with a click of a button. Right, like that needs to happen. And then as and when that does happen? Yeah, the the need for these like cultural hubs becomes even more important. It's even more important because people are going to meet with each other with intention, far less frequently than they ever have. Yeah,


Workspace evolution and creator monetization. (53:10)

Qasim Virjee 53:09 right. Yeah, totally, man. No, totally, I think I think in the next decade, we're going to see a greater wealth of different types of second and third space for people to you know, do work and meet and socialize. And that's really exciting. I don't know if they'll get like channeled and could provide, and there'll be a lot of gray area between, like social club, co working, you know, and maybe hopefully, even from the public sector Library's evolving a little bit to support these sorts of work functions, not just being crappy tables in the corner with like, I don't know, IBM X T's, you know, but there will be a lot of that kind of like evolution all over the place. I'll tell you this something that we've been seeing, of course, post pandemic, we've pretty much killed office space at start well, right. So it's like, only on demand, meeting space and event space for companies. And then as you know, media services and like our turnkey video production. So just like this studio, we built out at our events studio, like literally wired drilled into the wall cameras, because it comes back to this thing. I think we might be ahead of the curve. In many ways. We're pushing the agenda with a lot of corporate clients. But you mentioned creators, Dave Cairns 54:23 dude, I like I'm gonna jump in because like, I am a creator, as you know, and half the reason I'm here, what does that mean to you? By the way, I make my own. I put my own original art and ideas into the world. That's what I do. Yeah, right. That's a crater to me. Okay. And actually, I had this like, like, thought, like, I don't know, a couple months ago. I'm like, I am putting art into the world. And I have yet to figure out the perfect methods to actually monetize a lot of that art. Yeah. Right. It's challenging. It's challenging, but nonetheless, I have a passion for doing it. So I'm gonna Keep doing it and the ability to earn money from that is becoming more possible, not less possible, right. But to your, to your point, like, I wish I had a the ability to actually leverage more of these spaces in places that I go, notably, within my own community. I mean, there's nothing like this in my own community, but also the buy in, in the support of my company to go create in these places, right, because like, I've built like, you can build your own brand, you can do your own thing with like, nothing, you can do it with a phone, and like, I'm not here to say that you need perfect, nice videos to do it. But like, when you get to a certain point, such as, like, where I'm at with building my brand, yeah, I actually really want to level up the quality of what I put out. And that requires production value, right? Like, like, there's a symbiotic benefit here, to us having this conversation, but you're giving me like, huge value, by literally giving me a platform to put my ideas out, you're gonna be able to edit this, you're gonna be able to give me some clips, well, they're gonna give me massive value, and their companies should be giving that value to their employees. Qasim Virjee 56:06 It's interesting, because we're in discussions with a bunch of different companies that want us to, they've seen and used our studios, and they want us to build studios for their companies. And it's very interesting, because what we keep coming up with is, is not just about the difficulties that we have to endure, to train their staff to run studios if they're going to internalize studio function. But it's the larger question of how do you develop a culture of participatory creation? In an organization, that alone is like a massive consultancy agreement that most people don't want to sign on to? So we've been pulling back from that service offering. And now these are like big, big multinationals for the most part. But that's where we're centralized here. And we're saying, Come here and use the students because then it's like, purposeful, you know, you're not everyone can jump into the next door room and be like, Let's make something. Yeah, you know, and we, it's very difficult to train people on how to do that. So that's also where like, here, of course, because like, we have producers, and we have everything, turnkey. It's easy for us to lead people into the studio to create content. But, but we do see a lot of apprehension. And then as soon as people have experienced this, like, service led approach to stereo, and that is easy. It's as easy as jumping in the room and opening your mouth. Well, Dave Cairns 57:28 they mean, you know, the funny thing is, it actually starts more with letting people know it's actually safe to create. Yeah, well, that's a big, that's a whole we could do another hour on that. But especially within Qasim Virjee 57:38 large corporate organisms, where you've got PR comms teams, there is legal watchdogs, I've Dave Cairns 57:45 just had to go out into the unknown myself and do it. And what I actually want to say and like I hope this actually makes it onto the internet is I have a massive amount of privilege to endure the pain of putting my art and thoughts into the world working for a large company. And a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm a white guy, literally, like many, many, many people within large organizations wouldn't even bother attempting to exercise their voice for the fact that they know that they would be shut down or have repercussions that would be too damaging to their welfare to do it in the first place. Qasim Virjee 58:25 Well said, No, it's absolutely correct. From my vantage, I definitely concur. We see it and hear it I've I've definitely seen it even with some of the interviews that we had to like, leave on the cutting room floor for this podcast series alone. Like, there are episodes where people have been muzzled, you know, by the internal teams, comms teams, legal, whatever. And that's also not just because of, you know, ethnic diversity are something well, Dave Cairns 58:56 you can't you can't design your policies. Yeah, for the people that are either going to steal company time, right, which is this whole idea of like, you must be in the office so that people can watch you because people will steal your time. It's like, well, no, people stole your time in the office also, by the way, okay? The people that aren't engaged are either not engaged because they're not engaged as people or you're doing something wrong, to not engage them. So like, don't pretend that because you can't see them like that you solve the problem by them coming in. And the same thing is true here with expressing a person's voice out into the world. There will be some people that may degra date your company, intentionally, but that is a very, very, very small percentage of people. Most people are trying to do right by themselves and the people that they work for, because they're good people


Workplace culture evolution and personal growth. (59:45)

Qasim Virjee 59:45 most Exactly. And I think that faith is something that's difficult to canonize system dies, celebrate is culture within an organization. So most organizations fall back on like rules and regulations and like slapping hands Yeah. lot. Yeah, we see it in startup culture where people are so empowered to kind of like, wear many hats represent the company. And we don't know who we are yet. So it's easy to like, give out that responsibly. Yeah, Dave Cairns 1:00:10 I'm not sure. I mean, ideal. It's like, I guess it's hard. But it's also really important to be honest about what is behind it and try to make the incremental change, right. Qasim Virjee 1:00:20 I like this, though. I think it sounds like from your perspective, combining a want for change in one's own life. You're suggesting that people will have to, you know, endure hardship, but to realize a greater sense of self and calm, and the potential potentiality of that can actually propel them to have a voice in the world, which they might not be maybe living without, right. Yeah. Yeah, Dave Cairns 1:00:46 that's a good way of pointing feels more succinct when I said, but I mean, like, Qasim Virjee 1:00:53 the All I do is I summarize what people say, that's my, that's Vail. Dave Cairns 1:00:55 I mean, that's a really important job of an interviewer. But I mean, I think that we're on the precipice here of a possibility for more and more people to be able to choose how they live. And that's a good thing, but it's still gonna take like a lot of time. And I guess what I would say, because it sounds like we're kind of wrapping up here, that's how it feels, is the more people that are willing to step out into the unknown, and whatever that means for them, because it's going to be different for every person, right? Yeah. More people that are like, put their neck on the line, do that, and document it in some way. The more it will it will equalize the ability for other people to do the same thing. Qasim Virjee 1:01:35 Yeah, this is the thing, there needs to be a kind of adaption of change in this. I don't like using status quo, but like, yeah, like, as, as things become more mainstream, funnily enough, definitely in North America, as soon as something's mainstream, it's like totally allowable, you know, ridiculous stuffs gone on in the pop mainstream and media culture in the last 10 years. And somehow, it's totally cool. In her like, everything from artists, right, and infringement to whatever, like, even grit like things, let's talk about brands. Okay. Like the fact that Uber, right, was like a legal thing. It was like, illegal. Yeah. Illegal. Yeah. Yeah. Like the fact that it could be considered legal. You know, there was legal battles in the background, right for the customer. As soon as they saw brand equity, or rather, they saw a huge brand, and the brand developed equity through the relationships of its passengers and so on. Then there was no question amongst the customers of am I doing something illegal by getting into this random car? Yeah. Oh, there's an app. I use it all the time. Everyone uses it must be platform layer in society. No. So these things can can definitely have momentum once they reach ubiquity. And I think workplace cultures evolution. Definitely, as part of that, I think it's you, I agree with you, it's going through that right now. This this change. Yeah, Dave Cairns 1:03:08 and I don't want to generalize too much, but I really think that it's, it's the, it rests on the shoulders of millennials and Gen Xers to actually like put their money where their mouth is and lead differently, right show that it's okay to be different. So that people that are younger coming up, can actually recognize there is an opportunity to shake this shit up. Like totally man, it does not need to be the way that it was like, and then like as a you know, a lot of them are like when you're young, your loss, where do I work? Tell me what to do. I need help like, right, and the idea that that help has to come through, physically sitting beside the same people all day at the expense of everything else is a lie that it's being sold for many people's profits. And yet we have to show a different path, make hard decisions, move to fucking P ai, and talk about it. Not because I'm telling everyone else they should do that. Right. But to vote for them to be able to find their own story in me, right? Like because I'm just some guy but like, I make it you thinking about yourself. Qasim Virjee 1:04:16 So you guys totally happy where you're living like or is this gonna be a one? Is there gonna be another move? Dave Cairns 1:04:22 No, it's not another move. Well, there's a move within a move what we the one thing that we've realized is that we're kind of in no man's land living between the north shore where we have a cottage that we rent. Anyone listening I'd love to talk to about renting it but we have that cottage out in the beautiful middle of nowhere. And then we've got this amazing property. That's probably it's kind of comical because it's like less than a 10 minute drive to Main Street but like everything is relative on a smaller place right? We sort of feel like we're in no man's land I'm sure Qasim Virjee 1:04:54 by yourselves want to once you turn off the lights at night. You don't hear anyone. Dave Cairns 1:04:58 Yeah, like we have. I mean we have like a suburban neighborhood it's sort of like an Oakville kind of thing. Okay, but like what across the street from us is like the Walmart and like the Home Depot and like, you're kind of like, it's like a bizarre not junction junction. Sure, you know. So what we want to do actually is move closer to the one high street that we have, live in a smaller environment, downsize the amount of space we have, because we found out that like owning a lot of land and a big property, it's a nightmare. Yeah. And actually, I don't want the financial strain of it either. So we were going to relocate to be walkable to high street because that is actually the only thing we miss about Big City Life is walkability. To the shit that we like to do. Yeah. So it's a movement to move. Nice and not to move away.


Work-life balance and flexibility in the modern workplace. (1:05:43)

Qasim Virjee 1:05:43 That's awesome. Yeah. That's super cool, man. Yeah, see, meanwhile, I could never afford to move. In Toronto. We're like, we're stuck in our house forever. We keep dreaming up, like ways to like change our house over time. Because if we sell it, we can't get anything bigger. That's Dave Cairns 1:05:57 the problem. Right? You have to move somewhere else. Yeah. Qasim Virjee 1:05:59 priced out as a city, you know? Oh, Dave Cairns 1:06:02 I mean, like, I don't know, you'll have to ask yourself, well, it's all trade offs, right? Everything is a trade off. Do you do you value the trade offs or not? But Qasim Virjee 1:06:08 I agree with this. I think I think I'm definitely more. I'm experiencing more conversations with people talking about lifestyle, talking about work lifestyle, talking about making a better one for people that belong to their companies, but also the flip people saying, I don't want to be an entrepreneur. Like that's the other thing right? So Dave Cairns 1:06:28 many people don't. Yeah, Qasim Virjee 1:06:30 this is how man let me tell you, it's a pain in the ass like, the I don't know anymore. What it feels like to have the comfort of a week. Yeah, you know, like a week, what is a week, I don't know, I have a day every day. I have a day. And the day always ends with not quite like I'm stressed. It's not like, Oh, I didn't finish everything I needed to do. But my days end with the knowledge that I have to motivate myself to look forward to the next day, which is great. Everyone should live life that way, right? At the same time, it's it's crazy. Like, I can't even remember the last time I had like a week that had a start and an end. And I didn't need like, like, success or no success. I didn't need to achieve something. Dave Cairns 1:07:21 Yeah, well, you need the thought you're making me think is what what a world it would be if the average person had the chance to hop between whatever job they needed to hop between because life changes and companies go in and out of business. But like, if the average employer had the ethos of giving people that time and location flexibility to the maximum maximum extent possible as being something that was average, not rare. Yeah. Then people could actually benefit from, you know, the things that are afforded to entrepreneurs, but without the same level of risk. Yeah. And that's actually I think, what most people want, and it's attainable. It's an attainable thing. If Qasim Virjee 1:07:57 people are caught in the rat race, trying to buy freedom, the freedom is like, all they want is that extra half hour a day, or an hour a day to read a book, you know, like, Absolutely, if you have no commute. No, and you have that hour, at the same time. If you're if you're not, if you can finish your work early, and that's fine. Yeah, you can work two hours a day in a Dave Cairns 1:08:18 job, um, people are going to be able to do that. And they don't want more upside. Yeah. So why is that a problem? Yeah, it's not a problem. It I Qasim Virjee 1:08:28 think, to anyone listening to this was crafting a culture for their company, whether it's an existing, you know, age old company, or something from scratch, there's greater potentiality than ever before to afforded people freedom, whilst also if you're conscious of it, paying attention to how people are applying themselves well, to affect whatever success means for your company, like that takes cognizance and it takes planning and I think that the tools are there now for people to be able to do that, you know, so everyone can work together in better ways. Dave Cairns 1:09:03 I think we need a bigger stage. This was a good record. Good job. Qasim Virjee 1:09:07 There's a good chat right. Well, our stages the internet so for anyone listening or watching if you enjoyed this episode, we'll include some contacts in the in the footnotes and definitely reach out to us if you want to hear more. Yeah, I Dave Cairns 1:09:18 appreciate you having me to talk about this. I appreciate your man.

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