The office of yesterday is dead w/Dave Cairns [Video]

For this the 9th episode of StartWell's Gathering Podcast, Dave Cairns joins us in our Toronto studio to discuss the state of the office leasing market and shares his perspective about how companies need to rethink why they provide space for their staff.

Formerly a Toronto based broker, Dave moved to Prince Edward Island for a better quality of life during the pandemic and stayed there despite still continuing to broker lease deals in Toronto. He has started replacing conventional clientele and is increasingly working for coworking companies looking to expand their square footage in Canada's largest city.

    Spend time with this conversation - here's the full transcript

    Commercial real estate and remote work

    Qasim Virjee 0:13
    We're gonna kick it off with Dave Karen's this time around. Dave a little bit of backstory. We've definitely had you on the mic in the studio a little bit a little while and then virtually who had a little thing Yeah, talking about the office.

    David Cairns 0:24
    I think we've actually only done it virtually. So I'm you've never been here while I've been here, but I have not been in the studio recording a podcast with you. That's how many podcasts you are doing.

    Qasim Virjee 0:34
    I know on a regular iPod podcast as much as you post on LinkedIn. Yeah,

    David Cairns 0:40
    well, yeah, maybe yeah, that's, that's better. Well, Dave,

    Qasim Virjee 0:43
    a man that I've known virtually and in real life a little bit is a little bit of backstory is a former poker player turned real estate broker who does commercial dealings, and where you

    David Cairns 0:59
    used to do commercial dealings. Mr. Burns? Yeah, right. Commercial dealings dealings, before

    Qasim Virjee 1:04
    the pandemic took his livelihood away and sent him to Prince Edward Island.

    David Cairns 1:10
    Yeah, at least just decided to live in a better place and make no money. Right.

    Qasim Virjee 1:13
    Yeah. live next to the source of the wind, you know, go where it's coldest. Yes. And there are fewer people. Yes. nicer people. Yeah, very nice people out there. There's nice people here. It's just as a lot of schmucks also, you know, yeah,

    David Cairns 1:28
    well, like the thing about pi and Charlottetown is, it's a big enough place that you can have anonymity, but it's small enough that you can't be an asshole, because you'll be found out for being an asshole.

    Qasim Virjee 1:38
    Not many charlatans in Charlottetown. Not a lot of charlatans.

    David Cairns 1:41
    I do call myself a townsmen. Now, though, the townsmen.

    Qasim Virjee 1:44
    Here, the townsfolk

    David Cairns 1:47
    really vomits when she hears me call myself in townsman.

    Qasim Virjee 1:50
    I love that. You know, my daughter and I were watching the show called The wolf walkers. Did you see that? Yeah, no, it's brilliant. It's on Apple.

    David Cairns 1:57
    I think okay, Wolf watchers,

    Qasim Virjee 1:59
    walkers, Wolf walkers, the wolf walkers. And it's, it's about it's a brilliant anyone who's listening or watching you should watch it with a kid or by yourself or with someone that won't judge you. And it's it's a brilliant animated feature. And at some point, you know, these forest, people who are wolf walkers, they walk with the wolves, you know, are snatching up snacks on the edge of the forest outside of the town, and they call them town treats,

    David Cairns 2:27
    town treats,

    Qasim Virjee 2:28
    okay, or no Tony treats,

    David Cairns 2:30
    Tony treats treats that the townies we don't like to be called townie. So

    Qasim Virjee 2:33
    sorry, my bad. Well, I digress. The point is that you have worked in commercial bulk brokerage in Toronto and the big smoke, and you've been doing that remotely.

    David Cairns 2:47
    recently. Yes. We all did it remotely for a while and then I just realized it could continue to be done that way.

    Qasim Virjee 2:53
    So you move when did you move out of Toronto? Yeah, we

    David Cairns 2:57
    moved October of last year. So it's been over a year that I've been at townsmen? Wow.

    Work culture and remote work in Toronto

    Qasim Virjee 3:01
    Charlottetown? Okay, so let's break it down. Man, we have been for a while, right, like 10 episodes, nine episodes, this is just the gathering podcast. But even you know, in addition to that, on the start will podcast, talking to a variety of different individuals that are typically either team leads or supporting team leads, and supporting teams within organizations dealing with all this craziness of where people do their work, how they do their work together, what togetherness means for people that never meet each other, might never have met each other. Yeah, all that stuff. Now, I really like this, you know, possibility for us to kind of analyze what's happening in commercial real estate, and what your take on the role of the physical office is, you know, contextualized, by the trends that you're noticing, so I'm gonna leave this pretty open ended for you to jump in the office question mark, like, what what are you seeing and start with the critical stuff? Tell me the bullshit that you're privy to?

    David Cairns 4:12
    Well, let me you know, it's good anecdote. I was just at impact kitchen. Right? Just down the street. There's a lot of fucking laptops out there. Yeah, people working people in the cafe. And the thing that I asked myself and I should have just gone up and asked some of these people is how many of them are working for large corporations. Now, like, you know, I don't believe that the average person that's sitting in there, like

    Qasim Virjee 4:36
    get that Pepsi out of your mouth, you work for Coca Cola, man.

    David Cairns 4:40
    And I'm like, you know, do you work for Deloitte? Do you work for CIBC? Like, do you like, where do you work? I think that the notion of like, the gig worker is now almost like maybe an average worker in sort of a broad sense, right? So I found that there's more going on in that space than there is in most cases. Central district office buildings certainly on a Monday. Yeah. And it's like, I asked myself, well, what does that mean? Like, why is that the case? And I think it's a number of factors. I think for one, it's a convenience factor. A lot of the people that are going to be in that space, live proximate to that impact kitchen, it's actually kind of inconvenient to even walk 1520 minutes into the financial district to sit down and plop your laptop down. And do work that you could do it in packaging, or in your apartment, like near like, we can't even underscore the inconvenience of like, especially in a city like Toronto, where it starts to get cold and wintry and shit. Like you just rather go there. But then across the street, you got other ship where you could go like, take a sauna on a cold punch. You know,

    Qasim Virjee 5:42
    oh my god, right? Most people don't in Toronto, or people in Toronto not you know, in the King West weird neighborhood that we're based in. There is a place called other ship that that Dave was talking about witches a place where it's like a communal schvitz.

    David Cairns 5:58
    And it's alone at home in my own sauna. But I go in the basement, some people like to do it that

    Qasim Virjee 6:05
    way. Yeah. And it's like a party vibe is like, you know, apparently people stay up, you know, instead of going out to a nightclub, they they're advertising live you believe, you know, you can go and Schmitz with people. And it's just as thrilling.

    Remote work and its impact on office space

    David Cairns 6:15
    Yeah, there you go. I mean, but look like when you think about that. There's more, there's convenience, there's amenities, there's people who are choosing to co locate, like, what I think might be happening there, too, is a bunch of friends who may work at different companies that are sitting around a table together, working. And they like hanging out with those people, maybe more than they necessarily like going downtown and sitting next to Bob or whatever. So I mean, that like what I think has happened is that remote working is really just changing the relationship with urban environments. And it's probably also resulting in what a colleague of mine likes to call peak centralization. And have we reached peak centralization.

    Qasim Virjee 6:57
    Okay, but this is a critique of this, like, you know, post 1950s CBD? Yeah, you know, let's not rethink the downtown because back when we had like white flight, you know, it set the tone for the future, and we can redesign our future, right? This is like, yes, North America. We're talking about North America right now. Oh, sure. Yeah,

    David Cairns 7:15
    we're talking about a Western way of living and thinking and working. So I'm, yeah, yeah. But, but like, if have we asked, Do we ask yourself that question, if we reached that point, right. We're like, look at someone like me, I moved to Charlotte town, because I can. So

    Qasim Virjee 7:28
    you're talking about like, is the concept here that like the city can offer certain people more or enough? Yeah, in terms of lifestyle values? Well,

    David Cairns 7:39
    I think it's doing two things. I think remote work is changing the relationships with cities and making it more about living and less about working. I think that's one shift that's happening. But then I think the other is people just being more free to be able to choose where they want to live, because a lot of the work that is being done is the kind of work that's being done in impact kitchen, right. And so, if people don't need to come together with the same level of frequency, it just opens up the door for a lot more people to decide where they live, why they live there, how they work, why they work that way. And so a lot of that is pretty disruptive to long term office leases.

    Qasim Virjee 8:14
    So what do you think? Or what are you seeing? Or how are you seeing that play out for your clients?

    David Cairns 8:24
    Yeah, it's, it's interesting. I mean, I've sort of navigated away a little bit from working with companies and focusing more on working with people like you in the flex space arena.

    Qasim Virjee 8:33
    I'm a company, man, your company.

    David Cairns 8:35
    But you're you're someone whose product is the office? Or is it physical environment. So you're saying

    Qasim Virjee 8:40
    you're moving away from supporting the signing of long term leases for companies, and instead something a little bit more flexible? While

    David Cairns 8:50
    I'm trying to work with the providers that are trying to shift the product type to match more what the future demand actually wants? That's going to be quite varied, obviously. I mean, you're doing a great job of leaning into corporate events and meetings, right. For, you know, taking the notion that teams are disparate, and like, they don't need to come together, even when they live in the same city. You know, for a full workday.

    Qasim Virjee 9:09
    Yeah, we do on demand we do on demand being, you know, some smaller spaces or by the hour. Otherwise, it's like full day. So you book a space a start well, for a full day. Yeah, that full day could be bought on demand at full price, or you could save by bulk buying. So that's a really interesting thing. Totally revolutionising this idea of space where it's like, buy the right to use space when you need it at discount by committing to the use case, you know, a certain

    David Cairns 9:38
    number of times a year, whatever, right? Like you take the corporate budget that people have for events in meetings and say throw some of that our way and bind it advanced

    Qasim Virjee 9:46
    or to your point, not just events and meetings. Office. Yeah, it's in meeting Sure. Yeah. Like any need for any space that your company has, where that space allows people to come together. Yeah. We have solutions. There you go.

    David Cairns 10:01
    So you're working with probably some of the more forward thinking companies out there. But you asked me the question like, What would I be talking about with clients, like, some of them are really open minded and have moved into a remote work remote First Wave thinking. But most are like grappling with this notion of hybrid work, which is almost like a fashion trend. Like,

    Qasim Virjee 10:23
    what does that trend? What does that actually mean? In in a day to day like a monthly kind of scenario? When you say hybrid work for some of your clients? Yeah,

    David Cairns 10:31
    I mean, I think they think of it in a very rigid and static way, right? It's like everybody comes on these days, I see and works here, like Hotelling their office? Yeah, it's like, come on Monday, come on Thursday. Excuse me, those are the days, okay. And that's kind of shitty, because it doesn't allow companies to really reduce their office space footprint very much if everybody's expected to be there on the same days. And that's the knock on effects are significant. Like, why

    Qasim Virjee 10:56
    do you think that is like for the companies? If there are trends? Why do you think companies are a bit resistant to change in the sense of either dropping that square footage, or, you know, using it in a non full team full day way?

    David Cairns 11:13
    Either think it is broadly inter woven with the idea that culture is the office. And like, when I say the office, it's the central office. And so I think that they feel that the brain trust is there, all the work has to be done there. And it has to be done in a rigid fashion that looks like people, mostly sitting at their desks, doing whatever tasks they do for a prescribed period of time. That's built off of a way that the world doesn't really work anymore. And so yeah, like, just kind of like to try to round this out. I don't think a lot of companies have really massively changed their thinking. I think a lot of companies are just renewing leases, without really asking themselves, like, why did they need that space? It's just easy. It's still easier and 2022, almost 2023 to just kick the can down the road.

    Remote work and company culture in 2020-2023

    Qasim Virjee 12:00
    Yeah, and then the cultural a couple different things, right? Like, if you look at a financial management question, in 2020, got a lot of shutting off X, a lot of companies kind of saying, Okay, we're gonna, we're gonna kick the can in a different way, we're gonna kick the can specifically around how to deal with this. Right? It started then, like I remember, for months, in q2, q3 goal, fuck it the whole year. 2020. The whole year, I was talking to so many support staff and leaders at all different types of organizations, like picking up the phone and saying, Hey, guys, let me help you. Let me help you soundboard, the zombie apocalypse. Right? And I'm going to do that because for five years, you know, and many years before that outside of start, well, as a brand, I've been managing remote teams and distributed teams, and this is definitely the way that things are going. So how do you plan ahead? How do you figure out the cultural piece, like you can handle your risk mitigation, you can handle your disinfection plans, you know, but let me handle this kind of sandboarding of, of how you damage control. You're knowledgeable and retain staff and think through facilitating opportunity. And yeah, it was funny, because in 2020, has started this whole idea of of kind of willing ignorance. A lot of team leads saying, I don't want to figure this out, you know, and a lot of people were like, well, I don't need to figure it out. Because we could afford the rent. That's not even a question. Yeah. Right. And then I was saying, well, that's great. Right? I'm not saying Save, save money for the sake of it. In fact, that's stupid to me. You know, especially if you're a cash flowing business and your big business. cutting those costs, is a bit short sighted for the sake of it instead, say, What does real estate mean to my organization? And how can real estate support the culture of my people? Not necessarily in the sense of like Dilbert comic strip, insert people here in cubicles? But I mean, what do people you start by talking about the city, right? And how the city's the relationship people have to the city, especially workers, who are migrant workers, you know, whether is coming from the suburbs for the day or whatever else? They're investing in traveling to the city? How does the that role the city plays? How is it something that can be owned by a company? Is the question that I'm pushing on people?

    Office spaces and remote work

    David Cairns 14:22
    Yeah. And honestly, I think you make a good point that the office needs to be that city, because they're not likely going to be interacting too much with the broader city. Like they're there to interact with other colleagues. They're there for some purpose that serves the company's mission in some way. Well, well, hopefully serving their own as well. But like, the company is asking them to commute to two hours each way or probably in a better sense. They're actually co locating with these colleagues downtown because it turns out it's the most convenient way for a bunch of people from these cities that you describe, to be able to meet in one place because it's above you convenient transit and things like that. But you are making a good point that that environment that they go to the company office, but really more broadly, the building. Yeah. And maybe the maybe the whole building is to start well building, for example, but like, the point is, it has to be really compelling. It has to do the things that impact kitchen is somehow doing.

    Qasim Virjee 15:18
    I think a lot of companies, I mean, in the public narrative, like in the mass media narrative of North America, there seems to be a popular opinion that for two decades now, I would say North America that we can learn from Google, like everyone is turning to the big tech giants to say, they know something we don't because they're ahead of us. And being ahead in this, like, linear narrative, North American life is important. And being first in category, you know, in an industry means that you're not only competitively winning, but you have this kind of untapped divine knowledge. Yeah. And so like, the whole, like, you know, all the aspects of the, you know, the, the tech head offices with the chefs in the kitchens and the slides, and the ping pong and the like lounge chairs

    David Cairns 16:12
    designed to enslave people. Mostly,

    Qasim Virjee 16:15
    tell me more. Well, I

    David Cairns 16:16
    mean, like, when you really think about it, those those companies want people spending as many of their waking hours as possible, inside of the brain trust, and hopefully working on the brain trust in one way or another. It's

    Qasim Virjee 16:29
    like, we'll fly in papayas for you to eat, you know, for a special dessert buffet. And then when you soil, your pads from those papaya, as we have in house laundry, yeah. Asleep in our hotels totally

    David Cairns 16:41
    cubicle. It's fuck, but like, you make another good point there, which is I've been asking myself this question for years, which is, these companies created some of the most innovative technologies that exist today. But they didn't innovate on how they worked. Really, they actually took a similar model to a traditional bank, really, they just made it a more fun and inviting place to be, but they didn't allow asynchronous work, you know, in like, they just didn't do any of the things that the pandemic really did for everybody. And so like, you asked me in the beginning, like what's changed or whatever, like, I think two things have really happened. We work exposed the fact that office buildings are at risk, and they're at risk. And it's not because we work some special company or anything, like I have nothing extremely positive or extremely negative to say about them. But they were the first consumer facing brand that was known to not just people in the real estate industry, but maybe like, I could have dinner with somebody and they would know what we work was right. Nobody knew what Regis was. Yeah, so

    Qasim Virjee 17:39
    you weren't popularized more than any other brand in North America. The phrase the word coworking, not necessarily the cultural values of the movement. Yeah,

    David Cairns 17:49
    yeah. But they, but in the context of the office industry, they expose the fact that buildings are at risk, because they're not doing what companies want, and ultimately what end users want. So companies want least flexibility, and users want the packaging thing, right. And so whether or not we work was fulfilling on those promises directly or not that the idea became front and center, right. And so that's big problem. That's very problematic for financial core buildings, they have to fully reinvent how they exist from the inside out, they have to be about build, measure, learn, instead of like, if you build it, they will come right. And then there's a lot of stock that may or may not be useful anymore, right? Then the pandemic, the way that I described the pandemic, is, it's like, everybody used the first version of an iPhone. Like, that's not natural, like normally there would be an adoption curve, but a bunch of people just got thrown into remote working. And that is going to stir the pot. You know what I mean? And I think that we're now seeing a massive acceleration, like the fact that you're going to be able to go out, and probably in 2023 through 25, sell a shitload more types of events, meetings and working for the day than would have been the case if the pandemic didn't happen. I think we've accelerated that we've compressed it because everybody got put in the iPhone in their hands.

    Qasim Virjee 19:08
    I like to remote work. I like that. But I will say for our listeners who are interested in learning more about coworking state of the industry for commercial real estate in Toronto and all the stuff that it's actually not true, from my perspective as an operator, so you like it and don't like it? Okay. No, no, it's not that I'm just saying the assumption. So I see this, this a lot in the commercial real estate world where it's like, you know, old versus new, okay. A new is, let's call it multi use space, where people in the new working environment are coming together to Yes, collaborate, but also to use space in different ways. I agree with that, that the newness of it is that that will become an increasingly desired thing. But the newness from the provision side of things is not necessarily new. The availability of space in a hybrid format, as a template for or collaborative work is not new is new to a lot of types of organizations, right? If you look at how creatives have typically worked, some of the most successful or otherwise, some of the most empowered teams, that creative agencies, you know, around the world, the way that they work is very different. I don't mean in terms of like, the slave driver mentality of like, pump out creative. And then once you've reached a certain seniority in your job, you get your name on the project. Yeah. But I mean, in terms of the like, kind of Hack the planet ethos of like, I need a space to be inspired to do cool work. And then that will enable our client base to, you know, sell more shit. Those industries have been definitely like more or provide more fun places to work, possibly to counterbalance the stress of the job, etc. So like, there's this kind of like, now more people are learning about better ways to do things. Kind of side to things. Yeah. But I'll say this from our experience, it's not necessarily resulting in a mass populace adoption, suddenly of what is new and better. Like, it's a slow burn man, every single customer who comes to start well, and does not like marketing, advertising bullshit. Loves the experience. We have very successful, happy coming together as of people when they book space here, they love it. Even

    Adapting office spaces for post-pandemic work

    David Cairns 21:31
    just being in the front. They're talking to mash it was great. spoke to her for like, 30 minutes while you, you know, made me wait.

    Qasim Virjee 21:40
    Sorry for that. But yeah, like the point is, you know, Monday shouldn't feel like Monday here. There's always a great conversation. And there's always nice coffee.

    David Cairns 21:48
    Yeah, yeah.

    Unknown Speaker 21:49
    So but

    David Cairns 21:50
    anyway, so what you're saying is that, the I'm saying it's accelerated in existing trend massively, you're saying yeah, but no, also at the same time, right. Because it's still a slog, to convince most companies to buy office space, or buy places where people do shit in the way you think they should be doing it, you know, what you're saying, We

    Qasim Virjee 22:09
    haven't changed our model much at start? Well, because of the pandemic in the last two and a half, let's call it three years, I have built out more media production capability on campus, but that has its own business model. Right? I'm not really making money off of people coming for meetings on the media side of the business. Once in a while, we'll do like, you know, meeting recap video for a commercial client, we'll have some content recording at, you know, the coming together of people, because it's like a special occasion. Yeah, but for the most part, we can't rely on that like value added, you know, service as our revenue for the business. So realistically, we're doing similar stuff, we've just reduced our office footprint and made it more in a meeting spaces. But we always had like I've 20,000 square feet under management 10 of it has always been meeting spaces and monetized on demand.

    David Cairns 22:59
    So you were ahead of the curve. And in the way you design the space, because next we worked for obviously, like little shoebox offices, not a lot of amenity and totaling spaces to

    Qasim Virjee 23:10
    design of we work, again, for people not in the know, was really a calculated effort to raise the cost per square foot to customer and maximize the square foot allocation of monetizable space per location. Yeah, make the most out of the smallest footprint possible. It wasn't about let's give all this cool space of the people

    The future of work and co-working spaces

    David Cairns 23:32
    like a cell block, where do you go into certain we works literally looks like a cell block in prison.

    Qasim Virjee 23:36
    And so it's very, it's exciting to think that like, co working is taking over everything, right? And that like because no one wants to miss math, because no one wants to go into an office or for the most part, a lot of the office stock that's sitting vacant, landlords will want to lease out. Yeah, on demand terms do with more CO working operators, totally. But are those co working operators net net doing anything? Most of them are selling bullshit. Let me just be totally blunt. They're gonna go out and lie to everyone they can to stay afloat. And they're doing micro we work model. Yeah,

    David Cairns 24:12
    I hear you. So one of the you're making me think of an observation I made roughly six months ago and over the last six months, which is so you'll hear great co working operators and when I say great, I really mean they're rented out like they're doing their job of renting the space and driving revenue from it. So let's let's let's be clear that that's what I mean by great in this context. Yeah, there you mean successful successful? Sure. You'll hear them say there there are 100% rented or occupied Yeah, that the term occupied is really all in the definition because right there's actually not a lot of occupancy in these buildings. They're being rented but they're not being occupied ghost town. Yeah. And so what I make the joke that companies have gone from long leased Ghost Town to shortlist Ghost Town, yes, and it's a win financially. But nobody's really, genuinely diving into solving what's going to make people want to go and like I can I keep going to this impact kitchen thing, because no one's forcing those people to go there.

    Qasim Virjee 25:18
    Ya know, it's super interesting. I think this is something we keep coming up against. Like, even though I have all this stock and all this stuff, I'll tell you this, like adoption for our on demand offering is certainly higher per capita than it was in 2019. The commitment to space usage is lower though. So what I mean by that is, as we connect with a larger number of companies in our sales, outreach, and in our inbound and whatever, through our media, as well, you know, anyone watching or listening, this wants to email me, do so and we'll talk but as people reach out and come in our door, they kind of see the need for what we provide more than ever before 100% tick mark, will they return, I'll tell you a few reasons that challenge this whole return story and turning a one off, meeting customer into an on demand. Pre commit, which we do, we're doing that, like we're selling credits for some companies, and companies are buying, and I'm not saying every company is, is kind of reluctant to commit to using flexible space. But you're seeing and part of this series examines this, right, we've already had a few people talk to this note of the challenges to managing a remote team. So it's wonderful that, you know, people don't need to be enslaved to commuting long hours in their day, to a core that they don't even interact with, you know, just to go into their office. But at the same time, remote work doesn't necessarily replace a lot of the values of team camaraderie that you have in real life. Okay, so assuming that like everyone's a pedestrian at your company, and they live within like a two block radius of your office, they're probably going to have a different, you know, value for that office than if they committed it. And for the companies who have this kind of like localized urban population that makes up the team. You know, they have a huge value for communion. And that story is kind of not really as told and celebrated. But regardless, you take those people and you stratify them, then it's a little bit more difficult to get what you had before. Anyway, so what we do here, which is real wicked is like people come together, and they love it. Because, and literally, we're talking to like the city of Toronto. They're egaming kind of offices in new office that promotes like, e gaming and, and digital entertainment in the city, talking about how like some of our customers fit into that cohort. And we're saying, when these teams, whether it's those guys or otherwise come in, how is the city available to them? And the truth is, the City of Toronto is scratching their heads about this, they really want to figure it out, but they don't know how to. And they have a lot of like large corporates reaching out to them to say, we want to make Toronto a destination for our people globally. But, you know, what does that mean for them, and they're scratching their heads. So we have an under supply of hotel beds in the city. We have very poor transit linkages. We have terrible road infrastructure that's constantly under, you know, redevelopment. We have pedestrian walkways that don't have, you know, proper kind of, let's say, streetscaping, I have

    Toronto's urban planning and density

    David Cairns 28:40
    a client from London in the flex world won't name him, just to not to call him out. But he sort of said to me, he goes, you know, Toronto just doesn't feel like a very metropolitan city to me, like, where I'm from, you know, entertainment, work, leisure, restaurants, I guess you call it entertainment and people living like it all coexists very harmoniously on top of one another. And he was remarking that office occupancy is higher there now. It's not anywhere close to where it was pre pandemic, but in certain boroughs of London, there's far more activity than there is in this city. We've

    Qasim Virjee 29:15
    already we've suffered this problem in Toronto since since forever, right? Toronto is Toronto, the good. It's never been Toronto, the great like, and this is a kind of a that anecdote or that that kind of similarly, similar thing that I said, Yeah, whatever. That's called an English, this language that's coming out of my mouth.

    David Cairns 29:37
    That's a mindfuck. Let's not go down that path.

    Qasim Virjee 29:40
    But like basically, Toronto, I mean, I've always held this opinion since moved moving here in 2005. Is that like, this is a really cool city, the diversity, the ethnic diversity and otherwise in the city is only getting even more so varied and exciting because of that. But because of the topography of the city and the fact that, you know, the city was built on top for the most part, the major arteries were literally roads paved on top of trading routes. Like they were pathways that people used to walk to the river and to the lay cod. And then they literally when the first draft of urban planning happened, they paved or first put stones and then pave those same paths thinking that people would want to keep living in the ways that they had been living before they were replaced with other people. You know, yeah. And it's a very interesting thing, because then a grid kind of got bootstrapped into that. And then the city got built. And as that happened over the last, let's call it a couple 300, almost years, two and a half, maybe about 200 250 years. Torontonians never had a density that was mixed use. They always had these like high streets. You know, it could be an amulet emulation, a little bit of old York of London, right? Yeah. But like, because we didn't have that mixed use. That was pervasive. And we didn't really have the borrowing that you have in London. Everything was a bit more expansive, and especially the growth of the city really happening as a lot of American cities, you know, kind of a post war post Second World War. So you had this expansionism in the city, that was a very suburban kind of expansionism, people wanting houses, post war houses being built to afford that space, you know, within the home. And because of that, the density wasn't quite there. They didn't build up that much. There's a much history to afford that. And also, this is something then that kind of alludes This is that now we've got this massive race towards density as this is the biggest city in Canada with a massive immigration trajectory. And though we had some net migration to the burbs and elsewhere, because of the pandemic and prices going up, yeah, it's been counterbalanced already. Right. There's not enough rental properties on the market. If you're looking for an apartment to live in, like

    Urban population growth and unused office space

    David Cairns 32:02
    I've never questioned that people would want to live in cities, I never even people would do what I'm doing. What's interesting,

    Qasim Virjee 32:08
    though, is that, though we have so many people within this city, and our urban population is exponentially growing. In fact, construction cranes can't afford enough housing for the city, people who live in the city, right? So the larger narrative of critiquing the Office usage is always about transit commuters. It's always about people in the suburbs. But the truth,

    David Cairns 32:29
    just saying that, like there's just it's not easy enough to get to the office. Is that what you mean? Yeah,

    Qasim Virjee 32:33
    what I'm saying is like, for the most part, the critique of the relevance of Office traditional office spaces often? Yes,

    David Cairns 32:41
    not the opposite of the commute is but yeah, I would say and I think that that oversimplifies it and is not even remotely accurate.

    Qasim Virjee 32:48
    But what I'm working towards is this question of like, as we build more apartment complexes, condos, right. And we're moving suddenly up. And we're not building neighborhoods around those condos. Because the streetscape is really just, you know, ground floor retail popularized by what, of course, every tower needs, which is like a Subway sandwich store and the Nail Parlor. Yeah, you know, it's not really afforded by the people. It's afforded by whoever, whoever will pay rent. Yeah. We're, we're kind of pushing in this interesting direction. And this is, I'm, I'm leading this to say, I haven't seen a want for the city to evolve from the urban populations drive, like people who live in the city, kind of reclaiming space, possibly, because, you know, it is very expensive still to take on space to pay for space to rent it. But I think that is very interesting to look at the fact that like, we've got whatever percentage of the city empty in terms of the upper floors of the office buildings empty. And yet, we have so many people in this city that could potentially make use of that space.

    David Cairns 34:01
    Yeah, well, I mean, one, and I want to ask you something unrelated, that you've made me think about earlier, and what you said, but on the notion of using that space differently, one of the biggest problems is the size of a lot of floor plates is just too,

    Qasim Virjee 34:16
    like 20,000 square foot floors. Yeah, like you just can't

    David Cairns 34:19
    get like enough natural light into some of these spaces for them to be anything but like Office or vertical farming is kind of the problem. And I think you see that in Calgary, right? Like they've had a 25 to 30% vacant market or whatever, for a long time.

    Qasim Virjee 34:35
    It's a quoted statute because the real numbers are more like 50 or 60. Yeah,

    David Cairns 34:40
    for sure. Because of like so much space, it's just not being used, but still is whatever at least. So they haven't done a lot though with those massive buildings because they just can't do anything with them is the problem. If they could, they would. So it's kind of scary when you think about that.

    Urban planning and cultural evolution in Toronto

    Qasim Virjee 34:55
    Yeah. And I think Canada across the board of Canada has always had that feel right like and this Is the whole like Chicago versus Toronto thing. We've never had the density because of our urban planning in terms of residential. We've never had the density that even a city like Montreal right has had very different kind of city built since the 1600s. With row housing and multi family dwellings since day one. We've had this push towards single family dwellings for a long time in Toronto. So density isn't part of the psyche. And in a lot of, you know, Canada, it's like that, where people are constantly questioning for more space. This is this whole like suburban push, right? People wanting to live in the suburbs over the city because people don't conceive of the possibility of or even seek the opportunity for intermingling.

    David Cairns 35:50
    There's a you know, intermingling means what

    Qasim Virjee 35:53
    socially, our cities don't have Palazzos you know, this is not Palacios wrong word Piazza us we don't have these like common like they're very few squares. There's not there's like fountains everywhere. They don't have a pedestrian with the cities are built for pedestrian

    David Cairns 36:07
    thinking of Lisbon, which feels like the opposite of what you're describing. When I went to Lisbon. I feel like there's people everywhere.

    Qasim Virjee 36:17
    Anything you want, you go to the place and is there and the selection might be small, but

    David Cairns 36:21
    you could get what you need. Yeah, there's like a whole bunch of like, old dudes with like these half like beers. And they I guess they're convincing themselves. They're not drinking, but they're just drinking half beer and

    Qasim Virjee 36:31
    passing time. Like there's just chilly. So I think that's that's a big thing, right? Is that like we've had this kind of work or culture that's been? The city hasn't been designed for quality of life. Let's say it that way. Yeah. Now,

    David Cairns 36:46
    you know what, it's funny, because so my wife, we we just came into town with our daughter, right? Terrible days ago. And every time we come in, she's always like, man, like, did we like she doesn't say we've made a mistake. But she's just like, she gets caught up in some of the amenities rightfully so. Right that she's missing. Okay, I see. Yeah, like, you know, whatever, cooler food restaurants and just like, she even liked the idea of taking our daughter L on the streetcar and bringing her around with ease. It's fun, whatever, right. But I think she ends up always arriving back at the problem that you're describing, which is that it's devoid of real connection and real interaction here. And there's a lot of like barriers that ended up making you stressed out and like transit is one of them. Like you're you're happy to be on the subway with your daughter for the first half of the first day. And then you're like, kill me now.

    Qasim Virjee 37:40
    Yeah, and look, all urban places have their problems, right. But

    David Cairns 37:43
    this is worse. This is worse. Yeah, toronto, toronto, Nokia was not like that, like you

    Qasim Virjee 37:48
    can different cultures, different history of design, you know, urban design, urban theory, urban planning. This is in many ways a city left to its own devices, which is going to be interesting, I think, for the next two decades. Yeah. But I'd like to ask your opinion on this. So like, as there is a cultural evolution, perhaps happening with with people like you're seeing it, like you said, you're helping more people into the flexible solutions, companies and a flexible solutions, then like full on leases. Yeah. What do you think the evolution of that is? And is it a trend that is going to be the main place in the next five years? Or?

    David Cairns 38:26
    It feels like a stepping stone? And I come back to this, like, I'm gonna butcher it, but like Gary Vaynerchuk. The I mean, some people like him, some people don't. I don't I kind of find it annoying. Gary Vee. Maybe people find me annoying. And

    Speaker 3 38:42
    all your life, share it, share it, share it, post, post, post, post, exactly. Post to them, post some more, and then hire people to post for you.

    David Cairns 38:49
    Yeah, I might fall victim to that same thing. So maybe that's why I don't like myself sometimes. But either way.

    Qasim Virjee 38:54
    Oh, wait, let's just pause there. You're in a safe space.

    David Cairns 38:59
    Tell us more. We can maybe come back to it if you want to get away from the real estate and ask about my personal life last year, but he's famous for saying you're worried companies are worried about the great resignation. It's the great never apply, they should be worried about and whether he's being dramatic or not, but the sentiment, I think he's kind of right. And so you asked me like, like, what do you think the long term is? I have no idea. But I do ask myself the question when you think of that example where it's like a bunch of people that are making money off tick tock YouTube, they're they're finding creative ways to make revenue from three or four different things that they do you know, how common or uncommon is that going to be in the future? Obviously, there's a lot of risk that is tied to living your life that way right?

    Qasim Virjee 39:47
    It's a joke right? I always laugh about this shit, man. All these like people making money off of ad subsidization of their content. And then it's like oh, but no one wants to advertise on their platform. It anymore. Yeah, it was harder, you're out of a job. You're in Bali and you can't pay rent. There's

    David Cairns 40:04
    that obviously for sure. But then there's also like the human nature element of it, which is like, do human beings just value working for a more stable employer and within a more stable job? Like I mean, I don't know. But I don't think employment is going to be as stable as it has been going forward. So I think more and more people are going to have to think about things this way. Then I asked myself, my daughter there. She's being dubbed generation glass, which I'm assuming your daughter falls. I haven't heard this. Yeah. So effectively in my daughter's

    Qasim Virjee 40:33
    generation hammer. But she's in her own generation by herself.

    David Cairns 40:37
    Got it. Well, I left my phone out of the room to be here with you. But the reason that they call them generation glasses, because it's the first generation to be born into touchscreens.

    Qasim Virjee 40:45
    Oh, I see. Yeah, I thought I meant they were so fragile. No, no, like, Oh, my God. So fragile.

    David Cairns 40:51
    No, no, no, no, no. The devices. Okay. So like, you know what, it's going to be so interesting to watch these kids be 20 and 25 years old, like, how are they going to want to live and work so like to go to close the loop? Like, I think right now, we're just dealing with like, how to deal with one ghost town to another ghost town and make it like, more efficient, less strain on the environment, meet ESG goals. But I think the way that we work is under siege. And eventually, it's not going to resemble anything that looks like how it does today. I just have no idea what that really means. Yeah,

    Entrepreneurship and small business in Canada

    Qasim Virjee 41:26
    yeah. For me, I definitely I agree with you, I think the nature of work in North America, especially in the major urban metropoles, like Toronto, which have had a nine to five working culture around massive corporations, predominantly employing the bulk of the population. And this is interesting, right? I'm not privy to these numbers, just obviously, being a small businessman, and in talking to Representative groups, associations and stuff that tried to protect our interests going into the pandemic or living through it. Right. But the truth of the matter is in Canada, you know, we've got like, kind of three cohorts of employers, we've got, you know, the government of all areas. Yeah, right. federal, provincial, municipal. We have all these government people's about, what is it? Half a million people? Yeah, I think you're about right. That's about the number. Yeah. Then you've got, you know, massive corporations, the Coca Colas, or whoever, big banks, whatever. Yeah. Then you've got SMBs and SMBs per capita or not, per capita? Yeah, well, let's say like this, for every company that fits into SMB category, small to medium sized business. You've got, you know, smaller per company, employee count, but the amalgam of all those businesses, and make sure that yeah, it's bigger than all of them. Right. Yeah. Is that accurate? Absolutely. It's the biggest detail. Yeah.

    David Cairns 42:51
    When you go beyond just office related work. I assume that's where it gets bigger.

    Qasim Virjee 42:55
    Right? Yeah. You got like, obviously, you've got some startups. You've got new ventures, you've got retail businesses, you've got include hospitality. You've got informal work

    David Cairns 43:05
    sector, industrial related stuff. Yeah. All of it. Yeah.

    Qasim Virjee 43:09
    So super interesting. Because that's also the toughest kind of segment of people to get together. Right. So I do think that in the next few years, we're going to see in Canada, I think Canada is uniquely positioned. I've always been saying this a Canada is uniquely positioned to encourage a class of entrepreneurship to solve new problems and monetize their solutions. As business people, and we have a huge amount of potential where we have a lot of difficulty is in educating those possibilities. Even this whole thing of like management, you know, business, the only business you could do 2030 years ago is probably the same for the most part now. You couldn't do entrepreneurship as a program. Yeah. But at the same time, we're at a crisis now where like, those large corporations are not necessarily hiring quote, unquote, managers, the role of the manager is different now. So

    Remote work and office culture

    David Cairns 44:08
    you've had tick tock video that recently came over this like woman bashed office, the office is like a religion. And she talked about managers like performing like ceremonies, like just walking around, observing people, like people would give sacrifices to the managers like an email, and it's really funny you watch.

    Qasim Virjee 44:29
    Yeah, there is this whole like, funny thing, right of like the cult of the office where the hierarchy must be kind of enforced and respected.

    David Cairns 44:37
    So this is where I want to actually ask you to think from earlier. So like, I grew up. When I say grew up corporately, I grew up in an office environment at CBRE and I'm not here to actually knock and I built a we built a great team up to you know, me and a guy that was in his 50s. We joined forces. I eventually became his 5050 equity partner, and we built a team that ended They're being a people. And it was a great pursuit. But what I look at in the rearview mirror is that we, there was a lot of like, jabbing and weird stuff going on that was sort of based on office culture. You know, for example, once I had my daughter, they were having an 830 in the morning meeting on Mondays or whatever, and it was just really inconvenient for me to get there. And, you know, I'd come into this meeting and I feel really awkward that like, everybody was there and I wasn't right. And you just sort of like, the pandemic like lifted that whole way of thinking were like those conventions. Yeah. debunked.

    Qasim Virjee 45:41
    Toxic office culture. Toxic office culture is is stupid and needs to be fixed. Yeah, but

    David Cairns 45:48
    then okay, let me finish because like, now today, I'm doing business with a guy at a different company who you know, Ben right now Yeah, man.

    Qasim Virjee 45:57
    Yeah, so we're we're co brokering looks like the damn Big Lebowski. That guy. He's a great guy.

    David Cairns 46:03
    Yeah, shout out to Ben. But we're, we're co brokering deals together. We're not even at the same company. Yeah, I'm now working with a guy inside of my company that I didn't have the opportunity to work with, because it just, it actually didn't jive based on hierarchy. He was too young. And I was too young to partner right? Like the idea is like young person partners with senior person at song, but then you Yeah, but then you realize a few years in, you're like, wait a minute, we should be working together. But now I'm impregnated in this business partnership, and like, it just doesn't work out. Right. But now I'm working with Ben who have never met, okay, never met in person never once met him. I speak to the guy every day, we were working on tons of deals, working with a guy who I didn't get the opportunity to work for. Yeah. And I live in PEI. Yeah, it's awesome. And it's so it's like, and I'm in real estate. And so it's like, it's just fundamentally changed. So what my question for you is this, a lot of people poke holes in me, when I share my story on the internet, they say, you're self motivated. Your job function, you know, makes it easy for you to do it this way. Nobody pays you or whatever. You're just basically a self motivated person. And you don't represent the average person. And I think that that's accurate. I do agree with that. And I don't say that with ego, I just think it's true. But I always sort of come back to being like, well, that doesn't mean that like, everybody has to go to the corporate HQ to do their job. They really just need the right technology tools. And maybe they need a location that isn't their home. But that doesn't mean that they all have to go to 145 King Street West every day. I think that that's a flawed piece of thinking. So what do you think about the whole concept of it because I just want to assess my own bias in that my leaving the office as my primary place of engagement. That's the way I look at it like it's, it's no longer my primary place of engagement. It has opened up so many more doors for me, then the environment that I was working in living in before, but I don't know if I'm, well,

    Qasim Virjee 47:59
    like look, I was just talking to to Reza from wave about this for the the episode before this one. And reminiscing about my own history, which actually predates you know, my my kind of like, mid 20s I've been I look I've been working since I was a teenager, I've been working in tech since I was a teenager. And since day one, it was really about using technology to connect people that's been like the a common theme in all my work, right? All my different entrepreneurial ventures, the time I had a job. And like and all this cool software that I've built over the over the time. And it's interesting, so we're talking how many years now? I'm 42 I've been working on shit since I was like a teenager. Right? So for a long time 30 years I've been like making money. Yeah. So what's interesting is for me is that I've always believed in remote work. Since I first dialed up to a BBS before the internet I believed in remote work. I believed in the power of the computer to connect people and I've actually built startups to do that you know? So I'm really optimistic about North America's embrace late in the way I would see it late embrace of technology to empower people to not only do work bigger, better, faster, more, but just do their work in a way that can free up their lifestyle

    David Cairns 49:30
    and look in my case not just free up lifestyle like access people I couldn't access before and new people

    Qasim Virjee 49:36
    but that's part of it. That's why I look like this Yeah, way better. I look at it like that like if work you know, like Yeah, exactly work in new ways, no matter what and be able to be connected to more people and what's really interesting about this example that you brought up is that you've always had that potentiality but habits in your in your in real life. Habitual

    David Cairns 49:56
    dude. Yeah, the office is the primary place of engagement was the problem for Me, right? Like, I just got trapped in this box. Sure, that's this way of like working and like, and I didn't have the time to go and meet people in the same way that I did in the pandemic from other places in the world. i The technology was there. But the willingness to participate in that way, was not for myself and others, right?

    Remote work and organizational culture

    Qasim Virjee 50:18
    Yeah. But you're talking about like taking away your physical habitual and your weekly schedule, enabling you to kind of like have more freedom to like, think and connect with people. Yes.

    David Cairns 50:28
    And so but but are we maybe people like me and you anomalies? And do most people require a specific environment to go to every day supervision? Yada, yada, yada. Very

    Qasim Virjee 50:41
    few people can be self directed in life? I'll say like that. But it's definitely a desirable attribute of any worker for an employee, employer, sorry, to see self direction as a skill. You know, if

    David Cairns 51:01
    if someone Yeah, I think I was like an inherent quality can be learned, or the difficult

    Qasim Virjee 51:05
    thing for most organizations is they it's very difficult to give the keys to an employee to say you know, your drive.

    David Cairns 51:12
    Yeah, no, no, for sure. Well, they don't know how to teach it is the problem. I learned it from my days playing poker. Like I, when we played cards, like, we never thought about, like defining where we worked. Yeah, you know what I mean? Like, we just like, either played online, ourselves played online with other people in either internet cafes, or other people's houses, or even sometimes people had poker offices, we just went where it made sense. And then we played live in person like this, when it made sense. And we just did it based on whether it made sense that was it, what

    Qasim Virjee 51:40
    I've always found is as long as deliverables are specifically communicated, and the means of communication across team are clearly articulated. So that people know what's expected of them in an organization. The next expectation should be to have fun at work. And if someone's not having fun, there should be means of feedback within organizations to be able to manage that.

    David Cairns 52:07
    And sort of defining fun, though, is such a fucked up thing. Because some people fun is like, going into the office being around other people all the time. My version of fun is freedom. So it's like, I could be at odds in theory with totally in my organization that defined fun one way, and I'm like, Well, I want to be able to do

    Qasim Virjee 52:24
    that. And that should be okay. If we're talking about designing. See, I think a lot of this debate in real estate is interesting, the counterbalance to kind of like the empty offices is really like, what is the state of the new organization? And, you know, they're not necessarily at odds with each other, I don't think at all. But, but I think that yeah. And again, it's tough for me in my brain, to limit my thinking to North America, because we're such an exclusive area of the world in terms of dealing with this, like, remote culture, remote work question. It's a very localized problem, or not problem, but scenario. In other parts of the world, there's many of them. These things are not being talked about.

    David Cairns 53:12
    And they're not being talked about because they're being acted upon, or because it's not possible.

    Qasim Virjee 53:17
    Well, like we started, like, we were talking about London, right? So it's more like, the quality of life of work life in a lot of urban contexts is far better than Toronto. Right? So it's like, the the, like, perhaps workplaces are less. Now this is an overstatement is they're not necessarily less toxic, because they are more integrated into the rest of other people's lives, you know, in different cities. But at the same time, if people are privy to a more diverse day, you know, where the workplace is far more integrated with a kind of active pedestrian experience?

    Office design and hospitality in Toronto's financial district

    David Cairns 53:55
    No, I totally am with you. And like, frankly, if my wife and I didn't have children, a child, and we yeah, we probably just move cities. Yeah, we probably we I don't think we would want to be here because city hot, you just described a lot of things that Toronto doesn't have. And that's probably what we would have done, we would have gone to a cool place like Lisbon is one of my favorite cities in the world. Like, I mean, again, I'm being like whether I could legally I could go there or not as is there's not really I'm just saying, theoretically,

    Qasim Virjee 54:27
    no, I mean, there's so many cities in the world, an old cities, cities where people have proven this shit 1000 years ago, you know, we all talk about in North America, like this is some new context. But no, it's just that the forum for dialogue is new. Yeah.

    David Cairns 54:40
    And America and North American and most cases is unfortunately, not very livable. In the downtown's Yes. I don't know what it means. Like I really don't because there's a lot of people that say, you know, it's nice to create more flexible and more hospitable office environments. But like that doesn't change the fact that most people don't want to come downtown. Yeah,

    Qasim Virjee 55:00
    I'll tell you what we're learning from the teams that come to start well, not just one off teams with teams that are turning into repeat customers as well that love the experience. Often cases, it's, of course, they love being here, right? That we were happy people that try and encourage, you know, freedom of thought and so on. And we have varied seating, you know, formats, and all this sort of stuff architecturally design wise. But we really try and integrate people to the pedestrian feel, which is why start? Well, you know, we have front doors you walk in, we have a number of entrances you could walk in from the street in our different buildings. So what we found is a lot of people that don't even have that experience in their life, are experiencing it here. And it's really, really an interesting thing to walk in from the street and own your presence in a building that's not yours. Yeah, no, you're welcome. And then also walk out of the door to step across the road to get sushi, or down the street to get some Italian, or those teams that are here for a day or multi day will program. A lot of it's around food, but a lot of activities

    David Cairns 56:05
    that you can just throw down the road or whatever. Yeah.

    Qasim Virjee 56:08
    And so we're turning into this kind of like, you know, site for off sites where, and this is what I was talking about when my friend, Anthea, at the City of Toronto is that we actually act as like an ambassador for Toronto. We're an embassy of Toronto in Toronto.

    David Cairns 56:24
    And no, and I would love to see more of it actually be in the periphery of the financial district because the problem with the financial district is it's barren and it's full of assholes. Well, how else can you really say it like it's just like, it's so uninviting to go to King taps?

    Qasim Virjee 56:43
    Taps I've never even been there. It was across from suit fornell.

    David Cairns 56:47
    No, it's like it's on King Street, right at like King in university like in Brookfield or not Brookfield Place. First Canadian place. Okay, but no, like, you go in there and like, it's just uninviting to be there. But

    Qasim Virjee 56:59
    the counterbalance is that there's like, you know, there's turonian. Adelaide, there's suit fornell. I'm big on the Trone brand.

    David Cairns 57:06
    Yeah, for sure. I love it. Yeah.

    Qasim Virjee 57:08
    There's there's pockets here and there. There are places but again, you know, you need to know where you're going.

    David Cairns 57:14
    I liked the assembly hall. Like that was the only place I felt kind of normal in the financial district. Like that's sort of like whatever amalgamation of food stalls that was in Oh, right. Yeah, Richmond Adelaide center. And there was a level of like interaction and an activity that felt like normal people just like in a marketplace. Yeah, you know what I mean, like that I liked and so it shows how space and what it's intended to be, yeah, really informs a the type of people that are going there. Or if you're an asshole, you can't really be an asshole there anymore. You have to turn into not an asshole. You know what I mean? And so I think that there's an opportunity to reshape some of that financial district stuff. And you bring up an amazing point of like, walking in off the street, being greeted hospitably feel like you're part of the vibrancy and the heartbeat of the city. And I can actually attest to that people watching. Like, that happens when you come here. And I think that it's harder in these big buildings. And it's harder with big corporations that are in these buildings. Yeah, convene is the only one that I have seen that is attempting to do this from like, they're trying to create an entry experience from the built like the lobby of the building, are sure you up to their space, make you feel taken care of. So and I think there is a place for that, like, there's going to be a place for big corporate version of what you're doing.

    Qasim Virjee 58:30
    Yeah, there's definitely hospitality brands that also, you know, have kind of like flip this upside down in a very interesting way, like I was, I looked at W. So what w tries to do in a lot of their properties is, is kind of put their reception on a raised floor. And the idea is to change the expectation of the relationship to the street. And I don't know if this really works to the favor of the intention or the opposite. But typically, you'll have like a restaurant on the ground floor, and you'll have some sort of shop on the ground floor, that part of the hotel,

    David Cairns 59:01
    and then you go to like a second level to get to the Reception Reception. Yeah. Okay, so what do you think of that? Yeah, personally,

    Qasim Virjee 59:08
    I think it's it's an interesting concept, because I think the idea of feeling welcomed, is huge is huge, but it doesn't need to be attached to the retail, like the street level. But when you come in, to have the sense of excitement and wonder, which is what they're playing on, is that you don't know what to expect. Got it. That's also exciting. And a hotel like a hotel lobby kind of experience, whether that lobby is upstairs or not, is going to be far more interesting if anyone has taken a page out of Ian triggers book, you know. And designed delight, right? Yeah,

    David Cairns 59:45
    no, totally.

    Qasim Virjee 59:46
    I think you are a delight going into some state office building with some, you know, Donut stained security guard, saying sign this book, and then you I'll give you a key to go to that particular elevator to take you up. So wherever hell you're going to,

    David Cairns 1:00:01
    ya know, I'm with you and like you made me think of an experience with at the Ritz with my daughter Montreal. I love walking off the street into the Ritz yeah trail. It's, it's a really cool like, throwback experience. But what mattered more was that they took the time to remember our names remember our dog's name? And that when we arrived for a second time, my daughter had chocolate covered strawberries on the pillow for bed. You know, like, and like that feeling of taken care of being taken care of. Yeah, having been memorable, right, like they knew she loved that experience. The last time we're there a year before and then we come back we don't say anything. They're just on our bet. Like that matters more than probably walking off the street. But if you can, if you can add, I think that heartbeat part of it that you're doing here, I think that that's the best of it all.

    Unknown Speaker 1:00:51
    Cool, man. Yeah, it's nice chatting. Totally, really fun.

    Qasim Virjee 1:00:55
    Thanks for joining me on the podcast. Yeah, absolutely.

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