Luke Lucas on 5G & Smart Buildings

Luke Lucas is Senior Manager of Engineering Business Development for T-Mobile USA. Luke manages the Build Your Own Coverage (BYOC) program, focusing on enterprise and in-building coverage, furthering the role of wireless in buildings as a 5th utility-like service. In his role, Luke is involved with smart building and smart city technologies, 5G wireless and the relationship between enterprises installing infrastructure and the connection to T-Mobile signal source and backhaul. Luke has been with T-Mobile for more than two decades, previously in several regional and market development manager roles.

Discussion

  1. Introduction.
  2. What is 5G, and all these other Gs?
  3. What is BYOC (Build Your Own Coverage)?
  4. How does BYOC get brought into properties?
  5. What are the challenges of these deployments?
  6. What consideration should buildings be taking now?
  7. What are 6G & 7G going to be?
  8. Lightning round questions.

Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/luke-lucas-a8359b6/
https://howmobileworks.com/byoc/

Transcript

Blake Miller 0:02
Hey everybody, welcome back to the Future of Living podcast. I’m your host Blake Miller. Today we’ve got Luke Lucas on the podcast from T-Mobile. We talked about building your own connection and 5g inside of buildings. Check it out. Luke, welcome to the Future of Living podcast. How are you today?

Luke Lucas 0:22
Great, Blake. Nice to be with you.

Blake Miller 0:24
Yeah, no, it’s always crazy times. We’re actually taping this. Today, right after we we wrapped up the T-Mobile Accelerator and live broadcast the demo day. So figured why not stack up T-Mobile and get a bunch of pink in my life.

Luke Lucas 0:37
Don’t forget that’s magenta.

Blake Miller 0:39
Magenta. My bad. That is, I keep forgetting that I have to get the company line going. Right?

Luke Lucas 0:44
It’s actually a registered color.

Blake Miller 0:46
I love it. I love it. Well, you know, I actually see the T-Mobile Center here in Kansas City just got christened the old Sprint Center. So I see…

Luke Lucas 0:52
It did.

Blake Miller 0:53
I see that magenta my window. So well, why don’t you tell everybody kind of about yourself how you got to what you’re doing today at T-Mobile, which is some really cool stuff. And then we’ll talk about 5g and what the future is like.

Luke Lucas 1:04
Great. Thanks for that opportunity. So I’m Luke Lucas. I’m Senior Manager of 5g smart in-building coverage. It is my 25th year at T-Mobile. So yes, when you start at 25, and add 25, you work out…

Blake Miller 1:20
You’re an OG.

Luke Lucas 1:22
I’m, I’m an old guy here. But literally, I think I have seen the opportunity. As we started to build the outdoor network. From a commercial carrier perspective. On cellular across the US, I’ve now worked in three of the four engineering regions and T-Mobile, eight different city marketplaces. And then the last six years, I’ve worked my way to headquarters, to where initially I worked on the Major League Baseball account. That was when T-Mobile signed, that big broad band of marketing, and we had to then enable all the stadiums to make sure that our customers were connected. But it also gave me Blake the transition opportunity to say, after all these years of building indoor coverage, excuse me outdoor coverage, now’s the forefront, and the final frontier with indoor, so outdoor to indoor. And I think all of us as, as you know, folks in the US have enjoyed connecting from the the signal outdoors. But now, it really is a focal point because we actually have to go to the edge. And edge networking is now the key ingredient to indoor space. And that’s bringing the signal indoors on a perfected basis, that that business proposition was a business plan that I presented five and a half years ago. And that was originally called bring your own coverage. Today it’s branded build your own coverage. It’s really patterned after a fifth utility. And if you think of utility, water, sewer, gas, electricity, all those functions are created by the developer by the builder, once they put your project, your residential project, your commercial project or industrial project your retail project together. So no matter where you are in life, you’re attending these properties, and you’re having an expectation of connectivity. So today, the indoor signal is more important than ever, T-Mobile then supplement that and breaks it into two categories. First, we look at the enterprise or the government, who controls that indoor space to procure the equipment and the technology and put that in place. Secondarily, then T-Mobile budget internally to bring that signal source to you. That’s what we’ve licensed to the FCC. And of course, we typically include our fiber connectivity to our switch our switches our brain of the system, that then brings you into the total network. So it’s been really exciting. And over 25 years, like I’ve got to tell you, it’s finally the sweet spot, working so hard outdoors, now exclusively indoors. And then of course, we’ve now evolved from 4g to 5g. And what is 5g? It is the new platform foundation. It’s really it’s a build on the existing platforms that we had when we had one gene. People weren’t really aware of that. 2g still absence and…

Blake Miller 4:23
What are all these G’s, like, break that down? Like I want to really that’s where I really wanted to dig in here is like, what is this? What is 5g? Why do I need it? And you know, explain it to me kind of like I’m a five year old type of thing, right? Because I’m rocking around with my 4g my my phone here and I’m on the T-Mobile network. And it seems pretty fast like seems pretty awesome. But like what, what’s, what’s going on here?

Luke Lucas 4:46
So 5g is is really an evolution. Each G is a upgrade, if we could call it. So if we were talking to a classroom of students, you know through ease of our lives, we do a number of upgrades, we upgrade our car, we upgrade our housing, we upgrade our clothing, we upgrade, you know, personal effects. And so really in technology we’re upgrading. And we’re enabling from that upgrade. And so when you modernize and upgrade, it then allows you to do additional functions that you didn’t have before. It gives you creativity and innovation that you didn’t have access to before. And that’s really, I think, the bottom line, Blake is that there’s promise, there’s creativity tied to 5g. And I think last but not least, everybody has come accustomed to speed, and maybe speed to a certain degree. People don’t really need excessive speed, but I do think, at a industrial level, and from a productive level, in commerce and business, they will require speed to support the customer and the customer satisfaction. Yeah, certainly industries and businesses. And that’s what 5g is enabling. So in benefits, everybody it touches everybody, if you even have just a simple phone, that’s a 5g capable funnel, and you will have benefit. If that’s an enterprise level, you’re going to have much larger benefit. And certainly, if you’re an industry, or a business sector, a marketplace within the US. And of course, globally, you’re going to then see even more promise as it covers the land.

Blake Miller 6:37
Well, that’s, yeah, that’s awesome. That that really helps me kind of understand. I mean, it makes sense. We get a new iPhone, we have new phones every year, you know, I think I’m just on an installment plan at this point. I just like I’ve never owned a thing, right. It’s just my subscription service for my phone. Now everything is on a service, right? Talked on the on the podcast a lot about living-as-a-service, how just basically think everything is basically basically a SaaS. But talk to me about what like some people are doing with the early 5g networks and it coming online? Like what are what are some of the most innovative things that you’ve seen there? And some of the companies that you’ve been working with? What are they doing? What are they using for it?

Luke Lucas 7:19
Why I think the initial thought with 5g was that they would use it for safety, security and compliance. And I think that’s where we’re starting to see the entry into 5g. So the safety is obviously like cameras and monitoring and, and then it may expand into additional sensors that might be able to communicate with you in ways that we haven’t had access to before. Do you have a water break? Do you have a power failure? Do you have other things, you have efficiencies to say, hey, the cooling is running in my building? And it’s the weekend and there’s nobody there? So is excessive air conditioning necessary? Could you enable that just simply shut it off. So we’ve had some of the innovations over the years, you might remember it was called M to M or machine to machine? Now that has updated itself. And it’s called the Internet of Things or IoT. So when we combine the evolutions, we now see all these things coming into the space as services as a next is electable options that we can then put to work on to be more productive, to have cost efficiencies and savings, as I’ve mentioned. And again, what does the future hold that today we can’t answer? But you and I will say in two years, five years, 10 years from now, how did we ever do without that? Right? Because somebody invented and 5g supported that invention,

Blake Miller 8:56
You know, give give somebody a bigger pipe, they’ll just fill it. Right.

Luke Lucas 8:59
Right. Right. Expanding the canvas is exactly what’s happening. You know, we’re doing that here in Washington state, we created an Innovation Zone with the University of Washington with Microsoft, with a number of other companies to simply say, Here’s 5g on a blank canvas, what would you paint the canvas with?

Blake Miller 9:20
Yeah, I mean, that was the same mentality when we were doing the Smart City Technology Partnership here in Kansas City, and originally was Sprint. That was one of the things with the whole of rolling this out is like put the infrastructure out, open it up so people can then innovate on top of it. That’s, you know, take advantage of it. So it sucks. These stadiums and stuff aren’t happening right now and everything but I really want to talk to you about this BYOC because I know you guys have in your kind of job right now. You guys have done some really cool projects. Talk to me. What is BYOC? What is it? Why is it important? And if 5g is everywhere, why do I need?

Luke Lucas 10:02
So, build your own coverage was really to close the digital divide on making sure the outdoor signal gets in and gets in officially. So BYOC is just an enabler, as we’ve discussed, to make sure that there is a way for you to do that. All the carriers subscribe to getting signal indoors. But we really thought that we would take it a step further by educating the marketplace, and then also creating a multitude of programs. I’m a guy that grew up in San Diego, and I love ice cream. And I used to love to go to Baskin Robbins, because 31 flavors of ice cream, gave me an opportunity to kind of sample one. And if I didn’t like it, I would go to another and then when I found my favorite, I’d probably always include my favorite. If we break that down to a wireless technology side, indoors now is really become centric under COVID. And under civil rights. So we we’ve got to make sure that the technology is there. Each and every building owner operator tenant may look at technology and that incorporation a little differently. So like Baskin Robbins, we’ve tried to be creative. We’ve got our original BYOC program. Now Blake, it’s you put in the technology, we bring the signal source, you’re connected, you’re done. Secondarily, we had different locations that said, “Hey, I’m a public or quasi public location. And if I can’t afford in a budget, this budget cycle, this business here, of the technology with T-Mobile helped me with that.” And we call that BYOC Hybrid. And last but not least, we found ourselves competing with Verizon and AT&T, where they were simply choosing one option. we now call that option, BYOC Express. And the long and short of it is that previously, other clients or tenants of BYOC said, “Hey, I went to the other carriers. I wrote one check or gave them a purchase order, I gave them my credit card, and I bought the RF, I provided the backhaul myself, I’m putting in all the technology I just wanted and I want it quickly.” And we found in our BYOC program, we take basically about six months to evaluate the need, understand how it fits in the network, work with the enterprise client and their strategic partner, and then internally fund our RF, we also do a similar pattern with BYOC Hybrid on the public location. But for the BYOC Express program, you can show up today and six or eight weeks from now, you can be enabled with 5g, and you’ve done it all yourself in kind of a self control mode. Almost as if you and I were at the grocery store, you know, could we check out with the checker, or can we just go through the self-serve line. And so BYOC Express is really that third program. Last but not least, we’re going to have a fourth program probably in the first part of next year in 2021. And that would be the private network, also known as CBRS, or Citizen Band Radio Service, part of the spectrum that the FCC allocated is three dot five, that 3.5 spectrum is a preferred spectrum that is licensed only for indoors from your property bordered line. So it can be your business footprint, it can be geographically a larger footprint. And it functions in a couple of capacities where you can be licensed, or you can be unlicensed, like a Wi Fi. And we do think that that will be a greater opportunity. People will still apply the T-Mobile for BYOC, BYOC Hybrid, and most likely be expanding in the BYOC Express. But we do think that we’re just on the verge of probably a tidal wave hitting the beach of businesses saying I can really be in control of my technology and my future. And I can enable anything and everything under my own control with a CBR s or a private network offering.

Blake Miller 14:11
So that…help me if I’m a business owner or building owner probably better suited you know, we work with a Homebase, we work with apartment owners, you know, condo owners all types of stuff. Like, you know, my first reaction might be like, “Well, why do I need to do this? Aren’t you guys? Aren’t you guys already? I mean, you just launched 5g in Kansas City. Is it all here? Why do I need this? What’s my value?” Like, how do I plug this into my spreadsheet to see if this can be underwritten?

Luke Lucas 14:40
Well, it will, I think, I think it’s a custom prescription, Blake. I think each and every property owner and or a tenant needs to understand their needs and their expectations with technology. So to you and I we, you and I both see a lot of customers. A lot of partners And when you see them, we’re helping them assess their needs on an individual customer basis. Certainly certain developers, certain owners may say, I have a portfolio of properties. And I want to apply technology uniformly across all those properties. But I would tell you this and you know, this already, one developer sitting next to another developer, I will be in the room and I will be amazed at the disagreements that they’ll have on construction materials, landscaping, paint,…

Blake Miller 15:32
I’m honestly shocked that buildings get built. I’m fundamentally, utterly shocked. Once I’ve seen behind the scenes here, I’m shocked that they get built.

Luke Lucas 15:41
It is amazing. And, and that’s where I think, uniformity and kind of a opportunity kind of clash, for us to provide a handful of programs, so that someone can then say, for my situation for my real estate, this program fits. And that may have a financial component to it. It may not. Um, but we need to have a variety. Because in life, especially as Americans, we we love variety. We love choice. We’d love opportunity. So we’re trying to fulfill that in the BYOD program.

Blake Miller 16:18
That’s really cool. So talk to me about like some of these, like real applications, right? You mentioned some stadiums that you’ve worked on everything, what does those look like? And what are the challenges that go into getting these things in these networks?

Luke Lucas 16:33
Well, I think it’s foundational. First and foremost, we try to coach in at a provisional level. Before we actually land into a stadium for a deployment or into a commercial office building or a multi family building, we try to be educational in terms of get ready for technology. And we do that in a simple format. First and foremost, at our website, T-Mobile BYOC .com. We have a couple of checklists, as you know, we have the smart building checklist, we have the Smart City checklist. If we focused on the smart building checklist, regardless of stadium or commercial building or multifamily building, you want to provision that building to be ready for what we call any G. So we’re, we’re in 4g Today, we’re moving into 5g, and we have 5g available to our customers today. But when you look at your real estate, add more power, add more conduit, add more fiber, and add more Ethernet. If you provision your properties with with those four basic ingredients, and you’ve increased the amount that your architect or builder has recommended or has has written into your construction documents, you will be ready for the future because all of those paths, the power path, the wire path, the conduit path with the wires, all then brings all the technology together. And you’re simply doing an upgrade over the years, very similarly to what you do today with your Wi Fi router. If you have the connection of the wire and the power, you can plug it in the box. And within a two to three year cycles, you and I both know that Wi Fi router gets thrown out, and you’ve bought a new one to upgrade, and you plug in the power and the cat five, cat six or the fiber and boom, you’re back in business. That is the basis of our coaching and education to get people to provision that the rest will follow when they’re ready. And hopefully they’ll be ready, you know, sooner than later.

Blake Miller 18:40
Yeah, I mean, that’s it. That’s definitely good advice. We see this a lot too. And we get involved early on in that developers process where we’re trying to do everything from the access control, the Wi-Fi in the building and all these different things. And we’re just like, you know, you got to prep for this, like you there’s gonna be certain things that the future isn’t just going to have, right? Like, why are you putting in a telephone wire? You know, we still see that today on buildings that are going to go live in 2022. And they’re like, “Well, you know, just in case” I’m like, “Well, yeah, you know, I don’t know, I think things have moved beyond that. We know that we can move forward.” But you know, it’s just one example. You know, we’re running out of time, but I want to know, like, you know, you really broke it down well of 5g’s really another just evolution of like the next phase it is what is six g? What is seven g? What does that start to look like? Did you guys even start thinking about that yet?

Luke Lucas 19:31
Well, we think about it from dimensioning our network. It’s very much similar to that conversation that you and I just had about developers and property managers provisioning.

Blake Miller 19:41
Yeah, like basically how do you guys provision the provisioning?

Luke Lucas 19:44
Right? So so we’re doing all of those provisioning steps. We don’t know until the standards are written as you will know, for what will be the the basic framework for 16 and we will get there until about The seventh eighth or ninth year as we evolve into 5g. Interesting, but you and I like smart drivers, we need to meet immediately know of our surroundings, we need to immediately look down the road. But we probably even need to look at our app to see are there accidents? Are there issues that can be addressed? 20 miles down the road? Yeah. And that’s the preparation for 6g. Blake is we’re trying to envision what and where it’s going, what roadblocks, we will anticipate what roadblocks we can get cleared. And where we could be in the basic sweet spot so that as all of this comes together, and as the standards are written, and as all the carriers then start to look at, okay, it’s the standard is written, how do I adopt it? How do I put in place? How does that translate out to marketing? How does that eventually come out to the customer experience? All those things, we’re taking baby steps, and we will and will continue to do so. But we’re right in the throes of the sweet spot that we believe. We’re now deploying 5g and actively 5g. People even, you know, in recent weeks have said, “Well, look, I’m still waiting for 5g to be launched.” And I’ll say, “5g? I have it on my Samsung and Apple in September.”

Blake Miller 21:21
Unlike AT&T doing like 5g E or whatever it is like that they’re they’re claiming. Oh, it’s legit. I’m on it too I got. That’s why I upgraded to the S20 Ultra is like Google has it. It’s awesome. Yeah. So I end up every episode with some of my favorite lightning round questions. And one of my favorites ask everybody I always kick off with is, what particular business or service is going to be completely obsolete in the next 10 years? Like in other words, who is the next blockbuster?

Luke Lucas 21:50
Interesting. Boy? I don’t know. Um, you know, that’s a really good question. And with COVID, I think it weighs in completely sure, though, that to a 90 degree angle that it hits broadside. You know, people that would have probably thought in January, February and March, that they would have a good run rate are probably now, you know, questioning whether they’re going to be a business. First and foremost, I think retail is going to suffer the most. And we’re gonna see the absence of storefront retail, on diminished retail, because people, people are more centric, online and delivery. Now. Whether Amazon’s created that indirectly or directly, we’ve all become a product and a source of that. Sure. So I that’s what I would say. And I think the commercial real estate market is going to have a different landscape. The residential market is going to prosper, people are going to want more amenities. I think the Wall Street Journal article this week shows that there’s a number of amenities that, you know, are are yet to be kind of explored yet it will be incorporated into projects. But back to your question. Retail, I think we’re gonna see an absence of commercial retail.

Blake Miller 23:13
Yeah, and it’s, it’s gonna be it’s gonna be a sad thing. Hopefully, hopefully, something will come get into place, maybe a bunch of Shopify stores end up kind of coming coming back and do the smaller rethought retail, you know.

Luke Lucas 23:25
I have a feeling it will it will read dimension it to your point? Yeah, um, I don’t think we’ll see the hundred percent absence of it, there will be some necessity for it. It will be just reprovision.

Blake Miller 23:37
It really surprised me that some of these bigger ones and it’s probably that, you know, they go bankrupt because of debt and other bad decisions and those things, but it definitely surprises me that like the Macy’s, maybe they didn’t go bankrupt. But one of those that would bankrupt whoever did. You know, it surprised me. They didn’t like repurpose themselves faster to be like mini warehouse logistics hubs and some of these things, these bigger boxes they had, it’s just like, you know, that that’s blockbuster. There you go.

Luke Lucas 24:02
Yeah. So and that that goes back to watching the roadmap. Yep. You know, how do you keep your eyes on 20 miles down the road, not just the mile. And that’s where I think those businesses have lost sight.

Blake Miller 24:14
Totally. So what you know, COVID everybody’s been locked up everything. Have you acquired any device, or anything recently, this kind of made your major quarantine better?

Luke Lucas 24:27
Well, I definitely upgraded my phones to the 5g. And I’m waiting for my Apple device. So I’ve got two Samsung devices that I’ve moved, like you have to the 5g to make sure that that’s incorporated. I’ve upgraded my service. I actually live in downtown Seattle, so I was able to actually get up to one gig speed. So I’ve done that. Previously, I did have need for one gig speed when I would go physically to work to Bellevue 20 miles away from downtown Seattle every day. But staying at home. And then I think, other than that, just kind of making sure that, you know, I’m getting out and around and not spending so much time. It’s easy, maybe too easy to have an eight growing into a 10 hour business day, working from home now. So I think you were asking for a specific example. But I think it’s just kind of a pattern now, and making sure that there’s proper allocation so that your sanity remains your sanity?

Blake Miller 25:35
Yeah, totally. I totally get it. No, I and that’s a great answer. So, you know, we’re talking about like, obviously, 5g is a platform that is going to change everything. What’s one of the other platforms that’s going to really reign supreme in the future? You know, voices is something that’s happening right now, what’s that? What’s next, you know, the self driving cars, what’s going on?

Luke Lucas 25:58
Well, I think it really just kind of lends itself to the marketplace and the exploration of problems and solutions. So you and I, maybe there’s autonomous vehicles, but at times vehicles really requires a, you know, very low latency and a really strong connection. When you and I are partnering with cities and counties and communities, they’re finding that their coverage is not that great. They’ve known about dead zones and holes in coverage. And that, then is a pitfall for those types of things. But I do think there’s going to be, you know, immediately some medical application, since we’re in COVID. And I think we’re gonna see some very innovative, creative ways that we’re going to one be probably changing our lifestyle, things that we’ve always done a certain way, will be changing, I think technology will be enabling that. And that’s probably maybe my five to 10 mile, you know, roadmap. But like you, it’s, it’s so creative and exciting to see what potentially could happen beyond that. We’ll get there in time.

Blake Miller 27:10
Definitely. So we’ve talked a lot about how technology, specifically 5g, but this all this different type of technology, it’s enabled by it is going to change everything in the future, what’s something that technology is not going to change?

Luke Lucas 27:24
Whoo, boy, that’s a tough one. Um, you know, technology’s touched so many aspects of our lives today. And even in places where we don’t know it’s touched it, it has some kind of presence, um, I don’t know, I think still recreation and, and vacations and those types of things, you’ll still have, you know, kind of innocence without a heavy application of technology. Um, I think it’ll be in the periphery of those types of applications, but not the predominant, you know, primary, you know, presence that we’ve seen in business, if you go to the office, technology’s obviously there, if you’re at home technologies, obviously, there, if you’re outdoors, connectivity is probably at a basic level for 911, and public safety, and general accessibility there. Um, so you and I have to look for places to escape. Mm hmm. And that’s why I think that, you know, vacationing, and then getting away from it. Whether it’s present or not, is probably the only place that technology is not touching. And we’re probably doing that on a self performance basis by saying, I don’t need technology, or I don’t want technology. And I’m kind of focusing on something different, and away from technology. So that’s the only thing that really comes to mind to meet Blake. Any thoughts that you had? What are other people? What are they answer?

Blake Miller 29:00
Well, you can go listen. Shameless plug.

Luke Lucas 29:02
I’ll do that.

Blake Miller 29:04
No shameless plug for everybody to go listen to more. But you know, it’s a common theme is, you know, I think the one thing that technology is not going to change is that people want to be connected, they want to escape, they want experiences together. And so that’s just kind of that theme of you know, travel and vacationing and all that those are experiences. And that’s what people want. That’s something that technology just can’t replace. You know, we’re sitting here we’re doing these all these Zoom calls, everybody Zooms from day to day, or Google or whatever you’re on. And, you know, you’re exhausted at the end of the day. And the one thing I’m still longing for is just hanging out with my buddies hanging out with our friends and those things. You know, in the end, you just can’t do it in these times. And I think all the things that has that this crisis and everything is accelerated in everything. It’s also just left everything still the same.

Luke Lucas 29:59
The escape without technology. There you go.

Blake Miller 30:05
Yeah, no, I love this conversation. I really enjoyed it. Tell everybody how they can find you online. We’ll also make sure it’s on the show notes.

Luke Lucas 30:13
So, two ways. First, my first name is Luke like Skywalker. And my last name is Lucas like George Lucas. Pretty easy to remember pretty easy to spell. They can typically find me on LinkedIn, and a minimum, secondarily, they can just go to the beam T-Mobile BYOC .com site, and there’s a contact portion there. And probably third, let’s throw that in. They can contact you and you can contact me.

Blake Miller 30:41
Bingo, exactly. I like it. Well, Luke, I really enjoyed this conversation, like I said, and I appreciate it. Thanks, Blake.

Jason McCann on the Future of the Office

As a founder and the CEO of Vari, Jason McCann’s mission is to help companies create environments that elevate people. A lifelong entrepreneur, Jason has more than 20 years of experience building and running successful companies. He learned the importance of putting the customer first early-on while working in his mother’s hair salons as a child.

Jason co-founded VariDesk in 2013, and the brand quickly became synonymous with sit-stand desks. Under his leadership, the company grew at an incredible pace and expanded its product and service offerings significantly, calling for it’s new, more inclusive name – Vari.

Today, Jason oversees all aspects of Vari from design, to sales, to customer service and distribution. The company has grown into a workspace innovation company that provides everything high-growth businesses need to unlock the potential of their workforce – from a full suite of office furniture to the workspaces themselves, offering space-as-a-service with VariSpace. A multi-tenant campus designed to elevate the way businesses approach office, VariSpace offers first-class amenities, fully outfitted offices, and flexible lease terms to enterprise-level clients.

About Vari (formerly VariDesk):

A workspace innovation company, Vari helps growing organizations unlock the potential of their space and their people. From a collection of office furniture to workspaces offering space-as-a-service, the company makes it easy for high-growth businesses to scale and flex their office space. Organizations all over the world — including over 98% of the Fortune 500 — use Vari products, which are tested and certified to the highest industry standards.

Discussion

  1. Rebranding from VariDesk to Vari in early 2020
  2. Vari Headquarters transformation to prepare for the return to the office
  3. What can companies do today to start planning for the return to the office?
  4. VariSpace offices spaces.
  5. The seamless offices of the future.

Links

LinkedIn: @vari
Twitter: @workwithvari
Facebook: @workwithvari
Instagram: @workwithvari

Transcript

Blake Miller 0:00
Hey everyone, welcome back to the Future of Living podcast. I’m your host Blake Miller. Today we’ve got Jason McCann, from Vari, maker of those standup desks that everybody loves. You know, Jason and I talked about the future of work. I really think you’re gonna enjoy it. Check it out. Jason, how are you man? Welcome to the Future of Living podcast.

Jason McCann 0:23
Awesome, Blake. It’s so good to see you. Thanks for inviting me today. Look forward to the conversation.

Blake Miller 0:27
Oh, me too, man. I love love your guys’s desk. I’m sitting on one myself right now. I’m sitting though.

Jason McCann 0:33
Hopefully gonna be standing here in a few minutes.

Blake Miller 0:35
Yeah, absolutely. Why don’t you give everybody kind of introduce yourself. Let everybody know what you guys are doing. And I mean, you guys are building the future of living?

Jason McCann 0:44
Yeah. So Jason, I’m the co founder and CEO of Vari, we were formerly known as Varidesk. So we created that crazy sit stand phenomenon that’s out there. We’ve got over 3 million fans, and 135 now different countries that use that original product that we created. And now we create a full line of office space and really are thinking about the future of workspace is it’s continuing to transition. And in fact, we’ve even bought a couple buildings now called VariSpace where we lease out fully furnished offices.

Blake Miller 1:13
That’s very cool. Well, it’s great to meet you. I think it’s gonna be really awesome conversation. Talk to me about that rebrand from Varidesk into Vari. And you know, what’s what what happened there?

Jason McCann 1:24
Yeah, you think back, you know, we were addressing Dan’s back pain. And he’s standing at the cardboard box. And we dream up our first product. And we, what are you going to call it and we “Oh, it’s a variable height desk, and we’ll call it Varidesk.” Well, suddenly, fast forward a few years later, and we’ve now transformed our headquarters, and we did walls that move and added LED lights and soft seating and height at full height adjustable electric deaths. And everybody walked in and said, “why is it varidesk like you’re so much more.” And so we went through a process we work with the same firm that helped Federal Express for those of you that remember Federal Express transformed their brand of FedEx. And we said what could we do? And how could we do it? And they said, Well, you’ve got so much brand built up, you know the value of it with Vari, what about Vari and it just all clicked our fans resonated with it. Future fans, they said, you can be a technology company, it could be workspace innovation, you could be much bigger. So we went for it. And it was an incredible 18 month process. The fans have now resonated. It’s been incredible.

Blake Miller 2:28
It’s so cool. I mean, you guys do how you have fans, right? And I think that’s something that’s been very, very cool. When I saw it. I was like, you know, that’s like the Sean Parker moment, like, “drop the The.” You should just “drop the The off of Facebook” but, you know, it’s really interesting to me that you guys are a product company, you’re a tech company, or you’re changing the office and how we’re living like, talk to me what it’s like to have like fans of that, right. Like, you mentioned that it’s just that it. You guys have a cult.

Jason McCann 2:56
It didn’t dawn on me, you know john skagen, who’s now Chief Revenue Officer joined me as Director of Marketing five years ago did a word cloud, you know, kind of that first? What do you do? He took all the reviews that were out there. And the number one word in the reviews was love. I love my Varidesk. And that at that moment, I said, we don’t have customers, we have fans. And if we can build a lifelong career long relationship with our fan base, they will start to talk about the product, they will help us build this momentum and be that word of mouth spread, or and finding that small group of people that loved it created a ripple phenomenon that so many people around the world could like it. And so it’s been tremendous. And so that’s one of our core values is, you know, creating lifelong fans. And it’s everything we think about so it’s no longer customer service, it’s customer experience. So look at it great companies like Zappos were like, how do we even do better customer experience than Zappos. And so, it’s been fun to look at all these other great organizations and raise the bar and try to create what we think is the next next level of a relationship with our fans.

Blake Miller 4:00
That’s really cool. You mentioned Zappos. I’m a big fan of that. I’ve known Tony for a very long time. What do you guys do to take that even to the next step? I mean, that Delivering Happiness book was something that I was just like, yep, that’s exactly what we should be doing. You What do you guys do to take it to the next step?

Jason McCann 4:16
Yeah, that was sort of the start. What I didn’t have any employees. My first customer experience person Taylor. I said, All right, read this book. And we want to be better than this. Like, if this is the bar, like, Is there anything we could do better? And now that my team’s elevated, we almost think of space-as-a-service model now and how do we take workspaces and we have walls that move and space of moves, and so on? I’ve said, how do you take the experience the way Disney even pushes it even further. So when you walk into our workspace, there are scent machines, my culture team greets you, you’ve got a coffee bar that’s integrated with the lobby experience, like whether you’re hiring, or they’re recruiting talent or we’re doing business ourselves, like all these little energy pockets go throughout a space and so I think every touchpoint that you can have with a fan, with your employees with future fans with suppliers that you’re working with, that those touch points create positive energy in an organization. That’s where I think you’re continuing to see the evolution of what the customer experience. The fan experience can be in an organization.

Blake Miller 5:18
Jason, you’re giving me goosebumps, dude. Can I come work for you?

Jason McCann 5:21
Come on, we’re hiring. I know in the middle of the storm we’re hiring. Join me.

Blake Miller 5:27
I got a sell it to Homebase first. No, no, I mean, this is really cool. So we’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re all we’re a lot of people are working from home. People are talking about, you know, offices going away all of these things like, What are you guys doing? Talk to me about this. We’ve got a lot of real estate developers, a lot of property owners and managers that listen to us of all different types of properties. Like, talk to me about what is happening, what’s going on and what you’re seeing.

Jason McCann 5:56
Yeah, so we had the COVID shock hit us just like everybody, so we initially said, Oh, what are we going to do? And over, you know, in a four hour period, all 300 plus of my employees were working remote. And then there was 10 of us here that were kind of showing up or considered an essential business, our work from home business, shot through the roof. Because everybody started sitting at home on the kitchen table for about two weeks and suddenly said, okay, I need an electric desk, I need to work space, the dogs are barking, can I buy like a marker board and put it next to me and create the illusion of a space? And so I said, well, why don’t we redesign the entire headquarters while everybody’s gone? So I reached out to my teams in Asia, and they were about 10 weeks ahead of us. So I said what are the restaurants and where the hotels doing? What are the high rises doing? And I just started getting all this information, translating that into English learning thing. Okay, temperature checks. We started that alcohol. Cleaning sanitizer started that we moved all of our space to six foot distancing between everybody so I because our furniture is totally flexible. I literally redesigned the headquarters while everybody was out. I started with manual temperature checks. And then I went to look at what the Taipei 101 was doing, because they have thousands of people that roll through there. They use eizo. So they’re checking all they’re checking hundreds of people at a time. So I bought one of those 15,000 bucks. So everything about getting the health and wellness of the employee so that we can figure out what is the workspace of the future gonna be like, and I think it’s all around flexibility. So it’s going to be an interesting chapter for all of us but we’ve got it we got to figure find ways to get through the storm.

Blake Miller 7:30
So you mentioned like the flexibility of some of your, your furniture and what it like talk to me about that not just desk like I see, you know, we’re filming this today to through the magic of video, but, you know, what are all the different things other than just a standing desk, like what is it?

Jason McCann 7:47
Yeah, so from a product standpoint, I’ve got almost 300 different products that we offer. So the biggest thing has been quick flex walls, so it’s literally acrylic and glass walls, panels that we can move throughout a space. So there seven-and-a-half feet tall, we can move them throughout a space, it creates rooms barriers, we started making acrylic panels. I got one here right next to me, but that we started attaching on all the desks. And you see those now in every restaurant and airport. So we started making them ourselves and producing them for ourselves. And then we had fans that we reached out to that we’d already done spaces for and I said, hey, how can I help space plan and redesign your space? So we put barriers between each of our team members, I tripled the number of Purell stations throughout. I took our single coffee bar that was a major collision point culturally, and I said we got to do two coffee bars, we’re going to spread it all out, single serving on everything. And how do you take even conference rooms, I took all the doors off all of our conference rooms and meeting rooms or eliminated every touchpoint I could and then we said okay, how are we going to come back? So I asked reached out to my team we surveyed and then 25% were saying we want to come back now. And so we started with the early adopters and learned.

Blake Miller 8:54
Were we laughing at this before we started this I was like some of my employees were like your that, with the parents, you know they’re like, “you’re not going to you’re not going to close the office or anything?

Jason McCann 9:02
Forever. Are you?

Blake Miller 9:03
Yeah.

Jason McCann 9:04
Yeah. I think we need to, we need to find those those moments. And really, you know, we took the break room, I wasn’t sure. So I put acrylic panels on the break tables, we spread it out. And I did it on half the tables. And as the first people came back, they always sat at the tables with the acrylic panels. So now I put him on all the tables. And we all were we’ve been wearing masks for months now. And so and I’ve been wearing masks when I travel to Asia, if you’re ever under the weather, it’s very normal phenomenon. And so those things culturally, we’ve said, you’re going to smile with your eyes. You’re going to still say hello and you’re going to wave you may not you know shake hands but you’re going to do handover heart or wave and find a way to have a human connection here. While we all figure out what the next normal is going to be.

Wow, you guys really been very, very thoughtful about this. It’s it’s a, there’s a lot of notes here that are gonna have to come on the show notes. We’re gonna keep keep the transcribers busy. So talk to me. You mentioned VariSpace a little bit ago. Talk to me about that. That sounds like you’re basically opening a co working space in the middle of a pandemic, when everyone closing dowing offices.

Yeah, so I think of it as enterprise level space-as-a-service. So what we learned is as clients walked into our headquarters, they said, Well, I want all of this and that really elevated our vision to creating workspaces that elevate people, as opposed to we’re just selling furniture. That’s not what we do. We think about workspace can be a positive transformation of culture. And so how do you leverage it but I think of culture continues to ebb-and-flow as you add amazing members and embody your values. Your business model, ebbs-and-flows is the business needs change your workspace should ebb-and-flow just like that. So thinking about your workspace as a canvas, so we always envision everything can move. And so we’ve done projects even like for Google, where they’re moving thousands of people all the time working on these agile teamwork, you know, working on two week sprints, so we think workspace should mirror that. And so that’s how we’ve always thought about it and working up the food chain. We said, Well, what if we bought a building and learned even more? Until we bought our first building? It’s over 300,000 square feet, it’s now fully leased, all enterprise level clients. Our smallest space for us is 10,000.

Blake Miller 11:13
Where is this by the way?

Jason McCann 11:14
So it’s in it’s in Irving. It’s in the Dallas Fort Worth area, and it’s called Las Colinas. So it’s the former Zales headquarter. So a beautiful building built in the early 80s. And it sat empty for five years. So it kind of felt like a building in the 80s. We got it and we reimagined it. So if you go to VariSpace.com you can get a video tour of it. It’s awesome. Yeah, and so it’s just a cool way to think about, say sort of our largest client is Verizon, so they’ve got 200,000 square feet of space for us. But it’s allowed us to build an on-site cafe, a 10,000 square foot gym, do our hospitality services all for enterprise level. And so we offer three to five year leases. It’s not considered, you know, co-working the way you think of it traditionally with you know, and you and I in a startup and two people and we’re all benching in that it’s literally suites and large spaces all using our furniture. And then we can transform the space if their business changes, hey, we need to set up a prop up a team, my team comes in and can literally transform the furniture. So it’s a it’s a new way to think of space-as-a-service.

Blake Miller 12:15
That’s really incredible, so like what, I mean it’s probably a lot of different ways, but like, what sort of, like what does that cost? Like, as a as an owner, you know, that’s how do you slot that into, you know, what’s happening, especially with, you know, the changing environment of office space and all this?

Jason McCann 12:31
Yeah, so for us, you know, because it was because I’m not from the furniture industry, I come from consumer products and I’m a human being like the rest of you. And so I think of like, what’s the easiest way to get things done and so we designed the very first Varidesk it was slide out of the box, no tools required. Dan and I always joke that IKEA is like the worst Saturday of your life so

Blake Miller 12:53
Oh my gosh.

Jason McCann 12:54
Could we create a…

Blake Miller 12:55
Like I’ve got so many like calluses just from like small…

Jason McCann 12:59
Allen wrench.

All of our product was initially designed so that you could build it in less than five minutes. So Dan, and I could build it in less than five minutes with David, our head of design, then we thought everybody would build their own. Well, what happened is his client said, no, no, can you build it for us. So what I’ve done is just simply layer it in. So if you’re a larger client for us, we come in and just layer this service. And it’s a very simple way we can come in, we do free space planning and design. We come in, install your furniture for free. And then once a year, we can come in and help you transform the space. And there’s a very simple way to do that listening to our fans. So for the tenants in our in our VariSpace buildings, we provide it for free. Every year we come in and transform their space as they need it. So they just reach out, and it’s just part of our service.

Blake Miller 13:48
How do you guys do all this? This is amazing.

Jason McCann 13:52
Well, I think like you, I mean, we’re entrepreneurs, right? And so I’ve hired and you get great people around you and you listen to your fans. And they pull you on the journey. And so, before we never I didn’t even know what an anti-fatigue mat was years ago and all the fans were emailing say, “hey, do you have anti fatigue mats? I’ve been standing on concrete or wood floors?” Sure. Let’s figure it out, you know, and we created one and then the monitor arms. And do you have “do you have electric desks?” I thought for sure everybody’s they’ve already made electric desks, but we made a better one easy to assemble. And then we started just thinking, Okay, well, we have standing conference tables for us, our meetings are better. Why don’t we sell those two and people came into our space and they said I love your active chair that you have. Okay, well, let’s let’s share it with the world.

Blake Miller 14:39
That by the way is my favorite. That thing is cool.

Jason McCann 14:41
Yeah, so I think listening to your fans and asking all those those those questions about where are they having pain? Can you help monetize that pain, address and get reduce all those friction points, and things like COVID we’ve got it on steroids, all this pressure that’s put on all of us as entrepreneur and business owners. So how do you create a culture that says, okay, I’m afraid to, I’m being vulnerable? I’m trying to get through this. But what are the ways that I can help and serve others? And all of that ultimately works out to building business?

Blake Miller 15:14
Yeah. Wow. I mean, you are, you’re nailing it. Now. So talk to me about everybody’s like getting ready to go back to the office, right. And some of those you talked about some of the things you guys are doing and some of the things you’re enabling like, as if I’m a business, or if I own large apartment buildings, I’m losing some retail and doing some of these things like, What am I thinking about? How do we make how do we how do we manage the office going forward? How do I how do I do leases? How do I do these sorts of things? If I’m trying to, if I’m losing office space to to people?

Jason McCann 15:46
Yeah, I think that the number one thing is communication. I think, being totally transparent and authentic. I think if you’re if you’re a building owner, you don’t want the tenant space back. If you’re a restaurant tour, you don’t want to go out of business. The customers want to find food and get it delivered to them. So everybody’s in it together. So how do you think about your business model evolving or changing? What can we all lean in? Where can we be a little more nimble and lean here? By over-communicating and saying, “what is possible? How could we get through this? Could you reduce my rent here and extend my terms? Could you help me adjust my model? Could we rethink some things and ideate and try to find those pockets of opportunity, as opposed to not talking to holding up to sitting in your house or your apartment and not doing anything?” I think number one is communicating. These are the things I’m struggling with, how can we find common ground to get through it and get a group of people in there to help you? Because I think all of us are in this together. And I think finding people that recognize that we have an opportunity to make a difference at this moment. Find ways to serve others figure out ways to help other companies or organizations, all of those things are going to happen. Yes, the the future of workspace is going to look different. It’s going to continue to evolve, but I think it’s going to do Just continue to evolve and change. So you think about, you hear these apartment developers like, wow, I everything’s been, you know, Chip and Joanna Gaines open concept, but maybe we do need a little space for an office or maybe we need to have transformed one of those restaurants into something like a VariSpace or a co-working space so that I can get out of my home and get down and meet with my teams for a little while. So I think they’re gonna be rethinking space and repurposing it. And that’s how the future is going to be is okay. It’s happening really fast. So how do you stay the eye of the storm here and calm while all this craziness is happening around you, and make the best decisions you can?

Blake Miller 17:37
Jason we’re almost out of time but I always end everything every episode with his like lightning round questions. One of my favorite questions to ask is what particular business or service is going to be obsolete in the next 10 years like in other words, who is the next Blockbuster? That doesn’t know it right now?

Jason McCann 17:54
Yeah, I think out. I think the the the editor got to think about that one for just a sec. Yeah. So as you think about businesses that aren’t going to be here, I think the the companies that have too many layers, manufacturers that have dealers, have distributors, have all those layers and aren’t close enough to the fan base are going to be absolutely disrupted. I think you’re watching the furniture industry get disrupted before our eyes, the way that our model is built more like Tesla, and you’re watching that entire industry struggle with what is the future of how do we do business when we don’t have a direct relationship with the fan base. So I think that that’s going to continue to change. I also think there’s gonna be a huge transformation just the way people work and live because, you know, if you read the faster than you think book, you’re like, wow, that the future is going to be so dynamic. I heard from Dr. Wilson yesterday at Denton ISD said something incredible blew my mind. He said, If you pull out this iPhone or your smartphone, and you’re a kindergartener, that’s the least tech not least technology based piece of equipment you’ll ever use in your lifetime like this is…

Blake Miller 19:00
Wow…

Jason McCann 19:01
An aha moment yeah. So this you think back to when I was in kindergarden, yeah, I was back there with my pencil and pen you know if they were sharing the crayon box and to think that they’re there the iPhone is the least advanced piece of technology these kids will ever use in their lifetime. So I think we have to stay optimistic and hopeful during this recognize that there’s going to be a lot of change embrace it, turn it into the next great companies lean in with over-communication and build something fantastic.

Blake Miller 19:33
I love that what a what not Vari device or furniture have you acquired post-COVID that’s a help make your quarantine a little bit better?

Jason McCann 19:43
Yeah, so for for me the first day well, the first non-Vari thing, yeah, I built I built a home office. Yeah, I built like I built I took it by exact office that I work with here and I did it at home so I literally duplicated my setup. So I have a spot in my workspace because my kids all took over all the rooms. So I don’t have an office at home probably like most of you. And so I said, but I need a spot where if I’m going to do a video conference or talk or Zoom or I needed to feel like I’m with my team, like where am I at? So I literally recreated my office at home. And that’s been a great thing for me to say, okay, so I have my Vari coffee mug on the spot. I haven’t I haven’t bought anything, you know, because I’m not I’m not a big consumer out there for for purchasing. As I think actually the thing I bought the most has been more Audible books on on the future. And I think I’ve done way more meditating and things like that to recharge because I think I recognizes CEO I’m under so much pressure, just like all of you are we’re all facing the same pressure. And I recognize if I’m under pressure, my team’s under even more pressure. So how do I make sure that I’m taking time to meditate and recharge when I can, and sharing that with my team, you know, being vulnerable. Those are things that I would say I’ve spent more money on, but I haven’t really I haven’t really bought anything crazy.

Blake Miller 21:10
For that what’s the what’s the best thing you’ve listened to recently on Audible?

Jason McCann 21:14
Yeah, I’m idle literally that Faster Than You Think book was great. I had I read the summaries of it. Yeah, so it’s it’s a it’s a great one. And the Audible versions got the extra dialogue with the author. I thought that was a fantastic piece. Alma lollies book on Ford. I finished probably two weeks ago, another incredible book out there. The Infinite Game I went back and re-listened to because I just love the way Simon summarized really like what I want to do with Vari is build a company that can live beyond my lifetime and thinking long term, especially in moments like this about the decisions you make I think are critical.

Blake Miller 21:57
That’s a good book. Such a good one. So if you had to describe kind of the the office of the future, what exactly does that that look like?

Jason McCann 22:08
Yeah, I think you have to think of the word seamless, and how is work going to be done in the future. And so I think we’re gonna, we’re social by nature. And we want moments of collaboration and teamwork, and those collision points that happen. So I think those are going to continue to happen. But I also think there’s going to be moments of focus or most of remote work. And so whether that’s at home or even in a third space, I think those are going to continue to evolve over time. I think the idea that we as as humans and entrepreneurs and business people, when we are together, and we ideate and we create that magic, that’s not going to go away. So that’s going to continue to embrace with technology, I think you’re gonna see AI and all of those things make us better. We’re gonna be a little fearful of it. But I think ultimately it’s going to continue to enhance our lives and continue evolve and it is I think about workspace. I think it’s all built on flexibility. So you want if you’re a business owner, you kind of want shorter term leases, you want space when you need it, I think the idea of the way that cloud has become sort of synonymous with, you know, whether it’s AWS or whatever, it’s like, I’m literally, you know, plugging into the Google Cloud and all my stuff’s up there. Well, that’s kind of I think about space. Like, kind of, that’s why I love about aerospace is you come in, we take care of everything when you need it, and then your your business can ebb and flow over time. And I think that’s those are elements of what we’re going to see in the future and future of learning is going to transform and change from the way schools and universities teach and I think all that’s going to integrate into corporate America, so it’ll be great.

Blake Miller 23:43
Jason, we’ve talked a lot about like how technology is going to change everything in the future what’s something is not going to change, especially as it relates to the office?

Jason McCann 23:52
I think the the desire for human interaction, I think, you know, we I walked in like everybody and you start to see everybody with masks on. And it’s a it’s a little scary at first and then suddenly, you recognize you can smile with your eyes. You can wave hand over heart, like little things and gestures and human contact and having communications. And yeah, you’re six feet away when you talk now. But all of a sudden, you realize we’re all in this together. And so the the idea of human interaction and connection and leading with love and empathy, I don’t think you’re gonna go anywhere. So I think those are going to be the great organizations that, that survive and thrive through this or thrive after this. And the leaders that that emerge out of it, because we’ve all got people in our organizations which are rallying cry is keep rolling until the wind catches our sails. I mean, we recognize this is a challenging moment. And so for my team members, those are things that aren’t going to change. Like we’re all in this journey together. Our goal is, you know, to create memories and to make a positive impact on people’s lives. And I think at the end of your journey and my journey, if those two things can be possible that we’ve made And build things that have a positive, lasting impact beyond our lifetime if we’ve taken a lifetime of memories with us, and we’ve done something great and so I don’t I don’t think those things are gonna change.

Blake Miller 25:10
Journey is the destination. Jason this has been such a great conversation. I’ve so enjoyed it. Let everybody know how they can find you online.

Jason McCann 25:19
Yeah, so it’s a vari.com and if you want to check out VariSpace, it’s varispace.com. And we’re doing tours virtual online. So you can click on there and learn about us and we’d love to love to help you as you’re powering through this storm. with us. We’re on the journey with you so we we’re happy to help in any way we can.

Blake Miller 25:38
That’s so great. And you know, I’m a fan. I’ve got a desk and I love it. It’s the best. My staff wants me to outfit the whole place. We haven’t quite gotten there revenue milestones-wise, we’re getting there soon.

Jason McCann 25:51
Alright, keep rowing the wind is going to catch your sales, Blake. Let’s do this.

Blake Miller 25:58
It definitely is you guys might have a hole VariSpace down here in Kansas City for us.

Jason McCann 26:02
We’d love that though. All right, bud.

Blake Miller 26:03
Jason, I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Jason McCann 26:05
My pleasure. Thanks bud.

 

Calvin Cooper on Social Equity for Renters

Calvin Cooper is the co-founder and CEO of Rhove, a fintech company founded to turn every renter into an owner. Prior to founding Rhove, Calvin was a Director and Venture Partner at an early stage venture capital firm located in the Midwest. Calvin is active in community and entrepreneur support organizations. He serves on the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center YEx Advisory Board. In 2017, the Columbus City Council and the Create Columbus Commission recognized Calvin with the Visionary Award, and he was also listed in the 40 Under 40 Class of 2017 by Columbus Business First. Calvin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Capital University in Financial Economics.

Discussion

  1. Why it is important for every member in a democracy to have an economic stake in their community?
  2. How the pandemic affected our decision to make our long term plan of launching Renterhsip our short term plan to launch it in 3 months?
  3. As an ex-VC, how are you viewing the explosion of Proptech and starting a company.
  4. For multifamily investors, what is the best thing they can do to help future-proof their properties?
  5. For RE developers considering co-living developments, what one thing should they be thinking about that isn’t obvious?
  6. What we learned from launching an MVP savings product before launching Rentership.
  7. Lightning round.
Links

Discussion

Blake Miller 0:01
Welcome back to the Future of Living podcast. I’m your host Blake Miller. Today we’ve got Calvin Cooper from Rhove on the podcast. We talked about social equity and his path towards rentership and what they’re doing it Rhove. It’s really cool. Check it out. Calvin, welcome to the Future of Living podcast man, how you been? How you living?

Calvin Cooper 0:23
I’m doing alright. I appreciate it. I’m so excited to dive in with you today.

Blake Miller 0:27
Man, I really am excited to talk about this, like what you’re doing is just so cool. And I’ve got egg on my face, we actually had recorded a combo and somehow did get out and Season Two. But as you’ve kind of filled me in and when I reached out, like what you’re doing is actually what you should have been doing the whole time as you’ve kind of said it. And I’m so excited to kind of learn about it. So why don’t you introduce kind of everybody with who you are, what you’ve been doing, and why you are building the future of living?

Calvin Cooper 0:55
Yes, so I’m the co-founder and CEO Rhove and our vision is really quite simple. We’re going to turn every renter to an owner. And that was really the idea that inspired the creation of the company. So I’m glad actually that we were able to circle back in and talk about Rentership now, because previously, we were just building the savings match product as a way to to get quickly in the market and pilot and learn and get all the technology we needed to build to accomplish this, but we’re so inspired by all the love and light coming in from across the world. And it’s pretty incredible to be a stakeholder in a property as a renter alongside neighbors. I’m a stakeholder.

Blake Miller 1:42
So what does this mean? Tell me about this. Like, I mean, this just sounds so revolutionary, but also sounds like so obvious, because it gives people you know, a stake in their own community.

Calvin Cooper 1:55
Yes, so it’s interesting that you mentioned that it’s obvious. It’s actually a really old idea, something that John Adams our second president talked about when he mentioned that to preserve equal liberty, or in society that we should make the ownership and division of land available to every member of society. And so this idea is something that I’ve been obsessed with for a long time. It’s so impactful land ownership is so impactful for income equality, and really is important to compel people to participate in the community, and government and it’s so many other things. And so, what this is is a way for every renter to be an owner. When you move into a property like I’m a resident at a property that offers Rentership, we created this experience really for myself and our neighbors. Where were you doing this at? Gravity in Columbus is our first project.

Blake Miller 2:57
That’s awesome. I mean, people would think this was happening, you know, somewhere, you know, in one of the big cities. I mean, I mean, this is doing we’re Midwest guys like this is happening right in the Midwest.

Calvin Cooper 3:07
Yeah, absolutely, man. I mean, I made the mistake of calculating how much rent I spent in the past 10 years. Amazing. I was a venture capitalist at the time. And I was struggling to save money to buy a home, in the neighborhood that I lived in,

Blake Miller 3:24
Before you go on, let me ask you about that. Because I agree. I mean, I’ve been a renter ever since I moved out of my parents house. And, you know, to go to college and do all that never went back and started kind of renting and, you know, if I would add up all of that, it’d be probably pretty, pretty heartburn and probably probably a lot of heartburn myself. But at the same time, I’ve always kind of had this mindset where, you know, I don’t want the burden of owning a home. I want the burden of doing those things and really focused on trying to try to build something and build my career like how do you how do you kind of weigh some of that?

Calvin Cooper 3:57
Absolutely. So I mean, 10% sent the millennial generation and growing never expect to own a home. Two-thirds of us don’t you know two-thirds of us who do buy a home regretted mainly because they see their friends like me with great amenities, live-work-playing in the neighborhoods that they want to be in close to work close to all the amenities of the city. And they’re stuck fixing A/Cs in the middle of the summer. And so a lot of people regret buying a home because they have all the maintenance costs that they didn’t calculate when they bought the home. It’s really expensive. And and and it’s not that great of an investment. 50% of the millennial population don’t even see buying a home is a good investment. And so what we sought to accomplish with Rentership was the best of both worlds. This isn’t rent-to-own where you have your payment locked up and you have to buy that property that you lived in. We saw that as incremental change, what we wanted to do was enable people to have the low barriers to entry, the flexibility that many of these that come with renting, but then add on to that the ability to have an economic stake in the place that you live. So so that’s transformational. It’s a product that never exists existed before.

Blake Miller 5:22
Yeah. So how does, can you explain this how this works? Because, you know, I’ve seen obviously kind of an explosion of like syndication when in terms of investors getting a lot of different investors to kind of buy a building and you obviously get a third-party management and all this, like, how does the ownership stake come in? Just give me give me the 1-2-3 or four or five or six or?

Calvin Cooper 5:44
Well, yeah, yeah, the most important thing to focus on first is the experience as a renter. This is how the world should be every resident should be a stakeholder. As by default, that’s a very simple vision and for instance, at Gravity, every resident is a stakeholder by default just for living there, you can claim a stake in the property. So you download our app, and you claim your stake at Gravity. That’s $50. And so, I have a $50 economic interest in this property. And it’s a contract, right? It’s not technically debt or equity. We wanted to create a new arrangement that maintain the flexibility that renters have without the headaches and barriers to entry that a security interest would would create. But having a $50 stake gives you certain value and right so one, you’re getting a 5% rent return on that every year, plus the your stake participates in the sale value of the property. So as an example, I’m moving to Gravity. I’m a resident, I get a $50 stake. I claim that in the rover And let’s say I choose to buy more on my own terms. And you can buy more in single dollar increments. So let’s say I accumulated $1,000 stake over the course of a year and then I just stopped purchasing. Yeah, I’ll have $1,000 renter ship stake in the apartment building that I live in, I’m going to receive $50 a year just for holding on to my stake $50 a year in cap. If I want to sell my stake, I could sell.

Blake Miller 7:28
How do you get that just through the Rhove app?

Calvin Cooper 7:30
Through the Rhove app. If I want to, if I want to sell my stake, I could sell it any time and receive my thousand dollars back. So if that was over the course of a year, I would have received $50 and if I sold out or received 1000, so I got thousand 5% rent return. If I hold on to that state, the value of it appreciates with the sale value of the property. So the property were to sell in a few years. Let’s say it appreciated by 10% Then my my mentorship stake would be retired, it would be redeemed for $1,000 plus that 10% appreciation in that example. So let’s say I was a resident at $1,000 stake, I received $50 a year for holding on to that. That Rentership stake, and the property sold or was refinanced and the owners bought my pool back, then I would have received 1100 dollars at that time. So really, I’ve gotten the value that I would have gotten as an owner, but I’ve maintained my options, my flexibility, the amenities, the the experience of renting, I don’t have to fix leaky faucets or air conditioning units, and I don’t have any of those liabilities associated with ownership.

Blake Miller 8:50
Yeah, I mean, and this is just kind of another, another wave growing that kind of investor mentality. So talk to me why I mean, this is so obvious. And great for a as a renter, why would a why is the property gonna want to do something like this?

Calvin Cooper 9:04
Man, I’ve been so inspired to see all the owners reaching out from across the country, heck in other countries. The reason that people reached out to us and are interested in offering this is because it just should happen. That’s the first reason

Blake Miller 9:20
I love that, man. Thank you. Right? Like, here’s logic in the world.

Calvin Cooper 9:29
Right? I can’t. I’ve been so inspired by the number of owners who reached out said, Man, I’ve been thinking about this and thought that it would be wonderful, but I never thought it could happen. And tell me how it works. You guys figured it out? One guy I talked to he was like, No, explain to me how it works. And we started to talk to him about the details and he said, God bless America.

Blake Miller 9:54
Beautiful and but you know, it’s so capitalistic, though. Right? Like Yeah, so much sense and it’s like conscious capitalism. Yeah. So how how’s it working? I mean, you guys sounds like Gravity is the first building.

Calvin Cooper 10:08
Yeah, yeah. But before diving into there, I was gonna continue to answer your previous question.

Blake Miller 10:13
Please.

Calvin Cooper 10:14
Yeah, so they so they’re reaching out because not every property owner is looking just to squeeze every dollar of rent out of residents. Some people view it as their art, their contribution community, and they see holistically how investing in your customer creates more value for you. Right. So that’s the first part. The second part is

Blake Miller 10:41
Funny how that works, provide a great experience.

Calvin Cooper 10:43
Right. The second part? Yeah. The second part is that when renters when the average American doesn’t have $400 saved in their account and short term savings, they can’t afford to pay rent if they have even a minor emergency. So this also helps derisk their properties by giving people the ability to to save and accumulate accumulate value. Another reason is, most property owners have concessions, and they have marketing expenses associated with acquiring and retaining residents. And oftentimes, those those concessions are Visa gift cards, their other they’ll have lasting value and are easily forgotten. And then lastly, when they’re marketing the properties, they’re spinning thousands of dollars on Apartments.com apartments live ultimately all those companies are competing on Google. For for eyeballs and all that ad spending should be going to renters. So this is a way to pay renters more directly to acquire and retain, to residents. So so it’s not just the it’s not just about conscious capitalism over, although that’s the main driver why people initially reach out. There’s also a business a value proposition too, this is really a triple bottom line project.

Blake Miller 12:23
I love that. I love that. You know, when we were kind of prepping for this, one of the things that you said I thought it was just so great. I mean, obviously 2020 has been 2020 for everybody. There’s been a pandemic, there’s your social equity is the first and the foremost, one of the things that the way you said, this was just it really resonated to me is just the importance of every member in a democracy to have an economic stake in the community. You kind of started to touch on this just in how Rhove works. It’s just like you guys, you emanate this but talk to me about this about what this means you

Calvin Cooper 13:00
Absolutely I love political science and economics. In fact, I studied classical economics and philosophy and undergrad. I’m a researcher by nature, I love getting access to data, exploring what that what that means drawing conclusions, but then thinking beyond that, like what are the implications for society? So something that a lot of people may not realize is that when Thomas Jefferson wrote, the Declaration of Independence, that people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that he was paraphrasing or expanding upon other ideas that came before him. So like John Locke wrote about life, liberty, health, and I darland see a body. And so what that means is, is that they were thinking our founding fathers and the flow For those that came before, from John Lott to James Harrington to Aristotle, they contemplated how to create a strong society. And part of that strategy was to have a society that was bought in that had a stake in it. And so, life, liberty and happiness would the word happiness replace the word estate that John Locke wrote about. And when you read the the letters of some of the other founding fathers of our nation like John Adams, you’ll see them expand on that idea a little bit more. He talks about the importance of property ownership in society and how it’s so important to maintain the balance of society in a constitutional republic. You see Thomas Jefferson in correspondence talking about similar ideas. How property rights have gone to an unnatural balance and I’m paraphrasing here, but when you have people who are homeless, and these are things that people that has largely been forgotten in our political discourse. And so what it means to me is, you know what it means to society. It’s, it’s that if we’re going to have a strong democracy, everybody needs to have a stake in the fruits of this country. Yeah. And what it means to me personally is, you know, I cried when we released this app, because this was what inspired us to start the company. But, but why ownership matters to me is 110 years ago, I didn’t have a bed to call my own. I was basically homeless in Atlanta, dropped out of school started a company failed miserably learned so much got back into school finished after that, but in 2010 was a rough place, man, I didn’t know anything. And ownership matters to me. My mom lost her home and lost last recession, I saw, I saw the gaps of our financial system play out in my own life. And so this, to me is an opportunity to change the way our system is built, and create more options for people to have a stake in the place that they live in a home is more than a place where you keep your stuff. It’s also a place where you accumulate value we give life to these neighborhoods and why why shouldn’t we get value as the neighborhood’s develop?

Blake Miller 16:35
Man, so eloquently put, like, you know, it’s interesting, you brought up like founding fathers and all this, I really spent a lot of time in quarantine of just really learning, like taking the time to educate myself on a lot of different things. And one of the things that I think is just so fascinating that we don’t realize maybe we people inherently do, but the founding fathers weren’t fathers, right. They were young people that were trying to like, you’re bringing a revolution and a change. And I think that it’s so apt to what’s happening now you look around and there’s young people trying to make a change. And it’s just interesting to see the dynamic of, of different generations that are at, you know, feels like almost at war, but it’s not it’s just people trying to bring a change.

Calvin Cooper 17:20
Mm hmm. Absolutely. That’s what makes our our country so great that, that throughout time we’ve, we’ve constantly sought to improve it. And when we’re in those moments, it’s really uncomfortable. But looking back, these moments are so important.

Blake Miller 17:37
It really is. So I want to I want to dig in a little bit more on you know, you mentioned your your previous failures and some of those things. You spent some time in kind of the VC world and learning some of that was on that side of the business, or that business but it kind of industry like what we’re then starting rove again. And some of the challenges and everything that you’ve learned, starting the NDP savings product that you guys did and then getting to Rentorship because you kind of mentioned like it was so emotional getting it out.

Calvin Cooper 18:11
Yeah, great question, man. It’s been a I’ve been really fortunate. It’s been a fun journey. I love being in venture meet with entrepreneurs. I spent 10 years across multiple fields, just helping entrepreneurs grow their business. And I didn’t really have a desire to start a tech company, I was having fun. And like I said, I love research and data, what better way to turn a research background into reality to then to be able to invest in companies. So and and so as I saw the transition here, I really took many of the things I learned watching other firms execute better than the firm’s that that I was working with. Execute and some of those things were market first. Like, like one pick a market that’s new and exciting. And that’s going to be important and amazing and early. And to team is so important. Find the best team in the world and and do it for the love. You know, I don’t believe in just hopping out here trying to start a company to start a company. I didn’t even want to start a company did it because nobody else was doing this. And the real estate developer who owns a common development Brett Kaufman, when I met him, I was researching this model and he’s like, you know, I’ll co-invest with you guys and launch it and everything but you got to quit your job and do it. I was like, dang. I was just making partner in the venture firm.

Blake Miller 19:49
But I mean, as a VC, you got to know that’s coming right like…

Calvin Cooper 19:53
Yeah, anybody knows how venture works. If you raise the fund and your partner you lock in fees for 10 years I mean that’s it’s pretty great so pretty good deal ventures really hard business but there’s some downside risk protection and and I quit that to have three months runway and ran out of money at one point like we couldn’t pay make payroll. Now we raise money and we’ve got a 14 person team and things are going well, but the journey the entrepreneurial journey is really tough. And so you know, one its market it’s do something that you love with people who you love working with. But the third thing on execution is get a product out any product out as quickly as possible. People have one you know, I was talking to one advisor about this. How long will it take you to get Rentership out and I was like a year and the but we can get a pilot out now and he’s like no, no full products. I’m like okay, he’s like, so what can you get out in three months, and that was the product we released.

Blake Miller 21:05
Yeah.

Calvin Cooper 21:07
And it was so important you learn so much. And you just test and iterate, you become you’re fixated on the problem you’re trying to solve from a first principles perspective. And then your idea how you execute needs to be pliable and needs to just iterate instead of the inverse.

Blake Miller 21:25
Yeah, if I’ve learned anything, it’s like, you’ve got to get that you’ve got to figure out ways to shorten that feedback loop. And it’s obviously a lot harder. And these types of kind of real world type apps that I would call them, you know, I mean, prop tech, real estate, kind of all these things, you’re really dealing, you know, in the real world situations versus some of these other types of apps that you can, you know, iterate really, really quickly gain users really fast and everything so you got to figure out how to get it out. As a as a founder now, team of 14, you said, what has been some of the biggest challenges for you kind of with all this quarantine and trying to figure out how to manage from home, I’m sure you guys probably have a flexible type of environment as we do. What’s that been like, though, for you just kind of managing all this?

Calvin Cooper 22:09
So few questions there. So, so the biggest challenge, and then how is it been managing it? So the biggest challenge I’ll say, I think it’s been what, deciding what not to do. And it’s been a challenge. I mean, we released that the MVP, and vendors loved it. Owners loved it. We went from one one building doing it to like, a bunch, almost 10% of the urban core, Columbus, wow, reaching out from Detroit, Indianapolis, where we just turned down a couple thousand units for the savings product. And it’s viable, is it’s just not as important and it’s not as compelling. And so we need to focus on Rentorship and that that was it. I think a tough conversation and discussion and you’ve got to have conviction to really make the tough calls like that thing. It’s I think that that’s a lesson learned. It’s something that I think it’s important and so oftentimes in our as we do our strategic planning, it’s a recurring theme. It’s you get scope creep, you get it, you release a feature and people want it and that’s that was just put out there to learn. You got constantly narrow your roadmap and and only build what the most important things are so that you can really run on tight sprints one to two week pushes and and if it’s a whole product, get that out in less than three months. You got to make a lot of tough costs. So that’s challenging, fun work. We we’ve got a great team been doing a good job of it with the pandemic. Similarly, it’s it’s first, first things first is you gotta just batten down the hatches and, and really slim things down and narrow focus. It’s challenging, everybody’s scared. I mean, if you think about Mark back back in March, February, we didn’t know anything about this, this and the impact on health in society. So so you know, as an entrepreneur, it’s, it’s probably how parents think. You’re not just thinking about yourself, you’re thinking about your team, thinking about. You’ve got to get educated on what’s going on. You’ve got to be calm, but stern, you’ve got to be focused, you’ve got to over communicate. And so that was, I think, challenging, but we did a good job. I think we, we had regular updates, we made decisions. We were decisive. We were empathetic. And so the that that was that was one one thing that I would talk about as an entrepreneur is that navigating crisis like that. We were fortunate that we had a lot of processes in place for our team to execute through any situation. I mean, we, we we have OKRs, objectives and key results. We have regular strategic planning every quarter, everybody’s involved on the team, so everybody knows why we’re working, what we’re working on. And they self-create their OKRs and in JIRA tickets, and so, we work on weekly sprints, we’re an agile shop, so all those things are important. A lot of times people in startups overlook the importance of strategic planning and all those processes. But I found that it’s extremely helpful, especially in an uncertain environment.

Blake Miller 26:00
Calvin so agree, man, we’re running out of time. But I always love to hit a few lightning round questions right at the end. And my favorite question for dads everybody to start is what business or service is blockbuster over the next 10 years? In other words, who’s going to be completely obsolete?

Calvin Cooper 26:18
That’s a good one. Um, the 30-year mortgage.

Blake Miller 26:22
Yeah. Talk to me. I gotta, I gotta ask a follow up on that. We’re 30 years does it because it increases it lower. What does it become more to housing-as-service?

Calvin Cooper 26:33
I think there’s gonna be a diversity of solutions and financial services that meet people where they are their lifestyle. So the word mortgage hold French means death pledge. So…

Blake Miller 26:49
That’s something I should probably know. But today I learned something and that it’s terrifying.

Calvin Cooper 26:54
Google it. But I mean, who is going to live in a home for 30 years like people don’t even they don’t you? You get a starter home you have kids, you upsize downsize our financial system isn’t it wasn’t… Yeah, it doesn’t meet people where that so, Rhove Returnship is a first step to closing the economic gap between renting and owning. And we’re gonna keep pushing that envelope and other people’s are people are working on similar things like we’re doing this in the multifamily space for the only one doing this in the multifamily space. But there are people in the single family space doing some really cool things. I would be shocked if in 20 years, people are like, by default getting 30-year mortgages. That’s crazy.

Blake Miller 27:44
Love it. Hey, we’ve been talking about a lot of different technology and kind of how you’re innovating here in the kind of the real estate space. What’s a specific device that you’ve actually acquired post-COVID that’s kind of major quarantine a little bit better.

Calvin Cooper 28:00
Device post-COVID has made my quarantine better? I’d say, I’ll just take an app, but using Headspace for meditating. That’s been very helpful.

Blake Miller 28:12
Love it. Hey, we’ve been talking a lot about technology and all these things are changing everything. What’s something you think technology is not going to change the future?

Calvin Cooper 28:22
Something that technology isn’t going to change in the future. I don’t believe there’s there’s many things that tech that I would be surprised if there is a space that technology doesn’t change. Even philosophy is gonna change over the next 10 years. As we integrate technology deeper into our lives, our bodies, our spaces, our minds. And so I would be shocked that technology doesn’t impact on pretty much every aspect of human life, what we eat every day.

Blake Miller 29:01
Calvin, you’re a visionary. You’re an inspiration. Absolutely love this conversation. Let everybody know how they can find you online.

Calvin Cooper 29:06
You can find us at Rhove.com.

Blake Miller 29:10
Awesome. I’ll make sure all this is in the show notes.

Calvin Cooper 29:13
R-h-o-v-e.com. Thanks. I appreciate it like man. Thanks for sharing our story and having us today.

The Future of Living Podcast is produced by Media Club. Learn more at https://mediaclub.co.

 

Robert Gaulden on the Future of Access Control

Robert Gaulden is the Director of Allegion Multifamily Channel Strategy and has been involved in the security industry for more than 15 years, focusing on electronic access control, partnership development and security policy. During his most recent years at Allegion, Robert has worked on integrations, channel development and go-to-market strategies associated with Allegion’s access control platforms. He’s currently responsible for developing strategy, channels and partnerships to drive the customer experience and provide seamless access for the multi-family segment. Robert brings a unique perspective and understanding of the role security partners and platforms play in delivering a holistic experience for both the property manager and the resident. He has been featured in Security Sales & Integrator (SSI), A&S International and Security System News, where he was chosen as a “20 under 40” honoree in 2013.

Discussion

  • Current state of the access control industry post-COVID.
  • Why are companies using residential locks in multifamily, and what problems is that creating?
  • When do fobs or credential die or do they?
  • Will we get to a point of hardware-as-a-service?
  • How to think about safety and security consideration.
  • The smart access control value prop becoming more mainstream.
  • Allegion’s Multifamily strategy.

Links

Allegion Multifamily – https://us.allegion.com/en/home/markets/multifamily.html

Transcript

Blake Miller 0:02
Everyone, Welcome Back to the Future Living podcast. I’m your host Blake Miller. Today I’ve got Robert Gaulden from Allegion makers of Schlage, the 100-plus year old lock brand. We’re talking about multifamily access in the age of COVID, remote, touchless, where it’s going. Check it out.

Robert, welcome to the Future Living podcast really appreciate you taking the time to do this. How you been?

Robert Gaulden 0:27
Pretty good, Blake, how are you?

Blake Miller 0:29
I’m doing good man. You know, all things considering, like everybody’s dealing with. We’re doing season three here, the future living and it’s pandemic era, so I think you have to at least give somebody you know that those dates so they know what’s going on.

Robert Gaulden 0:43
Yeah, the global pandemic was not something that I was highlighting into things I had to do during my career, but we’ll manage our way through it.

Blake Miller 0:52
2020 am I right? You know.

Robert Gaulden 0:54
Yeah, absolutely. What a crazy year.

Blake Miller 0:56
Yeah. So you know, give everybody a little bit of background on who you are and and why you are building the future living right now.

Robert Gaulden 1:04
Sure. So work for Legion. We are a lock manufacturer. And we actually do a lot more than locks. We have brands like slag, but bon dupion, which are fire in life exit devices and safety devices and door closers. So we’re a major manufacturer of door hardware and life safety devices. And I’ve been with the company for about 17 years really focused a lot of my time in the commercial space, especially around electronic access, control and integration. And I’ve worked on major projects like major airports and building design all the way through university and K through 12. Security. In the last, I’d say about 24 months or so maybe a little bit longer than that. The company asked me to take a real deep dive into the multifamily segment. And it’s a fascinating segment and quite honestly, I thought, you know, multifamily. How hard could it be? Right? I mean, it’s just it can’t be as complex as commercial. And that went out the window pretty quickly.

Blake Miller 1:58
Yeah, that was me too.

Robert Gaulden 2:00
Yeah, my family is uniquely its own market space. And it’s not residential. Although we’ve seen a lot of residential applications try to be pulled into this space. It’s not commercial, although there are some commercial applications that can adapt to this space. It’s uniquely a blend of both of those things, and thus requires its own technology. And so we’ve taken kind of a fresh look at this space. And we’ve been here with some of our solutions, but we’re really trying to develop the ability to create a more seamless access experience for you know, both the resident as well as the property managers and the owners to adopt technology especially around you know, access control and mobile credentials and things along those lines. And that just plays right into in this space as far as smart apartment and smart buildings and everything I think you’re interested in from the future of living.

Blake Miller 2:51
Definitely, yeah. So, you know, that’s actually how we’ve gotten to know each other over the years right is working together with the Allegion in our product with their Schlage Engage and Control series of locks that really kind of create a whole access system for apartments. You know, talk about though, for me, and I want to go into a little bit of history to have smart apartments or in the multifamily industry what you guys have been doing there, but like, what’s the current state of access control not only for multifamily industry and what’s happening, but it really just kind of across the access industry, what’s happening?

Robert Gaulden 3:28
Yeah, if you if you look at access control, for the longest time, it wasn’t so much around the perimeter, right? Everyone knows how to secure the perimeter of a building. I think the big movement for the last, you know, call it 10 years or so is where do you find better adoption rates for the interior? And how does that then play into the experience, whether you’re talking about K through 12, and the ability to lockdown classrooms, whether you’re talking about the ease and ability on a dormitory to allow a college student to gain access into the room, you know, it’s mostly been a focus around the interior. And I think when we start to look at multifamily in particular, it’s been around kind of this bifurcated experience, right? We’ve had some form of access control around the perimeter for quite some time, whether we’re talking about intercom systems or basic card systems around the perimeter, but multifamily is resident doors have kind of grown up on its own and thus kind of been a segregated and different database completely, many times different systems. So really an inefficient process, some adoption around the ability to you know, use those resident doors in maybe manage keying a little bit better when you move to credentials. But I think what we’re really seeing now when you look across the board is the accelerant the mobile credentials are adding to the to the space and the ability to unify these systems into one aggregate database. One experience, that experience especially in this segment translates you know, almost like rocket fuel, you’ve got the experience for the resident, which is an overall better experience is a seamless experience. But then you have all of those additional efficiencies and experiences that the property manager or the owner is going to experience as well. Those two things in combination really allow for, I think, a great area and multifamily kind of lead the industry, whether you’re talking about commercial or residential, in the adoption of these new holistic platforms, you don’t have as much barriers to entry as you do like in the commercial space. And obviously, single family, you’re really just talking about a single housing unit. So the impact is not very broad multifamily, you get a great use case of both right you have decisions that are being made across the entire platform. every resident has the ability to participate in that experience. And obviously those things compound to the efficiencies and the way you run and manage your building. It’s a it’s a great area and I’m really excited not only in where we’re going as a as a manufacturer in the space, but where the industry is going in general.

Blake Miller 6:04
Yeah, I mean, I really see, access control is like the most important thing to have any type of smart building, right? And it’s, it’s literally, you know, people are making money managing four walls and a roof. Well, how do you who comes and goes is how do you manage that how you collect that sort of thing. So, you know, definitely agree there. You know, you said mobile credential couple times, like I wanted one of the things I wanted to kind of dig in there just for anybody that doesn’t kind of realize the differences, you know, you guys have really kind of mastered and been one of the leaders in that kind of fob or card credential, that people would be familiar with, like maybe in a hotel experience, right. But well, you’re actually talking on mobile credentials is actually in the phone, right? And that’s some of the things that we’re doing with integrations, you know, can you can you talk about the differences there and, and the needs, both in the building to build support those things.

Robert Gaulden 6:53
Yeah. So I think the migration from from keys just to to, you know, cards or credentials,

So it’s been a natural migration path for electronics. And from there, you moved into a Smart credential. And in some cases, you know, entities still haven’t moved off approximate to smart credentials. But there is an added layer of security. What’s interesting, though, is when you start to talk about mobile, no one forgets their phone, right? I mean, everybody lives on their phone, no one’s going to leave their phone behind. If you just took a use case today of current college students and, and their phones and how they interact on it. It’s just a natural progression. We’re starting to see more applications on your daily life on your phone. And these are things that you can’t really separate yourself from the ability to pay via your phone and do these other things from an experience perspective. So it’s a natural evolution from, you know, a hard piece of plastic to then a mobile credential. What’s interesting though, is the power of that phone. When you really map it up to the networks and the capability of the lock that’s sitting on the door. Now you’ve concrete all these new type of experiences. So it’s really more than just the credential itself. It’s how it interacts with the app and the overall system. But from that perspective, you have an extremely powerful tool in your hand that allows you to gain access to a building to really seamlessly move or navigate throughout that building, to efficiently dispense or give out visitor management credentials, you know, with a piece of plastic, you gotta go physically still pick it up much like a key. When you move to an application. When you move to a mobile credential. It’s a virtual credential, the ability to send that via network down to somebody, whether that’s a visitor, whether that’s a temporary known entity, like a package delivery person, whether that’s a vetted service, like a dog walker or cleaning service, whether that’s your resident or one of your maintenance staff. You know, you have a new way to manage credentials, and I think not only is it more efficient and it will open up even more use cases. on things that we’re not even thinking about today, but it’s also also going to give you so much more data on how you’re running your, your facilities, what’s going on within your facilities. And how do you want to manage that from an experience is as well. So pretty powerful stuff from a property perspective. You know, unfortunately, as you look at next generation equipment, you know, the locks themselves are going to need an upgrade to be able to manage, you know, these credentials, especially when you talk about the secure credentials that we want to pass between the phone and the lock itself. So there is a transition point from, you know, previous gen equipment to next gen equipment to be able to manage that. But once you know breakthrough that…

Blake Miller 9:39
Are people going to have to do that all the time? I mean, I think, you know, that’s sometimes worry about that. Like, what is that type of upgrade cycle? What are you guys seeing because obviously you’re doing these commercial type upgrades, not using the residential locks that others are using, you know, how do you plan for that and how do you try to match that up with the style of building of the length of the life of that?

Robert Gaulden 10:00
Yeah, I think this is where this is where the hardware, hardware world and the technology worlds are coming together, right? When you think about a lock on a building, you may have a 30 year life cycle. When you think about your computer in your office, it may have four or five year lifecycle are outpacing what we’re seeing from a hardware perspective. We are trying to think through thoughtful design that allow you to expand that whether we talk about modularity and some other things. So maybe the entire investment doesn’t have to be taken off the door as you upgrade over time. But we are looking at life cycles even on our previous gen stuff, you know, you can you can definitely see eight to 12, maybe 15 years, depending on what you want to stretch right. Now as we look at the technology today. We’re trying to think through what are the future communication pads and you know, there’s a lot of buzzwords out there. There’s a lot of confusion on what’s the popular technology right is z wave ZigBee is it a BLE? Or is it going to be Laura is it can be 5G? So you can just, I mean, we just rattled off a handful, and there’s even more coming around the corner. So understanding where that technology is going…

Blake Miller 11:12
Yeah, I was gonna say how to how to you guys as a as a manufacturer is you know, as I love some of the things you guys always have over there, but I mean, it’s true. You’re, you’re a trusted brand in security, but you’ve been a bet man, bent metal company for 100 years, right?

Robert Gaulden 11:26
Sure.

Blake Miller 11:26
So, how do you guys think about kind of weighing all those things? You know, does hardware become a service at some point? You know, what does that look like?

Robert Gaulden 11:36
And then I think there’s a fascinating conversation around even the leasing of locks over time. So you can upgrade hardware could become a service although the the traditional channels and go to market don’t really sustain that today and new construction, it would be a vast change. But I think you could see that maybe in the aftermarket and the retrofit side of it, as well. I think the most important thing for us is we’re always weighing, you know, safety and security first, right? And then you have to look at the use case of why a protocol or communication path is more efficient in one way or another. And so for example, we chose BLE as a pathway for multifamily, because when you’re looking at a wireless lock, the ability to have battery life, you know, beyond just a year’s capability is extremely essential in some other technologies consumed battery life, where if you had to change locks batteries every three to six months, and then a portfolio of 200 units. I mean, that’s just not feasible, right? So you have to weigh all of these different things and what was developed for a single family use case and a homeowner who doesn’t mind changing their battery out or maybe doesn’t even access that front door very often is vastly different than a multifamily property where residents going in and out their door, you know, 2-3-4 times a day, and there’s no way a maintenance staff wants to go around change batteries all the time.

Blake Miller 12:56
I totally agree. One thing I wanted to come back to and I want to I have one question there, but I don’t want to forget, this is the debate that we’ve been having inside the office here. And, you know, dealing with fobs, and the actual some of the complexity that goes into managing that in the back end that you don’t really think about. Now, how long do you think the fob stays around? Or is that is that is that a thing that is always a part of the Internet of Things and become a different thing? You know, you mentioned phones always on you. I agree. I go and run with my phone, and all of that. Is of having that extra five is a secure thing is that where does that where’s that lie?

Robert Gaulden 13:33
I think that’s a comfort level thing. Keys are still around as well. Right and even on our one of our current multifamily lock state actually has no key way. Right. So we try to move to that next step to say Okay, listen, you know, there’s there’s an opportunity here to advance the credential, and let’s see if we can do without the key way in this lock for certain security reasons, right? You can’t pick a lock that doesn’t have a key way in it for example. I think from a comfort level, if you think about it, next step would be if you never had a phone that ran out of charge, if you had the ability to always use your phone to open the door, and you may see fobs go away. You know, I don’t expect as we see more adoption in mobile, I don’t expect the majority of adoption to happen just yet and mobile, so you’re going to have a longer runway and fobs. And I think you’re going to start to see as adoption starts to pick up, maybe the fob actually moves back to a card because that format is a lot easier to carry in your wallet and put on your persons as an emergency override to say, oh, my phone’s dead. I forgot to charge it. Getting out of the Uber and I need to get in and…

Blake Miller 14:42
That’s personally what I’ve done.

Robert Gaulden 14:44
I’ve got a card with my credit card. So I’ll just use that as my my one, you know, my access for the inconvenient emergency. So you know, I have a little bit of a internal bet with some people that says hey, maybe fobs move back to cards and multifamily. But I do think over time, as we start to solve some of these energy concerns, because most of this is around energy, how long the batteries last? How long does battery last on your phone? How efficient is it, if those things start to really take the dominant stance, then I think fobs will have some limited shelf life, the security you can put into the mobile credential and things that you could do on a mobile side just far outweigh the ability of a standard fob.

Blake Miller 15:27
Yeah, I mean, those fobs are still basically keys you just can…

Robert Gaulden 15:29
I mean, if you think about it, the file format is actually to be put on a key ring, I mean, who actually carries a key ring around anymore? I don’t know for that matter.

Blake Miller 15:39
Now. So you know earlier is saying and want to make sure we come back to this to your safety and security. Right. And we kind of talked about touched on PIN codes been touched around how you know, the specifically the lock that we’ve integrated that we use and suggest for all multifamily is, it doesn’t have that as a lease on the unit door, we think it makes sense to have PIN codes in shared common areas where you know it that it’s easier to share that but, you know, where do you guys what do you guys think about PIN codes? We’ve had things that people say it’s like, you know, it’s like giving out your password to your email account. There’s always got to be one, even if you can control that one time use thing or anything like that. How do you guys think about that, especially how do you think about it, knowing that there’s locks for residential that you all make that are great locks, but as it relates to, to multifamily,

Robert Gaulden 16:31
As it relates to multifamily, my biggest issue with PIN codes is really around you lose your audit control. And even in the most trusted environment, if if I shared my PIN codes with someone I really trust, if we ever pulled an audit, you have now no real ability to say who really gained access to that apartment. Right. And I think from a liability perspective, that’s something that would be concerning for me. PIN codes from a convenience perspective, especially if you had a PIN pad and the ability to give out a one time use PIN code allows someone to gain access. It’s a great way or a great feature that that allows that to happen. I’d like to see technology solve for that. I think there are abilities to use PIN codes, if you solve for it on the back end, but just generally to use PIN codes and use that as your form of access without any type of controls that says, you know, it’s a random generator, it’s been protected. It can’t be used multiple times, you don’t have a personal PIN code, and it all for me revolves around audit. You know, if it wasn’t for the audit issue, fine, right. But I do think there are abilities, you know, as we start to really adopt mobile credentials, there’s abilities that you can use that allow your phone to to send a one time, you know, open code, for example, or to generate a code for a friend that would allow that BLE radio to engage with the lock, right? So I think we can solve for what pin codes are great at, which is that convenience, without risking the security and the audit from the back end, and that’s what I’m looking for partners and providers that help us really kind of understand that and apply that technology to solve for those convenience factors. Because you do still need a lot of convenience to make this adoption go, but I don’t want to sacrifice security. So until we figure it out from an audit perspective, I’m not a big fan of PIN codes in multifamily.

Blake Miller 18:23
One of the things I’ve always thought about too, is like, those PIN codes especially presented a problem if you’re using them in vacation rentals, those sorts of things like that seems like so dangerous, like people get lazy, they give out that one pin code because for some reason the other one wasn’t working and now, you know, you could just simply be sitting there waiting for somebody else. Now that’s just kind of a weird area for me.

Robert Gaulden 18:46
Yeah, I would agree. Right. And I tend to look at and really have been deep diving market rate. But from a from just general liability perspective, when we start to get outside of that area of control or that span of control. I’m just not a big fan. Like I said, I think there’s ways that we could look at it from a technology perspective, bring that same type of convenience to the market space. That’s not dependent on an actual, you know, widely use or shareable PIN code.

Blake Miller 19:15
So we talked a lot about obviously, inside the apartment inside and a lot of the different doors like how does how does the Allegion or how does this industry continue to be the bolt on you know, how do you grow from here? How do you how do you enable the the butterflies of the world to work? How do you enable all the different integrations, you know, companies even like ours, integrating with yours trying to integrate? How are you guys doing that? What are you guys thinking about?

Robert Gaulden 19:40
Yeah, so I’m a big believer and building ecosystems of technology partnerships, right, because I think everyone’s solving a different portion of the pie. And I think if we can pull that all together, then you can create that seamless access, right, you’re going to need the perimeter system, you’re going to need the perimeter locks. All of this has to meet some type of building. permit code, fire code things along those lines, you’re going to need the residential door lock as well or the resident door lock I should say. Beyond that if you think about that journey as you enter that building, you know whether you’re a resident whether you’re a property manager, a part of the staff or whether you’re a guest or whether you’re a temporary guests like a services provider, all of them have different journey maps throughout that building. And for you to be able to navigate that building get from point A, the exterior all the way to point B wherever you are supposed to go. It may involve you know, multiple perimeter doors or common area doors may involve the actual resident unit itself that may involve you know, access to the elevator or may involve access to the stairwells and your ability to navigate each one of those you mentioned someone like Butterfly MX, you know, the ability to navigate someone who’s coming in who may not actually have an app download, maybe it’s an integration from there that allows you to use that use code to get you into the building and QR code that gets you up to the right floor to go deliver the sinks. But I think if you start to pull in multiple partners, whether you’re talking about the property management software system, so you have one database that really kind of goes across the system, you’re talking about the technology providers, you’re talking about, you know, smart apartment or smart building integration, you’re talking about third party services and the app developers, or any combination therein, I think those things pulled together in partnership really create that experience that we’re looking for, to deliver, you know, where I think the industry can go. That for me, I think the exciting side, there are so many different aspects that I continue to learn about, that the property and the resident want from either a management perspective or an experience perspective. That I think these partnerships in these ecosystems are really the way to go.

Blake Miller 21:51
Yeah, it’s it’s definitely an exciting time because it definitely seems like that the platform’s there and now everybody’s like, whoa, if you can do this, I mean, we do this. It definitely seems like an exciting time. And you know, one of the things before we run out of time, but you know, wanted to ask about how how all this like kind of boils back down into like how this stuff is sold and through the channel and how you guys are supporting, you know, all those locksmiths, your dealers, everybody else that are out there with this, like massive change, and what’s happening where they’re, you know, what’s happening here. How do you support that?

Robert Gaulden 22:26
Yeah, so I think there’s a couple different pathways that I see for multifamily when we talk about electronic adoption, and then we talk about smarter integration over time, and then obviously, we can talk about the IoT movement in multifamily. And so we are seeing some change in what the channel looks like. But the multi it the multifamily vertical right now, if I were to simplistically put them into two buckets, I would say there is a bucket out there that is, you know, they properties and managers. technologists have the vision to know where they want to go and they’re adopting this technology and utilizing it for their efficiency, they’re utilizing it to attract and retain and retain residents. They’re using it as an experience base. And in that set, they’re looking at partners and their supply chains to be able to deliver that, that starts to look like a more complex integration pathway. And that also delivers on an experience there. So, you know, that’s a little bit different than what we’re seeing in the broader market in multifamily where maybe it’s just a basic adoption today of I’m moving from one mechanical deadbolt to electronic deadbolt. So I see two kind of channels to market in the simplistic moving from mechanical to electronics. There’s huge value in that supply chain of just getting someone the experience and bringing that lock into the market space. And that’s generally how we go to market today, PR channel and our ability to really move volumes of locks into the space. I think oh and in that use case, most of the time property manager maybe performing their own startup services, right? If can commission that lock and bring it online, that saves me some cost. And I can adopt this technology and make it part of my portfolio and start using at minimum, you know, smarter credentials, which lowers my rekeying actually eliminates my rekeying costs, gives me an audit trail. So I think that basic adoptions are so critical to this industry and the channel that delivers that today does really, really great job. I think over time, as we talked about this ecosystem of partnerships, and we’ve talked about the different layers of software and how that integrates. That looks like a much more mature type integration type channel, right, where someone kind of can come in, whether it’s a third party channel integrator, or whether someone does in bundles, all those services themselves. But those things I think over time will start to look more like a mature path and that channel has to be created in this industry. And I think it’s starting to form we’re starting to see it you know, companies like your own take on that complexity in allow that to be delivered through the experience that you want to deliver. And I think those things over time will become more and more critical as the software advances, as the lock becomes part of the apartment as the apartment becomes part of the building as the building becomes part of a community. Those things have cyber implications, IT implications. And it’s challenging, right? Because cyber and IT guys aren’t necessarily locksmiths and door frame outs, so we’re gonna have to figure out a way to merge this together. We’re seeing some really activity around it and we are trying to build that momentum around that channel. But we are seeing two completely different markets, a high end technology adoption market that’s looking for that channel in those services. And then a just basic moving from mechanical to electronic adoption that allows us to least see more experiences that can move up that food chain over time.

Blake Miller 25:55
Speaking my language man, I’m saying the exact same thing and know a lot of it like It’s crazy, like every one of these divisions on the construction plans, like they just seem like they’re, they’re all in one of the same. And some different things. I know it’s too simplistic. There’s a lot there and there are a lot of my friends would be mad about that. But no, I mean, they’re, they’re blending and and they’re blurring and, and, you know, they all touch each other on some level, they all end up going back to, you know, shameless plug but a Wi-Fi infrastructure or some sort of connected infrastructure in the building of way to manage it all. But yeah, you know, we’re running out of time, but I always end every episode with some of my favorite questions. And the one I always start with is, who’s the next Blockbuster and next 10 years what business or service is going to be completely obsolete?

Robert Gaulden 26:47
I thought you’re gonna say who’s next Blockbuster, as far as like blowing up and becoming awesome. I was like, can I say us? Or am I ever say us? Yeah, obsolete. Gosh, um… You know, what, what I really do question is at the end of the day when you start to look at your basic functionality of just an intercom system, right a telephone call up system, if it’s not integration, if it’s not integrating to the next path if it’s not doing more sophisticated things, just the door box call system i think is is I mean it could be replaced by it could be replaced by an iPad and a phone. Right? So I think integration of that type of technology and where you know, guys like Butterfly MX are taking these things where you know, that type of technology is morphing over time. I think if you’re strictly doing call box that would be an interesting one to see if if that one last the next evolution that we’re going through from a disruption perspective.

Blake Miller 27:48
Yeah, man, I mean, I love their products as a gorgeous product, but you also kind of wonder is it like the Southwest putting a TV and a headphone or in the headrest, you know, problem, like everyone’s got their own screen.

Robert Gaulden 28:01
Yeah, it’s it’s an interesting. I’m seeing the I’m seeing the movement of some of the smart ones they’re really driving towards towards a more holistic access solution, I think and I think Butterfly’s trying to get there themselves. But I think if you were just simply a call box, I’m not quite sure that’s that’s going to work in the future.

Blake Miller 28:24
What device have you acquired like kind of post-pandemic lockdown that has just kind of changed everything for you everybody’s been locked down their home, what’s, what’s been the device or thing that’s saved you?

Robert Gaulden 28:37
I don’t know if it saved me, but I’ve got a Blue Yeti professional, you know, mic, and it’s made every one of these video conferencing and all the calls, it’s made life so much easier. I have a voice that doesn’t project very well over speakerphone. And so either I would have been on a little BLE headset and run out of battery life too soon on it. It’s been it’s been great between that and our company’s just invested infrastructure and in pretty good gear for home, we’re, we’re a little bit ahead of the curve and in our ability to manage work from remote, so it’s just made that transition a lot easier. But I’ll tell you what, I love the fact that now it’s more of a rarity that I get on a call and someone doesn’t have a camera on versus someone you know, even eight months ago, if I call them on Microsoft Teams or on zoom or something, most cameras are off. I think the human element of people turning on the camera and just wanting to interact and see a face, so I think that’s been great.

Blake Miller 29:40
Yeah, I mean, I’ve been laughing with a old friend Lee Odesst is, you know, doing these video, these podcasts that are inherently supposed to be about audio, you know, we’re doing and whatnot here on video. It makes it so much better. And is this a podcast or is this a video interview or is this what are we doing now?

Robert Gaulden 29:59
Yeah.

Blake Miller 30:01
Yeah. So we’ve talked a lot about how technology is changing everything and changing access control industry, it was something that you think technology’s not gonna be changing here in the near future?

Robert Gaulden 30:13
That’s a good question. Yeah, my gut tells me human nature. I think there’s a lot of things that technology can enhance, or accelerate. But I’m not quite sure it changes in the human nature. So, you know, bad habits are bad habits. We talked about PIN codes. Right. As much as you want to believe that someone’s not going to share their pincode they probably are, right. That’s just human nature. I want to trust my friends or family or whoever it may be until I can’t. And so you know, I think from that perspective, you can apply technology to to change the risk or to change the profile, but it just doesn’t change human nature. So you got to be thoughtful in your design and what you’re trying to do because people are creatures of habit and they want to experience something in a way that they’re used to that they’re familiar.

Blake Miller 31:06
So, Robert, last question here, there’s a lot of people trying to figure out they only got a certain amount of capex budget right now. We’re trying to figure out how to manage more units, less people, however, they’re trying to do it. What’s one of the first things that they should be thinking about and kind of making an investment, upgrading their properties with smart technology specific smart locks, improving that and, you know, how do they make their dollars go further and without feeling like it’s going to be obsolete soon?

Robert Gaulden 31:34
Yeah. So we’ve seen a lot of kind of steps towards what is the migration from mechanical to electronics look like? What benefits do I pick up along the way? You know, as you start to plan that out, as you start to consult with your, your different companies and the technologies out there, I think just that mechanical electronic adoption, we’ve seen really strong use cases of you know key management, you don’t have to worry about all the labor going into, you know, managing your locks or rekeying. Or, God forbid, if you lost keys or think things along those lines. From a risk mitigation, you have audit trails now. So now you have the ability to say no, we were never even in your apartment this week. So we’re not quite sure why you’re missing your watch or whatever it may be. It takes all of that risk off. And this starts to really enable your journey into remote access when you start to adopt from electronic perspective. So if you think about the ROI, or maybe even the contribution of NOI into that basic equation, I think that’s the big first step. I think the next step then we see is most people start to ask what is my credential strategy? Right? And we touched on it today, as you move from fob to unified credential if you had two credentials, for example, one for the perimeter and one for new resident unit. So can you unify that right and then beyond that are their adoption rates or their ability to look at mobile credentials and again, mobile credentials can be monetized based on different applications or experiences that you’re bringing with it, right? So you can look at that journey. And most of you know, at least what we’re seeing today, you should be looking at mobile-enabled products, that’s going to give you that long runway. So you don’t have to think about, you know, restarting that journey if you wanted mobile two or three years down the road, if not, right away. From there, I think, looking at partners that that enable that experience and layer, that experience of technology on top of those hard units, right, those locks around the perimeter at the resident unit, I think is really important. So that’s where I see proptech really starting to move forward and in the ecosystem and integrated platforms and for us. Because of that we actually have a number of partners, right? We allow our locks to be ported to a number of partners so that as a property starts to mature in their technology stack and they understand what they’re looking for. They can migrate from a very simple access, you know, even our Allegion software that allows you to get the lock up and running to overtime. Hey, look, this sounds like a great opportunity to work with Homebase because of all the different things that they’re doing. And all the different feature sets that they’re enabling from not only the lock, but the apartment in the building. And then finally, the fourth experience, I think, as you elevate into that platform is really looking at the experiences that those platforms bring services as amenities and the ability to retain and and attract your next generation resident. I think all of those things kind of work in concert but they all happen step by step by step, right? Get from mechanical electronics from electronics, get into your credential strategy, from there get into what technology and experiences will third party providers bring me and allow me to showcase on my property? Then finally, what type of experience do I want to bring into my property, whether that’s third party managed services or anything along those lines? I think that combination is what makes this technology makes this industry so exciting.

Blake Miller 34:58
That’s such a great framework to be able to think about. Robert, really love this conversation, tell everybody how they can find you guys online. Make sure that’s in the show notes as well.

Robert Gaulden 35:08
No problem. So come visit us on the Allegion Multifamily webpage. If you just Google ‘allegion multifamily’, it’ll pop up to our web page. We’ll have resources on there that talk about our products as well as our partners and some of the different things that we discussed today.

Blake Miller 35:26
Robert, thanks so much.

Robert Gaulden 35:27
Great. Thanks, Blake.

The Future of Living Podcast is produced by Media Club. Learn more at https://mediaclub.co.

 

Emil Shour on the Pathway to $100K Freedom

Emil Shour is the Growth Marketing Manager at Roofstock, the #1 marketplace for buying and selling single-family rental homes. He’s also an active real estate investor with rental properties in Jacksonville, Indianapolis, and St. Louis. Follow along on his journey to building $100k/year in cash flow from real estate at emilshour.com.

Discussion

  1. Emil’s background, podcast and role with Roofstock.
  2. The journey to $100k cash flow and how you’re using Proptech to achieve your goals.
  3. The emergence of “Real Estate Twitter” and how people can engage and, ultimately, leverage it.
  4. Rapid fire round.

Links

https://emilshour.com
https://twitter.com/emilshour
Roofstock – https://www.roofstock.com
The Remote Real Estate Investor podcast – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-remote-real-estate-investor/id1502473360

Transcript

Blake Miller 0:01
Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the Future of Living podcast. I’m your host, Blake Miller. We’ve got an episode today that I think you’ll enjoy around $100,000 journey to free cash flow. Emil Shour is on the episode today. Check him out.

Neil, how are you, man? How you been?

Emil Shour 0:20
I’m great, man. I’m super glad we got to connect. And I’m excited to be on the other side of the mic today, actually, for once.

Blake Miller 0:27
It’s always good, right. You know, I’m excited to learn a little bit more about your podcast. I’ve been listening, catching up. You know, I came across you on Twitter recently. And I just reached out and said, Hey, I love what you’re doing. Welcome to the Future of Living podcast. This will actually be our first episode of season three. And I’m excited to come back to it, you know, everything is out of the studio and on video these days post-COVID. We were kind of just laughing about that. But why don’t you give everybody a little background on what you’re up to because not only what you’re doing on your on your own and your podcast, but you worked with a cool company too that’s doing a lot stuff in the real estate tech world. So we’d love to learn a little bit more.

Emil Shour 1:04
Yeah. And thank you for having me on for the first episode. I’ll try not to let your listeners down and live up to the moment.

Blake Miller 1:12
It’s a big task, right? Yeah.

Emil Shour 1:13
Yeah, my name is Emil Shour. I work at a company called Roofstock. We are a marketplace where people can come and buy and sell single family rental homes and, you know, we provide some technology and a lot of the upfront due diligence so that people can make easy investing decisions. A lot of our investors are based throughout the country. So we have a lot of remote investors who, you know, live on the coast live in an expensive city where it’s pretty tough to get into real estate, you know, the Bay Area, just really hard to invest in real estate. And so we go out and we find attractive properties in the Midwest in the southeast and other markets around the country that have a little bit lower barrier of entry and can have higher returns, do inspections on them do a full process form an underwriting on them and then present them to investors to invest. And so yeah, we’re a marketplace that people can come by and sell.

It’s common misconception people come to Roofstock and they’re like, oh, are these your homes? And it’s like no, we’re a marketplace we’re just connecting buyer and seller and our niche is single family. And so my role within the company I work in growth marketing, specifically on the buyer side I’m doing user acquisition is the main area I’m focusing in so working on different channels to help bring in new buyers to the site, educate them, help them figure out the right property for them. It’s kind of my wheelhouse.

Blake Miller 2:40
That’s awesome and you know, like always setting up for a perfect easy transition for me Thank you so much, but like that was one of the things that I’ve kind of obviously you what your job is and actually what it applies to what seems to be like your hobby and your you know, if you’re if you’re on the Twitter’s all the time, it’s everybody’s side hustle, right? But, you know, your journey to 100 k cash flow. And that’s what kind of saw that and I thought it was so intriguing somebody who is, you know, working in a company that helps other people do that. And you’re sitting here eating your own dog food, doing it and writing about it, I thought was so cool. So why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about that kind of hundred K or your path to 100 k, where you’re at? And how’s that going?

Emil Shour 3:18
Yes. So the funny thing is, is I started investing in 2017. And the first couple properties I bought was through Roofstock. So that’s how I found out about the company. So I was obviously a big fan had made a big impact in my life. I live in Los Angeles, again, another one of those people who lives in an expensive coastal city. My dad invest in real estate here. He got in a little bit earlier than me and later in his life, so he had some money built up and could get into the market. But for me, it just wasn’t really an option. So stumbled across Roofstock made that dream possible, became a big fan of the company and the stars aligned and now I get to kind of help other people learn about the company and hopefully begin or grow their real estate portfolio.

So yeah, the hundred K, you know, I have working in marketing, I like writing I like you know, kind of just documenting the journey. It’s kind of something like marketers do, it’s just talk about what’s going on just document the journey. This is a good way to, to not only like learn yourself, because you’re you’re writing it and you have to synthesize all these different thoughts. But it’s just good to give back. You know, like I listen to tons of podcasts, read tons of blogs, and it’s cool to just be like, okay, here’s, here’s what I’m doing as well.

So the hundred K, the reason I said 100 K is that would basically, it just sounds like a nice round number 100 K, right, we can all like, it’s funny. I think if you ask 10 real estate investors what their goal is when they started, it’s probably the same one will build 100 k in passive income. So part of it is like I don’t know, maybe I wasn’t creative enough to come up with my own unique one, but I think at 100 K, you know, gives me a lot of flexibility in terms of like, how do I spend my time right now I’m a full time employee and I enjoy that. But ultimately, I want to get to the point where I can just have a little bit more time flexibility, right, just kind of choose what I work on. Maybe I’m doing some small stuff on the side. And that amount kind of just helps pattern income pattern lifestyle. Also, you know, that certain point, it helps me my wife retired from her job. She’s, she’s a registered nurse, which is a super, super demanding job. So like…

Blake Miller 5:30
Right now, thank you for everything she’s doing. Yeah.

Emil Shour 5:33
I know, she’s, she’s my hero. And, you know, it’s it just gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of what does that allow us to in the future?

Blake Miller 5:41
Yeah. So how’s it going? Like, where are you at in this journey? How many at what’s your empire look like? And what are some of the things that you’re doing to kind of, you know, help you get on that path and kind of hack hack your way to it?

Emil Shour 5:55
Yes. So, one of the things I do on my site and documenting this is I do a yearly income report just to show like, here are all the numbers, here’s how much income we made. Here’s how many how much we paid in repairs every single detail. I’m documenting it and sharing with readers every year. So last year, we ended at around our cash flow number was around 7000. Across, I bought my fourth single family home last year. So seven, seven k across four properties. And there’s, there’s this funny thing about real estate. I think a lot of people assume it’s a very get rich quick, like, you buy a couple properties and now you’re a millionaire. And it’s so far from the truth. It’s, you can there’s no doubt about that. But it’s also you know, that there’s the long haul and it can take some time to kind of build that you know, what you’re banking on as a real estate investor is rent growth over time, hopefully some appreciation that lets you cash out, refine it, you know, do a cash out refinance, pull out that money, go buy more properties, it just gives you this this asset, that allows you so much flexibility to keep growing and building on top of it. So anyway, long winded answer of we ended at 7000, around 7000 in cash flow last year across four properties. And so I think you mentioned What are we doing together to grow in the future? So one thing I’ve done, you know, the main thing I’ve done to date, we started in 2017. I bought one or two properties every year since then about two in 2017. And then one in 18. One and 19. And when I’m starting to realize single family is such an awesome place to start. It’s just like easier. You know, you have one tenant, it’s just easier to understand it’s a home

Blake Miller 7:38
It feels like training wheels, almost like…

Emil Shour 7:40
Yeah, exactly.

Blake Miller 7:41
Yeah.

Emil Shour 7:42
So it started with single family and now I’m, you know, you start to kind of creep into the the multifamily space. So now I’m looking at four to six unit properties to just be able to cash flow faster, right? It’s the thing with multifamily is you’re you’re not it’s not like one unit on a single family scale. So the cost was like a four unit. It’s not like a single family homes 100,000 and a four unit is 400. So it’s like the the cost doesn’t rise with it with what you’re trying to get to them. And so it’s just an easier way to cash flow right gives you economies of scale just gives you I think, a better path to cash flow to the long run. So still, like single family and not not a what’s the word not gonna? I think there’ll be times to invest in single family, especially when there’s like housing bubbles and things like that. Right. And

Blake Miller 8:39
Definitely seems like a strange time right now, right? Like, I’ve got a lot of friends that are selling a lot of single family homes and even selling them to, you know, folks off of rootstock and stuff and it’s because there’s investors trying to throw in so you would think in the middle of the world going absolutely crazy. Like we’re all working through right now is the housing, there’d be something going on with housing, but it only is seems to go up just like the stock market.

Emil Shour 9:02
right yeah exactly like you know you’re hearing stories of people putting a home on the market and they’re getting above asking right now when we have double digit unemployment and like it just it reality and what’s happening in investment markets right like equities like you mentioned in real estate. They’re like so disconnected right now it’s it’s a weird time

Blake Miller 9:23
It is we were joking on Twitter The other day I was like, Don’t you remember stocks only go up right? They always just go up. Yeah.

Emil Shour 9:29
Exactly.

Blake Miller 9:30
But it is it’s kind of a strange time and so you do you think are you kind of personal strategy kind of hold them waiting out to see kind of what’s gonna happen over the next few months before you buy kind of your next property.

Emil Shour 9:42
I’m actually actively looking and making offers.

Blake Miller 9:45
Nice.

Emil Shour 9:45
I’m just I’m being picky and I know the return I’m looking for and if I don’t get that I’m not really budging. I think I’m starting to realize your biggest competitor as a real estate investor when you’re you’re not institutional, whatever is other investors who are willing to take a lower return than you right? Because then they’re gonna, they’re gonna overbid you and like, you either allow yourself to find ways to find property otherwise, right? Maybe you go off market, maybe you do direct marketing, whatever it is, if you have a certain return you’re aiming for, or otherwise, it’s like, I don’t know. I’m trying to stick to my guns. I’m not in a rush right now. And just aiming for the return. I want to see.

Blake Miller 10:30
If anything, I think what I’ve what I’ve tried to learn on this side of the kind of building, you’re building your portfolio up, I’ve seen somebody go, you know, it’s the natural progressions one to two, two to four, four to 8, 16. And then building from there, but it definitely seems like you know, don’t get into that game where I’ve got to just go buy up as much as I can or do whatever. I can’t stick to your guns know what you can, what you can maintain and you can find the deals.

Emil Shour 10:56
Right. And a lot of times you’ll early on set an arbitrary goal, like

I’m going to buy one property every year for 10 years. And so you know, you’re coming up on September you’re like, Oh man, I haven’t bought my property for this year. And then that like forces you to do something silly instead of just being like, you know, I’m in a good spot. If anything, you’re just saving more money and you have more buying power for when that right deal comes along. I don’t think you should like rush into it.

Blake Miller 11:20
Totally. And it sounds like you’re the type of guy to that like kind of thinks of this a little bit like a game and it’s like a hobby as well. So if you’re that you’re it seems like like me like I’m a nerd where like other people go play video games. I’m like, I was looking at a spreadsheet last night and kind of checking these things out, you know, try to figure it all out.

Emil Shour 11:37
Yeah, yeah, I’m up to like, man, I sleep late these days because I’m just in spreadsheets and like, just underwriting homes all the time seeing like, looking back at homes that I was looking at when they get sold where they sell for why’d Why did this investor make

Blake Miller 11:52
Playing that same stock market game you were Yeah,

Emil Shour 11:54
Exactly, exactly. Yeah, man. It’s It’s so in marketing. A lot of what you’re doing, you know, yeah, we put out campaigns and blah, blah, blah, and like email and ads and stuff, but really what you’re, what you’re doing is, in a way playing this game, and it’s like, what, what? persuades and gets people to act? That’s really to me what marketing is, is like, how do you how do you attract people, right? Which is a lot of psychology, and then how do you actually move them to take action? How do you like, instill something in them that they’re like, I want to get out of my current state and do this other thing, or buy this thing or get on board with this service? That’s going to take me from where I am now to somewhere else. So yeah, definitely. There’s like this game x aspect of real estate investing that I really like as well.

Blake Miller 12:43
That’s cool. So you know, a lot of this, this podcast, obviously around future living, a lot of it’s around technology using, how it relates to our built world and everything. What sorts of technology obviously, you’re using a lot of property pricing technology and proptech, some of those things, do some of your underwriting what how does technology play into what you’re doing? And how how you’re trying to create this? Your portfolio?

Emil Shour 13:09
Yeah, so because I’m a, I invest remotely, so Midwest and southeast, I’m leaning on my property managers to, to like choose the right software like I’ve never I haven’t come across a property manager that doesn’t use something online where I can check everything, like most of them are either using property where or a system that they’ve built themselves. And it’s…

Blake Miller 13:32
That’s interesting actually, can I pause it like, how many do you come across that have their own systems and what are they like? Is it like a bunch of different types of systems like what’s going on?

Emil Shour 13:41
There’s only one so there’s this this property management company called Great Jones, and they are, I forget where they’re based they’re based are New York or Florida, and they actually their models like they go out and buy other property management companies and then just put them under like low property management companies and put them under Great Jones and use like their technology and software to really like streamline everything. So Great Jones, they have their own portal. I use them for my property in St. Louis, and my property in Indianapolis.

Blake Miller 14:18
Very cool.

Emil Shour 14:19
Yeah.

Blake Miller 14:21
Yeah, we’ve seen we’ve seen some of that, too. It’s just like, there’s so many different and there’s a lot of software out there. And it’s always interesting because none of them all talk to each other. No, a lot at some of the bigger ones as they start to scale. They’re, you know, I know some folks that have actually started to build some of their own. Basically a whole system on top of Salesforce, which I thought was interesting, like interesting application, but I could see I was very useful.

Emil Shour 14:45
That is interesting. I never would have thought you could use Salesforce for like managing your portfolio.

Blake Miller 14:50
Yeah, they were. It was a guy that was very x, like a sales very sales driven company. They started building up a whole property management system and he forced his leasing agents to start using it to track all their leads that they were trying to go get into. And they got really good at it and ended up just building everything on top. I was like, fascinating, hard to hard to compete with that one. That’s good.

Emil Shour 15:13
Yeah, that’s super smart. It’s a really good application for it.

Blake Miller 15:16
Yeah, but sorry, I kind of cut you off it. But what other sort of technology and it’s something you’re using beyond that?

Emil Shour 15:22
Yes. So I mean, the main one I I live in right now. I mean, like everyone. I have a spreadsheet. I feel like if you’re, there is no real estate investor who’s not using either like a Google Sheet or Excel. But I wouldn’t consider that like really, technology or whatever you want to call it. The other thing I’m using, I use this tool called deal check. That helps me analyze properties. It’s really cool and like it allows you to move properties. You can like analyze a deal as a BRRR investment, which is the buy rehab, rent refinance model. So like, Okay, what am I number is if I birthed this property versus if I just bought it as a rental, straight up, what are those look like? Those are like the main tools that I’m using personally like in my day to day right now. I actually got access to another thing called a prop stream. So I’ve just been lucky. Like

Blake Miller 16:21
I’ve heard of them recently. Yeah.

Emil Shour 16:22
Yeah. I mean, I just got, like someone on our team uses it for acquisitions. And so like, I just nerd it out on it and like, helps me I’m actually running, like direct mail campaign right now, because the listings are just, there’s nothing coming on the market for what I’m looking for. So I’m literally using Google Maps just scouring streets where I want to invest polling addresses and then like using this tool to figure out how many units are there How big is the lot size, like, Do I know bed and bath and just basically trying to write offers and letters and seeing if I get anything from that?

Blake Miller 16:55
It’s I mean, you know what, though, like those are that’s like, those are the hacks that people end up writing books. About right oh how did I grow this? Well I started actually just going really old school that’s funny you say that we we’ve been doing direct mail campaigns at Homebase just sending that directly out and it works like the funny thing The funny thing about our customer base is they actually answer their phones and they answer eat they look at their mail and we can find their addresses just by googling apartments comma city.

Emil Shour 17:23
Exactly. Yeah, it’s I didn’t realize how easy it is to go and find a property owners address like you can just go on the tax assessor’s website these tools mentioning prop stream they I think they pull from the tax assessor as well. And it’s all you know, this campaign I’m doing it’s like a lot of hours, but it’s kind of cool. And then I’m like learning it and I’m hopefully if it works, I can create a better system and like, I don’t know, hire VA to do all the painful stuff that I’ve been spending late, late hours in the night working on

Blake Miller 17:55
Figure out the jobs to be done, figure out how to do it and then find somebody go do it and go figure out next job. Right?

Emil Shour 18:01
Exactly, exactly.

Blake Miller 18:03
Well, you know, one of the ways that one of the way I found you and one of the things I wanted to touch on before we hit our lightning round questions, we run out of time, as you know, this kind of Twitter hustle or like the this, I kind of laugh, but it’s like the real estate, Twitter that’s shown up, right?

Emil Shour 18:17
Yeah.

Blake Miller 18:18
I don’t know if it’s just like I stumbled upon it in the last four, six months that COVID happened, but it seems like it’s exploding and there’s everyone out there. And they have their own like a gumroad. You know, you better sign up to or substack or something like that. But I am making a lot of jokes, but there’s a lot of like, really good knowledge out there. And a lot of folks that have actually it seems like kind of a quite a community that people are very engaged. They are sharing a lot of knowledge. And I mean, that’s how I found you and just reached out so, you know, talk to me about that cuz you seem very engaged in that kind of worlds as well.

Emil Shour 18:55
Yeah. What’s funny is I discovered it pretty recently as well. I’d probably discovered it. Yes. Like you mentioned, like you reached out to me and now we’re on a podcast like How cool is that? Right? Like real relationships and connections are being built. So I spent too much time on Twitter now because I love it and I’m just learning all the time. Like these people are super smart. I just my

Blake Miller 20:29
Total rabbit holes for myself as well. I spend way too much time but it’s just like, it’s just all knowledge like it really is. And it’s been enlightening for me.

Obviously, you’re on my podcast, you have a podcast as well. I’ve learned a lot from it. Talk about it.

Emil Shour 20:46
Thanks, man. Appreciate the shout out. So we host a podcast. I’m one of the co-hosts, myself, Michael Albaum and Tom Schneider and my other co hosts at Roofstock. It’s called the Remote Real Estate Investor and the reason we started it was there’s a lot of podcasts out there about real estate investing, rental properties, things like that. But no one was really talking about this growing segment, which we see firsthand at Roofstock is all these people buying out of state long distance, whatever you want to call it. So we’re like, you know what, let’s let’s sort of show or just talking about like, we’re all remote investors, and let’s just talk about what’s going on and how other you know, it’s a different approach. It’s not you just go around your city. And there’s a lot of other things you have to take into consideration. So that was the theme. And it’s like a cool little niche we’ve started and it’s been really fun. So we have like, you know, we’ll just have like these panel style episodes, where it’s the three of us chatting about a topic, we’ll bring on guests and just pick their brain and see how they’re doing it.

Blake Miller 21:45
I love it. It’s been very enjoyable. listening to it when I hit the sauna. Quite a bit. That’s been a it’s been a new hobby of mine. So

Emil Shour 21:54
Appreciate it.

Blake Miller 21:55
Yeah, so we’re running out of time, but every podcast we end with these like quick lightning fire and one of my first like, my favorite question that we came up with and I love to ask everybody is like what particular business or service is going to be completely obsolete in the next 10 years like in otherwise other words, like who is the next blockbuster?

Emil Shour 22:14
Do we talk about in real estate or just anybody?

Blake Miller 22:17
I mean, pick Anybody? Anybody in the world?

Emil Shour 22:20
Man. Um, the first one that’s popping into my head and I’m probably I don’t know, I don’t even know this is right. But my friend is a he’s a pharmacist and to me that just felt like something I’m like, Can we have computers just if you type in your allergies and all these things and what what medication you’re on that it could just figure out like what they’re kind of doing in their head? It seems like a very if then kind of logic stream. To me, the pharmacist seems like I don’t know.

Blake Miller 22:50
It makes a lot of sense. I’ve never gotten that one. That’s a good one. I think you see with with Walmart’s and Amazon’s and everybody in the world that’s probably not too far off. Maybe

Emil Shour 23:00
So not of business but I mean, I guess it’s a profession.

Blake Miller 23:04
A lot of them that could be going away. That’s That’s for sure. So I’m interested in this one because, you know, usually like these devices, what device Have you acquired in the last few months that have like, changed everything usually we’re all out and about in the world, but we’re all been locked in for a while. So how I was curious, is there a device and every one of your kids in the background a little bit ago, there’s something that maybe they got them that has helped save your life as you’ve been working from home?

Emil Shour 23:29
Oh, man, we’re so my daughter, Ella. She’s a little over a year. We’re pretty device. We don’t give her a lot of like, flashing or electronic stuff. That the thing that I actually got recently, I got an i watch, like a couple weeks ago. I’m, I don’t know, I felt like I was kind of bored. I’m like, let me just get something for myself. I watch sounds cool. You know, I go for a run a couple times a week. And there’s this app that works really well for surfing and so I wanted to get it for that and I love it man. It’s super nice that I can go on runs and not have to like have my phone you know in one of those arm straps. So I think Yeah, actually so that’s that’s been a good one good purchase

Blake Miller 24:13
Nice nice. So what what device do you think in the next 10 years like it’s gonna be the it device obviously the smartphone has changed everything you just you said the I watch like what do you think in the future is going to be that next thing?

Emil Shour 24:27
Oh man I am I’m like the wrong person I’m so like minimal technology. I honestly think these is the thing now that I have the watch. I used to think the wearables was kind of a silly fad that would go away quickly. I actually think they’re gonna be super prominent. I think a lot of people gonna like all the health stuff they have on them. I think they’re going to become even more popular and most people will have one.

Blake Miller 24:50
Nice that’s so talked a lot about technology and how it’s changing everything changed the world. What’s one thing that you think technology is not going to change in the future.

Emil Shour 25:00
Oh man, um especially with COVID going on, you know where a lot of us are doing online interaction. I think after this we’re going to be like we’re going to really miss in person connection and like being around each other and that yes, we can communicate and things over these devices but we, we miss and need in person connection and interaction so I don’t have that that can never be replaced.

Blake Miller 25:31
So agree. So agree well, so here’s where my last ones for you. And you know, it’s interesting because when we started this, you talking about like really trying to create a passive lifestyle where you everything’s taken care of right, you can come home. And so like, what do you think the future of living is going to be like? You see a lot of people taking this on. So you describe to me what the future of living is like, with people being able to do these sorts of sorts of sorts of lifestyles.

Emil Shour 26:03
Yeah, I think remote is going to get a giant jolt in the arm. I don’t think I don’t think like, all these companies are going to accept remote forever. But I think a lot of them are going to realize, wow, this is actually great. And we don’t have to pay for an office and all that. So I think offices, right, yeah, yeah, or less offices, smaller offices, maybe we’ll come in once or twice a week or so. It’s gonna it’s gonna change things. So I think I think people are gonna move around more, right? Like, I don’t think we’re gonna, I think we’re gonna be able to be like, more geographically dispersed.

I think people are like, like, want space, obviously, I don’t think space is going away anytime soon. That’s kind of one of the advantages of single family rentals. I think right now. And I, the the other thing is, is I think a lot of people right now have started these side hustles, right, like other ways to build income, and if you lose your job, I mean, it kind of forces your hand and maybe you figure out a way to make money for yourself. So I think it’s just like people becoming less reliant on one source of income, which is, which is great. And I love that. So I think it’s just, this is gonna really change the way people just live and look at finances and the way they earn.

Blake Miller 27:15
Man, I couldn’t agree more. And you know, just seeing people like somebody I’ve been on the internet by basically my whole life like, so I’ve always seen these ways of people making more money and seeing people recognize that they can, they can use the internet to do that. It’s been very, very cool. Well, I love that this has been such an awesome conversation. I think that you’ve knocked it out of the park for the first episode. So why don’t you let everybody know how they can find you online, get your podcasts, check you out online and everything. I’ll make sure it’s in the show notes too.

Emil Shour 27:43
Absolutely, so best way to kind of interact with me like you mentioned Twitter, I mean, pretty active there. So my handle is @emilshour, e m i l s h o u r

My website, which you mentioned, you can find on my Twitter and follow along the journey at I don’t don’t email too much just when there’s like something interesting to talk about, maybe once a month. And yeah, the podcast is the Remote Real Estate Investor. So you know, wherever you listen to podcast, just search for the remote real estate investor.

Blake Miller 28:14
Thanks so much.

Emil Shour 28:15
Thank you man. This was fun.

 

The Future of Living Podcast is produced by Media Club. Learn more at https://mediaclub.co.

 

Hello World – What does the future look like to you?

Blake Miller of Homebase.ai interviews Ashley Hand of CityFi

Technology is changing the world we live in – FAST. What does the future of living look like in 10 months? How about 10 years?

We’re digging in to explore these questions with experts in everything from smart living technology to urban development and beyond to find out what’s next.

Check out this exclusive preview of the Future of Living featuring Ashley Hand, Co-founder at CityFi

Did you know the average LA driver spent 102 hours stuck in traffic last year? In New York, congestion cost drivers more than $2,982, adding up to $33.7 billion for the city as a whole. Ashley Hand knows how to solve this

Listen now:

 

Stay tuned…The Future of Living podcast is launching soon! 🚀