Welcome to the real market with Chris rising, the only podcast that brings the real estate conference panel to your headphones. You'll hear from superstars from every realm of commercial real estate. The biggest brokers, the most well known architects, the largest investors, and the most visionary developers learn what they do, how they do it, and what drives their success. We'll discuss the latest trends across regional markets, capital flows, both national and global. And we'll explore technology's role in shaping all will take a clear eyed look at where we've been, where we are now. And what's to come. real conversations, real experts, real insights. This is the real market. Welcome to the real market with Chris rising. I'm really excited to have Nate Jones with us today. He is the founder and former CEO but now the CIO of structurally and I know that my audience is gonna go, Chris, we've been asking for AI a lot, you finally got somebody with AI. Thank you. So Nate, I'll tell you, I get a lot of comments. And a lot of people have been talking to me about what role AI is going to play in a very old and stagnant business, a business that's been very slow to adopt technology, not only from the user side, like the tenants in the buildings, but the real estate executives themselves, who, you know, I still do business deals with people who print out emails. So this is a slow business. So I'm so excited to have you on why don't you talk a little bit. I kind of just bowled over here there at the beginning of this thing, but I was excited that you're gonna be here. Tell me a little bit about structurally tell our audience what it is you do?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me on. Again, Chris excited to talk about AI and, and all things real estate, finance, everything in between. That's the That's the world I live in every day. We started structurally about five years ago now, right out of college, myself and my co founder, Andrew. And we really got our start in real estate, mortgage leasing. Prop tech is kind of what we call it. And that's where we're still focused today. Thinking about expanding, you know, into some near adjacent markets like insurance, because everyone has the problem that we solve, which is converting leads everyone, every business, no matter what business you're in, you have leads, you probably aren't converting as many as you wish. And that's what we do. We are a subset of artificial intelligence that we call conversational AI, where we're talking to leads in a very human like way. We're qualifying them answering their questions, and ultimately trying to close deals help you and your your team close more deals.
When you were when the inspiration came, because that's always where all these things start for. I want to create something within artificial intelligence that helps people do something. What was the immediate problem that you identified, said, I think I can fix this?
Yeah, so like I said, we kind of got our start in college, myself and my co founder, we wanted to be in real estate somehow. And in in college, we had no idea how we thought maybe we wanted to be real estate investors. But when you're in college, you have no money, and you kind of need a little bit of money to get your start. So that didn't work out very well. But what ended up happening was we talked to a lot of people in real estate that didn't want you know, residential, commercial lending, finance, across the board. We just talked to a lot of people and said, like, hey, what do you do all day? What do you hate doing? What do you struggle with doing? Let me just kind of like watch over your shoulder. And it kind of kept coming up, that most people in the industry in one way or the other are salespeople. You know, at the end of the day, we're all salespeople in some regard, but especially in these markets. There are a lot of there's a lot of focus on sales, you're trying to move property you're trying to move. You're trying to move renters, you're trying to just move inventory. And that inventory happens to be properties in some way, shape or form. There's a lot of tangential sales that come off of that like I talked about, you need a more you need a loan. Typically you need insurance typically. So we ended up finding is agents, whatever type of agent they are, spend a ton of time following up and chasing leads, and they're typically not very good at it. They typically give up after a few attempts, and they're on to the next new shiny lead because it's easier. They think either they're warm or they're hotter. And we kept hearing that time and time again. It's just I can't keep it straight. I can't keep up with these leads. I can't follow up with These leads, and I need someone to do it in a really structured way to keep me accountable. So that's really where like the idea of structurally came from was, how can we solve the lead conversion problem that everyone in this industry seems to face. And we really wanted to figure out how to solve that with technology, not a call center. Call Centers have been been, you know, around for 2030 years, it's not the most enjoyable job for a lot of those folks there. They typically are getting told no and a lot worse, worse than that for eight hours a day, and it's just not efficient. It's not a fun job. So we thought technology AI at the time, five years ago was like, probably right on the cusp, where we could build a very lifelike conversation. And we lucked out and found some really smart technology, engineering, and engineering team to build conversational AI, in a very human like way to have conversations and can qualify leads.
So let's kind of break through are a couple of what things you said. Now, I totally agree on the call center. But I also find that sometimes, and I'll relate this to my internet provider spectrum, that I'll go to that app, and that AI will come up. And it's the same thing, even though I was there yesterday, and I just want to scream at and say I need to talk to someone, you know, what differentiates what you're doing, as opposed to some of the interfaces that I've seen that just make you want to pull your hair out?
Yeah, I hear that so often. And I've I've experienced it, we've probably all listening to this experience, the little live chat chat bot, that pops up in the bottom right hand corner of the website, that you know, is a bot that you absolutely don't want to talk to. But it's your only choice. So you do it and you regret it immediately. I've we've all been there and it sucks. That is not at all the experience that we've built, I don't think it's unfortunately, it's the experience that when people hear the word chatbot or conversational AI, that's immediately what they go to. And that kind of sucks for us. Because it's like, we have to get over that hump. Now, that is not what we've built. Especially What's especially true in any sort of real estate function, commercial real estate, Residential Lending insurance, what's especially true there is these people are buying one of the largest investments of their life. And if you throw one of those really crappy chatbot experiences at them, they all go on to the next real estate agents are kind of a dime a dozen these days, and they have no problem switching. Why would they? Why would they go through a terrible experience like that? Clearly, you don't want to talk to them, someone else probably does. So if you throw that experience at them, you're going to lose them. So when we set out to build structurally, that's what we went into building, we said, Okay, we're not going to build, we're not going to hire a bunch of humans and call it a call center. But we need the conversations to be extremely lifelike. That is paramount because of how important these investments purchases. buying real estate is for these people, the conversations had to be extremely human like so we set that out from the beginning. So first things first, in terms of what's different is, all of our conversations happen over text and email, not over a little live chat widget that pops up in the bottom right hand corner, that sets us up from the start to have to be really human like you don't get the benefits of like buttons, and links and images as nicely as you do in a live chat in text and email. You have to talk like a human over those channels. So that was like a big decision we made first out of the get go. And that's where people are used to talking people are texting and emailing. Because that's what they do with all their friends.
Well, it's interesting you say that because obviously this is gonna be a generational statement. You know, most people that that are my age or older and they're 50 and older, still want to pick up a phone, but I am amazed how many people and I must be effective think they can cold email me and if they hit me enough times, I'm gonna get back to him. They end up being right, eventually. I am. But when you look at when you're selling this product to someone, do you get hit with that, like, hey, you know, I probably get more phone calls and do emails or texts. And so I don't need it or how do you address that kind
of generational issue? Yeah, absolutely. We've done a whole like webinar series and look into I say this because it's a little controversial, but it's it's something that gets people talking we You've seen that dials are dying. I think that we can all probably collectively agree that when you get a call from a number that you don't know, you hesitate, and you probably don't answer that, that has evolved a lot recently, you know, back in the day people would answer those calls, it's a lot more normal to just pick up the phone from a number you don't know. But today, we're very skeptical. We don't want to answer it. And we've seen that probably accelerate really rapidly lately. And what we've seen is, people will pick up the phone, but they need to know who it is first. And so if you can start that conversation over text and say, you know, hey, I'm here with XYZ, you know, let's talk a little bit over text and then say, Hey, can I give you a call here in a few minutes, then they at least know what number that is coming from, they know who to expect, even though they might not have it saved yet. So that's the approach that we take in our conversations is we're not doing
though the people needing a personal phone and a business phone.
Yeah, so with our product, we actually because it's an AI talking, we actually give our agents another phone number. So we give them a local area code phone number that allows them to have these texting conversations. And then, you know, what they typically do in their scripts, which you can customize through our product, is they put their phone number, their personal phone number in that there'll be calling at the end. So let's say they make it to the end, like, hey, you know, I'm gonna have, well, we always frame our product as an assistant to so we say, you know, hey, I'm the assistant here with XYZ company. And then at the end of the conversation, it says, I'm gonna have my, my associate, or my team leader, Chris, give you a call from whatever your phone number is, then they're expecting it.
Wow. So is it sophisticated enough yet where someone calls you don't answer, but the AI can then respond back to that phone number with a text?
Not yet. But that's an awesome feature idea for sure. If they do call the structurally provided phone number, it actually routes to the agent. So then they can answer the phone. So hopefully, the agent picks up. But yeah, that's an awesome idea. Some of the things that we do, again, back to like how, we're not just that crappy chat bot experience. My co founder likes to use the analogy of those chat bots are like a train. And you're typically you're going down a script. And if you say something off script, it's a train wreck says I'm sorry, I don't understand our start over or human or something like that. Yeah, our product is a lot more like an ATV, we're typically going down a path. But if you say something, quote, off script, we're going to have that conversation with you. And then try and steer you back. Typically, a lot of salespeople think too. So that's the approach that we've taken. And we do a lot of other little things like we have built in empathy. So if obviously, like in real estate, or whatever, industry close to it, there's I always like to say the 3ds of real estate, death, divorce disease, those are pretty empathetic things, right? Why people move. So if we just someone says, I'm going through a divorce, you know, I need to make a move here soon, or I want to make a purchase soon. If we just said like, okay, you know, are you approved for a loan? That's not, that's not very empathetic, that's not good. So we go so far as have to have empathy. You know, so sorry to hear that want to make sure we're here for you, by the way, are you approved for a loan, so we still try and have the conversation. But we're going off script, and doing things like that. One of our favorite things that we've seen in this is something that I think all salespeople should steal, put typos in your messages, and then correct them. So we do that about 5% of the time in our conversations, is we like misspell the word, the T H. And then a second later, we send a message that's asterik th e, and very sparingly, so we look professional, but like people respond to that so much more often. Because they're like, Oh, this is really a human on the other end. And those are the little things that make the conversation go like so far to feel lifelike.
So as I look at how the Residential Brokerage business has evolved, I mean, I say this all the time. It's the people selling houses that are having more influence on the people selling office buildings and industrial buildings. And I'll get in within the industry. Oh, what are you talking about? I'm like, No, they were the first ones to do drone videos. They were the first ones to do FaceTime tours, and now it's become much more so whatever you see happening within The Residential Brokerage side, we'll definitely come over to the commercial side. What have you found the experience to be for people who have adopted structurally in terms of increased business? I mean, what what are the success stories that you hear?
Yeah. Yeah, that's a, I think that's a really good point, especially about how kind of technology funnels its way into all sorts of parts of the industry. But what we've seen is, we typically measure ourselves on response rate and lead qualification rate. And we see about a 60 to 65% response rate over time. So not only do we have conversations with leads, once they respond, we chase them up to 52 times over the course of a year until they do respond. So we don't give up. We don't give up easily, we're a lot more aggressive than most agents, because they typically give up after the third attempt. We go a lot further than that. We see pretty high response rates because of that. And then we see about a 17% qualification rate. And we define that as basically someone who's answered us at a conversation indicated they're ready for our next step. So kind of like a hot lead a hand raiser.
You know, a friend of mine, Tim O'Brien, who has something called Rainmaker, you and he's all about branding, he's he makes the point over and over again, that it takes six to eight contacts, before someone will even choose to want to remember your name. So we all think so much of ourselves. And we think that, hey, they reached out to me, I sent him stuff back, and I didn't hear anything, it's because just psychologically, it's six to eight touches before they'll even want to remember who you are. So this must be a great tool for that local agent who's competing, it's the name on the Billboard and things like that. Have you seen it then progressed? I mean, where do you think this continues to go? It's one thing to return texts and return emails? Where do you think your technology is gonna go? As as time goes on?
Yeah. I think one of the things that I, I like to think about in terms of AI generally, is, well, there's two things. The first thing is kind of what I talked about earlier, I think that AI is is here to reduce the mundane tasks that humans do. People don't like sitting in call centers and being told no, a million times for the rest of their life. AI can do that. It can it can take that on the chin. It doesn't care if you get if it gets cussed out and said, leave me alone. Why are you we see it all the time. People are pretty, pretty mean to the AI. But it's, it's fine. I think AI is here to not replace anyone. It's here to augment our lives and help us focus on more creative things that we're good at as humans. And I think the second thing is it, it unlocks a lot of new information. So the the flip side of that is a lot of people say have said data is the new oil today. That's because data is essentially what powers AI, we have seen 6 million plus conversations. Out of those conversations, we have hand labeled 15 million messages, that is a lot of data. And that data is the oil that fuels the AI. So I think that when people say, you know, data is the new oil, that's because there's a revolution on the forefront of AI today that needs that data to power it. But what the flip side of that is, think about all of the conversations that we've had. So I said that we've had like 6 million conversations with with leads across the board, real estate, residential, commercial mortgage, we've had tons of conversations, if you were to think about how that's like a blob of text, basically, right? There's a ton of information locked in that massive blob of text, that without AI would be a black box, basically. But because our product and others, you know, other AI products, we're not the only ones to do this are labeling every single message in a very structured way. We can look through that massive database of raw text and say, okay, of these 6 million leads show me every lead, who is ready to move in the next three months. They're going through a divorce, maybe they're approved for a loan and they're not working with an agent, I can get you that answer in three seconds flat with with by just querying our database that had never been available before. You know, AI was sitting here label labeling all that data. So I think In the future, we're gonna see a lot more insights, a lot more actionable insights from all of the tools that we're using. Maybe it's conversational AI, maybe we're getting more insights from conversations. Maybe it's website activity, maybe we can parse through all of the clicks that people are making to see high intent people visiting your website. So I think our product is is not at all, you know, prone to are not prone to the revolution around, you know, data is the new oil. I think that's that's the next coming.
Well, how does a How does a startup company founded by some, some founders out of college and all that compete? When, you know, you got Siri and Google and Alexa out there? I mean, not that any of those can understand voice that well, they they're getting better. But how do you compete knowing that there are some the biggest companies in the world who are coming at it from a different angle? I guess Amazon's coming in from the same angle, but different angle? And how do you differentiate? How do you keep yourself relevant? How do you not get squashed?
Yeah, I think that with the big companies, like they're going after general AI, and that's, that's what that's what it's going to unlock the world for them. They want it to be sophisticated enough to hold a conversation with you endlessly about anything in the world. And then you can all of a sudden tell it, you know, hey, I want some dinner tonight. Can you order me something? Like that's the that's what they're after. They're not after having a tiny little niche, nuanced real estate, ask conversation. And that's where they're going to fail. They can't get that level of granular granularity to have these types of conversations. You know, if they put all their resources into it, they probably could. But that's not what really what they're focused on. I think that, you know, some of the like, that's step number one. But step number two, in terms of like, where we're focused is, like I said, our conversations, were focused on conversational AI. Our conversations are entirely customizable. And we have the insights to tell you like what, what things are working and what things aren't, we can tell you that adding a typo increases your conversion rate by X percent, we can tell you that, you know, saying a message this way versus this way, increases your conversion by this percent. So, and then we go so far as to help you write those scripts to make you more effective as a sales or marketing team. So I think it's a little bit more of the handholding. We're here to help you in your actual niche business. We're not, you know, a voice AI that's trying to have general communications about anything in the world.
Well, and how do you work? How do you work in this new world of there's there's options on CRMs. And, you know, we happen to use HubSpot, but I know other people who use Pipedrive. And I think a lot of the real estate world uses Salesforce, how does structurally integrate so that that gets all gets captured within a CRM?
Yeah, that is an awesome point. We use HubSpot to it's structurally so props there. But we are just about to release our integration with Salesforce, we already have an integration with HubSpot. And we have an integration with about 10 Plus real estate kind of specific CRMs to you know, those are kind of more niche ones. But our hypothesis is our product should not have an interface, really, you shouldn't really have to log into structurally, you shouldn't have to manage the conversations, although you can, it should really feel like an assistant who's a part of your team, that's just qualifying leads for you out of your CRM, it should live in your CRM, that's what you work out of every day, every hour, you shouldn't have another system. It should feel like it's plugged into your CRM and it does. So we've invested quite heavily into integrating with those big CRMs like I said Salesforce HubSpot other niche CRMs, to do just that. You get to see the entire conversation happening with your leads from the CRM in real time. You can take over the conversation at any time. And you can send leads infrastructurally to be engaged right from your CRM as well. Right from right from your CRM.
I mean, that is that's kind of mind blowing. I continue to sound like the old guy in this podcast, but I mean, I think back to the days where the first thing you did as a broker was collect the pieces of paper that your assistant took or the phone calls that came in, and you started calling people back first thing in the morning, and now this is where We're at, I get why I'm in an enterprising residential broker, we've jumped on this or maybe, you know, someone kind of on their own commercial broker. How do you break in to say the big JLL is the CBRE is the Cushman and Wakefield that are public companies that have all the all the issues around public company issues and such and just their IT departments love to say no, how do you how do you grow your business and break into some of these big companies? Is it through the CRM? Is it from the top down? How do you think you grow your business into these big ones?
Yeah, that is an awesome question. You know, that's we do have a number of enterprise customers, some public summon the, you know, fortune 500. And so we've been there done that. A lot of you know, a lot of red tape around it, security reviews, all that stuff that we've checked the boxes on. But the way that we ended up going through that route is exactly what you said, it's through the CRM. They, they, those big companies, more than small companies are so process oriented, that they dictate and mandate a certain way to use a certain CRM to all of their salespeople or not even salespeople, a lot of our big customers, everyone under the sun, that works for that company is in the CRM, whether they're doing sales or not. It's just where they work out of. So that integration with the CRM and a lot of the cases at that level it is Salesforce is so important. So that's why we're investing heavily in those integrations to make sure that like we're not getting in the way. It's one thing to try and navigate people in those organizations. The last thing that we should be navigating is bad tech doesn't integrate with the tool that they want to use.
And how do you play nice with some of the other and work with some of the other things out there like we're big users view this, VTS, I knew it was viewed as space VTS a big fans of theirs. They it's taken them a long time to, to break through a lot of the big brokerage firms. But we now see in all the multi tenant light industrial, most people are driving by seeing a sign and emailing or texting or calling. or going to the website through VTS they're almost like not going to the broker. But how do you how do you go to someone like that and say, Look, we're gonna be additive to your not not take away from you. I mean,
yeah, it comes down. Like we have a lot of those relationships, we have a lot of partner relationships, where we are integrating with like lead generation companies, or other types of products that aren't CRMs. And they're actually white labeling our product into theirs. So they have the same problem that all of our customers have, they have a lot of leads that aren't being followed up with. And especially in the case of like lead gen companies, they look really bad to their customers, even when they're not doing a bad job, if they give their customers leads, even in the case of VTS, which I'm not too familiar with, but even if the case of them where they're getting texted from like assign or what have you becoming a lead, sounds like they're pretty lead generation oriented, you know, and that lead doesn't convert, guess who gets blamed for a bad lead that company, even though it could have been the agent who did a terrible job of following up with that lead, and it usually is that that's usually the case. So we have found that same problem exists for a lot of these big lead gen marketing type companies. And they say, Look, I just want our leads to look better. And I want to qualify the leads that we're generating for our customers, so they don't have to do it. So they're just building. They're just building our product into theirs. And it's worked really well. So we're typically additive to all sorts of companies across the board, CRMs lead gen companies, marketing agencies, you know, the only one companies that were not additive to our competitors.
Yeah. Well, well, let me ask you this question. And maybe I should have started there. But how does somebody at a college or were you a computer science background? Or how did how did you leave college and get out of college and get into a tech company focused on AI that focuses on real estate?
Yeah, so I studied urban planning. I'm not computer science. Yeah. So it was kinda like, I think it was a good blend of both worlds. I got a lot of like real estate orientation in urban planning. You have to, you know, obviously be really oriented around that. But then it was also very tech oriented. I minored in GIS, which is geographic information systems, which is basically just mapping on steroids. So that's where A lot of like the tech side came in. So I think it was looking back on it like a perfect blend of what I'm doing today of real estate in tech. So that's kind of how I ended up here. I'd say,
how good are you on writing code?
Very bad. That is not at all what I do we have very, very good engineers to do that, because that's what they specialize in.
So you had the idea, you and your partner had the idea? How did you go about starting to create the product?
Yeah, it was, like I said, to mostly recruit those engineers to start, you know, we had to kind of get them to believe that there was a problem worth solving. We kind of had to, we didn't have a lot of money, we did get some angel investment to start. After we, I built the very first version of our product in a very terrible way. But it was at least demo doable enough to get some real estate brokerage is interested. And they were actually some of our first investors back in the day. So that was really kind of the start to give us enough money to get the engineers on board to actually build the thing out the right way.
Yeah. Have you gone through multiple rounds? Where's the company sit today? how big and how was it funny?
Yes. Yeah, we have gone through multiple rounds. We're, we're in the process of our series a fundraising right now. We are up to about 40 employees, half, probably full time, half part time. So yeah, been grown pretty well.
I don't I hesitate to ask as somebody whose company owns a lot of office space, I'm gonna bet that you guys are probably virtual, and you guys have office space.
We unfortunately just did not renew our lease. So we did have office space here in Ames, Iowa, decided not to decided, you know, we want to, we want to hire some of the best talent from across the country. We don't want to mandate people coming into the office. You know, we're not like, a lot of other companies that maybe that that makes sense. I know. Like, Elon Musk just came out and said yesterday that he needs people in the office, which makes sense when you're building rockets in self driving cars. We're not building rockets and self driving cars. So remote work works for us.
So let me ask you this, though. How do you how do you create a culture that is supportive? So you don't hire a bunch of mercenaries? Who are going to leave the second somebody offers them more money? Yeah, if there's not the interaction, have you guys thought about using short term space or using Airbnb is to have quarterly events? How do you think about culture?
Yeah, some of our employees around Central Iowa do still go to a co working space. So they like the office. They like being around people. You know, sometimes I do as well go go into the office. But yeah, we've put a lot more emphasis on quarterly retreats with the company. So last quarter, we went to Disney World. Orlando, right. Yeah. Disney World. That's the one for right. Yep, I always get them confused. So that's where we just were, and that was awesome. We spent, I think a week down there meeting for a lot of the time, but also going to the parks for a lot of time, and just hanging out at hotels a lot of the time. So I think that the the thesis there is, you know, we're going to be together for short bursts of time, but really productive in those times. And I think that like coming out of that everyone was really energized, it was really well run. Everything was perfectly organized. We have an amazing event planning team, apparently, who can who can do those. But I would say that we were all like we still came out of that with initiatives, we have q2 initiatives that we came out of that that we're still working on today, remotely. So I think that it helped us align in a short burst, and gave us the freedom to focus on those for the next quarter until we meet again.
So let's really dive into this. So in order to do this, you have to have an ecosystem. So is that ecosystem Microsoft and PC base stuff? Is it teams are you more Google Base? Yeah, we're all within Microsoft Asana. Think of all I'll slack, I mean, break it down. So if somebody were to your say, this is a great place to work, let me tell you how we do this. How do
you do it? We run our lives on Slack and the Google Suite, I would say.
So I would have you like the new Google workplace. We're on that too.
Yeah, it's not it's not bad. Our CEO sometimes refers to Google as the Google dumpster. So I'd say their organization system may He has some to be desired. Sometimes I agree. Sometimes I make things and then it gets lost forever in the Google dumpster. But it works if you have someone constantly trying to keep it organized. I think the one, the one little like hack, I would say that we found works really well for the company through slack is there huddles feature? So there is there is almost nothing to replace the little mini random conversations that you have when you pass someone's desk in the office. Thank you. I hear that. Yeah. huddles are the closest thing to doing that in Slack. So you can just click on someone's name, click a little one button, and you're talking to them, like, you're there. It feels to me like that's the closest that we can get in a remote work environment, to those little pass passing conversations.
We've seen with our team that people will hit the Meet Google meet button, do a real quick conversation, they'll they'll create teams or will be huddled. And then there's the one on one. You know, we consciously made the decision not to use Slack because it just felt like there was too many channels. Yeah. And and my problem, I have slack, but I use it for my kind of philanthropic stuff, and boy, people just don't respect. Yep. So we've had to police that a little bit. We don't use that internally. But then how do you look at project management? Do you use Asana if you're Google's suite, Google workplace, Asana,
we, we actually use JIRA for a lot of that. So we are using Yeah, JIRA confluence, the Atlassian. Suite. So it's a little bit more product oriented as a software company instead of project oriented. Yes, that's kind of what it's worked for. For us.
You can use other CEO and after Elon Musk's to
I don't know if I didn't see that. So I have to go look that up.
side comment. But let me ask you this. When you do, how do you monitor productivity? And how do you monitor that people aren't using hardware you provide in ways that are inappropriate?
Yeah. It's not really my job anymore. That is one of the things that I will say is, I like you mentioned early on, I was the CEO. We decided about a year and a half ago to bring in someone who's been on our board since the beginning as our CEO, he's a longtime technology CEO himself. So it made sense. He knew the company, he knew me and my co founder. And he's seen the movie before. So we brought him on. And now it's kind of his problem to figure out productivity. You know, we've hired I'd say, really good management, who's worked remote before. So there, you know, we've kind of implemented a few different systems. The system that we use in terms of like, meeting cadence is the Oh, I just forgot it. Entrepreneurial system, something like that.
Eos, we use EOS EOS. Yeah. Gino Whitman's book. Yep. Action. Yeah, we're big in a bit. And we in fact, took all the instructional videos from asana and created our own interactive PDF that implements EOS into Asana. Yeah, we're big believers in that.
Yeah. So that's, that was new to me, you know, structurally is my first and only job I've ever worked. So all of these process oriented things were new to me. So that that's worked really well, I'd say, and there's always a balance of too many meetings and making sure that meetings are productive, that I think everyone always tries to find that balance. And
I think one of the one of the best things that Google has I know Microsoft has it too, is you can start seeing in your day, how much time you're spending in a meeting. And I've seen that, yeah. And then we IDs that, like, you know, some of some of my managers are spending, you know, nine hours in a day in meetings. That's okay. Yes. You're babysitting. That's not necessarily managing. Yeah. And it's, it's a good it's a good tool. Yeah. But as you what we haven't done and I'm anxious to hear what to your answers. This is, as you go international, to bring in team members. How does that change the workflow? How does that change the productivity and how does that change the responsibilities?
Yeah, that is a question I haven't thought a lot about. Hopefully, our CEO Cliff has, I know, there's a lot more products out there to help manage. I think one is called like deal or deed or something like that, to manage international workers. So it's not something we've explored yet, but I do realize that there's definitely talent, especially in the AI world from overseas to that, you know, might be worthwhile. We have worked with agencies from overseas before. And that's it It's been hit or miss, just to be honest. So I think that the communication part is really hard. One of the things that works really well with Slack too, is obviously bringing in agencies or others who aren't a part of your organization and keeping them there, like they're a part of your team. I think just integrating them, integrating whoever it is an agency or not an agency from overseas into all the systems that you use is something you just have to do.
Yeah. So let's go back to the product, as you sit and look at it where it is today. And you've got your q2, things that we got a month left on and but what are what are some of the key things you think you need to develop as a company in terms of product? So that you're staying ahead? What are customers coming back and saying, I like the product, but it's needs help here and there? Yeah. How are you trying to address it?
Yeah, I was just on a customer discovery call this morning, kind of asking the same questions. And I, it's been ringing in my ears for a while. But what just kind of got dinged in my head again, today. Agents and people, I would say from the prop tech space, those that manage themselves and are in business for themselves typically find this the most who are commission oriented, their paycheck comes from them in them only, basically, for whatever reason, they don't like to use calendars, as much as they probably should. I, it's hard for me to understand, because software companies especially remote, you literally live and die by your calendar, it's not on the calendar, I have no idea that it even exists. I couldn't function without it. So when I hear that, it's really hard for me to understand. But I think that when you think about a product like ours, that's trying to convert leads, in a sales capacity, what everyone is trying to get to is an appointment, you're trying to get an appointment to close a deal. in some regard, you have to talk to someone, either in person or on the phone. So what we're trying to focus on is trying to actually get agents to let us put meetings on their calendar, and then to actually go to those meetings and call the lead, whether it's in person or just on you know, on the phone. And I think that it's becoming like this is a bigger than structurally thing. The world of Calendly. And in the pandemic internet, like those were how people live. Here's my Calendly like, schedule some time. Yeah, like. So I think that's where we're really focusing on doing next is to date, we've been really passive, because we didn't want to anger people and say, you know, you know, when are you available to talk? Should our agent want to talk to you at that time? That's basically how we've had conversations. But now we're trying to move the needle and say, like, we're gonna get a time that works for both agent and lead and put it on a calendar. And we're, we're gonna hope that you guys
go. You know, it's interesting is I think there's some generational things here. I think there's some personality things here, I think. I mean, I know where you stand on the Is it offensive, if you get a Calendly link saying find it, where some people get really offended? I mean, we've talked about it and why I still, as you've gotten to know, my assistant, Daniel, is I still like the personal touch the human being gives. But I think that I think the wall is going to the wave is going to come and get people. But it really comes down to the the idea that I'm losing freedom. I you know, I think these entrepreneurial people who push themselves and all that don't want to be told that somebody scheduled a meeting, without me saying yes, now their response back is well, no, you gave five times on a calendar. Yes, but I still didn't say yes, at that time. And and that's I know, for me, I just it's sometimes I'll look at my calendar, even though I have wonderful person doing and I'll be like, can I say yes to that. So I think that's the, that's but I think the wave is already started. And if you don't do it, you're just not going to get the business. I just I see it. And I see this efficiency coming. And I think it does scare people. And you brothers up at the beginning, it's a lot easier just after the third try not to not to call someone back and go on and the new one, that we're gonna get to this point where the AI takes care of that grunt work that we got pleasure out of pushes through when we might quit. And now you got to have the one on one meeting with someone you might not know or like,
yeah, yeah, yeah, it's definitely kind of coming back to what I said earlier. I think AI is here to augment our lives, to take off the mundane work that we shouldn't be doing, whether we like it or not. We shouldn't be doing it. We as humans, are to the point where we should it'd be doing the creative work that we're really, really good at individually. And I think, whether it's our product, our product or other AI, there's tons of different AI out there that's doing that. even think about self driving cars, a super futuristic idea. Driving is a mundane task. Think about how much more productive and creative we as humans could be if we didn't spend two hours a day driving.
Yes, very true. Very true. So as you look at where you are, you know, you've, you've come out of college, you built this company, you've been able to do it and a place you'd like to live. You know, it's not like the old days where I guarantee when I say, oh, there's five years ago to do this, somebody would have said to you get your butt to San Francisco, and that's the only place you'll get funded. Yep. What do you look at the world now and say, you know, do you think we live in a place now where you can build a big business sitting there? Where you're living in the Midwest? And? And or do you think at some point, it's going to force you to, you know, be next to Benioff and Pacific Heights?
Yeah, I think I think people will continue to build big businesses from wherever they're, wherever they choose, the internet is everywhere. If you build it, if you build an internet company, you know, I think you can build from from really anywhere, you know, there, I think there's definitely a lot of a lot of specific things there that need to be accounted for, you know, via factories, you have to be centralized, like Tesla, and all of them. But I think that I think remote is here to stay to a degree. I am a believer, though, that humans are cyclical. And, you know, just like fashion, you know, fashion comes and goes, I think that we are soon going to go through a cycle where it's really fun to live in the city and go to the office again. I'm kind of excited for that time. Because, you know, sitting at home, not not seeing people for a week is kind of sometimes boring. But that said, I live in the Midwest, and I love the country. And sometimes I just want to go out into the the trees in the woods and and leave people forever. But I think that to a degree, sick, sick, sick. Luckily, humans will come back to wanting to be in offices, probably in five to 10 years again, or something.
I bet you too, or that only I say that because you tell me any good sitcom that didn't have like a metro area where it all happens. I think a bunch of millennials are gonna sit there watching fret reruns of friends going out. I used to like it when I could go to the coffee shop and make new friends. But I do agree, I think you got a great perspective. I think things have been flow. I think it's a lot like fashion. I think the hardest thing that you're Jay, you're you're closer to Gen Z, but definitely millennial. My generation Gen X is still so influenced by a generation. I don't mean to be rude, but isn't that relevant anymore? The baby boomers, and we're kind of stuck at the top end. And I say to people all the time, if you hold on to these things, that's this idea that you're only a business person, if you were in a suit and tie in hartsel shoes, and you're only a business person, if you show up for the opposite seminar in the morning, you're gonna get steamrolled. And I think your product is is the number is something number one of a number of things that just shows hard work isn't enough, because you can be the one person who calls back seven times. But now your competitor who you would beat out has an AI who will do it. So now how are you going to be creative?
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. That's a that's a really interesting way to look at it.
Well, then I've really enjoyed this conversation. I wish you nothing but success. I've already texted our head of Investor Relations saying, I want us to look at this software as these leads come in. We're doing a lot more than a lot differently than we ever did it. We're doing crowdfunding and things like that. And these closing things are huge. So I got a lot out of it just in this discussion. And I'm really appreciative that you would come on the real market.
Yeah, absolutely. This has been this has been a blast, got to talk about a lot of things that are near and dear to my heart. And that are fun to talk about too. So I appreciate you having me on Chris.
All right. Well, thank you so much. All right. Really appreciate it.
Yep, thank you.
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