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Lap-Tin Tsun on a decade of working remotely

by Pushpak Mundre August 3, 2021

In this episode, Pushpak & Lap-Tin discuss about a decade experience of working remotely. Lap-Tin is Founder and CEO at Visuo. Visuo is the world’s first patented Video Production AI, to help agencies and brands to 10x their video production, and commercialize their content. Lap-Tin loves building businesses and solving complex problems with a blend of creativity, innovation, and determination. This podcast is hosted by Pushpak Mundre, Pushpak is Marketing Specialist at CrewScale

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Be Remote Podcast . Episode 09
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Introduction 

 Hello everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Be Remote podcast. I’m your host Pushpak. And today we have with us Mr. Laptin -founder and CEO of Visuo. Welcome to the show, how are you doing? Hey, great. Thank you. Thank you for inviting me Pushpak. Yeah, so why don’t we start with a short introduction about yourself? 

 

Laptin:

Yeah, that’s right. So Visuo, We are an AI-powered video creation platform. We’re based out in Sydney, especially as you kind of pointed out here is really around, you know, helping brands and agencies and brands to scale their video production, using the power of AI and automation. Really, especially, you know, with this pandemic, and everything’s going on business is moving more digital, more and more digital, you know, spending more time and money effort on video, digital marketing, including video marketing, but video, my video production, like the creation of that video, is still a very expensive time-consuming process. So we really here the office is really here to try to help business to kind of really streamline that scale so they can get more out the door for less, you know, in the simplest terms.

 

Pushpak:

Which problems are you working on?

 Okay, so what exactly is the problem you’re solving for your customers? So do you like creating videos to help content creators? Or do you have video offers? Like, what exactly? You’re doing?

 

Laptin:

Yeah, that’s right. So we actually have a range of services that we offer. What we do, we actually work with a lot of video production companies, to help them actually maximize all the content. So one of the interesting things about video production is, you know, the typical 15-second ad that you and I see on YouTube or Facebook or TV, whatever, like 15, second ad -tech, anywhere from six to 15 hours to create. So you can imagine there’s a massive amount of, I guess, you know, quote, unquote, wastage, an effort that goes into that, that we help them leverage. So we actually have tech, for example, you know, that 15 seconds might have recorded, you know, 678 hours of footage to create that 15 seconds. So there’s a massive amount of all this extra, extra spare content around that you and I never see, never get comes back, it comes to the light of day. And so we’re in a great place, outturn all that content process it, you know, through our proprietary process, and so that, you know, a business can use that again, and again, and again. Yeah. So So why repeat the effort, you know, why send another crew out to do another recording, when you’ve actually got a whole massive library of all this called great quality content that you can use at your fingertips, pal, you know, that’s kind of really where the were a lot of big power comes in. And for these big prepper big agencies and brands, they’ve got massive amounts of that type of content sitting around.

 

Pushpak:

Right, totally, I think, since the pandemic started. And we are already tight. Now, mostly, we are doing online marketing everywhere. But I think since the pandemic that started, it’s like booming a lot like everyone is doing only online marketing. So yeah

 

Laptin:

Exactly. Yeah, that’s right. And we’re interesting, a lot of people to your point, exactly the video marketing is, is the growing part. But a lot of people forget that someone has to create that content. So you know, you post an ad, someone, someone has to manually create that, that video, the video, you saw, someone had to spend time creating that. And so if we can help them scale it, that means we can do more. Right. And in any business ship, business owner or marketer knows, marketing is an ongoing effort. It’s not well, let me run a campaign. I’m done who you know, wow. Yeah, marketing is an ongoing effort. So the more content that you have, that you can push out, generate, you know, and do it in a very cost-effective manner. That means that you’ve always got fresh, new content to keep on keep on engaging your, your, your audience with effective marketing. Hmm,

 

Pushpak:

Working remotely Pre and Post Pandemic 

awesome. Awesome. So you’re working remotely right now. So I wonder, when did you start working remotely? And before the pandemic and after the pandemic? how does the pandemic affect your business? So is your business growing after the pandemic or you know, the rate of clients who have like, it is booming, or something else happened? Or three and after a pandemic?

 

Laptin:

Yeah. So answer the second question first around the pandemic. So yeah, I mean, it’s been an interesting time. To your point, actually, we were launching during the, we were launching our business during the, in the middle of the pandemic. So, you know, it’s an interesting, interesting challenge here. You know, as a founder straight up, you know, I’m not going to say, look, you know, we, you know, we went back as a founder, you always want more business. There’s never, there’s never enough, you know, was that, you know, were we satisfied with where we were going? Yeah, we were comfortable with it. We would have always liked like more, but we’ve also, I think, if anything, seeing the trends and taking the learnings and then go on how do we actually, you know, take it further from here, leverage the right opportunities, I think, you know, like, like anything, every crisis represents an opportunity, as well as just how you look at it, and sometimes you, unfortunately, just have to give it a little bit of time to kind of see how the trend plays out. In that sense. Coming back to the first question around the remote working, so my team and I, so Visuo, we started from the beginning, it’s pretty much as a remote team. So a lot of my team members, live in the same city. But we’ve actually been virtual pretty much, you know, since day one, a predominant bit, mainly because of Visuo, we are online, SAS business. So you know, naturally, it’s easy for us to go into, you know, with virtually any way. And also to, I think, you know, even before Visuo, a lot of other startups I had, before that were also online, online businesses, I was already pretty comfortable, the whole remote working. And I think remote working is also a really good way to supplement you know, your the team, you know, to expect that, hey, just because you know, the area I live in, the people I know, have all the different skills, resources, and expertise that I need. I think that’s a very difficult challenge nowadays, right? You know, keeping my you know, as a business owner, you need Well, you need technical skills, you need marketing skills, you need sales skills, you need, you know, accounting skills, all these types of things. And, and to have a team that just can do all by themselves, especially at the early stage, it’s a big task. So remote working, you know, being able to tap resources from around the world to help, I think it’s a fantastic, fantastic thing that’s happened in the last, you know, decade, decade or so that kind of reality, that that’s really picked up, this has really given business, a lot of startups that opportunity to kind of get resources that they wouldn’t normally get be able to, you know, build their businesses up. Side note, actually, I’ve actually met a few startups that are purely remote, like the whole team, the only permanent member of the team is the founder, everyone else is, you know, our remote resources, you know, working as part of that business, and it works. Right. And it works. And I think that’s that, that’s definitely you know, a big part of, you know, why I think it makes a lot of sense.

 

Pushpak:

What did work from home look like a decade back?

So I think you mentioned, it’s been a decade of working remotely. So like, what was it for any specific reason, because 10 years back, people didn’t believe in work from home. Like, if you’re working from home, it’s like, how is that even possible? Right? So that was the mentality of people even two years back. So like, you’re saying, You’re working, it’s been a decade? So how was that? Like, what made you choose that? 

 

Laptin:

Yeah, I’ll be upfront, probably more than anything. So I think like a startup, I mean, it’s trendy to talk about, you know, you do a startup a, the first thing to do is get an engineer, high end, top end engineer 100. You know, in Australian dollar terms, I’m based in Sydney, Australia, Bella, 10s, you know, 200k $200,000 a year, you know, get them chugging along with the building, building the best product in the world. Sounds great. Yeah, very romantic. But the reality is, you know, most startups won’t have a couple of 100k Capital sitting around, you know, to do that. So I think, you know, from, you know, if you’re a startup, especially when you’re still in that market validation phase, your customer validation, trying to prove, you know, validate do is there actually, what do I have the right product and is there a market for my product, right product-market fit when you still do that, it doesn’t make sense to go spend big on, on local on expensive local resources, local or localized. And I’m not saying you know, necessarily, local is expensive, it’s more, you know, that whole expectation, usually, you know, especially like places like Australia in the US, you know, local resource a bit more expensive, whereas remote, you can actually go I can, I can spin up a team, you know, have a basic proof of concept or working prototype built for a fraction of that price, which allows me to then take it out the market, test, test it out, or customers see how people respond before the new commit to the bigger, bigger spin. Also, the good thing about that is, then you’ve actually tested a smaller team, you know, like a team that can help you if the team that builds you your proof of concept, can often be in a great place to go. Well, now we know we’re ready, we’ve proved we’ve validated the relative the product and the market, we can now go big, you’ve already got a team that is already familiar with your product, and can really ramp up from there. And so we’ve used that quite successfully a number of times, you know, across a number of my number of businesses to get external teams to help build, build stuff up pretty quickly and cost-effectively. So you know, once again, that from a business, you know, a startup point of view, you’re putting allocating your capital in the best way possible, essentially,

 

Pushpak:

Initial experience while working remotely? 

 Makes sense. Yeah. So what were your initial days of working remotely like when you started working remotely? And how was that experience?

 

Laptin:

Yeah, I mean, definitely back in the day, when I first started, we didn’t have tools like slack. Actually, even Trello didn’t exist at the time. I can’t remember if there was another alternative besides project management tools. And so a lot of communication via email, which probably, you know, in hindsight wasn’t the most, you know, when you’re trying to keep on top of development work, it’s, it’s hard. Also, zoom didn’t exactly exist back in those days. So the only video conferencing software was WebEx, which most people couldn’t get, because unless you’re a big corporate guy, yeah, there was Skype. It wasn’t, wasn’t too, like, the, it wasn’t that great of performance. And so there were a lot of challenges. So definitely, I think, you know, and this is something my team and I have refined over time, you know, the two, the two biggest things we find is communication, you know, around communication, setting expectations, you know, keeping up to date with what’s going on. And then the second one is managing the quality of the work, you know, which is always a problem, it’s always, not always, always a challenge anyway, local, otherwise, it doesn’t really matter, you know, but remote, I think just adds an extra layer, just mainly because of, you know, time differences, communication, cultural differences, you know, it’s, you know, like, even just translating, you know, like, I write my requirements, you know, in the way that makes sense to me, I hand it over to, to my remote team, and they have a slightly different, no fault of their own, it’s just human nature, you’re in a slightly different way. You know, so having processes and regulatory processes in place to kind of get systems in place to manage that. I think, as a startup, it might not be where a founder goes, like, that’s why I really want to spend most of my time, but that’s actually where it really pays off if you’re really going down the remote working path, you know, so we have, for example, my team, you know, when we have where we have anyone working for, even when we don’t have external members of the team working with us remotely, even just our team alone, we have three, at least three catch-ups a week, you know, we have a Trello board where we manage all our work and tasks. We use slack as our, you know, regular comms tool so we can message each other whenever we need it. And I think that’s really important. Once again, keep on top of everything. And also instantly go like, I think your understanding and my understanding might be a little bit different. Yeah, you don’t wait, we pick up the phone, we Virtual Phone, the Virtual Phone, right. You know, I think that having that open line of communication is really important. Yeah, rather than, and we even actually say that sometimes we bring on remote contractors. And the first thing we say to them is, if you have a question, don’t wait until they catch up. Don’t wait to catch up. Yeah, message us, or call us whatever you need with one of us is usually around, you know, at the time that you’ll be working. Ask us and we’ll help you clarify, you know, because then they’re not wasting their time either, right? Because it’s also a two-way street. You know, if you’ve got a  remote team member, you know, sitting there waiting for instructions waiting for clarification. That’s also not a good use of their time. So, you know, it really is a two-way street to kind of make that relationship work as effectively as possible.

 

Pushpak Mundre:

Thoughts on regular scrums or regular meetings

Awesome. So what do you think about regular scrums or regular meetings? Do you think so? Do you think that makes sense? Or like dozing off the productivity of employees increases if you have regular meetups? Or is it better to meet twice or thrice a week? What do you think about that?

 

Laptin:

Yeah, so it’s an interesting one, I don’t know, realistically, but every, every organization probably differs. And it’s, you know, what works for them. We find, like we said, you know, every two days, every two days, so three times a week on average. Yeah. Interesting. Interestingly enough, our pattern is Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, Sunday, but it works for our team, like, I think we should find out what virtual because working remotely things, things too, especially in development in it development space, things don’t happen that quickly. You know, sometimes, just fixing a defect could take a whole day of investigation, right? So having multiple, you know, catch-ups all the time, I think Ben gets too much. But we find, you know, we’ve found this pattern works out well, you know, two days in between is good enough to make some progress and make some good decent progress, get a proper update. So that everybody and everybody knows where everybody is at. And we’ve gone through the habit where even if we don’t have a lot to talk about like it’s we still do the catch-up. It’s a matter of discipline, discipline because you can always end the meeting earlier, you can always meet and catch up and nobody says, Well, I booked the narrative. Well, we have to talk for an hour, right? I think that’s, that’s something you misunderstand misconceptions people have? Well, I’ve got an hour we’ve got to talk to, you know, if you’ve only got 10 minutes to talk about, yeah, I think that’s it, that’s a fine finish. But at least you’ve communicated you’ve had to catch up. your team’s everybody’s on the same page is where we’re at, and what we need to focus on. And I think that’s the most productive way to keep everybody, you know, focused, motivated, working on the right things. You know, people So let’s get started. I think the key thing for a lot of times is when your time, time, and resources are always tight, and the startup, you don’t have a big massive organization, which has got, you know, multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation, which has got money to burn, you don’t. So, you know, it’s very important to, you know, what limited time and effort and resources you have is always focused on the most valuable, you know, things. Yeah, that’s what those stand-ups are really important to, to do a worst-case example, like, put in a context, the worst case that happens if you know, if you have a two day, catch up every two days, the worst case, we’ve lost these days with a day’s worth of work at most, like if someone did the work on the wrong thing, at most, we wasted a day, at most. Right. So I think, you know, when you put in that kind of context, we have very little wastage, you know, from that point of view.

 

Pushpak:

I think this really makes sense, you know, like a meeting twice a week, because if you’re meeting every day, I think some people might get burned out, like, Because you trust your employees, you trust your colleagues, everyone is working on themselves as your flexible time whenever they can. So it is really great that you guys meet two or three times a week.

 

Laptin:

Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. And, and to that point, I think that’s really important too, you know, for any founder who’s kind of interested in thinking of going down the remote working path, you just hit on the trust, right? That, that trust that that relationship, that trusting relationship is, is vitally important. And that’s another reason for that communication, that communication helps you maintain, build and maintain that trust. You know, so if, let’s say, you’re going to a remote worker in, in another country, let’s say another timezone, right, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of go, Well, I haven’t spoken for a week, or they’re doing the work, what are they doing, you know, what’s going on, and then it becomes a very self-defeating cycle, because then that stress, you know, they’re probably doing, they’re probably doing the work, but in your, in your own head, you’re making, you know, you’re imagining all these various scenarios and all these kind of things. Whereas if you catch up regularly, once again, it might only take five minutes, or a couple of minutes, but you know, exactly what they’re doing. They’re also comfortable, you know, also get the chance to check with you that they’re focusing on the right things. Yeah, that’s actually how you build that trust, you know, and make sure you have a good trusting relationship between both sides. And that’s when you’ve got a really good solid, you know, you know, working relationship focused on very many outcomes. Not this person, you know, locked in, sitting at the desk, you know, when I’m at my desk, you know, that’s that. That’s an old way of thinking. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, that’s right, the way of working now, it’s outcomes. As long as you get, as long as you can deliver the outcomes, get, achieve the results that we’re looking for, that we’re all aiming to achieve, then great. How you want to manage your time and how you want to work is really up to you. Great, but in order to make sure that you’re both on the same page about what you’re trying to achieve, and what you know what you expect. That requires communication, you can’t just throw a piece of paper at someone, go follow two steps, ABC follow it, and then just magically happen.

 

Pushpak:

Flexibility- Beauty of remote work 

Yeah, because you know, having flexible workers, that’s the beauty of remote work, right, like, because there should be some perks and one of the perks of being a remote worker is you can work whenever you want. Some people are productive in the morning, some are in the evening, so you know, it’s different for everyone. 

 

Laptin:

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, no, you’re right. Like, even my team. And I, like my team, always joke that I’m a very nice person. So I’m working at midnight. And they’re more daytime, right. So and that but it doesn’t matter, does it? You know, it’s your point, you know, I’m not they’re sitting there going well, why don’t you get up at 12? Why don’t you get up at midnight, delivering stuff with me? Because I know that. But more importantly, how do we get the job done? Right? How are we moving ahead? That’s the most important thing of all.

 

Pushpak:

Challenges faced while working remotely: 

Yeah, so what kind of other challenges have you faced while working remotely like one of the biggest challenges which you have faced? And how did you work on that?

 

Laptin:

Yeah, I mean, I think we’ve kind of covered quite a few things that are running around tracking progress and ensuring the quality, I think the other big one probably, that comes to mind is the;”>onboarding. You know, and, and definitely, look, we, you know, we see a lot of, as you see in the news and stuff, you know, a lot of people talk about remote working or working from home is great, but what about the younger people who are new, new status? How do you onboard them? And so yeah, we definitely do spend a lot of time as it, especially when we have any new temporary team members join even temporary ones and temporary, you know, temporary team members, remote workers, remote team members, you know, we spend at least a good, you know, obviously, that’s the interview and whatnot, but we also spend a lot of time briefing them, you know, getting them set up and all these kind of things, really making sure that first couple of days, I think the first probably the three two to three to maybe a week out. Right, I really want to spend a lot of time making sure that they set up a clear idea of what they need to do that they have understood. They have the tools, you know, that that they require, you know, like if it’s developing access to all the, you know, GitHub and all those kinds of various things that they require. But definitely, like, I find that that’s probably the best investment of your time. You know, like, whenever we, we spend the time properly to set up to get our new team members up and running properly, they almost always really effective, you know, from that point onwards, because they’re clear on what they need to do what we’re trying to achieve, what part they play in the puzzle, and then boom, away from a way they go. You know, once again, I’ve seen the temptation from some, you know, people who try remote working well, once again, he’s my requirement document, he said, designed, just do it, this follows it. But once again, as we said before, there’s the subtleties and the interpretation, you know, like, just because I read a requirements document doesn’t help me, as the person who’s doing it, and doing the work, understands what you’re trying to achieve. You know, and so, you know, so I might have a different view on things, you know, or I may be able to find you some advice, or I might go up based on my understanding what you want to try and cheap, there might be a better way to do it, you know, of doing that, oh, it happens all the time, especially in our software space, right doesn’t always, you know, that there’s no, never a, you know, exact way, you know, here’s the exact correct way to do this, there are usually multiple ways to do it. You know, and so, you know, spending the time with any new team, remote team member, to get them up to speed and accuracy. It’s not about I don’t think it’s about, oh, he’s a nice little laptop, he’s, you know, he’s a nice grab bag of items, which was good. I know, you know, for some businesses, and some people appreciate that. For me, we find our experiences right, if they are the other side, the team members we bring on, they appreciate that we’re spending time with them, answering all the questions, and giving them as much context as we can. And once again, that also demonstrating the trust, like with you know, its trust is once again, not one of those things where you can go, Well, I don’t trust you push back, and I don’t you don’t trust me, let’s gradually work together until we trust each other, right? You’re not going to trust each other, that way, you’ll never build trust, that way, one of us must have too much reached out to the other first, in our context, we like we reaching out to the team member, you know, and giving them sharing as much as we can, so that they know they can trust us that we’re open with them and that they can understand what we’re trying to do. And we almost always find that in return they reciprocate, reciprocate that relationship, and then they put it they give us that all the 100%, you know, 101% 110%, I should say, you know, to kind of deliver for us, and I think that’s once again, that’s when you have a really strong relationship from Yeah,

 

Pushpak:

Team size – Location

I know, I have experienced this personally, because when some new intern is joining, or even when I joined my company, it’s really important that you talk with that person, like on a regular basis, because you know what, they will have a lot of questions for you. I observe this personally. So if I work with some new intern, they have a ton of questions, and if, if we explain everything in a proper way, they will get the work done because it takes time to understand what we are working on. Like, maybe that person is coming from a different industry. They don’t know a lot about this industry. So that’s why I think it takes time. So what to say really makes sense. It’s very important. Yeah. That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. So how large is your team? And where are they located geographically? Are all of them in Australia or let go? They are located globally as well.

 

Laptin:

Yeah, yeah. So our team is currently, strong, like cold-core team members of five strong, most of us are in Sydney, one of them is actually in the US. On the east coast. And we, you know, and we, once again, we supplement that team from time to time, as we’d recently had a developer help us out for a couple of months. He was in Mongolia, we’ve also used resources to have team members in the Philippines. We sometimes also work with team members in India, France, we’ve had people working in from France, UK, Ukraine, Spain, I actually like all of that’s, what’s it once again, one of the interesting aspects too, you know, that, that I think that remote team brings that kind of cultural flavor to it, you know, to not just for for the sake of well, you know, look, you know, let’s, let’s share different stories, you know, what do you do over there, what you eat over here, you know, that type of thing is more, I think, in terms of from a business point of view, I also help people different people think so, you know, for example, our designer, you know, we’ve used before UX designer from France, right? And it just has a very different way of approaching the problem, you know, versus some of the people we’ve dealt with, you know, local in Australia for example, right. So these are the sorts of subtle little things that kind of I think to make a big again, overtime can make a big difference, and whatnot. So I think, you know, it’s like anything right, diversity gives you different points of view, different perspectives. You know, we’re very cautious. You know, it’s always been in the back of my mind, you know, is our team diverse enough? And the answer is right now as a start-up, it was just five people. It’s not right. But no, but we tried to, you know, always think about diversity, how do we supplement the team, you know, with different points of view? Like our team, you know, it’s not like you would think Australia was Australia, you know, a team, heavily Caucasian? Well, actually, no, we’ve got a New Zealander, we’ve got South African, you got Asian, you know, you know, that, you know, we’ve got American in the team, you know, so once again, different people from different backgrounds, to bring a different experience and in a different flavor to the business, you know, gives you a different perspective. And I think that’s also another real big benefit of the remote working, you know, for example, you know, just, you know, yeah, we’re, we’re in Australia, and, you know, and I understand the Australian market, I’ve been here for, you know, lived there for almost over almost 40 years. But, you know, if I’m trying to sell to the US or the UK, or I’m not, I’m not a local there, there are cultural, cultural differences that, you know, I’m never, he would take me a while to understand where I was, you know, if we can tap into someone, a remote, remote team member who’s local, understands the customs, understands the culture understands how they do business there, right bang already, you know, you just as a startup, you’ve sidestepped like probably six months, six to 12 months of, of, you know, building up that old order, knowledge, and experience. Right, that’s invaluable. That’s an invaluable addition to the team. Awesome.

 

Pushpak:

It must be really cool, you know, working with people from all around the globe. That was really cool.

 

Laptin:

Yeah, no, it is, like, it just gives you a very different perspective on things. You know, and I think, you know, actually, I was the, were part of an acceleration program, and they talked about this, you know, there’s a, there’s a common fallacy in startups where you know, that to be a successful startup, you need to be like a jerk, like Steve Jobs, you know, that the type like, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, but, but brilliant genius, you know, but that, but that kind of, you know, but that also, you know, stepped on, you know, like, you know, had that really temper that you’re really well known for having a big temper and whatnot? And the answer is that and the truth is, you know, that is a fallacy, right? You don’t get, you don’t get by in business by Well, at least you don’t get by in good business, or build, build a long-lasting business by going stepping on everybody else, you know, making enemies along the way, right? collaborations, partnerships, you know, how businesses, you know, good businesses, a bill. And so, you know, if we take that, take that train of thought, then understanding other people in their culture, how they work, how they, how they operate, how they, what they think, what they value, I think it’s all really important part of the process, and, and to also make you as a founder, you know, a bit more rounded person, you know, well, well-rounded person overall.

 

Pushpak:

Future of remote work 

So, what is that one thing which is curious about remote work? And where do you see the future of remote work? Or do things the officers are dead, like, people will go back to the mode work on, like, the officers on?

 

Laptin:

Yeah, so, I mean, that’s an interesting look, I mean, I’m, I don’t claim to be a, you know, one of those future demographic kinds of guys who, whose job is to, you know, project, these kinds of things. But I mean, that the trends are clear, pretty much, you know, now that we’ve opened the work from home kind of doors, you know, that means, open, I don’t think you can close that anymore. I’m sure realistically, they’re always going to be some businesses that still need people on the ground in the office or, you know, retail or in the shops and whatnot. You know, there’s, there’s always gonna be some, some businesses like offices and whatnot that will still need to want that teams to come in occasionally. But the reality is, I think, you know if the pandemic has proved anything, is that we can work from home. Right, and we can do it successfully. You know, and I think they’ll definitely be maybe not a full, you know, 100% everyone work from home all the time, but I don’t think that’s like just logistically ever going to be feasible for various business needs. But I think a hybrid model of some sort, you know, make sense, even my team even though we’re, we’re virtual right back pre-pandemic, we would still catch up face to face probably every couple of weeks, you know because there’s just something about the human interaction things, you know, you can see each other, talk to each other, you know, shake hands, you know, bump elbows, whatever you want to call it, that I think, you know, helps a lot, which you do lose from that, you know, working from home thing, but, you know, but I think I don’t think you can actually put the whole Woodrum phone thing back in the phrase you know, back in the bottle, right genies out of the way. genies out of the bag. You know, and, and I think that’s, you know if you think about any business, any startup, you know, any good startup should always be thinking global anyway. Yeah, so it makes sense to go, Well, I can either yet, you know, go go go for broke, try to get $100 million of investment and try to have a team has a permanent team, my own permanent team everywhere, you know, which could take, like, Uber Uber-style, have offices, every single location, or I can actually be smart about this and go, Well, actually, there are already people there that I could tap now, without massive amounts of capital and funding, who can already help my business get up and running? Like, you know, which, which, which way would you go? It’s easy to, you know, cold, tap those resources, get them on board, you know, your business already effective, you know, effective and, you know, either building product or generating business, revenue, and sales, you know, within a couple of months time. And that’s, that’s the way that you know, that that makes the most sense, rather than going well, you know, I need to go down to the Uber Tesla, you know, what we work route of, you know, having a couple of billion dollars up my sleeves before I can go global, right, that’s just not to say it can’t be done. That’s very, that’s very rare, you will not have a better chance of winning the lotto than actually that the lottery than that happening.

 

Pushpak:

Mental health of employees 

 Yeah, so, you know, I was wondering, like you said, like, even before the pandemic, you guys used to catch up, like, once a week, because human and like, human and electronic interaction makes a lot of insight. So I wonder, like, what do you guys do to do like meet up right now, because, you know, like, sometimes working remotely, it’s kind of stressful, I think people get anxiety, depression from it, and at the same time, we have this pandemic going on. So people are already anxious, and when you’re working alone. So you know, this could be really stressful for a lot of people. So how do you like, you know, to take care of your employees? Maybe how do you take care of yourself? Like, what suggestions would you give to people who are working remotely? So how should we take care of our mental health as well, I think this makes you know, this is mental health is a lot of I think it is, like very important thing when it comes to working as well. So what do you think about Yeah, no? Yeah, no,

 

Laptin:

you did, you’re definitely right. Like, if I look at our conversations, like our team, you know, we’ll go through, and I think this is a byproduct of the whole pandemic work working from home from a longtime point of view, you know, even after every stock standard will catch up, that we often will go talk about random stuff for a little bit, you know, just casual, casual conversation, right? You know, how things going family that, you know, obviously, pandemic vaccinations taught to come up a lot in time, because I think that’s kind of once again, that human element, right, you know, I, once again, as a founder, it’s very tempting to go look on the ball, talk business, don’t boom, boom, yeah, talk shop, move on, right. But also, I think, you know, for your team, you know, from a founder point of view, thinking from your team, letting them have a bit of chance to have a release, have a bit of a, just a, you know, just a normal human social interaction, having that time and I think, you know, but that I think that makes a big, also, once again, that helps me, because you can’t see each other, that’s a great way to still build a team bonding, that team connection, right, because you’re sharing stories, you’re sharing your own life stories, once again, within reason, within reason. The other side of things, I think, you know, we touching, we were touching on this point before, which is a part of remote working is working your own way, right? That’s one of the benefits of remotes, your own hours, your own way, how you want when you want. And so I strongly recommend like any, not the founder, but also, you know, founders recommending to that team, right? You know, the way we work is, you know, we’re about a delivery, we’re about targets are about outputs, getting outcomes, getting what we need to be done, how you want to do that, up to you. So therefore With that in mind, that take some time out, like, no, don’t have to work from nine to five, non-stop, it’s daytime, take a couple of hours to go out for a walk, you know, obviously, still safely, you know, you know, Mastiff and all that type of stuff. But go out, get some sun, get some fresh air, you know what, I think that’s really important because I think, even without working from home, the pandemic stuff, just think we’re always so busy working, working, working, working, you know, we don’t actually give ourselves time to think, you know, think through what, you know, what’s your, what’s the best way of doing this? The brain-like anything, right? From a, we know, from a physiological and psychological point of view, you know, gets tied as well, right? Yeah, as I said, stress is a noble thing. So giving yourself that time, go out, relax, you know, go get a coffee, you know, like, even if it’s simple things like just saying hi to your local barista at the cafe, just say hi, the wave is my drink. I think those kinds of interactions just help can make a bigger difference in terms of, you know, just giving you that kind of your mental, your mental health, you know, that social interaction, I think is vital. Like I do that all the time. Like every day I find, I find at least narrow to go after it. Yeah, and, and what I find is, during that time, I get a lot of ideas, a lot of creative ideas popped into my head because once again, you’re not in front of the computer staring at a piece of work trying to go like how do I get this through, you’ve got that, you know, you’ve got that moment to yourself, you know, out in nature, you know, watching other people walk around, you know, whatever you want to call birds, the cats, the dogs, whatever, around the door there, you know, at the park. And I think that’s really important to do that, you know, for people also more extroverted, probably more social, you know, calling your friends having a bit of a chat, that’s important that I’m a little bit more towards the introverted side of the spectrum. And so I don’t need as much as an individual, I don’t need as much interaction, but, you know, that’s, that’s just me, a lot of founders, also very extroverted, you know, very social things, people are creatures of finding people you can talk to, you know, whatnot, and once again, doesn’t always have to be about work, right, it just sometimes can be just about, hey, how you gone, how are you going? How’s the family, you know, you know, folks like that, that, once again, you know, just taking a bit of a breakaway, from, from the grind, that just, you know, and I think that’s really important, obviously, for people who like, really, really serious anxiety and feeling really feeling that, then, you know, obviously, in that case, all I can recommend is, you know, seek a professional, you know, professional help. I’m not a, I’m not a counselor name. But I think for most people, you know, just that, you know, getaway, you know, that once again, as a founder, you always tempted now, there’s always work to do on my, on my startup, there’s always want to do this. But by the same token, it’s always what to do. You never end so finding time for yourself, you know, I think is really important, especially when you’re always at home, you know, interacting just by itself. I think that’s really important.

 

Pushpak:

Lessons learned while starting the company 

Make sense? Yeah. So as a founder, I wanted to ask you like, what did you learn from starting a company like, which you wouldn’t have learned from anywhere else? What are those special points? Like? Would you specifically learn from only starting a company?

 

Laptin:

Question is, like, how do you how long do you want to talk? Right? How long do you want to go on about this? You know, I had someone messaged me earlier going, Hey, can you teach me about startups? Do they educate me about how startups work? Like, how long do you this could be a long conversation? But look, I mean, if I think about it, they’re probably, you know, my background is just a little bit more. I used to, I spent many years in the corporate land, probably about 15 years working for the big corporates, along alongside doing my own status, but then eventually, you know, moving into a full time, you know, my own startups. So there are probably some lessons, you know, if correlate those two together, I mean, the first one is definitely looking into corporate land. We like to think everything is a straight line, right, do X to achieve y, right now, you know, CEO says, we need to do more sales. So, therefore, you bring on more salespeople, right? bdms, right. And it usually works in the corporate land, because that that, that you already have the tools, the systems processes all in place, as long as I just replicate it, scale it, Happy Days, right. But that’s the benefit of corporate startups, never work that way. It never works. I’ve been doing mine stamps for over 10 years. And I can tell anyone, anyone, who’s thinking of doing their own startup, right? Don’t be comfortable with ambiguity, be comfortable with, you know, changing, changing plans, that’s okay, that’s actually part and parcel, you are seeing a straight line from you know, if I do X, you will achieve y, you’re probably doing something wrong, you’re probably doing something wrong, never works that way, right? You know, it’s not, as always go around in circles, you know, and you need to be comfortable with that, and roll with it. Right, find nice ways to work. I mean, secondary, secondary, that, and that really builds into that. And I think this is once again, a lot of challenges. The challenge, I’ve seen a lot of people who come from a corporate background trying to move into the startup land, is you need to put your ego aside. You know, once again, in corporate land, you know, if I do x, we achieve y, so I’m a sales I’m head of sales, a GM or vice president of sales. Look at me, I, you know, I was told to, to, you know, grow our sales by 100 million. You know, I had a budget of 10 million I added 20, more million, and boom, wow, look at me, I achieved 100 million extra, in general, itself, right. So it can very, very easily go to you know, I wouldn’t say go to hell, I don’t want to put it that kind of way. They can raise it to go. I’ve got this, you know, I know what needs to be done. This is how we do it. Once. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Startup, startup, startup land reality, they don’t care about that. They really don’t care. And so you know, real. You know, when you’re in a startup, when you don’t have that name, you’re just you know, you don’t have those proof points. You don’t have that validation. You’re basically asking people in many ways to make a bet on you to go, you know, yeah, I like you and I’d like to take a bet on you. Then those that rarely ever is once again, a straight line conversation, and you really need to go with some humility. You know, and trust me, I’ve known multiple business owners I’ve worked with before, like, so I also help you know, with my experience, I also help coach and advise a lot of other other other startups and, and first-time business owners, you know, the ones who always go in saying not, this is the way it’s gonna be this way it’s gonna work, you know, I know it’s gonna be six, six successful, my plans are infallible, it’s gonna be perfect. They’re the ones who get the biggest reality check. real real-life just comes and punches you in the face. And you’re in, they don’t care. And so being able to put your ego aside, I think they’re really, really key. They’re probably Finally, I mean, once again, there’s a lot of other things, but you know, by with some lessons.

 

 What are you really into outside of work?

 

  • Life is work/work is life – I understand the mentality that some people have which is that life isn’t about work. And that’s fine. But when you really find something you believe in and care about, then there’s no distinction. When work and life become one and the same, that’s when you know you’ve found something you genuinely enjoy. And what could be wrong with that?

 

Your top 3 fav books

  • Sad to say, but I don’t really read books regularly. Already spend all day reading emails, messages, and articles
  • My mind likes more conceptual things like images, pictures, things that I can visualize. Probably why starting up a video business naturally connects well with me

 

What are your top 3 fav remote tools?

  • Slack for comms
  • Zoom for video conferences
  • Trello for task monitoring

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