Being busy isn’t synonymous with being productive. Productivity is actually measured by the output of one’s work, and this is vital for every employee in every company. Liam Martin, CEO of Time Doctor, tried to address the issues surrounding productivity by coming up with a time-tracking and productivity tool called Time Doctor. Liam is an entrepreneur himself, and he shares his personal challenges a few years that led him to create the software. Time Doctor has touched over a million remote workers over the last fifteen years, making businesses and remote workers more efficient and productive wherever and whenever they work.

Time Doctor: Tracking Productivity with Liam Martin

Our guest will soon become your personal role model. The man I’m about to introduce you to has created software that has touched over a million remote workers over the last fifteen years. Besides having built a company around running remotely, he practices what he preaches by traveling all over the world for three to six months a year, running his empire from his laptop. Forget the four-hour workweek, you’re about to meet the Remote CEO. Welcome, Liam Martin, to the show.

Thanks for having me, Mitch.

Thank you for being on because I’m excited about having you. It’s funny how you and I have some common threads that have run through our lives even though we’re from different generations but still from the same industry. As you know, I started Timeslips Corporation which focused on time tracking but for a different purpose when I did it. I did it for time and billing and we built the largest time billing system and the most popular one for lawyers and accountants all throughout the 1980s and the 1990s. I sold that company to Sage many years ago. You have a product that fuels a million different desktops and helping them keep track of time and record what they do. Before we get into what the product does and your thoughts about remote working, let’s start from the beginning and give me an idea of where you started.

I’ve always been an entrepreneur and probably the secondary story about me is me coming out as an entrepreneur and recognizing that that was the direction that I needed to go in life. For some of you, maybe you have friends and family that have said, “Maybe entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily the option for you.” I know until a few years ago, my mother and grandparents were always telling me, “You could always get yourself a nice government job somewhere that’s got a stable pension.” That was never me and I had a recurring problem with starting businesses that I was very happy with and then going back to the post-secondary education system. That’s what I thought I was supposed to do and what everyone was telling me to do versus what I truly wanted to do which was stride my own path and build my own business. I sold a company when I was in undergrad for not that much money to fund graduate school. My goal was to get a Ph.D. in Sociology and teach.

That was what my parents wanted me to do and I thought that’s what I wanted to do. I ended up going to grad school at McGill University, which is a university in Canada and I remember doing my first class. I had been a teaching assistant for about seven years and then they gave me a class for the first time. It was very exciting because this was the goal that I had set for myself for all of those years and taught the class. I had about 300 students and ended up with approximately half of those students by the end of the semester. I got some of the worst reviews in the history of the department for that class. I remember walking into my supervisor’s office and I said, “I don’t think I’m very good at this.” He said, “No, you’re not.” I said, “What should I do?” He said, “You’ve got to get better at teaching things or figure out something else to do because you’ve got to do this for about twenty or 30 years before you get to do anything fun.” I realized at that point that this was not the direction that I wanted to go.

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I submitted a Master’s thesis. I dropped out of my Ph.D. Eight weeks later, I put my Master’s thesis under my supervisor’s door and I was out into the real world that turned into a business. I liked teaching but I didn’t necessarily like lecturing. We could talk a lot about the education system and how it stands now and how it serves people. I had turned that experience into a tutoring business which was a bunch of tutors that were focused on pre-med prerequisites. Students will pay a lot of money to be able to get a 4.0 GPA on. I ran that business for a while and it ended up being relatively successful. I had dozens of tutors throughout North America and Europe and this was many years ago. The problem that I was running into was we were running a remote organization but it was through Skype and Skype wasn’t necessarily stable.

Our technology stack was we were contacting people on Skype and we were doing sessions with them. The problem that we were running into was a tutor would work with a student for ten hours and then we bill them for ten and then the student would come in and say, “I didn’t work with the tutor for ten hours, I worked with them for five.” Then I’d have to go to the tutor and say, “Did you work with Jimmy for ten hours?” The tutor would say, “Of course, I did. That’s what I billed.” I’d end up having to refund the student for five hours and pay the tutor for the full ten hours. What was destroying the business was the lack of being able to very clearly quantify and document how long a remote worker works for you with a very clear and sharable documented histories. That was the tool that turned into Time Doctor.

Do you think that there was an element of dishonesty or were these honest mistakes that people didn’t realize the amount of time they were spending? What is your thought?

A combination of the two. That’s something that I was racking my head up against. It was relatively easy because I had set up a cultural environment where I was allowing these tutors to do what they want. Maybe they weren’t necessarily giving the same level of education to these students that I thought they were giving to them. A lot of the work that we were doing was not direct work with the student but it was checking essays and their homework, these types of things which aren’t as direct for the student as the student can see. It was a big problem. What we moved to was a way to be able to say, “He didn’t work with you for ten hours. He worked with you for ten hours, four minutes and 38 seconds. Here are all the websites and applications and all the documentation that we have to be able to define how long he worked with you as according to the last month of work time.”

That makes a lot of sense. Once confronted with the facts in the way that you presented it, it’s hard to argue. What’s interesting is that like many entrepreneurs, your business started with a problem you personally were having and we’re looking for a solution to. That’s how businesses should start.

FTC 140 | Time Doctor

Time Doctor: You should not start a business unless you have personally experienced the pain from that situation.

 

In my opinion, you should not start a business unless you have personally experienced the pain from that situation. I talk to entrepreneurs a lot. I like them. They’re my tribe as they probably are for you as well. I can remember a very clear conversation I had with someone who was running software for tattoo parlors. He had never owned a tattoo parlor and he did not have a tattoo. I said, “Start from the beginning. You should go into every tattoo parlor and you should get a tattoo. You should live that life. You should understand their pain. If you can’t do that or you’re not willing to do that, the next step should be to work in a tattoo parlor for a couple of weeks and understand what their problems are. You’ve got to start from that. You’ve got to experience that pain.” I know for me, we’ve been doing this for many years with Time Doctor and I would not have kept going had I not been very passionate about scratching my own itch.

We started a software company based on a problem that we did not have directly and I’ll explain what I meant. When we first started Timeslips Corporation, the entire purpose of the software was completely different than what we ended up with. Our original vision was to build software to keep track of time on the computer so that you can deduct it as a business expense from your taxes. The only reason that we had to do that was that the IRS here in the States said that if you don’t do that, then you can’t deduct the computer. Therefore, you spent all this money and it’s not capital equipment. We set out to build that because I needed that myself. I needed that deduction. I needed a way to deduct the computer, but when we finished the software, the IRS had relaxed that ruling and was no longer requiring people to keep track of time. We racked our brains and said, “How are we going to turn this piece of technology we just created into something of value?”

That pivot became Timeslips Corporation and that was far bigger of a market than the one we started with. Call it divine intervention or whatever you want, the timing was great for us because we had already built a core technology which back then was called pop-up software in DOS. It was a completely different technology that was out at the time. Only some of the leading-edge companies like Borland was doing stuff like that. It’s great when a product comes out of need, even though when we pivoted to working with lawyers, none of us were lawyers. That worked out great because we were completely objective.

We were able to ask lawyers questions and had no opinion on the answer. We just took what they said and implemented it. That for us was a great moment where we were able to take what we knew which was software technology and marketing and morphed it into an industry we had no familiarity with at all. Steve jobs once said something along the lines that great innovation comes from outside of an industry. Clearly, that’s what we did. We were outside the legal industry when we came in. It sounds like you are outside of your industry as well when you came up with the Time Doctor.

One of the big applications that we thought were going to be huge was productivity. One of the biggest applications was in Alpha product and a Beta product. We were going to sell this to people to improve their own personal productivity. We thought that that was going to be a great model and everyone was going to think that was the way to go. People would be willing to pay $10 per month for that type of software. We do have a few thousand customers that use it for themselves, however, that is probably about 3% of our overall revenue.

Never stop a writer from getting in the zone under any and all circumstances. Click To Tweet

We have a passionate user base and they’re the most passionate user base because they want to manage their own time. We recognized and the core assumption that we didn’t realize until we deployed the software was people want to become productive but they’re not going to continue to pay for a product because they need to take action and use it actively to become more productive. That is a big differentiator. We realized it in time but at this point, I would say 95% of our revenue comes from businesses and about 5% comes from individuals. If we had focused on the individual track, we probably would have been a lot smaller than what we are now.

Once again, it starts with this great idea. It starts with the problem you had and need to solve. Here is the perfect example of what you did. You solved the problem and as a result, look at what you’ve created. I wrote a book called The Invisible Organization and that book is all about how CEOs can run a virtual company particularly those who’ve never done it before. It’s about how they can convert their company to a remote company based on digital tools. There’s this whole world out there that is either virtual or they’re based in a physical space or a combination of both. When did you start to see this whole marketplace take off?

To be honest with you, probably only in the last few years. I know that you were earlier than us but everyone was early, me, you and everyone involved. Many years ago, I was being laughed out of. I remember we were looking to raise money at one point and we did get a few term sheets but they came with the caveat of everyone should move to Boston or Toronto or New York or Palo Alto. Then we said, “The mission statement of the company which I think you understand is we’re empowering people to work wherever they want and whenever they want. That’s the core mission statement of everything that we do and all the products that we sell.” They said, “I think that this remote work thing is cool but just trust us. We know what we’re doing. Everyone needs to come to Palo Alto.”

We decided not to take that funding because those organizations or those VCs didn’t understand what was coming. We also understood that for us to continue to experience the pain of what our customer’s experience on a daily basis, you have to continue to eat your own dog food and be a remote organization. We’re both on the same page. I think that building remote organizations is the future. Many years ago, we were being laughed out of rooms. I remember I had a chat with a friend of mine that had sold a company of a couple hundred people. He told me over dinner that he will never start another company in an office ever again. He says, “That’s the way to build it, build it remote, because you have happier employees that are more productive.”

There’s a study by Stanford University called Does Working from Home Work? It’s a 2014 study and in that study, they document proof that people who work from home are a minimum of 13% more productive. The attrition level is far lower. They take less sick days and are much happier with their working environment and the company that employs them. Working from home has been a passion of mine for many years, which is exactly how I built Business Breakthroughs with Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes. It’s completely virtual. I get it and I’ve been an early adopter, but I also have the discipline. What would you say to people who think to themselves, “I wouldn’t mind taking a remote job, but it would be lonely and I don’t know if I could sit there all day at a desk.” What do you say to people like that?

FTC 140 | Time Doctor

Time Doctor: Extroverted people need to be able to get out from their home offices or interact with different people in different ways.

 

We have done some psychometric testing for the community that exists on the side of Time Doctor because we have this great control group to work from. One of the biggest signals that we found towards long-term success with remote work is introversion. Thankfully, about 75% of the population is introverted. If you’re an introverted person like me as an example, then you won’t have as much trouble with remote work. Extroverted people do need to be able to get out of their home offices or they need to interact with different people in different ways. What I would suggest for them and what I do as well is co-working spaces. You see the rise of WeWork and all these other co-working space organizations. I don’t necessarily see them necessarily as co-working, but I would see them almost as like cloud offices. We have cloud servers but now we have large remote work organizations where I can go to any city on planet Earth and there will be a Regus or there will be a WeWork that I can walk into. Because I have an account, I can work out of that place if I want.

That is another interesting phenomenon that’s raised up with remote work in the last couple of years. For people that are extroverted that need that human contact, being able to sit in a different office every single day can be a lot more fun. You get the initial contact that you have with your own team and you interact with them remotely. As an example, we always do video calls. We never do an audio call because you miss some of the subconscious or underlining components of communication when you’re on a phone call versus doing a video call. We always have a higher level of communication or as high level as humanly possible when we interact. Then outside of that, just to be able to get in contact with direct people. You can also have contact with the people at your co-working space. If you travel like me, the different co-working spaces all over the world, which I find quite interesting.

We heard from the regional director of WeWork here in the Fort Lauderdale area. He said that large corporations now are coming in and grabbing huge blocks of their real estate to place their workers in for the social aspect of work, which they had not been able to address with their own facilities. Besides the fact that it saves them money, big companies like Procter & Gamble are now taking up floors on these co-working spaces for their own people. I also think when people travel and want to feel as if they have their office intact, that’s a great way to do it. You drop in even though it’s a different city where you feel as if you’re pretty much home in terms of your work environment. That is something I had never anticipated about a company like WeWork or the type of services they offer.

We have a very interesting phenomenon which is WeWork and Regus, and another one that’s rising up right now which is quite interesting is Selina. WeWork has started what are called co-living spaces, where you have an apartment leased from WeWork and then you also have co-working directly inside of that condo development as an example. Selina is doing the same thing but they are doing it in 43 different cities in Central and South America and most developing cities. They’re deploying infrastructure across. I did a tour of all of the Selinas in Mexico over the last few months and you can drop into Tulum in Mexico.

You can get a nice hotel room and that hotel room also has a place to cook and hang out and it also includes co-working with a reliable internet. For someone like me, that’s great because then I can end up going to places like Tulum and I can work out of those places. I can get the enjoyment out of traveling to a new and interesting destination that maybe not many people have traveled to. I can also make sure that I can do the eight Skype calls that I need to do per day. I can reliably do them and the organization that I’m a part of won’t necessarily have any issues with me.

The longer someone works, the lower their output. Click To Tweet

Since you mentioned that, I had this crazy realization that right downstairs where I live is this entire space dedicated to people who would prefer to work from their apartments. I live in an apartment complex on the South Coast of Florida and amazingly, until you said that, I hadn’t given it a second thought. To me, it looked just, “That’s good. Everyone should have that,” but I realized that’s what’s happening, just what you described even where I live now. You rent an apartment here and you get access downstairs to a beautiful shared space filled with entertainment, not loud entertainment but TV running with the close caption all day long, strong and fast internet, snacks and drinks available to everybody for free. This is just an apartment building. This is the way. This is how the future is going.

The future will be when you have a condo, you have a gym and you have a pool. There will be co-working spaces in most of the condos that are built in the future. I could almost guarantee it and WeWork is the tip of the iceberg. The reason being is once Fortune 500 recognize that you’re going to get the 13% increase in productivity, that you mentioned just from that one study and much better retention rates for employees, it’s simply a matter of time. It’s core economics. Once a couple of these corporations have succeeded at it and they’re beating out their competition, for most companies, it will not be a push, it will be a pull. That’s what we’re experiencing right now. In 2017, we had 2.1% of the US workforce being full-time remote with 54% being part-time remote. This 2018, I believe we’re approximately 3.8%. We’re seeing almost an exponential increase in remote work. I would fully expect to see a 6% to 7% increase next year. Once we surpass 10%, we’re going to see some interesting magic happen particularly in the United States.

What would you say to folks who are working from home about their mental health, about their lifestyle, about how to manage their emotions working alone inside a single room? Talk a little bit about what you noticed after having many clients that have workforces that are exactly at home.

Introversion is probably a good predeterminer of whether or not you’re going to like remote work, but outside of that, it’s making sure that you fight loneliness. I know for us, our personal experience is we’ve had staff that have ended up leaving our organization. Not because they didn’t necessarily like the work or they didn’t find it rewarding, but they broke up with their girlfriend. Now they’re quite lonely in their apartment and they’re all alone. They’ll say, “I’m going to take this job that’s in an office.” That’s happening quite a bit. We now have built strategies to be able to get out in front of that from an HR perspective and realize it and measure that.

There’s also the other side of it, which is we have a developer who got the top ten spot for the Facebook Global Hackathon a few years ago. It’s like top ten developers on planet Earth for that year. He got offers from Facebook and Google, but he is working with us for a much lower salary because he is in Indonesia. He does not want to leave Indonesia and he doesn’t want to move to Palo Alto. Because they wouldn’t give him a remote work agreement, they’re staying with him. Happiness for him is being able to continue to be with his family. He has a salary now that’s exponentially larger than anyone that’s in Indonesia, but it doesn’t compete with Palo Alto, $250,000 a year starting salary but he’s much happier.

FTC 140 | Time Doctor

Time Doctor: You’ll get a lot more productivity if you can adjust your work hours.

 

To some people, you might have even exposed an area that they were unfamiliar with. A lot of people have never thought about taking a company and transitioning it to be a remote workforce. When you are talking to people who have never done that before, what do you see that they’re afraid of? What are the things that make people hesitate from doing this?

Moving someone remote or moving an organization remote is a lot more difficult than what we call remote first companies which are companies that have built their companies with remote as the first choice. There’s a fantastic talk at our conference where the director of HR of GitHub, it’s basically a piece of software where developers can lead their code and they can collaborate on building software together. They got bought for $7.5 billion. They have thousands of people inside of their organization and she talked about reprogramming workers for remote work. It’s a little bit complicated. Being able to understand that the particular work hours that you may work, a 9 to 5, don’t necessarily apply in remote work situations. The data will back that up, that if you’re not a customer support agent or someone that has to be on a particular shift, a lot of the times, you’ll get a lot more productivity if you can adjust your work hours. Then that means also adjusting your collaboration hours.

As an example, inside our organization, we collaborate on Monday evenings. My time which is Monday mornings on the other side of the planet, we have three moments throughout the day where everyone should theoretically be online. Then outside of that, no one needs to be online for any of those other times. For us, we’re focusing on productivity not necessarily people being in a seat as an example. A lot of those things, remote workers or on-premise workers don’t necessarily get. You have to come in and teach them that you don’t have to be here from 9 to 5. If you’re not doing anything, you could take the complete afternoon off and then maybe you start up at 8:00 PM if that works better for you. We’ve been studying developers quantitatively in terms of analyzing how they work using Time Doctor. We find that developers have the same type of work ethics as writers. Writers will get in the zone and what you should do is not stop a writer from getting in the zone, under any and all circumstances.

I’m sure you’ve probably experienced this where you’re on a roll and everything is flowing and you’re writing page after page. You don’t want to stop that process. We’ll see developers that will not work on a Monday but then they’ll work on a Tuesday and they’ll start at 5:00 PM and then might go until 4:00 in the morning. Maybe they are not going to work on Wednesday but then they work for eighteen hours on Thursday as an example. Their actual output is significantly higher than other people. Freeing people from having to work inside of the British industrial revolutionary model of factory 9 to 5 is something that with remote work you don’t have to do anymore. It’s something that does require a little bit of tweaking to get those workers out of that mindset.

The more traditional business audience of this show is probably going to have a little difficulty wrapping their head around this whole idea of letting workers work whenever they want and anytime they want. Having built several software companies and knows exactly what you’re talking about. Even when they work directly at our facility, we never tried to dictate what time they show up, because we knew that intrinsically they’re going to work when they are going to be most productive and we supported that. We thought that was great. Time Doctor is a way of helping them keep track of the hours that they spend so that they know for themselves exactly what’s going on.

Remote is the best model particularly for bootstrapped companies. Click To Tweet

They’re empowered with their own data. We’ve dealt with large companies come in, analyze their data for them, and then we’ve come back with some feedback that they’re not ready to accept yet. It looks like everyone’s working about 45 hours a week except for some departments which are working 26 hours a week. It looks like they’re a lot more productive in terms of output. We should probably have everyone work ten hours less per week and see what happens. Everyone’s job hits the floor, but do you want to make more money and have a more successful business or do you want everyone to still be in the office? That’s the argument that we make a lot.

It’s a battle that we lose the vast majority of the time. The more data that we have, the more that we can arm ourselves with this type of very clear data, which is let’s not focus on how long someone works that has almost zero correlation to their output. In reality, the longer someone works, the lower their output. What we should be doing is focusing on the average office workers, as an example who works about three and a half hours a day on a computer. What if we could, instead of having them in the office for eight, nine, ten hours per day, we could have them work from home. We could have them start at noon and go until 4:00 and get exactly the same output.

People would be so much happier.

Exactly, however, that’s not the way that things work now and it’s something that we’re very passionate about changing.

What’s the name of the conference that you run?

FTC 140 | Time Doctor

Time Doctor: It boils down to culture in general. What kind of company are you going to build?

 

The conference is called Running Remote and it’s specifically for building and scaling remote teams. If you’re interested in building a remote team, this is definitely the conference to come to. If that’s not for you, it’s probably not going to be a great conference. If you’re in any way interested in this subject, something that I have been very passionate. I have a very strong passion for this particular subject. We’ve been bringing together the biggest thought leaders and operators that not many people know about to Bali, Indonesia, to be able to collaborate and build what we call the playbook of how to build and scale remote organizations.

You are giving my audience a gift and I want to make sure I understand it. You said that you would give my audience an interview with Joel Gascoigne, the founder of Buffer. Tell us why that’s such a valuable interview?

Joel has built his company several years. For those of you that don’t know, Buffer is a social media tool on the internet. He has built a team of 100-plus distributed workers. We have employees in 28 different countries. I believe he has employees in approximately the same amount of countries. The thing that is very inspiring for Joel is he has a completely open organization. You can find out how much Buffer makes, you can find out what their churn rate is, you can find out how much Joel is paying, you can find out how much every employee inside of their organization is paid, you can find out who gets shares. He has this almost like a terrarium organization where any outsider can look in and see everything. He doesn’t hold anything back.

He’s a very interesting subject and he has built a remote first company because his belief is that remote is the best model particularly for bootstrapped companies. A very inspiring part of his talk was he had raised money a few years ago and bought back all of the shares because he wanted to continue on with what he was doing. A very inspirational talk and the talk is run by another person that’s been huge in remote work, who is Amir who is the founder of Todoist, which is a task management tool. They have over ten million customers all over the world. Two very interesting remote first founders and if you’re interested in learning more about remote work, they’re a great place to start.

I would love for you to give us an idea of what you think the best way to start a remote work company is. Do you go overseas to find people? Where do you get the people to work remote?

We're entering a completely a new epoch of society as we see the rise of AI and digitization. Click To Tweet

Number one, you have to decide whether or not you’re going to be a remote-first organization or not. There are remote-first organizations, there’s a co-located organization and then there are founder-centric remote companies. We might be getting a little too complicated but we’ve always been fully distributed. What I mean by that is my co-founder is in Sydney, Australia and I’m located in Canada. We’re as far apart as you can humanly get. We have always made the commitment that we’ll never have a central office. We tell other employees inside of our organization, “Please don’t start coming to where we are en masse because then that creates first tier and second tier employees.” Those employees feel like the ones that are closer to the founder get more attention and the ones that don’t have a disadvantage. Understand how you’re going to build this organization because it’s absolutely critical as it applies to your culture. It boils down to culture in general. What kind of company are you going to build?

What’s the mission of the company? Why are you here? What’s the goal? Once you have all of that stuff put together and you’re going to build a remote-first organization, then I would go to platforms like WeWork Remotely or Remote-How and those are two great job boards where you can post jobs only for remote-friendly workers. We do about 90% of our hiring from those two job boards, which is quite surprising. We used to have 30 or 40 job boards and we’ve recognized that the best talent exists on those two. We go to those at this point and then start from there and don’t be biased from where they’re located. That’s something that a lot of people have that institutional bias. The way that we do it is we remove their location when we do our first review of job candidates. Then we just focus on the CV and what’s their job experience and you’ll end up getting absolutely amazing candidates. It doesn’t matter where they’re located, they’re going to do a fantastic job.

I know a lot of people here are either building or starting businesses and so I hope that this show in particular is of value. Maybe spend a few minutes talking about Time Doctor and what you can do for a company owner who’s looking to build a remote workforce.

One of the biggest concerns particularly large organizations have when they want to go remote is what are the people doing if they’re not in the office? Time Doctor solves that problem. The employee has their own personal productivity metrics that they can implement and learn from themselves. Then the managers and HR and the company owner can have all of that data as well. We share our data across the entire organization. Everyone knows that I’m currently doing a podcast and I’ve been on the podcast task for 45 minutes and 59 seconds. Anyone in the organization can see what I’m doing and then I can see what they’re doing. It creates an environment of, “If Liam’s working, then I should be working.” It does create an interesting productivity feedback loop. Then from that you can obviously build insights, you can analyze why someone is not productive and then analyze people that are productive in that same job and see the differences. It’s a tool to be able to optimize productivity.

That same time data can be exported and brought into either payroll software or project management software, I would assume?

We integrate with about 40 different task management and project management software packages. If it’s on the market, we integrate with it.

I have a question for you. This is a question I ask all of my guests and the reason I like this question so much is that this isn’t an aspect of the person that we’re talking to. They would normally not share this in a typical interview. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?

I’ve got a tie. It’s either Émile Durkheim or Elon Musk. Émile Durkheim was one of the first sociologists. He’s the forefather of sociology and he believed that you can engineer society which is what we’re doing with a lot of the things with artificial intelligence. The ability to be able to make sure that people are happy is dependent upon variables. If prices go up in the Middle East for bread then all of a sudden, you’ll have revolution. Durkheim believed that you could turn all these knobs and end up with much happier civilizations and societies. He’s a very interesting character and I would be very interested to hear his insights on what’s happening right now.

I think we’re entering a completely new epoch of society as we see the rise of AI and digitization in general. The other side would be Elon Musk, who I think in a thousand years you won’t remember Steve Jobs, you won’t remember Jeff Bezos, you’ll remember Elon Musk because he will have probably gotten us off of fossil fuels, built solar panels everywhere on planet Earth and colonized Mars. I’m very inspired by those types of entrepreneurs where he’s not necessarily profit-motivated, he’s mission-motivated, which is something that I try to do on a much smaller scale. I’d love to be able to get in his brain for an hour. I think it would be very exciting.

If by chance that happens, can you take me to lunch with you? That’s a guy I would love to meet and he’s probably at the top of my list as well. I’m fascinated by his life and fascinated by his drive and I’m also fascinated by his frailties. He’s not a perfect person. He’s a flawed human being and I like him more because of it. It’s a great choice.

Just from a core IQ perspective, he’s obviously a very intelligent person. He’s very much like a DaVinci, he has the engineering background, but then he also has the creative background. That’s very rare and when you see someone like that, you also understand that because he sees farther than a lot of us, he probably is also very unhappy. I’ve seen interviews with him where he’s been talking about the future of artificial intelligence and he’s been saying this is the most serious concern that we currently have in our time. He’s very unhappy that his thought is we’ve already gone off the cliff, that we’re moving towards a point in which there will be something that will be built in the future. It could be ten years from now. It could be 30 years from now that we will not be able to control. Once that happens, we’re going to enter a completely new epoch in human history.

We’ll be here to see, at least I know that you will. I may not but you certainly will and that’s super exciting. The future is so interesting and the different vectors that we could take in different directions can make such a huge difference. Here’s the grand finale, the final question for the show. It’s the change the world question. What is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?

I think the ability to be able to allow people to work wherever they want, whenever they want will have such massive applications for employee happiness, productivity and environmental shift. That we could make all of humanity 10% happier and we could reduce carbon by 10%. That’s what I’m very passionate about. If I’m going to go to the nth degree of what we’re doing, it is making human civilization happier and making it more sustainable for everyone.

It’s a great mission. It’s one that I will join you on and it already started. Hopefully, together we could do that type of work and inform people of the benefits of being remote workers and how to manage their life as remote workers. That’s the most important thing and you touched on it during our interview. I’m not an introvert but for me, having managed my work life from home has brought me great joy and terrific satisfaction. It’s the critical element of what I’ve become as a remote worker. I’m so glad that we had the time to talk and I do look forward to our next conversation.

Me too.

Thank you, Liam.

Thank you.

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