Founders’ Letter

We’ve built the blueprint for the modern workplace.

Founders’ Letter

We’ve built the blueprint for the modern workplace.

AUGUST 2022 // BY Cornelius McGrath

Introduction

The world has changed dramatically in recent years. It’s evolved, and today we exist on a different planet. 

Work and our relationship to it have changed life the most. Today, work is decentralized, global and remote.

There is a new DNA to the modern workplace, the evolution of which most organizations and professionals are still desperately trying to figure out.

We may live in a new world. But we didn’t all move in at the same time.

Hop Across the Pond

I’ve lived in the new world for a lot longer than most. 

My 7-year head start began 9 years ago on August 19th, 2013, when I moved to the United States from London. 

I was 18 when I hopped across the pond to attend college in South Bend, Indiana, a 100,000-person Midwestern town based in the northeast part of the state.

My entire personal and professional life was rendered virtual overnight, except for 6 Fall weekends each academic year when I could meet anybody I wanted.

From Nobel Peace Prize winners and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies to the Speaker of the House, everybody came to South Bend to cheer on the Fighting Irish, turning the local airport into the La Guardia (LGA) of private jets.

The world was at my fingertips for 72 hours at a time. I’d camp out at the hotel where all the prominent alumni stayed, knowing a Saturday morning of well-executed coffee meetings could transform my life. I loved the buzz. 

These meetings were special because of their transience; they couldn’t happen ‘next week’, so there was an elevated purpose, energy and focus. And since all the leaders I met were out of the office, they were free from distractions and stress. They gave me richer insights because campus required something different from them than the professional world. In short: they could show me more of themselves.

These intense weekends showed me the power of transient physical meetings outside prominent places of commerce. I’d stumbled on a secret weapon 4,00 miles from home.

Remote Before It Was Cool

With that as my backdrop, I spent the next five years of my life, from 2014-2019, leveraging weekends like those to scale a remote startup, bootstrapping it to just shy of $1M in revenue.

During this time, the boardroom became my second home. I built, ran and scaled distributed teams for Google, Charles Schwab, GE, Carnegie Mellon, Unilever, NBC & Whirlpool, proving that remote work was a viable future for businesses everywhere.

It was exhilarating. The best part was I never worked in a formal office. Yet my experiences enabled me to quickly understand what work should look and feel like at its best, regardless of geography.

I became fluent in the new world of work. I spent my days as a translator to organizations of all shapes, sizes, and ages, that wanted to adopt a new way of working.

I was remote long before it was cool.

The Infrastructure Crisis

I’d be lying if I said I saw the pandemic coming. However, I did feel validated when it arrived.

It felt that the world was finally learning to work as I’d always operated, and I took great strength from that in the most difficult of moments. Because (as crazy as it sounds) there was a time when it wasn’t cool to work from home.

Outside of the lives, jobs and opportunities seized by the pandemic, the most significant loss I observed was in the professional infrastructure of the old world.

Most of the infrastructure that came with the old workplace dissipated overnight — it either stopped working (delivery), became irrelevant (innovation), or people just stopped engaging (participation) — and it hasn’t been rebuilt since.

Since I had never worked in a traditional workplace, I had spent my entire life building professional infrastructure for myself out of necessity. It was dog hard, but when the pandemic struck, I owned a playbook that could work independently of any institution, job or workplace, the position every professional and organization in the world now found themselves in.

I inadvertently had what everybody now needed.

The Birth of EE

However, a playbook that lived in my head was no good. I knew I had to build infrastructure that others could use, and that is what I set out to do through Everyday Entrepreneur (EE), productizing myself, my playbook and my experience.

I’ve spent the last two years doing just that. Refining our product and testing our hypothesis of work, life and everything in between in a private beta with 650+ of the world’s top professionals. 

From Austin to Atlanta, Chicago to Casablanca, DC to Denver, LA to London, Nashville to New York, Savanah to South Bend, Memphis to Miami, we’ve proven that EE has what it takes to help high-flying professionals live, work and perform better, regardless of who they are or where they were from.

The pandemic didn’t create EE but it accelerated our discovery by lightyears. I knew the workplace was ready for a transformation, and we were fortunate in a way because the pandemic was a true test of our hypothesis. 

That we were able to thrive amid the largest socio-economic dislocation of a generation is a stunning validation of the anti-fragility of our model. We believe it can only get stronger from here as we go public with the world we’ve built.

Today’s Temperature

Where do we find ourselves today?

After two years of work from home (WFH), professionals are asking themselves whether they will work from their living rooms for the rest of their lives. 

There’s a private desire to turn the page and get back out there. But little desire to return to work in a traditional office setting. Two years of isolation has yielded a demand for travel, conversation and connection. People want to work differently than before.

Meanwhile, organizations largely shielded from their inaction over the last two years are springing into life. Recent changes in macroeconomic conditions mean the rubber is hitting the road; firms must simultaneously now reduce burn and increase performance. Leaders must act and start doing things differnetly.

The easiest snap decision is to revert to their old ways of working and force people back to the office. People returning to the office doesn’t mean they will have what it takes to thrive in this new world and you risk alienating key talent in the process.

It’s left both sides wondering: what’s the viable path forward?

Work Virtual, Gather Physical

The best articulation of the future has come from Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz at a16z.

To thrive in this new world, firms must be able to operate primarily virtually but “materialize physically on command”, quickly assembling anywhere across the globe in a fashion that drives creativity, collaboration and culture.

In the old world, a16z were a single office firm. Now, their headquarters are in the cloud. In layman’s terms, they’re taking money they would have spent on real estate and investing it on travel and off-sites, which they host for employees every 6-8 weeks.

Marc says this is where real bonding can happen, over hikes, long dinners, and parties on the beach. It charges the firm with the social energy it needs to thrive remotely and for its staff to feel connected. When the team starts to feel isolated and frayed, it brings everybody back together to reignite that unique sense of community and group cohesion.

We agree with this.

The problem is very few businesses can do this today, and even fewer can do it consistently well or sustainably. But we’ve found it’s not for lack of appetite. Firms want to adopt a new operating model (in spirit) but lack the infrastructure, expertise, and resources to execute (in practice)traditional event-community functions are expensive, coordination overhead is through the roof, and workplace tools simply aren’t enough to fulfil the needs of the modern-day workforce.

Organizations are desperate for a blueprint for the modern workplace; they just don’t have what it takes to build their own.

This feels like the right moment to open ours to the world at large.

Introducing EE

EE is the world’s first workplace concierge. 

We’ve built the infrastructure for the modern workplace, enabling organizations and individuals to thrive in the new world of work. Our platform is accessible to ambitious organizations and professionals worldwide via our membership. 

Inside is a bundle of products that unlock performance, ideas and potential. We provide access to the services that are critical for success in the new world.

We curate global experiences while giving access to the cutting-edge training, talent and services you need to thrive. 

We’re your API to the new world of work—a one-stop shop for all your most pressing and personal needs. Our only goal is to make a difference in your daily life, bringing you closer to who you want to become on a personal or professional level.

If that’s you, get in touch. We’d love to welcome you into our world.

Cornelius McGrath

FOUNDER