167. Mo Hamzian: Everyone Deserves the Best Workplace
There’s a lot of speculation about the future of work — what form it will take, where it will be done, and who will do it (including the robots versus humans debate). We talk to Mo Hamzian, an entrepreneur who is not only theorizing about the future of work, but building newly imagined workspaces that combine spatial design with technology and custom services, making elite workspaces available to everyone.
Key Takeaways and Actionable Insights
Entrepreneurship is now both an economic and societal trend, opening up business opportunities of its own.
Entrepreneurship is now, as our guest Mo Hamzian styles it, “a thing”. It’s in the forefront of culture, it’s always in the news, it’s a lifestyle choice as well as a business choice, it’s a career, it’s a source of new heroes for our time.
- Institutions of entrepreneurship are growing: schools are teaching entrepreneurship, media are covering entrepreneurship, technology is supporting entrepreneurship.
- Standards are emerging: tools like our own value learning process and 4 Vs value generation model, as well as processes like the Business Model Canvas are becoming standards of the entrepreneurial method.
- The sharing of entrepreneurial knowledge in a community is expanding via mentoring by experienced entrepreneurs.
As a consequence, we see the emergence of new societal norms.
An entrepreneurial society favors self-reliance over dependency, resourcefulness over entitlement, breakout achievement versus structured conformity, and creativity over formula. Entrepreneurship is understood as a journey that is never completed, and may adaptively follow many diversions in pursuit of evolving goals, rather than a predictable climb up the hierarchical ladder of the corporation. Keep thinking rather than keep climbing.
Even inside the corporation, structure is giving way to small self-organizing teams and corporate procedures are being replaced by adaptiveness and agility.
One of the implications of the growth of entrepreneurship is the trend that gets the name “The Future Of Work”.
Entrepreneurship brings many significant social changes, including flexibility of time and place and methods of work. And the government’s pandemic policies of shutting down office and work spaces and encouraging work-from-home accelerated those changes. Now it is clear, more than ever, that, in the digital age, there is no need whatsoever to commute through grey suburbs on jammed roads or overcrowded trains to get to a dull and depressing cubicle farm just so that you can be in the same building with the other sad souls who are your colleagues.
Cities will empty out, commercial office markets will enter a period of secular decline, and individuals will feel liberated and empowered to do their best work in the physical location and surroundings of their choice.
One way to seize the opportunity represented by the future of work is via real estate itself — repurposed and re-imagined.
Mo Hamzian is an entrepreneur who sees the opportunity in real estate for work where many might see only decline. He looks at it through a different lens, as entrepreneurs do. Can real estate provide the multi-purpose flexibility and adaptiveness required for today’s and tomorrow’s work patterns? It can if looked at creatively.
The creative lens is the customer-first lens: everyone deserves the best workplace.
Business thinking that prioritizes customer sovereignty can often solve the most challenging problems. Mo Hamzian translates the unmet needs of today’s distributed workforce as seeking the best space from which to work — comfortable, well-equipped, good acoustics and conferencing technology, a place that “recognizes you” and your needs.
He developed his ideas, in part, by studying the workspaces of the business elites — the top bankers, tech executives and corporate CEO’s. These are immersive, high tech, high comfort, high style ecosystems you never want to leave. They’re available to a very few. What if they were made available to a much wider audience? This is the way many markets evolve — first, affordable at great expense only for a few, then quickly expanded to a mass audience.
This is the idea behind VEL — Mo Hamzian’s startup to bring elite workspaces to a wide audience of users on demand.
- Do your best work: the VEL concept is aimed at personal productivity, encouraging the individual to achieve high quality output in a temporary workspace. This implies, of course, some responsibility and commitment on the part of the user.
- Achieve flow: the ultimate level of individual work is characterized by the feeling of flow — the fulfilment of experiencing how good you are and how much you are improving while doing your work. VEL’s workspace and technology are designed to support flow.
- Elite environment for everyone: Mo Hamzian’s study of immersive elite workplaces enables designs that bring the same experience to a temporary workspace.
- Technology: From wi-fi telecommunications and conferencing to (in the future) A.I. and VR and holography, there’s a lot that technology can do to support high quality and high productivity work, and VEL can provide it on demand at variable cost and affordable pricing.
- Flexible access: customers can rent VEL space and technology by the hour or by the day, in whatever configuration they prefer.
- Democratization and decentralization: VEL workspaces are available to all, with an aim to distribute them across the country for wide availability, whether urban, suburban, or rural, wherever work can be done.
- Customization and recognition: Ultimately, the high-tech VEL workspace will recognize the individual when they walk in and configure to their customized set of needs.
The VEL concept removes frictions and barriers that might otherwise stand in the way of the future of work and the future of distributed entrepreneurship.
As we advance towards a more entrepreneurial future across the entire business landscape, from big corporations operated by flexible, agile teams to individual practitioners, gig workers and small, highly specialized and highly networked companies, concepts like VEL will be an important part of the enabling infrastructure.
Mo’s LinkedIn page: LinkedIn.com/in/MoHamzian
Mentioned by Mo as a worthwhile mentoring site: GrowthMentor.com
VEL website: MyVEL.com