Working From Home: Episode 20 – How tech is changing the way we work with Shaaz Nasir
Nelson is joined by Shaaz Nasir to discuss digital transformation in government, academic, and business spaces. Shaaz is currently the Director of Digital Transformation for Microsoft’s Digital Advisory Group.
[1:19] – What is digital transformation, and who needs it?
[7:58] – Tesla’s example of what digital transformation can do for a company–a technology company that builds cars.
[11:33] – Shaaz provides concrete examples of digital transformation projects he’s worked on.
[23:45] – How COVID has pushed digital transformation into hyperspeed.
[34:46] – Americans work a lot of hours, but are they actually more productive?
[47:33] – The truth about class mobility in the United States.
[57:45] – Reimagining cities and how they provide for their populations.
[1:00:10] – Fighting against biases–logics versus emotions.
[1:01:17] – Closing thoughts–what changes can we expect to see over the next few years?
Nelson: Hello, and welcome to the working from home podcast. I’m your host Nelson Jordan. And today I’m thrilled to be joined by Shaaz Nazir. Shaaz is the director of digital transformation at Microsoft and co-founder of mindness magazine. Shaaz, thank you so much for joining us.
Shaaz: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Nelson: No, no problem at all. Just to give people a bit of a background before we jump into Shaaz’s role. Shaaz and I actually went to school together for a very, very short period of a couple of years when we were both younger and completely different, but it’s great we’ve been able to reconnect for the podcast. So that’s a plus one in the podcast positives column, for sure.
So Shaaz, what is digital transformation?
Shaaz: It’s a great question that everyone, I think, is asking these days. I think it really comes down to simply looking at your business or looking at your company or looking at your government and just asking yourself what role does technology play in trying to get things done a lot quicker.
And then the second question is that transformation part. Like what, who are you and what do you want to be for the future? So I think those two things are critical to kind of understand what is digital transformation. I view it as a verb. It’s like something you do, it’s something who you are.
Nelson: Okay. And who, who does that, is that companies, is that individuals, is that government?
Shaaz: It’s really across the gamut. Everyone across industries are trying to figure out who really does this. When it first started up, I would say it probably started within the chief technology office domain, whether that’s in the private sector or that’s the government, usually the person that owns the keys to technology would usually drive that type of transformation, before it was kind of more of an IT focused centric effort where, you know, upgrade our computers. We need to shift to the cloud, perhaps migrate a few apps, but then as time went on and as more business folks began to see the value of technology, that’s when the lines again, blurring and we saw roles like chief digital officer come around where the person doesn’t need to have an immensely technical aptitude, but rather be the bridge between the business world and the technology world, and that runs through true through government as well. Around the CTO level, sometimes even the CFO, the chief financial officer would sometimes want to begin to use technology to find the places where they could increase revenue or decrease their risk.
Nelson: So for me, and correct me if I’m wrong, that sounds like a bit of a change from that tactical outlook to more of a strategic one.
Does that ring true?
Shaaz: Absolutely. I see transformations always critical. It’s always important, but the conversation has kind of moved on from, you know, providing laptops or upgrading your mice or, you know, introducing better keyboards to more about what are we as an organization and in what role can technology really play to help transform us? Maybe we need to enter new markets. Maybe we need to serve new people if you’re the government. So it’s really more strategic in terms of really existential, almost where you’re always asking, who are we, what are we, where are we trying to go in the next two years?
Nelson: What sort of entities do you typically work with in terms of governments versus private companies?
Is there a mix or is it skewed towards one in particular?
Shaaz: Yeah. So at Microsoft, I’m with the state and local government team. So as the director of digital transformation, I focus on helping governments at a state level or province level and the city level. So working with the mayor’s office or working with the governor or Premier’s office, based on what country you’re in, I am solely based on focusing on helping the US right now that’s what our team is focused on. So I usually come in and work with senior executives. But honestly, I’ll work with anyone who wants or who needs the help. It doesn’t really matter, but yes, there’s usually a senior executive that’s in the play for the project. It could be ranging from two to four weeks or sometimes one year plus depending on the type of engagement, but usually, we’re brought in when.
Either the chief digital officer or even, you know, the commissioner of an agency really wants to change something. That’s kind of when hopefully they say we need Microsoft to come in their and kind of provide that nexus between business transformation and technology transformation. I think that’s the difference of people I’m sure right now I’m wondering this doesn’t essentially do this or don’t other folks do this?
I mean, they do in their own. And so I think every company has their own advantage with Microsoft. At least we can kind of bring you the full end to end, like coming up with the strategy, but eventually you’ll end with someone, if you choose to, hands on keyboards, coding, creating that AI cognitive service.
We have a massive partnership ecosystem as well that we can leverage. So that’s kind of the, it’s a, it’s a new team, a new role it’s been around for a few years. I think he was underneath the Satya, our CEO’s new mandate, to kind of really bring about that digital growth mindset. And this is where that role kind of came to life.
Nelson: That sounds interesting. So is it maybe the CTO or, kind of, somebody that’s quite senior and realises or encounters a problem. Is that when the, the kind of red flags are raised and they say, okay, well this can’t happen again. Or is it more like, okay, now we’ve got to step back, we need to think, how are we going to compete with X, Y, and Y and Z from a private company level, or, you know, how are we going to be able to offer this, this and this to, to the people in our region from, from a government level?
Shaaz: Absolutely. So being reactive and proactive. So within government States, they usually review their strategy every year. They have a hundreds of really top tier to bureaucrats grinding through the strategy. What’s the vision, who are we trying to be? How are we trying to serve people? And an often younger folks are the ones that kind of come in and say, have you considered this technology? Or have you considered crowdsourcing ideas that they’re the ones that kind of begin bubbling some of that interesting different, you know, look at what other countries are doing. Are we doing this? And that kind of begins to percolate from the bottom up, but then there’s also of course, top down on the government side where there’s a new CIO or there’s a new CTO, or there’s a new commissioner that wants to make their mark and they’re coming from the private sector and they kind of know about what the transformation is all about. So they’d begin asking those questions. You know, why is it that our team only does one, two, three? Is there a way that all 14 of our agencies can work together on the private sector side? It’s a bit more, a lot more benchmarking. I would assume, for their competitors really, you know. Everyone knows that Netflix, for example, used to ship out DVDs and now obviously they’re an online platform for multiple content. So that’s just a short sign of how they kind of reinvisioned themselves across the lines. So it’s always massive competition, Tesla is another a great example of treating the car as not just a vehicle, but really as data generation machine, and then being the manager of that beta as a company, again, that’s transforming the role of vehicles and it transforming the role of manufacturing. I think Ford now declares itself as a technology company that builds cars, a very interesting nuance shift in how they approach things. So, yeah, that’s usually how it kind of comes about.
Nelson: Hmm. And what projects are you typically engaged on? Obviously you gave some examples kind of across the board there, Netflix, that was kind of a strategy and a business model change, and then obviously via a new platform. And then again, you’ve kind of listed business strategy there. Do you tend to get involved mainly on the strategic level in terms of saying, okay, this is the objective, this is how you should get there as a company or a part of government, or is it more they’ve already decided on a particular objective in a way to get there and then you’re okay. This is the way that we make it happen or, or a mix of both.
Shaaz: It really is a mix of both. I think in terms of the government, what happens is different agencies, in different government institutions have a lot of great technology already and then they begin asking you, how do we increase adoption? And then that leads to why aren’t people maybe using the most that we have. And then that leads to, I think it’s a cultural thing. And then that’s when hopefully, either my colleagues who are more focused on technology with the, ah, we need to bring in a, digital advisor or, you know, director of digital transformation to kind of come in here and talk about that culture. That’s kinda when we come in and say, okay, increasing adoption’s great and, you know, using your tools makes sense you’ve made that investment, but what are you trying to do? Like a hundred percent people using Microsoft teams is a wonderful output. But in terms of the outcome, I assume you’re trying to increase collaboration, which is a cultural attribute rather than a technology ability. So let’s take about,
Nelson: sorry. The technology is that to act as the facilitator, it’s not a goal unto itself. It’s a tool.
Shaaz: Exactly. And that’s kind of where our team comes in and really helps whoever working with at the agency level to really think about, you know, what is your roadmap like? What is your three to four year technology roadmap? What do you already have? And then let’s see how we can help your employees, kind of empower them, so kind of really use the most out of these tools, but more importantly, build a certain culture or maybe you already have a culture and you just never thought of it that way. So then now we’re introducing the CTO with the head of HR and maybe they’d never talked before, but the head of HR has their own massive employee empowerment program, but never talked about Microsoft teams or never mentioned any of those solutions in there.
So it’s kind of interesting how we come in sometimes and just act as a catalyst. Cause most of the time, you know, these are really smart people and they know what they’re doing. It’s just that they’re so focused on the here and now because of, you know, crazy things are happening around the world, there’s COVID, that sometimes, it’s hard to kind of think, you know, are other people doing this already? You, how are we connecting the dots as an advisor? We’re kind of there in that role to really help them out that way.
Nelson: Would you be able to give us some concrete examples of projects that you’ve worked on? Because I find like something, a concept such as digital transformation can kind of remain as this, Almost airy-fairy concept that’s quite hard to actually think about what it is in a material fashion. So maybe, maybe in a project or two, as an example, would be really useful.
Shaaz: Sure. Absolutely. A hundred percent. And I have to, I won’t be able to mention the names per se for privacy reasons, but I’ll definitely go as detailed as possible.
So let’s say there’s a central IT organization and they’re really used to kind of controlling the leaders and controlling the tools that other agencies have to use. So it’s kind of a very centralized sense of operating your technology stack that, if you have 50 different agencies and you have 50 different requests, you all have to come to me, the central IT department for me to determine when to use what.
Now that sounds good, it sounds safe and secure and it can be in many different cases, but as you can imagine, it’s hard to be agile with that type of structure in place. When you have 50 different agencies with their own demands, let’s say you have an agency that focuses on peoples with disabilities and you have an agency that focuses on, youth, and then you have another agency that’s focused, maybe on aging, those three agencies should be able to work together like this. They probably have very similar mission statements, but they can’t because they have different subscriptions to different tools and they have to somehow, you know, submit the procurement process internally, not even externally, to really get that going. And it takes a year or two, maybe three, maybe four, maybe five is backlog. Yeah, it’s not effective. And then this push and pull, so it what’s happening, at least of the projects I’ve done, is really sit down with certain executives at that IT department and talk about what ways can we decentralize this power in a way that let’s say, you know, shifting to Azure, you know, those data centers that are not necessarily the most, they won’t really be generating revenue. So you might as well shift that into an Azure cloud or maybe a hybrid cloud solution thing, all what you want to do. So we really sit down and say, okay, if you do want to go to Azure, or maybe you want to use a bit of on premises, your own data center and then hash out, okay let’s develop a whole plan for that. Let’s develop a really, you know, adoption, lot of change management, lot culture adoption in there, but then let’s also think about what those three agencies are trying to do, and then let’s bring them into the solution. So that’s a tactile thing that we did was while we’re working on the Azure cloud strategy, we also brought in those three different agencies to really think about what are you all trying to do? What if your five MVPs could have been one and you can maybe develop, let’s just say a certain service that helps youth who are feeling lonely, connect them with older folks who are being lonely as well, and then tie those two different initiatives with perhaps the ministry of culture that you’re working with that’s looking for people to share the culture and data information with programs. So that’s kind of like a tactile thing we’ve done. It’s, I mean, do people go around and excited for digital transformation, like I know no one knows us as DT, but it’s really at the end of the day of okay changing the business model of how that IT organization functioned, but then also thinking about the end user or the citizen and how they experience those three different agencies and then tying it all together as program of change where we develop roadmaps that say, okay, you want to do these five things because the prime minister or the president wants that. This is how you’re going to do it, by the way, you’re already halfway there. It was just that you weren’t communicating with each other. So let’s deploy or let’s actually, sometimes they even buy the products, but they choose to turn them off or fear of whatever reason.
So we come in and say don’t be afraid of these things. You’re literally paying for them. Let’s turn on some of these features and we’ll help you kind of build those innovation hubs internally. So then I’m not needed per se. So it’s kind of, we’re not trying to just come here and latch onto you for 50-year engagement, it’s more about let’s figure out what your business problems are. Let’s figure out how to reduce your costs as a government, because you know, COVID and all these different trying things. But then let’s also remember that the government can be the largest source of innovation for any city. It’s thanks to the government we went to the moon it’s thanks to the government. We have the internet, that initial early investments in the Pentagon kind of led to the internet, so I often always challenged with folks that, you know, government can’t do anything it’s too slow. It’s too old. And yeah, if you keep calling something slow and old, it tends to just remain that way.
Nelson: I mean, there’s so many things to unpack here. So just bear with me for a little while. Cause that’s a, that’s an extremely good answer. So on the very last thing you said, just because that’s front of mind. Yeah. Government does get obviously some slack and for a lot of times it is for good reasons, let’s not pretend otherwise. In terms of this, though, the, the interesting thing for me isn’t to get lost on like what government’s supposed to be about and isn’t for different cultures in different countries and things like that. It’s to say that sometimes governments can commit to projects that private companies can’t. Because private companies by and large are focused on being profitable. Governments don’t necessarily have to do that. They can commit to things that don’t make money, actually will never make money, but actually act as a source of information and new products and new services and just general innovation that then gets used by private companies, and kind of improves the whole system so they can take on just different scope of projects.
Just going back though, one of the other things I found really interesting with what you were saying is it seemed to me that there were so many different things coming along when you mentioned things like the technological change, but also like the mindset change that was quite inherent in that conversation and that project example, because I can imagine, just with some of the encounters that I’ve had, that yes you might be able to get the agencies on board by pointing out the objectives that they’re going to be able to achieve by working together with that sense of collaboration and gathering people for like the ideation stage of these processes. Totally get that because it’s so much more obvious to them, the gain. What do you face on the other side from the people that are effectively might see it as giving up a form of control? I, the central IT hub who used to have all this control or the, the say so of what happened, because of that decentralized nature of things.
Shaaz: Yeah. That’s definitely a great question. It really comes down to what you want to do and what you want to be as a central IT organization. So if you’re usually the senior execs really do understand the need to evolve. And I’m not saying everyone has to be decentralized, there’s usually a nice mix between the two. But it’s quite often those sometimes ho are stuck in the middle of the org chart that are sometimes incentivized or afraid, or are not empowered to really embrace that change because they’ve been doing something for the last 20, 30 years and now you’re saying I need to go to a cloud environment. Yeah, I need to refractor all my apps. I need to reimagine the business workflows of how I manage things. And now you’re telling me I need to do Azure dev ops. That takes five of my people and turns them into almost in terms of like 15 in terms of the quality of output. Because now that we’re working a bit more agile, rather than the waterfall approach, this is a lot of change and this is going to change my life, at least my work life. Like this is intense. So you tend to kind of hold off on that and hold on to the processes that you’ve mastered and that have worked in their defense, Hey, we’re a functioning, you know, we’re function. We’re, we’re, we’re people are using our services. Things are working for those folks.
It really, it comes down to understanding and empathizing that, you know, imagine if you, if your whole life is turned upside down and your job description just completely got reinvented for some, you know, that’s frightful, not everyone has a growth mindset. Only because sometimes it’s a bit of a luxury to have a growth mindset because you’re stable and you have income that’s coming in, you have a happy, healthy household, so taking those bold risks definitely kind of create kind of anxiety almost. But again, we work with the IT department, we don’t come in with a hammer or de-centralize the whole thing it’s more of Okay, let’s, you know, for example, we do use a methodology called pro side, it’s change management methodology, it’s the ADKAR model (won’t nerd out to that) but there are tools and methodologies that turn those folks. some folks that really are a part of the solution rather than kind of against it. And quite often they have the knowledge and skill. They’re very useful. One thing that they don’t understand is like when I come in, I’m like you’re all very useful people. You all have immense knowledge and skill and history for the last 20, 30 years. I don’t have. However, let’s take that intelligence and remold it into something that ensures that at the end of the day, the right agency gets the right technology so that humans can get the right services. So be on the right side of history and control the narrative in a way that now you are able to more effectively deal out services at a much higher rate, because at the end of the day, working for the government, it’s a calling to public service it’s something that, you know, you could probably go make a lot more money to go to the private sector. So it is, it’s a calling it’s an honor, and let’s just really respect that why they’re there rather than coming in to saying use these fancy methodologies, you’re all useless. Like that’s… other companies definitely like to go down that route, but a t least, luckily I had been fortunate throughout my life where I don’t, I mean like that’s not my approach and that’s not Microsoft’s approach. We’re definitely more of a learn it all, rather than a know it all company, in the last few years, we’ve shifted our approach into terms of that, but that should be what it is.
So let’s not view them as laggards or view them as people who are anti-change. It’s more of folks who are afraid of their job security, or maybe we don’t understand what we’re saying or maybe just don’t want to change. And I mean, to understand, you know, why not? Like what are the benefits of the status quo? And let’s incorporate that in our five-year journey.
Nelson: So within your remit, it sounds like you’re not just talking to the top-level people, you’re also working with those in kind of middle management and down to make sure that they’re all on board as well. And they’re empowered to do so. Is that, is that right?
Shaaz: Absolutely again, like I work with pretty much with anyone that wants to get things done for the public service. If you’re a junior analyst, if you’re a senior, we at Microsoft, we’re not, Oh, I’m a director, I’ll only talk to CEO level. I, I hang out with everyone, before COVID obviously anyone at any level, I don’t care. “You’re all hard workers. Y’all brilliant people. Let’s all work together” is usually our approach.
Nelson: I want to change gears a little bit now, just because I know you and I have had conversations about this in the past, given that your role is essentially to help people assess mega trends, things that are happening like right now, but more importantly, what’s going to occur in the future and how they kind of prepare for those in terms of solutions and transformation. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, given that you mentioned COVID there. So what’s your kind of take on it?
Shaaz: It has really been, the last seven months you’ve seen probably three years of transformation. So the amount of calls we’re getting across the country from state and local to really figure out how do we develop and push out unemployment insurance system within days, not years. How do we all of a sudden empower 30,000 people to work from home where we’ve never even let them or allowed them to take their laptop home. Some of these folks don’t even have laptops, so what are you going to do? Take the physical tower home? Like, so it really has been, intense the tech intensity of governments across the States. And of course the world has been accelerated by a thousand million percentile. The thing there is that it both presents, you know, exciting times or this is wonderful. You know, executives are now empowered by, those who control the budgets to now go off. Okay. You know, here is the money that you need to kind of go off and really make the most out of Microsoft office and the whole 365 suite. Here’s where you can invest with, you know, surface laptops for everyone. That’s all great. That’s great. And that’s step one in terms of get a rebound. And then you kind of need to, well, first need you to respond if you will, and then rebound, and then re-imagine, is the flow. And quite frankly, everyone’s doing all three at the same time. So it’s kind of COVID has kind of also forced everyone to think about what’s the future like, working from home as an example is a massive change. Many people… I know folks working at home right now, listening to this podcast, but I’ve been doing this for a year. It’s not a big deal, but for the government, I’ve definitely, and I’ll switch gears where I work for the Government of Canada and different agencies and great experiences, it was, it was an honor, across the board, but there’s definitely were some conversations many years ago where you can see those senior executives being, just not connecting, like what do you mean? You’re going to take your laptop and work at home. Who’s watching you? How would you manage your walk around, walk the halls, talk, how would you ever communicate with other people? It seems like a guaranteed way of siloing you off. What’s the internet quality like, who pays for the internet, all these questions come up. And so those certain executives have kind of come around to this reality. And this is kind of like a really forced MVP on working from home for multiple governments, where they don’t have a choice. You’re not going to get everyone with Covid to come to work. So we’ve seen a lot of different governments really show that they can be fast, that they can be agile and that, you know, thousands of different government employees across America, if not tens of thousands actually are now working at home safely, securely, not all perfectly.
Of course, it’s a learning curve and I do miss going to the office. I miss talking to people, but the one change for sure, is that working from home is not just going to be a COVID only thing. And then we all get our vaccines, hopefully, and then we’re at a hundred percent back to the office. I don’t think that’s going to happen at the same time I don’t think we’re forever going to be working from the home. But if you’re a government executive and let’s say maybe you own, buildings, own actual buildings housing tens of thousands of people. Can we like sell some of that and then kind of off those costs as hard fixed costs that we can keep getting and then reinvest it into something else that’s been more productive and maybe create offices that are more, not open offices, they have issues as well, but then hybrid between cubicle and open.
So those are types of structural changes that are coming right now where a certain governments would be selling some of their buildings for good, and then reinvesting the money into newer offices that encourage healthier and happier workplace. But definitely see that as being one of the biggest trends.
Now I do see a nuance between the public sector and private sector. Certainly I can’t speak to every sector, but, I definitely see pushback from banks. Across the board. They really want you to show up, they really believe in showing up working those long hours. Not all banks, though the culture is still ingrained, it’s rated the culture change more than a technology issue that you’ve got to be here.
Nelson: Shaaz, when you’re talking about banks, do you mean in terms of headquarters or the real kind of like top finance? Are you talking in terms of the consumer facing bank branches?
Shaaz: I’m mainly talking about those big headquarters that house 20 to 30,000 people, commercial banks in terms of like your bank tellers that changed and has been for a while with apps, with online services, with things like wealth simple, and that’s a whole other beast of itself that’s already happening.
But in terms of the headquarters, those who thought they were, you know, not touched by digital transformation are now having this tug of war where a lot of folks are saying, Oh, you know, I can, as an investment banker, I can work remotely do so quite effectively, while others are no the numbers are down engagement is down. Again, I’d like to invite those folks that say, things are down to like, what are these KPIs you’re measuring? If you are still very well-functioning as a team, if the investment banker is happy in his or her life, and the results are still being cured so then what are these KPIs are indicating something’s going wrong. So that’s another, sometimes people overanalyze, Decembers, someone did you know, you haven’t logged into your computer for 14 hours a day. That’s a negative. I’m like, is it a negative? I don’t it has the person got the work done? Yes or no? If no, then yeah. Okay. Here we go. We’ve got a problem here, but yes, then to me that’s basic math. Like that’s productivity increasing. It’s literally the definition of productivity where you can work a bit less, but get the same amount of stuff done, like that’s a good thing we all celebrate while the argument on the flip side… Yeah, go ahead.
Nelson: Yeah. I was just thinking that, about just like hang overs from old cultural assumptions and cultural expectations as well within certain industries I’m thinking of, and you’ll know it quite well, I guess with your background, but, companies like, investment banking, sorry industries, industries, like consulting industries, like law, where the expectation is, especially for the more junior members of staff, an insane amount of work. You know that’s kind of part and parcel with the expectations there in terms of working basically every hour under the sun, pulling all nighters, being available seven days a week, those kinds of things that I find personally ridiculous, but others might wear them as a badge of honor, especially if that kind of on the partnership track.
What, if any, have you seen kind of changes there? That must have been like a real difference?
Shaaz: I have a lot of friends who are consultants and their lives have been completely transformed for those listening usually you’re you’re working four days or five days at a client site, which means you flew somewhere and then you fly back for two days to your home and then you do it again and you go for four weeks. And then sometimes I do it for four months. Depends on how your lifestyle is. And I used to work for a central strategy and it was a wonderful time in the middle East, working in Abu Dhabi, a lot of smart city stuff, and I did that back and forth. It was great. I loved it. You know, we got the points on is exciting and fun, but you know, I’m actually, if you keep working on 100 hours or 80 hours a week, it’s not sustainable.
So I do see resistance in some firms. I do see acceleration and others where they’re kind of actually trying to take the hot desk work from wherever you want, who cares that the client wants you to be here, then better be here. But otherwise the main change I’m seeing is generation Y and generation Z is that, you know, who’s listening. They on average would rather not work a hundred plus hours a week. The don’t. I was speaking to high level on purpose, cause some really do. That’s fine, but it’s not. So many studies have shown that it’s not the healthiest, nor is it the most productive, like it’s one thing working a lot and trying to get a lot of things done and being the best you can be and outperforming everyone.
Then there was another thing where it’s a cultural thing. You have to work a hundred hours, don’t something’s wrong. So a lot of these, funny enough, some of the top tier consulting companies will push out white papers, talking about productivity and work life balance. I’m like completely, yeah, it’s great you’ve proven this. This is wonderful. Look turn around and apply it to yourselves. So I do see in law firms are also definitely changing based on the type of law you’re doing at the end of the day. If you are in an industry that does charge per hour, it’s going to be hard to really transform that business model.
But we are seeing different companies. I guess again, like I speak to a center maybe perhaps Deloitte, that they are trying to really think about work-life balance. Work life fusion, I guess, is the new phrase. A lot of folks use these days, see change is coming in that industry destined to because like gen Y and gen Z make up the majority of the workforce in America now that is a lot of like strengthened numbers. The reason why people, 70% of the people who leave their jobs, usually because of their direct line manager. And if you dig deeper into that stat, at least in America, you could probably can point work-life balance being one of the biggest issues or work-life infusion.
So that’s just something to take in mind. So the whole world around us right now is changing. And the next we fast forward, 10 years, people will say that this year, and these last let’s say 2018 to 2022 was the inflection point or whatever massive changes and how we work. Hmm.
Nelson: Now I remember seeing some stats and this is a few years ago, to take things with a pinch of salt, but about the number of hours that Americans in general worked versus the actual productivity and the numbers were not good. Scary amount worked and people skipping on, not taking their vacation days and all these kinds of ridiculous things from that too.
Shaaz: That’s so I don’t know, of course. The majority, you can go into the OACD website and read all these stats, but the it’s safe to say at the high level, the majority of Americans don’t take the majority of their vacation days.
That’s just a very general, it’s on average that’s what it is, which is not healthy. It doesn’t lead to a healthy lifestyle. I mean, the rates of obesity are quite high in America, healthcare system isn’t the best it can be based on the investment we’re making in it, it doesn’t take a super genius to see like, Hey things aren’t working. I mean, if you look at France, actually, it’s one of the most productive countries in the world. And everyone always laughs at France and all those guys take breaks all the time.
Nelson: Yeah, I, it’s, it’s a fun example to use because I own a company in France, that imports Marine, well imports to the Marine industry, rope broke products basically for, for yachts and we don’t get anything done in August. Like the whole, the whole of August, nothing. Maybe half of July has gone as well. And a bit of September. We can’t get hold of anyone like the outbound sales just doesn’t exist and like emails go unread. Like nothing, nothing happens. And people don’t really believe this unless you’ve been to France for a holiday or even to Spain for the similar period. It’s that period of like July to beginning of September, everybody leaves the city. Everyone goes on holiday. Everyone takes holiday at the same time.
Shaaz: You know, they’re more productive. And folks are listening. Like what what’s going through. Actually the OEC again, neutral organization, slice and dice all the data sets the best minds in the world, and to keep coming up with the same conclusion, like they are overall, a more productive society. So then again, those are the types of mega trends that are coming. I think when gen Y is kind of getting older, they’re getting the managerial positions, the VP position like we are, I think that’s going to be the second lever of massive change is of course was technology. But then there’s people with the right mindset now having power, some will revert back to, you know, they want to be like the boomers. They want to be like the next, the whole different psychology in terms of why, but you will get a significant chunk that will remember how it was when they were a junior analyst getting yelled at for not working 130 hours and I’m going to do things differently
Nelson: Yeah, it reminds me of that particular attitude of, and keep in mind that 99% of my knowledge about America comes from TV sitcoms. So that’s the caviat. But it reminds me of like the hazing that you see at, at universities, or we see through TV at universities and colleges as you guys call them. But it’s that “Well, we went through it. So like, we’re going to put these guys to come after us for it as well”
Shaaz: trial of passage or one of the phrases. Yeah. It’s not healthy. And I do see certain cities and countries and companies, within America that are trying to pushing on unlimited vacation, which has its own interesting issues.
It’s more of a, like a tax on tax. What is it? If you are a startup and you give unlimited vacation then means you don’t need to hold the capital, the money that’s needed. If you give everyone 15 days holiday. Cause of the cash out you that legally have the money reserved, that was a smart way to kind of release that money invested in other things while it’s still giving, and then you have to make sure that people actually do take the breaks that some studies have shown that when you do that, it becomes like a chicken and the egg, like you first I’m so scared, which again, it’s a result of not speaking to the culture. yeah, I think recently this last week, Mark Zuckerberg, that we have Thanksgiving in November here in America. I think he gave the whole week off. Yes due to COVID and it’s like breaking, everyone’s going crazy. The like, Oh, this is wild. He’s like a genius. Like, I mean, surely of course he is a genius, but like, this is common human decency that if all your workers are already overworking and you have two days off and you’re maybe traveling or hopefully, you know, safely within COVID, I guess it makes sense to give an extra three days. And he himself says, I want my employees to recharge to come back stronger. And more and more refreshed. It is business sense. It’s not like some magical move. It’s pretty common. You’ll make the money back as cold as that sounds that you will have productivity gains.
40:00 Nelson: We’ve been kind of dancing around it a little bit but the thing that keeps coming back to me is that so many of these issues around kind of expectations and holiday and work-life balance are elements of culture. So I kind of see that those companies, that form now as remote companies might have a bit of an advantage moving forward, if this remains, what do you think about that?
Shaaz: Definitely. I think. Everyone’s thinking about, if you’re going to start a business today, what technology stack would you use? How would you set up the corporation? Quote, unquote, how would you set up the work culture? The answer’s all very different from versus 20 years ago or 30 years ago. 40 years ago. Like definitely, hopefully see. And also, I mean, the average. The average entrepreneur’s around 44. Like it’s not, we like this, you know, we see like the, the cool young folks all that. They’re like, I want to be an entrepreneur. I’ll be a 22 year old making a bagel or a hoodie. The average entrepreneur is 44.
Another sad fact, I would say, at least in Canada, in America, entrepreneurship is at an all time low, the last 30 to 40 years, which is my headache what do you mean incorrect data? I don’t look like no, it’s right. Like in the fifties, sixties owning a small business is that was a bit, it was just more entrepreneur spirit back then, based on how many, small businesses were opened and remained open versus now. So again, degree in economics, you can slice the data it’s telling the story you want, but the least we can safely say is, it’s not that everyone is having their own business right now and the whole world is completely changing. It’s a bit more nuanced than that, but I do feel that even with some of the technology company or any big, massive fortune 500 companies when they’re hiring people, they are hiring people who have their own business.
And then that practice and culture bleeds in. And it’s very, it’s a fascinating time I think thanks to Covid and the atrocity of that, what that is. And then the generational gen Y and Z, their expectations. I really think like we’re at again, fast forward to the next 10 years, when we look back at this point, this is the inflection point where a lot of things changed.
Nelson: I’m writing a post about like what it means to be a freelance copywriter in 2020, which is what I am. I’m a conversion copywriter and digital marketer. One of the things I’m trying to wrestle with at the moment is the it’s very interesting that you mentioned kind of the lack of entrepreneurship there in terms of what the actual stats versus what we feel.
So if you you’ve told me that stat and you were like, man, I could, I could easily say that that’s probably not the case on an anecdotal level because it feels like there’s more people doing things and opening their own businesses. And from a freelance perspective in the US, I think you’re at about like 38 to 40% of people are considered freelances at this stage.
And I think by, I read a study the other day for, for this post I’m writing about the fact that they think it’s going to be like 50% by 2027. And this was before COVID. So I’m thinking, okay, that’s could be a potential huge growth area, but I think it’s very important how we define a freelancer. This is very, very different a freelancer like me so somebody who has chosen to be a freelancer of their own volition, had plenty of other job opportunities, but decided this is what they want to pursue. And somebody who is a freelancer kind of, because they’ve been forced to, they’ve either been made redundant or their company from a legal perspective, views them as a freelancer because then they don’t have to provide a certain amount of benefits. What I haven’t seen anybody slice the data down into is making this distinction between these types of freelances. So I want to know like, who are the people who are actually kind of out there because of the freedom it gives the earning potential it gives versus those that – I don’t want this to come off poorly by saying like, they’ve been, they’ve been forced into it, but they’re almost as, some of them are in a position of vulnerability here.
Shaaz: I think it’s safe to say that. I mean, yeah, there’s lots of different research papers out there to saying it’s like, it’s a bit more extreme, but they’re saying like, this is like a modern day slavery or a new version of capitalism gone wrong, where you have as freelancers who chose to be three versus the contract workers that have to get they’ll just take anything because their situation is rough and that certain employers would just say, okay, we won’t make you a full-time, we’ll make you full-time, but kind of like this contract thing. So we don’t give you any health benefits and we might give you a bit more money overall. So that pays for everything, but it doesn’t in reality. So yeah, it’s definitely a labor capital discussion are fraught. And I also, haven’t seen much data trying to break down those two. It’s hard to kind of get that data. It’s challenging, but I think there needs to be some type of research in defining, you know, you’re, you’re exactly right. Like there’s a difference between someone who chooses to be a freelancer, you know, I guess that I’ll see maybe contracts, two, three work workers around him and built a little nice startup that has a pipeline work and he, or she can go live and really want versus someone who just, has like a copious amount of debt because of their degrees. Maybe has two kids and has a lifeline that we’ll just at least keep the lights on literally as they try to figure out life. Like what’s that about that’s not entrepreneurship.
Nelson: No, I think that’s the key, isn’t it breaking it down and making that distinction and as you’re right, like I’ve just not seen anybody that’s done it in, in that space.
I’ve seen people who have written research papers on things like, like zero hours contracts in the UK. I’m not sure if that the same terminology in the US yeah. Okay. So I’ve seen, I’ve seen research papers on that, which are really, really interesting. I know like a lot of industries have moved towards that model sadly, and it tends to be the ones that harness, kind of low salaried workers basically they’re the most, they’re the most vulnerable and they’re the ones that have the least say in management structure. So it makes sense that they’re also the most, they’re the highest number within an organization. You tend to have way more junior people or people on low wages, depending on the business model, of course, but.
Shaaz: Absolutely a hundred percent. It’s hard. I mean, at least in America, the average American hasn’t received a real wage increase in the last 30 to 40 years. The same. Well, what’s a real wage increase, like on that. Okay. It’s like when you adjust for inflation, like you may, your paycheck is increasing every year, but quite frankly, it’s not worth as much as before, as last year.
Nelson: That’s like equals your salaries increasing, but inflation is eating away at it. Your health care costs you far more your education costs,
Shaaz: Here’s a basic example. It’s very basic, but you take any resumes of the top five banks, the CEOs just take them off, LinkedIn, read them. They’re obviously very smart people, but as CEOs, we’ve massive banks, but they, they kind of like, they’ll have one degree. So having a, B honors in X, Y, Z not banking, B honors in something. And they worked hard and they struggled and they got to the top a hundred percent power to them. But if you took those resumes and you put it into their junior analyst program, none of them got selected to their own bank, that they’re the CEO of. You need to, you need to get into debt by $350,000 to get into these programs. Meaning you need to go to Harvard MBA or something, MBA, and, you know, ROI on those things are hard. It’s challenging to say the least. So there’s something off here where like the general social contract within America, the whole idea of you work hard and progress in life. Play by the rules. You’ll end at the end of your life. You’ll be a winner. Social economical ability is on a downward spiral in America, which is literally the definition of the American dream. It’s wild to me that everyone’s pay is decreasing. The cost of healthcare and education is through the roof. The chances of your children’s succeeding you economically base on net worth is decreasing. Meaning your family line, if you think that way, will finish off poorer on average, like that’s not healthy but healthy for any economy, whether you support programs that fixes or not, or tax cuts and more government or less dormant, all putting all that aside. The nature of work isn’t working at least in America right now. And we all state and local across the whole gamut. We really need to have a real conversation about like, what does this mean? And yes, individually re-skilling, everyone is a great idea. And there are enough jobs for many folks. It’s more of the skills gap that’s, you know, it’s a valid argument, it’s a good initiative to have and multiple companies, to think Microsoft were tripling down on that you know, knowledge has never been more affordable and the access is accessable. But at the end of the day, if some companies and some places you’ve got to get the fancy degree use, and those are still not the most accessible, I mean last, I guess, fun fact or whatever at least in America and also Canada, 60 to 75% of all jobs are small businesses. They’re not Walmarts. They’re not like based on some Microsoft small businesses are driving most of this growth. Hmm. So we need to, again, need to pay attention to what makes a small offices business, how do we reduce the red tape around them to make sure they are, you know, well-functioning at the same time, we also need to make sure that the small businesses are paying, are doing well enough that they can pay people bright money that they’re worth they can save to stay in a way. Yeah, it’s not about, we really need to empower small business owners to make sure that they’re so successful. That they’re paying their employees top dollar to make sure they live as happy and holistic lives. We already know the example of Henry Ford and increasing his, you know, pay for all the staff.
As I paid less and fuel the buying more cars, it’s very happy. The society is blooming, but there is truth to that. If you invest in your employees, you are investing in your customers, which will in return make a healthier, more secure society and will help everyone be a bit more richer and a bit more stable in their lives.
Nelson: So one of the things that has kind of occurred to me just when you were making that statement, is this gap with between, essentially, I don’t know what the phrase is used necessarily in the US between kind of like a, you call it like blue collar and white collar, right. Yep. Okay, cool. Fantastic. I was afraid I was going to say something ridiculous then. I’d never heard that before in my life. No, but blue collar and white collar. And I think it’s important to make the differentiation between those types of jobs that can, that people actually can work from home in, and those that can’t. And from what I’ve seen anyway, I’m not sure what you’ve seen, but it seems to be the white collar jobs that are able to be done by and large from home on average versus the blue collar jobs that they just don’t have, they need by their very nature, they require a physical presence. So I’m, I’m kind of wondering what happens when remote working almost like not necessarily becomes the norm, but becomes like a bigger factor in general day-to-day life when COVID isn’t here, if that’s going to create some differences in what cities look like versus our rural areas. What like our neighborhoods look like, whether there’ll be, you know, Exodus from cities in really expensive areas. When people start to realize that, Hey, I could be somewhere with like triple the land or quadruple it and, and pay like half what I’m paying now. And I’m wondering if that’s going to leave kind of a hollowing out of those neighborhoods or if like real estate prices will adjust, rental prices will adjust to kind of meet this, this new normal, I think what’s your, what’s your take on that?
And I appreciate that’s a huge question.
Shaaz: No, I love it. That’s a great you’re. You’re honestly, we’re in the same wave length where the digital divide is probably going to get a lot worse. And when I say digital divide, yes, that of course means access to technology, access broadband. But it also means what you’re saying in terms of, I mean, just look at us now, at least to give me like, yeah, I’m blessed to be a director at Microsoft. I have great health care. Then you have essential workers who are on the streets trying to deliver food or packing grocery bags, not knowing when the next paycheck will come in and if it will cover enough, if they get, if they get COVID quite frankly, there, that’s not going to be good for them financially.
It’s already happening. Like I can work from home. I am working from home. I’m blessed. I’m enjoying life relative to those who can’t work from home and are called essential, which is nice. It’s nice to be called essential. And then are you paying them properly? Do they, are we forgiving their debts? Are we at least allowing them to move up some type of chain or, or provide the children with non-security?
Nelson: Let’s be honest. It’s just lip service.
Shaaz: Yeah, exactly. Everyone’s clapping at seven O’clock like, Oh, that’s wonderful. Is it’s the thing that we do here and yet we clap. Good. Let’s clap. But then let’s also like increase. I don’t get too political but let’s increase the tax base so we can invest in making sure everyone has a fair shot of being the best person they can be. I’m not sure that’s gonna happen anytime soon. And in terms of the urban sprawl, it’s, I’m living in it with New York city. So you have a really rich neighborhoods like Upper West side, that neighborhood has declined the most in terms of rent value. Because a lot of those folks may have already owned another place somewhere that’s two hours away or an hour away. So they’re all moving out. Those who are a bit more rich, let’s just say those who’ve won at life are moving out. However, the data shows a lot people are moving in. So it’s not that lost in New York is actually more people moving in overall. Interesting, which is very interesting. they mentioned that with based on cell phone usage, all these different metrics that are beyond my head, but what I’m seeing there is that those who were banned from New York city just by cost alone, like I can never pay this much, those young, bold, interesting daring folks slash desperate folks are moving to New York city and moving into places where they could have never dreamed of, but I’m seeing places that were 4,000 down to 2000. But it’s still very sensitive, but that does enable certain people to move in. They could lock it for two years and negotiate down to 1700, 4,000 or 1,700 and 2 years of security is, is divided by two. If things get a bit more reasonable ish. So I’m seeing, I call it like this blood transfusion of, of people who’ve wanted life moving on and then those who are kind of new and willing to take a chance on New York. It’s good. I’m happy that those are getting that, but I’m sure governor Cuomo would agree and the other governors that doesn’t help our tax space the most where you have very wealthy people leaving so then they’re not getting taxed. So your state isn’t able to tax those who are very wealthy and of course, it’s great. Then new folks are coming in, but they’re not necessarily making the, you know, $5 million a year type of scenario. So it’s the finances of the city. The finances of a state due to this shuffle, are up in the air. I really don’t know. I believe, we’re thinking of legalizing marijuana and taxing it and let’s get the revenue generation type of motion and that’s great, various reasons. But yeah, I don’t, we’re going to doubt them. Cities really need to reimagine what they are.
Is there a way that we can prevent health issues? Is there a way we can kind of create education systems that are inclusive and far more effective at a local level? Is there a way we can create these, you know, income and equality based on gender and race? Like if you, it’s still true to this day, if you are an African-American woman and you have a solid business plan and go to a bank, if you were a Caucasian, you know, much higher chances of getting the money?
And here’s the sad part. Well it’s all sad. But so many studies have shown that actually African-American women, their businesses are a bit more productive and a bit more profitable. So it’s not like economics can save us. I’m a strong believer in economics, in the markets, but it’s not clearly even despite banks and loans and proving that if you give up loans to this lady, you’re going to hit the safer returns. It’s still something’s breaking. Something’s not working. I don’t know what, but then what does, you know, why is it that someone has to work five times X, as far as this it’s not effective, it’s not efficient. So these are the types of issues that cities and States really need to think about in order to make sure that we have healthy, happy, and productive people in order to increase that tax revenue base and or to really be able to sustain ourselves for the future, because right now it feels like everyone’s just holding onto what we are or what we used to be. And not really having the luxury to think about what we need to be for the next 10, 15, 20 years in that re-imagined bucket, or we’re trying to read more effective.
It sounds all doom and gloom, but I do, I do believe there are better days. We do have the right people. In New York city, this is the hyper, make it a hyper-local example. We have these amazing women of color that are producing a bunch of different businesses that will generate lots of jobs. It’s just, they don’t get the money to do so.
It’s not like, Oh, we need to generate and educate and empower. We got the people, we got the quality people, the quality ideas. We also have the money. We just need to connect the to.
Nelson: Yeah, I think at the end of the day, for me, it’s just important to remember that decisions are made by people and people are biased. Every single person holds about a thousand biases, you know, within the hand ultimately saying something like the data supports that this is the happen you know, this is, this is what happened. You get better returns. There’s a difference between knowing that on a logical level and getting it at an emotional level and changing your behavior based on that. And, unfortunately logic doesn’t work. People, you know, a lot of people still have these like inherent biases.
Shaaz: Yes absolutely. There’s tons of research that shows that logic. You mean if you type this, in your, in your, hopefully your Bing search, you know, why does some logic work when, if you’ve been some people had entered, there’s a bazillion article that show that being correct doesn’t help winning over someone or changing their behavior. Just wild.
Nelson: Okay. So. One of the things that I want to ask you is like, what do you think the changes are going to be over the next say one to two years with regards to some of the places that you work with.
Shaaz: For sure. So within government, I think, there’s going to be some massive investments for state and local governments. From the federal Germans from Congress are going to pass some bills that hopefully will range from a hundred billion to $400 billion with that money the next two years, I really think that cities and government and governments and governors across America will have the capital needed to really transform their, their kind of their workforce to really, you know, step one is empower your employees. Step two is then transform your services or products. Really think about what public services are you trying to offer. What’s the overlap. And the third thing is a cross collaboration. It drives me, I get it, but it still drives me mad to see 30, 40 different agencies doing, let’s say 50% of the same stuff, which is great, but if they can just put their fingers into a fist to have a lot more impact, there’s so much potential in delivering world-class services if they just worked a bit better. Like a real concrete example, hopefully in the next two years, we’ll see an America where we’ll pull together a lot of the data when like a data lake, where we’ve been upload this into, let’s say some type of citizen engagement portal that will use cognitive services to basically have this happen to say to Nelson, to you, let’s say you want to go and get a fishing license so you go on this wonderful portal, how do I get it a fishing license? It will recognize it to you. It will know that. And because you gave permission fully, it will know that you’re a small business owner. You will also know that you qualify for four different grants across the scheme, different agencies, because you’re a small business owner.
So not only will you get a fishing license, but you’ll get a chat bot that pops up and says, you’re halfway through the qualification of four different grants. They’ll give you 20K. And we have access to an entrepreneur that works in their field that subscribe to the smart commerce initiative, whatever, click this, to begin this process.
So then you can go home with 20K and a fishing license like that. It’s not, it doesn’t sound so dramatic. Oh my God the world’s a better place, but you just took services that were being under-utilized and now they’re being used. You have more money that you’re going to invest in grow your businesses and you got your fishing license to me, that’s transformational and that’s very doable in the next one to two years with the right funding, the right mindset. And of course the right data estate. Hmm.
Nelson: So within, within that example, then how do we make it so that we remove some of the biases that are present in the example that we just talked about, black women in New York city, for example, how do we remove, how do we give them the money that you were talking about?
Shaaz: So luckily within government services, you would assume there’ll be there. Their goal is to give out as much money to the right people in order to, you know, get them up on their feet and running, but banks a bit more calculated in what they’re doing, but I am seeing researchers work on AI to ironically detect human biases.
So we often complain about AI being biased, which it is. Definitely is, and we can clean the data state makes it as neutral as possible so it’s not doing harm, which is great. But I also see some researchers at MIT and Microsoft research saying, how could we run an AI application that just scans your decision-making builds trends and then sends a report to yourself saying, Hey, in the last three weeks, you approved loans at a hundred percent to those who look like you and sound like you. You approve loans by 40%, for those who don’t look like you, and it’s not gonna be accusations, that’s not a trigger or some warnings. It just wanna let you know. I think awareness is key and kind of battling that bias. I don’t, I don’t think everyone’s sitting there thinking Chaz has a beard today. Let’s not give them money.
It’s more, a bit more nuanced than that. If you simply know. And then there’s also KPIs baked into this, and it was the performance evaluations that are based on how equitable you are and when you’re dealing out of garment services to the right folks, that I hope that we could begin to measure the problem at a micro level and then tackle it and then try to solve it. So I think that’s, again, this is all, this is not some mission, impossible technology. Like this is quite doable in the next one or two years. If we get the right investments from the federal government, because right now, honestly, COVID has depleted a lot of, resources for a lot of local governments, but once they get the money, there are a bunch of ways we can definitely throttle that bias and then ensure the right money gets to the right people.
Nelson: So one of the things that I think would need to be, present there and you alluded to it a little bit, is these other things that are also like the performance reviews and things that are geared towards, equity basically because I’ve seen research and again, I think it was a little while ago, that suggested that just being aware of your biases, didn’t actually change your biases. In some cases, I actually made it worse because you actually thought, Hey, I’m aware of things that makes me more confident in the other, doing. Which is really, really interesting and kind of a little bit counter-intuitive so I think those other things are key.
Shaaz: You have to change the KPIs in order to make sure they’re like a unit at Microsoft when I first joined, we had performance reviews every few months, rather than once a year. And again, coming from management consulting backgrounds, all that. You know, optimizing your performance. It’s showing that you blasted your seven KPIs by 10 X. Give me a promotion. So I came in with that mentality, so it’s just what I’ve known. Yeah, back to the private sector. I go, I used to work for government. Now they’re a bit of a censure the next time I know this game, quote unquote. So the went in there, here we go for all KPIs for 100% percent. And then my manager, I was like, wow, this is a, I don’t think I want to give you an opportunity to redo this again, because this is not what we do at Microsoft. Like, Oh, what do you mean? Like at a high level, there’s three things we look at. There’s of course what impact have you done by yourself? One thing. So you just did one out of three. You maxed that one out of three mathematically. That’s not very good. The second thing that you look at is, how have you helped others. And the third thing we look at is what did you do with that help you’ve got from others. Really interesting cycle. And that really changed my mindset and also explained a lot of things. When I first joined at Microsoft for six months was amazing. Everyone was trying to help. Everyone was giving me their best, PowerPoints on edited, like editable, no PDF since everyone’s is dumping here. This was just like closest $30 million is taken. It’s taken on it. I think when giving me their work and their IP, I’m so confused as in other parts of different companies and stuff, it’s way more like knowledge is power hoard tt, here’s my IP. It’s mine. And I was like, ah, I suddenly understood it because then they can. Based on me taking their IP. Re-imagining it working with it being inspired by it and then going off and succeeding, then they can say, Hey, you know, I helped Chaz to help us different government agency to do X, Y, Z. And then he gets a credit, which is great. I get the credit to say thanks to Bob’s help. I was able to really empower this government agency to do one, two and three with them two weeks, not five. So those basic KPI adjustments really helped Microsoft transform entirely culturally speaking, the last five years under Satya Della, I will do a plugin hit and refresh is a great book by him. I think it’s free now at this point, it’s on all your different, you can listen to it on whatever platform you choose to listen to it. He really walks us through how did he hit refresh? What was the cultural change behind Microsoft. It was a very different culture five years ago. Good or bad up to interpretation. But now we’re definitely a lot more of the, you know, sharing knowledge, learning and growing. I think maybe those are some lessons that other, whether you’re a small business owner or you’re a VP at Goldman Sachs, wherever you are. I think there are some lessons you can take and really help. And those small nudges, I think there’s a book called nudges that based on like how you make those biases. It really made a difference, at Microsoft and all, not that I care about stocks, but frankly, but I mean, they were averaging around 44 for like a long time, $44 roughly. Now there’s 200 plus sales surging, and all that fun stuff. So caring people, being empathetic, building that into a process in your business flow in your, in your quarterly business, it really does help the bottom line.
Nelson: I think, for me, and we’re going to wrap this up, very soon, I could talk to you for hours Shaaz and probably will at a later date.
But for me, it’s, it’s about understanding the incentives and then aligning them. So with Microsoft, that is a great example. They understood that having, the value was in sharing. It was in collaboration. Other people had already created these fantastic resources where in other organizations they might have hoarded them because they were worried about you succeeding instead of them and Microsoft they’ve actually aligned the incentives so you’re kind of incentivized to share and not just to kind of be okay about, okay, maybe Shaaz can use this. That’s fine. But to actively encourage them to share and to reward them because of so, so I think that’s really interesting. Well, Shaaz, I think that’s a fantastic place to leave things. Thank you so much for speaking to us.
I think everyone will have really enjoyed that. so that Shaaz Nasir on the future of work, Shaaz, where can people find you if they want to learn more?
Shaaz: Sure, absolutely. Add me on LinkedIn. I’m sure the links will be provided. LinkedIn is a great source and you can also follow me on Twitter @Shaaztastic – two A’s.
Nelson: So that’s, Shaaz on LinkedIn, as he mentioned all the, those resources and links will be included. Shaaz thank you again and speak soon.
Shaaz: Thank you.