Blake Hunsaker is Director of Global Sales at Teem, the developer of cloud-based meeting space solutions and workplace analytics recently acquired by iOFFICE. Mike Petrusky asks Blake about the exciting new partnership between their two companies, and they become fast-friends discussing a mutual interest in music, books, and working with customers to create connected workspace experiences that drive enhanced business outcomes. Mike and Blake agree that employees and visitors to workspaces are expecting a more consumer-friendly experience with the software they use and they recognize the power of data and analytics for workplace leaders when managing real estate portfolios. Find out more about the combination of these innovative software companies and what it might mean for your organization as you seek to be a workplace innovator in 2020!
Connect with Blake on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blake-hunsaker-2158bb1/
Learn more about Teem: https://www.teem.com/
Discover free resources and explore past interviews at: https://www.workplaceinnovator.com/
Connect with Mike on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikepetrusky/
Share your thoughts with Mike via email: podcast@iOFFICECORP.com
Learn more about iOFFICE’s workplace experience solutions: https://www.iOFFICECORP.com/
Read the full transcript:
Mike Petrusky (00:02):
Hi everyone. Mike P here, and I have two big announcements for you. First. I am thrilled to tell you that we have just launched a new website to serve as the home of this podcast. You can check it out now at www.workplaceinnovator.com. There you will find not only the latest episode of the show, but a link to our complete searchable archive of interviews, plus the new site has available for free download, research reports and white papers about the latest industry trends and available technologies. Also, I’m excited to announce that registration is open for the annual iOFFICE User Conference. Our summit 2020 will take place April 14th to 16th, and I really hope you will plan to join me there. We will bring the future to life with amazing speakers, educational content, and you’ll have the chance to interact with our community forward thinking workplace leaders. So join us in Vegas, baby Vegas, where you will be inspired to create connected workplace experiences for your organization.
Blake Hunsaker (01:06):
They want an environment that is as easy to use and helps them be as effective as they can be and work the way that they want to work. And I think that’s a really big piece. That’s how it is when they use their home experience in the workplace, it’s going to be very, very similar.
Mike Petrusky (01:21):
This is the Workplace Innovator podcast, where we talk with corporate real estate and facility management leaders about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by iOFFICE, The leading employee experience focused IWMS software that delivers real time data and mobile tools to help you intelligently manage your digital workplace.
Welcome to episode 93 of the Workplace Innovator podcast. I am your host Mike Petrusky, and we’ve got a special edition of the show for you folks. This is exciting, big news. The company I worked for, iOFFICE made a big announcement and I want to just share with the audience here directly from the press release. This is Dateline, Houston, Texas, January 14th. So just a couple of weeks ago, iOFFICE acquires leading meeting space solutions and workplace analytics company, Teem. iOFFICE, the industry leader in next generation workplace experience and asset management solutions today announced it has acquired Teem as part of a continuing effort to help companies of all sizes create connected workplace experiences that drive enhanced business outcomes. And since 2012, Salt Lake City based Teem has been a leading developer of cloud-based meeting space solutions and workplace analytics created to help companies improve their workplace experience while optimizing their use of space.
That’s the big news folks and joining me today from Salt Lake City, I’ve got the director of global sales for Teem, Blake Hunsaker. Hi Blake.
Blake Hunsaker (03:01):
Hello. Thanks, Mike. Good to be here.
Mike Petrusky (03:03):
Nice to meet you and talk to you for the first time really in depth about this new combination of iOFFICE and Teem, T-E-E-M, excited to get to know you and the team at Teem.
Blake Hunsaker (03:17):
No lack of jokes that can be inserted there.
Mike Petrusky (03:19):
We’re going to talk about your team and my team coming together, but before we go there, could it be more perfect to combine these two?
Blake Hunsaker (03:27):
It could not be more perfect. We’re pretty excited about it.
Mike Petrusky (03:31):
As am I. So Blake, tell me a little bit more about your role at Teem and how you ended up where you are today.
Blake Hunsaker (03:38):
Yeah, happy to. So I’ve always been in technology and various aspects of technology, started early with HP learned about the landscape of technology and then really was always fascinated by software, what it can do. And when the Cloud hit the scene in the SaaS world, just kind of lit everything on fire. We knew that was the future. That’s where we needed to be. Made the jump into another kind of a startup software in the ed tech space, helping professionals learn IT skills and loved it. And run a course there and had an opportunity to go into what I felt like was another really, really cool market, which was … well, it goes by lots of different names, whether it’s facilities, or real estate, or workplace experience or … there’s no lack of areas, but that kind of area with Teem.
So it was young and younger, I guess, and was having a lot of success. But most importantly, I saw the market demand because at my last company actually, we were customers. So I had the firsthand experience of seeing what a good experience will do to an organization and how it will help your overall workforce work better and be happier, which then obviously translates into really the bottom line that translates into retained employees, all those kinds of things are so important. And I just saw how important it was to every company. Any company that has a building or really even employees has a need for something like that.
Mike Petrusky (05:10):
Really cool. It is an exciting time to be in the world of facility management, corporate real estate, the workplace, what this show is all about. We get to talk about these exciting tools and strategies that help deliver on the expectations of the occupants of our facilities, whether they are employees or visitors to our spaces. So I’m glad to have you here. And I know you’ve been super busy these last couple of weeks and you haven’t had a chance to really check out my show. So you’re going to get the trial by fire here, Blake, because we like to have fun on the show. Sometimes I’m known as DJ Mike P. and you’ll know why soon. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know each other yet because I will know a lot about you when I ask you this next question. What kind of music are you listening to? what’s your favorite genre? What’s the song that gets you fired up?
Blake Hunsaker (06:02):
That is … I can’t just give you a song. I have to talk to you a little bit about it and … okay. So I I’m from Wyoming. So I grew up a very, very, very rural area. So maybe there’s some folks out there in Texas that can relate to that-
Mike Petrusky (06:19):
You are literal cowboy, right?
Blake Hunsaker (06:20):
Yeah. Literal cowboy, grew up on a ranch. And so country music was near and dear to my heart. That’s what we listened to. My first concert I ever went to was in the rodeo of our County fair out in the middle of the horse manure and whatnot. It was Chris LeDoux. And I wonder if anybody of your audience knows who Chris LeDoux is, but he is by definition, the cowboy artists. So Chris LeDoux would be a really big one for me, but I also have a love for ’80s new wave-
Mike Petrusky (06:54):
Hey, there you go. Now you’re right up my alley.
Blake Hunsaker (06:56):
All right. Okay. So if I had to pick … in fact, I work with a lot of really young people, which is great. And I am constantly having to introduce them to New Order. And one of my favorite albums from that genre would be Upstairs at Eric’s by Yaz, which is probably pretty common-
Mike Petrusky (07:15):
Yeah. Don’t go. Come on. Alison Moyet was the lead singer.
Blake Hunsaker (07:19):
Yep. Yep. Yep.
Don’t let you go. That’s all you’re getting out of me. Yeah.
Mike Petrusky (07:33):
That’s a fantastic synth rock sound. We knew we’d find a place. We’d find a area of common ground and now we’re best buddies. We just met and we’re best friends using the power of music, Blake, the power of music.
Blake Hunsaker (07:45):
Mike Petrusky (07:46):
So Blake, another thing I’d like to do on the show, we’re not just informational here. We’re not just going to share news, but we’re also going to inspire our audience. So do you have a favorite, inspirational quote that you live by, that you could share with us?
Blake Hunsaker (07:58):
Here’s one that I use actually everywhere. So it’s actually more of a mantra. Honestly, it’s more of my personal … it becomes more of my mantra that I repeat to myself over, and over, and over, when I’m in any kind of challenging situation, be it physical, mental, emotional, whatever, where you’re just kind of things are hitting you pretty hard. And the movie, The Miracle about the 1980 US Hockey Olympic team-
Mike Petrusky (08:25):
Do you believe in miracles? Al Michaels. Yeah.
Blake Hunsaker (08:28):
There it is. Yeah. Yeah. That movie Coach Herb Dean, there’s a scene in there after they’d been losing, they’ve been losing and they’ve been going all day. And [inaudible 00:08:39] in the movie and I’ve researched this, I really have to see, is it real? Is it not? And I’ve found mixed things, but in that movie, Coach herb Dean says, “Legs feed the Wolf. Legs feed the Wolf.” To me that’s a powerful statement because being from kind of a rural environment where a lot of blue collar people and your life is nothing but multiple hours of work to survive, it becomes the legs feed the wolf, And it’s just over and over because it’s true. And in any aspect of your life, whether it’s work and you have to continue to grind things out or you just need to get over challenges in your personal life as well, it’s helpful.
Mike Petrusky (09:23):
Oh yeah. It’s it speaks to that whole idea of … ever walk a flight of steps until legs give out? Seriously, come on. That’s the worst pain and the hockey players have to go through amazing conditioning to be in a position. I can’t imagine skating for 30 seconds, let alone a 30 minute period or whatever it might be. But that’s the classic man, miracle on ice, 1980. What about a business book or a leader that has influenced your career?
Blake Hunsaker (09:54):
That’s a great question. And I’m going to give you an answer. It’s actually a book that I refer back to often is, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. And the reason-
Mike Petrusky (10:02):
A classic. Legendary.
Blake Hunsaker (10:03):
It’s a legendary classic and everyone’s read it. And that’s probably why … I guess it’s really important because A, it was one of the first ones I ever read and it stuck with me. And B, throughout my career … so when you first read that you kind of think, a lot of it it’s just kind of common sense, but as you go throughout your career … and I’ve been around for a while now, and I’ve realized more, and more, and more, that what matters is how people feel when they’re with you. And how you treat people can have amazing effects and it can have disastrous effects. And I think in today’s day and age, one of the biggest gaps in the skillsets of just the workforce is emotional IQ and it’s hard to teach it and you have to work at it. But I think that to me, How to Win Friends and Influence was emotional IQ [inaudible 00:10:59], if you will. And I’ve seen those items proven over, and over, and over again to be true in multiple situations.
Mike Petrusky (11:07):
Oh, I agree with you. It was one of the most influential books in my early career, and it’s not just about sales or trying to influence people, but it’s this idea of understanding the human that you’re talking to. And one of the first pieces of advice in there is to ask a lot of questions. So how great of training ground for me to end up being in my role today as a podcaster where I get to do nothing but ask questions. It just comes naturally to me, I think because of that book and what I did early on in my life. So, great, great recommendation. If you haven’t read it folks, the Dale Carnegie classic, or is it Carnegie, the Dale Carnegie classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Blake Hunsaker (11:47):
That’s a debate for the ages.
Mike Petrusky (11:48):
Exactly. Well, listen, let’s talk a little bit more about the marketplace today and some of the exciting things happening, especially now in light of this new combination between iOFFICE and Teem, where do you see the market going in 2020? Here we are the start of a new year, a new decade, we talk about employee experience a lot, and technology can certainly have a big impact on the workplace today. From your perspective, Blake, who are the people that have the best opportunity here to take advantage of these tools to really have an impact on their organizations?
Blake Hunsaker (12:21):
Yeah. That’s a fantastic question. What I think we’re going to start to see in 2020, and I’m going to use an analogy if I can. Well, I’m sure you’ve had people who have come on and talked a lot about the consumerization of software, and how in general, that is now the experiences that people have. And this is important, the experiences that people are having on their phone, at their house, and as they’re talking to their Alexa or they’re opening their garage door from the other side of the planet, or just this kind of ease of software. And then they compare that with what’s happening in their work environment, and largely all the focus has been on, you think about email and now to Slack or Microsoft Teams. And you start to see that happening on that kind of … in your face software.
And one of the areas that has not had yet as much innovation is the workplace in and of itself. And people are expecting that. So one of the best and worst things about work is work. Meaning you’ve got a better laptop now, you have better services, cloud based services or whatever software that’s gotten better when you think about the country and the world as a whole. And so the experience has improved dramatically on your laptop, but what hasn’t changed a ton is the experience that you have at work. When I say autonomy, obviously, I don’t mean to discount the innovators, but still much of it as the same. And so, as I see Teem, iOFFICE and others evolving, and now at the precipice of mainstream work is going to change.
I think we’re right on the point where businesses understand it’s not just a … I think it used to just be, “Oh, it’s cool to have tech around.” Well, it’s not just cool anymore, now it’s mandatory to remain competitive in a number of different ways. And I think a few of those key ones are recruiting. I think recruiting and retention of employees. You’re starting to see that now become more and more important when folks are looking for jobs and especially in a hot market, a job market where job seekers can be more picky. They want an environment that is as easy to use and helps them be as effective as they can be and work the way that they want to work. And I think that’s a really big piece.
That’s how it is when they use their home experience, the consumer software, it just kind of delivers everything to them, whether it’s food or a ride or anything in the workplace is going to be very, very similar. And so I think there’s a number of areas that’s going to continue to show. And not only that, but it improves the bottom line. So when you start to look at analytics, and I think analytics will be a big change that will be coming as well. We already have analytics, but more powerful. Analytics that are even more sensor driven to the extent that a company may want, which kind of opens up a whole other interesting conversation around privacy. But when you think about internet of things, and chairs, and desks, and doors, and everywhere, the amount of information that can be gleaned from a company is really powerful in terms of understanding how your people work and how you can help them be more effective.
But the potential downside, depending on how a company wants to deploy those things would be around privacy and how much am I going to secure and honor the rights of my employees.
Mike Petrusky (15:45):
That’s a great point. And they do go hand in hand this idea of meeting the expectations of the employee and also recognizing the fact that privacy is paramount, but I’m so excited to learn more about you and what you do and what Teem can deliver. One of the things I’m aware of already though, is this analytics platform you offer, which is pretty powerful and unique, right?
Blake Hunsaker (16:08):
Absolutely. It really is. And it’s heavily based on automation as well. So it’s not just a spreadsheet. The term platform kind of gets tossed around a lot anymore. Everyone’s got a platform and everyone has a dataset, but the next level is actually when a “platform” can deliver you usable insights. So it’s not just data, it’s usable insights that are automated and have some learning involved. And it’s specific to the way you and your organization use it. So that’s really how Teem insights has been built. And we have so many customers that rely on it to inform all kinds of decisions. And also they use it as a way to inform their real estate leadership on the kind of current temperature of things and how they’re … are they being successful? Are we improving our real estate usage? Where are areas that the system would say that, “Hey, this actually makes sense,” for you to maybe cut a couple of these rooms out, et cetera, et cetera.
Mike Petrusky (17:09):
So, Blake, how about sharing some stories of your success so far, there in your role at Teem, do you have any unique experiences with delivering for a customer that helped them overcome an issue or solve a problem?
Blake Hunsaker (17:22):
Yeah, absolutely. We see it all the time and it’s actually my favorite part of what we do, is not even when we bring on a new customer, but when we have one that has challenges and that we can get really creative and help them find their way to success. And in fact, obviously, not going to use any names, but a large software company that we’ve worked with for a bit, they had an opportunity to take two buildings and move into one building. And so before they did that, they didn’t want to make a mistake and just make an assumption and then just cut everyone’s desks in half and just go. So they were a Teem customer. And one of the things that we first started doing was making sure that they were using their analytics correctly.
Teem has an analytic platform built into it. And it was designed to not just tell you usage, but to also give you recommendations on potentially how you can use space better based on utilization, ways that you can actually improve it. And so as I started spending time digesting that information, and going through it and working with the team here, some of our customer success folks, they started to realize that there was a lot of space that was just being wasted through non show ups to meetings, desks that weren’t being used in any way and just sitting because they had a lot of people that would just work from home and they had no idea how, who, or when they would be coming in. So they had built capacity of these spaces around an employee count, but the usage, because they had a flexible work environment was just not there.
And so when they started to combine all of these options, they realized that there was absolutely an opportunity to kind of tweak how they do desks, go to more of a desk [inaudible 00:19:09] solution, how they rearrange or redid their conference from spaces. They were able to actually consolidate onto one building and have a dramatically improved employee experience while cutting their real estate costs down enormously all because of understanding how their people were actually working and how they wanted to work, and then building an environment that allowed them to do that, which then in turn, increased their bottom line or cut their costs dramatically.
Mike Petrusky (19:38):
Very cool. Excellent. Well, listen, this has been fantastic. I want to thank you so much for taking time to be on the podcast. Nice to meet you and look forward to working with you going forward. Thanks, Blake.
Blake Hunsaker (19:50):
Thank you. I appreciate it.
Mike Petrusky (19:52):
Everyone listening, we look forward to continuing to work together with you into the future as we deliver the tools and the inspiration to help you be a workplace innovator. Peace out.
You’ve been listening to the Workplace Innovator podcast. I hope you found this discussion beneficial as we work together to build partnerships that lead to innovative workplace solutions. For more information about how iOFFICE can help you create an employee centric workspace by delivering digital technology that enhances the employee experience visit iofficecorp.com.