Suman the CEO of Marco Experiences sat down with Rob Sadow, the co-founder and CEO of Scoop for a captivating Marco Labs Podcast. With a rich background in customer strategy and marketing at Bain & Company, one of the world's leading management consulting firms, Rob brings a wealth of experience in connecting employers with their customer base.
As a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Management, Legal Studies, and Business Ethics, Rob's expertise lies in understanding and enhancing the dynamics between companies and their employees.
In our conversation, he shares his journey of transforming traditional work models, offering valuable perspectives on the evolving landscape of work and the pivotal role of technology in shaping future work cultures.
Early Days and the Genesis of Scoop
Born out of a personal need to solve commuting issues, Scoop started as a carpooling solution for commuters. Rob and his brother, drawing from their own experiences, believed in leveraging technology to enhance commuting efficiency and employee retention.
“My High School was 25 miles from where we lived. And so we drive 250-300 miles a week back and forth to school. And we had this belief that you could use software and technology to deliver better experiences.”
Growth and Challenges
Scoop's growth trajectory was impressive. At its peak, the company scaled to around 200 employees, serving giants like Microsoft and Amazon. They raised over a hundred million in capital. “So near the end of 2019, we certainly felt things were moving in the right direction and were excited about 2020.” However, the onset of the pandemic in 2020 brought unforeseen challenges. As Rob put it, "Commute volume went to zero," forcing them to profoundly rethink their business model.
Psychological Impact of Business Challenges
The downturn took a personal toll on Rob and his co-founder brother. The hardest part, Rob shared, was not just the impact on the business but on its people.
“I mean it’s the worst thing professionally I’ve ever had to go through with the combination of watching something that you built be impacted that way and not just the company itself, but what it does to the people right. All of the team members who had spent so much time and energy and love into the company.”
The necessity to downsize was a painful but necessary decision, leaving a deep emotional impact on the founders. “We treated our team well and were as transparent as we could in an extremely difficult situation.”
The Evolution of Scoop
Scoop's reinvention post-pandemic is a story of resilience and adaptability. Transitioning from a carpooling service to providing software for hybrid and distributed teams, Scoop now focuses on optimizing how and where employees spend their time, a crucial need in the current work environment.
The Flex Index: A New Tool for Understanding Workplace Flexibility
The Flex Index is a novel initiative by Scoop to analyze workplace flexibility trends globally. This tool provides crucial insights into how companies are adapting their work policies in response to the changing landscape.
“The Flex Index was born out of a necessity. We realized there was no clear way to gauge how companies globally were adapting their work policies in response to the changing landscape.”
This tool stands as a global repository of office requirements, tracking policies across thousands of companies and influencing the decision-making of job seekers, businesses, and policy-makers. Its data provides critical insights into the shifting paradigms of work, reflecting trends in hybrid and remote work policies. “It's more than just a database; it's a lens through which we can observe the transformation of the workplace in real-time,” Rob added.
The Flex Index not only aids companies in benchmarking their policies against competitors but also serves as a valuable resource for understanding the broader impacts of these changes on workforce dynamics and corporate culture.
Perspectives from Flex Perspectives Podcast
Through his podcast, "Flex Perspectives," Rob has engaged with various thought leaders, gaining diverse insights into the future of work. These conversations underscore the complexities and nuances of the evolving workplace dynamics.
The Macro Implications of Flexible Work
A significant part of our discussion revolved around the macro implications of remote work, particularly on commercial real estate. The shift to hybrid work models is reshaping urban landscapes and real estate dynamics, presenting both challenges and opportunities for cities and businesses alike.
Optimism in the Future of Work
Despite the challenges, Rob remains optimistic about the future of work. He believes that the current shift is leading towards a healthier balance between work and life. The importance of human connection remains central, and companies will need to be more intentional in fostering these interactions, even in a hybrid work environment.