David Yakobovitch

You are listening to the HumAIn Podcast. HumAIn is your first look at the startups and industry titans that are leading and disrupting artificial intelligence, data science, future of work and developer education. I am your host, David Yakobovitch, and you are listening to HumAIn. If you like this episode, remember to subscribe and leave a review. Now onto the show.

David Yakobovitch

Welcome back listeners to HumaIn Podcast. Today, we are going to talk about transformation in the workplace in remote and in the office, and where we’re seeing industries that are changing in a post COVID world as we re-imagine our economy opening up in the United States and globally. Our guest today, Stan Vlasimsky¹, who’s vice-president of Pariveda Solutions² working on digital transformation solutions in the U.S and globally. Stan, thanks for joining us on the show.

Stan Vlasimsky

Thanks, David. Thanks for having me.

David Yakobovitch

As we all know, now we’ve been living in the world that’s been remote only or digital first and as we’re continuing to reopen the economy and re-imagine work, the big conversation everyone is talking about in the water cooler is: What do virtual teams and remote work look like in the future?

Stan Vlasimsky

We were moving to a more virtual world and we have been for a while, but then all of a sudden over a span of a few weeks everything was accelerated that was always going to happen to some extent, but what changed, which is we went a 100% virtual or at least those of us that could, so not the essential workers, but rather knowledge workers and others, and that there is some hybrid that’s here to stay.

There’s sort of two elements of this, which is one: How do you make teams effective and motivated where we’re used to walking around having team lunches, mentoring, and recognition and all those things? And the other side, it was safety and belonging, which is the human element of how do we make human relationships?

How do we feel safe in what we’re doing? And their safety from a COVID for perspective and their safety from a job and employment perspective so a lot of different factors that we’re all dealing with at the same time all on a very accelerated basis that are going to have some semblance in the future of how we work.

David Yakobovitch

It’s so interesting because our industries intersect in a similar regard that I do a lot of work in educational consulting and your industry is very much digital consulting as well and we’ve seen as well that a lot of our teams it’s so different when it’s remote, you’re trying to discover how do you mentor or do you have these learning Fridays or do we have these live lunches? Whether some of the solutions or experiments that you’ve been working on to improve your teams?

Stan Vlasimsky

Well, obviously lots of people have leaned into virtual coffees and lunches and happy hours and some extent there’s some fatigue from that, cause it’s almost like we over-rotated on doing those things the things that have been harder to experiment with because like the mentoring I’ll put it into two categories: we started with just like you and I are on a video conference and such, and that has it’s time to place, but there’s a degree of formality with that and we spend so much time sitting behind our screens and looking at the screens or looking at dual screens.

Then, one of the things that we’ve encouraged to start to do is do walking, mentoring, meaning there is no video we’re just everybody go out and walk, which creates a little bit more formality of the conversation rather than a more concern around where’s my career going and more of that.

Hey, how are you doing as a human being? What’s not have me focused on your facial expressions and just try to listen better rather than look at what I see so there’s an element of that, the things that have been difficult. It’s so we are an employee owned company, we are completely employee centric so our whole eye concept is this, whoever we hire, we believe can become a leader, a vice-president our organization and we develop them that way we have a very rigorous process.

Everything is fully transparent, salaries, financials, everybody sees everything but we have things like boards to go through cohort levels boards require you to work a case in general, you would have a board, but sitting in a room somebody, one of our fins, which is what we call our employees after dolphins, which sit up on board, work something for a couple hours, we’d come in and talk to them about it.

Now we’re doing that virtually, so how do you see the work that they’re doing? How do you help coach them through the solution? That has become much more difficult. So we’ve been experimenting with how you scan things, all the collaboration tools we use with our clients we’re now having to use it with our employees from a career growth perspective, because we used to be able to leverage whiteboard and physical proximity. Now we can’t do that, so now it’s like multiple cameras scanning their work collaboration, boards, all those things, so it’s really been quite a journey compressed into three or four months.

David Yakobovitch

And that journey has been accelerated as we’ve heard from a lot of leaders in the industry. We’ll talk later in the show about how the CEO of GM has been looking at accelerating technology, particularly with ventilators and masks, but in all industries, including automotive and the work that you do, leaders are leaning in, they’re making changes, and the changes may not always be.

The challenge with leaning in is we’ve heard from leaders like Marissa Meyer over the years is that, you have to be willing to also fail forward and fail forward doesn’t mean like failing, but that means it’s an experiment. It’s agile, it’s either a tip and there’s change whether some of the problems that you’re trying to solve or where your team’s been leaning in this #workfromhome environment.

Stan Vlasimsky

So there’s sort of a couple for us, one would be more the traditional one, which is how we’re helping our clients evolve and obviously if you think a lot of people are looking at what the Googles and the Facebooks and others do and they now have set the benchmark that barometer of what your traditional or relationship do, the other side of it, which is how we help.

Our customers in the market, as well as think more agile, and usually there’s two parts of that: there’s digital, but in itself, there’s a big human element of it I’m a techie one of the things I like about your podcast which is the human element of it, which is even though I’m technically centric engineering upbringing, I learned that the most complex algorithm that exists is the human brain and how humans interact with each other, and that’s the more challenging thing. So if you think around large organizations of any size that are trying to shift how they think about things, I’ll use automotive as an example.

A very old established industry has been around forever and it has a huge impact, and obviously there’s been a huge impact based on COVID-19 and a lot of things that were happening: one is his sales were down significantly, but also the things that were happening in the industry have changed. Meaning electrification is still important, autonomous still important but #autonomous, very tied to ride sharing subscription models and all that. So, being put a little bit on the back burner while people deal with just the financials and trying to sell automobiles, that will come back what is happening, accelerated #digitalretailing.

So in that case, it’s really helping the acceleration of contactless. Buying cars and how does that work? and when you and I talked previously it’s like a Tesla. The Tesla model is different, the Tesla model in fact is illegal. In certain States, they can’t sell in certain States because of the franchise laws, which were put in many years ago to protect ultimately franchisees or dealers in smaller markets.

So that’s not the unintended consequences of today, so helping people accelerate that journey around digital, which is difficult in a multitier system where dealers provide value, but ultimately now you have each dealer is a dealer and does their own thing right for their market. How do you create a seamless experience?

So that creates a lot of interesting complications, that the traditional OEMs have that a Tesla does not. Tesla has its own in regards to trying to push a new model. So there’s really accelerating that journey and then my other front, now you’re doing that in a world that’s more virtual and so there’s agile, but then how do we help our clients around? How can they be efficient and effective in this new model?

Where there is similar use to the physical contact and presence and going to a conference room and a whiteboard and a retrospective is still more physical render, #virtualexperience. So really around work practices, leveraging both what we do internally and expanding that out into the broader ecosystem condition to other third parties as well as then. How do you accelerate these digital concepts in the current situation? Is accelerating that we’re always going to happen anyway, just we’re doing five or 10 years in five or 10 months.

David Yakobovitch

And it’s so fascinating that we’re looking at both team health and organizational health as you’ve called out the use case with Tesla, they’ve been a very agile company, they recently had closed down a lot of these franchisees, perhaps from both the government laws and then not seeing that shift in their business, but then naturally they also continued to evolve and shift, they now have this electric semi-truck that has been growing in the market there’s been a lot of interests there and they had new announcements for that even during the COVID world.

I’ve seen so much transformation in the automotive industry it’s continuing to change and particularly I was listening to a podcast episode on Masters of Scale with Mary Barra, the CEO of GM about had they going all in on autonomous vehicles, all in an R&D even during the #COVID time to accelerate that transformation and it’s fascinating to see that it takes both teams and organizations for that to happen.

Stan Vlasimsky

Absolutely, and if you go look at it, I’ll use the Two T’s, the Toyota and Tesla. Toyota’s biggest manufacturer, 250 billion versus Tesla is like mid twenties or something, but Toyota similarly has got a big push on autonomous, but more on hey, the safety of the vehicle, and then really a lot of it is around you said agility as is also in thinking about what are the economic models we’re going to have in the future and that’s where ultimately the connected car and adding all those services that ultimately are built in because ultimately the profit model is no longer or hasn’t been for a while around just buying a new vehicle.So then it’s also around, what’s the flexibility around models around service, which is ultimately much more profitable, but how do you make it in this contactless world? Are you going to basically go to somebody who owns one of your cars or one of your brands to their house, do the service there? Are you going to clean the car afterwards? Are you giving it a loner? How are you going to know that loaner has been cleaned appropriately?

So there’s the reality of safety and how COVID 19 can be contracted and then there’s the perception of safety and that goes also like ride sharing Uber and Lyft saw 80% decreases in ridership in April because of those sorts of fears and so the Toyotas and the Teslas of the world are adjusting right to Tesla has the direct model, a Toyota as a smart path, which is their digital retailing solution, which is trying to deal with that agility within the context of their dealer environment.

But then how do we ultimately provide a better customer experience through service, through the connectivity of the car, through the safety of the vehicle and the online experience and what happens afterwards so all of that is going to be important the things that Tesla did well is the brand experience, so rather than it’s a salesman and you go to a dealership, I go to the experience center and I get to see what Tesla looks like, but I still order online, that is a big part of the future of the convenience and both the reality and perception of safety and the contact was world that goes even post vaccine, antivirals, whatever. We have been changed forever to some extent and we’ll have to deal with that new normal and many of that is positive and some it’s going to require some more work.

David Yakobovitch

Although I live today in New York city where I don’t any longer have a car, I do see some of those cars, of course, through Uber and Lyft and a lot of those vehicles on the road are Toyotas. In fact, when I used to live in Florida, all the cars, my family’s own, have been a mix of the Toyota and Lexus family and the GM family, and I’ve seen a lot of these vehicles, I’ve been at the dealership I’ll tell you that someone in the consulting business just like yourself, there’s nothing like that In-person experience.

It’s magical, you get to kick, the tire as Mary Barra from GM said, you get that whole experience and the other day in New York city, I was just walking my dog on the street and I see one of these Carvana trucks come by and it’s just an Isuzu like Asian brand, just with a truck on it. It’s nothing special, it was interesting. It’s a different modality for delivery. It’s that contactless delivery and you’re right, like Toyota and GM are in the game right there as well, getting into contactless, they have the apps so, whether you’re big tech or small tech, you can transform in the post COVID world.

Stan Vlasimsky

You can and work started was obviously in used cars and that’s where ultimately the Carvana’s and Carmax’s of the world got in. It was harder with the new cars because of the franchise laws and the requirements and part of it is Tesla didn’t really have dealers or the dealers they had, they owned and that was the difference and so the GM’s the Toyota is they have these dealer networks and these distributors, and they can’t take that all back wo they have to work within that model to provide that same experience that a Tesla or others can and obviously there was some extent where Tesla is viewed as new age and the hype.

But anybody can do elements of that and there is great strength in what at Toyota or others can provide, if they can adapt to the environment and they are very, all very aggressively moving in that direction because you simply look at what happened, there were no car sales in New York when everything was shut down and even when it’s, when it comes back up, if you go look and if you go to Google websites of different dealers or franchises, you’ll see the ones that are handling COVID well and ones that aren’t right.

There’s ones like we’re shuttered and there’s ones that are telling. Hey, here’s how we clean our cars and we’re doing the following health checks. Of our employees and they’ll show pictures of people’s distance, and you go into the dealership and they’ll have lines where you should stand and that you’re a part.

But a part of what you said, which is 80% of people’s research is done online for buying a car about 10% of the car is actually transacted online so, automotive is amongst the last in the broader retail space to move that direction, but now that is accelerating with all these platforms that provide that connectivity into the dealerships either provided by independent third parties or by the OEMs themselves like Toyota and such to provide that experience because they can reach deeper into their own systems.

In Tesla, you’re building the car that’s going to be built for you and they provide you if you don’t like it, the first, there was a mile, just bring it back. The traditional OEMs have built stuff, hoping they will sell and then do incentives and rebates. So now you’re going to see more of reaching directly into the back end of the #supplychain and manufacturing, looking at those customer signals, there’s going to be, there has been a lot of change and there’s going to continue to be a lot of change. Over the next couple of years.

David Yakobovitch

And we’ve seen in the post COVID world, that there’s been a lot of that decoupling of the supply chain and even decoupling of like human performance as we’ve been talking about on the show, humans are seeing like how can I be at peak performance in this world while being socially distant and healthy at the same time?

And when we see dealers and franchisees at locations with Toyota opening up the challenge is a lot of these employees are just exhausted because we’ve been constantly, let’s say mentally attacked by COVID and protests and just everything. It seems that nothing’s going right this year, but optimistically we’re reopening we are looking forward to the future, and that is beyond where we were and how we can be more nimble and #agile bringing everything back to a pair of other solutions for your people whether some ways that you’re helping people stay mentally healthy or especially while they’re on the bench today, so they can recharge as we reopen.

Stan Vlasimsky

We’re three or four months into this and the one of the things that you and I, we think about a lot, which is how do you go through this for 12, 18, 24 months? We went through the initial shock of it, so if about those first days that we were making decisions to go remote and it was all etcetera and there was a lot of fear. There was the fear of the unknown and now it’s almost like there’s the fear of them. No, meaning this isn’t going away and sort of two things: One, productivity measured in output of the consulting work we do or to clients has actually gone up.

If I go look at the teams that I’m involved in, probably anywhere from five to 25% think that’s for two reasons: One is as we’ve reduced so some of the friction cost of commuting and all those things that happen and then secondly: there’s an element of, even though we’re a very employee friendly company, everybody has seen people in their ecosystem be impacted, furloughed, laid off, whatever. So, there’s an element of the Hawthorne effect, which is ultimately when people believe they’re being measured, their productivity.

Changes or generally improves, and so even though there is no explicit saying you should be fearful for your jobs, going back to your comment about bench time and stuff. People are because they see it and so it’s caused people to blur work-life balance more than ever because we’re at home. So if you look at me today, I have as well as yourself, I started with let’s wear what we would wear at a client! and I still do that in client meetings and such.

But I’m also now trying to wear a t-shirt or I show up in my biking outfit, letting people know that it’s okay to do something other than work, and that’s been hard because people are, our utilization has been off the chart from a people because people are not taking vacations. They’re not taking PTO and what are you going to do? Am I going to go from my home office, to my living room to take a vacation?

Travel has been shut down, so really I’m talking today from New Mexico, I live in Dallas just to get away because for three or four months, I didn’t leave my neighborhood. Another one time to take my son to a doctor’s appointment. So it’s really making our employees still like it’s okay to take time off and emulate that behavior and then I’ve adapted myself from being like, I’m always the client to serve, showing that I’m more relaxed somewhere t-shirt right now.

So those are the informal things, the formal things have just really been getting better around understanding how you connect with people and how you read them and make them feel like they can connect with you. Cause I was used to, I’d run to somebody in the office. I chat with them, now you have to create all those things intentionally because those things don’t happen by chance. We’re not Zoom bombing to make connections with people. People do that, but that’s not the way we are and so it’s really adapting to how do we create those touch points in sort of a normal, not weird way.

David Yakobovitch

And Stan, like all of us, you are a human and so you’re showing that human element of yourself and not only are we all in this together, but we all have passions, we all have hobbies. We all have side projects that we’re scaling for things that really make us live out our passion and you and I had previously connected that beyond being a leader in #digitaltransformation, you love getting involved with businesses and supply chains. So you’ve been involved in the restaurant industry with some of these fleets and products and that’s of course been a very challenging time for the entire industry, what are you seeing firsthand with your involvement in that space?

Stan Vlasimsky

My primary job has always been a consultant for him and my 33rd year. That means I’m pretty old, but also as I spent 25 years at Accenture and retired from there in 2013, I always was fascinated by real estate and restaurants, particularly around the restaurant concept and so got involved in a couple of restaurants.

The second one in particular was very involved in design, we literally, this last weekend, this is really sad on a number of different levels and speaks to the uncertainty, which it’s not clear for a restaurant that is a nicer restaurant, a higher end restaurant in regards to, if you are going to physically distance and practice what you preach, meaning try to keep your #employees safe and your customer safe while still being open. There’s not a great economic model currently because ultimately you really need to be 85 plus percent utilized and the floor space doesn’t work to do that.

So for example, our nicer restaurant, we have just moved it into event space, meaning we’re going to rent it out until we can figure out what’s going on because it’s, there’s more labor costs and there’s less ability to utilize your space and so therefore the economics won’t work for a lot of restaurants. Now, if your pizza delivery or whatever, you’re probably in a reasonably good place because there’s lots of that right now.

So there’s going to be a lot about people and a rethinking of what the models are for things such as restaurants or retail and malls and all the things are going to be similarly impact is as people try to figure out I needed a certain density of customers and then there’s the element of people go to a bar and restaurant to feel a buzz and whatever, not for it to be quiet like you’re in church waiting for prayer to begin.

And so there’s also the dynamics of what’s the experience that we’re working through and that’s going to be hard and we’re still right in the middle of that, and I would say at least for me personally, and the type of restaurants that I’m in, there’s not a good answer right now. What there is going back to the bench space, being flexible while you wait for certain things, vaccines, antivirals, and things to play themselves out to where you can figure out what the model is. That’s still safe, but unclear on when that is.

David Yakobovitch

In New York, we’ve seen how one of the best restaurants in the entire world, 11 Madison Park with Daniel Humm has come out publicly stating that they don’t know if they’ll reopen in a post COVID world in a during COVID world, they’ve actually become a soup kitchen of sorts, where they’ve been helping the homeless and partnering with nonprofits to get food on the table for New Yorkers, who’ve been furloughed or laid off from the COVID crisis, but we’ve seen that companies that are coming back who are starting in restaurants and retail, they’re bringing in this like European flare that you typically don’t see in the U.S.

Neiman Marcus is emerging from its bankruptcy in New York, and they’ve started bringing out booths to try products it’s in the streets of New York City, you see the bizarre style of Europe where people would shop on the streets, starting to appear in areas of New York and you even see street, dining and block parties starting to emerge. So it’s so fascinating that maybe Europe got some things that America’s only rediscovered now as a result of it COVID.

Stan Vlasimsky

It goes back to our earlier discussion around just agility this is going to test every organization, every leader, agility and product and all those are digital, all of the words that we like to use right now, but it’s real at this point in time either you figure it out or you don’t survive, and there’s an element of where there’s a positivity as it relates to, as you said, there’s so many events going on and tragic that just add to the current challenges that we have, that we need to deal with as human beings and as a country and such.

But that aside you can see the positive in regards to us really thinking about the connections that we make and going back to your European and my parents both immigrated from the Czech Republic I was born in Germany, so I’m more European and as far as that connection that you have with your parents, even though I moved from Germany to Oklahoma, and when I would greet my dad and kiss him on the cheek, people were like: Okay, that’s a bit strange.

Like that’s just what we did and there’s that element that you see some of it, my wife would do a lot of work down in South America and stuff, which is the way people connect as a community, not necessarily with their technology, which is, I see and that European flair, which is how you find a way to create that connection in smaller pockets, rather than that mass, you bring a bunch of people into a big space that may be beautifully laid out.

David Yakobovitch

And to add to that, we’re seeing the rise of contactless payments everywhere. I remember pre COVID where I could barely use Apple pay, Samsung pay or Google pay at most locations and now everywhere I go to. Everyone accepts it. It’s interesting because some countries are now doing tech subsidies to integrate contactless payments everywhere and no longer.

You’re seeing those minimum transactions of $10 or $25 Hey, you want to do a $2 purchase? That’s fine you can use contactless, but we still have maybe some of that vendor lock-in the other day, my contactless payment of choices, American Express, and I certain locations said: we take Apple Pay, but we don’t take American Express so there’s still a little bit of that infrastructure that needs to be set up. How are you seeing contactless payments helping perhaps with restaurants or even some of the clients that you’re working with as well?

Stan Vlasimsky

I know the restaurants, I’ll say as a simpler answer, if you go look at anything in the current environment, so the weakest link type thing so ultimately, if I go order takeout, I go to the restaurant and a guy with a mass comes out and brings me my hermetically sealed meal.

That’s all great, but then when I have to hand him a credit card, he hands me a pen to sign something that link has been ultimately broken as far as being contactless and so we saw that in our restaurants as being truly contactless and to some extent, people preferred picking it up versus having somebody they didn’t know, deliver the food to them because we’re a neighborhood place so they’d be happy to pick it up, knowing they control data, full custody of that chain, so that pool contactless payment became much more important meaning.

You do everything online and then you just pick things up and ultimately you can go do it with our customers, depending on or who we’re consulting to, it’s going to depend on industry, but you similarly have got to make the process easier and so if you look at again, automotive, there is I can do all the front end, upfront research and such, but in the back end, there’s the #contactlesspayment, but then there is all the legal paperwork.

So I’ll put that all together, which is how you make those things that traditionally required signatures and human interaction, one it’s painful and people don’t see the value of it and anyone’s ever bought a house or a condor when you sign 150 documents that you don’t know what they mean and you couldn’t read them if you had a week.

So it’s simplifying all those things are really important to the experience. Obviously at the base of that, the core of this is being able to simplify payment transactions and we look at the Venmos and other things that have happened almost like a social type experience in regards to those, but that’s become the norm and my children don’t even know my children during which you ended up back in my house they weren’t living at home, but are now back in Dallas, but I don’t know that they’ve ever written a check or no woman looks like and the first thing they go to is Venmo, Apple Pay, the other ones out there.

So that’s going to be core growing back to, we also have a generational shift of much more comfortable with Mobile phones, apps and such so one is going to be a requirement of COVID and simplifying and part is digital transformation, but also too, it’s part of the generational transition where that’s just the way that those generations expect things to work if they don’t work that way, that’s not a brand that they’re going to want to work with.

David Yakobovitch

And that generational shift is so fascinating because the Alpha generation post 2000, perhaps like your kids here today are going to be moving into the new workforce models soon and that new workforce is going to be one that’s accelerated by contactless, and safety looking at the automotive industry of course, safety is key we’ve been hearing the work at Toyota and other companies is everyone’s getting temperature checks.

Everyone’s having this social distance, six feet apart, markers, plexi glass screens. There’s so much occurring in the human and offline world, but a lot of this can also translate to RPA whether some of the other things you’re seeing that the industry’s doing to be resilient and effective going forward.

Stan Vlasimsky

As you talked about RPA, there’s the dark side and then there’s a positive side of it the dark side of that, you look at all the traffic on Twitter and Facebook and a lot of the things that are, I would say creating some of the divisiveness, in our nation are being driven by bots that are emulating human beings, so there versus there was the positive where I can advertise and I can ask right and RPA bot on my behalf postings and help push my restaurant at the right times with the right specials there’s again, the dark side of what we can do with it, but more than not, if you go look at it, everything that’s happening from customer service, everything that’s happening from just the volume of data that we’re getting from the sensors on cars.

There’s such an opportunity to ultimately automate the tedious tasks that you have in doing those things. Everything from ultimately more intelligent leads, which is a lot of what ties to the #digitalsystems that the OEMs and these other companies are trying to put in place, but ultimately it still gets down to how do I use, for example, an RPA to create help.

Create that seamless experience from when I’m shopping for something to when I either transact online but one of the things you talk about is virtual experiences. Also, I may want it’s not like this shirt is just from Lululemon, I know exactly what I want and I can buy five more of them for a car might not so along the way RPA some of the #automation can help the work that we manually used to do improve the quality of that experience, that lead, that connection that happens.

Through the initial analysis down to when somebody who’s buying a car will walk into a dealer test, drive it and then close the transaction. It can all be underpinned by ultimately automation, those processes that have traditionally been, I won’t say more manual, but pushed in more traditional ways through different organizations and such again, going back to as things get more digital, that’s going to happen.

It’d be accelerated because there’s so much more data to deal with and every day there’s so much more data. Again, it’s never going to add to now the worry is what do you do with the data and what do you do Intelligent data because there’s no longer a lack of data. It’s because I got too much data.

David Yakobovitch

And people have data we’ve seen this with these contact tracing apps and whether those have been piloted in the United States or globally, everyone wants to live in a physical world and that means moving and moving safer and that means reawakening the buyer experience.

We’ve seen during the entire COVID crisis that the national savings rate in the United States went up to almost 33% in some States historic levels and I would attribute some of that to the uncertainty when people are uncertain, what do they do?

They buy gold, they hoard cash, they hunker down, but as we’re continuing to re-imagine and reopen and reawaken the economy. What do you think is possible for the buying experience? Do you want to get back to in-person? Do you want the life that’s going to be hybrid online, offline, or whether some of the trends that you’re seeing, Stan?

Stan Vlasimsky

Well, I’m going to go over a lot of thoughts and all for you first, which is ultimately a little bit, and it ties back to leadership and teams and stuff and one of the things that was interesting for me to begin with, which is we all had to navigate this and going back to the empathy, but I had to acknowledge to people that I’m scared too, even though I feel like I can lead through this crisis, I’m scared there is uncertainty or financial uncertainty, personal uncertainty.

My 89 year old mom in a senior living facility, all those things gave me fear, so one in which was recognizing with people that fear exists in everybody and for me, I’m fortunate where I look at it, what I felt terrible about with the restaurants, which is people live paycheck to paycheck often.

So I’ll tie it back to your question, which is, we’re going to be in some sort of hybrid world and your comments about European flare brands, recognizing what the consumer wants is going to be even more important than it ever was and you’re going to have to morph to a hybrid so rather than saying the strong sales experience, people value product expertise, so rather than saying, then having somebody, this is the sales person, this is a person that can help you pick the product.

That’s going to meet your lifestyle and that tying back to car buying, there’s obviously virtual, augmented reality, and there’s a technology we can use, but you can also create experience centers where ultimately people go in and have a more immersive environment and so brands will have to adjust to that or adjust to both the online and offline meaning how do I make it frictionless for you to shop online, but to send you something with, there’s not a cost to you to send it back because ultimately you don’t have the comfort that I’m buying a pen and so it’s a commodity.So it will be a combination of both, but again, this whole idea from sales to product to product expertise will become really important because that’s going to underpin the #customerexperience that people are looking for, which will be both online and digital and offline but the offline part of it will be less if you’re being sold to more than I’m trying to help you with your lifestyle and I’m there in your corner and things like climate change great diversity all those things will play in, particularly with the generations that we talked about, and I see that very much in my children and how they feel about things and brands and what brands that are working with in context right there.

They’re 17 to 23. My 23 year old who has been marching in the protest and stuff like that saying I won’t buy from these companies for this reason. So that’s all going to be really important, online, offline what the brand stands for and how can I create a customer experience where I’m focused on the product, not on selling something to you that I built.

David Yakobovitch

Now for any of those 23 years old who might be listening to the podcast today, whether it’s your children or the new college grads who are looking at the new normal, what call to action would you have for listeners in general on the HumAIn Podcast?

Stan Vlasimsky

There’s probably two and one relates around things that we’ve touched on, which is we really need to think about how we’re going to lead and lead. I’m going to separate from management meaning I can manage a bunch of teams at clients or at par beta, I’m talking about how we provide leadership in the current world and empathy, intentionality around those ceremonies that we used to have around copies with people that sometimes might’ve been random and such vacations, and showing people that ultimately either that you have worries about things, but you can overcome that worry and how so really we’re three months in.

I can’t prognosticate, whether we’re 12 more months in or two more years in, but we really have to figure out how we lead and so for the 23 year old, it’s going to be ultimately, how do you continue to build those communication skills in a world that is remote? No, for others of us, it’s going to be around empathy, understanding that people have kids at home and that’s going to be there for a while and so really trying to think around how this virtual world and this hybrid world is going to work and adjust very quickly cause I don’t think any of us know exactly what the answer is 10,000 articles on it right now, but all quickly evolving.

So really leading with empathy through this hybrid virtual work environment, that’s going to be shifting over the next 12 months and then really the second one, which is a little bit related to it, which is we talked about the contract plus shopping, retail experience restaurants, takeout but how do our #contactlessrelationships work?

If you really are going to build a relationship around your brand and your brand by me, yourself, or your physical product, it still gets down to humans and relationships, how they feel and so how in a traditional environment where we have dinners, we went out to dinner we met with people, we connected with their offices, we saw pictures of their families, we now have great contactless relationships that are based on trust and you can do that.

It’s the same thing as me looking at the books in your backgrounds, or us talking, or when your dog snuck in the other day, when we talked and we could talk about dogs, but it requires a bit more thought and it can turn out to be a bit more wonky so really we’re going to have to get better around those contactless relationships which don’t mean just texting or Snapchat or Facebook.

I’m talking about still how we connect to people directly talking video and otherwise, and still make them feel like you trust them right through gifts through trying to learn through them, expecting nothing in return. So really leadership with empathy through this virtual hybrid virtual work and we’re really too, which is how we build contact with relationships in a way that fosters trust.

David Yakobovitch

Well, I hope that our contactless relationships do become contact relationships in the future and we’ll definitely get there over time as we get all the safe protocols put in place as we’ve heard today in the show from the automotive and retail and restaurant industries to consulting and education. Stan Vlasimsky, vice president of Pariveda Solutions, thanks for joining us on the HumAin Podcast.

Stan Vlasimsky

Thank you, David. I enjoyed it. Appreciate it.

David Yakobovitch

Thank you for listening to this episode of the HumAIn Podcast. What do you think? Did the show measure up to your thoughts on artificial intelligence, data science, future of work and developer education? Listeners, I want to hear from you so that I can offer you the most relevant trend setting and educational content on the market.

You can reach me directly by email at david@yakobovitch.com. Remember to share this episode with a friend, subscribe and leave a review on your preferred podcasting app and tune into more episodes of HumAIn.

Works Cited

¹Stan Vlasimsky

Companies Cited

²Pariveda Solutions