PP 573: The Future is Here with Frank Cottle

“We’ve always used technology as a key to our business positioning”

It’s all about the future for Mr. Frank Cottle, CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices. An experienced speaker, strategist entrepreneur, business leader and investor, Frank Cottle has revolutionized the way people work and how organizations function nowadays. His company has continued to push the limits in creating the ideal work environment and workforce for their members by combining the three most important components in business: people, place, and technology.

Frank’s journey is no bed of roses. From getting kicked out of college to becoming a professional diver for a federal agency to racing yachts, Frank’s current successes can undoubtedly shock some.

Join in as Kim and Frank discuss the exciting developments in technology, the future of his company, and the movements in workforce management. Frank talks about how his company used technology as a key to their success and his company’s plans for 2020.

HIGHLIGHTS

02:20  Kicked out of College to CEO
09:30  What’s in a name?
17:10  Co-working industry growth
20:34  The solution today
24:27  The key is technology

The future unfolds as @thekimsutton talks to Alliance Virtual Offices founder Frank Cottle. http://thekimsutton.com/pp573 #positiveproductivity #alliancevirtualoffices #thekimsuttonpodcasts #future #frankcottle #technology #thenewworkforce Click To Tweet

EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION

KIM: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity! This is your host, Kim Sutton, and today I am thrilled to introduce you to our guest, Frank Cottle. Frank is the CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices. I know we’re going to have a blast talking so listeners, make sure that you head on over to the show notes page at thekimsutton.com/pp573 and leave comments with the aha’s and just the value that you’ve received from this conversation. Frank, it’s so lovely to have you here, I am looking forward so much to our conversation.

FRANK: Well thank you very much. It’s really great to be here and to participate in your podcast. I see that you’ve done an amazing amount of work.

KIM: Oh, yes.  But you know what, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like –

FRANK: It shouldn’t. It really shouldn’t.

KIM: Amen to that.

FRANK: I think that our lives are really just around productivity. If we see that as work, then you need to reassess a few things.

KIM: Oh, absolutely. I mean, where else would I be able to have a blast recording podcasts with – I think a helicopter just flew over. I know the neighbors here in Ohio are mowing their lawn. It’s a weekday, you know, at any given moment the tornado siren might go off just because they’re always testing –

FRANK: Oh, sure.

KIM: – here in Ohio, but I can laugh it off, have a blast and just work in whatever clothes I want to. You know, I don’t know that I could get away with that though, that might be the difference between Ohio and Newport Beach, right?

FRANK: Well, I don’t know. I’m sitting here in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, so I don’t know that it’s all that different. One difference is I’m in an office and you’re probably at your home.

KIM: I am at my home, yes. Thank goodness for good mic’s for the most part, I keep my kids out of our conversation. But Frank, I would love if you would share with the listeners what you do today and a little bit of your journey and how you got to where you are today.

FRANK: Oh gosh. I’m a probably about halfway through where I want to get, but I run a group of companies. We’re a global organization. We have about 700 facilities and 54 countries and we’re on the virtual officing and serviced officing business and I’ve been doing that now for 40 years. I started in 1979 with this company. Prior to that, I raced yachts and prior to that I was a commercial diver on contract with one of our federal agencies.

KIM: Wait, a professional diver to racing yachts to starting a virtual office company. How does that happen?

FRANK: Well, what it shows is that I was kicked out of college and so I wasn’t qualified to do anything, so I felt I had to go the entrepreneurial route. How’s that? So that’s the route I chose. My family’s in all ranching and farming family here in California and so I grew up with the spirit of entrepreneurialism on a daily basis from all of our family, not just from my parents. That was the path I chose. When we were racing yachts we simultaneously, myself and some of the guys, built a very large brokerage company. We were – when I left the company and left my interest in company, we were at that time the largest yacht brokerage in the world. It gave me a nice platform of comfort, tremendous amount of experience, travel globally with very well heeled clientele and learning from their experiences actually, and doing much the same thing that you’re doing, but firsthand of sharing experiences, what worked and what didn’t work with a lot of successful people around the world. So that took me to an interest in real estate and my interest in real estate was focused on the service office industry and land banking, things of that nature. So we’ve grown from there.

KIM: Now I’m curious, because I grew up in Western New York, so Rochester area.

FRANK: Sure.

KIM: We had Lake Ontario, but there’s yachts more so sailboats and small fishing boats too. I went to school in Chicago, same thing, you know, sailboats in the lake. To now being in Ohio where I am completely landlocked except for when we get a lot of rain in the river floods. When you say yacht racing, and I’m sorry I’m hung up on this, but it’s so intriguing to me. Where would you race from? 

FRANK: Two major types of racing. There’s a regatta racing and match racing. The sort of thing that you hear about the America’s Cup, the Admiral’s Cup, things of that nature, regatta and match racing. And then there’s distance racing. Oh, I’m going to race the Hawaii or I’m going to race Tahiti, that sort of thing. And we participated as a group in all of those activities. My own preference was match racing. And I was lucky enough to know and participate in a couple of America’s Cups. As a business manager for one of the challenges and I didn’t have the time to sail, it takes about three year commitment to be in that –

KIM: Wow.

FRANK: – you know, sort of race and as a junior, junior, junior alternative on the intrepid team. And it’s fun because the skipper of the intrepid challenge, which was one ended up being my architect, fellow by name of Bill [inaudible] when we started in commercial real estate, so preserve that relationship. And it was just a very wonderful working relationship over a lot of years.

KIM: Amazing. Thank you for the insight. Yeah, it’s hard to, you know, I drive down the highway, I’m at the crossroads of America, the intersection of interstate 70 and 75.

FRANK: Aha.

KIM: So we’ll see boats being transported and no, boats is not the pretty word, most of the time they are just like the little things that people take out on the river to do their fishing. So it’s always so intriguing to me. But I had to say for me personally, I love to have my feet on land. I would love to, you know, be just on the beach watching.

FRANK: Well, I like it all, you know, the ocean is an amazing proving ground when you think about it. If you turn that over to life in business because the ocean, sometimes it’s gentle and sometimes it’s violent. The ocean doesn’t care about you. You have to learn to respect and deal with whatever it dishes out. I think in business and oftentimes in life, you have to have that respect for your environment, but you also just have to deal with whatever’s thrown at you and learn to deal with it. Learn to make decisions that’s critical and learn to steer a safe course.

KIM: Oh my gosh! There’s so much truth in that and both the literal sense and in the business sense. I have to share a quick that when I was a teenager, my family took a trip down the California coast line. And when my parents saw the Santa Monica pier, they pulled into the parking lot and we went into the Pacific Ocean, which up to that point, you know, I had been learning in geography that it was more peaceful than the Atlantic Ocean.

FRANK: [laughing]

KIM: So my sisters and I get in.

FRANK: You do hear me laughing, don’t you?

KIM: Yes I do. And I know exactly why. So we get in and all of a sudden a wave knocks the three of us over and we have just enough time to stand back up before the next one comes in and then another one and then another one. And I don’t know, I’m sure my stepmother off on the beach was a mix of horror and just hysterical laughter because she saw us. She knew we were safe and we were – thankfully we are being pushed towards shore and not being pulled out, but that completely negated any thought that I had of the Pacific Ocean being more peaceful than the Atlantic.

FRANK: It’s just bigger.

KIM: Yes.

FRANK: And deeper. So, you know, the volume of water that moves around in the Pacific is staggering.

KIM: Absolutely.

FRANK: And it moves quickly. So, no, it’s a great place very, very different from the Atlantic though.

KIM: Absolutely. And Frank, I have trouble crossing my house on my two feet because I’m natural klutz, so I’ll think twice again. But anyway, I would love to just jump into your company a little bit. The name Virtual Offices intrigues me especially, and I know some listeners ears were like, huh? When you say that you started at 40 years ago, but the name Virtual though, you know, it’s taken on a new meaning over the last, I would have to say decade or two so has that always been the name and what exactly do you do?

FRANK: No. It actually started as Alliance Business Centers and The Alliance Business Centers Network. What we started doing was building buildings from the ground up and then we would put in those buildings operationally business center or today referred to as a co-working center or an executive suite. Basically, we would combine people, place, and technology into a single bundled product and then deliver that product to companies and of all sizes with a highly flexible service agreement rather than a leash.

So, we delivered buildings that had all the clerical, secretarial, administrative support personnel, live receptionists, telephony systems, bandwidth systems, and network management systems. Everything that a company requires to operate inside of a building, subdivided the space in such a way that it was good for larger companies that needed a team rooms of 1-25 people and smaller companies that really just wanted a single office.

KIM: So, smaller companies that want a smaller office for podcasting so that their kids don’t interrupt in the middle? [laughs]

FRANK: That’s exactly. That was the target market for us back then. And the term virtual officing, and we still have those companies by the way. The term virtual officing really comes about as looking at the – what used to be the occupier of the office to real estate term, the occupier and rethinking how people work today and how the transition of work has gone and recognizing that the occupier really doesn’t go to a desk anymore and sit there all day long, five or six days a week. They’re really a traveler. They moved from place to place and work venue to work venue. And I would dare say that you’ve probably worked in a Starbucks.

KIM: I have.

FRANK: You’re probably working from your home. You’ve probably worked in a formal office. You’ve probably worked in someone else’s office or in a conference room, et cetera.

KIM: Hotel rooms.

FRANK: Exactly. So you’re really a traveler in your work experience, not an occupier anymore. So Alliance Virtual gives people the capacity to mash up their work needs with mobility and yet still have a permanent physical address. So today, if you say I need an office in New York. Where you can go? Into Alliance Virtual and open an office in New York. In five minutes, three minutes, we can provide you the address, a telephony, the physical structure, access to the conference rooms, access to support staff, all via the web in literally moments. And if you were to say, well, I want an office in New York, in London, in Paris, in Amsterdam. We say: “Well, it’ll probably take you 15 minutes.” We can establish offices in real time globally for people to meet their business needs. You would think that this is primarily independent entrepreneurs that take advantage of this, but the reality is the largest companies in the world and government represent a huge percentage of, if not the largest percentage revenue-wise of our business.

KIM: Really?

FRANK: Well, think for a moment. If you were to go back five years, just five years, and pull up an annual report or any global fortune 100 company, okay?

KIM: Yes.

FRANK: And when you look at that annual report, you’re going to see that they made a certain amount of revenue and a certain amount of profit and they had a certain number of employees. Okay? Let’s say they had 500,000 employees worldwide. Big Company. If you look at that annual report today, you will see that it says they have the revenue and they have the profit, but they now have a workforce of 500,000.

KIM: Yes.

FRANK: And that work force, about 10%-25% of it are contractors. In order for them to preserve their stock value or improve their stock value, they want their long-term liability of their leased property or their debt on their owned property to go away and match the employment cycle of their company. So if they can have 25% employee are contractors and they can now have a one year service agreement with those contractors for their real estate requirements, instead of a 10 year lease, which they have to carry as a negative on their balance sheet, well their stock value is going to materially improve as they shed the liability of those long-term leases against their short term employment model.

KIM: Wow.

FRANK: So that is a huge driver. And if you think about too, government, what’s the one thing that all every government has to ultimately agree upon, regardless in our government, Democrats, Republicans, everybody else, what’s the one thing they have to agree upon?

KIM: You’ve got me because I’m thinking about so many things.

FRANK: An annual budget.

KIM: Yeah.

FRANK: I said annual, not a multi year budget, but a one year budget.

KIM: Right.

FRANK: The government doesn’t like to take 10 year leases and has to get exceptions in contracts that are more than one year. So government loves our industry, loves the flexibility that our industry provides.

KIM: Well you have me thinking Frank, I mean when I – so I started my career, listeners if this is your first episode, I started my career as an interior architect. And I worked for a top 40 interior architecture firm in Manhattan. And at that point they had a large, like 40,000 square foot office right there in midtown. And I know that after I left, they upsized it to two floors and then they opened up another office in Chicago. And I honestly haven’t looked recently, but I wouldn’t be surprised if their website, oh, I think they also said London. But now you’ve got me thinking, there’s no reason why they had to be employees. They could have had contractors from all around the world and then have put up that they have locations all around the world. You know, working with a company like you, where if they needed the team to get together onsite, sure, great, just meet in our conference room, but in the meantime, all these, their workforce as you put it, could be working out of their homes.

FRANK: Well and there are specialized facilities too that service engineering and architectural firms from within our industry as well. I would venture that if you are with a large firm like that. Firms like that are very subject to the cyclicality of the economy. They grow and they take a lot of space and hire a lot of people and the economy changes and all of a sudden business growth stops and then sadly they have to adjust their employment base but they’re still stuck with that cost, that fixed cost of the real estate.

KIM: Mmhhmmm. That’s why I’m self-employed.

FRANK: Well, and that’s it. That happens regularly. I mean, you can count on it. It’s not something that’s a surprise. At our whole industry, the serviced offices and the co-working industry provides a solution to that. It’s one that has massive growth as an industry in terms of facilities and square footage customer service capacity, if you will. Our industry grew 23% in 2018, that’s faster than any other industry you can imagine that definitely beats the PC industry during the DOTCOM bloom. They were growing at around 10 to 12%. So we just had a massive growth and due to the trend shifts that we’re seeing in contracting, in mobility, in technology, in the social structure of work, today is just totally different. It’s a huge driver and Alliance Virtual Offices, fortunately we’ve been around a long time and so we believe we’re not only the leading company within our industry, but we’re perceived because of our tenure and we also publish All Work Space publication, which is the largest publication in our industry so we’re seen as thought leaders and sort of as an authority on the future of work and things of that nature as well.

KIM: So you mentioned earlier that you have administrative support for your members or clients?

FRANK: We refer to our clients as members. Yes.

KIM: Yes.

FRANK: Yes.

KIM: So I started out –

FRANK: If I could interrupt.

KIM: Yes?

FRANK: Our purpose in doing that, it’s very much a community driven – 

KIM: Yes.

FRANK: service structure that we provide.

KIM: Oh, I love members.

FRANK: That’s why they’re a member.

KIM: Yes, absolutely. I can so see that. In 2008, I was designing schools here in Ohio. I’m near Dayton and we lost a lot of industry. GM had major manufacturers around the Dayton area.

FRANK: Sure.

KIM: DHR was here, you know, the whole area of Dayton just took a massive hit. So when tax bond issue stopped passing because the citizens couldn’t even think about putting air conditioning in the new schools or building new schools if they can’t pay their mortgage. So that’s, I lost my job. So I started my company as a virtual assistant and I’m intrigued by the support that you offer along with the the address. Would you mind going into that a little bit more because I’m curious how it works.

FRANK: Yeah, it really depends on the individual facility or structure. Some things are provided remotely, live reception services as an example. We have three calls centers, one in the continental Europe, one in the UK and one here in North America. So anything that can be done remotely by a live receptionist, we were talking about scheduling and appointment setting a moment ago just for ourselves. The challenges that presents, well, you can imagine as a small companies or large companies individuals within them. That’s a huge requirement as you know, for coordinating business purposes. So we’re very adept at that. And today really, there are a lot of virtual assistance through great companies like upwork and as an example. But it’s very difficult for an individual company to sort those all out because one virtual assistant is really good at social media and communications, but they’re not great on spreadsheets.

Another virtual assistant might be really great at appointment setting and spreadsheets but they’re really aren’t good at PowerPoint. They can’t put a pitch deck together really well. So having a single virtual assistant isn’t the solution today. The solution today and we’re just starting to develop and implement this, is having not a virtual assistant but having a complete virtual office manager who has 10 virtual assistants at their beck and call and who can meet the total needs of a company as opposed to just the sometime needs and then you end up doing half the work yourself. So we think that having an office manager as a virtual assistant is better than having a single assistant, particularly that person then knows the company as opposed to just knows the individual. And that –

KIM: Oh, I love that.

FRANK: – will be a trending issue that you’ll see coming up over the next several years.

KIM: And that actually must just be the trend of the day because my first podcast of today was actually with an online business manager who certifies other online business manager and it was exactly the same topic. And now I have an online business manager and then I have five other virtual assistants who work with us. And it’s exactly like what you were just talking about. I had the podcast and production team. I have social media, I have community, I have, you know, a number of different things because just like you were saying, I mean I love each of my team members dearly, but some of them just can’t create graphics how I want to and.

FRANK: Exactly. And no one can, you know, Jack of all trades master of none. Right?

KIM: Right.

FRANK: In today’s world you have to have nothing but masters working with you. You can’t have that master of none approach. And so putting together the team, the problem that you have and what you just described, you actually have to manage the team yourself.

KIM: Oh no, my manager manages.

FRANK: Okay. Okay. Okay. Cause that’s really what’s necessary to make it work. You’ve got to help the manager.

KIM: Yeah. And that’s just in the last month. Full disclosure, my manager is my sister who is a Cornell graduate and was a grocery manager for 15 years. So she has, that is her forte. But you have to have somebody who really is organizational and loves to manage and I do not. I’m a creative. I couldn’t, you know, that’s just, if that’s my responsibility it’s always going to fall on the back burner.

FRANK: Yup. I can understand that completely. You’re a creative, your sister is a great manager. My team just says I’m an old grump, so I obviously have maintained my skillset perfectly.

KIM: I will argue because it’s been extremely pleasurable since the second we got on the line. So yeah. I would love to know, 40 years ago you got started with this and what types of systems? Because I didn’t have systems set up at the beginning. It’s probably took, and I’d been in business now for seven years. It probably took four years for me to start getting systems set up. Frank, it took me six years to read the E myth and then I kicked myself in the butt and I was like: Why didn’t you read this before? You’ve only had 1800 people tell you that you should read it.” What did you do to be able to have the type of growth and sustainability and last through the ups and downs of the economy?

FRANK: Well, it’s funny, even when we were in the yachting business, which you have to go back into the 70’s, we, myself and a couple of other guys, we thought, you know, we use a lot of electronics and steer boats around but we’re not using them to steer our offices around. So we took everybody off the IBM selectrix and which was the big electric typewriter of the era. And we installed an IBM 360 mini computer, put everybody at terminals and started doing everything on automated as the technology would allow at that time.

As we started our own company back in 1980, when we were building our first project, we actually went out of our way. We said: “Hey, we’re going to combine people, place and technology, what’s the best technology to use?” And we looked around very carefully, we actually formed a joint venture with Bell Labs and we were the first commercial installation that simultaneously transmitted both voice and data over four pair twisted cable. So what you think of today is cat five or six and you think of is personal private networks and things of that nature today. We were doing all of that in 1980 and creating that technology with bell labs. And we actually had to create both hardware and software to run it, which we were fortunate enough that have their brilliant team. But those were the days of, you know, guys in white coats, plastic pocket protectors for the pins and slide rules. So in 1980, we were doing full video conferencing also.

KIM: Wow.

FRANK: So again, it was very expensive. It’s very expensive to create, install and use. And there are a lot of limitations to it, but it was still the way to go. By ’82 ’83 as people started needing more speed and bandwidth, we created the joint venture with GTE and we were their first commercial installation for ISDN, which was the ripping fast, you know, bandwidth of the era. If you had ISDN you are just magic, you can actually transmit stuff and not, you know, get up and go get a cup of coffee while it was happening.

So we’ve always used technology as a key to our business positioning and that hasn’t stopped. We’re still doing that today and we try and keep it the at the front of everything now. And it does speed up your growth if you use technology intelligently. It is a little better for the planet. We’ve been totally paperless since 1993. We run a global organization. We have facilities in 54 countries. So time zones and paper and things of that nature just don’t work. You have to do things by video, you have to do things in real time. And that requires a lot of bandwidth, a lot of understanding of how to manage it.

KIM: Absolutely.

FRANK: So we’ve – that just been a part of our business model for since day one.

KIM: I can’t even imagine how much the investment was for you to get that in in 1980 and 1982, because I’m thinking back even, and this is going to date me, but 1997 was when I went to college.

FRANK: Aha.

KIM: And I remember the hefty price tag that my parents paid for my apple computer in 1997.

FRANK: Aha, aha.

KIM: I think it was $4-$5,000 just because –

FRANK: Oh, yeah.

KIM: – that was the rate then.

FRANK: See in ’97, no, that would have been, well really your first mini max probably. Computers are expensive, but the only time a computer is expensive is when it’s not put to good use.

KIM: True.

FRANK: If you think about it, it’s like any tool are all good tools are expensive. And if they sit in the toolbox unused, well that they’re really expensive. But if they’re used to their maximum effect then they’re not expensive relative to their productivity.

KIM: Oh, I could give you a big kiss, but my husband won’t like that. I’m an infusionsoft certified partner now. So I hear they complaint a lot of the time from prospective clients. You know, I’ve been spending all this money. It’s so expensive. I’m not getting my money back from it. And I’ll ask them: “What are you doing with it?” And it’s like, to be totally honest, that first Mac that I had, we were learning how to hand draft. So the extent of usage of that –

FRANK: Oh, yeah. Sure.

KIM: – Mac was using it for AOL instant messenger. So it was a very expensive tool to only be doing, you know, instant messaging my high school friends.

FRANK: Sure.

KIM: And today, the same as the case for people who aren’t using whatever tool they have. Infusionsoft being the one that I’ll pick on, if all they’re using it is for the same thing that they could be using MailChimp for, of course it’s going to be super expensive, but there’s so many more capabilities.

FRANK: You know, that’s it. You know, you buy the right tool for the right job overall and that’s what people have to recognize. Kim, you were doing drafting. We were doing, we were one of autocad’s very first installations. We were doing buildings with autocad in the early eighties on old green screens. So, you know, you just keep progressing with things as you move along. And it never stops. It never, ever stops. And thank goodness it doesn’t stop.

KIM: Absolutely.

FRANK: You know, it’s like all human knowledge, we shouldn’t be on a continual quest.

KIM: Yeah. Actually I ended up teaching myself how to use autocad because I went to one of the best art schools in the country, but they were all about freehand.

FRANK: Yeah.

KIM: And actually one of my professors said, you just shot yourself in the foot by taking the whole semester to teach yourself autocad. But had I not taught myself the technology that I would’ve never gotten hired for any future jobs.

FRANK: Yap.

KIM: So it’s sad that, you know, I love what people are able to do with computers as far as rendering goes. Don’t get me wrong, anybody who’s listening, but I do miss the hand drawn affects. My husband is a video game designer.

FRANK: Oh.

KIM: Yeah. And actually, his first game, he hand drawing all of his assets and then scanning them in. So it’s a painstaking process, but he wanted the hand drawn quality so bad that he decided just to say the heck with trying to do it on a tablet. I actually wanted it to be my hand and I’ll just scan them into the computer, each minuscule piece that needs to be done.

FRANK: Well, that’s the old Disney method huh?

KIM: Yeah, exactly.

FRANK: Yeah. Yeah. You know, it’s funny that you mentioned video games. Today we’re selling serviced offices and coworking offices and virtual offices, et cetera. By 2022 we’re going to be selling virtual reality offices. We’ll be selling software that is your office, as opposed to a physical place. And just like a video technology, video gaming technology is totally immersive today. And actually has the best rendering that exists in technology, comes from the video gaming industry. You’ll slip on your headset or whatever, set it will be at that time, there’ll be lighter, better. As today, you’ve got optical technology that’s equal to, or even better than the human eye that’s available from a variety of providers , so that will become common place by 2022. And you’ll slip on a headset and you’ll enter your office, which you will have chosen from a template or designed in all of your files. All of your business requirements will be in that office. Just like if you walked into a large office today, and with technology the way it’s – the way it’s developing, people will come and visit you in your office and come and go. And the reality of it will be astounding. So if we look at buildings today, take any building in Manhattan as an example, where you worked originally, take the nicest high rise building overlooked central park, and think what a 500 square foot personal office in the corner of that building overlooking central park costs today.

KIM: Can’t even imagine.

FRANK: It’s staggering –

KIM: More than my house costs.

FRANK: As low as $5000 or $10,000 a month, for that office. That one office.

KIM: Wow.

FRANK: Okay. With one person sitting in it.

KIM: Yeah.

FRANK: Okay. Now, if I’m correct on our virtual reality offices do become a reality, which it’s inevitable, just a matter of which is going to be 2021 2 3 or 4. Okay. That’s all. The only variable is what date. Okay. Well, if you can go into your office in Ohio, into your home office in Ohio, put on whatever device was necessary, or maybe even be an embed and enter that same office. Once I am going to do to the value of the real estate, it’s going to completely restructure the value on the use purpose of real estate.

KIM: Right.

FRANK: You’ll be able to have much higher density with a much higher quality environment simultaneously, which means that buildings, particularly are very expensive high density markets will be able to be fully or partially repurposed into other activities, residential activities, retail activities, which will cause large buildings instead of being all commercial. Now, they’ll become mixed used. So when they become mixed used, now you’ve solved pollution on a transportation problem and all that comes to the technology of virtual reality officing.

KIM: Oh my goodness. Frank, can I get on the waiting list for one of those?

FRANK: [laughs] You can.

KIM: I’m totally serious.

FRANK: You can.

KIM: I would love to be – I’m even thinking of a movie that we just watched on, okay, we have not been to a movie in a longest time just all the kids, you know. But, there’s one that was all virtual reality and people put on their head thing and then they go in and all their friends are in here. The funny thing is that the main character lives in Columbus, Ohio of the future, which is just, and it’s like –

FRANK: Probably somewhat dystopian.

KIM: It was because they’re all like mobile homes that are now vertical, just stacked on top of each other. And it’s like oversaturated, like just too many people living in one space. But it was really intriguing to me. But then I was thinking about when I started my first business, which I should have never gotten into in 2005, I remember reading entrepreneur magazine one day and they were talking about this online community called I think it was called Second Life.

FRANK: Oh, sure. Sure.

KIM: Where you can get in and have, you know, conferences –

FRANK: Create an Avatar of yourself.

KIM: Exactly. But Second Life sort of took on a whole different, I think purpose than people were intended or Second Life may – the developers may have intended. Like I know IBM was using it for virtual conference centers, but it became a little bit more and are, you know, and mature than that. But I love this whole concept. I’ve been being able put this on, go in and then I’m thinking of it. I love movies. If you can gather, like Tom Cruise is a police officer and he goes in and he’s like, he’s got these little creatures or people who can see into the future, but he has his hand up and he can fly different stuff around or documents around. I can just see how it would be, so absolutely fantastic.

FRANK: You can actually do all of that right now.

KIM: No way.

FRANK: Just as an example in Sweden, in Stockholm right now, they’ve got a test going on, doing very successfully for embeds. And so you have a little chip embedded in your hand and with that chip, it works very much like an apple, pay, or something like that. And you can ride all the public transportation, you can do this, you can do that and you can pay for anything in the public sector just by tapping your finger. And it comes from an embedded chip. And you’re going to see that right now if you in the video gaming world, you know, how people have haptic gloves, right?

KIM: Yup.

FRANK: Okay, well you have haptic gloves and you can get haptic feet now and all that kind of thing too. So you can be more immersive. Well, the way they’re doing it now in the testing that we’re saying is you don’t wear a glove anymore. You actually have a nano chip just sitting that put on to your fingernail, the same way that you’d use a fingernail polish. It’s a micro thin structure. And you just polish it on and now it’s permanent, okay? Now you have to maintain the polish cover on it, but now it’s permanent. So everywhere you go, you have the haptics with you. Now if you walk around with haptics and you’re using a headset of any sort simultaneously, that world you were just talking about from the film you watch, which I think was probably Ready Player One.

KIM: That was one of them. I love that. Yeah.

FRANK: Okay. That world has just been created.

KIM: Wow.

FRANK: Okay. So we think that we’ll see, not the fantasy version, quite that was in the game structure that was played in that movie. But the reality of the practical realities of what can be accomplished in that relative to travel, relative to any variety of experiences, and for business productivity purposes. So this is just what we see coming down the pipe and some of the things that we’re working on within our own company ourselves as partners with different people, different organizations, and alliance virtual offices. Again, we’ve always been a leader in structure. We created the virtual office. We created the term virtual officing. We have set up the global structures for it. We’ve created the wholesaling structure for it on a global basis. So, this is just the next generation of product, if you will, that we see as solving a requirement of people’s needs.

KIM: Oh my gosh Frank, you have my head swimming right now because I’ve joked on numerous episodes of the podcast that I would love a USB port installed behind my ear and I’m totally, I would donate myself, you know, to test this, that because as I said, I’m a creative. I’m actually working to write my book called Chronic Idea Disorder. If my eyes are open, even if my eyes are shut, you know, I’m having more ideas. But I just love that USB port that’s behind my ear that I can download what’s there and have, you know, out.

FRANK: Well, it’s a little bit of, I don’t know if you’re a practitioner of lucid dreaming or not.

KIM: I’m not.

FRANK: Are you familiar with the term?

KIM: I’m intrigued.

FRANK: Are you familiar with the term?

KIM: Yes I am.

FRANK: Okay. And for your audience, it is a lucid dreaming basically is directed dreams where you threw your own consciousness, direct your dreams to be focused on an activity even after you’re sleeping and to be productive with that activity when you’re sleeping. And this is a discipline. It’s a science. It’s not a fantasy, but it’s an actual discipline. It’s something you can learn to do overall. And what you are going to see is that these virtual reality structures are a little bit for some people like lucid dreaming is today where you are immersed in two worlds simultaneously.

KIM: I can absolutely see that. Oh my gosh, I am so excited to see this come to reality. Like full force for reality. Wow. Full virtual reality, maybe I should say.

FRANK: Yeah. No, it is the future of work. It’s the future of many things. But in particular, as we go back to the mobility issues we were talking about, there are 1.8 billion mobile workers in the world today. And that’s defined by the ADC as anyone that has two or more days permanently of mobile work in a permanent job. So if you think about the sheer numbers of people that are part of this mega trend of contracting and mobility, that’s just going to drive things that much further and faster by 2030 2032 2023 by that era, everything we’ve just been talking about will be ubiquitous and default. It won’t be the future. It will be -it’s what will happen. And all you have to do is look at social media. When social media starts, all you have to do is look at smart phones. When smart phones start, there was about eight to 10 year adaptation period before it became the absolute default. It’s the only thing now, right? And we’ll see the same thing with these new technologies as they emerge.

KIM: My father just in the past six months upgraded from his flip phone to an iPhone. I didn’t realize until I was just talking to my stepmother last week or the week before. I was like, really? And I remember seeing him on a laptop for the time. I was like: “Dad, do you need help with that?” And I feel bad now, but he’s like: “Oh no. This is how I read all my news now.”

FRANK: Yup.

KIM: Because Dad always went to the local news stand or he would travel 40 minutes to go get all of his newspapers every day. And now he’s just getting it all online. I mean he’s, I don’t want to say slow to catch up, but my dad is slow to catch up.

FRANK: I know a number of people that still use a flip phone. I know they also use a computer and they also do a thing, but they want a phone to be a phone. That’s all they want it for.

KIM: I’m not arguing that.

FRANK: And so there’s definitely a position to take on that overall cause we can become too connected and you can lose yourself in all the communications overload, the stuff’s. Unless you’re very careful in the filters you set on things and the way you create habits and you are constantly just exploring, you become, you know, a youtube junkie. And it’s a hard addiction to break for a lot of people, much harder than physical and drug addictions even cause there’s nothing wrong with it, right? It’s not evil, but it’s just as addictive. And so we have to really use caution in how we filter our data in the world around us because that’s all, all of this is, it’s just data. We have a mantra in our company that says, get the data and the data becomes information which can be converted to knowledge, which in turn creates action. So get the data. That’s our approach to a lot of things in business. Overall, a lot of people just get the data, but they never convert the information to knowledge.

KIM: Oh my goodness.

FRANK: And that’s a sticking point. So if you’re always just getting information, it really doesn’t do you any good and just clutters your brain. You have to have a process for turning that information into knowledge.

KIM: I’ve been to a number of conferences and I’ve had a number of clients where the same point is brought up over and over again. Yeah, you can sign up for that two to $10,000 course. You can be here for the weekend and learn all of this. But what are you going to do with it? So are you going to act on it or not? And I wish somebody would just be so bold as to say, don’t spend the money if you’re not actually gonna act on it. I think I’m actually gonna put that into my sales webinars in the future. If you’re not going to commit to taking the action than I don’t want your money cause I want to see the results. I want to see the results that show that it’s worked well for my, you know, from my members. And I want them to see the results and showing how it’s actually helped their business.

KIM: But Frank, I want to have a part two, I want to learn more and to share more and see how you can help listeners more in the future. So let’s, I know your coordinator’s name and I can get in touch, but I would love to know how listeners can get in touch with you, learn more and find out how they can be a member.

FRANK: Well, the easiest thing to be is just go to alliancevirtualoffices.com

KIM: Okay.

FRANK: That’s our core company and I’m there. And if you want to just know more about what’s going on in our industry overall, then you can go to allwork.space

KIM: allwork.space

FRANK: allwork is one word .space. So, allwork.space

KIM: I love it.

FRANK: And that will give people an idea of what’s going on in the flexible work space industry and what things are being created and who the companies are and that sort of thing and how it’s all being done.

KIM: Fabulous. Listeners again, you can find all the links of everything that we’ve talked about as well as the links that Frank just mentioned at thekimsutton.com/pp573 Frank, I want to thank you again for your time today. Do you have a parting piece of advice or a golden nugget that you can offer to listeners?

FRANK: Gosh, I hadn’t thought of any golden nuggets. No, I would just say have fun. You know, so I’m kind of at a loss for that one. You know, just enjoy life and have fun, cause it is fun.

KIM: I love it. We’ll go with that. Have fun listeners and again, go over to thekimsutton.com/pp573 and leave your aha’s.

 

Resources:

Bell Computers
Entrepreneur Magazine
Second Life online community

Inspirational Quotes:

“Rethinking how people work today, and how the transition of work has gone and recognizing that the occupier really does not go to a desk anymore…they are really a traveler…work venue to work venue.”

“Mashup work needs with mobility and still have a physical permanent address.”

“Our purpose in doing that (calling their clients as “members”)…it’s very much a community-driven service structure, that we provide.”

“We’ve always used technology as a key to our business positioning.”

“All good tools are expensive, and if they sit in the toolbox unused – well, they are really expensive. But if they are used to their maximum effect, then they are not expensive relative to their productivity.”

“Have fun…just enjoy life and have fun.”