Storytelling about BeyondHQ with Madhu Chamarty
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 107. This week we have storytelling about BeyondHQ with Madhu Chamarty. During this episode, Madhu and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing BeyondHQ.
Madhu is an expert in all things B2B/B2C software platforms and employee advocacy. His passion to build a data-driven approach designed to help companies evaluate and scale the right distributed workforce footprint really comes through during the podcast.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.
Show length: 25 minutes
Enjoy the podcast?
Ladies and Gentleman this is William Tincup and you’re listening to the recruiting… Excuse me, the Use Case podcast brought to you by recruiting daily, and we’re going to be talking with Madhu from BeyondHQ all about his firm and the Use Case for beyond HQ. So without any further ado, Madhu, do us a favor and introduce both yourself and introduce BeyondHQ.
Absolutely, thank you very much, William. Thank you for the opportunity. This incredible audience and incredible… I was just reading about some of your past interviews, so, pleasure to be in such good company. So just a little bit about myself. I am an engineer by training math and computer science, and then, it’s funny because our company is about helping companies build distributed teams. And I spoke about the fact that my entire family and my entire life has been a part of a distributed team.
I grew up in a bunch of different countries and then in India, my family lived in Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Canada, the Caribbean, and then the U.S, and so it’s kind of what I’ve been living all my life, and we’re now building software to help other companies do the same. I spent the last 15 years essentially in B2B software in the tech startup world, either as an early employee or part of the founding team, and started BeyondHQ basically two years ago, when looking at two trends, one being the increasing challenges that companies on the coasts we’re facing in terms of talent retention and rising costs of real estate and shrinking tenures.
That was sort of starting to be so prominent that I remember talking to a number of venture capitalists in the Bay area in New York, and they were starting to guide their entire portfolio saying, Hey, stop hiring here, go hire in Austin, go hire in Denver, go hire anywhere else, and you really want to think about a more distributed footprint, and so that was something that both I heard from the market of the tech industry and also personally experienced it having spun up teams across the country and in South America and globally.
So while that was happening, the second trend that made me think about BeyondHQ was Amazon’s HQ two process that essentially opened the eyes of the country, if not the entire world to many other pockets or ecosystems of talent to support a company like Amazon. So putting those two together, my thought was, Hey, how can we build a data-driven approach for helping companies evaluate and scale the right distributed workforce footprint? And that’s kind of led to creating BeyondHQ. So in a simple sentence, we are building a scenario planning tool that helps talent, and to a certain extent, real estate and finance teams and other decision-makers in the organization evaluate the right markets and figure out where, and why to scale their workforce.
No, I was just thinking of what we’ve learned with Covid, right? So March 13th, everyone’s got to go home, or we just kind of work from home, remote work. Companies were struggling on some level with the concept of remote work or telework or work from home, and it’s really interesting to see kind of on the other end of that now companies wanting people to come back to an office. So, I’m fascinated by the hybrid work model of kind of what that will look like in 2022 and beyond. What did you learn? As you’re going, I mean, you were going through the same stuff I was going through or, what did you learn, especially about distributed teams through the Covid experience?
Yep, absolutely. Great question. So, to just kind of lay the groundwork for my chronology standpoint, right? If you think pre-Covid, and you look at remote work, there was an increasingly strong narrative for tech startups, larger enterprises, as well on, Hey, this remote work needs to be taken seriously. We should offer that as a benefit to employees, et cetera. So you might agree that there is some growing conversation about being remote, at least in some industries, if not all industries, right? And like exactly what you said. Covid is kind of this biggest forced remote work experiment that the world has ever seen, arguably, and the first six or eight months, 10 months, at least until the vaccines, we found companies to have no other option, but to just kind of do their best to be fully remote and certain industries, we found to be much more readily embracing this than others. Obviously like the knowledge worker industries.
Hey folks, everybody goes home and you have a computer, you have internet connection, you have zoom, and I hope that folks saw it as early enough and bought some zoom stock. But anyway, there’s certain industries-
The zoom thing is fascinating to me because, in December of ’19, the recruiters were probably sitting around, figuring out their hiring plan, right?
Okay, we’re going to need a hundred engineers. We’re going to need…
Little, did they know.
And little did they know that that was going to all change right in front of them. As you mentioned certain industries, it really sparks some curiosity for me is even going into certain job classes.
Where, distributed work, I mean, we’ve been doing software engineering, remotely for a while now, and some better than others, some experiences better than others, but it’s not a foreign concept.
To a front-end developer or a back-end developer, et cetera. So, but again, focus now, you go through Covid and all of a sudden that director of demand gen or whatever, that used to have to be in a cubicle next to somebody else and events or whatever, they don’t have to do that. We’ve all learned the same lesson. You don’t have to do that. Now you can choose to do that, but you can also choose a different model. So, the question, as you’re looking at the data and as you’re looking at some of the things that you learn, is it just, does it fit certain places just better for right now?
Yeah, good question, and what’s interesting about this, right, is let’s divide the world into people that are desk workers.
People that are non-desk workers. You would think that sort of naturally this lends itself, the idea of remote work lends itself well to people that are office workers, because arguably all you need is an internet connection, so to speak. But what the pandemic has done, we’re finding is it has forced a lot of other industries to think creatively on how to make work more flexible. So take an example of a dairy farm, right? Or a manufacturing plant. Both these are companies that you think of that remote work doesn’t naturally jump off the top of your head when you think of a dairy farm or you think about a manufacturing facility, right? But some of the things that the dairy… One of the largest dairy co-ops in the country is doing, is trying to embrace flexible work schedules, and then having the ability to rotate shifts around.
Or if somebody of the workforce needs to take a meeting or come in half the day, go to their kid’s school and then go back again to work, all kinds of innovation and process is starting to be developed as a result of this kind of forced experiment. Similarly, with the manufacturing plant, remote overseeing of the factory floor, equipment that the person can sit, the maintenance technician or the safety supervisor can now sit at home and remotely monitor quality defects on a floor plant. That technology sort of existed, and people were starting to embrace it, but now there’s this accelerant for knowledge workers and non-knowledge workers, kind of like physical footprint industries, all of those folks have been forced to embrace a lot of this tech more aggressively.
So it’s fascinating.
Well, It opens up the talent pool.
So, I mean, this is just a good idea because hiring a software engineer in Silicon Valley in 2018 was almost impossible. I mean, quite frankly, it was just almost impossible. But now when you look at the whole world and you say to yourself, well, there’s great talent and, in Poland.
Or pick a place on the map.
But the idea is that you just opened your talent pool to the world and the world is now opened its talent pool to all those jobs. So again, because we’ve… I hate it. I hate that a pandemic led to some of these kinds of innovations.
It had to be so severe for people to-
But it’s kind of like one of those impulsive things that happens, right? In society, you have this unprecedented black swan event, and it kind of sends ripple waves of innovation. Sadly, the flip side of it is positive. But unfortunately, it took for these kinds of effects to happen, one of the things I’ll point out William, on the opening up the talent pool, that’s a great observation, right? That’s the right way to think about it I believe because, there is a lot of, even within the United States, there’s a lot of socioeconomic implications as a result of remote work.
Right? Which is, there has been traditionally this kind of migration of talent, particularly in tech. You have to be in Silicon Valley if you want to be at one of the hot startups or work at Google or Apple or Netflix or Facebook, but no longer is that the case now.
It was already more popular to be remote anyway in tech versus other industries, but now let’s say you’re an engineer from a school in Iowa. You don’t necessarily need to decide that, Hey look, okay, I graduated, I have my degree. Off I go to the bay area or off I go to New York and whole lot more jobs, not just engineers. Like you said, the demand gen person, the salesperson, the marketer, all of them. There’s proof now for being remote. So I think that more opportunities for more communities around the country to present themselves as a viable source of talent, and a viable ecosystem for workers is the case now, which is fantastic, and I hope that the cities are seeing it this way. Some of them are acting on it more aggressively than others like Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Columbus, Ohio, or even Boise starting to be on the map much more.
Yeah, it’s like people are… It’s funny because I live in Arlington, Texas, but I have a lake house down towards Austin, and when you talk to people that live in Austin, all they do is complain about all of California moving tossed.
Right? But it’s fascinating because people are moving to where they want to live. If you want to live in Sun Valley, Idaho, and that’s just always been kind of your dream.
You just move. I mean, that’s one of the things that Covid, again, that’s taught us, well, you can just move.
You just move your work. That’s exactly right, and to the point about, that folks in Austin seeing the influx of Californians, right? I’ll present another perspective that is perhaps not as common, just as food for thought on that topic. There are certainly that, I mean, let’s also acknowledge kind of the unpleasant underbelly of this mass migration, which is, a bunch of Californians show up in a small town in another state, suddenly the real estate prices go up and that’s happening in Boise as we speak.
But I’ll give you another perspective. This is kind of the beauty of some big trend always has a positive, and a challenging side to it, right? So here’s another perspective. When I went to Iowa, early days of launching BeyondHQ, there are a number of state schools and community colleges in Iowa, Des Moines area, community college, as an example, one of the largest in the country, probably tens of thousands of graduates.
And a lot of them end up choosing opportunities that are only immediately visible to them versus thinking, Hey, I graduated with a business degree in a community college, and I should really look for an STR job in Salesforce, and I want to stay here, and salesforce.com, on the other hand, is aggressively looking for hiring people wherever they are for some of these remote sales positions. So I feel like for all the community colleges that don’t get as much mind share from recruiters, corporate recruiters, now they should seize this opportunity and say, Hey, look, we’re not located in Silicon valley or Chicago or New York, but we have fantastic talent. You as an employer are now open to the entire country, hire from Des Moines area community college, right? So there’s a lot of those kids that come out of, sort of smaller schools probably don’t have recognition.
Now they have a much more even playing field.
Oh yeah. Well, that’s going to help with… For the HR and TA folks that are listening, this is going to help with all your diversity and inclusion.
Initiatives, because now instead of just recruiting from Yale, which there’s nothing wrong with that, but now you’re going to be open to a lot of different types of talent to find that out as you wish.
Let me ask you this. I’ve got three big questions left. One of them is more of a curiosity.
What do you think about, and I’ve only talked to a couple of people about this, but fractional distributed work. Whereas, let’s say it’s a CMO. The CMO now goes across five companies.
And spends one day a week with each company, and so it’s distributed in a way that they were thinking about it, but it’s also even more distributed because it’s factual.
Are you seeing models like that, or companies approaching kind of talent management or a portfolio talent like that?
Yeah, absolutely. In fact, funny you say that because two of my very good friends launched tractional recruiting services, right?
They are going to help find you fractional CMOs, fractional CROs, but that’s their business and we’ll take care of the payroll and you just get the fractional person you need, and this is also something that a lot of people are thinking of kind of getting out of their nine to five.
Moving to the city or town they like to.
And then just consulting in a fractional role this way.
Yeah, work the way you want to work.
Work the way you want to work, exactly.
Work from where you want to work. How you want to work
Exactly, it’s the second part as well.
So when people look at BeyondHQ, you’re obviously talking to them, you’re taking them through, slide decks, demos, whatever the bit is, what do they fall in love with?
Yeah. Think of our product, this will help understand kind of what is appealing about what we’re building. Think of BeyondHQ as sort of Zillow meets Glassdoor, or Zillow meets LinkedIn, but for cities.
The irony is, Zillow CEO and Glassdoor CEO are good friends, best friends, actually, they’re both on each other’s boards.
Oh, fantastic. I wish I knew that, I could’ve act like I did. Thank you
And now you know, both of them literally are best friends, and they’re on each other’s boards.
Maybe I should pitch this vision to them as a way to get them as customers.
A hundred percent, hundred percent.
So we are building a comparison tool for cities based on how much talent there is, what the cost implications are, and what other locations, specific metrics should we consider, right?
I like this.
So imagine you are a company that is just a thousand employees, and you’ve either because of the pandemic or otherwise have decided to build a more distributed footprint, and if you are 10, or 20, or 30 companies, sorry, employees, you might say, you know what, I’m fine with people living wherever they are. It’s totally okay, we can have 10 people in 10 times zones or four times zones, or what have you. But at some point, do you want to start being strategic about where your employees are, whether they’re in an office or a fully remote. Doesn’t matter, but what is the implication of putting people in Colorado versus Texas versus Chicago versus Poland?
So if you are facing that challenge, think of BeyondHQ as a way to say, let me type in the fact that I want 50 engineers, 10 salespeople, and 30 customer service reps. Now show me my options, and then we spin out all the 380 some odd Metro areas in the United States and the 50 markets in Canada, and we’re launching global coverage next quarter, and you get to see how much diversity exists in Atlanta, how many major employers are there? How many engineers are they hiring?
That’s the supply side of town.
So you’re essentially giving people some visibility and insight into here’s the supply side of talent in this particular area.
And the demand side in the sense that we give you, of all the engineers, and salespeople, and customer service reps you’re looking for, who are the major employers on those specific roles in that particular market?
So you know who you might be going to compete with?
Oh, I like that. You’re looking for an office manager in Topeka, Kansas.
How many of them are there? Obviously, yeah. Comp data is going to be interesting if not now, but in the future to then be able to know what do we pay that person?
Oh, yes. We give you that as well, right?
So we give you sort of talent, which is how many people are there, who are they hiring? What is the ethnic and racial breakdown of that workforce? So how many African-American engineers are in Atlanta, or how many Hispanic sort of salespeople are in this particular field in Topeka, Kansas. Then you go to the next screen and we say, okay, great. Now that we agree that these five cities are looking pretty good for us, now pit them against each other in terms of cost implications.
What does it cost for me to put a headcount of 50 in Toledo versus Topeka versus Cincinnati, I mean, the cost of talent, real estate over a one-year period, over a five-year period, et cetera, et cetera. So that kind of modeling tool is what we’re essentially enabling for HR leaders and also other departments in the company.
Madhu have you got much interest on a completely different audience, but the EDCs economic development corporations of like cities, do you?
That’s a great question, William, and we did, right? We’ve been in touch with, let me continue to actually, I was just talking to somebody from Missouri economic development coalition. So we’ve talked with Louisville, Tulsa, Des Moines, Minneapolis. What’s interesting there is, some of these cities and states have a very sophisticated approach to attract themselves.
Some of them are just waking up to the bigger opportunity that, Hey, you, shouldn’t just kind of chase the large employers. We should go after startups and get them to hire 10, or 15, or 20, or a hundred of our people and then grow the footprint here.
So we’re working to figure out, is there a data partnership with you? Is there a co-marketing part, we’re trying to be transparent and completely unbiased. So we have no vested interest in sending people to Texas or Colorado or anywhere else, but we want to be that kind of independent data-driven engine for you to make your decision.
So we’re kind of decision agnostic.
But we have partnerships with these groups to make sure that we’re representing the right data in the right way.
I Like that. So when people are going to wonder in terms of pricing and working with BeyondHQ, what does that look like? And again, not down to the dollars and cents.
Yeah, of course.
But just philosophy-wise.
Yeah, absolutely. So just broadly speaking, two types of work forms that we’ve done, right? For, let’s say you’re a hundred person company, and you’re looking to get guidance on where to open your next headquarters, and we come in and we run sort of a consultative engagement using our platform to say, what are the criteria that mattered to you? And let’s just craft an engagement, and two weeks of our consultant’s time. But the most common use case that we see is talent, it’s a SAS model, the head of talent analytics or head of HR or head of strategic planning under the real estate org, or head of FPNA.
These are some examples of users that say I would like access to your product. So X number of licenses, we charge either as a annual licensing fee plus additional support, or annual licensing fee plus account management support that covers any kind of consultative work. And the price range is based on how much we’re paying for three licenses, or five licenses, or 10 licenses, or what have you. It goes anywhere between sort of 30K a year, low end to 50 plus on the higher end for unlimited ability to run all kinds of reports, disparate data sources, huge geographic coverage and account management and ad hoc concentrated support.
This has been fantastic, and our time has just blown by. Madhu, I love what you’re doing.
Absolutely love what you’re doing. I appreciate you carving out some time for our audience and coming onto Use Case Podcast brother.
Thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity. Fantastic questions, and I hope this was of interest to the audience.
If it wasn’t, it was of interest to me.
But that’s the most important bit, so I appreciate it.
Thank you so much.
Thank you, and thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case Podcast, until next time.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.