Storytelling about Gable with Liza Mash Levin
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 131. This week we have storytelling about Gable with Liza Mash Levin. During this episode, Liza and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing Gable.
Liza is the CEO and co-founder at Gable, which she started with colleague Omri Haviv after working together at Microsoft. Liza spent most of her life in Israel before moving to California to pursue a degree at Stanford University, graduating in 2020. A truly cool fact: prior to working at Microsoft, Liza was the captain of the Israeli Intelligence Unit. Needless to say, she’s lived an exciting and extraordinary life!
Gable is considered the first workspace as a service company, created to help employees work where and when they want while providing employers with the tools and the platform to manage distributed workforces across the globe.
Liza is an expert in all things remote work and project management. Her passion to empower companies and enable the future of work, culture and living really comes through during the podcast.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.
Show length: 27 minutes
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Liza Mash Levin
Born in Moldova and raised in Israel, Levin moved to the U.S. when she was hired as a software engineer for Microsoft. Before she began the accelerated MSx program at Stanford in 2019, she took a one-month leave of absence and worked remotely. Liza then founded Gable with Omri Haviv, creating the first workspace-as-a-service platform.Follow Follow
Welcome to RecruitingDaily, The Use Case Podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens or should happen when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better. As we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment and HR tech, that’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup. You are listening to The Use Case Podcast. Today we have Liza on, from Gable, and we’re going to be learning all about her firm and business case and the use case or why her customers buy Gable. So let’s just jump into introductions. Liza, would you do us a favor, the audience favor and introduce both yourself and Gable?
Of course, first of all, very excited to be here. Thank you so much for the opportunity. So a little bit about me. I’m based in San Francisco in the past two and a half years, came here to do a business degree at Stanford, graduated at 2020. And prior to that, I worked as an executive at Microsoft, hence the heavy Israeli accent. I grew up most of my life in Israel, so most of my life, most of my professional career spent there. I did various engineering and product management roles. And prior to that, I was a captain in the Israeli intelligence unit, so it was the most fun and intense thing that I did in my entire life. And my fascination with remote work actually started really during my time at Microsoft and progressed during my time at Stanford. So, at Microsoft I was managing teams and working with teams across literally all time zones, a whole location that had people from Australia, Asia, Europe, you name it, the US, of course, probably we worked with them.
So I was very familiar with that. And also that really brought me to found Gable because I also experienced firsthand what it is to be a remote employee. And I got really fascinated with the circular economy, really how to leverage underutilized locations during my time at Stanford.
And Gable started as a project at that time, so after I graduated, we really formed this company. My co-founder, whose name is Henry. He and I go way back when we worked together at Microsoft and we actually know each other for over 10 years. And what is Gable? So, Gable we like to see it as the first workspace as a service company, we really help, and basically our big goal is to create this workforce management platform to help employees work where and when they want, but also providing employers with the tools and the platform to manage the distributed workforce across all states or wherever the employees are. So it’s a little bit about myself and Gable.
I love it. I love all of it. And I’m sure with the Israeli intelligence, there’s not much you can tell us about your time there.
No, but I can tell you a fun fact, that I actually met my husband during that time so that I can share.
There’s a lot of great tech coming out of Israel, a lot of HR and recruiting tech that’s coming out of Israel, which is fascinating.
So workspace has a service. So I think for folks that are listening that have come up through HR or TA, they’re going to see that is collaboration, communication, file management, etcetera. Some of those are probably components of what you’re thinking about, but you’re also thinking about something broader and across the globe, right? So the globe is our talent pool which is wonderful, but it also has been at least historically difficult to onboard people and get teams on the same page, etcetera. So let’s dig a little bit deeper into workspace as a service cause I love the concept.
Thank you. So, think about this. How do I really like to see us as a vertically integrated solution? To this point, we’ve partnered with close to 200 flexible spaces, we actually leverage underutilized locations, but also traditional real estate as well. We’ve partnered with boutique hotels, loft, Corsican Places and also traditional real estate to provide those flexible configurations for company employees to work from. On top of that, we’ve created this Gable platform that caters two types of personas, I would say. One, the employees themselves, so they have one stop shop, one single pane of glass in order to book spaces, in order to collaborate, to work by themselves or whatever they need actually, on company pre-approved locations, they can book other to the Gable flex spaces that are provided to them, or even book a seat in their own office.
The cool thing here is that they can actually see who else is coming in each and every one of the locations, coordinate together and really focus on this collaboration aspect that you mentioned as well.
On top of that, on the flip side I would say, we provide this dashboard of insights to company leaders that can be HR, people operations, director of workspace, CEO, C-suite, in general I would say, of course it depends on the company size and the scope, but really provide them with a view of their entire disability workforce in terms of where are you working from, are they working from flex spaces, are they working from the HQ, what’s the capacity in all of these locations, should you increase or decrease some of these locations based on what you actually see that is being used? Also, let’s say you want to understand who are the teams that use it the most? Do you see some deviation in this as well? And what is actually the purpose of employees coming to these spaces? Is it productivity? Is it collaboration? And you have all of this embedded into our software, which really provides a unique insight for decision-makers. And that’s what we believe is one of the biggest powers of Gable.
Well, one of the things I love is this is also a recruiting tool, right? Because companies that have Gable can then tell candidates, hey listen, you can work from wherever you want to work, we have plenty of spaces. Right?
You want to work from home? Great. You want to work at the corporate headquarters? Fantastic. But there’s also all kinds of options, which I think was really, what’s interesting about this is as people travel.
So as we get past, if we get past COVID and people start to travel, they can, if you’re in Europe, you can just literally go from workspace to workspace and just make your reservations, go in, work where you’re going to work, go onto the next thing. So there’s a kind of an ultimate flexibility to this.
Exactly. And I also think that there is a benefit of having one provider in a sense, right? So think about people now that are tackling this problem that they, in a sense didn’t have before in that capacity, right? So people operations, HR leaders, they basically now they have a distributed workforce, they want to provide them with those flexible spaces, right? Because it is in fact like a recruiting tool, it becomes a competitive edge, but now every new location that you hire, you need to do this onboarding process again and again and again. But by working with Gable, you actually have one stop shop for that. You need a space, we will provide it to you wherever you are. That’s why I love the workspaces service because we literally grow with a company.
On the attraction side, which we just talked about. It’s also an engagement and retention tool, where companies that have this, you use the words competitive edge which is absolutely correct. It’s also a way that, if you mirror the way that folks want to work and because of COVID, we were already on a path for remote work of course, but by and large, we taught people that they can pretty much do any knowledge work job from anywhere in the world. Now what?
Now we are seeing on the papers, people wanting to return to work or return to office. I find it fascinating, it’s like, what did they not learn about their workforce? I mean, some people want to go into an office, I get that and total respect for that. But by and large, most folks, if they could work from home or from another location of their choice, they would.
I agree. I completely agree. And I think that’s a paradigm shift. A lot of the things that we’ve seen is, I think there was just an article released by Gardner, I think in June, that they stated that by end of 2021 50% of knowledge workers are going to be either remote or hybrid. And that’s about 50 million knowledge workers across the US and this is just by end of 2021. And I think the key here is exactly what you said, I do value people that say, yeah I want to go to the office. But one thing, it might not be an office of the company, why does it have to be that? That’s one thing. And the second thing, does it mean that you need to come five days a week? No, you probably want to come once or twice to meet with colleagues or just having a change of scenery and things like that. And this requires a fundamental restructure I believe, both in terms of our people and how do we manage this people, but also how do we treat spaces, and what is really a company space in that sense?
It’s interesting because we’re seeing in both HR and TA that the word commute is, there’s a reflux to that, into the word commute, which is fascinating on some levels because you live in the bay area, historically, you know what an hour and a half or two hour commute would have looked like, and again, we’ve taught people, you don’t have to do that.
Just fun fact. Like for me, I used to commute when I was at Stanford, I used to commute an hour and a half each way on the train because I lived in San Francisco during that time. And it was brutal to be honest. And now I cannot even imagine, I cannot even imagine doing this again, because if I want a space, I just go to my neighborhood location and work from there. And I think this is by the way, one of the key things is that there is, it’s not by coincidence that there is a reflux effect when you talk about commute.
Because by the way, it’s twofold here. One is for the employee that don’t want to have a commute, but employees do want to have a space to work from, so I think that’s part of the rise of these hyperlocal locations. But on the other hand, also from the employer side, providing this benefit of commuting, like covering the cost of commute. It is a high cost and one thing, it’s high cost and then add on having a permanent office. So it is on both ends something that I see is being reconsidered.
And if it isn’t, I don’t think the company is competitive. I mean it’s kind of an adapt or die thing, which it always has been. I mean, that’s not a new concept in and of itself. You mentioned analytics at the beginning of the call, and I want to kind of get back to that real quick. So that folks can really understand when they look into Gable, what they can see and also not just currently, but what you want them to see in the future. Where do you want analytics in the future to be for your customers?
Great question. So really my vision for Gable is to have, I would say every company that has employees in a sense would want to use Gable. That’s how I see it, because the fact that we see who is going where and when, now, which is a starting point. We can really help companies make sure that their culture is implemented correctly. The employees are happy and productive because, think about it, what do they did before? What you had before was just going to an office and assuming that if they’re coming and you see it and you see people, then they’re okay, but it’s completely different now. And I think having those analytics and by analytics, I’m saying we provide views on the capacity for each and every location. Again, whether this is a Gable space or a flex space.
Who are the top users? Which spaces are the most used spaces? Why are they the most used spaces? Maybe we can adjust, maybe we should increase. Also, what’s the purpose of employees that are coming to those spaces. And also on a broader level, how I see this is really for Gable to integrate with HR tools, communication tools. Think about this, every new employee that is on boarded, we automatically onboard them to Gable, they can actually see a book together, we can see the trends of what do we expect as a baseline of good employee engagement. What are the deviations from it?
Even understanding where your workforce is, whether it is at home, or how do they spend their time it’s crucial. How do you build your culture going forward? And also how do you make business decisions in terms of growth, right? And really that’s how I see this play out, becoming in a sense of system, or a record for companies to use Gable on an ongoing basis. To help them make sure that the employees are happy, that the culture is what is expected. And also that they are making the right business decisions in terms of the workspace.
So talk to us about a little bit about what’s the buyer look alike, the buyer persona, and also what the prima facie business case is for Gable.
Great question. So a few things, in terms of the buyer persona, it would be either people operations, director of workplace, or chief people officer, HR personas of course, that handle everything that is really both to the workplace and experience and culture, and of course the people. So these are the people that we primarily work with when we offer Gable. In terms of the Use Case, I would say there are two key ones. One is for companies that are fully remote, that went all fully remote, that want to provide this flexible space and an option for their employees. And by the way, a lot of it comes from the employees, they want this, and then they want to provide a solution that one, makes sense for them in terms of one cost to deployment of locations and flexibility there. And three, really a key selling point is having the visibility of usage. So that is one scenario.
The second scenario is for companies that are hybrid, meaning that they have some office presence, but still have either some portion of their workforce that’s distributed, but again, their culture is not office based. So for these companies, we’re able to offer basically the best scenario, right? Because the employees can use Gable in order to reserve seats or book everything, whether this is in the Gable spaces or the company headquarters. And again, for decision-makers to have this visibility on what is the preference, what’s better, what’s is going on, going forward. So these are the primary Use Cases that we see for companies choosing to work with Gable.
I love it. When your prospects do a demo of Gable, what do they fall in love with?
I would say the spaces, I am very proud of it. We created some amazing partnerships along the way, as we started Gable, we thought about brand recognition and making sure that even though our spaces are very different, they have a common thread of quality. And that was really a key thing here. So I would say one thing is the spaces.
The second is really the ease of use for the employees, because basically they can reserve a seat, they don’t need to think about payments, they see who else is coming. Everything is just a click of a button away, and it’s very appealing for them. And third is the data analytics, which is basically very unique. It is one of the biggest things that we’ve invested in the past few months for employers, because one of the things that are really challenges for companies right now, I’m sure you hear this is, people have surveyed a lot, like HR functions have developed surveys on return to workplace, but what is really going to happen in reality? And this is something that nobody knows. So by having this visibility is something that I would say closes the deal, in a sense.
Yeah. And it creates a kind of an ultimate flexibility because everyone’s going to have a different version or a different idea of what hybrid is, or even what remote is. So I love that. The pricing model and again, not down to the dollars and cents, but just what’s the way that you all go to market right now with pricing?
Great question. So we have two main models, I would say. One is that for companies we offer something that’s called like a pay as you go, basically, a lot of companies start like this. That we just give them an option to onboard them to the flexible spaces that we have in the locations that they want, or we source them the locations, and then they only pay by consumption effectively. And that gives them a really good sense of how much of their workforce is actually using that.
And another alternative that we have is as a subscription based model that employees can use any of the Gable spaces across, that is available on our network that are approved by the company for 2.99 slept rate. And finally, we have another combination that is basically dedicated spaces for these companies, and it, again, it ranges for about 2.99 per employee per month. So really, really affordable prices.
Yeah. Considering most of that is against what used to be considered kind of headquarters space, right? Big, giant office towers and things like that. If the company can get out of those things and work the way that employees want to work, it’s good for engagement, better experience, it’s a recruiting tool, it’s a potential tool. But also you’re just spending money in a different way, and in a way that best suits your teams, best suits your people. So I can see happiness going up, etcetera.
Last question is, kind of your favorite customer story. And again, without names or anything like that, but just someone that basically started and maybe they can’t imagine a life without Gable.
Definitely. So I’ll share a recent one, which really our team is really proud of. So, we started working with a company that was based in New York, they have the belt to now reaching probably 250 employees at the moment. And they used to have an office based in New York and now they gone almost fully remote. The employees moved across the states to multiple locations. And we started with a small pilot with them in Chicago and Manhattan. They loved it, they just loved it. We had such great experience on both ends working with them. And we literally, they signed on transitioning their entire teams to working with Gable. And we deployed now it’s 10 states of spaces for the police to to work from. And it’s been honestly amazing to see the feedback that exactly what the key things that I mentioned before we get heart emojis and like really fun stuff that they’re sending us.
And it’s just incredible, to be honest, it’s incredible, as a founder and having such a small but resilient team to see that we were able to cater to the needs for a company that is now 250 employees, it’s quite amazing for us and seeing them using this. And literally they’ve seen that on one location, they have 100% capacity honestly, and they now increase this week, two more locations in that area because they see that there is a huge demand and it’s amazing. They couldn’t have done this without Gable.
And I’m very proud, honestly, very proud of it. It was a very proud moment for us and we’re still working with them, of course. And we see them really as a partner in a sense, they help us shape the product. We are extremely customer obsessed. So it’s really about the experience, I would say this is one of my proudest moments.
I love it. I love it on a lot of levels, but the thing is happy customers, but also understanding, they are understanding of their own team and their own employees and reacting to that, instead of forcing them into some type of model, it’s more or less, let’s react to the way that you want to work. You want to work in Denver and you want to work from home, but you also want the occasional Gable space? Fantastic, go on, schedule it. There’s no friction in that, which I think is good for employees, but also on the analytics side, on the back end, you can see as an ops person, you can see the consumption, something’s not working or an area’s not working or whatever, then you can roll things down, you can roll things up, which is exactly what the workforce needs. So Liza, this has been amazing. Thank you for coming on The Use Case Podcast, and explaining Gable to us.
Thank you for having me. I had a great time also, so much.
Thank you. And thanks for everyone listening to The Use Case Podcast, until next time.
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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.