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TechVibe Talks to CovacX and Work.Software

Interview by Audrey Russo and Jonathan Kersting

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TechVibe Radio is back on air at ESPN 970 AM every Saturday at 8:00 a.m. from the Huntington Bank Studio.

 

 

TechVibe Radio talks to Matthew Clark of CovacX, the winner of the Pittsburgh Civic Hackathon. CovacX is trying streamline the process for us to get #COVID19 vaccinations.

Plus, David Wible of work.software will fill us in on how his latest venture helps businesses better manage their operations and workforce. 

Transcription:

It was only about two weekends ago, Audrey that we had the second Pittsburgh Civic Hackathon with our friends over at Rustbuilt. And once again, my mind has been completely blown by the awesome solutions that are coming out of this. And I just I'm so excited to have the winner. The hackathon stopped by today to talk about this very important concept he's trying to bring to scale with his team. And we're part of this hackathon Audrey. I'm just so excited about this. I really am. Well, I think before we bring Matthew Clark on, everyone just needs to understand this is our second civic hackathon, right? Did it in May of 2020, which was was definitely peak COVID. And we said, How are we going to get people together and do this virtually. And I said, let's just try it. Let's just do it. great success, great traction, we decided to do it again. And it's even better, it was even better this time, virtually Friday night, till Sunday night, random people get together around an idea. And they vote on which ideas are gonna they're gonna take to fruition. And then they collaborate all weekend long with mentors, and hopefully they get close to some customers. And then Sunday night, they do their pitch, we had an incredible set of judges, people highly experienced and civic engagement, as well as technology. So boom, the winners of the hackathon is here. And he is representing their team. And I am going to just pass the baton to Matthew Clark. And he's going to tell us what the heck they came up with. Yeah. So yeah, basically, I mean, everybody's heard in the news, the, you know, just the travesty that's happened with, you know, just trying to schedule appointments and the confusion, that's, that's happened.

So, you know, you just came with the idea of solving that problem, because just how many people are being affected and confused and wasting their time making, making phone calls. And, you know, basically, it's like, you have to go to every single pharmacy or distribution center and make phone calls, or send emails or go on their website, and just hope that there's something there at that point in time when you get there. So vaccine, right? Yes, appointment to get a vaccine. Correct. So and that's a huge problem, right. So basically, what we came up with was, and there's others, there's other systems that that exists that do this sort of thing. But basically, you would simply just go to a one stop shop, you know, mobile friendly web app, or website that would basically let you sign not only you up, but also your loved ones up to get an appointment that goes in one giant pool in the database, right. And then based off the questionnaire and time, obviously, like, when they signed up, and the category they fit in, it just puts them in a queue, right? puts them in a queue, they pick the distribution centers that they would actually want to work with. And then based on all that data, data, you know, coming together, then they get a notification, you know, of an appointment, when it would be available for them so they don't have to keep calling and calling and just you know, the mental stress that that's happening with this is just it's bad. And even worse is when you get an appointment if you show up. I just happened to my father shows up like the Beretta vaccine. And so back in the line, you go some other time if you're lucky, right? Yeah. Yeah.

And as we spoke before the show, this, isn't it, this isn't a problem that's going to go away. So as we have mutations and as we have more adoption of vaccines, the the importance of the inoculation process is just going to increase and also the baby boomer generation. It is now going to soon going to become represent over half of the population in the United States. So if you think about, you know, wanting to be, you know, being around a population that might have some comorbidities and you know, might be more high risk, the need for some sort of methodology that is much more ubiquitous is is a requirement.

Yeah, absolutely, I completely agree.

And then it goes. The other thing is, it goes even further. I mean, the call to action was strong. And we were very passionate about it, which is why we got so much done in one in one weekend to have a live prototype ready to go.

Now, obviously, tell everyone what that means when you say live prototype ready to go. So it's still a demo, right? But it's a working demo.

And I say that lightly as an demo, right? If it couldn't function with any backends, or anything, like it's not complete, it's it'll need more funding, it'll need more work, it'll need more engineering, but just to like, you know, do the tests and the front end where you put in your information, you know, you do the questionnaire, you go through it, you can sign other people up. There's a login process. And then, besides the login process, you know, it also doing the notifications and everything from the back end from the database. That's what we're talking about like that. And in the fact that it was live online, so that we could just share a URL, you know, to the judges, and to anybody who wanted to check it out and try it out for themselves. So that's what I mean by a live demo. And so what do you think? Where are you now? Like, you know, what did you think about the weekend, anything surprised you?

I had, I honestly had no idea what to expect. Walking into it. I mean, I was a little intimidated, because I've never done a hackathon.

And I just you know, I've done some programming in the past, but I just really started actually programming.

Very heavy on the front end. So I was I was intimidated. And then at first it was just me, and ty.

And we didn't think we're gonna have any other teammates and all of a sudden Kate showed up, who was awesome. And also Ben Towne, who is rock star from you know, Alma Mater from CMU PhD. So, I we had, we had Ty Tyrone a DBA of Garside a DBA of 20 years, we had Kate burn, you know, CPA, lawyer, Vice President from PNC Bank. And then we have this rock star, you know, PhD, full stack programmer that does consulting, you know, then town town. Yeah. So I was just, I was beside myself. And I was a little intimidated because of, you know, of who I was working with. But I just put my you know, I put my nose down and everybody worked together. And we melded It was really on the topic that we that we came so well together and we're so driven to, you know, make this a real thing. I'll tell you what, Matthew, it was amazing. I tuned into the final presentations on that Sunday on our YouTube channel and right I tuned in you guys were doing your presentation I saw CovacX you guys I'm like, these guys don't when there's something messed up because it seemed like a more timely technology solution to a crisis so big. And lo and behold, see that you guys came through with top honors at me just blew my mind. It just made me smile and realize man, you know what Pittsburghers solve tough problems like and you took your time and your your coworker your team members took time out of their weekends, you know, to get this started, but now the real work has begun. So what are your next steps? Now? I mean, obviously, you said this is a demo. I know there's lots of things happening in the background linking up with other resources. What are your next steps so we can get Kovacs to schedule our appointments. I cannot wait to use CovacX.

As Audrey said, I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to needles. Yeah, that's okay. You know, maybe they'll do that tongue, that tongue dispenser pill that they're doing over UPMC maybe you'll get that by then you won't get the sticker from UPMC you just put a sticker right? It's Yeah.

But no, no it next steps. I mean, right now we're still adding more features than right now to kind of make it more robust.

You know, adding adding adding more pages. Just to kind of build it out more. We're getting volunteers for engineering. A lot of my you know, cohort alum have offered to volunteer from Academy Pittsburgh, which

is like really awesome that they want to support it. So it's just, you know, and then I've been making phone calls for. I mean, I haven't stopped the hackathon, I think I've only gotten four hours of sleep every night. So I'm just calling around trying to find, you know, where our resources who's willing to get behind this, you the Pittsburgh tech Council was amazing. And just, you know, and Audrey and Jonathan and kit, and, and Ryan for bringing all this together and actually making it possible, because this wouldn't have existed if that didn't happen. Right. And that's the point. And some of the other ideas. I mean, I gotta give a shout out to AD writer. Right. That was that was such a cool idea. And yeah, I don't even like riding the bus.

Because you will now Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Buck, um, how many zones? Does that get me? Right? Yeah. Who knows? Right? It's great. Yeah. So and everybody, everybody did a great job at at the hackathon. So next steps, again, we appreciate like Audrey, you going to bat for us and like trying to help us in any way, you know, you can to get us connected to make this a reality. Because honestly, that's all we care about. No one was in this we didn't. We didn't care about winning, we didn't care about the acclaim or anything like that. We just cared about this problem that we wanted to solve. And that's what drove us. And now it's now it's a reality. So I mean, it's fabulous. Fabulous. So people, if anyone's interested? Should they reach out to you, Matthew? Yeah, um, well, you can reach out to, to me or the whole team. We're gonna, I'm going to send out an email. It's just going to be a general email, which will go to our entire team. But yeah, I've been being the point person and also keep keep burn also has been doing that a lot as well. So the engineers, the hardcore engineers are doing the engineering and, you know, I'm kind of like a hybrid. And Kate, Kate's also helped him out with that as well. So but yes, you can reach out to me.

I would say, we do have, this will probably be the easiest one. It's Matt at Matthew clark.io. And then I can, but I'll also share the other email. I just can't remember the spelling right now. That's okay. For our entire team. Okay. No worries, man. So of course, anyone who's listening wants to retell to Audrina at the tech Council. It's Jay Kersting, at PGH tech.org, or a Russo at PGH tech.org. And we will immediately connect you over to Matthew here because we're just so excited to see this thing grow and get more legs. That is for sure. It's such amazing stuff. And man, I can't thank you enough for hanging out with us to tell you a little bit this awesome story. We're just so proud of the work that you're doing amazing stuff. Awesome. Yeah. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Great.

We got more tech vibe coming your way when Pittsburgh's newest startups is ready to appear with us, Audrey. Very excited to be here and woman, David wibble. stopping by to talk about work dot software. So hang right here. This is Jonathan Kersting. And this is Andrew. So we are from the Pittsburgh Technology Council and you can learn more about us at PGH tech.org. We'll be right back. We all need a little help. Sometimes at people's we want to make sure that you have safe natural gas service. Whether you need help with your utility bills or you're looking for some breathing room in your budget. We're here to give you options. Just visit our anonymous program finder will show you which programs you may be eligible for and how to apply. Learn more at people's hyphen gas.com slash safety people and essential utilities company.

Fun continues here on tech live radio, Audrey, I am really pumped for our next set of guests because I think it goes to show you stuff that happens in Pittsburgh man, people build coal companies, they sell them, and they go and build more cool companies. And that is such the case today, don't you think? I totally agree. And I'm glad to see that these guys have reared their heads a little bit for some air before they go back down. And they go back inside building a company. So let's get their attention for a moment. Happy to have them on. Absolutely. How about they introduce themselves? All right, well, good. Well, it's great to be here. And I appreciate you folks taking the time to let us do this. I'm, I'm Dave Wible. Formerly I was the CEO of Industry Weapon now the CEO of work.software.

And I will, I'm sorry, you are there. Thank you. Yes. Thanks for having us on. I'm Will Chufo and formerly CTO and Industry Weapon, and I am CEO work software. So you too, cannot break up. Is that what's happening here? That seems to be the trend. You really need each other? Yeah, you need each other. And you've been together. This is like a love story. You've been together for how long?

Oh, this is the 15th year. Wow. Yeah. Wow. So what do you get each other for your anniversary presence?

Well varies. It really doesn't vary. It is. Well that's true. It's always personalized gear from from well, so I never have to worry that we're going to have personalized gear. It's okay. I have a skateboard. I have lots of swag. Lots of T shirts. I have the mug. I guess I'm not the one who gives you the coolest. Like my gifts are vanilla. Right and and they're from your wife, Audrey. Don't make them fight. They gotta stay together. Okay. Yeah, I mean, with the 16 year anniversary coming up. If you want any ideas for gifts, you might want to check in with Jonathan and I Yeah, well, I wouldn't. I think well already has it. I'm pretty sure he's already made a list for the next you know, couple of decades. This is this is like a match made in heaven. Okay. So you you're together with industry weapon. You sell that company, essentially digital signage, right? Yep. And now you decide, you know what, I have too much time on my hands. Because too much time on either of your hands would mean that you'd be in prison or something, right? Yeah, yeah. It was funny. It was an interesting, interesting set of events that actually happened. It happened to us at the same time, because I remember calling well day two and saying, okay, like now now, what are we going to do? Because neither of us, well, you kinda golf, I don't golf. And I don't we just love we love doing this. This is this is our thing. This is our what we we like I really, really just enjoy businesses and I love working with Well, I love working, you know, with the clients that we end up getting involved with, and we're just addicted to it, you passion.

We joked to because when he called me the day two, I was still sitting at my desk like I had something to do, but we were just waiting and evolving. So he's gonna call me. Yeah, like, Who's gonna crop first?

Well, good, I'm glad you're back in the spinner thing. So tell us what you're up to? Well, so we're up to the business is called work software. And it really was something that we'd been working on for over a decade, it was it was really how we ran the business. And we uncovered it during the due diligence process of selling industry weapon where a lot of the folks that were going through the audit process with us kept commenting on the uniqueness on how we really hyper focused on the activities of the organization, so that we could make small bets in the way we wanted to approach different challenges. And then our ability to kind of stay ahead of the the financial performance, the financial numbers. So that was kind of the the thing that kick started everything that that grew into work software, and we affectionately said we put as much of the things that we did right over an industry weapon, as much as we did, correcting the things that we wish we would have corrected when we were there. So what so what does that mean talk about William talking about the customers talk about the product a little bit.

So really, the product is driven around to Dave's point that things we could have done better to some extent. So we do everything that's time based. So we look at you know, financials, we look at quarterly people. We look at monthly and really the day to day activity or the plays, we call them, we talk about them weekly. So there's a fixed cadence within the application, and the application grades you along the way. So if you become delinquent and managing your plays, or you forget to do an employee evaluation actually has a negative impact on what we've coined the growth creation score. And that's kind of a running tally of your business's activity. So you can watch your ideally your score grow up into the right as your financials grow, as your people improve, and as you build better process.

Well, it seems simple. If it doesn't, it doesn't.

It is super simple.

But it's not right. It's not doing this work. Well, it's one of those things, it's like, I think at times working out, right, or staying fit, it's really easy to do. And it's really easy not to do. And one of the things that we found is regardless of how disciplined you are in business, at some point, you or your team is going to fall off the wagon, and you need something to kind of nudge you back on it slowly. It's not a tattletale tool, right? We don't we don't care as much like how many calls you're gonna make as a salesperson, it's really about making certain that those disciplines are in place. And we really unpacked it a really simple formula that we focus on at work software. And that is, simplicity isn't about dumbing things down. It's about frequency and clarity in everything that this system does is trying to create clarity between an employee and their manager, and an employee and all the tasks and to dues that they need to get done. And it does sound really simple. But it when you really start to get in the details, it's it's it's difficult to do that without unpacking the culture they took all this time to build up right in the lot of times people want to focus on just the numbers, especially when we're working remote. Right? And that sends the wrong message to great employees. Right? They don't need a babysitter, they just need more clarity, or they need some more collisions with their, their fellow employees or their boss to know how well they're doing. They don't they don't need to, you know, be micromanaged. So David, how does this work with like remote offices now, with some people being remote, this might be a tool to really bring people together more cuz it's gonna force those those collisions, which we really need in this distance age right now, right? Yeah, it absolutely does. And not in this this Haight Ashbury kind of way, right, we really get get to the quick of making certain that the conversations are relevant, you know, the weekly standup isn't us going around the room and saying, How was your day, there's a specific agenda to our weekly stand ups, just like there's a specific agenda to have a monthly meeting between an employee and their supervisor, it's, I think, sometimes people think are a manager specifically think if someone's doing good, it's just to have that monthly stand up. It's just for me to say, hey, Jonathan, good job, you know, you're doing great. And then I leave well, that isn't how it needs to go down. Because a lot of times the employee has things going on that they just need to get off their chest. And if they know their employer sees them as a human being and cares about them, guess what, they're going to be a great employee, because they're viewed as a human being that that person cares about, you know, well ahead of just the job that they're doing for the organization. So this system makes certain that those things are communicated and talked about in a specific way that also is very focused on the success of the business, we say that everything points to the relevance of growing the business, whether it's growing the revenue up or reducing the the expenses. So when I say Haight Ashbury, I mean, it's not it's not Huggy feely, right? It's still about making sure that at the end of the day, I know as an employee, whether I should High Five myself, or give myself a swift kick in the butt because I need to pick it up. And sometimes it's also, there's also a piece in here and I thought about it after the last time, I chatted with the both of you guys. There's, there's this there's this empathy that we all need. And it's really been exacerbated, I think, during COVID, and work from home and remote and all the things that are coming up at you. There's this, this clarity around empathy, that needs to somehow be embedded in how we interact.

And, and no one really knows how to do that. Do you know what I'm saying? Like, it's, like, I can say, David, how are you kids? How's this? How's that? And I like to think of myself as someone fairly empathic. Jonathan, you don't have to disagree, but fairly empathic, that you know, wanting to know trying to be helpful, you know, if there's certain situations that are going on in someone's life, you try to be there, but i's mostly based on when I have tight relationships with someone over time, right? doesn't always happen when I haven't cultivated a relationship over time. So COVID for those people who didn't have I might not have had a relationship with because they were new employees. I might have not done that. Does that make sense? Yeah, it absolutely does. And I think what I learned over time and paid for it dearly, in some of the things that I did in the early years was that those relationships deepen only when there's the tough conversations, right? And I think without asking, or having a specific agenda to get to those, those tough questions at times on a frequent basis, we don't deepen that relationship, or we don't get to know the employee or the manager better. So asking the question about mindset, ability and performance, asking, you know, what did you mean, when you said you weren't clear about this specific process or to do provoked those conversations, you know, in the system is very good at keeping track of all the comments throughout the week. So when it's time to have those stand ups, we have all the details, and we're gonna have that tough conversation. And you're right, that's what grows the relationship is making sure that we're not having the passive everything's fine, Andre, yeah, let's move on to the next person, right, you can't and this system, it's impossible. And if you bypass any of it, you get a negative point on our growth creation score, which then highlights that there is a significant issue going on, whether it's an employee or at a department level. David, it sounds like such powerful stuff. We only got a couple minutes left. Where can people go to learn more and see what it takes to get new to get a license and as a software as a service, you can literally you can, you can sign up for it.

And it's one flat cost and it goes across an organization no matter how many seats you have, where can we go and learn more? Yeah, absolutely. It's, the URL is work dot software. And you're right, you don't have to be a mathematician to figure out our pricing. It's right there. It's $800 a month flat regardless of the size of the organization, we do have a a little bit of a criteria in regards to the type of customer that can belong to the system, you have to have at least a million dollars in revenue and at least 10 employees. Excellent. It's such cool stuff and I just love the sort of you guys coming back together to build another company that seems you're solving a real problem out there with our medical tech solution and when I see your track record with industry weapon, I'm like, man, buckle under seat belts for this one man cuz you guys are gonna you're gonna blow this one out of the park. That's for sure. No doubt about it. So glad we got to get your story out here first. On tech five radio Audrey. Too much fun today, don't you think? Yeah, absolutely. Great to catch up with them always. So reach out to them. You'll be surprised how much advice we got. Absolutely. Hey, another tech vibe is under our belt. I get a little sad. That's okay. We're on every single Saturday here on ESPN 970. And when I get super sad and want a little tech five, I just go download, you know, my favorite episodes and broadcasts you know, just by searching it on your apple. You know, Google wherever you get your podcasts just search for tech five radio, you'll find audio nine right there. This is Jonathan Kersting. And this is Audrey Russo. We're from the Pittsburgh tech Council. Learn more about us at PGH tech.org. and have an awesome weekend everybody.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai