Mike and Ray quit their fancy corporate jobs to embark on a mission to help people make the most out of life. When they’re not busy learning from the many mistakes inherent in being first time founders, they enjoy jamming on their banjo and harmonica and exploring the music, food and beer of their new city Denver.
Why does the world need a work revolution? (In other words: the way we’re working isn’t working. Why not?)
We recently heard a baffling statistic that 70% of people hate their job. As human beings, we’re emotional creatures, and spending that much of your time doing something that makes you unhappy seems like a monumental waste of life. We think the root of the problem is organizations making decisions for their people that don’t actually represent their needs and desires. It’s a disconnect between leadership and employees that has been going on for years and very few companies are addressing it.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
At Wolo, we’re trying to shift the focus back to the employees that make their companies great. The status quo for employee recognition is impersonal gifts and gift cards that completely fail at actually recognizing each employee as an individual and making them feel appreciated. We’re turning that on it’s head by helping companies empower their employees to accomplish the things in life they are most passionate about, via their bucket lists.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Acknowledge that there isn’t just one all-encompassing way to do things or treat people. As we mentioned earlier, humans are emotional creatures with vastly different motivations. The sooner organizations understand and celebrate that fact, the faster we’ll start moving towards a society where people enjoy getting up and going to work every day.
Provide a quote (either yours or someone else’s) that you live by and/or that represents why you do what you do. Also tell us: why did you choose it?
“We Only Live Once” is the mantra we live by. It represents our belief that life is too short to sit behind a desk at a lame job. Companies should be a catalyst for people to make the most out of their lives, not an inhibitor. Reminding ourselves that “we only live once” brings the focus back to what’s truly important to us, pursuing our passions with the people we care about. It’s also really fun to yell right before doing something epic!
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you, and how does it impact your work?
We love data. Before starting Wolo, Ray was the head of big data at a large company and Mike lead digital marketing campaigns for big brands. We have both seen the power of harnessing data and agreed to build our company to be data driven from the start. Whenever we have to make a decision, we look to the data to tell us what to do. Not only does this prevent opinion based arguments, but we believe our solution will be better since it is based on user research and hard numbers.
What’s one surprising thing we should know about you?
We quit our jobs in February 2016 to move to Santiago, Chile where we began exploring the Wolo concept and built the first version of our product.
What kind of art (any medium) do you like and why? Any recommendations we should know about?
We love live music and spend way too much money attending concerts and festivals where we can get fully immersed in the experience. There is something really special about being surrounded by strangers tied together by a common love for beautiful music. Locally, we love the Gothic Theatre and Red Rocks (completely different, wonderful venues), and nationally we highly recommend Coachella and Burning Man for an epic festival experience.
Where in the world are you?
Ray Collins & Mike Swisher
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