A CEO’s perspective on dedicated teams
In a world where people are rarely at home, having a doorman in your apartment building is certainly a plus. You always get your packages from Amazon, your clothes from the laundry, and never have an unexpected visitor.
Thanks to the latest advancements in technology, now more people can have this kind of service. One of our clients, Carson Living, has created an integrated solution for unstaffed multifamily properties - designed to provide a new level of convenience for residents and operational efficiency for management.
We recently talked with Carson’s CEO, Guy Blachman, on what it’s like to create a brand-new real estate application with the help of a remote team. Here is what we learned.
What are the roots of your solution? How was the idea born?
I’ve been in this domain for 15 years already. The idea of Carson Living is based on my previous success in the same industry, but with a little different focus. In the company I started earlier, we had a solution for big residential buildings. Carson is designed for small buildings.
And what is the most exciting thing about the project you’re creating?
We are unique and the market didn’t have this kind of a solution yet. So when people see that they can open the doors or monitor the cameras in the building from the app, they get very excited because it’s a new type of technology and home comfort.
We are able to incorporate a lot of hardware integrations for the users - like cameras, keys, and other apps. It’s a whole new world for smaller buildings.
And your competitors? What are the things that distinguish you from the rest of the market?
Well, there are a lot of competitors, but Carson put a lot of things together. So if a building owner wants, he can buy six or seven different products, which would mean that the residents would need 7 different apps to do what can be done with Carson.
The idea of Carson is to integrate our application with a lot of third-party hardware and software and create one platform for everything they need: property management, payments, access control, 24/7 service for visitors and deliveries. This is a big problem for small buildings since they have no one onsite. If a visitor comes or package comes and nobody opens the door, they leave. Carson has a 24/7 call center that talks to the visitors.
Image credit: Instagram @carson.living
What was the biggest challenge you faced while looking for a software development partner?
I have a lot of experience working with remote teams in India, Israel, and the US. I know it’s pretty challenging to do this right. I also knew that I wasn’t going to hire a development team in New York because it’s just too hard and I needed to start fast. I just couldn’t wait months to bring new people. So I got a very good recommendation from my partner about your services. And I also got a proposal from a company in Israel. They are a good company but they were two or three times the cost and I just felt very comfortable working with the company my partner works with.
What distinguishes iTechArt from the competitors?
The biggest problem of having a developer in New York or California is that they leave. If you’re a small company you always compete with Google or Facebook. Just imagine you have a team that is working with you but suddenly someone offers them $25k more and they are gone. And if you have 2 or 3 developers and 1 or 2 leaves suddenly you’re really in trouble until you find someone new. Working with you, people stay because you don’t compete with Google or Amazon. And if someone leaves for reasons beyond your control, you are quick to prepare three or four other people. That’s probably one of the most important iTechArt advantages.
Yeah, you give time for knowledge transfer which is very important. I didn’t have to invest any time in the switch. So that is almost priceless. I wouldn’t even think of setting up my own full team in New York when I have this. I may have one or two or three people there to do specific things, but having a highly collaborative team here that I can depend on that won’t switch all the time is very important because I can focus on the business growth and needs.
With developers in New York, you have to be a babysitter because they want coffee, the ping pong table in the office and etc, etc. It’s a full-time babysitting job. And I don’t have the patience and time for it. So whoever wants to be a babysitter, you know you can hire people there.
Also in terms of the administration, it’s easier. I make the payment every two weeks and there is no insurance, there is equity, there are no payroll taxes, so you have more time to deal with a rapidly changing business environment.
While you were looking for your future engineering team, did you have in mind any specific language set or were you open to suggestions?
I think the languages were not that important for us. We wanted the devices. The platform should work on Android, iOS, web. We just wanted to use the easiest, simplest, fastest and most scalable tools and technologies.
As for mobile development, we were evaluating cross-platform versions and native. And there were the estimations from your guys. The development would take a pretty equal amount of time, but the dev team deeply analyzed how the application will be developed and they said for the next stages with a lot of hardware integrations, it’s better to have native solutions. So we decided to go native. It’s a little bit harder to manage but you get more flexibility. So it was a good decision.
What do you like about your current team?
They are great. Everyone is very responsive. If I ask a question on Slack they response - even at night. I wonder if they sleep at all. They are very dedicated.
Here is another advantage of working with the iTechArt team. If I need another programmer with a specific skill set, it’s easy. You know when it’s an on-site employee it’s more difficult. It’s time-consuming and can take a few months to find somebody. So having a team here gives me much more flexibility as a manager to scale up or ramp down my team. So that’s an outstanding plus.
Any recommendations on what we can do better? Maybe you’ve seen something that hampers us from being an ideal team?
It’s a good question. I don’t have anything in mind. Just continue encouraging the culture of asking questions and pushing back. Maybe not for everybody, some other people will not like it. But I like it.