On February 1st, we said goodbye to Time by Ping and introduced the world to Laurel.
Today, I want to tell you about the biggest driving force behind that change – our raison d'être.
Our mission is—and always will be—to return time.
Knowledge workers (people who make money with their minds) spend an average of 9 hours a day working but only spend 3 hours adding value. We started Time by Ping six years ago to empower these +1B knowledge workers to produce twice as much value in half the time.
Ambitious to say the least, but it has been done once before.
In December 1913, Henry Ford installed the first assembly line for an automobile. This reduced the time it took to produce a car from 12 hours to 1.5 hours (an 88% decrease). The productivity gain enabled Ford to reduce the average work day from 14 hours to 8, while simultaneously doubling wages. Asking people to work less and make more was seen as an ensured failure mode for the car company. Instead, their profitability doubled within 2 years, and Ford is now widely credited for creating the middle class in America.
The next platform shift will be AI.
Models, like OpenAI’s GPT-3, have indexed the entire Internet to learn how humans speak. We are fast approaching a point where human or machine-generated text will be indistinguishable. But despite all the buzz ChatGPT has generated recently (all of it well deserved), we agree with Chamath Palihapitiya’s take on E106 of All-In:
"But when we get there, all of these models as a service will be very much commoditized. And I think the real value is finding non-obvious sources of data that feed it … the real key is where do you find proprietary sources of data that you can learn on top of? That's the real arms race. … Those are the kinds of moves in business that we will see in the next 5 to 10 years that I find much more exciting and trying to figure out how to play in that space. But I do think that ChatGPT is a wonderful example to point us in that direction. But I'm sort of more of that case, which is, it's a cute toy. But we haven't yet cracked the 1 to 2% of use cases that make it super useful."
Laurel is a data company that uses timekeeping as a way to collect work as it is happening. No one else has this data, and no one else has a path to get it.
When we set the mission, we didn’t know how we would achieve it. Just that we would either (i) fail (spectacularly) or (ii) get lucky. Airbnb took advantage of the 2008 housing crisis. Google benefited greatly from the burst of the dot com bubble. AI is the tailwind we must take advantage of.
Phases of Time Exploration
With the advancements in AI, machines are now better positioned than humans to take inventory of time. Our first product leverages machine learning and automation design to shift the burden of keeping time from human to machine.
While other timekeeping companies are aimed at making it easier for humans to keep time, our intent is to make machines do time on behalf of the human.
From a data lens, this allows us to measure what people do—not what people say they did—giving us the inputs to accurately measure cost.
With cost inputs that are accurate and aggregated, we will ensure buyers of services can stop buying the input of time and start buying the output of value. After all, in a factory model, an hour can only be worth an hour of time (there are only so many widgets you can push in an assembly line). In the knowledge economy, the value of one hour has no upper bound. In doing this, we will flip the incentive model of 20% of US GDP.
Phase 3 is then taking the work data that only we have access to and using it to automate the 58 percent of time knowledge workers spend on manual and repetitive tasks. This will allow humans to apply the 4-5 hours a day we are able to focus on creative pursuits and problems that machines are decades away from being able to compete with us.
The best companies convince the world they were something they didn’t previously realize.
Nike made us believe we were all athletes.
Apple showed us we were all creators.
Shopify convinced us we were all entrepreneurs.
We do not exist to make timekeeping easy. We do not even exist to make timekeeping irrelevant.
We exist to make 1 billion people leverage their time.
Welcome to Laurel.