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Inspiring Change with Better Tech | Adi Azaria from Workiz

An young engineer is checking with tablet an operation of sun and cleanliness on field of photovoltaic solar panels on a sunset. Concept:renewable energy, technology,electricity,service, green,future

As a young soldier in the Israeli army, something deeply bothered Adi Azaria: the paperwork. But it wasn’t the work that bothered him, it was the paper. “Most of the workers over there in this elite unit were basically ruining a lot of rain forests,” Adi says. “And I couldn’t stand it.

We have computers, let’s try to do something else!” And through his persistence, he managed to convert his unit to paperless operations. The process eventually spread through the entire Israel army. It showed him that technology can be a positive force of change in society.

Today, he’s making a similar effort, bringing the service-work industry off yellow notepads and into the 21st century, saving people time, expenses, and a lot of wasted gas.

On this edition of Founders Journey, Adi discusses how he determined his product was worth a thousand times more than he initially realized, and also talks about how overcoming the initial fear of starting a business changed him personally.

More information: https://www.workiz.com/


Adi Azaria is the CEO of Workiz, a San Diego-based field service management and communication platform that serves locksmith, junk removal, carpet cleaning, garage door repair, appliance repair, and other on-demand service businesses.

Business owners leverage Workiz’s complete cloud-based solution to manage and automate every aspect of their businesses, whether in the office or in the field, 24/7. With Workiz, businesses can take full control of calls, scheduling, dispatching, estimates, invoices, and reports, all in one place. Workiz enables business owners to track and monitor every job and manage all communications between technicians, dispatchers, and clients. Service businesses using Workiz get more jobs done in less time, increase revenue, and grow faster.

Before Joining Workiz as CEO,  Azaria co-founded Sisense, a leading business intelligence solution. Azaria received his BSc in Computer Science at the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Adi Azaria 0:00
I mean, don’t try to change the world too much. I mean, it’s great to change the world, but very few of us are actually doing it. And instead of fighting that, just try it doesn’t work, you can always go back to, you know, lower price.

Alexander Ferguson 0:18
Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our Founders Journey series leaders insight. I’m very excited to be joined by my guests, Didi Azaria, who’s based in Israel, CEO of Workiz. Now, we already This is part two of our discussion for those that want to hear more about Workiz go back and listen to part one, their their platform as a field service, business scheduling and management software. But what I love in this discussion is to hear more about your journey and ddn and the insights that you’ve had over the years of growing companies to start just what’s your story, man? How did you get to where you are today?

Adi Azaria 0:53
Do we have a couple of hours? I’m going to I’m going to be short? I promise. So thank you, thank you for having me. My story starts. I mean, as a young kid, I was very curious. I mean, I broke up every single device that I had home. And my first startup, I didn’t even call it a startup was basically a way to store information on on, you know, the old cassettes, in radio cassettes, this, this was unsuccessful. But I mean, at least I had an experience of trying something that nobody else thought about before. And my real startup experience started when I was in, I was serving these very army for about three and a half years. Basically a lot of challenges over there, you do a lot with not a lot. And and this gives you the ability to flourish. I think that this is what I’ve learned throughout my entire life, when you have little, you do a lot. So don’t starve yourself or definitely go that route, and you figured out who you are, who you really are. At that point, we were handling a lot of pen paper. I mean, most of the worker over there in this elite unit was basically ruining a lot of rain forests. I mean, it’s as a byproduct to the paper. And I couldn’t stand it, I couldn’t stand it, you know, we need to change something in one of the papers, we need to go to every copy, and basically update it. So guys, we have computers, it was I mean, 25 years ago, it was a long time ago. But we have computers, we of course have goddamnit, free let’s, let’s try do something else. And then many of the people over there, Toby notes, it’s not the way to do that. I mean, we’re used to not benefit from these words. But we used to pay this. I mean, we like to see the news over a paper. I didn’t give up. And I pushed it into some sort of abusive again, today. I know the terms back in the days, I was like, Okay, let’s do that. spend some money, you know, bought a computer, train the few of my colleagues order to handle this. And here later, guess what, no more rain forests down. I mean, we actually ditch the entire paper that we’re using for digital. Throughout the years later on the entire Israeli army is working in the same way. I’m not sure it’s only because of me, I’m sure that there are a lot of smart people that thought the same thing in their units. But in general, this was my first experience. And what year was 2000? Am I have a thing 1999 that was the year when we started this project. I believe that I mean, we saw that immediately. I mean, the efficiency, and the speed that things happen later on, created something amazing. And this gave me a whole new concept about you know, computers can change the world, right? If you change this place that was so stubborn on paper, it can do anything. I took a year off traveling the world just trying to understand you know what I want to do, came back to Israel studied computer science. third year of computer science, I basically grew up with four of my friends. And we’ve done some sort of project that, you know, today, it’s called business intelligence. I didn’t even realize that picking the days. This is all we have data, we let’s do some charts, and it’s gonna be great. And we founded in 2004 2005, we founded a company called slices, which is today one of the leading bi companies in the world. I was very green. I mean, I don’t think I was so great about you know, coding and scripting. At some point, I was pushed to the business side. I mean, you’re lousy, that maybe you should do that because nobody else wants to.

Alexander Ferguson 4:58
But you’re gonna be People person Go, go talk to people sell the product,

Adi Azaria 5:02
exactly. Like you have a nice smile. Let’s Let’s do that. And you know, we were talking about maybe some other intrapreneurs are listening to us. So I didn’t want to do that we took me off my comfort zone, I love the computer, I love the. But I had to end from this experience throughout my entire life, I’m pushing myself through an uncomfort zone. And I know that when it’s an it’s uncomfortable for me, an exponential growth comes right after

Alexander Ferguson 5:30
you’ve had that track record. Now to know that uncomfortable growth means uncomfortable feeling means actual good growth and scaling up after

Adi Azaria 5:39
you’re afraid of making the move, you’re afraid of speaking to the first client, you’re afraid of putting yourself out there. But once you do that, the feeling inside is so strong, and you become a different person, it actually changed me a lot. So I started selling the software. I mean, me and some some other guys eventually became

Alexander Ferguson 6:01
before 2005. Like, when did you When did you make that shift to where you were selling it?

Adi Azaria 6:05
But four years later, okay, it’s a long time to be a startup don’t do that, guys, we have an MVP and sell it like right after. And we waited too long. But you know, it was a different year in different situation. But when we started selling, I mean, we saw that people are buying the product. And that’s great. At some point, we grew the team. And suddenly we’ve been to a few millions of dollars of sales. And I’m I’m not a sales guy, right? So I’m starting to bring some some business guys are better sales guys, the need to run a business. And eventually the company goes down to any 100 million dollars a year and everything grows like crazy. Great, it’s

Alexander Ferguson 6:47
so simple, that it’s just that it just just happened.

Adi Azaria 6:51
You know what, you don’t even realize it’s happening when once it’s happened. I mean, even when people are telling you, oh, we’re doing great, we growing x 5x. Six every year is like enormous, you’re doing great. So you don’t see that you work very hard. And you don’t feel that you’re doing something extraordinary. I think the only time that I that I felt proud of what happened is only when I

Unknown Speaker 7:15
left

Adi Azaria 7:17
my company, it was the only time because I could reflect but when when you’re in that, you know in the trenches, doesn’t matter how successful you are, you only see the next challenge the next challenge the next growth phase, when you just be

Alexander Ferguson 7:34
in that reflection, looking back over over the years where you your primary role sounds like with sales and the scaling of the organization. Can you can you think of where we’re like major pivotable pivotal points and and like what enabled you to get to the next phase, anything pop out in your mind?

Adi Azaria 7:52
Yeah, absolutely. Never discount your product. I mean, this was the biggest mistake that we had, I mean, the same product that we’ve been selling for 50 bucks, two years later was sold for $50,000 a year. So $50 a month versus $50,000, the very same product. It’s how you sell that. And to be honest, we say this is not way different than I say you’re a DRS it takes you to from point A to point B, it’s how Mercedes is selling. And once you realize that, I’m not saying go on and you know, you know, sell an enterprise product. But if all your competition is doing that, if the buyers are rich, and they are enterprise businesses, I mean, don’t try to change the world too much. I mean, it’s great to change the world, but very few of us are actually doing this. And instead of finding that just try doesn’t work, you can always go back to, you know, lower price. But it’s clearly one of the biggest mistakes that most most startup entrepreneurs do. They just price those said they believe that they can sell the products because of the cheap price, instead of selling the product with the value. How much you value that as a customer?

Alexander Ferguson 9:03
How did you determine that $50,000 Mark, like going from that stage the next day? All right, we got to change something. So let’s just pick a number. Did you like when someone makes that change? decides Alright, we need to charge more go after enterprise? Do you? How do you make that decision?

Adi Azaria 9:19
You ask a lot of questions like you know, why do you need us? How will it change your your future? So we divide everything into current state a future state right? What are you doing these days? And why the hell are you speaking? So you’re losing money? You don’t know what kind of decisions you want to make. And you try to assess what’s the cost of this current state. Once you realize that you say, well, $50,000 a bar is a bargain, right? And you know what, once you say, in a very confident way, the guy on the other side actually said, Well, you know what, it’s a bargain. It’s actually cheaper than Microsoft Oracle. And it gives me the same value. So why not? course it’s not really the case in all businesses at Workiz where we’re sending, you know, we’re selling to small and medium businesses

Alexander Ferguson 10:08
are a shift for you. This is almost like going back to where you were at the beginning, a Sensei, and but you have the experience of knowing where both how both play it sounds like?

Adi Azaria 10:18
Yeah, absolutely, it really depends on your market. Like, if my market includes millions of potential customers, I can definitely sell you a few 100 of dollars per month, and this is gonna be fine. But when your customer base is only a few 10s of 1000s of potential, you will want to increase pricing. Otherwise, why would you open a start? Well, that’s I mean, you always need to feel the market and to feel the customer base and to feel how much value your product brings, even to a smaller company.

Alexander Ferguson 10:47
And once you make that shift, to say, Alright, we realize we only have 10s of 1000s, not millions of customers that could be using this, let’s do more of enterprise mentality, or midmarket what was the next big aha or pivotal moment that that you took away from from that experience, and in that growth stages?

Adi Azaria 11:04
Prove it before you sell them. So that’s what we call the proof of concept these days. I mean, we haven’t invented invented the inside sales, but we created more most of the develop methodologies that that everybody are using today. We learn from a lot of companies read, we reinvented the wheel. So basically, instead of getting to a few weeks of process, you know, face to face, we’ve done it, you know, like everybody’s doing today, like over the web, even when you sell $50,000 of software. But we realized early in the days that you need to create minor aha moments within the process, like figure out what’s the biggest problems, take only one of them prove that you can do that very quickly. And soon enough, they will pay you all the money that you want. Because they’ve seen that on their data, if you can create a product that can do that, that fast. This is exactly what we do by the web workers, just in a simpler way with self service not you know,

Unknown Speaker 12:07
on one customer met, you

Unknown Speaker 12:08
know, when

Adi Azaria 12:09
your product is simple enough, and it solves a major problem. The customer realize that you know very early in the process, and they basically buy in their head before you even try to push it. You don’t sell the buy, it’s a different, you don’t mind

Alexander Ferguson 12:26
making that shift from selling to where they just buy it because they see it. Is there is there any main takeaways that you’ve learned both from from enterprise sand and sand? And when you’re doing more of the small business market? Or the when you’re going after millions? Where is where have you seen his major roadblocks that cause people to stop and not want to buy big and trying to avoid when you’re building a product and trying to sell it. And marketing

Adi Azaria 12:56
when you go to the enterprise market is always the I guess social proof, prestige, security, all these only things that makes a company buy a different product. I mean, there are some companies in the world that you know, rely on Gartner. And if you’re not on Gartner, you basically not don’t exist, but it doesn’t matter how good your product is. So guess what we’ve done at Workiz I mean, we’re a very small company. And we started working on Docker on you know, without really knowing where we going to in the next few years. But we knew that if we want to go to the enterprise, let’s solve this problem right now instead of in a few years, okay, let’s be a leader, let’s be somebody that you know, is different than everybody else. And I can have happy to say that this happens where forth front runner for the two, three years in a row already. And so you prepare yourself, you need to be more security fit you just talk to or whatever is needed over there. But most importantly, you need to ask the right questions. I mean, when you go to interact with with your first customers, or suddenly you interact with the bigger customer, you just need to ask, you know, what kind of process you guys sell when you buy products? How usually you do this? I mean, do you have procurement? Do you have legal? Who else is involved in the decision making process? This is ABC services. But but most sales guys forget to do that. Specifically, when you’re entrepreneur, you say well, I’m going to show them they’re going to like we’re going to buy there’s a world like this with bigger companies. And it’s what we call a lot of resistance factors that you don’t even realize or reveal until it’s too late. You send them a contract and I say whoa, whoa, whoa, although you have a process is going to take three to six months, blah, blah, blah, but if you knew about it to begin with, you’re going to start a lot of these processes to start with.

Alexander Ferguson 14:50
Coming into mentality knowing it’s going to take longer is it just like alright, having the right mindset going into it is going to take six months and we already need to like find out who we are key people stakeholders involved, how did you approach it when you were selling it knowing it was gonna take a bit longer?

Adi Azaria 15:08
First, my goal was to reduce it to about 45 days, and I succeeded. I mean, I knew that the market is working in a very lengthy products. So how can we and we realized very early in the process, the lead the project is because of the lack of face to face meetings. So if we can show it to you right now, minute after the demo, I’m just switching to your system and showing that this is the best thing that ever happened to you. The decision process is like, you know, in a few weeks instead of a few months, so that was the biggest win, I guess, to reduce the time of the decision these days at Workiz I mean, when we’re giving 14 days free trial, and guess what the 14 days after the trial is over, people are buying even without me tuition. Why? Because they see no value. Now imagine what will happen if I’m going to reduce this to seven days. We’re going to try that soon, right? But who knows, you need to try you need to there is a trial and error. And that’s the only way to know you to really know your market. Because if you’re going to see your competitors, you’re basically going to you know try to copy them. And who says that they’re doing the best thing.

Alexander Ferguson 16:16
Oh, good. In a in a more product lead environment where you guys are not not salesy, not reaching out? How have you found ways to to market in today’s environment was very noisy, and there’s a lot of software options out there. How are you reaching out and at least getting awareness for them to say, Okay, I need to try this.

Adi Azaria 16:38
You need to do great things. I think that the the most bold thing that we’ve done, not me, I mean, this my CEO, basically, he went on stage and took big blender and Ninja blender, and put a lot of fruits over there and explored it and said, this is how you blend data. I mean, it was messy. But it gave us the people experienced that.

Unknown Speaker 17:01
And other

Adi Azaria 17:01
crazy things we’ve done is some sort of a partnership with Amazon, like speak with your data. We were talking about you know, getting off my comfort zone I my first you know, public experience was with 2000 people that came to hear the CEO and he got sick. And he so he called me and he said Yeah, well, you’re you’re the best guy for that. And I said, Okay, well, I’m going to do that worst experience in my life. I’ll tell you why. Because the presentation is in Hebrew for 2000 people. Now I’m presenting the Alexa the echo device, and I’m saying, you know, what’s the sales in the US? I mean, I’m speaking English because that’s what Alexa understands. And, and the other half of the of the presentation, I just switched to English because I mean, it was a hip. And I didn’t realize that until the I mean, people were like, what, what hell is happening here. So again, bad experience, but it taught me a lot about me being able to present to a lot of people. And since then I’m doing you know, 5000 people 3000 easily, right? It’s the same tension, like you’re stressed, you will be stressed when you go on stage. But it’s it’s not. It’s not really different from selling in $1 million a month or a year, right? It’s this big of a contract. And speaking to a lot of people have almost the same tension, it puts you off your comfort zone, sleepless night, right on, right? You feel uncomfortable, when you feel uncomfortable, you know, you should know is a good sign. And

Alexander Ferguson 18:35
I feel like that’s a reoccurring theme here and a powerful one to know that. If it’s uncomfortable, that’s a good thing. It means you’re growing and you’re expanding. Now for you guys. Workiz now and from your previous experience hiring building a team, I mean that that’s a crucial right for to be able to to grow for workers. How big is the team today?

Adi Azaria 18:59
We’re about 50 people are going to be on reverse.

Alexander Ferguson 19:03
work that’s rough.

Adi Azaria 19:06
I mean, there is a lot of challenges in the market right now. But we we’ve decided to basically create a worldwide presence. I mean, from a company perspective, meaning we have an office in Manila, we have an office in San Diego, we have an office in Texas, we have a small office in Atlanta and a small office in Miami, we have another office, big one in Tel Aviv, Israel, we take the qualities of every region, and we try to basically be the most efficient in every request. It’s working pretty well. Zoom meetings are crucial, of course to maintain relationships. It doesn’t relate to the COVID I mean, era. It just thought of what you need to do in order to maintain good relationship. We tend to create to create a very small I mean, short meetings, even the Company meeting is only 15 minutes away. That’s it. It’s getting boring later. I mean, we try to be right to the point, try to be as engaged as we can. But you know, nobody can stand up 45 minutes, everybody are moving to the next step and you know, get bored. And our goal is not to take the entire company and you know, Miss, like 50 hours, just because the field that’s speaking, I really like to speak is.

Alexander Ferguson 20:22
So it’s keeping zoom meetings going. It’s crucial for relationships, even if you’re across time zones, but keep them short, 15 minutes, is there any other tips or insights as far as when your team is distributed, and especially across time zones a has worked well, to keep you guys working well together, culture wise, but also productive.

Adi Azaria 20:42
And I’m going to say something that is counterproductive, but we actually embrace that we call it personal growth. And I really believe that working very hard is non productive. So you need to take a step back, I’m meditating on a daily basis, and I see the effect of my day. And when I’m not meditating, nearly meditating, I understand you know how tired I am. So realizing that in meditation is just a way that you don’t have to meditate, you can do sports, you can read, you can do whatever you want. So we actually enforce it, or basically push people to do personal growth projects, which is on top of the, you know, working hours, you cannot do it outside of working hours. In many cases, we’re going to pay for that. And the goal is one to give you some time off all the craziness. Because when you go home, you have your family or your friends, I mean, it’s not you’re not relaxing. But if I give you time to play guitar, or piano, midday, at work, you will do that, because part of work, right. And this gives us a great boost in every different aspect. Not everybody wants to do that, which is something funny, I’m giving you free time to do whatever you want. You don’t want to do that. But I get it with people. I mean, we try we get into our routines. And if we forget about, you know our personality, when you you know you don’t live to work.

Alexander Ferguson 22:09
It’s it’s that balance, I love it that you force it force your team to take time to do not work things during the work day, switching up here due to because I know we can we dig into this for a long time. But I am curious looking looking forward from here. In technology itself, where we’re headed, what do you see as the next tech prediction of what we’ll see in the in the near term, one or two years, and long term, 510 years from your from your perspective.

Adi Azaria 22:39
So short term, we already witnessed this crazy, you know, everything mobile things, it goes to services like Uber Eats and others, you will see more and more and more of it will get a little bit more lazy. So services are coming to our place, anything that doesn’t come in like a few hours or a few minutes, we’re just not going to use. So a lot of the old services are just going to vanish from from the world, we’re going to see less supermarkets, or even even if supermarkets will exist, they will exist in a different form of more automated supermarkets. And when we see that all around the world these days, it’s not just the machine like the courier replacing the issue. It just fulfilling your needs. When when you’re there, the American, there are so many ways you can see it in Japan, mostly these days, but it’s becoming more of a thing all around the world. Most companies will and are investing in machine learning in AI. So we’re gonna see stuff we know that is more suitable to ask more personalized, it’s a little bit scary. I know. But it’s It’s here, it’s here to stay. We need to learn how to how to embrace that, right. Given the fact that we’re still in the COVID era. I do believe this is a prediction. I don’t know, maybe maybe it’s not gonna happen. But usually my predictions are true. And so the the West profits always say that I’m always right. But seriously, we see, I believe that we are we’re in the beginning of a hockey stick. I think that we all talked about, you know, 10 years that was shrinking to one year of technology advancement, that’s not going to stop, it’s just going to be faster and faster. You just realize what’s happening around the world these days. low altitude satellites are going to bring internet everywhere. Just Just think about what happened to the world when the internet was really fast. But it happened only in the Western world, right? What’s going to happen in Asia, in Africa and the other, you know, poor places, once again, to have fast engine. It’s the Elon Musk or original. Whatever vision these guys have is going to connect the entire world. They’re going to bring billions of people to the worldwide web. Think about what’s going to happen. What’s it going to do to your business to ecommerce to innovation, right? Nobody in the US is smarter than the guy in Africa, it’s just a matter of education. But if education will be equal, suddenly you have billions of people thinking about solving the world’s problems, this is going to create what we call the exponential of the exponential. And I do believe that we’re just at the beginning of this hockey stick, which the world has never seen, we might have some bumps in the way, but just look of how fast we created a vaccine. I’m lucky to live in a country that you know, most citizen are now vaccinated, and we are receiving without mask, we have restaurants, everything is open, right? It’s possible. And this is mostly due to the technology, machine learning and AI created a lot of new molecules and, and at some point, you can see that we few different companies came up with the essential solution. This means that technology is here to stay and when. And this is also the first time that the world is something is against one thing instead of each other. So these are huge events in the world. And they are definitely going to take us to the next era, I believe, as better humanity

Alexander Ferguson 26:17
that you connected a lot of dots there DD for, for me as the world is about to get a lot smaller. With every single person being able to connect online. Everyone has smartphones these days, even those who don’t really have good internet anywhere, but suddenly they’re going to have access to internet and that will change a few things in this world.

Adi Azaria 26:38
We live in the most exciting world and most exciting times in the last 100 years. I’m sure of it.

Alexander Ferguson 26:42
And I am I’m excited to see what comes next. Thank you so much for the insights and the lessons learned over over these past few years for you. For those that want to learn more about Workiz go back and listen to Part One at UpTech Report comm of our discussion, also you can go to workiz.com and be able to see their their platform. Thanks again, Didi for your time. It’s good to have you on man.

Unknown Speaker 27:05
Thank you very much.

Alexander Ferguson 27:07
All right, we’ll see you all on the next episode of UpTech Report. Bye bye. That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech report.com. Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you’re subscribed to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.

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