StartUs Presents: DESK.WORKS

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Looking for a workspace near you? DESK.WORKS is an app that helps you find and book temporary workspaces. Marta Kabsch shares the story behind this Polish startup!

Describe DESK.WORKS in 50 words or less.

It’s like Airbnb but for workspaces! It’s a mobile app that allows booking temporary workspaces in hundreds of locations worldwide. It takes just a few clicks to book a desk at co-working, startup office or another crazy place. There! 38 words!

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

Some people, like our founder and business dev, Waldemar Ariel, are the natural-born startuppers with an urgent need to create something new, to start their own projects from scratch. The others may have grown up as – let’s say – regular employees. But once you enter the startup world, once you meet this international inspiring crowd of entrepreneurs and founders, you no longer want to be just a cog in a machine. You want to make things happen and co-create a vision. This is what has happened to many of us in the DESK.WORKS team.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

Thousands of people have given up renting their own offices. They freely move around different co-working spaces in their hometowns and worldwide. This doesn’t apply only to individual freelancers. There are the entire nomadic teams that change their locations to grow their business and get inspired. There are memes making fun of people who work from the same place every day. People travel, move around, network like crazy and every new place brings something new and special to their professional and private lives. DESK.WORKS has its own airlines and co-working spaces located on the moon and Mars… OK, I might have gone too far ☺ But to be honest – that’s the scale we’re dreaming of.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

I would say there are two ways to keep everything on track. On the one hand, there is a sort of internal-quality-check: make sure that you accomplish all the goals you set for yourself and your team. Stay focused and efficient. And constantly set the new goals. If you get things done, you know you’re moving forward. As simple as that. Sounds like a truism, but this is how the business works.

On the other hand, equally or even more important, there is an external-quality-check. Keeping your eye on the numbers, the traction. And most importantly: communicating with your users. Listening to their feedback. Making sure that your product solves their real problems. Not problems imagined by your team. Make sure you communicate efficiently and that the way you talk with your audience and the way you explain your product to the others is clear, inspiring and adequate. If you keep your customer in the center of all your plans and development strategy, everything should go smoothly.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

Well, it’s a startup, so we might leave the office, but this is not a 9 to 5 job and we have to be on top of things 24/7. Leaving the office around 6 or 7 pm doesn’t mean our job is done.

Every day is different. I usually start with reading some business and marketing related articles, to stay up-to-date with the industry news and find some new inspirations and ideas for my team and myself. Then I get to my to-do list, which I try to fix on Monday mornings. I usually have some meetings and Skype calls in the middle of the day, as I like to keep mornings and afternoons for my individual work.

There is just one fixed point in the day for all of us. We always sit down together in the kitchen at 1 pm sharp, eat lunch, and talk about silly, not-work-related stuff. I believe this little ritual gives our team superpowers.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

We’ve used our own capital to run and complete the seed stage. Now, we’re entering early stage and have already started to look for investors. We want our future investors to share our vision and believe in the plan we’re executing for DESK.WORKS. We’re very clear with what we want our startup to become, so it only makes sense for us if we work with angels or VCs who understand that.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

I think that the quality control I mentioned before is the answer. There might be ten products like yours on the market. There might be dozens of people who will copy your idea or come up with something similar. You just have to be the best in what you do. I believe that the ones who listen to their users most carefully will win.

What do you look for in team members?

Every position requires something different; a different approach or energy. But there are some general qualities that will always make you stand out. Be proactive. Be modest and ready to learn. Communicate clearly. Be kind and supportive to your colleagues. Be ready to hear criticism about your work. And simply work your ass off!

Why would a talent join your team?

It makes sense to join us if you believe, like us, that what we do at DESK.WORKS is important and – well – cool! The idea that you’re a part of something really big and global and that what we’re creating will be used worldwide – from Southeast Asia, through Europe to Alaska – it has to be exciting for you. In other words – you think big and you want to work with people who think the same way (and scale).

Then, I would say that you want to learn a lot, you want a lot of independence and a field for your creativity – you will definitely get that at our company. Plus we work in amazing offices in amazing locations. I think that this type of physical comfort is also very important and our team really appreciates it.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

For me it was the moment when I saw our app in the AppStore. We’d been waiting for that moment for a few days, but the status in the AppStore admin panel didn’t change. Then, I just searched for DESK.WORKS in the AS and saw it was there. Ready to download. I just sent the screenshot of that to my team with some silly comment. Our founder, Waldemar, was giving a speech at some startup event in Berlin at that time and couldn’t check his mobile. He felt his iPhone vibrating like crazy from the Slack notifications and was annoyed like hell, as he knew that something important was happening at that very moment! It was special for me as DESK.WORKS was the first mobile app I co-created.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Make sure you’re solving the problem of a large group of people, not your own. Make sure your product is user-friendly, bug-free and cool. Make sure you know how to communicate with your audience. Make sure you work with the right people. OK, well, if you take care of this last thing, they will help you with everything else!


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