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The future is now...
And we can finally focus on the work that matters
Over the last two decades technology has crept into every corner of knowledge work, promising to make our work lives simpler and more efficient. In some ways, it’s lived up to that promise. But modern enterprise tech solutions have an unhelpful side effect of creating more noise and fragmentation for us to deal with. Our work lives are now spread across numerous platforms, apps, and devices all clamouring for our attention.
Recently, I’ve been asking myself and others two simple questions. How much of your time do you spend on “primary” work vs necessary-but-annoying “secondary” admin work? And, if you had a capable assistant, what would you delegate to them to free you up?
The answer to those questions reveals something we all know about the work we do, that there are parts that are more valuable than others, and parts we do because we have to. Those secondary tasks are more and more often driven by the exhaust fumes of modern enterprise tech. Updating the CRM, writing up meeting notes from calls, searching for answers for customers or team mates, responding to emails and messages, pulling data for reports.
When Rowan and I founded Workbounce in 2020 we were driven by the desire to solve this problem. A year ago we raised $2.7M in seed funding from Index Ventures with the ambitious mission of creating an "intelligent co-pilot for the entire customer lifecycle." We believed, and still believe, this problem is most acutely felt by customer facing teams who not only have to navigate the messy internal information landscape, they need to be the broker of that for external customers. But, the problem is universal across all knowledge work and we’re re-launching Workbounce with that in mind.
Consider any piece of technology you use today and count the steps it inserts between you and the result you're after. Want to understand the state of your sales pipeline? Open Salesforce, navigate through multiple windows, spend an hour building a report, discover the data is outdated, and then weep into your coffee. The current easiest way to get the answers you need is to send a message to a colleague or a whole channel and pass off the cognitive burden to them.
As people, we have a bandwidth and a noise problem. There’s only so much information we can take in every day. As information in our organisations grows exponentially we find ourselves increasingly burdened with noise, more of our precious bandwidth gets used by this secondary task of sorting signal from noise.
The good news is, we’re at peak noise.
Last year, we witnessed what might be the most significant technological leap of our lifetimes—the advent of Large Language Models (LLMs) in artificial intelligence. What struck me wasn't the novel generated output—the articles, the poems, the capacity to comprehend and elucidate a joke—but the potential for LLMs to eliminate the unnecessary steps between a user's desired outcome and the actual result. Essentially, their ability to help us make better use of our limited bandwidth and time.
I’d like to add a third question to my earlier two—what if we could give every knowledge worker a capable and efficient assistant? An assistant that can write a thesis in the time it takes to take a sip of coffee.
What if we could quickly surface the precise answer we needed from a piece of content, or transform a customer call recording into a flawlessly crafted follow-up email just by asking for it? What could we achieve?
This was the long-term future we envisioned with Workbounce. We didn't expect it to become a reality for at least another five years. We were under-optimistic. That’s no longer the case. If large language models and AI never progress beyond the capabilities they have today, that future will become a reality. We now have the tools available to solve those problems. But we will make further progress and AI will become faster, cheaper, more competent, and more efficient.
We’ll begin onboarding our first partner-customers to the new Workbounce platform from the end of April. Despite being in the early stages of this new chapter, the progress we've made is astonishing. Our current focus lies in developing the integrations that will yield the most value, and uncovering the biggest “secondary” work burdens we can solve for each of our customers.
If you wish to join us on this journey—to help shape the product and, ultimately, concentrate on the work you know is most important—add your name to the waitlist below.
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