The Shorter Read:
At Sanscubicle we build service-based brands with some of the brightest minds in India, using a thesis (framework), which we believe will serve as the norm for the future of work. Our thesis is broken down into the following six points:
- A fully remote, zero infrastructure model.
- Having a single title, ie. a completely flat organisation with no hierarchical designations.
- Limiting employees to 60 work hours per month.
- Using AI to measure work hours and data.
- Using this data as the CEO.
- Profit sharing for all employees.
- Ability to build your own equity ownership vehicles.
The Longer Read:
Sanscubicle is a result of a 5 year long exploration out of Khoob into the future of work in India. Khoob builds and invests in interesting Indian companies.
Let’s now jump into our thesis for Sanscubicle in detail:
A Fully Remote, Zero Infrastructure Model.
On day 1 (May 2016), we decided to have a fully remote and distributed model for all of our brands. In either of our brands the team members are allowed to work from anywhere that inspires them the most. We have no offices, just a simple virtual office address for snail mail and regulatory paper work where we spend INR 12,000/ year (~$164). This model allows us to focus on hiring the best regardless of their location and not worry about lobby couches and coffee table books.
Since we don’t have an actual office we decided to build a virtual one. Our virtual office is powered by 8, our AI bot (more on this later). Below is an example of the Lazy Eight Virtual Office.
Having A Single Title, Flat Organisation.
In Sanscubicle there is a single title for all our team members in any of our brands, Principal. For each of our brands we hire the best in the business, hence from day 1 of joining they are Principals. We believe titles can be false flags to aspire for, rather we inherently define responsibilities for each of our Principals whose successes are based on data (OKRs,etc). We have no peer reviews, rather we simply review data and figure out what is working, what isn’t and how we can improve together.
In our brands, no Principal goes by name rather we assign them a hex code colour. This concept started with Lazy Eight, mainly because of the “Don Draper” effect. We did not want Lazy Eight as an agency to be judged due to a “Don Draper” rather because of the agency as a whole.
Yes. The remote economy enables the pseudonymous economy. And both of them further enable the international economy. Pseudonymity means you judge someone by their work, not the accident of birth. So much overlooked talent in the Global South could rise if we make this work.
Time will tell if pseudonymous economies will work. We are glad we are experimenting with this concept.
Limiting Employees To 60 Work Hours Per Month.
This is something very unique to Sanscubicle and its brands. Every employee (Principal) is limited to 60 hours of execution work per month. We measure this using a bot we built in-house (more on this later). Why limit an employee to 60 hours per month? Most importantly, there is more to do in life than just work. Secondly, there are studies now that show the ineffectiveness of 8 hour work days eg:
A study of nearly 2,000 full-time office workers revealed that most people aren’t working for most of the time they’re at work. The most popular unproductive activities listed by the survey were:
- Reading news websites — 1 hour, 5 minutes
- Checking social media — 44 minutes
- Discussing non-work-related things with co-workers — 40 minutes
- Searching for new jobs — 26 minutes
- Taking smoke breaks — 23 minutes
- Making calls to partners or friends — 18 minutes
- Making hot drinks — 17 minutes
- Texting or instant messaging — 14 minutes
- Eating snacks — 8 minutes
- Making food in office — 7 minutes
The total here sums up to almost 4.5 hr. So for a 9 hr work-day, time spent effectively on work is just 4.5 hr. In many cases, this could go down to 3 hr of effective working a day.
At our Sanscubicle brands we set a 100% utility rate per Principal of 60 hours per month. If say a Principal / or a group of Principals (eg. Branding Principals at Lazy Eight) are seeing consistent 90%+ utility rates, it serves as a signal to the HR team to hire more Branding Principals.
Using AI To Measure Work Hours And Collect Data
We have built our own in-house, proprietary system that helps measure actual work. This system is primarily led by our AI bot, who we call Aath (8 in Hindi). When a Principal for any of our brands is working on anything, 8 tracks them. 8 then knows how much time execution time was spent on a particular task.
How does this data help us?
- It allows us to know how many hours a Principal has run and whether those hours run for a task were efficient. We do this by comparing the data to other Principals that have done similar tasks. Eventually we have found that a particular task ends up reaching a certain equilibrium point with respect to the hours spent.
- Since we limit a Principal to 60 hours per month, this data allows us to measure their utilisation. eg. a Principal who has run 30 hours was 50% utilised for that month.
- The data allows us to compensate our Principals and determine their % Profit Sharing (more on this later)
- This data allows us to set up estimates more accurately for client project based on past data.
- We use the data collected by 8 to generate weekly reports for our clients and this aids in our billing which is done automatically, almost utility like.
- We calculate the hourly rate every month for a brand using the avg. utilisation % of Principals of that brand. ie. If there is more demand (higher utilisation rates) the price goes up, vice versa. If the hourly rate charged to a client goes up, a Principal’s compensation goes up proportionally.
- Utilisation % also serves as a great signal to our HR team. eg. If Branding Principals at Lazy Eight are consistently seeing utilisation rates north of 90%, it’s a signal that we might need to hire more Branding Principals.
Profit Sharing For All Employees.
Since there is no org. structure in any of the brands at Sanscubicle, it makes sense that everyone shares the profits. We use simple math here: Total Hours Input By A Principal / Total Hours Inputed By All Principals. Simple. If a Principal decides to leave they still get their share of profits as long as their % stays above 0.5%.
Ability To Build Your Own Equity Ownership Vehicle.
At Sanscubicle we have created Sanscubicle Labs. Sanscubicle Labs is our whetstone where Principals from our brands collaborate with each other on exciting projects. Some of these projects are experiments while others are actual products. Equity ownership is simple: The Principal’s hours input / Total hours input. Profits are pushed into the total profit pool and split as discussed earlier. We will be announcing Sanscubicle Labs and some of the projects in March 2021.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions or would like to discuss Sanscubicle / Future of Work in India further, feel free to shoot us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org . We are also actively hiring across all brands at Sanscubicle. To view the open positions please visit our website.