In 2020 we are excited to have recently seen our sister business TRIBE launch. Sean Woon is the Managing Director of TRIBE and we sat down with him this week to learn more.
[edit: Sean Woon is still with ADAPTOVATE and now heads up our Product business. ]
Hi Sean and thanks for your time. We are excited to talk with you, at a time that is so difficult for all of us. We are globally feeling the pain right now! How are you and your family right now?
Thanks for the question! We, like many, are trying to get our heads around what is going on. I have never been so obsessed with news feeds on my phone. In a way there hasn’t been a change because I am accustomed to always being “mobile” which includes working from home. I have three kids (13, 10, 6) and my wife who is unfortunately currently undergoing cancer treatment. So to ensure that they are well and healthy, this has certainly gone up another notch or two.
We are a close family and despite the closure of schools and self-isolation at home, we are taking the time to slow-down a little and to really enjoy the simple things like having dinner together. Giving each other lots of hugs and re-assurance always helps. If social distancing continues to allow it of course!
We scheduled this interview before the COVID-19 Pandemic really hit, and we aren’t shying away from the fact it was to promote and launch TRIBE. But it’s now become more timely than ever to talk about ‘community’. You’ve been appointed Managing Director of TRIBE – it’s aim is to pull together a robust strong community of contractors. Can you tell us a bit about TRIBE firstly?
As mentioned in the previous question, TRIBE is a sister company to ADAPTOVATE. We exist to provide our clients with contract resources and support to help sustain their transformation successes with a global community via our LINKEDIN Group (TRIBE) of highly sought-after contractor/talent.
We also have an invitation only community in LinkedIn called TRIBE+ which consists of contractor/talent who have been successful in attaining a role, or are being onboarded by us, on client sites. Our community of contractors predominantly come from Agile environments or have the necessary skills and mindset to succeed with agility. We operate TRIBE with all of our knowledge and strengths gained from our experience in ADAPTOVATE to ensure quality is maintained with our community of contractors.
As mentioned TRIBE is first and foremost a community? And in this time community is looking a lot different than 1 month ago. How do you see the TRIBE community interacting? And how important is it now more than ever?
As we are a global community, much of what and how we communicate was indeed virtual and digital. This is why we formed our LinkedIn Group and continue to have virtual “coffee catch-ups” via VC with potential candidates across different time-zones. I would have certainly liked to have more face-to-face and travel opportunities to truly connect with members of the community and clients alike.
At the moment, I think we are all requiring the time to adjust to the daily changes and restrictions. I feel however that coming together and helping each other as a community is certainly more important than ever. I’d like to as a consequence engage the community regularly through our Digital channels during this time.
Over the coming days/weeks, I hope the community starts to see an increase in engagement on our various forums. This will likely change as COVID-19 continues to threaten and evolve, however it is also a great opportunity for us to establish the community’s identity so that we can “hit the ground running” when the good times return.
How do the work opportunities for TRIBE community members look? Obviously there have been massive redundancies – and times are tough.
No doubt these are challenging times for many. In the midst of forming and kicking off TRIBE, we have been faced with challenges to introduce our business to clients directly and disrupting the creation of a pipeline for our community of contractors. Our consulting network has also been affected as many clients around the world take stock on the situation on hand.
Having said that, we have been active in writing and contributing to client proposals and formal Request for Proposals (RFPs). I have and will continue to make direct contact with clients directly to clearly inform that we are indeed “open for business”.
Importantly, I welcome collaboration with our community members on any ideas of what we can do during this time. Though we are really just a few weeks old, the network of contractors which we have built so far is a bunch of some highly experienced individuals.
Why do you think contractors enjoy working in the contractor space? There must be lessons that contractors have learned typically working from home previous to COVID-19 that they can bring to clients?
Some quotes given to me by real contractors that resonates with why they value working in this space (coming from a broad range of backgrounds):
- “We are birds who love to fly and every now and then come home to rest and recuperate”
- “We value quality engagements across a broad range of industries, clients, and seniority”
- “We are confident in our experience and achievement to ensure that we can add value to a client quickly”
It is really a range of personal reasons and motivations like entrepreneurial spirit, to have an individual choose a contracting path either for a period of time in their careers, or for the longer term.
Having the freedom and variety of work, going hard for a while and taking a break, and meeting and working with a wide range of people, are some outcomes treasured by a contractor’s career.
Yes, there are parallels that can be drawn between today’s uncertain times and an independent contractor’s journey in finding new work, but what it really comes down to is an individual’s resilience, resourcefulness and wide technological toolkit & skills, that allows a contractor to continue to thrive during uncertain times.
Finally – it’s looking more and more likely that our ‘new life’ is going to last for a few months yet. What advice would you give a contractor, and can TRIBE help them keep in touch with others?
Like in the ‘bird and home’ analogy, I’d like all of our community to know that in a small way, we at TRIBE is home for our contractors.
We will continue to build our presence and network here at TRIBE and aim to keep all informed through at the least using our LinkedIn group, emails, website and direct VCs. I’d encourage all of our contractors to PLEASE reach out to us directly when in need for support.
Even if it is just requiring some time to chat during these difficult times. We are reachable through any of the following and I personally man and check all directly:
LinkedIn: Join and post or direct message in our LinkedIn Group
LinkedIn: Connect and contact with me directly
Website: Fill out the contact form
Thank you Sean, great speaking with you. We wish you & your family the best of health in the coming months.