We spoke with International Master in Management graduate Ricard Tapias about his professional experience since graduation and how the skills he learned at EADA helped him meet the different challenges along the way. After graduation, Ricard accepted an offer to work as an analyst at Bloomberg in London before recently launching DeWocracy, specialised in helping companies manage hybrid work models.
In this interview, he shares a bit about the rewards and challenges of becoming an entrepreneur.
How would you describe DeWocracy? What makes it unique?
We build technology to help companies implement and manage a hybrid work model. We help them tackle the challenges resulting from combining remote and in-office work. What makes DeWocracy unique is the fact that we’ve built it from the ground up with these challenges in mind, always with a narrow focus. We’re not developing a generic tool nor adapting pre-existing software to this new reality.
What inspired you to launch DeWocracy?
My co-founder and I were coworkers at the time. We realised there were severe inefficiencies in the way our employer was managing the office space and we thought post-Covid trends would make that even worse. We spoke with hundreds of companies and discovered there was not only a space optimisation issue but an office operations problem as well. Office Managers and Team Leaders spend countless hours reading and sending emails, and filling in excel sheets solely to coordinate office attendance and remote work allowance. This process doesn’t scale, is costly, and is error-prone. We thought we could drastically improve it with technology.
What is the most exciting aspect of the work you are doing?
Dreaming big and working towards that vision is extremely exciting. From a pragmatic point of view, having skin in the game makes any job more thrilling and rewarding. Even if owning what you do makes things tougher, responsibility is a great source of meaning.
What is the most challenging part?
Knowing there’s no clear right or wrong is challenging. There’s no external source of validation but the market. There are no clear questions either, so my job is to constantly figure out the most relevant ones, then come up with plausible answers and test them. It’s all about being quick at failing so we find out what works best for us.
How is working in your own start-up different from working in a large multinational organisation?
Working at Bloomberg felt like being a piece of a huge well-greased machine. They’ve stayed on top as the number one financial software provider for decades and there’s a reason for it. It’s incredible to learn from one of the few 40-plus-year-old software corporations that are still running because there’s a huge selection bias that goes with it. That’s especially true in the financial services industry, where the clients you work for have a lot at stake and the impact of your work directly translates into large sums of money. Everything is magnified, the good and the bad.
So employees at Bloomberg today experience the result of decades of natural selection applied to corporate culture. That’s pretty cool. Poor management, bad practices, and failed ideas (mostly) died, and the good stuff (mostly) survived. That’s great because things work and deals get done. But at the same time, it leaves almost no space for creativity, innovation, and boldness, which is precisely what I experience now daily working at an early-stage start-up.
How do you think the world of work will evolve over the next few years?
I think relationships will be more relevant than space, and hopefully, the office will become a tool rather than a constraint. Offices should be instruments to help people get things done and establish relevant interactions instead of a means of control. I believe companies will have spaces designed to allow employees to come together, meet, work on joint projects and get exposure to the company’s culture. However, I don’t think most people will go to an office every day a few years down the line.
I also strongly believe in peer-to-peer space sharing. Our vision for the future is to connect organisations so they can safely share spaces through technology and become more efficient in the way they manage their real estate footprint. The current model where 40% of the office space worldwide is empty is extremely costly and unsustainable. I don’t think building more coworking spaces is the best possible solution.
How do you use what you learned at EADA in your current position?
At EADA, I learned how to ask the right questions, which I’ve always found way more complicated than figuring out the answers. That’s something extremely relevant to what I do today. Collaborating with multicultural teams, both in Barcelona and during my exchange programme in Japan, prepared me for the global corporate world. The final project was also a great resource to get a taste of the challenges I would later face as an entrepreneur.
Do you have any advice for students who want to launch their own business?
My advice is to start early. It will never be a perfect time, so if you know you want to launch a business at some point, today is a good day to start. Take risks, work hard, put some skin in the game, have fun, and live a life you won’t regret.