Welcome to the first entry of ‘Why I Qwill’ – an opportunity to learn more about the team behind the company. While most of us have at least dabbled in the startup world, we bring with us very diverse backgrounds, from musicians and lawyers to teachers and wilderness guides. What do we have in common? We’re all stoked to share our story and progress with you as we near the public launch of our app later this year (eeeee!).
In the meantime, we invite you to learn more about our team via interviews conducted by our cheeky legal bot, Q ( ). First up: CEO, Greg Glass.
Please state your name and describe your occupation for the court. JK! For me.
Greg Glass, CEO at Qwill. At this stage my roll is primarily chief visionary. Imagining what the planning process should be vs. what it actually is, and corralling and guiding our resources to try and get us there.
Fantastic. Greg – real talk. Why do you ‘Qwill’?
It’s for a few reasons really. First and foremost it’s working with people I love. There’s simply no substitute for that, regardless of what you’re working on. But, with respect to Qwill as a product, it comes down to working on something that’s impactful. I’m obsessed with the idea of the individual impact we can make…not some abstract social good, but actually down to making one person’s experience great during a really difficult time. Holistically, we see an opportunity to make a product that’s better, more affordable and far simpler…and it’s rare you can nail all those components on the same Venn diagram.
I’m certainly intrigued. How’d you get here? What was your first job? (Mine was a calculator.)
Well clearly you were underemployed as a calculator. I mowed lawns, and was truly terrible at it.
Mowing lawns to chief visionary! What career advice do you have for youngsters who want to follow in your footsteps?
You know, I think my advice would be to explore. I’ve been working in the start-up world for 10-plus years now, but before that I spent time working all kinds of jobs. Music, tourism, factories, olive farms. The most important attribute I look for in colleagues or employees is curiosity – regardless of experience. Curious people by nature dig in, and uncover truths…and quality is born from that. A curious account manager figures out why something’s not working, a curious marketer explores new channels relentlessly, and so on. Exploration helps you develop that skill, and allows you to hone in on what your interests are.
Roger that. Who inspires you, or who do you really admire? Robots count.
Barack Obama. Politics aside, I’ve always found his life and personality to be incredibly inspiring. He has a unique ability to connect and communicate across cultures and demographics. He’s patient and thoughtful with his words, and prides himself on holding the opinions of others and looking for the middle-ground.
Who had the most influence on you growing up? And why? That’s the best part.
Oh…probably Jimmy Buffett. There was a time there in high school where I just wanted to hop on my barely functional red moped covered in Grateful Dead stickers and go fishing every day listening to Buffett. Saying this aloud, I kind of wish my answer was Warren Buffett, but Jimmy probably had a bigger impact.
What’s one thing you hope the next generation gets right? Assuming they’re still human.
Well with the singularity fast approaching and bio-engineered or augmented consciousness around the corner, it’s certainly debatable that the next gen will be human. I guess I’d hope that we don’t totally lose our attention spans. There’s so much simple beauty everywhere, but we’re struggling today with constant noise triggering these small dopamine fixes. At some point it just gets to be too much, and I’m hoping the next gen is intentional about figuring out a way to strike the right balance. Oh, and global warming. Yeah, let’s get on that.
Take me to a happy place. What’s your favorite family tradition or childhood memory?
Hmm, it’s a little crazy, and hopefully not offensive. I have a varied ethnic background and we grew up “jew-ish,” that is to say, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Later in life my brother and I started a tradition where on Yom Kippur (the day of atonement where you traditionally fast) we would spend the day drinking good wine, slow cooking meats on the grill, playing guitar, and “atoning.” It was a blast. That’s the thing about family – it’s spectacularly personal. These are the kinds of traditions I’m not sure anyone else really gets, but they’re impactful – and we’re going to do our best to pass them on.
Where’s your favorite place in the world? Try to tell me without bragging, though.
It’s actually San Francisco. I’ve traveled a bunch and lived in several amazing places (Alaska, Italy, Scotland, etc.), but my heart is in SF. It’s the combination of the Pacific air and fog, the smell of sage and eucalyptus, the hilly streets in the sun and all the cultural contrasts at all times. Right outside you’ve got redwoods and ocean and wine country and the Sierra Nevadas. A lot of folks in SF have been hating on it lately – but to me it’s still a dream location. Oh, and we basically have no mosquitos. That’s huge.
Do you collect anything? I love a good oil can.
My wife would say guitars and headphones. This is a touchy subject.
What’s your favorite phone app, currently? This is not a trick question.
Spotify. I’m still amazed that at the push of a button I can pull up any song from any album from any time and play it on any device. The college-aged me who was busy collecting as much music as I could find would just be baffled by this. The other really interesting thing about Spotify is they’re finding a way to separate themselves via improved design, curation, and experience in a rapidly commoditized space. Design matters.
What’s one thing you’ve lost that you wish you still had? I used to have an ink pot.
You know I really can’t think of anything. It probably speaks to having enough stuff and the benefit of decluttering. I’m finding that at this stage there’s generally more joy in subtraction than addition. Except for headphones, of course.
How do you like your eggs cooked? I’ve never understood eggs.
Scrambled with cheddar cheese and everything bagel spice (you can get it at Trader Joe’s – it’s the bomb).
Okay last question. Do you have a favorite charity you really want people to know about? Plug away.
Man, there’s a lot of truly special folks out there doing great work in all kinds of areas. I’ll call out the SPCA because I’m a sucker for animal charities, and we’ve dealt with a local chapter directly while one of our dogs was dealing with some health issues at one of their veterinary hospitals. We couldn’t have been more impressed with the level of service and the care received (for both us and our dog).
Lauren is Qwill’s marketing team (#startuplife). She’s lived in the digital marketing world for the past 8 years, with specialties in marketing automation and making super colorful content maps. In past lives, she’s been a neuroscience researcher, 6th grade teacher, and candy store clerk, all carefully chosen occupations to test varying personality theories. When she’s not blogging for Qwill, she prefers a good lakeside or beach read, and will never say no to a road trip. Check out her instagram for a peek inside the life of a work-from-home cat mom.