[Tabari] Yeah. So so welcome to the conquerors podcast. And today we have with us Keith Hupp. I say that correctly.
[Tabari] He's said it correctly. And so Keith has a very interesting app that he is working on, and we're going to dive into it a little bit later. But how about you start off by telling us you know a little bit about yourself you know who you are. What do you do? And how did you come to start this software. This timekeeper software that you're working on.
[Keith] Well when I when I first realized that I wanted to develop the time banking software I discovered a community event. It was kind of interesting. Let's see I think it was about six years ago I walked into the Omni comments and I saw a group of people working together and I realized hey these guys aren't getting paid to work together you know they're just collaboratively working on a group project.
[Keith] And I thought that was pretty cool. And as I checked out the space where you know I met a group of time bankers there the Bay Area community exchange and they give me a free time making orientation. And since then signing up for their platform and exchanging it with a few members I realized Wow the power of time making is absolutely incredible because people are literally helping each other.
[Tabari] Wow. Very impactful. So what is? This concept of time banking.
[Keith], So time banking is when a group of people agrees to exchange hours with each other both to give and to receive. It's a two-way street.
[Tabari] OK. Now how is that different from bartering.
[Keith] So when it comes to barter generally what people do is they might barter like three sacks of flour and they might have somebody come over and give them a haircut. And what they're looking to do is they're looking to get the monetary equivalent right. And if there is anyhow do I say this where one person would receive a bigger benefit than the other than those become taxable. Bullet time making it is not taxable. It's not taxable to go out and help your neighbor or help your mom dissing dishes right.
[Tabari] Right. So slight volunteering in a sense. Yeah. OK. Excellent. And so was what were you doing before you had this encounter Omnicom is or what were you doing right before you decided to actually launch off in go into this time banking you know software.
[Keith] I was working at a pharmaceutical company and Berkeley and I had always grown up really poor. And since working at a pharmaceutical company of course they have a lot of standards they pay a little bit better. So I was able to save up some money and I thought to myself what's the best way I can create the total net value. All right total net value for everybody. And then that started my pursuit into being an entrepreneur and starting the business timekeeper.
[Tabari] Wow wow so. So you didn't start this company out of a selfish reason but you really kind of surveyed the land and you said what is something I can do so I can have the most amount of good for maybe the most amount of people.
[Keith] Yes absolutely. You know when I look around I see the world as a global labor shortage. We have homeless people on the street that need help. There's so many different avenues where people can cope productively organize their labor right. We've seen organizations like crowdfunding right. But what about crowdfunding with our time. Right. And that's what essentially time banking is in a way.
[Tabari] Wow! Oh. So. What are you in. In the ideal world if everyone used you know time banking software would do you. What do you think that how would that change things.
[Keith] We wouldn't have lines anymore. Because people would be able to autonomously exchange whatever they needed with each other. So essentially there's no need for lines now because everybody is talking about what he meant when they asked and it allows people to live more intentionally because they're able to see where am I investing my time Oh I'm investing my time with this community or that community or with my family.
[Tabari] Wow. So. So we want to talk a little bit about you know you more specifically. So was is there anyone you know in your family who's an entrepreneur or is someone that you saw growing up that. That had their own business or where did this desire to help people in with a business business come from.
[Keith] You know so a lot of the jobs that I've had I've always done my best to help anybody. I remember when I started off doing refrigeration I saw this janitor. She was struggling to to take out some trash because it was too heavy. And I walked over there and I helped her dump the trash and there was some mechanic standing off inside just watching. All right well it just so happens the plant manager walked by and you know he gave me a thumbs up and I could read his lips and he said Thank you. And I was like man that's impactful because you know what I like to think is that people are watching all the time so I should always be the best versions of ourselves.
[Tabari] Wow. Now we've talked you know some time in the past and you also talked about your experience as you worked in a factory or like a foreman what is Boozer who's your exact title.
[Keith] Yes. So they call us industrial ammonia refrigeration operators and mechanics.
[Tabari] Wow. Wow.
[Keith] So it's a large industrial cooling which is very dangerous but it's completely necessary whether it's freezing foods or maintaining temperature isn't like bioreactors and things like that.
[Tabari] Wow. So it sounds complicated endangers. And so so your experience you know working in your previous job how do you think all that kind of came together prepared you to launch off and do your own time banking startup.
[Keith] I think that it takes a lot of dedication and courage in order to make the transition from one type of job onto another especially when it comes to being an entrepreneur. And you know trying to do all the marketing and advertising. It's very difficult. No it is it there is a lot of challenges and a lot of risks. And I think that entrepreneurship isn't exactly for everybody.
[Tabari] I agree with you on that one. You know just today in one of our Instagram posts I was talking about how entrepreneurship takes lots of hard work. It also takes patience and it takes doing the same stuff over and over again with maybe not getting results that you expect it. And in a lot of times, you know entrepreneurship is you know it's glamorized. We see people in these shows driving the nice cars and go into the big extravagant parties having you know the good looking people in their arms. But now how long have you been three or so years. OK. So I used to you know.
[Keith] You know actually I had to take my laptop out on the beach like you see every now and then. Entrepreneurship is a you know you're gonna be glued to a group of people that are going to be very close to you. You know like I have a quality assurance team and I've been through several different software development companies and I have a really good strong core group of developers and that makes all the difference. You know it does because I can only do the things that I'm great at. Right. And I have to be able to allow other people to be the greatest versions of themselves to try so.
[Tabari] Oh, Right! So you're you're talking about your team. And so we want to we want to dive a little bit into maybe some of the challenges that you've experienced while developing this team and maybe while developing the app. And tell me a little bit about that and you know how did you overcome those challenges.
[Keith] OK well going into the development process three years ago I knew the timekeeper was going to be a huge project basically called a hard startup. And I knew it was going to be a huge huge challenge. A few of the reasons. One of the reasons is because the application is so big. There is over 200 screens.
[Keith] So some applications that might have four buttons on the bottom timekeeper has a ton of stuff because it is essentially a time making ecosystem.
[Tabari] OK so what what is a what is it time banking ecosystem.
[Keith] So an ecosystem is if we want to think about let's say two circles. Right. So if you hold her to two circles let's say with your hands and you overlap them with your thumbs. All right. Kind of like the Olympic rings a little bit. So what we have here is essentially like a business to business. Right. Which is timekeeper to the communities that register and sign up for the platform. Then we also have business to the members right the members that are being served by the application because if they're not happy with the quality of the communities and what services there are being available then it's gonna mess things up a lot you know. So in order to keep everybody happy we have to create it as an ecosystem
[Keith] So it's not just about the communities getting all their members on board. We also are supplying members locally through our community finder feature in the application.
[Tabari] Got it! So so. So this piece of software helps us to realize this that the ideal of time making or benefit from the practice of time banking and even within sight of the app we have to ensure the quality of the connections between the people who use it so that I guess it adds value in so that people want to come back to it so that. People can trust the system because essentially while it is a bank right it's a bank.
[Keith] For time.
[Tabari] It's a bank. So so in the same way that you expect a level of service and accountability to your bank. When you go deposit your check. I'd imagine people would expect the same thing from time banking right.
[Keith] You know one of our core values when it comes to time banking is respect. We want to respect everybody you know and it's very important whether you're going out to somebody who's home to help them with something or somebody is coming to help you with one of your requests. You know you always want to treat that person with the most respect.
[Tabari] Awesome! So going back to your team so what was maybe one of the biggest challenges you experience with trying to develop this app maybe was around your team maybe it wasn't. And how did you overcome that or how are you overcoming that.
[Keith] The hardest part is building long term processes. That's the most difficult thing because we've made over. Eleven thousand changes documented changes in order to keep track of all of the things that have to be changed and update retested. All right. We had to build a process that actually takes us about four days to go through the entire timekeeper applications and admin panel and we have a bunch of test cases test cases which are actually documented. And that's a lot different than somebody who's just bootstrapping and just trying to build you know we have to actually have a structure because if you don't have a structure you're going to lose everything.
[Tabari] Wow. Wow. So what you're saying is because this this piece of software is is so huge in it it does so many things in the reliability of it is important. You have to have these processes in place so that you can manage the whole project.
[Keith] Yeah absolutely and the developers on the project you know to learn what it is to to time bank right and then to apply those concepts and ideas and software. It takes a lot of extra time you know a lot of extra time. But I have a good team. So that makes all the difference. But you know there has been challenges and you know when you have a great developer and they end up leaving and you have to try to find somebody else it can be it can be quite a challenge.
[Tabari] Wow. So so how have you been able to to manage all this and move things along with such a you know. A huge task that you're you're undertaking.
[Keith] Well what I try to do is I tried to allow everyone to have a certain level of accountability right. You know because accountability is really important. Some people when they go to work they just want to see what's in their inbox What tasks do they have. Right. But for me and developing this application I have to find people who go the extra mile. You know they might see something that's wrong in application and fix it you know and be able to note down that they've made a change and fixed it without having to be told to do that.
[Tabari] And that takes it. Now I think that's kind of like the holy grail of of employees you know as as a person who also has had to hire and fire chief about what how do you how do you identify a person who's willing to take take initiative and maybe maybe they're not necessarily looking for recognition but they're just saying hey this is the right thing to do.
[Keith] You know I add this employee and they worked for me for about a year and I let them go. Right. They were just too slow for what I was trying to get done. Because when you're trying to build a you know a tough time making application but you're inside capitalism right it's a little it's a struggle you know how you manage all the finances in things. And I ended up rehiring this guy.
[Tabari] Oh yes
[Keith] I did. I ended up rehiring him because I gave him a second chance. And what I did is I made it like clear what the accountability accountabilities are and everything like that and the person is you know like helping out so great right now.
[Tabari] So. Even though you let them go you brought them back now. Was there a was there a difference between their work ethic between you know now and before.
[Keith] Yeah absolutely. And you know I think that a lot of people when they have second chances.
[Keith] You know they'll they'll do vastly better. So I'm all for giving people second chances.
[Keith] And actually I just went to this this workshop this weekend and Palmdale and I met this man who's been in prison for over 30 years.
[Keith] You know and he gets out and he's an ex Crip gang member.
[Keith] Right. And now what he's doing is he's educating the youth on gang violence and he's trying to prevent all these youth and Los Angeles and the Los Angeles area to not be gang members.
[Keith] Well you know from his own personal experience.
[Tabari] Wow! Yeah. I would imagine that if if you missed you know maybe at a job and your employer gives you a second chance and you recognize that there's really no reason why you should be there. You will want to do so much better to not disappoint that employer. Wow.
[Keith] And you know there's lessons that we learn when we're younger.
[Keith] You know that hey you know if somebody else did it all right they might have to learn the hard way.
[Keith] So it's in the best interests of our entire society to take on all the knowledge that we have and to be able to pass that on.
[Tabari] Well so we've talked before about your management style and it's it's is it. Hola. Oh locker's whole locker see. So tell me tell me a little bit more about that and how that plays into how you manage your because you did mention a little bit about accountabilities and responsibilities autonomous see. And so what is this. You know whole locker scene how does it tie into what you do you manage your business.
[Keith] So! Hall accuracy is like the secret governance structure that not a lot of people know about.
[BOTH SPEAKER] OK well the president of the bank. Yeah.
[Keith] That secret is out. And the thing is is when I was examining all the other time banks I was looking at well how are these things governance right. Because when you walk into a community space it's really interesting when you see people you know working together but you're like well what kind of structure is this. It's not really a hierarchy you know so what's going on here. And that led me to look at different ideas for running and organizing a business. And what I found was whole locker C is actually a very smart way to do that because it allows everybody to understand what roles they have. And it allows for the company to evolve over time which is the most important aspect of running a business because businesses shouldn't ever stay the same.
[Tabari] Right. Right.
[Keith] If you're staying the same and somebody else is adapting and changing well your business won't be around for too long.
[Tabari] As true as true. So. So this whole lot Rossi How are you exactly implementing these so what is it. Does it look like to have you know a whole locker's he implemented this time banking software
[Keith] So whole locker. It's really interesting because what we do is we break up meetings between governance meetings and tactical meetings in a government Nance meeting we might you know create a new role or if somebody has attention bring that up. But then at the same time when there's tactical the tactical meetings they go really fast. So you say all right do you have any update. Right. If somebody doesn't have an update when it goes and passes to the next person you know. So it's a very quick way where people are representing a role rather than taking things personally.
[Tabari] Okay. Got it! So. So someone was interested in learning more about whole locker scene what will be.
[Keith] I believe the U.R.L. is whole accuracy one or they can look up a software product called glass frog. So if you type in hole locker see glass frog now have a very nice software product in there. [Tabari] OK. And then also. If someone wanted to know more about time banking what would be a resource that you would. Recommend them too.
[Keith] Oh we'll see. Come on open a timekeeper Bangkok yoga eh.
[Tabari] There you go! There you go! Okay so we want to talk a little bit more about you know the product itself which you're currently working on with the product. And you know why are you Why are you so excited about it.
[Keith] OK. So one of the things that were going to be really seen here in a couple days
[Tabari] Couple of days.
[Keith] Yes. Yes the Q A team sent me a message last night and they said hey we're good to go on this new version of the ISIS app. So I was really excited because I can't tell them when the product's ready. They have to tell me.
[Tabari] OK. OK. So. So once this this app is released. Well first of all this was back up a little bit. So this isa. And this is the second version of your ISIS second image and it is also an Android as well.
[Tabari] And how many versions do you have for for android?
[Keith] One currently?
[Tabari] One currently and so another version for Android will be released.
[Keith] Yet in the near. Yes it's going to be a big update. And then later on I would say in about 30 days we're gonna have a minor security update.
[Keith] But other than that everything's looking really good and when people are able to share services and requests on any social media platform I think that's going to be the big transformative experience for everybody because we'll be able to see services as a services and requests offered by people they know. And now they have the opportunity to engage and to go help that person just by tapping a few buttons with their thumb.
[Tabari] Right. Right. Awesome awesome. So so are you the first person to do this you know. App. That helps to help people to do time making it. So that people who are new.
[Keith] So there's another app out there. It was developed by Penn State. I found this research paper and I was really inspired from it because when you're talking about building community and you're looking at different designs and things like that it's it's really awesome to be able to take a look at the work that other people have done and then to figure out how can I build upon this to make it even better.
[Keith] You know so there are other time making software platforms out there. Time Banks USA Time Banking UK they're all really big. And in London I believe it was in London and UK they had their 20th anniversary so Time Banking has been around for a while. It's just adapting and changing and becoming digital.
[Tabari] Wow. So. So you're kind of just adding to a long list you know the legacy of Time Banking.
[Keith] Yeah I get to add the sprinkles to the top think I set it.
[Tabari] And so how does how does what you're doing differ from me the things that have gone before you are meaning the things that are currently out there.
[Keith] So right now a lot of the time making platforms are built for relatively small group
[Tabari] As I say if you do want to do we like the secret sauce you know you don't have to but if there is something hidden something that you want to say now differentiates you. I'll be interested in hearing about that.
[Keith] The most important thing is being able to join multiple community groups and being able to time bank with a variety of communities.
[Tabari] OK. Very good. So we're we're wrapping up our our interview here but I want to I want to hear from you what are some of the. Like the most common misconceptions about time making that you want to dispel from the face of the universe.
[Keith] Well let's see. I think that. A lot of people get confused with volunteering and time banking. Okay you know. So when it comes to volunteering you're going out you're helping. Sometimes you review group you receive a benefit like taking a class. Right. But oftentimes if you're just going up and setting up tables and cooking food and stuff like that you go on about your merry way and you don't have. Any social capital to hold onto.
[Tabari] All right.
[Keith] Right. So with time banking if someone comes in and let's say they're leading a workshop or they are you know cooking food you know let's say for some veterans then they can receive time credits from that community. Right. And I believe that being able to provide value and to allow that person to say hey now that I have this time credit I want to use this time credit to try to receive help from the community that I'm a part of. And that's were the big differences between time making and volunteering.
[Tabari] OK. Very good. Any anything else you want to add. No that's OK. So I have just two more questions for you. So on social media I've shown pictures of your your little rig that you have here and a lot of people have been asking what's this little headset. That you have on what is it and how do you use it.
[Keith] Oh so that's called the hollow ones.
[Tabari] Yeah. So would what is it.
[Keith] So the hollow lens is really cool because it can actually map your surroundings. So you can create like web browsers images videos and you can surround yourself with it. So one of the cool things that I like to do is I like to bring up a map of like the world. Right. And then I lay out a map and it's all in a virtual three dimensional space. And then I could put a map of all the timekeeper communities.
[Tabari] Oh Wow!
[Keith] You know. So that's really powerful because then I can visualize like two data sets right next to each other and a three dimensional space. So there's there's some really neat things you can do with it.
[Tabari] Wow. That's awesome. OK. So if if people want to reach out to you find out more about you know what you're doing. How could they do that.
[Keith] They can send me an e-mail at Keith at timekeeper bank AECOM and just shoot an e-mail to me directly.
[Tabari] Okay. Perfect. Well that's our show and we're going to have all the links in the show notes. And until then keep on conquering.
[Keith] That's right. Keep conquering guys who we got it.