Inception: DemoHop’s Founding Story

Woman blowing dominoes over into a cascade effect

In the twilight of the pandemic, as the push to return to office gained momentum, it became apparent to everyone that the office would never be the same again. While the traditional office still had a role to play, it would no longer be the central focus it once was.

The transformation wasn’t just limited to the office’s role. The pandemic had also resulted in a significant shift in the composition of teams, causing them to become much more widely dispersed. Collaborating employees were now scattered across cities, time zones, and even continents. What was once an unconventional work arrangement had now become our new normal way of working.

Our confidence in this new way of working was reinforced by its remarkable effectiveness. These dispersed teams proved to be just as productive, if not more, than when they were physically co-located. Our conviction in their productivity was not just a feeling; research had also substantiated it.

However, all was not perfect. Amidst this sustained high productivity, there was an underlying sense that something was amiss. Leaders, in particular, could perceive a decline in cross-company and cross-team connections in this distributed work mode. While relationships among colleagues who interacted daily remained strong, the formation, renewal, and maintenance of collegial relationships beyond these immediate partners were not happening as they used to in an office environment.

This situation was and still is a cause for concern. Extended connections are integral to driving an organization’s creativity, innovation, and breakthroughs. Not only do these relationships fuel a company’s creative energy, but they also significantly impact employees’ attitudes. These non-everyday relationships are crucial for their happiness, inspiration, and sense of connection to the overall mission and purpose of the enterprise.

This was the backdrop for HyThere Corp creation and DemoHop’s birth. Over time, we delved into the science and psychology behind our intuitions. We discovered that experts had already coined terms for these everyday and extended relationships, such as “strong vs weak ties” or “bonding and bridging relationships.”

We further validated this problem in dozens of interviews with individuals ranging from individual contributors to executives across various functions, locations, and companies of different sizes and industries.

This fusion of expert insights, interviews, and our personal experiences leading large distributed organizations led us to two pivotal conclusions that became the inspiration for launching our company:

  1. In this new normal of distributed work, we must find better ways to cultivate extended relationships.
  2. Nurturing these relationships would become the defining skill for leaders in our post-pandemic world.

Armed with these realizations, we set out to create a turnkey solution for leaders who aspire to achieve this transformation.