The ConTechCrew 242: October’s Monthly Talk to the Crew Live!
Geek of the Week
It’s another great episode to #GeekOut with The ConTechCrew – LIVE! The ConTechCrew this week is led by our ConTechCrew Chief, James Benham and accompanied by co-hosts, Jeff Sample, Tauhira Ali, and Jonathan Marsh.
The show was recorded on October 30 and features questions straight from our listeners!
#GeekOut with us!
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This week, our monthly talk to the crew live! Construction is the world’s oldest industry but spends the least amount of money on innovation. When we realized people outside and inside the industry and typically did not typically associated with technology like virtual reality apps and robotics, we started The ConTechCrew. Each week we bring our listeners the latest in ConTech news and interview the minds behind the technological innovations, changing the way we build.
So, strap in, enjoy the ride, and geek out.
It’s ConTechCrew time!
JAMES: Oh man, it is going to be a good day today. The sun is out. The ice storm North of Texas is over. The hurricane to the East of Texas is done. I am not kidding. We had these huge ice storms. A hurricane that caught everybody off guard around New Orleans, and this a construction story, because they have got a lot of damage. A lot more damage than they thought they would, and it snuck up out of nowhere. They got some power issues over there. They had power issues in Oklahoma. I am trying to do some work with a company up there and they are operating on generators because of the ice storms. What a weird week for the weather. Just a strange deal.
JEFF: Can you be surprised in 2020 James?
JEFF: Because you really cannot.
JAMES: It is just the year that keeps on giving. Okay. You have got a presidential election, a pandemic.
JEFF: It is like a fruit cake.
JAMES: It is like a fruit cake. A fruit cake that nobody wants. Because nobody wants fruit cake. It is also like a fruit cake because it is nutty. You were already thinking that. I just picked up on it. Look it is wild. I am a native deep South Louisianan and I have seen a lot of hurricanes. And we just finished with zeta. You know is alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta. We are in the sixth of the Greek letter alphabet. I do not ever remember even getting to Greek letters in my entire life. They are like, yeah, we are out of the names, so we are off to the Greek letters. If we get to Omega, it is truly the end, right Jonathan? It is truly the end. That would be 52 hurricanes, Jonathan!
TAUHIRA: Well, what is interesting to is hurricanes used to mean time off from school, right?
TAUHIRA: I grew up in Georgia and that it would just be time off, but now a hurricane means, guess what kids, you are all going to be remote because school does not stop.
JAMES: Exactly. That is the other thing. That has got to be impacting Pennsylvanians Jonathan.
JONATHAN: Oh yeah.
JAMES: No more snow days, right?
JONATHAN: No more snow days. Everybody is a homeschool parent now, which is awesome for me. We always homeschooled so we are used to it and we are watching all these people lose their minds because they have to spend time with their kids. It is fun.
JEFF: I resemble that remark, Jonathan.
JAMES: I remember you telling me you all are homeschooling. I have some very good friends of mine who homeschool. One of them has six boys. His youngest is 6 and 17 is his oldest and he has six sons. Bless his wife, man, she has homeschooled their entire lives. I went to visit them; and nothing has changed for them. Literally. Their life is exactly the same.
JONATHAN: No that is perfect man. My kid was going to college and he is hitting his first classes. They are all remote too. It is like we live in this little bubble where it is almost the same for us. And I am in the country man, so I do not see the problem. It is crazy.
JAMES: Brett Young says we have become our parents. We had snow days when I was a kid. Now you have zoom. Suck it up. All those snow days were a fun thing, right?
JONATHAN: Yeah, you went skiing on snow days. If it was too snowy to go to school, you got in the car and you got on the hill.
TAUHIRA: To be fair, in Georgia, snow days usually ended up being about 70°.
JAMES: We had snow days in Louisiana. Like once every six years it would snow for a day. And by snow, I mean a light dusting of white stuff. Like someone had a confectioner sugar shaker. Just did that over the city and everything completely shut down. Remember when we did not have Starlink? Exactly. We will talk about Starlink. I do not want to spoil the cat out of the bag on that one, because that one is going to be a topic of discussion because they released pricing this past week and I am excited about it in a big way.
Never miss an episode of the crew by having them all sent to your email inbox, text ConTech to 66866. You get the audio and the show notes, the weekly email, all the articles, everything. Just text ConTech to 66866 and remember, you can text us your questions at (979) 473-9040. We did get some for this week, which I was super fired up about. We are going to have a good discussion on that with some amazing people with me today. She is the greatest. Tauhira Ali, taking a little respite from her maternity leave. We are so thankful that you took a break and came and hung out with us for the morning.
TAUHIRA: Thank you. That is the thing about 2020. It has been a crazy year. My husband and I were lucky enough to become parents, so we have a two-month-old baby who is upstairs wondering why I am not there. Happy to hang out with you guys. Nice break with adults.
JAMES: Mama, mama, oh man tell you what. That is a fun time in life. Also, with us from the wintry wilds of Pennsylvania, Erieforage himself, Jonathan Marsh. Good to see Jonathan.
JONATHAN: Awesome to see you and great to be up this morning with you guys, doing some work. We were talking about how bad the weather is where you are at, and I got to say that we have gone from a Friday of 80° to a Saturday of 40° to the next day at 70°. We are doing this weird little up and down thing where whenever it gets over 60°, I just tell everyone I am sick or something and go outside.
JAMES: Exactly. It is crazy. It is good weather here today. It is awesome. Glad to have you joining us from Pennsylvania. And from the beautiful Rocky Mountains, out in the Vail Eagle area of Colorado. That is right. The most beautiful part of the United States, I would argue, Mr. Jeff Sample. Good to see you, my brother ski bum.
JEFF: You would not be wrong because I would agree with you. We are the greatest place there is to be and you guys are all complaining about it. We got our annual foot of snow, which thankfully put out a lot of fires across Colorado.
JAMES: I saw this crazy photo of snow steaming because it put the fires out. I was like, what?
JEFF: You want to get to 2020, so as soon as it happened, everyone was like, yeah! And then the second thing was, now all the houses that had all their power and everything turned off, their pipes are going to burst. Because it dipped and stayed so low. Normally we will get a storm roll through like that. It is warm, kind of dumps, and then it leaves. Well, it has been 0° for three, four days. Again, it is not going to let up on us, but now beautiful. I am with you guys. We went out hiking yesterday. Snow is not completely gone. It is still here. It is still cold.
JEFF: Man, I feel the winter coming.
JEFF: I started pulling the ski gear out. I am ready.
JAMES: Brace yourselves. Winter is coming. I went flying yesterday. I was itching to get outside and took the old Aztec cup. I have my dad’s old plane from 1970. It is a beast. I love it. I took it up and got to the airport. 32–knot winds running straight the runway. I took off in 500 feet. I kid you not. It was like holding a kite out and just having it shoot up in the sky. I literally could have climbed to my final altitude over the runway because it was that strong. I was like, man, this is nuts. The weather this year has been insane. 2020 has not let us down on strange things to do, and yesterday was no exception.
Quick reminder. According to the CDC, construction occupations have the highest rate of suicide, as well as the highest number of suicides across all occupational groups. To combat these statistics, contractors, unions, associations, industry service providers, and project owners must work together to stand up for suicide prevention. The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention is raising awareness about the risk of suicide within the construction industry and providing suicide prevention resources, and tools, to create a zero-suicide industry. Visit PreventConstructionsSuicide.com for more information.
I have got the first topic of the day. It is so exciting. I know. And it is out of this world, literally. Dad joke number two. I am perfecting my dad joke game right now, and that is number two for you. This is from one of our regular listeners who regularly send in questions, and they never fail to be interesting and this morning it did not fail to be very interesting. So, this is cool. Because I had not thought about all this until this week. Earlier this week, some researchers announced that they have definitively discovered water on the moon. Not just locked up in ice under the dirt or et cetera. We have known there was stuff there for a while, but literally on the surface, like ice that will form little pellets wrapped in dust. This hit the news about two days ago. And if water is readily available on the surface, in the form of ice or ice pellets, total game changer for colonies there. You need water for a lot of different functions. If you have not watched any Phi-Sci series ever, you know that water is literally the most precious commodity. You either have to mine it or find it somewhere on the surface or you got to manufacture it. You cannot manufacture water. You get hydrogen and oxygen; and you can make it, but that is a pretty intense process to go through. If you ever watched, Jonathan, what was it, The Martian?
JONATHAN: Oh yeah. That was awesome. Where he built the environment there and sort of did his internal farming. That was an amazing book.
JAMES: He used the fuel from the spaceship to actually generate the water. What I appreciated about the book and the movie, was the amount of detail. I like hard Phi-Sci. I like it when it gets into the weeds. I want to know exactly… Like Star Trek, which I love. And you guys know I love Star Trek. They do not get into the weeds. Things just kind of work, right? They do not explain how they work. It is one of the things I loved about Battlestar Galactica is every morning the ship’s captain Adama, would review all the crap that was breaking, and they would have to talk about it!
JONATHAN: You are dating yourself putting it out there. You were the original Battlestar Galactica.
JONATHAN: Half of the people here are like, what are you talking about?
JAMES: No, the latest Battlestar Galactica.
JONATHAN: Oh, the latest?
JAMES: Yes, the latest one. The original sucked. It was kind of lame.
JONATHAN: What is wrong with the original? The original sucked? You just lost half your viewers.
JAMES: That is fine. I am okay with that.
TAUHIRA: This is another back in the day.
JAMES: Battlestar Galactica is only 12 years old. It is not that old. Really good. It is where Starbuck was a girl. Anyway, amazing race. So, water is on the moon. The question is how does lunar aggregate impact ready-mix? I did some research in advance of this. It is called lunarcrete. Turns out lunar regolith is a fairly good candidate for this, and then there is stone and rock, about two meters below the regolith and now we have some evidence there is water. That is pretty ripe and there is a lot of people experimenting with this. Tauhira, you are one of the smartest people I know. What do you think of all of this?
TAUHIRA: I think this is awesome and, again, we are all about innovation and how technology can apply to construction to our industry. And this is so exciting because again, as we see these advancements, as we see the ability to create and solve these issues and build buildings or build structures, or even something like lunarcrete, this is something that allows us to advance. Not just what we are doing in this world, but also what we are doing as we expand into outer space. The fact that we can find this water, the fact that it is not just the frozen, you know what we already knew about and also the regolith, can the ability to mix it with, you know what we are seeing on the natural resources. That is huge. Because like you said, water is the most precious part of it. So, I am excited to see what this does for robotics. I am excited to see what it does for material science. I am excited to see what it does for even just delivery. Because if we can master delivery to space, then we can master delivery to the job site.
JAMES: So, the list of innovations that have come about on the planet earth from space exploration is long and pretty storied. It is staggering to see what we had to come up with to go into space and other planets. And then we are like, wait, why do not we use that here? I almost feel like when we talk about terraforming, this is always the thing that cracks me up. We talk about terraforming either the moon or Mars, and then creating an atmosphere that we can breathe. But we talk about our atmosphere all the time, like, should not we try that out on ours first and let us see if it works?
TAUHIRA: No, we do it there and then we bring it back here.
JAMES: There you go. That is the reality. We do not want to experiment with our atmosphere. Because you get into some of the wild theories like releasing bacteria into the upper atmosphere, which is one of the ways you could theoretically terraform. We do not want to like oops, on our atmosphere. Okay. All right, Jonathan.
JONATHAN: I will say this. The lunarcrete is the big compelling argument for NASA and for some of these other space explorations to get into 3D printing of basically environments. I know that they have started in so many different ways, but this is a compelling argument to say, okay, let us take some money, we have a good chance at getting our materials there onsite, and let us do that. Let us look at hydrogen cells now that we know that there is water there and we can maybe even power, I mean solar is better for space. But still, it opens up that door. I would love to see some real money go into, can we 3D print with these other aggregates? Can we do it just with lunarcrete? Can we get up there and just use what is there and very quickly, I do not know if you have looked at the 3D printers for homes and stuff, they are not huge; and they disassemble really well. It is an arm. I feel like that is something reasonable.
JAMES: It is an articulated arm with a pump, right?
JAMES: Jonathan, you will love this. Lunarcrete was first proposed in 1985 by the University of Pittsburgh’s Larry Buyer so you have got to love it. Comes out of Pennsylvania. They called it moon crete. Ingredients just are not that much different, right? Crushed, aggregate, sticky cement, a solvent. It is not that different. There is a big problem with it, by the way. You have to mix it under pressure because literally, the water will just evaporate. You cannot mix it out in the open, so you have to either mix it under pressure or you have to use steam. There has been a ton of experimentation on this. And I appreciate this question from our listener because I think it might change the way we make concrete here, if we can prove that it works well somewhere else, using more methods for this. It is pretty crazy. There is a bunch of experiments so in researching to try and answer this, several experiments are being conducted right now across the world on doing this. Of course, it is hard to replicate the conditions on the moon. In particular, they are all using simulated components. They are all using simulated lunar regolith, except for one group that gets to use the real thing that was brought back, which is kind of sweet. Jeff, I know you got some thoughts on this.
JEFF: If you are thinking about anything James just said and launching it into the atmosphere, let us just not do that 2020. Let us just put a pause on that for right now and worry about where we are today. But I was going to be the naysayer or the, hey, why do not we do this? But listening to you guys always opens me up to replicating the environment in which we would have to do that on the moon, unlocks possible innovation here, on how we can do things better and faster. We have got to look at alternative materials. A lot of the materials we use in the building industry just are not unlimited here. And finding ways to handle that strange environment. As you said, James, all the things that came out of NASA trying to get to the moon, created all of these things that impacted our lives, right here. We sent one up to the moon and back but look how much that impacted us.
Just thinking about what we might be able to do, can drive people to innovate. I think that is the part that keeps the naysayer out of me and saying why do not we figure out how to use less concrete here, use more renewable resources, et cetera. But as you said, Jonathan, if we could figure out a way to disassemble and reassemble a 3D printer in such a way that you could put it on the moon to make this lunarcrete there, all of a sudden, you can see all the ways that that can move with a building, move on a job site, provide a new, alternative way to get things done. We all know when you are printing right there, you are reducing your waste. You are taking offsite manufacturing, so is it onsite, offsite manufacturing now? What is it? There is some word that we have got to have for it. Somebody gets a new word! Brett Young; think about it.
JONATHAN: I have a tie into that, just because we are talking about being remote and having to use that. With them getting the communication better between the moon and here, I do not know if you saw it but last week, the Guardian XT came out, which is a remote robot that allows you to sit in VR and operate the robot remotely and it is from, Sacros. These are big robots. These are cool robots. It is not out yet. It is out 2021, but I can see you putting one of those together and having that be your manpower in a remote area, like the moon, Mars, anything we want to do in space. And you just take the human factor of having to feed that person out of the equation. It would be awesome.
TAUHIRA: What is powerful there is that you are also looking at, like you said, the moon outer space, but we are looking at mining. When you are on a ship, if you are out at sea and you can print your tools, or if you are underground and you do not have to send a worker down, that is what is huge. We are talking about reducing waste, reduce human waste, reduce human risk. That is where we start to see some exciting value.
JEFF: I just had this strange thought, Jonathan. If we are all working at home remote, and I saw that picture you sent, it is like all of us walk into this corner of the room, put that suit on, put the headset on and we are off to work and we never actually leave, but we are transported to wherever the job site is, wherever the thing is that we need to do.
TAUHIRA: You mean right now.
JEFF: We are doing that now, but we could be doing that with those robots, wherever it is. You said the moon or other places, I am thinking James, Louisiana right now might be a place we want to be just using robots. And you could be in other places doing other things and doing more with less is interesting. If we do not shoot for the moon, pun intended, we are not going to get any innovation here so that is pretty cool.
JAMES: Since our thoughts are off planet, let us roll with, Brett’s topic of Starlink, because it was on my news list already and it certainly relates to what we are talking about, because we will need internet on the moon. That is right. I do not think we are going to go there without Wi-Fi. By the way, Netflix are increasing their price point. Did you all see that? They are bumping the price up again. They are going for gold. We started this series on The Queen’s Gambit. Have you guys watched it? Oh man, it is amazing. It is about a chess prodigy. Go check it out. Super awesome. But since we want to stream Netflix on the moon, we are going to have to have internet there. To have internet there, we will have to prove that satellite internet works here. Up until now, we have had this 66-satellite constellation called Iridium, which has delivered cell phone service and text message service, and then there are a bunch of other satellite services from Rogers and all those satellite providers. Satellite has been plagued by a lot of common problems. Severe latency, meaning the time it takes for the packet to transit from you to the satellite and then back, low bandwidth, right?
So, it is a small pipe, and it is a slow pipe. And those are not great combinations. Starlink is rolling out some early trials and they are testing this out and they are getting some pretty good speeds. They are getting dozens of megabits a second down, which is pretty awesome. But this week they released pricing. Why does this matter for construction? Because the number one IT–related problem that IT directors from construction companies we work with talk to us about, is getting connectivity in the field. Getting good connectivity in the field. And on Tuesday, on an email shared by CNBC, Starlink released pricing. It will initially cost $99 a month. That is right. This is not a psychotic price point. I was like, whoa, $499 Starlink kit. I want a Starlink kit. Do I get a badge with it? I want a badge. It enables the connection, featuring a ground terminal, a tripod, and a Wi-Fi router. So, $99 is pretty impressive, especially when you consider that you are going to get far better speeds and latency because of how low the satellites are. That is the thing. He has put his satellites way lower over earth, and there are a lot more of them as a result.
TAUHIRA: He is blocking the stars.
JAMES: He has done the ultra-black thing where he has painted the underside, so it absorbs light, but now it is leaving these streaks of absences of light. He originally suggested the kit could cost $150–$300. But the kit is going to cost $500 bucks for the hardware. But pretty amazing stuff. Jeff, IT Director.
JEFF: From its world, that is not a bad start-up right there. That kit price $499, a router, especially for the different ways we have all looked at getting long haul backhaul internet at those last–mile spots, that is a price point you can swallow. What I thought was cool man, at the bottom is, he is teaming up with Microsoft to connect the company’s mobile Azure data centers. So, you are going to talk about once you are connected up, you are not processing that information there. You are going to have a fast track into all the VDI, virtual desktop infrastructure, all of those virtual clouds that you want. They are all connected, so you are just trying to get yourself through the straw. You are not trying to pull all that information and you can pass it all there. It is pretty crazy that he is already thinking about it. And then jumping right on, oh, I am going to partner, because my service is not going to be the full product alone. The product itself is going to be computing. It is going to be everything else that it provides access to.
JAMES: But Jeff on this note, there is a product from Azure that you have probably looked at because you share my love for all things, devices, and hardware and networks. Azure Stack Edge, which brings the Azure computing environment out to the edge. And by the way, this is something you could put on a job site, where it extends Azure’s infrastructure to your local on-prem. It is a hybrid cloud solution, so you do not have to rewrite. We have been doing a lot of this. We have been doing a lot of application migration to Azure lately in our engineering group. You do not just lift and shift applications into Azure if you do not want to get nailed with gigantic costs. And you do not get to take advantage of what Azure has to offer. You have to rewrite things. Like stored procedures get rewritten. Your data integrations get rewritten. You have to redo SQL. If you are on SQL Enterprise edition and you want to move to SQL Azure, you have to rewrite some things because SQL Azure does not have all the capabilities of Enterprise. There is a lot of things you have to re-engineer. When are they going to put Azure Stack Edge up on the satellites is what I want to know? Because if he is partnering with Azure, why not put Stack Edge at the satellite level itself? If there is an EMP on the planet, we have an edge computing up in space, so he could literally have 40,000 Stack Edge instances in outer space.
TAUHIRA: A lot of processing.
JAMES: Tauhira this is wild; and you think about One-Key. And I agree Brett, why does it matter where computing happens? Why does it even matter?
JONATHAN: Why does it happen? Because people like me live in the country and we have small tubes for our bandwidth, so if I can accomplish just talking back and forth to a computer, that is a win. VDI’s, I got to say, man, if you were on a job site, the small amount of data that you got to pass to get a VDI working is magical. I was building a VDI about a year ago and I live in the country and I am on this horrible dial–up like 1.2. It is a good day with Verizon where you get like 1.2. I could run everything gigabit–speed because I could sign into my VDI and all I am doing is passing data. So, I feel like people underestimate because you guys all live-in sort of high-tech areas. You live in the country. I look at Starlink and I am like, you could charge me $5,000 and I am buying this instantly. Take my money, I already pay thousands for the internet, take my money, and get me something. But I think where computing happens, if we can get computing to happen outside of this expensive hardware, we open up a bunch of innovation, because then we do not have to worry about this sort of lag of process hardware. Do you know what I mean?
JAMES: Yeah, but if you can push the Azure stack to the satellite, then you eliminate the latency and time for it to communicate back. That was my whole point. Find out what they are commonly accessing and then cash it up on the satellite. Then the users are not having to relay data back down. It just depends on the weight, right? Everything is weight with what you put in space, so it just depends on weight.
JEFF: To the average listener though, that just seems like you are not to use the other side of weight, but that you are just waiting to Brett‘s point. That is actually not the reason it is important. It is because of the computing power. It is because of the speed at which you need the reaction to happen.
JAMES: Yeah, latency.
JEFF: This is Tauhira’s world when it comes to machine learning and deep learning. And you need lots of data and you need big data centers; and you need a lot of access to that. But to turnaround and make that effective in the field, you have got to have that algorithm closer to it so that it can say we have seen this with the spraying of pesticides onto just the weeds and not everything. The more of those types of things if you are going to try and run fruit or vegetables through an AI to look for bad fruit and pick it out, it has to be able to make that reaction quickly that has to be closer. And that has been the challenge that they are trying to overcome is, all the power of all the data in the back, but the algorithm coming forward. Tauhira you can probably do a far better job of explaining that than I can.
TAUHIRA: I think you hit the nail on the head there. This goes back to the technology and space piece. It is all about how do you do work when your job sites are remote? How do you do work and get those insights quickly when you are not necessarily going to have that strong robust connectivity all the time. I think something that we cannot emphasize enough, that I like about what SpaceX is doing with Starlink and how they rolled it out is, as they are calling this the better than nothing beta. I think that that is something, especially in construction, especially in the industry that we are in, people have to look at, what does it take to get the minimum viable product out? What does it take to do that first test? I am excited because $99 a month internet that is reliable and always works is something that I would pay for personally. I do not have $5,000 a month as Jonathan does, but at the same time, the idea of doing something better than nothing just to get started us something we could talk about for hours.
JAMES: Just for comparison sake remember, we are talking about one of the top issues plaguing contractors, which just getting connectivity to remote job sites, in particular, if you can deal with Heavy Highway. Heavy Highway tells me all the time about this. Oil and Gas pipeline contractors tell me all the time about this. I have had clients in both of those sectors, and this has been a major problem for them. They are like James, all this tech is great, but we do not even have to 2G edge computing in a lot of the places we build things. One of Viasat’s major offices and corporate campuses are right here in College Station, Texas. Viasat took over the satellite data contract for America Airlines. And when they did (and they took it over from Gogo) internet on American Airlines got substantially better. Way better. Inverse.com which ran an article on Starlink found some people who were frustrated rural Americans. This is that rural Americans have been dealing with this problem for a while. This is a 32-year-old Wisconsin pilot who lives out in the sticks in Wisconsin. Said that he was paying $178 per month to Viasat, and the average speed test showed a download rate of 4.4 megabits per second, despite an advertised rate of 30. Then the latency was 618 milliseconds. Now, mind you, the average latency you are experiencing in your house is 10, 20, or 30 milliseconds on your cable connection. You will notice 6/18 in particular when you get into stuff like this, you will notice it.
They have a cap of 150 gigs per month, which would be a huge problem for me at my house. We would blow through that in a heartbeat and it could also be a huge problem on a job site if you are transferring Revit model data and all the plan files and photos, and then, of course, video surveillance. Starlink is advertising that they are going to have a hundred megabit per second connection and the latency, a fraction of Viasat. And they are accomplishing this. It is not like they have invented a completely new way of doing it. They are just flying their satellites lower and launching more of them. So, he is like, we will get it lower to you then we are going to put a bunch more of them all out in space. It is an interesting topic because it could solve a big problem. It could also precipitate the demise of humanity because we could just be looking at, well, I did watch Terminator over again.
TAUHIRA: Hope for better internet James.
JAMES: I know, but I get to stream Netflix anywhere. Yes, but this is the network the robots are going to use to take over. Yes, but I get Netflix anywhere.
JEFF: It is going to be WALL-E buddy. No worries.
JAMES: It is going to be WALL-E and not Terminator.
JEFF: I got my little cart then I am going to roll around in and my bones are going to go away, and I am going to drink from a big cup and then I am good to go.
JAMES: WALL-E, not Terminator. While we are talking about this, streaming service Quibi, which was short for Quick bites, raised 1.4 billion of startup capital and they folded this week after six months of operations. Ouch.
JEFF: How do you do that?
TAUHIRA: They had some firepower behind them. They had so many executives.
JAMES: Jeff Katzenberg. They had the executive behind them. They had Meg Whitman as their CEO and caputs. So, they blew through a billion dollars in the first six months, and they are returning 400 million to their investors. They decided just to shut it down and return capital rather than to try and make a go of it. That happened. But this is onto our next topic of the day, which is funding. While some investors just took a giant billion-dollar bath there, and we know that the backers of WeWork, SoftBank have had a bad year. They have been selling off the handful of good assets they have they have been taking a complete bath on a bunch of other ones, including construction tech company because that is right. They counted themselves as a tech company and acquired construction tech company, WeWork. WeWork acquired Fieldlens back in the day, so they jumped directly into the ConTech game, competing in the planned management space. They have since shut Fieldlens down as of recent in the last month. Doug Chambers left there several months ago. But the actual app where it was reported to have been shut down recently. WeWork is saying, they are still planning to IPO next year. Now, mind you, they got rid of the stupid We stuff. They are no longer the We company. They went back to WeWork. They got rid of all the ancillary services, including their schools. They went back to just; we are going to do office space. Now, Jonathan, I want to start with you on this because you are in a coworking space. What is the vibe like in coworking right now?
JONATHAN: I was in a coworking space right before COVID hit and then have been in it throughout as they have slowly let you come back into the office and I am surprised that they are going to make a go of it. Because it is a different vibe than it was. All of these spaces that we had that were communal spaces that were always full of people talking about their ideas and startups working together, those have gone away. I think the big plus though, and the reason I stay as part of a co-workspace, is I can still get to marketing people, programmers, all of these things that I cannot afford to have as a small business, and I can get to them today and I can talk to those people. I think there is still place for that. It is almost built around that gig economy idea where we are not going to be able to have marketing people and accounting people, and lawyers. But if I am at radius, I have my lawyer over there, my marketing guys down there, I have my programmers over there. Everybody is wearing masks. Everybody is social distancing. A lot of the classrooms are shut down and had been turned into a sort of separate spaces, and they are doing a good job of it. The worst part for me personally just to tell you, is they had an awesome coffee bar that was perfect and had every type of coffee you could want, and they had to shut it off. It is all personal press now, which is okay. But just is not the same thing.
JAMES: Personal press. I do not drink coffee. I had to swear off caffeine in 2012 because it was doing bad things to me. I am told that is a sign that you have ADHD when caffeine makes you sleepy, and caffeine makes me sleepy. So, I do not do the caffeine thing, but people are addicted to their flavored bean water in a big way. We have seen coffee stations around the country shut down, but it strikes to the heart of what coworking was supposed to be, which was an open collaborative environment. And here is the news for construction tech. This is why we are talking about this. They bought construction tech companies, they build a lot of things and they are the largest single tenant in New York and London. They have laid off 8,000 people. When you are looking at what their impact could be on the tenant improvement construction market, it could be massive. You are talking about ground–up commercial, potentially grinding to a halt, if they have to let go of all of their office space in the key markets that they have saturated. Think about it Tauhira. If they have got several percentage points of the largest real estate markets in the world, and they start trimming way back, you are talking about a huge hit to new builds on the office market. It could potentially be a boon to tenant improvement because sometimes in a bad economy, the tenant improvement contractors end up getting busier because instead of the ground up guys getting all the work, they end up getting all the remodel work. But Tauhira there has got to be a big impact on this.
TAUHIRA: I was going to say exactly that. What is interesting, when you think about especially London and New York, one of my binges, this past few months has been million–pound property in which you are looking at these huge castles in Scotland, and how they cost less than like a one–room flat in London, that is like the cane. That is what is crazy is that you have all the space, all this equity, and now it is going to be renovated. It is going to be completely changed, and that is something we have seen throughout the summer, into the fall. A lot of contractors, a lot of construction companies are starting to change the way they look at work, change the way that people can work remotely, change the way that they lay out their offices and their spaces so that people can be more comfortable moving forward. This is where we see maybe not the opportunities for new buildings, but the opportunities for changing the buildings that are already there. That is the thing that can be exciting is that work as we know it, has changed.
JONATHAN: I think the guy who runs my co-workspace has been with you on that. His thought was, people are now saying, it is okay to have your employees at any place across the world. They want to have them in a nice working environment, and they are looking at pushing for the people to go to WeWork’s and some of these more formalized, remote working environments. There is an opportunity there, but wow. Just a dramatic difference between the amount of idea exchange before and sort of where we are at now.
JAMES: We tried that model for a while, encouraging our remote work employees to go to co-working and it just did not pan out. They inevitably all fell back to working from home. And I had about 12 different experiments with this. And this guy was one of them.
JEFF: I did not go back home, man. I skied every moment.
JAMES: That is another topic for another day, Jeff. But we had a lot of folks that prefer, they are like, well, why am I driving commuting and getting dressed and all that?
TAUHIRA: Why do I have to put shoes on?
JAMES: Why am I doing that? Just to go sit around a bunch of strangers who I do not work within my job just to have a social life. And it was an interesting thing. They were like, I would rather just spend the money and build out my home office, so it is really what I want. It is been an interesting debate but let us bring it back to WeWork and the funding for a second because they are trying to IPO next year. They are going to make another go at it. I would imagine at a far lower valuation. They were trying to IPO $47 billion. That was the peak valuation. They wanted IPO for $47 billion. They are having to get some money from SoftBank to stay in business, and SoftBank values them at a few billion dollars now. So, there has been about a 90% reduction in their valuation from their investors. They said in Q1, mind you pre COVID, they had a 66% occupancy, which is pretty abysmal in real estate. 66% occupancy is not solvent, particularly considering they are using debt to build all this stuff out. Pay attention to the construction consequences of WeWork. Jeff?
JEFF: I think It is interesting though because I want to go back because this is about construction and I shared an article the other day about Swinnerton taking a look at moving into New York, just for what you are talking about on renovating spaces. And I think what we are missing out here is that Jonathan, you hit on it. There were a lot of positives to coworking. But there were a lot of negatives. I will be honest. I was in one of the first companies that went to that all open space. We need to be able to collaborate. There are no walls, there are no doors. There is none of that it, and it did not pan out. Half the people went to good headphones and scream, like in stay away from me, it was just weird. There was a reworking of that over time I think the same thing is going to happen with the fact that we need all those things you talked about Jonathan, but we have also seen that we need to consume that and provide an environment for a different way. And Swinnerton said, hey, we are going to go into New York, one of the hardest–hit areas, and we are going to do these rentals and we are going to get involved in that piece because then we are going to create relationships. Because eventually, we are going to come out of this. So, they had a lot of moxie to get in there. And I think other construction companies that can diversify and understand, but then can go and get some of those design thinkers to think about the space.
Because I do not think anybody has got the magic secret sauce. It is a sprinkle of safety, a sprinkle of community, a sprinkle of collaboration, but all in a way you want to consume it and there has got to be some bright minds out there that can figure that one out when it comes to configuration of spaces, HVAC units and all the things that it would take to go into that. That is where the magic sauce is going to happen, and we also need companies like Swinnerton & Construction to be bold and brave and get out there and keep working and find ways to work differently because it is the backbone of our economy. We are employing so many people, we are keeping so much money in those local areas where construction is happening and getting owners off the bench and back into the game, is so critical for what we do. This is just one of the ways that they can do it through rentals and understanding environments. And It is a cheaper way to get into a place. And who knows? WeWork showed the way to this whole new thing. There was the Myspaces of the world and others who were the first ones to break in and then fall apart because they did not have it. Who is going to emerge, that goes, ah, I got it.
JAMES: Let us keep talking about funding because while WeWork is trying to scrape by, they have laid off thousands of people. They have pulled funding from SoftBank. There have been some big fundraising halls in the last two weeks that we have to talk about because it shows that there is still money being poured into certain segments of this space. I want to start with another company that is trying to IPO right now. Procore. Groundbreak is done now. It is completed. Virtual Groundbreak was this week. We all know that Virtual AU is free this year that is coming, so you have the two big conferences, both went big virtual. Procore is done with Groundbreak. They are still not public. They are working on it. I do not see them having a lot of other options, because the value they would get from a private buyer, I just cannot see it hitting what they would get in the public markets. They have been tightening the screws. They had to lay off a 180 staff or so a couple of months ago. But that does not mean that they are down and out. They are just trying to right-size and get more profitable. Just be careful when you look at these. These are companies that are recognizing that gravity still applies to them and they have to drive towards profitability, but Procore’s made an acquisition, and this was an important one for them, and this is a gap that I have seen them having for a while. And this is fresh off the press from three days ago.
They have acquired Esticom, it is a cloud-based estimating and takeoff solution. You guys know, I worked pretty heavily in the bidding space for about 12 years. Procore has their own invitation to bid planned distribution, sub management prequalification solution, that is wrapped up on their Procore pre-construction. This was the missing gap. They did not have a solid takeoff solution. They had takeoff solutions in their partner ecosystem. They did not have their own and they did not have an estimating solution. And Procore has been very reluctant to acquire companies. They bought honest buildings for their owner solution, but they have built most of their stuff. In this case, probably in a nod to the complexity of building estimating software. Because estimating software is not easy stuff to write. They bought an estimating and takeoff solution, and the requisite quotes, into from a quarter mosh and others, about it being integrated into the solution, being a good fit. The fit is obvious. The terms were not disclosed on the acquisition, but we will probably find out once they finally go public because they usually disclose that kind of thing. Jonathan, you are in the neck of it with your clients regularly. Thoughts about Procore and what they are doing here with this acquisition.
JONATHAN: I have a lot of clients actually that use Procore and I think that one of the nice things that I see with Procore’s acquisition is estimating is very fractured in the industry. There is not a lot of large central estimating platforms that are tied into other systems. Procore is saying we are going to do that. We are going to tie in these other project management systems to our estimating piece. That is huge. That would be helpful to the industry as a whole because we are finally tying together a whole lot of loose ends. As far as whether or not they are going to be for the trades, because I am primarily a trades-based consultant, you still have to have the content. I do not know that they are going to ever have that. You are still going to have to have a lot of other things, but I like the idea of one of the companies that Procore sized is saying, I am going to take estimating seriously. I am going to try to tie it together with the project management part. There is not an awesome standard for estimating software that I see everywhere. There is a lot of big ones. But I do not see anything that ties into the project management. I am excited to see what they do with it. I am waiting for the rest of the disclosure.
JAMES: Exactly. But it will come, they are going to have to disclose some of this because they are in their IPO period. But Esticom does claim that they have solid subcontractor estimating for electrical HVAC security and fire alarm, painting, plumbing, structured cabling, and fire sprinkler. They make that claim whereas, when you look at the general contractor estimating and takeoff platforms, they lack the subcontractor databases that you need to do a detailed takeoff or estimate at the sub–level. They are largely about just aggregating bids from your subs. It is two different approaches. They claim to have the databases necessary. Because that is what it comes down to. You just mentioned the con. When we say the word content, when Jonathan says content, he means the database of all the pieces, parts, components, and labor around that particular trade, right Jonathan?
JAMES: I just want to clarify for our listeners.
JEFF: It is just great to see everybody taking the pre-con space seriously. It is the next frontier for getting things started and to see somebody like Procore putting their money there and others, I think it starts the wars a little bit. I was talking to your friend, our good friend, James. Mark Fly recently just about why estimating is so difficult. I think this is a great move. I still do not think when you sit down and talk to him, it is more about, hey, how do you solve the bid day problems of all the magic that we do, trying to win in the war room the day of? It will be interesting to see because a group like Procore, if they do it, others are going to do it. If that means they start working towards it, there is probably going to some solutions that come out of it that help that space grow. As you said, Jonathan, especially when you talk about the trades guys, you have got to connect your estimating systems to your project management platforms to get the amount of information that can drive your business and get you to know how you are doing. That is a huge piece for them and not for nothing, but I think the pre-con space might be a great place to be right now.
JAMES: Yeah, might be.
JONATHAN: I got to say that Brett Young, in the comments mentioned, I think one of the disconnects that are going on is, we can get good data viewing and look at good takeoffs, off of good models. Up until very recently, the level of model that you were seeing at the pre-con stage, was not awesome. That also puts another coin in the bank of getting some of this estimating software, tied into project management suites now makes more sense, because the models are getting to the point where you can get a good takeoff off that model versus before you throw out the model that the architect–engineer gives you to build your own.
JAMES: Lots to talk about with Procore always. I am just going to leave it with a hanging Chad here, since it is election season. The hanging Chad is when are they going to buy an ERP company? They are circling the wagons around this, like when are you going to buy accounting software?
JAMES: It almost feels inevitable. Before we continue that, because I have a topic, I want Tauhira to talk to us about One-Key and what is going on there because it is the largest tracking platform for devices in the entire construction industry. And I want to hear what is going on. Again, we had a great conversation about moon dust and lunarcrete, satellite internet connectivity. We have talked about funding at some level, WeWork, Procore, there is some more funding announcements we are going to talk about in a little bit, but, because we have a ConTech innovator on the show right now who originated one of my favorite tracking platforms, One-Key from Milwaukee, by any objective measure with the number of devices tracked, One-Key is the largest tracking network of tools and equipment in the construction industry. We have seen some announcements recently. Tauhira, it seems like first off, Milwaukee’s putting a battery in about anything they can figure out to put a battery in, which is wild to see some of the things that are powered by batteries in the last 12 months. Secondly, they are loading in Bluetooth connectivity in One-Key with it. What has been going on over there?
TAUHIRA: Absolutely. It has been a huge year for us especially when you talk about battery power, you are looking at everything from the MX line and these amazing new equipment pieces that are powered by batteries. But you are also talking about things like the top off. Which is something I have waited for years for, which gives you the ability to get at a 120 volt from your M18 battery. There are some powerful things here. One of the exciting things that go into a little bit about what we have talked about is, One-Key has been very aggressive this year with a lot of products that I cannot yet talk about. So, stay tuned, but we have also been very aggressive with our partnerships. In January, we announced our partnership with Procore. A few months ago, in August I believe we announced our partnership with Autodesk. We are allowing you to not just have connected equipment on the job site, but also connect back to your BIM model and provide information. We are getting into things that allow you to be even more proactive when you are in that design and pre-construction planning phases.
Right now, one of the things that we have cooking is we have tool kitting, so the ability to not just have your massive inventory or your inventory by department, but you can actually organize and group your inventory within kits based on what applications that you are doing and get that even more finesse around, not just who is using the tools, but how are they using them? Where are they using them? And how do you control the specs on those tools, and how do you push data back from the tools in a way that again, gives you that ability to pull things and push things through the job site?
JAMES: That is awesome. I wish we could talk about what is coming. I know. I get it. What is adoption been like? Because that is the big question. We build these cool things. You build a battery–powered jackhammer, and then you put a Bluetooth connection in it. Are people actually connecting and pairing to these devices and using them? Is the take rate pretty good?
TAUHIRA: Oh, absolutely and that is one of the things that we focus on is, not just creating the next gadget and gizmo that is cool for us, but also what do you want from it? That is interesting because everyone will tell you, I want to know every trigger pole, I want to know every battery that has been on there, I want to know every battery’s failure, but what is interesting is, and this goes back to edge computing, how do you take that and provide actual insights? That is where One-Key is shining because we can give you information like usage rates and safety information and warranty information in a digestible way. When you look at any successful implementation of construction technology or any successful implementation of smart connected devices, you have to go back to what questions are people asking and why? It is not just, I want to know every time the trigger was feathered on my tool, but I want to know what I am getting out of usage. What is happening to the operator’s body? What is happening to make this tool worthwhile?
For some applications, when we have talked about solar for example, getting the specific torque of every single every bolt, you have, you may need that there, but do you need that for everything? That is where we are seeing just an amazing opportunity, and as we have talked about before, whatever Milwaukee tool comes out with a new product, there are thousands of hours of research behind it. It goes back to, not just what do I want, or what do we as a group want, but do the contractors who are using these tools, what do the craft workers who are operating the tools, what are they looking for that helps drive decisions? It is all about those informed decisions.
JONATHAN: I got to say, I love the kitting, and for everybody out there, that is listening, if you are kitting, based on what procedure that person is going to do, guess what that means? You know how long somebody spent putting in bang it. How many core boards were done? And when we talk about estimating James, what we do not always know, is what are people doing on the job site? And if they are working with tools every day, and we know what those tools are kitted for, now we know what people are doing on the job site and we can start saying, okay, these are the times we need to understand to estimate right. Why did it take three times longer? Why were they on those tools for two days on this floor, and only one day on that floor? I love that idea because it is so hard to figure out on the job site when people are working and what they are doing, and if you are kitting it together, that just gives you an easy insight. It is like this is kitted together to do penetrations on floors, when that is running, those hours are penetrations on floors. I look forward to checking that out. I told you, I am going to start looking in the first quarter at everything you are doing, so hopefully all your secrets are out by then.
TAUHIRA: It is okay. I will give you an inside peek.
JEFF: I love that too because Tauhira you went super micro level, then Jonathan, you came up one level, and I want to come up with one more level here about those tools, because we are learning so much from them. You have things like Versatile, who they have put the crane hook on that we had, that was talking about material moving, and how that can be extrapolated into all of the things that are happening on a job site. Imagine if you can then aggregate all those things that the tools are doing, the kitting that they are going on and you are overlooking the whole thing? Now you have a picture over your job site that I would call active passive. You are actively getting information, but it is a passive understanding of how the job site is proceeding, where materials might be, where employees might be, where different trades might be. Now, you are getting this coordinated set of information that can give you predictability that if you start to analyze it, you can look downstream at productivity and schedule and how you are doing, not as one trade necessarily, but as all the trades together, as the orchestra that is the job site.
And it is all of these pieces, but what they need is exactly what Milwaukee just did. They said, okay, we can get into the model. We can get into Procore. We can get into these places and they have opened up the capabilities because, it is driving adoption of their tools, which is important because that is how the money is made, but it is also providing information to the industry, which is about being more than just your tool. It is about being a part of the entire symphony as it were, and man, I cannot wait to see when we can mix all of that up and get in there. I do not know anything. So, I am allowed to say anything I want, but Tauhira’s data mind, I got to believe there is a play coming here. To Milwaukee, I know nothing. There is nothing up my sleeve. We have not discussed this. I just see the data plays coming too. I see the far down the road amount of information that you can glean from it and then provide back to everybody, whether you are Jonathan talking about the trade level or you are coming up to the macro-GC level, or then you are even coming up as an owner. Who has an understanding of all the different construction plays they have going on and where each thing is going to be? If I am a drug manufacturer and I am looking at my facilities and who is going to come online first, et cetera, I am going to be able to get ahead and move my supplies to the place that is going to come online first and focus myself there. There are those kinds of things that all of this information is starting at just the tool. And that is where tech gets fun.
TAUHIRA: Absolutely. At the end of the day, all of this tech goes back to what decisions can we help to drive? What workers can we help to be more productive, be safer, be more reliable in the work that is being QA/QC.’ That is the exciting thing is, the data allows us to make such informed decisions that allow the entire industry to elevate.
JAMES: Let us move on. I want to get back and talk about funding for some other startups. Atlanta-based Cove.tool. This is a company that optimizes building design instance, sustainability, and costs. These are a group of architects, to Georgia Institute of Technology, in other words, it is Georgia tech grads, developed a software suite. Being used in a lot of places, raised $5.7 million in their Series A round, from Mucker Capital.
At the same time, this came out of left field at some level because of the size of it. PlanHub of West Palm Beach, which was started in 2016, raised $41 million in an investment round from Mainsail Partners. PlanHub is an invitation to bid, plan distribution tool that GCs use for free, and subs pay for. It is much more similar to the Blue Book model of a Plan Distribution, where it is free to go post your projects. It is not free to respond to them. There are pros and cons to that approach, and I can tell you from a lot of years spent in that space, there is a lot of pros and cons there, but they raised a bunch of money from Mainsail Partners, to chase down the sub funded bid network.
BuildUp Ventures invest in Trusstor and StructShare. This is a Tel-Aviv and New York–based investor called BuildUp Ventures and, do not ignore what is going on in Israel. Ever. Because the Israelis will come out of nowhere with some awesome tech. A lot of technology in Israel, fascinatingly, is commercialized from its military. The Israeli Air Force has been leaders in virtual reality and augmented reality technology for decades. They have a lot of the underlying IP behind a lot of stuff that we have looked at, so these two companies, Trusstor is a next–gen command and control system, powered by real-time location site conditions, sensors. It is about safety and productivity. StructShare is an online platform that automates purchasing and material handling workflows. Both of these have been invested in by BuildUp Ventures. That is just the last couple of weeks of funding news. There is a lot of money still pouring into certain key areas, of the construction tech space. Jeff, you are in an early–stage startup now and I want to just throw a mention out. You have joined Join. So, congratulations on the new gig. You are in a startup now. This is the first time you are in an early–stage startup. Tell us what that is all about and what these funding rounds mean for the startup community in general.
JEFF: I am the Head of Communications for Join, that is why I was fooling around before with the pre-construction. We are a pre-construction platform. You can check us out. It is a fantastic group of people. And being in the startup world and looking for new space to fill, really fill out the ecosystem that is construction. Everybody wanted to be the silver bullet. There is no silver bullet. It is not going to happen. It is going to be an aggregate of all of the tools and technology coming together and to use what is going on behind Jonathan’s head there. A fabric that binds all of it together and it makes sense. Join is a collaborative pre-construction platform, that is transforming the way, owners, architects, engineers work together in a collaborative space. But what the investors are interested in, as I have talked to them, is they see the positivity. We have to glean that from it, that they see us coming out of 2021 and coming out differently. We have been beaten up on the industry for years and I would like to twist it. We are really at the point where we are going to meet our true potential. And I think that is what the investors see. They see the potential in all of us, in all of the construction companies and trade partners and suppliers and engineers and architects, really embracing it finally.
And you brought up companies. I was on the phone with Aura yesterday, from StructShare, I was on the phone with Kevin Priddy recently from PlanHub, a couple of the other ones you mentioned in there. You talk about Tel Aviv startups. Versatile I just mentioned before. They are out in Tel Aviv as well. The industry is positive on us. When the funding is coming in that means there is still hope. There is still, goodness on the other side and we need it. But we also need tools that are built purposefully that solve problems. We went through that early on James, where there was a lot of solutions looking for a problem, I think we have now switched. And if you look, why did PlanHub get that money right now? Because during COVID, when I sat with Kevin, they were seeing a huge uptake in companies that were getting out of their normal verticals and looking to diversify and go into new verticals. And how do you do that? Will you do that by bidding on more work, getting more visibility over more work, as a trade.
The GCs are focused on that upward relationship. They are trying to win that work out there. They had to take their focus on who is all my partners? PlanHub allows that so it is different model at a different time and seeing a different growth. You see the automation of what StructShare is doing. That is an important process looking at just making it easier for people to stop focusing on invoicing and purchasing and start focusing and continuing to focus on build and getting things done. You brought up the other one, Cov. I love this because this is about sustainability. Right now, we are trying to get out of a pandemic. We are trying to get out of an economic crisis, but that is like, what is right here on the tip of our nose. What is killing us, and if you guys have not seen it, go watch David Attenborough’s One Planet on Netflix and you will see where my focus is because it is the destruction of our planet. And we, as in construction are 37% of all carbon emissions. We are a country compared to China, US construction.
If we can start to work better in pre-construction and picking materials and in working with trades and cutting down the amount of concrete, I was listening to Macy, the mace group, CEO, recently talking about every design that comes your way, the first question you should say is how can I cut 50% of that concrete out? Because there is a huge chunk of your carbon emissions. As we start to look at this going forward, we have an opportunity to not only make a difference financially in our economic crisis, but we also have a huge play that we can make in changing the environment. And Tauhira I know to hear you have a new little one and I have got two kids, so I think a hell of a lot about the future. I think we can have a foundational impact in driving how that has done better, but it is got to also make financial sense, design sense. Not to go to a plug, but that is why I joined Join.
JEFF: Because I think that has to happen as close to conceptual design as possible to drive the impact down to the installation in the field and get people going. Now I am going to get off my high horse, but I just want you to know that I am super excited about all that investment, all that opportunity, and this industry is awesome.
JAMES: It really is. Tauhira?
TAUHIRA: I agree and what is interesting, you hit the nail on the head is, in this year where funds have been tightening across the board, we are still seeing funding rounds. We are still seeing companies that are doing successful IPO’s. We had Bentley Systems do their IPO in August or September and they were very successful so that just goes to show that it is almost like, the stars are rising. The companies that are focusing on what people need and what they need right now to elevate to that next level, those are the companies that, regardless of the pandemic, regardless of what is going on in the world around us, those are the companies that are making a difference. And that is what is exciting is that funding has not stopped. It is just been refocused. Funding, whether it is funding from outside contributors, whether it is where a contractor is willing to spend, whether it is what companies like Milwaukee like ourselves are investing in, or companies like Join in what you guys are doing around pre-construction. It is all about, now we have to be even more laser–focused on what is going to drive that bottom line and what is going to elevate companies and take them to the next level to expand their capability to do more work.
JAMES: Awesome we got to bring it home. The summary of today is, a lot is going on in the construction tech space, both here on the planet, above us and space, and yes, even on the lunar body that rotates around that drives the tides and does some fascinating things. By the way, if you do not think the moon’s important, go read the book Seveneves, where the moon gets crushed into dust, and you will find out that, some bad things happen if the moon is not out there doing what it does for us. There is awesome stuff happening all around in construction tech. You have all been a great group to talk about this with today. Jonathan, always good to talk to you. Good to see you thriving in the wintry wilds of Pennsylvania, where it is sometimes 70° in the fall, and I am excited for you that you have got big 10 football back up there in Pennsylvania. That is good news.
JONATHAN: Absolutely. I am excited that the Steelers have not lost yet. This is not happening for a long time. It is making me happy all over.
TAUHIRA: 2020 is a weird year.
JAMES: It is a weird year. The Dodgers finally pull it off in the world series. The Astros, fresh off their giant cheating scandal of kicking trash cans, do not have to endure jeering crowds all year. You got to think for the Astros, it is a dream. But it is another year. We are excited to have you on though. Jonathan, so good to have you on. Jeff, congrats on the new job and we are excited about your new venture and always good to talk with you.
JEFF: It is awesome to be here as usual. I am so happy to be here when Tauhira came out of her maternity leave to join us. It is always so special to talk to her and Jonathan, to you. And I am going to make it a little easier for people, James, if they want to see what happens if you take the moon, just go watch Despicable Me with your kids as I did. Hey, steal the moon and you see what happens.
TAUHIRA: Spoiler alert.
JEFF: But thank you, James, for having me. Everybody stay safe and let us have a normal week. Oh, wait. It is not going to be normal. We all know what is going on next week, so.
JAMES: We did not even talk about that. You know that I intentionally avoided exactly what is going on next week. All I got to say is I waited 35 minutes in line for early voting. I got it done. I wore a mask the whole time when I stayed distanced and it was not that scary. Okay, so, just go vote. Just go vote. It is not that scary. Tauhira, outstanding to see you, as always super excited about the baby. Big congratulations and thank you for joining us today.
TAUHIRA: Thank you again, it is such a joy and I think the danger is we could talk forever about some of these things, so, appreciate the user and listener questions.
JAMES: It is been really good. And of course, for all the folks that have attended live, thanks for attending and staying tuned and participating in chatting and texting in your questions as well. It is always good. Remember, we will be back next month. You can ask all kinds of good questions and we will be happy to talk about it. A big thank you out there for listening in tuning in today to geek out episode 242, of our monthly talk to the crew live. Join us next week, 243 with Andrew Zukoski from Join. What? That is that is right. We are bringing him on. We have got to talk about it. We have got to talk about what is going on there.
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Until next time, enjoy the ride and geek out!