Remote Assistants with Double’s Alice Default
Take Back your Day.
Alice Default is the Co-Founder and CEO of Double and is on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
Double connects busy executives with experienced human assistants and great tech to save hours every day. Pairing awesome humans with great tech tools, Double helps you stay focused on what you do best.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
And with us right now, we have Alice default. Now, Alice, you've done some pretty cool stuff. You were part of a company that number of years ago was acquired for a very, very large sum of money by Microsoft. That was Sunrise Calendar. And then two years ago, you started a company called double and and then I'm not sure when this happened, but you are Actually on the Forbes 30, under 30 list, so we're going to talk about that you're the CEO and co founder at double. Allah, thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you for having me. Josh. I'm super excited to be here.
Yeah. And so how did you get to tell me about kind of your, your professional history real quick as as and then it kind of led up to working with sunrise?
Yeah, definitely. So not really sure how it happened. But I ended up majoring in entrepreneurship. While I was at university, mostly because it was for me like easiest major, like have very little classes and it was a lot of, you know, your match with entrepreneurs and got to hang out with them. So I thought it was like a cool thing to study. And that led me to work for startups right out of college, which was, for me completely new, but also super interesting, because you've got to do especially early stage you got to do so many different things at once. And that's Something that attracted me a lot like I got to test all these different things. And it was moving very, very fast. So I ended up joining front, which is a company based out of SF, which does shared email. So definitely in the productivity space already back then stay there for a bit and then left and met by chance, the CEO and co founder of sunrise, which was a calendar app, right around the time where they were in talk with Microsoft to get acquired. But they were still hiring at that time. And I joined the team as their first non technical hire. So kind of doing everything else there was to do the team back then was just 12 people, all engineers, all designers, and so kind of took over the rest, which was super interesting. And then we merged with Outlook A few months later after the acquisition with the Outlook Mobile team and went on to rebuild Outlook Mobile for iOS and Android completely from scratch, which was really, really great projects to be on. And then after a while, my co founder and I Which I met at sunrise. Really enjoyed our time on Microsoft. But it's also a really big company. And there was a lot of things that we wanted to do that we couldn't do. And so we decided to leave to start double, which we are working on right now.
Wow. And so can I ask, how did you get on the 30? Under 30? list? I mean, cuz that was quite a that's quite an honor.
It is it is. And especially because that just looking at everyone else on the list, right? It's just amazing people. So it's a real honor to be there. I was lucky enough that someone know me nominated you. So the way it works is someone needs to nominate you and then you have to fill out this survey about yourself. So yeah, someone would nominate me, which I think is already like, I feel super lucky for that. So that I my name was basically put on Forbes radar. And then you fill out a survey about your history and your the work that you did, did and the work that you're doing right now. And I think it's a mix up. I work with really good companies, companies that you know, have a good history have a good brand. And so I think that helped me a lot. And then we're also working on things right now that I hope are making a big impact on people's life. And so that was enough for Forbes to to feel like I was. I could go on the list, which obviously is a massive honor.
Yeah. So. So tell me about then, how you started double why you started double? And kind of what you hope to do?
Yeah, definitely. So when we were at Microsoft, with my co founders, obviously working on pocket on productivity, email, and building email and calendar, and so thinking a lot about how to help people, save time, be more productive, get more done out of their days. But we, we started noticing that actually, a lot of their people spend time during our day working on things that are they don't have any specific value like so much of our time is spent in email and encounter doing admin stuff, checking in on people. And that takes us away from our core focus. And even though we were helping people be more productive by building faster tools or better tools to do stuff, it also felt like, you know, sometimes if you want to be productive, you should just not do certain type of things. Like you should just remove things from your to do list and just focus on the things that you're really, really good at. Yeah. And that you can do just with really good tools. And so that's where the idea came from available to be able to build a modern remote assistance service, and make it easy and accessible for people to have executive assistants to delegate projects like scheduling, email management, or inbox, dash, admin projects, travel, like all these things that take up a massive amount of time. And we're doing it in a way where we really focus on the human relationship. So we've met you with one dedicated double who's going to be your point of contact. And then we're building great tools both for our clients and our our doubles to make them work better together.
Ah, so that's hence where we get the term. You're so you're double then. Exactly. So how does so by the way the website is with double.com. And so for people who have already like they're already used to hiring assistants and vas, how is this an improvement?
Yeah. So there's a couple things that's different. The first one is all of our doubles are based in the US fully trained at least five years as executive assistants experience. And so we're really focusing on bringing great talents and giving each one of our clients one dedicated person that they can build a relationship with. For us delegation is really built on trust, right, you need to trust the person you're delegating to, for it to work. And so compared to other companies, where you can switch assistant a lot or have someone that doesn't have the same cultural context as you, I'm really focusing on building these relationships and then on top of that, We, you know, we manage and train our assistants on a day to day basis so that our clients don't have to, obviously, the goal is not to add workload is to remove workload. Yeah. And then the second thing that we do is on top of these amazing humans that we work with our doubles, we're also empowering them with the best tools to do their job. And we're focusing on both the assistant side, obviously, so building productivity tools to make them you know, be able to
manage all the context they get from our clients do all their tasks in the most efficient way. And we're also building tools on the client side to make just sending new tasks easier. And just faster for them. Hmm, matching getting the best out of humans and tech, basically.
Yeah. So what would be some examples of some of the productivity tools that a double through this service would have access to?
So we're building we're building a few different types of tools for them. The number one is just would say organizational tools, so help them manage all the tasks that they get from their clients. And they all manage between four and five clients. So there's a lot of incoming stuff. So we're basically building tools to help them organize all this work, see what they have to do and keep track of everything. The second thing that we're doing is building tools to help them keep context and information about their clients. So you know, when you are working with for an executive, there's all this information that you get from them. And usually it's in your email, it's in Slack, it's in tax, it's in like over the place. And so we're bringing all this together so that they can organize it and use it later down the road. And then the last thing that we do is actual tools to do their job better, whether it's automating the small things that we can automate, so that they don't have to do all those repetitive tasks that they do and they can focus on high high level stuff, sharing
tips and knowledge from the community. So you know, if they're doing a task, there's a big chance that someone else in the community has already done something similar. And so we're basically sharing that knowledge so that our doubles can help each other out. Hmm. And, and obviously shout out with our doubles, but also with our, with our clients.
Yeah. So, Alex, what what stage? Would you say that double is at right now?
So we're actually still in stealth mode. We've been in stealth mode since the beginning. Obviously, we have a really big betta or self mode, I would say. So we're working with actually hundreds of CEO already. But we've decided not to launch officially yet because there was so many things that we wanted to tweak in the experience. And we wanted to make sure that we were getting it right. So we had yet about 100, a few hundred CEOs in our bed right now.
And then we were actually supposed to come out of stealth mode last week, but because of everything that's happening, oh yeah, we've pushed that a bit.
Yeah, so and I mean, I should say that you've raised $6 million for double. So congratulations on that. Thank you.
Yeah. Yeah. So my next question then would be, obviously, you know, in a post cobit 19 world, how does this affect things?
So it's it a lot, I'm sure it's effects that we're still wondering how it's going to affect us. For for us, the good thing is, is that we're already remote, right? Like we're already promoting remote work and our love our doubles are remote and used to working remote. So for us, that's the good side of the businesses that we were thinking about better ways to communicate if you're not in the same office all day long. And so we know that everything that we're doing now is going to be useful for us whenever this crisis end, if it was
one day, but it shouldn't. So that's, that's good. And then the other thing right now for us is that people who have a lot of things to do, they're obviously A lot of stuff happening there. It's a stressful time. It's an overwhelming time for a lot of our clients. And we're we're here to offer them support. And I think that's something that we're super happy to have been able to do in the past few weeks of really being there for our clients and helping them do all these things that have just dropped on their plate because of Cova 19. Right. It's like all these new things that they need to think about and being there for them. And Andy's moment is, is really good for us.
And what is your current plan for kind of like go to market and grow the marketing and that sort of thing?
Yeah, so that's been that's changed a lot in the last few days. Obviously. I don't think that we can do growth the same way. We used to do it just a few weeks ago. We've currently stopped all of our outreach at the moments or minimize everything by a lot. Just because we feel it's not a good moment to reach out to people right now and ask for their intense attention when there's so much going on.
So what we're focusing on right now is one just bringing value to our current clients and seeing how we can support them in the best possible way. And that there's already a lot to do. So that's keeping us busy. And then in terms of growth and marketing, we're also focusing on taking this time to work on more long term initiatives that are going to be useful now and later down the road such as contents, for example, which is something that we hadn't really got started doing. But that's useful now for our current clients. It's going to be useful for our potential clients tomorrow.
Hmm, nice. Nice. Well, very cool. Well, I am I'm, I'm a kind of a fan here. I can again congratulations on your success thus far. And and yeah, you're right. I mean, we'll we'll all kind of adapt and figure this out. Now pricing for someone that wants to work with double at with double Comm. Can you explain how that works and how engagement looks for an end user?
Of course. So The goal with with double is to be a remote assistant service for modern executives. So we don't want to be to have, you know, really super strong commitment and and force you to do like a year plan and stuff. So we're trying to be as flexible as possible, we start at just 250 per month, and that's four or five hours of work by your double. And then it's basically pay what you use. So whatever hours you use with your double, you get billed for that at the end. Again, trying not to force you to, to get big packages of hours and that you don't know how to use. Yeah. So yeah, it's super easy to get started. We match you with a double in just a few days. And then outside of those just 250 per month, minimums of five hours our work is really pay as you go after that.
Yeah. And do you find that that's fair market value for the value that the client gets?
I would say so
you'd hope so. I hope so.
Are you kidding? Ah, no, we work with super experienced remote assistance. So the assistance that we work with right now, our contractors now, but they used to work for really big companies full time, we have assistants who used to support CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, right, and we give them really good tools. And so that's why we believe that we're really giving them value. And also on the other side of the spectrum for clients, they're getting just a few hours of amazing doubles without needing to commit to anything. So making it way easier than having to hire someone full time in your office or even part time and spending all that time and energy finding the right person like yeah, basically doing all of that for them. So
nice. Nice. Yeah. And and again, I would imagine from a ultimately, if I hire someone, and they don't really have this skill set or experience or that level of you know, of know how then You know, how much time are we really saving for ourselves? And, you know, does it really amplify our productivity as well as it could I mean, if you're the founder of a company, you know, that's the name of the game is just like how, you know, how much of you can you actually do when you do have a limited, limited bandwidth? And so I could just tell you, like, you know, having a fantastic, you know, Operations Director, having fantastic people at your side can change your life. So I am a big fan of the concept for sure.
Exactly. And then on the other hand, sometimes also having someone who you think you can delegate to but is not that great is actually going to have you spend more time training them and reviewing what they do versus saving, saving them. So it's also something that you need to be careful about
the expense of making mistakes or you know, or they're just not, they're just not catching up with you quickly, quickly enough. And then you got to after a month or two, then you got turnover. And these are these are all things that cost us money. Exactly. Awesome. All right. Well, Alice defaults, and so is default Really? Well, yes. It's a French last name, right?
Yes. So it doesn't mean anything in France. So I used to be fine as long as I live in France, and now. It actually makes people laugh. So it's a good thing. People remember my name?
Yeah, for sure. So well, so Alice default. Again, you're the CEO and co founder at double. You're on the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Congratulations for that. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much for having me, Josh.
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