First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Nate Watkin: Fortunately, everyone is safe and sound. Amidst all of the chaos, it has actually brought us closer together with the extra time to visit home and get away from the big city for a bit.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Assemble
Nate Watkin: I was a producer and director for 8 years, running a production company based in Los Angeles. Throughout my time as a producer, I saw many gaps in the industry and opportunities to create better collaboration tools for video producers. I couldn’t find any project management solutions I loved, so we set out to build our own.
How does Assemble innovate?
Nate Watkin: First and foremost by listening to our customers. Customers often have the best ideas, and while they may not know how to extrapolate them into product features, they can explain their pain to you and help you imagine a solution. From there, it’s up to our product team to build a solution that they love.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Nate Watkin: For us, we chose to become a remote team about a year before coronavirus hit. Since our platform is built for remote work, we saw it as an opportunity to innovate within our culture. So we were well-positioned to continue our work even as coronavirus disrupted the world’s industries.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nate Watkin: Our biggest focus was to continue innovating on the product. We felt that regardless of what happened with the economy and other external factors in 2020 if we could come out of it all with an incredible product, then we could chalk that up as a win. We’ve been heads down focusing on our tech stack and our customers.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Assemble in the future?
Nate Watkin: As an entrepreneur my entire life, I think I’ve developed internal mechanisms for dealing with stress. I used to wake up in the middle of the night panicking about cash flow or making payroll, or a million other things that can creep into your mind as a founder. But now I’ve learned how to silence that negative voice. The best way I can describe it is a permanent meditative state, which has been essential during this tumultuous year.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nate Watkin: We compete with a variety of tools that producers tend to string together in order to get their desired outcome. Producers typically have one tool for calendars, another tool for documents, another tool for video reviews, and so on and so forth. Our goal is to give producers and their teams a seamless end-to-end experience where they can rely on one platform from pre to post.