Many of the concepts we have about work assume that it is a necessary evil. Work is bad and life is good, and therefore we should aim for minimal time spent working and maximal time at leisure. This is the assumption embedded in the “work-life balance” model.
They explore the history of how people have thought about work, what we stand to gain if we view it as inherently good, and how this mindset led them to start Fringe.
Key ideas and highlights
“Work should be a good thing. This notion of how we work as humans, but also how we apply ourselves to work, is something that ought to be investigated and talked about. And it’s relevant to what we’re doing here with Fringe because we’re trying to very much build a company in which people can feel that they do good work and that the work is good for them and good for their lives and their families.” — Jason Murray
- Before, people viewed work as a transactional relationship between employer and employee. In exchange for labor, employees received wages.
- Now, employees expect to find meaning, purpose, and belonging at work.
- This transition was fueled by the expansion of benefits that extend beyond the quid pro quo arrangement of the past — health insurance added in the 1940s, 401(k)s in the ‘70s, and more recent perks like remote work in the 2020s.
- The problem with the current benefits landscape is that almost all benefits are future-oriented. You reap their reward later on, especially when you’re sick, dead, or retired.
- The next development in the evolution: benefits that meet the everyday needs of employees, such as child care, mental health support, student loan repayment, or even food delivery.
- Employers that offer benefits that their employees can use in their daily life are best positioned to drive recruiting and retention efforts.
Learn more about how you can meet the everyday needs of your employees with Fringe
- 0:00 Intro
- 4:53 Our radical take that should be a good thing
- 5:54 Why relationships can make it or break it
- 7:24 Origin stories of Fringe
- 10:41 If people like you and your vision, they’ll write you a check
- 14:41 Why employees don’t feel care and appreciation
- 15:40 Benefit offerings are ridiculously outdated
- 18:00 These benefits might be a waste of money
- 19:06 Where the name “Fringe” came from
- 24:27 The tides of employee care are beginning to change.
- 26:07 Fish out of water — what are we doing here?!
- 34:55 Yes, there is a best way to care for employees
- 35:42 Explaining Fringe in 38 seconds
- 36:25 Experiences lead to more happiness, not things
- 37:18 Ameliorate. Wait…what?
Jordan Peace (00:05):
How many hours and years of our lives do we spend on work? For nearly all of us, we spend 30 plus years and one third of our days in our vocation, more time perhaps than we spend at rest or at play. But this isn’t a problem. Why? Because work is good. Work needs to be integrated deeply into our lives and must be in line with our most important goals and values. And if it is, we have a far more complete and fulfilling life experience. Welcome to How People Work podcast, where we explore the intersection of how humans think and act and how they apply themselves to their work. When you understand both of these things, you’ll be equipped to be insightful, compassionate, and compelling leaders. This is how people work with your host, Jason Murray. I’m Jordan Peace. I’ll call myself a co-host special guest, whatever the situation calls for.
Jason Murray (01:01):
Everyday. Special guest.
Jordan Peace (01:02):
Yeah, everyday special guest. If you’ve listened to Bragworthy Culture and you’re wondering how the heck you got here and who this person is, once again, Jason Murray, Bragworthy Culture has been continued on and evolved into this new podcast, new format, new locale. I’m no longer in my studio, which is the bedroom closet in my home, but now in an actual beautiful space. Amazing with professional equipment and it’s a lot of fun. But this is our first episode of How People Work. And that expression, how people work, is purposefully obscure. It has two meanings. We are going to talk about how human beings work in terms of how human beings function and think, go about life, how they work, and then also how they work, how go about their labor, how they do work, get to the office, not get to the office, have coworkers, have bosses, do their career.
And so we’re going to talk about both things, kind of the psychological, sociological aspect of human beings; and then also just the culture around work and how that’s evolved over the course of time. How we see evolving in the future. This should be a lot of fun. And we will have guests occasionally, not every week like we did in the old format. But wanted to share today a little bit about Jason’s and my company, Fringe. We also have three other co-founders who, not to leave them out at all, but they’re not with us today on the podcast. So Jason’s going to guide us through the conversation a little bit more. But we’re going to be talking about Fringe, why we started it, and also why we started this podcast, which is very much related,
Jason Murray (02:47):
Very, very much related. So yeah, we’re glad that you’re joining us and excited to start some of these conversations. And so since we are in this first episode in transitioning from what we were doing before, I would love to talk a little bit about what you hope people will get out of this. Who is this for? What are these conversations going to do for people that might be listening?
Jordan Peace (03:10):
Yeah, I mean, honestly, I think for you and me, it’s all about authenticity. It’s all about having a place where we can say the real stuff about what it’s like to have a career in our case in tech, in this sort of venture backed zoo that we live in. But also just in any kind of career, what it’s like to have coworkers and to have a boss and to go through a recession and be fearful for your job, and not know how things are going at the top, and what your boss might be thinking, and what his or her boss might be thinking. And just have a real conversation about some of that stuff. I hope that our listenership turns out to be anybody from a CEO to somebody who’s aspiring to start their own company, or that just walked in the door to a new company in their first job out of college.
And it’s like, what is this subculture of work? I don’t understand what’s happening here. This is not everyday life. I’m confused. And just have a real honest conversation about what’s happening in the workplace, what’s coming down the track, or what we perceive to be coming down the track and why I think things are changing, why generations are shifting in the workplace, kind of the power dynamic through generations are shifting and therefore the workplace is just utterly changing which is kind of uncomfortable for several generations. Not fully comfortable for anyone yet as we’re settling into the new normal with remote work and other things. So just excited to get into that topic and just be able to share our perspective with the world.
Jason Murray (04:53):
Yeah, well, and I add to that, I hope people who are not just HR folks and people leaders, but leaders of people or just really anyone who’s in a position to influence those around them can find value in these things that we’re going to be talking about. And I think too, there’s something I’ve been thinking about that, I don’t know if I shared it with you explicitly, but just this idea that work should be a good thing. And so this whole notion of how we work as humans, but how we apply ourselves to work, I feel like is something that ought to be investigated and talked about. And I think that’s relevant to us and our story and what we’re doing here with Fringe, because we’re trying to very much build a company in which people can feel that they do good work and that the work is good for them and good for their lives and their family. And I think that’s not true in the experience of many people we’ve interacted with over the years as well.
Jordan Peace (05:54):
Yeah, I think that’s in a sad way, really aided us in recruiting some really fantastic people because they’ve had a really poor experience in work. And it almost never has to do with the work itself. It has to do with the relationships at work or the lack of relationships at work, or just not feeling seen, heard, or dignified as human beings. So talk a lot about that topic cause we’re both very passionate about putting people first and that people matter. And that even though somebody might come into your company and it doesn’t work out perfectly and they don’t fit the job, we thought that person, that human being should be given respect and dignity and honor whether they stay or go. So y’all are going to hear a lot about that as you listen to this podcast. We’re very passionate about that topic. But like we said, let’s not stray too far from the topic at hand today, which is Fringe which is actually really kind of different for me.
I went through all of Bragworthy Culture, I don’t know how many dozens of episodes, and didn’t even mention Fringe outside of the intro and the outro of being sponsored by Fringe because that podcast was about those that I was interviewing and bragging on their culture. And so I’m like, okay, I get to talk about my startup now. That’s cool. I’m very excited to do that. And so we want to tell the origin story a little bit here. So Jason and I go back quite a long time. I think we met somewhere in the range of 2013, I want to say might have been the year that we first met. Jason actually interviewed me for a job. That’s how we got to know each other initially and realized that we had quite a bit in common, both from a standpoint of just where we were at from a family standpoint and where we were at from our previous career going into that position, which was in financial planning.
And I didn’t think at the time that either one of us would be here, and certainly not both of us together running a venture-back startup in tech of all things. Of all things. And I think that’s one of the parts of the story actually, is just the story of not having the belief that we could do something like this and you know, read articles about people that start these companies. And it seems like every other one just was too brilliant to stay at Stanford or Harvard or whether they just, they’re so bored by their second semester that they just had to leave and go make a billion dollars overnight. And just that perspective I think just always held me back from not even trying this, but even starting a business at all and just putting myself out there at all. Cause I just thought, who am I? I’m just like some guy.
Jason Murray (08:55):
Well it’s funny thinking about that because the first kind of iteration that we had was actually something before Fringe. It was Greenhouse Money. And you probably remember it more clearly cause I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes, but you had been pushing for some time for us to leave a larger organization that we had been at during finance and
Jordan Peace (09:17):
About a year, but nobody’s counting <laugh>, right?
Jason Murray (09:21):
Well, one day it finally hit me and we just thought, “Hey, why don’t we try and go do our own thing?” And so that was kind of the genesis of what ultimately became Greenhouse Money.
Jordan Peace (09:33):
Yeah, I mean that if we hadn’t done that, we would never would’ve done this because that took a measure of courage to just leave this pretty established practice or practices that we both had. We had a long client list, we were on the track, we were doing the things we were doing following. If anybody listening and knows anything about Northwestern Mutual, we’re following the Granum System, we’re doing our dials and smiling and dialing and all that stuff and just be on the track. And to step off that track, and to give up every last client and every last commission and every last, I don’t even remember what they’re called anymore, but the funds that keep coming in, the renewals. Renewals.
That was a big step. And what was cool, there was a couple things that were cool, not just taking that step, but the next thing that was really awesome was when we went out and started sharing that vision with some friends and family and said, “Hey, look, we don’t really have any startup capital. We want to go do this thing.” We just were not financially sound either one of us at that point in time. And that was not that many years ago. And so going to folks and saying,” Hey, we got a vision. Do you want to put up some capital in exchange for some equity in this thing that, yeah, I mean, we’ve got some experience in the industry, but we never started a company before.” We didn’t really know what we were doing. And to have people take a chance on us and invest some of their hard-earned money and say like, “No, I like your vision.
I trust you, I believe in you. Let’s do this thing.” It was like, whoa. That was a light bulb personally. And I think probably for both of us, that maybe what we were doing was going to be wildly successful or not, I don’t know. But it was a light bulb that I don’t have to necessarily be a person of great means to go into get started in something right now. It takes a good network. It takes knowing people, it takes casting a vision and so forth. And I think we’re privileged to know at least a handful of people that could help us in that way. But that spark was the only reason why when the idea of Fringe came about, it was like, okay, what’s stopping us? Right? There’s people out there with money and they will write a check to invest in your idea if they like it and they like you and you can go do whatever you want. And it’s just like, what is this world like? That was just so foreign at the time, and now it all feels very normal. And we’ve lived and been steeped in that for a number of years now.
Jason Murray (12:05):
Jordan Peace (12:05):
We got started with Fringe. The idea came out of our work in financial planning, obviously working with so many, I’d say Gen X and Gen Y mostly is who we were working with. Young individuals, young couples, trying Greenhouse Money, by the way, financial planning firm. We should have explained that, that may be apparent from the context. But we were helping them try to save money, figure out what they wanted to do in life, figure out how they wanted to invest, how they budget, how they would be responsible, yada, yada, yada. What was interesting was that we often talked about their career. It’s just a natural thing to talk about when you’re talking about money is how much I make and do, should I switch careers? Should be gunning for this promotion, I just got a raise. Oh, yay. Now we can save more over here and invest more over there.
So it was just a natural thing to talk about. And coming to the realization that I think a lot of people looked at their career as something that was just not very satisfying and not from the standpoint of the work. I mentioned this just a few minutes ago, not because the work wasn’t good or suited for them necessarily, but you just got this sense that there was this cynicism around, well, when they told you what they made, it was like, here’s what I make. I probably should have made more, but nobody appreciates me. It was like the undertone, right? And I don’t think that that means that we were just unlucky enough to find every person in America that was underpaid. I think it’s that feeling is not really so much coming from the money as coming from just not feeling appreciated or seen. Right? Yeah. And
Jason Murray (13:46):
Well, it’s transactional. It’s transactional. I mean, we talk about that a lot around Fringe. That exchange of wages for time is just something over all these years of human history that has just been like, I’m going to give you some of my effort in exchange for that money. And it’s exactly that. It’s a transaction. Yeah, it’s nothing more. But I think you and I believe in this is part of what we’re trying to bring to the surface and some of these conversations is that we as humans are more than that. And so it’s no wonder that that’s a dissatisfying experience for all of these people that we were talking to in the finance business that we’re
Jordan Peace (14:25):
Doing. Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly. So I think realization number one is people are dissatisfied with their work for the reasons that we just named. I, we believe sometimes maybe the work’s not suited, but I think mostly, I think we’re hitting the nail on the head there. The second realization is that people didn’t really fully grasp or understand the ways in which their employer was actually trying to show some love or some appreciation <affirmative>. Because the way employers have been trying to show love and appreciation, if you can give them credit for that over the last 80 years, is through primarily just a 401k and health insurance. So that was the other Bing. It was just like, wait. And we started doing the research. We were like, wait, health insurance as a benefit has been around since the forties, and the 401(k)s since the late seventies. What’s changed since then really in a big way, a big right categorical change, pretty much nothing ad hoc this and that and sort of trying to plug holes and put band-aids and lipstick on a pig, if you will.
That seems to be everything that’s been done since the eighties. And that was the perhaps even bigger realization for us is just like, oh wow, there’s a serious lack of innovation in the benefits world. And we’ve, we’ve gotten multiple generations since the eighties in terms of who’s kind of the primary force in the workforce. And then of course millennials now, and then we’re going to get chased out by the Gen Zs <laugh> at some point in the not so distant future. But just the thought process of, wow, there needs to be a change. And so I think the obvious struggle at that point, the obvious reason why we could have walked away from it, is because when you look at who administers benefits in, at least in America, it’s giants, just tightens giant companies that have been doing it for decades and decades. Super entrenched broker relationships all over the place. Everything’s just very locked, uptight, airtight. And we’re just kind of competing for a little bit of market share. And it’s like, yeah, we’re going to get in there and innovated David and Goliath type of story. And that was scary. Yeah. But I want
Jason Murray (16:57):
To you to take us though to, cause I think, at least for me, it was a really distinct moment when the idea for Fringe specifically came about. And so we had some clients in the office, the
Jordan Peace (17:13):
Client’s in the office one day, there’s a client in the office because we started a company and thankfully we were able to get some new clients, even though we walked away from all of our old clients. And her name was Lindsay, I remember, was sitting in the office and she asked a question, which is not the first person to asked this question about how her, I think it was health insurance, benefits worked, a disability or something that horribly boring, that even people in our own industry were just like, “do I really have to explain this?” And so after explaining this thing for 20 minutes and her eyes glazed over, I walked her to the door. I remember I came back next to you. I don’t even know if I sat. Cause I was just frustrated. And I was just like, “Why? First, why do we have to continue to explain this thing to people?
But secondly, and most importantly, why are companies offering exclusively things that people don’t understand?” And because you don’t understand them, they also don’t appreciate them. And if they don’t appreciate them, then they might be a waste of money, or at least an inefficient use of money to just go, yeah, here’s some insurance that you don’t get. Here’s a contract that you’re never going to read. Here’s a 401k that if you happen to live to be 65 years old, it’s going to benefit you someday. That’s great. Not that people shouldn’t save, it’s not that people shouldn’t insure themselves, but if the point of the benefits is to engender loyalty, and to show appreciation, and to try to have more than a transaction with your people, which that’s what the salary is. You do work, I pay you money. That’s the transaction. The benefits should be more than that.
And so it all just kind of materialized in that moment. And I was just like, you know what, man, this needs to be innovated and we should be the ones to do it. And I remember even that day, simply because we were kind of finance nerds and we know that industry, we even had the word ‘Fringe’ because fringe benefits if you know, have our background. It’s like, yeah, that’s cool. It’s what it is technically. Yeah, it’s kind of a cool startup‑y word, but it’s also literally what the idea was of taking this idea of fringe benefits that historically have really been more reserved for the executive and the jet would be a fringe benefit, right? Something like that. The company jet and taking that and democratizing that and say, well, what if we took fringe benefits and applied it to everyone and just said, no, you don’t have to be some unique person in the organization.
You don’t have to be at this level in the organization. You just have to be here on this team. And these are the benefits that teammates on this team get. And I don’t want to say welcome to the family because family and business is not always the best word, but that emotion of welcome to the family here are these things, right? I think what we felt at that time would be really impactful in the workforce. And that the next financial advisor that’s sitting down with their client that works for X, Y, Z company that has these sorts of benefits in place, they wouldn’t sit down with the same cynical attitude. They would sit down and say, this is what I make and this is what our company does. And I love working there and I have these cool benefits that really enhance my life in various ways, and it would be a different conversation. And that’s a lofty thing to go after to try to eradicate cynicism in all of the workforce. But the cynicism is coming from a relational breakdown. And I think if you can find ways to heal that and find ways to communicate well in this relationship between employer and employee, I think we actually can change the workforce and in a really significant way.
Jason Murray (21:07):
So we go from this moment where this client leaves the office and we have this conversation about what are fringe benefits, what could be done differently? What does this innovation look like? And so for a while it was just a sticky note on the wall. I mean we had the idea, but we also had this new business that we had just started. It was going really well, it was. And so we weren’t trying to go start something new, especially in an arena that we really had no experience in whatsoever. But it was one of those ideas that was just really sticky. It just kind of lodged in your mind. We started having conversations with some friends about it, and one thing led to another and shout out to Chris, one of our other co-founders, but he was the one that really put some effort behind this. Well,
Jordan Peace (21:55):
Poor Chris. I mean, Chris and I, Chris, you can look him up on LinkedIn. He won’t respond to you because he is not active enough. But Chris Luhrman, one of our co-founders, he has been a very, very good friend of mine since 2007. We were in, no, I’m sorry, 2004. We were in college together. He has heard at least a couple of hundred business ideas from me and pretty much told me that all of them were bad. And so that it really was like to have people that know you so well and your BS and know, like, what you bring to the table, and then you see their eyes light up when you share an idea. It’s like, yeah, that’s far more proof than some very cordial, very polite stranger that’s just like, oh yeah, that’s a great idea. So that it really was, I mean, credit to Chris really, genuinely and literally, because I don’t think without that approval and that sort of push and that, no man, this is the one, I don’t think we would’ve done it.
Jason Murray (23:02):
Jordan Peace (23:02):
Definitely not for all the reasons that you just named and others. Yeah. Yeah.
Jason Murray (23:06):
We were pretty busy. So I mean, he went off and did a ton of research. I mean, I remember sitting in the little closet office that we had with literally printed, because that’s what we did all the articles
Jordan Peace (23:18):
I’m still not sure why we printed, but we printed everything.
Jason Murray (23:21):
Jordan Peace (23:22):
I probably shouldn’t admit it. Yeah, I don’t know. We did.
Jason Murray (23:27):
And I mean, it was stuff from McKinsey and Deloitte and Gartner and all these places that do the research on employee trends. Forester and Forester. Yeah, that was a big one.
Jordan Peace (23:40):
That study was a big one.
Jason Murray (23:41):
And we just sat down and started reading, highlighting the things that stood out and the trends that really kind of caught our attention then that seemed to,
Jordan Peace (23:51):
I wish we had a picture of us, because I have a mental image of that little closet office, and we’re sitting in the middle of the floor in that little shabby carpet everywhere, and they’re just spread out in almost a complete circle around us, and we’re just crawling around highlighting things. Yeah,
Jordan Peace (24:07):
It was great. I kind of missed those days.
Jason Murray (24:09):
We were like children.
Jordan Peace (24:10):
We were, I mean, just discovering something new was a pure moment.
Jason Murray (24:16):
But I remember what was really exciting about it was, I mean, we’ve had plenty of ideas, you and I together that all lived on that sticky note where Fringe was. But it was very validating when we started looking at that trend research because it was talking about things like the personalization of benefits, the changing employee experience, the expectations that employees had, what the future of work was going to look like. And so all of a sudden, I think for us, it went from, hey, maybe this is just an interesting idea to, oh wow, there’s actually something here that maybe we could do something about.
Jordan Peace (24:53):
Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And then also backed up by, of course, you start calling people, you start to find the articles online of some cool company that did some cool thing. And then when you’re in business creation mode, you don’t just read the article, you call the ceo, right? Hey, tell me about why you’re doing this and beg people to talk to you and give you information. And that was really cool. Cause we found companies that were essentially trying to create Fringe themselves just for their own employees and really kind of low resolution ways. But the heart of it was there. I want each of my individuals, individual employees to feel like individuals and to feel like they’re getting personalized kind of service and attention from the benefits that we’re offering. And it wasn’t traditional stuff. It was the same type of things that we were thinking about with services and experiences and subscriptions and things that people in our generation spend their money on. I mean, in really significant amounts of money on. And so that was all of that kind of together, I think November, December of 2018, it was like, let’s
Jason Murray (26:04):
Jordan Peace (26:05):
Let’s do this thing.
Jason Murray (26:06):
So how did you feel starting Fringe, not having any background in HR?
Jordan Peace (26:13):
Oh my gosh much. I feel now, honestly I felt like a fish out of water. And I still often do. I mean, I think anybody that’s led a company or been a co-founder of a company, I hope if they have any humility at all, should admit to you that they feel an insane amount of imposter syndrome. And I think I felt and not to speak for you or say that you don’t feel this way, but I felt that even going to college in my family, given my history and background and so forth, even going to college was like, who do you think you are? Type of thing. Yeah. No one said that to me, but that was a feeling, right? And then to work in an office and to be a financial planner at Northwestern Mutual and put on three-piece, well, we never really wore three-piece, but put on suits, and it was just like, why aren’t you peacocking around? Those are the internal voices in my mind. And then, okay, you think you can actually go compete with the Princeton dropouts that are raising from Sequoia? What? Really? That’s all the internal dialogue that has faded some because we have done some of the things that my internal voice said I couldn’t do, right? So it’s like, well, screw you internal voice. We actually did that. Right? But there’s still just an insane amount of us,
Us. But I think that’s part of why I want to do this, right? I hope that there’s somebody listening that’s just like, oh yeah, they’re saying that. But they’re just humble bragging and they probably are just brilliant. I’m actually just not brilliant. I’m, like, smart, I have some ideas. But we just hustled and we believed and we had courage, and we tried and failed and tried and failed, and we’re still trying and failing all the time. But when you just don’t quit and you just don’t relent, and you just don’t let all the naysayers and all the circumstances tear you down, you can do it. Yeah, you actually can. Yeah. Because 99.9% of people are too scared. So it just leaves all this wide open space for anyone who will have the courage to do pretty much anything they want in life because others just won’t.
Jordan Peace (28:43):
So anyway, that was kind of a speech, but yeah, I feel like an imposter, but also determined at the same time.
Jason Murray (28:51):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s a good way. Yeah. Cause I would say the same too. Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous to think, Hey, we’re not software guys. We’re not engineers. Nope. But we thought it would be a good idea to start a software company when we had no experience whatsoever in the HR people space, which again, very little experience. But I do think where you maybe undersell a little bit was a lot of both of our experiences professionally before had a lot to do with people. That’s true. And so I do think we did come into this experience, maybe not with anything technical around a software company or HR in particular, but I think with a lot of at least vision and passion for what a good work experience should look like. And I think some of what served us well is not having a lot of corporate experience. We have very little appreciation for the way things should be done, right. Because we just don’t know what they are. Yeah, exactly. And so a lot of what we’ve done is just been what seems to make sense with what we know and understand about people from our own experiences. Yeah,
Jordan Peace (30:04):
Exactly. I wrote this tongue-in-cheek document a few years ago, you probably remember, called the Corporate Detoxification Program. And we never put that out there in the world yet because that is me to do 60% of something and then stop. So that’s what kind of an entrepreneur is like, but it’s been so stark, the difference between people that are coming to Fringe as employees that are either coming out of school or they’re coming out of just something non-corporate, whether maybe they were a teacher or maybe they were in nonprofit, whatever. They come in and it’s like, this is amazing. I’ll love this, but it’s not foreign. This is great. People that come from corporate America are like, what is this place? I just go through some sort of interdimensional portal into another Land, what is happening? All that corporate BS professionalism just is not what they found. They found people that just actually care about them as human beings and are going to put expectations on ‘em and want ‘em to perform and succeed, but not in this buttoned up corporate machine kind of way. And I’m really proud of that. And you’re right. I mean, that is the experience we brought to the table. That is the, it’s the eq. There’s some IQ there. Sure, of course. We couldn’t do this without some IQ, but I think the EQ has been the reason for the success so far.
Jason Murray (31:42):
Yeah. Yeah. I like to think too, we just didn’t know any better. That’s true. A lot of times.
Jordan Peace (31:47):
Yeah, naivety is a powerful thing. It is.
Jason Murray (31:50):
Yeah. I mean, I think I’d do it all again, but there’s stuff where it’s like, man, if you had known how hard it was, you probably would’ve thought twice about some of the difficulties of building a company and two or three times.
Jason Murray (32:03):
For sure. Well, the last thing I want to talk about now is just a little bit more explicitly what Fringe does and the space that we’re in is HR, but we built a product and a platform that is very specifically designed to help around this concept of lifestyle benefits. And so would love to actually just hear you talk a little bit about what are lifestyle benefits? What is it that we’re trying to do here with Fringe?
Jordan Peace (32:32):
Yeah. I mean, I think we’ve covered a lot of what we’re not. We talked about traditional benefits. Things haven’t changed since the forties or eighties or however you’re counting that. And what we set out to do was a couple of things. One, we wanted to make benefits more personalized because even I’m one of my 37, even in my childhood growing up by the time I was a teenager, there’s Starbucks around, and it’s just the perfect analogy because 20 years prior to that, you walk into a coffee shop if there was such a thing, and it’s like “you want small or large or what,” I mean, these are the choices. And then now it’s like I give some 17 word description of the perfect drink with exactly the kind of milk I want and the temperature and how frothy it is, and syrups and sauces, and I don’t even know what I’m saying.
I’m just, that type of personalization is just native to our experience and certainly anybody younger than us. It’s just like, well, yeah, you don’t just get the same thing other people do. Obviously that’s the experience of the marketplace. And so when you go into the workplace and then you’re just going back in time and it’s just chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry, it’s like, where is my personalization? So that was one thing we set out to do is make sure that everybody could select for themselves the things that were most pertinent to their life, to their lifestyle, to their personality, to their family, if they have one.
And then I think the second thing we wanted to do is just to get away from traditional benefits where you have to be sick or disabled or dead or dismembered or 65 years old. That was a fun insurance to sell. It’s the best to benefit from your benefits. We just kind of asked the question, which seems obvious now that we’ve been asking it for four years. Where are the benefits that I can benefit from now in my everyday life and perpetuity where I don’t have to be sick, nothing has to be wrong. I also don’t have to wait 30 to 40 years to actually receive some of the benefits. And so those were the two driving forces, personalization and then meeting needs now. And then that led us down this path to services, right? Because services not only are, I think, the way to show perpetual value and perpetual appreciation to your people, but they’re also just how our generation and generations coming behind us spend their money, right? It’s not about how many cars you can get in the driveway or how many stories your house is or whatever. It’s about the trips and the cool subscriptions that you like and the ridiculously fancy coffee that nobody needs, but we all love it. It’s about the feeling of those feelings and those moments that you can generate through really thoughtful and unique services.
So that’s what we do. We provide that to the world. We issue this platform that has all of these options available to employees. Employers simply purchase that. They fund it on behalf of their people, typically monthly, sometimes in other fashions, and then their people can log in and just Jews. It’s curated and personalized, and we try to guide people towards the right things for them and so forth based on where they live and some other demographic things. And that’s fringe in a nutshell, at least as it exists
Jason Murray (36:21):
Today. Yeah. Yeah. I think one of the really cool things is the notion of services and why that’s so different or experiences more specifically. And some of the research that psychologists have done around how humans experience happiness when they make purchasing decisions, I think is really fascinating because the immediate satisfaction of a purchase, like Amazon, for example, feels good in the moment more so than an experience even. But the research has shown that the duration of the happiness over time is far superior. It’s definitive surrounding experiences. And so we’ve seen that with the younger generation, of course, who have looked at their parents and said, Hey, I don’t want to spend my money on stuff. I want to have experiences. And so they’re actually right. I think it’s fair to say that instinct, because the research is showing that as humans, we are wired for that more than we are for the things or the stuff. And so I think that’s something that’s really important to them.
Jordan Peace (37:23):
I think even when you’re receiving a gift, that’s true. Even if you don’t buy the thing yourself, I mean, we’re sitting here January 5th. I mean, we just had Christmas at home with my family. We celebrate Christmas, and if I ask my nine year old “what did you get for Christmas this year?” She could tell me. If I ask her what she got for Christmas last year, no idea. But she could tell me conversations that we had on a family vacation when she was five, because it was part of this experience that was meaningful to her that moved her right. In a way that just, it’s long lasting. So I think very much the same. And whether you’re purchasing the thing or whether you’re just receiving it as a gift, it’s those experiences and those things that are more perpetual in nature are just powerful.
Jason Murray (38:10):
Yeah. Well, that is a topic we’re going to spend a lot more time on in future episodes because I think we both have a lot to say about that. So we have a long standing tradition on this show, long standing, being that it’s our first episode
Jordan Peace (38:24):
Here, long standing since about 36 minutes here. That’s right.
Jason Murray (38:28):
Where I pick a somewhat random word that Jordan then has to work into the conversation at some point in the next episode. And so our word for today, oh no, I will admit. It’s just the New York Times Word of the Day. Okay. I didn’t actually come up with this myself, but I thought it was good. You’d appreciate it is “ameliorate.”
Jordan Peace (38:47):
Jason Murray (38:49):
So, okay, everyone,
Jordan Peace (38:52):
First I’ll Google it and then I will work it into the next week’s conversation. <laugh>.
Jason Murray (38:58):
So look out for ameliorate folks.
Jordan Peace (39:00):
Wow. That’s going to be a
Jason Murray (39:01):
Lot of fun in the next episode.
Jordan Peace (39:02):
Awesome. Well, this has been the very first episode. Thank you so much for joining us on How People Work. Again, I’m Jordan Peace. This is Jason Murray. If you can see the video of me pointing towards him. If not, Jason is on the other side of the mic here. We are so grateful for you listening. Please reach out to us. Let us know topics and things that you would like us to discuss. If there’s any articles that you’re reading that you think we should read, let us know, and we’d be happy to work that into the episode. Kind of like the word ameliorate, we’ll be having guests in the near future as well. If you’ve been a listener and you would like to suggest a guest to us, that has actually gone really well for me in the past. I have suggested guests that just kind of fit and would enjoy this type of conversation. So do that as well. But otherwise, we’ll see you soon on How People Work.