Name and Role
Danny Stuart – Founder of Workstream Previously and sometimes still on exceptional cases – I worked as a Commercial Consultant on behalf of clients within construction throughout the UK, Ireland and internationally. Qualified as a Quantity
Surveyor, I have worked across multiple sectors from aircraft carriers, wind farms, nuclear power stations and London underground stations. My role was accessing client’s construction contracts for risks and opportunities then pulling together a strategy as to how value would be recovered. Usually, I got in involved in projects once they were in distress, so it was fast paced and a lot of the times reactionary.
Company Elevator Pitch
Workstream provides entry level SaaS services for construction companies to manage their supply chain. Each of our products are customisable and interchangeable with all participants/actors creating profiles that they will develop over the lifetime of their career. We provide time tracking services for sole traders right up to tracking the life cycle of assets on complex national broadband programmes. Our primary focus is to provide transparent supply chain integration and to become the industry standard for data exchange within construction….and then other industries.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in 2021
Just because a company has a large turnover or is market leader doesn’t mean they know what they are at! Although our company is in the early days, some of things our competition does has obviously been decided by someone who has not worked within the industry. In fact, sometimes I wonder how they made it into work that day. Good news for us as it only serves to reinforce our direction, focusing on the end user and adding value.
Do you have any hobbies or Interests
I love cooking. Much to the distain of my wife, Friday and Saturday evening meals are an event that requires me to use every utensil and container in our kitchen, it must also be planned in advance so around Tuesday of each week I begin lobbying her to tell me what she would prefer which she is not usually forthcoming with until Friday morning.
A lot of the time cooking is about the process, breaking down each constituent part, refining it then adjusting it the next time. I suppose like business, the first attempt is usually just about palatable, but results may vary. I have also been known to fire up my BBQ at 3am for dinner the following day. Love skiing as well. Late to the game, the mix of great food, copious amounts of wine and hurtling down a snow-covered mountain is the highlight of my year.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs now?
It is never a perfect time to start a business & if you wait until everything lines up you will never start. All sounds cliched, but School, University and even parents condition us to think that someone else is going to take the lead but in reality, it is you that needs to take the lead. As an entrepreneur you need to get used to being uncomfortable and constantly dealing with
uncertainty. It is how you cope with that pressure and deal with the fall out that will determine the success, it is not just the course of action you decided upon at the outset.
Tell us something that People would be surprised about you.
I have attended 3 different universities. Dropped out twice and graduated once. Much to my mother’s horror each time, I regret nothing but do wish I hadn’t taken the full student loan amount each occasion.
If you could pick a new skill in an instant what would it be?
After a bit of consideration on this, I would say sailing. I currently have a motorboat licence but would love to know how to sail. Its on my to do list once my kids get up a bit so if it could happen instantly that would save me a lot of awkward harbour side conversations trying to convince people to give me a go on their boat.
What do you enjoy most about the Ormeau Baths?
I come from industry where everything is guarded, adversarial and often members of your own team want to see you fail. From the first day I walked into the Ormeau Baths, people took an interest in me, my business and wanted me to succeed. From Claire and Jenna taking the time to introduce me to people and existing members saying hello, this has all made the place genuinely welcoming.
The monthly breakfasts, even the free beer (swall) all contribute to an environment where ideas and concepts are truly exchanged – from this comes real innovation. So many businesses and coworking spaces try to create this but fail with cringy results. Here it seems that the innovation is an organic side note to people having genuine interactions rather than enduring a sales pitch.
I have made multiple connections and people have given me loads of pointers that has propelled our company on. The initial idea I had when I took a hot desk at the baths has now transformed beyond recognition due to other members input. I now have paying customers and it would not have happened it if I was sitting in the house.
Napoleon coffee next door is also a huge bonus, a significant amount of my income is spent in there and will happily go to court with HMRC to have peanut butter balls recognised as a legitimate subsistence expense.
Who is your dream Mentor?
Sarah Friar, CEO Nextdoor
I have often thought about this, purely because over the last year I have often found myself wondering, how do I get to the next step? If you give me all the investment in the world, I will still need direction as to how it is spent. At present I have been feeling my way in the dark although time is now becoming ever more critical, so mentorship has been on my mind a bit.
Firstly, I am not a big social media fan. Sounds counter-intuitive given the community focused element we are taking workstream in but I often fail to see the value, that I as a consumer get from these platforms. I would also have put Nextdoor App into that bracket.
I was not aware that my local area had so many cats, let alone that these cats take themselves off and then reappear quite frequently. That aside, what Nextdoor is doing is creating huge reservoirs of data that could be used from anything from disaster relief, demographic indicators, consumer spending right up to recovery of animals that clearly don’t want to be found.
Sarah Friar has taken an innocuous application, that participants willingly interact with rather than feel a social pressure to engage. This resonates with me, it is decreasing friction to interact and I’d love to get her take on what disasters Nextdoor have had trying to implement features or change. She is also a good news story being from here & someone who is a bit of generalist and willing to do things differently. Something positive to aspire to.
Where can people find out about your business?
We are currently going through a rebranding and website relaunch that will be live in the new year.