An Exclusive Interview with the Founder
Working in an office simply isn’t practical for everyone. For those who work best at night, in their own preferred setting or for people constantly travel, the requirement to work in an office can needlessly limit opportunities. Furthermore, those in the yachting industry are often inspired and driven by their love of the seas. Why constrain this passion to an office?
Digital advancements mean that technically, employees can now work at any time, and from anywhere that suits them. However, for those working in yachting there has not previously been a platform which allows this opportunity. Until now. YManage was created by Alessandro Macri, and is a fully comprehensive digital management platform. It provides a collection of easy-to-use digital products and services that can allow managers, captains and owners to work remotely whilst bringing real value to their yachting business, from wherever they are in the world.
We interviewed Alessandro to find out more about why he founded the business, his plans to shake-up the industry, and why he believes working remotely is the future.
Why did you start YManage?
I knew I wanted to build a company which could flourish in a modern digital environment. The industry was crying out for a platform which allows users the flexibility to run a yacht remotely, interact with like-minded professionals from wherever they are in the world, and take control their own working schedules. This idea developed into what we like to call ‘The YManage Route’, which is centred on seven core values.
Tell us about these values?
Firstly, we are always honest. We treat our clients as our friends and are always transparent in our actions. This is because we respect our industry. Secondly, we aim to provide fast wins, replying to clients and actioning their requests as quickly as possible. Then, we find a way to do it even quicker! We are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our work.
Because of our fast-response model which strives for constant improvement, we aim for good rather than perfection. When working on a long-term basis ‘good’ is always better than struggling to achieve perfect and delaying a project in the process. If it’s good, we say let’s ship it now and improve it later. This helps us to eliminate ‘in progress’ work, the next core value.
We also always seek feedback early on, so that we can react quickly. I believe getting another point of view from colleagues, friends and users should be part of your daily routine – not an extra project. This way, we can ensure we are always providing the best possible experience for our clients. Everything we do; how we act; how we treat our users; how we develop the product – everything should be aimed at creating wow moments. This positive mantra also extends to the YManage team. We all have a high level of respect for each other, and so we always keep promises and stick to internal deadlines.
Using these values as our backbone, we built up the YManage business to create a user-friendly management platform which can be customised to give a range of professionals within the yachting industry the freedom to work from wherever they wish.
So you are trying to promote a sense of community and integrity within the yachting industry through the platform?
Exactly! By providing a space where industry professionals from the world over can come together to share ideas and collaborate on projects, our YManage community will allow people to find new partners who they may otherwise never have encountered.
I have been working in yachting for a long time, over which I have gained a very high respect for the industry. I would never want to provide a poor service, because I know how stressful it can be running a yacht! So, business integrity is also very important to me. The platform aims to make the day to day aspects of running a yacht as easy as possible, providing a quick, friendly and all-round good service to owners, manager and captains as well as a way for them to work flexibly.
Why do you think a comprehensive management platform is so needed within the yachting industry?
At YManage we follow Kaizen philosophy, a Japanese word which, in business, refers to all activities that continuously improve all functions of a company. By improving standardised programmes and processes, Kaizen aims to eliminate waste and maximise efficiency.
We believe that to do this, people need to be allowed to work differently to the norm. Having all their information all in one place gives industry professionals the opportunity to flourish by minimising the time spent searching between different email chains or platforms, and this is something which simple hasn’t existed before now. Our software and range of services always aim to solve or improve upon solutions to industry problems.
Talk us through what you use your platform for on a day-to-day basis
It’s crazy how many things you can actually do with the platform! As a Captain, mine connects me with my crew, the manager and the yacht owner through a virtual office. I manage and organise documents there, liaise with the shipyard in a dedicated work group, connect with our supplier to order furniture and book the next ports. ISM, procedure, and checklist are also managed by the officer and crew, using a different access level.
And that is only within my job as captain. I also run my company and manage projects for each client with my collaborators and partners. My accountant, marketing team, sales department, and developer are all in one easily accessible place… Surely anyone would want the same in their business?
Why do you think it is so important to customise your platform differently for owners, managers, and captains?
I am very aware that an owner, a captain and a manager all play very different roles onboard, hence the three different personas. However, I am also aware that this varies from yacht to yacht. So, the platform can be further customised within those personas to suit the user even better. The more information you provide about yourself, the better the YManage team get to know you and the more efficient the platform will become for your needs. The training we offer to you, the tools, and even the colour of the online profile all can be personalised to the user. And it is all completely focused around helping you self-manage and do more of what you like, from anywhere you want.
Do you feel crew are currently lacking access to education about how to advance their careers?
I have first-hand experience of the passage from working onboard to becoming a Company Director ashore, and it is not easy. I wanted to put all my knowledge and experience to good use.
My platform offers opportunities to new companies and start-ups, but also people who have bad experiences trying to change careers in the past. I believe that in today’s world, background is not so important – instead what matters is how fast you learn. YManage provides easy ways for crew to develop as professionals, by offering lessons that can be taken at anytime and anywhere.
We offer tools to help with the full life cycle of development. We invest in new start-up Directors, introducing them to market-leading businesses and helping them to promote their products in the marketplace. Those trying to advance their careers can also sell their skills on YManage by creating a self-promotional video, which we put out to all of the YManage community.
And you are hiring yourself at the moment – what do you look for in an employee?
We don’t ‘employ’ for specific roles in the traditional sense. I strongly believe in the potential of freelancers. So our company is made up of individuals who may work for different departments but can always become a team for the purposes of a great collaboration, working together to deliver a service or project. We always look to make the most of our employees skills, in order to provide the best possible service for clients. I find it’s an amazing and very effective way to work.
YManage is filled with achievers and we adore knocking things off our to do lists. We are not looking for each interviewee to be the most extroverted Chatty Cathy, we’re just looking to see how the individual will fit inside our team. We want to be sure that they’ve got what it takes to be awesome at their job, while also fitting in with our awesome team – the remote way.
We do not care about nor do we manage the hours that our staff work. The remote culture is something that continues to thrive at YManage, and so members of our team have to be able to manage their own time effectively. We like employees to be able to work at the time they’re inspired and will be most effective, whilst also keeping a work/life balance which makes sense for them.We do expect every member to work at least 40 hours a week, but whether this is at 2am or 2pm it does not matter to us, as long as they are getting their job done and doing great work.
Thank you, Alessandro; we look forward to hearing more in the January edition.