Member Spotlight: Phil Shih
If you’re an entrepreneur, how would you describe your job? Would it simply be about the freedom, autonomy and joy of working for yourself? Probably not. While being your own boss is an amazing experience, there’s no question that starting something from the ground up takes a lot of time, energy and a fair bit of grit. There are times when the challenges seem greater than the rewards — sometimes when you solve one problem you’re faced with 2 more.
As an independent, Toronto-owned and operated flexible workspace provider to teams both big and small, we know what those challenges are and feel privileged that we can make it easier for you to focus on the real work. By trusting us with your workspace needs, which is what we do best, you get to focus on what you do best.
Phil Shih is an entrepreneur who became a Workplace One member a decade ago when he founded Structure Research, a provider of insights and marketshare data on the Internet infrastructure market. In Phil’s own words, “If you are looking for a grounded, independent opinion on the digital infrastructure market with a global perspective, look no further!”
Not everyone may need to know about off-site data storage, but the security and accessibility of large amounts of important data is of extreme value to any business, particularly enterprise companies. Think about when a big-box store announces a huge online sale: the website is inundated with users all at the same time; all adding items to their carts, which need access to a database to ensure stock levels are correct; shipping costs are being calculated; tax rates need to be tallied; and so on. That company needs to know that: a) their website can handle that kind of traffic; b) there will be enough capacity in their servers to deliver the information; and c) all of their cloud-based systems can handle all of the information that is being sent in all directions.
Oversimplifying, Structure Research can tell said-company whether that is a yes or no. And if not, then how they can find a solution.
Phil’s decision to leave his job with a larger traditional firm and start Structure Research came from his desire to do things differently and offer a truly unique approach to the service they provide. As Structure Research explains, a major aspect that sets them apart from larger and traditional organizations includes their middle market approach rather than an exclusive enterprise focus like “most incumbent research firms”. They are also key disruptors in their approach to analyze sector trends and developments in new ways. “We take pride in being a boutique firm with no bureaucracy. We get stuff done and get it done quickly”. With a business philosophy like that, we couldn’t think of a member who fits with our own Workplace One approach better.
While many members find a Workplace One location to call their forever perfect workspace, others often find that their business needs change and develop based on the numerous and constantly evolving challenges that they face. Phil’s first challenge he had when looking for a workspace was the fact that he was a mature professional who wanted a nice space where he could focus; a place that was highly professional and free from distractions. On the other hand, he was assembling a team that required a fresh, younger take on his industry and therefore needed a space that catered to “millennial sensibilities” as well as his own. Phil comments that Workplace One meets all of his professional needs, while also having a fresh and energetic sense of community that his younger teammates value in a workplace.
The next challenge Phil faced in his entrepreneurial workspace journey was that he and his team members were coming in from different areas of the city. “It was so important to have a space that gave all of us a reasonable commute, whether off of transit lines or within walking/biking distance”. This evolving need had Phil change the company’s location from our Liberty Village workspace to our Bay-Bloor hub that the team still calls home today. Even though Structure Research has a their private office location at Bay-Bloor, Phil knew that many of his long-standing clients and companies weren’t always the best at updating addresses and wanted to maintain the companies presence on the city’s West End, so Phil maintains his virtual office services at our Liberty location while working consistently out of his Bay-Bloor private office.
As service providers (albeit in a different way), we understand the importance of providing our members with solutions. That’s why we say that we do the work that lets you get right to work.