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Interview with Larry English

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Interviews,

Larry English

Larry English

President & Co-Founder of Centric Consulting

Key Topics:Remote Working
Location:United States

Larry is author of Office Optional: How to Build a Connected Culture With Virtual Teams, a roadmap to virtual work success. The book draws on his insights as cofounder and president of Centric Consulting, an award-winning business and technology consulting firm that has been virtual-first since its founding more than two decades ago.

Larry recently featured in Onalytica's Who's Who in Remote Working? report.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

Right out of college, I worked for a large international consulting firm. I found myself burned out at 25, so I quit my job, backpacked around the world with my wife and tried to find my path in life. Shortly after returning home, I and my like-minded friends founded Centric Consulting. We wanted to build a better version of consulting that would deliver great work and keep employees happy – being remote was a big part of achieving that vision. We’ve now been operating and excelling as a virtual-first company for more than two decades. In that time, we’ve grown to more than 1,100 employees across the U.S. and India, winning numerous awards for our culture and innovation. I’ve experienced and persevered through every challenge remote work has to offer, and now regularly guide other organizations on adopting a hybrid or virtual-first model.

What sub topics are you most passionate about?

The future of work and building culture in a remote company. These topics are about so much more than how businesses are changing– there’s a real altruistic side to the future of work. To quote Netscape creator Marc Andreessen: “This is perhaps the most important thing that’s happened in my lifetime, a consequence of the internet that’s maybe even more important than the internet. Permanently divorcing physical location from economic opportunity gives us a real shot at radically expanding the number of good jobs in the world while also dramatically improving quality of life for millions, or billions, of people. We may, at long last, shatter the geographic lottery, opening up opportunity to countless people who weren’t lucky enough to be born in the right place.”

Who influences you within these topics?

Matthew Mottola, Laurel Farrer, Phil Simon, Chris Herd and Paul Estes. There are different things I’ve learned from each of them, as each individual offers a unique perspective on the future of work – Phil talks about asynchronous collaboration, while Laurel focuses more on the people/culture side, for example.

What challenges are brands facing in this space?

Old-school thinking that remote can’t work. There are a number of things I typically hear – you can’t have strong culture when everyone is spread out, innovation can’t be done remotely, etc. My company is proof that these are incorrect assumptions. We’ve also heard that leaders just don’t want to deal with the work of putting together a hybrid workplace strategy. They don’t see the value, but the truth is that companies that fail to get on board will lose talent and find it more difficult to compete in the future marketplace.

What do you think the future holds in this space?

The move to remote will permanently transform how everyone works and lives. This shift has the potential to improve the lives of people all around the world by removing the barriers to participate in the knowledge economy.

What brands are leading the way in this space?

Centric Consulting, GitLab, FirstbaseHQ, Automattic – these companies are pioneers in virtual-first work and have proven that the model works better than having everyone in an office. They’ve all been virtual-first for a long time and have figured out how to overcome any challenges that pop up when workers are geographically distributed.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

Podcasts, whitepaper, speaking opportunities, webinars.

What are your passions outside of work?

Adventure travel, adventure sports, golf, reading, being happy.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?