Watch: Parabol's CEO on How to Make Remote Meetings Actually Useful

Kelly O'Grady
Kelly O'Grady is dot.LA's chief host & correspondent. Kelly serves as dot.LA's on-air talent, and is responsible for designing and executing all video efforts. A former management consultant for McKinsey, and TV reporter for NESN, she also served on Disney's Corporate Strategy team, focusing on M&A and the company's direct-to-consumer streaming efforts. Kelly holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. A Boston native, Kelly spent a year as Miss Massachusetts USA, and can be found supporting her beloved Patriots every Sunday come football season.
Watch: Parabol's CEO on How to Make Remote Meetings Actually Useful

The pandemic has made remote work a necessity. While going to the office used to be a chore, many of us are now wishing for the day when we can once again return to in-person operations as zoom burnout and awkward remote interactions take their toll. But what if "work from home" is here to stay? How can we do it successfully?

In this installment ofdot.LA Dives In, we talk with Jordan Husney, CEO and founder of Parabol, an app that allows remote employees to meet, collaborate and form genuine connections — wherever they're located.

During his days as a management consultant, Jordan met one of his executive clients on site in Fairfield, Connecticut — they were both late because of terrible traffic. She gave him a window into her calendar that was stacked with video conference meetings. It was a trend Husney had noticed at companies, and he couldn't help but wonder why clients did not conduct more business from their couch.

"All of our executive clients were de facto remote workers because their employees were global, and they were showing up to the office out of habit. I couldn't unsee that, and I thought, 'This is going to keep extending'," Husney said.

In August 2015, Parabol was born. With a focus on agile teams, the app seeks to make it easy for employees to have great remote meetings when they don't have the luxury of a conference room.

"The success of a meeting depends on the talent of the participants in terms of their ability to facilitate the time they spend together," said Husney. "We try to break down the meetings into these discrete little activities that you can do that are actually fun, and that lead you to a result that is always useful."

Husney said he sees companies simply taking everything within an office and trying to do the exact same thing virtually — down to virtual lunches and golf sessions to woo a client — rather than focusing on the core aspect of an interaction they are trying to recreate. But the problems extend beyond trying to sign a client virtually.

"When am I on, and when am I off? And how do I broadcast what I actually need from any given day? So many folks came from office cultures where they looked up to the boss to establish the cultural norms," Husney said. "When you're away and the boss isn't looking at you, there is actually a responsibility on you to say, 'I'm starting work, I'm stepping away'."

A big part of the success of remote work is building an authentic culture. Husney believes you can do that with the help of tools like Donut and Icebreaker. But building culture also requires being intentional about how you utilize your employees' time, whether it is a business meeting or a social event.

"What do people hate? They hate having their calendar chewed up with a bazillion meetings," Husney said. "What if, now that you're in a remote context, you could start from a principle where by default there are no meetings, and your work could be fully done on your own time. Then, when you have 'mandatory fun time', people are kind of hungry for the social interaction."

Watch the full interview here:

Jordan Husney: Parabol & the Future of Remote


Kelly O'Grady runs video and serves as the chief host & correspondent for dot.LA. Find her on Instagram @kfogrady and email her at kelly@dot.LA.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

So, what does this mean for tech workers in LA County?

Read moreShow less

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

Read moreShow less

Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

Read moreShow less