Interview 15 - Sean Hinton

“The question on a lot of people’s minds is what are the jobs of the future? What are the skills of the future? Where do I fit into that future? As the future of work unfolds and as jobs change our goal is to help people in a very simple way, understand how they can be in the best position for the future to remain relevant to the workforce and to continue to get training.”

Sean is the co-founder of SkyHive. Sean was doing a start-up pitch and exhibiting at Start-Up Grind San Francisco when I noticed the Canadian company. “Established in 2016 with the mission of tackling global poverty and unemployment, SkyHive aims to utilize its exponential technologies to facilitate labour market transformation, upskilling, and lifelong learning.”

A real-world example of Sean and SkyHive’s impact is to help recruit woman into the Canadian Armed Forces. Canada wants to increase their recruitment of woman in the military by 10% by 2025, one percent per year. SkyHive technology looks at skills matching, not job matching to identify female candidates. Sean has 18 full-time employees and 7 contractors, they are growing very quickly.

As far as leadership, do you prefer a horizontal or vertical approach to your ever-growing company?

“We run what’s called a holacracy - our boss is our customer. In a holacracy you need two colleagues approval and you can just go and do something whether it’s me or a junior developer. Therefore, the company is free to operate in a way that is best for our boss, our customers.”

Sean went on the say that this holacratic approach has been proven to be harder to maintain once a company hits 150 employees, but he hopes they can maintain this ideology. Sean ended the question by stating that 40% of their team is female and they want to practice what they preach in terms of equality and diversity.

Millennials, do you believe the myths?

Sean said they have two co-op teenagers, their youngest employee is 22, and the average employee is 28. Sean says the myths about work ethic and millennial stereotypes are complete myths.

“My team is amazing. I think the difference is the millennial workforce wants a rallying cry. They want something to work for that is greater than just a paycheque or just because their boss has said something. At SkyHive, our village has come together because people believe in solving this problem. For us, it’s about economic empowerment, it’s about helping people find what they are capable of doing and love doing. Because of this rallying cry, our people are exceptionally hard workers with amazing positive attitudes.”

Tomorrow’s technology – what do you believe it is? Where do you see it going?

“AI is the leading tech to bring society forward – let me explain why. When you think about synthetic bio, IoT, AR; the basis for these technologies is AI. AI is still in its infancy with respect to how we understand it. I am into deep learning and neural networks. If a company is saying they can do machine learning and verbal AI or predictions, you have to be very cautious about them. If IBM Watson still has trouble doing it, how will a start-up? I think within the next five years we will be a lot further in machine learning and this predictive side of AI.”

Sean was an extremely down to earth guy with honest vision and unique charisma. It was a pleasure sitting down and getting to know him and his business initiatives. The way Sean manages his business was unlike anyone I had spoken to before and there were many things Sean spoke about that will aid me in becoming a better entrepreneur for the future. I cannot wait to cross paths again, thank you Sean!

Sean and I at Starbucks in Redwood City, CA.