As we’ve monitored and responded to COVID-19 developments, one thing has become clear from the beginning: We are all in this together.

As a company that partners hand-in-hand with local entrepreneurs and employs hundreds of hourly workers, we are acutely aware of the existential risks that small businesses face in times of crisis. And yet, as a company with a national presence, experiencing an event powerful and widespread enough to simultaneously impact every one of our 20 cities is indeed rare.

In our country, the sad truth is that many members of our workforce are more frightened of losing their jobs than they are of contracting this virus. …

Founder Stories

Today’s entrepreneurs are learning the hard way that building for the long term is the only option

Photo: Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

There’s an old fable that goes way back (stop me if you’ve heard this one) — it involves a tortoise, a hare, and a hair-raising (pardon the pun) race to the finish line. In the story, the hare is so confident in his undoubtable success, so brimming with ego, that he misses all the obvious signs and strays from the course to take a nap. Meanwhile, the tortoise remains constant in his mission, marches over the finish line, and wins the whole thing.

I’m starting to think there are a number of entrepreneurs who have forgotten this childhood tale.


Founder Stories

By making our employees W-2 workers with full benefits, we’ve helped them succeed and benefited our business

A photo of Marcela Sapone at Collision 2019.
A photo of Marcela Sapone at Collision 2019.
Marcela Sapone, co-founder & CEO of Hello Alfred, on Startup University Stage during day three of Collision 2019. Photo: Sam Barnes/Getty Images

I’m well familiar with the initial lure of the gig economy. Five years ago this week, on September 14th 2015, my cofounder Jessica Beck and I launched our company, Hello Alfred. As entrepreneurs developing a service-based idea, everyone we spoke with championed the idea of “flexible” 1099 labor. Instead, we made a purposeful decision to buck the trend from the beginning, choosing instead to make every employee at Hello Alfred a W-2 worker with full benefits despite higher cost, complexity, and commitment, because of what that meant to our team and customers.

The sad reality of this moment is that…

The Future of the Home is the Community that Surrounds it

Fast Company announced today their list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be included in this prestigious list (again!) as one of the top companies in Urban Development and Real Estate.

Home is a sacred space — it’s “our corner of the world.” We believe home can extend to the buildings and communities we live in, the local businesses in the neighborhoods around us, and the cities where we plant our roots and make our lives. We’re working to make city life…

Your job is to put yourself out of a job

Photo: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen via Unsplash

When you start a company, doing every job yourself is a practical matter — there’s quite literally no one else there to do the work. But when my co-founder and I launched our startup in 2014, we also saw value in doing every job in the company ourselves.

We wanted to understand every atom of the business we were building. If we didn’t know what needed to get done, we wouldn’t be able to delegate it to someone else successfully. …


This article originally appeared on

The best way to have a meeting is to not have a meeting.

Or, to be clearer, that kind of meeting — the wandering, overlong, scheduled roadblocks that can suck away our energy and time. Meetings where no one’s really running it, the conversation quickly derails, no decisions are made, and no one leaves with a clear idea of what to do next.

The meeting you want to have is the one that leaves you feeling energized, with more clarity and focus than you had going in.

Great meetings look and feel like the…

The Hello Alfred Product-Engineering Team (at least the members we managed to corner in our NYC HomeQuarters). Photo credit: Tyler Gardella

It’s always great to see Hello Alfred featured in Fast Company, especially when they give some well-deserved shine to our kickass ProdEng team. We just wish they had included a photo of the story’s true heroes. I’m correcting that here.

Hello Alfred is a first-of-its-kind service and technology company, but the tech behind the service (like the team that built it) can be hard to see. That’s by design: it’s an online operating system that seamlessly synchronizes the flow of goods and services we provide offline — and it’s powerful. …

Speaking at the Fast Company Innovation Festival with (from left) Convene’s Chris Kelly, Fast Co.’s Liz Segran, Clique’s Katherine Power, and Gwynnie Bee’s Christine Hunsicker. (Photo credit: Monika Ploc)

If you want to build a business that lasts, sometimes you have to go slow to go fast, learn how to sprint for distance, and start to think of your customer as your best competitor.

At last week’s Fast Company Innovation Festival, Fast Co. reporter Elizabeth Segran asked a panel of four startup founders how to avoid the perils of growing too fast — often cited as a primary reason why 75% of startups don’t survive. …

Photo credit: Monika Ploc

I’m a proud alum of Boston University, so it was a great honor to be invited to participate in a conversation about founding and scaling a startup at an alumni event today in New York City. It was also a great chance to connect with graduates of BU’s College of Engineering on the importance of engineering with empathy — a subject that’s fundamental to Hello Alfred, the company I co-founded in Boston four years ago.

As a hospitality and tech platform that provides personal help inside people’s homes, our product is fundamentally about building trust — not just with our…


We all toil under a tyranny of to-dos. Life can feel like an endless succession of tedious tasks we struggle to complete, and we may cross everything off our to-do lists, but it can still feel like we aren’t achieving what we really want. It’s why we click on every productivity hack that pops up in our feed while half-read self-help books pile up on our nightstands.

I run a company dedicated to helping people get their tasks and to-dos done. If there’s one piece of advice I’ve learned that can make all the difference in how we approach work…

Marcela Sapone

Lit up all year long. CEO & Co-Founder of @HelloAlfred.

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