My Second Home: James Hamlin
European Managing Director, TaskRabbit
TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that matches freelance labour with local demand, allowing consumers to find immediate help with everyday tasks, including cleaning, moving, delivery and handyman work. Founded in 2008 by Leah Busque, the company has received $37.7 million in funding to date and has tens of thousands of vetted, background-checked ‘Taskers’ available to help consumers across a wide variety of categories. Busque founded TaskRabbit when she had no time to buy dog food, basing it on the idea of “neighbours helping neighbours” – an ethos we share here at Second Home. European MD, James Hamlin, talks about the company’s evolution and why he enjoys being based at Second Home’s Spitalfields campus.
What is the best bit about working at Task Rabbit?
We’re changing people’s lives, everyday. We are revolutionising everyday work, both in the UK and the US allowing both our Clients and Taskers to become their most productive selves. We enable Taskers to work flexibly, setting their own rates, locations and hours, Tasking at a schedule that suits them. We allow our clients to focus their precious free time on the things they love whilst our great Taskers handle their everyday work and chores.
What recent project are you the most proud of and why?
We’ve recently launched our first physical retail partnership in London. It’s extremely difficult to pair the worlds of app based commerce with large scale physical retail so I’m extremely proud of the work carried by both teams, on both sides of the Atlantic.
What do you want your company to achieve within the next year?
I want TaskRabbit to continue to spread its message, mission and vision around the revolutionising of everyday work to more people, cities and countries across the world through more scalable channels, vehicles and distribution points.
What advice would you give somebody thinking about starting their own company?
Focus on the “Why”. The “How” is the simple part and the one you’ll naturally be drawn to first. The “Why” will get you through the inevitable challenges and provide the motivation you’ll need to get through the pain, long hours and all encompassing commitment.
We built the World’s second largest Internet Personals business and sold to our main global competitor, Match.com in 2003. It was during that time I discovered the building blocks to E-Commerce, Marketing, Growth and Operations that defined the career that I then went on to achieve.
During this period, my first boss Samantha Bedford was my inspiration, she took me under her wing, told me when I was being a nob (I was in my early 20’s — it was often)and taught me work ethic, a numbers focused approach and putting the needs of the team before herself. I wouldn’t be where I am without Sam.
“Second Home has allowed our business to be extremely effective without the hurdles that come from managing our own space. The space grows and adapts as we do, listens to us and learns based on what we say and feel. It has always felt part of the team.”
How has being at Second Home helped your work?
It’s allowed our business to be extremely effective without the hurdles that come from managing our own space. We can be flexible when we need extra staff, effectively host partners and colleagues from other offices and also carry out our in-person orientation sessions within the building. The space grows and adapts as we do, listens to us and learns based on what we say and feel. It has always felt part of the team.
What is your favourite design feature about Second Home?
The plants. All 3000 of them. They bring a warmth to the surroundings but also help to provide a constant sense of vibrancy and life. The Hanging Gardens remain my favourite Second Home spot and one where collaboration is at its richest.
What company at Second Home fascinates you the most?
There are so, so many but to pick one it would be YourWelcome — I love their approach to enhancing local experiences for guests and property owners and have so much respect for the supply chain they have built to distribute a physical product across the world.
Outside of work, what place in London stimulates your imagination the most and why?
Wimbledon, where I live. Apart from two weeks a year it’s a place that no-one ever really talks about. With the Temple, the Common, the Village and wonderful sense of community that you’ll find in few places in the capital, it’s a place that I rarely want to leave at weekends and one that’s perfectly suited for bringing up my young family.
We ask everyone to select a book that will inspire others and become part of Libreria’s permanent collection. Which book would you choose and why?
Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. A book that changed my life and was the stimulus for me to achieve extraordinary breakthroughs in work, family, health and life.
Second Home is a creative workspace and cultural venue, bringing together diverse industries, disciplines and social businesses. Find outmore about joining us here: secondhome.io