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Protocol | Workplace

Why Monday thinks it can win the future of work

The newly public company has huge ambitions, and a roadmap to get there.

Monday Work OS

Monday had a strong first day as a public company.

Image: Monday

Monday.com's entire U.S.-based team flew to New York for the company's IPO on Thursday, which put more than 200 members of the team in the same place for the first time since the pandemic started. "It was a lot of energy," said co-CEO Roy Mann, uncharacteristically clad in a dark blazer and sitting in front of a screen with Monday and Nasdaq logos on it.

Monday had a strong first day as a public company, with shares of $MNDY jumping about 12% when trading opened, before quickly spiking even higher and eventually ending the day at $178.87 a share. That makes Monday worth about $7.5 billion, which puts it roughly on par with Asana.

Monday is probably best known as a way to manage projects and work tasks, but its vision is much larger. Every company going public likes to pair its current success with an epic plan for total world takeover and change. (Here at Protocol we like to call this the Galaxy Brain Plan.) Monday's is to be the Work OS, a home for every app and tool and integration that someone might need to do their jobs. That's how Monday can avoid being yet another task-manager app, which even the company has acknowledged is a risk going forward.

Work OS is so crucial to Monday's plan that Mann and his co-CEO, Eran Zinman (also wearing a blazer on Thursday), initially wanted the company's ticker symbol to be $OS. That was taken. Others in the company wanted $DONE, but ultimately the team settled on a very Web 2.0 answer: Just drop all the vowels. So Monday.com Ltd. became $MNDY. "Hey, we brought the .com back," Zinman said. "So, you know."

That pitch puts Monday right at the center of two huge trends in tech: the shift to remote work and the no-code and low-code movements. Monday has made inroads at lots of companies by giving them tools to design their own workflows, and integrating with the systems they already use. And as it has pushed to make those things easier, those inroads multiply.

"Investors kept telling us, 'You're on the right side of software history,'" Zinman said. "The basic paradigm of software is, here's a problem, here's a solution. And usually it's kind of a rigid solution, meaning you get what you pay for, but you can't really change it, and you have to adapt how you work to the tool." Monday is working on upending that entirely, bringing all your work data into one place and offering lots of ways to customize and interact with it. "So essentially," Zinman said, "they use Monday in any way they want." Throughout the IPO process, Zinman said, investors were enthusiastic about that idea.

Monday's idea of integrating other tools rather than trying to compete with them has also gone over well, Mann said. "I think that's the biggest thing that's changing" in the industry, he said. "We're not trying to force people into having another source of record, so that they do everything with us. We're really looking at it from the customer perspective, and what's good for them … even if you have one department on the other side of the world that likes another tool, fine! Let's mesh that together."

Going public doesn't change Monday's path, Zinman said. Neither does the hybrid future of work. "We feel pretty confident that we've designed it in the right way," he said. "And five, 10 years from now, people will want to use flexible software, software that can adapt to them, and not vice versa."

That timeline is important, because Mann and Zinman are also trying to be careful not to get ahead of themselves. "Most of the work we're doing today is analog, right?" Mann said. "Meetings are not recorded, people still take notes on notepads." The first job is helping continue that digital transformation, bringing more employees and companies online in the first place.

Still, both agreed that this is a key moment for the company, after a pandemic brought so much digital transformation, so many new people to tools like Monday and an industrywide rethinking of how work gets done. Zinman and Mann insist the game is long and that they're in it for the long haul, but understand that the uncertainty around the future of remote and hybrid work presents an opportunity for any platform and tool that can help companies work better going forward.

So what's next for Monday? Well first, Zinman and Mann will take the blazers off. And then, they said, they'll just get back to it. There's a lot left to do, and a lot of change coming in the next few years. And going public, they hope, gives them even more of a chance to finish the job.

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