Today we’d like to introduce you to Yochai Gal.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m the founder of both two different worker-owned tech companies: San Francisco TechCollective and Boston TechCollective. We refer to both as “TechCollective” as shorthand. I was born in Israel, but raised in California; I started working with computers when I was 17. I’ve always had an interest in worker-ownership, and when I couldn’t find a worker-owned tech business in my area I decided to set up my own.
We opened the San Francisco TechCollective in May 2007. The business has a storefront in the Mission District of San Francisco out of which we provided both residential and business IT support. Over 10 years later, San Francisco TechCollective is one of the highest-rated IT companies on Yelp!
In 2011, I relocated with my wife to her native New England; in May of 2013, I co-founded Boston TechCollective with a new group of co-owners.
Recently, the two TechCollectives and C4 Tech & Design (a worker-owned IT firm out of New Orleans) created a new co-op: the Technology Cooperative Federation. Setup as a purchasing cooperative, it allows us to compete in purchasing power with larger private IT companies and corporations.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been very difficult at the time. Working a co-op is tough – our society doesn’t equip us with tools for cooperation, and for many, it is a steep learning curve. Running a business is even tougher, especially without formal training. We’ve had bad hires, downturns in business, and made many, many mistakes along the way. But in the end, it’s worth it. Owning your own business, and sharing that experience with capable people is one of my greatest joys.
TechCollective – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Our company specializes in providing preventative, modern solutions to our clientele’s infrastructure by offering enterprise-grade support at reasonable prices. We believe in stabilizing our client’s IT systems above all else; we are then able to monitor & respond to issues before they become even bigger.
We do not believe in yoking our clients to our services; as such we do everything we can to enable them to go elsewhere if they see fit. That means we always provide up-to-date documentation to all of our customers and make sure any online accounts are registered under their names, not ours – even if it takes longer, or is more complicated.
We stand apart partly because we eschew the Break/Fix model of modern MSPs, but we also have a key advantage to boot: we are worker-owned and worker run. That means each of our technicians is empowered to act like “the boss” when the need arises; there is no delegation of important responsibilities in our organization. We are therefore leaner and more adaptable: key advantage in this industry. Further, as an owner each technician is personally invested in the success of the business; our workers truly do give it their all.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Leaving the first TechCollective five years after its founding, and then again seeing it continue on after 10 years.
- We list our prices on our website – but in summary: $185 for businesses; $165 for non-profits
- Address: 231 Holland St
- Website: https://techcollective.com/boston/
- Phone: 617-639-1230
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bostontechcollective/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/bostontechcoop
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/boston-techcollective-somerville
Charlie Hoover (email@example.com)