When small talk leads to new product ideas

For the CEO of software company Wellnuts, chats with other members is integral to developing new products

Palina Leibinskaya, CEO of Wellnuts, a telematics and GPS tracking software company. Photographs by Drew McGill

The ways we work have fundamentally changed. People no longer seek just work-life balance. They want the power to choose when, where, and how they work. They want the freedom to create their own schedules, to do work they find meaningful, and to be in a space that suits their unique needs. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all nine to five. In All the Ways You Work, WeWork members share how they’re reimagining their professional lives and thriving in this new world of work.

When CEO Palina Leibinskaya moved to Los Angeles in 2015, she needed to find office space for the U.S. division of her company, Wellnuts. The software development company focuses on telematics and GPS tracking. Three team members based in California working with clients across the U.S. and Europe would be joining more than 50 based in Warsaw, Poland.

“I was looking for a place where I could work comfortably, meet clients, and be able to scale when the time came,” Leibinskaya says. She chose WeWork All Access for the U.S.-based team because it met all these needs. 

As the CEO of the company, having WeWork All Access meant Leibinskaya didn’t need to worry about the logistics involved with running an office. Instead, she could focus on running the company and building up its U.S. clients and team. 

Leibinskaya can most often be found in her favorite L.A. location, WeWork 12130 Millennium Dr in Playa Vista, a spacious office with a private terrace and open floor-to-ceiling windows. She likes that it has multiple floors with different kinds of spaces to work. A quiet room on the top floor is meant for focusing, and the lower level is set up to be more social, which Leibinskaya has found to be a great area to network. 

I’m very excited to communicate with the WeWork community as potential customers. I’ve gotten great insights from them, which can help me to improve my ideas and products.

Palina Leibinskaya, CEO of Wellnuts

Casual conversations with other people at WeWork about business ideas have been a fruitful way to test the waters for some of Wellnuts’ ongoing and new products, gather some initial reactions, and expand the team’s professional network

“I’m very excited to communicate with the WeWork community as potential customers,” she says. “I’ve gotten great insights from them, which can help me to improve my ideas and products.”

Leibinskaya’s favorite L.A. location is WeWork 12130 Millennium Dr in Playa Vista.

One product Wellnuts is developing is a B2C AI solution that collects and analyzes data from smart devices to help people improve their sleeping patterns. The application checks and diagnoses sleeping issues, then suggests a plan to help someone sleep better. 

This process of gathering initial research through these conversations is not just a bonus for Leibinskaya, but something she finds integral to developing a product. “You will never be sure that what you created is really valuable for people until you ask them,” she says. “And this is a great opportunity to ask.”

“I ask people about their methods—if they use any—to improve their sleep and the apps they know and like in this sphere,” she explains. “We talk about the problems that people usually have with the sleeping process—typically high stress levels, sleep hygiene, an unfixed work schedule,” she says. Over coffee, she might chat with other members about anything from sleep-disorder diagnoses to how much people are interested in improving their sleep. 

The ability to easily strike up a conversation with other people in the space, and learn from their insights, has been an unexpected benefit of the coworking space, Leibinskaya says. 

Leibinskaya is a WeWork All Access member and works out of various locations in Los Angeles.

As the team grows, the flexibility of being able to scale easily and without taking on unnecessary overhead has made the product development and planning process easier. “I can scale my team here very easily without worrying if my office has enough space,” Leibinskaya says. “All the services, like the printer and the internet, I don’t have to think about them—it’s great.”  

One big selling point, though, was that WeWork had locations all over the world, which meant that when the team traveled, they’d be able to conveniently find a space to meet clients and enjoy the flexibility to book different locations and meeting rooms on an as-needed basis. “The multiple locations internationally are priceless when you have your team and clients spread worldwide,” Leibinskaya says. 

Leibinskaya, who regularly travels to New York and Virginia to meet clients, finds it a relief not to have to search for a coffee shop and hope that the space won’t be too loud or crowded. At WeWork, she can simply book a meeting room in the location that’s most convenient. “WeWork is usually located in the city center, and it’s easy for clients to come for meetings,” she says. 

When Leibinskaya is in her home base of Los Angeles, she likes to alternate between different locations. At times, the three California-based team members get together and work in the same location. At other times, each chooses a WeWork location that is closer to where they live. 

WeWork All Access helps Leibinskaya easily meet with her clients.

Because there are so many WeWork locations in the Los Angeles area, Leibinskaya can easily coordinate to be near her clients. “One of our current big clients is based in Santa Monica, and I go there to meet them,” Leibinskaya shares. The Santa Monica office, WeWork 312 Arizona Ave, is a bright and colorful location with murals on the walls, an outdoor seating area, and plenty of room to book meetings. 

Her Warsaw team may soon get to take advantage of the networking and informal research at the office, too. The team recently outgrew its current office, and it turned out the WeWork Private Office Space in Warsaw could accommodate the growing company. 

Leibinskaya is excited about the opportunity to move her team to an office space she’s familiar with, without the burden of managing workplace logistics. “I like that we don’t need to care about facility organization and staff. Instead, we can focus on a productive working process,” she says.

Leeron Hoory is a writer based in New York City who covers real estate, politics, and technology. Her work has appeared in Quartz, The Village Voice, Gothamist, Slate, and Salon, among others.

Rethinking your workspace?

Was this article useful?
Member Spotlight