Andrew Farah, the driving force behind Density, is on an ambitious mission: to measure every inch of built space globally.
It all started with a simple inconvenience — a quest to know the occupancy of a coffee shop in snow-burdened upstate New York. But as is often the case, simplicity begot complexity. Counting people became a challenge Farah would wrestle with for nearly a decade. From its coffee shop roots, Density evolved, focusing its innovative radar sensors on large corporate office spaces, aiming to gauge how humans interact with their workplaces.
The sleek radar sensor, reminiscent of an Apple TV, is installed in open spaces, anonymously counting individuals, and serving that data back to various systems in real-time. But what makes Farah’s venture especially timely is the post-COVID world's corporate real estate dynamics.
With a staggering 41% of U.S. office space, approximately 4.4 billion square feet, lying vacant but paid for even before the pandemic, Density's data becomes particularly invaluable. The pandemic has only amplified these inefficiencies, spurring C-level executives to question the true performance of their physical assets.
When Density announced its people counter and API, corporate interest surged, affirming its groundbreaking approach. With 99% of the world’s buildings still unmeasured, Farah is conscious of the monumental endeavor ahead, emphasizing a multifaceted strategy that includes prioritizing privacy, creating user-friendly APIs, and targeting potential large-scale clients.
Farah’s philosophy on leadership is rooted in change, and he views regularly revisiting past decisions as indicative of growth, “If you are not looking back at your decisions or your opinions three months ago and thinking, ‘man, that was stupid’… you’re not changing fast enough with your company.” This acceptance of change, the pivot from product passion to people management, defines his tenure as CEO.
The hiring process at Density is a meticulous one, with Farah personally interviewing every final candidate. Despite some resistance from the recruiting team, he finds value in this approach, fostering a mutual understanding of the company’s mission and ensuring not only a cultural fit but a “cultural addition,” someone who brings a new dimension to the existing team while aligning with the company’s values.
Speaking of values, he explains they should not be set in stone from day one, but observed and derived from the team’s best moments. “Values…tend to be best or most useful or stickiest when observing your team when they are at their best,” he states.
Farah's leadership style is characterized by sharing context and setting the stage for teamwork, prioritization, and sequencing. His approach demystifies the often complex dynamics of leadership, clarifying that the CEO’s job is not to have the team catch up to their vision but to provide context for a reciprocal, balanced operation.
In a gesture of paying it forward, Farah advocates supporting other founders and CEOs, emphasizing the ripple effect of positive introductions in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. His enthusiasm for helping others is infectious, portraying a CEO focused not only on his company’s success but on uplifting the entire startup community.
As he leads Density into a future where every square foot counts, Farah’s vision is anchored in solving fundamental problems and contributing to the larger entrepreneurial story. His insights offer a glimpse into the mind of a CEO who is shaping the future of his company and supporting others in the process.