There is also Wikimedia, Canonical, and Mozilla -- perhaps those 3 are less interesting since they have a non-profit mission tied to the internet-as-community and FOSS.
It's worth mentioning that when I started my startup back in 2009 as a fully distributed team, VCs viewed that as a major -1 strike against the company. So much so that we chose not to mention it during initial pitches. We ended up finding Series A/B financing, and these days, those investors ask us to advise companies on how fully distributed teams work, so new portfolio companies can decide for themselves. They were early believers in the model, but they tell me they have noticed a major change in attitude among fellow VCs toward distributed teams. That is, they understand the tradeoffs (finally), and believe the model can scale.
We now have a fully distributed staff of 70, over 400 customers, and millions in revenue. So 1/10 InVision scale, but it works well (and nicely!) at this scale. These days we also have an NYC office, but we refer to it as "the Internet cafe", about 20 of our 70 people "so happen" to work out of there regularly, with everyone else in home offices or co-working spaces. Our NYC office is also used for team gatherings, client events/visits, and board meetings.
I wrote my initial views on the different scaling models for teams here in 2012:
Also wrote a little about how the fully distributed team needs to be complemented, from time to time, with f2f interaction. This was in 2016 after several years of experience scaling hiring and organizing team retreats -- "Fully Remote, But Here For Each Other":
During our latest D round it was a smaller problem since later rounds are more based on financial metrics and comparables (GitHub, Atlassian, Jfrog). But I wouldn't say that it is no longer a problem with VCs, many still have scaling concerns.
As one of the best investors said that passed on us: we're in the pattern matching business and all remote doesn't match the pattern. It might very well work but we will invest only in a handful of businesses anyway, we might as well pick ones that are a complete match.
Does this change your strategy somewhat in that it limits your access to capital which forces you to look at profitability sooner?
The valuation will be lower since an acquisition is less likely. Most acquirers of companies under $100m want the acquired employees to join their office. Since this is unlikely with a distributed team there will be a discount on the acquisition price of up to 50%.
There was an upside to this. Since distributed companies make for a less valuable acquisition target our investors are aligned with our plan to become a public company https://about.gitlab.com/strategy/#sequence-
For public companies being remote is less of an issue since financial metrics are much more important and in the case of an acquisition they would likely stay as a separate entity.
It is not very motivating for you and the team to build for an acquisition. If you want to go that route be careful how much you raise, every pounds has to paid back 3 to 10 times.
Would you be able to spare me 10 mins for a quick chat? I’m a first time founder and really want to learn as much as I can so I don’t screw it all up.
Are you looking for VC funding or angel funding?
If you have the ability to use foreign teams, you are probably better off taking angel funding and bootstrapping.
Remember, VC's want "up or out". "Cheap remote workers" isn't really relevant to that to a first approximation.
In fact, some VC's will look at it as a detriment. They wanted you to spend that couple million and succeed or go up in smoke. With cheap remote workers, you look at that couple million as 3+ years of runway for really solid organic growth.
359 people now, see https://about.gitlab.com/team/
In the one conversation I had with him he coined 'the emergent benefits' of a single application https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/product/single-application... and he said we should call it a Development Operating System (OS). What do other people think of calling it that?
The idea seems pretty straightforward to me and not particularly insightful. Calling it an OS is different from calling it a platform, but effectively it's the same thing. Perhaps more interesting are the implications of that analogy -- do you ship APIs and have a lot of third party people building on top of you like in the Github model or do you go more in the direction of Atlassian? I know that's a bit of a false dichotomy, Atlassian has APIs and Github is clearly trying to extend their toolchain, but in general you have one with a rich ecosystem and the other where you mostly ship what they provide.
For myself, I see GitLab trying to be more of a Github alternative than an Atlassian alternative. I don't know if that's your strategic intent, but that's how it comes across to me. In either case, I think the industry in this space is pretty unexciting in terms of the kinds of innovation that are happening right now. Google still has a toolchain that is a decade ahead of most of us, and I don't see anyone really tackling that head on.
1. GitHub focusses on a marketplace ecosystem (although I hear they will be adding CI soon)
2. Atlassian has a suite of applications that work well together and you can buy as a bundle
3. GitLab is a single application for the whole DevOps lifecycle, one codebase with everything from planning to monitoring, one UI, reliable upgrades, everyone on the same page
So either as an analogy it doesn't work, or this idea doesn't scale. :) BeOS is the only OS I've used that I both liked and that had a single design vision behind it. I think that this is most likely an artifact of it not being successful, though. If it had been widely adopted, it would have gone the way of MacOS or Windows.
It would also be equally interesting to test what the term would mean to different people.
For me, I still find it difficult to wrap my head around the original concept of what an OS is. And Development Operating System would mean an OS that is in development. At least based on first impressions.
I am likely to try something similar with saying “DevOps for ML” or “CI for ML”. Will see how that goes.
1. "Increasing potential hires pool tenfold" => In the view of many VCs the most talented and experienced people will live in the bay area.
2. "effectively double your work day to almost 24 hours by spreading over timezones" => although it is great that our support and site reliability engineers don't have a night shift it is very hard to work across timezones, it makes most part of our company less effective and harder to coordinate, we have to push ourselves to work asynchronous (issues instead of chat)
3. "enjoy a 6-days work week" => we think the benefits of not having a commute belong to the team member, not the company
4. "VCs are worried about your ability to scale" => they are very worried about having the executive team on the same page, not very worried about individual contributors
I always thought that the real estate game was intentionally part of the deal. The idea would be for a group of VCs to pick a target location (say, San Francisco), buy up the local infrastructure (housing, office space, coffee shops, etc), and turn around and rent / sell to the startups that you just funded. This would pad the ROI, so even a company that crashes and burns after 5 years would still be profitable on the basis of the rents paid.
This cycle wouldn't come into play with a remote team. And in that lens, the onerous zoning laws of the bay area make perfect sense
You can never turn a profit on rent paid out of money you gave to someone, just like it's impossible to turn a profit on purchases your employees make from you with the wages you pay them. You're always better off just keeping the money.
- VC raises money to invest
- VC or the individual partners buy the infrastructure (or already owns it through different channels)
- VC instructs companies it funds to use infrastructure it owns
Now, of course there's interest in successes in the fund, but even when a bet doesn't pan out the VC firm can profit
> likely enjoy a 6-days work week
Wait, what? Are remote workers expected to work Saturdays or something?
My assumption is they mean that M-F covers 6 days if you have people in enough time zones, while still paying them for five days.
It would be interesting to know:
- How many other distributed companies have a similar arrangement (i.e., a non-distributed "HQ")?
- Does this make employees more productive and/or satisfied?
- When on the journey does it make sense to transition from centralized to distributed?
- Are distributed orgs more (or less) likely to outsource commodity-esque (e.g., bookkeeping) services?
We are a Delaware C-Corp. Yes, we have our mail sent to NYC, but that's for the lawyers/accountants.
As for the NYC staff, they find that one "problem" with the office is that it has a "library atmosphere". I personally don't think that's problem, but I am the CTO and an engineer, so I prefer quiet & focus. Some people expect an office to have "energy" and ours is definitely lower on that scale. I try to remind people that "the web is our office and the front door to that office is your internet connection."
Are people happier in our NYC office than on our remote team? Hard to tell, but the NYC folks complain about commuting a whole lot, and often take the occasional work from home day to spare themselves of it. I never hear those complaints from the other staff. I guess one benefit of the NYC staff is that they can have happy hours and dinner/drink outings, which inspires some jealousy on the non-NYC team.
We make up for that by throwing annual and semi-annual team retreats. Our last two were in Upstate NY at a writer's retreat campsite (really fun getting to know everyone over campfires and s'mores) and the one before that was in Reykjavik, Iceland, where we rented out a whole hotel and got to know each other on city and countryside excursions during 23 hours of daylight!
Where on the startup journey does transition to distributed make sense? Well, for us, day one worked! We reversed the typical evolution. We were 100% office-free for a few years. Then, in 2012-2013 or so, we got an NYC office, after a frustrating experience with a sub-leased co-working space for the NY staff. But we refer to it as the NYC internet cafe, not HQ. I think that is healthy for teams like ours.
Are distributed teams more likely to outsource stuff? I dunno, probably. We outsource commodity accounting/legal/payroll/benefits services, but we have an in-house finance/collections team. We also outsource PR, cloud hosting (obviously), and we use a lot of SaaS services.
Just to clarify, "HQ" was in quotes, in an air quote sorta way :)
I switched from working remotely to working locally, which involved a change of country, and I realised that I couldn't justify my own position after that.
As far as it goes with productivity and satisfaction, I thought the decision to go half-in on remote was a mistake.
My take away was that a startup does not necessarily have the maturity to maintain the balance between local and remote while also focus on making things happen. It was totally a setup that was so advantageous to the staff that the business itself suffered, as I saw it.
In those terms, you get a reprioritisation or a negligence and productivity suffers because you've just resigned to the reality that it's really hard to manage it all. Yet still, you feel entrenched so the best you feel you can do is to just... do nothing.
I would say that a small startup depends on fluid interaction between founders and the various 'makers' on board who help fulfil the vision. If you're 50/50 on how you facilitate that then you get a lot of mediocre when you could have had one solid thing and your foundation is built upon a compromise.
If I found myself in a leadership position in such a scenario again I would hope that I could stomach the firing act and invest in the culture that suited us best. But I don't think that's so easy to do with a small team.
Canonical is a for-profit company. They're also not fully distributed, either; I have a friend who moved to the UK a couple of years ago to work out of Canonical's headquarters.
Doesn’t this aspect make them even more interesting?
What I meant by that: these three examples might feel, to VCs and founders, like anomalies rather than examples of an alternative scaling model for high-growth software/tech enterprises operating on a startup-to-IPO trajectory. Elastic, Automattic, InVision, Zapier, by contrast, are "traditional high-growth startups" in every respect, but where the founders simply chose fully distributed as the scaling/hiring model.
If you have international employers, there's more complexity besides wiring them funds; you have to ensure you're not violating local labor law as it relates to employee vs contractor classification. Talk to an attorney!
Did you guys first start with the founders distributed as well?
Going to be interviewing some guys who aren’t in the country I’m based in but from a skills and vision perspective, looks to be a good match.
I think what you'll find is that in the founding period, f2f can help a whole lot, and, of course, if you are pitching for fundraising or enterprise clients, you almost always need to do some f2f visiting with people. So, don't be religious about it. But for "the work itself" (e.g. code, design, writing) there is no need to be colocated.
Also, for your remote employees outside of the US, how do you structure your payroll, determine compensation and pay them? Seems like it would be quite an extensive HR payroll setup, which might not sit well with investors or potential acquirers?
My colleagues are my friends and my boss has never once slighted me on anything.
There is something to be said about the perks of working remotely, but for once it is nice to work in a supportive, engaging environment that is close to my house.
What you say sounds plausible, but it runs counter to my anecdotal experience.
I think there are more 35k a year jobs waiting tables in a beach town than there are 150k a year programming jobs in Santa Monica?
Here (EU) it is much easier to find a non-sucking job as a developer as opposed to being a waiter. The people who are trying to find developers have finally figured out that it pays to be nice, if for no other reason, because people talk. If you screw your workers over, you have trouble getting new hires. And it really doesn't cost you much, if anything, to make good working conditions.
EDIT: sorry, software sales is different... probably the same here. :(
My high year in sales was 110k W2, 70k post tax, and 35k post expenses like food rent and car.
My low year was 45k, aka just plain old base salary, and after taxes and expenses I broke even. I was living in a pretty expensive part of Boston. I'm sure I could have found a really nasty bedroom for like $650 if I wanted to haha.
Right now as a waiter I'm making about $600 a week pre tax. I just came off of a $400 weekend working only 16 hours!
My rent here is $650 in a very very nice new apartment and I'm 15 mins from the beach, forest, and farms.
I absolutely would do it all over again. I thank my girlfriend every day for basically forcing us to move out here to Eastern Long Island NY for her medical job, because I never would have had the courage to make this move myself. And, I thought it would be really hard to find a job in software out here, so I just applied to literally anything and the restaurant I work at now was the first offer I received. I plunged headfirst and got lucky! Other restaurants are less of a family than we are.
Life isn't perfect and you need a few thousand in savings to get this all started without going insolvent, but so far I'm loving my new location and new industry.
If you do go for it, maintain contacts elsewhere just in case! :)
I've waited tables before and I'd rather be a software developer for half the median software developer salary than a waiter for 3x the median waiter salary.
Also he was in software SALES not dev, so not an accurate comparison.
The way I see it, he moved to wherever because his girlfriend forced him to, and then lucked into find a good job that they enjoy.
I don't think he was being condescending. I'm at a point where I would absolutely value fresh air, not having to commute more than 15-30 minutes a day, being able to live in a rural area where I can have privacy and space, and other benefits like that far more than the financial benefits. When I started my career I wanted to move up the ladder as quickly as possible so I can earn as much as possible, but I've realized that I really don't care about the money nearly as much as I thought. I don't make a ton, but I already earn more than I spend and am able to splurge on things frequently. If I had to opportunity to move somewhere like that with my girlfriend I absolutely would
I keep nearly all of my gross because of the standard deduction and the nature of cash tips.
My rent is $650 a month whereas most people in the bay or in Boston are paying $2200 for equivalent quality.
I dont spend 2 hours stuck in traffic or a hot subway every day-- most days I ride my moped which gets 90mpg and uses a hilariously cheap blend of oil and fuel from the hardware store.
And, what is most important to me, and this is subjective, is that I actually feel stable and welcome at this employer. I was laid off from the job where I was making 110k gross and banking 30k.
So, why not take a job where I'm grossing in the 30s and banking 15k?
Instead of the "nature of cash tips", it would be more accurate to state "the nature of people to evade taxes (or do other bad things as defined by society) when chances of being caught are sufficiently low".
Also why I always use credit card and tip with credit card.
And for what it's worth I don't think tipping on the card changes anything. When I waited tables we never got any report or anything from the credit card sales.
My morality, which is what informs my outrage (or lack thereof), does not.
It's not my job as a consumer to ensure this happens. The only reason to tip in the first place is because servers' have a lower minimum wage. As a voter, I would support a politician who would get rid of this reduced minimum wage and make it so people weren't guilted into compensating people. It should always be an employer's job to calculate appropriate prices for products in order meet their payroll.
The person stocking shelves at your local grocery store is in a much worse financial position than just about any waiter, despite the ~$3 minimum wage.
But, as you said, you feel welcomed by your employer and feel the job is stable. If this is what you prioritize, that's your decision.
But is it really worth it if you have to live in an area you don't want to live, spend time commuting that you'd rather work on something else, etc. that could potentially affect one's stress/anxiety and even cause health issues? I'm aware that there are people with jobs making 6+ figures that are also very happy with their jobs, but I also don't think it's fair to frame his situation as a negative simply because he could be making more.
Of course not. I'd encourage a passive job search of remote roles. One should always be looking for their next job. One should always be padding their emergency fund, so they have 6-12 months of reserves. The better your financial position, the more power you have over your own destiny.
The OP worked in sales
The town specifically is Head of the Harbor. We've got a year round retiree crowd that comes out even on Mondays and Wednesdays to hear an 85 year old woman sing Sinatra ahha
I am back in software now making 50% more than the prior software job I quit but I work from home and enjoy the industry. Sometimes a break for a few years is just what the doctor ordered.
At the start it was really hard. They would all be in a room together and I could barely even hear them over the phone, much less speak up and say something over their rapid fire conversations. It's gotten better since I've brought these concerns up I'm only on week 4.
We've setup twice a week cisco telepresence meetings and the plan is I fly out every few months for a week.
I'm not too keen on this long term but at least the team is really experienced so I stand to learn a lot. I hope I can take what I learn to my own team soon.
Most employees have at least 2 devices with built-in cameras and a screen that can be utilized for videoconferencing.
Give everybody a headset. Done.
yeah when everyone is on a headset it's fine as long as people mute themselves but when it's a few people on a headset and most in a conference room it's terrible.
Then she’s finally muted, and someone else unmutes and takes over the disturbance.
It’s unimaginable to me...
It's feasible and I would do it again, but the problems you are facing now won't really change much, you'll always be a bit out of the loop (e.g. you will miss that common joke that came out at lunch).
I've also been on the other side and noticed the same issue.
How much this impacts you, is a very personal thing.
Bohemian Coding, the company behind Sketch, employs a few dozen people.
Also, I don't think the web is ready for UI/UX design tools. The ones I've tried feel really slow on my 5K iMac. Maybe in 5-10 years when web assembly is polished and related tool chains...
Invision also has a wider breadth of tools than what Sketch does (though Sketch does what they do in a much deeper way).
Sketch doesn't do personalized enterprise-level service plans (or Basecamp, for a similar example)... so they can be a lot leaner.
I don't know, it still sounds like a lot of people to sustain.
Edit: apparently InVision's revenue is about 10M, so yeah, still running on VC fuel.
1) They're very high touch. Rep-with-a-name, etc. So they definitely employ staff for this.
2) The markup compared to regular invision is huge.
Their tiers go from "we're very small" (5 people on a team) to "pay us for enterprise" way too soon IMO. There exists a design team size (<25-50?) where the cost:workflow tradeoff makes continuing to share logins for a non-enterprise account the smart thing to do.
The teams that tire of, or never play, the shared accounts game bring in a lot of revenue. Big seat costs for very nearly the same thing.
Edit: Also their pricing is just ridiculous. Static hosting is almost free these days, and they charge about $30 per user per month for unlimited projects.
EDIT: You're very much all correct, but I still don't believe that I would be effective without any personal contact. Guess the experience is personal!
Video/screensharing meetings are far more productive in my experience, but only if everybody is using the tool. Its frustrating to hold an in-person meeting at the office, and try to add remote folks. The local ones shut out the 'voice on the phone' and start drawing on boards and paper and it breaks down.
I spent 10 years in a company that had all meetings online, even if you were in the office. It was very productive, with all the automation tools at everyone's disposal at every meeting.
Also with our tool, it took an average of 30 seconds to get a meeting started. Vs the 15-minutes-late average starting time of in-person meetings
For centralized teams, it's difficult to get to this point because it requires willpower and discipline to not take the "easy way out" and just talk about it in-person. Remote teams have an advantage here because there is no easy way out.
But, that comes with obvious drawbacks; it's not easy.
You're right that the worst case scenario is "semi-remote", even if that just means two centralized offices trying to collaborate.
One of the ideas I am warming up to is centralizing (say 75% of) hiring around specific cities, and paying for specific coworking space membership in those cities. You can remain a remote company, but employees have the freedom to organize days when they want to work together in those pre-selected locations.
You must have better phone-meeting tools than my company does.
When I left it was an app that was always-on, keeping all folks logged into the same 'map' network-connected. We could click in and out of one-on-one meetings, standups and bullpens, or whole-company meetings with audio/video setup times in 100ms or so (depending on how far away folks were and the speed of light).
You wanted to talk to Bob, you click into Bob's 'office' and say "hey Bob!" and he says "Hi, what's up?"
It was wonderful. Our media node supported up to 100 participants; there was no friction to conversations, meetings, standups etc. I knew who was active (could see them talking/meeting on the map) and who wanted privacy (had their office door closed). It included chat with unlimited history, persistent document sharing and on and on. It took <10% cpu time even in big meetings, <1% when not in a conversation.
I wanted to build exactly this product half a year ago, didn't know it existed.
I am glad to see it exists. But they really have to work on their design.
Edit: Maybe the skeumorphism isn't so bad actually at explaining the concept to outsiders.
I wouldn’t like it if people distracted me like that. Part of what I like about working remotely is that it forces asynchronous communication on people. Send me a message on slack and I can ignore it if I’m deep in thought. If you need to talk to me over voice chat, send me a message on slack asking me to join you in voice chat.
> I knew who was active... and who wanted privacy (had their office door closed)
Phone is good as a backup to poor internet connection but HD video with good audio is so much better.
Sounds like important brainstorming activities. How do you deal with this when you're remote?
Now it's not only a whiteboard, but I can take screenshots, collaborate with countless others, undo, search, zoom and pan infinitely, etc...
And they can be had for around $100 or less.
Occasionally we'll use OneNote online or https://awwapp.com/ which has more freeform drawing if we need it, but otherwise it's usually just typing stuff out in lists.
This is all on peoples computers, no fancy video-conferencing setups. Those are almost always a waste of money and never work well.
> People get more done when they have autonomy
> the office is filled with distractions. This is especially true for those who are in an open-office space, where they are 15 percent less productive, have more trouble concentrating, and are not too pleased with their sound privacy.
> People are often surprised to learn that remote workers are actually more engaged than in-office counterparts. 
> Perhaps the greatest benefit of remote work is that it makes the way for sustainable happiness — giving people the chance to pursue their passions both in work and in life
And this is not said in the article, but happy people produce better work.
Also, there are more sources in the blog post.
We've written a lot about it, if you want to read more: https://blog.aha.io/?s=remote
Other people working remotely suffer terribly with emotional problems if they don't have enough contact time with real people. Again, some thrive and enjoy the freedom and lack of commute but plenty of people have ditched remote working.
In terms of distractions, some people don't like "distractions" but plenty of companies rely on what might be seen as noise to cause chance encouters, overhearing of conversations and the banter and energy that is much easier to generate in an office.
In terms of work/life balance, remote working sounds great but plenty of people work in offices and still have work life balance. Some of those people's "life" is their co-workers and the time in the pub after work is their social life (not mine but don't judge).
> terms of distractions, some people don't like "distractions" but plenty of companies rely on what might be seen as noise to cause chance encouters, overhearing of conversations and the banter and energy that is much easier to generate in an office.
I greatly prefer using a corporate message service (Google Hangouts Chat, Slack, etc.) for corporate conversations and banter because the conversations are not ephemeral, and you can catch up on things that are happening. Now, obviously, people can have private conversations too, but I think everyone being able to see the public conversations promotes cohesion and alignment.
my home is filled with distractions.
thus if I work remotely I need to go get an office to be as productive as I might be at my best in an non-remote office.
You mentioned that it's much easier for people to grab a colleague in person and show them something on a whiteboard versus having a virtual meeting - and use this to conclude that it's easier to build products in person versus remotely. Perhaps this is true, and perhaps it isn't true; but as a virtual company InVision is forced to find product solutions to these problems, which leads to innovation. That's how being a remote company helps us build better products.
To continue with the whiteboarding example: We created a tool called Freehand that allows you to have virtual whiteboarding sessions that are more flexible than physical whiteboards. Multiple people can whiteboard at the same time, which is harder in person. You can add comments to the whiteboard, create shapes, use colors, and more. Freehands are saved, so you can look back on them later more easily than a physical whiteboard. I think it's more powerful than an actual physical whiteboard and have seen non-remote companies adapt it. You can try it out yourself at: https://freehand.invisionapp.com/
Obviously, not everything about our product is perfect today, but I hope this explains how being remote leads to product innovation.
Disclosure: Obviously, I work at InVision.
IMO, this is such an underrated benefit of remote work. Pushing people towards chat tools, email, and digital drawing tools automatically documents everything. No more wondering what did Joe say in the meeting 3 weeks ago, now I just search my email and/or chat.
Next on my list to look for is a video chat plugin that will transcribe the entire meeting and email everyone afterwards.
That being said, people are all different - specific people may work better in one environment or the other. You may just personally fit in well in an office.
Sure, with Slack you have the option of being ignored/receiver not noticing the message, but a remote-only company should have methods to discourage that. For example, people could set 'office hours' where they agree to be butt-in-chair for some chunk of time every day and actively monitoring Slack.
That line couldn't be more wrong based on my own experience. Perhaps the downvote was because it read like an assertion of an obvious fact when it was just a guess?
What I've noticed:
- When people write things down, communication is improved.
- Ad-hoc communication is far easier with tools like Slack.
My current company is about 1000 employees now. Communication is actually better then my last couple of companies, and I think it's mostly because we have fewer "gatekeepers" of information.
My biggest "issue" with remote working is always when there are differing amounts of remote work within teams.
When you have half the engineers in office, and half remote, the 2 sides end up with communication issues. In-office meetings where a few are remoted in are awful unless the company spends the money on a real remote-conference setup, having co-workers that don't like to pick up the phone and call the remote guy ends up keeping remote workers away from the problems.
I will never work at a remote company that isn't actively working on maintaining a remote workforce. Because even though I absolutely love remote work, it's not easy, even for those that are heavily invested in it.
I lead a dev remote team and I have to actively communicate with people on the office to know about things going on. There is a shitstorm happening and we don't know about it until they need something from us.
It doesn't work in all companies, but you can often work this out in advance. A good sign is obviously if some people already work remotely, but I have found where this works best is if the company already has teams spanning multiple locations and time zones and have the management structure and communication tools developed to do that properly.
I wasn't looking for a remote job to be honest, but it happened. I honestly didn't know I could work for a company remotely back then, I was very young and had not idea about the paperwork, transactions, etc.
There are a lot of players in this, some are just looking for cheap labor, but there are also companies that understand that talent is everywhere and they are looking for that.
Yet, you can receive offers from the whole world.
People underestimate how long commuting takes away from your day. Just the time you take getting ready, waking up early to get breakfast first or even getting out to eat lunch. Normally people don't add those times to the commute total and count only the actual car/bus/metro time.
No matter small those are, they add up and you don't ever get that back. Even if you only take 1 hour a day commuting (rare in my experience) you will get at least 5 hours extra in a week that you can use to... live.
Be it learning time, family time or even just relaxing time, it's 5 hours that seemingly come from out of thin air.
Regardless, my point stands. with that median we'd have 50 minutes every day which would total to ~4h/week literally wasted moving around.
On day-to-day basis I enjoy good coffee, self-made and more healthy food and the possibility to have a quick nap when really needed. I can also take a big break and stretch the workday a bit if I stay available and feel like it.
edit: oh and I forgot: silence or good speakers.
Is InVision considered the best of the design tools compared to competitors?
If you can't hire someone from Japan, your company is probably not 100% remote.
It's very easy to take things normally done in an office and move them to a hangout (or w/e tool you use) but still rely on all the office constraints. A lot of companies still expect everyone to be 100% responsive at all times, add live video feeds to ensure everyone is "working", have the same working hours (as this one) and all the company's processes are tied up to specific hours and people being online.
I'm not saying this can't work. It clearly does. But I don't think it's optimal and doesn't take full advantage of actually being a fully remote company.
As a side note: not all companies can do that. But specially in our field I believe it's doable and personally seen it work before.
I suppose if that ever becomes an issue they could settle on two or three time zones to try and accommodate almost everyone. It can be inconvenient but it can also sometimes be efficient for tasks that lend themselves to working in "shifts". Like you develop your software, you send a version for testing, you go home, you return next morning and people on the other side of the globe have had time to test it and give some feedback.
Of course it can also easily lead to a huge waste of time if you're stuck and you need some feedback from people who won't be available until late in the afternoon in your timezone. It definitely requires very good logistics and planning.
Now, if we're talking early morning and late night conference calls--even on a semi-regular basis, that's one thing. That's pretty common for a lot of co-workers I know. But day-to-day office hours that are in the middle of the night? Not so much.
It's relatively straightforward to schedule some overlap between the Americas and most of Europe. But there's no way to also do APAC in a way that isn't really painful for someone.
I strongly suspect these distributed teams are taking shortcuts.
With contingent employees in the U.S., you can just 1099 them at the end of the year; W2 employees will require reporting and withholding depending on the state they live in. But what about foreign employees? I'd love to hear from anyone who has done this.
How would this actually work in practice? Do bank to bank transfers, or are all of the workers simply contingent employees that invoice and paid in USD or local currency? I suspect they are avoiding paying payroll taxes and not reporting to the foreign taxing authorities.
I have a contrarian viewpoint: I think employment doesn't work with remote work at scale. People want independence and flexibility. A 9-5 workday isn't great for at-home knowledge work, and people want exposure to a variety of projects. I think the future is contract-based. That's what I'm building with Moonlight : a distributed, contractor workforce.
"Contract engineer" has negative connotations in most companies. But, if you can have a multi-month, ~40 hr/week relationship with a contractor, it's easy to get hard work done. Developers work on their terms. Companies get access to amazing people. Hiring takes days, not months. There's no bullshit of traditional employment - like open offices, limits on vacation, or dress codes. The hardest part of becoming a freelancer is the scarcity mindset - building a network, finding jobs, collecting invoices, and lining up your next job. We're solving that by basically becoming a talent agent. To make a freelance lifestyle sustainable, we need to solve other parts of this model - such as community and career advancement. But, we're working on it!
It sounds aspirational. But, over half of Moonlight projects continue indefinitely. When companies like working with somebody, they don't stop.
Look, Snow Crash is not a utopia.
It's not spam for an HN user to link to their work in a relevant context. If he were doing it in lots of threads it would be a different story, but that's not the case here.
Having to be in the same room for many years at the very beginning of building a high-growth venture-backed startup is considered a law of the universe at this point, and it would be interesting to know how much not following it actually hurts you.
Does this only work for people who really have their shit together and maybe have started / sold successful businesses before?
They'll be squeezed from both ends of the market, hard. Seeing how they already have 700 employees, I don't see any break-through technology coming from them, so they're stuck in a highly competitive, stingy market, with VCs, wanting billion dollar returns on investment.
Yikes - unless their entire strategy is one of 500px - to get acquired, by Adobe in this case.
If you are not working, it doesn't matter where you are.
I hope it influences people to migrate from major tech hubs and help boost the economy in rural areas. I am from the rust belt area and it's been pretty unaffected by all of the tech growth. Most of the locals are still hoping for natural gas or coal to start booming again. I hope somehow remote work could help revitalize the area, although I'm not sure it's enough.
I really think as a knowledge worker there is no point to being limited to where you live for employment.
But remote companies seem to be very picky about who they hire. I have not had much luck. Local places won't stop spamming me though.