Having the kid and dogs around, combined with occasional errands and household tasks, provides the exact right amount of distraction and interruption I like to have. I typically only work in 2 hour increments, and then tend to another responsibility, or purposefully head out to do something for an hour. Breaks in the day keeps my mind fresh and oddly enough, allows me to focus more when I sit down to work.
As for what the optimal setup is - that's incredibly personal and subjective, and everyone needs to figure that out for themselves over time.
Some generic advice would be:
- set at-work time limits
- set off-limits hours where you do not work under any circumstances
- find a comfortable space (that can be anything from a coworking space, to the living room)
- find your perfect "white noise." it can get really quiet at home. having something in the background can help. I personally like to keep netflix running, or a movie streaming.
One thing I've struggled with in the past is employers who seem to expect 8 hours of solid productivity a day if I'm remote.
When I was in the office, it was easier to say "well sorry, I've followed up twice in 3 days on issue x, and unfortunately you got back to me after I'd left for the weekend".
When I'm remote, since there is the flexibility to stop and start work, but that seems to come at the expense that when doing work that requires collaboration, someone can delay responding on something that's a block, and then there's some pressure to "make up" for the "unproductive" time. You don't get any good grace for "being present" and there's less of the social aspect. (If I had downtime in an office, I might make some tea and ask a coworker about their kids/hobbies, a random slack DM feels intrusive)
How did you handle this issue? Did you just establish "core hours" you are available?
I've encountered similar issues in non-remote workspaces, and it's something I'm keenly interested in. I am not a lazy person, but I desire a delineation between "work time" and "personal time", and struggle to set that boundary without seeing my career struggle.
The second is that you have to set expectations early, and stick with them. If you want to work set hours, then state that. Don't be easily accessible outside those hours.
Personally, I'm almost always available if something needs done at work, but very rarely have to jump up and do something immediately. It's rare that I want time completely separate from work, but when I do I just let my team know in Slack that I'll be incommunicado and it's not an issue.
I totally agree. However, the issue is being "engaged to work" as labor lawyers put it. If I am waiting for you to give me the information nessecary to perform those two hours, it can be a block on my day.
For example, my ideal day would involve waking up, doing some head down work for 2 hours, and then using the rest of the day to do more rote tasks - having meetings, reading up on technical developments, working less brain intensive stuff like tweaking some automation scripts, or anything else that can be done knowing someone might pop in with a question or concern.
But if instead I wake up, find no responses on 3 separate issues, sit through a long meeting skype meeting, then am frequently "pinged" for questions throughout the day as I attempt to do productive tasks so I can't take some "me time" and 8 hours later, someone responds on the core issue I need to work in... I think this illustratates the issue I and other remote workers often face.
>The second is that you have to set expectations early, and stick with them. If you want to work set hours, then state that. Don't be easily accessible outside those hours.
This is a good suggestion, maybe my issue was that the specific employer I'm thinking of did not have a good culture. I tried to set that expectation but got strong pushback from my manager that as a salaried employee I do not have set hours.
>It's rare that I want time completely separate from work, but when I do I just let my team know in Slack that I'll be incommunicado and it's not an issue.
You don't have any set times/days?
For example, I don't want to be inflexible - if I don't have evening plans I don't mind answering a slack query while I Netflix, but what I fear is if I do that sometimes, it sets a precedent I must do it at all times.
For me, having set times where I am "not at work" is very important, and I actively am thinking about how to set those boundaries without being a burden. I'm not a religious person, but maybe I should try saying Sundays are a day of rest for me...
This is how my office life is..
Except I work on a very large project. So my tasks are so much smaller and less significant than I could handle, it probably takes 50% of my capacity just to figure out how to work productively and efficiently. So regardless of my productivity I very rarely let myself work more than 8 hrs / day.
It's sad that in certain environments you're literally just not going to be "allowed" to work at your full capacity at any given point in the day.
> One solution to my problem is the Pomodoro technique, which is a method to break down work into intervals of 25 minutes.
> A study (that helped me to figure out that question) reveals that the average worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes per day, the remaining time is spent in activities unrelated to work (checking social media, reading news, discussing out of work activities with colleagues, etc.).
> Taking the 2 hours and 53 minutes as base, that gives us approximately 7 intervals of 25 minutes, although in practice I’m doing 8 to 10 intervals. This could vary per person and the type of work, but at least we could consider 7 as the minimum. Also I found out that writing down consciously what I’m going to do in my next interval helps me to create peace of mind about my productive time, because at the end of each day I finish with a task history that justifies my work.
> After a few months using a spreadsheet and a Pomodoro timer I was looking for a solution to integrate these tools seamlessly, Despite trying different and complex Pomodoro apps I decided to create a simple and minimalistic solution named Work & Flow
One of my friends does nanny share and can work in his basement. That would work well, but you still have to be in stealth mode around the kiddies.
- Newborn to ~6-9 months: not mobile, and not too demanding either (especially early on)
- 6-9 months to 3 years: mobile and constantly trying to hurt themselves
- 3-5 years: mobile, mostly safe, but not understanding what "no" or "I'm busy right now" or "I'm on the phone" or "I need privacy" means; also not napping anymore, which means you lose that daily couple hours of bliss
- >5 years: gets progressively easier as kids begin to get independent and (somewhat) reasonable
Of course, this timeline is different for every kid.
We have four kids ranging in age from 1-7 years old. I work from home, but rarely am I in charge of taking care of the kids (right now, for instance, my mom is watching them while my wife runs errands). On the occasions where I am solely responsible for them, I consider any work I get done to be a bonus.
Toddlers, on the other hand, are little balls of pure energy that get into anything and everything they can touch.
It was hardest for me around 3... my son just wanted to play all of the time.
I'm not sure how you could get much of anything done attempting to do that.
Do you have any particular strategies for getting work done, and somehow keeping your child safe, entertained and developing?
I've got a 6-month old daughter, but my wife doesn't head back to work for another 3 months. I'm a bit concerned about my productivity once that happens.
I absolutely love spending time interacting with my daughter, in my free time. However, I presently find it near impossible to work when I'm the only carer around, unless she happens to be asleep. Hopefully that changes in 3 months and she's capable of short periods of independent play - but I'm not quite sure what to expect.
I've worked full-time at home for approximately the last 5 years. So I have very much got that down pat. Unfortunately, I can't work on a laptop anymore, as I developed RSI doing so a few years back (was working long hours, my own fault). I've also got two dogs which I love having around. However, once my daughter can walk (and harass them) they'll have to be mostly separated from my daughter. They're 50kg, so any small mishap would be a large mishap - can't take that risk. We've got a fully fenced acre out back so the dogs can't really complain!
I'm also a night owl, its 4:30 AM here and I'm pushing Docker images to ECR ;) It's quite strange how much more efficient I am working at night. I've tried all sorts of things to work on a "normal" schedule. Running on the treadmill in the morning, going for walks at lunch etc. No matter what, when I really need to get work done, I fall back into a night routine - even though I'm putting in the same total hours.
How do you manage being a night owl and being awake to look after your child during the day?
However, I was holding onto the hope that I might be able to get some work done with my daughter in the room, and was genuinely curious about the parent post's purported success.
Oh, the noise noise noise noise.
I've found working from home without a dedicated, private space to be more harmful than helpful. I've worked everywhere from couches to shared office desks. My wife and I used to have an office together, though we don't work together. At times she'd be browsing reddit, gaming, eating, whatever. I found that to be very distracting. People coming and going was an interruption.
With that said, we've recently moved and bought a house. Much larger than I wanted in the past, but it has two dedicated offices for us. I've found that to be massively beneficial. I now prefer working at home. I can close the door to isolate myself from distractions.
A small note to all this. I do play computer games on my off time, in my office. For some this can be a distraction, as this office space isn't strictly for working. For myself I've not found it to be a problem at all. I switch between my work machine and my gaming machine, so perhaps that's related - I don't have entertainment staring at me.
Coupled with my work location, is my work hours and how that affects my mindset. I can choose my hours with my employer, so I choose very very early. This means the first thing I do when I wake is grab coffee, and work. Clean, focused, not distracted. No entertainment before work. I've found that once I do something entertaining, it seems to pester at me. Productivity after entertainment seems more difficult for me, especially for mental tasks. Work seems less interesting, I wander more, etc.
Anyway, these are just some of my thoughts on the matter. Your milage may vary.
Absolutely! Requires a who different level of discipline. Not just for working, but also not working. At home I have trouble turning it off, at dinner I’d be inclined to go check on this or that.
The separation from family is important. I get the benefits of working from home: complete control over my environment, no pointless small talk, no time wasted driving 90 minutes into the city, etc. But I also get the full benefit of having an office to myself without interruptions.
I imagine this would not work if I didn't live in an area with cheap housing. I'm in suburban Atlanta.
My "remote office" is in a corner of my living room that also doubles as a kitchen. It's in the middle of everything, which some people might find distracting, but is just right for me. You see, I've done my time in high-pressure, low-focus, fast-paced financial environments, so being in the middle of my family while I work is stimulating and rewarding.
I normally go to the office (a few miles away) when I have more than one meeting to attend. This allows me to keep my work chatter away from home, where others might be distracted by it.
All this to say that the onus is on you to make sure that our setup fits your personality. Look within yourself for clues on how and where to work, then make it happen, and be mindful of changes over time.
I've been the following type of jobs
1). Office job in a distributed team where I got along well with the people who were in the same office. Worked from home 1 day/week.
2). Office job where there were team members who were a drain on my sanity
3). Crammed Open Office
4). Work from home, first with a corner in the dining nook with my desk hidden behind a small divider. Later with a dedicated room. Always with a sit/stand desk and a keyboard/mouse/monitor connected to a laptop.
I'd prefer 1 if I only had to go to work 2-3 days/week. I don't miss 2 or 3 at all and I'd much rather have my family interrupt me with something unrelated to work than colleagues who completely disrupt my work. Working from home can be lonely and sometimes demotivating, but it's a lot better than feeling completely drained from 2 or 3.
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I had a similar experience with Zapier. I loved how everyone seemed to love their remote culture, how they have blog post after blog post about remote work life, how they'd get together a couple times a year for a working 'retreat' but I apparently didn't fit their culture.
If someone takes a job with a London postcode and then moves a few hours north, what happens? Do they just get docked in pay?
Do you trust them to tell you they've moved house even though they're going to lose tens of thousands a year in income?
I'd considered applying in the past but don't really feel comfortable with the fact that it's not really 'remote' because if I actually live where I want to, I'd get paid peanuts.
Evidently it works for them, but to me it looks like some weird way to push everyone into the expensive cities.
Apparently, stupendously, yes (based on what apparent employees in this thread are saying)
>Do you trust them to tell you they've moved house even though they're going to lose tens of thousands a year in income?
It's in the contract. I would absolutely lie to them, I would 1:1 fiscally motivated to do so.
I dunno. I'm sure it works if you just take jobs without caring what you get paid.
Maybe that describes most of GitLab's staff. It's a cool product, so it wouldn't surprise me.
The mental overhead of maintaining a London postcode just for the sake of it I think would have me looking elsewhere (and I live in London and have no intention of leaving). I'd be wondering about where they draw the line, and whether if I move two stations out they'd try and dock my pay or whatever.
Also nearly entirely defeats the purpose of remote work. I'm into it cause it'd be dank to pull a San Francisco salary while chilling in Vietnam and paying 200$/mo for rent.
The application process for GitLab, for me, seems to be:
1) figure out the highest paying area I have access to (visa or whatever)
2a) actually move there if I have to or it happens to be where I am, or 2b) get a postbox or rent a studio apartment pointlessly
3) actually apply for the job and potentially get it
4) if at any point I want to move, figure out how to do it without anyone finding out because otherwise I effectively lose my job (the UK salaries outside of London are comedic)
(as an aside I'm not convinced this "your rate will be reduced" stuff is even legal, I imagine it'd be considered constructive dismissal)
Contrast that with an on-premises job (you can move, the commute length is your own problem) or a real remote job (completely unrestricted).
Again, it seems to be working for them, but it looks really odd from my perspective.
I mean you can extend that to it being unfair to be paid less because you didn't get competing offers; they have nothing at all to do with how good of an engineer you are or how productive you will be.
Sadly supply and demand are what drive prices and I guess in this case incomes.
The salary for a "Senior Expert" developer in "Everywhere else in UK" is 60K GBP.
You would make more money overall by renting a 1 bedroom flat in London, leaving it completely empty and telling GitLab you live there.
Yes, even accounting for tax.
You could just get a postcode.
Ask a friend to take mail for you.
Get a flat share and use it as a pied-a-terre.
And so on and so forth.
Who knows. They can play the code golf, not me.
(I love GitLab. Their hiring is just odd.).
The arbiter of the unfairness is the company policy. That's who we blame, not the employee who happens to benefit. They are no more to blame than the person who doesn't benefit. The causal relationship simply doesn't exist. I'm actually curious about the reasoning you applied to somehow pin the duty of responsibility to the employee that benefits?
I would be happy to have my salary based on the value I bring into the company rather than based on where I happen to leave.
This is a huge competitive win for organizations who are willing to organize around remote work. I personally am not sure how I feel about salaries weighted in such a way, partly feel like people doing equal work should be compensated equally since they contribute equally. On the other hand, potential employees are free to accept of turn down an offer and the market will continue to adjust accordingly.
Full disclosure; I've noted elsewhere on HN that I turned down an offer with Gitlab at the final stage because they adjusted the geo-compensation calculation in the late stages of the interview which made the position fiscally uninteresting. I swear I am not bitter :) - I just think that this aspect of the employment strategy is interesting and worthy of dissection as it is probably something we will see more and more with remote positions.
I wouldn't even bother applying at Gitlab because I know they won't pay me competitively. Pass!
TLDR: "can pay local market rates" only works if you're the only company to ever offer remote work, and you have to compete only with other local market offers. Which is a fantasy in 2018.
Well, duh. Google paying its engineers X instead of X + 100,000 reduces its competitiveness against other employers too. Doesn't mean they should raise salaries by 100k across the board though. Companies pay what they must to attract the workers they need, why would they pay more? They're in most cases not a charity being run for the benefit of the employees. And for remote work, being remote is usually a huge perk for the employee so naturally it comes with a shortfall in somewhere else, such as salary.
I've worked for 3 companies remotely over the past 6 years. Every single one of them, including being employee #8 or so at a seed-round startup paid more than the max Gitlab would pay me for a backend role. Like, in 2012, as employee #10 at a bootstrapped startup, I was paid more. Gitlab pays crazy under market, end of story.
Whose benefit then?
> try to squeeze 10-40% off employee salaries
I guess you're talking about anywhere… in the US.
It looks like GitLab does the same thing
Buffer's is hilarious, mostly because they are claiming Seattle and Boulder both have "average" cost of living. So they are still favoring employees, but the low CoL people are being paid way more than the high due to their garbage CoL calculator.
Compensation models at Gitlab & Buffer strike me as being creepily paternalistic in pursuit of some misunderstanding of egalitarianism. Who wants to work for a company that's keeping tabs on where you live to make sure you don't get too far ahead of your peers?? Sounds like something out of a digital age Atlas Shrugged.
Current employer tried to pull the local salary adjustment. I wasnt interested. In this market I think it's fairly easy to negotiate which I did.
Remote is an OK perk, but not worth a massive pay cut.
But automatically and transparently paying people based on their location is weird to me. If Bob has chosen to live in a place where houses are insanely expensive, or if Bob has chosen to drive a luxury car or keep a pet elephant, those are Bob's decisions. None of them mean that he contributes more to the company.
Also, since a company has non-infinite funds for salary, paying Bob more to live in SF inherently means that the company either pays less money to Alice in Arizona, thereby incentivizing her to quit or move to SF, or else doesn't hire Carol.
> One of the corporate advantages of 100% remote is the business can pay your team whatever their local market rate is
What if instead you framed it as "we can offer almost-SF rates to people all over the U.S., which makes us one of the top choices for every dev outside the big cities"? That's a huge talent pool to take your pick from. Seems like a competitive advantage to me.
If you took the job, and then moved, how would they know?
Now if you maintain your high-cost address but go tripping around the world, perhaps they wouldn't find out for a while.
- GitLab is 100% remote and, according the article, was most recently valued at $1 billion, 350 employees, and has an unknown/hidden (or I can't find) number of users.
- Github has a headquarters and also remote work, and was recently acquired for $7.5 billion, with 800 employees and 31 million users.
So...is remote work a secret? Did it lead to a comparative success over a competitor offering similar services but a different organizational strategy? Not really, not even close, no.
More accurately, we should say GitLab has so far managed to make remote work a success for themselves through leadership, organizational culture, and some other actually secret ingredient, which is where the real story lies. Lots of remote companies fail. What has GitLab done right? Sadly, this article only skims the possibilities.
Now - why remoting would work better for the company (off the top of my head):
1. next to zero office-space rental costs
2. you're going shopping for talent in the whole world and you can hire regardless of visas, eligibility, etc. I.e. you hire better talent, for less money (they don't need to pay outrageous rents for SF/London/Munich/Dublin/whatever)
3. You get happier employees (they don't get to see their families once every six m onths or so)
4. You get easier on-calls schedules 24/7/365 if you get a few ppl on different timezones
5. You get diversity from day 0 and local eyes in almost all markets that you care to sell anything
6. You _have_ to document more and better since you _have_ to work with tickets
7. You make your meetings worthwhile because your time matters (and you're not valued or paid according to "chair-time" that can be filled with boring nonsense meetings so that you can coast through the day)
There's a bunch of other advantages in other areas (ecology, general economy, tech, etc) but since the focus is on what's in it for the company I won't go into these.
what? microsoft doesn't own any projects hosted on github other than their own
You're also likely to get more productivity form employees that don't have to spend 2-3 hours per day traveling. I found myself working a full 8-9 hours when working from home, whereas if I was traveling to the office I'd be looking to duck out after 6-7 hours. The 3pm slump is a drag and I personally dread the commute home. Those few extra hours mean that I can squeeze out more code.
The updated title is much more informative, accurate, and devoid of click-bait hype.
It's silly to try to say the differences in their success are based on remote work or not.
I've had two remote gigs thus far and the first was pretty horrible. On-boarding took a month (to receive a machine), and I frequently went days without hearing from anyone. There was zero communication even when I attempted to create meetings to talk (since pings were never replied to). It pretty much felt like being on an island - especially when most of your co-workers had worked together for anywhere from 2-10 years. Remote culture didn't really exist at this job.
At my current job it has been great - we use Slack to communicate and there is hardly any radio silence. Before starting, I was told we work to live not the other way around. I received my machine and ~actually~ had an onboarding process. It feels like I'm a part of a team (albeit small) and that makes a world of difference when working remote.
The one thing I haven't fixed yet is being on a routine/schedule. It isn't the best to work, sleep, and relax in the same room every day, but I've been working out of the house more lately which has seemed to help.
For me, it's mostly been coffee shops and places to eat. I might start going to a university library that has many free meeting rooms, but that's the closest "large" library near me.
We're not profitable but on some months we're cash flow positive. We don't aim to be cash flow positive until 2022.
I’d assume both income and employee count is mostly steady, unless you’re hiring people just about as fast as cash flow is increasing?
On average we have negative cash flow since we're investing the money we raised in growth by doubling incremental annual contract value every year.
But in some months we have a few large orders that push us to cash flow positive.
We could be cash flow positive every month but that would at the cost of our rate of development. Right now we're focussed on making GitLab a single application for the entire DevOps lifecycle. That means we have to make a lot of progress every month https://about.gitlab.com/2018/10/22/gitlab-11-4-released/
My personal experience in recruiting since 2004 for Engineers, is that some markets like San Francisco, NYC are so so competitive and super expensive to hire, it makes a LOT of sense to think about have completely remote teams or partially remote. There is a lot of technical talent beyond the major markets.
While I think GitHub has picked up the slack pretty effectively, I still think GitLab offers a very compelling package. I didn't use the Kubernetes integration, but we definitely used GitLab CI and registry, and a lot of other features that GitHub didn't or still doesn't really have an equivalent for.
edit: not fully remote but almost, and increasingly
Edit: Based on their job postings, it looks like they have physical offices in at least NYC, Cambridge, and Palo Alto. I'm not sure what the ratio of remote to on-site personnel is these days, but DO is definitely not a fully remote company.
That's really not very impressive. I'm sure this puts them pretty deep in the red (assuming their employees make a good amount more than 30K/year), although they are obviously still in the growth stage. Still, it seems a bit early to be touting this company's success as a remote-first organization though.
We do the 'rent a conference room' so frequently now that it starts to approach renting an office.
"Market rates for roles are different for different regions and countries. We pay market rates instead of paying the same wage for the same role in different regions."
If you have a family of four you will almost ALWAYS be significantly worse off in palo alto. Even if you rent, The average 4 bedroom in palo alto is about 7k per month if your lucky which comes out to 84k which is about 130k in pretax dollars. Day care for 2 kids is about 60k per year. You'll need at least 225K just to scrape by, with no eating out, no vacations, etc..
Someone in London who is on £60k would get £35k if they moved to Bristol, or £30k in Brighton. Definitely a lot lower than market rates.
The London salaries are passable.
The other ones are comedic.
You can commute to London from Brighton.
Basically you're just forcing your employees to live inside the M25 for no reason. Or get postboxes / fake apartments and lie about it.
and yeah, they have some weird artifacts in their location calculator, e.g. in Germany it doesn't recognize the second-most expensive city as as a region, and thus classifies it as "everywhere else", the lowest level.
In my free time, sure, I can browse github, search for projects, snippets of code, maybe raise some issues or fix something, but where I work, we do have github accounts but I don't think anybody uses the actual interface. We just store our repositories, and then use a git client to pull/push and view the changes, and Jira for tickets. Isn't the value of the product lost in this case or does github offer more than what meets the eye here? I mean, I would guess a simple server would be enough to store the repositories.
1. Control of your data. You get to keep your code on your servers and don't have to worry about Github themselves being breached.
2. PR workflows to enforce code reviews. Also a central place to view them. Also it links to JIRA so you can go from a ticket to a code review.
3. Finding internal clients (more useful for big companies were you might not know all of them). "Hey, there's a security bug in InternalLib 3.5 and we need everyone to update to 3.6. Who's using it?". Hey, who owns/uses "m-asd-indexer.dc1.mycompany.com".
4. Familiarity. Most devs these days are at least aware of how open source github workflows work, as opposed to email + patches or other approaches.
5. Global search. "Oh, hey, InternalProcessor 4.6 is doing something odd when we call internalDooDad.foo(bar) . Let's go search for that and figure out if we can understand the behaviour". "Hey, we've standardised on service X for access control, how have other projects integrated it?"
* Discoverability, in case you work in a company with thousands of repos
* Having discussions with multiple participants over a merge request
* Sometimes for communication its easier to provide a url pointing a given file/line, where someone can click and immediately see what you're talking about
I'd love to share our "All Remote" page as well. https://about.gitlab.com/company/culture/all-remote/.
There you can read how remote work is changing the workforce, how it changes the organization, advantages for employees and organizations and what did we learn about remote working.
Additionally, our blog page is the great place to learn about our culture and remote working at GitLab https://about.gitlab.com/blog/.
Here's the list of our blog posts I would recommend. This may be a really interesting read for you:
Or, from a slightly different perspective, they might look like you're trying to say as much as possible about the company you work for, instead of focusing on providing value to your readers.
To be clear, this just as a simple suggestion, based on the perception I had from your comment and from my personal experience (former tech evangelist at Amazon for 6 years, trying to give you my 0.02 to make you succeed in one of the hardest jobs in the world - I've been in these shoes :D)
It's amazing to see people from various communities helping each other with simple tips, we call that a small iteration :-).
I never expected this thread will grow this much. At the moment of posting my comment, the thread was almost empty and my intention was to share as much of valuable information to captaindiego. However, it turned into a reaally big thread and the context of my comment probably turned into something else for later viewers.
Anyway, as we always try to stay transparent I left it as it is. Thank you for your great opinion, I'll consider your words when posting a comment next time.
They also have some remote work blog posts in their blog https://zapier.com/blog/
Also, what is "success"? Taking $150MM (EDIT: corrected) in investment and not showing profitability ? I am not against the startup underdog story (a rising tide lifts all boats). I am against marketing fluff.
However that link points to Github taking $350M, and they had been around for a few years before they took their first VC $. Until September, Gitlab had been pretty light on the funding, relatively speaking. (about $150M total, and that's after a $100M round in September)
That's an odd thing to say. Most companies that take investment aren't profitable- that's kind of the point of taking VC: you want the cash in order to greatly grow the business more than if you were sitting within profitability the entire time. There's a difference between "unprofitable" and "choosing not to be profitable".
What's more, GitHub wasn't profitable the last ~5 years or so, from the day they took VC. But they sold for $7.5B, so it doesn't seem that Microsoft has a problem with their "unprofitability". That's how many solid, foundational companies are created.
We now know what GitHub was worth, and it puts the lie to inflated valuations in this space. When $8Bn is a huge deal for your industry, it gets hard to sell higher valuations with a straight face.
GitHub makes most of its revenue from the self-hosted market. GitLab is burning this market to the ground.
GL Ultimate pricing is $99 /user/mo 
To your broader point, I expect both extreme butt-in-seats and extreme remote are one of those characteristics you can map to successful and unsuccessful companies and you can probably find just about any pattern you want to find. (And of course most companies are some sort of blended model depending on company and function.)
> Also, what is "success"? Taking $350MM in investment and not showing profitability
Sounds like wherever you were working before was doing it wrong.
I work remote and no one ever expects immediate email or slack. It is because the whole company is remote that this is the case - you can't have this type of expectation when folks are in every time zone across the globe.
Although I love remote, it's not for everyone. There's a lot to be said for perks like gym, dental, etc. It's really nice that you found a good fit!
In other words: I think this is more about the company, and less about remote versus non remote.
Outside of these countries we employ employees as contractors, meaning they have to do the taxes and such themselves if I'm not mistaken.
Benefits are most likely more complicated to handle than payroll. May be hard to find competitive plans that cover the entire country.
It should be based on the value that the talent brings.
It was kind of a work that attracted many people from many different nationalities and their pay level was adjusted by average income in their home countries. So their expenses during the deployment were the same but the amount they would bring home was as much as 3x different for the same role.
We moved in together for a few months during YC.
Source: early-ish/current employee (#28 I believe, not exactly prestigious).
IThere is a boardroom dedicated to GitLab where board meetings happen. But even for each of those, there is a zoom bridge for remote executives to join: https://about.gitlab.com/company/visiting/
$10.5 MM revenue split 350 ways is $30,000 per employee.
I mean, nice to have revenue and growth but we're a way from being able to trumpet that from the roof-top yet. That EVA is roughly in line with many small service business which don't require $100MM infusion of venture capital....
The $10.5M is just the last known publicly known number.
An employee clarified here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18443014
Interesting that they don't use Gitter for chat. Perhaps they will be transitioning towards using it? GitLab acquired Gitter in March 2017; perhaps the article didn't get this detail correct...
Dang can you have a better headline- "gitlab made 10.5M by being 100% remote-only"
Do they visit addresses to make sure you live there permanently?
First, I think I should be paid based on the value I bring to a company, not my location. Otherwise, aren't we subsidizing those who choose to live in an expensive place like SF or NYC over those who are happy with a smaller city like Portland of Austin?
Second, while many cities have growing tech scenes, SF and Seattle remain fairly unique job markets. If you're outside those cities, you may have less expenses, but you also lose out on networking and may find it harder to find your next job (if for no other reason than the fact nonremote companies will shy away from relocating you if another qualified candidate is local).
Employees are never only paid based on value. If that was the case, janitors would make great money, since having a clean work environment is very important and valuable.
What you're missing here is leverage. Janitors don't make much money because most people are capable of basic janitorial tasks, and thus they have little leverage in the job market because they could be easily replaced.
In the case of Gitlab, employees in hotter job markets have more leverage because they could more easily find a high paying job where they live. People living in weaker job markets don't have that. Gitlab is paying the former group more precisely because they have more options.
I don't see any problem with them paying someone in Canberra less than they pay an equivalent person in SF, but I think it's disingenuous to make it about "cost of living." Someone with kids and a mortgage has a much higher cost of living than someone without (in the same location) but do they automatically get paid more?
The local (tech) job market determines what the workers will accept, not (as others have noted) the cost of rent or beer.
Hopefully this equalizes out over time as more tech companies can properly adopt remote workers and thus even out the employment field away from centralizing in a few specific cities but we are a long way from that.
I used to think that way, but in, like, the late 90's/early 00's. "Surely as internet access and software tools continually improve, remote work will become better and more common, democratizing blah blah blah."
Instead, while the internet getting better definitely happened, the pay differential and clustering effect in major tech hubs only increased.
As for why that would happen, I have a few different thoughts, but I think the gist of it is that the internet getting better spawned huge internet giants like Google and Facebook, and organizationally it's still an advantage to have people colocated so they went with that.
Or, that’s where companies are and they’ll take what they can get in the area because they like having warm bodies in the office rather than dealing with better qualified remote workers (like practically every company)?
On the other hand, non-collocated teams are challenging and if you have very little experience running a team (as many young founders do) it might be wise to hire locally -- at least at the beginning. I think a lot of founders also probably underestimate the amount of time they'll need to get off the ground. So if they have $5M, it might seem OK to have a burn rate of $2M per year (I'm using pseudo-random numbers). They'll think, "If we can't get another big round in 2 1/2 years, then we might as well move on to something else". So they are willing to pay the money.
Not anymore, someone will be following the "locality doesn't matter mantra" and will outbid you. What you are saying might be more true for entry level or very generic skill sets. But if you are hiring top talent, you have to offer the same best offer everywhere, because if you won't then someone else will.
Only one of those two things correlates strongly with market wages, though. But you may be right that it may be more transparent to just say "cost of labor" rather than "cost of living".
Just say "we pay the local market rate where you live" and if that's true, you won't have any problem with your offers. If the developer in Canberra expects a Mountain View salary they will presumably explain to you why that's in your interest, and you can be convinced or not. Everyone else will be OK with the local market rate, because markets.
Publishing your "Canberra Disadvantage Index" doesn't seem likely to get you anything but people complaining on the Internet.
(Though I do wonder what GitLab would do if they find someone in Canberra they really want to hire and she already makes a San Francisco wage. My guess is they hire her and ask her to keep quiet about the salary.)
For starters, you'd have to be okay with living a lie to your coworkers and putting your career at risk if you ever let the facade slip. You can't ever talk about local events at the virtual water cooler. Do you live in the same time zone as one of the high-cost-of-living cities? If not, you can't ever mention what time your kids go to school either. Is your employer ever going to fly you out to conferences or all-hands meetings? They're either buying your plane ticket directly or expecting to see a receipt; good luck explaining why you never fly out of your "home" airport. Does your employer report your earnings to the IRS? If so, you'll likely be committing some sort of tax evasion or at least having to submit a ton of corrective paperwork each year. Do they provide insurance? You'll have to explain to the provider why your address isn't what your company thinks it is or else risk voiding your coverage and/or committing insurance fraud. And so on, and so forth.
All in all, it's probably doable, but very few people would consider it worth the effort unless they are pathologically inclined towards fraud in the first place.
Bear in mind though that, for example, in the UK there's a differential of 50% for living 1-2 hours' train ride out.
I don't even know if towns I've previously lived in and commuted into London from would be counted as "London" by their calculator.
Or you work remotely for a year at a lower salary, then leverage documented experience excelling at remote work to get hired in a higher paying remote role.
By this reasoning, you'd expect to find the most "valuable" baseball players in areas devoid of professional baseball teams.
Something tells me you didn't completely think this through.
Gitlab is willing to pay high salaries for people living in expensive areas for essentially the same reason Google's dev offices are mostly located in expensive areas.
Why? Scarcity is dependent on demand. Something that absolutely nobody wants will never be scarce, even if the quantities of said thing are small in absolute numbers.
If there is no professional baseball team, presumably nobody needs a professional baseball player, and thus professional baseball players won't be scarce at all, but rather infinitely abundant and pay will reflect that by trending towards zero.
Whereas, there are many more software companies that pay roughly the same wages all of the world, and companies offer remote work, which will reduce the differentiation - but not eliminate it.
> there are many more software companies that pay roughly the same wages all of the world
The jobs with the really high salaries (and arguably the most exciting coding jobs) are disproportionately located in a handful of major tech hubs.
I question whether there are many companies that, aside from executives or other high value employees, pay similar salaries around the world. I imagine at least some pay comparable salaries across the US--or at least salaries that don't completely follow CoL--but pay Indian or Chinese developers what they pay Bay Area ones? That seems unlikely at any scale.
It doesn’t hold a candle to a bunch of guys in a room at a physical whiteboard, for the sheer collaboration bandwidth. Fully-remote has its use cases, but it doesn’t cover all use cases.
The issue is that today the people with the desired talent level are likely to have already moved to a HCOL area because that's where the highest concentration of available work is. You have to compete with the other jobs they could take that are scaled to the HCOL area.
Turns out popuplation migration is not instantaneous, spherical, or frictionless.
Maybe compensation/bonuses/promotions are the proper way to reward those who have proven their added value.
No, cost of living does not imply hotter markets for software developers.
Vancouver, London, Hong Kong, Moscow are very expensive with not tons of devs, and devs are lower paid.
> Vancouver, London, Hong Kong, Moscow are very expensive with not tons of devs, and devs are lower paid.
True enough, but rent correlates with tech salary pretty well within the US at least, where I'm guessing most of their employees are.
That's not real leverage. Leverage is provided by the minimum salary demands of the cheapest alternative supplier of labor that provides an adequate substitute. That you can walk away from an offer isn't leverage if I have someone else I can hire for the same salary and get the same benefit from employing.
Location has no relevance (it may be that desirable skill correlates with location, but then paying for that doesn't require a separate location adjustment.)
Now, for on-premise worker a worker in a higher CoL area may have more leverage because the minimum demand substitute workers is higher, but that doesn't apply to remote work where the employer can hire people from elsewhere.
(please excuse my english)
Sure, the employer has more power in that negotiation, but it's not like there aren't others out there.
But... couldn't any dev easily just move to San Francisco? This isn't 1900; it's easy to move to a new city.
Maybe we should start a service that lets everyone receive mail in SF, so you can put a SF address on your resume.
I live on the east coast. My family lives within 30 minutes of me. My closest friends live within 30 minutes.
Moving would require leaving that behind. That's not (emotionally) easy for myself nor my family.
Not all devs are in our..."tier" so to speak. They're not picking up full relocation packages or even a few grand upon signing to make the move easier. They'll need cash in hand to get a place.
Funding a move is hard enough as a new grad without many possessions.
It gets even harder (unless you keep sharp enough to get paid relo) to move as you add vehicles, maybe buy instead of rent a property, and gather stuff like furniture.
That's before factoring in how some people have social ties to their current town. SF is good for well-compensated mercenaries or the few lucky people that got to grow up there.
I find it ironic how you point out someone else as tone deaf elsewhere in this thread.
Is it expensive? Sure. But it's still pretty easy to move if you don't have a family tying you down. Moving anywhere is a pain, but people do it.
No, someone not already working at SF wages quite likely can't easily just move to SF.
I’ve seen companies that’ll reimburse all moving expenses, offer an upfront cash moving bonus, provide temporary furnished housing for the first couple months, and, if necessary, help handle immigration and other legal details. Sometimes companies even provide a moving consultant that the new hire can delegate tasks to like hiring a moving company or arranging for their childrens’ school transfer.
Janitors often make more than you think (both in terms of compensation and benefits), because while their job is easily replicated, they also require a great deal of trust.
I think this concept can extend across all jobs - you're not just paying for skill. If someone is dependable and trustworthy, it might be worth paying a small premium to keep them around versus an unknown quantity.
Every time an employee who might have stayed if that had a slightly higher wage, you run the risk of a toxic person coming in.
Government janitors, sure, because the government consistently pays above market-rate for low-skilled positions and under market-rate for high-skilled positions.
But in the private sector, I'd have to see some data. I'm not saying they all make minimum wage, but I don't think it's good money.
I can just move to London.
Pay differences across visa barriers might make some sense. Within a country it's just odd.
It's effectively saying 'go and live in London, or we'll pay you less'.
The barrier of entry to 'live in London' is about 6k a year for a flat share. Way less than GitLab's pay differential.
(It's actually kind of funny that a hack would be to subsidise someone living in London, have that registered as your address, and live in a place with a lower cost of living in a nice house.)
Well, guess I'm never working at GitLab now. Oops. :P
But it's more hassle, and it would mean giving up your current friend network, may be a burden on your family, like if you have kids, or your spouse already has a good job. Someone already in London doesn't have to deal with that. Ergo, they have more leverage.
I get a small flatshare and do the Mon-Fri working thing. (Loads of people do this for on prem jobs because homes in London are small and/or pricey. You get the train in on Mon, stay till Fri, and go home to your big country house).
Then I stop doing the commute because it's a remote job and this is obviously silly.
Basically it seems like this whole thing rests on arbitrary rules set for no reason.
I can't figure out how working for GitLab in a northern English town would work at all and why anyone would apply when they could rent a postbox (or even an entire flat) in London and come out way ahead.
If the differences were a few grand it'd be different. It's more like half the money for living a couple hours north on a train.
Paying the same wage in different regions would lead to:
1. A concentration of team members in low-wage regions, since it is a better deal for them, while we want a geographically diverse team.
2. Team members in high-wage regions having less discretionary income than ones in low-wage countries with the same role.
3. Team members in low-wage regions being in golden handcuffs and unlikely to leave even when they are unhappy.
4. If we start paying everyone the highest wage our compensation costs would increase greatly, we can hire fewer people, and we would get less results.
5. If we start paying everyone the lowest wage we would not be able to attract and retain people in high-wage regions.
1. This is meaningless.
2. This is FAR more a factor of lifestyle choices than CoL. I've lived in extremely high and extremely low CoL places and there is not a big difference. I have a $1500 mortgage instead of a $1700 lease. Maybe apples are 20c cheaper a pound?
3. "It's better if we pay you less, really!" PS Other remote employers pay significantly more than you.
4. Pay people competitively for the role instead.
5. Pay people competitively for the role instead.
They claim they want a "geographically diverse team", but without saying what benefit that brings them, that doesn't really explain anything.
Hiring is hard. Sure there may be a theoretical "better hire" outside of the Bay Area, but if they have someone in front of them who seems like they would do a great job and wants to work for them, it behooves them to hire that person now, even if it costs more. The cost of not hiring them is probably more, in lost time and productivity.
Maybe as they get bigger and each individual role becomes less critical, they can start to focus their recruiting on areas outside of SF. But right now, given that the founders are in SF, it's probably a lot easier to recruit people here.
It is the same with factory workers, ideally you should pay them all the same and as much as you can. But when you start doing it all kinds of problems pop up like it is not sustainable because people want more, and factory does not earn as much. Then they strike and factory goes bankrupt, no more work.
If you will get concentration of people from one locale it is big risk for remote company. If company at some point will have to pull out from that locale because politics/taxes change for instance that is huge risk for those employees.
Social justice is not as easy as "give people because they deserve".
Can you maybe share what position you where considering and in what metro are you life?
... Oregon... entire state is same modifier?
I can rent a 4 bedroom house 2 blocks away from the university in La Grande for $1200/m.
I can rent a 3 bedroom house 2 blocks away from the university in Portland for $3900/m.
Does not compute.
It doesn't speak well that you need to be told which metro areas to add.
The US government had to address a similar issue and came up with a handy list of metro areas:
I find it a little odd that you would be so adamant about your compensation algorithm and not do basic due diligence exploring what others in the space have done in the space.
HN commenters shouldn't need to tell you what metro areas are missing - you should have proactively identified them.
The disparity is slightly decreased since I last run it but still a bit out of touch from "at or above market" in this case.
My local market (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) _severely_ underpays. It's common for people with 5+ years' experience to be making under 60k CAD (50k USD), if not way less. Because of that, many of the city's best devs either work remotely, or they move to Toronto, or New York, or the Bay Area.
When you base your salary calculations on local market rates, in very-low-market-rate areas, you're looking at an artificially lowered pool. I'm not surprised people balk when they find out how low you pay, because in their mind they aren't competing with local onsite developers. That isn't their market.
Also, there are many benefits to working onsite that don't appear to be factored into your calculations. Not all remote workers can work comfortably out of the home, and so there are office rental costs. Many onsite jobs provide things like free lunches, as well. It's possible these things are factored in; if so, it might be worth mentioning them here: https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/benefits/
EDIT: Removed a complaint about #3, as I saw from another comment that I misunderstood it. I still disagree with the premise - if I was unhappy at my current job, there are plenty of other remote companies that pay well, and even if there weren't, I'd gladly take a pay cut to do more fulfilling work - but it doesn't strike me as condescending anymore. Just ill-informed.
Ironically if you paid a high salary but allowed people to work in a low COL area, this wouldn't be an issue... because the workers could aggressively save for retirement and semi-retire fairly early in their career.
I've heard it used in the context of US government work. (They simply don't want people who are "in it for the money"). I don't know if that's based on studies or just a feeling.
Pensions don't exist anymore, you get a savings account (403b IIRC) w/ some % matching contrib
Did you mean "our" or "their"? If you're a Gitlab employee, please explicitly state that when making comments about your company on HN.
>Paying the same wage would lead to... A concentration of team members in low-wage regions, since it is a better deal for them, while we want a geographically diverse team.
Weird, since it looks like you don't pay a ton in SF compared to market, and IIRC don't offer stock or large cash bonuses ala Mozilla. So if I had to pick between SF and say, Portland, I'd probably go with Portland since you don't seem to ramp up enough in SF. Basically, your salaries do the opposite of what they intend.
I also took a look at the salary tool, and it seems to lack nuance compared to say, the GS payscale, which differs based on granular localities. I see many states with wildly varying costs of living that only have one "compensation factor" that would have multiple regions on the GS payscale.
In fact, it looks like most of the points are pretty flaccid except for "If we start paying everyone the highest wage our compensation costs would increase greatly, we can hire fewer people, and we would get less results."
"I don't want to pay a fair wage because I can get more people with less salary" isn't a super compelling argument for workers.
Edit: added italics in quotes for readability and corrected a spelling error.
He's the CEO.
Thanks, and sorry for being harsh in my original reply, I should have couched my language to be less accusatory.
Do you mean this pay scale https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Schedule_(US_civil_s... ? It would be interesting to see if that would improve our date. I don’t think we have to go more granular than metro area, or did you mean something else?
As for payscale, I meant the locality pay tables:
The federal government aims to have everyone at the same grade and step to make roughly the same (adjusted for cost of living). Sounds similar to your goal.
To aid that they broke the USA into a group of metro areas.
You could look at the locality tables, and if there's states that have multiple entries on the GS payscale, adjust accordingly in your algorithm.
For example, Pennsylvania would have a low rate if you're in a small town like the capitol, a medium rate if you're in Pittsburgh (home to CMU) and a higher rate in the east near Philadelphia. Your model (IIRC) had one COL value for all of PA.
Similarly, you could look to the US State Department's per diem table to find a list of international localities that should have their own calculation. Many organizations rely on it. When I traveled on business for a multinational, they used the State Department Per Diem rates to determine what is a reasonable amount of money per day to give:
While the per diem rate itself may or may not be useful, a list of cities that should have a unique value for COL is a useful piece of data in itself.
To be honest, I'm surprised that nobody with input to the algorithm used either data source or a similar one - I don't know if say, Canada or the EU do their own calculations or leverage the US federal govt's. I know a few multinationals that use the federal guidelines for setting per diem costs rather than spend the effort calculating that in house. But the general idea - that a larger entity had to tackle this issue long ago and published their solution... I think it's a useful data source.
It's not about the idea of a salary calculator, it's about the ratios that you set. Not everything scales linearly and while you could absolutely live in a total dump and consider nearly 100% of the salary "disposable income", in order to live at a similar level to Western Europe, the expenses start increasing rapidly.
There are many counter examples of companies paying equal regardless of the location and:
1. Not everyone lives where it cheap. There are many factors when choosing where to live: Friends, family, emotional attachment to a place, ...
2. That's linked to 1, if they choose to move somewhere expensive that's on them, not imposed by the company.
3. Not true, someone unhappy isn't going to stick around just because they can make more money.
At the end of the day the main goal of paying less where the cost of living is cheaper is to increase the company profit. It's 100% reasonable but masking the reason behind some "fairness" bullet points is BS to me.
If you live in Omaha where tech salaries for the best of the best top out at $70-80k, but you're making $175k at Gitlab, it's going to take a lot to get you to leave.
Honestly the thing that bothers me most about all this "fairness" stuff if the implication that business is supposed to be fair in the first place. Salary negotiation is a leverage and your/the company's BATNA. That's why software developers can make $200k in certain areas and janitors make minimum wage. Yes, value provided to the company has something to do with it. Yes, scarcity of skill has something to do with it. But all those just flow into the equation of leverage and BATNA and you come out the other end with a range, and where you fall on that range is largely just your negotiating skill and whether or not you're willing to negotiate in the first place.
That being said, if you live in Omaha, and working for GitLab, you're going to need to be executive/director level to be making $175k. FrontEnd manager? $110, tops. Security manager, $130, tops.
I disagree. If I was making 175k in a city like that, I would probably work for a few years, then semi-retire. Maybe take a nonprofit job, do less hours and consult, or work for a local university with low pay but good work life balance. I wouldn't just ride it out for 10-20 years if I didn't enjoy the job.
If you're mid career and had aggressively saved prior to acquiring 400k, you could totally take up some sort of minimum wage gig to pay for insurance while your nest egg goes or take a nonprofit job.
That's my definition of "semi retirement", maybe yours is different.
With all due respect, this is b.s. Your company does this because it can, and because developers stuck in second and third tier cities (or countries) have little choice. It is blatant exploitation and a black mark on your company.
Edit: On closer examination, your third reason simply translates to : we are your best/only option right now so deal with it, this is borderline unethical practice.
However top tier talent can be hired remotely, and will generally be worth well above market in less sophisticated markets. When I first looked at your salary scale a few years ago when I was living in Oakland and the discrepency between SF and Oakland was absolutely ridiculous. I assume that has been fixed, but even as someone who might accept your SF pay, I know my worth, and would not consider working for you in any other region. I'm sure you'll find some good talent that doesn't know their own value, but you'll miss out disproportionately on the seasoned talent.
That's like saying that I'll work for free cause the boss wants to buy his wife a new ferrari.
Bottom line is that you pay market rate for the programmer. Whether he is programming out of a cardboard box in slum or working in a golden palace in Switzerland, it should not matter cause to the employee, your personal life does not matter. Any body that hears any of these reasons during a salary negotiation or raise should immediately look for work elsewhere. I know I would.
Granted, I do believe there is wiggle room for personal reasons("I just had a baby" etc)but gitlab should be paying employees based on the value they bring the company and/or market rate.
My major criticism is they have some states where there is one rate of pay for the entire state. Oregon being the most egregious - it's my understanding the difference in COL in Portland versus a rural area in Oregon (or small town like Eugene) is a lot.
I don’t work at Gitlab, use it, or anything.
> 1. A concentration of team members in low-wage regions, since it is a better deal for them, while we want a geographically diverse team.
Wrong. You are assuming that people only care about maximizing disposable income. That is plainly incorrect. The vast majority of people won't move to a 3rd world country with a much worse standard of living, language barrier, uproot their family's life, have safety issues and what not, so that they would have potentially 2x - 5x spending power. The reality is cost of living around the world differs, but not to the extent that this influences a large number of people in an organization into switching countries.
> 2. Team members in high-wage regions having less discretionary income than ones in low-wage countries with the same role.
Wrong. And, also, WTF. It is also not your place to determine people's discretionary income, who do you think you are - their mum? a slave owner? A TV, a Macbook, a car, fuel costs about the same everywhere in the world, because there's a global market. That's true for pretty much everything but rent and food. And you're also completely unaware of various tax rules in countries that may give long-term benefits / short-term tax hikes that end up fundamentally changing earnings and lifestyle. Not that any of that would be your business, but if you're going to do that using this justification, you need to do extremely detailed and sophisticated research. Otherwise, your social equality goal will definitely backfire.
> 3. Team members in low-wage regions being in golden handcuffs and unlikely to leave even when they are unhappy.
Wrong again. Any employee can go work for another company that hires remote workers. Most of these companies don't adjust salaries to some perceived cost of living factor, so, in effect, you are making yourself incredibly uncompetitive with this practice. For instance, I am extremely good at what I do and I command the global market rates that reflect that. Therefore, I would never consider working with Gitlab.
> 4. If we start paying everyone the highest wage our compensation costs would increase greatly, we can hire fewer people, and we would get less results.
That's the only actual reason. If you paid competitive rates globally, you'd spend more money.
> 5. If we start paying everyone the lowest wage we would not be able to attract and retain people in high-wage regions.
LOL, let's pretend that's a thing you could do even if you wanted to. In fact, if you could pull it off, you'd do it.
To sum it up, you just lost a lot of people's respect on here by giving a bullshit answer to a serious question. You should've told the truth, people generally respond well to honesty. It is not unreasonable that a startup (or, indeed, any business) would want to reduce costs as much as possible. This BS response, that tries to make it seem like you're doing everyone a favor by not paying global market rates, is just a turn off for most intelligent people.
It was lose the respect of these people here - or his employees who they have to justify these policies to.
"low-wage regions" includes roughly 98% of the land mass of the world. That sounds like a silly reason.
Which is how capitalism works.
...at this point I surrender to their illogic.
With all due respect, this is b.s. Your company does this because it can, and because developers stuck in second and third tier cities (or countries) have few options. It is blatant exploitation on and a black mark on your company.
Gitlab is an otherwise admirable company with a fine product. Consider correcting this policy asap.
I am not going to argue about compensation or how we do compensation at GitLab, but I must say:
> second and third tier cities (or countries)
That is really hurtful to say. Personally I would never want to move somewhere else "just for the money". People happily living somewhere else than SV and being happy without SV compensation is a real thing, believe me.
> The biggest advantage to an all-remote team is obvious: Your hiring pool is gigantic, and you don't need to convince top talent to move for you.
So the impression is, we hire you not because you live far off in Romania, but because you're really talented and we need you.
That's some nice marketing hype, of which this article has plenty. I get it though, those people making tons of money at the head of the company, marketing, PR and all that, are making those money for a reason. They know how to spin stories. It's their job. And it's a legit job.
So I agree with you, but I won't expect that to be the official line.
(this is not to say there isn't amazing talent anywhere else, but not paying market rate for SF/NYC based engineers is an easy way to never be able to access the largest chunk of the best engineers in the country)
People (like everything) are paid based on how much their replacements cost, aka supply curve meeting demand curve. I'm not sure how any other pricing mechanism would work.
I think the more accurate description is people are payed the amount they could get if they moved to a different company.
> Our market rates are based on Chicago. Chicago isn’t the top of the market — you’ll find higher rates in Silicon Valley or New York — but it’s not far off either. So whether you live in Tennessee or Arizona or Alaska or Illinois, we pay the same.
> This means everyone has the freedom to pick where they want to live, and there’s no penalty for relocating to a cheaper cost-of-living area. We encourage remote and have many employees who’ve lived all over while continuing to work for Basecamp.
That's fine, but basically it changes who you will hire.
> It started to increasingly seem like an arbitrary choice, and if we were going to make one such, why not go for the best and the top?
> That’s what we did. Starting 2018, Basecamp is paying everyone as though they live in San Francisco and work for a software company that pays in the top 10% of that market (compared to base pay + bonus, but not options).
They are counting on an acquisition. The question is who. Microsoft has Github so, Atlassian (and merge with Bitbucket), IBM or Oracle are the most likely.
GitLab's customers are primarily people who want to on-site host, and part of the SaaS marker (though I'd guess that's mostly gone to GitHub).
Google don't do Enterprise offerings well - they don't ship software.
GitLab is the pinacle of doing everything moderately well - they explicitly prioritise "Breadth over Depth" - https://about.gitlab.com/company/strategy/ - aka doing every 20%, and leaving the bugs and the missing features to the community.
Google are on the overhand fond of polishing something endlessly so they don't have support requests for it.
GitLab's source code is all opensource - Google's source code almost none of it is open source.
(BigTable, Bors, GFS, advertising stuff etc etc).
I'm surprised Gitlab makes their policy explicit, it must create a lot of issues for them eg the reaction here. No doubt other companies achieve the same thing (because at the end of the day, it reduces costs), they just do it in less obvious ways.
But it makes me feel ambivalent about your critique here. It makes me feel like it is maybe more complicated than what is contained in your reasoning, which means the "right"/best answer isn't necessarily obvious.
Their company handbook says you must have moves approved, and it requires multiple levels of management to approve a move to a higher COL area. Looks like IIRC, only your direct manager needs to OK going lower.
Nobody gets paid on value, its not how exchange works.
If you want to make more money (on a paper) and pay more taxes, move to places with higher living costs.
If it's wrong(and illegal) to pay people differently based on their race or gender, I can't see how it should be alright to pay people differently based on their cost of living. There ought to be a movement to outlaw this practice.
EDIT: Before you reply, note that I no longer think my argument is good.
It makes no sense to equate location with immutable characteristics like race or gender. People can move to a new city.
> There ought to be a movement to outlaw this practice.
State and municipal minimum wage laws would be neutered by such a law.
It was not always the case though. Good luck convincing people with moral arguments when it goes against their financial interests. Even cutting away the PR bs would be a major win.
Insofar as local CoL correlates with race and potentially other protected characteristics (religion seems likely, for instance), there's a pretty good “disparate impact” argument that it would be presumptively illegal if challenged under US federal anti-discrimination law.
Do you mean that you're able to compete because your location(hence, your salary) makes you a better value than someone who lives in an expensive region? That makes sense to me. Perhaps my viewpoint wasn't very thought out.
> As someone who works remotely from a low COL area, please do not outlaw this practice.
I have neither the power nor the desire. :)
I would because it's discriminating someone by their identity and not necessarily their merits. By your reasoning, does is it only rude for Christian employers to discriminate against Muslims, for example? Someone can declare themselves to be of a religion they don't actually believe, but that doesn't mean that we should accept a society that fractures itself based on arbitrary lines of identity. Would you want to live in a society where you have a public race, a public religion, and a public gender while being intimidated to hiding your private identity for the sake of employment or so much as eating at a restaurant? (assuming one could change those things at will)
Perhaps there shouldn't be specific protected classes, but I do not agree that the mutability of a person's traits should open them up to systematic discrimination.
Being a Rick and Morty fan or dressing unfashionably are generally not considered valid identities by most people, although I'm sure many who have such interests would say those things represent their identity.
Anyway, I'm sorry for dragging race issues into a thread about GitLab. xD
But there is almost zero demand for subcontracting or plain coding into a remote repository.
GitLab's hosted service, on the other hand, has traditionally been free and best-effort. That and they're moving hosting providers, which is definitely a non-trivial migration.
It's definitely fair to complain if you paid for the hosted version, but I think GitLab was plenty successful without monetizing GitLab.com.
GitLab prioritize breadth over depth - i.e. new features over bug fixes.
As far as I can tell, their regression testing is sub-optimal. Expanding a diff on a code review was broken in two releases.
We used GitLab CI very heavily. The only issue we hit was disk space on workers filling up - but it was easy to resolve this by making a Cron job run `docker system prune`.
Generally, the GitLab team definitely has moved very quickly on new features and that has caused things to break here and there. I also agree they could use better regression testing. Still, they are very responsive to issue reports and most of the time issues that I care about are resolved very quickly.
GitHub as a competitor obviously is a lot more stable. But, I was definitely willing to trade some stability for the features GitLab offered, and I do feel they have been steadily improving in the past year.