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The End of an Era for EasyDNS (easydns.com)
223 points by StuntPope 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments

If more companies (tech as well as others) made decisions like this, we’d all be better off.

This should be a textbook case of good management and taught all over the place.

We floated this idea at our company and people were against it. A lot of people seem to like the predictability of coming to the same place every day and hanging out with the same people every day ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Instead, we now allow working from home whenever anyone wants to - some people do it frequently, some don't. So maybe asking the question is good, but I'm not sure everyone would like it if such a move were mandated.

I greatly prefer working in an office over working from home, personally. If I were job-hunting, a company being remote-only would count as a tick in the minus column for me.

tl;dr: EasyDNS is going full remote only and doesn't have an office any more.

> A couple days later the landlord came back, standing firm on 5-year extension, plus an across the board rental increase of about 8%, plus a baked-in annual increase of 6%, plus an additional levy for a new HVAC system on the roof.

Yikes. Sounds like great timing too.

This was the most interesting data point to me, and was an interesting counterpoint to easyDNS's realization that they were essentially a remote-employee only company. It also made me realize that "the cloud" isn't just a place where software goes, but where organizations can now go. (This is probably glaringly obvious to many others, but I'd never really thought of the cloud this way.)

Honestly seemed a bit low for current Toronto real estate conditions. Still, good move all things considered as long as they can properly manage the challenges for a fully remote team.

Great to see this. GitLab also went all remote because people stopped showing up to the office we rented in San Francisco.

Seconded. Office culture is a dinosaur.

For some stuff. Have fun building airplanes without a warehouse and a breakroom. Similarly, I doubt that the scientists of the world will be jumping at the opportunity to blow up their own houses.

I think you're getting "office" confused with "warehouse" and "laboratory".

People who work in ‘labs’, ‘warehouses’, and ‘manufacturing lines’ may also work in ‘offices’ throughout the day. For many engineers these spaces aren’t in isolation.

Great - but those people don't just work in an office then, do they?

The vast majority of people who just work in an office, don't necessarily need to be in that specific office to do it.

By the title, I've thought they're going out of business.

This happened to my company in SF.. we got kicked out because of eminent domain for the new Transbay Terminal ...

We never ended up going back to offices after that.

> plus a baked-in annual increase of 6%

Raising the rent annually on a multi-year lease. That is one lasting way that an investor can make money in a low or zero-interest rate (ZIR) economic environment.

Except, as several landlords are learning right now, there's no money without a tenant, and not every tenant fits in every place, and not every empty space gets a tenant who's willing to pay the rent being asked. And in residential places: a good tenant that pays less might be more lucrative than a bad tenant that "pays more"

Depends on the market. Real estate is crazy in Toronto right now, and not just residential.

Commercial vacancy rates are crazy-low:

> 7.3 million sq. ft. of downtown office space is currently under construction, and 62.3% of that new inventory has been pre-leased

* http://www.cbre.ca/EN/mediacentre/Pages/Record-Low-Downtown-...

> There’s 9.6 million square feet of office space under construction downtown, according to the report, and 57 per cent of that was pre-leased at the end of the first quarter. That number has now surpassed 70 per cent with the two deals noted above.

* https://renx.ca/gta-office-market-continues-strong-performan...

This is more or less normal in long-term business leases: everyone can do the same math, and it's just a way of making the immediate pain of a new lease a little less injurious to the tenant's cash flow.

If the tenant shrinks headcount, they can sublet a portion or move to a smaller space and sublet the whole thing. If the tenant is growing their business faster than the rent increases, it doesn't hurt. And at the end of the lease, everything is re-negotiable again.

> plus a baked-in annual increase of 6%

I mean, that's pretty nuts to sign up for in the first place as a commercial office lease. Unless you're in an incredibly hot area and really have no choice operationally but to acquire office space in a class A tower in a major downtown. In commercial telecom leases a common escalator is to peg things to the consumer price index, or 2.5 percent.

Mark and easyDNS are such a breath of fresh air in the registrar business. If you’re not a customer already, you owe it to yourself to become one.

If you're not on Mark's newsletter, Weekly Axis Of Easy, you owe it to yourself to subscribe. It's funny, to the point, covers most of the really important tech news with a focus on infrastructure and privacy and is pretty much a commercial-free zone. Microsoft Certified and NSA coneheads might not like it much (but hey Edward S. was an NSA conehead for a long time so there's some smart and good people even there).

Home office: I like it for myself but many of our staff would hate it. I also like to have in person meetings at least a couple of times/week with major collaborators where we can site together and look at a screen together and have eye contact and read more subtle signals.

>In other words, we have to do business the old fashioned way — at a profit.

It's a little sad how refreshing that is to hear.

>>> The next recession will be global and it is going to be brutal.

not scared at all ...

but he does have a point ...

Hm. It didn't occur to me until I saw the mailing address posted, but how do fully remote companies handle incoming mail?

Commercial mail processors. They accept mail on your behalf; they'll deposit checks, scan paper mail, and ship packages to your physical location. Cost is anywhere between $20-$500/month, depending on fanciness desired.

There seems to be a substantial turnover in such companies. What reliable, long-term companies exist in that space?

(Asking because such companies are also useful for individuals.)

Definitely be careful about choosing such a place and the services they offer. When I was running a solo startup I used a mail handler that promised email notifications of all arriving mail. But those notifications never came, I got busy with other things, and an important document sat in a mailbox for months. I should have been more diligent about following up, but the net result was that a possible large deal became a guaranteed nothing, due to my reliance on a service that failed me.

I have been using ClevverMail for personal stuff since about 3 years ago and I am happy with it. I do not receive a lot of mail on that address (incidentally in Toronto as well) so it usually costs about $5/month. They have a lot of locations and mine is a UPS Store that handles the scanning/mailing etc.

For UK specifically I've been using ScanMyPost which comes out to even less per year and is run by the same people that keep track of your credit score (and potential fraud) and I'd trust them even more.

I've been a Virtual Post Mail (https://www.virtualpostmail.com/) customer for 10 years so far and they've been great. Reliable and very quick to respond to support emails on the rare occasion it was needed.

I've been using MailboxForwarding.com for several years. $15 per month gets you 50 items received and 15 scanned. They also offer additional services like parcel storage/forwarding and check depositing. Been solid since I have been using them.

UPS Store or a Fedex equivalent. Looks like their address is a FedEx location.

Who receives & handles all the mail though? FedEx does?

Yup. And as a bonus, they'll throw out all the junk mail. Also, if you travel a lot, or often relocate overseas, for a very reasonable rate they'll bulk mail you everything on whatever frequency you would like.

Earth Class Mail. Then drop ship to a local PO Box.

For a smaller business I’ve found nearly all co-working spaces have mailbox services that can scan or forward incoming mail.

I find it ironic that this is an article about someone who works remotely is surprised that everyone else works remotely.

I don't think the author is working remotely, he talks about reclaiming 2 hours of his day currently spent commuting.

I don't know, he kept saying he talks daily with someone who lives an hour away, and was constantly assuming that person was in the office.

I just assume that he meant something like "text-chatted over Slack" when he wrote that. It is a perennial surprise to me that many developers will send an electronic message of some sort even to people that they literally sit next to.

I do that. The point isn't to avoid speaking, it's to avoid interrupting them.

This. I send chat messages to the engineers right next to me except when something's really urgent. It's bad to interrupt another engineer's flow unnecessarily.

Plus, it also avoids interrupting all the others in the same office.

I do this when I have a team that's partially remote. If any part of the team is remote, the whole team is remote, so you have conversations electronically for the benefit of the rest of the team, so they don't miss out.

He's the CEO

I'm more interested in the comment about the next financial crisis. When is it due?

I dunno, I quite like Morgan Housel's take, namely:

No one has any idea how long this cycle can go. Australia hasn’t had a recession in 28 years. The rule of thumb is that unless you predicted the expansion would last this long you don’t get to predict when or how it will end. Which means basically no one gets to predict when or how it will end.


According to Zerohedge, since about 2014

"We've managed to predict 9 out of the last 5 recessions!"

And their accuracy remains.. let's say "unchallenged".

It's easy being "accurate" when everybody else is a "liberal snowflake"

I don't stop listening to the advantages of remote work. But it also has its problem, how everything... Why is nobody talking about it?

I wonder how their customers reacted to this, especially as a b2b company.

I'd wager few customer companies care. They're a leader in DNS features, which if this is something you care about as a company (customer) then you're probably up on the high-tech trends. A lot of those same companies are also embracing remote work in some way/shape/form. Also customers appreciate when their vendors DON'T go out of business - saving money on rent helps keep things going.

For many tech jobs, a remote workforce is a benefit. Technical Operations staff distributed? Great, it means someone is more likely to be awake and monitoring things - heck of a lot faster response time then the ol "It's 3am and the pager just went off, I'm groggy, where's my laptop, what's going on?".

Totally get the logic, just wondering if customers would feel weird if a company they worked with didn't have an "office".

The only case I can think of that matters is support/sales calls. If their phone staff does not have dedicated office space at home, it's a bit hard to organise. You can have at least small dividers in the office so that the background noise you hear over the phone is other calls, mostly quiet. I think it would be a different experience if I was handling incoming calls - even with a dedicated office room, I'd get anything like a bus passing by, lawnmowers, cats screaming to go out, rain on metal roof, etc.

man the headline made me nervous - thought this was going to be another "we're shutting down" post!

I had a similar but even worse thought: I assumed they were selling out to GoDaddy.

Pretty sure if they were ever going to sell it would likely be to tucows

Mark would never sell to GoDaddy!

Seriously! That was awful. My heart rate is slowly returning to normal. (Long-time very satisfied EasyDNS customer.)

I too clicked through expecting an "Our incredible journey!" shutdown message...

Me too! When I read that he forgot about his CTO having moved, I thought he might be suffering from some serious medical condition.

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