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Archive: Remote Daily
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    Totally, this was quite ridiculous! Though, I wonder with smaller startups how candidates can do much vetting.

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      Hey Jason, such a lovely story! Congrats on setting up a great remote lifestyle and also an amazing startup :)

      I saw that you really liked travelling and travelled for even half the year. Of course with the pandemic that would have stopped for now. Do you see yourself travelling again once things settle down a bit or down you think having a young family would make that a bit difficult?

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        I definitely plan to keep traveling, as long as my son is pre-school age then we basically have all options open to us.

        When he's a little older I expect we will travel with the school seasons, perhaps summers in Ukraine where my wife's family is, and then back home for the rest of the year, with little weekend trips mixed in.

         

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          Super - great plan! All the best :)

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        😉 To save some clicks, the top 7 cities are:

        1. Tallinn, Estonia
        2. Tbilisi, Georgia
        3. Belgrade, Serbia
        4. Bali, Indonesia
        5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
        6. Berlin, Germany
        7. Singapore
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          Thank you sir :)

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          Wow, amazing list - each by itself sounds really nice! :)

          I plan to bring a little more calm to my mind by using devices less and possibly meditating more.

          Improve all "HR" aspects at my startup so that everyone continues to feel a close part of the team (we went fully remote just mid last year)

          Can't say this is a resolution because many personal items need to fall in place, but I am hoping to move to tier-2 city and away from the hustle & bustle of the crowded cities.

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            Good luck with moving @Karthik! 

            I'm in the same situation regarding moving to another place, but still wondering if it's a side effect from the lockdown (French cities are definitely not attractive anymore) or a real will to change and move permanently. 

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              Thanks Sophia :)

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            Happy New Year, everyone! 

            Let's make 2021 better than 2020! 💯

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              Amen!

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              What a great way to end the year on! 

              2020 was such a great year for me personally! 

              Wins:

              - Introspected and re prioritized things. Moved countries to relocate home to spend time with family! ❤️

              - Got out of a SUPER toxic career  situation and possibly one of the best things to happen! 🕺

              -  Regularly practiced Yoga and kept my fitness game intact while being alone at home! 🏋

              -  Got a new work opportunity with a great boss and amazing coworkers all around. 💻

              -  Upskilled a HELL LOT in Python and Data Science! 👨‍💻

              -  Got to know a lot of wonderful people!  

              -  Came across Remote Clan ( Not sugarcoating, but what a great concept! LOVE IT! ) 

              -  Spent time with close friends making memories! 

              Personal Win

              I have a hard time making difficult decisions, I made one this year when I decided to call quits on my life in the US and come back to India. It wasn't easy, but it was quite a simple decision! 

              I know 2020 wasn't a great year for everyone, but lets's hope 2021 is a year of transformation and we all keep moving up in life! 

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                Got out of a SUPER toxic career  situation and possibly one of the best things to happen!

                I decided to call quits on my life in the US and come back to India.

                Wow, really super inspiring! Amazing Prerak - wish you the absolute best for 2021!

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                  Thank you so much Karthik! I wish you the same! 

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                Great question :). Weird year for all of us, but also lot to be thankful about.

                Wins

                - Flexiple is slowly inching towards getting to a million dollars in annual revenue. Waiting for that day :)

                - We turned into a fully-remote company and hired some great people in our team!

                - Built & launched Scale which went viral - first product of mine to get 150k+ views in 24 hours

                 

                Personally

                - My dog son, Rocket, turned two and I had an amazing time with him

                - My nephew was born at the very beginning of the year

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                  Thanks Karthik! It's been a blast starting a YouTube show/podcast in 2020 during COVID. Looking forward to continuing it in 2021 🙌

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                    Keep Rockin'! Also do share some lessons with us 😬

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                    Congrats everyone!

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                      Interesting article, Shalom.

                      I agree with the analysis quite a bit - the "scope creep" as you call it is the main deterrent for me in using project-based pricing. I think a lot of projects go south because of that.

                      It is so tough to scope out complex projects to the T and then everything seems to fall into the ambit of the project requirements.

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                        Cool, re: Zoom.

                        But does Meet normally have a limit on call times? I'm pretty sure Hangout (the old "free" version) was always unlimited.

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                          Right, even I can't remember there ever being a restriction on Meet or Hangout.

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                          I think it's imp to have a Daily Standup

                          I think it's also imp to have tools in place that help tracking tasks, organizing and reporting work (eg Jira or Trello etc)

                          I think you have to have check-points. People get blocked and you need to make sure they unblock vs go down rabbit holes

                          I think it's imp to reassess on a wkly basis

                          Much of what I'm writing is just good Scrum process - I don't see a way around this.

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                            That's what I normally say too!

                            My experiment from last weeks - confirms it in practice as well.

                            I guess my theory was that this team now have enough context about the project, and know our more decentralized way of working, that they can the sane output with less management involvement.

                            But I was wrong. I'm not sure if it was because of motivation, or lack of self-management skills. Interestingly, when I started to dig into this, looks like while it didn't work for some of the team members, it worked for others.

                            Thank you for writing it/reminding me!

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                              Just one thing about this, Boris - I have also realised that we need to slowly build a layer of management between founders and certain employees. Just so that this management oversight can be looked into by someone else instead of you.

                              These guys can be those who are able to manage these long-term initiatives well.

                              "It feels like low value-adding activity compared to the alternatives." => at least this is taken off your plate so that you can look into newer initiatives.

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                                Good point.. What we have tried was - to have one Lead Developer in each team.. who can do some of the oversight on the more junior people in the team. Essentially, it is a Senior developer.

                                Without a Senior developer in a team, things are harder and take more oversight.

                                I like this idea you propose, it is more of this direction.

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                            I have my Pitch Deck & short a long a video recording pitch for my healthcare startup as-well, what I need is to make a 2-minute Product/service offering animated/motion graphics video which would be included in the Investor reach mails.

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                              Ahh, quite interesting. I remember making a video using VideoScribe. Do check it out. I think you can make it quite quickly using it. Else, there are other tools like Powtoon, etc.

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                                Great, thanks a lot, I wonder what the advantage of making such videos ourselves vs getting em done with freelancers/Fiverr and such

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                                  Well depends entirely. Cheap videos through freelancers aren't well made. In comparison, I would choose such an option. But yes, it will require effort at your end in preparing a script and then actually using the tool to make the video.

                                  If you are ready to spend money, then sure a freelancer or agency would do a better job.

                                  The question is whether you even need the video at an early stage. I realised the video I made was pretty useless.

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                                    yeah, Got it

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                                      Also, I'm stuck on the content & script I mean the whole idea is put into the pitch deck with research, competition and all that stuff, and making a pitch video and all that but making a product/service offerings video is entirely a different thing, so what do you think where/what should I start with? I mean I can start with a customer's problem case scenario, but our healthcare app is much more than just a service offering, in short, we are more like a platform

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                                        Yaa, I would set it up as a story. What is the typical ideal story that your platform solves.

                                        For e.g. if it were for Uber. I would paint a picture of a driver who wants to make cash on the side and also show a lady who want to travel safely & conveniently. Showcase that each has their problems and that Uber is the solution that solves it beautifully.

                                        I am sort of embarrassed to share this early video by Flexiple, as we have come a long way since and lot of things have changed, but you will get an idea of what I am saying through this: https://www.facebook.com/flexiple/videos/1564847643578443

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                                          Hi Akhil, 

                                          I'd agree with Karthik in thinking whether you'd really need a video in the first place. Is it required? What do you want to achieve with it? Get the investor's attention in the email? 

                                          If you don't have the budget to go through an agency, then your end-result might not be so great (although we can have sometimes some genius idea that hacks it all). 

                                          What about you filming yourself telling the story/problem case scenario? Would that help to get the attention that you (maybe) need? What about adding visuals in the background to illustrate your story? I heard a lot about https://www.mmhmm.app/ but haven't tested it myself. Probably, good visuals are better than bad/okayish animated video. 

                                           

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                                            yeahh Understood

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                                              Well said!

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                                              I must say the video is really good! 

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                                                Haha, it is nice video to watch but I don't think it helped us too much :P

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                                    I've started working on Mobile Apps in the startup I'm working in, we're a small team of around 7 members so have to be a little agile. I'm primarily a vuejs developer, mobile apps are built in ionic and angular so it is challenging, fortunately, our team is awesome and our CTO is helping me whenever I'm stuck, so able to learn and pick it up quickly. If you are a teacher or have friends who teach or run an institute or a sports center, check us out - https://www.classcardapp.com/

                                     

                                    Thanks.

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                                      Pretty cool. Moving from Vue to Ionic won't be straightforward at all! But any reason for the choice of Ionic? Is the performance of hybrid apps improving now?

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                                        We aren't moving away from vue, for mobile apps we're using ionic. Our web stack is PHP right now with a few vue components here and there, soon going to refactor whole thing into nuxt! Pretty excited about it. Since a small team, we can't afford a seperate mobile app developer, hence using ionic, if given a choice, I wouldn't use ionic but it gets the job done 😅.

                                        1. 1

                                          Ahh, I think I phrased it poorly. I meant learning Ionic from having worked on Vue won't be straightforward.

                                          Since a small team, we can't afford a seperate mobile app developer, hence using ionic

                                          haha, totally get that thought process!

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                                      My biggest challenge right now is definitely working with focus when it feels like everyone is pulling my attention in all directions at once — as best as I organize myself to work for a few straight hours without interruption or losing focus, it has been impossible. Since many of those interruptions have definitely been unavoidable, I guess the challenge is actually about the frustration this causes. 🤯It feels like it's taking 8 hours to do what I could do in 4.

                                       

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                                        That's been my problem since April 😂

                                        The fact also remains that since there is no concept of going somewhere on a break (I've not travelled at all), I have also not taken any holidays. Guess, that's the same for you too? I feel that might also contribute to lesser productivity :(.

                                        I hope you are able to rejuvenate in the last week of December and start crushing come the new year 😃

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                                          Hahahaha I am laughing but it's of desperation 😅I think it just feels harder now because it's been so many days living the exact same day and it added up...

                                          And you hit the nail on the head! Not having anywhere to go and just relax and have a change of scenery makes it a lot harder and leads to unavoidable burnout.

                                          Thank you! I am actually thinking of taking a few days during the Christmas-NYE week to go "screen-free"...

                                          I hope you get to rejuvenate too and start the new year with a lot more focus and energy 😊

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                                            Haha, it totally is a Groundhog Day scenario for all of us

                                            Thank you! I am actually thinking of taking a few days during the Christmas-NYE week to go "screen-free"...

                                            Super idea! Enjoy the time 🎅🎄😬

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                                              Amazing! We should ideally be screen-free day(s) every weekend but good that you’re taking an entire week off now.

                                              I may not be able to be screen-free entirely but I’m planning stay away from my laptop/phone for most time on the Christmas weekend.

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                                          I'm not sure if it's only me but I feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and communication from people who want to finish up everything before the holiday weeks. My challenge, therefore, is to squeeze them into my weekly schedule. 

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                                            Hi @minededekoca, I'm in the same situation, but for me has been useful to divide my tasks and between some of them place a small time to talk with my family, play that videogame on the cellphone that we use to have just for fun, running for few minutes, and so on. 

                                            The point is to keep our mind relaxed as possible because that increases our productivity and at least in my case helps to accelerate the rate of work. Last week I tried to do all my work without those few minutes of rest and was horrible and difficult to end.

                                            I hope this going to be useful for you!

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                                              I can totally imagine @minededekoca! I guess some amount of push back is also needed. But if not possible, Samuel's suggestion seems quite smart.

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                                              Thank you Hrishikesh for this thoughtful post😍! 

                                              I'd really need help (and would love to help in return) with testing some user interfaces by people working remotely:

                                              - product managers and UX researchers

                                              - scrum teams

                                              - innovation, design thinking consultants

                                              - people that think that their team meetings and brainstorming sessions could be more structured

                                              My product is meant to help remote teams design strategies, brainstorm, and solve problems in an effective and collaborative way. We do this by offering a virtual workshop and project management platform that's easy-breezy to use, with no design skills needed. 

                                              I'd love to sit with you 20 min and walk you through some interfaces while listening to your feedback. Click here to book a slot. 

                                              I'd be very happy to help as well providing feedback to UX, onboarding, UI, content... or any other thing I can help with! I'm a bootstrapped founder so I have a bit of experience in everything related to startup and SaaS products. 

                                              Cheers ✌☮✌

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                                                Hey Sophia, I am happy to help with this. Couldn't find a link in your previous message (I found "Click here" but not the link).

                                                You can always reach me on karthik@flexiple.com and we can coordinate there :)

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                                                  Hello Karthik! Thanks so much! It's much appreciated :) I just sent you an email with the link. Otherwise, it's here

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                                                  Cheers Sophia :)

                                                  Same here, would be happy to help too. Let us know about the link.

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                                                    Thanks so much Hrishikesh! Also looking forward to finally speak to you guys face-to-face (screen-to-screen) :D! 

                                                    Here is the link

                                                    I copy-pasted the post many times because I didn't understand that I wasn't logged in. So the "Post Comment" button was here but in grey and I thought it was a platform bug. 

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                                                      Hey Sophia, sorry for writing back late. Just picked a slot for Sat. Talk soon!

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                                                        Awesome! Thanks so much Hrishikesh and talk to you on Saturday!

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                                                  I need to figure out how to clone our engineering team to deliver on our six-month roadmap in the next two months :)

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                                                    Was going to suggest what Sophia has asked. Not intending to pitch at all, but you could take a look at Flexiple. We have helped many companies in such situations. If nothing happy to get on a call :)

                                                    There are other guys like @Borisov91 also who run very successful startups to help with this.

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                                                      And you can't outsource some parts of it? 

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                                                        Hi Pez!

                                                        We have had similar situations multiple times before.

                                                        The info is a bit generic but here’s some input.

                                                        With the same team and the same process, you cannot 3x the output. Most probably you cannot even 1.5x your output through process changes within 2 months.

                                                        So you are looking to hire. Try to minimize the hiring time - for example, use hiring marketplaces. We have had cases where we have hired developers within 24h of identifying a hiring need.. through our hiring marketplace - www.remotemore.com

                                                        Think about the bottlenecks, to allocate your hiring correctly: Product Management Design Development QA

                                                        If you are going from 2 to 6 people, it is possible to execute it with output per developer remaining constant. But from e.g. 3 to 9, means creating a new team, which creates coordination work, so decreasing efficiency per team member.

                                                        Minimize the onboarding time. Aim for 2 weeks to 100% productivity.

                                                        We can do a call if you want input that is customized to your case? boris.borisov@remotemore.com

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                                                        I asked a friend of mine who has is a serial entrepreneur, with $50M+ acquisitions in his experience.

                                                        He had a very insightful reply:

                                                        "Dear Boris,

                                                         

                                                        this is one of the big challenges of leadership. It can be super rewarding when it works and massively frustrating when it does not work. 

                                                         

                                                        I think this depends on at least three elements:

                                                        - The people involved

                                                        - The leadership and work culture

                                                        - Learning/ growth curves


                                                        Re 1. Regarding the people involved it is not so much about their abilty to do their actual job but rather about their ability to self manage, motivate and get things done. Also there sometimes is a reluctance to take over responsibility missing because of fear or pure comfort reasons. Also some people have never experienced organizations with distributed leadership. The leaders themselves sometimes are part of the challenge: When you let go you need to provide the freedom for the new leaders to do their job, organize work and maybe have other paths that lead to success. Also interventions can be tricky and in the worst case undermining.

                                                         

                                                        Re 2. The leadership and work culture is a lot about how responsibility and power works. When it is transferred temporarily through delegation it usually requires frequent check ins and more leadership involvement. When it is handed over permanently (a lot harder to reverse) it elevates leadership and organizations to new levels. Sometimes it is just unclarity where you and the team are not fully aligned on what is happening: They think you are delegating and expect more "micro involvement" and you think you are handing over the power and they just don't take it. Either because they do not understand or because they don't want. In my experience it is important to figure out, what you want, what the team wants and if you can clearly communicate with each other. 

                                                         

                                                        Re 2. This is I think the key to success. A lot of times we forget, that we do all of this over time. And that we can design growth and learning curves. When the expectations are understood it can be super helpful to figure out which leadership skills are missing/ are not trained or that people expect a clarity that is not provided or even no one can provide. In my experience it makes a lot of sense to be quite transparent with the team and align on expectations and outcomes and a path (i.e. for the first "project" I will be close, for the second we will have regular check-ins and from then on it is going to be like this…) I am always surprised how people can have so different expectations and thoughts, so communication is key here: see point 1. In my experience a good feedback culture is key to align and develop.

                                                         

                                                        Another interesting way to look at this when it comes to "task" level is the motivation/ ability matrix. It is super simple: on a task level you look at an individuals motivation and ability to do something. This leads to a 4 field matrix. Depending on their ability and willingness you adjust your leadership behaviour between directing, motivating and explaining. When you then combine this with a learning/ growth curve approach this leads to well working organizations in my experience.

                                                         

                                                        This topic is one of the most challenging ones in my entrepeneurial life as it is a constant struggle when people work together. What helps me a lot is my love for humans and my strong conviction in creating organizations that can bring out the best in people and help them to continuously develop. 

                                                         

                                                        Does this help you?

                                                         

                                                        Cheers

                                                        Joerg"

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                                                          Hi Boris,

                                                          Sorry for the late reply and your friend's reply is quite interesting and I agree with it completely!

                                                          The problem I think I/we face is that I/we know many of these concepts but they become quite tricky in practice.

                                                          1. Hiring

                                                          Yes, there are some that thrive independently and some who aren't able to do as well. But as an early-stage startup (maybe even for bigger companies) I don't think we can always hire the former. In the race against time, we do make a compromise on one of the many things we want.

                                                          For e.g. At Flexiple, I want people to have a great attitude (hardworking and work ethic-wise), to be smart, have the ability to communicate well, be reliable and manage personal productivity. In this, I have already given up looking for specific skillsets in people, believing that any person with these softer aspects can always pick up the hard skills.

                                                          But we fail in finding a person who fulfils each of these qualities. I would think that these are reasonable demands, but it turns out that it is a rarer combination than one would think.

                                                          Having said that, I haven't given up and am still sticking to finding only such people henceforth. Our interviews are totally geared to these aspects rather than any role-focused discussions. I will share an update on how this goes in some time.

                                                           

                                                          2. Tracking

                                                          About tracking - @suvansh faces quite a similar problem as many of our hires report to him. Many times, I think, it is just the anxiety of whether things are even being done which becomes problematic.

                                                          I think this stems from the fact that he is also quite new to delegating work and also that he expects everyone's output to be as perfect as his.

                                                          For this, I have suggested and am implementing:

                                                          - A simple tracking tool on Airtable: That helps him to know exactly who is working on what. For our colleagues, they will have a relay type system where everyone needs to keep their "view" clean of any outstanding items and has to tag the next person who needs to work on that task.

                                                          Further, I have set up automated mails whenever deadlines are breached and also a sort of escalation (first mail only Suvansh and the colleague are marked, next time the other co-founders - Hrishikesh and I - are also marked).

                                                          I am trying to continue implementing such alerts so that manual "where are you with your task today" doesn't happen.

                                                           

                                                          3. Leadership

                                                          This is definitely a problem. As I said, not only Suvansh but even I am new to delegating work at Flexiple. I did almost every aspect of work at some point earlier and estimate the time something will take based on my capability.

                                                          That's quite wrong. Not to be arrogant, but I think it will be quite tough for people to match up to all the experience I have gathered over years. So, it requires being realistic and maybe even conservative.

                                                          Next, I think we need to get better at accepting the fact that others make mistakes and will make them. In the guise of not wanting any mistakes to be made, a lot of micro-managing takes place - that wastes the manager's time and also doesn't allow the employee to learn & grow either.

                                                          Finally, at some level, we need to accept that not everyone joining the company will have the same attitude as founders. It isn't fair for us to expect that and this expectation also causes a lot of friction.

                                                           

                                                          There's possibly more to discuss around this topic and I will continue to share as I think of them :)

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                                                            Interesting! Thank you, Karthik.

                                                             

                                                            I can relate to many of the things, e.g.:

                                                            - We should have different expectations towards not-founders.

                                                            - It is surprisingly hard to find people that meet what we as founders consider a reasonable list of requirements.

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                                                          Hey Boris, I have a few thoughts about this based on my experience. Not amazing solutions but just my perspective. If you don't mind I'll type it out tomorrow. 

                                                          @suvansh will also have a lot to say about this too.

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                                                            Thank you, Karthik. Looking forward!