Building Company Comms for Remote Teams - PodNotes

YC Podcast - Mike Knoop on Product and Design Processes for Remote Teams with Kevin Hale

The discussion around building a remote company is fascinating to me. The idea of having to focus so heavily and rely so much on building the communication culture of a company first, within the perameter of respecting both collaboration and deep work in a way that propels the company forward. Ohf, what a hard and fascinating problem.

This episode has some really interesting ideas about how to set up a remote organization, but beyond location, I thought he spoke about a lot of issues every single company has when it comes to building culture, workflow, communication and the process and expectations around that. He recognizes the need for deep work and the company is set up to protect that time over any other.

I resonated with a culture that respects and values deep work and focusing on a bias toward action as opposed to number of hours worked. This is the way I'm most productive therefore it feels like it would set me up for success.

"Bias toward action" is one of Zapier's key values. The idea being that, especially in a remote team, you have to be able to rely on yourself to take action, or if you're really stuck, find another valuable thing to work on before moving.

The remote organization relies on a level of trust most companies don't even have to think about. In a remote organization you trust people to do work, specifically deep work, on their own time without any signal that this is actually happening.

My takeaway:

I want to see all these processes! There are a number of internal tools, frameworks and processes that are clearly defined (even more important to write things down for a remote org). It sounds incredible.

Slack is for simple back and forth communication but how is deeper work being shared? For Zapier, it is an internal blog. I like this question. How does deeper work get shared and celebrated? Without emphasis, it is very easy to bias toward simple easy work and slack responses vs. doing the big things that move the needle.

*Tip: You can turn off the leave/join notification in Slack to get rid of the social pressure and free up people’s attention.