"Working at a fully distributed company where everyone at the company is working remotely from each other means you’re simultaneously everywhere and nowhere."Ian Stewart's story of the story of the Four Planets of Design Concept by Adam Becker and Brie Anne DemkiwImages by Marly GallardoText by Ian Stewart We call our design process “deep design” … Continue reading Revealing The Four Planets
At MIT I was fortunate to have Hiroshi Ishii as one of my most esteemed colleagues at the Media Lab. Professor Ishii is a giant in a field called CSCW, or "Computer Supported Cooperative Work" which has existed as a subfield of the Computer Human Interface (CHI) world since the 80s. There's a great overview … Continue reading The Three A’s of Remote Work and CSCW
How is remote work like being in a Wes Anderson submarine? It’s similar in that you feel like you’re in some form of alien world, with lots of weird colors and strange emojis 😎🦎🌋, and it can be so quiet all the time. It’s also isolating in many ways because you lack constant face-to-face contact with co-workers. That said, it’s a unique paradigm that has many upsides that far outweigh the downsides
I enjoyed this web page for its simple prompt of, "Hit play and scroll..." — it was introduced to me by Scott Evans at Automattic. It reminded me of how we browse pages in silence, or with an unrelated soundtrack. But if each web page had its own deejay, the web world might feel a … Continue reading Hit play and scroll …
When considering how to communicate inside an all-distributed company, I think it's not dissimilar to communicating inside any global company operating at a scale of any significance.
At Automattic Design we like to experiment with connecting large groups of people remotely NIRL with large groups of people IRL.
A low-performing team results from a sense that the organization neither cares for the team, nor does it care for its individual performers. In other words, employees stop caring about results when they feel the company doesn't care about them, too.
One of my favorite things in life is when I realize how stupid I've become by getting smarter. Said differently, it's the moment you realize that your personal inference engine is filled with a bunch of assumptions. And although those assumptions can let you feel smart in front of others who are confronted with exactly similar conditions for the first time, they're kind of useless when you're put into different situations. It's SO easy to forget.
I've found the distributed team paradigm to be enormously useful for collaborating in "sticky note" fashion. Why? Because it takes one hundredth of the time needed to get folks setup with virtual sticky pads because you don't have to tear off pages and hand them out to each individual one-by-one. There's no need to hand out pens as well because they just need to type into the keyboards.
The beauty of distributed work is that you can be anywhere in the world and not limited to a headquarters in some-city-out-there. That's a great way to free oneself from the physical environment of some companies that don't have inspiring workplaces. But it also means that you might get stuck working from home and without a lot of new stimulation from the non-remote universe. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?