- Tell us about what you do and where your team is located.
I lead Product for the partner experience at AppSumo, the software marketplace for entrepreneurs. The company was founded in Austin, Texas, so most of the folks are there. Since Covid, though, the company is all remote, and people only go into the office once in a while, if ever. I'm personally located in Israel, and there are a few others who are also scattered about, nowhere near Austin.
- What's a modern benefit you offer your team that isn't mainstream yet?
The biggest benefit at AppSumo, in my opinion, is how they encourage side projects. Many companies will say they allow side projects, as long as it doesn't interfere with work. But at AppSumo, having a side hustle or interesting hobby is a huge benefit to getting through the recruiting process. Everybody here does interesting things - whether it's making music, designing custom cakes, or having a youtube channel. I've written and illustrated two childrens' books, and I'm working on my 3rd.
Since so many people have side gigs, they also encourage us to "eat our own dog food" and create tools or content to list on AppSump - with cash rewards. The whole thing works to create a more open and creative environment, let us be our authentic selves, and helps make AppSumo an even more robust and useful product.
- Tell us about your approach to meetings vs async communication?
Chad Boyda, our CTO, says he treats his calendar like a bonsai tree. He looks at it every week and tries to prune meetings that aren't needed. In general, there's a culture of communicating async, and people should excuse themselves from meetings if they're finding their presence is not necessary. Confluence is our main repository of all information - we're encouraged to take notes in public over there, and document decisions so people can all be aligned, even if they're not in a meeting.
- What's your favourite tool for remote collaboration?
I really love InVision's Freehand, which is a great whiteboarding tool. Here at AppSumo we use Figjam, which is Figma's response to collaborative whiteboarding, and it's pretty good, too. Collaborative whiteboarding is a great way to brainstorm, and share ideas together in a remote setting - even async.
I also really like Notion, which is great for all-purpose documentation and note-taking, as well as creating customized processes and calendars to keep everyone on the same page.
For remote teams, cultural and social activities are important, too. During onboarding, we played Kahoot, which was a fun way to connect with all the other newbies and learn more about the company's culture. It was cool that we each participated on our phones while the moderator presented the questions on the presentation. Definitely check it out!
- Can you give us one prediction for the future of work?
I believe companies and teams still like to have offices. But the future of offices will change and be more tuned to impromptu ad hoc work, meetings, and social events - if they exist at all. For the most part, the traditional office is dead. Companies are learning to be more results-oriented, and care less and less about the number of hours people sit at their desks.