How to take advantage of distributed work

Don't call it 'remote'

Distributed work is becoming the norm for many tech companies as the pandemic waxes and wanes. But there are plenty of ways to mess it up, especially if you’re attempting a hybrid solution — or if you’re secretly pining for the office.

I recently sat down with two experts on the topic to learn more: Wendy Nice Barnes, chief people officer at Gitlab, and Phil Libin, founder and CEO of startup studio All Turtles and mmhmm.

Our philosophy is we’re not remote, we’re distributed intentionally in the same way that the internet is a distributed system. Phil Libin

Barnes joined the long-time distributed WebOps company during the pandemic, after a career working in physical tech offices as a human resources leader.

Libin, after a long Silicon Valley career built around office meetings, has gone through the process of learning to love distributed over the last couple of years. As part of the process, he founded mmhmm, a video conference company (that’s fully distributed).

I’ve highlighted a few points from the conversation, below, including getting the mentality right, how to handle vacations and a couple tips on fundraising.

Think “distributed”

“Of course, some of it is harder. There are obvious disadvantages,” Libin said, regarding going distributed. “How about we focus on the amazing superpower advantages, like the fact that 0% of the people in our companies waste any time commuting? Not like the fact that they can live anywhere they want, like the fact that they can be fully productive. There are like massive advantages. Focus on those, and everything becomes much better.”