Christopher is not a big fan of commuting to an office, he founded his own software and development studio that operates remotely. He shares with us how it is organized and what are the main challenges of playing it remotely.
Hello Chris, What is your background and what are you working on?
I’m the CEO and co-founder of homies.io, an impact-oriented software design and development studio based between San Francisco and Austin, Texas. The last 2.5 years I’ve spent most of my time as a Product Manager (and Technical Project Manager) on client projects, in addition to my duties as CEO (a bit of everything).
Previously, I helped Udacity start an agency (Blitz.com) on top of their core education business, and worked for Gigster as one of their top performing PMs through their time in YC and the series A by a16z. So far I’ve travelled to over 50 countries and lived on 4 continents working remote.
What first got you motivated to start working as a freelancer?
I’ve never been one for commuting to an office, and even when working in office based positions often would go to the office a bit later in the morning after having worked from home a bit first.
I also work on global projects – where clients, beneficiaries and team members are not based near you – so even when based in one place for longer it was inevitable to start incorporating remote working habits and collaboration styles. As time went by (not that much time…) I made the transition into being full remote.
Where do you usually get things done?
I tend to work from home – where I have less distractions in terms of noise and people, more stable WIFI, more privacy etc (and I can work in my underpants!).
That being said – I also work from coffee shops, airports and airplanes, etc.
I don’t have a home office – although I do travel around with a Roost stand and portable mac keyboard/mouse.
You founded homies.io with 3 friends, trust is important. What are the biggest challenges you faced? How do you manage communication and teamwork there?
We work predominantly in Slack, with heavy use of Asana and Google Drive.
Biggest challenges include hiring, scaling processes such as requirements engineering, code reviews and product management, and scaling marketing/sales. That being said – we’re well on our way.
In your everyday work life, what tools/softwares boost your productivity?
What are for you important values you’re looking for hiring remote workers?
We hire for remote positions all the time, I mainly look for:
- Skill in the area I’m hiring: past works
- Past experience working remotely (as opposed to being in the same office with coworkers), this is important because it requires a different communication and work style, and more discipline
How do you think remote working is seen by the companies you work with?
Remote working is fine for most startup clients, who don’t even have offices themselves. Larger clients can be a bit more hesitant, simply because they don’t have the work practices in place for remote resource management and communication.
Another frequent issue is when clients think you’re full-time employees, when in reality you’re staffed say 15 hours a week on their project alongside other client projects. This surfaces when they expect comms or work turnaround times of several hours instead of keeping with sprint schedules on a weekly basis.
That being said – everyone appreciates meeting the people they work with in person from time to time, and when we get the chance, we work together from the same location as a team (frequent team retreats, HQ office in Austin) and meet clients in person when in the same city.
If you’d like to work with Christopher, visit the homies.io website!