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The Man, The Myth, The Head of Remote Legend

Head of Remote at Gitlab Darren Murph himself gives the lay of the land for the future of remote.


Justin  0:04  

All right, we are live again with another episode of remote voices we have an awesome guest today Darren from get lab head of remote head of Twitter and head of all things remote online. Darren, thanks for joining us, man. I'm sure that like literally our entire audience knows you and your tweets but you know, give us kind of a background on you your position snippet on get lab. Why would you use it over GitHub? Just whatever you want to kind of throw into that intro?

Unknown Speaker  0:33  

Thanks, brother. I appreciate it. Thanks for the platform. Thanks for the very kind words it's very gracious of you. So I'm Darren I'm the head of remote at get lab the world's largest all remote company. So me and over 1200 others work from 65 plus countries with no offices anywhere. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing. I've worked my entire career across the spectrum of remote I have worked in CO located roles I've worked in hybrid scenarios. And now I get lab all remote remote has been Part of my life since the very beginning, I think it really started at Engadget. I was the managing editor there, I was flying all over the world to cover trade shows new product launches and kind of dawned on me, oh, if I'm working from an airplane, or from a convention center, a different one every week. Hey, this is remote work. And I started working remotely before 3g was invented. And laptop batteries lasted about 28 minutes. Yeah, so you had to really want it. I mean, it was like seriously goo guerrilla tactics to make remote work work. Pre iPhone. It's a lot easier now. So we've come a long way baby. But it's it's been a fascinating adventure, a fascinating journey. I've kind of known that remote work and just flexibility in work. I don't think we'll call it remote work for very much longer, it'll just be work. I've known that that was the future for a really long time. But for historical context, we're recording this in May of 2020. And the global pandemic that we're in one of the silver linings to that is it has accelerated remote and the embrace of remote By I think at least 10 years, all of a sudden, 10s of millions of people are working from their homes or various other places almost overnight. And I'm pretty proud of humanity for being agile enough to kind of adapt into that and shift into that we've seen people kind of just get it and start laying remote infrastructure. So it's, uh, it's cool. I think we're living like, we're literally seeing history unfold. It feels like each day is about a year, a year's worth of progress happens each day. It's been, it's been fascinating.

Justin  2:29  

So, you know, we talked about this a couple times on previous episodes, this idea that the pandemic cause remote work to happen, but there's this potential for it to also put a bad taste in a lot of people's mouth because it's on the heels of a very stressful, you know, destructive event, right. So, do you think that in the end, you know, we'll come out much stronger and remote work or do you think that a lot of companies are going to come out of this and be, I don't know, frustrated? Oh, it didn't work. It was horrible. You know, because of the They were ill prepared for it,

Unknown Speaker  3:02  

you'll have some elements about it won't be an all or nothing type of thing. But on the whole, we're gonna emerge from this much further ahead as a society than we would otherwise. set our CEO has said a few times never waste a crisis. And we can't wish away the crisis that we're in. All we can do is choose how we respond to it. And I feel like a lot of companies are rallying around that and saying, like, Look, this is our reality. We have our entire workforce having to work from home, we understand that they probably have a significant other at home as well. They have kids, they're probably doubling as a homeschool teacher. It's really tough right now. Plus global isolation plus restaurants are closed. There's a lot going on. And despite all of that, I've had hundreds of conversations with suddenly remote teams summon remote workers, and a lot of them are saying, despite all of that, I kind of really love not having a commute. I actually think I'm more productive though on paper. It should that should not be the case. And you're even seen companies see this and react to this. On this day, this actual day, the entire Virtual Office of get lab is shut down. This is my only call of the day. And the reason that happened is said our CEO has been saying, Hey, everybody take care of your family and friends first work second, it's one of our sub values, and we mean it. But at the same time, we've actually seen productivity go up, we've seen the amount of merge requests that are happening go up. And a lot of that is probably due to just people being forced to be at home. So they're not traveling to different events. And it's one of those things that if the computer is right there, what leaders are seeing as what you should actually guard for is burnout and overwork. Yep. Because it's very tempting. If computers right there, you can quote unquote, get ahead. And if you have someone get ahead, it starts a domino effect for someone else, and now they have to catch up and then they want to get ahead and so on and so forth. So we said, Hey, we're just gonna give everybody a three day weekend. Also, just today buffer CEO said I'm trying to be more intentional about guarding For over work, and so for the entire month of May, we're going to have a four day work week. And we'll just see, see how it goes. And a lot of other companies are saying like, oh, I've been thinking and feeling that I'm glad you're doing something about it. A lot of other companies are saying, hey, at the end of this year, we're going to do the last three months of the year like no one works Fridays, we're going to go to a four day work week and see what happens. But just because you've got to think companies in mass are discovering that, hey, if we don't force our entire workforce to spend 1234 hours a day round trip commuting, shocker. They're more productive, they're happier, they have more time to contribute to what it is that we're doing, they have more time to contribute to a result. And actually, what you got to be careful for is that people don't just replace one to one their commute with work time. Because you can only work 1214 hours a day for so long before you burn out. And I don't know how people have commuted that long for some for four years and done it but in any case, that's one of the things that it's like That would have not happened without this situation that we're in, you would not have had team leaders pressing pause hitting the brake pedal and saying, What would a four day work week look like? No chance. But because of this, it acts as a forcing function. And in a lot of ways, I feel like it's the Great Awakening, the great pause button that society really needed to kind of reevaluate where we are. And can we do things differently? Can we embrace the internet to accomplish new things as a society? I feel like this is the this is our centuries. assembly line moment. You know, the world changed in the early 1900s when the assembly line made its way into the mainstream and remote I feel like is having that type of moment right now. We're seeing it unfold on what what it's going to look like.

Justin  6:47  

Yeah, we've seen in our own org for sure. You know, we just hired a new developer out of California. He's locked into his apartment all by himself, the laptops in front of you. Alright, let's just, you know, crank out a new feature why not like we're here, but you're right, it leads to burn out really quickly. And I've been super on top of him and on top of myself saying, alright, we just need to go to bed. Like we need to turn the thing off, and, and stop working because we're just gonna never stop if we don't do it now. But yeah, man, I think it's gonna be really interesting to get some of your feedback on a couple of these things. So we have a couple tweets lined up. Some might even have your name on them. But we have a couple tweets lined up, we're just going to basically discuss this kind of a group. So this first one says today I'm reminded of how asynchronous can be powerful in giving people voices who may not feel they're normally able to be heard. There is power and synchronicity in the classroom or a meeting space, but that does not get shared equally. And I think I love this because we talk about it a lot with Yac in terms of a meeting tool is meetings. Typically you have this one person that drives the majority of the meeting kind of dominates the conversation. Whoever's kind of the the most out Going whoever called the meeting and maybe that person that doesn't thrive in that real time environment, they're not getting their voice heard. How do you guys manage this at get lab?

Darren Murph  8:10  

This is exactly why we have a bias towards a synchronous again, it is quite simply a more inclusive way to work. It ensures that everyone contributes their voice in the same way. Because to your point if you're not a boisterous person if you're not allowed person and frankly, if you were out attending something with your kids or you were at a doctor's appointment, or for some reason you couldn't actually be in the meeting. If you rely on synchronicity and verbalizing meetings, you're either there or you're not you either have the input or you're not. And this is why people have prioritized work over life because they realize if I miss this meeting, this is my chance to put my stamp on this project. This is my chance for my voice to be heard. That's really toxic. That's a terrible way to go about managing business and your project. Especially when we live in a time where a synchronous tools exist, this is not difficult. I think it's actually more difficult to try to get eight people's schedules to line up for a synchronous meeting. I mean, just to get all four of us on this call, like, we had to do a lot of shuffling around. And this is for a certain purpose, and I'm glad that we're doing it. But also, we don't do this every single day. Do you

Justin  9:22  

force async in your environment, though? Like, like, yeah, I see hunter all the time on like a slack call and I'll be like,

Unknown Speaker  9:29  

damn it, Hunter, like get off of that slack call or we're async. First, I don't know, do you have that happen inside of your work? We have a sub value that says bias towards a synchronous, so we can link over to that. Everyone has a right to question everyone. So if someone sends you a calendar invite, it is totally okay to respond to that and say, hey, can this be done asynchronously? Here's how I propose we do this or a get lab issue already exists for this. Can we funnel the conversation that we were going to have in this meeting? To this issue so that a broader array of people can contribute to it. So yeah, we do that. We also have a forcing function on meetings in general that make it that, that make it such that you want to contribute asynchronously. And what I mean by that is every work meeting at get lab needs a Google Doc agenda attached to it. So if you're the meeting organizer, you have to spin up a Google Doc, start outlining an agenda, attach it to the calendar invite. And then in the meeting, you're responsible for making sure that documentation actually takes place and then after the meeting, you're responsible for contextualizing whatever takeaways may have been there and then putting them in the relevant places in the get lab handbook. So that the information in that meeting benefits the greatest amount of people. What I'm saying is that's a heavy burden to have a meeting, you've got a really want the meeting like that needs to be your last resort, that should not be the default. And we're very prescriptive about that. We want meetings to have a high burden and a heavy cost, so that people don't just do them by default.

Justin  11:03  

Yeah, Hunter, how did you guys do this at your last company? I, I assume you did a lot of real time meetings and not much async there.

Hunter  11:12  

The last place I worked, we were at a marketing company we had anywhere between, I was working on anywhere between eight to 13 clients at a time. So that obviously meant a lot of juggling. But that meant that every single day, I had three or four meetings, and they all took place in Google meet. And it took an enormous amount of time. It was absolutely ridiculous. Because half the times, people were just like, yep, yep. I mean, we're just going through a slideshow and I'm just like, I wish I could just send you like a video of this. And then you can either, like, skim through it. Or a lot of times like guys, these meetings were taking, we had multiple clients say, look, these these meetings are taking way too long. Just give me the highlight reel, just give me like, four or five bullet points each because what ended up happening is that we had five different departments and then each department had to sit down in front Most of the time is the entire department had to sit down and present the results. Luckily, I was on the creative team. So it was like, a little bit easier. But really just cycle through like one on one, the conference room only had eight chairs. So basically, like your team came in, and then you call them like the next team to come in. And you did this like all day long. So like, it got to the point where we're like, we're not actually working, we're just meeting all that. So your

Justin  12:21  

scenario was even worse. It was a it was a physical office you had to go into at least in Aaron's case, there's you know, you are at your house, you can go lay on a couch or something and relax for half of the meeting.

Jordan  12:34  

What's really interesting about this type of stuff, too, is that a lot of the times these like real time meetings require thoughtfulness and kind of like next steps to be figured out after the call anyway. So it's like if we if the angle was for me, just to like, take my time and think about it from the start. Why did we even need to hop on in real time anyway, especially like back when we were doing agency stuff, a lot of there's like looking over a document.

Unknown Speaker  12:57  

Really important, there's a really important point about what you do. just said that I've actually had to vocalize to people that I'm doing remote consultations, what they're grappling with the sudden transition to remote and kind of phase one of remote. I call it skeuomorphism, where you simply try to copy the in office environment and paste it in a virtual environment, you don't fundamentally think about anything differently, you just trying to mimic it. And what you just said was, focus on the result, focus on what you wanted to get out of the meeting. And then ask yourself, Is there a better way to get the result? Because you're not doing the meeting to do the meeting, you're doing the meeting to get this decision made? So just go straight to the result. The result is we want a decision made about this. What is the most efficient way to do that? And I see this most significantly, in what I call the whiteboarding fixation. You have teams that love to whiteboard, whether it's executive team or design team, and one of their first questions about remote I'm not kidding is what is a virtual whiteboard? How do you replicate the whiteboard? And my response is, wait a minute, what do you Did you get out of whiteboarding meetings? What was the end result? What was the thing that you landed on? Focus on the result, not the medium. You don't actually need to replicate the whiteboard, necessarily.

Justin  14:12  

Yeah, I just got off the phone with the Miro team, actually. And they were asking about doing a Yac integration in the mirror. And the reason why they said this was they found that even though they market their entire whiteboarding solution as this like real time whiteboard, they find that actually the majority of users end up using it asynchronously. One guy dives in there does some whiteboarding says, Hey, I updated the mirror board, you want to dive back in and take a look at it. That's because like you're not gaining a lot of stuff by actually doing it in real time. You know, asynchronous behavior gives you a little bit of time to be you know, introspective, think about what you're doing, you know, edit it, go back, look at it again, share it with somebody else, have them come in and look at it. So I'm curious. You know, when we look at this tweet here, it specifically says there's power in like the real time inside of a classroom. I kind of Hard disagree with the classroom argument, especially at higher ed. I would have so much rather been able to watch my professors talk, speed them up to 1.5 x pause, rewind and go back. Like that's such a better experience to me. I'm wondering dare like what do you think about classroom? Do you think that is a it has to be real time.

Unknown Speaker  15:21  

It kind of depends on what it is, there are some things that I do appreciate real time. I love watching a sporting event, for example, in real time, it's just loses a little bit of its luster. If you DVR a sporting event and watch it later. Just the human condition of knowing that it's not happening in real time makes it somewhat less enjoyable. I don't know why that is, but it is. But outside of kind of live events or things that are happening in real time that the drama is in the real time. pneus of it. I disagree.

Darren Murph  15:56  

It just Yeah, go ahead. Yeah, go ahead.

Hunter  15:59  

Sorry. To add on to that, I don't know if you ever heard of the podcast, it's how to start a startup. It's basically just, Justin, you got to back me up on this. I think you showed it to me. It's like Stanford, I believe they took, yeah, recordings of the business classes. I'll never go to Stanford. But it was just incredible listening back to that. So I actually agree with you, Justin, I don't know how powerful it is to know that your teacher is speaking to you in real time.

Justin  16:24  

I got a lot of value out of it. I saw that thing on Reddit is like everything you just said, like bless this teacher's heart. And it was the teacher setting up zoom for like the first time and he was in the actual classroom. So he wasn't doing it at home. He was actually doing it on campus. But he had taken one of the like, the elephant of shelf dolls, and like put it in the front seat because he just like wanted something to like, look at and see in the audience. And I was like, Yeah, but like, why is that required? Like you should be able to do like a presentation and I should be able to watch it later. Like, I don't know, there's this weird pressure that school has to be this real time thing and it's interesting to me that the pressure that I keep hearing from parents, like friends of mine that are parents is, Oh, we got to login to zoom and have to do their entire, like schoolwork online, they all have to turn their camera on. We talked about this on like an older episode guys that are like walking around with their pants off because they didn't realize that the camera was on, you know, real time actually causes a lot more issues than asynchronous behavior, you know, has and you can, you know, monitor your content a little bit better when you're async as well.

Unknown Speaker  17:26  

How many times you've heard the statement? Well, that's live television for you. What that means is that something just went horribly wrong and that we could have totally prevented this and we just filmed it. Yeah. But instead we were like, let's roll this thing live.

Justin  17:40  

Yeah, absolutely.

Darren Murph  17:42  

Life has a high burden to getting it right. It's a lot more that's a good quote. Well, flexible a few if you don't do a live

Justin  17:49  

I like that. What do we have next year.

Cool. So I don't know what your opinions are on this one. But this is a throwback from a prior episode. So I think Like episode one or two we had talked about this concept that zoom backgrounds could become ad units. I think Jeff Morris brought this up but just this idea that like, what if your zoom background could be monetized and so we see here use a Burger King billboard as a video conference background and get a free Whopper. So what happened like as a follow up to our prior conversation, we were all having opinions on this it actually did happen. You guys use zoom and get lab if you've been doing the crazy backgrounds. What I found is they're crazy, like distracting it's like you were telling us the story before we got on with this guy is like, you know, playing with his kid and on a call and you're like, Man, that's insane. I don't know how you you know do that. I'm the same way but mine is doing backgrounds. Every time I see somebody with some crazy zoom background behind them. I'm like, I cannot focus on what you're saying right now. All I see is a disembodied head.

Unknown Speaker  18:52  

Yes, it so we do use zoom at get lab. People are free to use virtual backgrounds. I think it's scientifically proven that if you have a beach happening like a GIF happening in real time or like a video of your head looking over your head, that increases the cognitive cognitive load of the call, zoom calls are already more taxing on the brain than having an actual in person engagement with someone. Adding a virtual background is one more thing to process because your brain knows like wait a minute, that's not actually how it's supposed to look. So you're constantly in real time having to remove that from how you perceive this person.

Justin  19:34  

So you think some of them are tivity but I paid if you put a Burger King banner behind you.

Unknown Speaker  19:42  

I have no nothing against that. I have nothing against people monetizing their background this happens in real life if you look at the Oscars are on the red carpet, they there's the standard repeat with Burger King on the thing like they're getting paid from Burger King to have the standard repeat logo in the background. I get it, I get it. But I do think there should be some there should be like a commission like a shared commission like if you join the call with the person who

Justin  20:11  

has the monetize bad to deal with it,

Unknown Speaker  20:13  

yes then that person has to deal with like, this is a higher cognitive load and you're going to compensate me for dealing with your forced additional cognitive level by sharing your thoughts.

Justin  20:25  

I get one of your pickles. That's 100%

Unknown Speaker  20:29  

Yes. Yeah. Or it's worse on a time scale. It's like for every five minutes of the call you owe the person one french fry. Okay, you see, Jordan what

Justin  20:38  

is a brand that you would put as your zoom background that you would want commission from?

Jordan  20:45  

Well, I don't know if I would necessarily put as my background but I could see something like I said on that one episode like doing like sponsored posts like what if I just, Oh, wait, what if I just had like a poster right there with like, I don't know like a sneaker like my favorite food or something. I could see that. Would you take I could see the name swag. If you Go to supreme background and they were gonna pay you in supreme swag it well yeah. Cuz I could resell like $20,000. But,

Unknown Speaker  21:07  

gosh, I'll give you a more realistic example I would, yeah, I would actually consider having a moving background but inside of a Delta cabin like you know, I'm like I'm sitting in business class, if for a certain amount of minutes like more skymiles would be deposited into my account. So if I could have a secondary window like watching my skymiles account grow as like I'm in this virtual a three a 330 or something.

Darren Murph  21:34  

I can see that

Jordan  21:35  

Oh, after this, you're gonna get a million tweets at you. Hey, Taryn. I just didn't know what to do. How

Darren Murph  21:43  

To be fair.

Unknown Speaker  21:45  

To be fair, I'm I'm a million dollar on Delta. I love Delta. And it breaks my heart that I'm not flying right now. I cannot wait to get back on the Delta jet. And so I actually think that wouldn't be therapeutic for me as well.

Justin  21:57  

You would do it for travel Jordan would do it for swag Hunter, what are you gonna put behind you like, Flex Seal?

Unknown Speaker  22:07  

That's actually amazing. Actually, I would watch, I would watch an entire Flex Seal commercial in the background of someone's, um, you won't even have to pay me for that.

Jordan  22:21  

Weird left turn.

Hunter  22:22  

Oh, man. You know, I like Darren's idea. Like, you're racking up the miles but I want to get miles too. So I would love to like have all of us have backgrounds and then we all sort of get commissions off of it. Yeah, I mean, I'm sort of flexing our own brand. So like I don't know what I'm getting at y'all guys got

Jordan  22:37  

that very thing called like communism.

Hunter  22:42  

Oh my

we never heard of it.

Justin  22:44  


Jordan  22:44  

just kidding

Justin  22:45  

Bernie 2020.

Jordan  22:46  

Lets go to the next week. We've killed this one.

Justin  22:48  


So I talked about this one a lot. Darren, I think that people are gonna wake up from the the epidemic and go, man living in New York. sucks, like, I have this tiny ass house that I live in. I pay five times that everybody else pays. And it's just not like worth it if you can't go outside and then suddenly when I couldn't walk down Broadway, New York all of a sudden was just no longer nearly as appetizing. But this in general is just talking about office. It's not even reopening. I know, slacks it September, Amazon just said October.

Darren Murph  23:25  

Zillow is through the rest of the year.

Justin  23:28  

Wow. They already announced it that's already announced that

Darren Murph  23:31  

2020 is done work from home the rest of the year.

Justin  23:33  

That's insane. So yeah, if you have to do that many months without your office, what? intelligent CEO CFO, what have you is going to go this real estate expense makes sense.

Unknown Speaker  23:49  

That's the entire point. I actually want executives to get on CNBC to talk about their latest quarterly earnings. And I want to have Jim Cramer say, Hey, I see a $2 billion On your balance sheet allocated to real estate, like can you explain to me why that's better used for real estate then more people more RND? More charity, like literally anything other than the RSP

Justin  24:12  

for the lower guys?

Unknown Speaker  24:14  

Yes. And I think we're tantalizingly close to that being very common question. And that's going to be an impetus for people to think about this on a, on a business level, you're already seeing it where businesses realize that decoupling geography and the results that their business delivers D risks them. I spoke with a company in in APAC recently, they have two offices, they had about 100 people in each there, they're all work from home right now. They're going to close one entirely. They're going to keep the other one for now, just because clients tend to like coming to establish the relationship in person. But their point to me was look, we can only fit about 100 people in this office we have to get remote right? Because half of our company will never have another seat to go back to. We have to get remote right. So just on the business side of things, you see you see it changing. Gartner released a study that said they surveyed over 300 CFOs globally and 76% of them said that they were going to permanently shift at least a portion of their workforce to remote. And this is during the most sub optimal time ever. Like this is not ideal. No more times. Yes. And even despite all of that, they see it as one of the healthiest ways to cut costs save money without impacting real people's lives and, and the actual productivity of their company. Now more to this tweet, I think this is going to be a second order massive wave of change. So the first order is going to be alright, let's imagine nine months from now you you have a boss at a big technology company that says All right, you can resume commuting, you're going to have a million people kind of collectively look at each other and say Wait, I just did my job from home for the last six months. I saw my family more arrested more. I spent zero dollars on gas, my car didn't depreciate as much How about No, I don't resume that commute. And also, I keep doing the job that I was doing because we just spent the last six months building remote infrastructure, we might as well take advantage of it. The second order of that is going to be when their lease comes up for renewal. They're going to look at it and say, Whoa, I'm paying $5,000 a month to live in a shoe box in a city that I'm only in because of this job. I have no actual connection to this city. Otherwise the city's infrastructures already struggling that don't

Justin  26:28  

Now thats going to open up hiring to so the opportunity to hire outside of the city because they already had people leaving outside of the city

Unknown Speaker  26:35  

100%. So what they're going to look for is where can this money go if I went to a smaller mid sized place where the air quality's better, better schools, better community services, a smaller community that I can dive into, some people are going to want to go back home, they're like, you know what, I just miss home wherever home is I'm going to go back there and bolster the economic tax base there, even if there are no skyscrapers. There. I live in a really rural pocket of North Carolina, there's farms next door and without remote work, I would not be able to contribute meaningfully to this community. And I think you're gonna start to see that in mass. I think the third order of that is you got places like NYC and SF, where people that were born their native New Yorkers, native San Franciscans can't afford to live there. They have been displaced from a community that actually matters to them. So if enough people leave, they're only there for work. In theory, it would open up more affordable housing for the people that actually want to be there. So even the New York's and San Francisco's of the world will get stronger because they will allow the people that want to be there room to move back there and, and put muscle into making the city better because it matters. That's their home.

Justin  27:46  

I hadn't thought about kind of the positive spin on that because I see this like massive real estate crisis that's gonna happen and I'm like, Oh my god, like, what's gonna happen to these companies? You know, Hunter, you're probably among all of us. One that wants to move to SF or New York City, you know, do you? Do you still share the same lore? You know what's changed? Maybe in your opinion?

Hunter  28:08  

Yeah, I was actually just talking to the founder of cup about it because he's like, you know, San Francisco, more specifically Silicon Valley. He said, it's, it's a mental state. And he's really pushing for this idea that if it is a mental state, that doesn't mean that you necessarily have to have buildings for it. And so that's what he's trying to build that cup is this environment where you're not recreating not skeuomorphism, but just creating that, that mental state outside of just Sand Hill Road, and he's like, that's what really Sandhill road is, right is, it's just a VC firm, after VC firm, and all the coffee shops, you go there as a founder, because you can talk to other founders that are on the same wavelength, but then you might run into somebody that, you know, works at one of the VC companies in the area, and he's trying to create that environment. Virtually. So I think if he succeeded, you know, there's he's not the only one aren't trying to do that. But if Silicon Valley, really His, or I guess the startup culture really is just a mental state. And I don't see why you can't be in the middle of North Carolina next to a farm, creating the same products. I think we're sort of like an example of that. You know, there's not a whole lot of tech scene in Kissimmee, Florida, but we managed to raise over a million dollars. And we're doing okay, I'm actually in Pennsylvania right now. So I think it's kind of cool. Just like two anecdotes. I have two friends that actually live in San Francisco right now. I should say they lived in San Francisco, just this week alone, both of them have moved back to their hometowns. And then the third one small example is my friend lives about five houses off the beach in Venice Beach, and he's renting out one room one single room fully furnished, I guess, for $2,000 a month. So I think it's gonna shake up everything. It's already shaking. My number. It's gonna be crazy.

Unknown Speaker  29:50  

I still think there's more positives and negatives, because look, you've got office spaces right now high rises, if you want to keep them as an office space going forward with social assistance. fencing, weaving itself into the fabric of how we work, you're already looking at a multi million dollar renovation and rehab just to get the offices up to new spec. So if you're gonna do that, like you might as well just go the extra five feet and convert them into apartments and give them places to live. Like it's a pretty easy conversion. It's not like, oh, all of the world's skyscrapers are now useless. No, just we need to solve the housing crisis in some of these talents. Anyway, that's an easy way to do it. The walls already exist. Just got the insides convert the office cubicle into housing.

Unknown Speaker  30:34  

Yeah, that's true. Jordan, you have any thoughts on this one? No, I mean, I, I think I'm excited for it. I think it's time just because like, I think we touched on it and we really killed it. But so many people moved to the cities just for the sake of like jobs, they were friends, family, all that stuff behind. And it's like at what cost you know, you give up kind of your mental well being and just like your, your your life in a sense for for work. So now that we're able to kind of To construct that I'm really excited for the positive effect that will have on people's like mental health in their life. Yeah, I think what Darren brought up just about commute alone is so interesting to me. If you look at any of those locations, the commute is awful in any of them. Like everyone talks about la la. Yeah, LA is like in

Hunter  31:18  

LA my my buddy traveled three hours each way for three hours each way to get to work. I can he watched two movies on his way to work. That's it.

Unknown Speaker  31:28  


Darren Murph  31:29  

no, that's That's no way to live.

Jordan  31:30  

You work.

Justin  31:32  

And that's what I say. It's just like the the load the mental load that would take every day. You know, my wife has a 45 minute drive home and that's exhausting for her. I can't imagine what a three hour commute every day does to you.

Unknown Speaker  31:48  

Imagine how much kinder the world would be if literally everyone stopped commuting tomorrow, man. Yeah, let's just start there. Yeah, if you didn't start your day with pent up road rage and in your day With pent up road rage, all else being equal, the world's going to be a nicer place.

Justin  32:06  

I think that's the tagline for remote. Imagine how much kinder the world would be if we eliminated the commute. Like that's that's the tagline for remote right there.

Unknown Speaker  32:15  

Totally. And then they'll like the more you know, NBC stars kind of go across.

Justin  32:19  

Yeah, absolutely. All right. So I don't know hunter said you probably didn't have much of an opinion on this one. But Jordan, I certainly have a story this is almost every time I see a seed stage company has elected us a no name law firm to save money. It has backfired. We have certainly lost our fair share of money in legal fees just most recently, did had a legal firm look at some documents. They spent about four or five days looking at the docs and then sent those back in $18,000 bill. So that was a very expensive life, lessons learned. You know, I don't know Darren does if you guys had any legal woes similar to that?

Darren Murph  33:05  

Not that I'm aware of. Ah, dude, I'm still shocked by that number.

Justin  33:11  

Yeah, it keeps me up at night still. I mean, when we had our first legal team for Yac I think they had like, spelled Hunter's name wrong. They had Jordans equity percentage incorrect. They had our address wrong, like all this stuff that we found in the documents and that was definitely a we have no money. We're trying to raise this, you know, first proceed. We can't afford, you know, a fancy lawyer. I mean, Dear God, thank God for Jared now being as amazing as he is. I don't know what we would be doing without him. So if you need a good lawyer, Jared may feel a lot calm. just been amazing for us. We need this banner right here. I know. Yeah. We need a zoom background but just gerrits face.

Hunter  33:57  

Law credits.

Justin  33:57  

Yes, absolutely. Yes. Oh my god, it could be like cryptocurrency so it's, you know we can earn

Unknown Speaker  34:04  

legal coins. Here's what all contribute to this, I listened to Braves games on the radio and there's this random commercial that comes across and I don't even remember what it's for. But it says, good help isn't cheap. And cheap help isn't good.

Justin  34:20  

Good ad. Obviously not that great because you don't know what it's from but the tagline is good.

Unknown Speaker  34:26  

I think it's the electricians union of Atlanta. Like if you're going to wire up your building, you should probably hire an electrician that knows what they're doing.

Justin  34:34  

Yeah, I would agree with that Jordans, the one that has to go over all these docks. You know, what, what's your opinion on this? It's so worth it. Just spend the money upfront to do it, right, because you end up spending more in the long run if you don't do it right the first time. So, I mean, yeah, you're right. We technically spent double right, because we paid the first law firm and then we had to pay a law firm to actually fix it and file it correctly.

Jordan  34:56  

Yep. So yeah, always worth it. Just do it right the first time spend the money

Darren Murph  34:59  

Could probably pay for their community as well,

Justin  35:01  


Hunter  35:03  

And their fancy law firm space.

Justin  35:05  


So this is super cool. We talk about this so much, Jordan, I feel like you probably care the most. I'll let you just kind of intro this.

Unknown Speaker  35:15  

Yeah, I mean, the title speaks for itself. But so many times, like, especially in people who have started using Yac, they're like, their concern is, man, I didn't see Johnny online for eight or nine hours today. I wonder what he's going to say, you know, productivity or like getting work done isn't a function of how long you're online. It's a function of just like, getting the task done. Darren's kinda like what you said earlier, it's like focus on the result, not the medium to get there. Just like if the work gets done, the work gets done, whether it's, you know, five hours, six hours, or whatever it is. So yeah, general thoughts, anybody around this?

Unknown Speaker  35:49  

The funny thing about this is it actually is not exclusive to remote. Sure, this is just a general work conversation. It's time to start measuring productivity and hours, even in the Office. So even for companies that want to transition back into the office, it's also still time to do this. One of the interesting conversations that I've had with some of the analysts as they've had some managers come to them and say, What spyware do you recommend we implement in our company now that they're all remote, that'll like flash open and whack him every night and take a picture. It's

Justin  36:18  

like, you didnt have protections in the first place beforehand.

Unknown Speaker  36:21  

They're going to the analyst and asking, which is the best. And the analyst have to say, when are you as a manager being articulate about the goals for your direct reports? Do they actually know what you want them to do? Do they actually know what value looks like? Because if they don't know, I hate to tell you this, but the burden is now on you to be articulate about that to be intentional about that and set them up for success. Give them the metrics that they can hit, and then give them the autonomy to be able to get there. Give them the tools and the processes they need to get there.

Jordan  36:55  

I'm sure I'm sure you've seen this one to Justin. I talked about it all the time, but a lot of people come to us and say like, well, I'm concerned, somebody's not gonna like work while being remote. And we're like, if somebody's not working well, the remote, that's not a problem. Just like, or an office site, just hire someone that's like a personal problem that they need to figure out for themselves. Somebody wants to work, they're going to work and get the work done.

Unknown Speaker  37:17  

It's either a personal problem for themselves, or you need to turn the finger back to the manager and say, are they not functional? Because you're not supporting them? Do they have all the tools that they need? Are? Is it clear how they should communicate? Is it clear how they should engage cross functionally like what ask them the question What do you need? What don't you understand? This is a it's a deeper personal problems. It's like no one should be measuring the hours to begin with. And I'm glad that now remote is allowing us to have this conversation.

Justin  37:47  

Yeah, I feel like hunters really good at this because, you know, I'll I'll chat him like hey, you know, I haven't heard from our designer and so long you're like, Do you wish you working today, which you doing? And every time his first response is like oh, that's probably on me, I've been really busy, I haven't had time to like reach out, you know, so she doesn't know what she's supposed to be working on. Like, it's totally a communication on my end. Let me take care of that. Hunter. I don't know if you want to give your perspective because you always seem to remind me that it's not the designers fault is our fault.

Hunter  38:17  

So I have a small anecdote. The house that I'm staying in right now is just getting painted. And I talked to the general contractor, and he's having the trouble too, because, you know, in Pennsylvania, they're not allowed to go out. Well, now he is but at the time, and I and I was just hiring or a writer. And so what's interesting is in service industry, you basically do everything by time. That's how you charge is by the hour. And so I said to him, I said, Look, I don't really know, I know you. The painter charges $38 an hour, but I feel like that disincentivizes him from getting it done faster, you know, the quality will stay the same, but it decentralizes him from getting it done today versus tomorrow. Because now the longer you take, the more money you get paid. And I said I don't want my writer so that's why our writer read everything. project based, because I'm looking for a certain amount of quality. And I have a deadline. If you can hit that quality and that deadline, then you get paid a certain amount. And so I was just having this discussion around him and just was sort of this, this tweet really helps me like really think it through because now I'm thinking like it, it really doesn't matter how long you take, as long as the job gets done on time, and it's high enough quality otherwise, I'm just incentivizing you to take longer. So I really like your mentality, but not for every situation. Yeah, sorry, Darren, what was that? We got a delay.

Darren Murph  39:33  

No, that nailed it. I agree completely.

Justin  39:35  

I talk about this a lot. On on calls. And on the show. It's just like, I remember doing a call with a VC very early on, who was just like, I don't understand the concept of Yac. This makes no sense to me. Why would you want to communicate asynchronously, because availability is what means people are working. And I was like, Whoa, no, that's such a bad opinion to have Like unavailability means that they're working because they're unavailable. They're their heads down. They're focused and they're working, if they're just sitting available all day long on a zoom call, like he was talking about. He's like, yeah, that's why we have zoom calls that are on all the time throughout the day. And we forced them to have their camera on so that we can see that they're working. And I was like, oh, man, I would not want to work in that weird dystopian society. Like that's, I need time by myself to focus and if I'm unavailable, I'm not answering your your slack message or whatever. It probably means I'm actually working. Not that I'm slacking off.

Hunter  40:36  

Aaron, is that normal for people to for managers to ask them to keep the cameras on all the time.

Unknown Speaker  40:41  

It's not normal. But it's also not as uncommon as I would like, there are some situations and they generally skew towards call center type operations, where the work is just relentless. It's almost exactly the same thing. Just time after time after time working in a warehouse is kind of the physical embodiment of this where you have conveyor belt going grab widget, put widget in box, grab widget widget inbox. In instances like that, it's very easy to calculate how many less boxes get filled, if you are away or away from the conveyor belt for even 15 minutes. So they're looking at it from the standpoint of I have historical context on if this person is physically sitting here and doing this, I can roughly guarantee this level of output. But if they cannot be assured that they're going to be there, then we start losing that. That's not wrong, but it's also not a healthy way to run the business. And so my recommendation is, if you're an employee, if you're a worker, and you're going into a situation where that's going to be the expectation and the norm, do everything you can to avoid it. That is just not a great place to be long term. It's basically the definition of a sweatshop that is not where you should want to be. A provides zero flexibility for life and

Darren Murph  41:59  

I don't know My advice is you run from that. Yeah, if you can

Justin  42:02  

It's good advice. I mean, I, I just interviewed Natalie from wild bit about doing like four day workweeks at their company. And inside of the tweet where I was kind of asking people to chime in, I had someone that said, my, I convinced my boss to give me a four, four day work week. And inside of that was like, Oh, that's really interesting. Like, what was that conversation like? And she had said, Well, basically, I said, Hey, if you give me this pay cut. I don't want to ever work on Fridays. But I promise I'll actually get more done for you. Right. And she's actually proved that she could get more done in a four day work week than a five day work week. And then when I talked to Natalie, that was like, the number one takeaway that I got from that is, she said the entire thing hedged on a bet that if you worked less hours and had more time to yourself, that you would actually be in a healthier state to actually pump out better, more quality work. And one of the things that I thought was really interesting because I was interviewing her from a perspective of like a manager saying, Well, how do I qualify my payment to that employee? If they're not working that amount of hours, and she was like, Oh no, you're paying them for those hours, those hours you are asking them to not work. So you're still paying them for those hours. Those are downtime hours, though, that you're telling your employee shut the laptop, go for a walk, take a swim, you know, whatever it may be. You're actually paying for that though. So don't think of it as time you gave them off. Take it as time that you actually tasked them with something other than sitting in front of their laptop.

Unknown Speaker  43:35  

Interesting. It's a brilliant way to look at actually think another thing that may come back around in the world of remote work is the notion of unorthodox work schedules for 10s comes to mind actually worked in a supply chain company for a while in person co located actually have a business degree when in supply chain first before I realized it was just like way too tightly tied to a test for me to thrive. on long term, but they actually ran a 410 work week because it was more efficient and cost effective to run the machines for 10 straight hours over fewer days than eight hours over five days. And I feel like with remote This is it also kind of combats the situation that you see happening with which is people don't know what to do. So they just give them their commute to work. So a lot of people are kind of working 10 day hours anyway. But if you just allow them to keep working those 10 to 12 without ever doing anything else about it, it's probably not great for long term. So I don't know maybe the resurgence of the 410 workweek. Now that we're all remote, and we we've got that time back from the commute. We were already already kind of used to spending it. What is the upside is we get an extra day off every week.

Justin  44:46  

Yeah, I'm all about it. I'd be super cool. So I told you that you might show up in this and you showed up in this hunter brought up something really awesome when we put this up, which was was the fact that you put these guides out? Are these you know, are they guides? Is that what you'd consider them? Yeah, yeah, the fact that you put these guides out was hilarious to us. Because if you weren't a remote company, how weird would it be to be putting out a guide on how to run a talent show at your company?

Darren Murph  45:19  

I could see that. Yeah, that wouldn't. That wouldn't be something you'd expect from a company.

Justin  45:25  

Exactly. But Hunter, this was kind of your idea. So drive the questions. What do you what do you got for Darren here?

Hunter  45:32  

Yeah, so out of all these, I think there's five here. So out of these five, I mean, what how do you think about this? Is this like, you need to do all these? Is this just like, Is this an order of importance? Like what do you think about this one in particular?

Justin  45:46  

Yeah, so the context of this question, it was like a managers chat and there was a question on what are some things that you can do in your company, to both lift spirits but also help people bond as a remote team, kind of create that cohesion that you make? Maybe missing an acrylic or its base. And so this was the best I could do with 240 characters. One is a family and friends day and this I'm seeing this kind of across the industry where some companies are doing like no Fridays and may or no Fridays for q4. We're moving to a four day workweek. They're just fundamentally shifting things up to be intentional about giving people dedicated time to not work to go focus on friends and family and community because they realize that that will help people recharge and it will inevitably feed back into the business. I think that if I had to rank these, that would be number one be intentional doing that.

Unknown Speaker  46:37  

This is a this was just the first time we've done this. And it's a one time thing but it's funny because as soon as this happened as soon as this was announced at get lab, because we thrive in a spirit of iteration, there was immediately a merge request to make this a monthly thing was like hey said what do you think about making it friends and family they are family and friends day, every month or every year? And he said let's see how the first day goes. And then we'll iterate on it from there. So I could totally see this. Expanding from that. And I think it'll be different for each company depending on company size. It but the point is be intentional about doing something to give people permission to spend time with their friends and family and community. It goes a long way.

Justin  47:20  

Man, you use Jordan's word there. He loves the intentional word.

Darren Murph  47:25  

Oh, intentional. Everything about remote is intentional. You have to be

Jordan  47:32  


Unknown Speaker  47:34  

Yeah, this is this is great. I think that we do ama's with our executive teams. They're all on our get lab, unfiltered channel and we actually stream some of them as they happen in real time. I think this is really important too. Especially in times like these, just getting your executive in front of a camera and allowing the company to ask questions. They don't have to be about work. I recently did one of these was sit and asked him what are the top three places you can't wait have to travel to once you can get the plane again and just easily go somewhere. It's interesting to hear from our CEO where he's looking forward to going and he's looking forward to going back home, which for him is in the Netherlands. And that's it's cool to hear that kind of thing people need to hear from from their leaders and a major, a great way to do that,

Justin  48:22  

unless Elan, and he's telling you that, well, you know, the virus isn't a big deal, and we should all go outside.

Darren Murph  48:31  

Man, I have no comment.

I'm just gonna, I'm gonna just hard pivot back to tweet. talent,

Hunter  48:37  

talent shows and happy hours

Unknown Speaker  48:41  

are a great idea. And you should do that. We recently did a talent show with our marketing team. We had over 130 people across six continents join for like 90 minutes on zoom. And we had the invites scheduled two weeks in advance with an agenda so people could sign up and think about what they wanted to bring to the table. We had over 20 people sign up. This was a real talent. Like a panel of judges, prizes were sent out like, competitive nature. This is happening. And it was just fascinating. We had some kind of violence. Did you see? We had someone do sign language with their dog like they could sign things. And then their dog would do.

Justin  49:14  

Oh, they weren't using their dog to make the shapes then?

Unknown Speaker  49:17  

No, they were like signing with their hand and then they like zoomed over to the dog and the dog did. The thing is when somebody zoom into the kitchen, it was like Gordon Ramsay, like flames flying up everywhere. It's like fajitas are getting made in record time. The kind of stuff that you could never do at an office. And just culturally, it brought us together in a way that was super genuine and authentic. We were more connected as a genuine team remotely over six continents than we could have ever fabricated in an office. Did you know you would have my talent was taking notes. I'm gonna be a documentary.

Justin  49:53  

That's, that's awesome

Hunter  49:57  

But that actually is his talent.

Darren Murph  50:00  

I'll try to write when it's

Hunter  50:03  

Yeah, so this is important to me. The reason why I really like this Darren is because Jordan was just telling me the other day he's like, man like, this, this whole like quarantine thing is really getting to my head and it was to me too, and part of my response to him was like, you just need to get involved more in the community get involved in the Twitter community answer questions. One of my buddies was just saying the same thing last night. And I don't know how true this is. This is Vanessa Hudgens. I don't I'm not gonna fact check. But she was like, you know, one out of 10 people right now are depressed and so for me it's like these are five really easy ways that you know, leaders and teams can just like come together and do something so that's why I wanted to pick your brain on it cuz I think it's super cool and especially the happy hour we actually tried one like, was it three weeks right? And I was the only one that brought a beer but I had fun.

Darren Murph  50:50  

No, as long as you brought the happy dude the key word is happy.

Justin  50:53  

Yeah, are happy was playing Animal Crossing over zoom with friends.

Unknown Speaker  50:59  

I saw someone Like a collection of people playing Settlers of Catan they had zoom camera setups and they all had the board's was like, you know, cross ocean settlers happening. I was so excited. I'm like, I gotta get on this.

Justin  51:12  

So why don't you guys do your happy hours then?

Unknown Speaker  51:16  

Sometimes we just cycle through virtual backgrounds like who has the zaniest virtual background he's getting most we actually are discovering some crazy stuff. Our cmo a call recently discovered that if he probably took a photo of his background and then made that the virtual office Alright, so that's already like one layer of interest intriguer mistake. Then he went into the settings and did touch up my appearance. And he gave him a zoom haircut. So when he had the fake background coupled with the touch up my appearance, and look like he had a do like it looked like he had a haircut. And then when he disabled both of those like you could see that He hasn't been to a barber in some time. Or like, Wait, what? You just discovered how to give yourself a zoom haircut. That's amazing. So he brought the happy by saying like, Hey, I got a haircut people like, how did you how did you accomplish that is like, I'll just click two buttons in zoom. It's like, okay, peak 2020 that's pretty

Jordan  52:17  


Justin  52:17  

Jordan had someone cut him cut his hair at his house. That's right. I went to my barbers house and he cut my hair on his porch. It was definitely time my hair was about this big, it was a little crazy.

Unknown Speaker  52:27  

So here's the thing, I would actually encourage people to write things like this down. We're actually documenting this we have a 16 month old and we're documenting some of these things that are happening so that like, one day like back in my day, because seriously like I want to you have to write some of this stuff down. I actually like because you just said that without even flinching like Yep, got a haircut on the on the front porch like this is from

Darren Murph  52:51  

totally normal.

Jordan  52:52  


Hunter  52:54  

But Jordan, I are a little used to it because back when we were living in the dorms, we would go over to our barbers dorm and just like sit In one of his like, dorm chairs and just get a haircut so it's probably not as weird for people like us.

Justin  53:05  

But I don't know I need I'm starting to proof on the sides pretty bad I need I need a fresh cut but my Puerto Rican place that I don't understand anybody the entire time that cuts my hair very well is not open right now. And I need them badly. I went off and I bought a straight razor though, because they they're the ones that like trim all this stuff up for me. So every time I go to the barber, I come out and I'm like, my beard will never look this good ever again. I don't know how you guys do it. And the last time I was there, he was like, dude, just buy a straight razor like you'll be fine. And I'm like, I don't think I can do that. So I bought one on Amazon, you know where we buy quality products. cut myself here immediately cut myself here. sliced open a spot right next to my lip. So you know it's been an experience so far. Learning how to trim my beard by myself.

Hunter  53:56  

I don't even trust myself with safety scissors. So I brought that While you're starting to look more like a lumberjack there, you're really growing it out. I refuse to cut it until quarantines over say does my hair got to start wearing a hat like there?

Justin  54:10  

Darren, why don't you have a giant beard you work remote? You could have like a lumberjack beard.

Unknown Speaker  54:15  

I could I could I try and grow my beard at one time. I was like not super comfortable with it. I also when I was a teenager, like I got duped into shaving all my hair was I got a pool party. It was like Hey, be awesome. And I did it and immediately regretted it like it took forever to grow back. So you know, this is life though. Like you learn what's what's good for you and what's not.

Justin  54:38  

I hopped on a video call with these. These two guys a couple months ago, I had tried to like trim up on my mustache and like nicked a little bit too far. So I was just like, Well, you know, I guess I'll have to take the whole thing off. But I had been working really hard at growing my beard long and so I didn't shave that part. And yeah, I just kind of looked like a Like a Hispanic trucker, and it was just not a great look on me. And I ended up having to just shave everything off as they mercifully laughed at me on on the on the call.

Darren Murph  55:09  

I mean, I know we're talking about facial hair here, but it actually gets to a deeper thing about that I really love

Unknown Speaker  55:18  

Yeah, I just love that it humanizes the experience. Like I'm watching sports center, and people are having to zoom in from their home and then none of them can get a haircut. And it actually just becomes a joke. It's like, Look, I've got some news to share. You're just gonna have to focus on the content that I'm delivering, because I can do nothing about this. I'm just a human being. We're all in this together. I don't know. There's something beautiful about that

Hunter  55:39  

is cool.

Jordan  55:40  

I can agree with that, actually. Yeah, the humanizing element is so true. It kind of like brings everybody it's like a weird, even playing field.

Hunter  55:47  

All right, I'll wrap it up for you guys. Alright, so anyway, thank you so much for joining Darren. How can people get in touch with you?

Unknown Speaker  55:55  

I'm Darren Murph at Twitter and you can find all of our lovely get lab remote guides at already. Remote dot info.

Hunter  56:02  

Awesome. Awesome. I won't be able to play the outro music but you can find this anywhere you listen to podcasts, hopefully very soon. So appreciate your time Darren. We're just gonna end it here. Thanks, guys.

Darren Murph  56:15  

Absolutely be well everybody.

Jordan  56:17  

See you guys

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