On Remote Work
Is remote work is a successful model for early-stage companies looking to build ambitious things?
I am less and less convinced that remote work is a successful model for early-stage companies looking to build ambitious things. My working hypothesis is that fully-remote workplaces are far better for mature, well-established companies than for startups.
When everyone is reading from the same, perfected sheet-music, remote work can lead to no loss in progress or clarity. But for startups in the earliest stages, work looks far more like improvisational jazz than a practiced orchestra where everyone’s parts are clear and well-documented. When the stage of a company is more jazz than classical music, remote work can impede the collaboration of a team. Trust accrues more slowly in remote spaces, and the trust battery takes longer to recharge. The ability of a remote team to fully drop into a long, substantive debate on a major strategy maneuver is harder, and the unstructured time required to cultivate deep alignment and deep trust is often incompatible with the minced calendars of distributed teams.