Saturday, November 10

🎬 Why “No Office”? Why I’m running an all-remote company? - my presentation at Infoshare 2018

In this presentation that I did in front of an audience of 500+ people at InfoShare 2018 I’m talking about the “why” of #NoOffice - why we’re running a company without an office. What are the advantages and disadvantages and why I believe it’s the future of work.

Why an all-remote team can be successful and work better!?

Infoshare

Apart from the big “why” I also talk about the practical aspects of running an all-remote company and why it might not make sense to rent an office space for your company/startup and why by working all-remote you can have a better team:

  • how you can make your team feel more connected... even though they don’t share the same physical space
  • how to run meetings, how to run projects, how to get stuff done together in a “no office” team
  • when meeting in person matters and when it really doesn’t - how to build a company based on trust and not just control
  • why when you’re together you’re wasting time and having only an illusion of control - how to structure communication in your team
  • why a physical office can be an additional tool for your team/company but is not a requirement - why you can hire from anywhere and how it benefits you
  • why you can save money on rent and save time and stress on daily commute

Plus lots of practical tips of running an all remote team from me - a person, who’s been doing this for the last 11 years + more tips from other companies who’re doing it as well (Automattic, Buffer, MySQL, etc.). Enjoy!

P.S. And if you want to find out how I worked on this presentation, you’ll get the whole back-stage listening or watching the episode 145 of The Podcast

Friday, October 5

✔️ How digital nomads get stuff done - mobiconf 2018

Today I’m speaking on the Mobiconf 2018 in Krakow where I show how our Nozbe team is getting stuff done in our #NoOffice company using mobile apps. Specifically I’m using the iPad as an example of how I’m using this powerful mobile computer to lead my team from anywhere.

How digital nomads get stuff done - mobiconf 2018

The Goodies

This post is to serve as a repository of all the goodies (apps, shortcuts and other resources) I’m mentioning in my presentation. This way I can just point the audience on the last slide to this web site: sliwinski.com/mobiconf and that’s it!

OK, now here are all the goodies:

Monday, December 4, 2017

📢 Nozbe Reunion - why, where and how to organize a company retreat?

All-company meetings in a "No Office" team - a step-by-step guide to a successful meet-up

In my „No Office” company we don’t see each other all that much in person. Yes, we have video meetings, but apart from that, everyone works from the comfort of their home office. That’s why a few years ago we started these annual, and later semi-annual all-company meetings, called “reunions”. We wanted to spend some quality time with each other in person, recharge batteries, get to know the people hidden behind their avatars... and basically connect on a different level. Now, that we did a few of these, and we’ve just had our fall “Nozbe Reunion Wrocław”, I’d like to share a few tips and tricks on how to prepare and run a successful “company reunion/retreat”. Why do we organize it? What do we do? How do we make it a success? Here’s our recipe with all the details:

Nozbe Reunion - why, where and how to organize a company retreat?

I originally posted this on Medium where I write about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. You should follow me there (and recommend my posts :-), thanks!

Why a “Nozbe Reunion”?

Just as I explained above - we don’t have a central office and we’re 25 people in the Nozbe core team. The “why” is pretty obvious - we need to connect on a personal level every now and then... and when you’re working “alone” from home so many months, you are really looking forward to meeting your co-workers!

How often do we organize this?

Twice a year - we always have a spring and a fall reunion. First, we held our meet-ups on an annual basis but later decided it wasn’t enough. Now, that we switched to a semi-annual model, we believe it’s just the right balance of time in the home office vs time with your team.

The choice of spring and fall is deliberate. In summer people want to take vacation time with their families and in winter it’s cold... and usually the fall and spring is a slow time for tourism, so hotels are empty and quiet and can offer us not only great rates but also comfortable stay... and with 25 people coming we’re the major group in the hotel and we feel like the place is “just for us”.

How long does a “Nozbe Reunion” last?

We typically arrive on Monday for a late lunch and leave on Saturday after breakfast. This way we dedicate the entire workweek for a reunion and leave the weekend to relax after an intensive week with the whole team. I’ll dive deeper into our schedule for the reunion a little bit later, so read on.

Monday, October 23, 2017

💡 The Podcast - live video from Wrocław

Just a week ago I came back from our fall "Nozbe Reunion" from the beautiful city of Wrocław in Poland where I met my entire Nozbe team. We spent a great week there, having fun, working, brainstorming and just enjoying each other’s company. If you want to learn all about it, make sure to check our live video recording of the 116th episode of the Podcast. It’s great to be able to do this recording live, we had lots of fun:

Hope you enjoyed watching this video as much as we did recording it, and if you like The Podcast make sure to check out past episodes, or:

Subscribe to The Podcast in iTunes | [Subscribe on YouTube][y] | [Get RSS][rss]

Thanks! The next video podcast will probably be recorded in half a year... let’s see if we keep up learning Spanish and French...

Sent from my iPhone 7 Plus

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

📢 How setting up a new iPad Pro for work can is an exercise in minimalism and focus

The Minimalists coined a term “Packing Party” - which basically means that you pack all of your belongings to boxes like if you were to move to a different house and later you only unpack the things you really need... the same thing is happening to me and my new iPad Pro and iOS11 on it.

Minimal iPad for work - how setting up an iPad Pro can be an exercise in minimalism and focus

I originally posted this on Medium where I post about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. You should follow me there (and recommend my posts :-), thanks!

Setting up a new device from scratch vs getting it from a backup...

Whenever I set up a new device - iPhone, iPad or a Mac - to maximize my productivity and reduce the pain of not having everything set up correctly, I do two things:

  1. I backup the old device and shut it down.
  2. I boot up the new device and restore it from the old backup.

That’s it. Two steps. Done. Easy, right?

The result is that after a short while my new device has the same apps, settings and data as my old one had. I can almost instantly continue working the same way I used to. Almost no productivity downtime. Which is great.

Except when it isn’t.

You see, this two step process is a quick win, but comes with major drawback:

It restores everything from my old device, including the crap that I kept there and wasn’t ever going to use anymore... basically, it comes with my apps, settings, data... and crap. It also comes with my old habits.

Let’s do it the hard way - and set everything from scratch!

Here’s how (and why) I did it:

Friday, June 16, 2017

📢 Why I started doing webinars and why I'm loving them?

This post is about how I started doing productivity and NoOffice webinars and how this platform is changing the way I'm both teaching and learning new things! And I'd like to invite you to join my next webinar!

Why I started doing webinars and why I'm loving them?

I originally posted a version of this on Medium where I post about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. You should follow me there (and recommend my posts :-), thanks!

Why do I love doing webinars so much?

Apart from running Nozbe what I also like doing is learning productivity - from you, from Nozbe users, from my Twitter followers... from everybody!

And as they say, the best way to learn something is to teach it... so I started doing webinars! Here's what my experience has been so far:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

✔ How to communicate effectively with a team using the latest apps

As you know, at Nozbe we don’t have a central office. We all work from our homes. When I talk about it, people look at me with disbelief and doubt. Especially when I tell them that our core team consists of more than 20 people and we also regularly work with several other companies. We do everything remotely and over the Internet. And with the use of the latest apps. Today, on December 1, 2016, I'm releasing a new book that talks all about it: "No Office Apps":

apps

The fact that we work entirely remotely may seem like an obstacle but it has made us think about effective forms of communication. We can’t simply walk up to a colleague’s desk so we had to learn to communicate in different ways. Working in a remote team made us realize that effective work in a distributed group requires communication on many layers and that using modern apps can help us achieve our objectives more easily.

In this article I’m going to describe the apps that we use and briefly discuss how we use them.

If you want a longer version of this article and a deeper dive into this subject, please get my latest book here: "No Office Apps How the Nozbe team uses modern technologies to communicate better and get more done." - it's completely free! :-)

Friday, October 7, 2016

☆ My Company’s Pyramid Of Communication Revisited

How the Nozbe team uses modern technologies to communicate better and get more done.

Nozbe Pyramid of Communication

I originally posted this on Medium where I post about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. I'd appreciate if you followed me there and recommended my posts, thanks!

Let's get back to how we use modern technologies to communicate better and get more done in an all-remote team

A few months ago I posted about my company’s pyramid of communication, which we also discussed on the 18th episode of The Podcast. We recently revisited the concept on the 65th episode of The Podcast “Request for Comments” and thanks to this I wrote a whole book on the subject with the concept revisited, please let me know what you think:

Friday, August 26, 2016

☆ TGIF - My team's attempt at working less, but better

Last week I decided to try a new policy at Nozbe. Something that might not seem logical from my perspective as a CEO. After all, I should want my team to work more. As much as possible, right? Well, I proposed something totally different. Let's work less, let's have fewer meetings and let's make more time for self development and weekly review. We called this new policy “Piąteczek” (in Polish), which you could translate to: TGIF as in “Thank God It's Friday”. Here's what it's all about:

Yoda helping us work less but better

Note: I originally posted this on Medium where I post about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. I'd appreciate if you followed me there and recommended my posts, thanks!

Note 2: If you prefer a different “audio” version of this article, we discussed this new TGIF policy with my co-host Radek at the #60 eposide of The Podcast.

Introducing an experimental policy that will give us a more productive, yet shorter workweek with more time for a weekly review and for learning new things… or not.

We're already quite an unorthodox company. We all work remotely from our homes and we don't have a single physical office. We've been working like this for almost a decade and hundreds of thousands of users of our Nozbe app don't seem to mind that at all.

But we're not unorthodox just for the sake of it. We are like that because it works. Because we enjoy a better lifestyle thanks to our “No Office” arrangement.

After all, we're a productivity company. When we experiment, we do it for a reason. To work better. To be better. To grow better. And this new policy is supposed to help us exactly at that.

And it all started with 3 questions that I couldn't get off of my mind:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

✔ Why “mobile” is a value, “mobile” is important and “mobile” really comes first

As a reader of this blog, you may know me as a somewhat eccentric guy – I don’t follow the beaten track. My main computer for work is an iPad Pro (which I’m using right now to write this text), my second computer is an iPhone 6S Plus, and my team of over 20 people all works from home. We don’t have a central office. And we won’t have one. This is how I’ve been working on Nozbe for the last nine years.

mobility

Note: The following article appeared first in the 6/2016 issue of iMagazine - the leading lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts in Poland. I'm a regular contributor and write my monthly productivity column there.

Recently our company has been developing more and more rapidly and I’ve had to make more strategic decisions regarding the business itself, tools we use, and many other more or less important things.

Unfortunately, mistakes also happen.

Nobody likes making mistakes. We prefer to be right. And now, with even more decisions, making bad choices is inevitable. Nobody is infallible. You just have to admit your mistake and fix it as soon as possible. There’s shame and wasted time. Not very productive, is it?

Here's what happened:

Monday, June 20, 2016

☆ How banning email improves team productivity

There's a new book "Under New Management" by David Burkus coming soon that includes some unconventional management practices, and one of them is apparently "banning email.” Something I did in my company three years ago. Something I didn't think was new but now I see it really is. Whenever I talk about "No Office,” people ask me about my email policy and they're surprised that we banned email in our company. They give me this "Can you do that?" face. Of course you can. You actually should if you want to have a productive environment for your team. Only allow email to the "outside world" and ban email within your team. This is how it's done:

Ban emails in your company

I originally posted this on Medium where I post about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. I'd appreciate if you followed me there and recommended my posts, thanks!

If you manage your projects through email you are doing it wrong!

Email is bad for you and your team because we get too many messages every day and the important internal emails get mixed up with other correspondence with people from the outside world.

To solve this problem we designed a new way to communicate: we use email for the outside world and something else for "internal communication.” We use two apps for that: Slack and Nozbe. This is how we communicate:

Friday, June 17, 2016

► How to motivate #NoOffice employees - Productive! Show #109

What motivates people in No Office company? People work for money but not because of money.

Give your employees something cool, a purpose to work in your company. Let them make decisions and give them freedom. They should choose how they reach the goal and when they'll work on that. The key to keep the flow is asynchronous work.

The most important thing is that you have to trust your employees. Treat them as partners and adults so they'll work as adults.

Check it out:

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

☆ Individual talks with your team members. How? When? And... why?

I'm lucky to be running a small team of 20+ people that I get to know very well. I don't know how it's going to be with a team of 30 or 40 or 50 folks but I'm going to find out in the years to come, since we’ll eventually have to get to these levels to be able to spread Nozbe’s "good message of productivity" to as many people as we'd like. I guess we'll see. Now while I can, I still try to get to know my team as much as possible and be approachable to them. That's why I hold individual one-on-one talks with each company member every three months and this is how I do it:

Nozbe team Photo by Krzysztof Lenda

I originally posted this on Medium where I post about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. I'd appreciate if you followed me there and recommended my posts, thanks!

One-on-one meetings are important!

Again, I'm writing this from the perspective of a 20+ person company, not a 100+ one... so my opinion on this might change with time, but for now I think it's essential to meet with everyone one on one at least every three months. I schedule a 30- to 60-minute window for this conversation to make sure we give each other full, undivided attention. And it's important to be prepared for it, to actually have notes and topics to discuss.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

☆ If you want everyone on the same page - you're doing it wrong!

I am a person who runs an "all remote" company and you might already know my opinion on so-called "open offices." Exactly! I hate them. I think they're great for socializing but really bad if you want your team members to perform at their best. However, many smart people defend these setups with the premise of "better collaboration" and "openness" and my favorite one: "keeping people on the same page." Well, let me explain why this kind of attitude is anything but helpful for keeping your people productive, focused and doing their best work. People shouldn't be "on the same page" with their entire team all of the time. Here's why:

Same page

I originally posted this on Medium where I post about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. I'd appreciate if you followed me there and recommended my posts, thanks!

Your developer doesn't need to know your up-to-date "lifetime customer value"...

...unless they are working on a piece of code that is exactly correlated with that metric. You see, your developer should know the "overall direction of the company" and the specifics that relate to his or her work. Nothing more. Everything else is just noise and unnecessary distraction to them. Any additional information won't help them write their best pieces of code... and when you're trying to keep them up to date in an open office, you're not even letting them get into "flow" - the state in which the real magic happens.

Ask yourself - why did you hire this amazing programmer if you're doing everything to keep them from entering the flow state. With the distractions of an open office or up-to-date info you're effectively disturbing them and not letting them do their magic! Trust me, you hired them for their magic!

Let people have access to info. Keep them updated. Some - weekly, everyone - monthly.

Yes, in my team people are not on the same page all the time. Eventually they are. From time to time. In regular intervals. But not every minute. Not even every hour. Not even every day. A big part of my team is updated every week. And everyone else gets on the same page at least once a month. And that's how I think it should be done. Here's how I do it:

Thursday, April 7, 2016

☆ How "No Office" makes us… better?

When I talk to people about the way we work at [Nozbe,][] that we have a team of 30+ people (core team and collaborators) working from homes, I get mixed reactions.

Very often, people think we will "grow up at some point" and get a "real office." This is quite funny, taking into account that we’ve been working like this for the past nine years.

Others think I’m just stingy or that the business is not doing so well if we cannot afford "a real office," which is also not true, because our business is very healthy. Selling subscription-based software, we enjoy really nice profit margins which we can then re-invest into the team, sales and marketing.

Better

I originally posted this on Medium where I post about remote working as a part of NoOffice publication. I'd appreciate if you followed me there and recommended my posts, thanks!

What the people I talk to about the remote work don’t know and what I tell them is this:

Not having an office made me a better CEO in five different ways.