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July 10, 2020 49 min

Welcome to The Remote Series, where CEOs of remote-first companies share guidance on how to lead an organization when everyone’s working from home. The Remote Series is hosted by Alex MacCaw, CEO at Clearbit, and coach Matt Mochary, author of The Great CEO Within.

In Episode 1 of The Remote Series, Matt and Alex sit down with GitLab’s co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij, as well as Darren Murph, GitLab’s Head of Remote. They chat about remote team bonding, collaboration, and the challenges companies will face if they reopen offices and go hybrid-remote. Love it or hate it, remote is a thing now, and CEOs everywhere must quickly adapt to running a digital-first workplace.


Sid Sijbrandij's tweet thread on the dangers of hybrid-remote

GitLab’s Remote Playbook

The key talking points for this episode:

(03:12) - GitLab’s foundation story: An intentionally remote company - “I think by far the biggest benefit has been the ability to hire great people.”

(12:03) - Achieving real connections through remote communication - “Work and social can reinforce each other, but it’s important that you have both conversations.”

(18:26) - How hybrid models represent a high risk for your company - “Your best remote people are going to leave, the rest of them are going to feel disenfranchised, and it’s going to be a failure. You’re going to blame it on remote, when the real problem is hybrid.”

(21:48) - On the myth of needing a physical office to be productive and social with your team - “It’s all about organizing informal communication.”

(29:39) - Remote collaboration and overcoming different time zones - “Naturally, it’s hard to engage in asynchronous communication. So get out of it as soon as it’s not functional.”

(34:11) - A common translation problem and the rarity of successful hybrid companies - “They don’t want to go back to the office, they want to go back to informal communication with each other.”

(39:18) - Welcoming feedback and making collaboration a priority - “We allow you to make suggestions. We are all about ‘everyone can contribute.’”

(45:00) - The importance of salary adjustment among your staff - “The market is the best mechanism for determining what someone will earn.”

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