In 2017, I wrote extensively about the benefits of founding and running a fully-remote company.
But in just the last two weeks, people have been calling me for advice. They know I’m the founder and CEO of Articulate, a highly profitable e-learning company that’s always been fully remote. With the COVID-19 coronavirus spreading, they’re scrambling to create emergency plans for staff to work from home. If you, like them, are looking for tips on how to quickly spin up remote work, check out this timely article by my business partner, Lucy Suros, president of Articulate.
Earlier this summer, I posted an article on why I chose to build a fully remote company before it was cool.
A few days later, I received an email from an investor at a private equity firm. He’d read my article and was desperate to know how we’ve scaled at Articulate.
“I’m the crazy one running around the office trying to convince people that remote work/distributed teams is the future of corporate structure,” he said. “But I’m continuously told that it’s a good way to start a business, not a good way to maintain a large and successful one.”
I’ve made stellar hires who have propelled my company’s success. I’ve also made some bad hiring decisions. In the last decade, our bad hires have cost Articulate several million dollars. And we’re not alone. CEO Tony Hsieh estimates that bad hires have set Zappos back $100 million.
But hard costs are just the beginning. Bad hires infect your company like a virus. If they’re not pulling their weight, bad hires demoralize other people on the team. If they have a poor attitude or are political, they sow negativity and distrust. …
Ok, I admit that I didn’t choose to build a fully remote company. Not at first. I founded Articulate in 2002 as a remote company because I had to. I’d scraped together just enough money to bootstrap the company, but not enough to secure office space in high-rent New York. Plus, it just so happened that the technical experts I needed to hire to create our first product lived in Mumbai and Missouri, not the Big Apple.
When new acquaintances asked me at cocktail parties where my fledgling company was located, I responded with a simple, “here in the city.”…