Why I Chose to Build a Fully Remote Company Before it Was Cool

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.” I prayed they wouldn’t press for detail because the truth was that I was operating out of my one-bedroom apartment. In those days, that was hardly legitimate, somewhat embarrassing, and definitely not cool.

Within a year, Articulate was healthily in the black. Several more people joined, taking a leap of faith that the company was real, even though they couldn’t visit it or even meet me in person. I conducted interviews, engineering meetings, and sales calls from my living room.

But by the time we had enough money to get an office, I was pretty sure I didn’t want one. Turns out, the benefits of being remote outweighed the legitimacy of having an office.

1. We were highly productive

2. Talent trumped geography

3. We collaborated and communicated insanely well

4. We freed people to do their best work

5. We invested in connection, not overhead

With more and more companies recognizing these benefits, Articulate is no longer an outlier. While IBM calling remote workers back to the office might seem like a setback for the remote model, many predict the move will backfire, noting that remote work is the new normal. Even so, I did bring my son to our company meeting at a recent retreat to prove that dad does, indeed, have a real job.

Many of the Articulate team at our recent retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Check out my other articles on remote work:

Founder and CEO of @Articulate, one of the largest fully remote companies in the U.S., and active angel investor in 100+ tech companies.