I’ve recently found myself reflecting a lot on being a distributed team, and the nature of a company where the team works from remote locations to accomplish our work.

Scaling remote working has been a challenge as the team has grown. Remote companies are still relatively rare, and therefore all of us who are choosing to have a remote-friendly culture, need to both:

  • work through the normal challenges of growing as a company and as a team
  • also put time into figuring out how remote can scale, where there is no real pre-existing playbook

One of the significant commitments we’ve…


By now we have a fairly long history of doing retreats at Buffer. We’re now a 75 person team, and we just wrapped up our 8th company retreat in Madrid, Spain. Here’s a quick history of retreat locations, timeline and size over time:

  1. San Francisco & Lake Tahoe, U.S.A. (August 2013, 8 people)
  2. Bangkok & Pattaya City, Thailand (November 2013, 10 people)
  3. Cape Town, South Africa (April 2014, 16 people)
  4. New York, U.S.A. (September 2014, 25 people)
  5. Sydney, Australia (February 2015, 26 people)
  6. Reykjavik, Iceland (July 2015, 31 people, 40+ with partners & family)
  7. Hawaii, U.S.A (February 2016, 67 people…


Buffer has recently grown to almost 50 people, our fastest 2 months of growth ever. I’ve found that a lot changes when you grow to this size, and also anytime the team grows quickly. There are a bunch of challenges and it’s also invigorating. It might be our most exciting and yet also our toughest phase of building the company so far.

Something we’ve naturally needed to do as we go through this growth is to think about the communication architecture of the company.

Perhaps the CEO’s most important operational responsibility is designing and implementing the communication architecture for her…


Or, why you shouldn’t outsource your startup

One of my favorite things to do is to help others who are at an earlier stage of the startup journey. I had a lot of false starts before Buffer. I enjoy sharing my lessons from those failed attempts, and I also enjoy getting my mind back into those early days challenges, now that Buffer is almost 5 years old.

In the last week, I’ve had 5 sessions (typically around 30 minutes, in person or via Hangouts) where I’ve tried to help someone. …


The beauty and the challenges of digital nomad lifestyle

In December, my friend and co-worker Brian casually mentioned to me that he would love to go traveling and explore Asia. I love Asia. I lived in Japan as a kid for 3.5 years, and I lived in Hong Kong for 6 months in 2012. It was a no brainer for me to jump on the opportunity and travel around Asia with Brian.

At Buffer, we’re a fully distributed team. We’re currently 31 people spread across 22 cities. We all work remotely, and it is a lot of fun. This also gives us the freedom to choose to be anywhere…


Helena Eriksson

In mid-2011, I recieved an email asking some advice about co-founders, specifically about whether a 50/50 ownership split makes sense for a startup.

This is certainly a topic which has had heated discussion many times previously. So why would I choose to add even more noise to this debate? Well, I’ve had experiences of failed co-founder partnerships and with my latest startup Buffer I found a better solution for my own personality. This may resonate with others, so I want to share it.

The 50/50 co-founder model

When I talk about the 50/50 co-founder model, what I really mean is the equal stake model…


Photo Credit: OZinOH

Along my journey with building startups, I’ve made a conscious effort to absorb as much of the fascinating insights and learnings of those more experienced than me.

Startups and large companies

One of the repeated insights I came across which never quite fully sunk in when I read it on Steve Blank’s blog is the idea that a startup is not just a smaller version of a large company, and that you should operate very differently as a startup. One of the key takeaways tied to this idea is the notion of doing things that don’t scale.

Doing things that don’t scale

Airbnb is the most famous high scale…


Photo credit: nichole

It is easy to look at successful founders and see them as genuises, as people who were without a doubt going to be triumphant. When we look at people in that way, it is completely understandable to think that they were born lucky and that we have some kind of disadvantage.

The story of Tom Preston-Werner

Back in mid-2011, I was watching a Mixergy interview where Andrew Warner interviewed Tom Preston-Werner who founded GitHub. Tom is an amazingly talented and eloquent guy who has grown one of the most successful startups that exists today. Even more amazing, is that GitHub is completely bootstrapped. …


A couple of things happened back in mid-2011 that made me think a little about what failure means for startup founders.

Firstly, one of my favorite startups Sprouter had announced that it was closing its doors. I had been closely following Sprouter for at least a year, and I’d also been lucky enough to be featured in their weekly newsletter a couple of times. It was sad to see it close, especially since I had seen how much effort Sarah and Erin have put in amongst others. …


Back in mid-2011, I left everything behind in the UK and together with my co-founder Leo, and arrived in San Francisco to base ourselves and Buffer here for the next two and a half months.

I’ve been immersing myself in startup articles and trying to learn from others more experienced than myself for some time now, and out of anywhere the biggest portion of the articles I read are emerging from San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

One of the things I’ve always wondered since I’ve been working on startups is how much of a difference location can make. In the…

Joel Gascoigne

Co-founder and CEO of @buffer. Say hello on Twitter @joelgascoigne.

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