Distributed startup teams (meaning startups that don’t have a central office) are becoming more and more common. A majority of the teams I met out in Spain last week have at least one team member in the US or somewhere else in Europe.
Crypto startups play a fairly large role in this transition. They are the bridge between open source projects and startup companies. I think that this is a natural evolution in the movement of open source and the digital world. The best thing that can happen for a transition such as this, is for there to be more successes in larger organizations and we now have it: Invision, WordPress, Basecamp. They are all catalysts for the distributed team movement.
An interesting question to pose, if I have now accepted that distributed teams are a possibility and there is a movement towards them in the future, the question becomes: What is different when you are not in an office together and what tools do you need to stay on track?
Taylor Monahan of MyCrypto has the answer in an episode of The Boost VC podcast I interviewed her in.
“Don’t underestimate how important culture is.”
Taylor’s basic thesis is that when engineers are left to themselves and only communicating online, they are too efficient as beings. Her job is to bring the “Chaos” as she puts it, but it also brings the humanity to the communication. It reminds everyone that through their browser window or their telephone line, that there are people who are on their team who have lives, not just pixels. This was a brilliant insight to me. Don’t let people be too efficient, you have to bring the fun!
For Boost VC, I’m not planning on switching to a remote system any time soon. My team and I, as much as I distract them from what they are doing, have gotten good at executing in the office environment.