Your Go-To Communication Tools
So the main things that we're looking at when going remote, and again, if you're starting up a company, and you wanna' start off fresh like this, that's great. Or, if you have a current infrastructure and you need to sort of de-invest yourself of that, these work just the same. The main two things that we're looking at are communication, and project management. For communication, we use Slack. Generally speaking, I am tool agnostic, okay? So I don't really care what tools you use, as long as the idea is the same. So what Slack does for us, is it's basically a chat platform. And it is a form of asynchronous communication. So as I mentioned before, people work better when and where they work, right? So if you're working with a team that is across the globe, and as I said, we're in 17 time zones, you're pretty much never gonna' find one time when everybody can meet and talk. That's just a given. And all of you already practice some form of asynchronous communication. Because you're using ...
email, most likely, if you're watching this course. Phone calls would be a form of synchronous communication, as would a in-person meeting. And the more that we can do asynchronously, the better outcome we're gonna' get. For a few very simple reasons, one of which is that everybody has sort of a different biorhythm to the work that they do. So I might write really well at eight o'clock at night, and one of you might write really well at eleven in the morning. So if we're gonna' have a writers meeting, or we're gonna' have a brainstorming session, when is the best time to do that? There probably really isn't one. You might be able to find one that's kind of okay, but we're not gonna' find one that really, really works. And what you end up getting is this idea that people on a nine to five schedule, are gonna' somehow magically produce this great work. But what we know from all sorts of studies is that the typical worker in a 40 hour work week is getting eight hours of productive work done. And apparently, according to some studies, they're spending 12 hours per week on office drama. Which is all about ego stuff, and so, that doesn't make for a very productive day. I would personally rather somebody do two hours of actual work in the day, and then just go do whatever they want for the rest of the time. And give really, really solid work, than just be sitting there as a wasted resource. 'Cuz that's not good for anybody, and I wanna' keep reiterating that. I'm gonna' say that several times over and over, that this is not just about benefiting the company. This is really about benefiting the people that will work for you, and the talent that you might be able to attract. And on that note, the odds that you have an office in Portland, and that the best graphic designer available lives there, and that the best web designer lives there, and you have an amazing copywriter. And they all live there, and they all wanna' work on it. It's insane. Whereas, if I can say, "Hey, there's an amazing "copywriter that lives in Dublin. "She's American, but she lives in Dublin. "And there's this incredible graphic designer "who's from Canada, and he's living "in South America right now. "And they can all work together." The product of what you get is just incredible, and it's empowering to those kind of people. So asynchronous communication is the way to do that. Email is a terrible tool for internal communication. I have a whole sort of email management InboxHero thing, but the main thing, the main idea, is that you need to separate forms of communication. So email is fine for external, for talking to friends, and to contractors, and to people outside of your business. But for speaking to your internal team, you need a different tool. I like Slack, but doesn't have to be Slack. Just has to be a separate tool. And it's so important because there's a psychological switch that takes place between those different communication platforms. When you're in Slack, you know that you're just talking to the people on the team. So maybe it's okay if you misspell something. Maybe it's okay if you have a slip and don't explain something exactly the right way. It's almost like a safe place. The other thing is that a lot of internal communication is topical. An email might be to, you might send to a vendor, and say, "Hey, I need this thing about this product, "and this information." Or you're selling a possible lead, and saying, "Hey, you visit our website, have this free ebook." Whatever it is, it's a little bit more transactional. Whereas internally, you might be talking about the new branding. And that could be a month and a half long conversation with 17 different people. If you try to do that over email, everybody has seen the BCC with the 20 forwards, and adding this, and you don't know if you're relevant or not. And it just goes by the wayside. So something like Slack really fixes those kind of things, because you have channels that are topical, or department-based. You can send direct messages that are private. You can share all sorts of multimedia information. You can search, and it's just a way better tool. And, you also know that if somebody is on there, and they're, the other day for example, I, actually it's funny, it's for this presentation. It was ten o'clock at night, and I needed to finish up this presentation. I had the notes and ideas that I wanted to do for this keynote. And I put it out to our team on Slack, and I said, "Hey, is there anybody "that could take care of designing "a PowerPoint presentation for me by tomorrow?" Now I thought that I might get somebody who was up late on eastern time, but what I ended up getting was someone on our team who was on his way to take his kids to school in Kalampoor at eight in the morning. And he's like, "Yeah, as soon as I "drop the kids off I'll take care of it." I sent it to him, I went to sleep, in the morning it was done. I mean, that was amazing. Literally getting work done while you're sleeping. But, not to sound repetitive, but if you tried to do that in a synchronous nature, it's not possible. It's just not possible, so what ends up happening is that that guy can't work for us, and I can't work with him. And that's a travesty. So, something like Slack, we look at communication tools, getting email figured out is an important one, but that's a totally other topic. So something like Slack, you could use HipChat. There's all sorts of tools, I don't care about the tool. Just use something different for internal communication versus external. And the other thing too about this of course, is that Slack is completely mobile friendly. So, generally speaking, I think that if you are enabling people to do their work from a mobile device, that means that they will be more mobile. They will be able to work when and where they can. They'll be able to get work done in their car while they're waiting for their kids to go to school, it doesn't matter. Also, though, what it means, that if they can do their work from a mobile phone, that when they are at an actual computer, whether it's a laptop or desktop, they'll be a lot more efficient. Because it's almost like this idea of a weighted bat, like you would see in baseball, where the batter is in the dugout with a weight on the bat, and swinging it, and then takes off the weight and goes and it's a lot easier to hit it. That kind of thing too, you can make a little bit more constraining, so that when they actually have their real laptop, they can be that much more efficient.