Tyler lives in Raleigh. Wes lives in Wilmington. I live in Charlotte. We see each other in person as a team about once per year. Otherwise, we email or talk on the phone or text. Well, Wes and I text – Tyler is wise enough not to own a cell phone.
I had a hard time with that at first. I like interaction. I enjoy seeing people in person. I think it’s fun to be around the people you work with. But it’s interesting, because I’ve learned that the three of us being far apart has actually been a key to our success.
You see, if we sat together in an office all day we would feel obligated to fill vacuums of natural down time with wasted time. We’d distract each other. We’d have meetings that seemed important but really weren’t. We’d feel obligated to keep coming up with new ideas for our app and our web site. We’d tweet stuff nobody cares about and feel pressured to make sales calls to try to drive people to our business, thus actually hurting our brand (our brand is currently associated with being incredibly easy to do business with, taking great care of customers, intuitive and simple software, no sales pressure, come on in when the timing works for you vs.on our time frame, etc.). We’d create training documents customers don’t need and won’t use, etc.
This is the stuff many employees at many companies do to fit in with a hard charging culture and to make themselves feel and look busy and seem important to colleagues. I know – I’ve done it in the past. I’ve been guilty of all of the above. Most people who’ve been in an office space have. If you’ve been there, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
It’s my firm belief now that if we were all together, it would be hard to fight the natural path our company would take, and four years into Schedulefly (as we are right now) we’d be just like any other software company, we’d have a generic, indistinguishable brand, we would have a complicated web site, a complex app with too many features and settings, and more people than we need running around looking busy and helping us further complicate things. But hey, we would feel good about ourselves for “working hard” all that time and we’d be like everybody else!
So here’s to distance – may we always have it at Schedulefly.