#13: The Benefits of Remote Working on the Beach

Alison_NameIt’s been quite the week.

I saw Ryan’s post go up on the blog this week and even though I’m not suppose to directly comment on posts here I have to state that the conversation at the club did not go down as described by Ryan. Yes, we had a disagreement, but he also didn’t “drop” his empty glass of scotch. He slammed it down on the ground.

Since returning from the sales trip Ryan has been on a bit of a bender. I’m all for relaxing and having a couple drinks and even having a one night blowout, I am still in my 20s and all. But Ryan’s on another level now. Yes, his tantrum at the club was over our disagreement of where Merge should be headed. Sorry if I’m old fashioned but slamming one’s glass on the ground in drunken frustration is a little unsettling.

That is why I left…for Hawaii.

After leaving the club and Ryan behind I headed back to my apartment, packed a single suitcase, grabbed my passport, Merge device, a portable monitor, a backup laptop, and got the hell out of town that night. On the way to the airport I hopped on Airbnb and booked a condo on the west shore of Maui in Kapalua. It’s pretty amazing how quickly you can get out of town and set up in another.

My work is more mobile than most and sense Ryan seems to think he doesn’t need my help leading Merge I can’t think of a better place to set up camp than Maui. Between services like Base Camp, Github, Google Drive, Skype, and email I am plugged in with my team back in Canada.

I have an Airbnb listing up for my apartment and a friend is checking up on the place while I’m away. I figure I can stay here for at least a month before I should start thinking about my next move. Whether that includes coming back to Merge remains to be seen.

After the first three days I found it was important to establish a routine or I was going to go insane having to juggle the excruciating need to explore the island and get my ass in gear to work. I don’t really know anyone here on the island so I’m not particular tied to other people’s schedules which is perfect with me, so I am beating at my own drum.

Daily Routine

6:30 AM – Wake up and hit the beach for a walk/run (more walk than run)

7:30 AM – Touch base with the team in Kitchener for status updates and tidy up emails that have come in throughout the morning. Being in a different timezone than the rest of my team means I wake up with a very full inbox.

Iao State Park, Maui9:30 AM – Code, code, and more code from my lanai (porch). I point my computer at the ocean and throw in my ear buds and ignore everything but the view.

11:00ish AM – Depending on how dialed in I am I leave the condo and drive around the island. I’m not going to be cooped up inside while I’m in a new place during the heart of the day. I rented a car and I plan on using it as much as I can to explore the island. Today I hit up the Iao State Park. I highly recommend it. To the right is a picture I snapped while resting in a stream off the beaten path.

2:30 PM – Depending on how far around the island my travels take me I tend to return back to the condo around 2:00 PM to catch up on emails and grab my work stuff to head to the beach. I work there for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening.

8:00 PM – Dinner and relaxing with some Netflix out on the lanai or heading out to dinner somewhere close by. Depending on how productive the day was I won’t start working again.

Remote working can only be successful by setting goals and limitations. I use to remote work at my last job a few days a week and it is a really nice way to shake up your time working. And as you know I hate co-worker distractions and this is the way I can mitigate that.

I know my production level has shot through the roof since escaping the doldrums of Kitchener in late winter. The rest of my team on the other hand has had a tough time keeping me busy with work to review. My right hand, Heather, is the only one keeping up with their work in a timely manner. She told me that in the week since receiving the new investment the office is filled with laughing (which is fine) and unfocused workers (not fine). Jasper is trying to keep his team together, but he’s in the middle of planning a much needed trip over to China to work with manufacturers in building the first set of devices to offer in our pre-order.

The team, a growing team at that, needs supervision. I’m tempted to fly Heather out here to stay with me. We can set up the Maui office of Merge! It’s not like Ryan would notice.

Ryan hasn’t emailed or called me in three days. He was trying to find me pretty hard for a few days and appears to have given up for one reason or another. Regardless, I’m sick of his constant drunkenness and his 180 degree shift on where Merge should be headed over the next year. We didn’t create a company to be built and sold so our work can be taken, stripped, and ultimately dismantled. An early exit would do just that.

Anyways, for now I’ll focus on creating more apps, building more strategic partnerships, and debugging our upgrades from the beach. Nothing beats finishing out a work day on the beach watching the sunset in an orange and amber haze along the ocean horizon.

You know what, I will send a ticket for Heather in the morning. Remote working kicks ass!

Song of the Week: The National – Fake Empire


Next Post – #14: Nerf Guns, Free Food, Beer, and the Trappings of Startup Life

Previous Post – #12: How Money Changes Things


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