In our latest installment of the Web Setup, we talk to Steve Klein of StatusPage.io, another fully distributed startup team. With StatusPage, you can create a status page for your web service in minutes to keep your customers up-to-date about your uptime. We happily use their product ourselves (check out status.meldium.com). For a taste, here's the building where Steve works!
Hi Steve, tell us about your team; what kind of office setup do you have?
Currently it's just the three of us (Scott, Danny, and me) though we're looking for 1 more (a DevOps engineer preferably with Rails experience). We're a 100% distributed team and have been from the start. I'm living in Raleigh, Scott is in Fort Collins and Danny just moved to San Francisco. We lived together briefly in Mountain View, CA during the Summer 2013 class of Y Combinator but we all moved back home after it was over. Every month or two we get together in actual meatspace for about a week.
I work out of BLDG Co. which is a co-working space near downtown Raleigh. I work on a turbo-charged 15” Mac Book Pro. I've rigged several different pieces together to form a Frankenstein standing desk.
When Scott first got to Colorado, he somehow got hooked up with 4 other founders of Internet businesses. They all decided to get an office together in a business accelerator building called the Innosphere. Scott's setup is incredibly messy, but has a ton of pixels. It looks like a command center, and will live up to the name even more once he gets a 42” TV for our Librato dashboard mounted up above the Thunderbolt display.
Danny joined Geekdom SF, a co-working space for B2B software and infrastructure startups within Rackspace SF, a few weeks back. He's surrounded by other smart founders from companies working on B2B startups and almost every day there's some type of developer-focused meet up. They have electric standing desks, individual breakout rooms, a fully stocked fridge, and an open bike repair area. Sold.
What web apps can your team not live without? How do you pick them?
We move pretty quickly when it comes to using new tools. The biggest thing that plays into our decision to use a product is can we do all the things we want to do with it. We're not too price sensitive, we'll deal with a bad interface, we don't care too much about them having a native iPhone/Android App. Being able to do all the things we want with it decides whether or not we use a product and all of these extras influence how likely we are too recommend it to other people. Here's some of the important tools we use.
- Argyle Social (social media management)
- Groove (customer support)
- Customer.io (context-based email)
- Datadog (metrics monitoring)
- MailChimp (email marketing)
- Mixpanel (analytics)
- Circle CI (continuous integration)
- Optimizely (A/B testing)
- Pingdom (monitoring)
- Scout (monitoring)
- Segment.io (analytics)
- TempoDB (time-series DB)
- Wistia (video hosting)
- Trak.io (analytics)
- Google Analytics (analytics!)
- Yesware (email tracking)
- Trello (project management)
- HipChat (group chat)
- Librato (analytics & monitoring)
- Salesforce (CRM!)
Oh and this awesome service called Meldium helps us manage authentication for all of them =D.
What tools/tricks does your team use to work remotely?
The number one thing that helps us work better remotely is an always on GoToMeeting room. It's almost like we're in the same room. We can talk easily, listen to music together, and see each other's screens at the drop of a hat.
Another thing we recently started using is iDoneThis. It helps everyone keep up-to-date with what other people are working on. It also gets you excited about what other people are working on. When you work remotely, there are times where you'll only be online for a few hours with the rest of the team and will miss out on what they're doing. iDoneThis helps keep up the feeling of movement and progress within the team.
Also, we're in HipChat 100% of the time, which helps fill in the gaps.
What would be your dream setup?
The biggest problem we face today is the problem inherent in working remotely. We're not always on at the same time and some tasks require us to work together. We occasionally schedule time together on iCal but could probably do better.