I just got back from spending my first week with Trello in their New York offices, and am vibing off of successfully spending my first day remotely at home. With that in mind, I wanted to jot down and share some quick thoughts about what I thought was awesome:
1. Two words: dog food.
Trello uses their own product for everything. All of my training and onboarding was done (or directed by) a Trello board. For example, here is a sample Trello board that is very similar to how the internal IT team handles support for employees. Perhaps this is because it is such an easy and diverse tool, but it was great to see a company that so sticks by what they have created that they use it for all of their internal processes as well. As a serial list maker and keeper, I am right at home here.
2. Remote-first can work, and it can work well.
Every time I walked through the hallways of the all-glass cubicles in HQ, a majority of the people were on video calls. Not just video calls for the sake of meetings, but also collaborating on code or working together in another way. In fact, often the video screen would be open on a secondary monitor while they worked through something else entirely together. The video was a secondary aspect, but seemed to simulate what it would be like if they were there together and working on something.
To further emphasize this, they used to have company meetings in which, like most other companies, all of the HQ employees would sit together on one monitor, and all the remote employees would call in to view the meeting. That is no longer the case. All employees participate in the monthly meetings from their personal computer in their office, whether they are remote or at HQ.
3. Values are more important to me than they used to be
When I was younger, I mainly looked at jobs as a source of a paycheck. As I get older, I find myself looking for a home, which means that I really need to feel aligned with the values at the core of the company. When I first realized that this had grown so important to me, I was honestly taken aback. Not only is the company committed to happiness and living a healthy lifestyle (as is evidenced by their latest #ReadySetGoal campaign), but the core tenets of the product run through their culture. Trello believes in living agilely, and finding the core essentials—that's why we have the limits in place that we do on our boards—and that leads to a lack of clutter which I find very appealing. I am most excited to be here because I feel like I am on the same page with what the company cares about and what they value in decision making.
4. The people genuinely love each other.
I have been at a lot of companies who have tried to encourage group bonding activities: weekly drink nights, or special events where everyone gets together in the office. That being said, I have never seen them include remote people. Each month the Trello and Fogcreek teams get together to play games and just generally hang out in-office. At the same time, the remotes hang out in a group call together, drinking beers, talking about video games and speaking with various people in the office that drop by the sharing screen. Further more: both parties hang out for hours. Doing nothing, really, besides playing Drawful or asking after one another's holidays. It's truly inspiring and obvious that the hiring team totally kicked ass when it came to looking for culture fits. I am honored to be a part of it.