Level up your remote work game and cut back on Zoom meetings with these tips from Liam Martin, the author of the groundbreaking new book, Running Remote. Whether you are a current or aspiring remote worker, freelancer, or team leader, you will gain ideas to help you improve your productivity, find better remote job opportunities, and work better remotely in this episode.
Level up your remote work game and cut back on Zoom meetings with these tips from Liam Martin, the author of the groundbreaking new book, Running Remote.
Whether you are a current or aspiring remote worker, freelancer, or team leader, you will gain ideas to help you improve your productivity, find better remote job opportunities, and work better remotely in this episode.
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Kristin: There's plenty of meetings that are a waste of time. And I think that companies should look at it as when everyone's in a meeting and when you have 800 people sitting silently on Zoom and a company wide meeting, it's like a glorified company memo. And so when these very successful people and companies are able to function with a no meetings policy, then that means that everyone can at least reduce the quantity of their Zoom meetings and really lean into these project management tools and remote collaboration tools.
Kristin Wilson, Host: Hey there, Kristin, from Traveling with Kristin here and welcome to episode 168 of Badass Digital Nomads. My guest today is remote work pioneer Liam Martin, and Liam is the co-founder of the Running Remote Conference and he's also the author of the new book Running Remote, which is a practical guide to help you work remotely better. And in today's interview, Liam is giving some insight into some of the tips that he has gleaned off of some of the top experts in remote work. So the CEOs of remote first companies who've been doing this for more than ten years. So whether you are a freelancer or an online entrepreneur, a remote employee or a remote team leader at your company, you will certainly find some great tips and insights in today's conversation with Liam.
And coincidentally, both of our books are coming out this same week. I remember talking to Liam a couple of years ago and he told me that he was working on writing this book during the pandemic and it was a great time, much needed since so many people were going remote overnight and it's finally out here. So it's really funny that our books ended up coming out the same week since I started mine later, and we didn't even plan for this interview to come out exactly on this day, this week that both of our books are going into print.
So if you want to get some of the most cutting edge insights and info on how to work remotely to your best ability, how to be the most productive, how to spend less time in Zoom meetings, and also on how to be a digital nomad. Then check out my book, Digital Nomads for Dummies and Liam's book Running Remote wherever books are sold.
And we will also, of course, link to them in the show notes. Liam was also one of my first guests on that as Digital Nomads back in November of 2019. Episode 29, where he tells us how he founded the world's largest remote work conference and what he learned in that process. Also, lots of tips for remote work and that one as well.
I'll link to it in the show notes for you. And before we get started today, I just wanted to say thank you to Ali, Dave and Jeff, who all bought me coffees in the last week. Thank you, guys so much. And you can buy me a coffee too, buymeacoffee.com/KristinWilson. Or by going to you badassdigitalnomads.com/support.
Kristin: Well, welcome back, Liam, to Badass Digital Nomads. Where you joining us today?
Liam: I'm currently in my closet, which is in Montreal, Canada. More specifically,
Kristin:Your of- your closet is bigger than mine. I was going to record in the closet because the acoustics are better, but then it would look weird because I would have my laptop just in my face and this dark closet. But so you're in Montreal. The last time you were on the podcast was pre pandemic.
Liam:So we've got a lot to talk about then.
Kristin: Yeah, I would love to. If you kind of get your recap in hindsight, what was your reaction around remote work when the pandemic first started and how has your perception changed now that we're over two years in as far as the prognosis for remote work?
Liam:Well, I think the proverbial S-H, it hit the fan. I don't know if we're allowed to swear on your podcast, but yeah, it was crazy. Just to kind of give everyone context of where we were February of 2020 for percent of the U.S. workforce was working remotely. By March, 45% of the U.S. workforce was working remotely. That's a complete shift in everything that we know as it applies to work. That's the biggest shift in work since the Industrial Revolution. But the industrial evolution took 80 years, and we did that in March. So everything changed in two weeks and I felt I remember at that point actually one of my most viral videos on my YouTube channel, which has maybe 40 or 50,000 views, which was the digital nomadism is canceled.
And I basically— I was really scared at that point because I had done a piece with someone from the W.H.O. back in January about remote working in Hong Kong when this little tiny virus that no one really had any idea about was –shut down Hong Kong. And I spoke to this guy from the W.H.O. afterwards. I sent him an email and I said, So how bad do you think this is going to be? And he's like, Oh, like like 5 to 15 million dead bad. And I said, What? And he said, Yeah. And here's the worst part. The horse is already out of the barn. Those were his exact— that's the exact thing that he said on email. So I was terrified. End of January and I shut down my gym membership and I just kind of locked myself down preemptively. And then around March, it was well, so the running remote conference, which was going to be in Austin, Texas in April, had to be canceled because we –and whenever you cancel a conference like a month and a half before it's supposed to go on, you lose a massive amount of money. I think we lost about a quarter of $1,000,000 for that one, which was not good. And that was bad. But some of my other companies like Time Doctor and stuff dot com were doing incredibly well. We had, you know, clients that would approach us, would be like maybe 100 employees, 200 employees, and then we'd have like G20 countries that would say, hey, we took 540,000 government workers remote yesterday and we have no idea what to do next.
And I would tell them I have no idea what you should do. I manage 200 people. And their response was, you're the first guy that we could get on the phone because the community was so small. No one really knew how remote work could be executed properly. And so that community was in, you know, massive, massive demand. And that's actually one of the reasons why I spent the last year and a half writing the book, which was which is coming out pretty soon or has already come out by the time this podcast comes out, because I really wanted to kind of package something up on how to build and scale a remote team effectively, and then instead of doing two hour phone calls with people, I could just say, Hey, take this book and if you want to ask me some questions through email, do it that way. But yeah, it was basically a wild ride and probably a once in a lifetime event for my life. Yeah, I don't think I experienced something that big, like that big of a change happening in my professional career. I'll never experience again.
Kristin:Yeah, I think we'll look back at that time as being so pivotal and the reaction from the the early adopters of the remote work community. It was like, I don't know how you felt, but I kind of felt like I saw the entire future collapse in 1/2. I was like, Okay, I like how at the end of your book you have the future that already happened. I think you say it in the in the conclusion it says outgrow the future just happened. That is how I felt in the first week of the pandemic. I was like, okay, the next ten or 20 years just happened overnight and I think I even have drafts they've done on media. I'm like, You're never going back to the office. And all these kind of bold declarations that I didn't even really put out there, because things are just happening too fast, even that I was like, I don't have time to even write about what's going on. It's just, let's help people. Let's help people transition to remote work. And I think we kind of all jumped into damage control mode of like, how do we help our communities? How do we help our audience? How do we help our our network? And that's what we did. And in in our case, that turned into two books because that's the easiest way to disseminate that information on a big scale. In hindsight, so many companies were forced into go into remote work. What do you think are some of the companies that did things really well, like the standout performers? And what were the big mistakes that the traditional companies made during this time?
Liam:So there's a great case study that I have in the book of a company called Vid Yard, which is a tool for asynchronous –I use it — production. Oh, okay, great. So they transitioned during the pandemic and the founder who I interviewed at length, he was telling me like I had an office that I personally designed and he's got 500 people in this office. And he loved that cultural touchpoint of a physical space, reinforcing the culture of the organization. And when the pandemic hit, they started analyzing. First of all, they'd learned everything they possibly could about remote work. So they spoke to companies like GitLab and Buffer and WordPress, all these companies we've also interviewed for the book, and they're all kind of what I call remote pioneers. So people that were effectively remote before the pandemic and the one single thing that they all have in common is this phenomenon that I'm calling asynchronous management, which is the ability to be able to manage people without simultaneously interacting with them. So we have team members in 44 countries all over the world, and most real pioneers had the same situation where you can't actually get everyone on a phone call, you can't get them all on a zoom call because somewhere it's 3:00 in the morning and you can't really for someone to get up at 3:00 in the morning, nor should you, because it's actually really detrimental to their own personal productivity. So you create these systems, which is really the subject of my book, on how to be able to execute asynchronous management at scale. And Vidyard took this and ran with it. They really have this this philosophy of saying, Well, let's create an environment where, yes, we're all currently located in one particular time zone and we're actually in the same city.
95% of us are in the same city. But let's create an environment where someone in Manila can actually be just as well informed about everything that happens in the company as much as the people that are currently in the same city with all of us today. And so they did a fantastic transition. I think they're now 80% in their particular city and 20% of those team members are remote. And as they continue to evolve, they are looking at their big office. First of all, what they've done is they went from six floors to two floors. So they're significantly reducing their square footage and they're creating a massive co-working space so people can come in if they want. It's completely voluntary, and you're effectively leaving it up to the worker to be able to say, How am I the most productive? Is it going to the office every single day? Is it going in one day a week? Is it going in? Not at all. Is it working at a different co-working space or is it being a digital nomad and being location independent? They're opening up all those opportunities for people, but then they're also being really focused on measuring the results.
So I think this is another part that's actually quite dangerous for a lot of these companies, is there's I kind of see like two or three different categories of companies. There are the companies that are saying all our employees are asking for remote work, so we're just going to give it to them and not really measure the results. There are people that are saying our employees are asking for remote work, but we don't care. So we're pushing everyone back to the office. And then there's the third category, which is the one that everyone should be doing, is our employees want to be able to work remotely, but we need to make sure that there are clear metrics deployed and measurable definitions of success so that everyone can continue to be successful in these positions.
McKinsey put out a study a couple of months ago, which I picked up on in a couple of them. McKinsey people went to running remote. 76% of remote workers believe they're more productive when they work from home, and 67% of managers believe they're less productive when they work from home. And this is the real problem that we're currently having right now is there's no like what is true. No one knows. We know we want to work remotely because employees want it and no one really knows whether or not that's more productive or less productive. It is more productive. I have the data to be able to prove it, but you also need the managers to be convinced of that as well.
Kristin: Yeah, one of the the big time savers I think for productivity is reducing the meetings and face to face interaction that's so traditional of the workplace. But what happened is that so many traditional companies just moved all their meetings to zoom. And now you have giant organizations, including Google, that just have their employees sitting in Zoom for 8 to 12 hours per day. For everyone that's listening, how can people work remotely without Zoom? When you talk about async and having these processes, I think people want to adopt that, whether they're employees or online business owners or freelancers that are working for themselves.
They're like, Yes, that sounds great. Let's reduce the number of videoconference meetings we have and companies as well should want to do that like massive companies. But how do people do that? I think people don't know how to wrap their heads around like how can we work remotely without just moving everything to video calls?
Liam:So number one, it is possible, I think that byShaliwas the person that helped us schedule this particular podcast. She's done it for 486 other podcasts over the last year that I've been on, and we work every single day together very, very closely and we have met synchronously meaning on Zoom six times during that time. So it is very possible she has the autonomy to be able to execute on her quantifiable metric, which is booking me on podcasts and I have the autonomy to be able to work on my side of that transaction, which is getting onto the podcast and making sure that they launch, right.
So we both have responsibilities and by clearly defining the process documentation inside of that, we don't necessarily need to be able to have synchronous meetings because we know what we need to do in these eight hour zoom calls come unfortunately from a false premise that I think really comes from the 20th century MBA mindset, which is when you work in an office, everyone pays a sunk cost.
So everyone gets on a in their car, on a metro, on a bike, and they spend 90 minutes coming to one particular place every single day. And then when they get to that place, it's a collaboration. BUFFET Right. And if you go to any MBA kind of textbook or class, they'll say collaboration equals success. In reality, asynchronous collaboration, the vast majority of that time is what a lot of remote first companies call digital presentism.
So there was an article that just came out recently that GitLab ran, which shows that 67 minutes of every day of people working remotely is simply spent on digital presentism, which is appearing to seem busy for your employer, which is a ridiculous concept, and it happens inside of the office as well. So we're doing all this collaboration, we're meeting with everybody and we're saying, Oh, we really need to figure out what color of envelope we should be using as a company. Should we go with Baby Blue or Manila? Right. That's a complete waste of everyone's time and asynchronous companies have recognized that it's an alt cart method we pay that cost every single time that we meet. So every single time that we jump on to a zoom call, we all have to pay that cost, which is preparing for the meeting beforehand, choosing a particular time to me, maybe I'm really in a really good flow state, doing fantastic deep work and I have to stop that because I have to go meet with Kristin as an example to talk about what color coffee cups we should be deploying across the organization. Right. That's that costs us productivity. So we realize within our cart method we can actually choose. Wouldn't want to meet. Do we want to meet do we have to have 20 people meet? Could be a five people may have to be 90 minutes could it be 30 minutes? Could it be 15 minutes and or could it be no time at all?
And if you literally just audit all of the time that you meet with people synchronous lead, you recognize that 90% of that is redundant and the other 10%, the book can really help you get rid of as well. There are companies in the book that are 20, 30, $40 billion valuation companies that don't meet at all. They do not interact synchronously at all.
They have this. Yeah, I almost kind of think of them. And again, I'm a bit of a nerd, but I kind of think of them as the Borg from Star Trek like they are these autonomous nodes inside of the system and everyone knows what they need to do because managers are not managing people. It's the platform that manages people and managers just kind of kick in for the stuff that the platform -platform can't handle for it.
Kristin: Yeah, I think people would be surprised to hear that. There's plenty of people that I work with that I have never spoken to synchronously. I've never done a phone call with them, I've never done a video call with them. We're like these enigmas that work together and everything's just been done asynchronously and that's the way I worked before the pandemic. And that doesn't mean that you don't ever need to talk to anyone, but there's plenty of meetings that are a waste of time, and I think that companies should look at it as when everyone's in a meeting and when you have 800 people sitting silently on Zoom and a company wide meeting, it's like a glorified company memo. Like you just need to know that these people are watching you talk at that moment. And I don't even think Zoom should allow that many people on a meeting, maybe for conferences and things like that. But yeah, andNarvel from Narvel Ravikant of Twitter fameand his podcast, I believe I heard him say that he doesn't do meetings at all like never, and that they had that long standing policy and his business partners did as well. So no matter who was asking for the meeting, we don't do meetings. And so when these very successful people in companies are able to function with a no meetings policy, and my acquaintance, Peter Levels, who's the founder of Nomad List, he doesn't have an email address. He maybe has one, but it's secret, right? He runs a multimillion dollar remote platforms nomad list. Remote Ok. So there's people that, you know, if it's possible, then that means that everyone can at least reduce the quantity of their Zoom meetings and really lean into these project management tools and remote collaboration tools that can help them do that and have these defined expectations so people can just get their work done and not have to duplicate the volume of hours that they spend working. Because half the hours are spent in meetings and half the hours are spent actually working, or you're just too tired to work at that point because you've been in Zoom meetings all day. So for me, my workload went up. Like when everyone started out, everyone else started working remotely. All of a sudden my calendar filled up with Zoom calls and I was like, What's going on?
Liam:I think another part of this too, is when you think about the manager's classic job, and I think that the manager's job is evolving. One of the interesting metrics that I picked up when I was analyzing all of these asynchronous organizations is on average their managerial layer was 50% thinner than their on premise counterparts. So there are less managers required for asynchronous organizations because they're thinking in a very 20th century you can't digitize metrics type of mindset. And the biggest job of a manager is to communicate what people are doing below them and communicate that to the next level above of the organization. But when the platform becomes the manager and everyone has quantifiable longitudinal metrics, which is what we have inside of our organization, and almost all asynchronous organizations share in that. And you don't need managers to be able to say, Did you fill out your TPS report? I really need you to fill out your TPS report. I mean, no, like the fourth time that someone comes up to you and asks you that question, you want to kill them. But inside of asynchronous organizations, it's literally just a push notification. Inside of Asana saying, you haven't figured this out, you need to fill this out because it's critical for you to start your workday. And it's it's critical for us to be able to operate as a business if you don't fill this out. But it's one notification doesn't come from a human being, comes from the platform. And that's the magic of these asynchronous organizations and why they are cleaning the clocks of the classic on-premise org.
Kristin: Yeah, they're saving so much money, they're more productive and they just get it. And that's why I would encourage everyone to look at your conference Running Remote to attend virtually if you can't attend in person. You mentioned that next year it will be in Lisbon, Portugal. Do you have the dates for that yet?
Liam:Yes, which I don't remember off the top right now. We just actually made a bit of we just announced that like today. Okay. So we're just about to sign the papers. And Lisbon for us has been a fantastic location. I mean, if you're not – if you have not been to Lisbon before, this is a fantastic way to be able to kind of figure out your first trip. You can totally write it off. And I love Lisbon. I don't know about you, but it's probably a top five city on planet Earth for me.
Kristin: Oh, yeah, yeah. I'm. I'm thinking of going back there and just a month or so, so, hey, maybe I'll be there when this podcast is actually out, but I would encourage everyone, whether you work for yourself or you work for a traditional company or you work for a remote company, I would I would recommend that everybody check that out. Look at the companies that are the attendees of Running Remote. Look at the speakers, watch the the presentations because the general public doesn't know that Running Remote exists like I think, you know, on a mass scale. And so whoever's listening to this podcast right now, like if you can attend Running Remote virtually, if you can watch what those speakers have to say, you're going to know you're going to see the future of remote work. You're going to know what the top .00 1% of remote organizations and remote pioneers are doing to run their businesses remotely. That's going to give you ideas for how to run your own business. That's also going to give you motivation to perhaps change companies when you see how your organization is working versus how these other organizations are working. It's also going to give you ideas of companies that you can actually apply to work at. Because I don't know about you, Liam, but I think it's a lot easier. The path of least resistance for people to apply for jobs at remote first companies versus to try to convince their employer to really get on board 100% with remote work.How do you see that with, you know, changing company cultures at traditional companies that were forced into working remotely versus companies that already embraced it from the beginning?
Liam:I think the next two years it's going to be really important. So there is new census data that came from the U.S. Census Bureau like three weeks ago. The new numbers, again, I was saying 45% of the U.S. workforce was working remotely in March of 2020. We're now at 7% of the U.S. workforce working remotely, and it was 4% before the pandemic. So we're effectively double where we were before it all started. But if you include hybrid inside that definition, we're at 35%, which is crazy. So we're almost where we were pre-pandemic. 35% of the U.S. workforce is currently working remotely or in a hybrid manner. And the next two years, the people that are in the hybrid category are going to decide, do we go remote or do we go back to the office? That is where like to me, for someone who is absolutely a fundamentalist remote worker, like this is my religion, this is what I believe. Our mission as a company and the set of companies that I founded is we're trying to empower the world's transition towards remote work. So take what I say with a grain of salt, but the mission of all of people like me is to be able to make sure that we transition as many of those people over the remote side. And I think it's going to happen automatically because you're going to see these companies that are just, as I said before, cleaning the clocks of their competitors because they are more efficient, they're more focused, they can execute on company strategy faster and they can scale faster because the platform is the manager and not necessarily individuals inside of their organization.
Kristin: And they could go be happier.
Liam:Well, yeah, that's another interesting factoid that I picked up as well. Asynchronous organizations have an average MPC, which is employee net promoter score. Just a way to be able to measure how engaged people are working inside of your organization of 70 and the industry average is 36. So they're double effectively what the industry average is.
So if your employees are twice as happy as every is all of your competitors, that means that less of them are going to quit. They're going to work for less money, they're going to be more effective in their jobs. They're going to be more passionate about the subject matter that they pursue. I mean, that just means that your organization is going to move faster. And so I see it as an inevitability. I like to take Daron Murphy's quote that he has in the book. Darren Murphy is the head of Remote for GitLab. He said This is a model T versus a horse and buggy moment where it's 1915 and the first Model T is rolling off the production line, which I see is asynchronous management. This new methodology to be able to manage people regardless of whether you're remote or in the office, you can actually do asynchronous management inside of the office as well. But it provides for you the freedom to be able to choose if you want to have an office, whereas with on premise work at synchronous it really has to be done in the office. It doesn't work anywhere else. We're going to see that change. I predict ten. I predict within the next ten years 50% of the S&P 500 will be remote. And I think the majority of those organizations will be asynchronous because it's just fundamentally a better way to be able to work.
Kristin: Yeah, and they're saving money and they're saving money on hiring costs as well. And actually just yesterday I talked to one of my podcast listeners. He he knows who he is and he was so excited that he had just quit his job to work forZapier, which is a remote first company that you know very well, and just his happiness level and his peace of mind with being able to leave a traditional company that was forced into going remote to now he was able to move out of San Francisco. He can now travel a few months per year. He can basically do whatever he wants because he's working for a company that already had those policies in place. And yeah, he's just really happy. So what would you say for people listening? What are these remote first companies looking for in their employees? Because I know you've talked about a lot in the past of how people at these companies don't necessarily care about what your resumé says.
They don't care about what school you went to. They're looking for experience. They're looking for a capacity to learn. They're looking for ability to get results for the company. So what can people kind of sharpen up on their CVS and resumes if they want to get these kinds of jobs?
Sure. So I think probably one of the first things that you could do that would put people's ears up would be experience in async work or asynchronous management. Because when you look at the remote pioneers that are really doing this at scale, Wade, be Wade from Zapier being a perfect example of that, these companies are all implementing asynchronous work at their core because they know it's the best operating system to run remote companies. So that's that's one factor. You're absolutely right. Experience is the biggest factor, unfortunately, that I look for.
So I'm going to choose someone and that– the data is very clear. There's a lot of books that have come out on this subject, pretty much five years of work experience trumps any form of education you could possibly think of. So if you have a Ph.D. from MIT in computer science versus someone who has five years experience as an engineer working in a, you know, working at a tech company, I'm going to choose the guy with five years experience or the gal, unfortunately. But what can you do if you don't have that type of experience? Well, I really like the portfolio technique. And so this is something that can only really be deployed when the world is your job board as opposed to just trying to find a job in San Francisco or New York or Chicago. You have your portfolio, which is I am good at a very specific set of skills. I don't know if you remember Liam Neeson, you know, on the phone, he's like, I have a very particular set of skills. I will find you and kill you. Remember what that movie is?
Kristin: Taken something– right.
Liam:And there's like taken 17. At this point, I don't know why he keeps having his family members take it, like, maybe you should work on that. But anyways, that's a separate story. You want to have a particular set of skills that you are world class at. So I'll give you an example of what I how I would pitch myself. I am world class at building remote marketing teams to be able to build SAS products. That is what I am world class at. There are less than 100 of people like me on planet Earth and if you want to hire me for that particular type of position, you will not be sorry if it's something other than that I might do an okay job, but this is what I do better than anyone else. I'm a gold medalist at this particular thing and the the breakdown is that or where people's brains kind of break in, that is they're still thinking on a municipal level. They're still thinking I can only find jobs in Toronto or in Montreal or San Francisco or New York. Well, no, the world is your job board. So you want to actually get as specific as humanly possible because there's someone else that's also looking for an incredibly specific position, which is CMO of a I can –actually I can get more specific. I can be a CMO of a 100 person plus marketing team that build SAS products because I've done it three times before too eight figures as an example. That's something that I can do that there are less than 100 people on planet Earth that have that type of capability, and with that you can get really, really fantastic results in your job search and you're going to get paid exorbitantly more than if you're like, hey, I'm I'm really good at marketing and I can do all of these things kind of connected to marketing. That's okay.
Kristin: And I'm good at communication or something very general. Like you're using specific numbers, which is very important in getting your resume ATS score high enough to get through the first layer of job applications. Is making sure you have a lot of numerical proof in your resume. So having, you know, numbers of what budgets you've managed or what sites, companies you've worked for, things like that are really important as well. And even I love this, something you mentioned in a previous podcast from a year or so ago that really blew my mind because I've never heard anyone say it is. You said that it could be better for somebody to invest $100,000 in managing Facebook ads for a year than taking on $100,000 in student loans at one of the big universities.
Kristin: That was just a paradigm shift for me because thinking like, oh, wait, what if people reinvested the time and money that they would spend going to traditional university and they invested that in a specific skill that's then going to be on their on their resume. You know, like I specialize in managing budgets of 100 K per year of Facebook ads for SAS companies or something like that. You know, something very specific. Yeah. What can you elaborate a little bit on that idea?
Liam:I would go a step further, which is the way that you don't pay for it is talk to a company that just got their series a financing. So a tech startup that just got their series a financing that is under 20 employees. With under 20 employees, you're not going to be a CMO or even a VP as an example, but you might be able to be kind of given a director level position. And you'll also do what a CMO or a VP of marketing would do for just kind of following along on the marketing angle. So you'll be able to collect a lot of really great experiences and then figure out what you're good at and hopefully double down on that particular set of skills. For me, it would be content production and SEO. I'm very good at that. I would probably say, actually, if you added that to those 100 people, you're going to boil it down to maybe 20 out of those hundred. I'm not world class. It paid acquisition. I know of, you know, 20 or 30 people off the top of my head that I know that are better than me, that are doing eight figure deployments of ad spend as an example. So I wouldn't be the best person for it. Could I do it? Yes. Could I do a world class? No. Would I be world class at a content campaign? Have I, you know, launched 200 podcasts a month over the last five years? Yes, that's what I've done. And I can do it at scale. So it really kind of tightens you up. But the person that has no experience just go and work for one of these tech startups that have just gotten their series A do not do It if they're bootstrapped because unfortunately they won't have the money to be able to allow you to make the number of mistakes that you need to make to really get that experience. But if someone's raised $10 million as an example and you're just willing to go in and work, they will give you not just one position, but they'll give you four or five. You'll be super stressed out. But in two years you'll be a rock star.
Kristin: Hey there, Kristin. Here. I hope you're enjoying today's show. You can support the podcast byleaving us a five star review wherever you listen, or by sharing today's episode on social media or with one of your friends, family members, or coworkers. You can also make a financial contribution to support Badass Digital Nomads at BadassDigitalNomads.com/support that's at Badass Digital Nomads.com/support. And now back to the show.
Yeah I just saw quotes today that said Failure is just practice for success. So being able to fail on a startup's dime is better than on your own. But even for people that aren't able to get those jobs, there's still ways that people can acquire those skills remotely, right?
Liam:Yes. I also say make failure as cheap and as quick as possible. So the faster and the cheaper that you can generate your failures, the more you'll learn to be able to get in to your successes. And you're right doing it remotely. I mean, you could actually work for two or three firms at the same time if you really wanted to be fractional right, say, hey, I'm going to run ad spend for three separate clients.
Imagine how much faster you're going to be able to scale if you do that. I've done in preparation for the book working with some some clients have been doing some fractional CMO work and I should have done this ten years ago because I now get to see a completely different dashboard of how to run a different startup in see where the correlations, what they're doing right and what different companies are doing things incorrectly. So that's another way to kind of approach it. But fundamentally for me, I mean, I, I've talked a lot about grad school for me. I'm looking at my master's degree behind the camera and I was pursuing a Ph.D. and I had to unfortunately go through a couple of years of grad school to recognize that that wasn't for me.And I think today, if I was doing it all over again, I would not pursue a graduate degree. I may not even pursue university because I think that you could get a much better education if you know what you want to do. Working for that tech startup for four years and and making 80 grand a year as well.
Kristin: Yes. Actually, this morning I just talked to a client who –he was working in a hotel and in luxury hotels around the world, had gotten an MBA, like going to grad school, everything. And just in the two years since the pandemic started, he shifted to starting his own business. He learned a completely unrelated to hospitality business, and he said it changed his life. And so when you think about that, what you can learn in the progress you can make in two years, three years, four years of just putting yourself out there and and working for remote companies or taking on consulting clients, learning a skill online, and then getting case studies, getting examples of how you've helped other people and then kind of putting yourself out there and doing it that way.
It's pretty impressive to think of how far you can go in that period of time. I mean, four years ago I hadn't ever made a YouTube video, you know, and now that's one of my main business models. I didn't know anything about content creation, but yeah, after and in your case, making 200 podcasts per month. In my case, 200 podcasts in three years, but still you learn so much during the execution of those skills. So I would really encourage people to go for learning by doing and and not action. And so in your book you talk about, well, there's two parts to your book, The Faceless Office, Mastering Fundamentals and the Timeless Team, Building Remote teams and The Async Culture, who will who should read this book? Like who is the audience for this book? So that they know that it's them? Is this only remote CEOs or should employees be reading this as well?
Liam:No. And actually, I think you had mentioned Ryan Holiday before that you've got his book up on your bookshelf. I had a quick chat with him when I was thinking about writing this book and I said, Oh, you know, I really want to pitch it towards Fortune 1000 CEOs. And he said, Cool, so you're going to sell 20 copies of the book. And I was like, Well, what do you mean? And he said, You're targeting Fortune 1000 CEOs. There are just a thousand of them. So that's really dumb. You should figure out how to actually approach. Like if you want to actually get the word out to larger amounts of people, get it out to larger amounts of people. So the first section of the book is really focused on kind of my love letter to the people that are– they were during the pandemic and they're not sure about remote work. So they've they kind of are trying it maybe they don't necessarily think that it's truly working or they don't know whether it's working. So that's for that first section of people and those key people in Zoom calls, all the people in Zoom calls, the people that are spending 8 hours on Zoom, you don't need to spend 8 hours on Zoom. Life is a lot easier. Zoom fatigue is real. I think it's actually like they're thinking about putting it directly into the DSM, which is that crazy. So it's very much a real phenomenon. And by the way, I love Zoom. I still use it. I just use it when I need to use it, not as a kind of not as my primary form of communication, but there are a lot more efficient way. Exactly. Yeah. So this is kind of a crutch that a lot of the on premise synchronous organizations have been using to be able to transition themselves towards remote. So that first section of the book is really kind of showing people there's a new way of doing this. And then the second part of the book is actually showing them.
So it's literally saying, hey, so we got through the first section. If you're here, then here's how I'm going to show you how to actually do it and execute it at scale. So if you already are convinced about remote work and you think it's absolutely great and the direction to go for your company can skip the first half of the book if you're still a little kind of I don't know about this remote work thing. The first section of the book is definitely for you.
Kristin: Okay, so if you've ever experienced Zoom fatigue, which is all of a sudden read this book. And if you experience Zoom fatigue and you think you've overcome it, but you just went to refine your remote work style, then jump into the second half of the book. But I'm going to read the whole thing because I'm a remote work nerd. I'm already almost halfway through so so far so good, very, very readable, great stories, great case studies. And I also found it interesting that you met your co author at South by Southwest. So also shows a hint of, yes, we're all remote, but we also like to meet people in person. And that's another part of it.
Liam:So just because people just because we're asynchronous organizations doesn't mean that we don't meet synchronously, right? Well, actually, like to have like a communication pyramid. In-person is the best if I could meet in person with every single person that I work with, that would be the ideal situation. But unfortunately, while not unfortunately, fortunately, we're all distributed all over planet Earth and we're living really exciting and cool lives and our jobs are not the most important things in our lives are our family networks, our social networks. What we do in our spare time that's as important and in some cases more important than our work class. So we keep that top of the pyramid as small as humanly possible. Then we have video communication, audio communication, instant messaging, and then email and project management. So the base of the pyramid really needs to be that email project management based system so that you can, number one, have that information communicated, anyone inside of the organization. But number two, there are as few secret undocumented conversations as humanly possible. I want to have archeologists go into the company and say, why did we make this decision three years ago? And they can go back three years into the data and they can say, well, it was because Kristin said that we really needed to ship this feature and then we'll say, Kristin, she was an idiot. We shouldn't have like we fired her three months after she made this decision. Why did we adopt this idea that we're now using and we're spending $20 million a year to be able to deploy effectively? Maybe we need to be able to take a second look. If you don't have documentation, if you're not documenting everything inside of your organization, you're just forgetting things. Yeah, and that's not an effective organization.
Kristin: This transparency is going to change the world because so many things that are the way they are today can be traced back to one decision that one person made. And we just don't know it. Like I think I saw a story about why marijuana and hemp were made illegal and it was traced back to one person who was presenting in front of Congress or something like the 1800s. It was like this one guy who got this thing done and this meeting that was, you know, a hundred or so years ago. And then that's the way things are today. So by having that transparency, we can go back, we can learn from our mistakes better, we can correct them and just make the world a better place. So love it. Remote work isn't perfect, but it is a paradigm shift and it is the present and the future of work. So thanks for putting it into layman's terms for all of us and sharing your experiences from the inside. Having analyzed it and interviewed people at these pioneers of remote work, people have been doing it for ten plus years. So where can people get the book and where can people follow you to learn more about what you're doing with running remote?
Liam:Sure. So RunningRemote.com is where you can check out everything connected to book. We have a whole bunch of extra bonuses and stuff like that that you can go and check out. If you can't afford the book or you can't go to our yearly conference, you can go to the YouTube channel YouTube.com/Runningremote. All of our talks are up there for free. So if you want to check those out, there's 176 talks that are currently live on that YouTube channel. So if you want to learn a little bit more about remote work, go check that out. And then outside of that, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, everywhere books are sold, you can pick up the book in person.
Kristin: Great. Well, everybody, make sure to do your homework. Read, Running Remote and Digital Nomads for Dummies that both are coming out in August of 2022. So we're taking the remote.
Liam:I'm so excited hopefully will be able to have one of those like special Amazon deals, you know, like the Running Remote plus digital nomad
Kristin: Yes. people who bought this also bought that.
Liam:Yeah. So if enough people buy of them, then they end up with those cool little deals at the bottom. That's the way the algorithm works on Amazon. So I'd love it if we all work towards that.
Kristin: Very cool. Well, thanks for coming back on the show, Liam, and look forward to seeing you in Lisbon, Portugal, if not sooner.
Liam:Yeah, thanks for having me. And yes, I'll see you in Lisbon.
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Liam runs one of the most popular time tracking and productivity platform in use by top brands today - Time Doctor. He is also a co-organizer of the world's largest remote work conference — Running Remote.
Whenever possible, Liam encourages others to work remotely and actively promotes remote work. His products and services are defined by the concept of giving workers the flexibility to work wherever they want, whenever they want.
Liam has also co-authored a book - Running Remote - focused on remote work methodology. In this revolutionary guide, Liam and his co-founder, Rob Rawson, have unearthed the secrets and lessons discovered by remote work pioneering entrepreneurs and founders who've harnessed the async mindset to operate their businesses remotely in the most seamless, hassle-free, and cost-effective manner possible.
Liam holds an undergraduate and graduate degree in Sociology from McGill University.