WADE FOSTER is the CEO and co-founder of Zapier, a workflow automation tool used by over three million people to connect the work apps they use every day. Zapier is a 100% remote company with over 200 people. In this interview we talk about hiring, managing, aligning, and building a rockin’ remote team. Wade shares his experiences, challenges, and recipes for strong team building.

(https://zapier.com/)

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Note: the sound on this episode is not the usual high-quality you’ve come to expect. The beloved Zoom experienced an outage, and an inferior back-up tool was used (ahem, Skype). But be assured, the content rocks!

 

Wade’s tips on working remotely:

  • Some tools need to be standardized across the company, but it’s productive to allow flexibility.
  • Remote working requires a certain amount of discipline around communication and documentation. Diligently document your decisions and project updates.
  • You can’t retreat into a cave. You’ve got to be able to talk about your work, talk about your roadblocks, and ask for help when you need it.
  • Build good work habits that help you stay productive.
  • When hiring look for people who are:
    • self-starters. People who default to creating and getting things done.
    • self-motivated. People who leap into action and figure things out.
    • good communicators, particularly written communicators. How do people correspond over emails, and are they clear with their communications? You want people who can document their work well and can articulate what they want to say.
  • Loneliness needs to be managed by the person. There are different approaches to take: some people have zoom calls with colleagues, or being involved in their own communities.
  • Without support from management, working remotely will be difficult for your organization. If you’re a manager who wants to transition to the remote option, try working remotely for a long enough period of time that you understand what needs to be in place structurally for it to be successful.
  • You need all kinds of people to be successful. Build an organization that can be inclusive of many different work styles.
  • Good management is setting clear expectations, coaching and mentoring, aligning the organization’s goals, and measuring the progress over time. It shouldn’t matter where you do that.
  • As an organization, practice giving feedback to each other. Small issues tend to get swept under the rug on remote teams, so it’s important for people to know how to bring issues up.
  • When giving feedback, state the behavior that you observe instead of placing blame – and ask for a change in that behavior.
  • To stay aligned, consider experimenting with OKRs.
  • Meeting in person can be important for accelerating and deepening the bonding on remote teams.
  • Don’t wait until you’ve got everything put together. Whatever it is you want to do, just start, meet other people who do the same thing, and practice your craft.

 

Great quotes from the interview

“Distributed teams are the future of work.”

 

“Talent is equally distributed around the world, but opportunity is not; it’s good for society when opportunity is more equally distributed.”

 

“The power of remote work is that it tears down the facade of what good management might be.”

 

“One of the best ways to learn is to just run into the problem.”

 


Podcast production by Podcast Monster

Graphic design by Alfred Boland

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More resources

133 – Superpower Hour: Feedback On Virtual Teams

40 – Feedback On Virtual Teams

What to Look For When Interviewing a Remote Worker

71 – How To Resolve Conflict On Virtual Teams

168 – Evolve Your Rituals To Include Your Remote Colleagues

152 – Diversity Is A Remote Team Superpower

164 – Tips for Hybrid Meetings

137 – How To Stay Social While Working Remotely

96 – How To Combat Loneliness As A Remote Worker

79 – How To Create A Sense Of Togetherness On Your Remote Team


Original Transcript

Lisette:  We should be live. So welcome everybody to this remote interview. My name is Lisette and I’m interviewing people and companies doing great things remotely and I am super excited because today on the line, all the way from the bay area California, Wade Foster, the CEO of Zapier, and a lot of my friends are extremely excited that I’m interviewing you because there are some serious Zapier fans out there. And your tagline, Zapier makes you happier. Your guys are a productivity tool that automates repetitive, tedious tasks always great. And you have two hundred employees, a hundred percent of which are remote, there are no offices. So we’re totally diving into that. The way let’s start with the first question. What does your virtual office look like? What do you need to get your work done?

Wade Foster:  You know, the only thing I need is my laptop connection. The whole company runs off of tools like Slack, like Zoom and that’s how we communicate. That’s how we organize work and that’s how we get stuff done. So as long as I have internet connection on, I’m good to go.

Lisette:  Okay. And, and you have two hundred employees that and it’s a hundred percent remote that is quite an accomplishment. Why did you make that? Were you always remote?

Wade Foster:  You know, Zapier started as a side project and side projects tend to not have offices because side projects tend to not have money to pay for offices. So that’s kind of where we got started. And then, as we made progress, we have moved, we started in Missouri and then we moved to the Bay Area when we went through Y-combinator, and we got all the funding but at the end of that, Mike, one of our co-founders, he moved back to Missouri to be with his then-girlfriend now wife, she was wrapping up law school. And so we weren’t going to like break up the company because he couldn’t be in California with us. He was too critical for what we were doing and so we have done this side project thing remotely. And so why not keep running the company remotely was kind of our line of thinking. And we hired some other folks. We had someone in Chicago that we hired someone else in Missouri. So we were spread across, you know, three states at that point in time. And it was working pretty well for us. So we were like, why not just keep doing it? And that led us all the way to two hundred people.

Lisette:  Okay. I mean, because I know that in the Bay Area, I’ve talked to a number of startups, their remote employees, it’s not popular amongst sort of startup communities. Do you run into that as well?

Wade Foster:  You know, in 2012, when we were really getting started, that was certainly the case. These days, like, it feels like the sentiment is changing. I think because of the cost of living in the Bay Area because it’s so hard to hire engineering talent in the Bay Area to compete with companies like Google and Facebook and Netflix, for great engineering talent, more and more startups are considering what their non-bay area strategy is. Someone has a second office, and sometimes that’s remote employees. So you’re seeing it being a lot more commonly accepted. And I think tools like Zoom and Slack have made it a lot easier to work remotely. So the stigma isn’t quite as strong as it was in 2012.

Lisette:  Okay, good to hear. I was thinking like, how can people afford I mean, you know, it’s a, it’s a crazy expensive place to live anyway. And then, once the tech boom, hit, yeah. So I want to ask you about some tools I read on your website that you live your work lives in slack. Is that still the case? Or is that?

Wade Foster:  That is the case. Yeah, we use slack. We are power users of slack. In fact, I think we have more channels than we have people. When we use slack.

Lisette:  I can believe it. I can believe it. And what are some of the other tools you mentioned that there’s Zoom, of course, which we’re not using because they’re having an outage right now, and I’m using my least favorite tool in the world which just happened to be working, but what are the other so Zoom and slack? What are some of the other ways you communicate?

Wade Foster:  Zoom and Slack are really critical for us. We’re also doing Google Docs users. We use GitHub for the whole app is hosted all our developers use AJIRA for a lot of project management and Trello for project management. Because we connect a lot of different tools using Zapier, we use Zapier a lot. But then people use all sorts of other things, too. So sometimes it’s just down to the individual’s personal preference. So there’s a lot of folks using tools like to do us or some folks might like, you know, a checklist or some folks might like things and because we support all these different apps, and we can integrate them but allows folks to kind of have their choice of tools that they personally like we don’t have to standardize quite as much as a company which has been fun.

Lisette:  I can imagine I was just going to say most companies standardize their toolsets, so everybody has to use the same thing. But of course, Zapier specializes in making everything work together and run together. So do you run into a problem having everybody using their own tools?

 Wade Foster:  You know there are certain things, you know, obviously we need to all standardize on slack. We can’t have people using different, you know, chat tools, because that wouldn’t really work very well. But things like project management tools are like very personal tool kits like you’re to-do app, whatever you personally use for two new apps, go for it. Like, you know, whatever keeps you productive, makes you happy. There’s no problems with that. It’s mostly like the main mission critical ones that we have to standardize on. So things like slack, things like GitHub are things that everyone does use, but past that, it’s kind of worth the job done as long as you can link to it, man or someone else can see it pretty easy. We’re pretty happy.

Lisette:  Okay, and what are some of the challenges that you guys face with remote work and it can’t be all I clearly it works because it’s a very successful company, but it can’t be all roses. So if you don’t mind sharing some of the, what’s hard?

Wade Foster:  I think it requires a certain amount of discipline, particularly around communication and documentation. Not all companies are used to documenting their decisions and documenting their projects works diligently. When you can go tap someone on the shoulder and say, hey, remind me what we were talking about yesterday, we signed on X or Y, you kind of have that luxury in an office to kind of do that a little easier. There’s not as high of burden or cost to, to doing that. In a remote company. When you got folks all over the globe, you really need to be diligent about writing down, hey, we decided X, you put it in a public place in the company transparent, and that keeps everybody on the same page. And then your communication you have to make sure that you’re you kind of don’t retreat into your cave and not communicate with the other two hundred people you work with. You need to make sure that you are talking about the work, talking about when you get roadblocks, asking for help when you need help. So you kind of have to break out of your, your shyness shell a little bit to make sure that you’re collaborating with your teammates. And so that, again, that requires some discipline. So I think the biggest challenge is that you got to build those good work habits, those habits that help you stay productive. And if you do that, then it works great. You don’t have a lot of problems. But if you don’t commit to that, then you’re going to probably find it a little frustrating.

Lisette:  When you’re hiring people, how do you filter for people that will make for good remote workers?

Wade Foster:  There’s two things that we look for, in particular amongst a lot of things. So we look for people who are just generally good. Generally, people who are talented and can learn can adapt to the situation that they’re in. But there’s two things, in particular, one is you want self-starters, people who just default to getting things done default to creating those types of folks are going to work great in a remote environment because you don’t have someone sitting over your shoulder saying, hey, do you need help? Are you stuck? People who are like self-motivated, self-starters, they’re going to be the ones that will just leap into action and figure things out. So that’s a big prone environment. And then you’re looking for folks who are strong communicators, particularly written communicators. And so you want to pay attention to like, how they correspond over email, how are they clear their communications? If you ask clarifying questions, are they able to articulate what it is that they’re trying to communicate to you? Well, so you’re looking for those types of things, because in a remote environment, particularly written side of things, you want those folks who can document the work well, and that you can read their documentation and understand what they’re trying to share. So those are two skills that I think are you need to have as a strength as a remote worker. And if you don’t have it as a strength coming into remote job, you’ll probably develop it pretty quickly.

Lisette:  Yeah, or fail dramatically. Yeah, I’ve also seen that

Wade Foster:  You know I find most people are able to work, it doesn’t take, you know, it’s not rocket science. Many folks can do quite well. So, you know, you put an environment where you have to learn, and you typically learn pretty quickly.

Lisette:   Yeah, especially if you want to, do you ever have people where it doesn’t work out where they just say like, oh, this remote thing is not for me, I’m too lonely or whatever it is.

Wade Foster:  Yeah, it happens from time to time. You know, the loneliness thing is that is something you have to manage as a person because you don’t get the interaction with your coworkers by default. So, people take different approaches to this, some they’ll, you know, make sure they jump on Zoom calls throughout the day just to catch up with their teammates and that works. Others make sure that they’re involved in their communities, whether that’s, you know, volunteering or churches or schools or whatever it is that you know, sparks their interest. We found also that we have a lot of families that Work at Zapier so a lot of parents come work here because they, you know, for them, work isn’t their social outlet, they have other things that they rely on for a social community and for that connection, and so that ends up being quite well for, for parents. But everyone manages a little differently. And some folks decide at the end of the day, you know, I do want that more close human connection as part of my work. And so that does occasionally happen. Not often, but it does happen.

Lisette:  I’ve wondered about that. Because, you know, when you work on your own, you get to choose who your social connections are. Whereas if you go to an office, you know, you just kind of get thrown in with a group of people and sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not good. So I was always baffled by the loneliness thing. I thought, like, go out into the world. Like there’s a whole coffee shop full of people waiting to hang out. [Crosstalk], but Okay, we’re all different to each their own. So, you’ve said before, in something that I’ve read it you’ve said distributed teams are the future of work. And I guess with your experience now that you really believe that, but why do you think that that’s the case?

Wade Foster:  Well, I think it is, I think the toolsets are getting better. So it’s enabling it to actually be possible for the first time, really, in modern history. Can you do it at any sort of scale, which is exciting, and it opens up all sorts of opportunity. There’s the phrase that you know, skills are, are equally distributed. You know, talent is equally distributed across the world, but opportunity is not opportunity has tended to cluster in certain geographic areas in San Francisco and New York and LA, places like that. But what the world is realizing is wow, if talent is distributed, and I can tap into that talent. There’s a whole set of talent outside of these major cities that I get to I can work with if I choose to do that. And so I think more and more people are catching on to the fact that there are really talented, hardworking folks outside of these kinds of hubs. And I just think that’s more. It’s, it’s a competitive advantage for the companies that are doing it. But I also think it’s just good for society, it’s good for society, and that opportunity becomes more equally distributed. I don’t think that it will ever be perfectly distributed. But it should be more so than the way it is today.

Lisette:  Indeed, indeed, tons of people that are in countries where they’re not allowed to leave, for example, but they have great, let’s say computer skills, programming skills, and that’s shame not to be able to use them, especially when there’s such a shortage of programmers out in the world seems like everybody’s looking for programmers. I wish I had programming skills I would be yeah beyond every way easier to make a living. That’s for sure. That’s for sure. So there’s also a question when we were deciding to do the interview that you had some of the biggest mistakes that companies make mixing remote and in office, what are some of those mistakes? Because that is super common. And I think that’s probably one of the hardest ways of working remote. When everybody’s remote, it’s a little bit easier. But when you’ve got the mix situation, which is really common, it just starts getting exponentially difficult depending on where people are. So what do you see as the biggest mistakes.

Wade Foster:  Well, I think the biggest mistake is that they, they start to, the remote workers are taken for granted, and they become this kind of second class citizen. And it’s usually not malicious. You know, no one chooses to make it harder for a teammate to work. That’s not what happens but they don’t think about structurally how you set up the work. What happens is management is always centralized, and so many management is like, well, I don’t see why these people are complaining, they just need to be better whatever. Like, it’s, we’re not having this problem. So the problem must be the person rather than saying, you know what, maybe I should try with as in management, I should try working remotely for a week for two weeks for a long enough period of time that I have to really understand what are the pros and cons? What are easy for me to do? What are not what’s not easy for me to do? And when you do that, you start to realize, here’s what my remote teammates’ challenges actually look like. And then you can start to structurally change your organization to better accommodate remote workers. But too often folks just kind of hire them and then let the remote workers sort of fend for themselves to sort of figure out how to navigate the org how to get through the sort of structures of the org. And, you know, some folks can figure it out you find but without some sort of, like management leadership support, it’s going to be hard for the vast majority of folks.

Lisette:  Yeah, you really have to have a really proactive self-starter, who’s ready to just go out and they exist, that’s for sure. I hired one woman once and we were, we had, you know, two hundred facilitators for this one company. And the very first day, she just said, you want me to call them all I can call them all and ask him a few questions. And I thought, whoa, that’s something that not a lot of people would do. But she was like, ready to get on the phone with two hundred people, no problem at all, loved it.

Wade Foster:  Yeah of course, fantastic to work with those types of people. It’s energizing to work with those types of people. But not everyone is like that. And that’s not everyone’s strengths. And, you know, to build a really world-class organization, you need kind of all types to be successful. And so I think it’s important to kind of build an organization that can be inclusive of all different types of work styles.

Lisette:  For sure. And then when you get if you get you know two hundred people who are super proactive and super energetic working together that can also be a recipe for disaster. Yeah, you need a few people who are a little bit more level and toned down a bit, I would say. So what other tips though, for managing remote teams? Have you discovered through this journey?

Wade Foster:  You know, the more and more that I discovered, I think just good management is the same whether you’re in an office or whether you’re remotely you know some of the tactical stuff is different. Like, if we were to do a one on one together, well, we would get on Zoom and do our one on one rather than, you know, sit down for coffee and have a one on one. But the conversation you and I would have would still be very similar and be like, hey, what are your objectives this week? What are you paying attention to? What are you struggling with? What are your blockers, we would have the same type of conversation, it just would be happening over Zoom. So and then if I’m a good manager, I’m sitting here expectations for you, I’m providing a level of clarity so that you know, hey, these are the things that I got to go achieve, to meet my, to meet my goals to meet the mission of the organization. And if you go do those things always good. If you don’t, I’m going to ask hey, what’s, what’s going on with struggling and so, a lot of that thing or a lot of those skill sets are things you would do in an office is things you should do remotely. I think the power of remote work is that it kind of tears down the facade of what good management might be. A lot of folks think good management is walking in and serving the people sitting on the in the chairs across the office and going like Ha-ha, I built this and I am a good manager and, you know, I smiled at my people at lunch, so I must be a good manager. But that’s not what good management is. Good management is setting clear expectations, coaching and mentoring. It’s aligning the organization’s goals and then measuring the progress over time. And if you do that in an office, you can do that remotely. Doesn’t matter where you do that. And I think remotely, it really crystallizes that that’s what your job is. And so you have to kind of do that.

Lisette:  Right? Being the like go lucky, fun person or fun manager serving at the office is it doesn’t go very far remote. That’s for sure. That’s for sure. So how do you know then what people are doing on your team?

Wade Foster:  The biggest thing is artifacts you have to [Inaudible 18:33]. So you know if they are in support I can go and look in our reports for productivity, I can see what emails they sent. If they’re a developer, I can go look at GitHub commits, and I can see where they committed to the code base. If they’re a product manager, I can see the stories that they’re trading in AJIRA. And the specs that they’re writing the third designer, you can see the mocks that are being created in the interviews that they’re doing with customers. So every role creates these artifacts, they deliver things they, and if those things don’t get created, and those artifacts aren’t, that don’t exist, that’s when you start to ask questions and say, hey, you know, I thought What’s going on here? You know, we expected that this was to exist and it doesn’t exist as or if it is a resource you need, how can I help you? What can I, what can I do to help us meet this the shared goal? So those artifacts are the most important way for knowing what’s getting worked on and what’s getting done inside the organization.

Lisette:  So the leader, the manager would then set sets clear expectations for what’s expected to get done. And then the results, I assume that there were the artifacts, what you’ve done, proves or shows that you’re on the right path. Right. And in a way, it seems like a much better productivity measurement than hours spent in a seat at the office. Like are you there from nine to five or did you get your work done? It seems like and the most isn’t a better place but okay, but I digress. And I’m very biased, of course. But what I’m curious about is how do you handle conflict on your team? When it comes up? Is there a certain procedure that you guys have in place? Or what, what is the, what happens?

Wade Foster:  You know I think again conflict management, I think it is very similar. As in an office here, I’m on a tough time with somebody, you should go talk to them directly, you should say, hey, when you do these things, this makes it tough for me, or, you know, when you do these types of behaviors, it makes it hard for this project to get done in this way. Is there something we could do differently here, right, you like to address this stuff head-on. Now, the tendency I found in a remote company is culturally because you can’t see the person you can’t it’s, it’s harder to read body language, sometimes, it’s people will have to just sweep stuff under the rug, a little and so you really have to as an organization, practice this a little bit. So as part of onboarding, I, I teach a course on how to give feedback. To help people get more comfortable, we actually have, like a very stylistic way that we give feedback. So folks know that it’s, hey, oh, this is after stopping feedback. It’s not a scary thing. It’s just a normal part of how we run this organization. It’s not something to be feared. It’s something to be grateful for because feedback helps make us better at our jobs. And so that’s one thing we’ve done to try and help folks bridge conflict because conflict is going to come up. It happens in any sort of workplace, and you need tools to help you address it. And unfortunately, most of us, certainly I know myself, we don’t get trained in conflict management. There’s not a, you know, I didn’t have a high school course that was like how to deal with conflict. So what ends up happening is you kind of just develop your own tips and tricks based on your interaction with your family or your interaction with a sports team or whatever. And who knows that that’s actually a good way to deal with conflict or not. Many of our families don’t deal with conflict and very healthy ways. And so I think it’s important that organizations help teach folks their style of handling conflict,

Lisette:  And what is your style of feedback?

Wade Foster:  So we use what’s called the observational methods. So it’s based on what you what did you actually see happen? So for example, you know, I was running five minutes late for our podcast today. And if I was if we were co-workers, you might say, you know, to me, if I had a habit of doing that, you might say, hey, wait. I noticed that you show up late. A couple of times in these podcasts when you show up late, it makes it hard for me to keep on schedule. Can we try to be on time next time? And I might be, you know what? I can try and do that. And because it’s based, in fact, because it’s observable. I agree. Yes, I did show up late. I was five minutes late. I can’t debate that I can’t, you know, versus if you would say, if you were to say something like, wait, it doesn’t seem like you care about the podcast. I might be like, what, that’s crazy, of course, I care about the podcast, and a great way to deal with conflict. But what you really are noticing is that I’m showing up late and if I were to show up on time, would be good. So it’s really important for us to focus it on the behavior that you see and observed, and then asked for a change. And that’s the model that we have. And you can use this both for positive feedback, but also for constructive feedback. It works great for positive feedback because it reinforces the behaviors that you want to see over and over and over again, and turns out humans respond better.

Lisette:  Yeah, constructive is always great rather than like the blame and that sort of a, you know, when somebody blames me I get defensive immediately without, I mean, it’s like an instant response of like, oh, yeah, well, and then you know, you don’t even take a step back. So yeah, it sounds like the observational it sounds really similar to nonviolent communication, sort of stating the fact and then saying how that fact makes you feel very, yeah, can argue with that. I mean, that makes you feel it makes you feel so how actually Oh, one question I wanted to ask, do you use I’m assuming since you’re using Zoom a lot that that video is a big part of the talking to each other. Is that the case?

Wade Foster:  Yeah, definitely. So I think you want to make sure to have this kind of FaceTime with your teammates. I think it’s super critical to just building relationship building a bond.

Lisette:  Are there people that refuse to turn the video on?

Wade Foster:  You know, there’s some folks who are a little nervous but because it’s such a corporate cultural norm at Zapier to have video on, it’s pretty rare tablet turn off, maybe in like a really big meeting, like we do our all-hands where they’ll have like over a hundred people in it. And it’s mostly like a presentation by a couple of people to everyone else. So the people who are listening might turn their video off and you know, multitask on a few things while that’s happening, but if it’s an actual meeting between me and you, of course, we will have a video on and if it is me and that small team, of course, we want to see each other and talk to each other.

Lisette:  You say of course, but there’s a lot of companies out there a lot of people out there who don’t like video, it makes them feel shy or I’m not sure what they want to be in their pajamas. And I always just say, like, put on a shirt, like stay in your pajamas and put on a shirt. Like how hard is that? Okay, yeah, I really find the seeing people is really important. So it’s nice to hear that. That’s the norm. And then the other question that I wanted to ask was about alignment. How do you guys stay aligned as a company I mean, two hundred people is a lot for any company. And if you know but alignment is always an issue that people ask about. So what do you guys do to keep that alignment?

Wade Foster:  You know we’re, I wouldn’t say that this is a strength of ours yet. I think we have some improvements to try and make on this. One of the things we started doing last year that’s helped us is using OKR’s objectives and key results as a company across our organization. So we started using as an executive team in the middle of last year, and now we’re rolling out this quarter to the whole company. And we’re starting to see teams talking to each other in ways that help build that alignment. They say, hey, I noticed that your goal is this, like we kind of have a similar goal. How can we merge our efforts? Or, hey, I have this goal and I noticed and I was counting on your help, but I noticed you have a totally different goal. So what should we do? Like, should, we need to resolve that sort of conflict there that I have a goal that depends on you, but you’re planning to do a totally different thing? So we’re hoping that this OKR’s as we scale it out, will help us build more and more alignment between our teams as we grow.

Wade Foster:  Yeah, it’s a, it’s a I can I mean, it’s a hard question for any company especially as soon as you get after I don’t know twenty-five people I would say even it’s a it starts to be an issue in terms of keeping track of what everybody’s doing.

Wade Foster:  Yeah, I would absolutely agree with that.

Lisette:  Yeah, I think everybody if there’s a silver bullet out there let me know I’m am always looking. So now I read this really great article about your company and some of the team building activity that you’ve done, which is this virtual dance party. That and so you know, I work for a, I work for a team. I’m the remote office manager in my in my side job as for a company called Happy Mellie or management Trio is what it’s called. Now, and we actually do virtual dance parties in a different way. So I was really interested in seeing with hearing about what you guys did, which was, I mean, the way that we did it was we all get on Zoom, one person’s the DJ and the rest of us get up and Boogie. Like we actually just like all dance together and you know, I close the curtains, my neighbors don’t see me, and, and all of that, but you guys did it differently. You guys recorded. Everybody recorded gifts of each other. And then you sort of made a montage who came up with that idea.

Wade Foster:  This was one of our customer champions. She came up with this idea on a Friday afternoon. And it kind of just took off like people are like, oh, this is fun. Like this is I don’t know it was just one is a slow Friday afternoon and everyone kind of just jumped in, you know, recorded a little bit about themselves. I think the recording thing worked well for us because of coming back to the video conversation where people are a little shy on video. Sometimes you spend that doubling shy when you’re live dancing. Recording you can like take your time to like, get it exactly the right pose, exactly the right little [Inaudible 29:03]. So you are like I like this one and then you can [Inaudible 29:06] team so you get to showcase your best dance move.

Lisette:  I love it. Yeah, I loved it. I think you’ve inspired a number of different teams to do the same thing because the live dancing in front of people was just a little bit too intimidating. It takes a special team to be able to like get pulled, pull that off, but the gifts is really a great idea. What are some of the other team building activities that you’ve tried that have worked pretty well?

Wade Foster:  You know, we do these weekly chats where for the longest time it was a bot and slack would randomly pair you with somebody else and you would get on Zoom and you just talk about whatever, super informal and we’ve now expanded them to three people or four people chance. So it’s a little group chat and talk about, again, super informal. You can talk about whatever can be worked on the first of all, but it’s a way just to build relationships and build bonds. Between the team so that one’s worked all. And then on the more extreme end, we do a big company retreat as well. So twice a year we fly everyone into a central location we spend a week working together will often do some fun group activities a little outside of work as well to kind of explore the city that we travel to. And those really help build a lot of bonds as well to help in the workplace.

Lisette:  Yeah, I used to be a big fan of doing everything virtual and then our team got together for the first time after five years. And one night out on the town in Lisbon, dancing and drinking together. I mean, it was that we weren’t the same team after that night it was a much closer-knit. Like intense team it was I became a fan of meeting in person I got to say,

Wade Foster:  Totally, I am an advocate for remote distributed workers you will find but being in person, a little is super, super helpful.

Lisette:  Yeah, it’s just not the same to share a big plate of nachos and a beer over Zoom. As it is in person. You can’t replicate it yet, but maybe when holograms become. [Crosstalk] Yeah, holograms are right around the corner. We’ll see. So I promise you’d be twenty-five minutes and I went over already. Darn, but it’s so interesting, of course, to talk to you. But final question of second to final question. Advice for people who are just starting out, what would what would you tell them if they’re just starting out, either as a company or as an individual worker? What tip would you give?

Wade Foster:  You know, I think a lot of folks wait until they feel like they have it all put together. And they should. Nobody has it all put together when they first started out. So just start, whatever it is that you want to do, just start trying to do that thing. meet other people who are trying to do that thing, and practice it, work on it, whether it’s as your hobby, whether it’s as your job, whether it’s a company, do the thing, and you’ll get better at it over time, you’ll start to have better ideas of how to make it better over time. Don’t keep reading books or reading listen to podcasts or, you know…

Lisette:  Except this one of course. Yeah, sorry. I was like, except this one, of course. But yeah.

Wade Foster:  Of course but just start working.

Lisette:  Right, right yeah, because you never know what’s going to, you can’t anticipate all the weird things that come up.

Wade Foster:  Yeah, that’s one of the best ways to learn is to just run into the problem. And you go, boy, I didn’t do that quite right. Next time. I’m going to do that a little better.

Lisette:  Right? Yeah, that’s unlike experience. Okay, and final question, easy one, which is if people want to learn more about you and know more about Zapier, where should they go?

Wade Foster:  You know I’m, I’m somewhat active on Twitter at Wade Fosters can always follow me there and engage there. And then Zapier is the Z-A-P-I-E-R. Com. Come check out the app if you want to be a little more productive if you want to connect your tools. And of course, if any of this remote working or any of what we’re doing as a product sounds interesting, we’re always hiring folks, too. So, knowing you’re interested to learn more, come check us out.

Lisette:  I’ve got a bunch of online communities where I’ll be posting a link to you guys. Soon as we get off this call, that’s for sure. Lots of people I get contacted every day about how to find a remote job. So there are definitely people looking. Wade, thank you so much for your time today. I’m glad we were able to make this work. Even if we did have to use Skype to do the recording. Let’s just cross our fingers. It’s all going to work out. And I really appreciate you being here. Thank you.

Wade Foster:  Yeah thanks for having me it was blasting.

Lisette:  Great.

 

 

 

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