LIAM MARTIN is the co-founder and CMO of TimeDoctor.com and Staff.com, which are tools that help manage remote employees productivity. Liam is also the co-organizer of Running Remote Conference. In this interview, we discuss how to manage, communicate, and hire on remote teams – and why you should join the Running Remote conference.
For a 20% discount to the Running Remote Conference, use the promo code “collaboration“.
Liam’s tips for working remotely:
- To help your remote colleagues know how to work with you, create a “blueprint of yourself” about how you work and how you think.
- Create internet speed requirements for your team (if the speed is less than X [you decide], you are “on vacation”).
- Using video helps people empathise better with each other.
- Meet in person on a regular basis.
- Remoteok.io and weworkremotely.com are great sites for hiring permanent employees
- Hire for culture fit before skills.
Podcast production by Podcast Monster
Graphic design by Alfred Boland
Lisette: Great, and we’re 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’m thrilled because today on the line, I have Liam Martin all the way from Ottawa, Canada. I didn’t double-check that fact before we started. Is it Ottawa?
Liam Martin: It is Ottawa.
Lisette: Okay, good. I read your bio correctly. You’re the co-founder and CEO of both Time Doctor and staff.com, so that’s exciting. I’m a tool junkie. So we’re going to dive into that what that does. You’re also the CO organizer of running the running remote conference, which is happening, the 29th and 30th of June 2019, depending on when you’re listening to this. It’s in Bali. And we’re going to dive into that too because I’m very excited about your conference. But let’s start with the first question, which is, what does your virtual office look like? What do you need to get your work done?
Liam Martin: Well, I mean, that’s an interesting question. So we have about a hundred people in thirty two different countries all over the world. And we’ve gone through an interesting evolution of the way that we structure, both our individual kind of focus spaces and then also how we collaborate between each other. So for me, I mean, some of the tools that I just can’t live without are Zoom, Slack. We still use Skype to a large degree. Google Apps for Business is really big for me. Even just looking at smaller little things, like I have the… I don’t have them on right now. But the Bose earbuds are an absolutely amazing tool that I use every single day because they’ve got a fantastic microphone. You can take them with you, wherever you go. Last pass, Base camp, Trello, Storm board, Jing, just all of these tools are kind of like that’s our generalized technology stack. We also have very strict requirements on where we can travel and work so as an example, a few days ago, I was in Egypt, at the pyramids, and we need a minimum of five up and ten down on our internet to be able to actually work from that location. Otherwise, we’re on vacation. So I so everyone, when you get into a new location, you have to spend to send a speed test URL. So if you just go to speedtest.net, and then you click go, and you basically process out your internet connection, then you send that URL back to HR. And then if you are below those requirements, you’re on vacation, you basically have to find a connection that works. Our philosophy is and our mission statement as a company is that we want everyone on planet earth to be able to work wherever they want, whenever they want. So we were trying to facilitate that type of activity, but we recognize that there are some certain requirements like you need to actually be able to do video calls and if you can’t do video calls below five up. Unfortunately, it’s just its too unstable and it doesn’t necessarily work. Some people argue you need two megabits per second up, but and you can accomplish a call, but you just can’t do the video version of a call, which is what we also require inside of all of our procedures when we do meetings with people, so, so it really kind of just boils down to that stuff.
Lisette: Why do you require video?
Liam Martin: We believe that it’s a higher level of communication. So I kind of have the I have the hierarchy of communication in my own mind, which is in person beats, video, video beats audio, audio beat instant messaging, and instant messaging beats email. So if you can go higher up in that chain, you will usually get your problem solved faster, which will be more efficient. So an in-person meeting is obviously more efficient than a video call and with some kind of caveats disconnected from that. But then even when we interact on video, which is the primary way that we interact with each other, you compare that to audio. If I asked you to be able to do something that you didn’t necessarily want to do, like, can you please edit my ten thousand page blog post? And I’m a horrible writer as an example, you might say on audio. Okay, sure. But then on video, I can see none verbally that you’re not very happy about that. And that I could address that at that point. So there’s more. There’s more richness in the communication when you have different senses basically activated.
Lisette: And do you ever have people who refuse to turn the video on?
Liam Martin: Yes, so that is voluntary. However, we also have generally we’ve only had one person that has actually had that problem. And they’re still with us. They still communicate to audio necessarily want to get into the details of that particular person’s issue. But it was something that we’re not necessarily, we don’t necessarily have a problem with that person continuing on with audio, we understand the reasoning behind it. But generally, when we look at our company culture, when we initially do our recruitment process, that’s one of the things that we look for. So if you’re not doing a video call with us during the interview, probably you’re not going to continue on through the interview process towards the end.
Lisette: Right. So and I’m really curious, do you have this long list of tools? And I have two questions about the tools. One is what do you use Skype for?
Liam Martin: So skype is a very interesting tool right now, when you look at Zoom, particularly for salespeople. A lot of people will still say, well, here’s my Skype, and you do a meeting on Skype for sales. And development, in essence completely exists on slack right now and to a degree Zoom, we also use Google Meet quite a bit, because we use Google Apps for Business. And there’s such a tight integration where you can automatically have a meet link directly inside of each meeting that you set up inside of Google Calendar. So that’s pretty efficient. Zoom is actually I mean, we have, and I can’t remember what type of package we have. It’s pretty expensive. We’re spending hundreds of dollars a month on Zoom. And we just realized to be able to expand that out to a larger kind of team size, it would be economically unsustainable or that cost, we wouldn’t want to necessarily pay that cost versus being able to jump on Google Meet, which works great. And even Skype on some cases,
Lisette: Right, which is sort of the, it’s like the, it’s been around the longest and has slowly become the worst tool.
Liam Martin: Yeah, and it’s interesting too because we started with Skype. There was no slack or there was no slack. There was no Zoom. There was no Google Meet, and we had a lot of operational procedures on Skype. And we actually did an interesting post, where we looked quantifiably on the use case of Skype throughout the time doctor network versus Slack and versus Zoom. And we saw that slack would overtake Zoom in February of 2019. And it looks like they’re still on that trajectory. So that should be approximately the time when, when Skype overtakes Slack, but right now, Skype is still the most used tool for messaging and for video communication.
Lisette: It’s true, it is the most use just not necessarily the best, but let’s not dive into the tools. I want to dive into how you guys work at both time doctor and staff.com. So it can’t all be easy, right? Like what are some of the challenges that you guys have gone? What’s, what’s hard for you guys working? Because you said, you’re a hundred percent remote team on both teams, and you’re all over the world. So what’s hard for you guys?
Liam Martin: I would probably say communication is always a challenge like any other remote team. So the ability to communicate is less efficient on a remote team just in general than if everyone is on-premise inside of an office. And I use this terminology started by a mere to-do list, who also runs a completely remote team, the remote first companies versus on-premise companies and for computer nerds like us on-premise is what you used to do when you didn’t have Amazon s3 or Microsoft Azure. You would basically build a server rack so it will be an on-premise deployment. And twenty years ago, everyone was doing on-premise deployments today, no one is doing it premise deployments, you’d be nuts to set up a hundred million dollars’ worth of infrastructure to be able to run your tech startup. Everyone runs on Amazon. So we’re trying to connect the two to be able to say we think the same thing with regards to labor. But the difficulties that I think we see right now is communication definitely a big thing to overcome. A lot of psychometric testing that we do has found really interesting personality types or personality variables that are less applicable towards remote work. That’s been an interesting phenomenon for us to be able to take a look at as well. And…
Lisette: Can you share some of that information? Sorry to interrupt.
Liam Martin: So, generally, the biggest and strongest signal we have is introversion. Introversion is going to predict success for remote work, generally. So if you don’t get your energy from other people, if you get your energy from being alone or with a very small group of people, usually you’ll be very successful with remote work. I’m slightly on the extroverted scale. And that’s why as an example, I have a co-working space that I go to, I go to coffee shops, and I have a home office that I work out of as well and I travel. So that’s what can feed me from a remote work perspective. But for people that are very much into the extroverted scale of the spectrum, it’s actually pretty difficult. We’ve we found, and I mean, these numbers aren’t solid yet. This is us just kind of looking at the data. Because we do all these interesting experiments on Time Doctor, because we have so many remote workers, we’ve got almost a hundred thousand, remote workers on the network right now that just log in every single day. So we kind of just say, hey, would anyone like to do psychometric testing, and then we correlate that to quit and fire data to be able to see what the, what the lead up would be in if there’s a significant kind of impact by that data. So introversion has been the biggest one on that side. And just back to communication. I mean, for us, it’s just we try to meet in person as much as possible. We do one big team retreat per year, company retreat. And then we do team retreats throughout the year. So different departments basically meet up on top of that one big company retreat per year. And I think the biggest issue with regards to communication is communicating who you are, not only as an employee or as an employer, I have this document that I give to people when they start working with me, which is called blueprint to Liam and his weird little quirks. And it’s, it’s nine. Yeah, it’s nine ideas. It’s basically nine concepts of who I am as a person. And it’s very, very real. Meeting some of these points are things that I wouldn’t even know I wouldn’t necessarily want to admit to myself, but they are the feedback of people that work with me. So that they understand it’s kind of like the operating manual towards how I work. And if I was in an on-premise company, you’d probably be able to pick up on those nonverbal cues within a couple of weeks. But when you work remotely, you don’t have that same context. So I just laid out for people right at the very beginning, and just sort of what is my decision-making process? What kind of things do I value versus what kind of things do I, not value? And that is a pretty good way for people to really understand who I am. And I encourage them to be able to write their same, that same document back to me so that I know what they need as an employee or direct report to me so that basically I can manage that person. We’ve had instances where we’ve gone through the entire hiring process, and I’ve sent them this document and then they said, you know what? I don’t think we would be a really good fit working together because I’m these things and you’re these things and it looks like we’re going to come into conflict. So we’ve actually saved hires, where we’ll move that person to a different department where they were, they’ll probably find more success, just because they couldn’t really work with me as a direct report.
Lisette: Interesting. So I’ve heard of teams creating, I’ve heard of and encourage teams that create team agreements together. So like they just outlined how they’re going to work together. And this sort of takes it to another level. It’s like a, it’s like a personal agreement almost like hey, here’s what it’s going to be like to work with me. Here’s my blueprint to my personal some ways,
Liam Martin: I have like, point to decide decisions over options is always my require my preferred way of working. If you have to bring the options, tell me which option you’re leaning towards. If you aren’t leaning towards an option, then you haven’t thought it through long enough. Basically, if you don’t come to me, you come to me with a problem without possible solutions, we probably won’t be working together that long.
Liam Martin: That’s a very direct way of communicating. But there are some people that actually don’t think that way. I have my kind of my thesis statement, which is at the very bottom of the document, I value decision making above all else, I’d rather you make the wrong decision than none at all, particularly inside of remote teams because I might have a twelve-hour time issue or a time zone issue where the person that Igor, who is the general manager, and co-organizer of running remote, he is in Bali, which is approximately twelve hours. So if he needs to make all of his own independent decisions, and then I could just reassess those decisions afterwards. He can’t come to me with a, should I do X, Y or Z. He should say I had X, Y, and Z as an option. I chose Z, what do you think? That’s the right way to be able to operate? Because you can’t, you can’t have that twelve-hour delay. It’s just too slow for me for decision making.
Lisette: Indeed. So now Time doctor and staff.com are pretty interesting in terms of because you’re talking about hiring people, and making them productive. But I’m really curious, what are your tricks for hiring yourself? Like, what do people go through to be able to work with you? How do you find remote workers who are going to be good?
Liam Martin: Sure. So that’s actually a big challenge. But it’s a challenge for everybody. Right? Everyone who’s trying to…right, me up.
Lisette: Even complicated right?
Liam Martin: Yeah everyone has got that challenge, I actually think remote makes it easier on average because we’re not just trying to hire the best react developer for five thousand dollars a month in. in Ottawa. We’re trying to find the best react developer for five thousand dollars on planet Earth, which makes the net much bigger, but it is, it is the longer HR process. So we usually and I don’t want to. There’s plenty of different job boards that we post on I think about 25-26 job boards whenever we have a new HR requirement to go out, but the ones that we found the most success with is we work remotely and Remote Okay. Those two platforms, the workers already those job boards are specifically for remote workers and for long term remote workers which are the only people that we’re really looking for. So Up work has more project-based stuff. We don’t want someone to come on for a project that’s actually we lose money when we bring on people for a project because anyone that we bring on we need to have working on multiple projects for the future. We’re hiring a position so Remote Okay, and We work remotely is the best. Generally, we don’t start a shortlist until we are two hundred candidates. So we have that initial group of resumes two hundred it breaks down to twenty as a shortlist, that initial process through recruitment is culture fit first. So sometimes people do get through the cracks. But do you like working remotely, as an example, is something that is really important. I had a meeting with a salesperson who said, oh, I can absolutely sell Time Doctor for you. No problem. Here are my numbers. Here are the different companies that I’ve worked at. But working remotely is dumb. Right? And I was like, okay, cool that you know what, I think we should just kind of break at that particular moment because you obviously are not culturally connected to what we’re doing. We’ve found that having that culture fit first before we even look at their resume. So we do not look at their qualifications until we look at their culture fit. And there’s also recently implemented another we’ve kind of recognize it’s a retention tool for us. So we’ve found they’ve been candidates that look amazing on paper. But we know they’re not really our type of people. And they’ll end up quitting or will end up firing them within a year. And we just, it happens was happening over and over again. And just realized that well, maybe we should just be looking for people that we really want to get along with people who we would say, if they were in a restaurant, and you entered the restaurant, would you go up and say hello.
Liam Martin: Yes, then this is probably somebody who you would want to work with long term. If you kind of like say, there’s John, right. And then just keep going. That’s probably not somebody that you would you should hire.
Lisette: But I’ve heard it also described by Bree Remolds from flex jobs, she said, our criteria is would you want to spend three hours on a bus trip together with them? Same kind of thing. Would you? Would you because you know anybody that’s traveled on the bus. You know, better be a good partner.
Liam Martin: Right. So I mean, that’s interesting. So we go for that culture fit first. We’ve also recently been experimenting with removing any gender identification components of the resume. And that’s been an interesting we haven’t finished it yet. But it looks like we’re getting more female candidates that are coming in through that shortlist. Which is funny because recruitment is run entirely by women I think there’s only one man on the team out of five. And but yet we were still having this bias of a lot of men making it through the shortlist. So by removing those variables and just looking at the culture fit first. It’s been breaking that process down so twenty candidates.
Lisette: Super interesting.
Liam Martin: We do interviews. So usually a, the direct report will do those twenty inner will look at those twenty resumes, probably do ten interviews off of those ten interviews that will then lead to some type of interim small testing, which has already been done actually at the twenty candidate mark, but a deeper test. And then what we’ll end up doing is we will usually hire more than one candidate for a one month trial. And the reason why we do this is we’ve recognized hiring remotely is so much cheaper than hiring on-premise. So what we’re doing at that point is, they’re all on as contractors, so we don’t have to go through any of the bureaucracy of actually setting up formalized payroll or anything like that. And they both work for us. A lot of the times they don’t know that the other person exists. So we say there’s other candidates, but we don’t, we don’t connect the two of them. And then we have them do the same tasks to be able to reconfirm the resumes because sometimes someone can look great on paper, but then when they actually boil down to execution, it’s a very different machine. And we’ve been constantly surprised. I think our hit rate is literally 50-50. Where the person we think that’s going to be the best, you know, fifty percent of the time, right? Fifty percent were wrong. So that’s been…
Lisette: Which is crazy, because you spent a lot of time like vetting this person, right, you spent a lot of time in the hiring end, and then it’s still 50-50. And you’re not the first person I’ve heard that from, by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve also heard from people hiring for in person, it’s also the in some cases, so…
Liam Martin: And it’s expensive. It’s actually one of those costings, like, we’ve kind of worked it out. It probably costs us between ten to twenty thousand dollar to hire a candidate, just like the initial hiring process, it’s more expensive for on-premise companies. But if we’re doing a hundred of those a year, that’s a lot of capital that we have to outlay to be able to make that work. So, for us, we’re really focused on making sure that those candidates are the right person. And I have a kind of a philosophy of, I’ve got to work with you a little bit before I can work with you for an extended amount of time. So having that first month in there can really kind of test everyone out. And then after that, they’re hired on for three months. They don’t actually know what they think they’re hired, hired, but they’re kind of on a conditional hire. And then after that three month period, we bring in a meeting with the direct report, the manager, someone from HR, and then one of that person’s co-workers, and we have a meeting which is, why we should not hire this person. This is kind of, you know, forever hold your peace type of painting, which is we’re just about to trigger this person on his full time, once we trigger this person on his full time, there are a lot of costs of the company takes on, everyone needs to know that we’re absolutely sure that this is the right candidate. And that probably we lose about twenty percent of the candidates through that process. But and you would think, oh, man, that really sucks. You just invested forty to fifty thousand dollars into training and working with that person. But long term, when you’re looking at retention, and you’re looking at that right person, that meeting is so critical because we’ve had meetings where HR is what HR doesn’t really know anything at that point. But the manager would say yeah, this person is great. And then the co-worker would say, you know what, she’s really bossy. And she’s really and everyone on the team doesn’t like her in here, you know, and here are some negative things that I just want to discuss. Right? So those are examples of things that you can’t really get the context on why we continue to have that meeting.
Lisette: So I’m really curious, why did you start, you started both of these companies and they were remote from the beginning. Is that correct?
Liam Martin: Yes.
Liam Martin: I had a previous company, which was an online tutoring company. And the biggest problem that I had inside of that tutoring company was not being able to quantify the exact amount of hours that a remote worker was working for a client. And that was actually how we kind of came up with Time Doctor, which was a time tracking tool specifically for remote workers. We just realized after the tutoring company that I have built and my co-founder, who has been, I mean, he’s been doing remote work for the past twenty years. We just liked traveling and we liked doing things that were really, we obviously like working but we liked traveling and Working. And we realized that that lifestyle opportunity is something that you just can’t get when you’re in an office.
Lisette: That’s true. Okay. So sort of a yeah, sort of a, hey, you want to travel, you don’t want to be stuck to one place. So…
Liam Martin: Yeah, I mean, it’s funny because Rob my co-founder, he, he, he never spent more than three months in a place for about five years. He was like a full time what you would now call a digital nomad. And he now has two kids, and he lives in Sydney full time. Me on the other hand, I don’t have any kids, but I do travel about six months out of the year. So I kind of have like, a foot in both worlds. Basically, I like having a home base. I have a have an address. You know, I have a place that I that ’I live in’, but for me travel particularly Interesting in developing areas is just an opportunity that very few people get. I don’t know if you’ve met Mark, Mark Twain, but I think the reason why he was such a fantastic writer, which was because in the 1800s, he traveled the world. He saw everything. And I think that travel really does make you a more kind of multifaceted individual. And it’s something that just education really can’t provide. It’s kind of like, very interactive education that’s happening instantaneously. Like, if you go down a sketchy road in Cairo, you might have five people that try to mug you and you need to figure out how to not have that happen and move somewhere else or you need to have your wits about you. These types of things. I’ve taken those types of lessons with me and it I feel it makes me a better person, and more interesting person so it’s…
Lisette: Yeah. By nature, by nature you see that problems can be solved in X Y & Z ways and that these foods are also fine and that this lifestyle is also fine even though it’s different today, you know, it just sort of inherently opens your eyes to the rest of the world.
Liam Martin: I’m also a sociologist by training. And I think my biases I always like to so I don’t like to go to we were discussing this before, like, I don’t go on vacation. I don’t think I’ve gone on vacation, ever. I like to go to places work at those places, find a stable place to just do my work. And then I like to watch people and see how they’re different. That’s probably one of the most interesting things that I can do with my time is just see how different people live their lives and see how they’re not. They’re different but equal.
Lisette: Yeah, yeah, I like that different than equal. Love it. So I want to switch gears. We’re going to run out of time if I’m not careful here, but I want to switch gears because I’d like to really talk about this running remote conference that you’ve organized. This year, it’s on the 29th and 30th of June 2019. For people who are listening, it’s in Bali. And it’s an amazing lineup of speakers. But let’s start with this question, which is why did you want to organize this conference?
Liam Martin: That came from a conversation that I had with recruitment? And some of our team, kind of cracking our head up against the wall saying, how do we get to two hundred people from a hundred people? Or how do we get to five hundred people? What’s the next stage for us? And we were really in uncharted territory. There’s very little information. When you look at hundred plus, seat remote-first organizations, we’re probably talking a couple hundred companies. Maybe you would get a better context for that remote-first completely. Yeah, I’m thinking definitely below. One thousand companies. So that’s a very small group of companies that are doing these new interesting things. And a whole bunch of other companies want to do those things, but they don’t have the information to actually make it happen. So we had an information problem. And we said to ourselves, well, if we cut this check for a hundred grand and just try out the conference, and we lose a hundred grand, but our retention goes up by ten percent we’ve made it we’ve made all that money back. So we said let’s give it a shot. Why not? And we are also very heavily connected to remote-first companies. You know, we have a lot of remote companies inside of our software products. So we said this is a good fit. The one thing we didn’t do, however, is we didn’t call it the Time Doctor conference, it exists as its separate thing. It’s called Running remote. Last year, we actually had some of our competitors speaking at the conference, because for us, we’re very passionate about trying to figure out how to build the playbook for remote work. So how do we move that conversation forward? There really was no conference on the subject. So we just said to ourselves, let’s give it a shot and see what happens. It worked the first year beautifully. And we’re back for a second year.
Lisette: Awesome. Super awesome. So this year was it in Bali the first year also?
Liam Martin: Yes, it was in [30:22]Ubud Bali, which is right in the center of the country. This year. We’re doing it down the beach in Nusa Dua. And for anyone that hasn’t been to Bali. It’s probably one of the most beautiful places on planet Earth.
Lisette: Okay, I was going to ask why Bali.
Liam Martin: So Bali is a remote work hub. When you tell people about where they would want to work remotely, Bali is continuously the number one destination. We also have people in Bali. Igor, who is the Co-organizer and GM of the conference is located in Bali, and we also set a higher price point. And we set a difficult location because we wanted a really good group of people. So we feel that the attendees are really what makes the conference the speakers are just sort of like a lightning rod to create that attendee discussion. And a part of that would be not charging a hundred dollars but charging a thousand dollars for a ticket is getting someone who’s really focused and very committed to flying twenty-five hours and paying a thousand dollars for a ticket to be able to attend a conference like this. And that was something that we, we were originally very apprehensive about. But it ended up working out okay. We also made a rule which was if you don’t manage anyone, we refund your ticket. We just, you’re not the right person to come. So if you’re listening to this podcast right now and you don’t have any employees, if you’re an on-premise company that wants to go remote, you’re invited. If you’re Remote first company you’re invited if you are you have no employees you’re really not getting get anything out of this conference is not the conference for you…
Lisette: So this is talking to managers and teams and right?
Liam Martin: Correct.
Lisette: You’re a digital nomad. This might also not be your conference. I think we were saying before this is not for you.
Liam Martin: Yeah, this is there. There’s tons of you can go to Nomad summit, you can go to DNX. You can go to Freedom X Fest. There are so many conferences. There’s a there’s the cruises.
Lisette: Yeah the nomad cruise. Yeah.
Liam Martin: I saw that and I thought to myself that looks interesting. But I’m, I’m way too busy to get on a boat for a week and a half, frankly, to be able to do that. But anyways, there’s tons of fantastic stuff that you can go in and check out. That is that we don’t want to compete for events against any of those people. That’s not who we are. We’re basically just a whole bunch of HR nerds that really want to talk about building remote teams.
Lisette: That’s a, it’s good to know your audience that’s for sure I have the same like this podcast is not about digital nomads it does get referenced because it’s, you know, it’s one of the benefits of working remotely so…
Liam Martin: There’s an interesting phenomenon with regards to digital nomads that we picked up from last year, we pulled our customers and we asked them, How many of you employ digital nomads inside of your organization’s and we I mean, I think we cumulatively had inside of the entire group. Something like fifty thousand pulled people that were represented that were a remote company or remote employees. And the numbers came out to about five percent. So for every digital nomad, you see, there’s like 20 remote workers sitting behind that digital nomad. And actually, that’s probably an overrepresented sample, because remote-first companies are would hire digital nomads more than an on-premise company.
Liam Martin: So, it’s higher, but that’s the only data point that I have and it’s a very interesting phenomenon. I thought it would have been significantly higher because you see the digital nomad community. It’s just so active and so open but I think in reality it is for people that don’t have children. And people that just want to adventure right like twenty-somethings that just want to adventure that have this fantastic lifestyle. It’s amazing. But if you’ve got two kids and…
Lisette: And a mortgage.
Liam Martin: Yeah and a mortgage you know, it’s a little bit more difficult to be a digital nomad.
Lisette: That’s for sure there is a stereotype there, doesn’t it? For sure does not include everybody or describe everybody, of course. But yeah.
Liam Martin: And I also don’t want to say I’m not saying anything bad about digital nomads, I’m just telling you because I don’t want to get any hate from people but my, my feeling is for digital nomad-ism, to evolve to the next level. You have to actually solve a bunch of really problematic bureaucratic issues that exist inside of that system, like remote year, who is it’s a company that basically allows you to work remotely for an entire year. They have tutors inside of their program. So you can take your kids and you can every three months, you have a tutor, and then the school starts in the next location so that you can bring your kids on that remote year. These are problems that I think need to be solved because, you know, kids need to be parented and educated and we just don’t have that type of stuff that exists in the digital nomad world right now.
Lisette: Right, or, you know, people who are, you know, you’ve got maybe digital citizenship in Estonia, but your company is set up in Portugal, but you’re working, you know, from twenty different countries throughout the year like where do you pay taxes where do you, you know what they are? There’s all kinds of things that still need to be solved. I mean, even here in the Netherlands, what I’m doing here was not recognized necessarily by the government because I can you know, my income comes from all over the world like my taxes look very strange to people because it’s just coming in from every known country.
Liam Martin: I would probably say Estonia right now that not just the E-residency but the E-corporate program, which is gets spoken about a lot less, but they have ten percent corporate tax rate that you pay into, you pay to Estonia, right? Very small, little tiny country, all your banking, everything is digital, it’s incredibly easy to implement. We’ve had them as partners from the very beginning at running remote. And when you look at what they’re setting up, anyone who is like I have applied as an example for that process because it just solves a lot of logistical problems where that funnel, it’s not a Cayman Islands account, but it is. It’s a very open and legal Cayman Islands account in the sense that you can just channel everything into Estonia, you can pay your tax in Estonia, and then it comes out the other end because it’s an EU member country. It has tax relationships with everyone. I don’t know if necessarily people want to talk about that kind of stuff. But I find it very interesting how they’re literally building the future of that infrastructure. And I think you’ll probably see Estonia becoming a…they’ll be making trillions in tax income off of that if they continue to succeed at what they’re doing.
Lisette: Oh, yeah, I’ve got a very close eye on that whole process. I haven’t applied myself because I’m an American living in the Netherlands. And I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to risk any sort of visa anything because I want to stay living here. So I was like, I’m not going to be their beta tester, but my eyes very closely on there. Okay, so we’ve got to wrap up, but I have two more questions. One is, what advice would you give to people who are just starting turning out or just looking for remote work sort of newbie advice.
Liam Martin: If you’re an employer build process documentation as quickly as humanly possible inside of the business, an on-premise business, you have what is called sort of, I’ll call it kind of secret knowledge. Probably a better word for it. But Suzanne knows how to open up the server in a particular way that no one else no one knows how to do. And if you want to learn how to do that, you’ve got to get it from Suzanne. You need to take what’s in Suzanne’s head, pull it out, document it, process it, digitize it, and then put it on some type of platform for everyone to be able to get access to it. Google Docs is a really fast, cheap and quick option. [Inaudible 38:51] is a fantastic paid option that we’ve we use quite a bit and then if you actually want to just start because building processes is sounds like such a huge job. But last year, Dimitri, the CTO of GitHub brought us through his GitHub company handbook. It’s a get repository of three thousand two hundred pages, outlining all of the processes inside of GitHub, everything that they do to manage their team of five hundred remote employees. So if you want to know how to do a demo, you can find it in that repository. If you want to know what your stock distribution is, as an employee, it’s inside of that Handbook, just type the GitHub Handbook, you should be able to find it. And he encourages you to steal all of those processes and use them for yourself. So you have everything you possibly need. Right there. We originally had actually built our own processes to give away to people and I don’t even do it anymore because GitHub is just doing such a fantastic job. It’s an open project. So anyone can be able to jump into all the processes that get lab has cannot recommend that enough. And then as an employee, go to remote, okay, or we work remotely, just check out the applications that are there. I mean, there’s job postings that are happening all the time. Just be and then when you get that job, really understand that it is more KPI driven than even inside of an on-premise company. So in an on-premise company, you can have you can use the same name Suzanne, you know, Suzanne can kind of be the office clown or the person that kind of holds everyone together, that doesn’t really exist inside of a remote-first company or not to the same degree. If you’re not hitting your KPIs, that’s the only thing that really matters inside of a remote-first company. So you need to very clearly identify those and then have your team or sorry make sure that you are accountable to that and that you’re executing on those KPIs.
Lisette: Love it excellent advice for both the employer and the employee love it. And I’m going to put train you all in my list of tools. Sounds great. I’m very last question which is if people want to learn more about you or get in touch either for Time Doctor Staff.com or running a remote conference, what’s the best place to find you?
Liam Martin: So I think the best place is if you go check out YouTube, go to youtube.com/runningremote. That’s where we’re number one putting up all of our talks for free. So all of last year’s talks are up there and you can check them out. I also do a whole bunch of videos on just subjects that I’m having troubles with, with regards to remote work. So if you write in a comment, I will get back to you within the next couple hours without any problem whatsoever. Outside of that, if you want to try out Time Doctor just go to timedoctor.com and runningremote.com. I mean, that for me is my passion project. So if you are listening to this podcast and you’re thinking man, this is probably for you just go and send an email through running remote calm, we’ve got like those little email captures there and you can ask any questions and we’ll get back to you.
Lisette: Awesome. So timedoctor.com, staff.com, runningremote.com, and then YouTube.com/running remote. I’ll put everything in the show notes. So everybody has easy access, but really good references. Liam, thank you so much for your time today. I’m very excited about what you’re doing very excited about your conference, and I’m really happy to have you on the show. Thank you.
Liam Martin: Thanks for having me.
Lisette: All right, everybody. Until next time, be powerful.
Interview, Managers, Podcast, Teams