In this interview we have Rafa Jiménez, the Founder of Adinton – is a cutting edge software for analyzing and optimizing marketing campaigns. It allows to improve online marketing investment return and increase sales due to spending optimization.
1. Could you please introduce you? What’s the name of your company, what do you do, how many are you, from where do you work?
My name is Rafa Jimenez, I am working as a web analyst since 1999 and as a PPCer since 2004. Moreover, I have created some companies from 2008 until now. Some of them successfully and other ones, especially one, which were an epic fail.
Currently we are tuning up an attribution marketing and bid management software called Adinton. Our experience says that the big and successful companies can invest a huge amount of money because they work with “clean” data. So, our goal is to create a tool which helps all types of companies (big or SME) to work with a useful and clean data of their online marketing campaigns and the behaviour of their users on their sites.
Currently we are a fix team of 3 people working full time and 4 collaborators working part time. The whole team is normally working from home.
2. How, when and why did you become a remote team or distributed company with employees working remotely?
Basically, we did it because we wanted to be happy! During 4 years we were working for my own company, trying to grow a company which I wasn’t really happy with. It is so difficult to work for a company where you do not feel happy, even if you have created this company.
Why normally the companies work in the office, hierarchical structure… because, it’s like always were the things done, and even you had thought that you can do the things in a different way, normally we reject this “new” way of work. Why do companies normally work in an office or in a hierarchical structure? The main reason could be because we think that it is in these spots where all the things should be done. Furthermore, even if you think you can do the same things in a different way, we normally use to reject this distinct way of work. However, since we decided that we wanted to be happy, and as we were happy working from home, we just did it. How could we be wrong if we were doing what we really wanted to do? We just did it.
3. Which have been the advantages to become a remote company or having a distributed team?
Nowadays we are more productive. When we are working, we are just working, trying to keep our JIRA as clean as we can.
Another really big advantage is when you finish your day, just one second later you can enjoy the time with your family, no more traffic jam, no more awful public transport that you have to take to get back home, sometimes you really gain an hour or sometimes even more of your life invested in transport.
On the other hand, to work remotely is not an easy task, so you need to be very structured and organized.
4. Have there been any disadvantages and obstacles? How have you overcome these challenges?
Firstly, the main disadvantage is that you are always explaining that although the whole team is working remotely and we do not have a physical office, we absolutely are a REAL and SERIOUS company.
Then, another important disadvantage is that it is more difficult to detect if a person is feeling bad, sad… We have tried to solve it, with daily (short) calls and asking questions such as… “Good morning, how do you feel today?” Although every day you repeat the same question, you normally find a different answer every day.
5. How do you do to operate effectively as a remote or distributed team? Have you modified the processes, tools, organization and internal activities?
We have made an extremely big change. Currently, we are working on creating a self-organized company every day.
We want that everybody gives their opinion about marketing, finance, development, hiring process… How could I hire a developer who is going to work with other people instead of working with me? In my opinion, the point of view of my developers is going to be more important than my own one in this hiring process.
It is fantastic when you find that the big life goals of everybody are not as different as we think. When you put together the same kind of people, with the same kind of goals, it is easier to manage a company with remote teams. Because all of us look for the same goals: freedom, happiness, to share your life with other interesting people, to achieve professional goals, to learn something new and if all of us have the same goals, we have to work hard in order to achieve and keep them.
6. How do you do to hiring remotely? What’s the process that you follow?
It is a difficult job, but I hope that one day we will receive resumes in our inbox from people who want to work with us. However, as our reality in the present is very different, we use platforms and WebPages focused on remote workers and social networks.
Once we have an interesting resume, we have two interviews. The first one will be held with my partner and me, and the second one with some other colleges that the candidate is going to work elbow to elbow with.
It is also important to say that during the interview we will try to make as many questions as we can. We need to meet the person because we are going to share our lives with him or her.
7. What would you say to companies that don’t believe to hire employees who work remotely?
Please, do not do it. Just when you feel ready for the next step, do it. Instead, when you see that other big companies, governments are moving located teams to remote teams, then these companies may consider that remote work is a good alternative. But if you are still asking if remote workers could be good for your company, it means that you are not prepared yet. Nevertheless, I have to give an advice, it would be: What could go wrong with it?
8. Which are the tools that you use or help you to work remotely?
We are Slack, JIRA and Google Apps dependents. We’ve try some video conference tool, but normally we always end up using Skype.
9. How do you manage the business, salaries and things like taxes as a remote company?
Since we are a remote company, I haven’t changed how we manage salaries, taxes,… communications with providers, customers and team.
But, where we have really made a big difference is how we are organized. Since we are a remote company we are a more self-organized or more self-managed company. Nowadays, since we are remoters, we are a company less individualized. It was a complete surprise for us, to feel that now the team take care of the team.
10. What advice would you give to companies that are starting to work remotely or establishing a distributed team?
High volumes of communication, transparency, respect and trust in your decision. Assure that you have not taken this decision just for being the coolest of your friends thought.