Interview with John Xie, CEO of Taskade

Taskade Team1. Could you please introduce you? 

Hi, I’m John Xie, cofounder and CEO of Taskade, and we are building a realtime organization and collaboration tool for remote teams. Taskade lets you manage tasks, write notes, and video chat with your team, in one unified workspace. You can find Taskade through its Website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn

2. How, when and why did you become a remote team or distributed company with employees working remotely?  

We’ve been working together as a distributed team for almost a decade spanning across multiple countries, time zones, and continents. 

3. What have been the advantages to become a remote company or having a distributed team? 

We’ve been able to operate 24/7 to make sure our service is always running and online, and during this covid-19 situation, things have been relatively the same for us.

4. Have there been any disadvantages and obstacles? 

Managing a team across multiple time zones also has its challenges, one being able to find a time that works for everyone to sync up synchronously, and relying on async communication as much as possible.

5. How do you do to operate effectively as a remote or distributed team? 

Building a productive team is hard when you go remote as the luxury of sharing an office disappears—leading to a lack of visibility that forces everyone to level up their communication just to stay on the same page.

Add in the fact that most of remote communication happens asynchronously and you can see why the #1 problem remote workers face in their day-to-day lives is visibility.

That’s one of the main reasons we built Taskade. We wanted to create a unified tool that would help remote workers collaborate more efficiently and GTD.

I don’t think remote team productivity has to be difficult when you work on a distributed team. Effective collaboration is built on 3 core ideas:

  1. Open and honest feedback
  2. Intentional documentation 
  3. A culture of accountability

6. How do you hire remotely? What’s the process that you follow? 

We are still improving our hiring process as a small and nimble team. We have a custom template in Taskade for interview questions related to each role we are hiring for, then customize it to the potential hire, and use it to also do live video conferencing on the same page. Here is the said template.

7. What would you say to companies that don’t believe to hire employees who work remotely? 

That they are missing out on potentially a much stronger and more suitable candidate for their team and company. 

8. What are the tools that you use or help you to work remotely? 

We are big fans of our own product, Taskade, as it allows us to collaborate both in realtime and asynchronously, along with the ability to collaboratively edit and chat / video conference in the same workspace. We are also using GSuite, Slack, and GitHub. 

9. How do you manage the business, salaries and things like taxes as a remote company? 

We are still learning how to handle this better. So far it is a combination of Gusto and TransferWise.

10. What advice would you give to companies that are starting to work remotely or establishing a distributed team? 

It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it. Remote companies need to understand the unique characteristics of their business model and think differently to build a productive and engaged team.

Being distributed requires certain forcing functions for team collaboration that don’t exist for traditional in-office teams. With the right tools and methodologies, you’re able to build a team that strives not only for productivity, but accountability and trust as well.

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