Nomad City 2019 Conference Review and Top Takeaways

I attended Nomad City 2019 last week and wanted to share my favorite conferences with you, as well as a my thoughts on the event.

Nomadcity 2019Nomad City 2019 Location: Las Palmas is great because it has lots of Nomads spending the winter there. It is a very nice place with a consolidated community of nomads. Take a look at our Guide Living in Las Palmas, Canary Islands: The Digital Nomad Guide.
Internet: The Internet was working really well at the Auditorium during the event, which is unusual with so many people connected. Congrats to the Organization!.
Event: The length and structure of the event was perfect, with 3 types of content:

  • On the first day we had several 1 hour long workshops and some very practical talks as well as two different panels: one for Individuals and another one for companies.
  • The second day we had several shorter 30 minute talks. The conferences were concentrated and the speakers had organized them so they would be short and sweet 😉.
  • And then came the Unconference day. One leader managing a group of 60 people participating and speaking about either their issues or other interesting topics related with Remote Work. The participants then voted on the most interesting topics and worked on them for the rest of the session.

Unconference Nomad City


The talks that I attended and enjoyed most

See You on Slack: An Asynchronous Communications Workshop

Marcus Wermuth, from Buffer.

Marcus Wermuth from Buffer

Essentials for productive working:

  1. Notifications: don’t bother others on devices, social and work apps on “away”, turn off notifications when you need to focus.
  2. Plan: prepare for your communication, listen for feedback, evaluate and correct (obvious but necessary).
  3. Tool Choice: faster transparent communication, enabling easy collaboration and promoting async workflows.

Tools & Tips for Asynchronous communication:

  1. Carrot, Threads & Twist
    • New async tools category: high level discussions, making bigger decisions, giving in depth feedback & weekly updates.
  2. Slack
    • Use for: Social conversations, real time conversations, quick praise, gratitude, non “right now” messages.
    • To better use Slack. Useful rules: public channels for default, status to share availability, thread when you can, response time. Slack emojis to quickly see the kinds of messages.
  3.  Your calendar is sacred
  4. Documentation
    • For meeting notes, documentation and brainstorming, Evergreen content, Rules or Philosophy: Dropbox paper.
    • Don´t remove the context, structure your thoughts in a clear way, check them.

State of Remote Work 2019…and Beyond

Laurel Farrer from Remote Work Association)

I loved Laurel´s energy and wanted to share the most interesting thoughts from the talk.

Laurel Farrer from Remote Work AssociationGrowth Remote work in years:

  • 80’s: personal computers, residential internet.
  • 90’s: wifi & government initiatives.
  • 2000s: video conferencing + virtual team tools.
  • 2010s: coworking spaces + smartphones.
  • NOW: a few companies (PIC).
  • 2020: 56% of global companies.

Why Remote work is an advantage for companies:

  • Socio-economic benefits: workforce equality, economic development, employment accessibility, environmental sustainability.
  • Allowing & Adopting: the major difference between these concepts with Remote work.
  • Remote work is economic NEED, not a selfish WANT. For sustainable change, level up your taking points.”
    • Convert carefully.
    • 1st problem: isolation is more than loneliness. Get out and: get serious, get smart and get out: strengthen your personal and professional interactions.

Welcome to the Chaos: Demystifying Distributed Work at Automattic

Anna Holland-Smith from Automattic.

Anna Holland-Smith from AutomatticI really enjoyed listening to Anna. All of us hear Automattic and think of a perfect remote company, which is why this kind of talk is so useful to change common misperceptions. Anna told us how the work was distributed and the difficulties which arise for the teams.

Effective onboarding:

  • Creating a sense of belonging:
    • I belong as a part of my team.
    • As part of the engineering comp.
    • As part of Automattic.
  • Creating a sense of accomplishment:
    • Documentation, interactions.
    • Transforming chaos from a hurdle into an asset.

Ways that the Remote Working Community can support positive social impacts

Rowena Hennigan from Technological University Dublin & Stone Soup.

Rowena Hennigan shared a story about how she carries out activism: awareness, action, advocacy, acknowledgement & appreciation. She mentioned a Native American proverb: “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.
She spoke about two issues:


  • Can you maintain it?
  • Find a balance, how it works for you?
  • Every little thing helps the Earth and our environment…

Self-responsibility is related with:

  • self awareness.
  • self-knowledge.
  • self-leadership.

Remote Work and the global economy

Chris Czerwonka from Mosavi.

Chris’s talk was really interesting and useful because there are very few people who speak about Africa.
He is currently living and working with the people there.

Problems facing informal sector entrepreneurs: no formal contracts, money, etc.

  • limited education.
  • limited or no access to capital.
  • uncertain paths to increase income.

He spoke about some countries with stimulating environments for remote work such as: Ghana, Senegal: Dakar, Rwanda, South Africa: Cape Town or Nairobi.

How we make “remote work”, work

Henning Muszynski from Doist, & Twist.

Henning Muszynski from Doist, & TwistHenning Muszynski from Doist, & Twist Henning presented the Doist method to work remotely. I found it enlightening to see how remote workers can function on a team. I also enjoyed the fact that he had so many stories to tell and examples to share with us.
Here you can read more about how Doist works:

Main objectives for the teams:

  1. Liberate the team from interruptions.
  2. Keep conversations written and saved.
  3. Find the question or needs of information later.

And the method:

  1. DO System
    • DO: Doist Objective
    • Everybody can propose Do’s
    • Exploration, implementation, polishing
      They use: Basecamp, now: 4 weeks sprints
Referral: How they work on the system: **Squad (scrum team) > Spotify**.
  2. The Hero Role
    • Communicating, filing and fixing issues.
    • Keeping the codebase healthy.
    • Support our and other teams.
  3. What they do every day
    • Tools (Telegram,, Google hangouts, Skype, Doist, Github, Google Docs, Dropbox, Marvel).
    • < 1 hour of meetings per week.
    • No more email.
    • It is ok to prioritize friendships, community and your mental health over work.
  4. Sometimes they do (occasionally):
    • Public praise, casual hangouts, off topic discussions.

Igniting Innovation in Your Company, Your Team, and Yourself

Matthew Vincent from Basecamp.

Matthew Vincent from BasecampMatthew Vincent from Basecamp. He began speaking about the current reality of Remote Work and wanted to share how he had been able to “survive as a Remote Worker (in Basecamp)”. He also recommended that we check this article: What Do Tech Workers Really Want?.

After the introduction, he presented the most important tasks for working remotely at Basecamp and how to survive to it:

  • What are you working on today? You have to ask yourself this question every day. Every day every person on the team has to answer the question: I am working on…
  • What will you be working on this week? What have you worked on this week? Every week: No conversations, but everything is written.
  • Every day the same question, and also, “what did you do?” … but not only regarding work but also relationships with the team.
  • I can do whatever I want > cycling.
  • At the end, the work is not the most important thing in the day.

To finish off this post, I will let you in on the books that were shared mentioned during the conferences!

Recommended readings:

Speakers 2019:

I also recommend that you check the event speakers who are #remotework and #futureofwork bosses! You can also learn more about the event here.

Elisa from RemotersWritten by Elisa Martinez from Remoters.

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