remote job consultationWe are offering free consultations on how to lead & manage remote teams during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn More

Understanding Culture and Leadership in a Remote Business with DistantJob’s Leaders

Sharon Koifman is the Founder and President of DistantJob, a remote recruitment agency specialized in headhunting talented developers for companies all over the world. Sharon used his 15+ years of experience in the tech and recruitment industries to pioneer the remote recruitment model.

Rustam Ahdierviev is the VP of Operations. He has worked in DistantJob for almost 8 years and has covered almost every single role. He is in charge of development and design for all internal IT projects.

Luís Magalhaes is the Director of Marketing in DistantJob and the host of the DistantJob Podcast. He has interviewed remote leaders from all over the world, from Buffer and Mailchimp to Microsoft.

Follow our guest on their social media:

Episode 100 DistantJob podcast

Luis:

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another episode of the DistantJob Podcast, and this is not just any episode. This is the 100th episode of the DistantJob Podcast. So I have a special treat for you. I am your host, as usual, Luis, but today I have my partners in crime, my bosses, the masterminds behind DistantJob. El Presidente, Sharon Koifman.

Sharon Koifman:

Ta-da-da-da.

Luis:

And, for his first appearance on the DistantJob Podcast, finally, the man that is so busy running the company that it took 100 episodes to get him on, Rustam Ahverdiev.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Hey, hey, hey. Hi, guys.

Luis:

Yes. I was practicing your name-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

It’s Ahverdiev.It’s Ahverdiev

Luis:

Sorry.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

But it works. At first try it Works.

Luis:

And I practiced it so much, and I screwed it up.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Well, it’s almost like saying for the first time.

Luis:

Yeah, you did a better job than I just did though.

Sharon Koifman:

I just, to be clear, I just avoid your last names at all cost, all the time. So it just makes things so much easier. Just Rustam and Luis, as easy as that, I like that we’re on a first term basis in our company.

Luis:

Yeah, exactly. So-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Some people just have one first name. Some have a gazillion, like Luis.

Luis:

You have a problem with Luis Carlos. Whoa, I didn’t even know my own name right now.

Luis:

You have a trouble with Luis Carlos.

Ooohwee, that is a mouthful.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

No, I don’t have a trouble, problem with that. But I think every time you introduce yourself, there has to be like Ta da da Daaa trumpet. His royal highness coming in.

Luis:

Yes. You know? If this podcast is shared 1000 times on twitter, I will get Sharon Koifman to record his middle name, which I know he hates. So, make it-

Sharon Koifman:

Aaaah.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Okay. Okay.

Sharon Koifman:

This is SSK

Rustam Ahverdiev:

This should be interesting. This should be interesting.

Luis:

Exactly. This is a celebration of 100 episodes. The listeners, this is a celebration of 100 episodes for the listeners as well. Usually this is about, deconstructing how remote leaders manage their teams and, I have two remote leaders here in the podcast, and there is going to be some deconstruction. But I actually want to take a step back and celebrate what we’ve built, and really what you’ve built and I’ve profited from immensely. So, I seed the floor to you. Tell me, how has building DistantJob change your life, and what have you learned from it? Broad question, I know, but I will ask follow up questions as necessary.

Sharon Koifman:

Well, for me-

Luis:

Rustam, go first.Yeah I know you’re…

Sharon Koifman:

Rustam, go first, fine!

Luis:

No, no, no.

Luis:

Rustam’s first time!

Rustam Ahverdiev:

I’m actually, absolutely, a lot like putting the Sharon in the target. He was really charging I don’t know why you stopped him. He was a charging bull. Go ahead brother.

Sharon Koifman:

Okay, well, for me, what really changed, was… What a understanding the power of remote. In the beginning when I came into this business, I came into the idea, that I’m offering cheap. I’m offering the Walmart version of recruitment, or developers. It was amazing evolution to find out, that working with remote people, working remotely, actually makes me more productive. It makes me work better. It makes my team works better. Learning and understanding the science of management, of managing remote people, was a big hit of me. It was… it turned into a passion throughout the years.

Luis:

Okay. Well, Rustam? This was it took me by surprise. Our friend is usually such a blabber mouth and this was cut short. So-

Sharon Koifman:

I’m getting more concrete! More to the point.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

So let me repeat the Ozzy Osbourne by saying ”What was the question?”

Luis:

How has distant job and work and building up DistantJob changed your life for the better hopefully? And what have you learned a long the way?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Well. I’m here, almost as old as. Pretty much, little bit less than Sharon. So, change, I think it’s still changing the life, for me. What has changed, well first of all, it saved me so much time for not needing to travel to work. I always say to that, big time. The fact that I don’t really need to get up, rush, save on sleep, cut short on sleep and just run to the work, that’s one of the biggest things. It’s not that I like to wake up late, but always knowing that you don’t have to do it, this is just psychologically, such a winner. And it’s very hard to tell what has changed. I was so invested in this company that I… you unplug me from DistantJob, I probably would feel like a fish out of the water. So, it’s hard to answer that, to be honest with you.

Sharon:

So, let me answer on behalf of Rustam, because I’ve seen Rustam, not only evolve, from somebody who started out with limited experience, so did I by the way. This adventure just taught me so much about management and relationship with people around the world, but I’ve never seen anybody, evolve as much as I seen Rustam. And he’s not ending. Actually, now Rustam is only starting, because he is so strong in management and have such a good grasp about how to get people to be productive and efficient, and the same time happy, loving their job. It is only now that Rustam is starting, but hey, maybe I start moving locations, maybe I start traveling a little bit while doing what I doing best. Correct me if I’m wrong Rustam, that is going to be a game changing experience.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Well, for everything its own time. Let’s just survive 2020. I think you know you go…I think you go all in before it all happens, so let’s just survive 2020, see how it happens. But, yes. Definitely, the ability to really, efficiently run the company remotely, or being the right hand or the left foot, whatever. Have experience, not just be a freelancer or a consultant. It’s beautiful when you have this job, and you do it somewhere from middle of nowhere or you go to Asia for surfing, diving, and stuff. I had that experience actually. Running the company, it being in the far park corners of the earth, and still company didn’t crash. This is interesting.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

It’s actually was a perfect test for the team. So, I would say, one of the things to answer your question more broadly, one of the things I definitely learned, is how to build teams that are self sustainable, and requires more guidance, rather than direct management. And when you’re away, this is how you out it to the test.

Luis:

Yeah! And you’re right. You were away, and Sharon was away as well for some time and it didn’t crash and burn so, that’s definitely something in there. As of me, I was very happy to find a job that won’t kill me so, that was good. That was good. I was…back when I was doing surgery, I almost died twice. I fell asleep.

Sharon Koifman:

What?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Are you talking about open heart surgeries, or root canal surgery?

Sharon Koifman:

Did you do surgery on yourself? What you mean you almost died?

Luis:

No, I’m talking about muscular facial surgery. Dental implants, removing wisdom teeth, et cetera and I almost died twice. I literally fell asleep on the steering wheel. And then, because I was dumb enough, to let it happen again. So, not a lot in this smarts department, and at the same time, I had in my family, two people that had limited, mobility limitations. My fiance at the time had multiple sclerosis. And she couldn’t find a job, even through she was very competent. But she couldn’t find a job because people wouldn’t hire her. Because despite it being illegal to discriminate when hiring people with disabilities, the reality is that a lot of people does it, they just-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yeah. You can always find a way.

Luis:

Yeah, you can always find a way, not enough experience, et cetera, not the right fit, et cetera, et cetera. Her brother was also a paraplegic, because he had a motorcycle accident. So I reached a point in my life.

Sharon Koifman:

Wow. Oh my God. I did not know that part.

Luis:

Yeah.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

I did.

Luis:

And I reached the point in my life, where I’m…on one hand, I enjoy my work, but it’s almost killing me, just because of the crazy hours and no ability to be flexible or to rest. On the other hand, I see that, for other people, work just doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense that people that are limited physically, but are mentally just fine, can’t really contribute with the talents, and I figured it was a mess. It was a mess. I was starting… because I don’t like having all my eggs in the same basket, I was starting doing the freelancing writing, and that’s when I met DistanJob. You guys remember the first team were about me writing article.

Luis:

And as I got to know the company, I figured, all the problems that I see in work, this seems like it could be a way to solve it. Both for myself and for others. To me that’s what this company represents. It’s actually a way to do better work. And it’s limited, we only offer, we mostly offer, not only, but we mostly offer work for developers, so it wouldn’t specifically change, It wouldn’t specifically help people like my ex-fiance, but it’s the right direction and I do think that work needs to move into this direction and I wanted to be a part if it. So, here I am, and I do think that its really awesome, and anyway, that’s my answer to why I do love the concept of DistantJob.

Sharon Koifman:

To add on that, because of me, one of the biggest side benefits of doing remote, is the ability to see my children. I’m surrounded by fairly successful people across my network, my friendship with people. Quite a few people have done really, really well, and one of their biggest complaints, is that they didn’t get to see their children enough. They missed on this experience. For me, this has been quite magical. The fact that I can sit at home, yes my kids distract me, every once in a while, but I get to see my kids growing and doing things and participating in an activity. So, it is huge. It is huge to be able to still not disappear from morning til night, just losing on your family. And that was huge thing for me, besides big learning experience.

Luis:

Yeah of sure. Ey, Rustam, I want an opinion on you because I know you’re like me, you’re a fan of history, and I think that we are still facing the effects of an historical bug. And what I mean by this, is that during the industrial revolution, people moved to factories, because that’s how things needed to work. You couldn’t have your blacksmith do the work on the second floor of his house, or on the first floor of your house, and live on the second floor and stuff like that. Things needed to be produced in mass, so people moved to factories, that’s fine, physical work. But then, the historical but happened, and to me the historical bug is we shifted to knowledge work, but we kept the factory setting. We kept people, because that’s how it had been done the previous generation, so people went from physical work factories into knowledge work factories. But, why? There’s absolutely no benefit of having knowledge work done in factories. AKA, offices. What do you think? I think about this a lot.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Well, very touchy subject, because we’ll pretty much will have to, in a way, attack capitalism, one of the reasons why we were able to be successful. So, I’ll try to be constructive. It’s a principle of, whenever you get increase controls, because factory gave more increase controls to the factory owners. They’re the people who pretty much established industries. And when you get more control, you rarely let it go, and if you take a look even, couple of 100 years back before that, during the Feudal times, the more control you have over the peasants, it never ended up giving more freedom just of nothing, it always happened over a certain uprising.

Luis:

Yeah.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

So, what’s funny is it sounds like now, COVID, in a way is an uprising.

Luis:

Huh? I hadn’t thought of that.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

People have been pushed, because businesses been pushed into going remote. It’s remote, or out, in a way. So, one of the reasons why nobody was let people go work from home more voluntarily, because unfortunately, majority of people own the capital. A person in the early days, it’s so often goes in image, and its all about maintaining control. It’s like you always need to know what’s happening, you always have to get a good control the people you work with, so processes don’t slip. And what have we arrive today? And right now we know emotional intelligence, it’s not just a thing, it’s biggest thing. And the cultural fit is also…so we enter paradigm of hiring, of sense of belonging in the company, a sense of war by itself is being re-shaped right now.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

COVID is one of the catalyzator of this process that, like I said, are almost like a revolution. I can’t say it’s love-less, every revolution comes with a lot of love because we see a lot of deaths unfortunately. Unfortunately. And I feel really sorry of people who lost somebody, during this harsh times. But, in the sense of more freedom and ability to be more independent, this is what we’re seeing right now. This is the historical parallel I would like to offer here.

Luis:

Yeah, that’s a really good point Rustam, I hadn’t though about that from that perspective, I hadn’t envisioned COVID as a revolution, I was just thinking it was a catalyzer, it accelerated the process. But yeah, there is a revolutionary quality to it, but also to the COVID point, before Sharon continues, what’s also very, very special about DistantJob, a lot of people, when I joined DistantJob, and I was making a decent, even though it was killing me, I was making a very good amount of money, more than a decent amount of money, as a surgeon. And a lot of people criticized-

Sharon Koifman:

Don’t tell anybody. It’s a secret. Ssh

Luis:

Yeah, a lot of people actually criticized me, including people in my family, but also friends and colleagues, they were like ‘are you hanging out the towel? What about, are you just throwing away all the years that you studied to be a good doctor? What’s up, and why are you working of a weird internet company?’. I tried to describe what DistantJob did, but a lot of people in my area, didn’t even get it properly.

Sharon Koifman:

Don’t worry! My dad used to say that I’m selling air, that’s how he used to explain it. So-

Luis:

I was really criticized. And those people, well not all, not everyone, but many of the closest people that told me that, within the last three months, they came to me, and they said ”you know, I didn’t understand the path that you were taking back then, but now I see myself and everyone around me not being able to go to work, and you’re just doing your life as usual, and I really get it now. You made a really smart decision”. That was really satisfying.

Sharon Koifman:

I’m so excited. You never told me that part of the story. I’m learning about new things right here. A little more of a positive twist of what Rustam says. COVID is, and I’m not celebrating people’s suffering just like Rustam said, this is a very sensitive time. And I wish this would have transformed in a different way but, you don’t even looking in history. Even in the past 30, 40 years the corporate world has created a mentality that you’re productive at work, you are relaxing with your family at home. And this has been integrating to our brain. It almost been brainwashed, that we don’t understand any other way. One of the biggest challenges of actually moving to a remote experience, to be able to successfully work remote, is getting rid of this brainwashing for years and years that people been telling you. The production happens in, originally the factory, then in the office. So, COVID has forced us, and it’s a matter of months, if you just sit at home, and just getting used to the concept. So many people get to see how awesome it is. I talk to people all the time, and they’re just blown away how successful they are in working remotely and what a pleasure it ism and they just don’t want to come back to the office.

Sharon Koifman:

So, this is the big change. The big change is removing the brainwashing, that infused onto your brain that the 9-5 office work is were you produce. Big thing.

Luis:

I have to agree. Rustam, would you like to add anything?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yeah, and there’s another thing to this, especially since the development part, because if you have a lot of background in this, if you ask a developer, when is he thinking about – He’s not always thinks about this while he seeks action in front of keyboard writing stuff. It’s somewhere in the back burner. And one of the most effective way, is to be in the zone. And remote work actually enables getting into your zone faster. Open spaces are proven to be unproductive, inefficient, but way cheaper. So, for in terms of results for the companies, especially in the development part, when you can just craft your own perfect nest, but looks like you have the den of cake, which is fanatbulous. And-

Luis:

I need a better chair.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

It’s a fortnox of the gaming from anything from Nintendo, to PC’s, you’re loaded man. And this makes you happy. This helps you do super activities. So, I would say the fact that you can craft around you, your perfect nest, to lay this perfect golden egg in a way, I think you can’t just recreate this in the office, because office still doesn’t never going to feel like home. Never going to feel like your place. It’s a place you build.

Luis:

Yeah. Absolutely.

Luis:

Yeah that’s a great point that it dos feel really comfortable. And there are things that you can do, and there are limits to how comfortable you can make your office. And sometimes people are idiots about it. I remember that some clinics have a problem with me putting up my diploma in the wall. Right? I can’t even do that. That was absolutely insane.

Sharon Koifman:

Really? Wow.

Luis:

Because some offices were shared with other doctors and they would feel belittled by me having more diplomas.

Sharon Koifman:

The culture that certain companies create are toxic. There’s too many companies where the priority is not that people that doing the work. It is a lot of priority on the clients, it is a lot of priority on the bosses, but the people that are actually producing, the people that are actually creating, is the most important asset in any company, at least in my opinion. And they’re often neglected by many, many companies, such as your clinic you worked for before. Instead of appreciating that they have a rock star surgeon dentist that is willing to work so hard that he’s going to fall asleep in the middle of a surgery, maybe we shouldn’t say that in public environment-

Luis:

It never happened during -.

Sharon Koifman:

No, it never happened. Just-

Luis:

Never left anything inside anyone.

Sharon Koifman:

No never. Okay, good! Okay, that’s important.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Please start printing. Please start printing.

Sharon Koifman:

But, the key is the focus on the employees, on the people that are producing. And in the remote world, its seems like we understand this better than the usual office environment. Nobody penalizes people of kicking some butt in the remote world. At least not that I’ve seen.

Luis:

Yeah. Absolutely. I want to ask you guys stuff that you have changed your mind about. Or maybe things that went against your expectations. Since you started working on this company, I know for you guys it’s a long time, I think you’ve both been at this… I think that I joined the company, you already had started it four years from the moment I joined it or something like that. So, anyway-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Five.

Luis:

Yeah. So, what things were you expecting that didn’t happen, and what things did you not expect that you found out? Things that went against your expectations.

Sharon Koifman:

So, a few things, first of all, I really expected that this is going to catch on…so much quicker. The idea of having more affordable, higher quality, funding faster, I thought ”who can say no to that?”. I had no appreciation to how much people had feared hiring remote. How contradict I’ve it was of their mentality to absorb the idea of ”hey, maybe you can let people work from home”. I also had this misunderstanding of a long time that, it doesn’t matter how many people you can afford. When I started even before DistantJob, I had a company called Support Empire, combined with Empire Host which was outsourcing I thought that, if I can get 10 people for the price of one person in North America, I can’t fail. And that was a major misconception that I’ve learned throughout the years, that it’s better just to have one person whose doing, even if I don’t have 24 hours support, even if there’s other challenges out there, that even if I can’t get 24 hours, if I focus on one person, and get it right, I definitely will do much, much better. So, that was the definitely a misconception that I had.

Luis:

What about you Rustam?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Well, definitely sharing what Sharon is saying about… I was really surprised because I originally dreamed DistantJob is about how much friction we had in the beginning. Because back then, why would I want to hire somebody somewhere else? The reasons not to hire are still the same. How are you going to know they doing the job? I need them in the office, and I believe it’s almost a set phrase in the U.S. You’re being paid for your ass to be in the office.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

So, it’s really something that really, was embedded in the U.S work ethic culture, and during the internet boom it started to change, but it wasn’t that widely spread. But right now it’s catching up. So I was really surprised with what’s happening right now with COVID, didn’t happen five years ago. The struggle was real, not just to tell people the stories, actually and you say we can prove you in two weeks. You’re going to get the people on and its not just to take the job for anyone. No, it’s like if you limited, or because you might have a…you’re living in a high, one of the tech hubs, and you have to fight with the top dollars of talents, you’re just not finding the talent and company’s like ”no, we not hiring outside in other states, no. We want this person in the office”. I couldn’t understand this. It drive me nuts like crazy, because how couldn’t you? Well, people were going to do, lets do usual outsourcing.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

But usual outsourcing doesn’t work, unless you have just a project, it’s just a totally different beast. It’s a factor of mentality. I would say than the actual integrating remote because it’s more directly related towards the factory production. Because you pretty much have a factory in the remote placation that you control again. And when you have somebody independent in their home, how could you be sure? So, there’s a lot of things and issues coming to that earlier, so was really disappointed and sometimes frustrated why I didn’t catch up early. It really didn’t make any sense.

Luis:

Yeah, absolutely and to add to the outsourcing, I can tell you the equivalent in the writing world. You can hire a ghost writer to write your book for you, and the book will be competently written, but it really won’t be yours. When you hire a ghostwriter, you can even give them a set of points that you want them to follow, you can even talk with them, do extensive interviews with them, but at the end of the day, the top processes in the book are theirs, not yours. They can only try to replicate. And I do think the outsourcing experience is that. If you want to build your own stuff, you need to have people working with you, under you, not working for you, if the distinction makes sense.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yes, and that’s the other thing. When you do outsourcing, you still pretty much, you have people as resources. You don’t as members of team members. And they’re replaceable, which still, in the longer run, doesn’t improve the quality of the product, whatever you building.

Luis:

Yeah, I have to say that I really agree. The thing that I wasn’t expecting was very similar to you Rustam, I felt more or less the same thing in that I was expecting the marketing job at DistantJob to be easier, I just felt that the product should be able to sell itself, and it actually was the farthest away from that as possible. To me it just made sense from the first moment, that sure you can get…If in your market it’s really hard, to find really good people, then why not go abroad? That was the reflex of me having worked as a writer before because writers, you can easily work from your home. Many writers work from their home and deliver at a distance. But, I was surprised and then expecting of the same resistances that you described. It’s a good thing that we’re slowly chipping at it and that’s part of what we’re changing in the world.

Luis:

The thing that I didn’t expect, was actually how much it would actually impact my health, just working at home, I forgot that even if I mostly went in the clinic, and spent my time inside the clinic, I was actually walking here and there, and getting up, and sitting down, and going from home to clinic, and from clinic to home. And then I just became a hermit in my cave for my first month at DistantJob. And I wasn’t. I wasn’t expecting that, and that’s when I realized the importance of…Now I actually have to be disciplined about catching some daylight everyday. About doing some exercise and going out for a walk.

Sharon Koifman:

It’s not just about exercise, it’s about your entire lifestyle in general. It’s about doing the exercise, it is about the walking, but it’s also about the social, it’s about the entertainment. I recommend people all the time, when they go remote. You have to book your entertainment almost to the same level importance, as you have to book your business meetings. You have to make it happen. It has to become pat of your daily routine. If you like to have drinks, if you like to go out to a restaurant, if you like to workout, if you like to go for a tea, or socialize, whatever your source of entertainment, that has to be booked as if it is part of your work, or part of your business. And that’s how you really have a strong work-life balance in a remote environment.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Apparently COVID really hates me. I really love scuba diving…

Luis:

Okay!

Rustam Ahverdiev:

What you just described about going, doing and everything.

Sharon Koifman:

Oh no! Are you saying-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

I’m making a joke! In a way, you absolutely right, it dos make sense, just to move from the grander spiel to something more everyday actionable. Yes definitely the hardest part in remote, is to build a routine. Is to build a routine where you unplug from work. There’s a bunch of articles on this, one of the easiest ways, if you only have one machine, at least use a different browser.

Sharon Koifman:

Bunch of articles? My book is all about this!

Luis:

You’re writing a book? Tell us about your book!

Rustam Ahverdiev:

I thought Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was already written but, we’ll –

Sharon Koifman:

Hey, you do what you can. But yes, my book is all about the idea of creating a work, not all about, there’s so much more, but there’s quite a few chapters discussing the work-life balance, and discussing how you survive socially, and how you separate your work life from the business life. I even recommend, that even if you don’t have a lot of space or big office space, you make sure that you set up a specific corner, a specific spot in your house, that will be considered the work environment. And you don’t go there, unless you’re working.

Luis:

Who said you could plug your book on my show?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Sharon Koifman:

Jesus.

Luis:

No, that’s fine, that’s fine. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what working in DistantJob is all about, and that’s actually the point I wanted to get. We genuinely have a thing in DistantJob where we have a lot of fun. And, this 100 episode, I hope it will show that. These guys, I work of them but they’re also my friends. We’ve met, we’ve partied together sometimes, even now we can’t meet, we still party together when we can. It’s funny because that used to happen in other work places as well. Right? We had Christmas parties, and we had lunched, but it wasn’t organic. If you’re somewhat sociable, its hard not to make friends at work when you’re locked in the same building with other people for eight hours. You’ll be very unlikely if you don’t make a friend-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Luis, I highly recommend you watch The Office. What about, it’s really hard not to make friends at work, some characters never –

Luis:

…But actually here, on DistantJob I can say that I actually made friends in the same way, that I used to make friends playing World of Warcraft, or discussing video games in forums and stuff like that. Maybe it’s me that I’m predisposed to make internet friends, but it’s been a blast. And actually I think that no one knows better than Rustam, how we created the environment for that. So, actually Rustam, if you, it’s the 100 episode, so I do want to talk a bit about how DistantJob is awesome, and I think you are one of the people who can put it more eloq…where is my En… Please, please spell it.

Sharon Koifman:

Say it 10 times fast!

Luis:

Please, you can tell it more eloquently so, please.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Okay. So, culture is not something you can artificially create. You can try, but this is what you going to describe you have the senate offices where you have to build things, you can style but its mandatory. It’s good of the team. What really helped us to figure out our culture, and specifically want to say figure out, discover it, don’t create it actually is to… It started slowly, and we starting to talk to somebody during the final interviews, I usually do the final interviews of every employee after all the technical ones are done. We call it crazy check in the company. So, seems I’m a little bit of a Jedi. ”Test people for crazy. Make sure that they pass. No C’s allowed in here!”. So, the idea is that you want to hire for the culture. People should generally enjoy very similar things that we cherish, and we help this by growing. And of DistantJob its, different aspects, different routines of a nerd culture. Like starting just from being a bookworm to typical Marvel, or DC, or whatever you’re into, or any computer games or any games, war games became a really big thing and even online ones right now.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Table Top Simulator, big shout out to you guys of making this possible. Folder companies for tat taking all of this during this times. My bow to you guys. For us, so when we started doing this interviews and still doing this, always ask the people ”so what do you do for fun?”. Don’t tell me why you want to join the company. Don’t tell me what you think is going to be missing. What do you like to do? I want to see personality, because I know, if I’m talking to this person as final interview, I know every department will be hiring this person who already passed all the stages. And I just want to talk, I just want to see the person behind the experience, behind gender. I’m looking at the person. And for me, I’m looking at the way this person creates. Do you have the right dynamics?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Since we have, I don’t know how many, nations we have in the company. Eight? Nine? Ten? I don’t even remember. A lot. A lot of countries, a lot of cultures, and if you try to stick everything together by something common, it’s just not going to work. But when you united about intercepting nerd values, it can actually evolve. For example, we have a lot of people at distant Job that are fan of Japan, and not just of anime, or other ventures of it. We talking about Edo period. We talking about. We talking about Book of Five Rings and stuff. And some people actually speak Japanese, which is crazy if you think about it. None of them.

Sharon Koifman:

It’s not crazy that they speak Japanese.

Luis:

Okay.

Sharon Koifman:

Exactly, it’s-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yeah, but see I was getting there. None of them actually… We don’t have anyone that is Japanese background, so this is what makes it crazy, we have people that speak actual Mandarin. How could you do this? We even have people that speak Portuguese, which for me is, a special achievement.

Luis:

Crazy. Crazy language.

Sharon Koifman:

Let us, that nobody’s going to hold it against us, Mandarin is a Chinese language, but yes, exactly. Asian culture.

Luis:

I get what you’re saying, but that’s actually not…that statement-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Sorry for the long, but every good…You asking a very… A question that is very dear to my heart.

Luis:

Sure.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

So you can’t just cut off the beginning of] and say ”take the second part”, but, or actually you can. This is what everybody’s remembering, the trumpet sound. Anyhow, So we just start to look in the people, what do they bring to the team? Do they really enhance? Do they really re-enforce the what we have? Are they going to make it work more fun? Are they going to enjoy the work? I remember once, we had a designer. We worked with this designer and we… If you, me, you Luis, me, and some other people in marketing, so they discuss okay so let’s just scrap this Clark Kent add, and go with this one. And the designer’s like ”Clark who?” And you’re like ”Oh my God, this is not going to work.

Luis:

Yeah.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

That’s just one of the examples, because back then, we weren’t really focusing on this. Okay, you have the skill, it works, let’s start working together. Because, like you said before, in order to have fun you need to be on the same wave of length of people. So, it’s really important to get the people on the, either same wave of length of you, or that we add a different amplitude to it, but they don’t complete the… They still resonating with this wave they don’t go in a full asynchronous motivate.

Luis:

I would even say, that everything you said makes sense, but I think that focusing on the part… It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to focus so much on hobby part. Because, the reality is that the two people I love the most in the company, are you two, and we don’t have those many hobbies in common. We have some. There’s some overlap, but a lot of times, you are a big movie buff, you make a lot of movie references, and I don’t get it, because I spend all my time playing video games, and Sharon doesn’t play video games at all. You know my video game humor, but Sharon doesn’t. And actually, I think that what I find really special, with, again the two people that I’m more closer to in this company, which is you two, is really humor. I can say dumb shit-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

I almost arrived there, like I said, this was the first part, this was the, but you right. The sense of humor is what really ties us together. Different nerdiness re-enhance the values, and helps to keep it together. But the sense of humor, we stop hiring people without sense of humor. Seriously, if you don’t have one, you’re never going to have a chance at DistantJob. It’s just not going to work, because we have a very direct interaction. I always tell people, ”I’m approachable, I have this one-on-one Fridays, you can just go book a call with me for an hour and talk about anything”. Cause I always joke you want to talk nail polish, you want to talk about ply wood, or anything that you enjoy, sure. I’m very and I’m going to genuinely be interested on your topics.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

So, it’s all about the humor, it’s all about keeping this alive, going, fun, and it’s informal. Keeping it informal for people because we have people coming from the corporate backgrounds and they really suffered here. Because they used to more official way of conversation, reporting, and as a person who really pays attention to details. I’m not saying I don’t care about detail reports and seeing things through, but I care more about results, rather than a drill down that somebody spent eight hours creating a beautiful PowerPoint presentation, but the results are poor or non-existent. So, it’s the nerdiness, it’s the sense of humor, and the big thing, the other big thing is ability to be interested in the other cultures, and people in general.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

You could be the most introverted person ever, but you still communicate with the world. At your own pace, at your own speed, at your own comfort, but you still need to acknowledge there are people and these people you interact maybe not so frequently, you still interested in interaction.

Luis:

That’s definitely me.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

You can’t be a hermit, forever.

Luis:

So I actually want to… So, thank you Rustam, but now I want to direct the… and I’m going to-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Wake up Sharon

Luis:

I want to sharpen up the question a bit, for Sharon. Because Sharon is ready to blow up! But I want to sharpen it a bit for Sharon. So what is it about this company? What is it about DistantJob, that allowed us three to develop a friendship? Because….yeah! That’s it. Apart from us, from you signing our paychecks, I promise that we’re not just your friends because of that, so what was it about DistantJob that allows people to actually build friendships?

Sharon Koifman:

So, I’m going to use a cliché: passion. The reason why I bond so well with you guys, is that we can talk about so many topics, and get into it, and there’s a lot of passion, a lot of background and a lot of education. You’re right, I don’t play video games, but I do understand video games, I do understand the culture. We are all very well read about many topics, and we have a lot of opinions, and when I have a conversation with you Luis, or with Rustam, there’s always something to say, there’s always something to discuss, there’s always challenging ideas that come up, and that’s what creates my personal relationship with you guys. It’s never boring, it’s always a great conversation.

Sharon Koifman:

At the end of the day, you can have, like you said, you can have matching hobbies, but sometimes those matching hobbies makes you anti-social and you can’t talk about anything and you sit there, even if you go for a drink, it’s just plain and there’s nothing much to say, but in here, I can bring up every topic and we just get into, we delve into this amazing, challenging conversation. And that is for me actually what bonds me to you guys, beside the friendship, beside the care, beside that we’re all concerned of each other, is that I can sit down, and just have a kick ass conversation. And this is important when you define culture in general because you want to create people that you can have conversation with-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yeah, that’s what I said about same wave of length, so hobbies is one of the things that helps break the ice, but then it’s you either resonate with somebody, or you don’t. And you can’t artificially change this. It’s like, seriously? I need, after all of this years in recruitment and everything, I need around 10 seconds usually even less to see if this person is going to work for this company. It’s the first impression. It’s not even the worth that people saying, it’s their presence, it’s how do they arrive in the call? For example, Sharon always arrives on time. Always.

Sharon Koifman:

Come on, I’m the timeliest person in the world, what are you talking about?

Luis:

Exactly! We’re talking about that!

Rustam Ahverdiev:

You just need to set the time, you need to specify the timezone and what’s time the concept of time is relevant, so it’s definitely on time, always.

Luis:

Actually, I usually-

Sharon Koifman:

So, my rule is…

Sharon Koifman:

Oh, go ahead-

Luis:

No, say your rule. Then I’ll ask my question.

Sharon Koifman:

Yeah, so my rule is, that as long as you’re within a 10 minute buffer, you’re not necessarily late, although I get annoyed when people take advantage of that rule too much so-

Luis:

This is definitely a cultural question, because in Portugal we call that the 15 minute rule. So, it’s actually-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

I remember we sitting in with Luis and his girlfriend at time, and we sitting for five minutes, and I’m, “What the hell is this?”. The waitress didn’t even acknowledge that we’re present. And somebody who work in this industry when I was really young, I worked as a bartender, and I was like, “What the hell is happening?”. And I very politely, she look at me like I kill somebody in her family, twice.

Luis:

Yeah.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

And he pretty much start to explain to me, you don’t go anywhere when you want to eat, you go there when you’re fed, you sit for half an hour before you get something, and you enjoy the experience.

Luis:

Exactly. Exactly. It’s the 15 minute rule. You’re only late if you’re 15 minutes late. Anything up to that… So actually, my Portuguese standards Sharon is perfectly fine. I was on time.

Sharon Koifman:

I stick to 10 minutes!

Luis:

In fact, sometimes he’s earlier! Exactly.

Sharon Koifman:

So, pretty much, when I come on time it’s early.

Luis:

But I was going to ask-

Sharon Koifman:

But that’s-

Luis:

One thing that I-

Sharon Koifman:

But that’s actually why its important…

Luis:

Go on.

Sharon Koifman:

So that’s why it’s so important to have small meetings. Meetings with less people, because you can get away everywhere joking about this policy, but you can’t get away with it when it’s three, four people in a meeting. Where everybody decides to make the 10 minute rule, and every time somebody shows up late, it accumulative and becomes very frustrating. But the smaller meetings, it’s less of an issue, I’d like to think.

Luis:

Very true. Very true.

Sharon Koifman:

At least that’s my excuse.

Luis:

So since we’re already talking into time management, one of the most popular questions with listeners of the show is when I ask my guests, what dos their work day look like? So, I’m going to start because I never answered my question myself.

Luis:

My work day actually starts the previous day. Because before I finish every day, I write on a piece of paper, or on my mac notepad, somewhere I can easily access, the stuff that requires my brain to be at its best, and I write two to three things. And then when I start my day, I actually don’t open emails, don’t open Slack, because I know that if I look at the message on Slack or email, and they will always invariably be something, then I won’t be able to work on those things that require most of my focus, because even if I’m working on them, my brain will be on the Slack message, or on the email.

Luis:

So I work on my most important mind reigning work, during the mornings and then in the afternoon, I plug in Slack, I open the emails, and I start having my meetings, and that’s usually in the afternoons that I have my meetings and then at the end of the day, I make my list again and the cycle continues. That actually fits well with you Sir, because, while I’m working on my most important things in the morning, you Sharon are sleeping. That’s actually-

Sharon Koifman:

It works well.

Luis:

What about…who wants to go next?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

How about you Sharon? I want to hear what’s on Sharon’s time.

Luis:

Yeah.

Sharon Koifman:

So, for me life has changed four years ago, when my first baby was born. Before that, I was just waking up in the morning, I would just take care of all the required stuff, the Slack, the email, the response, then I would actually drive to… I had an office that was about half an hour away, I was sharing with my brother back in the days, I would drive, listen to audio books, and the moment I would make it to the office, I would work on my most creative, because that was the highest energy time.

Sharon Koifman:

When the baby was born, I no longer had to drive, so I would do the morning shift. I would wake up with the kids, feed them, dress them and usually about seven o’clock in the morning, If there’s no daycare or anything to rush to, I would literally respond to all my slack and emails while doing that multi-tasking, just at least deal with the non really focused, things that were not particularly important. I would put a star on an email that required serious thinking about it, and then when I would drop off the kids, or would give them to my wife, or whatever the case is, that would be my I energy time. This is so, so important because 9:30 to 12 o’clock is when I get all the creative work. I wrote a book during that time, I worked with you guys on the marketing. We have… it sometimes hurts me when there’s too many meetings during that period because that definitely is my creative time.

Sharon Koifman:

The afternoon, is usually when I book all my meetings. Just like you, I try to book as much for the afternoon. That usually how my day goes. Once I put my kids to sleep, I usually catch up on whatever is left. So, I sometimes do a little bit more of the brain dead work, or sometimes I just grab a matcha tea, or a caffeine if there’s more creative work that needs to be done, at about nine to 11 o’clock.

Luis:

Night.

Sharon Koifman:

And that’s my schedule.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Wow.

Luis:

You make me feel like a lazy bastard.

Sharon Koifman:

No, I cannot make anybody feel like a lazy bastard. That’s for sure.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

While these two beautiful gentlemen pretend that they doing some work, somebody has to run the operations.

Sharon Koifman:

I feel you. I agree.

Luis:

Not going to debate that.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

So, when one is not available, and his schedule looks like he is in charge of United Nations, like a head secretary, and while the other one is the busiest that in more real, and well, here’s the problem: what you guys saying makes sense, and it’s great. But, of me it really varies. Depends where do we have issues, and you can never say a company’s issue free, if your company’s issue free, its dead. So, I have to run it, I have to switch gears like on a motorcycle, fast. So, depends where my attention is needed, I’m going to adjust a bit. Sometimes if I need to write, I would definitely be like these two fine gentlemen in the morning, definitely the best time. Before anybody, I also try to stay away from slack or any notifications, because yes, I immediately want to help. I immediately want to reply, and then it just goes down the drain.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

So, creative work in the morning, but depends where I am in the world right now. Right now. But, before that, I would see whatever works. Sometimes if I’m somewhere scuba diving, I might work later. It really depends. But yes, writing usually is a morning thing, everything else just see, where do I need to be. And because I pretty much interact with every department, I have to be more flexible towards the people in this department. So, it’s a ball and a chain routine I would say. As much as I want to have more structure schedule, sometimes I really need to adjust it to the different department and see how it works.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yes, we have meetings. We try to run DistantJob in the, as a scrum base mentality, we do retrospectives on Monday, and we do the planning, definitive a certain adjustment to reality, so I believe people in more processes, but really stick strict to this, but this is how we run it, minimizing meetings with many people as possible. One-on-ones are the best for sure. And my work varies. Sometimes the downside of it, that I overwork like crazy. But, when you have people in seven time zones, and they need a piece of your mind, you can’t just say, ”you know what, I don’t care, tomorrow”. I feel sometimes like I’m a router.

Luis:

That’s funny, that was what I was going to say. I wouldn’t use router, but I definitely feel sometimes that you are the bridge that binds the time zones of DistantJob together.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

So, my schedule-

Sharon Koifman:

It almost sounds like science fiction.

Luis:

Yeah.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Well, thank God no cause we only tried to write it on pigs and it’s not mandatory, so I’m skipping the Johnny Mnemonic face.

Luis:

You’re the Heimdall of DistantJob. You’re in charge of the Rainbow Bridge. Okay. Yes.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

I was always seeing myself more in the audience department. Brains, and we have experiences, but okay.

Luis:

All right, so I want to close the show with the usual questions that I ask to the guests. I’m going to answer them myself as well, as a first time. So-

Sharon Koifman:

Whoa!

Luis:

Let’s go. Let’s go, so starting with Sharon. Sharon, in the last year, what purchase has made your work life easier or more productive?

Sharon Koifman:

Ah man I have such good answers for this one! I bought a stand up table, and I bought a nice one with a beautiful wood top, so it doesn’t look like it’s just a mechanical thing, it looks like it’s part of my office. But, when I stand up, especially in a remote experience, sometimes I give interviews, sometimes I give speeches sometimes, I talk with the team sometimes, I just need to stand up. It is so powerful. It actually affects the way I communicate. So the ability to sit down and stand up whenever I want, is huge. That was with no doubt the best purchase, and the idea that I organized the entire of it, proper docking station and screen of my laptop, this is the ultimate working environment.

Luis:

Okay. Rustam you want to go next, or should I?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Go ahead Luis.

Luis:

So, for me it was definitely the second screen. I got a new screen of my gaming place, and I use the old gaming screen as a second screen for my laptop, I work on a MacBook Air, and it was a game changer. I was less tired every day after work, because I had a bigger screen, my eyes didn’t have to focus so much. I could spread the work space across two screens. It sounds silly even if I say it, it doesn’t make it look like it matter enough, but the experience is completely different from working on a single screen. It’s so much more productive, just being able to have something while I’m on a call, being able to have notes, or reference material on the other screen, or when I’m engaging in creative work, doing the creative work on the main screen, and having notes or references on the secondary screen, it’s just so powerful. It made my work much better, and much more pleasant, so that’s it. Rustam?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Okay, so its actually a bunch of things. Well first of all, I usually sit on the yoga ball, and I do also stand out, but I don’t have a stand up desk, because I’m moving around, I’m also carrying around yourself as more of a cumbersome, big balls you can just deflate, and you can carry around, and it’s probably the best alternative to the stand up desk, which is amazing by itself. So it’s definitely would be a use as a second screen, an iPad Pro, a pencil and a keyboard, it’s just pretty much an extra laptop, where I run my Zoom meetings on, because as much as Mac is amazing, 2019 Pro’s cameras are worse than the iPad Pro cameras. It’s just terrible. Apple, please do something about it.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

So, second screen great thing, noise canceling headphones, a must, and I’m using Pro 700, you actually recording this podcast. Great feel, great weight, battery life, I have zero complaints about them. Awesome different stuff, for a laptop like a neck stand that actually helps to adjust the height of the other screen, so you don’t hunch back or be over the laptop. So, maintaining a good posture, is I think, one of the most important things. You live as long as you have a flexible spine. So, I do exercises and I always encourage people to pay attention to your posture, especially when you work from home, where you just sit a lot.

Luis:

Nice.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

And, the last one, I would say balance board.

Luis:

Really?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

A lot of fun. Yeah, and it helps you exercise a lot because it actually puts a lot of your muscles in work. It’s sounds stupid, but try to sit up on this thing, or balance in a different direction. So you work a lot of muscles without doing a lot. Again, especially being under the lockdown, figure out what keeps you active. You didn’t ask for the advice, but this is just sharing. Keeping your body alive harder than your brain, is very important thing.

Luis:

All right! Good suggestions all around! So, the next question. Sharon, what book, or books have you gifted the most? Or if you don’t give books, what book has influenced you the most? And you’re not allowed to say your own books.

Sharon Koifman:

First of all-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Why you saying books? Are we expecting a sequel, or what?

Sharon Koifman:

Well, I’m sure one day, why not? Doesn’t hurt at all. The funny thing is, that I do gift a lot oof books, but those are children books of other children, so that’s not a good.

Sharon Koifman:

Angry Caterpillar is huge! I’m a big fan of The Angry Caterpillar, but the book that has influenced me the most, that I think that changed my mind the most, is Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. I personally think it is the most important book to understand people. I feel that the key to be more rational, is to understand that we live in somewhat of a irrational world. And this book does an incredible job explaining that process. I’m also these days… I’m only halfway through it, but it’s a pretty good book to guide me through management. It’s called Traction, by Gino Wickman. It is a book that I gained when I was in EEO, and I highly recommend that as guiding the process of management. Those are my two big ones. There was a third, but I don’t remember right now, so let Rustam mention it, and maybe my memory will catch up while he is, he will mention it.

Luis:

Okay. I’m surprised you didn’t mention The Goal.

Sharon Koifman:

No, I like The Goal a lot, I really, really like The Goal, but it’s not my number one.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

What about you?

Luis:

So, the books I gift the most, are… They’re not marketing books per se. Not so much business books, but I think they’re important of both areas. I gift The Daily Stoic, because it’s a book that has small quotes, are from Stoic philosophies, and then it includes some lines where you can write your meditations about those quotes, and it has 365. So, you can do one per day. What I find this does, is again, if you can manage the trick of waking up, and not going immediately to email, or to slack, but if you can actually sit down, and write this, I think it’s a really good ritual to kickstart your day in a productive way. Because the Stoics were the people in the arena. They weren’t just thinkers, they were bankers, and salespeople, and craftsmen. Starting the day with the Stoic meditation, actually gets you really in a good framework to do good work.

Luis:

The second book that I gift the most, is a book that this year, it will be, or maybe it already is, I don’t know the month when it was published, but it will be 100 years old this year. It was published in 1920, and its called The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. And it’s still the best guide for clean engaging writing, that I have already seen. In fact, when I’m writing worse, when I see that my writing is slipping, I go back to it, and I use it as a… I don’t even read it so much, but I use the index, as a cheat sheet to figure out what are the proper ways, what are the best ways to write really tight, concise, writing. So, this is absolutely something that I give. It’s 100 years, but it’s still the best you can do in the English language as far as I’m concerned, and I’ve read a lot of books from a lot of people.

Luis:

I have a couple more, but they’re from controversial authors, so I font want to tell them in the podcast. But definitely these one are the top two.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

As a receiver of Daily Stoic, definitely can comment on this beautiful, great, things to follow. Unfortunately, the only downside of these two books, because they come together, as you know book of quotes and diary, this is actual weight, and when you travel, and cause I do prefer travel a lot and there’s a bunch of other things I need to carry around, and when you scuba-diving, you have your 23 kilos of luggage and just this flip flops, aside from camera and everything. Do you know if they actually made a digital version that I could buy? Cause I would do that, just to fill the notes in iPad, because it’s one of the reasons why I wanted the to become fully paperless.

Luis:

I know they have a mailing list, where they send you the ‘taught every day’ I not sure-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yeah, I believe I joined it, but if they have done this, it would be really cool to have it. Anyhow, regarding the books that influenced the most: So, I do give a lot of books, but they’re very different, because I try to accommodate, because my area of interests are very different, and I try to accommodate to the person I’m giving it to, so it would be really hard to pick something. Sometimes it’s fiction, sometimes it non-fiction, so it’s really to pin point.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

What really influenced me a lot, it would be hard to pick. I really though Predictably Irrational was great, I can’t say it’s influenced me a lot, but Sharon, thanks for calling it out, definitely one of the interesting reads of the recent years, for sure. Lord of the Rings, definitely, one of this great books, cause it actually resonates with me really well. It’s a book about team work. If remove pretty much everything, it’s a book about team work, and how do you assemble the writing, who deliver, who does the job even though it seems like those people are incapable, like the hobits and everything. My favorite character is Gandolf, and just of the sake of seeing things through, and seeing things for what they are, even if other people don’t seem like it.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

I would probably say. Reasons being, it’s pretty much, the conversation. It has a lot of philosophy in a way, it has a lot of inner soul searching part, and it’s written in the conversational. I’m not going to go what’s the background about this book, you can find it yourself, it’s easy to do so. But, philosophies there as well, and the last one, sorry I’m adding more, but it’s definitely Book of Five Rings. Yes.

Luis:

Ah The Book of Five Rings, yeah. The Book of Five Rings is great, and it’s actually a very short read, it’s 50 pages.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yup. Or, you can troll The Art of War and everything that’s one of those things you don’t really read, you just add them to you ‘like’, to your stack if you want. If they really resonate well with you. And you just come back to them like you said about the one about the styles. So, it’s something that resonates with you, just come back to it. Because I love strategy, and all of those things are all about strategy, planning, execution, and achieving something.

Luis:

Absolutely. Awesome. Okay, guys, I want to close out the show, I have the last question… It’s supposed to be a surprise question, so it doesn’t make sense to ask it myself, and Sharon has already answered it once, so I’m going to save it of last for Rustam, but of now I would like you to tell the listeners, number one: how can they learn more about you, and how can they reach out to you and continue the conversation. And number two: What things do you have exciting coming out in the future? In DistantJob, we have enough exciting things that we all can throw something in the ring. So, Sharon?

Sharon Koifman:

I just finished writing Surviving Remote Work. This is my book, it’s coming up, it’s going to be in Amazon, hopefully in the next month, pre-buying or… Is that the way you call it Luis?

Luis:

Pre-ordering.

Sharon Koifman:

Pre-orders. Pre-ordering is going to start in the next week or two, and it’s the most exciting thing that I’ve done in a while.

Luis:

Actually, it was heard today! Because the pre-orders will start on the day that the 100 episodes airs.

Sharon Koifman:

Nice!

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yeah!

Sharon Koifman:

Look at that! So, I’m control of writing it, I’m not in control of what needs to be done to market the books, I’m excited that I got Luis here to get this thing started, I love it! Pre-ordering is starting right now. Yay, that’s it! We’re getting there. So, that is a huge excitement. Anybody wants to ask me any questions, I’m always available! It’s simply as [email protected] Ask me, let me know if you have any inquiries, I love helping people with their remote management challenges. I’m there of you guys. That’s my story.

Luis:

We’re going to have a short episode, where we give a quick reading of one chapter of the book soon. So, stay tuned in for the next weeks, before the pre-ordering awaits, you will be able to hear Sharon read a small chapter of the book, and then we’ll discuss it a bit on air.

Luis:

So, Rustam, shall I go, or would you like to?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Go ahead Luis.

Luis:

Okay, so the listeners of this podcast can expect somewhat of an upgrade, because it’s been 100 episodes, and I don’t want to comment too much. We bounced around some ideas. We bounced around the idea of making the podcast a bit longer, a bit more produced, and of making it come every two weeks instead of one week, so you guys can catch up. Right now I’m not ready to commit to a timeline, because it’s 2020 guys, so it’s hard to know how things will shake up. But the thing that I do want to do for sure, and you can expect that more in the future, is more DistantJob on the podcast. It’s been 100 episodes, we’re going to still keep having great guests, but I want these gentlemen on the podcast more often, and I want people from DistantJob, we’re a bigger company than we’ve ever been. You are going to meet people from recruitment, from marketing, from every side of the business, regularly here in this space. So watch out for it, I promise you, you’ll love it and enjoy it. Rustam?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Wow, after you said it, it just sound a little bit anti-climatic to add anything. It’s like the grand finale, am I getting.

Luis:

The grand finale is DistantJob, I know you have exciting stuff coming in DistantJob.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Well, I guess I’m getting the post credit scene.

Luis:

Yeah.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Okay.

Sharon Koifman:

It’s like the comic book movies where you get to surprise people with a really cool ending.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Okay, so for years, I haven’t been actually, was mostly focused on the back of, just doing my thing and this fine gentleman which you don’t see wearing his favorite T-shirt, I’m talking about Sharon, was mostly in the spotlight, but with his help, I don’t know what kind of goal he created, but he pushed me to become more pro-active and outspoken about my contribution to the company. So, I actually started to write more so there’s going to be bunch of articles coming from me. Written by me to perfection is to allow somebody to write for me, and definitely like Luis says you’re going to hear more from me and preferably few members on the podcast, and let’s just hope that we not going to see an alien’s arrival by the end of 2020. I would be surprised because my birthday is the end of the year, and dear aliens, I’m not expecting you enough. So let’s see how the 2020 going to end, if everything goes well, I also have a big thing planned for 2021. Not saying anything just yet, because I hate to talk about the plans that are not yet in motion.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

But something is bigger and cooler coming, regarding remote work and the coverage that wasn’t really done before. But let’s leave til the end of the year, let’s see that everybody’s safe, and just a closing remarks, I hope every listener, whose listening to us right now, all you families and you are safe, healthy, stay alive. This is the main goal right now. It’s crazy here for everyone, but keep your head up, no matter how hard it sounds like, no matter, and try to stay safe.

Luis:

All right, that’s a good message but, we need our final question, because-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Oh, sorry about that it’s Rustam a DistantJob that come but, very easy, sorry about that.

Luis:

So, it’s been five times now that Sharon Koifman has been on the show, so I’m not going to ask him the question again, but to you Rustam, it’s your first time on the show, so I do need to put the usual question. You are hosting a dinner, where the top execs of tech companies from all over the world are coming, we’re talking about CEEOs, CTOs, hiring managers, HR, Specialists, and since the dinner happens in a Chinese restaurant, you as the host get to choose the quote that goes inside the fortune cookie. What is your fortune cookie message?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Can I do it in the voice?

Luis:

Sure. Do it in the voice.

Rustam Ahverdiev:

You are denied raise.

Luis:

I don’t know how I didn’t see that coming, but it makes sense. It makes sense.

Luis:

Ladies and gentlemen, it was an awesome trip. 100 episodes, I hope to see you here of 100 more. Give a round of virtual applause to Sharon Koifman, the president of DistantJob.

Sharon Koifman:

I do with the virtual clap. Can we do taps? Shake shake shake.

Luis:

I’m just saying the name of the people with me on the podcast Sharon, so that the listeners can refer to them. We actually don’t need to do anything. But yo can say goodbye if you want.

Sharon Koifman:

I want to clap, I want to clap!

Luis:

And Rustam Ahverdiev. Did I get that right?

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Yes. C plus.

Luis:

C plus. The Vice President of DistantJob-

Rustam Ahverdiev:

Now C plus plus.

Luis:

And this was Luis, ladies and gentlemen, this was a podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. But this time, especially, about really great awesome family, DistantJob. See you next week.

Luis:

And so we close another episode of the DistantJob podcast, and if you enjoyed the episode, please you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That will be great, it’s how we reach more listeners, and the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in this conversations, that are a joy to have for me, and I hope to enjoy of to listen to as well. You can also help a lot, leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcasts indication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners. Another thing that you might want to do is go to DistantJob.com/clog/podcast, click on your favorite episode, any episode really, and subscribe.

Luis:

By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new notification is up, and whenever we get the transcripts of the episodes up so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form, and of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration, and not just look to hire locally. Not just look to hire in your country. Look around the whole world, because that’s the talent pool, that contains the best talent. And to help you with that, again, DistantJob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who you need, and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate, 40% faster than the industries that do it. And with that, I bid you adieu. See you next week, on the next episode of the DistantJob Podcast.

 

More ways to listen:

It’s our 100th episode! And it couldn’t be with any other than DistantJob’s masterminds!

Are you struggling to build culture in your remote organization? Need help leading your distributed team? In this episode, you’ll learn everything any remote manager needs to know, from building an awesome culture to tips and strategies to manage teams effectively. DistantJob’s leaders share the major challenges they faced and the most important lessons they’ve learned on their path of becoming successful remote leaders.

''It was an amazing evolution to find out that working with remote people, working remotely, actually makes me more productive. It makes me work better. It makes my team work better. – Sharon Koifman'' Click To Tweet

Highlights:

  • Most significant benefits of running a remote company 
  • Why physical offices ruin productivity 
  • The challenges they faced managing remote teams
  • Lessons from founding DistantJob, a fully remote company
  • Main reasons why outsourcing doesn’t work
  • How to encourage work-life balance in your team 
  • Insights on Sharon’s new book: Surviving Remote Work
  • How to create culture in a remote company (Strategies and tips)

 

Book Recommendations:

 

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss all of the other interesting episodes that we have coming up in the next few weeks!