Remote Dev

For software projects, I am a big believer in remote work. 100%.

However, I have never built a 100% remote team from scratch. I have always worked with developers in the office first (get to know them really well), and then have them work remotely (if they wanted to or if they moved to another country). Yesterday, I was thinking about how it would be like to onboard a remote developer that I have never met. Here are a few things that came to my mind…

  1. Get to know the developer through calls, chat and email. This is crucial. I prefer to know the person before I start working with them - especially their working style.

  2. Communication for work and expectations should be spot on. Don’t leave everything in email. Use Google Docs & Spreadsheets when needed to lay down the plan, specifications or notes.

  3. Manage expectations so that we both are on the same wavelength. The developer needs to know what the end goal looks or feels like.

  4. Weekly updates - here, I should be able to gauge efficiency and problem-solving skills. If something is taking too long, does the developer have the knack to get it resolved swiftly? Or, if work is getting done quickly, then does the code look efficient and well written?

Come to think of it, shouldn’t these rules apply to non-remote developers also :)

Because remote devs are out of sight, they sometimes are out of mind - which is a good thing. You give them the space to create their work instead of walking up to them to discuss bugs, features that they are not going to be working on this week!

A Fresh Start

Whenever I get a new device (Mac, iPad or iPhone) I don’t migrate data from the old device but I start from scratch. This is a way to re-think if I really need those apps that I have installed over the years. A clean install is a fresh start.


So, a few months back when I switched laptops, I had the opportunity to go through this exercise again. Here are some things that I changed and the apps that I must-have!

  • Did not setup mail accounts on the default Mail app. Gmail is a better alternative in my opinion - web-based, fast and does not cache emails on the Mac.

  • Did not install Bartender (tool to organise the menu bar). This forces me to have fewer apps on the menu bar.

  • Yoink - the best drag and drop tool I have come across for the Mac. Super helpful.

  • 1Password - the best password manager I have come across. Been using this for 7 years now!

  • Evernote - I am done exploring new notes apps. There are plenty and new ones come and old ones go. I have used Evernote for 8 years now and the switching costs are way too high for me. Most importantly, Evernote just works.

  • Unsplash Wallpapers - a neat app that updates your wallpaper everyday from Unsplash’s library - “From space pics taken by NASA, to bewitching urban streetscapes, to astounding shots of nature taken by high-flying drones—find mesmerizing wallpaper for your Mac in seconds”.

It feels good - doing away with the old and bringing in the new!

A Month Without Instagram

I finally deleted the Instagram app off my iPhone on March 14 and things couldn’t have been better! I have regained time, focus and now plow the wasted “instagram” time to do things that are more meaningful. In no way I have perfected the art of Deep Work (fantastic book by Carl Newport) but this is the second step I have taken (the first was removing Facebook last year) of getting social apps off my phone.

Like many others, I was not using Instagram for anything meaningful. It filled my downtime or wait-time. Many times a day I would dip into Instagram to scroll through pictures of places to visit, what my friends have shared and of watches, cars etc. It was more of a chill place - but I realised it was getting a bit obsessive. I rather log on from the iPad or desktop once a week to see what people are upto than constantly many times a day. My screen time had Instagram second to WhatsApp! So, clearing I was was wasting time not getting anything meaningful in return.

On day 1 of no instagram, I accidentally swiped left to get to the icon. Muscle memory at work :)

On day 3, I picked up my phone to get to instagram when I had some downtime only to realise it is not there. I just moved on and read an article instead.

After a week, I had completely forgotten Instagram. The addiction had gone. It is now been over a month and I don’t miss it!

In fact, last week I removed Twitter and LinkedIn as well - no more social apps on my phone. Again, don’t miss it and if I need to I log on to these platforms once a week from the iPad or Mac.

Although, I must say that removing something distracting will not get you to automatically focus on something more important! You need to be aware of that something else you risk plowing that time into something meaningless as well!

AAPL Today (ATH)

“Shrugging off concerns that Apple missed smartphone unit sales estimates in its most recent quarter, Buffett explained that spending time trying to guess how many iPhone X devices were sold in a three-month period “totally misses the point” of the stock.“ Link

Exactly! Completely myopic in my view. I am guessing that analysts are now going to update their target for AAPL. What AAPL has is a growing ecosystem comprised of hardware and software. Unbeatable. 

Build it for yourself

An interesting observation came up while having dinner at a friend’s place last evening.

They had made Italian. The spaghetti came out on the dining table, and we plated up. I tasted it and found it pretty good — with the perfect hint of spice. But, my close friend preferred to have the spaghetti sauce a little bit chunkier. Someone else wanted it their way. My wife looks at me. This incident is the perfect case of ‘featuritis’ (coincidentally, just a couple of hours back I was telling her how difficult it is to please every Brightpod customer). Here, we were four of us (similar tastes, backgrounds, etc.) and couldn’t agree on the perfect spaghetti then how could we expect everyone (from more than 110 countries) signing up for Brightpod to be satisfied with what we have to offer them?

Pleasing everyone is impossible.

So don’t! Make the dish that you like and attract people who like what you like.

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” — Bill Cosby