Nathan Barry Profile picture
Sep 27 18 tweets 6 min read
Struggling to connect on your remote team?

We’ve built a 68 person remote team that’s driving $32 million in annual revenue.

Here are 10 ideas for building great culture in a distributed team:

1. Create a private team stories podcast.

Everyone has the same get to know you conversations starting from zero. Instead interview them about their life story for a private internal podcast.

The whole team can listen and get a head start on building relationships. Image
2. Build a culture of written, asynchronous communication

This will save so many meetings, avoid people feeling left out if they weren't in the meeting, and protect focused work.

Your team will also be forced to clearly articulate and refine their ideas.
3. Shared “no meeting” days.

Everyone has the same day for focused work each week. Team members can have days that they don’t need to get camera ready (e.g. hair, make-up, etc) if they don’t want to.

At @ConvertKit we do Tuesdays and Fridays, which are wildly productive. Image
4. Ask "What did you get into this weekend?"

Every Monday morning we have a bot that posts to Slack asking people to share a photo (or a few) from the weekend. It's a great way to get to know co-workers on a personal level and see their families, interests, and lives. Image
5. Create an automated email sequence for new team members

Explain how you work, where to find important things (like the joke slack channels), fun facts about team members, explain inside jokes, & more.

It's all automated so you can curate their first 30+ days at the company. Image
6. Host "unsolicited feedback" sessions

This is where a small team (usually 4-8 people) gathers to talk about someone in the hot seat as if they aren't there for 10 min. When it's your turn all you can do is sit & take notes, then you get 5 min to respond.

Here are the prompts: Image
a) What does this person do that you find remarkable? What do you brag about them to other people?

b) If they were up for the promotion of their career in 6 mo, what would you tell them now to give them the best chance of getting it?
c) Assume you're working with this person for the next 10 years. What behavior isn't a big deal now, but will get really annoying or frustrating over that time?

This results in the best compliments, the most constructive feedback, and a culture of direct, candid conversations.
7. Mandatory fun days

With teams feeling burnt out force everyone to take the same day off. That means you don't have to come back to a mountain of slack messages and emails.

Come back & share a photo.

We did a 3-day weekend for the last 3 months of the year.
8. Schedule S'Ups

We use a bot to pick 3 people at random each week for a 30 min catch up / get to know you call.

A triad means you always get a dynamic group from a cross section of the team. This builds relationships and breaks silos across product, eng, ops, growth, etc Image
9. Host retreats 2x a year

Regularly gathering your team in person is one of the most important things you can do. 2x a year ended up being the perfect cadence for us.

We split our time: 33% work & strategy, 33% personal connection, and 33% downtime & fun.
The biggest mistake I see companies make is trying to get too much work done on a retreat.

Connections get accelerate so much through great memories and shared experiences.

You can have everyone record footage for a vlog to let the memories carry through to the next retreat. Image
10. Donate money together

At a team retreat we divided our team into groups of 4 with one goal: give away $10,000 in $100 at a time.

With 50 people on the team that meant each group had to find about 12 charities to support. Then we regrouped to share who we donated to & why.
What followed were the best stories that made for connection points:

Someone donated to education grants because they were first in their family to go to college.

Cancer research because they'd lost a loved one.

Pet rescue because that's where they'd found a best friend.
...and so many more.

$100 isn't that much, so it would be fair to argue the money would be better donated to a single charity, but our main goal was life stories and points of connection.

Give it a try with your team. You'll all get a peek into what your coworkers value & why.
Don't let anyone tell you company culture is defined by free lunches and ping pong tables.

It's a culture of trust, clear feedback, focused work, meaningful connection, and a shared mission. Image
If you think you'll use some of these tips, share the first tweet to help more companies build intentional cultures:

Also follow me @nathanbarry to get more threads on building great companies.

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More from @nathanbarry

Sep 22
In August @ConvertKit creators sent over 1.99 billion emails.

1,998,939,093 to be exact—so close to the big 2B!

Here are a few stats from our deliverability team:
Our email volume is going up considerably as more creators switch to ConvertKit:
We closely track how delivery rates and volume breaks down by inbox provider.

Gmail is the biggest at 1.2 billion, with Yahoo (196 million) and Hotmail (115 million) next.

We hit more than a 99.9% delivery rate on every major provider.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 21
7 uncommon ways we run ConvertKit that’ve helped us grow to $32M ARR:
1. 100% Remote

If you’re active on Twitter, it might seem like everyone works remotely.

But this isn’t the case.

Many companies have been forced remote, but we were doing it early and it allowed us to recruit a great team.
2. Standardized Salaries

We establish standardized salaries for each role and level with data from Radford.

Then, we share that data with everyone publicly.

That means we don’t have a gender gap and everyone is paid fairly.

There’s only one downside to this:
Read 13 tweets
Sep 17
Figma just sold for $20 Billion.

The highest price ever for a private SaaS company. An incredible 50x multiple their $400 million ARR.

Here are the 10 reasons Figma dominated the design world:
1. Changed The Paradigm

InVision helped you share the files created in Sketch or Photoshop.

Figma made you forget what ‘files’ were.

Remember when we would name our files design_final_2.psd? That’s gone. Figma’s infinite canvas lets you add & explore to your heart’s content.
Interface designers had always been neglected.

Hacking together other tools meant for photo editing or graphic design.

Figma solved problems in unique ways because they focused specifically on an underserved job.
Read 20 tweets
Sep 14
8 principles to help you grow your wealth faster:
In a previous thread I shared The Ladders of Wealth Creation, a step-by-step roadmap to building wealth.

You can read the thread here:

Today I'm breaking down the principles to help you move up the ladders:
1. Extra time and money need to be reinvested

New ventures cost money. That means if you want to move up the ladder you need to be saving and investing rather than buying the latest gadget.
Read 20 tweets
Sep 10
In 2021, Spotify reached out to buy @ConvertKit for hundreds of millions.

I said no.

Here’s what we did instead:
ConvertKit is an email marketing platform for creators.

I started it in 2013 with a goal to solve my frustrations with other email tools.

When it grew I figured I’d sell it after a year or two.

Then I fell in love with our product, team, & customers.

I never wanted to sell.
Founders like DHH and Jason from Basecamp said that equity in a private company doesn’t have value if you aren’t going to sell.

I’d learned so much from them and that logic made sense, so once I decided not to sell I didn’t issue equity to the team.
Read 19 tweets
Sep 5
The craziest thing I own is a small portion of a California ghost town called Cerro Gordo.

A few early investors wanted to sell their shares, so I just spent ~$200k to buy them out and invest in restoring the town. Image
Everything is harder at the top of the mountain, which is why it's great to have our fearless leader @underwoodbrent working tirelessly to bring this town back to life. Image
Most of what I build is on the internet. ConvertKit has touched millions of people and provides a livelihood for tens of thousands, but there's still something special about building in the real world.

I love that we can be a part of history with Cerro Gordo. ImageImage
Read 4 tweets

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