How to Work Together When Everyone’s Working Asynchronously

asynchronous work

Remote teams are forced to work asynchronously, but it can be an incredibly powerful constraint.

To Zach Holman of Github, that “everything is asynchronous” is his favorite part of working at the company. It kills distractions and interruptions—especially meetings—and helps people get in “the zone” or a state of flow for getting stuff done.

The problem that we’ve experienced recently is that to enable asynchronous work, we’ve felt that every developer had to have his own long-term project that he’d able to execute on totally independently.

The upshot is that in decoupling developer dependencies, we’ve lost focus and a coherent sense of what we’re executing on as an organization because the projects are too disparate. It feels like everyone is working on something totally different and that we’re going broadly on several things but not deep on anything in particular.

When someone on the team does need help, there’s a far more painful context switch to a project that’s potentially very different from what that person’s project is. Ironically, more help on big picture and direction is needed because the decoupled projects don’t present a unified bigger picture of product direction.

To fix the problem, we decided to go in the opposite direction—we had everyone in the company work on shipping one single thing, and that’s how we got our Slack integration out in a week.

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How to Start a Startup – A Practical Guide

startup guide

A Practical Guide for How to Start a Startup

iDoneThis is our first startup and the only thing we’ve ever built that anyone’s ever used. When we started, we had no cash, no paying customers, no knowledge on how to acquire customers, and no idea how to run a business.  We had to learn all of the lessons packed into this startup guide the hard way, through experience.

What you won’t find in this guide is a bunch of theoretical talk about startups in the abstract. Whether you’re contemplating starting a startup or you’ve just begun to take the plunge, you’ll find useful, hear-earned lessons and case studies in this guide to start you on your way.

This guide includes absolutely everything we’ve learned about how to start a startup.  It’s all of the lessons we learned going from zero to having a million-dollar business. We’d love to hear what you think on Twitter at @idonethis.

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My Job is to Learn How to Code

chad profile picture

That’s me, Customer Success Engineer Chad!

My name is Chad and I’m an IT Infrastructure Manager — make that — used to be one. Until just eight weeks ago, I spent most of my time managing a fleet of 120+ servers and network devices, hundreds of laptops and desktops, across six locations around the US, and a team of six others to help shoulder the load.

Being a Unix nerd that likes to talk to people, I had fun at my job, and I was pretty good at it. However I’m also a tinkerer that doesn’t like to have a knowledge vacuum in any one particular area of interest for long.

My team and I started using iDoneThis to replace status reports and extra meetings. I was hooked. I used a really neat plugin for the popular OS X app launcher Alfred to post all my dones.

When Alfred released it’s major 2.0 update my precious workflow had broken. When the author was no where to be found, I thought, “How hard could this be?” I ended up somehow building a working Alfred 2.0 workflow for iDoneThis and even a mini Python powered API, to act as a mail proxy (hosted at DigitalOcean). Sharing this with the Alfred + iDoneThis community (I didn’t know anyone would use it) got me noticed by Walter and Rodrigo (the co-founders of iDoneThis) plus a Skype call offering their personal thanks for my work.

iDoneThis + Alfred

Todd Clarke liked the workflow so much he made this!

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How Talking to Customers Helped Us Build a Better API

talking to customers - shopify

Hanging out at Shopify to talk with our customers

We decided to build an API for iDoneThis because many customers had requested it.  It would use OAuth2 for authentication and would support everything one could do through the iDoneThis web interface. You would be able to like entries and comment on them, aggregate exactly who commented how much on which days, and more.

We were ambitious!

But we noticed that a weird thing had happened—after having listened to customers to give that initial impetus to build the API, we stopped consulting them completely!  We didn’t know exactly what they wanted from the API—only that they vaguely wanted it—so our plans included building everything to fill this abstract customer need.

We decided to pause and that before we started building it, we would do some research to validate or invalidate our assumptions.  What we learned surprised us and helped us save an incredible amount of development time by focusing API development on exactly what the customer wanted.

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One Month’s Expenses at a Startup


Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.

 Joe Biden

When Everpix shut down and open-sourced their financials, one of the most fascinating and hotly debated points was the company’s expenses.

I thought that adding another data point to the conversation could be interesting to fellow startup folks. Here’s one month of expenses here at iDoneThis, for July 2014. What you see below is taken straight from our bank statement.

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