Episode #42: Chad Fowler of LivingSocial

Episode #42: Chad Fowler of LivingSocial

Jul 25, 12 • In Featured, Interviews, Podcast

Chad Fowler, of LivingSocial, talks about his background working in and managing widely distributed teams, why people should be allowed to work from home, and the best ways for people who want to work remotely to get into the business.


Show Notes:

Twitter: @chadfowler

01:18 – Chad Fowler Introduction & Background

  • Author of the Passionate Programmer and Rails Recipes
  • Organizer of RubyConf and RailsConf
  • SVP of Technology at LivingSocial

01:50 – Experience with remote work

  • Off-shore team setups
  • Off-shore insourcing arrangement
  • Consulting arrangements
  • Widely distributed teams at LivingSocial

03:55 – Off-shore experiences

  • Extreme programming
  • Turnover
  • Confirming something is actually done & finished

12:05 – Psychological aspect of being a developer

  • Isolation from other developers

13:20 – LivingSocial

  • Wasn’t widely distributed before
  • Goal: to create a culture open to distributed teams

15:15 – Challenges in creating a distributed environment

  • Large teams and large companies typically are not good to work for
  • Overhead
  • Multiple personalities
  • Making a large team still feel like a small one
  • Create a collection of small teams: “start-up within a start-up”

18:44 – Every team operates differently

  • Team gelling/team dynamics
  • Bonding while collaborating
  • Creating comradery

22:10 – Team choices

  • No two people working on the same thing within one office

26:00 – Forming a distributed team

  • Sharing information
  • Technology is important
  • If possible, don’t have a room with multiple people in it
  • Mind timezones
  • Work from home regularly; force people to not come into the office

33:40 – Why let people work from home?

  • You don’t want to be limited to one area in terms of “types” of employees
  • The lifestyle of those working from home is generally healthy
  • Offices restrict you schedule-wise
  • A happier, more productive “me”

38:25 – Some people just can’t work from home

  • Staying focused can be an issue
  • Presence
  • Staying passionate

43:45 – How can somebody find remote work?

  • Create a presence
  • Become a part of the online/tech scene
  • References
  • Networking
  • Writing books/blogs
  • Speaking at conferences
  • Organizing conferences
  • Be an online extrovert
  • Helping others

49:20 – Remote pair programming

  • Open-source code
  • An avenue for becoming known


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2 Responses to Episode #42: Chad Fowler of LivingSocial

  1. […] when CEO Marissa Mayer demanded all remote employees come back to the office. LivingSocial has promoted a distributed team environment under the leadership of now-departed SVP of Technology Chad Fowler. The poster children for […]

  2. […] Wide Teams Episode #42: Chad Fowler of LivingSocial […]

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