It has become increasingly common for technology companies to run as Fully Distributed teams. That is, teams that collaborate primarily over the web rather than using informal, face-to-face communication as the main means of collaborating.
This has only become viable recently due to a mix of factors, including:
- the rise of “cloud” collaboration services (aka “web 2.0” software) as exemplified by Google Apps, Dropbox, and SalesForce
- the wide availability of high-speed broadband in homes that rivals office Internet connections (e.g. home cable and fiber)
- real-time text, audio and video communication platforms such as IRC, Google Talk, and Skype
Thanks to these factors, we can now run Fully Distributed teams without a loss in general productivity for many (though not all) roles.
In my mind, there are three models for scaling number of employees in a growing company in the wild today. These are:
Continue reading Fully Distributed Teams: are they viable?
Last week, I decided to give myself the present of a 512GB SSD drive, which was available at a nearly 25% discount on NewEgg for a limited time.
The price-per-gigabyte for SSDs has finally fallen to nearly $1/GB, and the rewrite cycle problems that used to afflict these drives is now becoming a non-issue with the Linux kernel’s TRIM implementation and the updated firmware on these drives.
So, I took the plunge. My main development workstation was a Thinkpad T400, maxed out to 8GB of RAM, and with dual 500GB platter drives (via Thinkpad’s excellent Ultrabay extension). I was running Ubuntu 10.10 for a long time. I timed the SSD purchase with the release of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS — 10.10 no longer being supported, I figured I’d do a clean install on the new SSD and clean up my development workstation for the first time in a couple of years.
A couple of things occurred to me in this process. First of all, since 2009, I have moved more and more of my data into cloud services. I have moved the lion’s share of my “business and personal documents”, including photos, into Dropbox with my 50GB account. And I have moved my truly old files and digital keepsakes into NAS drives that I host in my little server room at home.
Continue reading Speed and lightness