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Hey! We're Sqwiggle, we're a remote team building tools for remote teams - AUA!


by @tommoor | 6yr  | 14 comments

Hey everyone,

Weโ€™re the team behind Sqwiggle - a tool for remote teams to stay in touch through instant video and presence. Weโ€™re super passionate about remote working - currently the team is in San Francisco, Baltimore and England but we all travel a lot.

We have just started working on a new app called Speak.io (weโ€™re recruiting beta testers!) which deeply integrates into the Mac desktop to provide audio and presence (a bit of a pivot in startup terminology :wink: ) - again weโ€™re focused on distributed teams.

Today Iโ€™m joined by Eric, Luke and Will - the team building Speak.

Ask us anything!

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@xiufensilver | 6yr

Weโ€™re closing the AMA now, thanks Sqwiggle for taking the time to answer our questions :slight_smile:

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@marinajaneiko | 6yr

Hey guys, thanks for participating!

  1. How do you go about testing your products with larger remote working audiences? Do you have a community of remote working beta testers?

  2. What team structure/what roles do you have and what structure do you think works the best for a distributed team (if it matters at all)?

Thanks!

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@eric_bieller | 6yr

Our pleasure! We have a decently sized list of beta testers. Plus weโ€™ve met many great remote teams over the years, and luckily they are usually open to being our guinea pigs :smile:

Personally I feel itโ€™s less about roles / structure and more about building a team of self managers. They also need to be super psyched about what they are working on. Buffer employs this technique to a greater extreme than us, hereโ€™s a great writeup on that https://open.bufferapp.com/decision-maker-no-managers-experiment/

More specifically, I believe sales, marketing, design, dev, etc can all be done remote as well as in an office. Itโ€™s true that some things are inherently easier when youโ€™re all sitting around a table, but there are tons of great ways to collaborate remotely that make it less of an issue.

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@marinajaneiko | 6yr

Thanks! How about specific roles such as developers, designers, etc. - is working with โ€œunicornsโ€ easier while being remote or having separate specialists (e.g. a front end, a backend, a UX designer, a UI/visual designer, etc.) can work in remote settings too?

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@awsmsrc | 6yr

hey @marinajaneiko from the perspective of a developer. I find it really helpful to have crossover but to have a main focus. Iโ€™m in a different timezone to the rest of the team so it helps with self management to know which issues fall into my domain.

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@rad4ever | 6yr

Hey Tom, Eric and the rest of the team! Thanks for doing this AMA :smile:

What is your plan with Speak?

How do you feel Slackโ€™s explosion into collab software has changed the market? How are you changing the product you offer because of this?

How do you see virtual reality change remote collaboration? TopTal just did a test with the Oculus. Are you planning making anything in this?

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@tommoor | 6yr

Hey Pieter!

Our plan with Speak is really to take all of the lessons that weโ€™ve learnt from Sqwiggle and distill them down into a new product and architecture. A couple of key points:

  • Stability, reliability and speed of platform #1 priority.
  • More passive, integrated into your desktop and workflow (weโ€™ll work in harmony with other tools such as Hipchat and Slack)
  • Still allow for instant one-click communication, but also have great privacy controls and fallbacks for those that donโ€™t need it
  • Audio first, video second

Slackโ€™s success has definitely shook up the market a lot and I think one of the things we realised is that we donโ€™t neccessarily need to build another chat client to still have a really compelling product - itโ€™s probably better to work with whichever clients your team is already using :slight_smile:

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@awsmsrc | 6yr

Iโ€™ll leave this one to the founders but I wouldnโ€™t mind an oculus for r+d @tommoor :wink:

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@jonbstrong | 6yr

Hey @tommoor , thanks for doing this AUA!
Do you guys work as a distributed team yourselves? And what other tools do you use as a team?

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@tommoor | 6yr

Absolutely, we do work as a distributed team - we consider this important as itโ€™s the best way to dogfood the product! Only me and Eric are currently in the same city and we donโ€™t have an office here eitherโ€ฆ (we tend to meet in coffee shops a few times a week)

Some other tools we use, kind of in order of how muchโ€ฆ

  • Sqwiggle/Speak (for all our audio/video needs)
  • GitHub
  • Google Docs (product planning etc)
  • Trello
  • Sketch
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@tyvdh | 6yr

How important is non work related activities to you all. What do you do to encourage unification in the team outside of work. Especially between people who may not necessarily work together very closely. i.e. design and backend.

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@eric_bieller | 6yr

Hey @tyvdh,

Thanks for the question. They are really important! But obviously tough when on a remote team. We have quite a few impromptu chill sessions using our product actually. In the past weโ€™ve also had weekly meetings where the goal is to just chit chat and goof around. Always a great team builder, especially for those who donโ€™t get to converse as often.

We also come together in person from time to time, great to work together IRL. Weโ€™ve went on a few trips together too which has definitely brought us closer.

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@tommoor | 6yr

This is what our retreat (in Tahoe, CA) last year was likeโ€ฆ :smile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1Q6i-ANtAs

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@awsmsrc | 6yr

hey @tyvdh, non work related activities are super important. Its interesting you mention the disconnect between front and backend teams. @Eric_Bieller often works on front end and I often work on the backend and thus we often want things from each other that the other doesnโ€™t like doing (think fancy forms ;)).

Simply hanging out and having fun reminds you that your a team with a unified goal and can make you enjoy doing the things that normally arenโ€™t your favorite. It allows you to discuss the bigger picture with some perspective.

It also helps you put culture/language quirks into context. Now weโ€™ve heard our little phrases in person its a lot easier to translate the intent of a statement in text chat, which is often lost in translation!

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Read and participate in 14,017 discussions on Nomad List

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Where should I set up my company as a remote worker?


by @beloruchka | 3d 2 days ago | 7 comments

Iโ€™m looking for any recommendations for services or people others have used to get answers on the best place to set up their businesses based on their personal circumstances.

Leaning towards Singapore after a ton of research, but would really like some concrete advice before jumping in.

Appreciate it!

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Where do I get good legal advice/support to have a long-term stay?


in Lisbon, Portugal by @mzorrilla | 1mo 1 month ago | 1 comment

Hello, everyone!

My idea is to stay as low as 6 months and as long as a year (maybe, who knows) over Lisbon after doing some analysis from many cities in Europe.

I'm an Argentinian and Chilean (both nationalities) so... no Euro-pass for me (getting my Italian nationality could take 2 years easily). I'm also a remote worker and I have a really good income (I work for a Silicon Valley company) so I can show more than enough resources to stay in the country.

Everything I see online doesn't inspire me much confidence (most sites looks a bit scammy) and this is not a "vacation stay"... I want to be clear my head far away from Argentina right now. If someone has a good website, recommendations, etc I will super appreciate.

Thanks in advance!

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Do you prefer co-living spaces or hostels or Airbnbs?


by @davda1546 | 3mo 2 months ago | 5 comments

We are hoping to become nomads soon and have booked an AirBnB in September in Goa for our first destination. We are considering what would be the best option for accommodation after that. We are trying to decide between co-living spaces, hostels, or Airbnbs.

What are your experiences of accommodation in terms of the following: reliable wifi, social aspect, pricing, cleanliness, cooking facilities?

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Can Americans with EU Passports Travel to EU during COVID-19?


in France by @fqlx | 3mo 2 months ago | 1 comment

I'm a dual citizen of America and France with my resident based in the America. Can I travel to the EU using my French passport?

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Bali to focus on attracting remote workers when the island reopens for tourism


by @rad4ever | 3mo 3 months ago | 0 comments

When reopening for tourism, Bali says it will focus on attracting remote workers to choose the island as their workplace:

"We will focus on a new pattern of how Bali is not just for leisure, but indeed to work in Bali as well"

thebalisun.com/bali-tourism-will-target-digital-nomads-and-those-who-work-online/

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Any attorneys working remotely?


by @rohitsn | 3mo 3 months ago | 3 comments

Transactional Attorney with a focus on US Immigration. Burnt out doing the law firm thing. Trying to leverage skill to get on this digital nomad tip. Love the traveling experience, hostels, seeing new places, new cocktails etc etc.

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What do you use to work together remotely?


by @artofwarbiz | 5mo 5 months ago | 6 comments

What do you use to work together remotely with your team?

I know Slack, Hipchat and Hall.

Which ones do you guys use and why?

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What have been your biggest challenges working remotely in your team?


by @wanderer | 5mo 5 months ago | 2 comments

My interest in DN lifestyle started when half of our company have been taking 1 month for remote work @ Ko Samui. It was truly cool but we observed quite some communication challenges. Communication seemed just โ€œriskierโ€ when online.

What were your worst situations caused by misunderstanding while communicating online with your teammates? What do you do to avoid misunderstandings?

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Has anyone created a list of co-living spaces around the world?


by @keegansard | 7mo 7 months ago | 4 comments

Iโ€™m a big believer in co-living but Iโ€™m finding hard to find all the options available in different cities.

I have found the major players like Roam, The Collective, and WeLive but havenโ€™t found many others.

Has anyone seen a list or should I start making one?

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What investment options are open to e-resident?


by @64tankman | 7mo 7 months ago | 1 comment

I know from experience that if you have residential status in countries where IG (a broker) serves, you can buy stocks and other assets through this broker. But I wonder what doors to the stock market, asset market or broker can be unlocked with e-residency? Some banks open a terminal for customers to buy assets overseas too, is one of the e-residency friendly bank offering a good portfolio of assets to invest in?

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My first time nomad-ing... Spain or Portugal?


in Portugal by @jasraj | 8mo 8 months ago | 6 comments

Hey everyone,

Iโ€™m a freelance + nomad newbie, off for my 1st proper trip in May. Iโ€™m wanting to spend a month somewhere and go from there.

I just came back from Slovenia/Ljubljana and loved it there (just a week). I donโ€™t mind โ€œsleepierโ€ places par-say, as long as theyโ€™re close to a beach or nature of some kind. In fact, I kinda like places less-busy and a bit smaller/cosier.

Iโ€™m been swaying towards Porto, but have been impressed by the rave reviews Iโ€™ve seen for Valencia.

-> Have you every nomad-ed in a Spanish/Portuguese city? Iโ€™d love to know where and what you liked/disliked :slight_smile:

Thanks! :slight_smile:

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Warm and dry place - June to November


by @nomadsince2010 | 8mo 8 months ago | 4 comments

I have been doing Southeast Asia during June to November for 11 years. Rainy, Typhoons - is wild - still warm but ya - getting older so not as into that. Where can go is warm and dry - not super hot like Vegas but warm and has to be DRY. Good Internet and affordable. Ty

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Central America - Where and what's next?


by @as11 | 9mo 8 months ago | 11 comments

Currently in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and heading to Santa Teressa, Costa Rica next week.
Then Aruba in the Caribbean Sea for Christmas and New Year.

However I feel I want to head back to Central America to bring living costs down, rather than staying in the Caribbean Sea among the expensive Islands.

This means I have around 2 - 2,5 month of unplanned travelling.
Any digital nomads who have ideas about where to head in that timeframe?

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What's the first step now that I can work remotely?


by @mariaplslourdes | 12mo 11 months ago | 4 comments

Hi everyone and nice to e-meet you!
finally, after so long I found a job that allows me to work remotely.
But now? Do you have any practical advice that I can use to approach this new world?
In particular, I have to put my tax situation in order, do you know a good tax advisor from whom I can ask for advice? (Iโ€™m Italian but I live in Franceโ€ฆI donโ€™t know how long it will beโ€ฆ) )
Beyond that, any advice is welcome.
Thank you!
Maria

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Where to move for tax purposes as a non-US citizen?


by @mender | 1yr 1 year ago | 5 comments

I am a New Zealander looking to travel for a couple of years in different countries. For this purpose I would ideally like to shift my company to a lower tax territory where I will live part time, as I am currently taxed at roughly 33% in New Zealand, however itโ€™s closer to 40% when I add in all the hidden taxes.

With a move I wonโ€™t be living in NZ so Iโ€™ll no longer be obliged to pay any tax after 320 days.

I ideally would wish to be a tax resident of the country I incorporate in. What country is easiest to do this through? A large chunk of my business relies on PayPal which requires your bank account to be from the same country your company is registered. Thus I canโ€™t do anything such as BVI or small islands.

Tbh my best bet looks to be Dubai Free Zones at this point and I can do some travel in europe from there.

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What is your ergonomic set-up while traveling?


by @caseyr | 1yr 1 year ago | 18 comments

What is your ergonomic set-up while traveling?

I personally have an external keyboard, and am currently exploring getting a laptop stand, some lumbar support, and a trackball-mouse.

What do you use? How are you balancing health / portability?

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Property Ownership - should digital nomads buy properties?


by @sparrow_23 | 1yr 1 year ago | 16 comments

I have been a digital nomad for the last couple of years. I have always worked in tech and now run a couple of profitable online businesses that give me a reliable income and allow me to fund a nomadic lifestyle.

I recently exited one of my businesses and I am considering to invest the income from the sale in properties, mainly for 2 reasons:

a) I donโ€™t want to keep wasting my money in renting apartments across the cities I stay

b) I believe in properties as investment and I want to diversify my investment portfolio (mainly stocks)

After years of constant wander from one place to another, now I am the type of digital nomad who sticks to few locations: I mainly rotate across 4 places each year (San Francisco, Medellin, Berlin, Bali). Buying a house in each of those location would be difficult and too expensive. Therefore, I was wondering if there was any sort of service that combines an investment opportunity with the ability to access different properties around the world (even if just for a limited time per year) ?

Imagine living in 4 cities per year and having a house in each place that you can exclusively use for 3 months and at the same time having your investment growing (this depending on the market, of course). Wouldnโ€™t that be great? I believe it could be done via a property fund selling you a share and giving you access to some of their properties for a limited timeframe each year.

Has anyone heard of anything like that?

Thanks!

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Any Estonia e-residency company viritual office provider that accepts cryptocurrency?


in Estonia by @64tankman | 1yr 1 year ago | 0 comments

I previously use Profia. Contract is ending and I want to have someone who accepts crypto payment instead.

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Recommendations for UK/Scotland accountants that understand remote businesses?


by @eduardoyi | 1yr 1 year ago | 1 comment

Looking for recommendations for reliable accountants who understand how remote businesses with off-shore freelancers and clients work. Thanks!

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Ko Lanta or Ko Phangan - which island is better for a digital nomad?


in Ko Lanta, Thailand by @melinda | 1yr 1 year ago | 6 comments

Iโ€™m currently in Penang, Malaysia and I was thinking to head to Thailand next. What are the best islands in Thailand to get some work done? I was considering either Ko Lanta or Ko Phangan because those both islands have coworking spaces. I might need to take some client calls, also video. Is the wifi good enough? Are there any other differences between the islands?

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