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Hi! We're DuckDuckGo, the anonymous search engine and we're a distributed team. AUA


by @brianstoner | 5yr  | 16 comments

Hey everyone,

Thanks for having us! Weโ€™re DuckDuckGo, the anonymous search engine that doesnโ€™t track you.

The company was started in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg and has steadily grown to a team of more than 20 people serving over 9 million searches a day.

We have a small headquarters in Paoli, PA, but the majority of our team is distributed around the world. Iโ€™m personally based out of NYC and work on the Front-end of the site.

I should be joined by a few others on the team, including: Zaahir, Doug, Chris, Adam and Jag.

Ask us anything!

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@xiufensilver | 5yr

Thanks everyone for your questions and the DuckDuckGo team for answering them! Weโ€™re closing the AMA now :slight_smile:

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@skatkov | 5yr

Good day,
How did you came up with such a name?:slight_smile:
Iโ€™m very secret about my.personal information, but I still meet people who think that 'if you have something to hide, then you are probably a criminal โ€™ . What is your opinion about such paranoid people as me?:slight_smile: what is your overall opinion on such a pre-judgement?:slight_smile:

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@brianstoner | 5yr

As far as I know the name DuckDuckGo was just something random/memorable/quirky sounding that Gabriel landed upon when he started. Over the years A LOT of people have said that we should change the name, but I think it actually works to our advantage. Weโ€™ve seen people trying it or sharing it just because of the name.

As far as privacy, I canโ€™t speak for everyone else at the company. Personally, I think itโ€™s important that services like DuckDuckGo exist so people have the option of being a little more anonymous online if they choose to do so. Thereโ€™s a lot of perfectly legal reasons why people may choose not to share information about themselves online.

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@fredperrotta | 5yr

Hi DDG Team,

I love DDGโ€™s commitment to privacy. Iโ€™m US citizen and often communication with friends abroad or with friends and family in the US when Iโ€™m traveling. This cross-border communication makes me a target for surveillance. What tools, aside from DDG, do you recommend for travelers who want to protect their privacy?

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@brianstoner | 5yr

Hi Fred,

Thanks for the question. The best thing you can do is try to stay encrypted wherever possible. Some great browser extensions that help are HTTPS Everywhere and PrivacyBadger by the EFF. Another option is using Tor. Also, for messaging you could use a client that supports OTR encryption.

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@fredperrotta | 5yr

Thanks, Brian. Iโ€™ll look into those extensions now.

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@alphonse86 | 5yr

Hi guys,
Thanks for doing this, very cool :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Technical question:
Where are your servers located? How many do you have?
Does the person(s) who mans your physical servers have to stay in one place?

Second non-technical question:
Is it hard to hire a remote engineer who knows how to build a web crawler and search engine?

Thanks again!

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@brianstoner | 5yr

Hey Sean,

Our infrastructure is mostly all on AWS. I think we have some physical servers still at our HQ office, but as far as I know theyโ€™re not used for anything on the production site.

As far as hiring. I think itโ€™s actually easier because the pool of potential candidates is so much bigger when youโ€™re not constrained to a single location.

Thanks for the questions!

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@daniellockyer | 5yr

Awesome, nice to see you guys on here! Iโ€™m a huge fan of DDG, occasional pull requester and solid user of the search engine.

I was just wondering about where to aim to go next (in regards to getting the word out about DDG). Whenever I mention DDG to people they stare at me with blank faces. Have you guys ever thought about sponsoring hackathons? I saw you ran a DuckDuckHack but Iโ€™d love to see your name all over hackathon projects!

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@brianstoner | 5yr

Hey Daniel, thanks for the message! Great to hear youโ€™ve gotten involved with DuckDuckHack. Thatโ€™s a major focus for the company right now. Aside from privacy, Instant Answers are one of our biggest competitive advantages. Weโ€™re working on revamping a lot of the process, trying to make it easier for people to integrate third party APIโ€™s and data sources with DuckDuckGo. There should be a lot more to come there this year.

Hackathons are something we have been experimenting with. I think weโ€™re trying to see if we can scale our involvement in hackathons without sending employees around the world to be physically present at every event. One attempt at this has been working with members of the community and supporting them as they self organize DuckDuckHack events. The first one was one in NYC a few weeks ago, so weโ€™re still early in the experiment, but it seems promising.

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@levelsio | 5yr

Hey Brian and the rest of DDG! Thanks for doing this :smile:

As youโ€™re competing with some of the biggest tech companies in the world, do you consider being a remote startup as an advantage? As theoretically youโ€™d be able to attract more and better talent?

What made you decide to grow the company remotely? Was it an obvious choice?

And whatโ€™s your favorite tools to collaborate together and manage the team? Donโ€™t say Slack :stuck_out_tongue:

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@cainetighe | 5yr

I think being a remote startup can be an advantage, especially when youโ€™re making an international product. We hire from all over the world because we are very picky and want to find people that love our mission, product, and culture. We also hire in a pretty unique fashion. Prospectives write in, contribute to the community, and then are considered for contract work. The best way to think about our team is concentric circles. Even the newest (positive) contributor is a member of the team, all the way to the CEO.

I still donโ€™t think remote is an obvious choice. Remote teams, where critical assets arenโ€™t centralized, are still pretty new. A lot of issues stem from connection fidelity and synchronization. Consider having a team of 5 where 4 people are in a single room, and one dials in on Skype. The telecommuter is intrinsically less connected to the rest of the group. At that point, even though 4 people are in one building, you might want to send everyone back to their desk and telecommute in too. That way everyone is connected at the same fidelity level. To be clear, thatโ€™s not to say being in a room together is better; but that communication needs to be balanced.

Itโ€™s a lot of fun being a part of the paradigm shift though! I hope that helps.

Asana, HipChat, Zoom, GitHub, EC2.

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@adamcochran | 5yr

Hey Lev,

Iโ€™m not sure about Gabrielโ€™s view on if remote is an advantage so I canโ€™t really speak for Duckduckgo as a whole, but, on a personal level I do think it makes a big difference. We attract some great talent that wouldnโ€™t be interested in a regular office job, but we also get a lot of unique viewpoints from around the world.

I think when you hire regionally there is a limit to the number of perspectives that can really be brought to the table, not only due to limitations of culture but also to the limited pool of workplaces. For example if your office is in a town that is mostly in the oil industry and most of your hires come from that culture then youโ€™ll have a skewed area of expertise. At Duckduckgo we donโ€™t have that issue as much and for a small team thatโ€™s really rare!

As for favorite tools, I really like Asana (or rather Iโ€™ve grown to love it after a period of despising it) and Iโ€™m quite a fan of Zoom which is a video call collaboration tool. Itโ€™s quite effective for multi-person video calls and I donโ€™t face the same lag issues I normally do with Skype!

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@adamcochran | 5yr

Hey folks Adam here!

As one of the newest members of the team Iโ€™ve very recently went through the process of adjusting to the scheduleโ€ฆ Or rather lack there of!

Working in business development there are times when I have to be on a specific call but ultimately you work in time frames that make the most sense for you.

Flexibility is interesting. You have the freedom to go for a mid-morning jog and its up to you to schedule a strategy that allows you to succeed - I think at the end of the day it boils down to the fact that when working remotely you have to really have a passion for what you do. I have a hunch that many of us work a little more than we would at a 9-5 office just because we love what we do.

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@xiufensilver | 5yr

Hey Brian, thanks for answering questions! I have a question about remote working for you and your team - are your schedules regular or flexible? Some of us took months to figure out and adjust to a daily routine that works. Any tips on productivity?

Second question about DuckDuckGo - have you guys met in person and will you be planning any team retreats in future? Do you think retreats are nice but perhaps not neccessary given that we already have various remote tools like videoconferencing? (I personally think theyโ€™re great but I wonder if the cost might end up negating the cost savings/benefits of forming a remote team.)

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@brianstoner | 5yr

Hey Xiufen!

  1. Our schedules are pretty flexible. Whenever weโ€™re working we tend to be in HipChat, so over time you get a feel for everyoneโ€™s schedules and routines via their HipChat status. A majority of our discussions happen asynchronously though in Asana and Github. Then the more involved threads bubble up into video calls. But overall each person has a lot of flexibility to create a routine that works best for them. I personally find Iโ€™m more productive when I donโ€™t have a routine. Sometimes Iโ€™m up at 6AM working and other days Iโ€™m sleeping in until 10AM and working until midnight. It probably drives other people on the team crazy :).

  2. We actually have a company retreat next week! Most of the team is heading to HQ in Paoli, PA! We try to do them once a year. I personally really like them. We do a lot of video conferencing too, but I think it really helps to get to know the people youโ€™re working with outside of that 3-inch square on your laptop.

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Read and participate in 13,969 discussions on Nomad List

Suggested topics

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What are some nice French beach towns?

 

in France by @amin | 1d 1 day ago | 0 comments

I'm thinking to head over to France during the winter and I'm looking for recommendations on a good French town that has beach and is warm enough during the winter.

What are your favourites? Any recommendation is appreciated.

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What is the best online insurance for digital nomads ?


by @berberos | 1d 1 day ago | 4 comments

Hi guys ! hope you are doing well.

I would love to get your feedback regarding the best insurance for digital nomads. i'm traveling around Asia since 1 year and for next 4 or 5 years. Would love to buy an insurance to cover especially :

- health

- laptop, phone ...

- Flights

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Driving from Italy to Croatia..how to handle passport?


in Croatia by @ld | 8d 8 days ago | 3 comments

Hello, we are US citizens that have been able to stay in Italy past our standard visa stay due to covid. Now we must leave. We want to drive to Croatia as our โ€œout of EUโ€ stay. But Iโ€™m now wondering what considerations I need to take care of for my visa. I wonโ€™t go through an airport and get my passport stamped. But I assume I need to get my passport stamped as a way to prove Iโ€™m out of the EU.

Anyone else travel in and out of Schengen zone via car? Or know what I should do to properly handle the visa situation? I get unclear answers online. Hmm.

Appreciate your help!

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Introduce yourself โ€” who are you, where are you and what do you do?

 

by @coffeeshopceo | 13d 12 days ago | 672 comments

tl;dr: introduce yourself in this thread.

We must all get sick of the same backpacker travel questions when we meet new friends, I know I do.

You know the ones - where are you from, whereโ€™ve you been, where are you going, what do you do, how long have you been doing it - etc.

The novelty of answering these questions wears off after maybe a week, but theyโ€™re nonetheless insightful and no matter how much we hate them, we find ourselves asking others.

So letโ€™s bring the dreaded backpacker questionnaire to NomadForum and introduce ourselves shall we?

**

  • whatโ€™s your name?
  • where are you from?
  • how long have you been away from home?
  • what do you do?
  • where are you currently?
  • where are you going?
  • what has been memorable for you so far?
  • will you go home anytime soon?
  • what have you learnt during your time as a nomad?
  • [insert your own question here]

**

No need to answer them all if you donโ€™t want to :smile:
But the more you shareโ€ฆ The merrier!

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Best/quickest way from Italy to Croatia?


in Croatia by @ld | 14d 14 days ago | 3 comments

Hello,

We are in Umbria until August 31. We've been here since March, but crisis-level visa extensions are over. After that we have to leave the EU. We would like to stay out of the USA (our home) due to it's covid crisis, at the same time we want to be responsible about travel. Ideally we would not travel at all, rather stay hidden in the countryside of Umbria forever until covid is more under control globally, but here we are!

So we must leave the Schengen zone. We should avoid USA. We should avoid long air travel.

We were thinking Croatia.

Do you recommend a route to Croatia? We are open to long train rides. Ideally not long ferry rides. Is there a ferry route under 4 hours? I read about it...I don't see it. If not, the other option is to make our way north and up over to Croatia via train.

I'd appreciate your thoughts and insights!

Thanks.

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


by @beloruchka | 19d 18 days ago | 6 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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Anybody bring their car to Mexico instead of flying?


in Mexico by @digitaldiva | 19d 18 days ago | 1 comment

Iโ€™m curious whether anyone drove to Mexico instead of flying and used their car down there. Iโ€™ve heard bad stories of people driving down there but not sure I believe them. How safe is it to drive through rural areas, and to park in cities? It would be cool to have the car to explore while there.

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Did you learn any Thai before staying in Chiang Mai?


in Chiang Mai, Thailand by @digitaldiva | 19d 19 days ago | 0 comments

Iโ€™m curious to know how many people learned some Thai before going there. Learning languages is a hobby of mine but Iโ€™m very put off by how complex the writing system is, and if I decide not to learn it Iโ€™ll probably cross Chiang Mai off my bucket list. I prefer to be at least conversational in a language before I do an extended stay in a country. Iโ€™m curious how people who learned no Thai did getting by. And Iโ€™m curious, from people who did learn some, if itโ€™s any easier than it seems? Thanks!

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What age did you start out and went location independent?


by @raynesio | 22d 21 days ago | 11 comments

Eager to find out what age most start out as a DN? (Me)โ€ฆ 27 and just started out in the last 6 months or so. Not presently 100% location independent, probably more like 90% as still required to visit the office from time to time

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How to get SMS verifications for banks while traveling?

 

by @jackgopack | 24d 23 days ago | 39 comments

Any suggestions for seamlessly receiving SMS Verifications from US financial institutions and other sites while traveling internationally continuously? Wonโ€™t keep my US Verizon account due to cost and currently plan to use local sims at each destination (T-Mobile and Project Fi are NOT an option as they terminate for continuous roaming). In summation, I wonโ€™t have a US mobile account.

Unless Iโ€™m missing something, which is very possible, this appears to be the single most complex issue Iโ€™ve encountered in my preparations, and one that no one addresses. I would greatly appreciate any possible solution that works 100% of the time. Canโ€™t afford surprises in this regard. Many Thanks! Jack.

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Hi, can anyone recommend nice kid-friendly neighborhoods in armenia, colombia? we're scouting it out this week. thanks


by @livefencefree | 4yr 3 years ago | 0 comments

hi, any here with experience in armenia? weโ€™re considering a move there and looking for good neighborhoods to look at this week. thanks!

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What are some fun games for distributed teams?


by @que | 4yr 4 years ago | 1 comment

Has any played any fun games with their distributed teams? I need to find a game that I can play with my new team to celebrate the completion of a project. I was thinking something like a collaborative version of jib jab (http://www.jibjab.com/). Does anyone know of any?

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We're starting a coworking and coliving space in India. Can you help us validate it?


in India by @anugrah_sharma | 5yr 4 years ago | 12 comments

We are starting a co-working and co-living space (something like hubud) in Dharamshala, India; I would like to ask couple of questions to validate the concept:-

  1. Would you consider living in India for a while?

  2. We will be charging around 500 USD, which will cover everything including food,laundry,basic bed room and a beautiful working space. How willing are you to pay this amount?

  3. Have any advice for us? Do share.

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Can you name companies (5+ employees) with distributed/nomadic teams?


by @ggeorgiev | 5yr 4 years ago | 12 comments

So far I have:
Buffer, Toptal, Maptia & Upworthy - fully nomadic, the employees & founders are always on the go

Basecamp, GitHub, Mozilla - known for their distributed teams and mobility but majority of workforce still in HQ

Can you help me find more? I am doing research for digital nomads infographic.

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Hi, we are Coboat, an 82ft coworking catamaran sailing the world. AUA!


by @james | 5yr 4 years ago | 15 comments

Hi we are Coboat, a floating coworking space. We will take our custom 82ft catamaran around the world and offer a platform for a mix of digital nomads and entrepreneurs to come on board to work and collaborate together.

We have the latest in green energy technology and will utilise the latest in satellite internet, 3G & 4G to stay connected and online.

We offer trips from one week to one year and we will take up to 20 together on a creative adventure to amazing places to find inspiration.

Like most other coworking spaces we will offer plenty of chances to encourage synergies, with regular events, skill & idea sharing sessions.

We are non-profit and we hope to foster and develop ideas for social projects as we travel through regions.

We are also running a free 100 day scholarship โ€˜Made on Coboatโ€™ for anyone who wants to kick-start a new project.

Please, ask us anything. :smile:

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Hi! Weโ€™re Toptal, we help developers get jobs they can do from anywhere. AUA!

 

by @breanden | 5yr 5 years ago | 23 comments

Hi everyone,

My name is Breanden Beneschott, and Iโ€™m a Co-founder and the COO at Toptal.

At Toptal, we help developers get work they can do from anywhere.

As a digital nomad, Iโ€™ve lived and worked remotely in >30 countries since I finished school four years ago. Iโ€™ve been building Toptal. Toptal is a private network of awesome freelance software engineers, and companies hire us to build cool stuff. We are also an a16z-backed company in growth mode, and this year weโ€™ll hit about $80 million in recurring sales. Although our network has grown to thousands of people, Toptal doesnโ€™t have any offices. We operate from more than 93 countries, and since we encourage everyone to travel, a lot of us are digital nomads.

Last year, I wrote a post on Tim Ferrissโ€™s blog about how to travel as a founder/engineer that has some tips Iโ€™ve learned that you might find helpful: http://fourhourworkweek.com/2014/10/04/how-to-travel-to-20-countries-and-build-a-massive-business-in-the-process/

If you want to know more about Toptal (our developer community, how we travel, how we operate) or you just want to pick my brain, Iโ€™ll be happy to help where I can!

Thanks,
Breanden

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We're organizing a Nomad House in Bali! Sign up here

 

by @atu | 5yr 5 years ago | 27 comments

Sign up for Nomad House Bali here

Hi nomads,

As you can see a new movement in this revolution is coming out. Please make some noise for Project Bali. Like @nomadicpad said in the Project Austin, is a project about bringing 5 like-minded people together in order to create an inspirational, motivational and recreational house. You will learn from different skillsets and stay on the success track.

First of all, Iโ€™m looking for 3 nomads who want to experiment that in Ubud. Second step is to find a house and get in. If you guys are looking for an amazing experience letโ€™s apply here.

Feel free to add anything.

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Hi! We're Hacker Paradise, a traveling community of creatives. AUA!


by @alexeymk | 5yr 5 years ago | 11 comments

Hi! Weโ€™re Hacker Paradise, a traveling community of developers, designers, and other creative types. It was started by us two, Alexey and Casey.

Hereโ€™s the short pitch we give from our website:

Travel the world, get work done, grow personally & professionally, and be part of a tight-knit community of passionate and intellectually curious people.

You bring yourself, a project to work on, and a positive attitude.

We facilitate a tight-knit, creative community, organize a curated list of awesome places to visit, and provide a high-productivity workspace.

Last year we did Costa Rica, this year weโ€™ve done SE Asia (Thailand, Bali and Vietnam) and this Monday weโ€™re launching our first Europe trip, landing in Tallinn, Estonia.

Iโ€™m happy to answer questions about anything Hacker Paradise related - how and whywe got started, what the trips are like, the business side of things, and which one of us has a cheesier sense of humor (hint: itโ€™s Casey).

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Hi. We're Teleport, building software for startup people to discover and budget your next move. AUA!


by @sten | 5yr 5 years ago | 13 comments

Hi, I am Sten, co-founder & CEO of Teleport. We build software for startup people on the move. We have released Teleport for Startup Cities, Bay Area Teleport and Teleport Flock to date.

Moving ourselves and our families around the globe we have become all too familiar with the hassles this lifestyle brings. Figuring out where to stay, what to expect, where to pay taxes or which visa to get. Rinse and repeat.

We mapped out hundreds of relocation nuisances we could fix with software. Once these get solved millions of people like us could benefit. So there was no choice but to start this company.

Over the last decade most of our team were busy building Skype which turned out to be quite effective making the world smaller in the metaphorical sense. We believe we can now rearrange the human population physically as well.

Iโ€™m joined here with my co-founder @keskkyla and possibly other members of our 9-people-across-6-countries team โ€“ depending on what you guys want to know.

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


by @tommoor | 5yr 5 years ago | 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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