From dial-up to always on: remote work works

There was remote work before there was dial-up. If you haven’t heard the sound in a while, I highly recommend it. Make your kids listen to it. They won’t believe how we lived let alone worked.

Oh. Em. Gee.

Remote teams can do amazing things and the impact is broad. Not everyone is suited for this kind of responsibility nor is every company or organization equipped to manage remote work. There is a lot of adulting necessary.

In 1998 the word adulting didn’t exist. A few years earlier I’d taught myself how to code, then I went to business school and after a disastrous year working in a somewhat unstable place (there was a lot of yelling), I found Fielding – a distanced-based graduate school – founded in 1974. It was ahead of its time. I sound like a commercial. I learned there that there was evidence that remote teamwork can:

  • Lower costs
  • Decrease friction
  • Improve productivity
  • Increase human connection
  • Create enviable organizational culture

All that before high speed internet.

In 2002 I wrote a chapter for a book called the “Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning“. Since it’s a bit outdated, there is more insight from these guys:

  • Jason Fried, Rework, Remote: Office Not Required and It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work
  • Tim Baran, Working Remotely
  • Scott Berkun, The Year Without Pants

(No, I don’t get anything for promoting them).

At Fielding, there were students and faculty all over the mainland US. The school was a one-of-a-kind, focused on adult and mid-career learners. I liked that. I also liked that I could help connect everyone involved and expand those connections because of the web.

Working there and with people all over the country wasn’t any harder than any other work environment I’d experienced. In fact, it was liberating. I thrived.

Distributed or online work is not new. It could help save the planet and clean up some of the mess out there in the interwebs. If real people work together from real places and get things accomplished no matter what time zone or continent or community, the world could get a lot better.

Pass through or pass-through

Apostrophes, hyphens and dashes. Oh man.

The internet has made things better: I can look up how to deal with these things when I don’t feel like making my brain do more.

The internet has made things worse: I can spend half a meeting discussing why it is important to be consistent throughout a digital footprint.

Login or Log In? Noun. Verb. Yes. Same thing with pass through and pass-through.

While this post may look like a complaint about grammar, it’s actually a note to all those independent contractors and sole proprietors out there. Create a Limited Liability Corporation. It costs some money but it is worth it because . . . taxes.

A deduction of 20% of net income for many pass-through business owners can lower the top rate to 29.6% from 37%.

Whether it’s pass-through or pass through, The Free Range Group will work with you to figure it out.

Photo website. . .

While I was transitioning from one revenue steam to another last year – and doing as much as possible to help Vieques, PR deal with life post the nasty 2018 hurricane season – I set up a site for selling photos. To me, it never got finished but, it’s good enough so I’m not messing with it anymore (for now).

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.

~ Ansel Adams

There is still money to be raised for the Vieques Humane Society and I need to get the photos out of here so I’m having an inventory reduction sale.

For the few of you who read this and use the photo site, if you run into issues, you know how to find me!

The basics of management

I borrowed four of the five of these from a woman with whom I had the privilege of working several years ago. Project management. Design processes. Digital or analog. Frameworks are a good thing. SDLC. SAFe. Lean. PMP. Here are the five D’s

  1. Define
  2. Discover
  3. Design
  4. Develop
  5. Deploy

Management of all types, general, project, product, program or otherwise, needs to have good frameworks, too. I carry these five R’s around:

  1. Roles
  2. Rules
  3. Responsibilities
  4. Recognition
  5. Rewards

A little structure goes a long way. For good measure, here are the three W’s of project management basics:

Who is doing What by When

These don’t replace the PMP’s or the MBA’s or the CFP’s or the other credentials, they complement all of those.