Commuting, inefficiency and working from the beach


This weeks Startup Edition asks the brilliant, open-ended question "why are you working on your startup?". It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of building a new company I thought this would be a great chance to pause and reflect, what brought me here and why is this so important?

The startup I'm working on is called Sqwiggle, we've taken to calling it your office in the cloud - a place where remote and distributed teams can feel as connected and together as a real world office.

Connecting the dots backwards it is easy for me to see a pattern of factors in my life that have led up to building this company and mission.

I've always been drawn to the idea of working without a fixed location and being tied to a desk was one of the reasons that I left my previous career in architecture. Once we really took the plunge at Buffer by moving to Hong Kong, I knew that this was a way I could enjoy working for a long time (although, fixing bugs from the beach can be both awesome and a burden!).

One of my character traits is a sensitivity to inefficiency - I take shortcuts, jaywalk, multitask, answer emails whilst... well, doing anything and do my upmost to get as much productivity as possible out of every moment! One of the biggest and most frustrating examples of inefficiencies in the world is the life of a typical knowledge worker.

They sleep at home, have breakfast, catch a moment with the kids(?) and then head out the door - commute to work, sometimes taking an hour or more and sit for 8 hours in a drab, uninspiring office building in front of a computer that's probably slower and older than the one they have at home. Then they travel home in the same traffic, catch a moment with the kids before they sleep and repeat. This system wastes untold amounts of energy and time in an age when we're desperately short on both.

To me this is one of the biggest opportunities for revolution in business today. The technology is there, but the tools and attitudes to working remotely have not caught up. I have a passion for building things that make peoples lives better and what better way to do that than improving the way they work?

Last week we had the greatest email from one of our customers. They said they were considering moving house to a different town that they would enjoy more now they were using Sqwiggle at their company.

Notes like this are why I can't wait to wake up and work on Sqwiggle every day.

Photo by Ashley Campbell