May 10, 2021
When I first joined Cribl late last summer, I remember hearing about how it was a remote-first company and thinking to myself, “Well that sounds nice.” 20 years into a career in tech, I am used to working from a combination of formal offices, airplanes, and hotel rooms, and of course had just spent the first half of the year working remotely like the rest of the world. I really didn’t spend much time thinking about it at all, to be honest. The idea of continuing my no-commute life seemed like an awesome perk, and so instead I concentrated on all the ways to grow a marketing team and pipeline.
My first major focus was to start assembling a team of rockstars at Cribl. I realized pretty quickly that I had always built remote-friendly teams. It is wonderful to be able to find the best human for the job and hire that person, regardless of whether s/he is geographically co-located with an office or simply a road warrior. However, unlike in previous companies, Cribl made a commitment to everyone being remote-first. This means that even in the future, when the pandemic is over, we won’t see a conference room full of folks and a couple of stranded individuals trying desperately to participate via the lone Polycom. It also means that we document decisions, and we go out of our way to assure alignment by recording meetings and making information available to all. We also provide a stipend to invest in a remote-friendly workspace, and we absolutely set aside time to joke and bond in between smiling at our Zooms. Despite all the info out there about how a remote-first culture can contribute to a better work/life balance, reduce commute stress, save significant money (both for the company AND for the employees), and even reduce environmental impact, it still didn’t really hit me that my location was completely decoupled from my place of work.
The pace at Cribl is fast, to say the least. I feel like “hyper-growth” is one of those terms that gets tossed around by lots of folks when referring to startups, despite it being fairly loosely defined. Reminds me of Cloud, or even Observability – terms that tend to get defined by the user rather than the actual market definition. Regardless, it was my first time jumping into a true “hyper-growth” situation, and the stress level was high as I was calibrating to a new market, a new team, and trying to keep up with all the incoming demands. Under normal circumstances, this is a totally normal and expected transition into a new company. But, last fall was far from normal. In California in particular, we saw the few freedoms of Summer 2020 turn into tighter and tighter restrictions when the pandemic took hold with even more vengeance as we progressed into Fall, and all of a sudden the combination of trying to be a parent, teacher, playmate, co-worker, and leader all at once created an incredibly stressful environment. My husband and I looked at each other one night over the holidays and said, “We have got to change it up.” That evening, I started looking online for where we could safely take our kids and escape the madness for a while. I remember sending a Slack message to our CEO, Clint, saying, “Do you care if I relocate where I’m working from for a while?”, and his reply was so perfect it stuck with me: “I don’t even know where you are now.”
So we decided on Hawaii, first for a week of vacation/Spring Break, and then for three additional weeks of remote work and school. And holy moly all, it was awesome. The time change worked in my favor, being an early bird already. Was it hard some mornings to have my hair brushed, makeup on, and a smile by 5am? Sure. But it also meant being able to take my Zooms from a lanai looking at the ocean and come 2:30 or so, having the opportunity to embrace pau hana for a while and take the kids to the beach, to the tide pools, on adventures around the island…or sometimes happy hour (Don’t judge; the kids love half-price calamari ;-). What last month really taught me, though, is that remote working gives us an opportunity to define what is important to us, and then shape our work routines to not just reflect our priorities, but encourage them. For the first time in more than a year, I was completely in charge of my time and space, and it felt amazing.
That said, remote-first life does come with some important guidelines:
Now as I look to the future, and what this real remote-first commitment brings to our culture, I am so excited to talk to employees and potential hires about all the great aspects, including how we communicate, how we collaborate, and how we work together to build the very best Cribl, no matter where people live or work. If this sounds awesome to you, please take a look at https://cribl.io/jobs to see where you fit! As a company, we strive to offer the best remote experience possible, with the ultimate flexibility and freedom to live and work wherever we want – including beautiful Maui. Aloha!!