The Assured Labor team is often asked how a start-up focused on emerging markets distributed across three continents can stay on the same page. The secret lies in lies good planning and making the most of our time together when we have it.
This January Assured Labor’s founders gathered in at the Managua office for a week and a half to round up and plan for 2010. We spent some QT with customers and even had the pleasure of hosting one of our investors in Nicaragua. Mapping out an entire year takes a lot of foresight, but more than anything, takes a good whiteboard.
Unfortunately, the white board that came with EmpleoListo’s office had been drawn on with a permanent marker before it was acquired by Assured Labor’s Chief Revenue Officer Joseph Bamber. While this was just our backup whiteboard JR (Joseph) made it his mission to make this white board usable by the end of the trip. His perseverance paid off and by the time our Sales, Marketing, Product Development and Operations plans had been hatched so had his sparkling clean white board – ready to be filled with more great plans.
As you’d imagine, after an intense 7 day work week, the air conditioning began to wear on the team and our investor requested a change of scenery before his departure. This led us to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua’s surfing haven where multiple hump back whales had recently been spotted. So, after conducting a series of surf related team building exercises the team was picked up by a small boat run by two fishermen who are part of a local fishing cooperative.
Shortly after embarking on our quest to spot whales our fishermen guides informed us that it was too windy for the whales to be spotted and suggested we fish instead. As weathered entrepreneurs we appreciated our guides’ knack for turning a negative into a positive and immediately complied. In turn all four of us brought in a fish. Three plumb Tuna’s (5 pounds plus) followed by something resembling an eel. We ate well that night, and made our way back to our respective Assured Labor offices the next day.
Along with white boards, surf boards and tuna I recommend the following tools to keep your distributed team in sync.
- Skype (www.skype.com)
- DropBox (www.dropbox.com)
- 5PMWeb (www.5pmweb.com)
- RememberTheMilk (www.rememberthemilk.com)
- CoMindWork (www.comindwork.com)
- Google Docs
- Google Calendar
Dave and the Assured Labor team