Let me start with explaining how I imagined our new office before we actually started it. It's interesting, because I was so horribly wrong about so many things, and I’ve seen these mistakes at many other companies that tried to implement this strategy.
This was all so completely wrong. I realized pretty fast that this wasn’t going to work.
Important meetings for our teams took place without even letting us know (out of sight, out of mind). Meetings were scheduled at a time when the other team had no chance to take part (due to the 9 hour time difference). A lot of communication happens during the day at the coffee machine, in hallways etc.. There’s no way to replicate this between offices, and I really believe trying too hard is ineffective and frustrates everyone.
The same thing happened with my co-founders. When we talked I was usually just starting my day, while they had a full day behind them. The calls could be exhausting and usually weren’t fun. That led to us talking less, and if you don't manage to talk daily, you forget things, and you start to disconnect. We figured out how to handle this among the three of us. We switched from trying to connect often to doing our own stuff and moving things forward in each of the offices. I went to Germany every six weeks, and we spent one or two days completely outside the office to reconnect. This was really important for us as a founding team, and it worked out well.
I’ve even decided to hire a CEO for our US office to encourage the independence.
There's a lot more that I'd like to explain in follow-up blog posts. My ideas so far are:
Let me know what you think and share your questions in the comment. I'll pick those up in following posts.
Co-founder at Jimdo
When Christian was 12, he started his first business, buying and selling Kinder Surprise collectible toys at flea markets. Just a few years later he met up with Fridtjof, and the two started creating websites for small businesses in their hometown. Christian currently takes care of Jimdo's operations and helped start the U.S. office in San Francisco.