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Long distance relationships… how we make our global team work for us.

[fa icon="calendar"] Aug 22, 2017 10:00:00 AM / by Sarah de Castro

Sarah de Castro

 I’m writing this from a small wooden room in a village called Pamparato at the foot of the italian alps, in Italy’s piedmont region. Today, my boss Eric is on a plane high above the pacific ocean. Xavier, co-founder and CTO is somewhere between France and Spain, and the others are either in the offices in Bordeaux (France) or San Francisco. We’re under the influence of the cloud, a hybrid model combining remote and local hubs, from international locations. Considering we are a small (rapidly growing ahem!) startup and not a multinational company, we’re spread pretty wide across a diverse global landscape.


But this truly international scope is both very intentional, and very much part of our DNA. Founders Eric and Xavier are French San Francisco locals, I’m a Kiwi, usually based in Paris, France. Our technical team in works out of the world’s historical wine center: France’s southwestern city Bordeaux, and the headquarters are proudly located in the John Portman design complex, in the San Francisco’s bay area. If that sounds like a mouthful, it is. If it sounds complicated, it’s not. This setup actually allows us to streamline our workflow by making all communication, intentional, brief and meaningful. Being “at” work isn’t enough; meeting objectives, finding solutions and optimising what we have, is how we roll (and fits my New Zealand number eight wire mentality to a tee).

Back to basics

Ironically being so spread helps give us such a strong shared vision, by simplifying things down to common denominators: bringing value, improving and advancing our offer, understanding our clients and the market, to list just a few….not dealing with “personalities” or office politics.  Our solution for Cloud infrastructure cost prediction and control, is all about getting the right resources to the right person at the right time, principally with the objective of saving money but with a strong under current of making sure people work more efficiently, with no excess to distract and confuse. So it’s normal that we practice what we preach. There is literally no room inefficiency, long meetings that go nowhere or big egos because the contact we have is scheduled, limited in time, and project focused. This actually means people have more time, so if something urgent crops up I know my boss is always available and vice versa.

Precious Time

But working more efficiently and making communication more valuable though limiting it, are not the only ways our international scope benefits the business (and thus our clients). Because we work across several time zones, there is always someone “on the clock”. It means a client in the US with a request at the end of their work-day has our technical team in Bordeaux investigating it with their morning coffee within the following hour. It’s true team work without the pressure of a ticking clock.

Hatching the eagle

Ironically it was our intense incubator experience at 500 startups as part of batch 18, late last year that helped us understand the importance of embracing our international DNA. Using it as a vantage point from which to understand the US market.

When aiming for our US launch, a deep understanding of the American way of thinking was crucial. Even after living in the valley for over 5 years, the 500 Startups experience provided our French founders with the total immersion that allowed them to plug into the mainline. Or as Eric puts it get “more immersed in the American ecosystem, more connected, more ‘VC ready.” This deep immersion experience lay the foundation stones that allow us to stay solid and focused within the geographical distance that separates out team, helping us stay humble, aware and intentional in our work and way of dealing with each other and our clients.

Join the global family

The team here at OneKloud find this, slightly unusual, highly flexible and autonomous way of working, motivating. What works for you? How is your focus and commitment to work shaped by your environment? Leave a comment below. And if you think it sounds like you, check out our job openings, maybe we can find a fit.

Topics: organization, team, global

Sarah de Castro

Written by Sarah de Castro

Cloud-enthusiast and storyteller, Sarah is a content strategist at OneKloud. Explorer of the technology landscape, she boils down technical and complex ideas for everyday digestion (and enjoyment). With an appreciation for sophisticated simplicity, linguistics and branding, she is a global local in Paris from New Zealand.