The Nomad City 19 Chats- Shane Pearlman
Introducing Shane Pearlman, the CEO at Modern Tribe Inc., living his dream remote life in Gran Canaria, surfing, enjoying the sun, working hard, and speaking at Nomad City once again.
Shane Pearlman needs no introduction to the regular Nomad Citizens, as he has become a pillar of the remote community on the island, and we have been lucky enough to have him join at Nomad City before. This year, he returns to give a workshop on the topic of remotely measuring productivity, participates in a keynote panel on the challenges and advantages of growing a remote business, and he will also be taking over the moderation of the Summit. Shane has extensive experience managing the world’s largest freemium open-source calendar and events lifecycle management tools catering to millions of users. Not only does his digital agency work with the world’s top organizations, he has also personally spoken about his career journey and business at SXSW, HOW, The Future of Work, Project Management Institute, and dozens of other conferences, and we are excited to have once again had the chance to speak to him a bit more about what makes him tick.
How did you become involved with Nomad City?
When I moved to Gran Canaria for la vida buena, I met a flourishing technical community and was invited to participate in the conference. The attendees were a delightful group of global entrepreneurs, creatives, professionals, leaders from highly relevant brands and the conversations were highly worth my time.
What’s your remote story?
I started freelancing December of 2000 as the US dot com bust steamrolled my career. Losing five jobs over two years is a heck of a reality check. I figured, if I was the boss, then I had more choices and control in my financial outcomes. As a web developer, my customers were anywhere I could find them, and very few cared if I had an office. This was pre-coworking, so I just sat in coffee shops. When my freelancing grew from a team of one to a business with a team of 120, the benefits of remote were very clear and it makes a core part of our DNA. This December will be 19 years working fully remote.
What’s your favourite place to work from?
Can you share with us a failure of yours that later turned out to be a learning moment?
They are all learning moments.
What does your workday usually look like?
I’m time shifted as I live off the coast of Africa and much of the team I work directly are North and South American. We have a rule that anyone on a team has to overlap for 3 hours a day. I work on two teams, one that decided to center on US east coast hours, and another team selected a US west coast schedule. So I like to spend the morning with my wife, surfing or reading. I start working about 1pm, get some quiet time in, and have meetings from 3 – 6pm with a good overlap with the east coast team. I then hang with kids, take my daughter surfing or my son to the pool, cook dinner, do homework and read a kid to bed, then do a shift from 8:30 – 11ish to get a nice overlap with the west coasters. As for what I do, CEOs are really just the world highest paid garbage people. I go where the biggest gap is and fill it until I can replace myself. That means I could be doing product management, sales, finance and taxes, compliance or hr issues, org design, leading leaders… every day is different.
Do you have any particular practices that help your through periods of work difficulties?
Every night, I sit down and ask myself what is the one most important task I need to accomplish tomorrow to make sure our business achieves the goals we have set down. The next day, as the urgent consumes my calendar, having a clear item stated lets me balance the urgent and the important.
Any resources you would recommend to people either starting out on their remote journey, or already on their way?
NoDesk is a deep resource.
If you are on the travelling nomad bandwagon, https://nomadlist.com/ is the place to get the lowdown and integrate with a strong community.
What is something you wish more people knew about being remote?
Being remote is freaking awesome, and takes a particular type of discipline to be successful. Work can easily consume your life, or life can consume your work. Finding your own rhythm is core to your success. And frankly, it isn’t for everyone. After 3 years of being 100% remote, my wife decided that the social layer of a co-located role was more important than the flexibility.
What’s your favourite perk of remote work?
Sitting on my balcony, working next to my wife, at the best office in the world.
Where do you see remote work in 20 years?
Remote work will continue to proliferate and normalize for knowledge workers. A lot of people pair remote work and contracting, and I believe that will become less of a tight connection over time. As an interesting aside, contracting is coming under the gun in the USA, with California having just taken a massive swipe at the gig economy and passing a law which makes if very hard to operate as an independent contractor. If that continues, we’ll see more changes to the future of work.
Any last words you would like to share with the Nomad City community?
I’ll go catch waves with anyone who surfs, just hit me up. The best beginner and advanced wave on the island are on either side of the conference venue.