Working remotely and the tools that make it possible

Portland, Tel Aviv, San Francisco -- three locations, two timezones, numerous developers. There was a time when this description wouldn't be that of your typical startup. With the advent of online collaboration tools and always on connections, geography no longer weighs us down. We are able to work efficiently, no matter where we are. I wanted to share a few of the tools that make this possible at Braid Labs.

Trello

I really can't say it much better than these guys, front and center on their homepage "Organize anything, together". This sums it up quite well, and is to a T exactly how we use this service. When you first signup, you're given three lists, To Do, Doing and Done, which works as a great starting point. We took it a step further and added in additional lists for Blocked, Inspiration (cool apps, articles, etc.,), and Ideas (what I like to call the parking lot, a spot for keeping ideas we want to work on one day but aren't fully baked, and aren't quite ready for development).

Flowdock

Team chat, it doesn't get much more simple than that. Flowdock is where we hang out all day when we're online. It works as a simple medium for communicating with each other, as well as a place to ask quick questions with commands like @<username> and @all. They have a nice feature-set, and some extra frills, like emoji, which are a nice little touch. Every once and awhile I like to throw out a :pineapple: (

) just to spice things up.

Hackpad

Sometimes all you really need is a room and a whiteboard, and although there are very few tools, if any, that can solve this for remote workers, Hackpad does help quite a bit. This is essentially Google Docs, with all the bloat ripped out, leaving behind the good stuff like document collaboration, revision history and some rich text support. When we need a quick brainstorming session we usually hop into Hackpad and just start typing away, all of us at once -- it's really not as disorganized as it sounds.

Slingshot

This tiny app that runs in the background is probably one of my most used apps, even though I never see it. Anything from a quick website snapshot to a reference of something on my screen -- this app automatically uploads screen grabs (mostly Cmd-Shift-4 for me) and puts a link to them on my clipboard for easy sharing. That screenshot of the pineapple above? I used Slingshot for that.

CloudApp

In a similar arena to Slingshot, CloudApp provides a way for sharing but rather than just a screenshot, you can share the actual file(s) via a clipboard link. CloudApp is a simple menubar icon that you drag/drop any file or folder to and get back a link copied to your clipboard automatically -- simply send the link to share.

iMessage / Facetime

Yes, seriously. The ability to send a text message or have a call via data is incredibly helpful. For no extra cost, we can communicate across the pond between the US and Israel. Quick one-on-ones work well using Facetime on our laptops, and even on our phones when we're in a pinch.


There are, of course, a few other services worth noting. These aren't necessarily specific to remote work, but do help quite a bit. Off the top of my head, GitHub and Dropbox, and a few others I'm surely forgetting to mention.

If you're interested to learn more about what we're up to at Braid Labs, share your email at BraidApp.com or follow us on twitter (@braidapp) -- we aren't too noisy, but don't worry, the party will start shortly, and we'd hate to have you miss out.

Join the discussion here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5869780