Alex Medick

October 18, 2022

Does this really need to be synchronous?

Before you ask someone to jump in Slack for 5 minutes, ask yourself “does this really need to be synchronous?”

I’ve always heard about and admired those that work asynchronously (I’m giving a tip of the hat to you here Cal.com, 37signals, Automattic, and Buffer).

I love the concept, but always thought it wasn’t for me.

Common excuses I handed myself for not being async were:

  • I work at a startup and async is more established companies
  • We don’t have that kind of environment at Inside
  • I don’t want to wait for someone else’s timetable to work with my needs
  • I want to go fast!

And so on and so on…

Despite those excuses and avoiding async work, I’m constantly enamored with the calmness and clarity async companies preach. 

Am I looking at this completely wrong? 

Well, being the hacker and experimenter that I am, I decided to run a test – what would async look like for me? How could I use the tools at hand to mimic the style I like to work, while also working in an async environment that could create calmer working conditions for more focused work? 

The opportunity presented itself to run this experiment when we onboarded 2 new team members the other week. 

While still holding synchronous meetings, I started to do demos and updates via Slack messages and Bubbles.

It was weird at first, but then after a few days, I noticed something. Something damn crazy….

Things were getting done better and faster than before. People understood what I was looking for better. 

Questions were asked less, and more thoughtful responses were given in turn. 

Now, before I go to ask someone if I can have 5 minutes of their time for a “quick huddle,” I just do a video message instead and hit send.

It’s been a 3 week test, but it’s working great so far.

Should I keep giving this a go until I find async’s breaking point? 

Are you working remotely and if so, what do you think about asynchronous communication?

Let me know – super curious if/how others are tackling this – especially across multiple timezones. 

– AJM

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About Alex Medick

Head of INSIDE.COM, peace, love, punk rock, surfing, essentialism, indie tech, startups, and Bitcoin. 🤙

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Get in touch: ajm@hey.com, @ajmedick