As the world becomes “virtual first”, businesses need to step up their company culture game beyond motivational posters in the office.

Originally published by Tracy Chen on Snack Blog.

The pandemic accelerated the shift to a fully-remote or hybrid workforce, and companies had to quickly adopt new collaboration tech and processes to enable employees to work from home.

Similarly, transitioning to a remote work culture requires intention and effort, and businesses are realizing that having a vibrant office culture does not automatically translate to a healthy remote team culture.

Here, we identified 5 pillars of success that companies follow to keep their remote culture alive.

Communicate Clearly What You Want to Achieve

Company culture can be likened to the mood of your organization. While it is influenced by…

A story of shameless persistence to inspire those who are seeking their first job in IT.

It was 2012. I was in a university. I was obsessed with building games. The moment I read about Node.js, I thought of it as the future of online gaming.

I began studying Node.js documentation. The goal was to learn the basics and find a freelancing project to work on. Working as a freelancer was (and remains) my favorite way to learn. Even if you are paid pennies, learning while solving real-world problems and getting paid is a lot better than just following tutorials. However, there weren’t that many Node.js freelance projects at the time. …

.gitignore should be a whitelist, not a blacklist of files you want to include.

If we look at a bunch of random open-source projects, they all instead try to exclude every known undesirable file, e.g.

This setup means that whenever a new developer joins the team or a new tool is adopted by someone in a team, you need to update .gitignore configuration.

A better solution is “ignore everything with exclusions”. …

How to get feedback from early product adopters

Some of the most brilliant ideas are born out of scarcity. This is why I like working on indie projects – you only have an hour or two of focused work and that forces you to carefully pick what you develop and get creative with solutions.

Getting feedback is hard

At the beginning of this year I’ve built Snack – Video Chat Roulette for Slack. The goal was simple: develop something extremely minimal with a well defined use case and polish it to perfection. Keeping functionality focused on a single pain point allowed me to quickly iterate through feedback and to clearly communicate the…

Tips for when the novelty of remote working wears off

Tips for when the novelty of remote working wears off

(Originally posted on

Many of us have unexpectedly found ourselves remote working this year. At first, it seemed like a dream — no more commute! No more tedious office politics! An extra hour in bed in the morning! But now that we’ve all been working away in our spare rooms and on our sofas for weeks on end the novelty is beginning to wear off.

Here are some of the downsides to remote working, and tips for how to overcome them…

It’s impossible to focus

When you’re working in isolation it can be really hard to keep your mind from wandering. Whether it’s…

What I learned from OnDeck & why you should join it too

(Originally posted on

At the beginning of this year, I joined OnDeck — a fellowship of entrepreneurs at various stages of launching their startups — with the goal of expanding my professional network in the Bay Area and finding a co-founder for my next venture.

OnDeck was designed as a 10-week onsite program, with social events such as weekend trips, lunches, etc. However, no one had anticipated a global pandemic to strike, and OnDeck had to switch to fully remote operations even before the group had a chance to meet in person.

The decision to continue as a remote…

Tips based on experience evaluating hundreds of remote work job applications daily.

It’s super exciting to be working on a rapidly growing company, Contra. I am actively hiring talent using Contra’s community and popular remote job boards to scout for the best of the best for very specific skills. Every day we receive 100+ applications and I read through all of them. However, only about 2–3 applicants are picked for the next interview. Here are a few tips of how to stand out (and how not to stand out).

Apply for relevant jobs

Our candidate sourcing starts with a self-assessment form. It is designed to introduce you to the role and give you confidence that you…

I use pretty standard questions to run technical team standups:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What will you do today?
  • Anything blocking your progress?

The challenge that I recently encountered is that when these questions are asked in a written form (such as using a Slack bot), users tend to answer in terms of the tickets they’ve worked on, e.g.

What did you do yesterday? JIRA-001, JIRA-002
What will you do today? JIRA-003

That’s not particularly useful because anyone can just lookup which tickets are being worked on in Git/Jira.

The best way to fix this situation is to explain…

A video chat roulette for distributed teams as a way to stay in touch with each other when working from home

As many others, I’ve been working from home and I miss real-world interactions. Inspired by these events, I’ve built something to make the current social isolation a bit more bearable — a video chat roulette for distributed teams as a way to stay in touch with each other when working from home.

Snack is a Slack bot that enables teams to have virtual coffees: spontaneous, time-restricted video conversations with icebreakers. Distributed teams use Snack to build authentic relationships with one another.*5RGo_lswebY6opkEBrFr9Q.png

(Pictured: Snack meeting experience.)

I have built Snack for the COVID-19 Global Hackathon. …

Unsafe use of md5 hashes

I am developing a “Google Alerts” for developers service GitSpo. I have not figured out exactly what it is, but it is growing fast and people are liking it. A big part of GitSpo is aggregating data from different social networks, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Stack Overflow. This is when I noticed something odd: Stack Overflow default user profiles are using Gravatar.

Leaks due to old pipes

For those of you not familiar, Gravatar is a service that allows you to associate an image (an avatar) with your email. That image can then be used by other websites (e.g. Stack Overflow) to display an…

Gajus Kuizinas

Software architect, startup adviser. Editor of Founder of

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