Categories
#rstats Making Work

That feeling when your first user opens an issue

You know how new businesses frame the first dollar they earn?

I wrote an R package that interfaces with the SurveyMonkey API. I worked hard on it, on and off the clock, and it has a few subtle features of which I’m quite proud. It’s paying off, as my colleagues at TNTP have been using it to fetch and analyze their survey results.

The company and I open-sourced the project, deciding that if we have already invested the work, others might as well benefit. And maybe some indirect benefits will accrue to the company as a result. I made the package repository public, advertised it in a few places, then waited. Like a new store opening its doors and waiting for that first customer.

They showed up on Friday! With the project’s first GitHub star and a bug report that was good enough for me to quickly patch the problem. Others may have already been quietly using the package, but this was the first confirmed proof of use. It’s a great feeling as an open-source developer wondering, “I built it: will they come?”

Consider this blog post to be me framing that dollar.

Categories
DIY Work

Measuring CO2 accumulation during phone meetings

I am part of the remote co-working community Workantile, in downtown Ann Arbor.  We have small private rooms for taking conference calls and I often find them stuffy and notice I’m tired by the end of a meeting.  I’d read that excessive CO2 build-up in meetings can impair cognitive function.  Was that the case, or was I just bored from the meetings?

I borrowed an Indoor Air Quality Meter from my amazing local library (by Sper Scientific, normally $400, for me, $0) and went to find out.

Categories
Work

Fully-remote jobs don’t need in-person interviews

I hired a data analyst last year who started working for me in December.  He lives in Colorado, I live in Michigan.  After 10 months of working together, week in and week out, I finally “met” him at our annual company conference last month (September).  Does that seem funny?  I was surprised by how tall he was, but otherwise, no, it’s business as usual around here.

I’ve now embraced the idea of hiring someone and working with them without first meeting them in person.  If you’ll be working with them remotely, and your team and organization have the right culture and systems in place for that, why would you insist on in-person interviews?

In a truly remote-first organization, there’s little cause to fly someone out for an in-person interview.  And there are many reasons not to.  When you weigh the costs and benefits, it’s not worth it.  You’re a remote organization – embrace it!