Mike Knoop on Product and Design Processes for Remote Teams with Kevin Hale

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Mike Knoop is cofounder and Chief Product Officer at Zapier, which was in the YC Summer 2012 batch. Zapier moves information between your web apps automatically.


Kevin Hale is a Visiting Partner at YC. Before YC Kevin was the cofounder of Wufoo, which was funded by YC in 2006 and acquired by SurveyMonkey in 2011.


The YC podcast is hosted by Craig Cannon.




00:10 – Kevin’s intro

00:30 – Mike’s intro

1:30 – How Mike and Kevin met

3:30 – Market sizing for consumer software

4:40 – Zapier’s growth strategy today vs 2012

5:55 – Jumpstarting a platform like Zapier

8:30 – Building an app directory before building a product

10:30 – Applying to YC twice

12:50 – Zapier after Demo Day

14:15 – Zapier’s first remote hire

16:15 – Remote companies not being perceived as legitimate

18:15 – Noticing remote was working then committing

20:55 – Qualities to look for when hiring remote employees

23:55 – Nina Mehta asks – What’s the best way to share work and knowledge across designers working on different parts of product without distracting from focused working time?

25:25 – Remote mistakes in the early days

27:00 – When to change modes of communication to allow for deep work

28:55 – When to ask for someone’s full attention

31:00 – Product and design practices at Zapier

34:05 – OKRs for teams vs individuals

39:15 – Tools for remote teams

43:15 – No internal email at Zapier

46:20 – Keeping morale high in a remote team

48:45 – What happens at a Zapier retreat

51:10 – Remote design critiques

56:10 – Serendipity and over optimizing for it

58:00 – Setting up a remote company for success

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