For the past few months I’ve been traveling south from San Francisco to Palo Alto / Menlo Park to work on a few projects with friends and to connect with the venture capital firm that I’ve currently stationed with. I take the early-morning Caltrain (there are tons of options in the morning) and then head back on one of the hourly time-tables.
It’s generally a pleasant ride (even if I don’t get a seat, which is rare) and I’m able to relax, take a nap, or double-down on something I’ve been working on with very little distraction. My Karma hotspot works really well.
The reason that I am fine with this and look forward to it is because there’s something just powerful about sitting with the people that you work with, in-person, instead of doing the work virtually, especially in the beginning of a new venture.
There are just a near-infinite number of things that you can learn about the team and the folks that you’re working with when you’re in the same physical space. The nuances of personality, character, and temperament are important signals for team building and productivity than anything else.
Besides, how can you possibly optimize your work without knowing your team really, really well? I’m not sure this dynamic will ever change, by the way, no matter how great the digital conferencing technology becomes.
As you scale out and things become more settled then the virtual conferencing for teams becomes more appropriate, especially as you recruit and hire talent from all over the globe. But, even then, investment in being physically present is still important.
Facetime can very rarely be overrated. It’s also why I spend time in the variety of coworking facilities around town as well as the office space graciously given to me by some of my friends and partner organizations.