Gone Nomading

Posted by Nathaniel on Dec 22nd, 2009

The virtual company is pretty new as such things go. The ability to work from anywhere – in particular to collaborate with a whole group of people while working from anywhere – is something that’s only just become possible within the last 10-15 years. As instant messaging, voice chat, video chat, good quality tools for online collaboration, and more have become available, a new way of working has opened up that allows us to stay very connected with a group of people without having to be in the same physical place every day.

I originally conceived Terralien as such a company four years ago, and it remains that way today. We have no physical office, and occasionally when initially working with a new crew member I won’t meet them in person until months after they’re an integral part of the team. It’s not that we’re against physical co-location, it’s just that it involves a set of trade-offs and we prefer the trade-offs of being virtual to the trade-offs of having an office.

But no matter how much we appreciate the flexibility of working from wherever, we still often feel the need to spend some time in the same place with fellow geeks. The wife and kids can only take so many explanations of the latest cool hack we pulled off, and a change of scenery can really help get the creative juices flowing. As with so many other remote workers, we started heading out to a coffee shop on occasion, which was fun, but still didn’t quite cut it.

Read More…

Fixed Bid?

Posted by Nathaniel on Dec 15th, 2009

One of the few mailing lists I’m on these days is the Lean Startup Circle – it’s a really smart crowd, and the signal to noise ratio tends to be very high. In response to someone’s question about doing projects fixed bid I decided to go into some detail about my thoughts on fixed bid projects:

What it boils down to is that a software development shop taking on a fixed bid project has a few options: spend ages spec’ing the project to the last detail, pad the project like crazy to handle scope creep, deny (or at least make incredibly difficult) change requests to control costs, or go out of business. I’ve never liked any of those options, which is why I’ve always done my consulting gigs T&M and won’t ever ask contract developers working on my startups to do fixed bid development.

You should definitely read the whole thing – I’m curious to see how the group responds, and would love to hear any thoughts you have in the comments.

You can still contact Nathaniel at nathaniel@terralien.com