In episode 30, Cate Huston shares the lessons and best practices she has learned as a remote manager at companies like DuckDuckGo, Automattic, and Google.
Cate is the Engineering Director of Mobile at DuckDuckGo. Prior to her current role at DuckDuckGo, Cate was the Head of Developer Experience at Automattic, Director of Mobile Engineering at Ride.com, and a Software Engineer at Google – experiences that have led her to live and work remotely in places such as China, Colombia, the US, Canada, and Australia.
Tune in to this episode to learn some remote best practices that you can adopt, such as leveraging asynchronous communication to let your team consume important information.
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Aydin Mirzaee 02:32
Cate, welcome to the show.
Cate Huston 2:33
Thank you so much for having me.
Aydin Mirzaee 2:35
Yeah, we were just, you know, chatting before this, but we have something in common and that both of us have gone to the University of Ottawa.
Cate Huston 2:46
I don’t know if they are claiming me, as one of their own. But yeah, I definitely spend some time.
Aydin Mirzaee 2:50
Yeah, it’s not very often that I get to meet people from my alma mater. So that’s kind of cool. But I mean, to kick things off. You are. I mean, you’ve been a digital nomad, for a very large portion of your career. Tell us about that. Like what got you interested? How did you get into this world of remote work before? Everybody?
Cate Huston 3:09
Yeah, totally. I was nomadic for about three years. But before that I like was moving all over the place. Anyway. So I lived in Canada, I lived in Australia. And then after I left Google, I just you know, that’s when I went like fully nomadic. And I was just kind of splitting my time between South America and Europe. And then my first management job was kind of it was taking me based in Colombia. So I was supposed to get a visa and go to Colombia. And then in the way of like, chaotic startups, I accidentally ended up as like, a questionably legal migrant in Colombia, with no visa. And there was no company incorporated in Colombia. But I was like, working there. And, you know, they’re pretty chill in Colombia. So with a British passport, you can spend six months of the year there. So I was just trying to like time things out. And when I was in Colombia, I would just be somewhere else, right? But I remember when I left at the end of that year, they were just like, Okay, how do you like Colombia, you can come back next year. But I’ve been in and out. I’ve been in and out so much. My passport was, full of stamps, and so no one could tell how much time I spent anywhere. Eventually, it was full. And I got stuck in Thailand, but that’s like a wholly different story. So anyway, I’ve been kind of like half, you know, living in Colombia and half elsewhere. And then when I was looking for me, I was starting to think about my next job. And Matt Mullenweg automatically reached out to me and then I ended up automatic, which has obviously been fully distributed. from the get-go. Yeah, I mean, that was great. It was like even more so because the first company I was out, we were like, in a similar time zone. You know, we were generally living on ESP, but automatic was like truly, truly global, truly distributed. And so that kind of went from like, remote on easy mode to like, full, full distributed And I loved it. Like I really really loved it like I like love text based communication. I’d like been blogging for a long time. And that, you know, meant that I adjusted to it much more easily. I think then I noticed in people who weren’t used to writing
Aydin Mirzaee 5:14