Hi there! πŸ‘‹

Someone from our team probably linked you here to share more about how we think about meetings and time.

Our primary focus is **solving the metabolic health crisis** – but ****we're also building a remote-first company from the ground up. That means we're doing things a little differently than most companies.


Remote-first culture

We're an all-remote team, with members distributed in timezones across Canada, the United States, Europe, and Latin America.

Everyone on our team works whenever and wherever is most conducive for them. Designing this culture creates many benefits for our team members and partners, but requires effort to maintain.

Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, joined our Friday Forum on December 17, 2021 – here’s his outlook on Remote and what Levels is building from a cultural standpoint.

Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, joined our Friday Forum on December 17, 2021 – here’s his outlook on Remote and what Levels is building from a cultural standpoint.


Synchronous time is expensive

Since we don't have an office and can't rely on everyone being in the same place at the same time, we tend to lean on asynchronous processes instead of synchronous meetings**.**

We keep meetings of all kinds to a minimum, both inside and outside of the company. Recurring status meetings were the first to go when we set out to build this culture, and we've set a very high bar for scheduling ad-hoc meetings.

We've been surprised at how effective work can still be without those meetings, and we hope you find the benefits of working with us in this way, too.

If someone asks for a meeting that might be better suited with asynchronous work, consider writing them back with something like, "My synchronous time for meetings is pretty limited the next couple weeks. Mind if we trade some notes by email to start?"

There is still a time and place for sync meetings β€”Β usually during project kickoff or during times when there is high risk for misalignment. To steal a line from Matt Mullenweg:

<aside> πŸ’‘ We are as async as possible, but not more.



So, what do you do instead?*

Rather than schedule meetings as our default for coordinating on projects and discussing information internally, we resort to three processes that suit this workflow. They include:

<aside> πŸ“ Here's an example of a Memo

[DEPRECATED] Levels Press Strategy - July 2020

****The purpose of this document was to get alignment around how we approach press at Levels.

****We put this together without a single meeting, and every person in the company had a chance to contribute to it. It only took a few hours of time to write, revise and ship, and it was completed from start to finish in two days.



<aside> πŸ“ Here's a Loom that was created in reply to an email requesting to meet. It didn't require any scheduling or waiting, and can be shared repeatedly.

**🀝 **Request to Meet Loom Response

Sam Corcos, Levels CEO and co-founder, often gets asked to meet. When mentorship opportunities come up, he loves to act on them, but only has so much time to process all the requests. As such, he recorded a Loom for some students that were requesting to meet and learn about Levels.


<aside> πŸ“ Here's an example of a well-crafted email that we would send to our internal team

The email outlines a clear purpose, action, and timeline for next steps.

It is easy to digest for anyone who reads it, and there isn't confusion about what to do next.




Benefits of building a remote culture

Some of the benefits we've found:

  1. Valuing time. Most meetings require coordination of schedules, dial-ins, and audio/video fiddling. There is often a loose agenda and only a few key moments where information is transformed, or a decision is made. All the time those meetings take, multiplied by all attendees, adds up quickly.
  2. Deep work, focus, and flow. Finding flow in work to produce a quality product isn't just for Engineers. When **maker schedules** are interrupted, the velocity of our collective output slows down.
  3. Deep thinking. By leaning on memos instead of meetings, we distill our thoughts to better understand and share context, the challenges at hand, and the various ways we can solve it.
  4. Written words live on. Meetings are ephemeral. You "had to be there", and the written minutes are usually not as good. Through clear documentation, we create a written record that can be referenced by anyone, at any time – even months or years later.


And if we must meet

Some situations are better suited for synchronous meetings – particularly when there is a need to transform information instead of just transmit it.


We'll make time for those meetings when they come up. Examples include collaborative problem solving, interviews, and other important decisions that need to be worked through together with partners or team members.

If something we're working on together would benefit from a synchronous meeting, we will:

  1. Prepare in advance. We'll send a thoughtful email with an agenda, relevant background, and any memos or prompts needed to tee up a discussion that will lead to a decision.
  2. Invite as few people as possible. An ideal decision making meeting – should it need to occur – should have 2 people.
  3. Be on time. Time is expensive. Starting and ending on time is courteous, and building the habit feels great.
  4. Take notes and follow through. With such a high bar to schedule, a meeting is important enough to invest time in to get it right. We'll always follow through on our action items.
  5. Record & distribute. Since all interested parties will not be there, we may record the meeting (with permission) for reference across the team.