Remote Work At Hippo Education
Los Angeles, CA
* As of June 2015
Hippo Education Remote Company Q&A
Aaron Bright, M.D., CEO and Co-Founder - Interview with Remote.co
Hippo Education is a new-school medical education company. We are headquartered online with digital education in the form of video, podcasts, and more. We take a fun, irreverent, and super high-quality approach to helping the clinicians of the world take better care of their patients and themselves.
Started out remote mostly. At the beginning it was myself, my co-founder and one employee (Hi Tom!). We were bootstrapping to the highest degree. We had no office. And, nobody wanted to put any constraints on how anyone else worked. We were all already working triple time.
Huge. We recruit the absolute best people from basically anywhere. It’s a huge advantage and I’m not sure we could work any other way.
It’s a big recruitment tool and productivity enhancer for the right people. Many people love the idea that they can take a 10 minute break from their work with their toddler or dog or have lunch with a friend on their own time. It’s tough to beat our work environment.
We are nontraditional in just about every way. It was kind of a no-brainer. We expect a tremendous amount of productivity but if you are the kind of person that needs to clock in and out of an office by mandate in order to have someone monitor your productivity… you’re not our kind of person.
We start by phone, then go to video chat. Lots and lots of meetings are usually necessary. Also, a trial period is a must.
We don’t have protocols per se but everyone seems to get it. The tools are just getting better and better.
Yes, they meet in pods on their own, but we meet as a group at least twice a year for some bonding time and project work. We did a pretty awesome L.A. scavenger hunt and Escape Room adventure a few months ago with the entire team and a big luxury bus.
We’re pretty hands off here. We still have a startup culture and everyone is working very hard. It hasn’t really been necessary to get too measure-y. But, as a remote worker it’s MUCH harder to hide your non-productivity. In an office you can do absolutely nothing but appear very busy. Not so remotely. You must show results, or you get caught.
Making sure we build relationships offline as well as online.
We tend to equip people with a strong Mac so they can be effective wherever they are.
Right from the start we allowed most people to choose. There are a group of us now that tend to work in the L.A. studio most days but they all do it out of preference and work at home some days. A few roles in production need to be on-site but only during filming.
Go for it. It’s super unlikely you’ll be disappointed. It makes everything easier. But, be sure to get together in real space here and there for fun and team building. As the team grows it can get a little harder to keep track of people so make sure you’ve got strong and available team leaders to take care of everyone doing the daily work.
These seem to come and go a little. Slack has been a game changer for us especially with the addition of video chat on demand. You also need a robust video conf system here and there for clients… Skype for those capable, GoToMeeting for the tech naive (oddly, clunky GoToMeeting is easier for non tech people than the more intuitive Skype, Google Hangout, etc.). And, our internal Wiki is getting more and more important.
Worst was a Lake House my family rented with a wifi router circa 1915. I had to work in the kitchen on top of the microwave 2 inches from the router for 3 days standing up, while little kids ran past me screaming all day. Not an ideal space. But, I still liked it better than cubicle days of old.