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Guest Blog: Going Remote in Kirkland

  Facetdigitalagain

I thought it would be fun to have a guest blogger from a local company write about what it's like to being  a mobile worker in downtown Kirkland. Thanks to Scott Bradley from Facet Digital for sharing...~j

Going Remote in Kirkland
by Scott W. Bradley

FacetDigitalScott
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on a stool with my laptop, next to the windows at Zoka Coffee, drinking my coconut milk latte, looking out at the corner of Central Way and Lake Street. I’m one of the cofounders of Facet Digital, a local software design and development agency. Kirkland coffee shops are where I work.

Well...not 100% of the time.

At Facet Digital, we are a distributed team with no central office. We all work from home offices, coffee shops, restaurants, and of course, pubs. We’re founded in Kirkland, with a critical mass of our team living here, and we use the Kirkland Marina area as our meeting place. We’re big proponents of the remote work lifestyle, as brilliantly described in the recent book, Remote: Office Not Required, written by the founders of 37signals, a firm famous for being spread around the globe.  We’ve found that Kirkland is the ideal location for a team like ours.

Have a client meeting at 9am?  I head to Zoka, Caffe Ladro, or Rococo. They all have WiFi, power outlets, delicious coffee, and the perfect ambiance for a laid back business meeting. Zoka can get pretty packed by remote workers and their Macbook Airs by 10am, which makes for an upbeat environment where the WiFi still works great. Caffe Ladro is a bit quieter and smaller. Unlike Zoka, they don’t have any large tables suitable for more than 4 people, but you will find outdoor chairs facing the sun for those rare days we can see it. Rococo has fantastic coffee.They roast their own beans on premises, which may be why it’s always nice and warm in there. The back room lets you feel tucked away from the foot traffic when you really want to focus on your work.

Today, after a few hours at Rococo, I popped over to The Lodge Sports Grille (two doors down), to grab an early lunch date with my wife (one of the perks of being a remote worker!), in a nice quiet booth where I could get in another hour of work after she left. The Lodge is great for conversations that need a little more privacy, and is usually quiet around lunchtime, but can be pretty loud when there’s a game on TV.

For happy hour, we head on over to one of our favorite drinking holes, The Wilde Rover, for a pint and a creative brainstorming session. If we’re schmoozing a client, we’ll take it on over to Cactus, Milagro Cantina, or Trellis. The food is delicious at all of those. Trellis has year-round outdoor seating, good people watching, and some very interesting dishes that focus on locally-sourced organic foods. Cactus has excellent outdoor seating during the warm month(s).

If you like boutique tequilas and the gourmet version of the street taco, Milagro is the place for you. Sometimes we’ll even make it a family thing, and have the wives and kids meet us out at Zeeks Pizza for a family-friendly evening over a delicious gourmet pizza. The kids love it for the raw pizza dough and the view of the cooks, while the adults enjoy being able to hold conversation while the kids are entertained by the staff.

The great thing is that so many of these establishments are within walking distance of each other. The Kirkland Marina area has an excellent walkability factor, and parking is surprisingly easy and cheap! You get three hours of free parking on surface lots during the day and it’s only $1 per hour from 5pm-9pm. Try finding $4 parking on the other side of the bridge!

Facet Digital loves Kirkland and we love supporting the local businesses here. Check out our website, get to know our faces, and say hi when you see us buzzing around building cool mobile apps, websites, and other software products for many of our clients who are also doing cool things right here in our own backyard.

Comments

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David

It's nice to see another Kirkland tech company embrace this organizational model. Yozons has been a "virtual company" since 2000, with workers across the Seattle and the Eastside, but also getting expertise in other states and countries.

Scott W. Bradley

Thanks, David. We love hearing about other local companies that work this way too. Most of us at Facet Digital have have been working this way for 5-10 years and love it. I truly believe this will be the way of the future for tech jobs - or any job that doesn't really require physical presence - thanks to pioneers like yourself.

Law Wanxi

I work for a firm based in Shanghai, PRC, and I am a [really] remote worker. All of my work is done via the net, with only quarterly visits to the home office. Since I mostly work the same hours, there is some time-shifting involved. I work at my home, where I have business cable internet and a fixed IP address, vital for what I do.

My big problem with the 'coffee house' office is when I do take some time off and go to Urban Coffee or similar, there is no place to sit because of all the 'wifi leeches' parked there all day long, it seems. This must be costing these places some business, as I won't stand up to drink my doppio, so sometimes I walk in and walk out.

Is the problem that you guys are too cheap for decent home internet service? Then again, I rarely have to meet anyone for business purposes, so maybe working at home is good only for me.

BTW, I have 85M down, 35M up at home; how's that cafe wifi working for you?

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