Each week at RemoteRated.com, we speak with leading remote CEOs to share practical insights on running and growing remote teams and companies. This week, we speak with Thejo Kote, the Founder & CEO of Airbase, the leading spend management platform for small and midsize companies.

Thejo is no stranger to entrepreneurship and sold his previous company Automatic to SiriusXM for over $100M. This time around, Thejo is ahead of the curve yet again, building a remote-first company before the pandemic required every company to be remote.

The full video of the interview is below, we’ve condensed the conversation to make the takeaways easy and practical!

Thejo’s Essential Remote Advice:

  • Accept that things will never be perfect, but that consistently seeking ways to improve and develop culture and collaboration is essential.
  • When it comes to developing culture and a sense of collaborative belonging, you can’t start too early, if anything most CEOs start too late.
  • Develop clear guidelines for how communications get handled, what platforms and mediums are used for what, and how teams should evolve and escalate conversations accordingly.
  • Centralize the knowledge base of the company, don’t let it get lost in the hustle of email threads and Slack conversations, for their internal knowledge base, Airbase uses Notion to keep everything organized and accessible.
  • Build a culture of trust and recognize that you can only really manage the inputs and outcomes, if you try to over-manage the processes and how and when teammates deliver their work, you’ll run inefficiently and frustrate your team. If you can’t trust people, why do you have them on the team in the first place?
  • Drive a documentation and asynchronous culture wherever possible, this isn’t to say that meetings should be eliminated, because real-time collaboration and discussion is essential, but to strengthen the teams’ ability to operate effectively and around the clock, documentation should drive everything.
  • Find opportunities (in a COVID-compliant manner) to bring the team together in person, whether once a year or once a quarter, don’t overlook the reality that in-person relationships build trust, friendship, and rapport. Remote doesn’t mean you never meet each other in person!

Join us next week, where we will be speaking with a former Apple executive who jumped head-first into starting an innovative telepresence company looking to bring distributed teams together online.