Office of the Week


So last Thursday I left sunny California to come work with my team here in Detroit. The plan was for us to work over the weekend and for me to leave early this morning in time for the week to get started back home. The plan didn’t work. I’d like to think that Detroit misses me so much that it decided to put down about 10 inches of snow last night to keep me here. You’d think my work week is ruined, but it’s not.

Work with DeepSky team in Detroit

In fact, my week had already started 9 hours earlier than planned and DeepSky is 100% operational, and here’s how I am able to do it. A tray table, a folding chair, my trusty MacBook Pro and my iPhone. Joking aside. I really am working. Not at 60 or 70% but at 100% capacity.

Virtual Office

Sneaked a peek at Michael’s cool tools

Here are some of the tools in my Go Bag that help make it possible. (What’s in Your Bag idea is shamelessly jacked inspired by the various great posts seen here and here on Lifehacker)

In the bag You can’t dig into a DeepSky Go Bag without talking about its stable; in my case, my trusty 5-year-old customized MacBook Pro that practically is my office. It is no secret that DeepSky’s business model is built around cloud (and various other awesome) technology. We are designed from day one to be virtual.

All of our customer data, accounting systems and internal software are all in the cloud. No, we don’t own a single server in our office. Yes, we believe our various technology partners are better at securing data than we are. Yes, we believe it is easier for someone to compromise our server (if we had one) or break into our office in Irvine than to hack into our Amazon S3 or charge into one of the many secured data center hidden away somewhere in America with armed security and multiple fail safes that our partners utilize.

MacBook Pro

My MacBook Pro simply serves as my window (oh the irony) to my “office.” Then I bet many people are thinking, for a “tech savvy” or “paperless” company, I sure have a few writing materials in my Go Bag. And you are absolutely right. I sketch and write a lot to remember what other people are saying, communicate an idea or simply transfer my thoughts onto something tangible. I’m a yellow (borderline black) pen, and when I don’t have a whiteboard within reach, I turn to paper. It’s quick, it’s timely and it’s effective. So what’s to happen after I’m done with the paper? Well if I no longer need it, it gets destroyed and recycled. If it serves a bigger purpose, then we turn to my new toy (courtesy of my friend Kim Hogan), the new ScanSnap S1100.

The Scanner

This scanner (top left in picture) is tiny and absolutely amazing to just throw in my Go Bag to take with me. It’s got the ability to OCR all of my PDFs so it fits well with the way we organize our documents. We don’t. We stole that idea from Zappos‘ inventory system and if you don’t already know this, Zappos does not organize their inventories. They rely on what they call the “license plate” method to keep track of and locate the millions of stock they carry. So we figured if they could do it, so could we. We rely on search, keywords and tags.

Evernote & Google Doc.

For handwritten notes, we turn to Evernote for help, and they are amazing. Then there’s my iPhone – it keeps me connected to the world via voice, data and social media. We own no fancy phone systems in our office. We use Google Voice and love it. Our “office” number rings different cell phones (or computers) depending on time of day, our team’s configuration and situation. For fancy communication methods we utilize instant messenger, Skype, email or social media platforms; which, by the way, all works on my iPhone as well. Being mobile means our customers can access us easier.


Then there is my headphone. I cannot work without my headphone. I used to always joke that you can tell how concentrated I am based on how many earbuds are in my ear. I am easily distracted or working with other people.

1. Being that I am working on few issues that may not require my full attention or that I feel the need to be aware of my surroundings.

2 Being that I am fully concentrated on the tasks at hand.

And finally, when you see me with both earbuds in my ear, staring intensely into whatever I am working on with occasional head bobbing, it means that I am “in the zone.” By then you can probably land a jet behind me and I will not notice. By then, I am most efficacious.

Go Bag – Timbuk2 commute 2.0

And we certainly cannot forget the Go Bag itself – the Timbuk2 Commute 2.0 – I call it my very-awesome-bag-that-holds-everything. I bought the Timbuk2 bag because I was looking for a bag that can be as effective as a good-old backpack without making me look like I am still in college, and the Commute 2.0 delivered. I can wear it across my shoulder and be “hip and cool” or carry it by hand and be “business-ey.” I won’t even go into how durable it is, how much crap it holds and how it makes going through airport security so much easier with its TSA approved laptop compartment. It got me at not making me look like a college student or a corp America drone.

So, there you have it. I’m snowed in thanks to mother nature but I am not worried. Because I can service my customer and work with my team virtually anywhere with a good cell phone signal or internet. Next time I’ll tell you why we still have a physical office even if we don’t technically “need” one. Until then, I have a full day ahead of me in my new open-air-corner-office.

(Disclosure: No one pays me to recommend anything, but if you click through here to buy something, DeepSky may get a minuscule payment from Amazon or Evernote. You get good Karma and something we like. Word.)

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