Do you know when you make a great decision in life but you only notice it a few years later? That’s exactly what I’ve been experiencing lately. For those who don’t know about me, I’m the Art Director and Co-founder of a completely remote Motion Graphics & Animation Studio called MOWE Studio.
Felippe Silveira and I created this place with the dream of working from our own offices at home, with the professionals we liked and admired, and with the clients that valued our work the most. And I’m really glad to say that it’s happening!
I’ll be telling a lot more about our path until where we are today, but we would like to start with the first thing people always ask us: Why did you decide to build a remote team?
Why MOWE is a remote company?
I consider this decision to be a mix of reality, curiosity and opportunity.
Felippe and I have always worked really far away from each other — when we started to consider building "something" together, I was living in Toronto, Canada and he was living in Barcelona, Spain. Eventually, we went back to Brazil but that didn't change anything since we were still an 8h car drive away from each other instead of a 10h flight like before — For those who don't know Brazil, it's huge! This means that the distance between two countries in Europe can be way smaller than the distance between two neighboring states in our big country.
If we have something in common, it's definitely the fact that we’re curious. Since we had that initial drive to make this "remote thing" work somehow, we started to question the whole structure of work that we were used to, like the simple fact that we needed to be together in the same physical space to do great work. Eventually, we noticed that we could replicate or improve many of those workflows and situations.
I honestly think that we were in the right place, at the right time. Firstly, there was no other way to work together since we were living in different countries. Secondly, Slack had just been released and together with them, we had tools like Skype, "Google Apps for Work"(aka. G Suite) and Dropbox to support with other needs we had. We truly believed we had a chance to build “something” remote with those tools…and we did it.
Being a tool nerd as I am, I remember I almost forced Felippe to join Slack with me and that’s actually one of the reasons why I’m a HUGE slack fan. It would have been way harder for us to start our business the way we did and it would probably be even harder to manage everything today without it — we have more than 15 channels of different projects and subjects where we discuss on a daily basis.
The evolution from 2015 to 2019
We definitely added a lot of tools to our tool belt since we started, at 2015, but the biggest change in the business is actually related to the people that work with us and how we see this whole thing.
Working as a remote team is way less the tools you use and way more the people you choose to work with and how do you value their abilities, time and life.
At the beginning of 2019, we had our first team travel and it was a unique experience for us all. We flew everyone to the same city to finally meet each other face to face and everyone had an amazing time. One of the unique aspects for us, owners of the business, was seeing how important it is to define and incentivize a powerful internal culture of empowerment, friendship and partnership, even more than in non-remote companies.
Other than culture, remote work is all about routines, workflows and pipelines. Things have to be organized so everyone can know where to go or who to contact whenever they have a problem.
Being constantly challenged by projects, clients and professionals was a great way to develop a structure that goes beyond our initial believes of what was possible to achieve. For example, for someone used to doing 01:30 to 02:00 videos, 4 years later we’re delivering 5-minute animations on a monthly output, with:
- No delays
- Great quality
- Happy professionals
- Happy client
- Almost no adjustments since communication is always clear and constant.
2019 and beyond
Four years after we started it all, MOWE is open and running from the USA and not from Brazil as we initially expected, we have a team spread through multiple countries and cities and we're all hungry as *#$@ to create amazing work!
We still have a lot to learn and improve but we would like to take you as well in this journey since we know there are other professionals and businesses interested in joining the "remote revolution" — at least that's how I heard someone say it. To me, it's only a smarter and modern way of working.
Thanks for following me on this small journey. Since we receive so many questions about our way of working and how we can achieve a lot of things in this day and age, I have already a ton of topics and things organized that I would like to talk about. Follow our publication if you would like to know more about MOWE, remote working and how Animation and Design can make huge positive impacts on businesses.
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