The basic toolkit for distributed teams has stayed fairly stable in recent years — a real-time chat app, a robust videoconferencing platform, and discipline-specific collaboration systems for engineers, designers, and support teams, to name a few. On his recent appearance on the Cool Tools podcast (hosted by Mark Frauenfelder and Kevin Kelly), Matt Mullenweg dives deeper into the world of distributed tools, talking about the ones that streamline and optimize his work as the CEO of a company that employs around 1,200 people across dozens of countries and multiple time zones.
Matt covers several fronts, from better webcam setups to messaging apps, and gives a special nod to P2, the WordPress theme that powers Automattic’s internal blogs:
We use actually a free theme called P2, which turns your internal blog or any blog, really, into kind of a real-time system. It sort of puts a posting box on the homepage, so anyone who’s a logged-in user can see a posting box right on the homepage. You don’t have to visit a separate admin. And then it has fully threaded comments and posts also on the homepage. And by real time, I mean if a new comment or post comes in, it’ll actually pop up on your screen without you having to reload. It’s great for asynchronous conversations. We use it instead of email actually, and it’s been definitely the thing that’s allowed us to scale to now 1,200 people.