Remote Work and Thoughts on Travel

Many of the NFJS speakers are independent and frequently work remotely. This is a trend we’re seeing more and more in our industry. Michael Carducci interviews speaker and independent consultant Daniel Hinojsoa on his thoughts on remote work and the conversation turns to our thoughts and experiences on air travel.

Music by Roxton Fone

Full Transcript:

Michael Carducci: I’m joined here with Daniel Hinojosa and … Daniel you’re an independent software consultant, you’re a trainer, you’re a speaker, you travel quite a bit and you’ve been independent since the turn of the century.
Daniel Hinojosa: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Michael Carducci: It’s interesting that more and more jobs are going remote. I did something different recently. I’m an independent software developer among other things and I leased an office and I go to work everyday.
Daniel Hinojosa: That’s a good idea. Home is a distraction.
Michael Carducci: Home is a distraction and it’s also … It’s a little bit stressful because working from home, I feel like I’m always at the office. If I’m always at the office, I always feel a little bit guilty if I’m not working.
Daniel Hinojosa: Let me ask you, how much is rent for something like that?
Michael Carducci: I have a very humble office, it’s 850 a month.
Daniel Hinojosa: 850 a month.
Michael Carducci: Actually it’s about 900 square feet, maybe a little more divided into two separate offices.
Daniel Hinojosa: Free internet?
Michael Carducci: No I wish. Everything else is included but the internet is not.
Daniel Hinojosa: Offices with internet are just [inaudible 00:01:06].
Michael Carducci: I try but everybody is using WPA2 so I can’t … It’s a little harder these days to get the free internet. Long gone is that loan unprotected linksys network that we just used to take advantage of so much. I don’t know, remote work is becoming more and more of a thing. As I’m hiring people, that’s part of the perks that they get is that you set your own hours and you work where you want to work, when you want to work. Do you think that’s the future or?
Daniel Hinojosa: I think it’s going to be a hard to achieve future because I think a lot of the people who are still hiring are I guess old school. I don’t know if that’s a good term but it’s like, I need you here in the office. We need to have meetings that just really waste your time. You don’t get anything done.
Michael Carducci: We need to feel like we’re being [inaudible 00:01:58].
Daniel Hinojosa: You got to feel like we have this power meeting where we talk about paradigm shifts and synergies. I hope that’s the future but a lot of things are going to have to change by doing that. Definitely I think that’s one of the reasons why [slack 00:02:17] has become immensely popular. Because teams are distributed across the world and around the world. I know I was looking … There’s a hashtag if any of the listeners are interested. It’s called a remote first and take a look there’s a nice little movement there that jobs should be remote. That you can operate around the world and you don’t need to be in San Francisco and New York and London which if you ever take a look at the jobs online. The good paying jobs where you have to be there, they’re in those three cities or maybe even Silicon Valley. [crosstalk 00:03:00].
Michael Carducci: Well and part of those salaries are connected to the cost of living in those areas.
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah, they are. If you’re in Tulsa Oklahoma and you’re a developer and you have a mortgage, and you have family settled there, you have grandma that’s sick and you need to visit her every so often, that’s going to be hard. I know in Tulsa Oklahoma … I’m just using Oklahoma, there are some development jobs there but there aren’t a lot of development jobs there. It seems that there should be more jobs open to people regardless of your location. I think remote work just has to be something that we as developers will need to do but I think it’s going to be hard.
Michael Carducci: Now how do you deal with the loss of that collaborative spark when you get everybody together and something just happens, something just clicks and it’s hard to do that on a slack chat or hard to do that on some kind of screen share or web meeting.
Daniel Hinojosa: I don’t know, I’m just going to brain storm here. Doesn’t mean you should or shouldn’t, I have no idea but maybe a quarterly get together would be a good thing and we talk about micro services and the two pizza teams, whatever that is. You could just choose a city that is close between your two pizza virtual teams and meet there.
Michael Carducci: Well, you could meet anywhere.
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah and that’s one Southwest ticket and Southwest Airlines ticket which is probably under $200 or whatever and one of the things that we can do is as a team, as a two pizza team, at any particular region, it doesn’t matter what region it is and maybe you could hire teams per region. The southwest region is going to take care of this particular app or the northeast region is going to take care of this particular app. I’m not saying this should be a law or anything, I’m just brain storming. Who knows, maybe if you’re the southwest team, let’s go meet in Tucson for our quartely meet up in March 1st and they should get together, come up with ideas, see what kind of direction we want to move to and let’s have a few drinks afterwards.
Michael Carducci: Like a company retreat?
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah kind of like a company retreat but more of like a subgroup type of thing.
Michael Carducci: Yeah.
Daniel Hinojosa: It’s just your own [crosstalk 00:05:36]. I think so. I think that’d be a good idea. Save the cost on just these huge offices and huge campuses.
Michael Carducci: What was your reaction when the CEO of Yahoo recalled all of the remote employees?
Daniel Hinojosa: I think it was panic because things aren’t going too well for yahoo. I think we as humans tend to exercise behaviors that are meaningless but the perception is you’re doing the right thing even though there’s no meaning to it. I think there was probably a panic in Yahoo, we’re losing a lot of money, we’re getting hacked all the time. Which has nothing to do whether people are remote or not but let’s go through this act and just bring everyone over anyway. That’s one of my beefs about that software industry and I’ll just reiterate again where most of the jobs are in Seattle and in San Francisco and New York and in London. It seems that when you take a look at the job advertisements, they’re discriminatory against the older established, people with families because we’d like to move you to San Francisco, we’d like to move you to Seattle but it’s just harder to uproot a 45 year old with a family rather than a 23 year old that wants to see the world.
It seems liker a disadvantage for those who have a rooted family but just my opinion there.
Michael Carducci: Do you think we’re going to see a trend more towards … Moving more towards remote work or do you think it’s going to be very divided still for the foreseeable future.
Daniel Hinojosa: It’s going to take a while but I think remote work has to be it. We have cloud now so even server administration is going to be remote work because everyone’s server is going to be on someone’s cloud for example. Server administration is going to be there, definitely program is going to be there. This cloud allows us to distribute our work. You have to know what the cloud is. If you’re a CEO who doesn’t really get it yet, everyone is going to be working at that office. As time moves on and the more and more we do cloud, the more and more we could architect it a little bit better that distribution, the more and more I think it’s going to be [inaudible 00:08:13] to do this kind of remote work.
Michael Carducci: Now I’ll ask you one more question just your thought on-
Daniel Hinojosa: That just speculation, I’ll just say that. I have no idea what the future is going to hold.
Michael Carducci: Well, I don’t know what it does but it’ll be interesting to find out. I do want to ask one more question just to get your opinion on an area tangentially related to this. That more and more of the jobs being created right now are these kind of freelance … I think what somebody called the access economy.
Daniel Hinojosa: I never heard of that.
Michael Carducci: Essentially it’s this … Like the access economy show one example is the Airbnb thing.
Daniel Hinojosa: Okay.
Michael Carducci: I have a surplus of space in my house, you want access to that. We have a third part that can facilitate this transaction so you can sleep in my spare bedroom for a month if you need to. We have an independent moderator that will step in if they’re any disputes.
Daniel Hinojosa: Or if you’re a freak and you’re using it. You’re inviting people over to your house for malicious purposes.
Michael Carducci: Yeah, they can police that and as a result, having a trusted third party makes this whole type of transaction a lot easier but I read a statistic that maybe something like 90% of the jobs that are being created now are in that type of space that are these freelance occasional type of things. Is that going to facilitate more of a work where you want to, where you want to for people who are sufficiently driven to do that or-
Daniel Hinojosa: Well, that’s like ride sharing too right?
Michael Carducci: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Daniel Hinojosa: I don’t know. That’s a tough call. I think … This is getting a little political, I won’t go too political on that but we’ve heard a lot of bad stories about what Uber is going through and Lift is getting a lot of that but treating-
Michael Carducci: Well hang on, which bad stories about Uber because there’s a lot?
Daniel Hinojosa: There’s a lot. I think about the pay. Are people making a good living wage off of Uber minus their own repairs, their own gas and by the time you deduct all those actual expenses how much do you actually make?
Michael Carducci: That was a criticism I read of Uber that they’ve essentially found a way to monetize depreciation of other people’s cars.
Daniel Hinojosa: Right yes, that’s a good description absolutely. I think if they’re going to do something about that, I don’t think their companies will last long because people aren’t going to make money off of it and people aren’t going to … Usually should they continue a job that they can’t make money off of? I don’t see a particularly bright future. I think to someone who’s unsuspecting, you could say, “Look you’ll make money and all you have to do is drive your own car at whatever time you want. Sounds great, do the economics and write out your IRS form and you realized you didn’t make that much and that’s where everything will finally shine a light as to are you actually making money off of this, [inaudible 00:11:34] everything.
Like Airbnb which I think has been somewhat positive. People tend to like Airbnb. Do people actually make money? I don’t know. I don’t know how Airbnb treats the host and how much money they actually get to it. I know if I was in Airbnb host, I’d hate it because I’d hate cleaning. I’m a fairly clean individual but I’d rather clean on my own time not because someone’s coming over. One of the tough things and I love having guests aver at my house but one of the tough things is, man I got to clean everything. Can you imagine doing that all the time? Yuck.
Michael Carducci: I know the few Airbnb stays that I’ve had, in most cases they were actually a dedicated space or somebody had a … An apartment they weren’t living and you could rent it by the week. Basically the before and after or at least after you check out, you are charged a $70 fee and that actually goes to a cleaning service.
Daniel Hinojosa: Really okay, that’s nice, okay.
Michael Carducci: Because you can [tac 00:12:41] that on in addition to anything else.
Daniel Hinojosa: There’s also the emotional stress of it. I know one in New Hampshire, I was staying at a Airbnb and my hostess said that she had someone staying over and he said, “Hey do you mind if I invite some friends over to play some board games?” Okay board games is fine.
Michael Carducci: Parcheesi?
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah Parcheesi bring over the Parcheesi then the beer came out and then people are laughing out loud at 01:00 am. That’s too stressful man. I would get out. I’m not doing this ever again, there’s that extra load of what to do when your guest is not a good person.
Michael Carducci: I recently had a friend stay at a Airbnb and believed that bnb stood universally for bed and breakfast. The morning of his stay, he woke up and fixed himself breakfast. To my knowledge the dispute is still raging-
Daniel Hinojosa: What does bnb stand for? I though that’s what it stood for too? Or in Airbnb what does it stand for?
Michael Carducci: Originally going back to the beginning the Airbnb it was air bed and breakfast. The idea was you could just inflate an airbed put in your living room and rent out that airbed. It was the airbed and breakfast it was the idea and then they shortened it to Airbnb. It’s more just a [inaudible 00:14:14] it’s not a description of the service.
Daniel Hinojosa: It’s not a contractual obligation.
Michael Carducci: Apparently it’s down to the host to decide but he’s convinced that look no, bnb stands for bed and breakfast and I got my bed, I got breakfast. You really want to have a big fight over a 25 cent egg.
Daniel Hinojosa: Can you imagine, someone’s staying at someone’s house and there’s this wonderful beautiful cake happy birthday Garry but your name is not Garry.
Michael Carducci: You just take a big bite out of it.
Daniel Hinojosa: You’re obligated to have some breakfast man, that’s what the Airbnb stand for you’re like screw it, “I don’t care about Garry I need some breakfast.” You cut yourself a cake.
Michael Carducci: Well going back to the Uber though maybe their thing is not … Is that they don’t really care about the longevity of that model because maybe they’re just biting their time until self driving cars take over their entire fleet.
Daniel Hinojosa: I think so and that’s inhumane but that’s going to be my strong opinion on that. They know what they’re doing. They absolutely know what they’re doing.
Michael Carducci: Well so at that point, we have all these drivers who have been displaced. I still think there’s going to be a need for human services probably as I can conceive for at least the duration of my life whatever that is. Is it going to move more to these flexible jobs, these flexible freelance jobs in other areas? I just signed up for a service that is a personal assistant as a service and I can send a text anytime of the day and night with any kind … Basically any legal and ethical request and they will make it happen.
Daniel Hinojosa: I love that yeah, I’ve heard about that, they’re called the concierge service.
Michael Carducci: Yeah various different models. This one is an entirely pay as you go so if I text them something and I did this, I need an egg for [inaudible 00:16:12] last night and I just sent them a text I said I’m in this room, at this hotel, I need a whole raw egg that is white not brown in my room by 05:00 o’clock. 05:00 o’clock it came up to my room, open the door and actually right there was where the egg was.
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah this is a true story?
Michael Carducci: This happened yesterday.
Daniel Hinojosa: Wow.
Michael Carducci: I’ve done a few other things and they’ve actually done a pretty good job, but again-
Daniel Hinojosa: That would be a good job because can you imagine dinner with your family, like how was your day? Well this guy just wanted one green M&M.
Michael Carducci: I want to do a few little things like that just to try it out but at the same time you pay by the hour and-
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah that’s too much.
Michael Carducci: I don’t know, I’d like to just try this out but some of the examples have been pretty detailed. They go and source vendors and they’ll call around and if you need something they’ll call around and find somebody to bring it to you wherever you’re. One of the things they have to really explain is that if you hire them to do something for you and then at the very last minute you say actually nevermind, you still have to pay.
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah sure.
Michael Carducci: Because they’re trying to explain well look, we do all this running around, we do all this leg work to find this vendor and this thing and this thing and put the order through-
Daniel Hinojosa: I need a yellow piranha, actually nevermind. Let me give you a hard task.
Michael Carducci: One more that really impressed me was I needed to change a flight, I had a flight booked Houston of Friday of next week ,I needed it to changed to Thursday. I said, “Look, this is my record locator, this is my frequent flyer number can you … You’ve all ready got my credit card on file, can you call them up and make this change?” It turns out, I didn’t know this if you change a non changeable ticket, you have to pay a change fee plus the fair difference. If you-
Daniel Hinojosa: I fly South West so-
Michael Carducci: Yeah so you do not have that.
Daniel Hinojosa: Everyone makes fun of me so a little no fluff inner thing that we talk about [inaudible 00:18:21]. We always enjoy talking about air flights. Because we all fly … Some extent or another, some more than others, but sometimes in … This would be a … What should we call this? No fluff, just stuff on the inside.
Michael Carducci: There you go, yeah.
Daniel Hinojosa: This is a no fluff just stuff on the inside story behind, what was it?
Michael Carducci: Behind the podium.
Daniel Hinojosa: Behind the projector. Often times you’ll find us, we’re just drowsy or just had a long night or stay up trying to perfect our talks and we’re just not talking to one another at the breakfast table. All someone has to do is just mention … Just throw out Delta Airlines.
Michael Carducci: Delta, don’t get me started.
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah and so not that … Nothing is wrong in particular [crosstalk 00:19:15] we have two or three speakers that are just like super diamond bonus plus.
Michael Carducci: Telling the story of how they got picked up for their connection in a Porsche.
Daniel Hinojosa: Who’s this?
Michael Carducci: Matt, that happened to Matt.
Daniel Hinojosa: Wow.
Michael Carducci: He got off the plane and he says, “Are you Matt?” He says, “Yeah.” He says, “Let me take you to [inaudible 00:19:35].”
Daniel Hinojosa: That’s right they drove him in a Porsche.
Michael Carducci: Yeah.
Daniel Hinojosa: That’s a good story. Go to any no fluff speaker and just talk about airlines. If you want to walk up to one of us and-
Michael Carducci: [crosstalk 00:19:48] conversation.
Daniel Hinojosa: You just want us to start a conversation and you think code is too much particularly after a long day, “So tell me about United, what kind of experience do you have with them?” All of a sudden, best friend in the world.
Michael Carducci: Yeah, I’ll tell the story about the time I got denied boarding from United because they had oversold the flight and they needed to free up 13 seats on a CRJ and I thought that’s not going to happen. They’re looking for volunteers and I was trying to get to the Saint Louis show and five of us got kicked off. Anyway-
Daniel Hinojosa: If they were computers and mass skills, they wouldn’t have to overbook flights. It’s pretty amazing what computers could do. Maybe someone can give them a hint on that sort of thing. Concurrency libraries to make sure that no one is booking the same seat. I hear these computers are great.
Michael Carducci: Yeah I don’t know-
Daniel Hinojosa: [crosstalk 00:20:45] Even an excel sheet.
Michael Carducci: Going back to the … Actually I lost my … Where were we before we went to the airplane tangent?
Daniel Hinojosa: I don’t know.
Michael Carducci: Were we talking about Uber and-
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah the service economy.
Michael Carducci: The service economy. The concierge as a service, the personal assistant as a service whatever found this out, I didn’t know this. If you change your flight, you pay the change fee.
Daniel Hinojosa: Sure that’s where we were.
Michael Carducci: If I change my flight I pay the change fee. If you change your cabin, you don’t pay a change fee.
Daniel Hinojosa: You change your cabin, what does that mean?
Michael Carducci: In other words if it was a $200 change fee to get the earlier flight, and it was $150 fair difference to change the cabin from economy to first class, it’s cheaper to get a first class ticket than to get an economy ticket.
Daniel Hinojosa: Wow.
Michael Carducci: Right?
Daniel Hinojosa: Yeah.
Michael Carducci: I paid less-
Daniel Hinojosa: This is why airlines get angry because someone figures out the way to cheat the system like that, just like that guy who says … Who found out-
Michael Carducci: That pudding?
Daniel Hinojosa: Is that what it’s called where you get an extended flight with a connection but you really just want to go to the connection. You’ll get a flight to San Francisco but you only want to go to Reno. You find that flight that goes to San Francisco with a stop at Reno and you get like-
Michael Carducci: Yeah it’s cheaper.
Daniel Hinojosa: It’s far cheaper just to get the flight to San Francisco and then when you’re staying over at Reno just exit the plane.
Michael Carducci: Well my favorite story is the guy who … I think it was Snackwell’s pudding, did you hear this?
Daniel Hinojosa: No. It’s going to be great though.
Michael Carducci: They did a promotion where every pudding lid you sent in you got a thousand frequent fryer miles.
Daniel Hinojosa: Come on.
Michael Carducci: He worked it out that it was just absurdly cheap per mile. Like 25 cents for a pudding cup and getting a thousand frequent flyer miles. You’re basically giving them away. He went around and bought all of the pudding in the entire state and spent a few thousand dollars on it and this was in the 90s. He hasn’t paid for a plane ticket since. He donated them all to The Salvation Army.
Daniel Hinojosa: Good I love this story I was going to ask, my inkling is let’s help out the homeless, let’s help out the hungry and I’m like, if you add that to this story and as you were telling the story I’m like man, this is going to be a good story if he donates that food.
Michael Carducci: He also got a tax receipt on that and he donated the food and The Salvation Army-
Daniel Hinojosa: He got a tax deduction off of it.
Michael Carducci: Yeah he paid almost nothing and he got something like 100 million frequent flyer miles and he’s just never paid for a plane ticket since. They had to … That was a really poorly though out campaign. I know there have been a few of these. Like I think [inaudible 00:23:54] or Hoover, one of these companies did a promotion in the UK where if you bought a vacuum cleaner you get a free ticket to the United States. You could get a vacuum cleaner for about 80 bucks. People just were buying a bunch of these … Their cheapest model. They didn’t specify you have to buy the grand deluxe edition. People were just getting [inaudible 00:24:17] little rechargeable sweeper-
Daniel Hinojosa: Hand vacuum.
Michael Carducci: Yeah and they … I don’t know. I don’t want to get too far off the rail so just to bring it home-
Daniel Hinojosa: We’re mostly a java conference so we don’t do rails.
Michael Carducci: Fair enough.
Daniel Hinojosa: I don’t want to get too far off the grails.
Michael Carducci: Yeah there you go. I see what you did there. I don’t know it’s going to be an interesting time to-
Daniel Hinojosa: I think so yeah, and we’ll see where it goes but hopefully we’ll be able to overcome.
Michael Carducci: All right well let’s see what the future holds. Thank you for listening and stay subscribed.

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