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21st Century Work Life and leading remote teams

Brought to you by Virtual not Distant, the 21st Century Work Life podcast looks at leading remote teams, online collaboration and working in distributed organisations.

Join Pilar Orti, guests & co-hosts as they shine the spotlight on the most relevant themes and news relevant to the modern knowledge worker.

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Aug 15, 2019

We have two interesting guests for you to meet today, and our first conversation is an excellent example of some of the things you might not obviously know about people when you work with them remotely, as we delve into some of the non-work things which make our associates into whole people.

But we do talk about creativity, 21st century careers, and content marketing too and the way everything is evolving. We’re making lots of changes to our content at Virtual Not Distant - have you checked out the website lately?  Plenty of new things to see, we would love to hear what you think about all of it, and changes in the podcast too... including our new section:

03.49 What’s going on!

This will be a regular round-up of news, events and issues in the remote space. Right now:

  • Pilar is discovering the joys of unplugging, and going properly ‘out of office’ - which you still need to do in remote. Just because you can stay in touch constantly, it doesn’t mean you have to, and stepping out of the conversation for a while brings many benefits.
  • This article from the BBC in July made the headlines for not having an office… and it turned out to be our friends from Automattic (see episode 136). They’ve been around since 2005, but for the Beeb ‘Wake Up to Money’ programme this was big news! Good to see the mainstream catching up...
  • A great conversation on LinkedIn recently (in Italian, sorry!) spoke up for the potential of collaborative creativity in remote, delving into the difference between individual and group creativity in an interesting way - and they really understand the name of our organisation, which was highly gratifying.
  • More on sychronous/asynchronous collaboration, something we talk about a lot - here’s a thoughtful piece on creative ideation in remote, and another great take on this from Buffer - lots to think about, but the main thing is that it’s possible
  • Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter - for a regularly monthly shot of inspiration and ideas
  • And do send us YOUR ideas, about what’s going on in remote work!


16.56 21st Century Work Life - with Luis Magalhaes

It doesn’t get much more ‘21st Century’ than Luis Magalhaes’ CV, where his portfolio of roles includes marketing, podcasting, dentistry and gaming…

His main activity for the past couple of years though is being Director of Marketing and Editor In Chief at DistantJob. The company promotes remote work as a solution for companies who want to scale and grow, and they specialise in recruitment from a global marketplace. For businesses it means hiring the best person wherever they are located, and DistantJob deals with all the contractual and logistics complications which may arise from hiring outside of their own location and jurisdiction.

Content marketing helps DistantJob target their sweet spot of medium-sized businesses - ready to hire, but not to open international branches - and they test and iterate and keep doing more of the things that work. They develop their content strategy collectively and transparently as a team, and constantly review their own practice and thinking, based on the people they talk to. Everything they learn, and reflects their values and culture in hiring - hiring for themselves and their clients.

DistantJob create 3 pieces of quality original content each week, two articles and a podcast, and it works. Inbound marketing is the ‘karma based economy’: provide valuable information, and people will come to you when they need what you’ve got to offer. 

Luis rarely practices dentistry these days, but always loved the intersection of science, medicine and diagnostics - and his evident passion for helping people clearly has parallels here. He also enjoys the synergy of using his hands and brain together, to make things better. Helping people find the best job of their lives has more in common than we might have thought, with fixing their toothache.

Luis also loves videogames, and attributes much to that passion, from writing and creativity, to co-ordination, even the spatial awareness needed for dentistry. He podcasts and writes about gaming from time to time, to try and offset the bad rap they get in popular discourse. He writes fantasy fiction too (and is a best seller in Portuguese, while also releasing his new novel The Silvery Moon this summer in English). 

Amazing insights were generated in this conversation with Luis, and reflected and expanded upon by Pilar, about the impact of language and bilingualism on creativity. We should bear in mind the impact of this in our global teams, and remember that real time video might not always be ‘the best’ - remember Allon Shevat’s comments in our last episode.

Check out Luis’ podcast at Distant Job (on which both Pilar and Maya have guested), and check out their blog too. Luis tweets as well.

And talking of content and creation, here’s further insight about SEO and how content gets found in the first place...


59.01 Jeremiah Smith founder and CEO of SimpleTiger

A specialist in SEO for software-as-a-service companies, Jeremiah has seen 2 decades of trends in search engine optimisation, which is now being transformed by more intelligence: AI is superceding traditional algorithms, and handling content very differently.

This trend will deepen, and search will get ever more prescriptive, as we provide constant feedback on its success.  And Jeremiah reminds us that search does not just mean Google - Amazon is one of the world’s biggest search engines, for example, just specialised in products.

Creating authentic and high quality content which creates a good user experience throughout the customer journey, should continue to be rewarded by search traffic - whether you’re an SME startup or a Fortune 500 company.

Keep up with Jeremiah on Twitter for further thoughts.


What do you think about quality content and conversation in remote work? Do you have a view you’d like to share, on this or any aspect of 21st century work life? We now have a podcast guest application form, and really welcome your ideas and contributions for the show