Treating Your Internet Friends with Respect Starts Right Here at HackerNoon HQby@linh
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Treating Your Internet Friends with Respect Starts Right Here at HackerNoon HQ

by Linh Dao SmookeJune 10th, 2021
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Hacker Noon is growing at the fastest rate we have ever been. From Q1 of 2021 to Q2 of 2021, our team quadruple (and a bit) in size from about 10 (employees + part-time) to 40. All HackerNoon full-time employees are now eligible to enter our fully-funded Mental Health initiative. Plus a few tips on how to make Remote Work work. Hacker Noon Mama-in-Chief. But also like a real mom (to Norah).

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: All HackerNoon full-time employees and long-term part-time contractors are now eligible to enter our fully-funded Mental Health initiative. Plus a few tips on how to make Remote Work work.


HackerNoon is growing at the fastest rate we have ever been. From Q1 of 2021 to Q2 of 2021, our team quadruple (and a bit) in size from about 10 (employees + part-time) to 40 (22 full-time + part-time, 8 interns, 9 blogging fellows).

We are able to do this because we have been having strong sales year to date (already surpassing that of the entire year last year), which results in us being profitable for the first time since launching 2.0!

What this means for HackerNoon as a company

At the core of the HackerNoon Team values, 3 things have always stood out: Choice, Creativity, and Accountability.

Here's how a few core team members put it:

"I'm such a big fan of Linh and David's Run to the deep end and SWIM, kids approach" - Natasha Nel, VP of Editorial Strategy

But also:

"We are big enough to need structure but small enough not to know how to do it well" - Utsav Jaiswal, VP of Sales

I think in the past, due to the small, tight, quality number of people working on a single goal of making HackerNoon a better place to read/write/publish, we have been able to "get away" with a few things:

  • The need for handholding because "this meeting could have been an email" 😆. Or, in our case, a Slack thread.
  • The need to "formalize" any process. We need to get things done, not become a logistics bureaucracy
  • Having basic things like...a healthcare plan. This is a tough one because we can compensate people fairly for their work, but cannot really find a trans-continentally applicable method of providing healthcare. 😭
The good news? We are all young, smart, and 100% remote during a pandemic.
The bad news? We are all young, smart, and 100% remote, in a pandemic.

So - like a mother whose daughter has grown out of her baby's phase (and trust me...I know what it's like 😉), HackerNoon has to grow up and enter a whole new era. The grownup stage they may say.

The HackerNoon Mental Health Initiative

Some details are redacted as this is applicable only to people who work @ HackerNoon. 

Unlike physical healthcare, mental healthcare is borderless, which makes it more appealing as an option for employers with a remote-first team like ours.

Think of mental health like a healthy diet/fitness routine. Mental health is just regular good old health. Much research has been done on the long-term benefit of therapy. It's not very tabooed to say "Let's eat well", "Let's exercise more often!", why should it be any different to say "let's talk to a professional about your feelings!"?

Company Proposal

Everyone who works for HackerNoon is eligible to Opt-In to this Mental Health Initiative, the moment they:

  • Become Full Time ✌️, or
  • Celebrate their first year anniversary of working at HackerNoon

How do you enter?


How to measure success?

We hope this program would help:

  • Bring people a sense of peace and (hopefully) ensuing productivity.
  • Help everyone understand that it's ok not to be ok and help you manage your stress levels appropriately both in work and your personal lives.
  • Give us feedback (if any!) on how else we could be creative and help here 🙂

Tips: How to make Remote Work work

I figure since we have been remote since Day 1, we would like to lay the groundwork here on how we can better communicate as a team!

One: You lead by example

If you ever wonder what's the best way to "get" people to do certain things - do it yourself! Lead by example! Think about it - if even you (the proposer if the idea) won't believe in it or do it, how would others be expected to do the same? "Do what I say but not what I do" will never work ✌️

Two: Tone and Voice

As a remote company, people can’t really hear your voice and tone most of the time unless they know that’s how you communicate irl (lol remember that 😂)

I compile these miscellaneous useful phrases, but everyone is free to add on to it too!

  • "I hear you" - sometimes people only need to be heard. No fix-it attitude needed. Simply listen.
  • "Help me understand" - ask clarifying questions go a longgggg way
  • "How can I help?" - put yourself in other people's shoes
  • "Gotcha. Can I get back to it later?" - if you are busy, instead of ignoring people, please clearly communicate that you will be away and will get back to it. I like Richard's way of giving the message an emoji too.
  • "Take your time” or “No rush” - offer patience when people are still learning new things
  • “Thank you!” - simple af. But do you say it enough?
  • “You’re welcome” as opposed to “no problem” - I’m weird about this one, always hated no problems because it implies troubles were created
  • "?" instead of "!" when it comes to a question
  • ... ← easy with the elipses...because I can't tell if you're confused, hurt, or angry about what was just said and don't want to bring it up...

Three: Connect the dots

With so many new people, we all need to be better at helping everyone connect the dots. You might know a lot about blockchain, others might not. You may be sick of telling people JUST where the brand guidelines are, for others it will be news to them. You might think you are clear as day, but they might just not at all get what you say. So what do we do?

  • Context is key. What do you know about the big picture? How does that connect with your area of the business? How does that connect with theirs? Why does it even matter?
When in doubt, tie it back go time reading, words published, and money made
  • Some people need things spelled out exactly. Others prefer to get the gist of the idea then do it themselves. Wait and see before judging.
  • I always think - err on the side of over-explaining (at least at first) rather than under-explaining. Better safe than sorry. Also, if people have more questions because some of the details are unclear, we can then use that as an opportunity to discuss
  • Be proactive in reaching out! You might never think they need it, but their responses might surprise you. Just because they’ve been quiet lately and heads down doing stuff doesn’t mean that they can just be left to their own accord. Note: this is important for management to do with their own direct reports- frequency up to you. It’s as simple as - “hey how have you been? Wanted to check in to see if I can help with anything?”
  • Always try to link to the source when you refer to something, either in Slack, Notion, or any other workspace you are on.

A Concluding Note

We are in an exciting time. All the challenges we are currently facing as a team are NOT challenges of a struggling organization. On the contrary, they are (needed) challenges of a growing, THRIVING company. So I would invite y'all to embrace it.

Change is good.

Instead of resisting the changes, why not go with the flow and see just how much you are capable of doing?