Doist founder Amir Salihefendic explains why his remote team doesn’t try to do everything in real time

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Does working from home have to mean sitting in a chatroom all day or always being available for a video call?

Real-time chat and video platforms are great for building camaraderie and maintaining a sense of connection with remote teams, but when you need to focus for a few hours, it can be tough to tune out the endless GIFs and notifications.

Some of the most successful fully remote companies (like GitLab, or Zapier) have promoted the benefits of asynchronous communication — a fancy way of saying that not every conversation needs to happen in real time. Your server is down? You probably need to have that conversation now. Brainstorming a new feature? That might work best when everyone has a bit more time to think between responses. The key is acknowledging the strengths of both synchronous and asynchronous communications — and finding the right mix.

Doist co-founder Amir Salihefendic has been an async advocate for years. After leading a team spread around the globe to build popular task management tool Todoist, he set out to build Twist, a tool specifically built for conversations that deserve a longer shelf life.

I chatted with Amir last week to hear his thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches, how he balances the two (and handles emergencies) and why he has focused heavily on making async a part of his company’s culture. Here’s a transcript of our chat, lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

TechCrunch: How big is Doist now?

Amir Salihefendic: I think we are about 73 people spread around 30 different countries now. [We’re on] most of the continents around the world.

Why’d you go remote in the first place? What made you make that call?