Journal

Product Manager on the run: Scott fills us in on his love for remote work/travel

While a lot of our tribers tend to based in the web development/engineer category, once in awhile, we get the chance to connect with a not-so-common "remote" job title: Product Manager. 

Chillin' in Lagos, Portugal.

Meet Scott, he traveled with us in Brazil back in February and made a lasting impression on all of us. As a year-around remote worker, Scott knows the ins and outs of traveling full-time and we got a chance to sit down with him to pick his brain on what he's learned/experienced thus far ( + some solid advice for the future):

Occupation //

I'm a Product Manager at Scrapinghub | I help to make decisions about what to build to best take advantage of opportunities in our market, or to satisfy our target customers. I also put structure & process around how they develop features/products (sounds important, huh?)

Years in the biz //

I started as a Product Manager almost 10 years ago at a startup company in San Diego and have been remote for roughly 2 years. Originally, I was working for that same company in San Diego (as the only remote person), and then dabbled in some freelance work for a bit, before finding my current position (our team is 100% remote; we don't have an office anywhere). 

Top essentials while traveling //

Myles Apparel Shorts - They're water resistant and stretch easy. A mix between gym wear and fancy shorts that last forever.

Minaal 2.0 backpack - The inside of the backpack is like a jigsaw puzzle of places to best pack as compact as possible; it makes things a lot easier when you're on the move. 

Roost laptop stand - It saves my neck when I'm at my computer all day so I'm not constantly looking down. Helps in the long run for sure. 

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite - While traveling, many of the places that I visit do not speak english, so I can't access english books, nor do I want to lug them around 24/7. 

Why WiFi Tribe? //

I had a few friends that had done it (and recommended it) and it looked like a group of interesting, motivated people. I spent a year with Remote Year with a big group (70 of us) and after that I had been more or less on my own for ~6 months; WiFi Tribe was a chance to try something in the middle. Plus, I had never been to Brazil, don't speak Portuguese, and it seemed like the kind of place that's better to experience with friends (even as an introvert :P )

Lisbon, Portugal

 

What has the digital nomad life taught you so far? //

Huge question... I guess I'd say that people are all generally the same no matter where you go. I think people are all generally good (even though there's always a minority that are going to have ill intent). They want what's best for themselves and their families. They all want to find love. They all want to do fulfilling and meaningful work. And so on. But my point is that there's often a lot of attention put towards what makes people different (especially with the ridiculous political climate in the United States the right now) - an "us vs them" mentality. And I think that if the people pushing those agendas traveled more they'd realize that people are generally the same and there'd be less negativity. Or maybe that's just my wishful thinking. Also, that's not to say that there aren't cultural differences; there are and they are very important (don't be "that guy" that's disrespectful to local customs). But deep down I think we're all more alike than we are different. 

 

#1 Productivity aid? //

Hardware tool - whatever makes you most productive & comfortable. For some people that's Bose noise cancelling headphones, for others an ergonomic Razer mouse, and for me it's my Roost laptop stand (I'm pretty tall, so it helps me keep good posture).

Software tool - whatever keeps you in touch with others the best, whether that's your clients, your customers, your employer, your employees, or whomever else you work with. You're rarely going to be a one-man show and you'll be fighting an uphill battle if you're trying to use obscure tools that others either aren't already using, or have to try to learn in order to work with you. At Scrapinghub we use Atlassian's tools: JIRA and Confluence. Just to make myself a bit of a hypocrite I will admit though that on a personal level, I use Workflowy a lot, even though it's a bit obscure :D

Last advice //

Blarney Castle, Ireland 

Find your routine. I move pretty much every month, mostly because I did it for a year (with a set itinerary) and it became my "normal." That sounds exhausting to some people (even those that are already fairly nomadic) but in some ways it's almost easier for me than traveling slower because it's my routine. On a more micro level, the time of day that I do things changes based on which timezone I'm in, but when I'm in a location I generally eat my meals, workout, etc the same time every day. I always grocery shop and do laundry once per week; things like that. For some people this is "boring" but it allows me to focus my energy on work rather than mundane things like, "I can't remember if I have food for breakfast tomorrow". And then on the weekends I generally just do whatever adventures have presented themselves, and don't follow a schedule at all. That provides the spontaneity & serendipity that I lack during the week. Putting it another way, I personally find that I get so much novelty and adventure just from the day-to-day that finding routines helps to balance that out.

You can follow Scott and his many adventures on Instagram here, and Twitter, here. He has quite the photographer's eye, so you can always expect to see some awesome scenery and sunsets featured. And if you feel up for it, go ahead and apply for our next chapter of WiFi Tribe and see firsthand what this digital nomadic life is all about, we're patiently waiting to meet you!