The Story of a Remote Team

We might be the most hardcore remote team on this planet. Six of us live in China, US and Australia. We first met online in 2013. It’s been five years since then and we only met once in person, and that did not happen until September of 2017. Actually only Jing lived overseas in 2013, the rest of us all in China, and four of us even in the same city--Shanghai. At first someone suggested that we should have a drink or something. But Jim said how about we don’t see each other until we’ve done something we are all proud of. Later on Chris left Beijing and settled down in his hometown, Paul and Adam left Shanghai and returned to their hometown as well, and Jim and Paula left Shanghai to make Sydney their temporary home. We worked as a remote team for more than four years before we all felt worthy of a meeting. When the day finally came, everyone left their remote nest and flew to beautiful Sanya. When we first met online, Adam was single,  Paul newly wed. When we met in person, they were both happy dads already.

We have over twenty part-timers as well. Jing recruited teachers from US, Canada and England, etc.,  who have given more than a thousand online lessons, all free to the students. Chris coordinates between teachers and students, and takes care of our daily chores. Paul leads our App team, which has given us EnglishWheat and ChineseRice, both iOS and Android. Adam is in charge or our web team of UI designers, front and back end programmers, who have been building our website.

It’s not an easy job to build up a remote team like this. Jing picked our teachers from over a hundred candidates. A self-dubbed talent scout, Jim has interviewed over a thousand applicants, all online. It’s even harder to manage a remote team. Nobody is around. Self-discipline is the only thing to count on. Full-timers are paid monthly, teachers weekly, the rest hourly, who log their working hours by themselves. Paula checks our remote platform CloudTeam everyday and pays out to everyone who has logged 10 hours or more. She handles this daily for years without delay or underpayment,even for those who underperformed. The only choice is to part with them, if found incompetent or untrustworthy. Only those of ability and integrity stay. Besides, we have a ‘Flower Meeting’ online on second-to-last day every month, reviewing progress and problems, and giving out ‘flowers' --bonuses to our star colleagues of the month.  Why on second-to-last day? Because we need the last day to stand by just in case. So far we have not put off the happy day even once.

At first we used Evernote as our virtual office. Later we modified Discuz but still felt deficient. In 2017 we decided to develop our own remote platform and named it CloudTeam, not just for our own use but also open to anyone or any team like us. We have experienced first hand how hard it could be to work remotely without a smart remote platform, and how much better with one. We have chosen remote working not only because we love a little more freedom, but also because we believe it’s the right choice for most jobs. It could be the ultimate solution to traffic jams, pollution and waste of limited resources. Not only does it save vehicles, energy and land, but also time, accidents, anxiety, and money. Obviously remote working is far from being the mainstream yet, but that makes it even more meaningful. Join us now, or any other remote teams by sharing your resume and story on CloudTeam. It’s good for all, so why not?

The Story of Jing and Jim

Jing is our first partner.

Like the hero in Pursuit of Happiness, Jing started from scratch to establish her own asset management  company. A near perfect Toefl score and 500 dollars were her total asset when she left China to study in US in the early 90’s. She had to work three part-time jobs: as a librarian, a teaching assistant and a waitress. One day she was so tired that she fell asleep while driving. She hit a tree. Lying in hospital she wasdesperate, no money, no insurance. Luckily, she received timely operation and recovered fully, thanks to the kindness of strangers. ‘So you didn’t dodge’, her doctor teased her later, referring to the car she was driving—a Dodge. She encountered all kinds of crises, again and again, but she refused to back down. With herperseverance and solid English skills, not only did she earn her MBA degree, but she also passed CPA with just one try. She was hired by several large companies in US. But she did not stop there living a comfortable middle-class life. She chose a more challenging path of entrepreneurship. She plowed Chicago area by herself, knocked more than a thousand doors and won her clients one by one. That was 2009, when her long-cherished dream came true--becoming the owner of an American asset management company.

Jing showed a knack for English as a little girl. She once took part in a story recitation competition and won a city level prize. But her dream then was to become an engineer. It turned out she did too well with her English in the College Entrance Examinations, and was enrolled as an English major. She cried her heart out. Now looking back she feels lucky and grateful, as if blessed by providence. To her, strangers are like angels, easing her out of worst moments of life again and again. Now her biggest wish is to return the divine favor by helping the common people. Over the years she has spent a lot of time taking part in charity work, which extends from local to overseas communities, including big events in South America and Africa raising funds to popularize Polio vaccine. She also organizes seminars for the ordinary families, giving free lectures on wealth growth. For several years she taught Chinese in three schools in Chicago. Now Jing lives in northern suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two adorable daughters. Her number one hobby is Yoga.

Jim is the founder as well as a partner. He and Jing were classmates in college.

There is an anecdote behind their partnership. On June 3, 2013, Jim went to see American Dream in China. He was deeply touched by the movie, because he knew the real story. He is even personally acquainted with a couple of figures who made guest appearance in the movie. People left the theater after it was over, but he didn’t move. When he had to go, he stood up and slapped the back of the front seat, as if determined to do something. He immediately called Jing when he got home, urging her to watch the movie. After graduation, they went different paths. Greetings had been far between and not much more than just saying hi. But this time they chatted on and on, from life to work, from work to the possibility of working together.  The following day they became partners of 另客网. It was June 4, 2013, a day to remember.

Jim has a story to tell, too, about his romance with English. He had been in the Army before attending college. Majoring in English was out of his reach, or so he thought. He chose Chinese as his target major. Nonetheless he was sent to English department due to lack of boys. ‘What’s your name?’ The teacher asked him in his first hour of class, not once, not twice, but three times. Standing upright, tall and skinny, he looked clueless. The whole class cracked up. Four years later, he earned his BA, another three years later, MA, before becoming an English teacher in college. Then his career took another turn. School campus is bigger than military camp, but not big enough for him. He quit his teaching job after two years and ventured into the big world, with little money and no job. He once learnt the word penniless in a textbook, now he illustrated the word by becoming penniless. For a while, he even tried making a living by selling newspapers on the street, in a funny white gown. In 1999, after having had enough of the big world, he passed GMAT, and returned to school campus to become a student of international MBA. In 2000, he recklessly dashed into Nasdaq and bought Chinese portal shares. Almost inevitably he became a disciple of Warren Buffett and read extensively about investment, all in English. In 2011, along with his wife and daughter, he attended the annual meeting of BRK in Omaha. It was a journey of gratitude as well as a pilgrimage. Now Jim and his family live in Bondi, Sydney. His biggest pastime is surfing.

Looking back, Jing and Jim feel so lucky to be bilingual. Along with the rest of our team they are determined as ever to build our website into a global bilingual community, so that more and more people could learn and help each other learn English and Chinese, wherever and whenever, so that they could become bilingual as well, and see their dreams in life come true!