Water Cooler Moments – Darren Murph | Head of Remote, GitLab

Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab and key thought leader for the remote future of work, shares snapshots of his life, workspace, and expert insight on what it takes to find a Head of Remote in the modern work world. Using async short video, he breaks down the importance of storytelling and thriving in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity. Check out the video below in addition to the rest of our Water Cooler Moments series for more quick, async convos from people who inspire and challenge us.

Transcript from Head of Remote Interview:

CARLY: Hi, Darren this is Carly with Voodle. We’ve got a couple of questions for you and to start us off, can you please show us where you’re working from today?

DARREN: I’m at home today in North Carolina. This is the home office, this is my desk – mission control. We’ve got three screens, which is overkill for some, but perfect for me. Got a ring light here. Elgato key light bouncing off of that back wall.

A couple of guitars… those are my wife’s, she’s right-handed. I’m left-handed. And the mirrorless camera, the microphone, and a couple of hats. You never know if you have a bad hair day. It’s nice to have a hat around. One with all the signatures was actually from a Super Bowl 10 years ago now – how about that?

CARLY: In the last month, what was your favorite remote moment of human connection and how did it happen?

DARREN: I was on a panel last week. There were folks in the U.K., there were folks in various places in the U.S., and we realized that there was a common connection around Bojangles, which was pretty funny.  So, three of the four people on the call waxed poetic about the greatness of Bojangles supreme dinner. A Bo-Berry Biscuit, you name it – and our colleague in the UK was completely unaware of anything we were talking about, which made it all the better to keep digging in.

So it was a fun moment to realize that there’s a lot that connects us, but also a lot more to explore. And so we left our UK contact with a lot of research to do. And now we owe him some sweet tea when he comes to visit this side of the ocean.

CARLY: I know you hold a Guinness World Record. What did you do to earn that and what did you learn?

DARREN: So here is the actual Guinness World Record. There’s a bit of a glare, but you can see here the world’s most prolific professional blogger composing seventeen thousand two hundred and twelve blog posts.

As of July 29th, 2010. So that was the actual world record mailed to me from headquarters in London. So the short story is I wrote a lot while I was at Engadget. It averaged a post every two hours, 24/7, 365 for four consecutive years. It was quite the journey there. 

CARLY: What, in your opinion, is a make-or-break quality to look for in a Head of Remote? And can you share a little story about why that quality matters so much in your role?

DARREN: I’d say there are two things that are can’t miss in a Head of Remote. One is being a great storyteller and the other is being OK and actually the ability to thrive in uncertainty and ambiguity. Great storyteller, because a Head of Remote spearheads a lot of change. You are ushering a lot of people through a lot of change and oftentimes through things that are uncertain to them, uncertain waters, if you will.

So you need to be a great storyteller. You need to be a Chief Imagination Officer, if you will, to paint the future of why people should buy into a new way of working to create a better future for themselves and their family.

Also, being OK with ambiguity. Remote is a journey of iteration. There is a lot of change that happens. And to some degree, we don’t have all the answers. Society is collectively learning how to do this the best way, and you have to be OK with that.

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