Starting and managing a fully remote startup with Claap
Jeff Garner is the CEO and solo founder of Canua, a finance platform for consumers. He’s also a strong advocate for remote work, long before the pandemic made it trendy. Working remotely since ~2008, Jeff—an American expat—was already living and working in Italy before he joined Intercom—based in the US. Almost 6 years later, Jeff was leading +100 members of Intercom’s Support and Customer Success teams. We can safely say Jeff knows a thing or two about the efficiency of remote work.
So when he decided to start Canua earlier this year, he knew from day one it would be a fully remote company. And Claap has been instrumental to that.
How Jeff embraced async video collaboration
Jeff started using video to communicate and share quick updates with his teams long before Claap came along in 2021. He’s a huge advocate for this medium, especially in remote teams:
Text is fine but text is actually pretty little low fidelity, you lose a lot of nuance, it just doesn't feel nearly as human. Just by watching someone talk you pick up a lot more of what’s going on and what they are actually feeling.
When still at Intercom,Jeff used QuickTime and eventually switched to Loom. But he always felt something was lacking with those tools and the collaboration aspect that Claap takes on is the biggest of those things.
“A rich medium to communicate thoughts and ideas”
Canua is a small and very distributed team: 7 people and none of them are in the same country. As with any new startup, speed of execution is one of the most important things for Jeff and his team. They need to move fast on new features and iterate quickly based on customer feedback. And that’s where Claap and video come in.
The mission behind Claap “less meeting, more asynchronously” it’s an idea I very much believe in.
As a company, they try to be as asynchronous as possible and use Claap for all sorts of things: bug reports, design reviews, quick updates, even communicating with investors.
The fact that we can use this very rich medium to communicate thoughts or ideas means people got tons of deep work time during the day.
His engineers even joke about this “I’ve never worked somewhere where I’m able to just work and get stuff done all day”. And that’s the biggest benefit for them, Claap enables this fully asynchronous working style while ensuring high-fidelity communication and collaboration between team members.
How Jeff uses Claap to enable his team
For Jeff, Claap is about being able to give people really good context and allow them to make decisions. Like he says:
It’s not for me to make every decision in the company. My job is clearly communicate the vision and give everyone as much context as I can around that vision so that they can use their judgement properly and do the right things.”
In this interview, we also spoke with Márcia Monteiro, Operations Manager at Canua, where she shared her experience working with Jeff and Claap:
It’s easier for Jeff at the end of the day to just go through some claaps, give feedback about a bunch of stuff, and when people pick up the next day they already have feedback to work on, so Jeff is not a bottleneck in that sense.
Focusing on what matters
When you’re a small company, being effective is not about the noise you make, the false sense of being busy = being productive. It’s actually a trap and what matters is really focusing on the important things. That’s what Claap helped Canua achieve, especially with the ability to annotate directly on the video. This has been the biggest differentiator for Marcia, particularly in longer videos:
I never wanted to do big videos because they get lost and no one watches the whole video. With Claap I can have a 15 min video and as long as I comment on the areas I need feedback from certain people, you don’t need to watch the whole video, you just watch those seconds where I tag you and that’s enough context for you to give me the feedback I want.
Jeff complements saying:
Claap is great to get around a bunch of emails and explain something a little bit faster. Use it for anything you want to communicate better that you don’t want to get on a call for.
Canua is a personal finance tool that enables consumers to connect all their accounts & investments, view that data in one place, and enables powerful automations to grow wealth, ensure tax compliance, and ultimately achieve financial freedom without the stress and anxiety of having to keep an eye on markets or worry about when that next tax deadline is.