How to Start a Team & Open an Office Abroad w/ Kelly Vaughn
Dev Interrupted
Tue, August 22, 2023
Podchat Summary

Setting Up an Office in a Foreign Country: Insights and Experiences

In this episode, Kelly Vaughn, Director of Engineering at Spot AI, shares her insights and experiences in setting up an office in a foreign country. She specifically focuses on the process of expanding the team internationally, with a particular emphasis on their office in Poland.

Being Prepared for the Challenges

When expanding internationally, it is crucial to be prepared for the challenges that may arise. Kelly emphasizes that it's important not to expect everything to go perfectly from the start. Instead, it's essential to anticipate and address potential obstacles along the way.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Location

When deciding on a foreign country to set up an office, several factors should be taken into consideration. These include cost, talent availability, cultural fit, and language barriers. Kelly explains how they evaluated these factors and ultimately chose Poland as their office location.

Why Poland?

Poland was selected as the ideal location for Spot AI's office due to its high tech density, cultural similarities with the Americas, and the potential for future expansion into Europe. Kelly discusses the advantages of choosing Poland and how it aligns with their long-term goals.

Distribution of Work and Team Cohesion

Ensuring a smooth workflow between the US and Poland teams is crucial. Kelly explains how they distribute work based on each team's strengths and interests, establishing clear swim lanes to avoid confusion and overlap. She also emphasizes the importance of maintaining cultural values and cohesion, sharing how they facilitate face-to-face interactions through regular visits and team off-sites.

Challenges and Solutions

Setting up an office in a foreign country comes with its own set of challenges. Kelly discusses some of the obstacles they faced, including language barriers, differences in employment contracts and notice periods, and the need to explain equity offerings to employees in countries where it is less common. She also shares valuable insights on working with local recruiters to navigate the hiring process and understand cultural differences.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Flexibility is key when expanding internationally. Kelly emphasizes the importance of being willing to adjust the approach as needed. She acknowledges that not every hire will be a perfect fit and encourages making changes when necessary to ensure the success of the team and the office.

If you're interested in learning more about the process of setting up an office in a foreign country and the insights gained from Spot AI's experience in Poland, this episode is a must-listen!

Original Show Notes

Considering expanding your engineering team overseas? While daunting, the rewards could outweigh the challenges. 

On this week’s episode of Dev Interrupted, co-host Conor Bronsdon welcomes Kelly Vaughn, Director of Engineering at Spot AI, back to the show. One of our most listened-to voices, Kelly dissects the decision-making process behind opening a new office - from the long list of potential countries to the myriad factors that clinched the decision.

Outside of the big picture stuff like navigating timezones and culture differences, Kelly also shares valuable insights on ground-level practices, such as the importance of local recruiters and strategies for discussing equities and contractor partnerships. 

Show Notes:

Support the show:


Made with ☕️ in SF/SD.
© 2023 Spyglass Search, Inc.