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Sara Magnabosco, Head of Operations of Hacker Paradise

In this Accomplished Peeps interview we spoke with Sara Magnabosco, Head of Operations at Hacker Paradise, a global community of remote workers united by passion and ethos. Their goal is to be the best remote working community in the world, and to do this, they create tailored online workshops, using their proven techniques, to empower teams & position businesses for remote success.

In addition, they also serve their community by facilitating global trips around the world so that remote workers can combine their love of travel with their professional ambition.

Sara has been working remotely for 3.5 years now, and within her role at Hacker Paradise, she is in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly. She manages remotely a team of four Community Facilitators, and is in charge of the inbound sales funnel and Alumni relations. Our conversation with Sara was full of plenty of nuggets of insightful info, and we're excited to share her responses to our questions, here with you now.

Explain your role at Hacker Paradise & what a typical workday looks like for you.

At Hacker Paradise, what we do is gather people who work remotely and who want to expand their way of working instead of just waiting for retirement before checking everything off on their bucket list. As a company, we take care of the logistics that make all of this happen.

In every city and location where we go, we look for housing for everyone, and we always partner up with a co-working space like the one I'm working from now in Mexico. We take care of the logistics and then of course we focus a lot on the community piece, and around creating real bonds among people.

Within my role, I make sure that everything runs smoothly internally, such as within the team and externally with the members of the community. I'm the one deciding where we go and when we go. I started off 3.5 years ago within the company as a trip facilitator. I ran a bunch of trips, and soon after got hired on to work on the inbound sales process. I'm now in charge of a team of facilitators and in charge of hiring and training.

I really like processes, such as sales and hiring processes. At Hacker Paradise, I'm currently the one planning these processes and also executing them. We're a small team, and we're now just starting to grow again after the pandemic.

You can imagine every day is different. There are macro areas I focus on every week, which are the hiring of the team, trips and sales, and now I really focus on hiring and growing the team again after the pandemic.

Do you hire and train fully remotely?

For the community facilitators we are hiring on, we hire remotely, but we train in person. So when I hire someone, I would join a trip for one month for the in-person training. They have a lot of things to learn about the company, but it's a lot of showing them how you actually do things within the company, even just as simple as setting a good example of how our community facilitators should act with a group. When we hire for other roles we often do this fully remotely, from hiring to training.

What personal workspace do you thrive the best in?

I love working with a sea view! I really, really like to live and work by the beach. So usually when I work remotely on my own, I would look for beach towns and Airbnbs with a beach view and a terrace. But otherwise, I am very productive in co-working spaces.

Do you have any personal routines you follow in the morning to kick you into gear for the day?

For sure! I avoid my phone for at least 30 minutes when I wake up and then I go for usually an hour walk, ideally on the beach. Now I'm in a city, so I would still go for a walk or run, even though I don't have the beach; as long as I'm doing something open air. I usually wake up pretty early, around 6/6:30 so then afternoon/evening, I'm a bit more free, but with time zones, you actually never really know when you're going to finish work.

Is there anything that you still struggle with working remotely or something that you're trying to master that you haven't managed to yet?

I think at our company, remote culture is very important and it's something we really focus on a lot, because again, like I told you, sometimes we never even meet the members. So, it's definitely something that is still in evolution and we always have to pay attention to. We have some tools like Donut Buddy, which we use on our trips with the members every week, so they're paired with someone from the group. We also use it in the Hacker Paradise community where members meet online with people who join trips.

Do you use more synchronous communication or do you lean on asynchronous within your team when you're running trainings, catch-ups etc. ?

It's a mix of both. We use Slack a lot, and we rarely use emails. The team is really distributed. We have people from the States to Europe, and to Asia, so there is a lot of asynchronous communication taking place for sure. We know that if a team member reaches out with something important, of course we're going to answer it as soon as we can.

If it's something regular (non urgent), we have 24 hours to answer. We have some processes and rules around this also. Every week we connect on Monday for an all hands meeting and then the department meetings are held every week. We try to schedule meetings no later than 10 PM and not start before 7:00 AM. Some time zones are trickier than others to coordinate, as an example between California and Bali, which is why leaning on async communication in those times is good.

Is there any podcasts that you listen to regularly, business related or other?

I've been away from Italy now for almost 7/8 years, so usually, I have an Italian podcast that I always follow to keep up with what's going on, it's called Muschio Selvaggio, it's really just an Italian singer that meets with a friend and invites Italian people that are active in different projects. It's kind of a sociological cultural workshop podcast that I like to follow, and listen to while running.

If you could be doing anything else than what you're doing, what would it be?

It's funny because we were answering this question just the other night, while at dinner. My mission would be to bring all my friends on trips who would not normally be able to do it.