We are a small-but-growing team based in New York City. We are primarily based on location at the moment but have had a keen interest from day one in supporting a great distributed workflow. That means making it a priority and continually testing and evolving our practices.
Working distributed means constantly working on communication and embracing asynchronous communication while also being aware of its pitfalls. Part of this is the tools we use. Ideally they get out of the way and we do not have to worry about them.
We picked up a few Amazon Echo Shows on Black Friday to start playing around with, and I'm really happy with the promise so far. They're a dedicated device which is never going to have the wrong mic turned on, not configured for video chat, or any of the things that always happen during video chats. The mic is great and they are really built to serve our exact user experience expectations. I could see us really rallying around this technology—or better tech that it inspires.
It's missing some of the features we get from our other video chat features, but I now couldn't see wanting to take part in a certain kind of distributed meeting without it. There is a risk in having too many ways to do a video call and forcing some kind of pre-negotiation each time. If Slack's video chat worked a bit better, we might rally around that 100% but that just is not the current state of things.
Setting up the Echos could have been easier, but overall I'm excited to make better use of these and I already feel more confident in my ability to work from home and have much better meetings. If you and your team find yourselves asking "can you hear me? are you there?" a bit too often, I'd definitely suggest experimenting with the Show.