The Space Between Us

Good Enough is a fully-remote team, and I think it's safe to say that we'll never have a physical office. I've been working remotely for more than ten years, and overall I really like it. I love the flexibility it affords, being more present with our families, and that my employment opportunities are not constrained by the limit of where I can reasonably relocate my physical body every day.

Remote working also particularly suits the kind of work we do. There are many times where we need to discuss things or collaborate deeply on some piece of work, but there are also plenty of occasions where it's perfectly OK, or even desirable, to take time away to do some deeper thinking or exploration.

But being remote from your colleagues does have some downsides, and I think it's important to be conscious of them. Let's talk about one that I like to call the identity anchor.

Take a look at my bookshelf (it's the only one I've got1)

These anchors exist everywhere. The town you live in, or the country where you were born, or the sports team you support, or (since I famously am not a sports fan) the technologies you choose to do your work. All of these act as external things which we associate ourselves with, in part because they can act as a shorthand when relating ourselves to other people (e.g. "I hate sports"), but also because they reinforce our own sense of who we are.

It's much closer to home too. Take a look at the contents of your bookshelf. Even the books sitting up there that you haven't read act as a reflection of ourselves, which then act, consciously or otherwise, to reinforce our sense of who we are and what our interests are2. Yes, I definitely do plan on reading Infinite Jest, and when you see that on my bookshelf, and recalling your own lightly-thumbed copy, you might get a sense that our lifestyles are probably comparable.

Bookshelves. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via

People as particles, people as waves

Even if you're a misanthropic introvert like me, when you're working as part of a team, there are some real benefits to being in the same physical space, and a part of that is because a physical office can act as a kind of identity anchor for a group. It gives us something to point at and say "I belong to that."

For small teams engaged in speculative exploratory work like us, having some kind of shared identity is particularly important, because it acts as a totem by which we can organise and orient ourselves. It helps us decide what ideas to pursue, and where to direct our thinking. It helps us understand our own relationship with the group, and within the group, and frames our contributions.

It lets us think about the group as a solid thing. It's the force that creates the illusion of solid matter, despite everything consisting mostly of the empty space between our atoms3.


This website, and this blog, can do some of the work of that anchor and totem. Here, we collaboratively describe what Good Enough is, how it thinks, what it finds interesting and what it chooses to do. And all of the writing here acts as reinforcing feedback on us, creating an evolving loop of identity and ideas which — thanks to the web — we can point at and say "I belong to that."

(Building that identity in public and communicating it to other people — to you, dear reader — means that you are also a part of this re-telling to ourselves who we are. So thanks for helping us build Good Enough. We literally could not do this without you.)

But I don't think it's quite enough, so I'm interested in exploring other ways that we can try to support this… force that can bind our contituent atoms together and make us, and other teams, more solid.

Stay tuned.

  1. What's the word that means "twisting a song lyric to fit my point, pretty much to breaking point"? Anyway: ↩︎

  2. Imagine the freedom if those things disappeared! All of the books on my bookshelf right now are telling me that I'm into sci-fi, and all the CDs are a deafening wail that my identify was formed and moulded in the forges of mid 1990s-2000s British Indie, but what if I was given a clean slate? Am I sure I wouldn't choose to fill it with something else? Would that leave me free of ego and ready for another roll of the die? ↩︎

  3. Except in our quantum-probabilitistic reality, a better intutition is that the "empty space" is actually filled with a diffuse fog of "electron clouds": ↩︎