Working at LinkORB

This post is intended to provide a view into working at LinkORB and share some of the characteristics that make LinkORB uncommon. Granted it's only one perspective, but I hope it provides helpful context for anyone interested in looking under the hood at LinkORB.

My name is Mike and I currently work across product management and technical writing at LinkORB.

Asynchronous first

Having worked in mostly large and medium sized US-based enterprises, I thought I was familiar with working across time zones and with remote team members. And of course COVID rapidly accelerated everyone's awareness of these scenarios. However, LinkORB is the first place I've worked that is truly an asynchronous first organization.

In the last 3 months, I've had exactly 3 virtual meetings. 2 were 30 minute check-ins with my manager and 1 was a company-wide holiday gathering.

Another interesting first for me, was that LinkORB is the only organization I've been part of where our primary communication and project management tools are self-hosted.

Our chat tool, called Cyans, intentionally does not provide online presence, doest not offer "Lindsey is typing..." indicators, and (believe it or not) discourages notifications. We track projects and work items through a tool called Team HQ that integrates with both Cyans and GitHub; all of which support Markdown. When 99% of intra-team communications are written, formatting is important.

Self-hosted and open-source

Many of our self-hosted tools are open-source that we've forked and envolved and others were built from the ground up. There's something very satisfying about being able to customize the tools we use every day and it allows us to embed an asynchronous-first mindset directly into our workflow.

Another example of our culture is our passion for automation. This is reflected in our self-hosted Camunda process orchestrator to automate onboarding of new team members, internal permission controls, and incident response processes among other scenarios. Additionally, for engineers and technical writers we embrace tooling such as Kubernetes, Docker, devcontainers, GitHub actions, and reviewdog along with a host of other open-source automation solutions.

And we are aren't just consumers of open-source; we are active contributors. Since 2013, LinkORB has published over 200 open source repositories. We recently wrote a post on some of our first and most popular repos.


Technology is undeniably a first-class citizen at LinkORB, but the culture is also incredibly human. This may sound odd for a team that communicates almost entirely in written form, but possibly that is exactly why it works. Constantly passing a digital baton across oceans and timezones requires a focus on effective and engaging communications.

With teammates often sleeping while you work, every communication counts. A lost requirement, a poor explanation, or missing context can easily create a 12-24 hour delay. And it's not just about execution, every communication is a chance to build trust, rapport, and gain a sense of who is on the other end of the string.

No doubt, culture starts at the top. And it would be remiss not to mention LinkORB's founder and head, Joost, who brings an indefatigable technical acumen, humor, and kindness to our work.

Curious and creative

The final part of the culture I'll highlight is not something LinkORB directly cultivates, but is a result of selection and self-selection. The team members that thrive and opt-into our asynchronous-first culture are exceptionally curious and creative.

When interviewing for open positions and evaluating new team members in our trial and showcase process, we are keenly on the lookout for people who:

  • Embrace self-lead learning and problem solving
  • Propose possible solutions or make recommendations when hurdles arise
  • Communicate proactively and frequently (especially when assistance is needed)
  • Effect tangible progress on a regular basis

If you've read this far - thank you! Hopefully this post has provided some insight into working at LinkORB.

We're are often hiring and pushing open-source commits. Please follow us on GitHub or better yet, send us a note sharing your thoughts on working in an asynchronous-first culture.