February 26, 2020 Perks Of Remote Work: The Craziest Places To Work From – Topcoder Nation Ep.13

When I think of modern times, I feel astonished by what humanity has achieved in terms of science and progress. Selfishly, I have the most gratitude toward one particular technology that allows me to live the digital nomad lifestyle. You all know it, and if it didn’t exist I wouldn’t be able to share these lines with you today: thank you, internet.

It hasn’t been here for long. It’s relatively new considering the time that remarkable inventions can take to be adopted as part of our daily lives. It’s easy to forget history, which is why I would like to remind us of what it would be like if we didn’t benefit from humanities’ creative inventions.

Thank you, Internet.

Let us talk about a lawyer from 1700 A.C, Marie, who on a typical day of work addressed the tribunal in Paris to help litigate cases of dreadful stock management of companies established in Louisiana’s French colonies.

Walking on her way to the court, she bought a cup of café noir, ate a delicious croissant au chocolat, and finally headed to her place of work by foot, an office in a building. From there she would devour hundreds of letters that came from the US, create reports and prepare a script for the law firm mitigator to debate in front of the jury. 

Normally, she would walk for fifty something minutes to get to her workplace. She spent about forty plus minutes having her breakfast served. She had to wait up to two months to receive the letters that came from the muddy lands of New Orleans. 

If we could bring Marie to our time, many things would happen for sure, besides her mental collapse caused by the dramatic changes she would have to face. Let’s just focus on her typical day of work. Would Marie have to wait for two cruel, lengthy months to receive a letter? Would Marie have to walk to the court to be able to work? Would she be able to optimize her breakfast somehow so she can save some time?

I am sure you must know the answers. Nowadays, Marie could take an uber using her phone to get to her destination in less than fifteen minutes. Marie could order breakfast to her workplace to be there in less than twenty five minutes. She would receive her letters in the form of emails in a matter of seconds once they are sent from New Orleans. I would think twice next time I dare to complain to a friend who is not replying to my stupid cat video email right away after I hit ‘send’. Waiting for one day sounds better than waiting for two months.

Marie could perform all these not-so-utopic-now tasks from home; talk to peers in New Orleans, receive emails, prepare documents for her colleague’s debate. It would be possible for her to set up her workplace basically anywhere she would like to, not just in Paris. It could be Barcelona, Moscow, Tokyo, Saigon, Vienna, you name it. Isn’t life just great? 


In Topcoder, we benefit from using the power of the internet to connect to the human and material resource networks we need to be able to work and help clients solve problems. In most cases, it allows the community warriors to settle wherever they feel comfortable, to set up their own schedules and to make time to hang out with their kids.

In our Topcoder Nation group we started a story section called Perks of Remote Work, where we are posting stories from our community members about how they profit from the extraordinary advantage of working from anywhere, specifically the not so common or nontraditional places to work from.

Let us hear from competitors, copilots, and admins as they talk about the craziest places they have worked from that would make Marie hallucinate:

Four time Topcoder Algorithm Champion

Given that I have competed in 483 rated Topcoder events, it is no wonder there have been plenty of weird places on the way.

There’s this train story: I was traveling on a train from St. Petersburg to Moscow, and there were, like, four people in the compartments, all sleeping. I was writing the contest at 5:00 AM while everybody else was sleeping. 

Since I moved to Switzerland a few years ago, it has become increasingly common to participate from a mountain restaurant, or sometimes just from a mountain bench 🙂

Here’s a photo of me writing SRM 776
Project Manager

So there was a time I worked on one of the client proposals and sent it to the sales team. After some days I got sick and was admitted to hospital. There was a situation in which the sales team needed to refine that proposal very urgently.

Since I worked on that for a long time, it made more sense to do it myself then explain to others. So with an IV tube stuck in one hand, I opened my laptop and asked for a wifi password. I will never forget the look that doctor gave me. Fortunately they kept wifi open and I sent the updated proposal to the sales team. For me this was the weirdest place I have ever worked!

Topcoder Copilot & MVP

I have two crazy memories of working in odd places. The first one is when I was answering forum questions on a challenge I was running from the lift at a ski resort and the by far most crazy one was when I was texting on Slack with one of my PMs while I was paragliding.

I don’t text and drive but haven’t heard of anyone saying not to text and fly.
Ariel Shields
Product Manager

It happens to us all in life. Our friends that we make growing up eventually move to far flung places around the world, pursuing the different opportunities that life has put on their paths. 

This has definitely happened to me. Close friends have moved away over the years, making it harder and harder to see each other. This may not be why I started working remotely, but having the freedom to visit who I want when I want wherever in the world they might be is definitely one of the main side benefits of this work. 

I have worked on planes. On trains. In cars. Even next to a Texas longhorn bull (don’t ask, but do ask) while in transit to visit friends. I have the flexibility to structure my day in a way that allows me to make the most of my visits when I arrive (having survived the longhorn). I have worked while hunting for the best croissants in San Francisco and had a deep-dish pizza eating contest in Chicago #NoRegrets. I’ve even had a meeting while standing outside Buckingham Palace in London. #Priorities #QueenBoss. Because I work remotely with a wonderful group of people all around the world, I get the opportunity to make the world my own and create awesome experiences with my friends.

Tony Jefts
Platform Operations Chief

It’s amazing how technology and work cultures have created endless possibilities. I’ve worked from many different places over the years. One that jumps out in my mind is when I was troubleshooting platform issues while riding up on a ski lift. My main goal at that point was to not drop my gloves off the lift.

Adam Morehead
VP of Digital

I have worked from many places such as restaurants, bars, coffee houses. The most particular occasions are working from taxis in India and Indonesia. I also worked once from the parking lot of Disneyworld. The most recent one, during the Marvelapp 3.0 upgrade within our design copilots team, I was in a bar in Bangalore assigning users to help them with the transition.

Peace out folks!


Are you living the gig economy lifestyle at Topcoder? Want to join fellow members? Share your story, your travels, and experiences about the ultimate goal of working at Topcoder; the freedom, the flexibility, and the earnings that make it happen! Join Topcoder Nation.

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