Company culture comes before revenue when hiring remotely

Melissa Ng is a digital nomad, Product UX Designer and the CEO & founder of Melewi, a fully remote design company that’s worked with clients such as McDonalds, Visa, and Samsung.

In our quest to investigate how great founders do this remote work thing, we sat down with her (remotely, of course) to ask about her beginnings as a remote worker, the struggles of founding a remote company, the importance of culture, how she hires, and more.

Take a listen to the short interview and keep scrolling for the highlights ?

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Accidentally starting a remote career

Melissa always knew she couldn’t fit into the 9-5 schedule, so going freelance was a natural choice. One of her first jobs asked her to move to Vietnam for work, and ever since then she has been working with clients from all over the world.

As long as the work was done well, no one cared where she worked from, and she used this opportunity to travel. Eventually, the workload became too heavy for one person and Melissa started hiring remote workers, making Melewi a fully remote company.

She created the kind of job descriptions she would have loved to read herself – and continues to use these same job descriptions to this day.

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On hiring remotely and why culture comes before revenue

One of the core principles of Melewi is that culture comes before revenue. In other words, when making a new hire, the key part is that they share the same values as the rest of the team.

In Melewi's case, everyone shares the same desire to create badass designs and collaborate with compelling new businesses.

"You can teach someone how to design better, but you can’t teach them how to fit into your company culture."

Tip for hiring remotely

When interviewing, ask questions like...

“What do you look for in a team you would enjoy working with?”

“Describe the most ideal way to collaborate with you”

“What do you need to create an effective work environment?”

Team retreats as a reward

The team on a company retreat in Japan

Because they have a team that works well together, team retreats are seen as a reward and not a chore. The team gets along and collaborates well, but they still make it a point to organize company retreats at least once per year.

In an interview with, Melewi’s COO, Peach Nacion, explains why:

“Going on a company retreats is the perfect way for the team to spend some relaxing, all-play-no-work, quality time together. It’s also a way of rewarding and giving ourselves something to look forward to after all the hard work we’ve put into our projects.”

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The biggest challenge of remote work is…

Communication and the fact that most of it is non-verbal.

There are so many cues you can pick up from communicating with someone in person that you just cannot observe in remote environments.

The cure, she says, is being proactive and asking for advice, mentorship, lessons, critique, feedback and in general showing initiative. Without initiative, things fall apart quickly.

Other insights you'll hear on the podcast:

For additional knowledge on retreats, remote work and lifestyle, subscribe to the More Beach Meetings podcast and catch new episodes every other Wednesday!

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Interviews with more “newly-remote” companies:

From the office to remote: Real.Digital chooses quality over the location

From the office to remote: Real.Digital chooses quality over the location

Around mid-August of this year Real.Digital announced that they will be operating as a remote first company from now on.They might not be affected by the COVID-19 in economic terms, but the decision to shift their work practices was still a significant one. Fortunately, they’re viewing it as a great opportunity to open up their talent pool to people from all over the world!

WeTransfer switching to partial remote working

WeTransfer switching to partial remote working

“We are not working from home. We are at home trying to make it work.” For most companies around the world trying to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, this quote probably feels pretty relatable as everyone adjusts to the sudden shift to working from home. Shared by Gwen Burbidge, the Head of HR at WeTransfer, these…

How digital product studio Pixelmatters transformed from office to remote

How digital product studio Pixelmatters transformed from office to remote

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that large companies like Twitter, Shopify and Slack are “going remote”. And recently, we’re hearing more and more stories about smaller companies, startups, and digital agencies doing the same. What were their motivations? What challenges do they face during this transition? How do they see their future? We…

Skift’s Insights and Experiences About Switching to Remote Work

Skift’s Insights and Experiences About Switching to Remote Work

During these times, many companies are switching to remote work. You may have heard that large companies, like Twitter, Shopify, and Slack are doing so, but we’re also seeing this shift with smaller companies, startups, and digital agencies as well. Perhaps this transition was already in the pipeline, or maybe COVID-19 was the catalyst. Either…


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