Planetary Perspectives: Andrew Coelho

By Helen Chen, 08 October, 2018

Meet the Planetary team! We’re a team of multidisciplinary designers and developers spread out across 3 times zones and 4 countries. Despite having a dispersed team, we come together and build awesome products while having fun, and we want to share our insights!

Each week, the series Planetary Perspectives will feature an interview with a team member on their experiences of working remotely, building productivity, and maintaining work–life balance.

Art by Lauren Kim


Where are you currently working from right now?

My house in Southern California.

How long have you been at Planetary and what is your role?

Two years as a Full-Stack Developer.

Please share an interesting and unusual fact/hobby about yourself.

My dad left his career in software engineering to become a doctor, I dropped out of medical school to become a software engineer.

What’s your secret talent?

I make really good watermelon juice.

On Working Remotely:

What do you enjoy most about working remotely and what do you find to be challenging?

I enjoy the autonomy, flexibility, and freedom. For example, I decided to go live in Brazil for a couple months last year and was able to do so without any interruption to work.

How do you create your most productive environment to work in?

I usually have classical music playing in the background to keep time moving. I also like to have a good view near my desk so I can rest my eyes every once in a while. I built a shelf for my keyboard and monitors so that I can work standing up or sitting down. I like to stand to help get my blood flowing when I’m feeling sluggish, and I like to sit when I have good energy and really want to get into “the zone”.

What is a common misconception of working remote that you’d like to clear up?

That you don’t have a commute. On average, I drive about 100–200 miles a week. The only difference is my commute takes me to mountains, beaches, and deserts instead of an office 😁

What do you think Planetary does well in regard to having a dispersed team?

I appreciate that we have short and productive meetings during the week. Oftentimes, remote teams schedule a lot of meetings to make up for the lack of in-person contact; but for me, meetings that are too long or frequent can be a huge productivity killer.

We also have a retreat every year where we get together, work in the same place, and spend quality time to getting know each other.

“We’re also expected to mostly self-manage, which empowers you to get work done in the way that works best for you.”

How do you build rapport if you aren’t meeting someone in person?

We have the opportunity for team-bonding during our weekly video chats and on our annual retreats. Outside of those events, working on projects together calls for us to communicate clearly and regularly. When done effectively, this collaborative culture helps build trust between all of us. We also share non-work-related stuff in Slack and that helps team members get to know each other better.

Thanks to Karyn Lawrence.