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Published at Sun Aug 20 2023 in
Rows HQ

2023 W33 - Vacation Rules

Blog - pause

Every week I post about one thing that happened at Rows. We're building in public!


Last week I was off a bunch of days, and this week too.

Vacations means no work, and we prefer if our employees fully recharge when they take time off. But in practice founders and some managers always have some basal work going on — even if it’s just our mind drifting to spreadsheets. Example: I got a message from a colleague speaking of the announcement of Python for Excel 365. It’s quite appropriate for me to get this message on vacations:

  • It’s on X (twitter) everywhere, so I’ll get it anyway; if it’s the team sending, it actually tells me I don’t need to react, they’re onto it!

  • It’s exciting! Python for excel!

  • It reinforces some stuff we’re doing and our thoughts on the matter, which is positive. I get to agree with some points raised by the team (when they texted me the news), which maybe helps the team navigate their plans, tests and instincts.

In particular the point my colleague was making was that this announcement illustrates our advantages: Python for excel will be managed in another ugly, floaty visual element, with a weird editing interface. As we've learned, the success of a feature is not just about its technical component, but the user experience around it.

Blog - Python for excel365We created Rows to solve 2 main issues. One is Data, the other is illustrated here: Excel is visually complex and ugly, as it provides no layout options to users.

Instead of =PY(), at Rows we have an early alpha of =PYTHON() that was created in a hackathon already 2 years ago. We think it will integrated nicely with our Page layout.

Coming back to the vacation topic, in general this is how I manage it:

  1. Calendar is blocked. Old non-movable meetings or urgent topics can get a slot though, but in general this means 0 or 1 appointments in a week.

  2. No company email or Chat. Even when working, I look at email only on laptop and iPad, never on my phone. I also generally do email and chat just a few times per day: as I arrive at work, lunch, and after finishing. If I am taking more than 1 week of vacations (as now), I check email only once, on Friday, to look for something urgent I may have overlooked. Takes me 5 minutes.

  3. SMS and Phone calls work. If something is important, people can call me. This happens maybe once or twice per week.

  4. Blog posts are ON. I love writing, and this post was written on vacation.

  5. Spreadsheets are ON. I have many personal spreadsheets, and I sometimes work on them on vacation. This has the risk of triggering work (if there's a new feature) but it's a risk I'm willing to make.


Now, back to resting.

See you next week

- Humberto