Portrait of Ben Dowling
Ben Dowling
CEO / Engineer
November 19, 2018

Interview with Ben, a CEO/Engineer who works remotely

Ben is a CEO/Engineer who works remotely - find out how he balances working at home and family life!

How did you get started with remote work?

I'd always worked in offices, but when I started working fulltime on IPinfo almost 2 years ago, it was just me - I'd work out of coffeeshops and my favorite, the local library.

As I started hiring a team, making it a remote one just made a ton of sense to me: I could hire anyone from around the world, instead of just locally, and I could remain flexible with my own location and schedule.

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What are you working on?

I'm working on IPinfo.io - we're known for our free IP geolocation API, which handles around 500 million API requests a day for around 100,000 business and developers.

We also do a lot of work around different IP address data sets, such as company and carrier details for an IP, domains hosted on an IP address, and IP type classification, where we'll let you know if an IP address corresponds to a business, a hosting provider, or a consumer ISP.

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What's your typical work routine?

I used to like working a lot at night, but with 3 kids and a wife, I've become more of a morning person! I usually have breakfast with my family, and then either head to the gym with my wife, or get started on work.

I usually spend the mornings catching up on emails and messages, or doing phone calls. I'll grab some lunch, and then try and get most of my creative work done in the afternoon - either coding, planning or getting something else done.

I'll usually have dinner with the family, put the kids to bed, and then get a few more hours of work done in the evening, which can be my most productive time.

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Do you have a dedicated space to work?

Yeah, at home I have a home office room with a desk and a big monitor, and I've also got a desk at a nearby co-working space.

I work from home a couple of days a week on average, and head into the co-working space on the other days. If I'm on vacation or traveling, I usually head to the nearest Starbucks.

I keep all my work essentials in a laptop bag - charger, notebook, headphones etc - so as long as I have that on me and there's wifi, I can be fairly productive anywhere.

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What tools do you use to stay productive?

I spend a lot of time in Gmail and Google Calendar! I also use Workflowy a lot for my current to-do-list and other longer-term priorities.

I almost always listen to music while I'm working - I find it helps to block out distractions and get me into the "zone".

I have a bunch of different Spotify playlists I switch between. Alternatively, I browse through the Discover section, which usually has great recommendations.

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How do you stay on task?

Staying on task is hard, especially when there are a bunch of different important things all going on at the same time, which means there's a lot to juggle!

The thing that helps me the most is keeping a to-do-list of everything I need to get done today, and another one for everything I'd like to get done this week.

I use Workflowy to keep track of these, but I often also write down my daily to-do-list on paper next to my laptop, so I have a physical reminder.

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What do you like about remote work?

Flexibility! It's great to be able to work from anywhere, at any time.

It's also great to be able to hire people from anywhere around the world who are great at what they do, and not be limited to people who happen to live near to me.

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What do you not like about remote work?

One of the hardest things to do when you have a completely flexible schedule is to know when to stop! When you can work at anytime, you can sometimes feel guilty when you're not working, as you know you could be.

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Biography

Ben Dowling

Ben Dowling is the founder and CEO of IPinfo.io. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Seattle with his wife and 3 kids after previously living 5 years in the SF Bay Area. He's the former CTO of Calm.com, and Facebook engineer. Find out more about IPinfo at https://ipinfo.io/about

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