8 min read

October 2021 Monthly Update

October 2021 Monthly Update

We love following open startups who build in public, so we're joining in.

Himalayas is a three-person bootstrapped team (Jack, Jordan, and Abi) building a remote job board. We couldn't find one we loved using, so we built our own.

Here's what October at Himalayas looked like at a high-level:

  • 🚦 Traffic: 9,874 users (up 96.7% MoM)
  • 🌱 Organic traffic: 2,429 users (up 140.5% MoM)
  • 📝 Job applications started: 1,255
  • 💸 Revenue: $132.05 (down 34.4% MoM)

Revenue was lower than expected but the progress we made in October is more significant than it seems.

To understand why, you need to understand The Flywheel Effect, a concept developed in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins:

Picture a huge, heavy flywheel—a massive metal disk mounted horizontally on an axle, about 30 feet in diameter, 2 feet thick, and weighing about 5,000 pounds. Now imagine that your task is to get the flywheel rotating on the axle as fast and long as possible. Pushing with great effort, you get the flywheel to inch forward, moving almost imperceptibly at first. You keep pushing and, after two or three hours of persistent effort, you get the flywheel to complete one entire turn. You keep pushing, and the flywheel begins to move a bit faster, and with continued great effort, you move it around a second rotation. You keep pushing in a consistent direction. Three turns ... four ... five ... six ... the flywheel builds up speed ... seven ... eight ... you keep pushing ... nine ... ten ... it builds momentum ... eleven ... twelve ... moving faster with each turn ... twenty ... thirty ... fifty ... a hundred.

Then, at some point—breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kicks in in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn ... whoosh! ... its own heavy weight working for you. You’re pushing no harder than during the first rotation, but the flywheel goes faster and faster. Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort. A thousand times faster, then ten thousand, then a hundred thousand. The huge heavy disk flies forward, with almost unstoppable momentum.

Himalayas is a flywheel business and October was a month focused on setting the foundations for growth and lubricating the flywheel. To paraphrase Jim, the flywheel inched forward but almost imperceptibly.

October was our first month of working full-time on Himalayas, so expect the flywheel to pick up speed as we keep pushing and build momentum.

For those of you who haven't been following our changelog, here's what pushed our flywheel forward in October.

Himalayas 2.0

We released a complete redesign of Himalayas that stemmed from user feedback, particularly a comment we received on Indie Hackers from typeofgraphic. Paul told us we were valuing UI over UX and he was right. We had too much whitespace, our filtering was fractured and confusing, and we weren't doing a good job of making our time zone data user-friendly.

Himalayas 2.0 is our attempt to remedy the issues that Paul and other users had identified. We redesigned every page on the site (minus our blog) and significantly improved the positioning on our homepage. We wanted to make it clear that Himalayas was for:

We're particularly proud of our new remote job search and job post pages, as well as the improvements we made to our company profiles, company jobs pages, and company tech stacks. For an example, check out our profile on Bolt, Bolt's remote jobs, and Bolt's tech stack.

When we reached out to Paul about the release, here's what he had to say:

Fantastic! I'm glad my feedback was helpful to you. You've done a great job.. I have so many follow up questions :)

It's an impressive change, the experience as a user is so much better. It was fast and accurate to find jobs that interested me for sure. Well done to the whole team !! You've obviously got no issues with executing.

And it wasn't just Paul who liked the new direction. Michael from Find Fulfilling Work shared a video of Himalayas 2.0 on his Tiktok which has over 9,500 views and 1,150 likes!

Speed improvements

While the overwhelming feedback from users was that Himalayas 2.0 was significantly better and the design was world-class, we also heard it was taking too long to load.

We believe speed is a feature and one we consider core to the value of Himalayas. Searching for a remote job is already hard. It's not enough to deliver a great UX, we need to make it as fast as possible. There's nothing worse than waiting for a page to load.

We need to avoid the Tyranny of the OR, you can have great design OR great performance, and instead embrace the Genius of the AND, great design AND great performance.

That's why we dedicated the second-half of October to performance improvements. This began with improving the time it took to build and deploy the site. Improving our build time significantly reduced the time it took to upload and test changes, an important first step.

This was followed by a bunch of work to improve our caching, lazy loading images, optimizing our search algorithm and image sizes, minimizing JavaScript requests, purging unnecessary CSS, and moving some tasks from synchronous to asynchronous.

Loading the homepage, searching for a remote job, viewing individual jobs, and exploring our remote company profiles and tech stacks is significantly faster than before. It's really noticeable if you land on one of our skill- or job category-based pages like remote design jobs, remote developer jobs, or remote sales jobs.

The Himalayas content flywheel

Kickstarted our content-driven flywheel

Our goal is to make it easy to find a remote job, research remote companies, and hire remote talent. One part of this flywheel is our remote job board. The other is content.

While it's true that remote work offers more flexibility and access to better economic opportunities regardless of location, it also introduces more competition. Dror Poleg put it best in Winner Takes Most:

"the internet enables each of us to earn more than ever before by matching us with the exact people — fans, customers, employers — who value our unique combination of skills and characteristics. It enables each of us to become a superstar."

Knowledge work is a lot like a game–we sit down at our desks, move around our mouse, and manipulate keys to get rewarded with a better job, increased salary, a bonus, or more responsibility–remote work has turned it into an MMORPG.

The best players compete against each other in one big global arena. There's no longer a ceiling above us to restrict our earning potential. But there is also no floor underneath.

This is great news if you're already an experienced player, but many people are new to remote work. There isn't enough helpful content for remote job seekers, remote managers, or remote companies to learn how to succeed in a remote-first environment.

Writing content is our way to help you learn to play The Great Online Game and to ensure you're part of The Winners of Remote Work.

As a remote-first, asynchronous team, we know first hand the benefits, challenges, and skills required for remote work. We're heavily inspired by Stripe as it was described by Patio11 after two years of working there: "Stripe is a celebration of the written word which happens to be incorporated in the state of Delaware."

We know how important writing is in a remote environment, so it just feels right to invest heavily in the written word for our marketing strategy. We want to become the place where people go to learn to build their remote careers as individual contributors, managers, or entrepreneurs.

By writing more remote work content, we'll attract more of the remote community, which in turn will allow us to learn more about remote work. We'll take what we learn and improve our new and existing content which will helps us attract more of the remote community and so on.

This month we published 95,526 words across 19 posts:

If you have any feedback on any of these posts or have an idea of a remote work-related topics you'd like us to cover, please let us know.

Other fixes and improvements

  • Improved our search algorithm to place more weight on recently posted jobs, making it easier for you to be one of the first applicants
  • Updated our automatically generated social images
  • Fixed flicker on chevron on nav hover
  • Increased the clickable area in type to search results
  • Removed sticky sidebar on search pages
  • Fixed issue causing some employment types to be unselected when you pressed back in your browser
  • Fixed UI bug causing filter buttons to overflow outside the container
  • Updated Rails to the latest version
  • Fixed issue where URLs with trailing slashes weren’t redirected properly
  • Updated text copy in navigation dropdown
  • Updated headings on the company page
  • Increased size of text on pages
  • Fixed issue causing dropdowns to lose focus on initial load
  • Changed checkbox text weight to medium
  • Fixed caching issue where incorrect breadcrumb was shown on search pages
  • Reduced maximum container size from 1440px to 1280px
  • Improved clarity of small images
  • Fixed issue where canonical on page 1 was different to the base page
  • Improved transitions with modals
  • Added share link to company pages
  • Fixed issue where 404/500 pages were showing incorrect featured items

If you have any feedback, we're excited to hear from you so please let us know!


Find your next remote job or hire your next remote employee on Himalayas

Himalayas is the best place to find remote jobs and hire remote employees. We’re focused on providing a job search and hiring experience that has great UX, focused on speed and efficiency.

If you're a job seeker: Apply privately to 2,000+ remote jobs and discover 1,400+ remote companies. We make it easy to filter by time zone, visa restrictions, and roles so you can easily find remote companies that want to hire you based on where you live and the role you're looking for.

If you're a remote company: Create a free company profile. Tell your story, build up your remote brand, and recruit the best. Share your culture, tech stack, and get seen by remote candidates looking to make a move. Then post a job and use our sophisticated job listings to specify time zone or visa requirements and rest easy knowing that qualified candidates will see your job listings.

We'd also love for you to join our free remote work community.

– Himalayas founders: Jack, Jordan, Abi