Updated: Jul 19
A Five Minute Memoir
Get to know InterOperate's CEO, Michael Blakely, on how he found, lost, and re-found, a passion for work within the technology industry and is now living it remotely while traveling the world!
Madison Goodin • 2020
(If you're just as obsessed with efficiency as we are, just listen while you continue to work)
The summer before my master’s program in China, I traveled around Asia, searching for adventure and direction. On a beach in Thailand, sunshine just a little too bright, and sandy footprints trailing behind me, I heard someone speaking English, a thrilling rarity after months in Asia. So I found where it was coming from and bought this intriguing older gentleman a beer. We talked about our travels and what we were doing so far from home. He was living his best life. He had this wild, unheard of job that allowed him to work remotely. I was just a college kid and the world was different, I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. He explained that through a career in technology, it wasn’t as uncommon as we all believed. He worked hard, but he was able to do it anywhere in the world. Just add Wifi. Once previously unconsidered, aspirations of working remotely and a career in technology took root immediately and spiraled into exactly what I’d been looking for; adventure and direction I never knew I could be so captivated by. That spark illuminated my path towards the wild and wonderful world of technology. A world in which I’m now entirely engulfed. The excitement and promise of living such a bold and limitless life overshadowed my ability to truly fathom the difficulties that could accompany such freedom. In retrospect, how could you begin to speculate a situation so incredibly foreign? I knew it would be a long process, but I was cemented in my desire to build a professional foundation from which I could ultimately find a fully-remote career. Oh, what a process it was. Years of high-level experience, and a company-mandated move to the East Coast later, I found myself still trekking through a hurricane of politics and drama into an office I never truly wanted to be in. During my sanctioned hour for lunch, I’d find a shady spot in the park and just enjoy the serenity; forever feeling like I was standing in that moment right before the storm would circle back. Each day I could feel the thirst of remote work and travel strengthen, then slip further and further out of reach as I returned to my corner office. I was losing myself, I needed to make a change, a now or never leap of faith. So I did and left that office, for the very last time.
My aspiration to work remotely sat as heavily as it always had, yet as months passed and reality crept in I realized the rarity of fully remote companies, even technology companies. It’s difficult to believe, especially now with the whole world thrust into virtual offices, the dedication a company must have in order to manage a fully-remote, global team. But I never looked back or lost faith, and have now built the life I’ve always wanted. I finally found a company who appreciated the advantages and necessity of remote work as greatly as I do. So I started working for them; a company based out of Texas, with a team spanning the entire globe. They were lightyears ahead of the rest of us, utilizing time-zones and workplace freedom while saving money on incredibly expensive offices. They spent years defining and refining the way we think of work and how it can be done in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. There was a huge learning curve in the beginning, those unfathomable difficulties I mentioned earlier. But working through them paved the way for experience and knowledge impossible to gain any other way. I loved it, almost every second of it, for a while.
Blood, sweat, and tears fell and I felt closer than ever to my end goal. But over time, distance crept back in. Working remotely implies freedom, yet without time to devote to literally anything except working, that freedom is artificial. My life stood still as I sat in my new home office. I knew something wasn't working, even as tirelessly as I was working. I found blueprinting, and began blueprinting my whole day. I thought that would help find some time in the day I'd been missing. But all it showed was how much of the day I spent on menial, repetitive, administrative tasks; switching from this application to that application, inputting data that could have been integrated, while not having the time to devote to my unique, profitable skill sets I'd worked so hard to develop.
I got started in technology because I believed it would give way to my ultimate goal of working remotely but I didn't yet have an intrinsic passion or drive for technology itself. Now, I have both. My passion is expressed through technology and integrations, though it stems from an intrinsic need for efficiency, productivity, and a life outside the office, wherever that might be. If I could have figured out a way to add hours to the day, I would have just done that, but physics and math have never been my strong suit. Plus, that would have been immensely more expensive. So instead, I founded InterOperate.
As a company, we are energized by assisting other companies and ultimately people, regain time once wasted sitting behind a desk. We harness the power of thousands of lines of code you never even see, to invigorate your processes and workflow. Information is sent flying through the clouds from one of your applications to the next, so you don’t have to spend precious time doing it yourself. Motivation, communication, and visibility is restored. We breathe life into your work because it’s what we love to do. And because of that drive for efficiency, productivity, a life outside the office, and now integrations, I’ve found the life I’ve always wanted; to work remotely, and to travel while I do. This blog is aimed to inspire, encourage, and support you in doing the same thing.