Batsirai Chada is a Growth Product Manager at Buffer, where he’s worked for about nine months. We spoke to him when he first joined to find out about his journey to Buffer, how he works, and what he does outside of work.
Thanks for joining me for Buffer Diaries, Batsirai! You started at Buffer a little over three months ago – how did you come into your role?
A year ago, I applied for a position at Buffer due to its culture and remote work opportunities. I didn't get the role, but I connected with someone from the department on LinkedIn. Fast forward a year, they mentioned a product management role and suggested I apply. We had a great conversation, which turned into an interview process.
My interest in Buffer's culture from a year ago played a crucial role when the job opportunity came up. In fact, there wasn’t even a job description when I had my first “coffee chat”. Some of my ideas from that initial conversation then made it into the job description. After a few nervous weeks and competing with many other candidates – about 4,000 last I heard – I was fortunate and privileged to have been offered the role. Life changing.
Buffer goes against the grain in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to tech. What was something that caught you off guard when you joined?
It's interesting having team members across nearly every time zone. But what caught me off guard was when an executive shared an internal thread about a mistake they made when making an offer to a new teammate. It wasn't even necessary for everyone to know, but their transparency demonstrated a core value in action. It was amazing to see the difference between values on paper and in practice, and I don't think you'd see that everywhere.
How do you structure your work day or week?
I'm in the Eastern time zone, working roughly nine to five, Monday to Thursday. Buffer emphasizes flexibility, so I do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if it means having late meetings with team members in different time zones. It's about treating us like owners in the company, balancing work and personal life. We're given great benefits and responsibility, and there's a lot of trust placed in us. So, we give back by being dedicated and managing ourselves effectively.
What are some unique considerations you find you have to make in your role?
With my immediate team members in North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia, I have to consider time zones when scheduling meetings and preparing tasks. The nature of our growth work is both similar and quite distinct from other EPD teams - especially when it comes to the scope and cadence of our work.
If I want someone to work on something on Monday, I need to have it ready by my Thursday. As a product manager, I need to be aware of their schedules and help them succeed. Buffer's four-day workweek also emphasizes the importance of making those days count.
Do you think you've had to make many adjustments based on Buffer’s work policies like the four-day workweek and remote work, and how has that impacted your personal life?
I've been working remotely since 2013, so I was already used to that. However, Buffer's fully remote policy allows greater flexibility, like working from Rome or visiting my father in Zimbabwe while still working.
This level of flexibility is appealing, even though I haven't taken advantage of it yet. It positively impacts my personal life by offering possibilities for new experiences while maintaining my work routine.
Do you work on anything outside of Buffer, and does working at Buffer help you do side projects?
I was the founder of an event staffing SaaS app (which I very recently exited), and I'm a musician and worship leader at my church. Working at Buffer, with its flexibility, allows me to fully commit to both Buffer and my side projects and allows me to dedicate time without feeling spread thin. I also feel like I can pursue my creative side without needing it to be a financial success.
The flexibility means I can do things like recording sessions or appointments on Fridays, and it works both ways – sometimes I work on Fridays for Buffer if needed. I can bring my full self to work while still pursuing my passions and hobbies. Such a privilege…
What's your favorite part of working at Buffer?
There are many perks at Buffer, but my favorites are probably the free books and educational stipend, which encourage personal growth.
The four-day workweek is a game changer too. It's not just about having a three-day weekend, but rather the flexibility it provides for both our personal lives and the company. The mutual generosity between Buffer and its teammates makes it a great place to work.
Would you say you attained professional success or are at least on the path to whatever that looks like for you?
I would say I have achieved a level of professional success that has allowed me to join Buffer. The experience and skills I've developed over the years made me stand out and enabled me to add value to the company. Buffer's unique environment, which emphasizes trust, transparency, and curiosity, attracts and retains talented employees.
The four-day workweek and other perks are not just rewards but also reflections of the company culture. Our CEO, Joel Gascoigne, aims to make Buffer the best place we've ever worked, which makes it difficult to consider other opportunities, even with higher salaries or similar perks. The goal is to create an environment where we can give our best and continue growing as professionals.
As the growth PM, I’d love to contribute to Buffer’s best days - we are going in the right direction, the future is bright and I’m so happy to be on board, rowing shoulder to shoulder with great team members. Let’s make go make a positive dent in the universe!