229 - Kirk Fernandes

Kirk Fernandes is the founder of Merit, a tech mentorship platform for the under-networked

Kirk Fernandes is the founder of Merit, a tech mentorship platform for the under-networked. He lives in Lower East Side, New York, and works between his home and co-working space in Chinatown, BasedIn.

His desk in BasedIn
The BasedIn cafe where he works out of when he wants a change of scenery
His desk where he does his writing
His wife’s desk is where he takes video calls


  • 13” MacBook M1: Still the best MacBook, the video camera is mid though.
  • iPhone 12 Mini: I really like the smaller iPhone, I like playing with my devices. Also switched to the no-case life
  • LG 4K Monitor
  • Apple Keyboard + Mouse
  • AirPods Pro: These break too easily but can’t go back to wired headphones.


  • Front (messaging)
  • Notion (writing)
  • Figma (design)
  • Journey (sales)
  • Google Calendar (time/reminders)
  • Zoom (meetings)
  • Slack (complaining)
  • Spotify (music & podcasts)

How do you spark creativity?

Leave my apartment. New York is really about the public indoors. All the fun stuff is outside of your apartment, bars, clubs, cafes, restaurants, parks, galleries, etc.

Talk to other smart and talented people.

I have a public YouTube playlist of 250+ DJ sets and mixes that I throw on to get the juices flowing.

How do you manage work-life balance?

I honestly don’t. I enjoy work but it's both a dream and a nightmare at times. Integrating your values into how you spend your time is the best you can hope for. Balance is useful over long (i.e. 5-10 years) periods of time. But day to day or week to week trying to “balance” is counter-productive and a bit myopic. Embrace seasons of life. I want to make an impact in the world and that is through my work and my relationships. Everything in my life serves that.

My wife Daani gave me some good advice about time and enjoyment. You can honor your mood or your commitments, but not always both. So sometimes it's good to say fuck the schedule and honor your mood other times it’s fuck your mood and honor your commitments. But pick and be honest with yourself.

What do you think is the main benefit of remote work?

I think all the obvious stuff (i.e reducing carbon emissions, skipping commutes, more time with family or self etc) is true, especially around flexibility. It’s really about giving a workers more control over their time. I think some of the other benefits (i.e. no meetings ever, being 24/7 remote and nomadic lifestyle) are impactful for a niche audience but aren’t going to be really impactful to most of the world.

The big thing that people don’t talk about is that when really serious things happens to you (pregnancies, illnesses, deaths, wars, etc.) remote makes all this really hard stuff just slightly easier for the average worker. And I think thats the biggest benefit in remote work being more widely adopted.

The biggest negative is that is only furthers a trend of loneliness and alienation from people's work and jobs. We need people in all aspects of life.
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