I just read your articles about how you work at Github. Very cool! The only thing that had me wondering was the no meetings/chat only approach. How do you handle when you need to talk to someone (e.g. to help with a bug)?
The one thing I like about working in an office is the fact that you can walk over to someone and discuss an issue you're having. If co-workers are as distributed (in space and time) as at github, that might become harder.
That's still possible. Sometimes you'll ping someone the day before (or during the day) and just pull them over and hack on something together.
It's much more informal (and uncommon!) than you might think, though. At least from my perspective, a lot of the time where I feel like I need to grab someone, if I just sit through it a few more minutes I can come up with my own solution. What's more, you can actually do a substantial amount of work online, through chat- that helps when someone else is, as you mentioned, across the world. The lack of physical presence doesn't really bother us, from what I can tell.
The couple of times (I can count on one hand) that I can remember having "actual" meetings are all cases where we were just starting a project out and it's somewhat easier to have it out in person rather than talk in chat. But those cases are rare. Usually — even at the start of projects — we'll just hash it out online and that's more than great.