Hi! We're Hacker Paradise, a traveling community of creatives. AUA!

Hi! We’re Hacker Paradise, a traveling community of developers, designers, and other creative types. It was started by us two, Alexey and Casey.

Here’s the short pitch we give from our website:

Travel the world, get work done, grow personally & professionally, and be part of a tight-knit community of passionate and intellectually curious people.

You bring yourself, a project to work on, and a positive attitude.

We facilitate a tight-knit, creative community, organize a curated list of awesome places to visit, and provide a high-productivity workspace.

Last year we did Costa Rica, this year we’ve done SE Asia (Thailand, Bali and Vietnam) and this Monday we’re launching our first Europe trip, landing in Tallinn, Estonia.

I’m happy to answer questions about anything Hacker Paradise related - how and whywe got started, what the trips are like, the business side of things, and which one of us has a cheesier sense of humor (hint: it’s Casey).

Hey guys, thanks for doing this AUA!

I was wondering what’s the typical split between developers, designers and creatives for a retreat?

Thanks for having this AUA.

I have also been travelling/working and the biggest (personal) pet peeve I found is the transient nature of relationships you tend to make. Even if you stay for weeks/months at a time, it naturally takes time to form (long-term) bonds which is why I have reduced my travels to be somewhat more stationary. I absolutely love your concept, as you get the camaraderie and community that I have been longing for.

What’s the average duration length of participants in Hacker Paradise? Do people have similar problems, value the community similarly?

I was wondering what’s the typical split between developers, designers and creatives for a retreat?

Glad you asked.

Typically about 75% of our participants are technical (in the sense that, if they wanted to, they could write code for a living) - a lot of these folk work as freelancers, or remote devs, or are engineers taking a month off to hack on side projects - others own their own product businesses and may not get to code day to day as much as they’d like.

About a quarter of our participants are designers (by the same standard of “good enough to do it full-time for money if desired”) - there’s a good bit of overlap between devs and designers.

As for the third group, “Creatives” is a sort of a catch-all phrase - we’ve had architects, students, journalists, writers, quants, and the occasional business-type. We’re pretty selective when we build the group, so when we do accept somebody the sort of background that an engineer would typically squint at (“what do marketers do, again?”) it’s the kind of person that brings a lot to the group and that we’re excited to hang out with.

So, that’s the balance, roughly - 75% or so technical, 25% designy, ~25% working on their own company, ~20% “does not fit into the other boxes” creative, and 100% awesome.

What’s the average duration length of participants in Hacker Paradise? Do people have similar problems, value the community similarly?

I know exactly what you mean about the transient relationships you tend to make while traveling - I’ve stayed at enough hostels & hung out with enough backpackers that I promised I would find on Facebook but somehow never did.

Getting to build real, long-lasting relationships has been one of my favorite parts of Hacker Paradise.

Average Stay
The average participant comes for about a month, month-and-a-half; we recently increased the minimum stay length from one week to two because we didn’t feel like people got enough of the experience in just one week - we would just start to get to know a person, and then they would leave.

What it’s like
The closest experience that I’ve had to Hacker Paradise is probably freshmen semester of Penn. All of a sudden all of my newfound neighbors were way better than my friends in high school: they were more intellectually curious, enthusiastic, they got my jokes - it was awesome!

Hacker Paradise is sort of like that. You’re surrounded by people that come from different backgrounds but are united by their love of travel and exploration, eager to make the travel-work-life balance succeed, not afraid to experiment (we had a half-dozen participants embark upon a ketogenic diet after Luka gave a talk about his experience), and generally excited about exploring the possibilities and the freedoms that come from this new location-independence thing.

…I’m obviously biased, but I’m a big fan of our community.

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This is so awesome, I’m really looking forward to applying soon! Do you guys think about scaling this up, or will this be your pet project where the community jumps from spot to spot with you?

Do you guys think about scaling this up, or will this be your pet project where the community jumps from spot to spot with you?

We think about scaling Hacker Paradise up - somewhere between where we sit in a corner and weep about how rough travel is as a business, and hard-bargain with restaurants in Da Nang, Vietnam for prix fixe rates for the group.

My background is in tech companies, and Hacker Paradise is very brick and mortar, so it’s been a crazy learning experience. It’s a lot of work and we’re in the process of figuring out how to hire other people for some of it and scrape by. Casey wrote a blog post about the work that goes into the trip a few weeks ago that was worth a read.

This is awesome! I live in Sayulita, Mexico and run a coworking space here. I’d be happy to help facilitate if Hacker Paradise ever wanted to come to Mexico.

p.s. we have 60 up/down fiber : )

Hey Chase - Casey from Hacker Paradise here.

I just Googled Sayulita and it looks pretty great :smile:

What kind of capacity do you have at your space? Shoot us an email and we should talk more.

Hey Casey & Alexey! Thanks for doing this AMA :smile:

How do you see the rise of traveling communities (like Remote Year, HP) and remote retreats (like Surf Office etc.)? Where do you think it’ll go? Are we seeing the rise of an entire new market for travel for the new generation where we combine it with work? How big will this market be, and will it be common ground for people to do this in a few years?

How do you see Hacker Paradise be part of this. Are you trying to create an model, organization, brand that you can scale to have multiple traveling groups in multiple places?

Hey Levels! Happy to do it.

There’s a quote attributed to Roy Amara which says something like: the effects of change are often overestimated in the short-term and underestimated in the long-term.

We tend to agree with this. While working & traveling is a growing trend, we think it’ll take some time to fully develop.

I’d liken digital nomadism now to the Internet in 1993. It’s just beginning to catch on and gain some wider adoption, but it’ll be a long way until it becomes mainstream to the point where it plays an integral part of society.

Over the next 5-10 years, I think groups like ours will grow, providing value both to newmads (people just beginning their journey) and existing nomads who crave more connection.

In 10+ years, I think it’s possible that the comparative value of traveling communities like ours decreases as more cities around the world become nomad hubs and Internet infrastructure improves in the developing world. It’s highly possible that the problems we’re solving for people could be solved by a Club Med-type venue for nomads, providing workspace, housing, and community in a number of locations around the world.

We don’t think demand is quite there for that now, but one day, it could be. If demand continues to shift in that direction, I think communities like ours will end up creating permanent locations in a number of places, either by developing their own buildings or procuring long-term leases (this is the model of the Surf Office).

There is a lot of excitement in the space right now - Remote Year is about to start their inaugural trip, The Surf Office is expanding to the US, and other groups like The Blue House and Caravan Serai are popping up all over the globe.

As for our us, we’re still figuring out our long-term strategy. We’re planning to continue to grow our community to the point where we have multiple concurrent trips, and also to experiment with other awesome experiences we can give to people who want to travel and remain productive. Both travel and community can be hugely impactful experiences, and we’re excited to be playing around on the cutting edge of these trends.

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Interesting thoughts on the future of remote work and travel! Thanks everyone for your questions and Alexey and Casey for answering :slight_smile: We’re closing the AMA!