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Moving ourselves and our families around the globe we have become all too familiar with the hassles this lifestyle brings. Figuring out where to stay, what to expect, where to pay taxes or which visa to get. Rinse and repeat.
We mapped out hundreds of relocation nuisances we could fix with software. Once these get solved millions of people like us could benefit. So there was no choice but to start this company.
Over the last decade most of our team were busy building Skype which turned out to be quite effective making the world smaller in the metaphorical sense. We believe we can now rearrange the human population physically as well.
Now as a CEO I want us to build not just great products, but a culture and an organization that great people want to work in for the long run. @keskkyla and I have committed to Teleport for a decade and more if we beat the odds of the highly risky startup game. We hope it will be many many years for anyone else too to get bored or tired either. But once that happens, again learning from that Skype experience we know we will be cheering to Teleporters whenever and whatever they will pursue next.
Skype is great because it brought people far apart together, literally everyone - I’m having in mind not only expats and digital nomads but for example immigrants that have a chance to communicate with their families in their home country, whom they might see in person even less than once per year. In fact, why some are called immigrants and others expats anyway?
Do you think the tools you - or others - are building will be so inclusive as Skype, that can be useful to people of all sorts for different purposes?
This is a digital nomad forum, most of the people here work in tech, but the point should be building tools and services that can improve the life of people outside of tech too. What are your ideas on this?
A pretty typical situation when wearing a Skype t-shirt on a plane in the early days was that you get approached by a user who notices the S logo on you and says “thank you”. This is a super powerful feeling, btw. Then you ask them for feedback on your product. They tell you: “I used Skype to call my grandmother last night…” and then you have to listen to 15 minutes about their grandmother’s health and broader family history.
Learning here: the holy grail of building such everyday tools is that you become invisible for the users. You’re just a green call button, and a fully immersive conversation with a loved one on the other side of the planet follows. You achieve that by removing as much friction from the user experience, anticipating the user’s next need and delivering more than they expect. And once you’re there, whoever benefits from your software does not have to be technical at all.
Yes, we’re starting with people in tech as eager early adopters, but we humbly dream of becoming invisible enough for use by anyone with Teleport as well one day.
I think most creative work stands above the API (jobs below are most likely to be automated in the near future) and can be easily done remotely, hence I see the world moving towards a direction where most people do information processing and creative work and thus are all included in our “free people move” vision.
The bigger question here is how will we see cities and countries change in the next 50 years, with fast internet everywhere? We know what it will do to work, but how will it shape urban planning? Country planning?
What will the function be of metropolitan centers, and small towns? Will the make up of people who live in those two change? For example, maybe only the super wealthy will be able to afford the big cities? And the poor will be working in matrix-like mega flats, e.g. like in Hong Kong? That’s a bit grim, haha, but what do you think?
I am afraid the definite answer to your question would require a book, but it definitely sparked a few immediate thoughts:
The macro trend of technology enabling remote work (fast data connectivity, improving logistics, on demand economy to boot up faster in any new place, etc) is definitely there and unstoppable, case in point: us chatting here, and building what we build. Growing from 3 to 7 billion people using internet via smartphones and all that.
It is always hard for incumbents to change their ways, just think of the likelihood of your local bank, telco, utility, hospital or school system one morning allowing all of their employees to work from wherever. The existing 10,000 or 100,000 person organizations will not lead the change in ways of working, but will follow the ways of the people entering the workforce today, and the companies we are creating today in a new way.
While the “work anywhere” trend spreads (and some say, even despite of that) the ever-larger metropolitan areas have a lot of inertia for the value creation for new immigrants. Yes, there are people escaping them for cost, pollution, traffic, etc – but slower than new immigrants come in.
Thanks to the collaborative consumption, it is much easier to live a “normal” life in shorter sprints of time in places where you need to be. Think of a month in Airbnb or CaravanSerai instead of a 30 year mortgage.
On this backdrop, quite different developments are likely depending if you look at 5 or 50 year horizon (as you did in your question):
In the short term: the mass migration and urbanization continues, probably at accelerating pace. There are also technology trends that support that directly: what if self-driving cars and clean energy development make a 10M person city a pleasant, clean place to live? Yes, there will be people who leave, but there are others who come in. Circulation increases.
And more importantly, for many people it will be less of a binary question of where they live and if they move from A to B. Talking to Teleport users today we see that the question is not “should I move to Silicon Valley?” but rather “how should I split time between the places I need/want to be? how much time will I spend with my team, clients, friends in person VS working remotely? what is my personal location strategy?”
In the long term: we will definitely see a redistributed structure of entities the world is governed through: more city-state like things in loose associations with each-other, people with niche interests and synchronized value sets congregating. Less people feel they have “physical roots” and stay landlocked whereever the lottery of birth put them. Some of these entities will be megacities, and some could be former fishing villages turned into medium towns. And the lone dude on some remote mountain top will be more connected than ever to participate in the economy and culture at any of them.
Thanks Sten! This is a great overview and I’m sure makes anyone think about the future of merging cultures, existing paradigms going supernova and one’s personal futures! In your opinion:
a) What needs to happen for the digital nomadism to assert a more reliable/sought after position in the landscape of work and career? What needs to happen for today’s graduates to consider remote work and/or unsettled lifestyle as at least as viable choice as let’s say getting an internship in a large, stable, “cubicle-driven”, “don’t-stick-out” kind of company?
b) How much impact small communities of digital nomads online (and getting together offline) can have on the overall change of work landscape? Do we move the needle or we’re just the result of the needle organically moving towards more connectedly distributed world?
As the most nomadic of the Teleport bunch, let me give my 2 cents here:
I think it’s a question of visibility. We will see many more on the move once the realization that “see the world” and “advance your career” are not mutually exclusive. Since young people are receptive to role models, examples of success would be the most compelling. For most folk I would think seeing your friends travel the world while working and not necessarily doing financially worse than you should do the trick (here’s where geoarbitrage can also come in handy). Maybe the working hard bit should be asserted more than photos of laptops on the beach Efforts like Youjin’s Digital Nomad Documentary will certainly help make the community more visible.
I guess everything has to start somewhere. I personally was inspired by foreign English teachers that made their way onto my remote home island in Estonia. Especially in small places even single inspiring individuals can spark change and help see the world in ways that will later shape lifestyles. I’m certainly hopeful about digital nomads serving as these inspiring examples that push more and more people to move and see the world. It might start with individuals, their friends and small teams, but as time goes by a lot of these experiences will be carried over to larger and larger organizations. It really is up to us to try to move that needle!
I see remote digital work as a great solution to unemployment problems in sparsely populated areas. In Estonia there are thousands of people who decide to move closer to a job, whether that happens to be a bigger town or Finland and this causes life in small villages to die plus several social problems (children left behind “to grow on their own”). I hope that more and more of those people realize how much digital work there is available and they get inspired to learn skills that allow them to apply for those jobs.
The entire history of human migration was geographically towards more opportunities. And you’re absolutely right, for the first time in history a person can alternatively move physically away (or stay put) from a place of opportunity, and still reap the benefits.
That said, for dire unemployment moving around could still be a solution. For example professor Enrico Moretti has suggested “migration vouchers” as the most effective social support governments could provide dealing with unemployment.
Do you have problems to plan your trip choosing any currency they want? For example, I’m going to the UK but would like to plan my trip (How much will I spend in housing/food/having fun/attending attractions?) in US Dollar or Euro or any other money. How do you guys do it easily?
I recently closed a US company that was used to sell cheats or hacks for popular games due to imminent litigation.
I have just recently embarked on a similar venture, but working as a contractor. Myself, and my lead developer have just found ourselves in the position of not being paid and will need to re-establish ourselves.
Due to my experience in marketing, distribution and management I know running a company myself would still be a successful venture, I just do not want to run it out of the US.
Due to the nature and risk of litigation from large gaming companies I believe moving offshore will be the path I should take. I spoke with my attorneys, who basically made it sound like it would be impossible to set up without physically living somewhere, based on my past experience with these guys, and paying tens of thousands of dollars to protect myself just for them to say “it’s best to shut down” the moment we were contacted by a gaming company, I am going to assume it’s their lack of experience.
My questions are:
As a service likely in the same realm as Adult Services or Gambling, with myself residing in the US and my Lead dev residing in Europe, what country would be a good option to set up with fair tax that cant easily be pressured by US or European game producers?
In said country should I find and contact legal council there instead of using US attournies to fumble through this charging me exponentially more to just relay info and elongate the process?
I recently started running a software consultancy in the UK that specialises in MVP development and onboarding/marketing strategies. I found it relatively easy to get leads by attending networking events (quite a lot here in Edinburgh).
I plan to start travelling soon, though. Has anybody tried to travel while running a software consultancy? I’m really curious to find out how you handled finding new clients while doing that. Let’s say that if I go networking somewhere in Asia I won’t find clients willing to spend much on a project (and can’t just pay my employees less because I can’t find good paying projects).
I’ve been seeing a lot of budgeting questions floating around lately (not just here, but other nomad forums), so I thought it might be useful to start a thread where anyone who is sharing their nomadic budgets can drop a link (or the budget itself).
Pretty much what the title says, I’ve been trying to find a few good blogs to follow by nomads in the mid-budget range. There seems to be a ton in the budget/backpacker range, trying to do everything as cheaply as possible or, in the mid-budget range but are short-term travellers.
There does seem to be a lack of blogs in the mid-budget, long term travel area that aren’t run by professional bloggers & full of sponsored posts. Am I looking in the wrong places or is it just that people in this niche are too busy making a living doing other work don’t bother blogging?
I follow Making It Anywhere, which is good but not updated much. Any other recommendations?
Ever heard of people buying an old school bus together and taking a road trip throughout the U.S.? Well it’s kind of like that.
What are the chances of a bunch of freelancers, or a startup, buying a really big boat, and working 100% remotely, while cruising to a different country each year? Kind of like Semester at sea but for a company or group of freelancers!
I started applying to jobs on remoteok.io and other similar sites and have been wondering how other people are approaching these sites.
I’ve been freelancing and consulting since 2009, but have never applied for a job “the normal way”, so I was wondering how other people are doing it. Are you sending CVs and cover letters or are you doing anything creative like videos or other such things?
Personally, I’ve wrote up a CV and hired a guy to write cover letters for me. I think the letters he writes would work well for corporate jobs (or for anything that has an HR department – he uses a lot of these HR buzzwords like “cross-cultural” and “highly motivated to develop my professional skills” and stuff like that), but I’m not sure if this stuff is appropriate in a startup context.
Please don’t interpret my post as “I want a job, please help me” because it’s not that. I’m just curious how everyone else is doing it. Specifically for non-tech non-design jobs (things where you can’t easily point to things and say “I made this”). As I said, I never applied for a job and don’t know so many people that have and I’m sure my mom is not the right person to ask.
I’d also be curious how many applicants positions on remoteok.io etc. usually get, in case anyone knows.
I’m looking for a good budgeting and expenses tracking software to track my expenses and my income, I don’t mind if it’s free or paid, but I can’t find any with all these characteristics which are fundamental for me. They always lack at least one or two.
multi-account (for me and my girlfriend)
multi-currency (of course)
sync between desktop and multiple mobile devices
geolocation for each transaction to better track expenses by country and city
Hi we are Coboat, a floating coworking space. We will take our custom 82ft catamaran around the world and offer a platform for a mix of digital nomads and entrepreneurs to come on board to work and collaborate together.
We have the latest in green energy technology and will utilise the latest in satellite internet, 3G & 4G to stay connected and online.
We offer trips from one week to one year and we will take up to 20 together on a creative adventure to amazing places to find inspiration.
Like most other coworking spaces we will offer plenty of chances to encourage synergies, with regular events, skill & idea sharing sessions.
We are non-profit and we hope to foster and develop ideas for social projects as we travel through regions.
We are also running a free 100 day scholarship ‘Made on Coboat’ for anyone who wants to kick-start a new project.
I’m planning to start working remotely come October and was wondering what are the best strategies for getting a first remote job? I’ve stumbled upon many that are US-only (I’m in Europe) or for seasoned remote workers, so I’m wondering it there’s some “hack” to get the ball rolling.
I have a decently paid remote job that I’m slowly getting bored with, but for now, it pays the bills and enables me to travel. I’m thinking of moving to Chiang Mai and was wondering if being in the start up and DN hotspot like Chiang Mai could provide opportunities for a job change? I know Thailand is popular with both DNs who are employees and (co-)founders/employers. I assume if you spend time at a co-working space you will eventually meet other DNs and (co-)founders that might be hiring and join their project if you find it interesting.
Of course, my primary goal to go there isn’t looking for a new job, but considering it’s a DN and startup hub why not explore other possibilities, especially if they are DN-friendly.
Anyone had such an experience or heard of it? Thanks!
At Toptal, we help developers get work they can do from anywhere.
As a digital nomad, I’ve lived and worked remotely in >30 countries since I finished school four years ago. I’ve been building Toptal. Toptal is a private network of awesome freelance software engineers, and companies hire us to build cool stuff. We are also an a16z-backed company in growth mode, and this year we’ll hit about $80 million in recurring sales. Although our network has grown to thousands of people, Toptal doesn’t have any offices. We operate from more than 93 countries, and since we encourage everyone to travel, a lot of us are digital nomads.
I am thinking about becoming a digital nomad. I already have a startup in my mind that’s ready to be build. I will make this website by myself, it should take me roughly about 2 to 3 months to complete everything. From that point on it will be a matter of time before it will generate a income. Before my website will make a steady income i would need money to survive. I do have some savings but it is not enough to keep me on my feet for half a year or longer. Is it wise to take a loan as a Digital Nomad to make the startup allot easier?
As you can see a new movement in this revolution is coming out. Please make some noise for Project Bali. Like @nomadicpad said in the Project Austin, is a project about bringing 5 like-minded people together in order to create an inspirational, motivational and recreational house. You will learn from different skillsets and stay on the success track.
First of all, I’m looking for 3 nomads who want to experiment that in Ubud. Second step is to find a house and get in. If you guys are looking for an amazing experience let’s apply here.
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