I just finished watching an interview on Mixergy (my new favourite website/blog) with Kareem Mayan as guest. The interview discussed the viability of digital nomadism. Without repeating too much, proponents suggest you can reduce your burn rate, learn more from customers, and generally increase your business awareness, by going global (think real global private equity). Not global in the sense of creating a website, but global in the sense of physically travelling from city to city, spending 2 to 3 months in each, while working and/or running a business.
Okay, it’s a pretty far-out thought, but there’s one thing in particular that attracts me. I think we learn most from testing our limits, challenging our comfort zones and meeting new and interesting people. And… that’s global travel (and global private equity) to a T. Life on the streets of a foreign city can be life-altering and give you an appreciation of business that you’d never gain from a pokey office in downtown San Fran.
For startups, there’s also the argument that funding in USD or EUR goes much further when expenses are in some third or second world denomination. Often, all you need is fast internet, a good supply of beans (see recipe at the end of Paul Graham’s post) and a laptop. So if this is all you need, why operate from the most expensive cities in the world. Sure there may be strategic value in somewhere like the Valley, but hey, sometimes it’s just heads down. And of course we’re blessed with Skype.
One day when global private equity advances and more private equity funds invest globally, maybe we’ll all be on the road living nomadically. A scary thought for some and an exciting thought for others.