Top Digital Nomad Friendly Airports Worldwide

The Digital Nomad’s Guide to the Top Airports in the World

One of the great things about being a digital nomad and living and working anywhere is that you get to travel. Of course, this

means spending time in various airports as you go from one glorious destination to the next. So, which ones are best when it

comes to keeping in touch with your business, family, and friends?

Here are some favorites for digital nomads from around the world, as well as what to expect when you are in them:

 

Budapest Airport – Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Airport offers free Wi-Fi for the first two hours you are there. And if you need to print something, you can do so by using

their passenger lounges. They even supply meeting rooms if  you happen to be there at the same time as someone else on your

team and want to find a quiet place to chat about work.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Budapest.jpg

 

O’Hare International Airport – Chicago, Illinois

Find yourself at O’Hare in Chicago and you will enjoy the first 20 minutes of Wi-Fi free, with the option to pay $6.95 for an

additional 24 hours of service through Boingo, which means that you can access Internet through any of their locations during

that time period. If you need to power up any of your devices, there are numerous charging stations located throughout terminals

1, 2, 3, and 5. Plus, download the FlySmart app and you can find all of their amenities and services rather easily.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Chicago

 

Heathrow Airport – London, England

Heathrow offers four hours of Wi-Fi free, even offering an additional four hours at no extra charge if you join their Heathrow

Rewards loyalty program. They also have pay-as-you-go computer desks scattered throughout the airport, if that helps. If you

want to print anything, you’ll have to do so before going through security though as there aren’t any public printers available

after that point.

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Austin-Bergstrom International Airport – Austin, Texas

Austin-Bergstrom gives you 90 consecutive minutes of Wi-Fi free per day through Boingo. To purchase more time, the rate for

24 hours is $7.95, or you can get Boingo Unlimited for a couple bucks more, or $9.95 per month. You might even want to stop

at Knot Anymore Massage (by gate 13) while you are there and get out all of the kinks that travel can sometimes create.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Austin

 

Suvarnabhumi Airport – Bangkok, Thailand

This airport offers two hours of free Wi-Fi daily, which gives you some time to catch up on emails or send notes to various

members of your team. You may also want to visit their Internet Café if you want to use their computer systems and not take

the time to set up your own.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Bangkok.jpg

 

Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) International Airport – Seattle, Washington

If you’re lucky enough to spend time in the Seattle airport, you will have access to free Wi-Fi, as well as under-your-seat power

outlets available at most every gate. They also offer MP3 chargers at various kiosks in the concourses. And if you want an

Internet-enabled phone, you can rent one for $0.35 per minute (there is a $5 minimum for this service).

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Seattle.jpg

 

New Delhi Indira Ghandi Airport – New Delhi, India

New Delhi airport offers Wi-Fi a number of ways. For instance, if you have a Boingo account, you can simply log in through them.

You can also purchase a paid plan at 99 INR for one hour or 199 INR for three hours or obtain a scratch card from the

Lounge/Counter located inside the terminal. And if you have to switch airports while there, they offer a complimentary shuttle bus

that runs between domestic and international airports.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_New Delhi

 

 

McCarran International Airport – Las Vegas, Nevada

McCarran allows you to check in for your flight right from your mobile phone. It also offers free Wi-Fi in all public areas of the

airport. Don’t forget to take a break from working while you are there and put a couple coins in their in-airport slot machines. Who

knows? You may just win enough to fund your next travel adventure!

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Las Vegas.jpg

 

Incheon International Airport – Seoul, South Korea

At Incheon, you can rent a mobile phone if you’d like, or send a package or letter via their in-terminal postal services. You get

free Wi-Fi as well, which makes this airport great for all types of business and communication purposes.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Seoul.jpg

 

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) – San Franciso, California

Free Wi-Fi is also available at SFO, with work stations and power outlets located throughout the terminals (some near the food

court so you can replenish your energy physically as well as electronically). It’s almost like having your own office space, just

make sure you don’t leave anything behind.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_San Franciso

 

Schönefeld Airport and Tegel Airport – Berlin, Germany

Stop at either Schönefeld Airport or Tegel Airport in Berlin and you can quickly know where all of their services and amenities are

through an app, which is available through ITunes or Google Play. As far as Wi-Fi is concerned, only your first hour is free, but

that may be enough time to catch up quickly before taking your next flight.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Berlin

 

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) – New York, New York

At JFK, there are a number of ways you can get Internet access. For instance, you can pay hourly ($4.95 per hour) or daily

($7.95 per day). They also have a monthly subscription option for $9.95 if you want unlimited access to various spots around the

globe. Additionally, there are charging stations available pre- and post-security so you can power up your devices pretty much

anywhere in the airport.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_New York

 

Kuala Lumpur International Airport – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur offers three hours of free Wi-Fi in most areas of the airport. They also have multimedia phone kiosks which give

you access to the web as well. They even have pay phones if you have any calls to make, or postal services if there is something

you need to send something out via regular mail.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Kuala Lumpur.jpg

 

Barcelona-El Prat Airport – Barcelona, Spain

Travel through Barceloa-El Prat Airport and you will only get 15 minutes free Wi-Fi, whether you are in terminal 1 or terminal 2.

So, while this particular location doesn’t exactly give you a lot of no-cost time to keep in touch, it does give you some if there is an

important message that needs to be sent out or if you quickly want to check your inbox.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Barcelona

 

Mexico City International Airport – Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City International Airport offers cell phone services and postal services, but it doesn’t seem to offer any type of Internet

service. In other words, don’t expect to get too much business done if you wind up here, that is, unless you have your own

Internet connection device.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Mexico City

 

Tallinn Airport – Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn Airport not only offers free Wi-Fi, they also have 14 different kiosks you can use if you prefer to keep your laptop in its

case. And if you want to conduct your business in a quieter location away from the normal hustle and bustle of the airport, you

can gain access to their business class Nordea Lounge for €30.

digitalnomadfriendlyairport_Tallinn

 

There you have it, your digital nomad guide to some of the top airports in the world. Now the only question you have to answer is

which one you’re going to go to first!

How baby boomers can work remotely from the Internet

baby boomer on laptop

If you are a baby boomer, then you face some unique issues when it comes to work. Those of you who have had a job for 20 or 30 years (or more) are usually ready to retire, but aren’t necessarily ready to not work either because you don’t want a lot of free time on your hands or you can’t afford to financially.

Some of you may have even lost your job due to the economic downturn and now find yourself trying to compete with people half your age for a job you really don’t want. What are you to do? Have you considered working remotely?

Baby Boomers and Working Remotely

Luckily, the Internet spans most areas of the globe, allowing you to work from anywhere. You can set your own schedule and create your own routine (allowing you to work around family and other obligations) right from the comfort of your own home.

Additionally, you have built up certain skill sets, which I would argue are 100% transferable to the LiveWorkAnywhere model. This greatly increases your online work options as a baby boomer looking for a full or part-time career.

By 2020, freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the full time workforce.  The number of freelance workers is projected to outpace full-time workers by 2020. The economy is rapidly shifting to a more contingent workforce, with recent estimates by the Freelancers Union of 42 million American independent workers, up from 10.3 million workers in 2005.”  – Forbes

There are several jobs in which you do not have to actually be there in person to perform.  If you had a career as a trademark attorney, for example, perhaps you could transfer your skills to consulting and meet your clients via web and phone.

If you were a sales executive, get rid of the car, use a US-based number and make calls from wherever you live. You can even hire a team to do the majority of the work for you while you focus on client acquisition.

Perhaps there is another service you can offer to your existing client base? Something you can do without even leaving your house. Baby boomers have many online work options, allowing them to live and work remotely.

Telecommuting is not a buzzword, it’s a reality.  You start with your dream and your skills and work backwards to find flexible work that you will enjoy. That’s all fine, you say, but what if you don’t have time to start with your dream? What if you need something NOW?

Transferrable Skills for Baby Boomers Looking to Work Online

If you are in need of augmenting or supplementing your income, there are several online positions you can do right now from home with just a computer. Here is a list of skill sets that are great for remote, online work:

Less specialized:

  • Admin support
  • Bookkeeping
  • Writing
  • Copywriting
  • Proofreading
  • Paralegal
  • Translation
  • Virtual assistant
  • Telemarketing
  • Telesales
  • Blogging support
  • Market research
  • Advertising support
  • Customer Service
  • Medical research

More specialized:

  • IT & Programming
  • Graphic Design
  • Animation
  • Online Sales
  • Accounting
  • Blogging
  • SEO
  • Advertising
  • Technical writing
  • Consulting
  • Patent / Trademark / Legal
  • Medical equipment consulting

So What Are Your First Steps as a Baby Boomer Who Wants to Work Remotely?

This is where the work begins, so here is a step-by-step guide that will make your online work process as simple as possible:

1. Build Your Online Profile

Are you on LinkedIn?  If you are, is your profile current?  How many connections do you have?  You should have at least 500+ so, if you don’t, then you need to get busy. Join groups in your field and network with others. Connect with other baby boomers who work remotely in your field so you can learn from them.

2.  Build Your Professional Profile

What are your skills?  To answer this, simply take your resume and transform it into a business portfolio.  If you were an attorney, for instance, make a list of all of the professional services that you would offer and include some key milestones from your career.  Package yourself to market yourself.

3. Transfer Your Profile

Create a website (there are several ways to make a free website – weebly.com, wix.com, wordpress.org, squarespace.com and Google sites, just to name a few) where you can showcase all of your talents.  If you don’t want to spend time creating and marketing a site yet, then you can at least sign up on a site like Elance.com where you can build your own profile and have them market it for you within their freelancer marketplace.

4. Build Your Routine

Know how many hours you are available, the wage you want to make (be sure to look around so you are price competitive with the market – too low is okay to start, but doesn’t show high quality; too much and you’ll drive potential customers away), and what your monthly revenue goals are. The more you know what you want, the easier it is to create the routine to get it.

5. Get Started

Nothing new is ever easy.  You will be challenged.  But you spent your entire professional career meeting challenges head-on and look how far you’ve come.  You can transfer your skills and create supplemental income or even prepare to hit the road with your new business and be successful no matter what stage of the game you are in – even as a baby boomer.

Tell me – what other questions do you have?  Where should we dig in deeper?

Please leave a comment below.

 

Work from Anywhere! The CoWorking Movement

It is estimated that by the year 2020, approximately 50% of the workforce will be working online. While this may offer a large majority of individuals the ability to work from home, this isn’t always the preferable option.

Thus, the coworking movement.

What is Coworking?

Perhaps the best way to describe coworking is to think of it as an office-type of setting that you can go to everyday to do your work, but you don’t have to go through the hassle or expense of buying or creating it on your own.

Although they aren’t very well-known by a lot of freelance workers and startups, more and more coworking spaces are popping up all over the globe. In fact, I have personally been working out of WeWork in New York City for over three years.

WeWork started as a small, invite-only incubation space in Soho called WeWork Labs. Since 2011, it has grown to 15 locations (10 in New York, 2 in Boston, 2 in Washington DC and 1 in Seattle) and each one houses approximately 200 startups.

Here’s a quick video clip from AFP News, who interviewed me in a piece on coworking spaces in DC:

WeWork Washington DC - CoWorking Movement - LiveWork Anywhere

Advantages of Coworking

There are a number of distinct advantages to picking up your laptop and going someplace else to work. Here are just a few of them to consider if you’re contemplating making coworking a part of your LiveWorkAnywhere life:

  • You get out of the house. It may seem like working from home is great, but the reality is that the four walls can close in on you very easily if you hardly ever get out. Plus, if you have an active family, sometimes the distractions can be too much, making it hard to concentrate and causing you to potentially miss important deadlines.
  • They’re cost effective. Other than the cost of the coffee that you drink, coworking spaces are totally free. This saves you from having to find an office space to rent, which has the ability to eat up all of your income, depending on where you live.
  • You have hi-speed Wifi Internet. This coworking advantage is huge for people who either live in areas that don’t get good service or simply can’t afford the higher speed options. Access to a super-fast Internet is something no online working should go without.
  • They’re good for the environment. Why take up precious space on this planet and build a bunch of offices when you can house a large number of people in one place and they can still accomplish the same thing? This makes coworking very earth friendly.
  • You get to network with other entrepreneurs and startups. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of co-working is that you get to meet like minded people. You can share stories, tips, and advice as you decide how you’re going to conquer the world.

Coworking is the next new trend and one that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.

Where do you cowork? What is your favorite coworking space and why?

If you’re not yet coworking, what would you look for in a space?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

3 Common Freelance Hiring Nightmares – And How to Avoid Them

Many people have horror stories when it comes to hiring freelancers for services ranging from writing to coding to web design. And, unfortunately, it’s not at all uncommon to hear these types of statements about them as a result:

  • They’re unreliable
  • They lie about the level of job they can take on
  • They disappear without a trace
  • They steal your code 
  • Their quality of work is shamelessly poor, and so on.

Maybe you even have a tale about a freelancer that has soured your thought of ever wanting to hire a remote worker to help you fill your needs? If so, you are not alone.

It can make you wonder why, in a world where remote work is coming of age and the Internet is everywhere, do we have so many problems, still, trying to find great freelance talent?

Here’s the good news: There are still wonderful freelancers out there who don’t abide by the same poor work ethic as the others in their field who give them a bad name. The key is recognizing the diamonds from the cubic zirconium, so you know when you have the real deal and when you’ve been fooled.

With that thought in mind, here are three of the most common freelancing nightmares, as well as ways to avoid finding yourself in them:

Nightmare #1 – The freelancer provides low-quality work

Your whole purpose in hiring a freelancer is because you want a higher quality of product than you’re able to provide yourself. Either you have no skill in that required area or you simply don’t have time to apply it. Regardless of the reason, you want a freelancer that gives you the highest quality product available, which can hit you extra hard when you get low quality work – especially if you paid top dollar for it.

Here are some pointers to help you avoid this scenario all together:

1. Set your communication expectations upfront. Tell them immediately what you expect from them. Do you need them on Skype from 9 AM to 6 PM EST each day?  If so, let them know that before you hire them. Do you expect an email each day with progress?  Make sure they are aware of this so you’re not sitting there wondering what they’re doing.

Also, let them know when and how you will be available to them so they know when they can and cannot engage you.  This lessens the likelihood that you’ll run into issues because they’ll know how to contact you if a problem arises.

2. Create milestones.  This suggestion works well especially if you have a larger project that you’re hiring a freelancer for. Take the task and break it down into smaller bits by setting milestones along the way. For instance, if you are hiring a freelance writer to create a 10 chapter e-book for you, you could set milestones at each chapter to review their work.

This allows you to make sure you’re a good fit and to figure out how you work together. If you don’t like their work or you’re not meshing, simply don’t go beyond the first milestone, pay them for their work, and let them go. Take what you learned about what you need and use that as criteria when hiring the next person.

On the other hand, if it appears that you’re going to do okay together once you reach the first milestone, then just create another one and go step by step. This helps you retain control over your project and minimizes the damage if you happen to hire a freelancer who provides low quality work.

3. Hire multiple people.  Admittedly, this option works best if you have a smaller project  (or microtask) that is going to lead into a larger one. One way to do it is to post the job, hiring a few different people for it so that you can see who does best job. Then pick the freelancer you like the most to work on your next, more important project.

4. Post a crystal-clear job description.  The more descriptive you are about the job you are hiring for, the better your results will likely be. This allows the freelancers interested in it to have a better idea of what is expected of them, allowing them to not even apply if they feel they aren’t qualified or can’t do what you ask.

For starters, the header should give enough information to attract the right type of freelancer. A good header includes the type of freelancer you’re looking for by stating the industry (health, tech, business) and the project type (e-book creation, code, web design). An example is “Tech Writer Needed for iPhone Article” or “Need Web Designer for Cake Decorating Business.” It is specific enough that someone will know right away whether they’re interested and qualified.

The job description must also be incredibly clear.  Include things like:

  • What the job is specifically, breaking it down as much as possible so it is easy to understand
  • Use bullet points to list expectations or needs
  • State the projected duration of task
  • If you have an example of the kind of work you’re looking for, state it or provide a link to it
  • List your expectations
  • Ask for portfolios or samples that pertain to your specific request
  • If you have a budget, state it

(Tip: Sometimes it helps to look at other job posts to get a feel for what people are including in their posts, what they are looking for, and the quality of proposals the jobs are attracting from potential candidates based on how they’re worded.)

5. Do a code review.  If you’re listing a coding project, have someone you trust and who is a rock star coder review the code – immediately – before continuing onto another project.  Make sure that it is freshly written as code samples could be from anyone.  You can even take screenshots to make sure the freelancer is creating the code themselves.

Nightmare #2 – The freelancer is unreliable, sometimes even disappearing completely

This scenario is rather unfortunate.  Some freelancers like their freedom so much that they forget that they have obligations and responsibilities to the clients that have hired them, proving themselves to be completely unreliable. Others have a problem staying accountable because they don’t have an employer standing over their shoulder, making sure they get their work done.

Some even disappear completely. One day they’re there and the next they’re gone. Sometimes with your money already in hand. So, how do you avoid this? Here are some options to consider:

1. Hire and fire swiftly.  When you get a red flag that tells you that something isn’t right, do not ignore it.  Sure, it can be really difficult to let someone go, but some people can and will drive your business into the ground with their own needs in mind if you let them, so STOP BEING NICE!

Sometimes you have to do what’s hard in order to survive.  Remember that this is about your business.  If it doesn’t make it, then you’ve made all your hard work and effort essentially useless, so make those tough decisions before they make you go bankrupt…or crazy.

Having a platform like Elance or Odesk to hire freelancers allows you to start and stop jobs easily, scale your business up or down as needed, and gives you access to millions of candidates right at your fingertips.  You owe it to yourself and your business to find the right fit.

2. Have a backup plan.  Relying on one single person to meet all of your needs gives you a single point of failure with no way to rebound. Instead, have a team of potential candidates, hire in parallel, and have at least two people who are able to do the same task.  Servers need backups and so do your other critical business functions, which is why you’re better off with a plan in place before you need it.

3. Document, document, document.  Generally, disappearing freelancers hate documentation, so if they refuse, consider that a red flag. Additionally, make sure that you document everything too. That way, if they do prove to be unreliable or simply walk away, you don’t have to start from scratch as you’ll have your work up until the point that they took off.

Nightmare #3: The freelancer steals your code

If you saw the movie Social Network, then you know that copyright violation does happen. In fact, it even happened to me.

I was copied on my idea of Beer2Buds from an American guy living in Germany.  Blatant copy and branding.  While I found it flattering to some degree, I had no legal recourse. Then, my business partner convinced me to put the first version of Beer2Buds on his servers so, when he disappeared somewhere in China, the code was lost with him. Again, no legal recourse.

My answer to this type of nightmare is this:

1) Keep the code on your servers, ALWAYS.  When my CTO passed away suddenly and tragically , one lesson I had fortunately learned was to keep the code in my control.  Probably a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.

2) Out-execute.  First of all, the idea is yours so you will always be a step ahead of the copycats.  Second, people who steal ideas or copy yours can only go so far.  There is so much power, not to mention integrity, in being innovative and a game changer, two qualities that code thieves usually lack.

3) Use a platformto protect you. When possible, use a platform to help protect both you and your code to prevent any potential issues. For example, NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) do not work in China, especially when you have no address.

4) Separate the code baseinto segments.  Use a platform like github and create branches so that you give specific tasks to specific groups to only work on one section of your code. That way, no one has the whole thing.

While these suggestions don’t necessarily guarantee that you won’t find yourself in the middle of a freelance nightmare, they will lessen your risk considerably. So, what else can you do to protect yourself?

What to Do Before Hiring a Freelancer

Before you even hire a freelancer, there are certain things you can and should do to ensure that you’re getting a top-quality individual. Think of it in terms of hiring an employee and set up your own interview process of sorts. In it, you will want to do the following three things:

  • Review their portfolio.  Take the time to see what samples they’ve uploaded to their profile. Does their work reflect the type of quality that you’re looking for?  Does it fit your style or the style for the project?
  • Read their reviews.  Think about what is MOST important for you, i.e. quality, cost, responsiveness, etc.  Then, skim through the reviews to get a quick view on the freelancer’s character. For instance, do they rate low consistently in adhering to cost and cost is one of your most important factors?  This would probably signal that they would be a bad fit for you.  Or, maybe they rate high on responsiveness and that is most important to you, so you decide to try them out. There is no right or wrong answers here as it is all about what you want out of your freelance relationship.
  • View their skills tests results.  Don’t forget that you can look at the skills the person has from the assessment tests they’ve taken to determine whether they are qualified for your particular project. For example, if it is a logo project you’re posting, it might be nice to know that they rate in the top 5% for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that hiring a freelancer is not easy, but the more you can do to prepare yourself, the smoother the process will be. Expect to work hard and be a good leader and, in the end, you will likely create a quality relationship with a freelancer who meets and possibly even exceeds your expectations.

Have you ever had any of these issues happen to you?  If so, how did you deal with them? Please leave a note in the comments as I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Growth Hacking is Overrated

“Growth hacking” is a technical term for customer development. Essentially, it involves figuring out what your customer wants without ever having to talk to or interact with them.  How?

By using tools like OptimizelyGoogle Analytics and KISS Metrics, you’re able to learn more about your customer based on a specific set of metrics. These types of programs allow you to discover their likes, dislikes, and interests solely by monitoring their Internet usage and what sites they frequent most.

So, what’s the problem with customer development via growth hacking?

The Problem with Growth Hacking

You can’t growth hack your way into your customer’s mind.  Sure, you may gain a little understanding about them thanks to the software program, but your growth will be faster if you actually keep a finger on the pulse of your customers. How do you do this? By having real conversations with them.

The software developers responsible for creating these types of programs are partially to blame. I’m not saying that they are schmucks, but not all of these growth hackers are worth the beaucoup bucks they’re generally paid.

A large number of software developers (and non-savvy business developers) have the illusion that “if they build it, they will come.” In this case, the second “they” refers to the customers who they expect will adore everything they do and flock to their software simply because it exists.

In all fairness, this way of thinking is not entirely their fault. We fawn over stories of icons such as Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook and dream of being that one in a billion.

However, overvaluing software developers and undervaluing business developers can give software developers a giant ego and false sense of worth. Unfortunately, it is this inflated ego that can drive them to quit projects midway through to pursue their own passions. And, why not? They can, right?

While it’s great for anyone to follow their passion, this is bad luck in these types of situations. Plus, it’s just awful for the teams they leave behind.

Growth Hacking Can Be Good…Within Reason

Personally, I love the concept of growth hacking. In fact, by definition I am a growth hacker. But I also know that you cannot – 100% cannot – grow your company without getting to know your customer face-to-face.

For instance, consider the concepts behind Lean methodology which forces you to GOOTB (Get-Out-Of-The-Building) and talk to your customers. It’s so much better! Why?

It makes your potential customers part of the growth process so you become customer-centric. When you follow Lean methodology, you are constantly putting your product or service in front of them to test their response, giving you immediate feedback that is essential to your growth power.

One way to do this is by signing up for Lean Startup Machine. This is a three-day course designed to teach you the process by which you can learn enough about your customer base to make your business more successful.

When it comes to Lean methodology versus growth hacking, Lean methodology wins every time!

Customers Aren’t Numbers

Customers aren’t just numbers.  They have a voice.  So, hiding behind the numbers and hacking away at code, pretending that you’re staring at a matrix screen that somehow tells you all you need to know about your customer… that’s all bunk.

Your front end sales people have the pulse on your company.  Your business development people actually know what your customers are saying – and they’re worth listening to.

That’s why I believe that growth hacking is seriously overrated and may, in fact, be one of the worst effects of modern tech culture.

What’s your opinion on growth hacking? Do you find it helpful or not? We’d love to know your thoughts!

Accelerators and Incubators Level the Business Playing Field

Accelerators and Incubators Level the Business Playing Field | LiveWorkAnywhere.com

Accelerators and Incubators Level the Business Playing Field | LiveWorkAnywhere.com

It’s no longer necessary to be a Harvard grad to get all the cred.  In fact, you don’t even have to go to college at all to be successful.

Finally the playing field is being leveled. You don’t have to be a college grad to be successful. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here: Being accepted into an accelerator is a more significant step toward business success than a degree from Harvard.

Microsoft is actually contracting TechStars companies to build their products, so this attitude is even affecting the workplace. Which I predict is really going to work in Microsoft’s favor going forward. Thinking like an accelerator is the style of the future. Big companies need to adapt to survive.

The problem with corporations, in short, is that everything changes when they get big. Big companies come with a lot of problems and hang-ups. Employees get comfy paychecks and pseudo-meaningful titles that they hang onto, fight for, and step on others to maintain or get. As a result, innovation is lost.

From there, companies are then forced to copy ideas from startups or established companies. Then, due to politics, egos, and position control, it takes a long time to get something meaningful accomplished. They don’t have the nimbleness that comes with being a startup, especially one nurtured by accelerators and incubators.

Startups are agile, quick, and either don’t have titles or know titles mean nothing. They focus on getting things done and rapid iteration.  That’s it. There’s no junk getting in the way. Startups are there to get things done.

So let’s support our local startups, and the accelerators that make them great. And if you want to be successful in business, avoid the big corporations. Don’t go for that expensive business degree unless you just want it anyway. Just build a startup, and find an accelerator/incubator to light a fire under it!

IGNITE Santiago: Introducing the Anywhere Startup in Santiago, Chile

IGNITE Santiago: Introducing the Anywhere Startup in Santiago, Chile | Live Work Anywhere

IGNITE Santiago: Introducing the Anywhere Startup in Santiago, Chile | Live Work Anywhere

20 slides, 15 seconds each slide, 5 minutes.

That’s the format for IGNITE. An IGNITE talk reminds me of a TEDX talk or the old Gnomedex run by Chris Pirillo. Except that it’s even more niche. It’s likely derived from the PechaKucha format, in which designers were challenged to talk with 20 slides auto-advancing after 20 seconds each. The content is inspiring, humorous, or pensive. And generally presented by nerds.

I gave my first IGNITE in Chile in January 2014. I wanted to introduce the concept of the Anywhere Startup.

I’ve been living and working from cities around the world for several years, but thanks to the increase in fiber, Internet, technology, resources, with near ubiquity driving the cost of access down, airline costs decreasing overtime, and other trends such as Startup workshops, in-flight wifi, etc, more people have the flexibility to travel and stay connected to one another.

I used to swear that I would do anything to get back to Spain, even if it meant I had to clean toilets with a toothbrush. Thankfully, I no longer have to do that. I’ve found success following an entrepreneurial path, and I want to help people get to that place too.

Here’s my Ignite Talk in Chile, introducing the Anywhere Startup:

The core points from my talk include:

1) I grew up sheltered, in rural America. I was 20 years old and I’d never left North America.
2) In college, I went to study abroad in Spain. I had never been on a plane, train, bus, or taxi. I had to do it all, within 24 hours, and – in SPANISH. My world was completely turned upside down.
3) But it was also during this time that I realized that I would to do whatever it would take to continue traveling.

That was 1997.

OVER 20 YEARS AGO.

4) I had only just started using email in 1994. Twenty years ago. In the University in Spain, my friend would sneak into the computer labs on the weekend with to use a computer (on DIAL UP) to send e-mail.
5) After school, I was to told to get a job. And I did. But even with the Internet, there was no mobility. I was still stuck in an office, watching the clock every day until 5 pm. Waiting to leave, or rather until someone else told me I could leave.
6) What happened to the days of being a pioneer, an explorer, of sailing our ships through unknown waters – navigating through obstacles and discovering new lands, creating new maps? Why couldn’t workers combine the Internet and travel?
7) The morning of my talk I physically worked from Santiago, but I was really working in New York and San Francisco. There is no difference between working right next to someone and being thousands of miles away, whether you’re in the air or sitting on a rock.

TODAY, 2014 – 27 YEARS FORWARD

8) Access to resources is nearing ubiquity and the cost of technology has plummeted. Airlines are now starting to offer FREE WIFI. I’ve been mid air sending emails, chatting, and making calls via Google Voice … and nobody … even knew … where I was.

THE ANYWHERE STARTUP

9) This is the concept of the Anywhere Startup. A startup that, simply, you can run from anywhere. It’s based on a set of what I call the Mobility Criteria.
10) I run 2 anywhere startups. One is an e-commerce company (or beer commerce, if you like) called Beer2Buds that allows you to send a friend a beer anywhere in the world. The other is a SaaS product called PromoBomb. I’ve been traveling while running these startups from anywhere.
11) The most obvious elements of the mobility criteria are strong wifi, continuous power, quiet private space. Thanks to co-working spaces popping up around the globe certainly feeds this ecosystem. But it hasn’t always been that easy….
12) In 2009 I went to Costa Rica lured by the promise of strong WIFI and continuous power. When I got there, the line was shared by 12 other businesses and the power would go out, people would shrug, and head to the beach.
13) In Budapest, I found a cafe open til midnight that had strong wifi, not shared with other people. Bingo. I arrived at quarter to 8.
At 8 pm, on the dot, the wifi was shut off. The waiter said they do it so people would socialize.
14) Learning my lesson, I went to Buenos Aires and got my own apartment with my OWN strong wifi and power. I was on a conference call with Budweiser, when all of a sudden someone started jack hammering through the wall. Jack hammering. My noise-canceling headphones were no match for the jack hammer. I also lost power and the call was over.
15) Things can and will happen, but the most important part to an Anywhere Startup, is having a system in place. 3 components of a perfect system are:

COMMUNICATION

WORKFLOW

STRUCTURE

An Anywhere Startup requires a different type of commitment, different style of communication and new processes.
16) My Anywhere Startups have teams that are dispersed all over the world. We use a variety of tools for collaboration. We set our clocks to ONE timezone, in our case, EST. We set weekly meetings based on this time. No matter where we are on the globe, we all adhere to EST.
17) During our meetings, over Skype, one person may be having pizza for lunch, while another is having balut for dinner . Our sales team battle cries are “Walang Aayaw” and “Lage Raho.” We are an international team running on one single system.

NEXT 20 YEARS – THE FUTURE

18) What will the next twenty years look like? Did you know that only 30% of the world has metadata? In Nicaragua and my address was – 2 blocks down from San Miguel’s store, down the street past El Mar restaurant, and on the left hand side…
19) Imagine a world with 100% metadata, and, as access to resources becomes even more ubiquitous, people who never before were able to share their vision with the world could now do so. We create cross-cultural entrepreneurship, and global cooperation.
20) Imagine a world that where, when you land in Chile, it doesn’t say “roaming” you turn on your phone. It just works. I’m navigating the waters of the Anywhere Startup and building a map for the next twenty years of Anywhere Entrepreneurs.

What does your Anywhere Startup dream look like?

A Startup is Not a Company

a startup is NOT a company live work anywhere

I was just at an event last night where we went around the room and introduced ourselves.

Many people talked about their “company.” It’s hard to tell if they were talking about the company they worked for, the piece of code they were working on, or the group of friends they worked with to raise a seed round.

Steve Blank gave the best definitions of a startup I’ve ever heard: A temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.

It’s a project. Until there are paying customers, a formed corporation, and a need solved that’s scalable, it’s a project. Startups fail because they are experiments.

Of course, it depends on where you are in the process. Anyone can turn from XYZ into CEO overnight with a project. It’s easy to give yourself a title and to build a prototype. That’s the simple part.

A startup moves from the project phase into the company phase when there is revenue. Revenue comes from paying customers.

By now, Lean Startup has become a common term. Lean Startup takes the principles of Customer Development and Agile Development and combines them. It’s important to think of customers first—who will actually buy your product? It ‘s usually not who you think! After you figure that out, how quickly can you iterate on your development when you learn this? This is known as agile development, or SCRUM.

On the other hand, there is no need to start a company (or even incorporate) when all you have is a project. Unless there are some patents, trademarks, etc that are essential to the core of the product, then all you really need to do is experiment. That’s the beauty of a startup. It’s not failure if you are experimenting and documenting what you’re learning.

A startup project is fun, exciting, and experimental. A company deals with real revenues and expenses, customers and support issues. So if you want to build a company, it’s okay to begin with a startup. Just keep in mind that customers are your goal. With customers comes real business decisions. If you don’t want a company, keep building startups! It’s all about the learning.

In your experience, at what point does a startup become a company?

Seamless Live Work Anywhere Experiment: Santiago, Chile

Seamless Live Work Anywhere Experiment Santiago, Chile LiveWorkAnywhere.com

The girl in the airport kiosk just saved my life. As I write, I am writing using wifi. Free, unfiltered and no-strings-attached airport wifi. What a blessing.

The IGNITE talk in Santiago finished last night, and on only 2 hours of sleep I had to go the airport. My plane was delayed 3 hours and I had no wifi. Another 3 hour delay for my next connection. I have a report to turn in today for a client. And now I can hand it in on time! So glad that it’s 2 pm here but only 9 am on the west coast…

I gave 3 examples in my IGNITE talk about running seamless experiments in Costa Rica, Budapest, and Buenos Aires – all which had lessons and failings. Like working in the airport, it was all about learning how to get what you needed, and truly work from anywhere.

Here are some examples in which the goal was continuous (seamless) work without interruption, and organized such that I could essentially remain incognito to my coworkers.

1) In Costa Rica, I was lured by the promise of strong wifi and continuous power. These are the basics of what I list as the Mobility Criteria.

But when I arrived, the wifi was shared between a long list of nearby businesses. I had approximately 1/12th of the bandwidth I was promised! Also, the power would frequently go out, which incured the frustration of… no one. People would shrug their shoulders and head to the beach!

2) In Budapest, I stayed with a friend (versus a crowded, dirt-floor hostel) in an apartment, in an attempt to increase my available Internet bandwidth. I ventured out to a cafe one night after finding out that it had wifi and that it was open until 12 am midnight. Bingo!

At a quarter to 8 pm I asked the waiter if they had wifi and he said yes. Great! So I got the password, ordered some food. I ate my food (a sandwich and some Gulyasleves, a.k.a. goulash). Then, I opened my laptop. It was 8 pm. The password worked, but the Internet did not.

I asked the waiter what happened and he said, “We turn the wifi off at 8 pm so that people will socialize from 8pm-12am.” Bad luck.

3) Learning my lessons, I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina. There, I had my own room, my own wifi and power. This time, I got what I needed

There I was, on a conference call, with Budweiser, mid-day, when suddenly… someone starts jack-hammering through the side of the building. A jackhammer?! Just when I thought I’d seen it all. The noise-canceling headphones I swore by were no match for that jackhammer. The power was cut, and … the call was lost.

The lesson from these three incidence are: You never know what’s going to happen. Really, you don’t. You can be in any country and any city of the world, and following the Mobility Criteria, and still have things happen. The key, as with any entrepreneur, is to be resilient and to be flexible.

Keep running experiments, keep being mobile. Each experience is a learning experience and a step forward for the Anywhere Entrepreneur.

What was your last experience like working remotely?  Have you had similar challenges?  

A Tale of Bruised Peaches: WebVan & Lessons about Scaling Too Quickly

A Tale of Bruised Peaches WebVan & Lessons about Scaling Too Quickly

A Tale of Bruised Peaches WebVan & Lessons about Scaling Too Quickly

I recently got to meet Coppy Holzman, former CEO of Webvan.com, one of the most famous dot com bust stories. It was an incredible experience, and I wanted to share the great advice I received from him.

Here’s the backstory you need to know: Webvan raised over $1 billion dollars in an attempt to do what FedEx did for shipping to the grocery business. They wanted to be THE grocery delivery service for people savvy onlne.

At one point the company was worth $9 billion, only to be worth a whopping ZERO billion within a short time. “A short time,” in this case, meant only a year or two. Continue reading