We just got back from our trip to South Korea and Jeju Island. And, I would like to share with you my views on working remotely, productivity and the current trend of being a “Digital Nomad”.
Working Remotely | Remotely Working
For a few months we've been looking for some cool locations from which we could work remotely. And sometime around mid-April, my co-founder Raz told me that we got invited to J-Space. It took us literally 4 minutes to decide and book flight tickets :) At the end, we've decided to spend ~6 days in Seoul and the rest at the Jeju Island.
Before the flight, I put together a note about projects that I had on my agenda for the last 6–7 months, but never managed to get to work on them.
The problem with bootstrapping is that you have literally no time to step back and work on your “bigger” ideas. So I was really excited to finally work on something else than sales and customer support for a while.
So I shared all my notes with Raz, and I made a to-do list for each day. I was planning to put together a new Spaceship project in 6–7 days and then launch it from Seoul. But only after a few days in South Korea, I realised how naive my plan actually was.
Procrastination vs. Productivity
Now, before I dive into this — I want to make one thing very very clear;
I am sharing my personal opinion based on a very short experience.
I see 5 main problems with working remotely;
1. Time Difference
2. Vacay vs. Work mode
(5. No second screen)
Now, let me explain why on this short story. Imagine that you just woke up in Seoul. You want to catch up with your team members in Europe —no chance; it's 2AM for them. So you start replying to customers, schedule some calls, and follow your normal routine. Only to realise that no one will get back to you before before 4PM (for US even later). So maybe it's time to start working on that great idea you had 2 months ago..
Two hours later, you find a place with a decent wifi. So you can start finally working. But just when you open Brackets and Photoshop — you meet another Digital Nomad and spend an hour or two chit chatting about the party last night or some cool places to visit. And it's time for lunch..
By the time you are back from lunch — your team members in Europe are finally awake and want to discuss all pressing matters. Soon after that all the customers wake up. So you can easily continue working for another 10–12 hours before you can go to bed.
After a few days like this, you get really exhausted. And you might notice that some of your fellow travellers start slacking — visiting random attractions, going on tinder dates, and partying.
So you slowly start switching to Vacation mode. Your team members at home start noticing you don't reply to their messages immediately anymore. And customer issues / sales take 3–4x longer than usual.
And that awesome project you finally wanted to launch? Let's leave it for when we're back in Europe.. So to sum it up, I honestly didn't get SH** done.
Why I will never become a Digital Nomad
10 Reasons Why I'll Probably Never Become a Digital Nomad
1. If you employ people — you cannot just go and work from a jungle (unless you have someone to cover your agenda and manage the entire team)
2. If you are not a designer or a developer — you better start blogging, because you will spend 1/2 of every day waiting for people to wake up
3. Sales take at least twice as much time because of the time difference. In addition, you might miss the attention span of many potential customers
4. If you are serious about building a real company — not a popular website or a blog — you need to have a team of people around you almost 24/7
5. No matter how motivated / hard-working you are — if you travel in a group, people will start slacking
6. Taxes, Incorporation and Visa will become a big topic for you. (And I personally don't want to waste even 1 minute per month on those)
7. You waste enormous amount of time on trivial things (like finding a place with decent wifi, searching for the right metro stop or a place for lunch)
8. Not many of Nomads I've met, want to build a big company. Most just want to pay as little taxes as possible and work on their client-projects
9. I need my freaking 2nd screen (and no, iPad doesn't cover it)
10. I honestly don't think you can build a really valuable company remotely. There are a few exceptions — but not that many..
They say never say never. But in this case, I am quite sure. Again, I want to stress out that I am just sharing my personal opinion (based on a very short experience). So many of you might disagree with me, and that’s completely fine.