In the not so distant future, location will be attached to the moment, rather than physical proximity. Location will change as dynamically as where we work, how we work and where we live and why.
In 1997 I started one of the very first free stuff-centric websites online (Free Mania) which attracted national press and grew a large following of frugal moms, couponers and cheapskates. Nearly by accident, I become a “locationless” web entrepreneur in my mid-teens which raised many questions about where to live and work. After years of chasing wifi and spending every last penny on travel, I knew I had to fuse my love for collaboration and adventure together.
What is Startup Abroad?
The first Startup Abroad is taking place in Ubud, Bali this August. Ten entrepreneurs will spend 14 days in an artistic village among rice paddies with everything they need to work and play, including internet and one another.
Each founder will arrive with their startup, state their goals and report on their progress throughout the experience. And every person will teach a workshop or lead an adventure for the crew.
How the Participants Were Chosen
The three questions that participants answered to be a part of Startup Abroad are:
- What are you working on?
- What do you need help with?
- How can you contribute to the group?
I'll admit that a large portion of how the applicants were chosen was based on gut feel for how they would interact with the rest of the group, but if I had to articulate the filters, this is what they’d look like:
- Purposeful entrepreneur: Want to have a positive impact on the world
- Community minded: Understand, value and welcome collaboration and contribution
- Good hearted: Open and able to listen, respond, and give back to others
- Highly skilled: Legendary skills and interests that will help the group
Most of the entrepreneurs are at the beginning of building their businesses. They’ve all proven that they are capable of building audiences and momentum, along with necessary skills in development, design, community building and strategy. Their businesses range from a virtual incubator, to accountability software and an alternative currency startup. You can see more details about who they are and what they are working on below.
An Experiment In Possibilities
There is no hard and fast goal for Startup Abroad. Although the intent is clear, the results are not. This hasn’t been tried before and is largely an experiment where the sum will be greater than its parts.
Regardless, I’m confident that this experience will have a positive ripple effect personally and professionally for all of the participants. That's because I’ve directly experienced the benefits of coworking and coliving - coworking at NextSpace and living at the Glint in San Francisco. I shared my enthusiasm on living with entrepreneurs in this article about coliving. As I stated there, I believe that if you put the right people together it has the potential to be very, very, very powerful.
My personal goal is for each person to walk away feeling supercharged with their mission and be aligned on their path with the support of each other and the knowledge that the world is small and highly connected.
The group will also be challenged to think about and discuss how we want to design the future of work. When more homes are swapped or shared, possessions carry less meaning and the majority of Americans can work from anywhere. What does that scenario look like and how do we build a community for that?
The Inaugural Startup Abroad Crew
Alternative currency, developer
And there’s space for one more! For this last spot, I’m looking for an artistic type, such as a photographer or filmmaker who can document the group's progress and tell the story of Startup Abroad to everyone who can’t be there. Having said that, I’m open to receiving applications from anyone.
Do you have any ideas for us?
Have you done destination coworking, mixed travel and work, or been in a group that bonded well together? I’d love to hear your thoughts for what the group could do together while in Ubud to make the experience even richer.