- I caught the “No Office” bug in college
- After college, I followed my wife… and kept working!
- Can I live like this for the rest of my life?
- The one crucial element that is changing the way we work? The Internet!
I’ve always been attracted to a semi-nomadic lifestyle. Even now, with three kids and a wife in a public administration office, we are used to traveling a lot every year. I’ve always loved foreign languages and was always curious about distant places. In college, I studied in three different European countries: Poland, Germany and Spain. Traveling around the world and working from anywhere was a passion of mine from the very beginning of my professional life.
I caught the “No Office” bug in college
Even though I went to university around 20 years ago, I was able to travel with my laptop (good old Compaq Armada) and connect to the campus broadband internet to collaborate with students and professors from all over Europe on various projects. I studied on three different campuses in three different countries: University of Gdańsk in Poland, Fachhochschule Stralsund in Germany and Universitat Politécnica de Valéncia in Spain.
I wrote my final thesis on “Extremely Virtual Enterprise,” examining how companies can work together even when they’re not in the same physical place and exploring how they can “virtually” work together.
Suffice to say, I fell in love with the concept.
Back then, I already believed it was the future.
To back it up, I discovered quite a few companies that were already working this way at the time. What I also found was this quote that stuck with me and that I’ll be repeating throughout this book:
Work is not a place to go; it’s a thing you do.
After college, I followed my wife… and kept working!
After college, I married my wife Ewelina in our hometown of Gdynia, Poland. We then moved to Germany, as she was finishing her law degree in Düsseldorf. While she attended class, I used the free Internet on campus to work as a freelance Internet Marketing Consultant.
A few months later, she got an internship at the council of the EU in Brussels, Belgium. After some time in the land of French fries, she landed another internship at the Central European Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. Eventually, we left the home of probably the best sausages in the world when she got a big-time job in one of the leading law firms in Warsaw, Poland.
As my wife transitioned to different jobs, we moved between cities and countries – and I could just follow her. I continued working for my customers, helping them sell stuff over the Internet. My customers were based in Poland, Germany and Spain, and they didn’t really care where I was at the time, so long as I got the job done.
Can I live like this for the rest of my life?
I loved my lifestyle, particularly the fact that I was able to keep the same job while living in four different cities. As my wife’s career progressed, I could be with her and work for my customers by distance at the same time. And they really didn’t care where I was, as long as I delivered the results they expected.
I was so successful, in fact, that I started getting too much work and needed to get more organized. This is how my app Nozbe was born – out of my own frustration and in an effort to get better organized.
Fast forward to this day, and Nozbe is being used by more than half a million users from all over the world. We just launched its sibling – Nozbe Teams – to help small teams do great things together.
My 20+ person team has been working on these apps from home the entire time (but more on that in the next chapter!).
So again, I ask: “Can I keep living and working like this?”
And the answer? “I can and I have and I will.”
The one crucial element that is changing the way we work? The Internet!
Thanks to the power of the Internet, most modern work can be done anywhere, and in many cases, nobody really cares where the work is done – as long as the results are being delivered.
And how are these results delivered? This, my friend, is what this book is all about. :-)