Digital nomadism, THE new popular lifestyle ?

All my trips are made possible by the fact I work from « home ». I only need my computer and an access point to the Internet. I could be on a boat, on a plane, an island or in Thailand it wouldn’t make a difference to my clients.

Here I am again, writing an article on my iPhone 📱 13 mini , this time onboard the french speed train TGV 🚄 to Lyon. I really enjoyed those 3 last weeks in London, almost enough time for me to get that cute British accent. It was so refreshing, the end of covid rules there were quite surprising at first, but felt like we were back to normal life after a few days and Yes it feels good 😊 !

I haven’t wrote much about my trip, because in fact, writing about your daily activities _ which would seem very normal to anyone else before the pandemic _ isn’t that easy.

I must admit it does feel exotic to be there, post Brexit, it does feel even more like a foreign country than before. I was almost getting used to the cars driving on the left, which make crossing the road quite difficult when you are not used to it, that it was already time for me to go back to Paris. I must admit though that Eunice storm 💨 almost made it impossible to go back to France.

The mercato mayfair declassified church with it’s original design and restaurants and bars foodcourt. Lots or people having lunch there
Mercato Mayfair

I already miss the blue eggs, the incredible pub ambiance, the tasty fish and chips, having a pizza and a great german beer at Mercato Mayfair on Sundays and also my favourite British cat 🐈‍⬛.

Working on the go

All my trips are made possible by the fact I work from « home ». I only need my computer and an access point to the Internet. I could be on a boat, on a plane, an island or in Thailand it wouldn’t make a difference to my clients. Travelling gives me a breath of fresh air well needed after the pandemic 😷. Travelling while still making money is the saint Graal in my opinion, it’s way different that travelling for work or for holidays. It’s a lifestyle, I see myself not so different from my favourite Youtube boat channel -> SV delos for example.

When I started freelancing it was the best way I could find to be able to live with my gf, study code 👨‍💻 and work at the same time. I use to travel a lot when I was a kid and a young adult, thanks to my parents living abroad, and I think I was missing the positive energy I absorb from it. Constantly meeting new people, discovering new cities.

Is not for everyone

Sure it’s not for everyone, it’s like people who try expat life for the first time, they would either live the dream or hate it and go home a few months later, I have witnessed it countless times when I was living in Shanghai between 2009 – 2013.

It also means that either your partner is also a digital nomad – or at least able to follow you at some point – or that you are single. 😅

Like Dan and Kika from Sailing ⛵️ Uma would say, don’t buy a couch ! 🛋.

I must admit that so far my polish apartment decoration is … minimalist 😄, I am not buying much things, but in the end do we really need all those things ??

I come to the point of thinking that we buy stuff to make our sedentary lifes more interesting 🤨. No judgment here, there is a lifestyle for everyone, and I use to be from the one’s who would make their places super cosy to be able to basically live there !

Did covid make a difference?

An emergency situation

Well in my opinion, it made a huge change. We discovered that commuting everyday is not mandatory anymore, that most people who have office jobs can work from home. What use to be a rare work from home option became the reality of millions in one second.

Of course when you have kids this was probably a nightmare! Young couple with very small apartments on big cities suffered a lot from this forced situation. I think it was a dream coming true for gamers and stay-at-home. They were suddenly the example of a good behavior.

After covid

What about now ? It seems that companies are trying to bring back workers in their fancy offices. Work from home for everyone was many managers’ nightmare, transportation services from many big cities are on the verge of bankruptcy, and restaurants and businesses in business districts are almost all closed. Big companies like Apple or Google are facing unhappiness in teams that they want back in the office, it really seemed no one had planned that people would actually enjoy work from home so much.

A few companies made a choice to permanently allow their teams to work from where they want. Only a few, and here you go if you really want to work from a distance you must create your own company and offer your services as a freelancer.

What if covid did not happend?

Well, freelancing was already a thing before the pandemic but many many companies where much more reluctant to open their available positions to freelancers. I think without the pandemic I would have never considered becomint independant and that i was in fact “reserved” to certain type of activities like designers.

I am not saying covid was a good thing 😬, but I like to appreciate every things that happened in life in the most positive way possible.

What’s next ?

Good question ! Hard to say, I am listening to the market and will take any opportunity I judge to be nice for myself .

The french speed train TGV in gare de lyon Paris before departure to lyon on a monday evening
The french TGV 🚄

Ukrainian crisis is there to remind us that our relatively peaceful times can change tomorrow and might change the face of the world we know as well. Let’s just enjoy life, explore, learn, stay healthy and celebrate the nearly 🙏 end .. of the pandemic 😷.

To be continued…

A great start of the year

I like the energy I get from those new discoveries, it gives me strength and ideas to learn more and continue to look into innovative things.

Today is a grey day in Paris, you can not tell how high the clouds are because it looks like the sky is just a big grey cloud with no limits. I am not a big fan of thoses days to say the least, it somehow impacts my energy in a negative way and just makes me want to sleep and hide until it’s better.

It’s Sunday with no sun, so I decided to make an effort and write a bit, might go to a co working space later today, to gather more positive energy 😇. Not sure why, but co working spaces really help me to do more that I would have been doing, at home. Of course it’s not free but just seing new faces and people working on something – whatever it is – helps me sometimes.

I had surgery last week, it went great 👍 and recovery is faster than I expected. No worries, I know that by hearing the word surgery, people often anticipate it as a last chance scenario for a bad thing happening; truth is it was just a very minor and very casual surgery known as saphenous veins removal. 😌 I tend to think that my great diet and new lifestyle has helped so much with it in the way that I am healthier today than I was last year.

I started a new job also, a freelance mission for a client for the next 5 months. It just feels so great, the team is amazing, I fit greatly in this new job and most importantly I am having a blast every day !

I decided to go freelance first because I wanted to be able to work where I wanted, and also because it would fit my project of working and studying at the same time for the next 6 months.

From there I am not sure 🤔 yet I will sign for another mission or try to start my new carrier as junior developer. Anyway time will say and I am very confident 🙂 that watever it is, it will be a nice journey.

Opening my own little company was not that difficult, of course it means you have to do things by yourself, meaning a bit of administrative tasks. In the end the most difficult was to figure out which tax forms I would now need to fill and to wait for the administration to take into account my new company. I came accross plenty of blogs, videos, websites, posts, giving tips and not always the greatest ones, it just felt sometimes I was the particular case no one was really talking about.

If you need help setting up your company in France 🇫🇷 don’t hesitate to contact me 😀, I have now a good knowledge of the do’s and don’t. Plus I am always keen to learn about new projects, yes I am that guy who goes to the startup Christmas market and talk to everyone to get to know their projects better. I went to the one in Station F in Paris this year and made some great discoveries.

I think 🤔 I developed this ease to talk to random strangers about different projects while traveling and living in countries where I was not speaking local language. I know how to make people at ease and make then tell me what their project is and feel confident.

One of the woman I met at this market was telling me she was in fact facing great difficulties in opening her own company. We had a little chitchat and I was able to make her more confident that the little administrative issues she has now are easy to go around. I do it for free, it empowers me and makes me more creative and happy about myself.

There was a bunch of nice little projects, one young startup from Lyon was proposing to industry to use fish skin to replace leather for example. The final texture or the product was very impressive, I guess the most difficult part with this product is to make consumers forget the brain 🧠 association they probably make in their minds with fish 🐟 being stinky.

I also admired a great project of a young woman who’s business she first started in her own kitchen had developed greatly already. Petit Côté is proposing portions of cakes made of at least 30% of vegetables 🥕. This have the advantage to reduce fats and sugar added in those pastries 🥮. I tried myself the chocolate cakes (with 30% beets) and it was really nice 👍.

Most of these businesses where launch during the pandemic and I can only be admirative of the resilience and the courage of those entrepreneurs !

The project I was the most excited and interested about is a company called Flakon. I do feel a bit mitigated about their current market target and I will do my best to explain why.

The product is great looking, simple and smart. Let me share a picture because you can then decide for yourself right away.

They bottle french wine 🍷, and the good ones, in 100mL cute packages, to put into perspective, the size of the bottle cap is the exact same as a standard 750mL wine bottle. They kepts the overall design of the standard bottle, adaptating it to the new for factor which IMO makes it really cute looking ! I find the form factor really attractive and wants to buy it and collecting it right away !

Their goal right now is to offer this product in boxes containing a few of them for wine tasting. Let me show you:

Boxes are far from being cheap and looks kind of ugly (just a better carton 📦) my guess would be that french consumers might prefer to buy actual bottles of 750mL and share with their guests instead of sharing one little test tube 🧪 for each wine.

I personally see this product in Asia, in China and in many luxury clubs of Asia ! Available in hotels too, at the bar and in the mini bar to allow clients, who don’t necessarily have the culture of drinking french wine , to try them and develop a taste for it. This product is far better looking than mini bottles we sometimes see will ever be. I aslo can only thing of seeing this product becoming the new thing to order all together at the club with friends instead of glasses of wine 🍷. I would totally see this product available in Bar Rouge in Shanghai for example.

I tried to share my enthusiasm but it doesn’t seem to me that they have any international ambitions at the time. 🥴

I like the energy I get from those new discoveries, it gives me strength and ideas to learn more and continue to look into innovative things. I might sound very Schumpeterian talking about innovation but what else is THIS interesting nowadays ? Our economies rely on innovation and I will do my best to be part of it in the next decade.

I admit I wanted to write about this for some time but never had the chance to yet. In the end, this grey Sunday was a chance 🍀

I might go to London in two weeks, i will do my best to write about a local subject 🤫

To be continued.

Gamification, the future of work ?

Like any application today, the first goal of gamification is to gain attention, making it’s user (in this case worker) concentrate on its goal and not be distracted by his smartphone for example.

Motivating your teams through games is a concept that is becoming more and more popular. I am convinced that this concept will be the new grail taught in management schools to motivate teams, if not already. Not so far from the alienating concept of metaverse, gamification is probably going to become the new standard of management for the new generations of workers.

You probably today already use tools at work which are on the verge of gamification, like a data visualisation tool, showing you charts, graphs, tables or infographics. With the recent progresses made in big data analysis, these tools are a must when it comes to get maximum value out of it, great for improving conversion rate for example.

The definition of a “game” is an activity that one engages in for amusement or fun. Think about it, would you be more happy at work if you constantly got little rewards ? Hard to say no right ? But can we really play when our main source of income is at stake ? Hmmm, not so easy anymore 🤔

Like any application today, the first goal of gamification is to gain attention, making it’s user (in this case worker) concentrate on its goal and not be distracted by his smartphone for example.
There has been quite many studies on how an employee checking it’s Instagram during work, is losing a LOT of productivity, and how long it actually takes him/her to fully concentrate again on it’s work. Smartphones and moreover social networks are a real problem today when it comes to work.

To make it easier to understand, if you are a truck driver and you are checking your phone during your work, the risk of accidents because of those few seconds out of your phones is most probably 20 times higher than if you did not. Same applies to any worker, without of course the life threatening results (it was an example) but with the economical consequences for the company.

Here we can easily see, how gamification will most probably automatically link an employee to the lost of a client in real time. This implies a risk of amplification on the employee side of the the consequences of a negative action. It could be seen as a good point on a manager side, being able to immediately take action, but the effect on the psychological health of the employee in this case are probably made worse.
It’s not without reminding me the way Amazon treat their employees, whether it is in their warehouses or their office workers… (external link)

Therefore, in my opinion, what is sold today as a full solution of gamification, is just a very nicer way to present what has been the daily life of very large customer services, with robots dividing work in between agents, constantly measuring the time on the phone, time to answer a live chat, watching their every moves, choices, toilet breaks and monitoring their customer satisfaction ; basically all measurement that we can englobe in a standard set of customer service SLAs (Service Level Agreements).
No need to spend hours researching what could be in the end the limits and the bad sides of gamification, we already know most of them 🤓

In the end, the main challenge with the future of gamification is finding the perfect balance between benefits and risks for the company and it’s employees, to maintain a life / work / balance and a psychologically stable environment of work.
Mistakes should not become GAME OVERs otherwise people will work sick with fear. The ultimate goal being to make work pleasant and motivating and not making it addictive and dangerous, ending up in a greater overall performance.

Note for myself : I think I would love to work on the product side of a gamification software solution. But until that, let’s first finish my career shift in development 🤔