FROM BALI TO BARCELONA
August 2015…the page turned over to another chapter in my book of life. I sold my apartment in Barcelona, sold shares in a couple of the companies I had co-founded, and I loosened ties to pave the way to pursue my new venture…Coworkation. I had been itching to get onto it since I conceived the idea in 2013. I didn’t feel like I was about to embark upon a startup but, rather, it was more like I was pursuing a passion. (More on this in The WHY behind Coworkation)
I boarded a flight…Destination BALI!!!!!! Bali, and specifically the town of Ubud, seemed like a natural base for Coworkation. There is a thriving entrepreneurial and startup community and has also become a digital nomad hotspot. Many have been drawn by images of Hubud, a coworking space constructed from Bamboo and with views over rice fields. The fact that Ubud was a spiritual centre well before it was an innovation hub enriches the place even further It is a perfect environment for those who want to follow a more holistic approach to their work and life.
After finding a lovely home to rent (with the quintessential Balinese rice field view and infinity pool!) I sent a message to Avalon and Diana, who had worked with me on one of my other businesses in Barcelona, asking whether they wanted to join me in Bali to work on Coworkation. I was greeted with a “hell, yeah!” (expressed with a little bit more class). Shortly after we were joined by Kirsty and, voila, the Coworkation familia had formed!
Our Baliness coliving/coworking sanctuary!
The following months saw a lot of work without seeing a lot of tangible results. There was a lot of exploration, discussion and debate surrounding what Coworkation was, identifying our raison d’etre, our values and what we wanted to achieve. Not to mention strategy and how we were going to do it!
Not only were we creating a new company but we had to create a definition of what the product actually was! A coworkation? What is that exactly?! What does it entail? Of course, I had an idea in my head…yet, it’s not as though we were opening a shoe store or starting a web design business…a coworkation is a new concept. It has no existing definition, nor companies that we could model ourselves upon. There are no benchmarks.
It is up to us to carve out and shape how a coworkation will be interpreted in the future. It’s not something that we should rush into. So we didn’t! We talked with numerous people…digital nomads, location independent professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs and friends. We bounced ideas around…and, often, around a swimming pool! (If you can work beside a pool, why not?!)
We had to look at our avatars. Who is our target market? What are their needs? We gained clarity on the difference between a digital nomad, a location independent professional and a Nextpat. We realised that a coworkation is not purely for digital nomads or entrepreneurs…it is for anybody who wants to work on their work.
It was an incredibly exciting and enjoyable few months out in Bali. Here’s just some of the highlights:
- The creation of an awesome brand video and an equally as awesome Bali product video.
- Met dozens of passionate entrepreneurs, digital nomads and other legends! (link through to an album on Facebook of clan members)
- Sponsored and attended CU Asia…an inspiring unconference on the future of work.
- Spent a couple of days at The Longhouse villa with an infinity pool overlooking the Bali peninsular.
- Met the lovely owners of The Longhouse villa who, with incredible generosity, offered for us to spend a week, for free, at their stunning private villa because they wanted to support our startup! (link through to album of Pundek Vika)
- Ran a fun competition for a huge gathering of digital nomads at DNX Global in Bangkok.
- Got to stay in the stunning Bukit Naga villa…which was selected by Elle magazine as Bali’s most beautiful villa!
Our time in Bali came to an end…I went to Australia, the rest of la familia went to Thailand…and then we have just met up again in Barcelona. It’s exciting to think of the experiences we will have and the people we will meet here in Europe!
Now, as I write this beachside on a sunny Sunday morning we are on the cusp of publishing the website. A seed of an idea that was planted in my mind three years ago is about to come to reality. A dream is about to come to fruition…
Don’t believe me that Bali is a fantastic place to work on your business? Well, here’s some more opinions…
- BBC: Forget Silicon Valley, meet Silicon Bali
- The Fetch: Work-life haven: why entrepreneurs and digital nomads are settling in Bali
- Tech.co: 6 Damn Good Reasons to Startup in Bali
- E27: In photos: Co-working space ‘Hubud’ is Bali’s Mecca for digital nomads
- Virgin: The world’s best start-up hubs: Bali, Indonesia
- Sydney Morning Herald: Island entrepreneurs: running a multimillion-dollar business from Bali
- CNBC: Eat, Program, Love: The rise of tech start-ups in Bali