Newsletter #49 - The Boondocks!

published2 months ago
4 min read

Newsletter #49 - The Boondocks

Somewhere around 2014, I read the Powerpoint Rangers article from The Economist.

TLDR: companies in the middle of nowhere (the so-called "boondocks") need access to smart people. But smart, young people want to live in the big cities, where their friends are, cool events happen, and with ample dating opportunities. Big consultancies fill the gap by allowing people to live in the city, but flying them to the boondocks from Monday to Thursday to work for these companies.

As a single 25 year old, the idea appealed massively to me. I did business school subsequently, signed up for a consultancy, and lived from a hotel room the next two years.

Life was good.

After that with a spouse and children the course of my life changed, but there was no alternative to big city life, other than being banished to the boondocks.

The ascent of remote work seems to create a new category: the cool tourist destinations:

  • People used to live in Singapore, and fly to Phuket for the weekend. Now they can live in Phuket full-time.
  • People would go to Ibiza to party, now they live in Ibiza full-time.
  • Bali was a place for a yearly holiday, now it's overcrowded with foreigners with long-term visas.

This new category seems to have a similar mix of ingredients:

  • Basic infrastructure (airport, hospitals, quality international schools)
  • A wordly, cool vibe (coffee bars, co-workings, supermarket with imported products, Ikea, Decathlon, ...)

Mix them together and you're ready for the influx of digital nomadfamilies!

Being located on an island seems to help as well.

(there should be ample opportunity for Greece if the latter is true).

It's like living in a nice suburb, without the hassle of an actual suburb (traffic, commute, no access to nature, criminality, overcrowdedness, ...).

It's not the boondocks, but I wouldn't call it urban life either.

A third category of place to live arose!

Time for the consultancies to reinvent themselves?

Other News

My newsletter is competing with my project

I wanted to launch a project every month. But last Friday morning I noticed there's an urgent bug with Where Does The A380 Fly which I didn't manage to solve in time.

It was already a hectic week to get everything ready by Friday, and the freelance work was hectic on top of that.

The weekly newsletter commitment suffered as a consequence of that (this one is for last week!)

I postponed the launch to today, as this kind of fun project is more suitable for the second half of the week.

Which gave me a week time to finetune.

And to write this newsletter, finished coincidentally on the same day as the launch on Hacker News (I'll update the results next week)

Writing from a coffee bar

I don't manage to write my newsletter in the normal office environment. It's easier when it's a break from the routine.

I wrote about this before (see the "Vows" header).

It seems JK Rowling also did this.

Then again, it might also boil down to just having 2 hours of uninterrupted time.

Electives can solve education

I was listening Will Smith's audiobook.

He mentions he didn't want his kids in school. Taking them with him on his movie shootings around the world and hiring a tutor would teach them a lot more of life's lessons, he believes.

I saw a thread on Nomadlist about Americans moving to Portugal because education in the USD is broken.

I myself believe that the 12 years of education are mostly a waste of time. At least in the rigid ex-cathedra way it was given when I was young. And the 5 years of old-fashioned professors at university just added to that.

There are two observations to this:

  1. It seems to be mostly men who believe education is broken. I think either men are more opportunistic, or men have worse childhood memories
  2. I did have 1 educational year I cherish, which was my MBA at INSEAD, one of the best business schools in the world.

I'm not going to explore number 1, not enough datapoints now. Though coincidentally I read today that many young adults don't believe in the value of a college degree anymore.

But I do want to explore number 2. Why did my business school year not feel like a waste of time?

I believe it is because I learned this which actually interested me!

INSEAD had a very broad range of electives, everything from hardcore banking and finance, to self-awareness, entrepreneurship, psychological issues in management, marketing, ...

I took courses about communication, organisational behaviour, how to change your mindset, power and politics, ...

Before I didn't know these things interested me.

It's only by being offered these things, that I explored them. I took one, and continued down the rabbit hole.

Hence, I believe that the rigid school system should be transformed into an elective system from very early age.

It helps kids discover their interests.

It motivates them because it's their choice.


It motivates teachers! Because reputation spreads fast, good electives will be popular, bad electives won't.

Finally we will be rewarding good teachers again!

If we ever start a school, it will be a school where children have a lot of choice!

That's it for this week (actually for last week).

Next week I'll be in Europe!

Hi! I'm Joris

This is my weekly braindump. You can read it, but I don't write it for you, I write it for me.

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