Archive for Startup life
After spending a year nomad working and coworking in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai, Beijing and Jinghong (Xishuangbanna), we made it back south to Kunming. It was a bit of a unfortunate timing to move here right on Spring festival, when the whole country of China migrates and shuts down business for a two week break.
As far we know, there is no coworking spaces in Kunming, yet. There are a few marked as coworking spots on Foursquare, but I highly doubt they are legit.
So far we’ve been working at the rooftop of the Lost Garden Hostel right at the Green Lake, where we happen to also sleep. The internet is most of the time good, for China’s standards of course; download speed 2.5 Mbps, upload 1 Mbps.
When I am not at Lost Garden, I am at the French Cafe, conveniently located on Wenlin Jie, aka the western street. Equipped with plenty power outlets, decent internet (which embarrassingly happened to be 0.26/0.28 at the time of this visit), delicious coffee and pastries, it’s a great spot to work from.
Are there any digital nomads in Kunming? Let’s get together!
True Urban Park at Siam Paragon has been my plan B- whenever it was a public holiday (and there were many) and the usual shared offices were shut.
-Location- easy to get to Siam BTS is the most central you can get
-Comfortable seats- you’ll find armchairs, sofas, chairs whatever makes you happy
-Loads of places to choose to eat at
-Siam Paragon- although it doesn’t cost to work there- you will end up spending more money than you would pay for a co-working spot
–Load of place to choose to eat at. none of which are street food
-Might be crowded with kids and loud
-Noisy- although OK music, but still no good for conference calls
-Dark and can get chilly (wow sounds like Helsinki in November)
My tenure in KliqueDesk isn’t that extensive but after a few days there, I managed to form an opinion.
– Quiet and empty- at least the weeks following the opening.
-Internet was a bit off- unstable for some time
-Clean (almost too clean- this one lady was cleaning and cleaning and there was no one to make it any less cleaner)
-Small- it is fit for say 20 people max to work there- which creates a somewhat intimate atmosphere
– Quiet and empty- at least the weeks following the opening
-Dark and no windows in the hotdesk area (that is compensated by a thick yellow paint job all over the place)
-A bit of a walk off Asok BTS and Sukhumvit MRT
-Not many street food stalls around
-Staff wasn’t very engaging
94 Soi Sukhumvit 23 (Prasarnmitr), Sukhumvit Rd., Klongtoey Nua, Watthana BKK 10110 TH
Minutes Walk from BTS – Asok Station,MRT – Sukhumvit Station
Launchpad – my stop #1 of working in the cloud in Bangkok. To be honest, it remains my favorite spot to work from.
– Spacious. Your choice of the desk- you can sit or stand (!) at a hotdesk, lounge on the couches, work in a private “booth”, sit outside in the sunshine, go upstairs, take a break in the pingpong/xbox room, whatever you like
– Ideal for small teams to set up an office with minimal investment
– Not crowded
– Friendly atmosphere. The staff- which are a few too many I would say, are super friendly and nice- they will make sure you meet at least a couple of other coworkers like yourself
-Location. Easy to find and get to from Surasak BTS, or walk if you live at Sathorn SaintView serviced apartment.
-Lots of places to eat at around
-Weekly events and meetups that you can attend for free
-Open 9:30am-8pm (or 24/7 for “residents”)
-Aircon might be too much and turn your toes blue if you are hesitant to be an asshole who complains about the temperature and turns it up
-Location. I guess it’s only good for those who live in Silom area
-On the pricier side- 200 baht (5€) a day
Some pics from my 2 months spent there:
2. Lounge area
Sethiwan Tower, a 6-minute walk from BTS Surasak.
This working in the cloud, virtual office, virtual team work is not be for everyone, that’s for certain. Why does it work for me? I might be just that kind of person. I am disciplined and motivated. And I like what I do. Before I started working one the road or in the cloud or whatever you want to call it, I wrote part of my Master’s thesis on the road and in the cloud. And it wasn’t a 2 week vacation or anything, I spent 2 months of my South America trip to finish the thesis and hand it in (yes, also digitally, with the help of a few amazing people based in Helsinki). It wasn’t easy, crunching some SPSS stats analysis and drawing conclusions and thinking of managerial implications while everyone else around is having sunset beers and going on jungle adventures. Somehow, I managed to combine the pleasure with work and squeeze it all into my day. You know, rise early, focus, switch gears smoothly from fun to work.
Now, when I actually work, it is more intense than when I was working on my thesis. At some instances I spend the morning, how do I put this without sounding like an asshole- go to a waterfall and soak in the nature before having breakfast at some viewpoint and driving through the loveliest village back to town. Then I work until 10 or 11PM with some breaks for food and then straight to sleep. I realised not having to commute to work and having it with you at all times saves you so much time to actually enjoy yourself. Not having to really get yourself ready for work -also.
I’ve just had an aha moment inspired by someone who said: “perhaps you could start a blog about this?” while talking about hunting for good internet and good places to work from, in Thailand, to start with. I’ve been working in the cloud so to say- from wherever I am with the help of Skype, Google Drive, DropBox, wifi+3G and of course PayPal, for 4 months and I’ve seen enough to know it’s possible and it’s happening. I’ve met people who do similar things I do for living and I know there is an ecosystem emerging. These kids dwell in co-working spaces and places, startup hubs, coffee places, libraries, parks, you name it- wherever there is good, fast internet, electric sockets, coffee and preferably aircon. You might be one of these kids or planning to be one- and I’m here to guide you to the wonderful life of working in the cloud.
I do believe that freelancing is the future and in a few years we’ll be working on projects, contract work and not be tied to desks. Some might freak out over this – are you saying I’ll have to hustle for gigs and not have my job for granted? Well, if you are freaking out over this, you might have a reason to.
If you’re easily replaceable by a cheaper and better freelancer- get your s* together and make sure you get hired by your own company as that same freelancer.
Sure it’s not for everyone- developers, journalists, marketers, teachers, architects are the more popular types around the co-working spaces, but there is room for you too.
So yea, i was lucky to score a job with a company and one particular person who gave me a playground and I got to build myself not only a job but also a virtual office. It was one of these scenarios where “you’re hired, now, let’s find you a job”. Later on I got to hire people like that, and I can say it works, this hiring for attitude rather than skills thing.
Sometimes I would work from home back at home. And then I thought, what does it matter if I’m at home on Skype 5km away from the office or thousands of km away in Thailand? Timezones- please, 4 hours are nothing. Costs- I’m not spending more than I normally would back home and I can say I get more for less. So, after working from random locations in Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Copenhagen.. I’m now in Asia.
Working from wherever I want, whenever I want. You would think I slack off and sleep all day. Nope, I happen to work even more than I would normally do at the office. How do I do this- my home is where I am, my office is where I am (of course I’m inseparable from my mac, iphone and internet and some other tools).
I thought everyone should try this, I mean make your dream job, don’t wait for it to arrive on a white horse served on silver platter! Make your bed and then sleep in it! Like a baby.
How?- Let me help you explore and find good places to work in the cloud.