Back in 2007, Robotchampion and I had a meeting of the minds. We wanted to do what we were doing but outside a firewall. We want to work on cool projects, without being tied to a specific location. Anywhere, anytime, anyhow.
We wanted to minimize commuting, which recent research has shown causes a calvacade of maladies, from stress to obesity to insomnia to divorce (couples in which one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes are 40 percent likelier to divorce), and maximize physical activity and enjoyment. Everything from being able to surf (hence the move to Southern California) to having sex (which doesn’t happen, not in the way I prefer, if you’re not physically with your partner or even worse, if you’re unhappy with yourself or with your partner).
We wanted to be able to manage our time to our personal preferences. Sometimes this means working on a proposal on a Friday night, because when you set the schedule, a Friday night is no different than a Tuesday night. And if you’re working on something you love, it can be more fun than going to a bar and drinking. Seriously.
We wanted to work on projects we really love, no matter where we were physically located. Richard Florida talks about this in The Rise of The Creative Class (almost 10 years old now!) – and the movement to being able to play where you work and vice versa. It’s amazing how much I’m able to do on my iPhone alone. Add in my laptop and a Mifi, and D.C. acts no differently than Huntington Beach, CA. The only difference is I can wake up and be surfing in 10 minutes in Huntington Beach as opposed to D.C., where the only surfing I do is on the internet.
We wanted to work with and be around other inspiring, creative people. Co-working spaces have greatly enabled this. I love Affinity Labs in D.C., and we’ll be checking out Coloft, a cool co-working space in Santa Monica for start-ups and entrepreneurs.
I wrote this post mainly for people who don’t really understand what we’re doing, who have only known working 9 to 5 hours, on desktops, in office spaces that are in big, grey buildings, and haven’t really enjoyed work. I wrote it to show it is possible to design the life you want.
I don’t want to “earn a living” – I want to have a life. And it doesn’t mean I don’t want to work, because ask any other start-up or small business owner what their hours are like and most likely they’ll tell you it’s 12+ hour days plus weekends. The big difference is when you love what you do and how you do it, you’re not constantly checking the time to clock out. Instead you’re thinking, It’s 5 o’clock already?