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Digital Nomads

9 minuteminutos readde lectura
Rafael Ríos
ByPor Rafael Ríos

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In an article published on August 2013, on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation blog, an idea was mentioned that has become a social project: to value a company’s creativity and human resource talent more than a university degree. The official paradigm demands that all those aspiring to well-paying jobs also demonstrate their academic training– their talents specialized through diplomas, titles, and other official documents, issued by standing public institutions. However, this has started to gradually change in many company IT and Communication companies, whose projects now require technical specialists and digital nomads that have direct experience but still lack university credentials.   

The Value of Knowledge

The work of the future relates more with experience and life-learned knowledge than with academic titles. Dexterity and verbal skills, jobs practiced since childhood, are more valued than ever. Tell me how much you know, and I’ll tell you how much you’re worth. New generations and new age tendencies are full of superior attributes and intellectual virtues, which, in essence, seem to be given in terms of technology.  It’s as if being born in the digital age automatically gives them a series of innate knowledge linked to gadgets and computational systems.

Creative Motivation 

A very good friend from my elementary school days is talented in web page design and programming languages (despite the fact that he graduated in Political Science and was immersed in a well-known, now-declining, leftist party). He has decided to live working from home, traveling to kickstart an ambitious honeybee project. From time to time, he also writes and learns to use digital audio and video resources, looking to fulfill his dream of becoming a film artist. And perhaps one of the most audacious advantages of this technological nomadism, more even than creating resources, is establishing a creative routine that can parallel the mere workday; when both these factors reconcile, the real odyssey begins: that of self-realization.  

E-learning

In our modern times, it’s no longer necessary to sign up for a school, nor spend hours in a classroom, in order to learn. It’s enough just to have a clear understanding of the talent you want to develop, and to look for an online course that better fits your schedule, budget, and learning style.  

Online education has caused more and more people of all ages– from naturally tech-savvy youth to the elderly looking to continue learning– to enroll in courses covering a variety of topics.  They range from beginner internet navigation to website design and podcast creation, and even to advanced skills like those offered on the platform, “Domestika.” Here, one of WebCreek’s talents, Alber Silva, imparts his knowledge in the “Introduction to Vehicle Modeling” course—including general aspects of Autodesk Maya, Modelling, Corte UV, Texturing, and Rendering. 

Knowmad

This neologism combines the words “know” and “nomad,” coined by John Moravec in his book, Knowmad Society (2013). He claims that there are professionals that don’t look for money, but rather, freedom. After having worked over a decade for the government, and having flirted some more years in the Private Sector, what seems most appealing is a change of routine, taking advantage of other talents without being tied to a schedule, office, or system of debts and insurance. This, at least, is what happened to me. As such, a digital nomad is a professional who uses new technologies in order to work and finds her/himself in constant movement, frequently changing homes or working while traveling. In general, digital nomads work remotely (from home, cafes, or public libraries), instead of doing so from a desk or office. It’s enough to simply have a laptop, internet access, and sufficient time-management skills to complete established goals in a certain productive rhythm. More, knowmads can have multiple jobs for different employers, deciding how to channel their own creativity and open opportunities to fill roles in different contexts. They may become involved in marketing on one side and design on the other, or work as a writer by day and a tour guide by night. 

Selina CDMX

In the outskirts of Mexico City’s Historic District, an interesting building is located, which I once entered, in hopes of inspiration, during my years as a young poet. In those days, this place was known as Hotel Virreyes. Its bar, with ancient paint and a half-light atmosphere, makes it a suggestive place, perfect to spend a few hours outside of the daily rush of the bustling area. Today, it’s been remodeled and turned into Selina CDMX: a hostel, coworking space, and meeting place for a whole new generation of youth avid about adventure and knowledge. Its fresh and informal style (albeit quite propositional), in addition to its pet-friendly philosophy, vegan options, and free Wi-Fi, have completely transformed what this place was many years ago. It is, without a doubt, a stance of diversity and good taste; but above all, it’s a perfect site to develop friendships and working collaborations with the newest generation. 

Nomad Summit 2019

In October of this year, Mexico will be the host of a global meeting for digital nomads, remote workers, and online entrepreneurs. The meeting point will be the Selina Project’s hub in Cancun. From October 11th-14th, knowmads from all over the world will come together. They will exchange ideas and participate as speakers in the many conferences, sharing their growth and successes with the community. Some of this year’s speakers will be: Ben Hughes, with his talk on how to create and administer a successful remote team; Sergio Sala, and his exposition, “Solopreneur: From $0-$70k in one year, with only 10k subscribers on Youtube;” and Damien Forsythe, with his topic, “Advertising, Paid Traffic, Remarketing: more than simply keywords.” 

Nomad and Gonads 

The digital nomad trend is on the rise. Just this month, a new knowmad group has formed, another “tribe,” as they say: 18, in the Knowmad School of Business, founded in February 2010 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This school—which doesn’t have a building, nor study plans, and much fewer degrees—is based upon a single idea: to form a multidisciplinary team of diverse ethnic backgrounds, students ready to discover their true self and push it forward to reach their dreams. They aim to do so by creating, working, and connecting with nearly any person, in any place, at any time. It reminds me of many of WebCreek’s values and philosophies, leading me to ask myself: “Are we, as WebCreek collaborators, knowmads?” That’s enough of the topic for now, but let’s hope that we can gain some insights from the knowmad summit in Cancun at the end of October. For now, I’ll keep thinking about the fact that, when I visualize digital knowmads, I can’t help but to imagine a hippie commune from the 60s—work, collaboration, and free love. Although, in this case, digital love.