This week I was proud to be a guest for the first time on Product Hunt Radio. The awesomely smart Abadesi asked me lots of questions and we discussed:
- how the startup scene changed from 5y ago to now
- not building a team and the rise of automation
- building around organic communities
- the imposter syndrome when charging money
...and lots more
Here's the transcript, as always by the awesome Rev.com. You can also listen to the podcast and read the transcript at the same time here.
If you like this episode, please support Product Hunt and subscribe to Product Hunt Radio.
Hey everyone. It's Abadesi your host of Product Hunt Radio where I'm joined by the founders, investors and makers that are shaping the future of tech. In this episode I speak to long time Product Hunt community member and one of our makers of the year Pieter Levels. You might know him as the founder of NomadList or a very prolific tweeter. This episode is all about building a sustainable bootstrapped business, which Pieter has done over the last few years and it's also about the rise of digital nomad culture and why the future of work has to be remote.
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Hey, thank you so much for being on Product Hunt radio today. It's pretty exciting and epic to have you on the show. You're one of the most prolific makers out there on the internet. I feel like most people probably know you as Level's IO and not as Pieter, you name. I just checked out your Twitter profile. You've got like you know, over 78,000 followers now and of course you are most famous for Nomad List and Remote OK, and just creating a narrative around making and remote working. I remember the Wired article that kind of got you that high profile acclaim where you were like, "I'm going to build 12 startups and 12 months." And people are like, "Who is this guy?"
But yes, you've also won Golden Kitty awards Maker of the Year, Product of the Year. And yeah, thank you so much for being on the show.
Thank you so much for having me Abadesi. It's super cool.
Yay. Awesome. So I know it was probably around 2014, 2015 that you launched Nomad List on Product Hunt and since then the remote work and indie maker community has just kind of grown exponentially. What is it like to be in the position you're in, where you were kind of like there at the beginning of the journey and like now see how much it's evolved.
It's super crazy because I was talking to my parents yesterday about it, I was trying to explain to them how five years ago when we were on the internet we were making little startups, it wasn't at all common to do it by yourself without funding and everybody was back then talking about raising funding, going to San Francisco and going to Silicon Valley. I remember I was talking to these rich people in Amsterdam to try and raise funding for, I was trying to do like make like Uber in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. I was trying to raise money and I was talking through these famous rich people in Holland that had giant companies and they were eating sushi and I was in this giant beautiful house on the Amsterdam canals and we had to pitch this stuff and it turned out they didn't really invest at all. It was kind of like a hobby to them, like only very rarely they invested.
So I had to put so much effort into raising this money and all I wanted to do was build a little startup. And then a few years later, like 2014 I just started shipping. And like I said, back then it wasn't normal at all. It was really uncommon to do in like a kind of indie maker way, bootstrapping it, growing it small. Not having this giant goal of a giant company, like David Heinemeier Hansson always talks about. It was just, it's hard to imagine but it wasn't cool at all what we were doing. It was super not cool. It was like, "Oh you want to stay small and you're never going to be successful." That was pretty much it.
It's so ironic because I think you're right. At that time we were still obsessed with this narrative of like unicorn or bust. It's like you have to build a company that gets VC funding and then dominates the market and then makes everyone multimillionaires, billionaires. Woo woo woo. And then the thing is that five years later we're all looking at the Facebooks and the WeWorks of the world and kind of going like, uh-oh. And then meanwhile all the indie makers that were like, "I'm just going to knuckle down and focus on building something sustainable," are the ones that are just silently growing and continuing to grow.
I mean that part, what you just said about like the WeWork's and stuff. That's so interesting because it showed that like I'm not against it, but you have to sacrifice a lot. A lot of these companies are sacrificing ethics for example, because you want to grow so fast and if you want to grow so fast and so big, it's really difficult to do that without sacrificing your moral ethics. You've seen that with all these examples and there's also good examples. There's also good examples. There's lots of companies that raised money, that they are doing well. So I'm not against it, but I'm just saying nobody thought it was cool back then. So yeah, it was super cool to be part of that. Like in any way, just making things and seeing it grow. It's super. Honest, it's super cool to see things change.
I can imagine. And how do you feel in terms of the actual ecosystem? Because I think if we actually think of how access to entrepreneurship has evolved just over the last five or 10 years, it also feels like five to 10 years ago there was very much this belief that you had to get outside funding in order to do it or at least that was the sensible way to do it. Like this is super risky, don't just put all of your eggs in one basket, spread out that risk and then it seems that as the narrative has evolved and people have been like, "Hey, there's value in bootstrapping. Don't get money until you need it. Really try to focus on what you're building and whether there's a demand for it and making it amazing." Do you just feel that there is now more support for people that want to go down the bitch dropping route like you did?
Yeah, I think so because more people talk about it, right? More people talk about it on Twitter. Probably more people talk about it in the real life too. I know all the startup events, also in U.K. and London for example, love start this a giant startup event ecosystem. I think Amsterdam too, U.S. too. The presentations that are happening there, you can kind of follow what's the current like big trend, and you see more of those presentations about people just doing things a little bit smaller, more bootstrapped. Also, like you said, it's way bigger than indie makers. It's like the whole entrepreneurship. We think indie makers is big, but it's very small. It's a very small niche. Entrepreneurship as a whole is giant. It's like a small and medium business is giant. Those people probably are having the same effects where there's less funding. There's more, how do you say it? There's more of a lean mindset of not spending a lot of money until you're making the money, right?
Yes, absolutely. So I'd love to just switch gears a bit and have you tell us about the projects that you're working on now. I know Nomad List has kind of gone from strength to strength. So tell us more about it. And also like who helps you with this? I know you're kind of working from all corners of the world. Are you building a team? How does that all work?
Yeah, so I still work alone and that's the thing everybody's been telling me to hire for the last five years. I haven't hired at least not for product stuff. I have one, my friend Daniel from the UK. Too, he helps with the server. So you know stuff like keeping your NGINX web server up on you. VPS server is really difficult. Well it's not difficult, but you don't want to get hacked or that kind of stuff. So he gets an alert when the server goes down and then he goes into the server. SSHs into it and stuff and does some magic. But I really like making stuff, creating and creative expression and coding and designing and stuff. So I still like doing that most.
Again, this is like a thing where I do the opposite of what everybody tells me to do, because everybody's like, "Oh you should build a giant team," which I'm also not against, but instead I've been automating everything I do. I've talked a lot about automation, like automating all the things you can think of on Nomad List and Remote OK and all these websites that I have. Think of getting the weather from an API or emailing users when they're not using the website or refunding them automatically, that kind of stuff. A lot of support is automated, for example. So anyway, so I've been mostly just on purpose, trying to keep working for myself alone. So I don't want to lose my skills. I don't want to get like irrelevant.
I have a fear of irrelevance and if I stop coding and stop making stuff and I become some kind of CEO, executive manager, whatever, I feel like I'm going to lose ... Like why not learn a new skill like management? Which is a great skill. But I'm not a business guy. I'm a more like creative person. So I get happy from making stuff, like making something that's a challenge to make and then I make it and it works, so people use it. I'm like, "Oh my god, that's amazing." And I don't get that from, I think management because then other people make it and then I don't get happy from it. I think also my goal is never really money. So I probably make more money if I build a team and scale and stuff, but I'm not doing that. So I'm doing everything opposite.
I really, I love that honesty. I love that honesty, because I think there are a lot of makers who probably also experienced this. I'm kind of even thinking of myself, like you start a company or you create a project and you love solving all the problems and you love building everything and making all those really fun decisions. And then you get to a super fortunate position where you have a business model that works, you've got traction, things are kind of working, and then you're at this point where you're like, okay, I can either delegate more but then I'm kind of doing less of the fun stuff and that must be so tricky.
Yeah, the fun stuff is like doing stuff. So I mean I studied business, so I kind of know about management. I know what you're going to do and how it works, but just doesn't seem for me personally as the most fun part. Then again, if there's too much work, you don't want to get burnout. You don't want to get stressed doing too much stuff. So like I said, I've really carefully automated everything so much and because we're in software, it's pretty logical to automate stuff that you do. And once the program works, because we're making software, once the software thing works, it generally kind of keeps working for at least a while, for at least a few weeks or a few months until, and then it does break. Things always break but in general and then you fix it a little bit. So mostly what I'm doing is bug fixing some features. But yeah, I think it's possible. It's possible to build software that just keeps running. Then the fun thing is like product development. You can make new stuff. You make new features.
And that gives you the time. The automations that you've created are giving you the time to think about the new features you want to build and giving you the time to think about your roadmap.
Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So that's another thing, strategy. We call it in business, the strategy, thinking about what's the next thing and the roadmap. And that's also really fun because that's again idea generation. So my friend Marc Kohlbrugge, you know him probably from Betalist, also a Dutch guy. He's been hiring one person, one developer where he just, he still works on his websites and his products, but sometimes small things, small bug fixes or whatever he puts it on Github as an issue and then this person goes in there and fix it and that kind of setup would probably work because then you can still be creative. You could still build new features yourself and just let other people do like bug fixes for example, which are kind of boring.
Amazing. So I just realized you haven't actually described what Nomad List is. I mean, I'm sure lots of the community members who are listening will know. But for those who aren't familiar, tell us about it and tell us how it's evolved in the years that you've been running it.
Yeah. So Nomad List is a website where you can ... There's a lot of cities in a world where you can go and travel and work remotely. That's what I've been doing for the last five years. And this website it kind of lets you filter all these cities on the internet speed on the weather, on the safety, just anything you can think of pretty much I've collected as data and I let you filter on it. So for example, most people like probably mild to warm weather, so you can find places in January that are warm with fast internets that have kind of a nomad scene, so there's a lot of other remote working nomads there. So you can socialize with them.
So that's kind of the website. So it's all this data collected. You can filter on it. And then a big part of it is the social network where you can meet other travelers or nomads and people pay for that to become a member of it. There's also a Slack group, a giant chat group of about a few thousand people. So it's pretty much, it's fixed a lot of problems that remote workers and nomads have, which is like loneliness for example, like being alone in a faraway country, the isolation of that. But also the research, like well how do you find places to go that are good for living, good for working and good for fun too.
I think what's so cool about your community is just how diverse the types of people I've met in it have found value in it. I remember one of my friends Tammy [Lashadae 00:13:24], who's also in the Product Hunt community, based in Berlin but like came to London and she was just like, "I spent some time in Bali, spent some time here and yeah, just the community is so great, because I was Nomad's List and I got to meet other makers who are just doing their thing." And I was just like, "Wow, that's so awesome." So it's so cool that you've been able to build and maintain this community that people now rely on as a trusted resource. I was just wondering when you first made that very first version, could you have imagined that it would get to the scale that it's at now?
No again, all these things you have no idea what's happening when it's happening. Again, back then there was also not really a big nomad scene. It was also like a little fringe. I think you have the same thing, every time you enter stuff it's like a fringe. It's like a weird thing. But you're like, "Oh this is kind of cool. This must become a cool thing in the future maybe." And then most things you do that it doesn't happen and some things it does. And with this thing again it happened where it became a ... I mean it didn't become a giant thing. I think it became a big thing. I think there're millions of nomads if you counted. If you defined nomads as people working from different countries now on their laptop, there're millions of them, so that's pretty big.
No, I've never thought it would have been big. And I never thought that my website would be a big central part of it. Because it's so hard. Like Product Hunt is pretty much the central website for startup launches and stuff. People wanting to build startups. It's really difficult when you have a scene because scenes are organic. It's like this group of people that are organically converging. They're very diverse. There're different factions. There's people fighting, in fighting as well, it's normal, it's a community, to make a website, like a company that grows or promotes or leverages that scene is very risky because it's like a commercial endeavor.
But a community is organic with humans. You know what I mean? So it's like you don't want to commercialize it. You don't want to make it too expensive. You want it to be kind of open to everybody. And if you do that and then it becomes a central part of a community. Community of course it's way bigger than Nomad List. I think I only capture maybe 10% of people, because most people don't even want to pay of course. But I do get a lot of traffic, which is a lot of free traffic and I think a lot of the nomads they do go to my website.
I think you make such a good point there. That's one of the challenges of community businesses. They often start as purely reciprocal. Like, oh, I'm coming to get a bit of value, I'm going to share some value. But of course someone's behind the scenes maintaining that and I feel like you're in a very unique position to talk about converting these projects into a place where they're profitable and into a place where they're sustainable, because that is one of the biggest challenges that makers have. Fair enough if you're building a kind of like standard SAS tool where you've got a lot of healthy competitors, you can do a bit of price comparison and position yourself somewhere in the market. How did you approach trying to build this into something profitable and something sustainable and do you feel there are any tricks that really worked for you that are overlooked? Or do you feel there are any other things that you avoided that lots of makers unfortunately still do.
I think it's the most difficult part. One of the most difficult parts. It's like getting people to open their wallet, get the credit card out, but then now with Apple Pay it's easier to get them to pay, because they can just press a button. But no, it's so difficult and I think so many people launch things that are great ideas. They're super useful, but people wouldn't put the credit card out and pay money for it. It's so difficult to answer. You have to make something that's so useful and that's makes some person's existence pretty much better in the moment for them to actually want to pay money for it.
Then there are other things that like I asked like $100 or something or $99 for a year membership Nomad List. $100 is a lot of money for me. It's like that you can buy a lot of coffees from that. So it's a lot of money to ask. It's almost like the first years I felt embarrassed for asking money. I remember I was at a meetup. A Nomad List meetup in Taiwan and we were partying and stuff and drinking cocktails and I was little tipsy. I had two drinks and I was talking to a member. I was saying, "I'm just so sorry that I charged you money for membership. I just feel embarrassed by it. I just feel a shit." And he's like, "No, are you joking? It's so useful. That's why I met this meetup and that's why I make all these friends." And I felt really like imposter syndrome or embarrassed by it. I don't feel I should charge any money. Everything should be free for me, but that's not realistic because then I can't make money and I can not have an income.
So, I wish it would be free. But after a while, I think once your brand grows, once your website grows and once it's getting older, there's like this, I think they call it Lindy effect, like the things that are older, they also exist longer, but also people trust them more. Like you've been probably covered by CNN or by press and stuff and people trust it more and they think, "Okay, this is probably worth $99." Yeah, so it's not really answering your question, but it's just because it's so difficult to charge people money. Just psychologically it's like difficult.
No, I think you're right and I think particularly given you have built a community of peers where you're also learning from each other and it's like a nascent industry. It's growing, it's scaling up. You're sort of at the beginning of the journey and riding that wave together, it must feel even more challenging to then exert some sense of authority over that.
Oh my God. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. No. You 100% understand it. First of all, the money you're charging your friends money and seconds you are some authority figure, which you don't want to be. You just want to be a nice person, a nice friend who chills around. And so every time I get put into the position of authority where even like moderation, that's why I don't do moderation anymore, but sometimes you have to ban people for example, or that kind of stuff. I don't want to be that person. It's just not really, it's not ... I like to do fun stuff. I like to make stuff. I don't like to be so much an authority in that respect. I like a level, like an equal hierarchical structure. I don't care so much for hierarchy.
The interesting thing about that is that, I mean I'm totally with you and I can empathize with that position so much, but I feel like to some degree maybe also as makers, it's hard for us to kind of take ourselves out of the scene that we're operating in and the communities that we're active in and take a more macro view of the value we're creating an ecosystem or even in the economy. And I think what a lot of great founders are doing right now is they are sharing the story of what it's like to be in their position. So they're talking about the journey of like, "Hey, guess what? I'm about to release 3.0, 4.0. Here's what I learned between these different versions. Or I've made a decision to relocate myself from X to Z to focus on this."
I feel that that storytelling that comes with making is incredibly valuable because for every person that purchases your product or follows you on social media, there's also like 10 dozen more maybe who are just passively reading what you're creating or passively following your story, but being inspired by it and starting conversations about remote working or about nomad lifestyle in their circles. And I think how do you get compensated for that value you're creating? It's kind of hard to. It's a bit nebulous, hard to measure, but at the same time the people who are in a position to support that work can do that. And then I feel like it just it means that your work continues to happen and the value of that kind of cascades beyond what you can measure or see. Does that make sense?
No, 100%. So this, I was explaining to my mom yesterday. I was explaining blog platforms and I was explaining Twitter and stuff and she's like, "Why is your Twitter free?" And I was like, "Yeah, that's a good question. Why is my Twitter free?" She's like, "Because you write all day on this Twitter and nobody pays you for it and you need to get paid for it." And I was like, "Okay mom. So how it works, usually you sell something, you sell a book or sell t-shirt, merch or whatever. In my case I sell a website membership or job post. So indirectly it goes back there. But you're right." I mean, so you tell stories about your life, about remote work, about nomads and stuff, and indie makers do that as well. Part of it is marketing. You get traction from it. And part of it is just your honestly also telling your story. But yeah, we do it because it works. People see it and some of them might become a customer for example.
Exactly. But also some of them might become makers. Someone might be able to make a nomad list that speaks to a ridiculously specific niche you've never even considered. And then that adds to everything. I feel like we might sometimes also just undervalue the knowledge capital that we're creating when we are building content. To some degree, yes it is content marketing, but to some degree it's also educating people about a new space, about a niche, but very fast growing space and then over time you start to see more subdivisions within that and then those can expand and proliferate because of the work that you're doing now.
No, I think you're right. I think the previous answer sounds also way too commercial, because it was like, oh, I'm only tweeting to make money. It's bullshit. No, again, we have to go back to five years ago when and maker scene didn't exist. I had to tweet about this because there was not a lot of other people tweeting about it-
And talking about it.
Yeah, and all day I was fighting venture capital investor type people, nothing against them, but I was fighting them, because they were the dominant mindset. So I didn't even think about it inspiring. It was more about this thing obviously works and I need to talk about it to show other people that it works because it's a cool thing. So almost more like a spiritual fight pretty much. And other people did it like Patrick McKenzie from Stripe, or a Peter Levine did that a lot as well. I think he inspired me to blog and or more tweet about it because he wrote blogs about everything he did. Every week there was a new blog post about some new experiment he did with his apps and stuff.
No, I think you're right, inspiring helps. I think inspiring, it's a little bit like a cliche now. I had five years ago, I had some kind of fight against like an intellectual spiritual fight against the mainstream, like rebelling against it. And I think that's a nice way to see it for me personally and if that inspires people, that's nice, right?
Yeah. I think you're right because you from the very beginning and in many ways at quite a kind of risky stage of your career because you're still quite young and you're like, "Hey, I'm in my 20 and I'm just like F you to the traditional corporate path."
Exactly and your industry.
"I'm not going to get a normal job." It's like I'm not going to get normal job, I'm just to start my own companies and [crosstalk 00:25:07].
And I'm also not getting money raised from investors anymore. Goodbye.
But then in a way perhaps it was pretty cool that the experiment of doing something different and taking that riskier path paid off, because in a way you've normalized something that a lot of people just would not have recommended as a career path. I feel like when I was at university, I graduated 10 years ago, no one was like, "Yeah, consider being a freelancer or considering working on multiple projects at the same time so you have more flexibility." Like that was just not a mindset that existed and for professors or careers advisors, they are coming from a different generation. They didn't have everything on the cloud. All this incredible mobile technology. So I get it I guess is kind of an interesting part of the interview to then think about what the next five to 10 years of the nomad lifestyle could look like.
Because when we think of when you started to now, you're talking about choosing a career path that wasn't well carved and people weren't like, here's the rule book on how to do a nomad life or how to be a remote maker that didn't exist. Too, the community wasn't so well connected online and hadn't necessarily like named itself or labeled itself yet. So over time we've seen people talk about this more. We've seen people connect with each other more. We've seen more and more resources about it.
I feel like we're also seeing traditional employers be more open to working with contractors and freelancers than always hiring someone that has to be in the office and that's really interesting. But now I'm kind of looking to the next few years and I see our attitudes to certain things connected to nomad life changing. Like people are already having different attitudes around air travel. Some of my friends the other day in the pub were like, "Oh, I'm going to try to only take three flights this year instead of the six I took last year." That's one particular thing. But do you see any other either trends or maybe even risks to the nomad lifestyle that could happen in the coming years?
Yeah, I think that the flight shaming thing is really big, but I mean, I have to debunk this. People always think of nomads as like they're moving around every two weeks or something. And I've tweeted about this a million times, but every time I have to tell everybody, they're mostly like settled down. But there's just settled down in two places or three places. So they move. So you start off as a nomad. You're like, "Oh my God, I'm going to travel. The world forever." Which is bull shit, because hardly anybody does that. You go mentally insane. I went mentally insane from traveling too fast. It's really dangerous.
Yes. I'm pretty sure it messes up your circadian rhythm and like-
Not just that. Think of everything that grounds you to one place. Like your identity is good is ... You know when you go travel and you go to a new place and you're like, "Wow, I feel so different here." Imagine if you feel that every week and your identity in every place is shaped by the environment. Literally by the weather, by the people around you, by the interior, by the architecture, everything influenced you. If you change that every week, your brain is like, "What the hell is going on? I can't follow this. I can't track this." And you literally go crazy. So most nomads they don't do that. They're not able to do that. They would burn out. Most of them travel like four to six months in one place. The average and this comes from my database, it's like four to six months. They're fixed in one place.
Averages are always kind of like weird statistical. Some people would do it fast, some people less, but in general, and it fits with how I travel. I'm for long periods of time in one place. The limitation of it is visas pretty much. If there was no visa limitation, which for me as a European is super easy by the way, because I usually I could stay 30, 60, 90 days. A lot of other people have to apply for visas which is way worse. So I have it very easy I must say. But still the visa limitations, they limit you how long you can stay in a place. I think if that would become easier for everybody, people would stay longer.
But the point is, so nomads are pretty much the word is wrong, digital nomads, because they don't really nomad so much. They just work from different countries. A few hubs, like you said, like your friend was in Bali and then Berlin. That kind of makes sense. Maybe you're in Bali in the winter of Europe and you're in Berlin in the summer in Europe because it's great. So an example, last year I only flew three or four times like your friend said. So that's way less-
That's probably less than people with a full-time job that have to travel.
Exactly, yes. It's less than my Dutch friends flew. So that's a good example that the Nomad List guy flies less than normal people do. And but it also, because travel's really fun but more fun is, I guess it's about finding a place where you feel better than where you're born or then where you've grown up or went to university and stuff. Like I was born in a small town in Holland and I moved to different cities for university. I ended up in Amsterdam in the end. And Amsterdam was nice because it was very international.
But my point is there's all these different hubs, these nomad hubs are just also like tech hubs that are nice to live in. Or maybe if you're a nature person you can go live in a cabin. But I think that there should be more attention to what's the best place for you to live. Of course, because that's my website is about, but because it affects you. Like I said, environments affect you and they might make you more creative. They might make you more happy. People with arthritis, they go to warm places because they have less medical problems. So there's a lot of reasons to move to different places. Not necessarily move fast or regularly, but find places that work for you. And with remote work that becomes possible.
Yeah, totally. And so if I'm understanding your point correctly, you have observed that individuals want to be in the places where they're the most productive and the most content, the healthiest they can be. If they are able to. Like they're able Work from anywhere or they will seek work where they can work from those places. And as we are almost personalizing our work life more. You see the nomad approach to working and continuing to grow?
I think so. I think we won't be calling it nomads very soon anymore. It will just be called-
It'll just be normal.
Yeah, you remember in 1995, I don't know if I remember even, but they would call internet people like netizens. Netizens, which it's a super nerd word, but like citizens, but then on the net and the people that use internet were netizens. And we don't even use that word anymore. Everybody has a phone and they're on the internet 24/7. So I think the same thing happens with nomad. We won't even talk about it anymore. And like very soon, within a few years. Nomad is a percentage of remote work, like let's say it's one to 10% of remote work. So the more remote work grows and becomes mainstream, the more living in different countries, working remotely becomes more mainstream. So once that becomes mainstream, yeah, we don't need to call it nomadism anymore.
I feel as though your assumptions around this trend are or who they are.
Yeah, I think so. I think not just work, I think because we always talk about remote work, but what about life? Like how you feel as a person in your life. And like I said, I think you should be in a place where you feel best, but also how many of your friends are international-
Are foreigners. The majority of my time now I speak English to my friends. I even speak English to my Dutch friends. So it's becoming really strange. So, once all our friends are from all over the place, which we already are now, these people will probably converge. We already are planning places to live together. That's what I do for certain periods of time. So-
Yes, I think you're right. The way we live will also change. It's not just about, oh, I'm buying a house and I'm going to live here for 35 years. We have more options and we have more choices.
yeah, and people can't afford to buy a house now as well.
It's this whole generation. But that's a big part of it. The financial part of it is like a lot of things you can't afford anymore, so you have to move. It's almost forced by economics.
And I definitely have noticed in tech in particular, so I'm based in London most of the time and I see a lot of CTOs. I see a lot of CTOs who have made the decision to build their engineering teams in other hubs in the world where they can-
Yeah, you see Europe a lot right?
Yeah, exactly. It might be Lisbon, it might be Sofia, like the Product Hunt team. But I think that's going to happen with more and more different skill sets over time as well. Because right now it's kind of focused mostly on the software engineering, because of the over demand and lack of supply. But over time that's surely just going to like expand. People are talking about artificial intelligence needing more ethicists and stuff like that. So I just feel that we're going to see more of that geo optimization for specific roles, because that's where you get the best return on your investment if you hire there or if you hire openly and flexibly across the world.
Yeah. But I mean think about stuff like medical diagnosis. There's an app on the iOS app store for you can make a photo of your skin and it checks what skin thing you have. Like if it's a pimple or if it's like cancer or whatever. That stuff, the doctors, they can sit at home or they can be anywhere pretty much. So you're right, it's going to infiltrate into almost every industry that you can think of.
I know I don't have you for a lot longer. Sadly. I could sit here and ask you questions for ages, but one thing I wanted to ask, this is my favorite part of the podcast. We're obsessed with products in our community. We want to know what websites and apps and toys and gadgets people are obsessed with or playing with a lot these days. So I thought it can be fun to ask you since you are exposed to a lot of new products all the time through your community and probably know some which are like optimal for remote working and nomad life. But what are the products that you're bit obsessed with right now or which you rely on every day?
I just got AirPlus Pro in the mail, so that's good. I think most important, I use a Roost stand. It's called a Roost stand. R-O-O-S-T. It's a laptop stand. It's very minimal. It's very lightweight. And the biggest problem I see with people working anywhere, not just nomads, but anywhere are that their back is curved and they're looking downward to their computer. I was doing it again too, because it's so fun to not sit ergonomically, to cure your back and put your face in your screen. But I started getting headaches. I started getting headaches on my right side of my head and I Googled it. I was like, "Oh my God, am I going to die?" No, it's just, it's pressure from not sitting properly. So the Roost stand I use to raise my laptop to eye height and then I have a wireless keyboard, Apple wireless keyboard and an Apple trackpad. But the most important is the laptop stand, because you want to sit ergonomically, because all these health problems start from sitting improperly.
Yeah, that's a very good point. It's so funny. Anytime someone mentions posture, I immediately check mine. Like, hang on, what am I doing?
No, our posture is wrong. We're all bad at it, but you don't have to be perfect. But especially if you're young, it's so easy. It doesn't really matter. But once you're getting older, your back starts to yeah, you don't even want to talk about it. It's just bad stuff. But, you want it to be sitting straight, you want to be standing straight and stuff. And it makes you taller. Everybody wants to be taller so if you stop straight-
That is true. Although, Dutch people have nothing to complain about on that front, surely. I mean, you're like one of tallest nations.
I'm the shortest from my brothers, from my family. So it doesn't really help. 1.78m so yeah.
So that's pretty cool. Great to hear your story. And for folks who are listening and are now curious to find out more about the sites you've made and the communities that you've built, where should they go?
Amazing. Thank you so much for being on the show today Peter.
Thank you so much for having me Abadesi. It was super fun.
P.S. I'm on Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my stories. And I wrote a book called MAKE about building startups without funding. See a list of my stories or contact me. To get an alert when I write a new blog post, you can subscribe below: