The Digital Water Cooler and the End of Suburbia

Why...

Actually go to work? As some of you know, a while back I hightailed it out of the UK to settle in Malta. Contrary to popular belief this was not to retire and endlessly gargle drinks with little umbrellas in them and discuss the good old days with expats and people in Witness Protection. It was to set up a digital business; a revolutionary App that makes language learning fun. LingoZING! (www.lingozing.com) uses the visual storytelling of digital comics and graphic novels with an interactive multi language interface. Basically you can hear and read in two languages switching between the two with an onscreen slider. The actual App goes live in January 2017 but you can get a glimpse on Kickstarter, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/446245694/lingozing-the-fun-way-to-learn-a-language?ref=recommended) One of the early meetings with a friend (and now investor) started with: "Why should I invest in a company whose people are spread across the globe like so many ticks on a dog's back?" "Coz these ticks bite 18 hours a day, " I snapped back faster than knicker elastic. You see we have a team in Bulgaria, two of us are in Malta, the CFO in South Africa, the CTO in San Diego and marketing people in the USA, France and Brazil.  So in the highly unlikely event of anyone working only eight hours, there is someone working 18 out of 24 hours a day. That's pretty impressive for a start up with low overheads. We of course are not the only disparate group of people all bound by the same digital umbilical cord rather than being anchored to the office water fountain. Connectivity comes from phone, email, SMS, Skype or Zoom. However I feel no less of a homogenous whole than if we were all crammed into expensive office space. In fact it's better. Sure occasionally you take a Skype call at a ridiculous time in the night with a shirt and tie on top but still in dressed below in sweat pants!  I have no commute and the coffee is excellent. My computer screen is the Alice Through the Looking Glass that binds me to my friends and colleagues.

...and another thing

I understand there are many jobs that require a physical presence. We haven’t quite managed remote controlled dentistry, proctologistry or hairdressers….. but they are coming.

This surely means the end of the suburbs. If you don’t have to commute why spend a fortune on a cookie cutter house and endure neighbours whose aspirations usually revolve around ostentatious Christmas lights, being your community leader in the police neighbourhood watch team and endlessly polishing their car.

Now you can release your family from the purgatory of:

Little Boxes, little Boxes

Made out of ticky tacky

Little boxes on the hillside

Little boxes all the same…”

This has to be one of the greatest joys of the new digital dawn. You can choose where you want to live based on the things that matter and a location that suits your lifestyle. No more frustrated sailors stuck in the Midwest or mountain climbers slaving away in Florida.

I suppose the one drawback was recently pointed out by my wife as we now both work from home.

“Darling, I married you for breakfast and dinner. Not for lunch.”

Yes true but the upside is we can easily have some afternoon delight…..

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2 Comments

  1. Peter says:

    Very best for your launch and the success of your venture. I , however, truly hate the digital world and see the many woes that it has brought apart from getting goods more easily than on the high street. I was curious about my attitude so I contacted a couple of colleagues and questioned them on the matter. This was the essence of the response …. and its true!
    Its not the digital age that I dislike … its WORK !! The endless frustration and tedium. For me it was a decent lunch, a good idea and then assign the tasks. By and large it worked so I am now going unsubscribe from Linkedin.

  2. Tony says:

    Good luck to you, Mark, on your new journey. I envision LingoZing being the Rosetta Stone or Berlitz of the future.. What a marvelous concept!