For the last 3 months I’ve been poking around the Philippines looking for great talent to add to my team of web developers and internet marketers. I am having a blast. It occurred to me early on in the process that this is work I would do for free, or for next to nothing.
5 years ago, I would have killed for an opportunity to do this kind of work, at any price (I couldn’t find anything on Craigslist!). Since I was hiring anyway, I thought I’d offer it up to the world.
I got inspried (in part by Seth Godin’s Alternative MBA program) me to put aside all my work for 2 days, and put up an open letter inviting would-be digital nomads to apply to work with me for 6 months and see first hand how I run my business.
It’s now been over 30 days since I posted my offer to aspiring digital nomads.
I was not expecting much to happen. I would have guessed that my odds of finding somebody workable were 50/50. Wow, I was wrong.
I was blown away by the desire of talented people to pursue a “risky” opportunity at freedom and location independence. Further, I was amazed by the by the quality of the applications that I received. One thing became immediately clear: I’m not the only person out there who wants to explore the world, and control their time and location while they grow great businesses.
There was more than a handful of applications that could easily have been great candidates for the position, and most are well on their way to success and won’t need any help from me. (The same is true for the winner, for certain).
Testing A Next Generation Hiring Model
During the course of my corporate career, I’ve made the final call in over 20 full time personnel decisions. All high dollar employees, all in-depth hiring processes. I have never, in the course of 5 years, seen such high quality applicants for a position. To me this is striking, and definitely a lesson for me and my team. (More thinking on this in the future).
The Tropical MBA did not need to rely on traditional credential or gatekeeper systems (universities, tests, certifications, you name it!). No imprecise filters (like I got ‘x’ degree) were used in determining the winning candidate. My role as hiring guy was to articulate as clearly as possible what the opportunity is. The applicant’s job was to show me how what they were already doing, or who they already were put them in a position to excel in the position.
The most important part of getting most jobs is enthusiasm. And the best way to demonstrate enthusiasm isn’t to get excited after you’ve heard about an opportunity. Its to show your potential team members how what you are already doing, and who you already are demonstrates a great number of parallel passions and energy. (Also best ways to make sales and score investments!) There is an inevitability to enthusiasm: “this person is going somewhere.” Its up to the other group to decide if they are on board or not.
This hiring model blended these two notions and got a great result. I’m looking forward to creating more examples of this model in the future. Enough of that for now, onto our big winner….
The Winning Candidate: Sean Ogle from Location 180.com
The winning candidate of the Tropical MBA internship is Sean Ogle. Sean runs a highly entertaining and popular blog called Location 180, which discusses topics like lifestyle design and location independence. Talk about enthusiasm and demonstrated expertise! As a subscriber to his blog(!) before he applied, I was pre- sold on Sean’s work and passion. Now that he’ll be trotting around the globe I’m looking forward to the articles he puts out on his blog over the next 6 months and beyond.
Anyone who’s taken a look at Sean’s blog will know straightaway why he is a super candidate for this position. With or without my involvement in his life, Sean is off to great things. There is an inevitability to his success. For me as an employer, I’m excited and privileged to be able to have him involved in my business for the next 6 months.
Sean and I will be meeting in Bangkok in early January, and then the fun will begin. I’m sure he’ll have a lot of say about the program and his progress at his blog, so be sure to subscribe.
Finally a Big Thank You
A heartfelt thanks to everyone who applied to the Tropical MBA. The quality of your applications was truly inspiring and I’m sure you are off to great things. I look forward to meeting some of you in the very near future. Also, a big congratulations to Sean who’s off to do big things, for sure!
Some new stuff around here:
I’ve put together a video series on my experience in the last 8 months outsourcing my business to the Philippines. For anyone from entrepreneurs to beginning bloggers, learning how to get people working for your business in a cost effective way is critical to growth, especially in the start-up stages. You can check out the video series at my “Outsourcing to the Philippines” page. I’ll pull together the auto-responder series within the next few weeks.
I often say to my friends, any location independent entrepreneur is in one of three location phases. Headquarters, Jump Hubs, and Flashpacking.
We’ll, I’m headed off for a few months of light weight traveling, so I thought I’d share my flashpacking gear with you.
And productivity be damned, I’m addicted to twitter. @TropicalMBA. Offer me some help or send me a joke.
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