Lessons of a CEO #6

By Alex, Updated: 2023-01-18 (published on 2016-11-07)

5th November – A Room With A View

an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.
“I spent my summer holidays on a beach”
synonyms: break, rest, period of leave, day off, week off, month off, recess, school holiday, half-term;

Ask your colleagues if they are busy and they will of course nod. It’s frightfully hip to be permanently busy nowadays and nobody is likely to admit otherwise. In fact, you’ll probably hear that they are ‘swamped’, ‘stressed’, and ‘under a stack of pressure’.

Work is the must-have item of 2016.  

Still even I, accustomed to the work-obsessed nature of the startup world, was morbidly fascinated to discover this week that a co-working space is opening in Phuket targeting vacayers who want to “micro-work” (no I had never heard of this either). Geography students you will recall: Phuket is the big Thai island that’s quite close to the little Thai island where they filmed the film based on the book about the beach.

beachThe reason you should go on holiday to Thailand

So why on earth would a holiday island need a co-working space? Well if we disregard the answer – because it’s the only place left in Asia without one, we are left with something more telling. “Work” is changing.

For my generation (I’m quite a late Gen X – born in 1977) the famous gap year before or after Uni was a rite of passage. Every September tens of thousands of yet-to-be-sunburnt bodies traipsed Eastward around the globe looking for fun and the odd insight or two. Most ran out of money, [un]intentionally from SE Asia onwards, so it was pretty common to run into a friend working a bar job or waiting-on somewhere between Bangkok and Sydney. “Travelers” in these climes were so far from home and so far off the grid that this was of course part of the experience. The notion that we might be able to do a ‘real’ job while on holiday was as frighteningly awful as it was impossible.

internet cafeHipster Millennials beware! Long pour coffee is not available at “an Internet Café”.

But of course times they have changed, and while predictions from the 1950s that ‘connected computers’ would allow us all to live lives free of offices and commutes hasn’t quite panned out just yet. It is nonetheless true to say that more and more jobs can and are done by folks who don’t really need to be sitting alongside their colleagues.

Take a look around your set-up. How many of your colleagues are looking at a laptop right now? Pretty much every single one of them I guess. And in an age where ‘working’ is basically opening up your laptop and frowning, why shouldn’t we do it somewhere that inspires us. What’s more, why should I only have a gap year when I’m 18, or 21 or 25. I can take a working gap year whenever I like now and work in places that make my friends envious and my Instagram feed follower-worthy and maybe even pick up a few new skills on the way.

Do I agree with any of this? Will you find me working in paradise any time soon?

I’ve always taken a different approach. Live somewhere you love so much that your life feels like a holiday every day☺

Zegal CyberportThe view from Dragon HQ in Cyberport quite frequently

Daniel Walker

Read the series:
Lessons of a CEO #5: Screen time
Lessons of a CEO #4: Sit down next to me
Lessons of a CEO #3: A Brief History of Thyme
Lessons of a CEO #2: Fashion Foreword
Lessons of a CEO #1: Lessons I’ve learned


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