The digital nomads movement exists in a bit of a legal grey area: people who travel the world, renting houses or hanging out in coworking spaces while freelancing or building their businesses can be considered to be violating their tourist visas, even though they’re essentially bringing work with them. (On the other hand, since they’re generally not hiring locals under the table to work on their businesses, and tend to be more law-abiding and quieter than backpackers who are looking for the next great rave, they also tend not to attract a lot of Official Attention.)
Now, Thailand— which is one of the hobs of the digital nomad movement— is now creating a new visa designed in part for digital nomads:
Thailand’s Smart Visa will only be available to people who work in “S-Curve” industries such as automation and robotics, biotech, and next-gen automotive. The visa will allow holders to work in Thailand without a work permit for four years, compared to one year previously. It’s a one-of-a-kind visa that I hope will be replicated in other countries, especially those looking to expand their talent base and offer companies the best talent from all over the world, instead of hindering them with current archaic visa rules and regulations.
The concept of an s-curve visa— effectively, one that makes it easier for people in new, high-tech industries of the future to come work in your country— is something I’ve not seen before.
I did a few interviews with digital nomads for REST, but I never quite got that section to work. Hwoever, I might go back and do some interviews for the podcast, as they’re managing their time and working hours in some interesting ways.
This week on my podcast I talk to Annie Tevelin, founder and head of SkinOwl, a Los Angeles-based cosmetics company that works a 24-hour week. SkinOwl makes vegan cosmetics (apparently the Geranium Beauty Drops are quite popular), and Annie started the company after working as a market up artist in Hollywood for Lancôme and studying cosmetic chemistry at UCLA.
When she founded SkinOwl, Annie didn’t want a company that expected the kinds of crazy hours that are typical in Hollywood, and she’s created a workplace in which people are able to quickly fill orders, deal with customers, handle thousand-item B2B orders (the products are available on five continents), all in a four-day week. And those are 6-hour days, not 10-hour days.
This was an especially fun interview, and quite enlightening for me: not only did I learn a few things about working shorter hours, I also learned a little about cosmetics, a world that to be honest was a black box before now. An exquisitely designed, tasteful black box, protected by a friendly yet intimidating sales person.
In this episode, I talk to Annie Tevelin, the founder of Los Angeles-based cosmetics company SkinOwl. Annie founded SkinOwl after studying cosmetics chemistry at UCLA; before that, she had a career in Hollywood as a makeup artist with Lancôme. SkinOwl is sold online, and is sold on five continents– not bad for a small company that operates on a 4-day week and a 6-hour day.
Annie talks about her background, how SkinOwl provides great customer service and feedback while giving people Mondays off, and how to fill six thousand bottles of Geranium Beauty Drops.
Mentioned in this podcast:
Have feedback? Ideas for future episodes? Leave a comment and let me know!
So two more social worlds where REST has attracted notice. First, in the HR and compensation consulting world:
Cloud compensation solution provider PayScale has announced that it will close for the week of the Fourth of July holiday. Inspired by the book, Rest, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, company executives decided to have employees fully unplug from work during the entire Fourth of July week.
Second, Kings Court Massage, which bills itself as “Sydney’s best location for a spa and sexy massage,” recently tweeted about REST:
Arianna Huffington and I share a byline on a new piece on Thrive Global explaining “How You Can Use Rest as a Tool for Success:”
The lives of Nobel prize-winning scientists, famous novelists, and composers described Rest may seem very different from our own. But even if your day jobs don’t resemble Albert Einstein’s or Toni Morrison’s, we can apply lessons from their lives to our lives. After all, we can learn from elite athletes about how to train, compete, and take care of our ourselves even if we don’t aspire to Usain Bolt-like swiftness.
So what rules guided their rest? They can be distilled down to a Ten Commandments of Rest.
Check out the article to read more.
I was recently on the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast, talking to Yael Schonbrun about Rest, deliberate rest, and how kids are vampires (though I’m not 100% sure that last part made it through edits).
Yael is super-smart, and we had a good conversation.
And while you’re at it, check out my podcast, and my interview with Stephan Aarstol.
I’ll confess: I didn’t write Rest with the aim of it being picked up by people writing on subjects things like executive staffing and book marketing, but that’s one of the great things about the book: it’s a tool that’s useful in domains I know nothing about.
Though I really should learn more about book marketing.
University College Dublin philosophy professor Brian O’Connor has a nice piece in Time Magazine about “Why Doing Nothing is One of the Most Important Things You Can Do:”
From the age of Enlightenment onward, philosophers, political leaders and moral authorities of many kinds have tried to convince us that work is one of the most important opportunities for freedom. Through work, we can become a somebody, relish the esteem we gain, structure our lives and, while we are at it, contribute nobly to the common good. This is a strange brew of ideas, but one that has seeped deeper into our psyche than we may realize….
The ever-tightening connection between our work and our personal identity constricts even more. We come to believe that being idle at all is, somehow, the antithesis of freedom. But we would do well to think about idleness more, and rather differently from how we do….
The potential in idleness for greater freedom seems worth the exploration. Or at least an attempt to think about what prevents us from truly doing nothing right now.
I suspect Rest might come in for some criticism from O’Connor, in that it sees work and rest (and leisure and idleness) as partners rather than opposites, and I definitely think of them as sustaining and justifying each other.
His new book Idleness: A Philosophical Essay, which just came out last week, also looks promising. So does Patricia Hampl’s new book The Art of the Wasted Day.
So the first episode of my podcast Rest with Alex Pang is now up: it’s an interview with Stephan Aarstol, the founder of pioneering stand-up paddleboard and beach lifestyle company Tower Paddleboards and author of the book The Five-Hour Workday.
Aarstol’s name has come up in a number of other interviews I’ve conduced with founders who have implemented shorter working hours at their companies, and so it made sense to start with him and the Tower Paddleboards story.
You can listen to the episode through the player below, or you can subscribe here (I recommend the latter). Either way, enjoy!
I finally managed to push through some mysterious technical issue, and am now in the process of getting my modestly-named podcast listed through iTunes. Which is good, since I’ve almost got a couple episodes ready to go!
The first one should be up on Thursday, and the next one will be up the following week.