Today we lead mostly sedentary lifestyles. Once we learned how to harvest the planet’s natural resources for our survival all those thousands of years ago, we abandoned our nomadic way of life and settled down by the rivers. We learned that being close to one another makes us more productive, so we built houses, villages, factories, marketplaces, skyscrapers and cities. But our thirst for discovery and experience – the pursuit of opportunity, really – survived. So we invented ships that can traverse the oceans, networks of railroads that cover entire continents and airplanes that can take us around the world in a matter of hours. And we’ve continued to use these tools to the point where the real cost of moving humans around the world is bottoming out.
This, along with other macro trends (global wealth, health, infrastructure and public safety metrics all up and to the right), is leading more and more people to satisfy their wanderlust by pursuing opportunities around the world, and we think it’s creating a big opening for companies to build services that remove the frictions that come with modern nomadism.
Jobbatical is one of those companies and today we’re very excited to announce that we’ve partnered with the team to build a marketplace for career opportunities around the world.
The specific opportunity here is an interesting one: the rapid global shift towards internet-based businesses made tech startups a strategic priority for dozens of countries around the world and venture investors are putting more capital to work in increasingly diverse geographies. So the number of properly capitalized tech companies outside of gravity centers like San Francisco, New York and London is skyrocketing but the bulk of talent remains concentrated in these saturated locations (or looking to move there).
Jobbatical is redistributing that talent more evenly around the world with a proposition that’s as daring as it is reassuring: work elsewhere – anywhere – for a year. It’s a simple message that has earned the company a talent pool of over 30,000 people looking to take jobbaticals and over 1,200 companies in 40+ countries looking to hire them.
The unit – the year, the jobbatical – is particularly important. A year is short enough to attract talent by reducing the mental friction associated with moving across the world, but it is long enough to make an impact on both the company and the individual. Jobbaticals are structured around a specific goal to be achieved in a specific time frame, making the transaction an honest conversation by definition. And of course, if employer and employee both decide to continue their relationship, nothing stops them from doing so. It’s a bit like a one year trial.
This is not the kind of service that touches millions of users overnight, but the implications are profound – changing the very definition of what a job is. It’s going to be less of a big bang and more of a long conversation. It starts with a narrow slice of tech, but it’s a model that can spread to all industries. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to turn this idea into a successful business but we’re convinced that Karoli, Ronald and the rest of the team are well up to the task. We’re very impressed with their ambition and dedication to building this global router for human talent and are very excited to be working with them.