Condo network for tech-nomads

Later I will blog my observations on an attempt to do a 2 week working trip to Toronto, but before I do let me throw out and idea to make technomadism easier.

A network of condos, of similar value (with some exceptions) in the most interesting cities of the world. The condos would be "standardized" to include the following:

  • A set of dressers with special removable drawers on rails. The drawers can be removed, lidded and slotted into a special packing crate for easy shipping.
  • Special bookshelves also easily moved. Some would contain your mobile books and papers, others ones that go to storage on shorter trips.
  • A standardized set of appliances, pots, pans, cutlery etc. as well as spices and a list of other dry ingredients to be kept in supply.
  • Of course a high speed internet connection, wireless and wired
  • A PVR modified to have a quick-remove hard drive as well as other home theatre and stereo equipment. Media server on network to play MP3s etc.
  • One or two office rooms with large monitor and keyboard, basic printer.
  • A nice collection of tools
  • VoIP phone equipment ready to handle your permanent number plus a local number for you.
  • A local cell phone account available for those from other countries.
  • A wiki with information on the neighbourhood and city. Best nearby restaurants, stores, places to get things cheap as well as links to the more standard tourist sites.
  • LCD or plasma panels to show photographs and other art.
  • E-mail access to the natives and former tennants to ask questions not answered in the Wiki
  • Of course, furniture.

The goal is a nearly painless move. Crate up your personal stuff (clothes and other special items) and any special tools and equipment you like. Slot the hard drive out of the PVR. Pack up your computer. It all goes in crates to send ground, you pack enough to live on in your suitcase since you will get there sooner.

(You'll find some similarities of goals in this to my earlier Ship of modern nomads concept.)

This way you can go to a new place with no fuss and minimal settling time, and work and live there. You will have what you need and access for how to find the things only natives know about. Your phone numbers and other access remain the same.

Members would buy into the system and get their "home" condo, plus pay extra for their share of common costs and the few spare condos needed to make the system work. Then they could move to an open condo in their class or lower (or higher for a fee) for fairly low moving costs.

Would people buy into this? Not those who have to put down roots, but those who want to see the world.
Some problems exist because some cities are vastly more expensive than others. A nice 2 bedroom condo in Tokyo or San Francisco might cost more than the most expensive place in some cities. A way would have to be found to account for this.

It would be an interesting challenge getting agreement on what stuff to buy for the units. It would end up having to be fairly bland, art and taste-wise. Though you could probably bring a lot of your art with you, and of course display some on the flat panels.

It would be hard to make a group decision about when to upgrade things like the PVR, the monitors and other technologies, the internet speed, the printer, what tools to own, the TV and so on. Requirements could make it expensive to move since they would be "before you can make your condo available to others, it must have an HDTV, 1.5mbit DSL etc." You could also make it available below standard but if nobody takes it you're in trouble. (If it's up to standard and nobody takes it it's one of the spares.)

There is a risk some "boring" cities might never get a taker. Once this is known the owner of that unit would be forced to return to it or sell it and buy another.

I like this idea. My own thought is that eventually everyone should have their own room -- wherever they are. It is not a very practical idea ... yet. But it is basically a Lego-type notion of construction for the blissfull time when we have realized we do not need to build structures as we always have. Cheers, S

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