Feb 24 2011

I’ve been joking for a while that I’d like to “move to the Internet.” Generally I cite my familiarity and love with online culture as opposed to American culture. I don’t really care what’s going on in “the real world,” as I feel it’s kind of played out. The whole cycle of “fight wars, reduce freedoms, sit in front of your TV” has gotten really boring quickly. I find Internet culture to be more complex, entertaining, and useful. But I’m getting way off topic, here.

As a programmer, one of the key skills I rely on daily is the ability to recognize abstractions. Writing great code requires the ability to see similarities in things, even when they may not be immediately apparent. Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the idea of “living in the cloud.” Primarily, cloud computing is about providing services on-demand, and in the amount you need. Dynamic allocation. It’s generally great stuff, and even though “the cloud” is a bit buzzwordy, it’s an awesome concept.

So what happens when we apply that to meatspace? What does “cloud living” look like? “Cloud working”?

Living in the cloud would look a lot like the world Tim Ferriss encourages with his whole lifestyle design concept, or at least the lifestyle he’s designed for himself. Move around from place to place, live where you find things interesting, reallocate yourself to a better place when the feeling dictates. The concept of being a “digital nomad” certainly makes me think of “living in the cloud.” Doing this right means giving up most material possessions, as they impede freedom of movement.

Another important aspect of cloud living would be finding a way to make a living while being location independent. There was a great article making the rounds a while back called “Jobs don’t scale.” It’s only tangentially related, but his point about working for other people certainly relates to freedom of movement. If you have to convince your boss to let you work remotely, it’s much harder than just doing it yourself.

In any case, I’m very attracted to all of this as an idea. I’d love to travel the world, working from a different place every day, seeing new sights and exploring new places. It requires re-thinking a lot of things about what it means to work, how relationships work, friendships. Can you have kids if you keep moving around from place to place? How can you stay connected to friends if you never see them, because you’re halfway across the globe? Can your significant other do the same thing? Can you get month to month leases easily?

I’m still thinking about this as a concept, but I thought I’d share my thoughts so far. I’m not moving around the world yet, but I am trying to increase my own mobility as much as possible. I think I’m finally at a place where I don’t care much for most of my possessions anymore…