Last week saw the launch of Untemplater, a web site devoted to helping Gen-Y readers find opportunities that they’re passionate about. While the web site is full of interesting content, one fact about it will be especially interesting to web workers. Its six founders live all over the world, in places including New Zealand, Thailand and Wisconsin. Some members of the team have met each other in person, but not all of them. They’re hoping to eventually put together a retreat where they can all meet face-to-face.
Behind Untemplater: Six Co-founders
The six co-founders of Untemplater — Jun Loayza, Adam Baker, Cody McKibben, Monica O’Brien, Carlos Miceli and Andrew Norcross — also come from a variety of backgrounds. What they all have in common is that they’ve built their careers along unconventional lines, following passion and making use of technology.
The genesis of Untemplater was to help others do the same. “Each member of the Untemplater team has their own story about how they broke free from the template lifestyle,” explains Loayza. “I left the corporate world to start my own company; Cody McKibben left the U.S. to live the mobile lifestyle in Thailand; Adam Baker sold his business and now travels the world with his family. Each Untemplater member has a unique take on breaking the template lifestyle, providing a holistic view of possibilities and opportunities out there for any person in any situation.”
Loayza continues: “Untemplater defines the ‘template lifestyle’ as the following: Work hard in school, get good grades, get a corporate job, work the 9-5 cubicle, get your MBA, work up the corporate ladder, retire, die. Sounds a little harsh but that’s the template that we’ve been given ever since applying to universities from high school. Our goal is to show undergraduates and young professionals that they have the power to break free from this template lifestyle and live life on their own terms.”
Creating a Business Across Time Zones
Having team members in such a variety of time zones has offered some special challenges for the Untemplater team, says McKibben: “It has definitely been challenging to find time slots where we can all come together at the same time to get things done. Remote collaboration tools are indispensable, but when you need to get on the phone and you’ve got half the team on the West Coast and in South America and the other half in Asia/Australia, someone has to stay up really late or get up really early to make it happen.”
The opportunities that being able to work online provides have made the difference. There are certain tools that the team relies on. “For weekly conference calls among the Untemplater founders, we’ve put Skype to the test from the remotest jungle regions of Southeast Asia, and we’ve used the PBworks suite extensively, which gives us a place to keep all of our ideas, projects, to-do lists and accountability in a collaborative wiki format,” according to McKibben. “We’ve also made heavy use of Google Docs, especially when it comes to keeping track of contact lists, outreach efforts and other resource lists.”
Have you built a virtual business like the Untemplater team? Share your tips below.