Before moving to Yerevan in 2008, my wife and I wanted to make sure the kids developed a connection with Armenia, and therefore arranged to spend three successive summers here. For the first two summers, I worked out of my company’s London office, commuting on Monday mornings and Thursday evenings (5-hr flight, shorter than SF-NYC). The third summer, I actually spent the whole summer in Yerevan (except for one quick trip back to the US), staying connected with my company via email, conference calls and Skype.
What I learned during these summers (especially the third one) is with today’s modern technology and communication infrastructure, and the “road warrior” mentality long established among global (and increasingly domestic) businesses, one’s physical domicile no longer needs to be within car/public transport distance from the office. Of course, there are many interactions/tasks that require physical presence/face to face with colleagues, customers, partners, etc., but increasingly, these can be planned ahead via “road shows” supplemented effectively with electronic communication as mentioned above. Think of this opportunity as “global telecommuting”.
What’s more, with the proliferation of Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, various news aggregation services, the old adage that “you need to be where the action is” is changing to “you need to know what networks to be connected to.” Again, it will be difficult to replace the “chance” run-ins at various Palo Alto or Woodside breakfast locations, or their counterparts near Silicon Alley, but the point is that the medium of interaction is swinging clearly toward digital, network-based.
Why do I bring this up now? For those of you spread throughout the Diaspora, who often think that the move to the homeland can only happen upon retirement (or limited to occasional trips during summer vacation), perhaps it’s time to think out of the box and re-arrange the timeline. As more and more modern conveniences become available in Armenia (subject of a future post), the central hesitation/challenge remains employment opportunities and financial security. Well, what if you can arrange to keep your current job, but change the logistics? This is already done by programmers, writers, graphic designers, web designers, editors, free-lance journalists, and in emerging fields such as telemedicine, audio/video/animation/special effects – can you make it happen in your field?