Your Office is Where You Are
Michael Brands for The New York Times
Back in 2003, the State of Colorado made a significant infrastructure investment in some serious fibre optic bandwidth to bring high-speed internet to small communities like Crested Butte, and guess what happens when you invest in infrastructure? People follow it. People like Ben Dunn, a risk management consultant of the ilk normally found in Manhattan or Greenwich but not in the back forty. The New York Times tells us that he now lives full time in Crested Butte, cycling to his office (until recently complete with a "$100,000 worth of computer equipment, including high-speed T1 broadband Internet lines, a Bloomberg terminal flat-screen monitor, Web-conferencing equipment and a dedicated intranet connection to the headquarters of his employer, a hedge fund in Connecticut.")
Bill Ronai, a New York financial consultant, in the office of his second home in Crested Butte, Colo. Photo Michael Brands
Stephen Regenold of the New York Times writes:
Technology has made geography unimportant for many jobs, said Jonathan Schechter, executive director at the Charture Institute in Jackson, Wyo., a think tank focused on community growth and sustainability in remote and small towns, including resort communities. "There are fewer and fewer constraints for people who want to work in remote places," he said.
Mr. Schechter, a former management consultant who grew up in California and worked in Boston before moving permanently to Wyoming, said the term "telecommuting" had lost its distinction. Answering e-mail or taking a conference call in New Jersey versus Colorado or Wyoming — or Belize, for that matter — is considered commonplace.
"People used to go to places like Crested Butte or Jackson Hole for two weeks a year on vacation," Mr. Schechter said. "Now people are asking themselves, 'Why don't I live and work in a place that I love?' "
Of course, it being the New York Times, the people profiled are hedgies, currency traders and financial consultants. But the story is true for all kinds of people with all kinds of incomes that don't necessarily involve big money. And a major point here for all those who suggest that investing in broadband is "pork" that these monied Wall Street types would not be spending their dough in Crested Butte if Colorado hadn't made the infrastructure investments that made it possible.
This post was written from a temporary office in Miami Beach. The technologies have truly advanced to the point where your office is where you are.