I met Dan Andrews. I will admit to being a bit starstruck at first.
We're all just regular people. I've had people think I'm something else and even with this trip I've had people think we're something else, an inspiration or that we've got this travel with kids thing in the bag.
However it's not like that.
We're all trying to find our way, some appear to have it together, and others don't.
However there are some inspirations, there are leaders of movements, and most of them while extremely busy when you do get the chance to meet with them they are really caring, kind and considerate.
Dan Andrews fits that bill to a T. He's inspirational in that he with his business partner Ian founded the Dynamite Circle (the DC) which is a community of location independent entrepreneurs. Dan and Ian also podcast at Tropical MBA. Through these two channels Becky and I caught the inspiration to grow Connex (our business that helps us afford to be location independent) and to break the mold, most of the location independent entrepreneurs are single, or couples. Rarely do you find families of 1 or 2 kids doing this lifestyle, and it's extremely rare to find families with 4 kids doing it.
So last night a bunch of members of the DC who are living in Davao got together to meet us and welcome us into Davao. As a side note: We had hoped to be over jetlag by then but Zander just couldn't stay awake and slept through the whole dinner (and woke up at 4am this morning :)
So here we are showing up as an Expat family to a pretty nice restaurant by American standards, not a black tie restaurant by any means, but a restaurant where you expect to spend $40+ per person. (We got away spending less than $40 for the whole family)
And in walks Dan Andrews with his backpack. He's been in Italy last week and this week he happens to be in Davao. Yeah that's the life of a location independent entrepreneur. He had said he was going to be here, but I just didn't believe it until he walked in.
And he's super down to earth, we got to talking business and lifestyle and travel of course because that's what he's positioned himself as an expert on and we had fun picking his brain. We got to learn that the internet connection in South East Asia is not as good as we had hoped, we were affirmed in our assumptions that we're going to like Chiang Mai better than the Philippines. And we learned why DC'ers (members of the Dynamite Circle) end up landing in Davao or the Philippines for the most part.
The Expats in Thailand are there for various reasons, all across the spectrum of reasons for being an expat in a foreign land. Artisans, folks on a spiritual journey, lifestyle hackers, people growing business etc. But in the Philippines it boils down to three different reasons: 1. They have a local as a girlfriend/wife etc. 2. Their business is setup to hire locals, or 3. They're into the adventure diving and beaches like Boracay.
So when the rest of the DC'ers showed up last night (20-30 people) it was incredible to discover how right Dan was. The other thing about the expat (specifically the DC'ers) in Davao is that there aren't too many, perhaps 20-30 folks and so it's a tight knit community, they see each other weekly if not twice a week. Other DC hotspots like Chiang Mai have hundreds of Expats and DC'ers so while there might be an event to go to every night not everyone shows up and so it's tough to know all of the members of the DC/Expat community. It's much more loose. (According to those in Davao, stay tuned as we report from Chiang Mai next).
It was also fun to see Dan truly investing in me and us. A lot of entrepreneurs will approach Dan with a business idea, or how they're trying to niche down and find a good product-market or service-market fit. And Dan, just a regular guy who podcasts and facilitates a community of entrepreneurs is placed in the position of judge or business idea veter. Granted, he's earned the right to do that but I suspect he (like me) would admit to not knowing which niche is right, and what business moves for another entrepreneur is the right move. Yet, he is graceful in giving advice, and assisting in pointing an entrepreneur in a good direction.
So why is meeting Dan Andrews so important to me? I didn't ask him advice, I didn't ask to be connected to one of the hundreds of people he knows, I didn't ask for a mention on the podcast or anything like that. Instead meeting Dan Andrews served the purpose of making a connection. Just like building my network in Grand Rapids eventually served the purpose of helping me build Connex into a viable business, building my network in the DC will lead to something, but who knows what it will lead to.
Oh and I met a dozen or more other entrepreneurs who are just as worthy of writing about but I spent the most amount of time with Dan and knew the most about him/his business coming into this dinner.
Of course it was great that the kids charmed everyone. :) We have learned fast in this country that our kids open doors of conversation. Very few can avoid the charm and sweetness in our kids. All he blonde hair, Zander's curls (yes, the humidity has given him a head of curls), and Thys' big blue eyes have enchanted many!
Who knows what this will bring. All I know is last night was a ton of fun, I got to meet a bunch of cool people and we're building relationships.