Building a Country on the Internet with Sondre Rash

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Sondre Rash is one of the co founders of Safety Wing. As you’ll hear right at the beginning of this conversation, he just gets right into it.

The vision for Safety Wing is so big to create a country on the internet. In this interview we get to geek out about all kinds of things about the topics like the impact of technology on our everyday lives and on governments and travel and the future of work.

So many big, fun concepts that I love to explore and that Sandra has spent his life working on and thinking about. I’m excited to share this with you. So let’s go ahead and get right on into it. My conversation with Sandra Rash. Let’s go

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Resources Mentioned:

Sondre’s Company

Safetywing’s Instagram

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan: Sare, thank you so much for joining me. Welcome to The Meaning Movement Podcast. So excited to have you here on the.

Sondre: It’s a pleasure to be here, Dan.

Dan: The question I’d like to start with is how do you begin to talk about the work that you do?

Sondre: I usually say that we are building the first country on the internet and. Then I will explain why.

Dan: I love that. Like can we unpack that a little bit? What do you mean by a country on the internet?

Sondre: Yeah, what, what I mean by a country on the internet. Well, uh, we’re still figuring out all the details, but here’s what we know so far. We know that it will be a global social safety net and a passport. Okay? So those are the things we’re certain about and have started the long work. Uh, and uh, you know, if you look at most countries, national budgets, you know, split out by how the costs are spent, you’ll find that in every single one of them, the majority is what you probably can call the social safety, net health, retirement income protection, et cetera, right?

So that’s a key part of what a country provides. And then there’s a passport, you know, one of the most salient. Science of membership and, you know, provides you certain, you know, rights to move around and, and, um, and also one of the key problems that is associated with the fact that we have, in a way already made the transition to a global society on the internet, but we still have this, you know, legacy of this.

Like, you know, fiefdom. You know, controlling , I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it’s like we have this, you know, mosaic of, um, societal structures that are only for like various small pieces around the globe and it’s, it’s a clumsy system and it, it certainly is very clumsy, you know, in, in a world where people live and work on the internet and, and, and can live and work anywhere.

Dan: I love it. Um, so like, take me to like your. Vision of the future? Like, what is it? Because I, I think of, I mean, I’m super, super, super interested in this, this whole concept. Um, Because it’s, it’s just the future of technology is, right? Like this is the, in some ways, I think one of the logical next steps of a completely, completely connected, um, globe.

Um, but, but like one of the questions that come, that comes up, you know, I, I think about this is like, what does that mean for, what does it mean for countries, right? Like if you’re. I don’t know. And so I guess what I, the question I wanna ask is like, what’s your, what’s your, uh, maybe what, maybe you could gimme two versions of this

Sondre: Yeah.

Dan: What would be the ideal as far as the relationship between what you’re describing and, and countries, um, and then, you know, so like if you could wave a, wave, a magic wand and create the future, what would that look like? And then maybe let’s dial it back a little bit to like, maybe what’s what the way you see us, you know, moving and, and going to get.

Sondre: yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. So to take the first one first, uh, what’s the ideal? So the first thing I should explain is that there is something that’s necessary here, like I am. Fairly convinced, and I think it’s in a way inevitable that we will enter into future with countries on the internet because the social structures and the, you know, tools we have have to respond to the environment that we are in and.

Uh, I, I know, you know, having what worked on the internet and binge digital, and these are just example cases of how the old infrastructures obsolete doesn’t work. It’s super clunky, you know, ineffective has to be rebuilt and, um, and so, so that part is inevitable, right? The fact that there will be countries on the.

And that they will be based around other things. I suspect many, and that there’s still an open question, like which tasks will they provide and how and how will that change the dynamic and the transition? All those are interesting questions, but that we will get there, I think is inevitable and we will just happen to make the first one, but I am sure they will be more shortly thereafter.

Okay, so that’s, that’s the, that’s the necessity and then there’s the. Well, so I find this such, this is such a difficult question and it’s such a difficult question because it’s also like dangerous to answer,

Dan: Um-Huh.

Sondre: you know? So this is like, you wanna reach for the ideal, and in a way, I do believe in utopia, uh, kind of ideas, but then it can’t be too specific because what if you’re wrong and then you create a health, right?

So it. It’s such a, like a balanced, delicate balancing act where you kind of have to like, you have to put a general direction that’s good. And, and, and of course the things you are certain about for sure go for it. But you always have to be careful and like, okay, we think it’s this way, but we have to be open to, you know, when we get closer, like, is it, is that what users actually like, is that what people actually want?

Is this like an actually nice experience or does it suck? So, so you kind of have to have that combo. And, um, you know, we optimize in the direction of, you know, what I would say, you know, we, we described it on the website, equal opportunity and freedom for everyone and as something we have confidence in, meaning that equal opportunity just means regardless of where you are born, that you have, you know, access to the.

Possibilities. The one of the greatest divisions of opportunity comes through your, like, which passports you have or which, uh, you know, economy you have it. And, and this is being of course, freed up by the internet, but you know, it still is the case that if you have like just talked to the other day, you know, Kenyan passports, like two countries, you can go to , like as a digital

low. This is like nothing. So, you know, that’s a big. Okay, so, so, and then free freedom also means we say freedom for everyone. Freedom. The way we approach it is you, well, you know, muscles, hierarchy needs. It’s like once you get your basics cover, then you’re free to focus on what you most want. And that’s part of our approach to this.

So by, you know, giving you the possibility to go wherever and work from wherever and anywhere, et cetera. Uh, and then you also take care of the basic needs so that you’re free to focus on your eye what you most want. I think that’s something that everyone can get behind . That’s a, that’s a, that would be a good outcome, uh, that we have high confidence in is good.

Um, so, so, so that’s, that’s, uh, how we, we shaped it up in, in that sense. What else is it? Well, we want it to be as mentioned, available, you know, for everyone is also in that sentence. Uh, eventually. That’s not easy, by the way. Like, uh, it, it requires a lot of thought to make a products that’s available for everyone in the end.

But, but that’s where we wanna get to.

Dan: I love it. Well, I think it’s so interesting to think about, um, cuz you’re talking about both starting a country and then also a product, right? And like it’s easy to look at what you’re doing and, and see that, you know, with Safety Wing, which we, we’ll get talking in more details of what it is right now.

We’ll get there, but talk about that as a product. But then also countries. Like that we have a citizenship. Like we’re also like, it’s kind of like a subscription based product, right?

Sondre: yeah. It’s.

Dan: I’m paying, my taxes to have my amenities, to have my schools, my, my, you know,

police force, you

Sondre: pricing model, but

yeah, it’s,

Dan: Yes, And so, so it’s just really interesting to frame it that way in, in, again, and I, again, I know I’m kind of pushing the envelope here maybe in, in trying to get you to, to tell the, tell the future, which, uh, but I like. To start a country on the, the internet. I think the, the audacity of that I think really is, is then what happens to the other countries that already exist and can you have a country, can you have a country without land, I guess is also where I.

Sondre: yeah, yeah, yeah. So we definitely thought a lot about both of those questions and uh, and we have an approach actually that is, uh, directly to addressing that problem, uh, of the transition. So, okay, so here’s one way to think about it. Crypto is like Napster for countries.


Dan: parallel. That’s really interesting.

Sondre: so in the nineties there was this like music sharing service called Napster,

Dan: Yep.

Sondre: it became famous quickly, and then it flamed out super heavily in a, in a very, you know, high profile lawsuit.

Dan: Yes.

Sondre: and it was taken down. And, uh, and then throughout the whole of two thousands, the music industry is, Just in this like f big battle with all the music startups. And I know two friends who found a music startups in those days, and it’s so painful because the, the labels were going around suing everybody

Dan: Yes.

Sondre: and, and that was like their, their like fight for survival, you know, they’re,

Dan: Yeah.

Sondre: Like, I don’t know what they felt like I, this is like rack trapped in the corner kind of psychology and they were just like going for the juggler everywhere.

Dan: mm.

Sondre: And it must have been such so painful for like people who worked in the labels at that time because of course the decline and the technological shift was inevitable.

I was inevitable. I was gonna happen anyway. It’s easy to say now, but you could kind of tell it during as well. Like, dude, like this city. infrastructure got going. That’s not gonna last. Like you gotta, so, but of course Napster didn’t take responsibility. It wasn’t like they were like, oh yeah, we’re the new infrastructure for music production and like rewarding artists.

And that wasn’t, they weren’t even trying to do that. Right? They were pirates. Right. And like that was, they call themselves pirates. So, uh, and they were just like, no, like, information should be, and you know, that’s, that’s the extent of their reasoning kind of. So, but then, you know, through this decade, eventually Spotify emerges, right?

And in the beginning it wasn’t perfect, but like now it is. You look at like revenue streaming is now they’ve recuperated they’re back up there, you know, streaming revenue and Spotify is a big share of it. And uh, and now it works. But that was a painful decade. So we’re thinking, let’s skip Napster, let’s now go to the end.

What is the kind of long term good model, uh, for, for countries in their sort of internet transition? And we wanna have a friendly approach to the, uh, to the old

Dan: Wise

Sondre: Yeah. And we wanna tilt them into like a positive competitive dynamic instead of a negative one where they’re like, oh, how can we most win here?

Dan: Yeah.

Sondre: How can we succeed the most Instead of, uh, the, the, how can I. The future from unfolding kind of approach. So, so that’s, that’s our approach to it. And how do you do that? You know, one is that we work with countries and we basically give them ideas. And we, to tell you one project that we have had an enormous success with, uh, although we didn’t fully, we’re not the only one who took in ship to this, but we have kind of taken the mantle on it.

It’s no the nomad. And the first one, the Barbados one definitely was one. We were, uh, we were involved in, and one of our first person on my podcast, and he, um, so they implemented nomad Visas in 2020. And now 50 countries have implemented nomad visas.

Dan: That’s fast. That’s

Sondre: That’s really fast.


And we, we, that’s, we accomplished exactly the strategy we hoped for, which is that the nomad visas we.

Bootstrap into the passport.

Dan: Mm. I see. Yeah.

Sondre: a passport that has a visa in every country. Uh, so, and the great thing we succeeded so much with the Noma visas is because they all have the same rules, because they copy each other. So, which means that we can, we can, we can make that bootstrap. That’s exactly the dynamic we’re hoping for.

Because instead of them thinking like, oh, these nomads, you know, we gotta make this illegal, they’re thinking like, oh, these nomads, they’re kind of like tourists and that means more revenue. And you know, and they don’t compete for local jobs. They have revenue for income from the internet, so we gotta get them here.

They stay long. You know, that’s the, you know, the, the positive reasoning. And once you get into that positive dynamic, I think it will feed on itself.

Dan: I love it. I love it. Um, and just also guess thinking about like attracting. Nomads attracting talent. Like it’s something that countries are thinking about. Um, and as you’re talking about that, thinking about, like, I know Portugal’s been doing a lot of work around making, making the rules in place to bring those people in, to get them to, to bring their resources, bring their talent into their, you know, into their.

Their country for all those, all those same reasons, so that they’ll spend money there, they’ll make their money elsewhere or however they make their money, and then know, put into, into, yeah. The, uh, the, which is, is interesting. I love how you’re, yeah. Oh, go

Sondre: yeah. And do you think, uh, just about the kind of, do you need land to be a country? I, I think. You probably don’t, and there are some examples because what you need is to be acknowledged by the other countries for, to accept your passport as identification and like visa thing, right? That’s why we wanna go this route of first getting the Visa block and building that credibility with the countries before we go to the the passport as like our product development process,

Dan: Yeah,

Sondre: But there are also examples of passports like O E C D. There are some international organizations that already have that actually issue passports, uh, that are non land holding, uh, entities. So, so there is some,

some, um, some evidence here. But maybe we will have, will we have a land in the future? You know, we might have, I think membership is, is fine as a replacement for land.

Um, but if we do need a. You know, there is an established practice for embassies, so that’s definitely gonna be the, you know, the path, the path to, to getting that.

Dan: I love it. Yeah, it sounds like this conversation just reminded me a lot of, um, biology’s book the Network State, which I’m sure you’re familiar with. I think he’s playing in a very similar sphere. Um, as you, I know that he’s talked about this idea of of, of the network state, of the internet based country and that we often get tripped up in this land, this land question.

We often start, when we think about a country, you’ll put a country in our mind. We think about the land that it lives on. And what you’re doing here is, is what I really like about what you’re doing is you’re basing it in, in freedom like that, that for you, it sounds like statehood or having country, um, citizenship.

Should be like the main, one of the main signifiers of that is to be recognized by other country as being able to travel within their borders. Um, which I think is a really interesting, yeah, just a really fascinating way to to, to go about that question. So let’s just kind of zoom out a little bit here.

Cause I think we’re, I love this stuff. I could talk about this all day and um, I don’t know if listeners would totally being tracking with all of it cause it’s a little off script for us here, but, What does your work, what does Safety Wing, uh, cause I, I’ve only, I asked you this first question and then we’ve just been in deep dive about the concept of countries.

Let’s, what looks, what does Safety Wing look like at this moment?

Sondre: So doing is, is, you know, it’s, it’s built as a startup. So, uh, with Pluma, uh, the, the kind of mechanism for creating the passport as an associated nonprofit, why is startup? Well, you know, if you’re trying to build something as huge as a country on the internet, basically you gotta, unless you have a hundred million billion dollars and 20 years, , you gotta bootstrap your way there, right?

So it’s like you help one person, you get a around you, you know that, use that to help another, and, and then it goes to four eight, you know? Now we’ve had a hundred thousand customers and, uh, you know, and, and, and we, we kind of use each stage to finance the next, right?

Dan: Mm-hmm.

Sondre: So that’s the, that’s the bootstrap way.

Um, And that’s, you know, we’re organized as a startup, so, and we’re making one product at the time of the social safety net. We serve with Nomad Insurance, which is a very light health insurance thing, but it’s global in universities. That fits in the end product. And we’re learning how to do it, building our knowledge along the way, which is sold as a product, you know, so it’s like a $42 a.

If you’re a nomad going for a few years to live around the world, it, it’s a great option. And then we made the other, the next part, remote health, which is like another step in the health thing, which health is a big part of the social safety net by the way. It takes a long time to get good at it. We made remote health, which is, that works anywhere in the world, not just for nomads, but like just people in their home countries.

So it’s a first global, you know, health insurance for remote. So if you’re remote startup, you can offer like, you know, health and add like dental and turn to other things for both employees and contractors anywhere in the world.

Dan: Love

Sondre: Okay? So that was the, that’s, that’s, if you go to our website, you wanna buy something, that’s what you’ll find right now and then, The, the kind of two products that are about to go live or that semi is live and but not available on the website is remote doctor, which is a service that’s just like something we are adding on to for the health part so that you can get prescriptions and referrals easier and talk to a doctor, you know, virtually.

That’s just something we realized our customers needed. And then the other part is remote retirement, you know, Which is, you know, another big piece. So, so that’s about to, to to go a lot later this year as.

Dan: I love it. I love it. Yeah. Thank you for that. That helps kind of put some flesh on the bones of, of the conversation a little bit.

Dan: So I wanna just kinda rewind and just ask how did you, how did you get here? Cause the going from, well, I, I wanna know all, all the, all the iterations that you’ve, you’ve had in your career over, you know, over your career.

Um, but arriving at, I’m gonna build the first one of the. You know, countries on the internet is a, it feels like that’s not, not what like many, um, people starting out in their career like think, okay, this is where I’m going. This is the direction of my life. So tell, yeah. Maybe just level overview of.

Sondre: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, high level overview is, I think I was pretty ambitious as a, as a young child, you know? Uh, I remember I was like 14, 15, and I had this like goal sheet I found years later. And it was fun to read because I had done a few things with it. Like I, you know, somehow I picked up this like startup Silicon Valley idea early cuz I had that on there.

Dan: Yeah.

Sondre: and yeah, I also had these like very grand ideas about living forever, I think, and, and building a city on Mars. That was the

Dan: uh,

Sondre: So that was kind of the.

Dan: love it.

Sondre: Yeah. And, uh, so, you know, definitely have this like, you know, ambition. Let’s take it to the max kind of approach to,

Dan: Yes.

Sondre: to what to work on. And, uh, you know, uh, a fews go by and I, I get in, I kind of have two branches of in.

One is politic policy, politics, and the other is startups. And so I, I, I had a little startup as a, as a teenager, an internet one with a couple of people I met on the internet, which was like a web posting one. That’s a good learning there. Posting like a server in my room and doing customer service on my new Siemens C 25 mobile phone and

Dan: Love it.

Sondre: then.

But then I got interested in, in, in politics and I started economics instead and little computer science, but I started economics and I was interested in how society worked. And, after that, I, I took a job as a policy advisor for the government of Norway, which is, uh, where I was born. And, uh, I was a bit disillusioned.

I was like, oh gosh, this is a big organization. This is like you. country is a big organization, you know, that’s one of the reasons they’re slow. They’re also slow on purpose, which, you know, can be admirable, you know, to not make like catastrophic mistakes. But they’re definitely also slow just because they’re big.

Dan: Yep.

Sondre: Um, and so I was a bit disillusion and like, cuz at the time I was also very aware of like how the internet was transforming our world. And uh, and it was far from. And, um, and so I was proposing things, so coming up with ideas to Norway and, but I was also kind of giving up and I was like, it’s gotta be startups.

Startups is the only thing that moves fast enough. So, so I left there to fund my previous company, super Side, uh, which was a freelancer platform and, um, and of designers doing projects for companies. I also then decided to, I’d also discovered the digital loaned idea, which was, of course, if you have income on the internet, I, I, you know, then I can move to a low cost location.

And, and the specific idea I had in mind was I would move to a low cost location. I would work as a freelancer like a day a week. And then without having funding, I could work on my startup for the rest of the week,

Dan: there you go.

Sondre: And I was like, yes, that I’m gonna. So I had this date. I was like, August one, I’m gonna quit my job.

That was pretty terrifying because I had a really nice job. Like I had in way gotten to a point in my career and like, you know, my colleagues then are all like ministers now. And you know, it’s like, it was, it was a cushy, it was a nice, you know, in that direction if you want to go into po. I kind of like, it wasn’t like I had gotten to the end of it, but I was there like I was, I had gotten somewhere.

Dan: Well, on the path it sounds like.

Sondre: I was well on the path. It was a nice place to be. so, you know, that was definitely a scary life moment, right? Because I had to let go of all of that, that I spent these years building

to start off with nothing, right? Which is this like, okay, now I’m gonna try to get a freelance income, which was the first problem.

And then at the same time, I’m gonna try to start this startup. And I remember watching this movie, Walter Mitty. I dunno if you ever saw that, but I remember I saw that like the day before I decided like, okay, I’m gonna do it. Because there’s a scene in that movie, which is, um, it’s like in I, in Iceland and this like drunk helicopter pilot.

It’s about to take off.

Dan: Yep, I know it. Yeah.

Sondre: Yeah. And then the, this song, um,

Dan: Ground controlled major Tom.

Sondre: Gun control to Major Tom is playing and then he runs out and jumps in the helicopter. And it’s so funny because I, I was like, that sounds like, like a stupid idea that I found that so inspirational. I was like, yes, that’s exactly what it’s like and that’s what I’m gonna do.

Dan: I love it. I love it. It’s so

Sondre: very stupid thing to do, uh, , you know, very risky and for very unclear benefit.

Dan: Hmm

Sondre: Um, so yeah, and what I, but what I decide, that’s when I make the, made the decision. But of course, the, the date I quit my job was later. That was kind of later, uh, about six months later. And I spent that time to build, start the company part-time and get this freelance writing thing on Upwork going.

And that was nice. And then I made the decision, built that company, got into Y Combinator, which was very fortunate. Great program. Recommend if you’re starting. Definitely put that in, you know, apply to Y Combin her. Um, and then we moved, I moved to San Francisco after Berlin. Berlin was the first stop and I kind of know my journey, but that company learned a lot.

Building a startup, you know, did kind of everything wrong, but you know, had a high speed. So it kind of was able to make up for in time before dying repeated. uh, and then we discovered this thing, this problem which become safe, which was we wanted to provide income protection and health insurance for the freelancers on the platform.

Dan: Hmm.

Sondre: so me and my co-founder were, we were start people, but we were also like policy interested and we also like very fruitful debates because we were like on opposite sides of the aisle and our like philosophy. And so it was like, it was like a good perspective and we were interested in this idea. Could we offer like, And stuff for the freelancers, and we tried to solve that problem and we tried, first we tried to buy it and found, okay, that doesn’t exist.

And then it was, we should we make it internally? And then we realized that’s, that’s a bad idea because we gotta solve this problem of making our platform. And this is a, this is a detour. So that was when I realized, okay, some, this is a big problem. Somebody’s gotta build this. We are clearly just early adopters here.

Working on the internet is gonna be a big thing in the future. I mean, we had already realized that. So that’s when I started to go around to France and say, listen, can you, I have a, I have an idea. How about you build a global social safety? For, uh, you know, online freelancers and remote workers, and we’ll be our first customer.

Dan: Hmm.

Sondre: And, uh, I almost exceeded once, but basically nobody wanted to do it because it’s such a drag of a job. Kind of like, it’s such a, you know, it just seems like it’s kind of boring, but also impossible. Yeah. Like it’s, it’s just. It’s, it’s, it’s really difficult. So, uh, so I, and, but of course over this year, by trying to get someone else to start it, I was also thinking about the ideal law and eventually concluded like, look, nobody else is gonna build this.

I have to build this

Dan: Yes.

Sondre: So I left the company. That was another one. You know, if you think about it, because that company is succeeding, that’s a successful company today.

Dan: Hmm.

Sondre: So then I also had to, you know, really let go of a thing, which is another one, which is that let go of that thing and start on scratch again. Uh, but I thought it was, you know, important and worthwhile and that I could do it. And so, so I did that and started on scratch again with safe. I haven’t done it before. It really helps. And we started that and we made the plan that day. One idea was what we said earlier, it wasn’t something we came up with the vision later.

We day one idea was we’re gonna make the global social safety net for the first country on the internet.

Dan: I love it.

Sondre: So, and, and, and then everything kind of follows from that. So, um, yeah, that’s the,

Dan: That’s

so. Thank you for that. Uh, just what a fun story. And it sounds like it makes so much, so much sense now. Cause I’m like, how do you get to like this place where you’re starting to, you know, build a, build a internet country, but it like, makes so much sense of your story of like policy and startup and then like, you know, this idea of being a nomad and like enabling people to live that lifestyle through, through, um, supersonic and, and helping freelancers.

Like I could see this Venn diagram with. You know, an internet country kind of magically appears in the, in the middle of that, that Venn diagram, which is, uh, just, yeah. So, so fantastic. Um, yeah, I love it. I love it. Um, I’m curious, just as you’re. I mean, it’s just, there’s so much, you know, I’m sure the contours of, of your journey that, um, we, we don’t have time to get dig deep into.

But, um, you kinda narrated some of that, that big leap of ending that, that job and jumping into to freelance. Um, but people are listening to this. They hit play on this because they’re at a place where, Asking some of these same questions that you were asking then that you were also asking, when you’re deciding to walk away from your one startup to to work on, um, safety Wing, um, I’m curious, you know, for folks that are just really uncertain, if there’s any words of wisdom you would wanna just speak directly to them, anything that you would wanna say when they’re like, I’ve got this idea, I wanna chase after it, but I’m scared or uncertain.

What would you.

Sondre: So I don’t know if I’m an expert on that because in a weird way, I’m not that uncertain

Dan: Yeah.

Sondre: but if I were to kind of like analyze why, because it’s not like I’m certain of the outcome of the projects. Uh, I think it’s just comes from that I don’t need to be,

Dan: Yeah.

Sondre: I sort of, I under, I’m certain of the logic, kind of like I’m certain of the, of the reasoning and, and that’s enough, right?

And then I kind of realized that the implementation is gonna be messy and, you know, can go all kinds of ways. So, and that’s fine. Um, I also don’t think I was holding onto things that much. I mean, it’s very noticeable on the way there, you know, I think this is a very, you know, Throughout my life, it was like always with friends who were like, they were holding onto like the success they had so hard.

It’s like, oh, I made this money, now I’m just gonna make a little bit more.

Dan: Yeah.

Sondre: And it’s like, yeah, you could make a little bit more, but turns out that’s like what we’re preventing them from, you know, succeeding. Much more so. And, and why did I have that? I think that’s just, that’s just a fortunate thing. I think I got from my parents.

My parents are just like, they don’t, I think they just don’t care about money and it, and it’s not, but, and while also not being like poor, like they were normal people, but they had like, they were very like not, yeah. I, I think it’s like a good combo of like not holding onto things so much so that. Didn’t hold onto them.

And the fact that I didn’t hold onto them so hard, you know, was what allowed me to kind of let go on each stage and go through that period of having nothing to the new thing. Um, and I should say, you do have nothing on the way, right? So it’s like when. I was working at the Parliament, like I had a nice apartment.

It was like, uh, it was a cool job to tell the friends at party that I had, right? It was like, very cool. Parliament is a cool building to go have a job in. And then right after I really had nothing like, because I had to cut my personal burn. So like I live in a crappy place. Uh, also for a long time, like I didn’t live, like, I just lived different places, and uh, Working on a startup that has nothing, isn’t cool actually. Like, uh, and it, so, so anyway, I think that is the, the thing I could say is just to, I don’t know what I can say there though, but like, I, I think that is the key to, to just like, to not hold on to your, the things you got

Dan: Yes. Yes.

Sondre: But just like be okay with not having them in some weird way.

So you just like, you guys just gotta know that you’ll be okay regardless, and you will obviously,

Dan: I love that. I think it’s such a great invitation to listeners. I hear a lot of that in that, a lot of kind of the, just an abundance mentality, right? That like, if you let go of that job, you’re gonna find another way to make money. You’re gonna find another job if you need to find another job. And I think it kind of, uh, Just to contrast, I would like that.

I think I can get in that kind of scarcity space of like, this is the only thing I got. I can’t let go of this. And cuz if I do, then like what’s gonna happen? What, how can I do anything? And um, even just like what you said about your parents, it just sounds like a really healthy relationship with money.

That money wasn’t the end all like to accumulate and never let it go. But maybe a, maybe a tool. I’m not sure how you would, how you would talk about a tool to get you where you wanna go. I guess, and the other piece that I, that I hear in that is just like you acting on your, your certainty, almost like, almost like an internal compass that like, even if I don’t know the, the, the optics that if I don’t know the landscape this is taking me towards, but just following that this is something I need to do for me and we’re gonna see where that takes me.

Um, does that, does that sound like a good read of of what you just said?

Sondre: I, it’s not actually for me, it’s like this is what is, uh, is. Right. It’s more

Dan: Yeah. Mm.

Sondre: It’s like, this is what is right for me. Uh,

Dan: Well, that’s


Sondre: yeah. But it’s not like I’m doing this perfectly. I also kind of just yesterday someone asked me, and even I wish I was bolder, , right. Looking back.

Dan: Yeah.

Sondre: So it’s not like I’m maxing it.

I I would still. Fear, I don’t have this much holding onto, but I, I, I, I definitely have this fear. Like that was why the Walter Mitty clip was inspiring, right? There’s still fear there. Um, but, so I’m very glad, I’m thankful that I did, despite the fear looking back, but I could have done it sooner

Dan: yeah, yeah. But the fear is, the fear is also a gift, right? Cause it keeps you from going off the rails and putting too much, you know, risking too much.

Sondre: Very often the fear has useful information, but you know, you, you, but you can’t, you can’t let the fear be the, the, the, the boss

Dan: I love it. I love it. This is great. I’m curious for you how you think about, um, I don’t know, where, whatever words you use to, to think about, meaning, purpose, fulfillment in your work. I guess one is what, what words do you use and then what are the pieces of your work where you find that the most of that good juicy stuff?

Sondre: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. No, I mean I, uh, I definitely believe in meaning and. you know, it’s, uh, things that end are not meaningful. So that’s one thing I’ve noticed, right? It’s like things that are meaningful are those things that lead to more things,


Dan: I love that.

Sondre: so yeah. So, you know, and what comes to that is, you know, I.

Things where I felt meaning in my life. I think the starting companies start getting mar, like meeting my what? That’s meaning. I remember on our like second date, I remember feeling like, oh, this is meaning. I don’t feel this often, but like it was like that was a really good signal because it’s a feeling.

It’s a nice feeling. It’s a very nice feeling. So, um, I remember I had the same actually second time applying to white combination. I was like, there it is again.


nice. So, uh, yeah, so it’s a feeling and it’s, you know, it’s that thing I do that lead to many things and, purpose.

You know, I find the meta purpose is really useful. You know, like doing the most good I can, becoming the best version of like, these are cliches, but I think they’re like, they’re really. Guides, right? To, to measure my goals and you know, like, uh, you know, whatever habits against, um, so, um, and that’s, that’s a pretty good, purpose.

And, and I, I do think that, If I were to do that and, and, you know, and solve all the problems that I have, then there is this like infinite horizon,

Dan: Hmm.

Sondre: you know, where in potential any, you know, the best po anything is possible.

Dan: Yeah.

Sondre: um, which is, I’m still figuring this out, but like somewhere there, you know, resides the most possible meaning, right?

The best possible purpose. Um, but I actually think that just like aiming for the good, like doing the most good I can me is a way to have the best possible purpose without knowing what it is.

Dan: Mm.

Sondre: Um, yeah. So these are some ways I think about it. Mm-hmm.

Dan: Yeah, well I think that just really resonates with me cuz I think we can get so stuck on wanting to find the perfect thing to do, um, that we feel overwhelmed by the possibilities. And I hear you inviting, you know, people to think about what’s, what’s the good? You know, do the best, do the best that you, you can do the most good you can.

And that in and of itself, um, is purpose. Um, which I think. Yeah, I love it. I love it. Uh, this has just been so fun, Sandra. Um, yeah, for folks that just kind, we moved toward up, we’re coming up our time here. Um, for folks that wanna connect more with you, is there anything in particular you’d like to invite?

Invite people to.

Sondre: Yes, definitely check out safe and um, while you’re there, you know, if you’re building a remote startup, you know, we have this project, uh, building remotely. Dot com where have a podcast and we’re trying to make a write a book about building remote startup. Um, cause that’s a fun project.

So if you’re doing that course, checking out for sure. Uh, there’s also, of course, borderless great thing to sign up, uh, your email too. It’s like we update on like order status across the world so you

Dan: So you can kind of know where you can go and what countries are open and such.

Sondre: Exactly, and, and what the rules are and how you do it. So it, that’s

Dan: I love. I love it. What great, great tools you’re creating and um, I’ll definitely need to dig into that more myself. Cause I’m building remote, remote country, not countries, well maybe they’ll become countries I’m building remote companies myself.

Um, and so would love to learn from you and, um, the resources that you’re putting out there in, um, so. I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for just sharing so much of your journey with us here today. I know, um, listeners are really gonna, uh, yeah, just enjoy both, both your journey as well as, you know, some of this philosophical, uh, ponderings about what makes up a country and, and the future, the future of technology, and where that intersects with our, our everyday lives.

So just thank you for all of it here today.

Sondre: Thank you, Dan. I really enjoy the conversation. Thanks for your questions.

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