Monday 17 December 2018

How this travel fanatic is running his tech firm from a Land Rover in Brazil

Credit: Instagram
Credit: Instagram
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The founder of customer service tech firm Helpando is taking his Land Rover, and his business, on a cross-country tour through Brazil.

CEO Fabian Dittrich worked with a number of startups and multinationals including Zendesk, which helped him "get the ball rolling" in getting his own business off the ground.

Helping with Zendesk data migrations and other cloud-based customer services, the company count Goldman Sachs, Intel and Microsoft and other Fortune 500 companies among its clients.

But the German entrepreneur decided to combine his love of travel with the freedom of working for himself, by making Helpando a nomad firm. and taking it on the road.

"I like to look at life as if I was a Martian. I see all those people who voluntary decided that they get into a rectangular box every morning and get in a line of other rectangle boxes for sometimes hours to do the same thing that they can do at home," he told Independent.ie.

"And they could be doing that for 40 years; I find that very strange from my perspective."

Fabian's travel bug brought him to the four corners prior to his corporate position. He's just made a base he calls home in Montenegro [at least in the warmer months] after "a crazy 15 years of travel", which included trying to drive an old Mercedes from Berlin to Cape town.

"Fourteen African countries later, I was stuck in the Congo as my hands were shaking; I'd contracted malaria so naturally I was forced to stay lying in bed for some time.

"While my consciousness felt like it was being possessed by a demon, I was really lucky with the WiFi and found myself Googling the most random stuff.

"I ended up applying for something that was described as 'the coolest job in the world' and the next day I had a call with the Zendesk CEO. Two weeks later I was wearing a suit for the first time in my life."

Fabian has spoken at a number events around the world about how technology can improve how we work and live, including at Comtrade's Quest for Quality conference in Dublin in October.

He has shared the story about how himself and his coworkers bought a vintage Land Rover in Buenos Aires in 2015, filming a web documentary along the way, startupdiaries.org. 

Now he's getting the Land Rover shipped across from Europe to Brazil to begin a "7000km up and 7000km down" journey across the region on a talking tour, managing the company workload all the while.

Instead of taking entrance fees for each of his talks, he's planning to fundraise with the organisers for families in need, donating to local NGO's who provide food for families in Favelas.

"I've a talk I've to give in Portuguese shortly so that's an incentive to learn a new language in two weeks. I met someone in Berlin, it's the first time in years I've been in love so they're coming out to join me for the trip.

"In my house on the hill in Montenegro, I have no neighbours and I go swimming and hiking every day. I'll go back there next year when the weather gets a bit better."

Online Editors

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