Ten countries in five years

We are going to spend the next five years living for six months in each of the ten countries that we believe will have the biggest economic impact on the world in the coming twenty to thirty years.

In every country we will split our time in thirds. One third of our time will be used to learn about the place: its history, culture, language – all of which makes it unique. One third will be used to work with local startups and investors, to the extent that we can. One third will be used to make small-scale, early-stage angel investments in the local market.

The preliminary list of countries (still to be refined) include: China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Germany, United Kingdom and one country in Africa. The United States would obviously have been near the top of any such list, but we have just spent the last few years in San Francisco so we don’t need to live there again as part of this project, however great a place it is.

The rationale for this project is that we want to understand the world better, on a deeper level than the superficial understanding you get from following the news or occasionally travelling. The best way to learn about a place and understand its people is to live there, eat the food, breathe the air, understand how its culture fits into the grand story arch of humanity as well as deal with everyday practicalities.

We are calling it Approach. It is our approach to approaching the world. The first stop is Singapore, where we will establish our base for the project. The first country to explore is Indonesia, and we hope to arrive in Jakarta within a few weeks.