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DN Interviews #3

andrew fredette better together digital nomad interviews

Andrew Jacob Fredette

Dec 23. 2019

Meet Andrew, a full time remote working developer
at Kynectiv,
and the founder of Better Together

Juggling a job, a business, and a life on the road,
Andrew is the nomad who wanted to be a doctor-
but realized he can help people get better
in a different way. 

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I have been following Andrew on Instagram a long time
before I realized what he actually does for a living.
In fact, the first time I actually realized what’s the source
of this digital nomad’s income-
Was at the interview. 

"I wanted to be a doctor"

I officially “met” Andrew (31) as he was sitting at a cafe in Las palmas- with a video camera with me on the other side.
The video interview and introduction we had was one of my favorite (for this blog and for my other blogs), as it shows the tale of a guy who wanted to have it all… A life of helping people get better, a more spiritual existance, having the time to spend with loved ones, and seeing the world. 
And it all started so randomly, that you have to wonder if there was a guiding hand mixed in all of this. 

I wanted to be a doctor. 
I was working in an  endocrinology research lab in my University in Portland.
While working there, I met so many people… Doctors, nurses, researchers. I got to see the everyday life of a doctor- the thing I wanted to be. I came to realize that if I were to be a doctor I’d end up working long hours, and although I’d be a doctor- I wouldn’t actually help people… At least not in the spiritual way I see help to be. 

After reading “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris, Andrew had his eyes opened to a different approach to life.

Because of that book- 2 things happened. I started taking programming classes, and I started sharing my vision of life, my goals, with everyone who’d listen. 

andrew jacob fredette better together founder digital nomad interview
I wanted to be a doctor.

a remote worker was born!

They say that when you want something in life- you should tell everyone about it. And for a year- that didn’t do anything for Andrew… Until-

I was talking to a friend about my plans and my goals, and it turns out- his father was the CEO of a company called Kynectiv. That company was creating medical simulations for hospitals, clinics, etc. 

okinawa japan andrew jacob fredette
From Andrew's time in Okinawa, Japan

Although the company was based in Philadelphia, the CEO, my friend’s father, was coming to visit him in Portland- so we all met up for coffee.

Andrew did what so many people are afraid to do- he laid it all out on the table and explained exactly what he wants from his next job. 
He wanted to work from home, spend more time with his brothers, and work on his passion in life- music. 
He was hired to be a software support rep., but after 3 months he took on a larger role as a developer. 

I worked from home for 2 years.
Got a mansion with my 3 lil bros, and we had our own band! We were terrible, but it was a lot of fun.

Unexpected, but welcomed, changes.

A lot of people from our dear X generation, leave jobs after a year, feeling there’s nothing left for them to learn there, job gets boring. 
In Andrew’s case, that need for a deeper learning was replaced, for a period of time, by getting what he wanted most of all… To travel the world while working remotely! 
Andrew spoke to his CEO again about working remotely, but this time he wanted to work from outside the US.
He got his YES.  

The company I was working for was facing a merger of some sorts. We were to be purchased by a much larger company, with offices all over the world. From working in a 5 people company, I would be working now in a much larger organization, 150 people at least. 

My first thought when Andrew talked about that merger, was ‘how would a CEO of a 150 people company would agree to keep you in these terms’ ??
But, it turns out- Andrew’s luck was just beginning. 
The company that was purchasing them- made their peace with having a remote worker that travels the world!

andrew fredette digital nomad interviews chiang mai
From Andrew's Instagram

I was in Chiang Mai in November of last year, and I remember doing so many calls with the company that was about to purchase us.
Showing them our product and really building a relationship with them. 
It turns out, one of the owners of that company was living in Bangkok at the time.
He actually thought it was cool that I was in Chiang Mai! 

Andrew was not only accepted in the new and much larger crew, but he thrived!
The job that was about to reach its limit in teaching him- became so different!
He was working with the latest technologies, and with other developers that really had a lot to teach him. 

Throughout this entire time- his boss knew that Andrew’s goal in life was to eventually become an entrepreneur. But that he’d keep him in his employ- for as long as he could. 

Why we are better together

Wanting to pursue his dream of helping people, Andrew founded Better Together. 
People are more likely to finish a task, when there are other people around them pushing them to do it. 
The idea was to use data to help people understand how they can be happier.
Happier and more productive. 

People on Andrew’s program would basically be doing 2 things- 
1. inputting their lives inside Andrew’s system,. their habits, what they did everyday, how happy they were, how productive they were, who they spoke with, etc. 
2. Talking about their week and goals on weekly ZOOM video meetings- like a real support group! 

The groups are of about 10 people each, and the ZOOM software allows us to have a video meeting together, but also to “sit” in smaller groups, when doing group exercises in pairs or groups of 3. 

The concept of Better Together, is to have several groups at the same time, each focuses on a different goal, but resolves around being accountable and wanting to be happier. Basically- connecting people who never knew each other- under a mutual individual goal!

It turns out, I actually have a group of people who knew each other well.
A group of educational executives approached me on having my data system and group sessions plan- for them.
This was their place to share things they couldn’t share with coworkers- given their job titles.

With more and more groups forming, surrounding various topics, and attracting different types of people- Andrew runs the meetings, and the data, and is on the right path of making this project- a true income source. 
For the participants- this is huge bargain, as the use of the system, the data analysis, and the weekly meetings- all cost them $50 a month. 

dish, room, city.

I was once asked a very interesting travel-lifestyle question… If I could eat my favorite dish, while in my favorite hotel/Airbnb flat, as i am in my favorite city- what would those 3 be? 
(Given that this is hypothetical, and you can choose anything you want!). 

So,I asked Andrew about his Top 3 from the last few years of traveling and remote working…

I had the most amazing Subha Raman while in Okinawa, Japan. 
I would eat it in a hotel in Argentina called Casa Colorada Hotel De Montana. It was basically an hour and a half into the mountains of Argentina, and the location was so high and remote, you could feel it when you breath. 
And if my favorite city could be anywhere, with that hotel…
I’d say Singapore. I have a good friend there. 

subha raman soup okinawa japan
Casa Colorada-Hotel de Montana

What's next?

Andrew was in Las Palmas when we had our interview-video for this post. 
Now he’s in Berlin, after visiting Morocco as well. 
Following that, would be a planned month in Cluj, Romania, where his company currently has an office for one of their development teams.
And as for Better Together…

I want to reach more people, on more topics, and have more groups that help different types of people. 
I am currently running each group, and attend these weekly “support” meetings as the person running them, but in 2020 I want to find more leaders for these meetings.

I want to do major live events, really build a strong community between everyone in the program.

I was also thinking about selling the software itself- white labeling it to companies who want to do their own in-house productivity and motivation group meetings.
They could use my data software to really improve their workers productivity, and raise their levels of happiness at work.

the meaning of entrepreneurship. (Conclusion.)

The people who know me well know that I hate the word entrepreneur.

I hate it when people call me an entrepreneur, as I don’t see myself actually doing anything entrepreneurial. 
I blog about what I like, I help Etsy sellers, I am an affiliate. Pretty standard stuff in the online world.

I feel like an entrepreneur is someone with a goal, a vision, other than having a cool job or a good life. 

I have also seen people toss that that word around way too freely. Anyone is an entrepreneur these days, it’s mad. 

I also have a deep disliking to the 4-Hours Work Week people- as I have heard so many people shallowly speak about this book as if the only thing they took from it was “I can be rich in 1 hour if I start doing dropshipping…” 

I believe that after chatting with Andrew, and even as I am writing this now…. I see he’s a true entrepreneur, with an entrepreneurial mindset, and a clear goal of what he wants his life to be like- how he wants to impact people.

And maybe,
I’ll even give The 4-Hours Work Week- another go. 

If you want to join one of Andrew’s Better Together Support Groups, or if you just want to socially-stalk him a bit- check out:
His Instagram | Better Together IG | Better Together Website

And- if you know a cool nomad who’d be interested in interviewing about what they do for a living, or if you’re one yourself- PM me on my IG – @Maple_Simple

Thanks Andrew for the lovely chat, and thank you all for reading!

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