Sondre Rasch on crafting a global safety net for nomads

Sondre Rasch on crafting a global safety net for nomads

Full Transcript

Curtis Duggan: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Remotely Serious. We actually, I'm here with Sondre Rasch, the CEO and co founder of SafetyWing. We were actually having, we were getting into a really exciting discussion right before we turned the mics on. So I am, I was getting my trigger finger was happy. I was just getting excited to turn that record button on.

So yeah, Welcome, Sander. Welcome to the podcast. We were talking about Plumia, an initiative that falls under the umbrella of Safety Wing, but we're glad to have you here representing both Safety Wing and Plumia on the podcast.

Sondre Rasch: Thank you, Curtis. It's great to be on remotely serious. Yeah,

Curtis Duggan: That's a, it's a good introduction.

I'll just use what we were talking about as a segue earlier this year. It was not the first time that I heard about Safety Wing, but I participated in a discord based cohort of an initiative called Plumia. And so there's actually, there's two things that, are really interesting to talk about in terms of the organization you run.

Plumia actually has come up probably more often on this podcast because we like to get into nerdy things. And if I can. Do a quick version, probably not the best version of pitching your company, and then I'll hand it over to you to do even better. Safety Wing is a global health insurance company for remote workers, remote teams, and digital nomads.

Normal health insurance doesn't, isn't really the right kind of product for people that are remotely working. The industry hasn't adapted. So Safety Wing is a venture backed company that handles that. But you also have a fairly niche, but famous initiative within the. Future of work within the sovereign individual space within the kind of maybe even within the crypto and blockchain community because it is adjacent to some of the things that go on there.

You have Plumia, which has a long term vision for almost a new way of governance and understanding the nation state. Is that close enough to how you might pitch it to your stakeholders?

Sondre Rasch: Yeah, I think that's pretty interesting and good. And yeah, I don't think I need to like correct. It's not exactly the words I would use, but I think it's like pretty accurate and good.

Curtis Duggan: So maybe. The thing I'm curious about both of safety wing and Plumia, but maybe the first thing is like your core product, it almost seems like a magic wand in, and I was, I sold into us healthcare, my company that I had an exit with sold to risk bearing pair pairs and us companies and sold a basically a diabetes coaching and monitoring product.

So I understand what it's like to sell to for profit health insurers. I know the kind of people that are. The types of executives that work at health insurance companies. And I do have, half a decade of experience with the health insurance company mindset, mostly in the U S so when I look at this, it almost seems like I know what the premiums are on health insurance in the U S that's a unique case because other countries and other nations, most of them, or many of them have government healthcare, but it seems okay, yeah, how do you.

Deliver a product that's going to give you health insurance all around the world. And it's also not just a thin layer of emergency travel insurance. It's real health insurance. Oh yeah. What would the premiums on that be? Oh, I don't know. Four grand, five grand, six grand a month, but that's not what you offer.

You offer something that's very reasonably priced. And so how do you do that? What is. The magic and the product of Safety Wing. And I'm not trying to be PR for your company. I'm just genuinely curious. How do you do it?

Sondre Rasch: It's very hard for me to step outside of the kind of tree of knowledge curse.

Like of not understanding the kind of stems and the branches of the things, because I'm so like in this world day to day. But I'm going to try to do my best as I try to explain that. So I'm just gonna, you just stop me when something doesn't make sense at all. I will,

Curtis Duggan: I'll interrupt if I get confused.

Sondre Rasch: Yeah. It's if someone's listening and they're like, I want to start a company like this this is the kind of problems you got to solve. Okay. So one is just regulatory problem. So here we took a strategy choice early on. Like it's, we're not escaping the nation state of the gate. We're more like trying to build this bridge, right?

So we're not building this on the blockchain. We're getting normal insurance company licenses regularly, having a friendly cooperative. Approach with existing states and regulators, okay? And in insurance, that means everything is super regulated. And that's becomes like the biggest problem you have to solve out of the gate.

It's regulated on multiple levels to have a carrier, to have a product, to sell insurance every country. Okay. Top problem. You've got to solve out of the gate. There's a couple of ways to solve it. But anyway, that's. That's

Curtis Duggan: can I just ask a quick question on that because you need to set up certain things.

It's not like a D to C SAS, AI app or something where you can validate 1 of revenue on day one. What was the time from having the idea or co founding the company to when you were legally allowed to earn your first dollar of revenue? Was that like six months or was it two years to get from, we want to do this.

We have to get certified and then, we made our first dollar. Yeah.

Sondre Rasch: Yeah. Yeah. We were actually really fast about it. So the average for people starting in insurance startups, two years, we did it in six months. I didn't know it was fast at the time. But I'll tell you the trick. I remember we sat down on day one, we didn't come from that industry.

So I just used, my general startup method, which is generate. Many attempts and try all of them in parallels. We wrote down 70 different ways and one of them worked. So it was just six months, but we didn't get our carrier license. We just got that this year, but we we were able to find essentially another international company that had.

Somewhat products that was just a step away and we essentially pitch them our product vision and using their kind of existing regulatory licenses, we can instruct a new product. And that was how we got to market pretty fast. So like

Curtis Duggan: a FinTech company might find a place where Visa or MasterCard will let them partner in a sense.

It's like you found the right partner to launch a insure tech company. Quickly, because you could, you didn't build everything from scratch. You were able to find the right partner after discarding 69 other ways of trying, and this is the right way. Correct.

Sondre Rasch: And then you build the infrastructure, after, as you go along, at least you're generating revenue, you're working on the top problem.

You've got to solve first, which is, getting customers, making something people want. Okay. So that's one piece of it. Another piece of it is is this thing. You could describe it in multiple ways, but it's essentially like. People will in the U S will tend to think of it as the medical network, but that's really only the way it is described in the U S because the medical networks here, are so well developed, but it's essentially like using the product, right?

Using the product, then, so there's something that's available out of the gate anywhere, which, people in the U S will recognize as out of network, which is essentially that you charge and get your money back after. Or in our case, we can also do one better for anything expensive, where we essentially get the medical provider to bill us directly.

And then over time, you build up this, increasing network of hospitals who know you and will always kind of bill you directly. We're working on one super hack right now which is, everyone, we're making this safe to win card. So that you can just use that to pay anywhere.

So even if it's us, but not in our network, you can still pay. So with our product, you can go anywhere, but not everywhere in the world. They will accept to bill us directly. So if you call us we will of course refer you to somewhere that will bill us directly. So the kind of, that's the kind of two way it works.

The process of solving this is this like combination of managing a little medical network plus just. A variant of kind of customer service, I guess it's not that hard. And it's an industry and insurance is called third party provider, which is super nondescript name, but that's like the name for the industry.

It's essentially the people doing this sort of claims management for insurance companies. Okay, that's another piece of the puzzle. And then the third piece of the puzzle is just like making the user experience great. And frankly, this is where we put a lot of our energy in the beginning. So in health insurance, buying it, whether you're a company or.

Or an individual, it's just so opaque. There's you had to be a financial engineer. It took us years to understand all of it ourselves that they're just expecting buyers to understand, which is why you need this kind of broker layer who charges exorbitant fees, like from 50 and some like life insurance is like 90%, like they really get a large piece of the pie.

The way around that is just simplification. So we said, Oh, we wanted to have one price for everyone worldwide. On the website. And that's a huge effort. That was like the hugest simplification effort we did because then you need the same policy works everywhere for everyone. And it's right now it's 45 a month for the Nomad insurance product.

And and for the for the Nomad health, it's either 120 or 240 for this library premium, all the add ons in. So that's. Yeah, that's that's the other part. And the work of doing that is, is very hard. It's like grinding. It's like you gotta negotiate with regulatory, simplify the language.

You have to negotiate with sort of an actuary to say Hey, but look, listen, like if we cut up this option and then we have a product where we don't have to price it variably and so it's like you gotta make a lot of sacrifices to get to simplicity. It's like going, what was the phone before the iPhone that was very blackberry.

It's like the blackberry to the iPhone. I suspect before then that people who were making the blackberry were like for simplification and they were like struggling. Oh, can we delete this button? And they're like, no, really, we need that button. And then, Apple just comes out and it's it's just one

Curtis Duggan: button.

No, no buttons. Yeah. It's just one button. One button.

Sondre Rasch: Yeah. One of them. So that's a similar kind of thing where it's like our approach is radically different from what everyone else is doing and just simplifying the user experience. You can sign up in five minutes. It's the same product for everyone.

The price is on the front page. That's a big part of the kind of product development puzzle

Curtis Duggan: for us. What nationality made up your first cohorts of customers the most? Did it appeal? We know that it appeals to people that. are working remotely and digital nomads and remote teams as a demographic.

But did you find that a certain nationality, Americans more than others, or Europeans more than others, was the first to get it and want your product in the earlier days?

Sondre Rasch: So people's intuition Whenever we talk about no one insurance and indeed number of health and remote health, when that came out, it was something like this.

And it's there's truth to it, but it's so much less true than people expect it to be. And that is that roughly nobody in Europe is going to want this maybe also nobody in any other country that has public health systems. And then there will be like seven countries where they do want it, where they associated with private health care.

Maybe they think about Singapore, United States, maybe a couple of the Latin American countries and something like that. And then you're also going to have this like business process outsourcing. Use case that's like people's assumptions when they, when we first started pitching it and and that isn't true at all.

What you get is. Europe is a big market for us, like 34%, the U. S. is too but also rest of the world is also significant. So it's surprisingly not geographic. What we see is, there's host country and then there's destination, right? So it's like somebody has a home country, like their passport country and that is distributed, what I said on the individual front on the nomad front.

But then we also see very clear patterns on destination on basically. Just go to nomadlist. com and just see that ranking and that's how our customers distribute as well. It's extremely Concentrated on nomad hotspots. So right now you can imagine, Lisbon is off the charts, Bali's been there for forever, Chiang Mai been there forever Yeah, so so that's

Curtis Duggan: That, that's some pattern.

So it's not necessarily about the nationality of the person. Maybe there are some patterns there, but it's about where they are. And there's lots of people from Europe and Canada and America and all kinds of different countries going to nomad hotspots and saying, I need health insurance there. This is the brand that makes sense to me.

Because I think I guess maybe my experience as a. As a buyer is that, and this might be a regulatory thing. I think it actually is a regulatory thing. I'm in Canada. If I want to go to Mexico, they're very particular about saying you have to tell us about the trip beforehand. It's much better to buy the insurance.

This is just in the Canadian provincial context, tell us about the trip beforehand. You might not get coverage if you land in Mexico and then buy it afterwards. So it's a piece of hygiene, something your dad tells you to do, which is buy the insurance before you leave. Don't forget. Is your flow set up where that's true?

It seems like where you're going, nomads don't think of themselves as at home and on vacation, they might think of themselves as in a continuous line. Are you able to provide that kind of buy at any time, anywhere type of experience? Yeah,

Sondre Rasch: this was, we were nomads when we made the product.

And, so we knew exactly those pain points, that's the key difference between if I were to call, nomad insurance, a separate category, nomad insurance and travel insurance is. You can buy it whenever, so you can buy it when you're abroad and it's a subscription that you can have without end.

That's, broadly, that's the key difference. That's the key kind of difference between a nomad and a traveler is this thing. It's open ended. It might last for years and and you might indeed get it when you're already abroad because you're not going on a vacation.

Curtis Duggan: And so not to get too morbid, but health insurance, I think it's something that people, they never want to have to use. It means that you've had some kind of, in most cases, it means you've had some kind of self health event. Although there are other things that are just part of the normal course of life, getting perspective.

Prescriptions refilled, getting glasses where it's not so much a, an acute event. I wonder if this is something, there's a perception where young people are nomads, and so they're buying this product and maybe not much happens to them when they're in Bali or or in Lisbon. And, but it's great to, you should have health insurance.

It's great to have health insurance. It's the right thing to do. Do you find that you also have to plan for, there may be a category just knowing what I know from actuarial science in the US market, someone who is a nomad in the UK. And it turns out, God forbid, thoughts and prayers, we don't actually want this, but they have very complicated heart disease and type two diabetes, or they have stage three pancreatic cancer.

And all of a sudden, as is the nature of the health insurance industry. You're responsible. Are you then, most emergency travel insurance would send someone home, if they're vacationing in the UK. Okay, great Go back home to Vancouver or Chicago and you'll you definitely won't deal with your cancer or your diabetes Surgery here.

Are you know, is it such that if someone's in the UK or Indonesia or Portugal? They then if they're living there for several years They can go to the NHS. They can go into the Portuguese healthcare system and get complicated treatments. That's the thing that's Oh, I get it. Yeah. Mad for six months, you get insurance.

That makes sense. 80 bucks a month, 200 bucks a month, 50 bucks a month, whatever it is. Then it's like, how do you deal with that? And that's a lead in, into the concept of a social safety net and Plumia. But I wanted to just deal with that kind of tricky topic first.

Sondre Rasch: Yeah. No, for sure.

And it's funny because when people buy this product, they imagine themselves just like going to the urgent care for something minor as like the main use case. But yeah, if you think about what we actually deal with, that is expensive and difficult and where the users desperately need our help and we make a huge difference.

And it's in those cases, it is an emergency, this isn't a big serious stuff. And, no we don't send home. Just to start there, right? So even a Nomad insurance, right? The sort of the lowest cost, Nomad insurance option. You have a, new diabetes thing happening. You're just doing the treatment there and you're not being sent home.

It's not like most of those travel insurances don't actually cover health, right? They just might cover some to go to the emergency room and, and then trip home essentially. So it's not like that. Like you don't have to have a primary health insurance anywhere. There are limitations on normal insurance though, which is worth mentioning.

And one of the, there are two, and one of them is long term cancer treatment. So that's not covered on the 50, 45 one, but if you're a nomad health, that's also that's just covers everything. Nomad health covers everything, including. You're in the UK just staying there doing long term cancer treatment for a decade, that's still covered covers all the expenses.

It is it is a zero deductible high quality health insurance that covers everything. That's what it's set up to do now and, certainly in the future.

Curtis Duggan: The current vision and it seems like You're definitely hitting a version of your current and near term vision. I've been in startups. Many startups are encouraged to have a long term vision, whether that's to raise venture capital. There's a growing movement right now around just ship quickly and be a solopreneur and an indie maker.

And that's great. And I think that's a wonderful movement, but traditionally. For startup founders who want to impress VCs and raise money and raise more money. Startup founders are encouraged to have a bombastic, amazing seven to 10 year vision. And many do, many say they do in order to get that round closed and all kinds of things like that.

But you're a unique case where you do have a long term vision, but it's not necessarily something you just privately say to your series C or series D investor. It's a formal. There's an aspect of your long term vision. I'm not going to say it's your whole long term vision.

There's an aspect of your long term vision that is a formal entity called Plumia that aims to push society forward on various fronts like the creation. One of them is the creation of a passport that's not tied to a nation state. I know that there are other aspects. We were mentioning off Mike before we started that I participated in a Yeah.

A cohort that was on discord around brainstorming and thinking of open source initiatives for Plumia. It seems to be structured as either nonprofit or open source or not under the same profit pressures of safety wing. What's the deal with that? If people say. Just focus. If you're in a startup, just focus on revenue big, bigger.

Don't get distracted by other things. This seems like it's quite siloed off. It's different. It's not necessarily a profit center for many years. What is Plumia? And for listeners, that's P L U M I A. What is Plumia and why did you launch that so early in the game, so to speak? Yeah,

Sondre Rasch: That's that's a great question.

So we formed safety in day one. It has this, mission of, building country on the internet and the global social safety net and. The re there are many takes you can take on that reasoning. One is, the way I think about it, which doesn't make much sense to others for some reason, but it's essentially that the social structure reflects the reality that you're in.

If you're on the moon, like Paul Graham has this line, like if you were on the moon air would be like a product. And so what kind of social structures you have, it depends on just the reality that you find yourself in and the internet has changed. The constraints of the reality that we live in and the social structures have not caught up.

From my point of view, it is obvious that this kind of internet global social structures will emerge. And you can call this internet countries, you can call it other things that I don't know exactly how it will manifest, but. To me, it's obvious that's on the horizon. It's exciting. That's a cool part of the upcoming decade and But I can also see this kind of going baddie in some ways like you can get dystopian accidental social structures here So so, we're set out to make you know Global Social Section when we first started we thought you know, like you imply that we would essentially complete The health insurance make that great, all the other, the global social safety net parts, retirement, et cetera.

And then at the end of that chain, we would start the citizenship thing. What essentially accelerated that timeline was COVID. So what we saw in COVID is, Hey, remote work. Is accelerating the future that we foresee by five years and we know that every sort of project like this has this like long lead time.

So we should just start the final goal. Right now. And that, became Plumia. Plumia, we invited a lot of interesting thinkers in a, a founding meeting and, Lauren Rozzavi took over, and Yumi Chan, so just the community there. And by the way, had amazing success already.

A lot of it due to the Nomad and remote work visas and it's not that they're like ours, but we got a bit due to a fortunate sequence of events we, from a many countries point of view, we are like the host of that idea. So I'll explain how that happened. Like it primarily happened with Sarah.

I remember hosting a talk on web summit, arguing for this idea in 2019. This guy from Barbados heard about that. And I had him on my podcast and then, he proposed that in 2020 at a very fortunate timing. And then, as like 80 countries copied this very similar thing. And and and so we were even like at the UN speaking, for the General Assembly last spring about it.

We're in like dialogue with 30 countries about organizing something called the Norman border pass apply one place, get 30 visas as a way to this sort of global citizenship route. Okay. So I think we were very good and right. I also think that this is still ahead of us, but this is this sort of global citizenship or whatever you could say it like internet social structures is ahead of us internet country however you want to define it.

The timing is still. It's still not perfectly there, but at some point it's in the very soon in the future, I think this will be like a major industry like AI or crypto. It's it's a whole bucket of things and that's also why we were hoping with Plumia, and what you were part of in the court is that.

We, we can't do it alone in a way. So we need to be this hub that kind of gathers and activates other projects in this realm. And of course there are tons of other cool projects. It's not like we are doing it alone. Like in crypto in particular, there's tons of super interesting projects. We're paying attention to them.

We're super supportive of them. And but, and where we're unique is in a, in that way, I mentioned at the beginning, it's this strategy of being more friendly to the existing order and providing this bridge. For the countries themselves, best exemplified with this Nomad Visa situation.

Curtis Duggan: So maybe to be really clear, when we're talking about a social safety net, in my, these are my words, not yours, but I've looked at it and seen it as something like, we haven't had much innovation in the concept of the nation state as created by philosophers in the 1600s and 1700s and in the post 1600s world.

First France and America. Got rid of kingdoms and started to, it took hundreds of years, but there became nation, modern liberal capitalist nation state democracies, and then there were still, fascists and things like that. And then. Eventually, by the 1960s, the colonialism around the world started to break away, and we got to the end of the 20th century with not every country, but most countries have a certain model, and that model is that, there's some educating the children, taxing the workers, and taking care of old people, and that for the first time or in the coming decades, we may find other entities in the new Internet context where it's not necessarily the land based post Westphalia nation state that educates you, provides your income and then your pension or social security or whatever you call it, but some other kind of entity, like maybe in, in Plumia's vision So I actually have, I have, I've always, I'm excited to ask you about this cause I've always had two hangups about this or just two things that I'm trying to get my head around.

And the first one is, so I won't talk single out Plumia, but I'll talk about, there is another project called Praxis and essentially wants to create a city in the Mediterranean. That is a new governance. Of course, they'll have to partner with it's, they're keeping it very secret, but they'll have to partner with Croatia or Montenegro or Albania or.

Wherever they're doing it at first. Similarly, there's another project in Honduras called Prospera, which partners and creates a special economic zone to run these new city, the first versions of these city experiments. What I don't, what I think is that of course there's a lot of optimism when you say it, like I'm a, not me, but like I'm a 28 year old nomad and I want to just be able to go to a new kind of governance or have a new kind of passport.

And it's just like a good person. Who's one of the, one of the good people. They don't commit crimes. They just want to travel. That all sounds great. It's provide a passport that gets you into eight, eight countries. But what I don't get is imagine you create the city where everybody's like minded.

We're all on the blockchain. We all have similar values. Unfortunately, what I know about social science and people and society is at some point, someone will murder someone, someone will commit white collar crime on the territory or in the jurisdiction of this new governance. And it seems like the whole point of nation states, the ugly truth is that there are.

Multi hundred year old legal systems, civil society, police officers, firefighters, and I don't hear about that so much when it, and so I'm not even asking about Plumio, I'm just observing some of the other projects and it's this is great that you all use aetherium and you have libertarian tax brackets and.

And you can share values, et cetera. But what happens when there's a bombing? What happened? Like nations have to deal with real shit. And some of these places, I don't get how they're going to deal with that. I'm not saying that they don't have a plan, but that's like point one and the other point is it's more on taxation.

So point two, if I'm indulging myself a little bit is I see nomads saying, it's annoying to have to pay tax. I'm only there for six weeks. I want to go here. I want to go there. There's a group of libertarian nomads that are explicitly saying I am trying to get to zero percent tax. And it feels if the world just creates some loophole where you can go to six different countries, never be in a residence somewhere, that doesn't seem like something the existing nation States would be totally okay with, billionaires are smart.

And if we create a system where you can just exit like we're already dealing with that, but I feel like nomads are sometimes too optimistic about isn't taxation and annoying and I'm not. So I'm not saying that's what Plumio thinks. I'm not saying that's what you think, but those two things like crime and bad things happening and armies and navies and police officers.

I don't hear much about that in these special new video Nation network stakes, cities, what happens there? And then taxation is another one. So I'm just laying it out. The two things that I'm like, those seem like huge problems.

Sondre Rasch: I great. And I also love the way you describe things, the problem solution space in the beginning there.

It's fantastic. Okay. So bad shit happening. I guess to, to start with, while adjacent. Intellectually, there is a difference in the kind of problems let's say internet citizenship and Prospera, has to deal with because we're not holding, we're not holding any land.

And we also have this like huge benefit, which nation states really don't have. They could take this back. But in modern times, they're reluctant to banish people. Okay. Which is that we could just say you can't be a member anymore. So it's like an easy fix.

And other than that, we are we're a layer on top of and will be for a long time layer on top of various geographies being ruled by anything from like modern liberal democracies to less developed situations. And that's just the way it is. So that's just, that's what, the future will be like for a while.

I do think that, like when we, in that. Nation states scenario, when we went from city states to nation states, that was technologically driven. Eventually the higher layer does, get more and more say, even though the city government, still exists and there is a distribution of tasks between them, I do suspect that it will go in a similar way, similar direction here which I think is very good because it brings with us.

Reduction in, I think it can reduce conflict over time. But but yeah so that's that, that's roughly like for safe doing, it's easier we don't have a lot of the shit you're thinking about. We're not, Prospera will have to deal with, but we don't have to, and we have a tool that they don't, which is just.

You just cancel your membership.

Curtis Duggan: Yeah. Yeah, you don't have to forcibly extradite someone from a piece of land.

Sondre Rasch: Okay. So that's one. But as for them, I haven't thought enough about it. I would agree with you, right? So it's if you look at historically, There's Hong Kong, but Hong Kong existed because UK protection and then there's Singapore who kind of self was a bit of a self made country, but, that's 5 percent of GDP in military and like just being completely paranoid about their own security, in the early decades.

It's one of those two, right? If you see Paul Romer, Charter City, like they're all looking at Hong Kong. They're all saying host. It's like basically, protective country that they want to be under some other orders protection. At least in the beginning, that seems to be their plan because going the Singapore way, it's just very expensive.

So yeah I'm very glad this project exists because I do think we need competition in governance and that they will introduce this and. But yeah I'm also glad I don't have to solve that problem. Good luck to them. Number two. Can you remind me the question? Was it taxation?

Curtis Duggan: Yeah it's taxation. And so like very briefly, I'll try and reframe it from the way I said it first. I see nomads. There's a couple, there's two different groups. One group of nomads is it's annoying to fill out forms. I don't want to have to go to six countries and change my residency.

Why can't there just be a nomad passport? Like something, the vision of Plumia might be working on, but it, but I also find there's a flip side where they're almost like, isn't tax annoying. And it's yeah, it is. But like the grown, like as a grown up, you're not just going to wave on the one hand that you're not just going to say this isn't, this is bad UX.

Like people will say the tax things are bad UX. And it's yeah, the countries don't care. They need their tax. Like they're not going to stop doing it because it's bad UX. They're not a private company that fixes their UX. Or if they don't do it very quickly. And then the second side is there's active libertarians that are saying, My goal, their whole Twitter persona is I am avoiding tax and I'm going and structuring like that.

And I'll sell you a course on how to do that. And so all I'm saying is I'm not trying to criticize other of those two groups. I'm just saying maybe the kind, like the kinds of people you're talking to when you say you're talking to 30 nations, you created the nomad visas. There's obviously something there that's working.

And there are examples of nomad visas where they're saying you don't have to pay tax, come for a year, no tax, which is shocking and interesting, but I'm just trying to think what's the next step? Are our country's going to be competing in a race to the bottom to not tax people and bring them in?

And how does that work? I love it. First of all, to be clear, I love it, but I'm thinking of more like a policy person, Ooh, that could get weird. Yeah.

Sondre Rasch: No, for sure. I have. Have thought through quite a bit. Just to say the question at first, let me just answer the question you did ask, but I thought you were asking for a second which is taxation by safety ring slash plumeo.

And essentially just to, I know you didn't ask that, but I just wanted to answer that because that question sometimes comes up.

Curtis Duggan: Yeah. Like

Sondre Rasch: will Plumia tax people? And the answer is no, it will be more like, it will be a product that costs a sum of money. In the end, that, that's ultimately what it will be.

And so even when you go to the most, let's say libertarian of the nomad subcultures which is a conference called Nomad Capitalist that we were taught. It's like everyone in that conference is like that. And they think Plumia is fantastic. Like they, they're like, yeah, get on with it. It's like, how much is it going to be? And we're like maybe this You know, maybe 500 and they're like, great, when is it, when can I buy it? So it's like it appeals to this group, right? Because what they're trying to avoid is like being forced to pay for something. They're not getting any value for that.

They don't want, it's not like that. They're against buying a product. I think is cool, voluntarily. So the voluntary aspect here just complete this flips the switch, as far as how we appear to this kind of nomad. Subculture. Okay. And then but then to the question you did ask.

So how will this dynamic evolve with the countries? And I think this is so crucial because I think it can go both ways. There is a disopening and utopian possibility here, and we saw, I would say we saw this out of the gate and this in foreign strategy quite a bit. And I thought about, which is that you've seen in other industries.

Where people either, where the existing industry went into fight mode or like trying to win mode and which way they choose is very, it makes it very different how it is to be in that industry. So the kind of prime example of what you don't want is the music industry where it started out with Napster.

And then every, the whole industry just went into the bunker and just sued everyone who started a music startup for a decade. And I know a couple of them. And this was no fun if you were in the records either, which I also talked to them like they're just like in perpetual conflict. Death and dread all the time for the entire 2000s.

And then of course, Spotify comes and eventually this thing like blows over and now like the streaming is everything, those 10 years were painful and could have been avoided and also delayed the advent of like good streaming products by a lot. Okay. So that's and what we want to do is we get when it tilt the country's.

into the mode of Oh, this is an opportunity. We want to succeed because that's true. It's true that for the countries, this does have two sides to it. It's not there's, Oh, the we might get this person lost test or tax revenue. Yeah that's possible, but it's also possible that you can attract like these like knowledge workers, high income, entrepreneurs to your country who don't compete for any of the existing jobs and just contribute positively to the economy, like a tourist.

And so that logic is also true. And if we get them into that mode of trying to win. Trying to attract, then you get this you can call it a race to the bottom, but I would say it's a lot much more positive race, right? Instead of trying to ban and make illegal, the kind of like country equivalent of suing anyone who tries, they can try to win.

And that's, I think, the key victory of the Nomad Visa development is tilting the countries in this direction. They're trying to win. And they're trying to get these people to come to their shores and making like huge policy concessions and work to do that. So I think once you get that dynamic going, it tends to continue.

So now I have a high, I have a high confidence that this will tend to continue that people, they will just up the ante. In trying to attract this sort of citizen and company to their shores. Okay so that's roughly how I think, but yeah if you assume to an emergent effect that you implied, like this change over time, the ability for entities to tax, I do think this is also the case.

Yes, it doesn't happen in the short term, but on the long term, it does happen. And that's probably going to have to be an adjustment that. The countries will have to make I'm not exactly sure how, where it lands, but, we've seen it in other industries that go global, that this does happen.

It happened with shipping in the beginning of the 1900s, like suddenly at the same time, all the people who did shipping, they discovered at the same time that you could just have the company that owned the ship anywhere because you go between countries on the open ocean. And they all discovered that all at once and then there was this like rush to and that's where a lot of these offshore jurisdictions were created was for this purpose.

And so they would create the, their company there and you had the way countries reacted to that was in a few different ways. You had a few countries like Norway and Greece, who tried to win and good on them because they actually still we're able to attract and have still a lot of that industry there.

And then you had a lot of the other industries who tried to stop it by making it illegal. And, of course, what data is just drive out every single. Part of that industry from their country completely. And they certainly weren't able to stop it. Like the only thing that could really stop is the, a ship going between two cities within that country.

So I think you'll have a similar dynamic here when, people are, these kind of internet citizens and the companies too. And they are, they actually if a country sucks, they could just move to another one their company or their residents. You introduce competition and that competition will reduce your ability to the amount of fees you can charge.

You basically leave a monopoly situation and enter into a more competitive one. But it won't reduce it completely. So there will still be, the equivalent of the use case of going a ship between 2 cities in the same country. There will still be kind of areas. That can be taxed because it's fully controlled within that country.

It's just not going to be anything that happens on internet basically is going to be.

Curtis Duggan: Yeah, I like to tend towards the utopian vision in the sense that I think, so I think there will be a 10 or 20 year huge adjustment for, I'm Canadian. So I, I like I'm for like the universal healthcare that I had growing up.

I think it should continue. I am. I sound American, sound North American, but I'm, I like a lot of the stuff that Canada does. Yeah. There's a lot of people in the community that don't though. And it's let's move, let's go move where we're treated best. And I get that too.

I'm actually very, I'm very sympathetic to that, but what I think, so what I think is let's call it the left leaning governments in terms of if we want to fix problems, we can tax the rich more. I think the simple reality is whether you're left wing libertarian or right wing, the governments that lean towards that idea of we should tax the rich more are simply just going to have a problem of.

The rich can leave and they always could do that, but it's like the bar has gone a lot lower. It's more like someone making a hundred thousand dollars can leave and just get a digital Roman visa and switch to residency where that was hard to do in even 2010. And so that's just the reality, whether you're left wing or right wing, they're going to have to adapt to this form of competition.

And I almost feel like going back to classical liberal ideas, the idea that Compete by forcing people to stay in your country because it's hard to get a visa. It's like, why am I not leaving Canada if I don't want to be here? Oh, it's 10 grand for the visa and I might not get the visa or leaving India for an h1b It's almost like that.

Those are unfair rules Whereas capital can move around boom like that with a wire transfer, most people Need years, five years ago, most people needed years of work and planning and possible rejection to switch their country. And so I think I'm sure as you believe in terms of what you've chosen to dedicate your life to right now, you agree at least somewhat, but I think that the competition is good and.

It will just be a forcing function like that. And so I'm sympathetic to the idea of countries getting hollowed out and governments that want to tax to support services feeling a flight. It's just the reality of the middle class in the 30 years ago, there were, there's a G7 or, six countries that everybody wanted to move to, For the American dream or the equivalent in places like the UK and France and Australia, lots of immigration in, and just having a level playing field where there's 50 or 70 countries that are saying, please come here.

We're competing for your interest. I would say that it's going to be messy politically. This is my prediction. Messy politically for 10 years, but we can get to a more utopian vision where we have better productivity and people are more free to sort themselves where they want to go. And so I think that not everyone will be happy, but we are working towards some kind of utopia.


Sondre Rasch: I think so too. And I think this moment in time is this great opportunity to create. A bit more utopian social structure and, obviously I'm dedicating my life to this because I do think that there's so much entropy on the internet in social structures and people are a bit blind to it.

And we need to create this new social structures very quickly. And, I hope we can be that interface to this like internet world for the kind of the countries and that they will seize the upside, just to, if there's anyone from a country listening, like there is a lot of upside here if you do it correctly, there are ways of taxing, for example that still work for tourists, like VAT, right? Like consumption based taxes still are paid for by the equivalent of tourists. So if you can attract. No matter workers from old companies, you get this like flourishing economy that, it can still contribute to, your taxable base.

And what you want is actually to make yourself as attractive as possible for this, new global workforce. And, that can set up your economy for the 21st century in a great way. And if you're a citizen, just like realizing that this is the reality we're already living in.

This is the economy, it's already global via the internet, the labor market. Most product markets and, but most people haven't realized it yet. So there's still so much opportunity from just being an early mover. And and it's really needed. Is

Curtis Duggan: there any particular country or group of countries that.

you feel has done the Nomad visa or the remote visa the best?

Sondre Rasch: I almost everyone did it the same way, by the way, which is, there is some up and down, but it's like 50k.

Yeah. And and a couple of other things, but not that much more, like none of them did. Or a host country requirements, which is like every other visa is like super rigid on. Sorry,

Curtis Duggan: what is that? What is a host country

Sondre Rasch: requirement? For example, you might say oh, this visa you can apply for this visa, but you can only apply if you're from these 74 countries.

I see. I got it. That's a big difference. So that, that was the biggest mistake they can end up in. So frankly I'm thrilled to, to have a, an income requirement. It's not free, but it's it's it's a. Fair limit that, it's achievable if you get an online job, it's within the range of the possible.

So I think it's I think it's actually a pretty great start. I, I wouldn't have and most people implemented that version. There's a couple of like twists and turns, like curiosities, but in terms of the base implementation the people who did a three year or five year ultimate unlimited renewable, which is the most common option.

I think that's the right implementation. So I'm thinking of the nomads logically a bit more like tourists than temporary residents in some sense. I think it's just a more state of mind to approach it by to understand the upside and the downside. It has more similar yeah.

They're not immigrants. Yeah. So I wouldn't point to them. The things that point out when I think about specific countries are the few that did like different things, but they, the main, the mainstream thing is better than the exceptions.

Curtis Duggan: We're at the end of our hour. Sandra, it's been great having you on the podcast.

Just maybe one last question. What are you most excited for in 2024, whether it's something you're releasing or just a trend that you're seeing? What can, what's exciting in next year?

Sondre Rasch: We are working on two of the most exciting projects ever in Safe2Win, we're working on the kind of social safety net membership.

Hopefully we'll be able to launch it in 2024 it's our Gagantian undertaking. It's what the company was founded to build. And we're, last this year, we were able to get some of the key infrastructure in place to work on our vision product. So that's that.

And then, we have the Nomad border pass in some iteration as well. Which is this thing we've been talking about. So two of the most exciting projects I've ever been working on. So that's it. Great.

Curtis Duggan: We'll look out for that and we'll put information about you and about Safety Wing in the show notes as you'd expect.

And thanks again for taking this hour to jump on Remotely

Sondre Rasch: Serious. Thanks Curtis.

Curtis Duggan

Curtis Duggan

Curtis is a serial tech entrepreneur, content creator and the host of the Remotely Serious podcast on the future of remote work and digital nomadism.


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