Yesterday I returned from a trip to San Francisco. It was my first time visiting the US. My main objective was to open a bank account for our newly formed US based company and to have some meetings with investors and friends.
I have done business related things in Denmark, Taiwan, Bosnia, Chile, Seychelles, Singapore, Cyprus and now the US. Doing business is defined by fx. opening a company, dealing with other companies, opening bank accounts and operating things. This is a bit of my reflection on doing business in the US.
Opening a company in the US
It's really easy to open a company in the US, at least in Delaware! You can do it online and you don't have to have any ties to the US. We used Ryan Roberts, because he was recommended by some of our friends. His services were about $1250 (and this price depends on what type of company you are opening). We opened a company in Delaware, which is recommend due to great tax laws. This whole process took about 2 weeks from start to finish!
In other countries it's almost impossible to open a business unless you are a citizen or resident of that country. And you sure as hell won't be able to do this online or do it in 2 weeks.
Some other countries, like Denmark, make it really easy to open a company as well. But I guess this is only for citizens or residents and not for everyone!
Some other countries, like Bosnia, make this process almost impossible and really slow. In Bosnia opening a company for Bosnian citizens is really complex - - and probably impossible for foreigners.
Opening a bank account in the US
Online it's really hard to open a bank account in the US as they require you to be there in person. This said, once you are there in person you can do this pretty easily.
We could open bank accounts with both Bank of America and Wells Fargo and we could open this in some hours (actually, we got both Internet banking, debit cards and access to merchant accounts in some hours!)
This is also very different from other countries. In most other countries it's impossible to open a bank account without being citizen or resident there. In the US you can open a bank account for your US company without having any ties to the US. And you can do this in some hours. Which is really incredible…
Opening a bank account is usually quite complex (or can be). We once tried to open a bank account in a bank from Singapore. It took them at least 1 month to do due diligence and after all this they required me to travel to Singapore so they could review my passport...
So far doing business in US has been amazing. The service has been outstanding and we have had zero hiccups. The only bad service we had was with the IRS (it's been slow and frustrating).
Other countries that want to attract businesses should really copy the model of the US and make it ridiculously easy to do business - even for people that are not their citizens or residents.
Some of my favorite animation movies are from Studio Ghibli, and more specifically Hayao Miyazaki. They are dreamy and insightful. If you haven't watched any of them I recommend starting with Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.
There's a small interview (about 20min):
Worth a watch:
Some smaller updates:
It's not something I follow that closely, but my blog has been read by more than 1 million unique people since its introduction! I plan to spend some more time blogging here in the upcoming time and I hope you stay tuned! Thanks for the support!
Has a lot of great insights and scaling strategies you might use. Recommended watching:
Great and insightful talk by the Clojure creator:
An amazing talk by Alex Martelli, the "Über Tech Lead" for Google. It is from this year's PyCon 2013, it has nothing to do with Python tho'!
I have a simple and neat productivity tip I want to share.
One of the things I noticed I do a lot (especially when presented with hard problems) is to procrastinate by opening my email, opening Hacker News or something similar. I think it's a fairly common thing for most people. The problem with this is that it's very unproductive: because the mind gets distracted, looses focus and needs to do constant context switching.
It's also ruins Flow, a state you want to be in:
There's a lot of scientific research on the matter that concludes that multi-tasking and constant context switching is really bad for your productivity.
Back to the tip! It's really simple:
I have found out that this improves my productivity greatly. You should try it out :-)
I also recently setup a pretty awesome home office (I don't work here all the days of the week, but the days I work here it's amazing):
I recently visited my first PyCon and held a talk about Redis, scaling and some libraries such as bitmapist!
The slide and video are already up: