After 15 fantastic years in Santa Barbara, we’ve officially moved to Melbourne, Australia!
I started a new job as Head of Product at Flippa.com – a company I’ve been following for years and have a special affinity for.
We’ve been planning to do this for quite a while, and are really excited to finally make it happen. But despite thinking & talking about it for ages, it has still been a very challenging thing to actually do.
Santa Barbara is an extremely tough community to leave, and we will miss it tremendously. Over the years I’ve written about my undying love for Santa Barbara – a city which punches so far above its weight in so many areas that it’s almost unfair. It has treated us both very well, and we’ve formed so many bonds & friendships over the years. We are keeping our house in Santa Barbara, and keeping Santa Barbara in our hearts.
But Australia has been calling, and it’s time to answer.
So why Australia?
This one’s easy. My wife is from Australia (specifically, Adelaide), and pound for pound it’s probably the greatest country in the world. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been head over heels for the country ever since I first lived there. I love the culture, I love the people, I love almost everything about it. But over the past few years this love has really started to bubble up to the surface.
The thing about Australia is that when you’re not there it doesn’t exist. If you live in America (or nearly anywhere else for that matter), Australia feels far away and you don’t think about it too much. It rarely makes hugely significant international news. It doesn’t start wars, its leaders are generally decent & agreeable, its people are happy and life is good.
And that’s just the problem. Despite one growing up there and both of us having lived there, it was starting to feel too much like a fading, distant memory. It’s as if we were watching Australia develop through a pair of binoculars, and the focus was getting harder and harder to dial in each year. We felt the need to rediscover a country & part of the world which we had once had a strong connection to – and still do – but that was at risk of somewhat slipping away. We didn’t want to let that happen.
This was a tougher decision. If you work in the IT sector, Australia is basically a two-city country: Sydney & Melbourne. Brisbane, Perth & Adelaide are all great cities, but they just plain don’t have enough opportunity – at least for our careers.
As anyone who’s visited knows, Sydney is absolutely gorgeous. Yes, it’s expensive as hell, but its lifestyle makes the cost worth it. Fantastic weather, stunning beaches baked right into the city, and what is probably the world’s single greatest harbor. But it’s got its problems too. Traffic is rough & the public transportation system isn’t fantastic; it’s kind of a pain in the ass to get around. It’s got just a wee bit of a “holier-than-thou” attitude (at least by Australian standards) and can be surprisingly frenetic & un-laid back as far as Aussie cities go. And the cost of living, my god… It’s no joke. If you’ve already got a great setup in Manly Beach or Double Bay – fantastic! But if you’re establishing a new life in the city and don’t have serious cash, it’d be difficult to get started.
Melbourne, on the other hand, just works. While it won’t win a beauty contest against Sydney, it is indeed very pretty, and routinely ranks in the top 5 most liveable cities in the world (nearly every city in AU/NZ is in the top 20).
Tremendously diverse and with an incredible food/coffee culture, Melbourne is the fastest-growing city in Australia, and will surpass Sydney in population within the next decade. This is not a city that’s afraid to build. Skyscrapers litter the CBD and close-in suburbs. There are interesting projects & buildings going up all the time. (For better or worse, this is nearly the exact opposite of Santa Barbara.) The transport network is solid – even far-reaching suburbs are pretty accessible. It feels like burgeoning Asian megacity downtown, surrounded by fantastic walkable inner suburbs and a leafy, relatable suburban ring.
A few years ago, partly in preparation for this move, I began freelancing along with a team of developers I knew from Romania. We had a lot of fun and worked on some cool projects, but I knew I didn’t want to do it forever. While freelancing with a client in Australia, through a connection, I got (re) introduced to Flippa.
Flippa is a marketplace to buy & sell businesses. Founded by the team behind 99 Designs and hired.com, Flippa has been around since 2009, and has brokered hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of digital businesses, domains, and websites. I sold an Ecommerce business myself on Flippa back in 2012.
I love what these folks have been cooking up lately. There are 28 million small businesses in the US alone, nearly all of which use traditional business brokers when they want to sell. There is so much potential to get these business onto our platform and in front of our huge network of buyers. It’s gonna be a fun ride.
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I’m really excited about this life change. When you get a different vantage point, it changes your perspective on things – almost always for the better. There’s few things I enjoy more than comparing & contrasting countries, and I plan on writing about my experiences.
I don’t know what else this move will uncover, but I know we want to broaden our horizons. On top of being closer to my wife’s family, we just flat out love traveling the world, and are excited to have a new “home base” from which to explore. It isn’t quite exploration for the sake of exploration, but it will allow us to see things we should have been able to see a long time ago, and haven’t really been able to until now. Cheers to new adventures to come.