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Why we moved part of our startup team to Bali

For most startups who turn to their mentors, experts and potential investors to ask for advice about hiring, they will tell you; Hire careful, fire fast and attract people who are ‘smarter’ than you.

Ok, this makes sense we thought…

So, how do we find and attract people who are ‘smarter’ than ourselves? After reading some blog posts by  joelonsoftware and 37signals we found out we needed to build a company where the “best” people wanted to work.

Again, makes sense we thought…

What makes us unique?

Before writing the job descriptions, we made a list of ‘things’ that would motivate people to come and work with us:

Unfortunately, as a startup (and not a fortune-500 company) we could not really compete on the last bullet point. But we could make a difference with regard to the other reasons.

Vicancy goes Bali & testing our assumptions

When we launched this campaign on Elance/ Odesk we did not expect such an overwhelming response. Within the first week our campaign went viral on Twitter and we received more than 150 applications from all over the world.

Wow, we thought! We can actually make this happen..

After bringing back the applications from 150 to just potential 10 candidates, we scheduled test projects for each position and several skype interviews.  After these procedures we invited our ‘winning’ candidates to the Netherlands to get to know the rest of the team.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 12.08.40

Besides the selection procedure, this August my co-founder and me were ‘forced’ to go on an expedition trip to Bali; verifying the most important hypotheses about living and working in Bali.

And so here we are. Moving half of our startup team to Bali.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 12.09.05

Business development (left) in The Netherlands and Product development in Bali (right)


Why all this effort?

You might be thinking: “why put all the effort in going to Bali?

In about one week from now our Bali team will move to their new destination and hopefully up and running by the first week of October.

Questions about taking your own startup to Bali? Leave a comment below.     

loetGuest post by Loet Rammelsberg, co-founder of Vicancy,  with our video advertorial platform we are leveraging the opportunities of video and social media to help companies find and recruit new employees.



Banner image credits: Robert S. Donovan
Other photo’s: Vicancy

  1. Sieuwert van Otterloo says:

    Great story. I have thought about this when I was at Bali as a tourist, but never dared to do the math. Is the time difference an impediment however? Calling with Europe must be inconvenient.

    • We tested it this summer and it turned out to be pretty good actually. Especially the first part of the day (until 3 o’clock) is really productive and afterwards there’s 3 hours of chatting/ skyping available with NL. More then enough. Note: biz team stays in NL

  2. Great story guys. Spoke to you when you were examining the idea. Great that you got so many applications and managed to find these top guys. You’re have a remarkable company in lots of ways. Enjoy and succes.

  3. Wouter says:

    He Loet,
    nice article, but i have still some questions.
    How do you check as CEO your employees in Holland when you are in Bali? Especially because they are hired to be smarter then you are.
    And you’re not afraid your time schedule will start to shift from utc+8 to utc+1? Step by step of course.
    Great to hear from you!

    • Hi Wouter,

      good question, i wont be moving to Bali. Only Pieter will. As the CEO i will be in the lead for business side of things and Pieter as CTO for product side of things.


      ps. it might indeed turn out that Pieter will be up late for quite some times..

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