Kean wanted to be able to build a digital business that he could work on from anywhere in the world, a lifestyle business that fulfils a very specific desire. Read his fascinating story, as the business has now started to scale.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Kean Graham: I was born in Alberta, Canada. My family moved to a small town called Golden, BC when I was eight years old. It’s in the Rocky Mountains of Canada and they started a bed and breakfast in the mountains. We actually lived for five years on solar power. I grew up appreciating having electricity and being conservative and sustainable. From there, I went to Victoria, BC which I now call home.
Sramana Mitra: What about college? What did you do for education?
Kean Graham: I went to University of Victoria and got my degree in Business. I was there for about four years. I enjoyed the university and the education I got. That propelled me to get my first job with an online classified firm. I was the first marketing hire. That was my introduction to the digital industry.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do when you came out of college?
Kean Graham: I got that first job with that online classified firm called UsedEverywhere. They have a collection of online classifieds across Canada, US, and UK. It was a startup owned by a large newspaper company. That was my introduction to the digital industry and I was able to learn an amazing amount. It was a crash course in terms of digital marketing and was a great stepping stone towards becoming an entrepreneur.
Sramana Mitra: In the history of digital, where are we?
Kean Graham: I accepted the job at the end of 2007. I worked with them for a little over a year.
Sramana Mitra: What happens in 2008?
Kean Graham: I worked with them for the full year. The beginning of 2009 was the early days of the recession. It was owned by a newspaper company and they went from investing long-term to making profits right away. They decided to lay off the whole marketing department. I was surprised at not having a job but I decided to turn a bad thing into a good thing.
I took off in a plane to South America five days later to go on a five-month backpacking trip. I had an amazing experience. I fell in love with traveling. In the fourth month, I went to Machu Picchu with a great group. Towards the end of the trip, I was on top of Huayna Picchu, which is the background of Machu Picchu. I climbed up and was looking at the view. It really struck me. I was reflecting on my trip. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had. I want to be able to work and travel wherever I want. I started a location-independent business so I can choose my location and if I decide to continue traveling, all I need is an Internet connection and a laptop.