Allowing society to function may not be worth the feeling you have, of being trapped in a monotonous job with little creative freedom and much frustration.
If this is you, maybe you’ve thought about what your “dream job” would be. Maybe it’s at a Fortune 500 company that provides you phenomenal benefits and covetous looks from friends.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Austinites Ben Hoffman and Cedric Dahl landed your “dream job” early in life. They worked at Microsoft. Cedric was involved with the release of Windows Live, and Ben helped bring you Halo.
You might think they were happy and fulfilled. After all, Microsoft sure beats McDonald’s. But this story highlights a deep truth: we all desire something deeper, no matter what kind of 9-5 we work.
Nerd Tribe Unites
Cedric and Ben weren’t happy at Microsoft. The amazing pay, benefits and status at Microsoft didn’t equate to fulfillment, and they knew there must be more. So they jumped ship and started a company of their own.
In a short time, the two had earned enough from their new company to take time off from work altogether. They traveled for almost a year, from southeast Asia to survival school to hiking across the United States.
But after living their childhood dreams, it was time to look to their next big thing.
Cedric describes their thought process at the time: “We value really cool people, and we like to build stuff….We need a nerd army. Let’s build that.”
“Let’s build that” sums up an attitude of confidence and dedication that Cedric and Ben embody. Their “nerd army” took form in the Nerd Tribe, a creative, social experiment in tribal living that is based in a house on the east side of Austin, where Tribe members live and work together.
Nerd Tribe Projects: Technology and Art
We enjoyed sitting down with Cedric and Ben at Nerd Tribe HQ, and meeting their nerd partners Drew and Brandon. Together, they all focus on projects related to art and technology. The projects may be entirely their own, or they may help others with short-term projects and retain equity.
The Nerd Tribe’s first project was a documentary entitled People in Motion, the love child of a successful Kickstarter campaign. People in Motion displays the talent and creativity of parkour athletes around the country, and it’s an impressive watch for uncoordinated humans like me.
People in Motion inspired a second project, a small camera accessory called Easy Time Lapse that attaches to your iPhone and your camera and makes time lapse creation a cinch.
Nerd Tribe has other projects in the works, including a “visual Wikipedia” called Wiki Vizi, which currently allows you to visually discover and explore the topics of podcast episodes without having to listen through an entire episode to find the information you want.
There’s something about the guys at the Nerd Tribe that strikes a chord. I believe they’re doing something that we would all do, if we could get up the nerve. Who doesn’t want to spend their life doing what’s fulfilling and sustainable, rather than a hum-drum day job that just pays the bills and results in burnout?
Cedric and Ben jealousy defend their concept, not wanting it to slowly morph into what we’d consider normal. After each project, Tribe members must take a mandatory one-month vacation to refresh and regroup. But overall, the organization is loose. The two co-founders insist that they’re not interested in owning things or people. They do want to methodically move forward and make progress with their experiment. With one successful project under their belt and more in working development, it’s clear that they are.
I encourage you to keep an eye on Austin’s Nerd Tribe. I don’t think we’ll ever stopped being surprised by what they can do, or what they want to do. When asked what his dream project would be, Ben replied that he’d love to write a screenplay for a zombie western.
Cedric says that he’s doing his dream project; it’s the Nerd Tribe. “We do. And we are very focused on the steps to doing. There’s an art to doing. We try to do things in a way that’s f***ing amazing.”
Learn more about the Nerd Tribe on their website.