Dr. Heidi interviews Raj Malhotra, CEO, InvenTrust.
My sense of the possibilities of a peripatetic life began as a child growing up in a family that traveled more than most. As a journalist who featured the lives and challenges of prominent women leaders, my mom’s range was unusual for most women in the traditional Indian society where we lived. As a result I never associated home-making with a particular gender role. My dad ran an aviation industry business and his own regular travels inculcated in me a sense that my home is the world.
So, adventures on the seven seas came naturally to me and just in the past few years (before the pandemic) my passports bear stamps from Japan, Iceland, China, Mexico, Italy, South Africa and likely another 10 countries. These travels give voice to an innate drive to not just be a visitor or a spectator and instead live an engaged multi-local life — immersed in communities in multiple parts of the world that allow me to explore the frontiers of my passions in art, tech, science, and food.
Taking a plunge into the unknown is something that I learned at an early age. I was among a tiny number of international student undergraduates at my Ivy League college, and then after a promising early career with Fortune 100 companies, I took the much riskier and arduous path of entrepreneurship. This path allowed me to remain true to my vision of building organizations that combine profit with purpose — while living by my own lights (which is a mantra for most nomads!) On this journey I founded and built a few thriving businesses, including a 2500-person remote workforce comprised primarily of moms in developing countries who wanted to achieve a better work-life-balance and used our pioneering networks to provide documentation services to hospitals and clinics around the world. Today, I’m again helping usher in the next generation of virtual work through a trusted co-op infrastructure that can serve as the fabric for a co-op for global nomads. This organization — InvenTrust — provides digital platforms to help nomads to earn value from their creative assets — whether these are videos, inventions, artworks, datasets, or software apps while benefiting other nomads too!
Nomadic instincts also allow me to build my own creative repertoire in food and cooking — so that even during the isolation imposed by the pandemic I was able to “get away” through culinary excursions in my own kitchen! The languages of trade and translation that are germane to a nomadic life have also inspired a first novel that I’m writing. The novel deals in part with worlds that are going through rapid decentralization — such as contemporary art, intangible assets, and cryptocurrency — and touches on the richness that a decentralized (aka nomadic) paradigm can offer us.
Although I have laid down roots and built a nest in the Boston area, the desire to build and live in 2-3 nests around the world is alive within me again especially in the context of imminent family transitions. I look forward to engaging with the Global Nomad Hacks ecosystem as I evolve the next phase of this journey.
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