Hi, I’m Kevin Weijers. The Chief Exploration Officer of this experiment. 🙋🏼♂️
On 3 December 2015 I boarded an airplane with a one-way ticket to Hanoi, a backpack, and a big smile on my face to start an adventure: Around the World in 80 Experiments.
A challenge to help companies all around the world launch new ideas in exchange for food and shelter.
WHY ’80 EXPERIMENTS AROUND THE WORLD’?
80 Experiments started out of curiosity. What would it be like to work for different companies all around the world? To become a part of new environments and continuously switch perspectives? To really experience how others live life, work, eat, get things done (or not), and go about their day? With 80 Experiments I want to become part of other cultures, while at the same time be of some value for the people I meet.
WHAT IS 80 EXPERIMENTS?
80 Experiments is a challenge to help companies all around the world launch new ideas in exchange for food and shelter. The ’80’ is inspired by Jules Verne’s around the world in 80 days. Unlike Jules, I don’t have a deadline. Currently, I’m 2,5 years underway and have completed 29/80 experiments in 20 different countries.
SO, YOU WORK IN EXCHANGE FOR FOOD AND SHELTER?
Yes, that’s correct. And sometimes the company I work for covers my flights as well.
WHAT KIND OF EXPERIMENTS DO YOU DO?
I help launch a new idea or solve an existing challenge. Usually, I ask: “What has been on your mind for weeks now, which you still haven’t been able to act upon?” Most of the time this results in an important but not so urgent project. I then break down this (complex) topic and turn it into a one-week experiment to test what works and what doesn’t. For example:
- I helped a professional soccer club in Singapore clarify their marketing by turning a 16-page magazine into a one-page infographic, resulting in a higher conversion rate for bringing in new sponsors.
- I helped a small business selling treadmill desks rethink their marketing and sales strategy by setting up the desks in open works spaces. This way people got curious and could experience you can work and walk at the same time, instead of us trying to convince them by reasoning. The business sold its entire shipment of treadmill desks shortly after.
- I co-created an accelerator program in Cape Town with the Dutch Consulate General that connected Dutch entrepreneurs with South African business for two weeks to solve local challenges and penetrate the Dutch market.
But I also did more ‘random’ things, like:
- Collecting 2800 euros for a charity by hiking up and down 3 mountains in Cape Town in one day.
- Making wine on Sicily — crushing grapes bare feet was a true bucket list item.
- Co-hosting the morning show at the most popular radio station HitzFM! in Malaysia (2+ million listeners!)
HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR EXPERIMENTS?
It varies. Sometimes one experiment leads to the next. Sometimes I get referred by friends or people I know. Sometimes people walk up to me after I did a talk. Sometimes I cold approach companies that are on this list. Sometimes I have no idea how things happen…
HOW DOES AN EXPERIMENT WORK?
But after getting in touch with someone at a company, it typically works likes this:
- You send me your idea or challenge you’re facing.
- I come up with a one week experiment.
- I visit, you accommodate room and board.
- We (or I) run the experiment.
- We cheer on our learnings and achievements.
- I help you continue based on what we’ve experienced.
- Jan sells treadmill desks and wants to add some creativity to his marketing and sales.
- My thinking: I think it’s important people experience for themselves it’s possible to work while walking on a treadmill desk. I also think we can use curiosity to our advantage—since a treadmill desk grabs your attention the first time you see one, and you start to wonder if it works.
- I fly to Cape Town. Jan prepared a bed in the office and paid for my food.
- The experiment: We find places where many different people gather to work (preferably shared office spaces), set up treadmill desks, and get as many people on them to experience using a treadmill desk for themselves.
- The approach works, and word spreads. We celebrate with beers and biltong on top of Table Mountain.
- I fly home, and Jan continues to sell his whole shipment of treadmill desks in the following months.
THIS SOUNDS COOL, MAY I CARRY YOUR BAG?
Sure! And you know what would be even cooler? If you get me in touch with someone abroad!
WHAT IF I KNOW SOMEONE OR A COMPANY YOU SHOULD WORK FOR?
Thank you so much already! If you know someone or a company, please let me know, and share this page with them. This way they can get a feel for what 80 Experiments is all about. Then I can get in touch with him/her/them and meet over Skype to talk things through. Again, thank you so much!
WHAT IF I AM SOMEONE (AT A COMPANY) YOU SHOULD WORK FOR?
What are you waiting for — Get in touch, and I’ll be on my way!
WHAT IF I FIRST WANT TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE?
Well, to get a first impression, this is me doing an 8-minute TEDx-talk to pitch 80 Experiments.