Over the last few years, we have watched as our nephew (a self-proclaimed techno-geek) has developed himself into a ‘virtual employee’. His stated goal has been to be as free from working in a fixed ‘bricks and mortar’ office environment as possible. Fortunately, our nephew is in a type of business that may lend itself more to virtualization than other types of business.

Our nephew, and his immediate famliy members, used to own and operate a fairly large wholesale distribution company (i.e. warehouses, trucks, wholesale outlet locations – lots of real world bricks and mortar). That business was sold a few years back, and now the family is primarily involved in utilizing the proceeds from their business sale in investment banking and venture capital endeavors. The current activities of the immediate family lend themselves quite well to ‘virtualization’.

Our Nephew’s first major step in becoming a virtual employee was extensive use of a cell phone. In particular, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) style of cell phone is required. First, PDA type cell phones usually allow a plethora of business oriented activities like calendars, extensive categorized contact databases, memo and note databases, email, text messaging, and the list keeps growing in functionality as more and more small efficient software applications become available for PDA cell phones. Second, choose a cell phone network provider that has a large footprint. Personally, as a Managing Partner of a regional Internet Service Provider, and while on vacation at the top of Machu Picchu in Peru, I actually took a cell phone support call internationally routed through the park headquarters cell tower. The point is that you can have most of your basic office functions with a PDA type cell phone, and with the right provider, literally be almost anywhere on the planet (ok, I admit there aren’t a lot of cell phone towers in Antarctica…. yet).