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What’s your story?

I’m just the standard American, from the east coast, who got hooked on Asia, after teaching English in Japan. Four years ago, I started a live/work/travel community, Outpost, now with four co-living properties in SE Asia.

My years away from Asia took me from the White House to Wall Street. In Uganda, I managed an NGO, and worked at a university in Lithuania.

I also took second place in a slam dunk contest in high school.

What excites you most about your industry?

I love introducing people to new cultures, and more importantly, opening their eyes to their own.  I get to do that while meeting dynamic Outpost members who are trying to live life on their terms, while still struggling to make an impact. I use struggle in a positive sense because nothing rewarding comes easily.

What’s your connection to Asia?

After Japan, I traveled through Asia. Entranced by the warmth of the people, especially in Indonesia, I returned often: a stint at the UN in Jakarta, fellowships at Tokyo University and Japan’s economy ministry.

In 2015, after five years bouncing between China, Indonesia and Japan, consulting and researching new metal resources needed for a future green society, I wrote a book, “The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the struggle for a sustainable future in the Rare Metal Age.”

During my travels, I saw so many people working in coffee shops. I wondered, why not just escape the city? I wanted to empower city dwellers to live lives of exploration and growth. So we set up Outpost in Bali in 2016 as a community for them to escape to.


Check out Callum Laing’s entire interview on Empirics Asia here.