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The Benefits of Working Remotely from a Number8 Developer

This week on the blog, one of our very own developers turned team leaders, Max Madrigal shares his experience with working remotely.

Having joined the Number8 team in 2013, Max worked as a developer for 3 years. During that time he was given the opportunity to grow into a leadership role, and as a result has been a team lead for nearly 4 years now.

How did Max know he wanted to work remotely?

“After trying to have my own company in Costa Rica, I realized I wanted a job that could offer me a similar lifestyle to that of an entrepreneur. Though running my own company didn’t work out, the experience really taught me how to manage my own time.”

With the help of a few referrals, Max came aboard Number8.

“The recruiters at Number8 really helped me hone my English language skills. They saw something in me and took the time to pair me with the right customer.”

Everyday Madrigal enjoys the diversity of working remotely.

“I get to interact with people from all different backgrounds, and often in many different parts of the world.” And even though he often works from home or in an internet cafe, everyday is different. “I’m always meeting new people and doing new things; whether it’s researching solutions or developing new tech.”

Max is in charge of two development teams. 

As team lead, Max is tasked with reviewing their progress, coordinating meetings with the customer, as well as helping his team solve issues as they arise. “Often we work in the time zone of the user so we can have meetings with them.”

One of the many benefits of working remotely for Max has been the ability to travel.

Hungary, Colombia, Guatemala, Chicago, Argentina, Chile, Panama and Honduras are among the many places Madrigal has checked off his bucket list. He also spent 5 months in Europe exploring Germany, London, Venice, France and Norway, where he was able to see the northern lights. “There’s just nothing you can really compare that with.”

Throughout his travels, Madrigal was able to keep working without a beat.

During his free time, he has trained for and participated in 3 marathons. “I would get up at 5am and train for an hour, come home to shower and eat breakfast, and then work until disconnecting at 5pm.”

While working remotely usually comes with the misconception of always having to be on the clock, for Max it has been nothing short of a freeing experience.

“The support has been amazing. I have been able to communicate with the customer and manage my own time without any restrictions.” Depending on the day, Max often travels to his parent’s town to be with them or his brother’s family as well as friends within his local area.

When his nephew Sebastian was diagnosed with cancer last year, his brother’s family was forced to move to Costa Rica and then Argentina in order to receive the proper treatment. “It was a really hard time for the whole family. However, I was able to make the transition with my brother and sister-in law. I had the ability to go to the hospital and work around their needs. This really made the difference during a time period that would have otherwise made it difficult for the family to support themselves while getting the right treatment.” Sebastian has now recovered from the tumor, has his vision and is a healthy and happy boy enjoying his sister. “I am more than grateful for having the opportunity to stay extremely close to family.”

At Number 8, we help companies connect with qualified remote employees to help with software development. We also focus on helping companies improve their internal IT processes. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

 

Blue Zones: What They Are & Where to Find Them

In 2003, journalist Dan Buettner discovered 5 places in conjunction with National Geographic, where people tend to live longer and healthier lives than those around the rest of the world. Dubbed the “Blue Zones” because of “the blue circles researchers drew to identify the first one on a map,” the inhabitants of these locations have a high average life expectancy, with large percentages of people living to be over 100.

People who live in these 5 regions do so often without the aid of medications and hindrance of chronic illness. Their longevity can be attributed to a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, exercise and low stress levels. A sense of purpose stems from family, religion, and regular social engagement within their communities. Food is consumed fresh, and consists mostly of plant based dishes made from native vegetables, fruits, fish and nuts. Daily activity dictates that locals traverse by foot, so physical movement, sustainability and socialization come naturally.

Visit one of the 5 blue zones and you’ll find warm beachy weather and a love for nature. However, even if you never jet set from coast to coast, perhaps there is still a lot one can glean in the hopes of pursuing a better life style. 

The 5 Blue Zones

  • Sardinia, Italy

    • The first zone to ever be identified, Sardinia is home to the biggest population of male centenarians in the world. Due to it’s geographical isolation, genes have been passed down from generation to generation containing the M26 marker. This M26 marker has been linked to a longer life span. 
  • Okinawa, Japan

    • Okinawa makes up the south pacific islands of Japan. Here the women happen to live longer than other females across the globe. They value support groups, or what they call “moai” a lifelong group of peers there to help you through life’s struggles. They also work hard to develop “ikigai” or a reason for being that helps center, motivate, and fulfill them. 
  • Loma Linda, California

    • The only zone within the U.S., Loma Linda is a city in San Bernardino County, California. The Seventh-day Adventist Church (a Protestant Christian denomination) is prominent in the community. Those that reside here outlive their fellow Americans by a full decade. This is possibly due to a strict adherence to the Sabbath (a day of rest), the fact that their health is central to their faith, and that they don’t partake in tobacco or alcohol use. 
  •  Nicoya, Costa Rica

    • Located on Costa Rica’s pasific coast, this Latin American paradise has a thriving healthcare system and economy.  The locals have what they call a “plan de vida” or life plan that provides them with a purpose and enables their elders to continue to seek an active life.  
  • Ikaria, Greek

    • Ikaria is an island in the Aegean Sea known for it’s islander’s pride and traditional values. Here it is normal to live into your 90s. The people come and go as they please, as the concept of time is less rigid than in the modern world. 

No matter where your company calls home, Number8 can help your business connect to top tech talent. If you want to learn more about our consulting process and why we are the perfect offshore software development company to help you reach your company’s goals, then give us a call at (502) 890-7665 today!

Blue Zones of The World: Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

Blue Zone in Costa RicaThe Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica could contain all the secrets to living a long, healthy life. There are regions of the earth specifically identified by their inhabitants. Blue Zones are areas in which the world’s longest-lived people reside. People who have lived beyond the average life span are concentrated these areas because of the resources and the communal way of life. The five Blue Zones that have been discovered and researched include cities is Italy, Japan, California, Greece, and Costa Rica.

According to the Blue Zones website, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica holds the record for lowest rates of middle age mortality, and the second highest concentration of men who are over the age of 100. To achieve this status, the Nicoyans, along with the other members of the Blue Zones, follow these nine practices

Move Naturally

Exercise is obviously extremely important when pursuing a healthy life. However, those who live in the Blue Zones rarely use modern techniques when it comes to working out. Instead they take advantage of their surroundings by spending time outdoors and using the earth as their gym

Find Purpose

The Nicoyans refer to this as “plan de vida” or “why I wake up in the morning.”  Having a sense of purpose in life will allow you to operate in a meaningful way. It can also increase your life expectancy by an extra seven years.

Down Shift

Stress is an inevitable part of life. However those who take steps to be proactive and avoid situations that incite unnecessary pressure, are less likely to develop illnesses such as heart disease, or alzheimer’s.

80% rule

Those living in Blue Zones follow an ancient Confucian mantra to not eat past 80% full. They typically only eat a few small meals a day, and never surpass the 80% mark.

Diet in Blue Zones often includes lentils

Plant Slant

Diets vary across the world, but the people who live to be over 100 all share a few main staple dishes in their meals including: a variety of beans, lentils, soy and occasionally pork. They also limit their serving sizes to about 3 or 4 oz.

Wine @ 5

Alcohol may seem like it would have many negative effects on health, but when consumed in moderation it can actually be beneficial. It helps if it is consumed with friends, and/or with food.

Belong

Out of the 263 centenarians interviewed by the National Geographic researchers, all but 5 of them belonged to some kind of faith-based community. The type of faith didn’t matter in terms of benefiting the people. Instead it is the sense of community and togetherness that aids in lengthening life.

Loved Ones First

Family structure is very important in these regions. Many of the people in Blue Zones live in the same home with their extended family. According to a National Geographic article: “Nicoyan centenarians tend to live with their families, and children or grandchildren provide support and a sense of purpose and belonging.”

Right Tribe

Many of these practices include the core value of community. This also includes the idea that it is helpful to surround yourself with people who will help you develop healthy routines. Studies show that obesity, unhealthy habits, and even loneliness can be contagious. To lead a longer and better life, it is helpful to be around people who bring out the best behaviors.

At Number8, our community is made up of employees in Louisville, Kentucky and throughout Costa Rica. Our team travels through Costa Rica both for business, and for pleasure. We understand the value of leading a healthy, happy life. And we strive to learn from all the practices adopted by those residing in the Blue Zones. If you are looking to learn more about our company, and the work we do in Costa Rica, and in America, give us a call today at (502) 890-7665!

All You Need To Know About Money in Costa Rica

money in costa rica includes colonesCosta Rica is a Central American country named after its rich coastlines and beautiful scenery. With a population close to 4.5 million people, Costa Rica is full of culture and life. The New Economics Foundation recognized Costa Rica as the greenest country in the world in 2009. With its expanding economy, this country is becoming a great place for business, as well as a fascinating travel destination.

Before traveling to Costa Rica, whether for work or pleasure, there are some things you should know about the country’s currency. The unit of currency in Costa Rica is called a colón. It was named after Christopher Columbus, since he is considered one of the first Europeans to visit Costa Rica.

Before Costa Rica became independent from Spain in the 16th century, Costa Rica originally used the peso currency. These were manufactured in Spain and then transported to Costa Rica. Once the gold and silver mines were discovered in Peru, the golden “Escudo” and the silver “Real” were used for daily purchases.

When Costa Rica gained their independence in 1821, they transitioned to the Federal Republic of Central America, through which they adopted their currency. It wasn’t until 1993 that Costa Rica began printing their own currency that is still in use today. The colón uses golden coins that are made from bronzed coated steel and some made from aluminum. The value of the colón wavers from 500-550 colón to 1 US dollar.

If you are traveling to Costa Rica from America, it is important to note that US dollars are widely accepted in Costa Rica. Upscale hotels and restaurants will even use American currency to denote the prices for various items. When traveling around Costa Rica and purchasing meals and transportation services, you should be prepared to pay with colónes.

For mid-budget travelers, the average daily costs in Costa Rica range between US $50 to US $100. This covers hotel costs, transportation and meals for the day. You should know that prices tend to increase around holidays and during the dry season (December to April).

The colón  comes in paper denominations of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, and 50000. And the coins are available in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 and 500. Most newer coins are gold-colored, except for the silver 5 and 10 colónes. When purchasing items including food, souvenirs and hotels, know that there is a 13 percent tax on all of these goods.

Some hotels and restaurants in Costa Rica add an additional charge for tourists. While you are not obligated to tip on top of this surcharge, it is recommended that you do so. These tips and fees are often split among many employees, so adding an additional tip is respectable and appreciated.