Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I'm an e-Citizen of Estonia

You know me....if I hear about a cutting-edge type of technology, I'm game for it. :-)

The mere act of exploring it allows me to understand how the world is evolving.

That's why I became an e-Citizen of Estonia.

Yes, you read that right. An e-Citizen of Estonia. 

My ego says that I hope you don't know too many. ;-)

I first heard about it while reading the Jerusalem Post, where someone suggested that Israel should emulate Estonia. Yep, caught my attention as well.

So, I did it.

Now, the "e-citizenship" confers NO political rights or visa rights. You can't vote, get actual citizenship, or work without a permit, but what it does do is allow you to set up a bank account, establish a business, conduct EU transactions and more at a fraction of the time/cost it would take if you were setting it up in any other country.

They aren't stupid. To do much of this, you need to actually go to Estonia to finalize the deal (i.e. you need to show up at the bank to establish an account and you need a non-PO Box address to be the residence for the business), but you don't have to stay there.

Think about this... Estonia gets people to visit, to invest, and to be the hub. You get the ability to jumpstart European business operations at a fraction of the time/cost/hassle.

It's all part of the post-Soviet Union initiative where the country decided that it was going to basically "re-boot" and become the single most advanced digital country in the world.  They call the initiative "e-Estonia."

The more I think about it, the more brilliant it is.  I actually blogged on the "Marketing Lessons from Estonia" from that perspective.

This is a great example of saying "ok, the world has fundamentally changed. Now, how do we take the technology and new needs to uniquely meet them?"

For more on e-Estonia, click here. And sign up here.

BTW..It's not a joke.  The English in all of this is flawless. You fill out an application, pay a fee (free money for them) and have to prove your ID via Passport, etc.  And, no, it's not a tax-evasion thing either.

To see where Estonia is, see here.

I may have to get a flag for my house. And I may have to go visit now.

I probably won't fit in too well on some level as they wrote "Estonians may defend their rights in a rather unusual way-just by sullen silence" and that "Estonians generally try to avoid sentimentality."

Not quite how I roll ;-)

In their literature (which of course I've read), they write about the various ethnic minorities that are part of the culture, except for the Jews and Roma who were "lost to evacuation, deportation, and mass killings."

I'm kind of bringing the Jews back to Estonia.  Or, as my friend said, "they get the Jews without actually having to have Jews there!"

Seriously though, I think it's a very remarkable concept and a glimpse of what the future could look like as nations look for new ways to compete in an e-world.
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