Mike Lee, ‘mayor’ and founder, Appsterdam

“As a former Apple employee, I knew full well that while you can work on tech projects from a laptop anywhere, there’s a huge advantage to gathering like-minded people in one place. Any idea that you have can be enriched by bouncing it off others. Instead of returning to the Valley for another tour of duty, I decided to set out on a year-long world tour to find the place in the world that could offer app developers the best quality of life for the least personal expenditure. Amsterdam was a straightforward consumer decision in that regard: it was immediately apparent to me that this city has the happiest people on Earth, with all the cultural advantages of a place like New York or London, but with very few of the disadvantages.”

Appsterdam is a non-profit organisation that runs monthly events giving app developers a chance to network and share great ideas. We help app makers understand and practice community values, such as craftsmanship, quality, diversity, cooperation and professionalism. Practically, that means hosting weekly lectures and meet-ups, game days and trips to local attractions. Other world cities have tried to kick-start a tech industry using purely financial incentives; with Appsterdam the city is the incentive, and everything else flows from the joy of living here.”