When I came to live here, many people in Madrid assured me that I had made a mistake. They told me, “If you go to Asturias, you will be nobody in the professional world, and you will be on the sidelines in every way because cod is cut here.” Today I can confirm that they were wrong. Heber Longás is not Asturian, he knew the area for tourism reasons and heart – his wife is from Gijón – he had been working in Madrid for 16 years, in the design departments of El Mundo and El País, on a permanent contract. He had, some say, his life on the right track. But that life was not the one he wanted to live.
In 2017, Longás and his wife decided to break away from it all and escape the stress of the Spanish capital. “We wanted a quieter, more rustic, more relaxed life.” And they changed a city of more than three million people into a town in Gozon, Fombuna, barely six houses, with a rural school that satisfied them with the education of their two daughters, and where looking out the window translates to seeing “cows, grass, nature, and some houses. We were too extreme.”
And this is how a biologist and biochemist from the University of Navarrese from the university of that region, a lover of painting and in the spirit of the famous, became a digital entrepreneur in the rural Asturian world. What is your project? Heber Longás is a scientific computer graphics artist, a professional catalog penned by himself which translates to “explaining science in a visual and understandable way”. “There are a lot of scientific companies doing amazing things that they can’t explain. With my infographics, I’m not trying to create something pretty, but to solve a communication problem, try to explain something complex and strategic to that company, to help them sell more customers or get investors,” he explains.
With his professional project, Fundamentium, Longás works mainly at the national level for innovative biotechnology and medical companies, with clients such as CSIC, the Carlos III Health Institute or the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The same reflects two scenarios of infection with HIV, which is the cycle of the virus that causes mononucleosis or the ‘kissing disease’, or how the prosthesis is an effective treatment for acute knee osteoarthritis. Even his diagrams came to the National Museum of Natural Science in the form of an exhibit on microorganisms or were collected in a book on science communication, co-authored, that just saw the light of day.
And most of all, it’s all 100% digital, without leaving his cheerful home” and without having to travel to attract clients. I have to attract them.” Thus, they are two jobs in one: to ensure that “you are not forgotten even if you are in a corner of geography” and to convince that he can help you “until your company stops speaking a language that no one understands,” as he prays in his webpage presentation.
But the big question that comes to mind and that we put to Heber Longás is: Are there no problems working from rural Asturias? A question that is discussed in the eternal complaints of residents of these cores about poor Internet coverage, which is needed today for everything or almost everything. “If you have a remote working mindset, there is no problem in becoming a rural entrepreneur.”
Mind and means insisted. Is the network good?
– “It was the main problem and I would say the only problem I had. I had to search with several operators. One of them even installed an antenna on a pole looking at a remote repeater that has been working for a while…the one that took a eucalyptus tree to grow and stopped the signal”, He remembers laughing. You now have the service covered by the mobile network.
In any case, even this limitation does not preclude the defense of this rural institution. “Obviously you have to put your batteries in. Asturias must become more and more digital, think about the future, about what is coming and that we can be at the same level as everyone. To do this, “it would be good to improve internet conditions in rural areas because it can become a problem.” Of course, Heber Longas is clear that “Not all problems will be solved by outsiders. We can’t solve the coverage problem, but it’s not insolvable. When the internet failed me a few years ago, I would go to a nearby coffee shop and get on with work. We have to put the will on our side.” A good philosophy for potential “signatures” of the Digital Nomads campaign in the principality that Navarrese values so much because “Asturias has brute strength. I hope the campaign will not be just a matter of months.”
Meanwhile, the Fundamentium is growing and Longás is looking for animators to delegate assignments. “I don’t want a company with too many people. I want to be small and well optimized because with a small team great things can be done.” It is Asturias and its rural world.