Start-up culture is corrupting our youth and killing real entrepreneurship

I came accross this article by Lukas Mikelionis on The Telegraph and I couldn’t agree more. For the record: it’s a “black-or-white” titles because they make us think and adjust where needed.

Imagine the sort of person that runs a start-up. How would you describe them? Probably using words such as “young”, “ambitious”, “innovative”. They probably embody that meaningless expression “nothing is impossible”. This is the problem with start-up culture: it has created a myth that has the power to ruin lives.

I know it might sound as a negative story, but it’s not. Believe me, I coach me kids to follow their dreams and coach them about “learning by doing”, but I also coach them about wisdom of the “old people” and “respect” and “savoir vivre” and “hard work”.

“Unfortunately this notion that it only takes a “killer idea” (preferably something based on an app) and just enough funding to conquer the innovation-hungry consumers is a lie. It goes against traditional business-making practice, where companies respond to the demands of consumers rather than the other way around. True, we all heard stories of successful innovators who indeed delivered revolutionary products to the consumers, but it’s perfectly reasonable to doubt that every millennial has the same trick up their sleeve.”

I probably sound very old school now, but I believe I’m where I am because I always surrounded myself with people who are older and wiser and took the time to absorb their experience and do better. Not because I found capital for my crazy dream. Finding capital is just a tiny part of realising that dream and it’s not too difficult either. So yes, I listen a lot to the opinions of grandma, mum, dad and experienced business people to make our platform bullet-proof.

Don’t get me wrong: I also listen a lot to the rookies in our team, or when I teach at Real Madrid Sports MBA or when I was a coach for the Founders Institute. I love their energy and disruptive thinking. I give them lots of opportunities but in the end I have to make sure that Herculean.coop becomes a global success and that won’t be achieved overnight.

“Even when true innovation happens, there’s increasing tendency not to attempt to create a business with a long-lasting plan, but instead chuck it towards larger corporations in exchange for a handful of cash. Business cards stating “serial entrepreneur” – those who move from project to project – are becoming a norm. The idea of nurturing a company is in terminal decline. In the past, making sure that the company is thriving and has a competitive edge used to be the defining aspect of good entrepreneurship. Nowadays, by contrast, selling your company for a life-changing sum of money is the mark of success. This breeds a new type of entrepreneurship, which centres on the short-term boom, and turns the creation of start-ups into an industry itself. Start-up culture shifted the focus away from company ownership to either “get rich by selling” or participating in never ending game of start-up creation.”

I get that question often: When will you sell? When will you exit? My answer is always the same: we are building a sustainable cooperative platform, a system, powered by Herculean people and we are trying to structure it with all the lessons learned in our many years of corporate experience, keeping into account the disruptive future ahead of us. It’s like raising a kid, and with 3 kids I know a thing or two about raising them and letting go 🙂 When the time has come to let go, I will, but let’s enjoy every step of the journey!

“When they go low, we go high”

My Third lady (Inge Van Belle is my First and my mum Second :-)) gave an epic speech about values and beliefs. I couldn’t agree more and thought it was more than appropriate to store it as “one of those moments”.

The more perceived “success” you have, the more people will “go low” on you. Don’t fall into the trap and just ignore the hateful. Go high instead! Stay true to your values and beliefs. Lead your Herculean life, don’t sit back, make a difference and never ever quit.

Speed as a habit

People who work with me on a daily basis know one of my firm believes: “the need for speed“. I can become quite “passionate” when things don’t go faster than I expected or when people don’t understand they can do things a lot faster than they think. Every day I make it my mission to speed up the way things go in my daily tasks, but also within our team.

I know…it can feel like a lot of pressure, but if I don’t give you pressure, I probably don’t believe you can grow any further, so stop complaining and deal with it. You would be surprised about the speed you can reach.

Here’s a very nice article that illustrates why speed is a great weapon in business.

Why The Annual Performance Review Is Going Extinct

Employees don’t need annual performance reviews to know how they stack up against their peers says Kris Duggan on FC.com. I couldn’t agree more. At Herculean, we believe in three simple things when it comes to building breakthrough teams. They are based on The Orange Revolution:

  • WOW: go for worldclass
  • Open Communication: no surprise
  • Cheer each other to victory

When you practice open communication, everybody knows at all time how they are performing. They not only know it from their boss, but from all their peers. Read the complete article here.

How to Turn a Bad Day Around

Nice post on Harvard Business Review linked with The Happiness Advantage (people who start off happy are more likely to succeed; people who start off unhappy are more likely to fail). Reminder to self: ask Santa Claus to deliver me that book.

Bottom line on how to turn a bad day around:

Do:

    • Think of three things that you’re grateful for
    • Consider what you’ve already accomplished even if it’s minor
    • Reflect on what triggers your bad days and which tactics help to turn them around

Don’t:

    • Believe that you are a victim of your circumstances—you choose whether to be negative or positive
    • Hunker down at your desk—change scenery and take a few deep breaths
    • Set unrealistic expectations for your day

Have a Herculean weekend!

Dealing with opposition

The closer you get to realising your dream, the more you expose yourself to opposition from the universe. You need to know who you are before you know how to handle opposition and who’s on your side.

I’m an Achiever, personality type 3. I love opposition and competition, as long as it helps me achieve my goal. I listen easily to good feedback and adapt if I feel it will make me reach my goal in a more effective way.

However, if if feel that opposition blocks me from reaching my goal, I have to be very aware of what could happen to me (and the opposition too by the way). If I don’t handle it in the right way, I will try to convince the opposition that they are wrong and this is what happens to me:

  • I work even harder until I’m exhausted
  • I detach from people that love me the most

Authenticity, honesty, optimism, ambition and self-confidence stop that negative spiral, but you will need a lot of it. And you will need support.

I’m lucky that my best buddy in life is an 8, because she’s the one who gives me forthrightness in expression, fearlessness, physical vigor, and determination to achieve my personal vision. So whenever something or someone blocks me from reaching my goal, she jumps in.

I’m lucky that my three kids are the best. My two girls and boy share so much wisdom from very different perspectives, that I just have to listen to them to know my priorities again. It’s as easy as that.

I’m lucky that my parents are the best. After 43 years, they start to understand what my goal in life is. They’ve been there, supporting and challenging me, ever since I was a little boy. Talking to them always reassures me that they’ve got my back.

So if I handle it the right way, this is what I say to myself

Now, let’s call my gang to see how they are doing in Belgium and then go for brunch at Petite Abeille in NYC!

On a separate note: if you want to know more about your core values or personality type, ping me. The Hercules Academy has great coaches to help you. I know, because I work with them every day.