It took me years to figure out, that I’m unemployable. I’m neither stupid nor lazy. I’m just unable to follow directions.
If you try to reach a goal on a known path, there is always a long line with white collar workers standing one after another. Like at Starbucks. They are just waiting for the next small but predictable step.
I myself don’t believe in predictability. When ever there was a predictable next step, something unexpected happened. And this events happened on personal and on a global level. When I visit my Grandmother and walk along the main street in my rural hometown, most of the businesses from my childhood are gone or at least, where bought and run by a global company. There is a big shift going on right now.
Whenever I gave up the responsibility for my live to someone else, aka had a job, first I was excited and had many ideas to make work more effective, then some coworkers tried to slow me down. Most people don’t work most of the time, they just act like they where working. 1st I get bored, 2nd I get depressed and 3rd I quit.
First I thought “everyone else is stupid”, then I thought “I’m stupid”, but finally I learned that “I’m just different”. Only a small percentage of people are entrepreneurs and there is a good evolutional reason for this: For most of the greatness, of our civilization, we need people who admire and protect the status quo. But on the other hand, we need some cowboys as well. Whenever the environment changes, and this happens all the time, we need people who are willing and able to explore new territory and find new solutions to make new sources of wealth available for the rest. This mixture of protectors and explorers is what makes mankind so successful.
I’m one of these explorers, I wan’t to learn about unknown territory. I want ask questions, nobody has ever asked before. And I want to find new ways and solutions. That’s simply in my genes.
My problem: I never learned how to become an explorer. All my teachers were protectors (thats why they became teachers) and they told me, how to protect the status quo. I had no role model of an explorer.
In 2009 a friend of a friend asked me, for some tips, how to sell coupons and some month later, he asked me to join city deal. Their startup was financed by the Samwer brothers and it took them only 5 month to grow this company so that they could sell it to Groupon for more than a 100 million dollars. WOW!!! This part of my journey was very interesting and I learned a lot, I got the startup fever, but the Samwers were not the role model I was looking for.
2011: My next big step, was my trip with the Startup Bus. It was like a 10 day Startup Weekend, on the roads and in incubators of germany. Here I learned all the basics about the Startup World and wrote my first business model canvas. I learned the how, but I was missing the why. Most of the Startup Scene is just going for riches, but money is not what makes me excited.
In 2012 I got the opportunity to visit the wild wild west, aka the silicon valley. But it took me another trip, to the dessert of Nevada to find a place where I thought I belong… kind of… Downtown Las Vegas? Tony Hsieh (zappos CEO) and his team are building a great community, but Las Vegas is much to exciting and extroverted for me… but it was awesome to see, how live can be.
So I came back from the goldrush and the cowboys, back to good old boring germany and in some ways I like germany much more than before. I like the old culture and history of europe, but I although missed the: “just do this shit” mentality from the US. I want both!
I want to import the best ideas and concepts from the Silicon Valley and Downtown Las Vegas and mix them, with the german culture. I will help other people who have the entrepreneurs gene to find their way to success.
The year of the pivots
After I learned about so many concepts in the US, 2013 became my year of the pivots. I knew, that I will never have a job again! And I knew my Goal: “I want a business, where I can work with nice people and that gives me the freedom to travel around the world and meet awesome people.” but I didn’t know how I can achieve it.
In some ways I felt like a cowboy, especially because of the lack of resources I faced in the middle of my trip. I hope the worst part of my track lays behind me and to stay in Cowboy speak: at the moment I start a shop for shovels 😉
Lean Startup was an awesome tool on my way, but I think I found some weaknesses for people like me. To make a real Lean Startup, you need at least some resources. I had a time, where I only had my skills, my old equipment and some resources I could lend from my friends. At first, I made my projects cowboy style, because I had no other choice, but now I do it, because its fun.
I’m a Cowboy Entrepreneur
Here is a good article, that made me think about the cowboy startup: http://klinger.io/post/69794653694/why-lean-startup-sucks-for-startups