On wednesday the 8th of october, some guest speakers were invited in the last lecture of ‘Ideation – Creating a Business Idea’ by Gregg Vanourek. First David Johansson, a life entrepreneur with a lot of interesting quotes and explanations about the true entrepreneur. After the break three short speakers: Nathalie Ahlstedt Mantel from Ashoka Scand, Mohamud Osman from Mitt Liv and Maew Osataphan from SE Forum.

I want to share the story of the first speaker with you. David Johansson, a formal KTH student, is co-founder of Swedish Bar Systems, set up a start-up ‘Secure Mailbox’, another start-up ‘Growyn’, won the SSES Business Plan Competition in 2005 and finished third in the Venture Cup in 2006. Also he is the founder and CEO of ‘Happyr’, a start-up that helps people discovering their potential and finds the perfect job-match. ‘Be yourself and hire with confidence’.

Happyr is a recruiting platform that matches great candidates with jobs they’ll love. To give this an introduction, David defined seven states of entrepreneurship:
– Passion
– Confidence
– Uncertainty
– Doubt
– Solitude
– Purpose
– Happiness

How David started his start-up ideas was passion, he did other stuff (like exploring what he could do) than the stuff he should do (like going to lectures). Passion for him means exploring (himself), push (himself), and the tendency to know more about everything he is interested about. And he is interested in a lot, so knowing more was a very big thing, curiosity is a good drive. Try to make something out of your passion and enjoy it! For example, if your passion is making enormous excel sheets, then try to find people that don’t share that passion and be successful together. Passion is about the stuff that makes you forget about anything else, this will make your journey start!

Confidence makes you go in the right direction, don’t let people who say ‘no’ stop you. Here I like to refer to a quote of George Bernard Shaw: ‘People who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those who are doing it’. Also your mom probably says it’s a bad idea and says you should just get a normal job like everybody else. If you’re confident (of course for a good reason), stop listening to your mom and start the execution of your venture!

Confidence goes together with certainty, but uncertainty is a terrifying catalyst for action. Face it and don’t push uncertainty. Certainty will start to grow. It is always important to ask yourself the big questions and don’t be blindfolded for information regarding uncertain factors.

Then doubt, the worst thing about it is that it may work against yourself and it can even be destructive. David and his cofounder had different views about aspects in the venture sometimes, they didn’t want to heat up the discussion so heart for the company first and don’t think about it. They focused on other stuff instead and this almost kills their venture and partnership. David says that doubt is like a sickness, with a good immune system you can avoid it and safe your company. So be honest and true to yourself and have some faith.

If you’re an entrepreneur, prepare yourself for being alone. You have to work a lot, so less time for friends, so maybe this results in fewer friends, but hopefully better ones. Also, if you don’t feel at home in the environment you’re working at, you’re probably not the only one. More people are in the same situation, so try to help each other in the times that you’re starting up your own company. And as a leader you should be comfortable that other people lead their own parts of your business. ‘Lead others to lead and you will never stand alone’.

The most important thing when it comes to running a business is purpose. It is the drive for people in your team and for people who want to be in your team. You want people that have more in common with you than just launch the product or service. A shared purpose is the foundation for success, so find people that share your purpose.

And last happiness, happiness is giving you the best working conditions. Happiness does not lie in your goal, but in the achievement of it. You can’t put happiness into your bank account and you can’t touch it.

David also gave us some tips to think efficiently: experience helps you and you can make decisions quicker when you have more experience. He recommended us to watch ‘Mondo Enduro’, a documentary about a trip around the world on a motorbike in the worst way ever. The participants faced so much difficulties and challenges and that made it the experience of a lifetime!
(Link to the video on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZi9c8QF6E0 ).

But experience is not everything, when you become older you will have less energy, so use it now while you have it!

Read more about Happyr here: https://happyr.com/ (site is in Swedish)

Martijn Legêne


(edited, 12-10-14)

Some time ago (before I came to Stockholm) I met a very interesting couple during a hitch-hiking competition in the Netherlands and Germany. First, a guy who picked us up in my hometown. He worked for Microsoft and had a lot of interesting stories to share with us. His main point was mostly that it’s not really important what you know or what you can do, it is more important that you know the right people and you can improve your knowledge and skills in a later stage. Because we had such a great conversation (yes, we students also had quite a lot of experience and lots of stuff to talk about) from where he picked us up, to his work in Amsterdam, he called his wife in Amsterdam to bring us further and help us gaining distance in the hitch-hiking competition we were in. This woman was at least as much interesting as her husband. F

rom now on I’ll skip the story about the hitch-hiking (we became 3d place) and continue of how we kept in contact and did an interesting test for her.

She is calling herself rebeL wiTh a Cause within her company (Raad Van Stuur), because she helps organizations to grow to a trustful and entrepreneurial environment. She helps to let people go out of their comfort zones and gives them energy.
She helps people to get to know themselves better and how they should use their capacities. This was also what the test was about, it was called ‘Discovery with CompeTalent’.

We were going on a mission in Utrecht, a city in the middle of the Netherlands, with minimum information and without smartphones. The first part of the test was individual, just to find some stuff and places in the city and find the other players in the test. Then we made teams ourselves and split up for the assignments in a later stage of the test. We received cryptic descriptions about places we needed to go to and there receive the next instructions.
Before the test we needed to fill in a survey about ourselves, the main point about this was that the organizers could via this way figure out what kind of person you are and how you can help other people with your capacities. From those capacities I got to know myself better, I didn’t know most of them before.

What the organizer knew was how the test would have ended, which teams would be formed and which way we thought about the descriptions we received. The test was not about winning or being back first, it was just about confirming their survey. Afterwards we talked about the test, and again a lot of the conversations happened as the organizers expected because of the survey.
This whole test may sound a bit blurry, but long story short: You have some (entrepreneurial) capacities you might not know, you maybe can’t call them skills or knowledge yet, but they are useful for sure! Go out and find yours, maybe entrepreneurship is your big capacity and you can develop them into one of the most important skills of your life!

Martijn Legêne