Entrepreneurship is the new playgound

Why do people, for god’s sake, choose to be an entrepreneur? Well, because a lot of them want to break free from an existing situation. Like a rigid boss, no room for initiatives, no fulfilling work, repetitive tasks, making a difference etc. By the way, did you know that 74% of employees feel they are not achieving their best performance at work?! So, what’s happening here?

In my (humble) opinion there are two reasons which causes this unhappiness, and the will to break free via entrepreneurship:

  1. everything is based on numbers: quantifying everything, as if we still live in the production era…
  2. an educational system which did not grow in sync with all social and economic developments: all still based on “old school” production theories, not giving youngsters the space and freedom to discover and explore, in order to use their qualities and talents to the fullest.

For the reader who is playing attention, like you, this is all based on the past. At the same time we know that we are educating youngsters for professions that do not exist yet. This as changes in society are going with the speed of light.

As such there is a gap between the old system and the new thinking. Therefore people want to break free from these old rigid systems. People are feeling the need to grow and develop themselves as a person. To create and discover. To break free. Also seeing the trends like digital nomads, co-working and co-living, and flex-working are here to stay, and to evolve even further in new forms of collaborations and living. Entrepreneurship is the new way to discover and explore thyself and in the meantime give purpose to your (business) life.

Why entrepreneurship is the new playground.

The Tools
The beautiful side of entrepreneurship is that it gives all the necessary space, the tools, the meanings, the connections and more to play around with. It’s the playground where you can use all meanings to create something for yourself, and not for a boss. Where you can use your talents, like creativity, social skills, resourcefulness, and more to create new (business) concepts to build your own future.

Changing Society
To take initiative and think for yourself and not following someone else’s dream, but create your own destiny. We’re not living in the system anymore of only owners and workers. Where the knowledge economy forced the educational system to push as much information in our heads as possible. Not learning by doing and thus using our skills. But now there is a new collective society where creativity, playfulness and sharing is mainstream.

Trial and Error
Be motivated to take your freedom to play, to experiment, take initiatives. To draw outside the lines and make connections. Use your fantasy and try, fail, and get up, and try again. To follow your dream and not someone else’s. To find meaning and purpose in your (business) life. To discover the world by trial and error.

Quality of Life
Not quantifying by numbers, but by living a quality life through entrepreneurship. Mindful living by playing and playing is learning. Where we give space to emotions, intentions and appreciations. No more measuring and comparing by the numbers, but a quality approach on life and work. Let’s be playful and follow the rainbow!

So why did you become an entrepreneur? And does it make you happy and successful? Check it out by answering the questions to the Happy Business You survey (Nederlands) to discover.

time to change

Many people know about the rapid development of technology and how it influences our world. Our life’s are speeding up, time is money in our work, you only live once, etc. But we all know this, right? So why not look at it from a different perspective. Let’s start with a statement to see if you are critical and awake…

We should skip the time addiction. Eliminate this out of our lives. Time is a tool of our (past) production era, and not applicable anymore if we want to be happy in the present.

Everything we do every day in our (modern) society is based on the clock, and the duration of our efforts. We set our alarm to wake up, and do not awaken by a beautiful rising sun, the annoying rooster, or the biological rhythm of our body. We go to work by train, which is departing at 7:30 precisely. If you’re 30 seconds late you might have a problem. When you finally arrive at work your boss is waiting for you and would like to spank you, because you took 5 minutes from his time of production. And so on, you get the picture right? So there is no natural and authentic behavior anymore. We are driven by a mechanism which is invented in a past century. For a rational reason which has nothing to do with (y)our well-being, but with someone else’s benefits.

Please consider the high speed of technological developments which is taking place right now. The effect of all technical developments is with such great impact and intensity, we sometimes forget to realize the huge effects in our society, and in the end, on our own personal lives.

Under influence of these technical developments, some systems are developing more rapidly than others. With systems I mean the political system, the economic system, the cultural system etc. Some systems are old fashioned, and others have adapted to the new now. For example most political systems are founded in the 19th century or even older, where no real structural changes has been made since then, except the introduction of an electronic voting system perhaps. Another system example is the medical sector. Where DNA sequencing (analyzing and visualizing of DNA) is now so cheap it’s available to a large audience. This results in a shift towards preventive medical care instead of treating diseases afterwards. Do you see the various paces of the different systems in time?

The world wide web including all social media etc. is a system on itself. The number of participants in this (social?) system is so incredibly high, where all voices are heard and so much choices available. You could say it’s a new kind of “democracy” And do you realize that if Facebook were a country, it would be the biggest country in the world!

So where does this all leads us? If some systems don’t keep up with all technical developments their existence will be questioned. Timing is important but not the clock itself. The demand for more natural living will increase. We will decide how we live based on external information. This coming from your internet usage, and that of your neighbors, your co-workers and friends wherever they are on this planet. It will result in a power shift of systems. Where the (end?) control is done by artificial intelligence based on big data. We live in a parallel universe, soon. But time is on our side…

Co-Working and Co-Living

Recently, I wrote a blog article about the trends and developments in flex-working. From the well- known commercial flexwork locations, and working at people’s homes, to work in a fully equipped work-van.

This Flex-work will now get a new dimension with the latest trend: Co-Working and Co-living.  To learn more about this new concept and to experience it myself, I traveled to Sun-And-Co, based in the town of Javea at the Costa del Sol in Spain.

Sun-And-Co is one of the few initiatives in the world, that offers both the concept of Co-Living and Co-Working in one place. But before I tell you about my experiences, a short introduction of the key players in this new way of living and working;

The Digital Nomads: people who choose to live and work in remote locations which suits them best, at that given moment. Some of these Digital Nomads even have no permanent home or address anymore. They’re always on the move, have no possessions, and make conscious decisions how to live and where to work. This as long as there is a digital connection with the rest of the world thus being able to work and generate some income.

Workationers: people who just want to get away in another setting for a week or so, but also want to work. A combination of working in a relaxed holiday environment for a change of scenery and fresh input.  

CO-LIVING

After a somewhat lengthy journey, I arrived at the villa of Sun-And-Co. After shaking hands with the host, I was introduced to the other “guests”. As it appears a motley collection of different types of people. People from various countries are present such as Estonia, Russia, India, America, France, Germany, Netherlands, England, Spain.

After installing my stuff in the well-equipped bedroom, I was searching for a nice spot to settle myself, to open my laptop and start some work. Although a good choice of working rooms were available, it soon became apparent that most people have chosen the central living-work-eat spot. Which is a more cozy surrounding to work at. The atmosphere in general was friendly and soon you’re chatting with the other people present.

The next morning there was an intro-game, to introduce yourself. This as a personal introduction, which is quite nice to know whom you spend a week with, but also as a short introduction about your work activities. An agenda was prepared  for the joint activities, but not mandatory. This agenda was including both social and work related activities. In this case, the location on the sunny Spanish coast was ideal for sun, sea and beach activities such as kayaking, swimming, beach walk, volleyball, paddle-surfing etc. In addition in-house activities as joint cooking, yoga, a movie night, etc. were organized.

CO-WORKING

Regarding the work-people, I noticed two occupational groups were mainly represented: the software programmers, and the marketing/business people. It seemed like there was not much in between regarding occupations. This can be explained as these professions are particularly suitable for digital and remote operations.

In this Co-Working place you have the choice to work on your own assignments, but also have the opportunity to share your knowledge with the group. Again a work agenda was created, where you might like to join in if interested, but not mandatory.

One of the work agenda activities was a SkillShare session. Here you can share your knowledge or skills which might help the other guests. So you give a presentation (not a sales pitch) so others can learn something from it. After these SkillShare pitches nice conversations were started and lively discussions occurred. For example about topics such as marketing trends, new ways of cooperation, and big data visualization solutions.

In addition, you can take part in a Mastermind session. This when you have a problem or question to ask the group for help. As such. For example, someone asked help regarding her next steps in her career path. I introduced a new project to the group and asked how they see this, and what I could do to improve this project.

EXPERIENCES

During the introduction game everyone was also asked about their motivations of why going to this Sun-and-Co location. Different answers were given like; a get away from the too familiar environment, believing in a traveling life, to meet new people, get to explore interesting countries and experiencing a refreshing view. In addition the warmer climate in comparison with their mostly colder country of origin, was also an important motivation to choose this Sun-And-Co location in Spain.

What I noticed in the group dynamics was that everyone was continuing their natural way of living. Meaning people were maintaining their own eating habits, sleep rhythms and other activities, and not immediately adapting to the local rhythm of the co-living community. Everyone soon finds a balance in their individual and social acting and behavior.

This co-living & working, is a relatively new “lifestyle” which at this moment attracts people who want to push their limits. But it can also be an attractive way, for getting a refreshing view of yourself, and your work.

Living and working in such a community is perhaps a little more challenging because you’re pushed out of your comfort-zone with these varieties of people, and living so closely with one another. But the outcome and results are slightly sharper than in a regular and well-known environment.

The concept of both co-working & co-living is a nice initiative. Sometimes It touches the borders of your social capacities, but at the same time brings some new and different dynamics to your life. I experienced the concept as refreshing, and am looking forward for my next business-life journey and stay.

http://www.sun-and-co.com

Faith – Hope – Love

Trade Necessity

A long time ago when new transportation techniques emerged, it created new jobs like the traveling merchant and local trader. Where you could buy new and different products from other places then your own. There was a natural balance between the buyer and seller because goods or services were exchanged based on necessity.

Business is the new standard

Trade or starting a business has evolved during the last centuries into a “serious” profession. Where all kinds of new business developments were invented like new production techniques, price calculations, ratio’s, KPI’s, and something called “efficiency” Here scarcity was the basis of trade.

Fair Trade

Slowly our view of doing business changed from efficiency towards effect. Where transparency opened our eyes and changed public opinion. This in a sense that trade was not always equal for all parties. Where business ethics became an important factor; doing good for society, giving back to the producers, sustainable business for a clean environment etc. Where the rational efficiency on short term is not leading anymore, but the soft factors and the longer term, are the new metrics.

Business as the new religion

The new entrepreneurs are getting younger and business is initiated by all kinds of people on all levels. New enterprises arise in so many different countries and even in remote locations. Where money is not an issue anymore thanks to Crowdfunding and Microcredit. Entrepreneurship is a commodity. Or is it more?

Entrepreneurship seems to be the new religion. The save haven for a meaningful live and freedom of choice. Where business models are replaced with the new mantra of Faith, Hope and Love. Where business people live accordingly to this mantra:
– Faith: I believe in myself and in my company
– I Hope; that others will like me and my offerings
– I Love; what I do with my endeavour

If you use these three spiritual factors you will achieve your place in the kingdom to come. Soul searching is the standard.

Location, location, location

The first location

We lived and worked where the food was available by nature. Where your family and beloved ones belonged to a close(d) community. You only moved somewhere else if there was a real and functional need to leave. Communications was easy as your living and working space was in the same area. We traveled short distances and communicated face to face and talked to each other(!)

Moving around

With the rise of new techniques in transportation and communications, we were able to move around more easily. The decision to move somewhere else was taken more lightly. Going to places we “liked” or seemed interesting because someone else you didn’t know, said so in his recommendations or referrals.

Blend in

Now there seems to be a blend of work and life. Where the strict distinction between those two do not exist anymore. You work because you feel good about what you do, or chose to be an entrepreneur out of passion to help others. Where the location you will be active does not matter anymore because the technical means give you the opportunity to transport information to the other side of the world within seconds, where goods are delivered the same or next day. Where you talk with strange people who are like minded.

Existence

The next phase could be moving around in a virtual world. Where transportation of information is nonexistent anymore as it’s all in a big cloud. Where you experience travel in a augmented and virtual world. Where you see each other as a holographic projection. Where you have build in earbuds and mics in your body. Giving your computers commands by gestures, or touch sensors that are built in your clothes  instead of old fashion typing.

So are we going back to the situation as we started? Living in tribes, exchanging goods instead of paying for it, only use natural materials and eating healthy biological food. Helping your neighbors and do good. Where do you (really) belong?

the Quaified self

Since a few years its possible to measure all kind of data about your health with your mobile Phone or a fitness band around your wrist. So you know how many steps you have taken, how many stairs, measuring your sleep cycle, calories burnt etc. So your little computer is telling you if you are healthy by reaching a certain amount of numbers.

This quantified self is not new as it is still based on numbers and thus based on old school logic. Like measuring output numbers is the classification of your health? This principle is not a new shift, but an advancement which is made possible by new type of sensors and better software. But should we be measured by numbers?

Qualified self

The next (real) shift could be the qualified self. Where you will be measured on qualitative input instead of quantitative numbers. Like measuring your happiness level, hormones, glucose, smiling muscles, talking sound, hours of silence etc. So based on biological and behavioral “measurements” and not on output numbers. But what conclusions or recommendation’s will your app present from this?

The next self

So why not combine quantified data and qualified info? Use this input and connect this with Artificial Intelligence. This as we seem not smart enough to interpret the presented data into valuable and sensible conclusions. So this next app will tell you in the morning how you will feel that day and what you should be doing accordingly to be healthy and perform at your best.

The real self

Using all these tools could bring us far away from our core DNA as a human being. Do we need data and apps to know if we are all right, be healthy, living accordingly etc.? Do we need a tool, to know about our existence?

The other choice, (yes, it is still a choice) to skip all of this and go back to nature. To feel again, to know thyself, and feel in your guts if it’s okay. To “know” you exercised enough, you had your limit’s of alcohol. To know and feel that you are your own god.

Business Recycling

In 2000 B.C. (Before Crisis) there were some good budgets available to start a new project. This could be for entering new markets, new product development, to have a new software system, or building a new meeting space. Basically a large part of these kind of projects started with the word “new”.

Now we’re living in a period of scarcity, and no big budgets are available anymore. This luxury position is scarce now and thus we have to find new ways not only to start new projects, but also for the reason of improvement. (the positive word for trying to solve problems) This new situation pushes us to find different solutions. (some call this even innovation…)

Instead of looking at the outside world and buying tools or hiring people to “getting things done”, based on big budgets, I challenge you to search for possibilities and solutions which are right in front of you, or at least in your close surroundings. In other words to use the assets you or your company already have. This I call Business Recycling.

Some examples: to find software applications and connect these into one useful system for your sales communications instead of buying a new CRM system. To get in touch with colleagues and ask them spending a few hours per month to help you with a new project, instead hiring an external. Ask your neighboring company to lend you their space to host a meeting, instead of building a new designed meeting room.

The benefit is not only a modern way of efficiency, but moreover a road to a different attitude in sharing and transparency.

What can you do to be more active in business recycling?