What’s on the poster? Here’s a translation:
At the end of 2018, I wrote the article “Timing”. A month before writing that article, I gave a presentation to Team Altaïr on this topic. I hung this in the office, where it still is to this day. Why? Not only is this one of the most important concepts that an entrepreneur should know, but also because I know that my own pitfall is to go too fast and be too far ahead.
Following the questions I received on the first text, finally after 3 years, part 2!
So timing, as revealed by the analysis of hundreds of startups, is the factor that can define success and failure. But how do we use this knowledge to our advantage? How do we find the right timing? How do we not be ahead and not behind? What does the 21st century, and more importantly, the post-COVID-19 era require of us?
The presentation (in the picture) that I gave to the team 3 years ago took me 45 minutes to deliver, and involved all kinds of statistics and data. However, in order not to make the article too long, a summary follows. Only afterwards can I answer the main question highlighted above.
Let’s start with the frame of mind: Newtonian vs quantum. I am not going to torture you with an elaborate explanation so I will put it simply: the Newtonian era started in the 18th / 19th century and stands for everything that is computable, mathematical, linear, compartmentalized, etc. The era in which atheism flourished because we seemed to have found an answer to everything. As for stuff we didn’t know yet, we could simply put that into a formula and out came the answer. The frame of mind that goes with this is therefore mechanical: designed, thought through, calculated, etc. Think of the company structure as we know it: personnel → management → boss. Think of functions: staff performs, management directs, chiefs thinks out. This structure is dying out. These strategies and methods are also based on a world that had gone through two world wars. It had to be organized the way armies were organized: hierarchical, structured, command-based, ordered, and so on. Society was based on survival, whereas now… we are thriving. We are based on self actualization.
A newborn baby in science is also called quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics, er… how do I say this politely, does not give a darn about those scientific rules and sums. This is the discovery that laughed at scientists: “So you guys think you figured it out? Haha! You know nothing!” Quantum mechanics is about particles doing what they want to do. They know what they should do, even though we don’t understand. Quantum mechanics cannot be calculated as it is not linear but abstract. All the small particles cooperate thereby acting as one. Quantum mechanics is mysterious and intuitive, it teaches us one important lesson: what we know about the world and the universe is nothing.
And what do you do when you find out that everything you thought you understood so well turns out to be outdated information? Yes, you go on and change things up. Move on already! It’s time for 2021+ leaders to redefine themselves. Quantum companies can no longer be processed in an organization chart. Quantum companies no longer have managers as we used to know them. These are adjustments that the future asks of us now, and will continue to be demanding. And if you don’t respond, well… good luck running a business.
The rest of the poster is obvious; what is the capital of a company living in the Quantum Age? It’s the team! As I wrote in my previous article: whoever fields the best team wins. It used to be: the one with the largest investors wins. That is why the skill for a leader now is emotional intelligence. In fact, this topic is so important that it deserves its own article, because 80% of business and wealth is psychology. As for the rest of the poster, you’ll probably figure it out (otherwise you can always ask me!).
Now onto the big question: “When is the right timing?” “How do you find the right timing for your business?” You will probably not like the answer, but unfortunately it’s still like this: sit it out. Endure economic spring, winter, summer, and fall. Didn’t get off the ground yet? Do it again. And again. And again! Nobody said it would be easy. Do you really want this? Because the economic market, just like the rest of the world, will test you on your perseverance and willpower.
Did you know that almost all international corporations, think of the biggest ones like Disney, KFC, Coca Cola, started in the economic winter (aka financial depression)? In my last article, I wrote that investors made a fool out of Airbnb owners: “Who’s going to let strangers sleep in their house?” Until a recession hit and people thought otherwise. Everyone now assumes they were lucky to hit the right timing, but no one knows that they worked their asses off for 5 years and went bankrupt multiple times.
In the summer of 2019, I sat with Robert Rolih who taught us about trading (don’t, don’t even think about it), trade with Artificial Intelligence (do it with the right strategies, avoid MLM unless you know what you’re getting into), and investing in shares (only if you know what you are doing and the goal isn’t to earn a quick buck). A picture appeared on his screen.
“Who knows which company this is?”
“Amazon!” (Of course there wasn’t a spoiler in the picture then).
The trainer looked up with surprise when I knew the answer; that young girl with that headscarf among all those gray business owners?
“That’s right! Well done!”, he said.
Secretly, I was a bit proud of myself (Just kidding, I felt I owned the world there for a second).
So that memory of Amazon’s growth suddenly pops before my eyes whilst writing this article. For 10 years they endured their personal economic winter. When I attended Darren Hardy’s “The Compound Effect” conference in Budapest in 2011, he said, “Do you want to succeed? Then be present next year, and the year thereafter, and the year thereafter … “
The right timing will come, however, you have to be there to reap the fruits.
Now we’ve talked about two things: the shift in the social and economic mental frame from “Newtonian” to “quantum” and “pushing it through until you are in your personal economic spring, and you can reap the benefits.” Combining these two subjects brings me to the last subject, the point you always need in order to anticipate the future and/or respond to the need of time: intuition.
Intuition. Intuition. Intuition! I cannot emphasize it more than this. It is more important than all the books and training material that you can follow altogether. What you learn in your education is important, but not essential. School is and will remain a rear runner as it takes so much effort and time to change a system like that, so you may always assume it is years behind. Right now, 90% of it, if not more, is still in the old frame. I’m not saying it doesn’t work, on the contrary; it is still all necessary. But it no longer works for a leader who wants to do business strategically. Leadership is the theme of 2021+, not capital, structure, or hierarchy.
In 2019, I attended “Entrepreneurs Day for the Gifted”, where I met the wonderful person and career coach Petra Hiemstra. She advised me to read 3 of the books that are at the bottom of the list. Altaïr had already existed for 3 or 4 years, yet I hardly had to adjust after finishing those books. The same happened when I went through Darren Hardy’s “Ludicrous Leadership.” Why is that? We did everything by feeling; we acted and organized according to what felt right, fair and effective to us. After all, we ourselves come from the new generation, and therefore know ourselves and what the people of our time need. There isn’t ‘exactly’ a boss telling us what to do. That is why we call our team a team and not “employees.” When it comes to our schooling, we don’t have any business-related background, so it’s even easier for us to follow our intuition. When we hired our first manager, he applied the structures and techniques that he learned from school and experience to our Quantum based organization. The funny thing is, when we hired him we apologized for the mess that our organization was. ‘’Are you kidding me?’’ he replied, ‘’I work for three other companies right now and trust me when I tell you, even compared to the biggest ones, you guys are the most organized!’’
After I read the books and followed the trainings, I finally had the language and insight to articulate what we had in mind from day one, which we still act on to this day. So learn to trust yourself and be a fanatic student (always keep learning because you do need knowledge). Intuition was the instrument to which Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla attributed their inventions/discoveries to, not intelligence or knowledge. And this also applies in the business world.
To summarize: the bad news is that you will have to endure a long, hot, tough, mentally and physically grueling marathon to hit the right timing in which you will thrive. The good news is that you will not need any degrees, but you can rely on your gut if you also keep on learning and growing!
AND… it will be worth it in the end!
Would you like to know more about this topic? My tips:
Book: The Quantum Leader – Danah Zohar (!)
Book: The Fifth Discipline – Pete Senge (!)
Book: New Power – Heimans & Timms
Book: The secret of genius – Tijn Touber (only in dutch).
Online class: Ludicrous Leadership – Darren Hardy (!)
(!) = highly recommended!