Discover more from 🏴☠️ Making Business More Human
Welcome to Making Business More Human
With these Notes, I share some of my observations, experiences and learnings. From my own experience running multiple businesses, but also from working with others that do.
My main focus will be on those things that often go unnoticed or are neglected. Those human skills that help make businesses run more smoothly and facilitate relationship and connection.
All originating from the same idea that has been a driving factor behind PIRATE Summit from the start:
To make business more human.
If you think the content will be relevant to somebody else, then feel free to point them to this Substack.
How did I get here?
To understand my urge to start sharing about my experiences, I have to go back to the summer of 2003. I was a student and had just come back from one year studying in Barcelona. In that summer, I started my first business with a friend.
We were naive. To put it mildly. We had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into and what it meant to run a business. To the outside world, we could show some decent successes. After all, we had some paying clients and earned a fair amount of money. On the inside, we felt lost and overwhelmed. There was the constant feeling that we were in way above our heads.
The journey of 20 years of entrepreneurship that followed was a constant roller coaster ride. I have hired and fired. I have acquired and exited. I have invested and lost it all. I had to accept failure and had to shut down multiple products or even close companies. Sometimes, when giving up wasn’t an option, I worked tirelessly to avoid bankruptcy. More than once.
That’s what factually happened. There is plenty to learn from this. Tactics, methods, how-tos. What to look for before you invest, the tax impact of selling your product unit, the best interview questions, how to structure a deal, how to fire someone, etc.
That’s useful information, but it’s not what I get excited about. Exciting are the things happening under the surface. You might call it the human factor of running a business. It’s often overlooked or hard to grasp. It’s certainly hard to manage.
In 2007, I was - for the first time - sparring partner for a business executive of a big corporate in the Netherlands. It was a ridiculous setup: I was at least 10 years younger and had left university 1.5 years prior. But somehow these sessions proved to be very useful for the client. I was requested to come back regularly over a period of several months.
The reason I was called back again and again wasn’t because I knew the tactics of running a business better. The reason was that I seemed to have a good eye for how to do and improve on things that require human skills.
What we often forget is that business don’t interact with businesses. Instead, humans interact with humans. Running a business intrinsically requires human skills.
In the years that followed I have worked with countless entrepreneurs, business executives, and early startup founders. As a mentor, sparring partner or - and I don’t like the term - coach.
With these Notes, I want to share some of my observations and learnings. From my own experience running multiple businesses, but also from working with others that do.
“Not another newsletter in my inbox.”
I get it. I don’t like getting a lot of mails either. That’s actually not precise, so let me rephrase that: I only like mails that give me useful information or valuable insights.
I write these PIRATE Notes with the intention of being one of these mails you look forward to rather than dread.
So here is what (not) to expect
This is not one of those newsletter trying to continuously sell something. I want to focus on valuable content for you the reader. A lot of signal, little noise. A nice side effect is that I am forced to structure my thoughts. So a win-win. ;)
This is not a space where I tell others about what is right or wrong. This is an exploration. A mosaic of perspectives based on my experiences.
This is not a “one man show”. I would love to use this space to give the mic to others as well.
I won’t spam. You can unsubscribe anytime. No hard feelings. You won’t be unsubscribed from the general PIRATE Summit Updates.
There will not be a determined frequency. I have a certain vision how this can develop, but it really depends on how you, the reader - and the community at large - is going to respond. I will share when I feel I have something valuable to contribute.