I have always regarded traveling as the second best school of learning, growth and introspection in life. The first would be running a venture, and it is pretty interesting when both the phases happen at the same time.
I got a message one afternoon from one of my close friends. She was excited that a new workaway camp was being organized in a remote villa in Barcelona, Spain.
The idea was to get 18 entrepreneurs from all around the world, all working on different business ideas, and take them away from the humdrum of the cities. Located about 40km away from the city, in the middle of mountains and grasslands, it is needless to say that the place was pretty exquisite and serene. Since the camp coincided with my friends’ wedding plans, I decided to give it a go.
Besides the curious fact of being the only Asian entrepreneur in the group, here’s what I learnt among the group of entrepreneurs from 10 different nationalities (from Sweden to US to Ukraine and more).
The crux of product development
Defining the problem you are solving and making it resonate with the users should be the primary objective above all else. This cuts across all geographies and generations — getting the ‘why’ to click with the users of your product is the starting point.
Then comes the inherent design of the product that I realized most of the European entrepreneurs understood quite well, that I am pleased to see developing in Asia as well recently.
Creating space for creative thoughts
Having a subliminal blank space (just like the beginning of a day) helps a lot in thinking and brainstorming.
This brings to mind something that I have realized many times in the past — your alone and meditative time is when you can deliver your best ideas. This is something that started as a subcontinent phenomenon in India (considering yoga and meditation) that is now rapidly catching on in the West.
Taking care of the little things
The quality of food you consume has much more an impact on your work and mindset than you realize. Be it the healthy vegetables common of the paleo cuisine or the natural olives and oils common in the Mediterranean one, I came to realize that even just having an awesome breakfast can well set you up for the rest of the day.
Perceiving the nutritional choices of so many people around me has also helped me re-evaluate my choices every time.
The art of goal setting
Setting smart and ambitious goals for yourself and your company is crucial.
Even more crucial is being observant in terms of defining and changing them whenever necessary to adapt to ever changing circumstances.
Sometimes, being in places that have a huge population (most of the Asian countries), tends to give us a major advantage in terms of catching behavioral changes of people around us. But at the same time, it is also pertinent to not lose sense of the world as a whole just because we have a huge user base in our home country.
Your team is your foundation
The idea is to make sure you have the right people around you at all times. There is nothing more powerful for a venture than a team that can evolve while grounded by strong ideals. Even though different founders approach their ventures differently, such as one of the developers from Amsterdam who preferred to work solo and engage freelancers at times, on hindsight, most people in the group agreed on this point.
Besides all the above points, the overall experience was pretty cool and fun — with a free flow of ideas, feedback and perspectives of each other’s work domain.
The world may seem a big and scary place at first, but as you will soon come to realize, nothing is set in stone. You can change the rules as you go! Cheers to the spirit of entrepreneurship, traveling and embracing the adventures ahead.