I'm currently awaiting my seared tenderloin of British beef, that comes with a sauce I cannot pronounce (thanks for the upgrade British Airways!) I'm thinking about a trip to Sydney in a few months time, possibly a trip to Mexico, a second trip to Sydney in a years time, oh and lunch at the House of Commons tomorrow.
It all feels incredibly sereal. I'm not sure what I did to deserve all this & repayment will be in doing something good with all the opportunity, ripe in my wad of vodka-fragranced business cards (in Russia they very much work hard play hard you know..). I think it's fair to say I banked on the idea that you get out what you put in.
'I don't think I've ever networked so hard, I've certainly never sat down for lunch with close to 500 people from 20 different countries.'
I received a couple of text messages before boarding the plane- one was from an american serial entrepreneur, the other from the vice president of delegates for Mexico; both of which I'm expecting to do business with in the future.
Paco, a Mexican delegate (who is starting a business in Mexico with one of the UK delegates) asked me if I got much out of the trip? I think you already know my answer and summing it up in one sentence doesn't do it justice but I'd say the G20 YEA Summit in Moscow has given me the confidence, contacts, and mentors to go global.
'I met my latest mentor at 3am this morning (cold beer in hand), he recently featured 4th in entrepreneurs across the globe, only second to the likes of Zuckerberg and Branson.'
I guess it just proves the whole point- you never know who you are going to be talking to and there's nothing wrong with a bit of luck- Hoffman (a multi billion dollar entrepreneur from the states) said 'hey, if luck wants to show up, I've not got a problem with luck'.
Hoffman, actually hung out with us yesterday and assisted in building ideas and sharing his story. Now he is truly an inspirational entrepreneur (& with my attention span I can't normally listen to someone for a good couple of hours without switching off- I was literally glued to his every word).
He speaks my language and he just gets out there and does it- at 19 he decided that he was going to go to Yale so he signed himself up & rocked up at his first lecture.
The only thing that was different between Hoffmans scenario and the other students was that he couldn't actually afford the tuition fee's. The lecturer kicked him out but Hoffman said he'd get the money and he'd be at next weeks lectures- most people would have given up or resorted to 'bank of mum and dad'? but neither of these were an option for Hoffman.
He some-how stumbled across a tender for a local software deal, and within 24 hours created his first company out of sheer desperation- he actually knew nothing about software at the time, and his proposal was a 'made up' company with only a word-template letter knocked-up in a day and pushed under the nose of the decision maker.
You can imagine the feeling when the client said he had competed with 4 other established companies and won the business!
How the hell was he going to deliver the work (bearing in mind he was missing and skill or knowledge in the software sector!). He actually went on to put an ad up, recruited a software developer, and had the company up, running, and delivering within 1 week- he made that lecture the following Monday.
His attitude is to just get on and do it and that if you want that Ferrari from the poster on the wall don't let other people decide you can't have it; if you want it get on and get it. Hoffman recently purchased his Ferrari and says the sound of the car drowns out all the people who said he'd never get it- now how cool is that.
'There's been a lot of 'cool' moments spent with some extraordinary people. My pint with one of the top 5 entrepreneurs in the world and as a result an agreement from him to mentor me.'
Having delegation photo's whilst chatting future opportunity with one of the seniors from Ernst & Young and a young chinese entrepreneur who had moved to France to launch a comic book (which now has 150,000 followers). Being invited to Mexico to look at the energy market there, arranging a trip to Sydney to consider export, and brainstorming future actions to make the UK the leading space for creative entrepreneurs.
I've also had some 'watch this space' moments; the thing about meeting 500 young entrepreneurs from across the globe is that you can count on someone you met becoming the next Zuckerberg, Trump, or Branson. Take one of the UK delegates for example; Owen's 21 and not only does he look like the tech guy who becomes annoyingly successful and world famous but he has the nouse and 'just do it' attitude that will be required for his version of 'facebook'.
One thing the UK has in abundance is modesty. Whilst looking at Alex's new start-up (Kit us Out) I'm drawn to the fact that it's quite obviously not about him or his ego- far from it. There's a small photo on one of the pages capturing the right entrepreneur attitude for success (in my opinion); whilst standing next to two olympic athletes Alex describes himself as a 'games maker' when he could quite as easily described himself as the founder or a serial entrepreneur.
I think this last point about attitude is fairly important. By using the word Entrepreneur or thinking of yourself as something different to what you were when you were the guy in your pyjama's in your Dad's back-room you alienate and distance yourself from anyone who is thinking of starting a business. Soon your caught up in buzzword mayhem and chatting eco-systems, verticals, mentors, and USP's.
'Starting a business is actually built around a lot of common-sense and it's a journey- a tough one, where you have to commit, stay positive, and remember why you started (having a dream) and in truth anyone can do it with the right idea.'
I think part of the problem actually comes from those who are employed but are champions for entrepreneurship and start-ups; since they've studied the topic they understand all of the headline stuff and are experts in all of the terminology. What they fail to understand is that the 'wise man' bible that's been produced isn't written in a language that the typical start-up uses, particularly young entrepreneurs.
The key has to be to listen and to guide, to question actions and to provide support. The most productive sessions on the trip were those where other delegates spoke about there businesses or we discussed future actions and changes that we could make together- let's hope for more of this and less chat about ecosystems and collaborative thinking in Australia; the Aussies are a much more straight talking bunch so this should help!
In the meantime the key will be to work hard developing contacts made at the Summit, developing plans for the future, and on a wider note creating some inertia on around the G20 Summit.
*Pictured with Bertin Nahum (CEO of Medtech, a Montpellier TPE and ranked fourth most revolutionary world entrepreneur.) Medtech