Okay I will cut the suspense short: I don’t have 33 magic recipes for that, I don’t even have one. The thing is, I wanted to write this post because I am SO upset about all those articles I see on the Internet about the “15 ways to lose weight”, the “10 tips to build your startup”, the “3 ways to live a happy life”. Everyday, everywhere you go on the Internet, blogs, news and “buzz” websites are full of those. It’s like a new way to provide information, in a standardized and reassuring packaging. Something that is like McDonald’s: you know you’ll find it everywhere, and you know it will be shitty quality. But of course, it works. People like it, share it, tweet it, pin it and every possible social-media-it. Because it’s easy. You don’t even have to read it, you just need to have read the title to feel legitimate to share. And then you are restlessly checking your phone for the next 4 hours waiting for new likes and new shares. It becomes this endless newsfeed on our twitter accounts about those “5 ways to…”, and it’s tiring, meaningless, and oh so boring.


So how did this new packaging become so popular? My guess: it’s because we are lazy. We want magic recipes and simple tricks that will make all our problems go away, anything that will serve up success, beauty, and money. Well wake up: you have to work hard for all that. Spend endless hours building your company or go running to get in shape. Yep, you need to sweat it out, no short cuts possible, no “5 ways to”. It’s hard, and it’s painful. However, it’s incredibly better to realize that now and start doing something about it than wait for the newest fake and simple answer to all those problems.

We are creating a way to get the information by bullet points: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and boom! 500 words, you are now an expert on how to build a startup. Or like this article I saw the other day on “How to turn your idea into a business”. The author was specifying: “Only 50 seconds read!” As if that were a good thing! I would be pretty skeptical of someone who is telling me that I will know about startups in 50 seconds. I mean, we are not talking about a cheesecake recipe (which takes in fact a lot more time to make). We are talking about key concepts that are supposed to shape who we are. We are talking about life, personal growth, our health, our relationships, our work. Pretty important stuff I would say.

I know we live in a world that goes faster and faster, Moore’s Law etc. But that doesn’t mean we need to go faster in building ourselves, quite the contrary.

We live longer now than we ever have, so why not take the time to work on our best resource: ourselves.


And another reason why I’m so upset about this trend, is that it’s killing stories. I love stories, of all kinds, and most of all I love getting information through them. You learn a lot through stories, through good ones. And fortunately you also find a lot of those on the Internet. People who are revealing parts of their lives or something they learn along the way and who are sharing it in an authentic way. And it takes time to write a story, it’s not usually something you can cram into bullet points. Of course it’s longer and trickier to get “the information” from it, it’s essence, rather than the bullet pointed CliffsNotes version. But it’s also a lot more rewarding.

A perfect example of this is this great article by Aaron Bleyaert, which actually inspired me to write this post. In his blog post, « How to lose weight in 4 easy steps », he starts by writing 2 dumb steps like « No beer » (yeah, right!) that fit in 5 lines and 2 bullet points, and then gets to the real part… The third step says « HAVE YOUR HEART BROKEN ». During 50 lines, he talks about his story, about his pain, about how he manage to get through it. It takes time to read those 50 lines, to actually focus and try to understand what he is trying to tell us. And guess what, it ranked #1 on Medium for 3 weeks.


So people actually do like stories, they show it everyday. Amazing initiatives like “Humans of New York”, duplicated in so many countries, proves that stories matter. And most of all, that everyone has a story to tell. But it is a scary thing to do. And I have to admit, I think it is super scary to write a blog post. It is scary to think that we have something important to share; that we are legitimate to write about a topic; or that someone will give a **** about what we are writing. When you write about something you care about, if you put a piece of yourself in it, so that it becomes a story, then you should only care about getting it out there, and hope that it will resonate with one other person.

The last blog post I wrote was very personal. It was about the amazing experience I’ve lived with Exosphere: spending 8 full weeks with total strangers in a foreign country to learn, do, and grow together as individuals and as entrepreneurs. Yes, pretty crazy… It was actually my first blog post, so I was pretty nervous about it, and I’m sure it’s far from being perfect. But I wrote about something I was passionate about. I wrote about the things I’ve felt. And I know I’m not a famous blogger, and that my post didn’t get a lot of traction, but a few days after I published it, a dear friend of mine who is still in France (I’m currently living in Chile), wrote to me. She said: “I read your blog post, we have to talk about it, it resonates with so many things I’ve been thinking lately, please call me.” This message, and the conversation we had later on made me really happy. I knew I had achieved what I wanted with this post, even if it was too long and messy to be in any ranking like the “top 10 posts that will make your life better”.


I think that’s why I connected so much with Exosphere’s boot camp. It’s not about giving you any magic recipe to build your startup or to be happier. Yes, it would be easier to have only a 1 week program, and yes it would be easier to have someone telling you what to do, and how to do it. But you wouldn’t learn a thing. Exosphere is a community, it’s about people sharing their stories, and learning from the others’. It’s about taking your time to grow, to learn, and to decide the next steps you want to do in life as a person and as an entrepreneur. It’s not a bullet point program. It’s hard work, it’s sweat, but it’s also a life-changing experience. So no, a lot of people will probably never come experience this with us because they will prefer an afternoon of workshop or one week online training. Just like a lot of people will probably never read posts which don’t have bullets points and are more than 500 words. But for the few of you who want to go all the way, who are willing to get the whole story, then I think it’s truly worth it that we go through all this trouble.

This story was first published in the Athena Medium page, by Exosphere Stories. For more stories, get the Exosphere Curated Newsletter here!


Adèle Galey was a participant in Exosphere’s boot camps and part of theAthena team.