cout << “Hello World… How can I change you?”
“ I was bruised and battered, I couldn’t tell what I felt.
I was unrecognizable to myself.
Saw my reflection in a window and didn’t know my own face.
Oh brother are you gonna leave me wastin’ away”
Streets of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen
It’s 9 pm, I’m pretty much sure I’m the only one left in this giant glass tower some 5000 people call home 8 hours a day. Have you ever been the last one in a huge office? Chin up, stand straight on your chair and look around. It’s surprisingly relaxing isn’t it?
I’m walking around the 12th floor, my headphones on, joined by a weird feeling of power. Which I quite quickly recognize as loneliness. Everything is so quiet. It’s almost like time stopped. Like some stacks of paper are floating in the air. Like the building was abruptly abandoned and left as is. My favorite thing is to look out of the window. All these beautifully lit skyscrapers menacingly looking down at you. I always suddenly feel the intense desire to reach the top, be on the last floor, triumphant.
I’m tired and mechanically bring my hand to face, rub my eyes and forehead. I catch my reflection in the window. I look exhausted. I start having an imaginary conversation with myself. Well, with my alter-ego to be honest. The one who’s “made it”. Which for me means: changed the world. I ask him: “is it too late”?
What happened to the guy who studied applied mathematics and left to become an entrepreneur? What happened to the idealist who launched two startups and failed, twice. But somehow still wanted a go at it? What happened to the marketer who met two amazing entrepreneurs and helped them along their tech journey? What happened to the guy who went traveling around the world, fell 200 m while climbing a glacier and managed to survive? What happened to you? Why aren’t you trying to change the world?
You’ve accepted a job as a consultant. That’s it! Why? To get a cool flat? To be able to pay your medical bills maybe? A fucked-up shoulder is for life, now you know it. To climb up the career ladder? News flash: it’s not good enough. It’s just not good enough. You can and have to do more.
Hold on a second. Calm down. Treat this like any equation. Be analytical. What’s the next step?
How can I change the world?
Ouhhhhh. I sigh. If only I knew. How do other people do it? Is it some sort of epiphany? One day it just appears and they just change the world? It seems so easy to them. Why do they have that I don’t?
THINK STRAIGHT QUENTIN.
The environment! Could you create a business to save the environment? Yes it sounds contradictory. But think about it. If saving the environment was marketed half as well as Nike markets shoes or Apple markets a phone, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Okay, what’s next? I start feeling my body waking up. My heart is pounding in my chest. Imagine how amazing it would be. Imagine how motivated your coworkers would be. Imagine the impact we could create.
All of the sudden, here I am dancing in an empty office.
“I’m burnin’ through the sky, yeah
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit”
I need to learn. You are standing on the shoulders of giants. Good thing about the 21st Century: most of them wrote books. There is so much to learn. I run back to my desk and order about 10 books on Amazon. Ranging from learning how to negotiate to the philosophy of a reluctant business man. Yvon Chouinard is an amazing man.
Disclaimer: I don’t really know why I’m writing this. Or even this disclaimer. I honestly don’t expect anyone to read this. That’s not the objective. Yet, this is a true story. All of it, down to the silly romanticized dancing in the office scene. I’m a dork, I know.
So why am I writing this. Well because I want to change the world and have no idea how to go about doing just that. Not yet! I do have a vision or a mission statement. But nothing to materialize it. I’m reading though and learning a lot. Trust me I am.
This is entry #1. I wrote this at 8:34 pm from my bed in Brussels, the capital of Belgium.
cout << “I really need to learn Python”.