The 5 Best Decisions Of My Life

Manuel Hartmann
Aug 7, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash

“If I make three good decisions a day, that’s enough. And they should be as high quality as I can make them. Warren Buffett says he is good if he makes three good decisions a year.” Jeff Bezos

Two of the by commercial standards most successful humans of our time say that it is not the countless small decisions that impact our life the most, but very few, important ones.

The above quote nudged me to reflect more on the 5 best decisions of my life. So here we go in chronological order:

2008: Pick the right university
I fully know that the University of St. Gallen (HSG) is not “the right” university and I frankly do not care at all about its Financial Times ranking. But starting my studies at HSG and moving to St. Gallen kick-started a new life, attitude and openness to opportunities for me which I would surely not have embraced staying in Glarus. My time as a student provided the required skills, experiences, network and credentials for my professional life. But I also met many of my for now already 10 years best friends of my life including my now wife here, for which I am deeply grateful.

2009: Talking to my future wife
The term “Heiratsmarkt HSG” apparently exists since generations and I can happily confirm — it worked and still works. The official wedding statement at our wedding that “Miriam & Manuel met each other at university, studying” might be a bit “adapted” to the more real “drunk in the club” version. But I guess being rather shy 10 years ago, I would also not have had the courage to talk to my wife during a coffee (which she would have hated anyway). One piece of advice here: If you meet the girl of your dreams, just go for her — the worst potential outcome is a (temporary?) no, the best — well, see above.

Fast forward 7 years skipping an awesome time working with Tesla, studying in an MBA program in Canada, doing a Master in Business Innovation, working for Holcim & Accenture etc. These were all good, but not necessarily life-changing decisions.

2016: Taking up combat sports
I loved combat sports since doing Judo for 2 years as a kid, but I somehow needed a long time to get back to it due to changing and often varying work & life environments. Having this “fixed” upon 2016, taking on (Thai) Boxing proved to be one of my best decisions of my life. Besides getting and staying physically fit, it helped me to ask for & incorporate no bullshit feedback, conduct every interaction at eye level and reach serenity in a digital world (full story here)

2017: Move full time into sales
Unlike in the US, sales is not that well-regarded in Switzerland. It is surely and unfortunately not something you learn much about today at a Swiss university, so I never considered this as a full-time career path. Until I wanted to join an early stage machine learning startup. Any serious company is “50% product — 50% traction” and I was (and surely am) definitely not smart enough for software engineering. So I worked on the traction part, which was B2B outbound sales. This not only helped me to become more customer-centric and value-obsessed, but also provided the stepping stone to start my company.

2019: Start my company
I wanted to build & run my company since working with Tesla selling the last Roadsters back in 2012. It took 7+ years of professional experience and a combined skill set of B2B sales, startup, innovation and consulting, but starting hartmannventures.com early 2019 surely launched one of the most exciting times of my life.

A brief outlook: See My Life in 2024

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