The more I learn from them, the more I begin to understand the multiple ways someone can be an entrepreneur. In our society there's this misleading and simplistic perspective that entrepreneur equals founder: entrepreneur is seen as a job description, like plumber or mechanic. But the more time I share with bright and enthusiastic entrepreneurs, the more I understand entrepreneurship is an attitude, a state of mind. You don't need to found a company to be an entrepreneur, although doing it, is a great way to drive change and route your energy in the right direction.
And keeping up with the analogy, if an entrepreneur is a hero, companies are the powers to funnel their abilities. Since I founded iomando I've been fortunate enough to meet all kinds of entrepreneurs: product (obsessed) focused, user-centric, operational gurus or financial geeks... They radiate enthusiasm, and you can feel it, too. It's contagious. But, there's one special breed of entrepreneur (the most successful I dare say) their main ability lays on the way they understand companies and how to put them to work in order to execute their vision. This people see the world from another level of abstraction and this is amazing.
Companies are extremely complex entities. The company as a whole is such an abstract concept that few people understand how it truly behaves, end to end. But the ones who do, this special breed among entrepreneurs, are the ones who really get the most of their powers, they know where to aim and how to put their powers to work at its best. Understanding this subtle connection between your idea and how a company should work to get the most of it is the biggest challenge: it's all about execution.
But this admiration is (unfortunately) not a common sensibility, at least in Spain. Maybe these values aren't linked to something quantitative in the short term and people lose interest. For example, our society loves soccer. I'm not going down the road of "the reasons why people love soccer", but I'm pretty sure a great deal of it comes form the simplicity of its message. The finality is so direct and the reward so immediate that is easier to see soccer players like heroes. Entrepreneurship doesn't work like this by any means. The link between hard work and success is so thin that most of the time is obviated.
Maybe for this reason, this bright people is not in the media. Sure there are great entrepreneurs in Spain, but they go under covered, working hard in the darkness and driving true change without even getting noticed. But I noticed. During college I started to keep track of these people, not only spanish ones, but all over the place. I read all I could find about them because I wanted to understand what drove them. I was truly fascinated and at some point, determined that this was the path I wanted to pursue in life.
So I had no football player hanging on my room's wall. Instead I admired this people: in a way, they were my "college heroes", I wanted to be like them. Obviously among the big players, american names overwhelm you, great Silicon Valley legends, but you also wanted to think locally, because fellow countrymen feel closer and more empathetic. I already mentioned that Spain have great entrepreneurs, but at the top of the list I had one name: Marc Vidal.
He is one of the greatest digital entrepreneurs I know. I learned so much from him: his background in economics tuned me into the field (he predicted the spanish crisis way before it exploded, when everyone thought everything was fine, he had the guts to stand out), but also at a social level, he made me realize people were asleep in a subsidised economy and how the only way forward was to work your butt off. I barely had 20 years old, I knew nothing, but he inspired me in a profound way, he made me think for myself and showed me that the path of success looks like a lot of hard work, but it's worth trying.
I truly admired Marc (still do!) even without knowing him personally. Not just for what he has accomplished (which by the way is formidable), but for the passion and enthusiasm he radiates when he writes or talks about his vision of the world. And this leads us back to where we started: entrepreneurship is an attitude, a state of mind. Marc is the poster child for this mindset, it represents the entrepreneur at its best, the one that will change the world and at the same time will convince others along the road to do so. It's contagious.
Yes, I know. I still can't believe it myself.
Marc is someone I admired for a long time, from the distance, silently reading his articles and books and closely following his journey. I kept going inspired by him and many others entrepreneurs. When I finished college I didn't know what to do, I still hadn't a company to run, but I knew precisely how I was going to move forward. I knew the attitude, I saw it countless times in these guys and my time had come. It was my turn.
It's curious, though. I started my path inspired by someone who seemed to be so far, so divine, like the poster in the wall. Sometimes I sought inspiration and council in his figure and in some (little and subtle) way he contributed, without knowing it, to where we are now, with all the small steps and decisions we've made to be here today.
And what are the odds, now he is joining what I started inspired by him. For me this is validation in its purest form. The feeling of the young boy who gets to play with his childhood hero. That's me, today. I'm really proud of it and I assure you I won't miss the opportunity.