What is interesting about Culture?

  

What is interesting about Culture? This was the opening question of Steve Crossan the Head of Google Cultural Institute to kick off the REMIX Summit.  

Organized by CultureLabel, a pioneer company in cultural entrepreneurship, REMIX summit took place last Thursday, 27th of September 2012  at Bloomberg Headquarter in up and coming Finsbury Square.  

More than two hundred of us eager to learn how culture, technology and entrepreneurship, oppose, attract or mesh together and create business value flocked to the state-of-the-art conference room of the US business and financial news giant to get challenged and… inspired.

We got more than what we bargained for!

Thanks to the quality of the forty five speakers- a mix of arts experts, media gurus, successful entrepreneurs and high flyers from prominent corporations – who gave a lot of different angles to reflect on and practical examples to relate to. Thanks also to the diversity of the topics explored, ranging from cultural consumption and branding to running a creative business or what can we learn from the Olympic, everything contributed to the richness of the day.  

So what is the quintessence of the conference?  For me, it boils down to two bold statements. [Read More]


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One year later...

It is Friday night again, and I am settling back into my European routine…

Paris Friday to Sunday. London, Geneva during the week and soon to be throwing Milan into the mix as a promise of Dolce Vita… 
 
I am almost reaching the first year anniversary of my leaving the well-oiled ranks of corporate machinery to embark on a more personal journey.
 
In the last 9 months I have moved East, started testing my 15 year-old corporate skillset by joining the ranks of the entrepreneurs and finally given in to a long time repressed passion for writing….
 
Months have come and gone. 
 
They were composed of some of the greatest professional highs of my working life.  
 
Every small success, contact made, contract signed, door opened, mind boggling interview, every word written, compliment received became a reason to celebrate and a moment to cherish.
 
This precious inventory compensated for some of the darkest moments - born from frustration, disappointment, tiredness and, surprisingly, betrayal from the least expected places.
 
Back in Europe, reconnecting with old friends and colleagues, reflecting and pondering during my now familiar Eurostar ride…  What is to be remembered from this first year of transformation?
 
Choice is a luxury that only a few seem to have. 
 
Find your inner truth, follow your heart, rock the boat, jump, they say.
 
Reality then strikes… you have to pay your mortgage, raise your kids, beware of the economic environment, survive. 
 
Entrepreneurship is supersized work experience - it brings more work, more stress, more doubts, more loneliness.…
And more passion, more energy, more purpose… more testing of your real strengths and overall more rewards.
 
So what is to be said after just one short year? One thing only:
 
Just do it !
 

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Africa 2020- What scenario for a sustainable future ?

  

What is it to be known about Africa, about the diversity and the complexity of a continent that, for a recent part of its long history, has been under the influence of Western countries?
Africa is above all mysterious and it can be defined by one single, albeit powerful and somewhat poetic, word: Contrast.
 
Contrasts are found in its ethnical variety, its cultural richness, its landscapes and natural resources, its economies, its religions and beliefs…
This continent is marked by a complex mix of predatory history and tragic destiny, impacted by endless civil and tribal wars, where peace is a fragile yet pressing imperative.
 
As a land of contrast, what are the main trends that will enable one of the last developing continents to leverage its strengths to reach economic growth and societal harmony? How will these trends create possible scenarios for a sustainable future in Africa?
 
Hear it from Serge H Borg- Former Vice President of Invensys- in the Huffington Post. 
 

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About a Friday evening in the Eurostar

In the last 12 days, I have experienced intensively the life of a global wanderer, clocking about 10,000 miles, 4 different countries, 3 time zones and a yet again a new stack of air miles.

All this made me think of one word: Distance. Physical distance, to be perfectly accurate. It seems the only true barrier left in today’s world.

The world is evermore a global village. From Hong Kong to London, via Paris or Geneva, the same consumerism, the same brands, same vibes are present. The same mega trends are emerging, creating an almost universal framework with different coloring from North to South, East to West.

The world is now hyper connected. From one city to another, networks are being created, ecosystems are blossoming, as are innovation, art, and entrepreneurship.

Speed is everywhere. An idea can instantaneously be sent to the other end of the world, or even everywhere at the same time.

There is a voracious appetite for new and now and fast, or even faster. These are our new masters. They conquer every part of our life.

So what is left to conquer? What barrier is still to fall? Physical distance. 

No matter how you look at it, it still takes 13 hours to fly from Hong Kong to London. It is a 2.5 hours ride from Paris to London, to close a deal or be reunited with a loved one, you have to factor that in.  It’s an  absolute truth…or an absolute tyranny.

So what if the next and only remaining(?) real technological revolution was about transportation? How could we bring physical distance down to its knees once and for all, and embrace a limitless world?

Faster and cleaner planes? Where are you on that journey, Airbus, Boeing and others? 

Faster and cleaner trains? Where are the next versions of the bullet train? 

Or shall we dream a little harder and try to defeat matter, space and time? A blink of an eye, and magically you are where you want to be…how easy it would be to manage, follow-up, solve problems, avoid conflicts…but also to keep in touch and share precious moments with friends and family.

Wishful thinking on a Friday night in the Eurostar… or wait…could it also be hell? 


Tags: Speed

Happy New Year ... Kung Hei Fat Choi

Like most of us, I left 2011 in a hurry.

The last couple of weeks saw me trying to frantically complete the last To Do list of the year. They saw me struggling to close one thing after another – one last article, a last contract, that last meeting to be arranged, to attend, to report on…

Tick tock, tick tock…“Hurry, hurry” went the ceaseless whisper of my watch.

And then, before I realized it, there was quietness, and silence and joy…quickly followed by bubbly wine and laughter!

It was time to rejoice and to celebrate. But somewhere, somehow, it was also time to pause and reflect, to daydream 

Nostalgia kicked in, this bittersweet feeling connected to experiences and events come and now gone.

Twelve months had passed. They went by so quickly. They have been so intensely full of changes and encounters.

Time started playing tricks on me, slowing down gently. It pushed me to look at the journey taken and celebrate the things achieved.

It asked for progress to be measured, for friends to be accounted for – new friends made along the way, but also friends lost in the turmoil of change.

It was about loved ones, coming in like shooting stars and abruptly disappearing, but whose memory we will always carry and treasure. It was about remembering, acknowledging…and letting go.

It was about getting ready for a new year as pure and beautiful as a blank canvass waiting patiently for the uncertain hand of the artist.

A new year to re-invent, set in motion, move into action. Vows may be taken again. Commitments may be made again. Directions may be chosen again. The past is gone, the future a vivid dream – just the present matters.

A new year is starting. Make it count. Make it as beautiful, joyful and rich as you have dreamt it!

A happy New Year to you all.


Tags: EVolution

The importance of being... Focused !

  

I had lunch today. 

Not surprising, you’ll say… Indeed!

But I had lunch with a very promising young man, soon to become a very talented entrepreneur.

He has worked hard for the last nine years, nine long years, learning from both struggling cities in the north of England and the fast moving and economically booming Far East.  He has been working endlessly, with only one objective in mind: building the skillset he needs to fulfill his dream.

His dream:  to join the family business, a tax and finance advisory firm in the east of England, and take it national.

He admitted willingly that every career decision, every assignment he decided to take, always had the same motive: to get him one step closer to him feeling ready to jump to - and excuse the emphasis - his awakening.

I forgot to mention, this young man just turned thirty two weeks ago.

The inner strength, the focus, the drive he shows, even in the simple settings of an impromptu lunch at a local sushi place, are impressive and a sign of an inherent maturity.

There is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that he will be hugely successful in his future endeavors…and quite frankly in any direction he should ever choose in the future!

Why? Because such focus, paired with such an ability to strategize and execute, seems almost miraculous. I’ve now been left wondering: is it all about focus?  

I recently interviewed heavy weight entrepreneurs in both France and the UK, discussing success and potential. Over the course of the last 18 months, I have also interviewed very prominent women who made it to the C-Suite, following their own dream. What came out of all discussions was the importance of passion, luck serendipitous encounters and observation. What was, also, at the forefront was risk-taking, trial and error, persistence and knowing what you want. But never have I seen the paramount importance of focus so clearly articulated.  

And here I am, having my own moment of being enlightened, from a thirty something.

It is all about focus, paired with self-confidence in your own ability to succeed.

It is about focus, underpinned by a certain humility of knowing what your shortcomings are, and valuing the experience of the elders.

It’s a great lesson that I have learnt today…

So what are you focusing on?

 

Tags: Youth-Inspiration- CHoice

For YOU ... a

  

’Great achievements, holistic approach, true globe-trotter are the first thoughts coming to my mind when I browse your site.  However, there are so many faces, former corporate high-flyer, new entrepreneur, finance executive, woman executive and this to quote just a few. You have so many interests that I am finally a bit confused’’ commented one of my business partners when he gave me feedback on the website concept. 

It made me angry – not at him – at the world !

This need to classify and structured truly and positively infuriated me. This need to label things and people is a constant constraint. This urge to create boxes and patterns is a threat to one self-confidence. 

It endangers courage to act, to embrace and drive change. It jeopardises creativity and innovation, rooted, in my opinion, in a deep ability to observe, relate and feed from different terms of reference….or simply DIFFERENCE 

I am calling for, no, I am claiming the right to be multiple, to be undefined and unclassifiable. I am claiming the right to be unconstrained and the power to  break others' mental rules,  patterns or expectations.

This week, I morphed from advisor, to public speaker Monday and Tuesday. I was a board member Wednesday in the morning, a writer in the afternoon and a friend at night. I played at strategist and fund raiser on Thursday, at talent hunter and journalist on Friday, and ended the week as a…woman.

How many boxes could have ticked?  Thousands

How many patterns and stereotypes did I break ?  To some a lot, to me personally…none.

How was your week ? Let’s start thinking about ourselves as precious stones, as diamonds, with a thousand cuts, and let the light, the context, reveals blue or yellow, green or purple, depending on what matters or what is needed.

Let’s embrace difference and fight conformism. 

Let’s start looking for possibilities and free ourselves from old mental models. Let’s let our freedom and our potential rule.

Live, Breathe, Shine.

Join the evolution, innovate yourself.


Tags: DIFFERENCE / EVolution / Perspective

The Brick Wall

  

It just happened, though I have been expecting it for the last 3 months.

Really, I have been dreading this moment from the start of my new life.

From the day I left behind the security of a corner office and a regular paycheck to embark on the entrepreneurship adventure, it has been looming.

When will I feel overwhelmed by doubts and fears?

When will I start to question my very own choice?

When will I hit… the first brick wall?

It happened yesterday. It was triggered by something as insignificant as someone postponing a meeting by a week.  It dropped me into a whirlpool of anxiety and exhaustion, almost triggering this compelling urge to pick up the phone to one of my beloved headhunters and literally beg for the safe haven of a ludicrous corporate role.

I had to fight hard against it.

What did I do?

I went to the office of one of the companies I am advising on.

I needed to feel part of something, to reconnect with the buzz of activities, idea sharing and brainstorming meetings that rule the start-up world, and stop the obsessive negative thinking.

I craved a sense of belonging and a sense of community. I needed to feel I was not alone in fighting to make things happen, to create change and value.

What did I learn about myself yesterday?

A lot, actually!

I realized that breaking your mental patterns is much more difficult than one expects. I have learnt that the path to entrepreneurship is a chaotic one, and that one needs both a tremendous level of energy to endlessly plant seeds and the maturity to give them time to grow in their own time, paired with an indefatigable self-confidence in one’s own ability to succeed and reach one’s goals, regardless of the pressure that builds up at time.

I have also learned that, thankfully, this is a very normal stage in the journey.

Every aspiring entrepreneur will go through the same turmoil, the rapid succession of highs and lows.

How do you manage then? What should you do to get out of the dip as quickly as possible and refocus on the tasks at hands?

A couple of tips for you:

Firstly, make sure you have a great support system to share and experience with. A mix of entrepreneurs, friends and family that will soothe your self-doubt and help you recalibrate your perspective.

Secondly, as Simon–Founder of Wazoku nicely advised be, make sure you celebrate every success, from the smallest ones– like signing off your first ten members and buying cupcakes – to the biggest ones – raising the £2.5 million needed to take your business to the next level and celebrating at Kensington Roof gardens.

Finally, make sure you keep yourself honest. Remember why you have chosen this life, how the benefits, whatever they may be –freedom, flexibility, purpose – still immensely outweigh the financial security, certainty and routine.

Remember and hold on, because success is always at the end of the road, and please, be gentle with yourself.

It was a great day yesterday.


Tags: Change