Entrepreneur of the future, a French student and a train


Oh French youth, how happy you make me for once !

Entrepreneur is the word here and building a startup the context. And this has been the basis for a glorious moment of sharing experience and discussing what entrepreneurship really is about. Here is the story of the student and the train.

No fairy tale though. Just the capture of a moment in life. I recently found myself sitting on a train, in the evening, on a journey back home. Nothing to go crazy about and rather a relaxed time at the end of a busy day. That is when a young guy showed up and started randomly asking people if they could provide insight and advice on entrepreneurship and building a startup.

Judging from people’s reactions, that was definitely something unexpected. Nor is it something usual to see someone with enough guts to go around a train coach asking random strangers for advice about startups.

And yes it does require some guts to speak to people. Especially random people who are definitely out of their comfort zone. Especially in Europe where networking is not as natural as it can be in the U.S. for instance (even in dedicated events for startups).

It was quite cool just to see this. On the same note this did remind me of the “rose project”, by Bowei Gai. Bowei, an entrepreneur from the Valley set out on a trip to meet startups all over the world for his initiative, World Startup Report. One of his actions hit me.

Noticing that people in Russia did not act very friendly and did not smile much, he started the rose project. A little experimentation based on offering a rose to random people (ladies) in the streets and getting a smile as a reward.

For what I know of Russia, that could actually have had unexpected – harmful – consequences especially for a foreigner not speaking the language.

Yet, he did go on and could finally post a piece on this project of a day, illuminated with pictures of actual smiles.

With guts and a bit of craziness, he did pull a great result and met his own target.

Back to the train, that is what this young student did too. After he approached me, we ended up chatting for about an hour not only about his project but about what being an entrepreneur means, what building a startup means and what the key points are.

The fact that we had a chat is major for me.

I tend to meet startup founders, young or not, who seek advice but do, at the same time, not really agree to getting advice setting them on a different path than the one they are currently walking. Some others would just look for someone to fix their problems, be they coding, marketing or selling, but would not learn in the process. Be they suicidal or slightly lazy, not all entrepreneurs end up offering a nice moment nor proper chat.

This particular encounter did really encompass the best of it.

Facing someone eager to learn and get the basics right, challenging advice to get the most of them, listening but asking too (hence not leaving me feeling like delivering a lecture at school) and, above all, truly enjoying his time truly made it a great time for me. And that is something I am grateful for too.

And the future looks bright.

Why would it not be in the first place ? Indeed. But we sometimes need reminders.

And what better reminder that there are wonderful people out there, just even starting their journey to success, than a student in his prime, with an entrepreneurial mind, the guts to get s…tuff done (even if pre-stuff work) and the eagerness to learn and get the basics right ?

That is a recipe for success.

And, in any case, one last point I made was about failing while having done things right. Failing after having worked seriously, planned, executed, committed to a project, that is not a failure. Success sometimes only depends on sheer luck. But doing things right and not finding success in the end is what acceptable failure is; a step forward on a learning curve towards success.

So only success awaits … .

Then came the station, the train stopping, the journey coming to an end and this story too.

For now … because the story of this young entrepreneur is only getting started and I just want to think that I have helped an entrepreneur in the making take yet another step forward towards a great and successful entrepreneurial journey.

Thanks again for allowing me to contribute to this journey!

(Picture courtesy of Hubspot free pack)


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