The Entrepreneurial Perspectives Manifesto

Entrepreneurial Perspectives Manifesto HeaderThe last few years I created and contributed to a regional and in-company entrepreneurial ecosystem. This in turn slightly increased the speed of change in our world. I have seen firsthand how technological innovations, societal change and the spread of entrepreneurial methodologies create opportunities for every individual and organisation. Innovation and progress is the result of those who push the limits and exhibit entrepreneurial behaviour. This blog is dedicated to those that do. To you!

The drive to change, to make the world a little bit better is the drive that also powers this blog. This manifesto sets out the believes on which this blog is based, the lens through which it is written.

Belief #1 – There is an entrepreneur in every one of us

You don’t have to work from a garage and eat pizza to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is not determined by title or role. Exhibiting entrepreneurial behaviour is key to getting ahead in life and will be a standard requirement for jobs in the future. Your entrepreneurship shows in acts, big and small. Questioning how things can be done better, every day. The courage to share your vision of change and make it come true by the actions you take every day is being an entrepreneur.

Belief #2 – Entrepreneurs are made (and sometimes born, too)

The discussion is irrelevant. Entrepreneurs can be born as well as made. It is a given that everyone with the right mindset, tools and discipline can become more entrepreneurial. The field of entrepreneurship is being heavily researched and it is has become a method of management. Through this blog I will contribute to bring that knowledge and experience to you.

Belief #3 – Entrepreneurs are the positive changemakers of our society

Entrepreneurs can be found everywhere: in business, education, politics, healthcare, non-profits, sports… As a group they are the biggest source of progress in our world and even our galaxy. Of course, some ventures don’t contribute to a better society but overall it is very hard to launch an initiative that doesn’t make the world a better place. In entrepreneurship, people, planet and profit go hand-in-hand. We press for progress together!

Belief #4 – It’s in the doing that progress is made

Sure, it starts with a vision. But it is the actions that create the outcome. Entrepreneurs have a positive bias towards action. Big changes start with small acts. Sometimes that is not easy because it exposes you to the world, to your critics (that might be yourself!) so it takes courage. Entrepreneurs are therefore courageous people. Execution is the big differentiator. So remember: done is better than perfect and a healthy dose of hustle, grit and perseverance is required to overcome the inevitable hurdles you will encounter. Keep pushing, never give up but don’t be blind.

Belief #5 – Entrepreneurship is a continuous growth journey

Entrepreneurship comes with great responsibility. It forces you to develop your leadership skills. You set the example and people look towards you for your vision and your guidance. An open mind and being open to feedback are basic required skills to bear this responsibility. Entrepreneurs have a learning mindset, an insatiable hunger to develop themselves personally and grow and learn and grow and learn.

Belief #6 – Entrepreneurship is the foundation to innovation and growth

Organisations can be less or more entrepreneurial, just like individuals. Too often R&D or innovation is seen as the basis for future and continued growth. But this is a mistake. It is an entrepreneurial culture that is the basis for innovation and growth. Give your people the freedom, the tools and the support to be entrepreneurial and your organisation will become more innovative. It all starts with your people.

Belief #7 – Talent is distributed evenly, entrepreneurial opportunity should be too

Talent is distributed evenly in humanity. The ability to develop your talents should be too. We should support those that do not have access to education or knowledge. The contribution made to the democratization of knowledge by the invention of the internet is enormous. Let’s continue to push for that and support the entrepreneurs that do the same with virtual or augmented reality technologies to increase access to skills development.



Sabbatical update week 4

Finding my rhythm

After the struggle to be ‘productive’ during the last two weeks I’ve found my rhythm this week. Small tweaks in my daily routine brought the change I needed which was reinforced by inspiration.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” – John C. Maxwell

I had all this activities on my list like ‘complete reading book’ ‘watch course on typography’ and I wasn’t making progress. I started creating a habit of defining three things to complete the next day and I break them down in small parts. Like ‘read chapter 2 of this book’ or ‘outline this blogpost’. The next day after my morning routine I immediately get going and it’s easy to make progress. Action creates motivation and I felt energized all week. This, however had a downside as I was still full of energy going to bed, which hurt my sleep. With my phone next to my bed it was tempting to browse the internet or catch up with my favourite vloggers. Starting last night my phone is forbidden in the bedroom. Let’s see how this tweak to my daily routine impacts my productivity and sleep.


It was also an inspirational week. Last week Eric Ries’ new book The Startup Way was released. I immediately started reading and felt inspired. I’m only a few chapters into the new book yet but it’s interesting to recognize many of the elements that were part of the Innovate EY program described in the book.

The biggest inspiration of the week was due to the ‘Streets of the World‘ photography exhibition I visited on Friday. Photographer Jeroen Swolfs completed his passion project to take a street photo in every capital of the world. The 195 photos form an interesting documentary of humanity around the globe. It left me wondering what photo project I can take up that would be exhibition worthy. I can highly recommend the 45 minute National Geographic documentary (in Dutch) about this project.

Weekly stats:

  • Running: 28km
  • Total weekly steps: 83k
  • Average sleep: 6:39

Thanks for reading!



Sabbatical update week 3

The challenge continues

In the previous update I already shared with you the challenges that come with having no urgent deadlines or brief shots of adrenaline after every email, phone call or meeting. This week I had even more trouble finding my productivity. A few days passed filled with procrastination while trying out things to find my new rhythm. Going to a coffeeshop, co-working space or just outside (we were lucky with a few sunny days) did help to get some things done.

Feeling productive

The question I try to answer for myself is, when do I feel productive? It has always been a feeling of ‘being in the zone’ or ‘being present’. One of the EY leaders once explained to me that his definition of work-life balance is when he is fully present in the activity he is engaged in at that time. Enjoying the family when he’s home or on the phone with them as well as giving his full attention to the board meeting or the conference call he is dialling in to. I applied this concept not only to feeling balanced but also to being productive (after all you can only be truly productive when your thoughts are focused on what you’re doing). And this is exactly the feeling I’m lacking for the past two weeks. When I’m trying my hand on design I want to be learning to code and when learning to code I want to read a book. The only activities where I feel I’m truly present is with friends and family and while running. I feel strongly that these feelings and thoughts bring me closer to true intrinsic motivation for what I’m doing and doing only what I feel strongly motivated for.
With a fixed end date for my sabbatical I probably wouldn’t have had these feelings so I see this as a luxury and benefit of taking a sabbatical: a healthy struggle which I have to go through.
I went out cycling yesterday and today to find a spot in nature where I could read, write or create. I didn’t find a good spot for that yesterday but today something happened. While cycling, the journey became the destination. Slowly I started to feel some inner quiet to start doing the things I so badly want to do. That’s when I sat down and wrote this update. Will week 4 start to see increases in productivity? I will let you know next week!
Weekly stats:
  • Running: 34.5km
  • Total weekly steps: 102k
  • Average sleep: 7:19
Thanks for reading!

Sabbatical update week 2

Smooth sailing in week 1

After extending my contract till the end of August and our (late) summer holiday was over it felt like my sabbatical really started last week. Everyone was back to work, except for me. I had a speaking engagement on Tuesday evening and still had to prepare part of it so the week started off in a productive mode. Cracking away on my backlog in email and newsfeed made the first week feel like a really productive one.

Feeling productive or ‘in the flow’ is an important factor in how I feel overall.

The challenge in week 2

No more deadlines, no email overload, in essence no more urgencies. Week 2 was of to a different start. And I still hadn’t set my sabbatical goals. So after a few ‘unproductive’ days Thursday was the day. I went through the process of setting my priorities for the coming months and selecting the activities I’m committing towards out of all the ideas I have for my sabbatical. On top of that, I deliberately uncommitted to some others, such as writing a book. My goals for my sabbatical can broadly be summarized in the following 7 categories:

  1. Develop and maintain a healthy & productive routine
  2. Develop myself creatively & share with the world
  3. Spend time with friends & family
  4. Travel
  5. Develop a smart passive income project
  6. Search for co-founders
  7. Commit to new vocational activities for the next decade
Sabbatical goals

With that out of the way, nothing is holding me back to be productive again, right?


Friday and Saturday passed and I still not found myself executing on these goals. What is holding me back? A little soul searching let to (a first) answer. The goals I set require longer blocks of time to achieve anything meaningful or rewarding. Developing my designer skills is not something you achieve in the time you write an email, hold a conference call or have a meeting. It requires weeks of practice, sometimes even without feeling like you make progress. I simply can’t find the inner piece to do that (yet). I guess shifting away from the corporate urgency with short cycles of adrenaline shots for every meeting, email or call takes some time. Let’s see what week 3 will be like.

What I did

Thanks for reading!



How NOT to start your sabbatical

August 1st marked the first day of my sabbatical. Yes, I am leaving EY and moving on to other adventures. But starting my sabbatical was different than expected. The photo below is not my own, I’m not on leave yet…

Photo by Matt Flores on Unsplash

For two months I’ve been planning to get everything finished before August 1st. I imagined waking up that day would be a strange – yet exciting – feeling, for the first time in over a decade no work related items on my todo list. A feeling of freedom and liberation was expected but as the day approached it became clear that I could not finalise everything I had committed to. It felt like a first day of regular annual leave except for that I didn’t have a flight booked so no pressure to cross these last items off my list.

On the second day of my leave I did a 7km run during midday. It felt miserable. Instead of the energetic feeling I normally have after a run I felt guilty that I wasn’t at work. Even though it is the peak of the holiday season, the only people out and about are retired couples and lonely men fishing. Lesson learned, running ought to be done first thing in the morning or in the evening. Result: the 11km morning run yesterday was a great and I was full of energy.

Slowly I’m working my way through my remaining work items and adjusting to a productive leave rhythm. Frequent blogging is going to be part of that rhythm.