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Start Up, Grow Up, Let Go

3 min read
Start Up, Grow Up, Let Go

This article has been on incubation since July, when I met Josep Miguel Piquer, head of Barcelona 22@ (Google it!) in Stanford and we spoke about Born Global business. In Europe, history weights people down… Few months ago, when I was in Portugal and Spain, I was surprised about the lack of entrepreneurial energy in the young people. Yes, those protesting around for jobs where young… the kind of people I would expect to challenge the system and come with overwhelming energy to make changes… and protesting for lack of jobs, instead of creating them!

No longer can we think small or local, we are all connected, and connected fast. Through Skype I have a glocal number – global and local – just like my email. Crowd-formation – both on production and information- gives me heads up on what is happening, what I might look for, what is needed, what is provided. I can download the latest book on Kindle or iPad in seconds, dissolving tasks and risking jobs, yet opening a huge market for those who would no longer have access to books. In some countries, people are able to watch my videos for 2 or 3 dollars. I love it!

In these days of microintegrations, we can enjoy the rippling effect of technology to reach out and we can GROW, instead of survive.

The trick here is to think about entrepreneurship as a state of consciousness that allows us to gather the information to start up a company, to grow it, and to let go.


To start up we no longer need capital, fingers up to banks and venture capitalists… people fund our ideas through IndieGoGo and Kickstarter; suppliers enter into bartering or exchanges; and market research is some bubbling tweets away. As starting up is easier, so is failing up. Businesses are disposable and dynamic. They are no longer the tall trees that took years to form but sprout here and there sometimes spontaneously sprouting like old forgotten seeds. Starting up therefore is easy and fragile. It is not by filling our economy with start ups that we build prosperous economies.


It is by growing them up. Our effort now should be on growing these businesses up. We need more people exploring how to use their energy and resources to build companies up, creating new markets, improving profit margins by reinventing how we do business, expanding into other parts of society that can now have access and capacity to pay for our offers. Barcelona 22@ is reshaping a geographic area and turning a boring zone into an exciting hub for opportunities, not for local reach but for global. That is the beauty of it… Because there is nothing inspiring in thinking small. Let’s pick up those falling businesses and build them up!

To grow up one has to focus on the market: what is useful and valuable… and then on our own strengths and weaknesses: what can I offer. And work from there. It is a series of iterative reflections, trials and errors. We need more of that. SURPRISE me! Seems to be the message from the market.


The last lesson in today’s world is to let go. We can’t do it all, and why would we want to do it all? Yes, chances are that it is not going to be exactly as we want it. But we cannot keep up on full steam for ever. Thinking about designing and implementing an exit strategy makes us think professionally, we are not only building businesses for customers or shareholders but to the next generations…

The new rules of engagement in entrepreneurship therefore are: start up, grow up, let go.

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