Sunday morning walking down in Lviv beautiful city center, I enter in one of my favourite local places, a Cafe named Veronika which is filled with Austrian influences.
There, I sit eating one of the best French croissants ever while Brazilian music playing made me feel proud of my Portuguese language , when I sip on my italian cappuccino I was sure that this was the best I could get out of globalisation in that moment.
It was an inspiring beginning for today’s journey. A special day because the city was celebrating the reconstruction of one of its oldest church’s, a place connecting 650 years in time making all our daily challenges look much smaller, by the way an Armenian Church which is the world’s oldest national church.
Despite all the current challenges, crisis, human stupidity taken to extremes and all sorts of medieval fanatism still visible, it is impossible for me not to fall in love over and over with this beautiful blue planet, everywhere I look, for each bad thing identified I find at least two or three good ones.
Sorry for the camera to be upside down
I Left Portugal with 30+ degrees Celsius to find out that summer already left Kiev, with a heavy packed agenda for the following two weeks I was “sentenced” to spend the weekend in between away from my family, which fortunately is something more and more rare to happen, thanks to modern aviation.
The first week, was dedicated to Lviv in western Ukraine, a city I discovered later in life, but that I could easily have adopted as my hometown, not for a minute I felt a stranger here but instead a friend that returns after being absent. I am sure all people at Lvbs and my Lviv friends help me to feel this way, thank you!
Among the reasons to return, I was able to meet my students from the Masters in Entrepreneurship at Lvbs , class from September 2012. My task was to given them feedback on their final projects. Those were a special group of people for whom I have much appreciation, but as you know, even roses have thorns.
Before starting our working session, I ask them which way they wanted me to go, If they would prefer me to give them a “political correct” feedback, strictly focused on what I could see from their presentations, where all of us would leave the room smiling and felling good or if instead they would like to take the road less traveled. Tell us the truth, they asked me.
The price of the truth, probably cost me the “image” of nice teacher (which I would have loved to keep), but honestly, I did the best for them.
Every time we are not afraid of risking based on our beliefs, we increase exponentially our chances to succeed, I guess that’s what I love most in entrepreneurship.
People with ideas, and with good ideas are abundant in our world, but people willing to do the “boring stuff”, meaning; measure progress, set up milestones and know how to prioritise the work, these are rare. And ideas that are not followed by “boring stuff” can become orphans very fast.
From conception to the first breath of your business idea it is not possible to delegate the learning process, you have to do it yourself because success as very little to do with luck but instead with your capacity of following and executing well a scientific process, and here you can follow the one thats suits you better; Business model generation, Customer development or the Lean startup. Myself, I take the best out of all the three.
In a nutshell, you have to transform your key business hypothesis into facts, data, evidence, numbers and figures before launching your company, and you should do that, fast.
All of these learnings will become the confidence that will turn your ideas into a real (and hopefully profitable) business or instead the living prove that will save you from spending millions in time and money.
I am pretty sure I will cross my way again with some of my former students and hopefully for some of them, my hard words will become their most valuable advice, it might take some time to digest the critics pointed at their “allergy” to do the “boring stuff” but I also hope that this will make them extraordinary entrepreneurs and business professionals.
The week went on, welcoming a new executive MBA group mixed with Alumni participants, and let me tell you, they offer me two wonderful days where paper airplane construction and thumb wrestling has never been so much fun, I am looking forward already to see them next spring and how their ideas will become their next businesses.
On the business side, Thursday I had a very inspiring dinner with a true serial entrepreneur Andrew Pavliv, which by the way ask me to help him find a bright and beautiful female sommelier to head a great innovative wine project, anyone interested? let me know.
Saturday night I still had time to join again one of the brightest Ukrainian entrepreneurs I ever meet; Andriy Khudo, which invite me to watch a remarkable Armenian jazz band at the coffee manufacture, maybe because It was weekend and I miss my family, it somehow remind me deeply of Portuguese Fado, I guess I was hit so hard by Saudade that I am not sure if a tear or two drop down on my face.
And guess who showed up for dinner, one of the projects I am most proud of being part, the wine Bastardo!
Wish you a great week ahead…and don’t forget, it is the boring stuff that will help you to turn your hypothesis into facts, and potentially your idea into a (good) business.