Life after startup – Your next business doesn’t need to “start with WHY”

If you are like me, and millions of other professionals around the world, you have probably read Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why”. Or at least you might have heard of the Golden circle, that every business needs to balance purpose with products. The Golden circle is structured like a 3 layered onion: ⁃ Clear […]

Life after Startup – Mancave

A moment of Mancave bliss Last week my wife and son left to go spend some time with grandma and grandpa back in Moldova. And even though I miss them both a lot, I cannot say I don’t mind having had some time to just be alone. I’m not used to silence anymore. I have […]

Life after startup – how I got way better at asking my network for help

A surprising question “So what would be a breakthrough introduction I could make for you?” I ask one of the superconnectors that attended one of our previous events. Suddenly he goes quiet. “Eh.. wow that is a really good question, I haven’t really been asked for a while” Somehow this question really caught him by […]

Life after startup – how finance became my “Minimum Viable Skill”

Battling excel sheets It’s 01.00 AM, and there I am, locked in an epic battle with a cashflow forecasting template sheet I stumbled upon online. Fifteen years ago, if someone had told me finance would be my jam, I’d have laughed… hard. I mean, finance and accounting exams? Let’s just say, I had a solid […]

Life after Startup – becoming a money investor rather than time

For a living? “You do superconnectors for a living?” Said an almost incredulous visitor of one of our events in Berlin, just before the summer break. “Eh yeah” I responded, not understanding if I was supposed to be flattered or slightly offended. “What’s so strange about it?” I asked the visitor. “Well, it’s such a […]

Life after startup – business focus wisdom from the lemon stand man

Wisdom from the lemon stand man One of the most charismatic people I met is probably Enzo “la bomba”. Professional lemon juice maker. Enzo and his tiny lemon juice stand are from Sant’Angelo, a small village in the Italian island of Ischia. The local islanders also call Enzo “la Bomba” because his drinks are a […]

Life after Startup – how I got the best advisory board

Setting up an advisory board was one of the first (and best) things I did right after we set up Superconnectors as a company. The group of 7 carefully selected individuals has already brought us countless extremely valuable pieces of advice that have propelled us forward. However getting started with your first advisory board is […]

Life after startup – How I got fat

Fat “You got fat” My wife casually blurts out while we are sitting on our home balcony on a Sunday morning. I put my phone down on the balcony table, and look back at her. “Well, good morning to you too..” Truth is, she was right. The past 6 months felt like 5 years, in […]

Life after startup – Closure

Removing Funk-e from my desktop “Well, there it goes, all my old files of my now ex-company Funk-e are backed up on an external hard drive” I say to Evgeny, our new CTO Pirate in the Superconnectors team. The end of the working day is nearing on a Tuesday and I wanted to get some […]

Life after startup – praise for my hidden business partner

Travel drama “Wait, what days are you going to be in Austin again?” My wife asks me. “Well, between the 10th and the 17th of March” I say. “But the 10th is basically the day your mom leaves for Italy? And our babysitter isn’t available that week, and actually all our friends are out that […]

Life after Startup – momentum

Basking in the momentum Its 21.00 o clock on a Saturday, and I look out my office window on the 10th floor that overlooks the distant port of my beautiful city of Rotterdam. The office building echoes the sound of the wind softly beating the metal panels on the outside and the slowly moving dark […]

Life after Startup – startup founders can’t get sick

Sick It’s Monday and by now the very annoying flu I have had over the entire weekend should have been over, but guess what, it isn’t… crap. I try to stand up and make my way to the couch at least, but my head starts spinning the moment I get up. So with some resentment […]

Life after Startup – working 20% smarter

Making lists It’s 1 day after our superconnectors event in Barcelona, and I’m sitting with Rebeka (the awesome intern) in a small cafe in Barcelona waiting for our lunch appointment. The event of last night went very well and we got a request already to do it again next year. However there is no time […]

Life after Startup – My after startup Makeover

Dressed like that? “Are you sure you are going out dressed like that?” I freeze, and look back at my wife puzzled. “What’s wrong with my outfit?” I look down at my slightly too large jeans, and ok yes, maybe little too old shirt and ok yes, maybe also slightly too small blazer. “Isn’t this […]

Life after startup – The joy of hiring Pirates

“I love it” We are nearing the end of the working day when suddenly our normally quiet events management intern Rebeka pauzes, looks at me and says: “I love it.” I look at her confused, and ask: “eh.. what do you mean?“ A shy smile appears on her 21 year old face, and she continues: […]

Life after startup – the value of “slow connections”

Making connections is kinda what I do for a living these days. In a short amount of time I have met an incredible amount of very interesting people these past months. However, even though all these connections are great for getting results, I would like to build a case for the value of building a […]

Life after Startup – how it felt to sell my company

Now that I sold Funk-e, the number 1 question I got, was: how does it feel? Since I have been busy with this process for the past few months this is also why I didn’t really post many new articles. But now that I have the extra time again, let me try putting this into […]

Life after Startup – Baggage

Vocal booth It’s cleanup time. The past months Funk-e had been renting 2 offices as we slowly transitioned away from our old office at the World Trade Center in Rotterdam to our much more efficient space in the co-working office at Microlab just a few 100 meters down the street. I stare at the gigantic […]

Life after Startup – Mister Worldwide

Superconnectors goes international As I step out of the plane in the late evening into the warm Portugese air in Lisbon, a feeling of excitement hits me. A small project that I started just 2 months earlier is already taking me across the border on my fifth event. I consciously contacted superconnectors, event spaces and […]

Life after Startup – Calling strangers in Helsinki

I don’t like sales. There, I have said it. Sales can be an incredibly frustrating experience. You are constantly running after numbers the whole month, just to end up at the beginning of the next month and do it all from scratch again. Particularly the creative agency business has a stressful sales cycle. I come […]

Life after Startup – The intern threshold

Copy… paste.. copy… paste …copy… paste.. done! I quickly post the list of attendees in the WhatsApp group with the Superconnectors dinner attendees in Amsterdam and close my laptop. Now it’s off to pick up my son at daycare and later after putting him to bed I can prepare the profiles of the startups and […]

Life after Startup – The importance of giving Actionable support

My first Superconnector This week I released a podcast about my first 10 years as a founder. In the first episode I took the time to thank my e-marketing professor.  He was one of the first people that took me and my co-founder seriously when our idea was worthless.  When our pitch was a series of […]

Life after Startup – A hobby revival

My podcast lockdown It’s so quiet that I could hear a fly buzzing somewhere upstairs in my tiny house. I am in the middle of a farm at least 3km from the closest sign of human activity. Now it’s just me, my microphone and an empty word document with the flickering digital space bar, challenging […]

Life after Startup – My first Superconnectors dinner

Maximum learning Every time I start a new project this is a question that goes through my mind: how can I learn as much as possible about a new service or product, with as little risk as possible, in a real life setting. Next year we have 10 events to organize across the Netherlands with […]

Life after Startup – My first team meeting, where I’m not the boss

Just visiting Last week Friday I attended my first non-Funk-e monthly wrapup meeting at Varias. It felt super weird. I got to introduce myself and the plans to transform their now yearly Superconnectors event into a self sustaining business. I’m not an employee of Varias, but since I am working with their founders and team […]

Life after Startup – Fear of failure

Fear of failure It’s the middle of the night, my eyes are wide open and my mind is racing. Many “What if..” questions linger in my mind. What if I don’t manage to round up enough sponsors for the event, what if people end up not liking the concept of the event, what if I’m […]

Life after Startup – Fresh startup obsession

Obsession “This week I have had 56 WhatsApp conversations” I proudly tell my wife. My wife rolls her eyes and says: “You’re obsessed..” I am referring to the huge amount of connections I have approached (a part of them via WhatsApp) to share our big plans for Superconnectors with. I have been sharing brochures with […]

Life after Startup – How Superconnectors became my next project

A few articles ago I hinted at the fact I have been working on a concrete new project. Today that veil is finally lifted: since the 15th of July I started as program Director of a new exciting event that we aim to turn into a global franchise called Superconnectors. Ok ok, I get it, […]

Life after Startup – Generalist entrepreneurs don’t get job offers

A specialist and a generalist talk A few years ago I was having a conversation with a close friend of mine that works at a big consulting firm. “I can barely open my LinkedIn anymore, because I constantly get recruiters stalking me for jobs” she said. “It’s all related to finance, but in all kinds […]

Life after Startup – Becoming mister awesome (holiday edition)

It’s holiday time so for this week I wanted to reflect on identity again, through a holiday story from the past and my Dutch and Italian roots. The Dutch guy It was a warm summer weekend in 2000, me and my family were spending the weekend in our camper which was now almost permanently stationed […]

Life after Startup – How NOT to find a co-founder

Awkward ramen A few weeks ago, a founder I recently met asked to have lunch with me. Come lunch day, it was the kind of day where I had crammed that one meeting too many in my calendar. Meaning not only that I was rushing to be 5 minutes late, but also I had a […]

Life after Startup – Planning startup life, with the wife

Negotiating for freedom The picture of what the next 1,5 year might look like, is becoming more clear. So recently, like the real adult that I have become, I decided to talk future plans with my wife. And not long long term future like what we do when we reach 80, but more next 2-3 […]

Life after Startup – Learning to dream again

The bondi boyz Last weekend I visited the pre-opening party of a new co-working space in The Hague. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon and a mix of startups, co-working employees, parents, kids occupied a small area next to a huge building that was still under construction. There must have been maybe 100 people, and […]

Life after Startup – Entrepreneurship after 30 (with child)

It’s 7.25 AM and our flight from Romania back to the Netherlands is about to take off, when my 1,5 year old suddenly starts screaming for an uninterrupted 2,5 hours. By the time we land back from a short weekend with the family I am already completely exhausted, and my workday is just about to […]

Life after startup – Bits and pieces become and idea

Last week I visited a huge tech conference in the Netherlands called The next web. Here hundreds of hungry entrepreneurs presented their businesses, their views on the world and made connections in the many networking occasions. Normally when you go to an event like this as a startup, you are prepared with a clear goal […]

Life after Startup – I might as well..

Months have gone by and the dust is now starting to settle. As I said in my previous post, I now have the physical space, time and mental space to execute on something new. I have visited events, networking drinks, reflected, taken biking holidays, connected with close friends, entrepreneurs and old connections to get a […]

Life after Startup – My 9 year journey in taking distance

Last week, my company and team moved to the same co-working space where I had gotten an office since late 2021. After 2 years working remotely and most people working from home, they decided it simply didn’t make sense to have a big office anymore. I wasn’t thrilled when the idea was first shared to […]

Life after Startup – My unexpected new sparring partner

I’m scrolling, scrolling and scrolling through random names in my phone’s contact list. And I think to myself: “This one knows a lot about marketing, that one is great at making content, this one always has really sharp questions… ” I don’t really know who I am looking for, but I know I want to […]

Life after Startup – Remixing a blast from the past

In my previous article, I talked about connecting the dots backwards. Pretty much about using past experience as building blocks for the next thing you do and trusting one learning will lead to the next one. This week that all became very concrete. After having spoken to Microlab, the co-working space where I have an […]

Life after Startup – Trusting the dots will connect backwards

It was a sunny day in 2005 in the life of Stanford graduates when Steve Jobs walked on stage to give one of the most memorable graduation speeches of all time. Thanks to the beauty of youtube this moment was captured on camera and catapulted to millions of hungry aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide. One of those hungry […]

Life after Startup – Confidence as rocket fuel

This week and last week I have enjoyed something I haven’t done in a while: taking a holiday with a clear objective. Together with some friends we cycled 900km from Rotterdam to Copenhagen in 9 days. Funnily enough the last day, my phone fell down and broke at our final destination (the little mermaid in […]

Life after Startup – Bored

Pffffffffffffffff…. A long sigh leaves my lips flapping around for a good 3 seconds as my shoulders slouch and I stare out the window of my new private office. I now have a good 20 square meters to myself in the co-working space and no longer sit at a shared desk with other freelancers and […]

Life after Startup – Heart VS Money

Now that my new podcast business was online, I was faced with the following dilemma:  Should I immediately look for paying clients (for example sell a podcast series to B2B clients) Or Do I make stuff that I feel best reflects my brand (for example make my own (unpaid) show). I like to call this the Heart […]

Life after Startup – The humbling solo-narrative

From managing dude to Podcast maker “Hi I’m Alex, from Funk-e.. eh wait no, from Mister Awesome and I founded a company before going solo and doing podcasts…” Awkward. This is something funny I caught myself doing the first weeks when introducing myself to people at the new co-working space where I installed my new […]

Life after Startup – New routine

Good new habits don’t come automatically Now that my agenda was empty, it was time to get going again. But eh, with what? I had no deadlines, no pressure, no external factors pushing me, like clients. I noticed that something crucial was missing in my agenda: Routine.  According to an article by the Harvard busines […]

Life after Startup – Empty agenda

Getting to an Empty agenda I started Funk-e , my first company, in 2009 in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) with my co-founder Joost Vissers.  We were both still in university and we saw an opportunity to start making animation videos that explained complex things on the internet.  13 years later it evolved into an internal communication agency with 20 people […]