April Fools day in 2016 – Polytechnic University in Hong Kong. A special day: I stood up on stage to host their second Techstars Startup Weekend. Plus, I announced to everybody that I was going “Professional.” Three years ago, I joined Techstars as the Regional Manager for Greater China. It was the first day joining the organization that I had supported as a volunteer for over four years.
What followed has been a ride of epic proportions. Nothing could prepare me for it, and I did my best to embrace the new life full speed ahead. Amazing colleagues, empowering mission, and extraordinary programs to help more communities around us!
If you’ve known me over the past three years, you most definitely heard me saying these things below. It is fun to reflect on these sayings and write them down here:
Time gets experienced in “Dog Years.”
That’s my way of describing what I feel every period as seven times longer than it is. If we met two months ago, it would most definitely feel like over a year. There is no science behind this and no bragging rights. It goes beyond the long hours on the job or a large number of travels. It is my way of describing the intensity and depth of conversations and projects we experience. Instead, it highlights the high energy required always to be positive and constructive. Working in the tech/startup community building in Greater China is a significant time-shifting experience!
One of my self-deprecating jokes is how much of a black sheep I am. Who would hire a Frenchman to work for an American company, trying to nurture tech communities in Greater China? How strange is that?
Building legitimacy to make the most out of this role was important from day 1. We work with the best corporations, partners, conferences, entrepreneurs, and investors. And by “we,” I mean the hardcore Felix and Bronze who joined me to support a vision that few believed in initially.
It is NOT about me
Even if the entire post has been about me, this adventure isn’t. We support thousands of entrepreneurs on their journey to create new projects. We share the best of our experience and work with hundreds of Community Leaders in the region. We keep scratching our heads to find the highest positive impact with limited resources. We work to make our volunteers shine. So many people #givefirst and fight for what they believe in doing.
The past three years haven’t been simple, and there is no reason for this role to be. It was presented to me as an “18 months job before you burn out or move on.”
As shared during my talk at TECOM, all I try to do is “thriving to make this little corner of the world a slightly better place. That’s all there is.”