Right from the start of the meeting Fadi Bishara @Fbishara, a Silicon Valley veteran, hit the nail right on the head with this one liner. The secret to the Valley’s success is that people have ‘permission’ to fail.

This was at a networking event in Brussels organised by the Cluster “Software In Brussels” to bring entrepreneurs together and get a few ‘experts’ to share words of wisdom. Alongside Fabien Petitcolas, Director of Innovation at Microsoft Europe @MSEurope and Patrick Crasson @PatrickCrasson from Benovate, I shared the concept of hyperthinking as well as my personal experience as an entrepreneur.

My main point was that being a successful entrepreneur in the 21st century requires a new mindset. Interestingly some of these values, defined in the hyperthinking concept, come naturally to entrepreneurs because they are drawn to innovate and think creatively to start something new.

However, I also believe that articulating this mindset and creating a shared language with your team helps you maintain and develop your company’s vision and skills as it evolves.


I ended the presentation with 5 tips for entrepreneurs that I rather hastily put together. Here they are for your consideration:

1 – Challenge your assumptions

This is really about being able to shift your paradigm (the way you see the world), as captured by the ‘hypershifting’ dimension of hyperthinking. The key for an entrepreneur is the ability to recognize your assumptions, challenge them and see if that opens new opportunities.

2 – Be ready to get it wrong

Being wrong comes back to failing fast. Most plans fail after contact with the market – this is normal. As long as failure can be turned into fast learning and the company adapts to remedy it, the company will survive. Being persistent about trying and overcoming multiple failures is what makes a successful entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it is often discouraged in the European mindset.

We associate being wrong with having failed and having failed with being a failure. The entrepreneur needs to understand that failure is part of learning, and a necessary part of creating a successful business. Real persistence lies in trying again and doing better as a result of it.

3 – Take learning seriously

Learning is key to individual understanding, but it needs to become a habit for the entrepreneur as well as their team and become an integral part of the company’s culture.

It is easy to become complacent and stick with what you know – especially if you have some early success. The habit of learning needs to be deep, on-going and permeate throughout the organisation.

4 – Simple is always better

If you cannot explain your basic concept to a 10 year old, there is probably something wrong with the concept.

Make sure you understand what it is in simple and clear terms, and whenever you have a choice go for simplicity over complexity (even if your business can form a complex combination of simple systems). Simple and low cost solutions should always come first.

5 – Be social

At an early stage in the business, finding the right help and advice is crucial to save time and money. It is also a great way to find out what your potential customer might want or what their pain points are. You can’t grow a viable business in isolation, you have to discuss and engage.

Being social should happen both online and offline. Talking to people, exchanging stories and networking on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. This will help you build up your profile, strengthen your ideas, get feedback on them and help you find their market.

These are, of course, opinions I quickly put together, so I welcome your ideas and feedback. Let’s be social.