Open table experiment conclusions

Last Sunday I did an experiment which I called the Open table experiment. One almost full day, from 11:00 AM till after 7:00 PM, I sat in a café with my laptop, waiting for people to come along, join me and engage in a conversation on any subject they wanted.

The support, interest in the experiment and appreciation were overwhelming. A lot of people welcomed the initiative and many of them where curious to know what happened and how it worked. I have a few conclusions about the event and some plans for the future:

1. People are reticent about going all out into the unknown

Everyone who came I already knew. Some were really good friends; others, people I just met a few times. But there was no one I had never met before. Even if most of the information about me, my work and expertise is public, people are still reserved about going into the unknown.

2. Topics come and go

Even if some discussions started on specific subjects, we “went all over the place”, covering a plethora of topics. It’s inspiring to have such diverse things to talk about and see how the conversation naturally flows and you find common subjects and points of interest.

3. If you want to know how it was, come and see!

While I appreciate the interest many people showed in the experiment, it was all about face to face interaction, meeting each other and having a (hopefully) fruitful conversation. We are too busy, too scared to go out of our comfort zone and too lazy to come and see for ourselves. We would rather have some else describe the experience, tell us how it feels and because of that, we sometimes miss out on a potentially great first-hand experience.

4. Do it better next time!

I have decided to try and do this on a monthly basis for at least one year and see how it goes and what is there to improve, both in terms of people joining the experiment and quality of topics and discussions.

So, see you in December!

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Open table experiment

This is something I’ve been meaning to try for a long time but never really put in practice for various reasons… until now! It’s never too late to do it, so let’s get started!

What’s an open table?

The whole idea of this “open table” is that I will get my laptop and sit at a table all day. I have nothing else planned or scheduled for the entire day. I am just waiting for people to come and have a chat with me.

Can I come?

Anyone can come. Friends, acquaintances, online connections, business connections or strangers. Everyone is welcome!

What will we be talking about?

Anything you want. It can be job- or business-related, ideas, projects, plans, solutions, traveling, movies, women, love… Anything… (you can find more details about my expertise, interests and passions here)

When and where?

Sunday, 17.11.2013 you will find me at one of the tables in Simbio starting with 11:00. See you there!

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Freelancer or entrepreneur

There is a clear difference between a freelancer and an entrepreneur. However, most people tend to think that freelancers are entrepreneurs.

Freelancers are people who decide to directly provide their services to other people or companies without being directly employed. Most of the times, this is a chance to stop selling time hour by hour and start marketing a final product. Also, this offers freelancers the advantage of choosing the projects they want to take and the work schedule they want to have, and to charge differently depending on project.

Freelancers can also form groups or companies or work with different companies to enable them to take bigger or more complex projects. But this does not make them entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs build companies around an idea, a vision, a dream. They find the right people they need in order to cover the aspects they can not, and work on their vision. They are the leaders of the company, and not so much the workers, even if they do a lot of work themselves.

While for freelancers the work they do is the most important, for entrepreneurs the vision and leadership is what matters. Entrepreneurs are the ones who can be gone for a day, a week or a month and the company will still go ahead as planned; while freelancers have to be there and put in the work for things to get done.

While an entrepreneur can start a company, build it around it’s vision, make it work on it’s own and then move on to the next business, a freelancer will take an active part in the project until it is finished and delivered.

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How to be happy with the choices you make

One of the most important aspects of being happy is learning how to be happy with the choices you make. And it’s no easy task. In today’s society we have to make more choices, faster and possibly with a greater impact than ever before.

We have more options than ever. There aren’t many cases where we know all the options or have all the information we need before we have to make a decision. And even if we have it now, in the next seconds, minutes, days new options , possibilities and information will arise, that we didn’t have at first. This leads to second thoughts, doubts, scenarios in which had we chosen another option it would have been better or we’d have been happier.

The way to avoid all this is to hack your thinking. No matter what you have to choose from, first establish a set o minimum requirements and features the option needs to have. After that set the budget, deadline or any other restrictions you have.

With all these in mind, choose the first option which fits all aspects. Don’t go looking any further after the first option. If it fits the needs you have set, make it.

Once you have made a decision, it’s time for the hard part, hacking the way you think. Stop pondering on the decision you just made, stop looking for other options. You will be happier with your decisions this way. You will be able to enjoy your choice.

No option cause unhappiness as much as too many options do.

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The past or the future

Your present actions are dictated by the future. Most of what we do each day is in order to build our future selves, the society and the world we envision.

Everything we buy is not to satisfy a past need, but a present or a  future one. When buying a new car, a house or even clothes, will take into consideration what are you going to use it for. Does the car need to be big enough to fit a wheelchair, or does it need to be small and easy to drive in the city? Does the house need to be close to work, to the park or outside town in a peaceful area? Am I going to use these clothes for work, to go out, or jog or workout? All of these depend on your future plans. Am I going to have kids? What job am I going to have? Where is my office going to be? How often do I plan to go out or workout?

At the same time, almost all personal development choices are made by thinking about the future. If you want to become a doctor you won’t go to law school but choose a good medical school and work on the skills need to become a doctor. If you are going to have an interview tomorrow, most likely you will try to find out a few things about the company and refresh the skills and information you will need in order to get the job.

As an entrepreneur you think about what the future will bring, what people will need and want, and plan your actions based on that. Your vision of the future will dictate your actions.

Everything you have done until now, everything you have learned, everyone you have met has changed you a way or another, but everything you have done was while thinking about the future. The future defines what you are today as much as the past did.

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