David Henzel de MaxCDN

Café du fondateur épisode 011

Je suis Jeroen de Salesflare et voici Founder Coffee.

Toutes les deux semaines, je prends un caf√© avec un fondateur diff√©rent. Nous discutons de notre vie, de nos passions, de ce que nous avons appris, ... dans le cadre d'un entretien intime, pour apprendre √† conna√ģtre la personne qui se cache derri√®re l'entreprise.

For this eleventh episode, I talked to David Henzel, Co-Founder of MaxCDN and now TaskDrive. In his previous life he was delivering content faster to web visitors, now he’s helping companies to find the right leads.

David is German and used to live in the US, but is now living on a warm Turkish beach. He’s very much into mission driven businesses and managing happiness, and maintains a blog and podcast about the topic.

Nous discutons de la manière dont il gère son propre bonheur, de la manière dont il crée des entreprises avec une mission et une vision derrière elles, et de la raison pour laquelle un bon état d'esprit est la chose la plus importante que vous puissiez avoir.

Bienvenue à Founder Coffee.


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Jeroen: Hi David. It’s great to have you on Founder Coffee.

David : Merci beaucoup de m'avoir invité. Je suis ravi d'être ici.

Jeroen: You are mostly known as the Founder of MaxCDN. But you’re now working on Task Drive. For those who don’t know these companies yet, what do they do?

David: So MaxCDN is a content delivery network that makes websites faster. We started MaxCDN in 2009 and sold it early — two years ago actually, to a company called StackPath.

TaskDrive, quant à lui, est une entreprise de recherche de prospects. Nous trouvons des prospects B2B pour les entreprises qui font de la sensibilisation.

Jeroen : Vous obtenez donc des prospects par e-mail pour les entreprises B2B ou sous un autre format ?

David: Yeah, it’s email leads. But well, they could be from anywhere. It could be from someone who is running an SEO campaign and wants to find places, or someone who’s looking for affiliates. We basically have a very large team of researchers that can find you anything that is hard to find otherwise.

Jeroen : Comment avez-vous commencé à travailler avec MaxCDN et comment cela a-t-il évolué pour finir par travailler sur Task Drive ?

David: I’ll give you my background — very compressed. I’m originally from Germany and I have always been an entrepreneur. School was never really my thing. But I went to 14 different schools. Yeah, I was a trouble student!

Ensuite, j'ai d√©couvert le m√©tier d'entrepreneur qui me convenait parfaitement. J'avais une entreprise informatique en Allemagne o√Ļ nous assurions la maintenance des services internes des entreprises locales. √Ä l'√©poque, l'un de mes clients √©tait le plus grand importateur et fabricant de produits tels que les conduites d'eau. Il √©tait tr√®s pers√©v√©rant et me poussait √† ouvrir un magasin pour lui.

Comme cela a tr√®s bien march√©, j'ai d√Ľ arr√™ter mon activit√© informatique et commencer √† vendre des produits en ligne. Mais mon grand r√™ve a toujours √©t√© de m'installer aux √Čtats-Unis et d'y cr√©er une entreprise.

Jeroen : Pourquoi ?

David : Tout d'abord, j'ai toujours aim√© Los Angeles. J'y suis all√© pour la premi√®re fois √† 19 ans et je suis tomb√© amoureux de la ville. Ensuite, j'ai toujours √©t√© fascin√© par les startups. √Ä l'√©poque o√Ļ j'ai pris cette d√©cision, il n'y avait pas de v√©ritable sc√®ne de startups en Allemagne ou en Europe. J'√©tais tr√®s attir√© par la c√īte ouest des √Čtats-Unis.

J'ai donc vendu mon entreprise de commerce √©lectronique, ce qui m'a permis d'obtenir un visa d'investisseur et de m'installer aux √Čtats-Unis. Nous avons ensuite fond√© MaxCDN et l'avons dirig√© pendant huit ans. C'√©tait un moment tr√®s personnel pour moi.

My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Knock on wood, she’s doing good today. But back then, this really threw me off to make me reconsider everything. I basically thought of me on my deathbed looking back at my life thinking, “Did I do what I was supposed to do, did I have the impact I wanted to have,” and basically will I be dying with regrets?

MaxCDN was cool and all. It was growing and it was fun. But it wasn’t really what I was truly passionate about. So my business partners and I, decided that it’s a good move to sell the business.

We moved back to Europe. My wife wanted to go back to Germany, but I couldn’t get myself to move to a cold climate again. So we moved to Bodrum, Turkey, which is on the same latitude as Los Angeles. So a nice and warm climate!

Ensuite, j'ai travaillé sur un cours intitulé Gérer le bonheur, dans lequel nous appliquons les principes de l'entreprise à ma vie familiale. Ma femme et moi avons imaginé ce cours pour qu'il soit plus facile pour ma femme d'être mariée à un entrepreneur. Nous avons publié le cours, mais j'étais toujours attiré par les affaires. J'ai donc commencé à faire du mentorat et de la consultation auprès de quelques entreprises.

One of the businesses was my old business partner’s business, called Task Drive, which is the lead research business. He was kind of tired of it and wanted to focus on the stock market. So it was a good opportunity for me to acquire this business. We’re almost done with the acquisition process now.

Jeroen: Because you mentioned that MaxCDN wasn’t really your passion, you do feel that Task Drive is?

David: I went through a, how do you call this, a soul searching journey in terms of really figuring out what I really want. What it comes down to, is what I’m really passionate about and it was to help businesses or to help entrepreneurs succeed. This is why Task Drive is one element of this — the purpose or the mission of the business is to make sure your team wins. We work with our customers to make sure we set them up for success, so that they can grow their business.

Jeroen: Let’s say you work with Salesflare. What will you do exactly to make us succeed?

David : Avec Task Drive, l'accent est mis sur la recherche de prospects. Nous trouvons donc les clients idéaux pour vous, nous analysons votre profil de client idéal, les entreprises qui ont des équipes de vente plus grandes que X mais pas trop grandes parce qu'elles préféreraient probablement une solution d'entreprise, et d'autres aspects. Nos chercheurs trouveront les contextes qui sont pertinents pour vous et vous pourrez ensuite atteindre ces personnes et les convaincre d'acheter des produits chez vous.

Jeroen: So you’re actually delivering leads. How do you differentiate this from other lead generation businesses? Because there are so many out there right now.

David: The thing that make us unique, is that we provide dedicated researchers that are trained and dedicated to one customer. So they really understand the customer profile and they’re not working for random customers. We found that this approach makes it much more effective.

The second thing is that we always deliver you a product manager that is managing the researchers. So it doesn’t matter how many researchers you scale up to, you always have one point of contact and this project manager always knows all the playbooks by heart.

Il y a donc différentes façons de trouver des prospects ou des choses qui fonctionnent pour les entreprises. Il y a toujours quelqu'un qui peut faire un brainstorming et proposer de nouvelles campagnes de sensibilisation. Troisièmement, nous nous concentrons sur l'excellence opérationnelle, et nous disposons donc d'une équipe d'assurance qualité distincte.

Nous disposons d'outils bureautiques qui nous permettent d'être plus efficaces en termes de qualité et de rendement.

Jeroen: I’m supposing you target slightly bigger companies with this then?

David : Oui, donc l'idéal est de se concentrer sur les entreprises qui ont une équipe de vente d'au moins dix représentants. C'est ce qui fonctionne le mieux pour nous.

Jeroen : J'ai compris.

David: But lately, we started to branch out into the SEO world, focusing more on marketing teams for the affiliate outreach and to find pages that have good draft back links to the article that you just published. I haven’t fully defined what’s the ideal target market here. But this is also working really well.

Jeroen : Cool. Pour en revenir √† votre jeunesse, vous avez mentionn√© que vous √©tiez un √©l√®ve en difficult√© et que vous avez fr√©quent√© 14 √©coles. √Čtait-ce parce que votre famille voyageait ou pour une autre raison ?

David: It was partly both. We moved twice, but yeah. When I liked a teacher, then I had straight As and when I didn’t like the teacher, I had Fs. I showed the teacher I didn’t like them I guess.

Jeroen: So it was a bit about feeling your passion and then you could do anything. But if you didn’t feel it, then you couldn’t do it at all?

David: Yeah, absolutely. And then when I dropped out of school, I discovered that I actually love to learn. It’s not that I don’t like to learn. I’m a huge personal development geek. So I consume lots of books on random topics that are of my interest. I’m constantly learning, reading a minimum of one book a month. But I just want to be self-directed in terms of what I want to work on first.

Jeroen: But you seem consistent in your choice as to what you like because you’ve been working for many years on MaxCDN, for instance. It’s just specific things that don’t appeal to you, right?

David: I guess so. It’s not that I’m only doing stuff that I like. I often have to do, when you have your mission or your vision defined in your business or in your personal life, then sometimes you have to do things that really suck. That just drives you towards this goal that you have. It’s not that I want to avoid things I don’t like, but they have to bring me towards the right direction.

Jeroen : Y a-t-il quelqu'un qui vous a influencé dans l'entrepreneuriat ? Votre famille ou un ami ?

David: A good friend of mine, actually. He took me by the hand and showed me what it is like to run a business. He used to freelance before in IT and we started this business together. He basically took me by the hand and said, “Hey dude, let’s do this together.” This worked out great!

Jeroen : C'est avec lui que vous avez démarré l'activité informatique ?

David : Oui.

Jeroen : Travaillez-vous toujours ensemble ?

David: No, he’s back in Germany. When I started the eCommerce business, we separated and I focused only on the eCommerce stuff.

Jeroen: Did you ever have a quote-unquote, “real” job then or was it always startups?

David : Non.

Jeroen : Jamais ?

David: Actually, as a contractor, I did something for Lufthansa. Like some rollout, IT rollout for two months or something like it but never really a ‘real’ job.

Jeroen : Il s'agissait donc d'une sorte de travail de consultant sur place ?

David: Yeah. But I never really had a ‘job’ job.

Jeroen : Vous avez toujours fait des start-ups ?

David : Oui.

Jeroen: Is there any big founder that ever inspired you? Someone that you looked up to; that you say, “This is a guy that I want to be. This is how I want to build my business?”

David : Pas vraiment. Mais j'admire ce que fait Elon Musk, par exemple, en termes de mission et de vision. En fait, je viens de lire un livre intitulé Conscious Capitalism. En avez-vous entendu parler ?

Jeroen: Yeah, actually. My wife is into CSR and sustainability, corporate social responsibility and sustainability. So she told me about it. I didn’t read it myself though.

David : L'idée du livre est qu'une entreprise est le meilleur moyen d'apporter un changement positif dans le monde.

A traditional business only focuses on the shareholders, increasing the shareholders’ value. Other businesses are focusing on taking care of all the stakeholders like employees, customers, partners, suppliers and also the community, and the planet.

Le livre montre que si vous prenez vraiment soin de toutes les parties prenantes, votre entreprise prospérera davantage. Il est beaucoup plus agréable de se concentrer sur ces choses que sur l'argent. Je pense également que l'argent n'est qu'un effet secondaire de la valeur ajoutée. Si vous apportez le plus de valeur possible au plus grand nombre, vous serez l'entreprise la plus riche du monde. C'est pourquoi j'admire vraiment ce qu'ils ont partagé dans le livre sur les parties prenantes. Par exemple, l'importance du co-auteur du livre.

Jeroen: Is this something you’ve always had as a basis for your business? Like looking at value, not so much at money, or is this something you’re just learning?

David: I never had any scarcity growing up, so I was never really money-driven. I really like people, helping people, solving people’s problems. This was always the thing that drove me way more than money.

Jeroen : C'est en quelque sorte la partie passion de la création de votre entreprise ?

David : Je pense que oui.

Jeroen : Pour vous, créer des startups est en quelque sorte un mode de vie ?

David: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re not helping other people with your startup, then you probably will not be successful in the first place and the startup will not be around for very long.

Jeroen : Je suis tout à fait d'accord. Dans quel domaine travaillez-vous actuellement et à quoi consacrez-vous la majeure partie de votre temps ?

David: I’m in the process of taking over the operations of Task Drive. I basically reviewed all the processes that we currently have in place and optimized them. I have an engineering background, even though I haven’t really touched a server in a very long time. I’d like to build quote-unquote, “machine” like processes that work really well together and then always review them and tune them consistently.

I’m pretty much done with it so everything is running really well. I implemented the entrepreneurial operating system into the business which is something that so simple and amazing. I wish I could have had this at MaxCDN. It’s basically all the pitfalls that we fell into, would have been avoided by following this framework.

Jeroen : De quel cadre s'agit-il ?

David: It’s called EOS, Entrepreneurial Operating System. The website is EOSWorldwide.com and the books around this are Attraction: Get A Grip On Your Business and more. One book is called ‘Get A Grip’ and the other one’s called ‘Traction’. It basically outlines how you run your business in a very effective manner.

Jeroen : Y a-t-il un grand avantage que vous pourriez partager immédiatement ? Quelque chose que nous pourrions appliquer ou est-ce seulement l'ensemble qui fonctionne ?

David: I mean there’s just tons of takeaways to it. One is how to figure out your mission and vision statement, which we had at MaxCDN. We started as NetDNA, which was an enterprise-focused CDN. But we didn’t really have a differentiator; we were just the light version of an EdgeCast or an ARCNY.

We were basically doing it for the money and we didn’t really think about providing lots of value to people. We just said, “Okay, we just make it a little cheaper and this should work.” But it did not really work.

Then we thought about, “how can we provide real value to people?” Back then CDN was something that only big companies could really afford, because it was like having a long-term commitment. You had to sign a minimum of 12 months contract and it was at least a several hundred dollars a month. Not really affordable for a small startup!

We thought, “Hey, let’s just make this a very frictionless, easy process to sign up and get started, for the user.” This really took off and we launched this under the MaxCDN brand. So this started working really well. But the thing that we messed up is, we never wrote down that our mission is to get CDNs into the hands of everybody, to make it as easy as possible to use. We never wrote down that mission and we never communicated it to the new hires.

The company grew and we ended up running into ten different directions. The new VP of sales wanted to focus on enterprises, and our head of engineering built this crazy analytics platform that was good for a handful of customers but the majority of our customers had no use for it. This is all because we didn’t really stick to our mission and vision.

Jeroen: So you started for a reason. At least you moved to a certain direction and then didn’t stay with it because you didn’t communicate this mission and vision correctly to everyone.

David: Yes, correct. So this is something that they show you in the book — how to define your mission and vision and how to communicate it to everybody or to figure out if the right people are in the right seats. They show you how to run your meetings in the most effective manner. I really recommend every entrepreneur to read this book. It’s really life-changing!

Jeroen: I will certainly do so. It’s interesting, actually. It’s exactly where a lot of startup businesses fail I think, on really keeping the direction and not tweaking it. Some moments like going upmarket is a classic. Many companies see that there’s more money upmarket and forget their initial goal of helping small companies, making it accessible, easy to use and all these kind of things.

David: Then you get lost, yeah. It’s also I think an amazing management tool. A friend of mine started Ring.com. They just sold it to Amazon for over a billion dollars. Lucky him!

Another friend of mine is running his development team for AI in the Ukraine. They just released a new product, where you have on the side of your house, a camera with floodlights. So when somebody walks past, the lights go on for security. Their mission is to make neighborhoods safer. One of their engineers said, “Hey, since we have a microphone at their end, we have these lights that we could make the microphone listen to music and then the lights flash to the music.” But nobody said something like, “Dude, what the heck does this have to do with making neighborhoods safer?”

If you have a strong mission and vision statement, it becomes very easy for everybody to make the right decisions and not build stuff that is not really in line with what you’re doing.

Jeroen: Exactly. You know where to go. Don’t you think that is kind of the role of the founders and the CEOs to do?

David : Absolument. Lance Crosby, qui a acheté MaxCDN, PDG de StackPath, était également PDG de Softlayer. Ils ont été vendus à IBM pour $2,7 milliards.

He told me once that a CEO has only three tasks. One is to preach the mission and the vision like a parrot to everybody on the outside world and everybody on the team inside, to constantly repeat it so everybody knows what you’re about. The second thing is to make sure the company doesn’t run out of money, make sure sales are on track and that you raise enough funds. The third thing is to hire people who know what they’re doing in the key positions and then leave them alone, hire people that are much better than you in this area. And then leave them alone, let them build a team and just focus on KPIs and not be too much in the weeds.

Jeroen : C'est un peu logique, je pense.

David: At MaxCDN, we were very much in the weeds and it was a real wake-up call to see how he was managing the team. After the purchase, I was the chief marketing officer for the business and while putting together the brand and the marketing plan, I was following meetings. He sat through the meetings, said, “It’s good,” and then left.

After the second time, I was like, “Dude, am I not doing this right? Give me some feedback.” He’s like, “No. You got this. I’ll just let you run with it.”

Cela m'a ouvert les yeux d'√™tre capable de l√Ęcher prise √† ce point et de laisser quelqu'un d'autre s'en occuper.

Jeroen : √Čtiez-vous auparavant directeur de l'exploitation ?

David : Non. Chez MaxCDN, je m'occupais des produits et du marketing.

Jeroen : Le produit et le marketing, d'accord. Parlons de l'équilibre entre vie professionnelle et vie privée, parce que vous avez déjà abordé ce sujet et que vous en parlez activement. Quels sont exactement les conseils que vous donnez aux gens pour parvenir à cet équilibre ?

David: What my wife and I have put together, it’s called Managing Happiness. You’ll find it at Managinghappiness.com. The idea is that you apply business principles to your family life.

L'id√©e nous est venue lorsque je suis rentr√© √† la maison apr√®s une r√©union sur les r√īles et les responsabilit√©s chez MaxCDN. J'√©tais assis sur mon canap√© avec ma fille et ma femme, et ma fille avait besoin de changer de couche, ce que j'ai fait remarquer √† ma femme.

I said, “Hey, did you see Emma had a full diaper?” My wife got a little bit upset that I told her basically to change the diaper and didn’t do it myself. I thought, “Okay, why are we fighting about this? I’m totally happy to do it but I didn’t know it’s my second this turn right now at 8:00 PM on a Tuesday, this is my turn now.”

Then I felt like, “Hey, let’s sit down and talk about our roles and responsibilities in the relationship.”

En faisant cela, toutes ces attentes non exprimées ont disparu et cela élimine vraiment la majorité de nos frictions dans la relation.

Jeroen : Dans ce cas précis, comment gérez-vous cela maintenant ? Y a-t-il quelqu'un qui s'occupe des couches ou quelqu'un qui prend en charge une partie de votre travail ?

David : Elle ne porte plus de couches ! Mais nous nous répartissons les responsabilités.

Jeroen : Haha, évidemment. Mais vous vous répartissez manifestement le travail. C'est vrai ?

David: Yeah. I bring my daughter to school in the morning, my wife picks her up in the evening. During the week, my wife puts my daughter to bed and on the weekends, I put her to bed. It’s just things, and they’re not really set in stone but it’s nice to have a guiding framework so you don’t have discussions about this. Like, “I’m tired, I don’t want to do it.” She’s like, “Okay. It’s my task, I’ll do it.”

Jeroen: So you have set clear responsibilities. Everybody knows this person does that, the other one does that. You can jump in when there’s an issue or something. Correct?

David: When there’s a need or even if you want to do it then you can do it. Yeah.

Jeroen : Mais le reste du temps, il fonctionne comme un train, n'est-ce pas ?

David: Yeah. Building machines again, that’s the German engineer in me.

Jeroen : Vous faites la même chose dans la construction d'entreprises aujourd'hui ?

David: Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s super-important that there are clear roles and responsibilities. Also a clear mission and vision statement for your personal life and for your business, or clear core values.

Chaque fois que vous devez prendre une décision importante, il est utile de passer en revue votre mission, votre vision et vos valeurs fondamentales pour voir si elles correspondent à ce que vous voulez faire ou à ce que vous voulez être. Il est alors beaucoup plus facile de dire non à certaines choses. J'ai beaucoup de mal à dire non.

I always want to help and I always want to do everything, and I always see tons of opportunity everywhere. But by doing this, it makes it much easier to say, “Thank you for the offer but I’m not interested because it’s not in line with what I want to do.”

Jeroen : Un peu plus sur l'équilibre entre vie professionnelle et vie privée. À quoi ressemble votre journée et comment faites-vous pour garder l'équilibre ?

David: The word work-life balance, is not ideal because it is always changing. You always have a tug of war between work and life. I think it’s better to call it a work-life integration, and to find ways to how you can integrate your work and your life so it fluidly runs together.

Ideally, you set it up in a way that you don’t really feel the need for and go,”Oh, I need a vacation now.” I think if you’re doing it like this and need a break from your life, then you’re doing something wrong.

So the idea is that you have a holistic view on things. In terms of structuring my days — In the morning, I get up fairly early. I do a quick yoga — meditation routine. Then I bring my daughter to school and then I often go to the gym, have some call. I work from home right now, which was very irritating for me in the beginning because I was always used to having lots of people around me.

The gym is in the hotel, so I just hang out in one of the restaurants in the hotel and have a few calls there. Then, I have lunch and come back, work a little bit from home. Then my daughter comes home and then I have a blocked time where I play with her — like two odd hours.

Because I have a hard time saying no, if you would ask me to schedule this call at 3:00 AM, I’d say, “Yeah sure, let’s do it.” Or even if you want to schedule this call during the time I want to play with my daughter, I would do it as well. So I’m always using Calendly and I have this time split in my calendar. It’s not only much more efficient in terms of finding a time but I protect myself from myself by doing these type of things.

Jeroen: How does it then actually work when you’re a CO or a Founder? Isn’t your job partly to say no to things?

David : Oui, c'est vrai. Cela devient très facile lorsque vous dites non à des choses basées sur vos valeurs, votre mission et votre vision.

Jeroen : J'ai compris.

David: It’s like my tool to always run it through and then it’s very easy to say things like, “Hey, thanks, but no thanks!”

Jeroen : Vous pourriez appliquer la même chose à votre vie, je suppose ?

David : Oui, c'est exact. Bien s√Ľr !

Jeroen: “My mission and vision is that I also need to sleep” or something like that.

David: That’s all something. You have to see it in a holistic manner. So when I do my daily planning, I have my roles spelled out — I’m a father, I’m a spouse, I do Task Drive, I am a consultant and I also have to do personal growth and self-care. So when I plan out my day or my week, I always take these things into consideration. I make sure that I don’t say, “Oh, I actually haven’t done anything for personal growth in a while, or self-care, or going to the gym, or working out.” So I’ll make sure that I schedule these things into my day or my week.

If I don’t do this, then I focus 100% on work and I forget everything else around me. So this is a very healthy thing for me to always remind myself, like, “Okay, I have to do these things as well to stay productive, healthy and happy.”

Jeroen: I think many entrepreneurs have the same issue. Because you’re working for a passion, you’re very involved into what you do. I remember before I was building my own business, that I could very easily flick the switch at a certain time and forget about work. But that’s not really the same anymore since I am now in business.

David : Cela ne s'arrête jamais vraiment !

À cet égard, ce qui m'aide, c'est de laisser les distracteurs à l'écart. Par exemple, ne pas avoir mon téléphone quand je veux passer du temps avec ma femme ou ma fille. Car si j'ai mon téléphone et que je reçois un message Slack ou autre, mon cerveau se remet à travailler et à penser à résoudre ce problème ou autre. Mais je veux être présent avec ma famille à ce moment-là. Passer du temps de qualité avec les gens.

This is something that helps me to keep these things away, or when I spend time with my wife, we often go to the gym together or we go for a run and do yoga together. Because after you exercise, your mind is kind of clean. It’s easier to spend quality time together then.

Jeroen: It’s true. I also just started running again and you can really feel the difference of exercise and then the time you have after that. It’s really nice.

David: Also, I have the best ideas or I solve the most issues while running or after yoga when my mind is completely relaxed, in free flow state. For me, it’s really necessary to solve hard issues.

Jeroen: You mentioned you’re located in Bodrum in Turkey now. Are you then working remotely for Task Drive or how does that work?

David : Oui, nous travaillons à distance. Nous avons un bureau en Ukraine, un bureau en Inde et quelques personnes en Serbie. Pour les clients et les conférences, je me rends régulièrement à DS.

Jeroen : Désolé, vous faites tout à distance, seul, depuis la Turquie ?

David: Yes, correct. I mean nowadays with video calls that doesn’t really matter.

Jeroen : Oui, c'est vrai.

David: With MaxCDN, we also had an office in Belgrade, Serbia, one in the Philippines, headquartered in LA, and also an office in Vegas and a team in the Philippines. It doesn’t really matter where people are anymore!

Jeroen : Y a-t-il d'autres start-ups à Bodrum ou êtes-vous seul sur la plage ?

David: It’s just me on the beach. I haven’t found anything!

There are some guys who are into Bitcoin mining and stuff like that, but no real startups. Only in the summertime, you see a lot of wealthy Turkish families here. So in the summers, lots of entrepreneurs come over and in Istanbul, there’s quite a startup scene.

Jeroen: Cool. Wrapping up a bit now. What’s the latest good book you read and why did you choose to read it? You told me already about Conscious Capitalism. Is there any other one?

David: I don’t read books anymore, I only listen to them.

Jeroen : Lequel avez-vous écouté ?

David: I just re-listened to ‘The Four Agreements’, which is on the top three list of the books that influenced me the most in my life. I highly recommend it!

Jeroen : Et pourquoi cela ?

David: The Four Agreements talks about the agreements that you make with yourself. They have an example in the book in the beginning. A mother comes home from work, had a terrible day at work, has a crazy migraine and her daughter is jumping on the bed and singing and the singing makes her migraine goes worse. She loses her cool and yells at her like, “You have a terrible voice, nobody wants to hear you sing, stop singing.”

And then this girl makes this agreement with herself that she has a bad voice and never sings again; even has a hard time speaking up in public. It’s because she has made this agreement with herself. Same thing if you make a disagreement with yourself like, “Hey, I can’t be good with numbers, I can’t do this or I can’t do that,” then it sticks with you.

My favorite quote by Henry Ford is, “Whether you think you can do it and whether you think you can not do it, both times you’re right.”

So I think it’s a really big mindset thing. And another aspect in the book with the agreements, is that often we have conflicting agreements in our minds. For example, I want to be the world’s best dad and I also want to be the world’s best entrepreneur. These things don’t fly together and you’ll always have conflict in your mind.

If you come to terms with what you actually want to do, then everything becomes much easier. It’s a very short book but it’s really, really packed with amazing personal development tips. So I highly recommend it.

Jeroen : Très bien. Si vous deviez recommencer à zéro en tant qu'entrepreneur, qu'auriez-vous fait différemment ?

David: I would have implemented traction, that’s another book I recommended before. The US entrepreneur operating system, I would implement this as soon as humanly possible in every business.

Jeroen : Quel est le principe de base de Traction ?

David: It’s a whole system on how to run your business, how to run meetings, how to define mission, vision values, how to pick the right people for the right seats, et cetera. So it’s like a holistic view of running a business.

Jeroen: Right. Finally, what’s the best piece of advice you ever got?

David: It’s going to sound very hippie but my yoga teacher once said that every decision you make in life, you either make out of love or out of fear.

If you make decisions out of love, you’re on the right track. If you make them out of fear, you’re on the wrong track. For example, let’s say in sales, I want to sell you a product. If I sell it out of love, then I sell it because I know it’s a good product and I know that this product solves the issues. That it’s good for you! Then you will feel my intention is I’m selling out of love and you’re more likely going to buy it. It’s going to be very easy to sell that way.

Same thing we talked about before you recorded, we talked about being insured. If you act out of fear, you’ll always get locked. If you act out of love, then things become much easier. Back to the sales example, if I sell out of fear and my motivation of selling is because I want to make the money to pay my mortgage or my VP of sales holds me accountable to hit certain numbers.

If this is the motivation behind why I’m selling this, then you will sell out of fear and the other person will also feel this. Then selling will become much harder.

Or back to the introvert thing. If you have to give a presentation and you give this presentation out of fear, you’re going to deliver a very shitty presentation. If your predominant thought in your mind is fear, then you think about how I’m perceived, what do people think about me, et cetera.

But if you turned around and you do this presentation out of love, because the things that you’re going to tell this audience will help this audience to do things better, then it becomes a whole different ball game and you can actually deliver a much better presentation.

Jeroen: Cool. That’s actually a great advice!

David: That’s my best advice to everyone out there.

Jeroen: Well, and that’s all I had to ask. Thank you again David for being on Founder Coffee.

David : Merci de m'avoir reçu. Je me suis bien amusé !



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Jeroen Corthout