Hi, my name is Thibaut (it’s pronounced like “T-bone” without the “ne” – yes, “T-bo”). I’m from Brussels (Belgium) but I live in Madrid (Spain) since October 2005.
Married with an amazing Spanish woman for 19 years, I’m the happy and proud father of 4 daughters between 17 and 7 years old. Let’s make it clear from the very beginning: those are without any doubt my most important achievements. Being every day a better husband and a better father are my lifelong commitments.
Apart from those personal (but fundamental) data, I owe you some information about the things I’ve done and learned during the last 43 years.
Thanks to my parents, I’ve been lucky enough to spend 20 years of my life learning and studying. Those fundamental learnings don’t actually come exclusively from school or university but also from Boys Scouts, practicing sports, dealing with my brother and sisters and traveling. At the age of 16, I began studying Law at University and even added an extra year to those Law School years by studying a Master in Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Practicing Law for 6 years in a top law firm like Linklaters and in an important institution like the National Bank of Belgium (it’s like the Federal Reserve but for a much smaller country) taught me what a top-notch professional service is (or should be), how to work under pressure, how to manage international teams and how to negotiate and persuade.
Fascinated by my clients’ different businesses, I felt each day more attracted by the business itself and therefore I decided to study Management and Marketing at IE Business School in Madrid. I very much enjoyed those 2 years of intensive individual and team work and I also discovered a new way of learning (the case study). This fully rich experience definitely changed my life!
It’s difficult to say if I turned into an entrepreneur in Business School or if I was already born like that. It’s probably the latter and Business School empowered me to take the leap. My first “venture” was quite conservative: a consulting boutique in management and marketing for law firms, taking advantage of both worlds. It worked but was not enough to satisfy my ambition to change the world. My second venture was much more ambitious and risky: a startup called Valioo whose purpose was to turn personal data into NGO’s funding. The 1.0 version was a complete disaster (“build it and they will… never come!”) but it helped me discover a new world: lean, pretotyping, customer development, etc. We still had enough cash to launch a 2.0 version and make huge progress. But in spite of it the numbers were not big enough to survive in the digital jungle. While still dealing with the closing down process I had some spare time to go for a kind of “citizen entrepreneurship” participating in a new political movement in the middle of the dramatic crisis Spain was facing at the time.
And finally, it drives us until today or more exactly the last two years of my professional life.
I’m involved in an incredible educational venture based in Madrid and Barcelona named Teamlabs. We run a university degree called LEINN (for Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Innovation) based on a learning by doing methodology.
Our students/entrepreneurs build real companies the very first day of this 4 years learning rollercoaster. They learn from lessons (just a minimum), books (they must read at least 20 a year), real entrepreneurship projects (invoicing and benefit milestones along the way) and their teammates. During the whole process they are pushed, trained, oriented and mentored by a Teamcoach.
What do I do in this strange degree? Well, I’m the teamcoach of a group of 16 entrepreneurs from 4th year. Moreover, I’m in charge of our product development process. Like our LEINNers, we are learning by doing and continuously questioning our methods and prototyping new techniques and tools to help young people turn into tomorrow’s great Leaders/Entrepreneurs/Innovators.
Yes, it’s quite a challenge… But I enjoy this adventure very much, learning by doing and nurturing my Growth Mindset.
About this blog
Is it because I have trouble finding ways to fill my spare time?
Not really… Actually, with this kind of job and such a big family, I have virtually no spare time. And if by luck I find some, I’m pretty sure I will spend it on a golf course better than in front of my computer.
Is it because I want to show off?
Definitely not. And if you read this blog you will see it by yourself because I write most posts to share doubts and mistakes with readers I hope to be smarter or more experienced than I am.
Then is it to take advantage of my readers?
Yes! Well, if by any chance I’m able to attract some readers… And this is, as you may know, the biggest challenge for any fool who decides to launch a blog in 2017.
Seriously, I’ve built this blog and written these posts to connect with curious and brilliant minds around the world who can feel the need to share ideas, insights, best practices or even huge mistakes about “entrepreneurship”: How to foster entrepreneurship? How to empower people to take the leap? Is it even possible to teach it? How to measure our progress in that field, etc.
If by any chance you happen to be working in this field in Spain (let’s meet!), France, UK, the US or in many more exotic places around the world, I hope I will be able to write posts interesting enough to generate a dialogue between us and give each other tools to be a better professional and reach higher goals.
Is there not even a little hidden agenda?
“There is always a hidden agenda.” (Henry Kissinger – or was it Donald Trump?)
“But it doesn’t have to be evil.” (Mother Theresa – or was it Larry Page or Sergei Brin?)