Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Paris, Saint Sulpice

Paris. Since it became clear that The Wall Street Journal Europe will close its Brussels headquarters and make almost everybody redundant before the end of this year, except for a few -including me-, I have changed my mindset about my own programs. I have gone back to my mindset of the nineties, a period in which I established my own companies starting from my small university studio. I had to do it all by myself, and I drove a 2PK which served most of the time as my office. Strangely enough I find myself in a comparable situation today. I am building the programs on my own, no staff to work or start with, driving around in a Fiat Multipla, most of the time serving as an office. I am actually building one of the programs, The Future Leadership Institute, as if I don't have Wall Street Journal Europe capital and that all money spent is my own. Suddenly I find myself booking hotels -almost unconsciously- from the same category as I was booking in the nineties, mainly Christian guesthouses under 50 Euros a night or small 2 star hotels, most of the time in neighborhoods taken from dark epic novels, or not even booking a hotel when driving back home through the night from Paris or London is an option.

When you are building a company, and I don't think I speak for myself, the night becomes your friend. That is inevitable, since you meet people during the day, on their terms, and you follow up with proposals and administration during the night. You hope to reverse the situation in due time when you will be able to hire your first employee, but that means you have to start selling a lot more than you are doing right now. Your last meal is a snack at 2 am from a cafe that closes at 2.30. You might even find friendship from the owner of the cafe as he understands how things work at the sharp side of life.