Don’t miss the second edition of the conference “How startup CEOs can benefit from mentor’s experience” on May 16 in Luxembourg, co-organized by BusinessMentoring association and Silicon Luxembourg. We reached out a mentor, Hubert Schumacher, CIO of Luxaviation Group to learn more about his entrepreneurial journey.
How did you get started?
In 1997, as a young telecom engineer for P&T, I found myself in an environment that was not very transparent and not very rewarding. There was a lack of governance and management, and the decisions made at the management level were often incomprehensible to us. This context and a desire for autonomy prompted me, and a few friends, to become entrepreneurs and create a new company together. The unifying project was not a priority at that time and the company created (Synapse S.A.) changed its plans and path several times.
What was the most significant experience for you?
The bankruptcy narrowly avoided after the disengagement of an investor with our 2nd company (M-PLIFY S.A.) in 2002 was a trauma that not only jeopardized a project but also put at risk a team that had been tightly-welded until that moment. I was pleasantly surprised and greatly impacted by seeing the confidence that friends and family had in me during a very difficult situation, as well as their encouragement for me to start afresh.
What lessons have you learned from your entrepreneurial journey? Could you give us one or two?
The first lesson for me was to discover that the business world is too complex to simply “unfold” a project. A project has to be adapted very often and sometimes in such a substantial way that at the end of the project’s course the initial project was more recognizable. The second lesson was that, in general, each effort is rewarded in one form or another. After all, we often forget that serious work pays off in the long run.
What are the 3 keys to success for you?
The entrepreneurial cliché is that everything turns around “a brilliant idea.” But enthusiastic ideas are often very personal, and the enthusiasm is often limited to the entrepreneur. One of the keys to success seems to me to be able to detach yourself from your idea and put yourself in the shoes of others—the investors, the prospects, the suppliers. In the end, the customer will pay you to solve a problem he wants to solve and not for a problem that you, the entrepreneur, want to see solved. It is therefore necessary to find the right balance between the obstinacy of defending an idea against all difficulties and the agility to adapt to the market and the circumstances.
In my opinion, the second key to success is avoiding trying to anticipate everything. Not because anticipation is something negative, but because we are always in front of an exponential tree of possibilities. If, by way of illustration, at each step I have before me four options, I have to analyze four, 16, 64, 256 possibilities depending on whether I want to anticipate mentally 1, 2, 3 or 4 steps ahead. The energy at my disposal can be entirely spent reflecting on my four imminent options. And then things will unfold differently in the end!
And then come: creativity, audacity, assiduity, honesty and a thousand other virtues of everyday life.
Register for the conference “How startup CEOs can benefit from mentor’s experience” on May 16 in Luxembourg.
This article was first published in the Spring 2017 issue of SILICON magazine. Be the first to read SILICON articles on paper before they’re posted online, plus read exclusive features and interviews that only appear in the print edition, by subscribing online.