As a completely crazy fan of Jack Kerouac´s way of life, this post must have this title 😉 During the last days I was engaged in a fascinating learning journey to myself. Yeah, I know, as usual 😉 But this time it was different because I shared the learning experience with passionate young entrepreneurs and dreamers. Yeah, I know, as usual 😉 But this time I did it inside a bus without Wi-Fi moving to Paris. Oh yeah!!! 😉 You all know that the situation in Spain is not the best for dreamers, in fact probably some of you think it´s the worst in Europe. But 23 mad people thought otherwise when they embarked on a bus that would travel from Barcelona to Paris visiting Valencia, Madrid, Santander, Bilbao and Donosti to share their experience and real projects with other european dreamers. StartupBus is added now to my disruptive learning experiences.
StartupBus experience started a couple years ago in US and now becomes reality in Europe. The crazy dream of Elias Bizannes became true and it was the first succesful model to all buspreneurs. Since more than 30 cities worldwide routes begin to participate in various international competitions are organized on a continental match. This year, two brothers in Spain have managed all the the needs to introduce a route from our country to participate in European competition to be held on December 2012.
During this experience a group of cameras has filmed the entire process to make a documentary that for many will serve to explain what happened inside. The level inside the spanish bus was high in terms of enthusiasm and skills of all members. My first contact occurred in Madrid when we attended several master classes before departing. Once inside the bus I wanted to introduce myself and share some concerns with the crazy brothers Alvarez and company. During the first few hours I knowed the ideas and projects of all buspreneurs and I decided to help in business and strategy in the final projects. During the trip I was reporting the whole experience because I was interested to know also how the Viking Bus, the Oxford Bus and the French Bus were living their respective journeys. We had a major problem leaving Madrid with the Wi-Fi connection but we convert that problem into an opportunity relating us quickly and dynamically inside without any communication barrier, like building a little P2P culture inside ;)) I think with the internet and other facilities we may not lived the experience as intensely as we lived it. I remembered the first day allways sharing ideas and impressions, prototyping from scratch, visiting and talking with all the bus. On arrival at Donosti, I saw some of my brothers minners and shared a funny night with them before going to sleep (thanks, Ñaki!!!)
During the trip we met innovation and coworking centers and met interesting people. Upon arrival in Paris, the Spanish detachment competed with other buses in the semifinals for a chair in the final. No luck for two Spanish projects but The Best DJ is went directly to the final after a great pitch. The other two projects were in the playoffs competing with more than 10 projects for final access to Microsoft day before LeWeb Conference.
I liked seeing already in the semifinal that most every team proposals were aimed at solutions for problems related with employment, collaborative management, user empowerment, crowd and geolocation. With a real project preparing the final we only have one inmediate goal: put the other two projects in the final. After a competitive struggle the jury appreciated spanish Beat Goliat as a real and well-crafted proposal to change the world but without an acceptable pitch and comunication. This fact prevailed over the high quality of communication proved by the great team of Qbeeco, one of my favourites pitchs in all the process (including the final) as I recognized to his team. At the last moment the spanish JobSquare team decided to leave the competition so… at the end two projects of StartupBus Spain were in the final competing with the other 7 startups, becoming mad in the taxi to Microsoft (Dani, thank goodness you’re alive and that Paris does not have you as Hangover Part II in Bangkok ;).
After the high voltage revolution we closed the experience with a party in Paris with all buspreneurs gathered (french, vikings, spaniards, germans and english entrepreneurs). Spaniards gave everything in all senses and emptied several bottles of gin before boarding the bus. Undoubtedly one of the highlights was sharing lessons learned on the journey back to Barcelona inside the bus in the early hours of … ok I lost all references, I don´t remember when it was… aftermath of several happy days without sleep ;)) I proposed to share what we all have learned in the pure style of my loved Team Academy community 😉 When we arrived to Barcelona, a excited bus driver told us the story of his son, an engineer who had to emigrate for a better life to other country. The driver said: I wish you the best luck in the world, you have to take the country forward. You are completely admirable as the only future that we can have so work hard and thank you for the attitude you show me during these days. As old as I am, I have learned much from you. Incredible words to close an incredible journey, don´t you think??
My feedback is very positive after millions of chips consumed, and other fast food like sandwiches, chocolates, biscuits…; after sleeping on the floor, being cold, having a broken back at the mornings… I lived with wonderful people and learned a lot of you trying to give the best of me. I hope I have covered all your expectations, buspreneurs. A big hug and the best luck for you.
NOTE: You can get more information about my work here