🏴☠️ #BurnToRelearn Theme & Call for Content
And the start of "Making Business More Human"
This is the start of my long-form content that I announced in the last PIRATE Summit updates. I am calling this series “Making Business More Human”.
I want to use it for more in-depth thoughts and essays leading up to PIRATE Summit. Read more about the reasons in the “How did I get here” segment below.
I decided to move to Substack, as it is a great place for writing. It feels good to finally start. Let’s see if this can become a habit of mine.
How did I get here? Read the background to why I started this Substack.
The PIRATE Summit 2023 theme is #BurnToRelearn
Call for Content is open - please contribute your session ideas
You can expect a lot of signal and little noise. No spam. Promise!
What do you (or we as society) need to unlearn? Share your ideas in the comments or on LinkedIn.
How did I get here?
I started my first business in 2003. The journey of 20 years of entrepreneurship that followed was a constant roller coaster ride. I have hired and fired. I have acquired and exited. I have invested and lost it all. I had to accept failure and had to shut down multiple products or even close companies. Sometimes, when giving up wasn’t an option, I worked tirelessly to avoid bankruptcy. More than once.
That’s what factually happened. There is plenty to learn from this. Tactics, methods, how-tos. What to look for before you invest, the tax impact of selling an asset, the best interview questions, how to structure a deal, how to create a great sales deck, how to fire someone, etc.
That’s useful information, but it’s not what I get excited about. Exciting to me are the things happening under the surface. You might call it the human factor of running a business. It’s often overlooked or hard to grasp. It’s certainly hard to manage.
In 2007, I incidentally stumbled into a sparring partner role for a business executive in the Netherlands. I was 10+ years younger and absolutely inexperienced. It was a ridiculous setup. Somehow I was requested to come back regularly over a period of months.
In the years that followed I have worked with 200+ entrepreneurs, business executives, and early startup founders. As a mentor, sparring partner or - and I don’t like the term because it’s often misused - coach.
With these Notes, I want to share some of my observations, experiences and learnings. From my own experience running multiple businesses, but also from working with others that do.
My main focus will be on those things that often go unnoticed or are neglected. Those human skills that help make businesses run more smoothly and facilitate relationship and connection.
All originating from the same idea that has been a driving factor behind PIRATE Summit from the start:
To make business more human.
Read the full text here.
If you think “Making Business More Human” will be relevant to somebody else, then feel free to point them to this Substack.
#BurnToRelearn - The PIRATE Summit 2023 theme
What most people don’t know is that the PIRATE Summit Burn is based on a century old carnival tradition about burning the “sins” committed during the carnival days.
At the first PIRATE Summit, we started with just a doll. From there, the Burn grew up to an 8-meter tall wooden statue.
Over the years, we made this ritual our own. It became a symbol for rebirth, purification and renewal.
What may sound lofty and abstract has a very practical essence. And that essence is the theme for PIRATE Summit 2023:
Let me explain.
Socially, we’ve been conditioned towards the theme of constant learning. It is vital for (business) success.
However, learning usually emphasizes “adding” something to what one knows. But in a changing world, learning should just as much be about subtracting. Something – so it seems – human beings aren’t good at.
Unlearning is the hard part of learning. It requires accepting that paradigms have shifted, and that what we once took for familiar and known, is no longer valid. It’s what is needed to make a society progress from today to a better tomorrow.
However, it is not just changing one’s mind. Rather than forgetting or removing something from memory, we have to consciously choose an alternative model.
It is this conscious choice that illustrates the difference between learning and unlearning: When we learn, we add to what we already know. When we unlearn, we step outside our mental model and choose a different one.
Essentially, unlearning requires a paradigm shift! Only then can we create the possibility for something new to emerge.
Our theme of #BurnToRelearn is integral to our concept of creating impact from the individual outward: Individuals impact teams. Teams impact organizations. Organizations impact society.
On all levels, there is an opportunity to challenge what we learned and “know” to be true.
On an individual level, that might mean stripping away the beliefs and ways to act, live or behave that have been imposed on us through our parents, friends, education system or society at large.
In organizations, this means to question the “way we do things around here”. For example, the pandemic forced us to burn and relearn our old way of working, most notably the belief that people have to sit together in an office to get work done.
The same accounts for society. Challenges we face in climate, financial markets, or income inequality require collective unlearning.
We want to use PIRATE Summit 2023 to ignite a big fire with you, to let go of what is holding us back and recreate what is needed to move forward. Together.
This is just a summary. Read my full essay about the theme on the PIRATE Summit website.
Call for content is now open
Does #BurnToRelearn as a theme speak to you? Do you have a story, insight, or expertise that you’d like to contribute to PIRATE Summit this year? We have opened the call for content and welcome your contributions.
We are especially interested in deep insights, opinions that are controversial, experts that are not speaking at every conference, and grasping stories that are seldom told.
Send us your session ideas via the form on the PIRATE Summit website.
“Not another newsletter in my inbox.”
I get it. I don’t like getting a lot of mails either. That’s actually not precise, so let me rephrase that: I only like mails that give me useful information or valuable insights.
I write these PIRATE Notes with the intention of being one of these mails you look forward to, rather than dread.
So here is what (not) to expect
This is not one of those newsletter trying to continuously sell something. I want to focus on valuable content for you the reader. A lot of signal, little noise. A nice side effect is that I am forced to structure my thoughts. So a win-win. ;)
This is not a space where I tell others about what is right or wrong. This is an exploration. A mosaic of perspectives based on my experiences.
This is not a “one man show”. I would love to use this space to give the mic to others as well.
I won’t spam. You can unsubscribe anytime. No hard feelings. You won’t be unsubscribed from the general PIRATE Summit Updates (which I intend to keep short and factual).
There will not be a determined frequency. I have a certain vision how this can develop, but it really depends on how you, the reader - and the community at large - is going to respond. I will share when I feel I have something valuable to contribute.
What do you (or we as society) need to unlearn?
I’d love to know: How does the theme #BurnToRelearn resonate with you? What is it that you want to unlearn? What is it that your company or we as society need to unlearn?
Please reply in the comments of this post or on LinkedIn.
Thanks for reading all the way to the end.
Be safe, be healthy, and be kind. 🙏🏽
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