Vincent van Leeuwen

May the force be with you.

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Looking back: What I learned in 2013


One of the things I like best about blogging is to write down experiences. By writing things down, I learn from them once more. As such, I could not pass on the opportunity to reflect on some of the things I learned the past year. Some learnings are more personal, some are more professional. Being a founder I’ve never really been able to separate the two anyway. So why start today? I hope that some of my learnings are useful for you too.

Mind your cashflow.

I’m not a firm believer that having a lot of money makes you happy. But I’ve also learned this year that too little money most definitely makes you unhappy. Hitting rock bottom on a monthly basis makes for quite some stress. Much more than I expected when starting out as an entrepreneur. In addition, you give up bandwidth for long(er) term projects because you’re too worried about short term (financial) survival. I actually read...

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A social safety net for entrepreneurs

I recently co-wrote a manifesto for the Amsterdam startup ecosystem. In the manifesto, we summed up some important areas of improvement for the local community. At the time of writing I thought it was quite complete. I’m now thinking though that we might have forgotten one important area for improvement. Probably an area that could be key to entrepreneurial growth in many modern Welfare states:

A social safety net for entrepreneurs.

Why is there no social safety net for entrepreneurs? I believe there is something fundamentally wrong here. Let’s take the situation in the Netherlands for example. When you’re incapable of working or unable to find a job, there is a social safety net. This makes sure that you have enough income to stay alive during the period that you’re unemployed. When you’ve found a new job, you start paying a premium again on top of your salary, which validates your...

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6 steps to become a Jedi master at LinkedIn sales

Jedi Master

When I started my own company, I had absolutely no clue how to do sales. One of the first methods I looked at in the startup quest for new prospects was cold calling. Traditionally, cold-calling was the way to efficiently approach potential customers. For startups, one of the major benefits from cold-calling is that you get instant feedback about your product. Which is obviously great for customer development. But there are also some drawbacks that might make it less interesting to founders. First of all, cold-calling can be quite scary. If you’re a founder that has no sales manager guiding you from above, this can quickly lead to some form of myopia. I experienced this myself first-hand. Instead of doing sales, I started doing all kind of other irrelevant stuff: Updating our Website and blog too often, tweeting bullshit through our Twitter account in order to “drive marketing”. All...

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