The Reservoir Dogs Look
I don’t want this blog to come on as being a complaints litany or anything so I will get this out of the way right now, this is total stereotyping and probably not the case. (OK now I can hammer Spanish Entrepreneurs.)
During the Real Estate Boom Years in Spain, the country was treated like the Klondike and a uniform of the Entrepreneur was built up. Generally the “look” was “Reservoir Dogs”; Slicked Back Hair, Dark Suit, Tie, Shades and Chewing Gum/Cigarette (Delete as appropriate) Arriving at meetings in the BMW looking like Mafia bosses and trying to outcool the other person by looking what they believed to be the part. To an Anglo Saxon eye, and more particularly this Anglo Saxon Eye, it looked shifty and untrustworthy. Sorry, but it did.
The boom has gone and in its way has come a new breed of entrepreneur, looking at new opportunities in unknown areas and knowing everything about that niche and being willing to do anything to get by. On the surface. I was in a meeting today, actually a long drawn out lunch talking about opportunities on the net and how Spain again is the Klondike in that sense (Get this fact: How many Spanish companies actually conduct business online? Answer 10%. That my friends is Klondike country.) We concurred on the following.
Nowadays you are likely to have a meeting with an entrepreneur who seems massively enthusiastic and capable and makes plans with you to do this that and even the other. You leave the meeting hyped and thinking about the possiblities and then…. silence, the silence born out of frustration as great ideas whither on the vine as follow up is non existent. (Obviously if I have to make the next step then it is up to me, but I am talking about when the next step needs to be made by the other party) We have seen it so many times. Since then I have been thinking about it and have come to a few conclusions or thoughts.
The Spanish Mindset is scared to run with something because the education system encourages a mindset of conformity so strongly that it is extremely difficult to break out of it.
2) Idea Theft:
I have known many people who have espoused ideas to future lifelong friends (sic!) only to see their idea run with but without their participation. We go back to number one here too. The Spanish mindset doesn’t allo them to open up because o fear of having the idea stolen. Therefore it is the competitive mindset as opposed to the collaborative mindset needed in today’s world. This will come eventually but don’t hold your breath.
3) Talking the Talk but…
Walking the walk is not done. Again an education thing. Thinking outside the box is not encouraged at school so creative thinking in business isn’t a really common occurrence. Spanish businesses tend to be clones of perceived to be successful Spanish businesses. During the boom everyone had a finger in the Real Estate Pie. Before that everyone had a finger in the outside of school education Pie. Which pie will become de riguer now I am still not sure but the Chinese shop niche is well represented and trying to compete against the Chinese in that is probably pointless.
What do you think? Do you know the new breed of dynamic entrepreneurs or are you living the life of a Reservoir Dog? As in everything I do I must say at this point, I could be wrong.
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