On March 1st, 10am I was running from the Amsterdam Centraal to the beautiful Beurs van Berlage to meet Jeroen Pliester. I was supposed to make an interview with him about The Solution Society, a company he is cofounding that aims –in a collab between creatives and business experts- to help medium sized companies and big corporations innovate and get into the new fast paced rhythm world of technology and constant updating.
I have an hour, 9 minutes and 53 seconds of conversation with Jeroen recorded in my cellphone. It goes way beyond companies innovating. Despite having the most insightful conversation I had a problem in my hand. Before writing I usually listen to the interview, write down the main points; look into exactly what is it that I will be talking about and then work on a storyline. Cute right? Look a little Beatriz thinking she can do the same with Jeroen Pliester. After writing 3 pages of main points I finally gave in – “keep dreaming”. As he described himself as someone who doesn’t do things in the usual way, my blog will also be unusual. This is the first of a series of 3 blogs that I will write about our conversation.
Through the one hour we spent talking Jeroen revealed himself as a multi-talented person. Common theme: by connecting different worlds and different people -with an open mind- tremendous potential is unleashed. He used to work for banks, as business developer and intrapreneur, including making new businesses in extreme markets as Russia, Kazakhstan and China. As a serial entrepreneur, art enthusiast (going to Documenta in 2017 is definitely in my bucket list now), writer for the citizenMag (citizenM hotel magazine) and trend watcher, among other things, he is open for new experiences and that is how he has grown so far.
We discussed how being open is essential, now more than ever. Having a background of references and a networking is what differentiates people that succeed and people that are stuck. When I say being open I mean be conscious that great ideas and knowledge can come from anywhere (for instance, your 3 year old sister may have some really interesting insights, I say that from my own experience), stepping into new cultures, getting to know the new, experimenting, question if what you do is the only way to do it and what I have been hearing often here: open room for making mistakes.
By being open Jeroen got himself a vast background and network which helped him in his entrepreneurship adventures as The Solution Society and another company he cofounded; New Design Associates. Together with the Dutch product designer Seroj de Graaf they help creating high-end products with a twist. Two interesting cases are the City Cufflinks® and the Linja shoes.
The City Cufflinks® are a mini, but refined, tribute to great cities as Amsterdam, London and New York. The other case, which I am in love with, is the Linja shoes. They put traditional Italian shoemakers and orthopedics in the same room and voilà: super comfortable high heels Parisian catwalk worthy. Speaking of which my birthday is close – not actually, but I do accept gifts in advance.
Both his companies were founded due to his large network and knowledge acquired from all different kinds of experiences along the years. By having unlimited interests he got to meet both artists and business experts and by bringing both together infinite possibilities are created.
Be open, observe, listen and apply everything to your own reality. Never forget that from the differences the new is created. Every single person in this world has a different point of view and can share experiences, knowledge and what is more important, make you question yourself and your own point of views. This is how you transform, develop, renovate, move forward and differentiate.
P.S.: The feature picture might look disconnected. Is a picture of the amazing opera “Only the sound remains”, one of the topics we spoke about. Unfortunately the show isn’t running anymore, but if it was I would highly recommend it.