If you guys missed the first part in this mini-series about my experiences and lessons learned while living abroad(btw still living) in Germany don’t forget to check those out.
Without further adieu (did I spell that right?) here are some additional ways that living in Germany has changed me in the first two weeks.
Lesson 4) Long Distance Relationships Suck
Haha, but everyone knows that but I’m not talking about dating. Startup Teams! Being out of the country and away from my fellow co-founders has made Vespyr extremely difficult. When there is a 7 hour time difference between the co-founders, communication is problematic. I have failed to attend any of the regular Skype meetings because of schedule conflicts. And this is only the second blog post I have written since arriving 11 days ago. I have been letting myself and my teammates down. These types of issues can be quite trying and time consuming. In spite of all this, I have realized just how bad I want this to succeed however. From this point forward, I will as much effort as possible in making this sports app succeed. Basically, co-founders should stay as close as possible but distance can be overcome with increased focus.
Lesson 5) Immersion is the Best Way to Learn
This is an old adage, but it bares repeating. Since coming to Germany, both my speaking confidence and speaking level in German have greatly risen. Every single day is practice: when I shop, when I travel, even working out. Everywhere I go is German. And this is so beneficial to my learning. What I have seen however, is that the more knowledge you go into the situation with, the faster you pick it up and progress.
But I believe this applies to almost all other concepts, not just language. For an entrepreneur, imagine this scenario. You are a Georgia Tech student, but not just any student. You have always wanted to start your own business. Which is the better way to spend your summer: interning at Microsoft or Boeing or BMW and getting great resume and work experience; or interning for eCommHub or working at Hype? Being around successful entrepreneurs will be vastly superior. Simply being there will allow you to much better understand the environment and requirements of successful startups. SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS!
Lesson 6) Just Ask
Since being in Germany, there has been so much shit I just had no idea what to do or where to go. I have found that merely asking someone nicely for help almost always results in success. When I’m lost or need something I walk up to the first person I see and say “Konnen Sie bitte mir helfen?” or “Could you please help me?” This has yet to fail me.
The importance of asking however is so much more power than displayed in this instance. Our society in general, shys away from uncomfortable situations or appearing to be rude. Because of this, people often fail to ask for things they want, or change bad situations. Most times, when you ask for something, if not too unreasonable, you will be accommodated.
Have a been experience staying at a hotel? Ask for a free night. Need to leave work early to pick up your kid? In so many every day scenarios people wimp out. Be assertive, make the sale, get the raise. Simply by having the balls to ask you will earn others respect.
Until next time, have an AWESOME DAY!