Writing this article has been a tough task indeed, as there are simply too many things I want to include about my Cadet experience. Long story short, I met Ed, Founder of The Associates and investor of Garage Society, at a terrifying explore-yourself-through-Lego session during Cadet orientation, after which I received a generous internship offer from him. Well, maybe the session was not that frightening, but in case you have not met Ed – like a flint, he is sharp, tough, and possesses the power to ignite a ferocious fire for work. I, of course, got to immerse myself in a lightning-speed workplace, reinforced by Ed’s traits as a former Wall Street ‘Wolf. As a prospective Year 2 business student with an entrepreneurial dream, I was overjoyed to experience first-hand the start-up industry. Yet, the internship was more than that. My takeaways are beyond imagination – and I am not exaggerating a bit. To sum up, this internship has given me two things: First, the exposure to our society. I attended luncheons held exclusively for figures whose bank accounts contain mind-blogging fortunes. I met personnel from eminent companies like Yahoo, Norton Rose Fulbright, Books4You. I attended meetings with NGOs and start-ups. I visited community centres and schools that serve underprivileged children. The whole experience was especially rewarding because I interacted from the most well-heeled to the most financially disadvantaged, and was able to witness how the wealth gap is actually shaping our community. I once talked to a person at a philanthropic luncheon – who probably possessed unimaginably huge assets – and he was really humble, which overthrew my negative perception towards the extremely rich. It was then that I realized humility is the pillar of social affiliation, the prerequisite of success. The second thing is mentality. As a previously pragmatic and rational person, the start-up experience has blown my mind a bit, perhaps then some. Ed has taught me to think beyond the conventional boundaries. Instead of bluntly saying ‘no’, I learned to take a step back, envisage the possibilities ahead and start saying ‘yes’. He made me appreciate the unknowns, as I was the type of person who always needed a rigid plan. I once met Judy Chan, CEO of Grace Vineyard, who started her wine business in a mine town of China. At the time, no one would anticipate her incredible success, but has since made her winery into one of the most recognized brands in the industry. She made me appreciate the unknowns, as previously I was the type of person who always needed a rigid plan – but an entrepreneur undertakes an uncertain path to create the most vibrant journey. Sometimes, it is the bold creativity and resilience to failures that enable one to distinguish from the flock of human beings on the street. I am grateful for this invaluable opportunity. Not only has it given me a delightful experience, but also a handful of insights, and most amazingly, the chance to explore our society that could not have been more worthwhile to an undergraduate. Now what?
Today’s entrepreneurs do not like getting tied down and are inherently drawn towards options that let them progress at their own growth-plan. Personalisation and a sense of creative freedom has picked up the pace and is here to not only rule but also dominate the work culture.
As part of Garage Society’s Well-Being Month, we sat down with Dutch entrepreneur Madelon van de Ven, to learn more about her flourishing plant subscription startup and her mission to get more urbanites to experience the health and well-being benefits of plants.