MG: Are you having a great time today? Yeah, fantastic. My name is Max Gouchan. One and a half years ago I was in a start up in Stavanger and during those one and a half years, I met some challenges and gained some experience. Now today I want to speak to you about three main challenges. One is lack of knowledge, one is lack of money, and one is lack of time. So it's been one and a half years since we started up and the first challenge we met was I felt I can't do it. What a great feeling to have when you start out a company. I can't do it! Let me give you two examples, if you for example want to make an i-phone app and you can't program, you will automatically feel I can't do this. In my case I lacked engineering knowledge, and that gave me two choices: either take a masters degree and work 5 to 10 years in the oil and gas industry, and then start up in fifteen years, or, I could find somebody who has done that before me, that's because sometimes I'm a little bit impatient. So I choose the second alternative. But I soon found out that finding engineers in Stavanger is not that easy especially when you don't have a degree and you have zero krones and you're eighteen years old. I wanted to have the best engineers, I didn't want to just have engineers , I wanted to have the best I could find in Stavanger.
Today we have four of the great engineers working on the Click Lift project, and I got them by showing up. It's all about saying “yes” rather than “no”. It's all about getting out of the sofa and showing up where it's happening. Let me give you two examples: Does anybody know who this guy is? Nobody ever knows, so fear not, this guy, his name is Bill Fernandez. Bill Fernandez had an awesome friend called Steve Jobs, and one evening he says, “Hey Steve, I want you to meet a friend of mine, we are going to hang out tonight.” Steve Jobs says “Nah, I'm going to do some homework and I'm going to relax and sit on the sofa and watch TV”. That wasn't Steve Jobs, he said “Yes of course, lets meet him.”, and that “yes” and that meeting resulted in him meeting Steve Wozniak and together they formed Apple, changed the world, you know the story. That shows how important is a “yes” rather than a “no”. In my case, two years ago my phone rang and I was in this political board meeting and I remember that phone call because it changed my life.
I took up the phone and it was this guy named 02:38 who called me and I didn't know him then and he asked me, “Max do you want to take participation in a start up in Stavanger?” , and my head thought: “ugh, I have four part time jobs, I have four full political positions and I'm in college. I don't have time” but of course my mouth never agrees with me and I'm like “Yeah, come on, let's do it, this sounds fantastic, great , let's go for it.” So, and I never regret saying yes for that phone call. I never regret it because that ended up me going to the starter weekend and I left 03:09. I come out there and he's 35 years old has almost two master's degrees and he's one of the best engineers I ever know and together we joined the starter weekend, we formed a team, we won and that was the beginning of Click Lift.
I wouldn't be here today if I said no and chose to just be at home and relax that weekend so I cant imagine how my life would be if I would have just said no to that one phone call. It's amazing how the power of yes is and ? Is a really good guy. I remember he quit in the national oil well and they hired 500 people after a grit. I know of course because of rapid expansion or to fill in space, you choose, and my best tip is to only hire the best because in a start up you need to be surrounded with people that are much greater than you. I met 4:00 one time, the CEO of the Airline Company Norwegian and one advice he gave me, only find people that are better than you and that is what we have tried to do.
One thing that really struck me, at one point me and 4:16 had enough money to hire a student
and that was really special for me because we were running interviews, they wanted to have the best in Stavanger and remember 1 year ago I couldn't get the job in the grocery shop because I wasn't qualified enough and here I was supposed to interview this guy for a job. I think I was 10 times more nervous than he was on the interview, 10 times more nervous and we got the best engineer we could have Keith 4:41 and I remember the first time we paid him a salary, I never forget that feeling. I was so touched. It was so amazing to create value and I wanted to have the feeling again. So only find the best, the people are out there. If you lack knowledge, you can get them.
The second challenge when you are in start up, you don't have money. I was walking around thinking 'I don't have money' because it was a natural feeling and then I was at this business conference and I spoke to this investor and he said 'Max, look around, what do you see?' I looked around and I saw a bunch of guys in their 40s and 50s wearing nice suits and he was like 'No Max, what I see is walking millions and walking billions of krones in this room' and I was 'Oh, that's an interesting way of looking at it'. He said 'the money is out there. You just have to learn how to get them' and I said two speakers appear and I also had a mid life crisis. I was turning 19 and I was thinking 'oh my god, I'm half way to 40, what am I doing with my life?' and we started getting him on there. Firstly we got 5:52 as a partner and got money from 5:53 and it kept going.
The last challenge was actually that I didn't have time. When I started up I had 4 part time jobs, I had 4 political positions and I was also in college and I thought' where on earth am I going to find time for this?' But then I had a look at these numbers. 70, 80, 90 06:17. It looks like you work out too, perhaps 06:22 but the point is life is so limited and after this we are gone. What I think is when you are getting closer to the end you reflect on life. 'What on earth did I do with it?' and I want to sit there and think that I did what I really wanted to do. I followed my dreams and I really did what I wanted to do. I don't want to regret what I spend my life in because it is so limited and going so fast. If your dream is to get a Masters Degree and work in a big company, fantastic, pursue it. If it's your dream to move to New York and become a dancer all your life, fantastic. If it's your dream to start up a company, great but I think it's so important that people find time and pursue the dream because life is limited and life is also about having fun. Tom Peters the famous leader 7:16 last week and he said, 'you are going to spend so many hours at work, why not have fun? Why not create good memories' and I can say the last 1 and a half years I have had a lot of fun. Getting the best people and having fun, it's a part of life so don't waste it going to a job you don't like and don't waste it on regretting at the end of your life. What on earth did you do with it?
We started up because we saw in the oil and gas industry, it looks peaceful, we have a lot of coffee breaks, we do have good food and a lot of time off but there is a dangerous beast out there, the long nasty container. It looks harmless but it's quite dangerous. It's like a ticking time bomb with a broken timer, you never know when it goes off and when it goes off the impact can be lethal. That's why we are working on a solution to make the lifting operation much safer. We are on that path and process but have been a little bit disarmed...sshhh a little bit quiet about it but we have a good response from the oil and gas industry.
To quickly sum it up, if you want to start something up, the great people are out there. There are a lot of talented and great people in the world. You just have to find them and have to get them. Say yes rather than no. Don't use your life to spending time watching 8:32 on the sofa. Get out there and meet new people. You never know when you will meet the person who is going to change your life and the money is out there, you just have to know how to get them. They are out there, you just have to know how to get them.
And for the last time, if you are really passionate about something, if you really care about something, you are going to find time for it. If not, that's not your thing. Keep looking and don't settle because when you find it, you will find time to pursue the dream too. Thank you.