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Why I never quit

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Today, ten years ago, I started my life as an entrepreneur. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It all started small, in the cellar of a good friend in the center of Amsterdam, coincidentally one of the largest internet hubs in the world. Sellaband was born there. With this company I set out to create the greatest tool known to mankind for enabling talented artists to record music for their fans. Never did I anticipate the rollercoaster ride I was going to be on. I discovered soon enough that failure and success are close companions.

One day I was basking in Sellaband’s success, the next day Sellaband went bankrupt and I was so broke I couldn’t even afford gas to get to my appointments (luckily in Holland it’s quite normal to ride a bicycle anywhere and riding it more than 30 miles every day made me fitter than Rocky Balboa when he climbed those steps in Philidelphia for the umpteenth time). One good thing about being broke is that it made me realize that there is nothing I love more than making something out of nothing. I could have easily quit and applied for a job that would pay the bills, but to me, that just wasn’t an option.

Did I ever think of giving up? Of course I did. But the failures made me hungry for success, failing made me strong and focused. I also realized that the secret of my success is not to strive for my own success, but to enable the success of talented people around me. Like my company did for the very talented Boyan Slat in raising 2.3 million dollars in donations from the crowd for The Ocean Cleanup (a world record). Or like every time an entrepreneur enters our office with a good idea and ends up executing that same idea a few months later.

This first quarter of 2016, I am launching three companies that benefit entrepreneurs who challenge the status quo. In the end I believe positive change is what we need most. Please allow me to introduce them to you.

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