Walking home with a spanish entrepreneur
I suddenly stand up and move in the direction of the next door, aiming for home. A slim and tall man, who has followed the conference leaning against the wall, without speaking, raising a question or any other reaction, seems to follow me. Marching at the double quick he soon reaches my shadow and flanks me. I avoid his sight, but he seems to be friendly and willing of couple of good words. Still, I do not thrust him, believing he's one of those lurkers who are just trying to find a job.
"Hi", he says firmly, without hesitation. I wait to reply, till I express a warm "Hi, mate!". I feel I have shown too much of my cautiousness and, to avoid any misunderstanding, I find myself compelled to add an even less natural "Nice evening, ain't it?". He nodded, as if I had successfully repelled him. I could have committed an enormous mistake, those you are sooner or later going to regret and make you realize how stupid you are. "Where do you come from, mate?", I insist. The roles are now changed and I should find a way to captivate that stranger. "I'm from Spain", he replies quickly, as if he were intentioned to drop the conversation, "I'm on my way to make my fortune here". I do not understand his tone. It sounds sarcastic and now I should judge him as the mental sanity of the Abbé Faria by the awkward inhabitants of the Chateau d'If. Will I fail as the jailers did or will I become as much rich as Monte-Cristo did? That Spaniard is anyway free from any chain and will hardly share with me even the smallest amount of his fortune. Unless he does not need someone to partage his startup with.
It's time to introduce each other and going to the point. What is he expecting? Am I worrying too much? Indeed he turns out to be a software developer who moved to Germany because of a love story and some desire for an international career. He comes from Barcelona and it for him uneasy to maintain too close connections with his family or the place where he was born. The daily sight of the see has bred his keen tendency to exploration. As much as he has always enjoyed what stays behind the movement of the sprites on an old videogame. He started to work on the maintenance of some arcade machines and ended up with a degree in Electronic Engineering and some years of experience in unstable IT consultancy.
When the company he was working for suddenly declared bankruptcy, during the peak of the real estate bubble, he quickly moved to Munich with a German graphic designer he had started to date in Mallorca. She provided some income to the family, and, in the student apartment they have managed to rent by enrolling to a Ph.D. program, he started to exploit his free time by focusing on a simple business plan and the development of the software infrastructure to support it. Quite busy and enjoying the beautiful frame of the bavarian trees and walkways, he has managed to survive until his ideas have not provided him some revenues. Enough to establish a company, increase once more the revenues, reinvest his capital, further enrich his business plan and eventually start to hire the first employees.
He has found so far few obstacles, apart of some paradoxical need for a lawyer due the monstrous complexity of the German law. Yet nothing is intended, under the benign hand of a liberal government, to put some hurdles to individual initiative. Nor the cultural environment look at any entrepreneur as an enemy of the people to be shot on the place in the name of the socialist revolution. Far away from the symbolism of Guernica and the remembrance of the Civil War, he is now quite well settled among an highly productive economy on the verge of technical changement.
I share with him my story and my hope for the future. At least I am feeling much more relaxed, as if I had been detained in prison for some crime I have never committed and just fully discharged of any guilt. We have reached the U-Bahn. I live nearby, the Spaniard has still got half an hour before getting home and he shouldn't miss the last train. He leaves me with his business card. Just in case I want involve him with any start up I intend to ground, change my job or simply to have a nice chat.