As entrepreneurs we do things for different reasons. We’re motivated primarily by our own dreams and with that momentum and passion we create a tail wind for others to join. Esther Dyson (pictured on right), an impassioned business angel, has a tremendous tail wind which 1,000’s of people have joined. Being extremely humbled natured and unassuming, this lady is a rock star in her own right.
This week, Esther invited me to attend a fabulous NextWomen event organized by Simone Brummelhuis (pictured on left). An avalanche of attendees pounced on Esther as she arrived and sang her high praises thanking her for everything she has contributed to the technology space over the decades – in particular her impact on women in technology.
I would guess that Esther meets at least 20-100 people every day so over 20 years that’s a lot of people to remember! Because she has impacted so many of these people when they cross her path it’s like meeting a long lost friend. Most of the time Esther has no clue who they are and in a sheepish tone says ‘please excuse me but who are you?’.
The first thing that amused me about Esther when we first met on a rainy afternoon in Barcelona back in March 2008 – was that her feet were sore from walking, we were drenched from the spring rain and she gave me approx 25 minutes to inspire her to investing into our company Linqia. With time running thin and no suitable cafe in sight, I whisked her into the foyer of a wanna be 4 star hotel, she placed her backpack to the side of the club lounge and swung her knees over the arms of the chair asking me ‘so what are you all about?’. As I shared the purpose and reason why I started Linqia, she took out her camera and started taking photos. It felt awkward but this is how Esther Dyson remembers people and if they have a story to tell she’ll anchor it to the photo. Otherwise it’s just another face in her flickr stream.
Following the event in London, we again went in search of a place to sit and eat. “I’d prefer to sit somewhere quiet… non of these noisy pubs if we can avoid them”. We found a nice Italian restaurant in Covent Gardens. She ordered Tomato soup and I ordered Spinach soup. When both bowls came out she wanted to taste mine and thought it would have been a good idea for the kitchen to mix the two. The green soup drizzled onto her red soup and it kind of looked artistic. These are the little moments you remember when you fondly think about an encounter with someone like Esther. It’s not about the hard core business to be done and who can do what for each other. I’ve come to adore this lady for who she is and can comfortable proclaim that she’s the Mother Theresa to entrepreneurs.
Here’s my second dream (Linqia’s social vision is my first). To enable Esther Dyson to fly to the moon and back.
With the reasonable investment Esther Dyson has entrusted in our company I would like to think that when the moment arrives to return this investment it’s enough for a ticket to the moon and back. Esther has just completed a 6 month stint at Star City, Russia now proudly a fully trained cosmonaut. This type of training doesn’t come cheap. At US$3 million it’s either for the super rich or the hard core enthusiast. For Esther it was the later, driven by her desire to conquer her own reaction to the Russian system and survive it. She likened it to climbing Mount Everst. It was one of the proudest moments in her life to become a certified Cosmonaut.
I asked her – “so when do you fly to the moon?” and she told me it wasn’t so simple. She’d need US$40 million to do so. My eyes opened widely and my response “We better speed things up with Linqia then”.