Zach Barfield, a serial entrepreneur, says one thing hasn’t changed even though he’s decided to give up on founding companies: there’s still a lot going on all at once. And it’s going on with lots of energy!
Sharing the entrepreneurial love
One of Zach’s current projects is teaching at City University: a weekly workshop on basic skills on entrepreneurship, leading up to City Spark, a business ideas competition that he will also be judging. Zach also works as Program Director for the Tech Entrepreneurs’ Week which runs 5-9th December 2011, a conference and an investment competition to young entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to investors and business advisors.
He really enjoys working with young talent and sharing his knowledge. “I just like the energy of teaching! It’s all about practicality and experience, giving them tips & guidance on how to look at entrepreneurship or how to use entrepreneur skills in business.”
Books in the making
Zach’s writing a book about the digital entertainment media: “No-one’s really gone into how the traditional industry is fighting the consumer.” The book sets out the state of the industry, how piracy and social media have been impacting it, what statements the current players are making about it all, and how do possible future scenarios look like. Zach’s book will be published online and for e-readers during the first half of 2012.
Once that’s out of the way there may be another one in the making. As Zach puts it: “No matter how many entrepreneurial books there are out there, there’s still room for more. Perhaps there’s even room for a simpler one.” Watch this space!
How to be a gentleman in the 21st century
In a world full of metrosexuals and Alpha males, Zach has long felt it’s time for the gentleman to come back. “I watch people go out at night. The girl’s wearing this beautiful dress and the guy’s in jeans and trainers. I want to get up and slap him! Does that respect your lady, looking like you’re going to the pub with your mates?”
The idea of teaching boyfriends and husbands how to act more gentlemanly has been encouraged by every woman Zach knows: “Everyone I speak to keeps saying ‘you should do it, you should do it’ so I’m definitely doing it!”
Zach is planning to go all multi-platform about it during 2012: there will be books, a TV-show, courses and web content. He’s very adamant on keeping it all positive: “I don’t want to do the ‘lad to ladette’ thing, I’m much more into the let’s-build-people-up approach.” Zach firmly believes that a man with manners still appeals and I can’t really disagree with him!
The importance of knowing people
People who know Zach know him for networking and especially for connecting people. “Who you know gets you in the door, who you know opens the door. What keeps you there and keeps you going, is what you know. But to get to show your skills is about who you know.”
What if you don’t know anyone? Zach confesses that getting your confidence up can be tough, even for him: “I’m an introvert, I don’t naturally seek people out. I specifically put on my ‘networking persona’ when I go out networking.” And you can make it easier on yourself: “Just start talking to people who you know vaguely at first, then ask them to introduce you to other people.”
Maybe start with the friendly people at the Like Minds Club: “I always think that the online-offline, the real world and the digital needs to have that cross-purposing. You can’t live in just one, no matter which one. That’s what Like Minds Club does: you’ll meet interesting people and something might happen along the line because of that conversation. And it’s nice to put faces to names you keep hearing.”
Top tip from Zach is something he was once told and has found invaluable: “Make friends with everyone because you never know when they’ll be useful.”