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He is the first one to hit the stage and the last one to leave it. He is the one who observes, absorbs and guides the situation so that everyone gets enough of thrill, appreciation and high-fives. He is the one who sends us to coffee/beer breaks and remembers all of our faces (and names!).

Ladies and gentlemen,

Meet Alistair, the MC of SWUtrecht in November
Meet Alistair, the MC of SWUtrecht in November

Please meet Alistair Shepherd, the Master of Ceremonies for our SWUtrecht in November. Alistair is the founder of Saberr that designs software and technology solutions to help people “work well together”. He is a series Startup Weekend Facilitator and an UP Global Research Fellow. Alistair has lived in Hong Kong and the US, and will be coming straight from London to Utrecht!

In order to get Alistair know better as a person, we arranged a blitz interview.

Who is your role model (career- and/or lifestyle-wise)?

It’s a total cliche but.. Elon Musk comes very high up my list of most respected visionaries. But if you want someone who combines business savviness with a cracking lifestyle and a healthy dose of ethics then my hero has to be Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor clothing company Patagonia.

What is the most comprehensive book/movie/blog/newsletter/podcast about startups you have encountered?

Tricky. I think the first book to read should be The Founders Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman. Read that before you go anywhere near The Lean Startup etc.

What are three personal traits are necessary to launch and run a startup?

Resilience, persistence and humour.

What is the most impressive startup you’ve seen/heard of so far?

Too hard to choose. I’m lucky to be surrounded by the network of incredible founders in great companies, but the ones that impress me the most are the ones that are trying to solve hard problems. Problems that might actually make the world a better place. Those are the ones I admire the most. I’m a little jaded by “disruptive” messaging apps and “paradigm shifts” in ordering a pizza…

Why did YOU launch a startup?

I launched a startup because I didn’t want a job. Ironic, I know, because now I probably work harder than ever. But the idea of working to make someone else’s dream come true and slowly moving up the corporate ranks didn’t particularly inspire me. I wanted to work for a vision, and there’s no better vision than your own!

How does your Sunday look like?

Hopefully doing something active, e.g. kitesurfing, cycling, climbing etc. But many Sundays are also spent cooking huge roast dinners with a lot of my old friends from university days. Keeping a healthy social life and getting away from work is really important to me.

 

Are you among those people who don’t want to work for others and always get goosebumps if hearing “the lean startup”? Then grab a ticket here and join our 54-hour-long SWUtrecht on 13-15 November to launch your own startup.

Monika Dainyte