Van Gogh had a mentor. It was Millet.

milletMentorship is a widespread term especially in the technology start-up scene, but at the same time one of the most unappreciated tasks to fulfill. As mentorship is mainly the result of experience, there is no Harvard or Stanford paper stating that you are a mentor-expert and therefor respected and paid accordingly. And this is nothing new. Thanks to the evolution of co-working, better insights of VCs and Angels, the mentors are more appreciated.

Still nothing new is created. We could go back to Plato and Galileo but I rather use the example of Van Gogh. He never saw his own success and that makes it maybe inappropriate to use as an example. It only shows that we must do what we feel as important for ourselves. Also in the history of technology, not every inventor saw the fruits personally of his or her invention. Look at the people who invented the mouse in the Stanford Research Institute. They also had no idea at that time what would be the impact. And now touching a screen replaced them.
Back to Van Gogh. One of his biggest inspirers was Millet, a friend and also painter. They met in Paris and were good friends. Both inspired by the same art form of that time, post-impressionism and expressionism. Millet was a painter who found his inspiration in nature, landscapes and the working men. Van Gogh admired him. Both moved to the south of France and lived and worked in the same village. Each with his own style but with very common interests. Millet in his time although more successful in selling his paintings. While in the asylum at Saint-Rémy, van Gogh produced 21 copies of Millet’s works, which shows his respect for Millets work.
“One does not expect to get from life what one has already learned it cannot give; rather, one begins to see more clearly, that life is a kind of sowing time, and the harvest is not yet here“ these are the words Van Gogh used to describe what Millet meant for him.

This brings me back to what STAGE-Co aims with mentors for start-ups and entrepreneurs as we see mentorship as a cornerstone of our service offering. An effective mentoring relationship is characterized by mutual respect, understanding, trust, and empathy. Good mentors share life experiences and wisdom in a modest way, as well as technical expertise. They are good listeners, good observers, and good problem-solvers. They make an effort to know, accept, and respect the goals and interests of an entrepreneur or start-up. In the end, they establish an environment in which the entrepreneur or start-up’s accomplishment is limited only by the extent of his or her talent as an individual or as a group. And that is how Van Gogh also described the role of Millet: “Millet is father Millet… counsellor and mentor in everything for young artists”.
So starting STAGE-Co is quite a journey in front of us. Although we already have a handful of great mentors, we now will start adding start-ups and entrepreneurs to our platform as well as investors like Angels, and VCs. Also businessmen to share their expertise and experience. We will visit incubator organisations to collaborate and universities.
As much as we believe in our goal as much we realize that this coworking platform can only be a success if we implement what we shout out. Coworking, collaboration and cocreation are the credos so we stick out our hands to everyone who sees him or herself as an asset to achieve our goals which are the goals of the whole platform. Aim for success, not only in dollars, euros or Liras but also in fun and happiness.
We are very lucky we found a good partner as Urban Station, with outlets in Galata and Maslak and more to come. This co-working project that started in Argentina and spreading rapidly in South America had its first sub in Istanbul. From here the rest of Europe will be covered and we are proud and happy we can collaborate with them. Coworking without a physical work and meeting space is irrelevant. And Urban Station has a great concept where you can rent per hour, per month and even have a fixed place. They have all the office facilities you need, and coffee, tea, biscuits and catering. STAGE-Co will be present here as head quarter and a meeting place with the mentors.
To attract all the participants in STAGE-Co we will organise several events, seminars, courses etc. as we believe that we need to be pro-active and show with action what we claim. Lead by example should be the “motto” of all of us.
We will start with more initiatives that underline the aims of STAGE-Co like Open Mobile (a monthly gathering of mobile enthusiasts), iDrops (create new ideas through labs), WeStartUp (connecting ideas, investors, entrepreneurs and mentors) and more to follow.
Next to organising different initiatives within Turkey we will also organise missions abroad to market the participants of STAGE-Co but also to exchange experience and knowledge and create new networks to enlarge the market for the entrepreneurs or just make new friends with common interests. Conferences like WebSummit, mLove, LeWeb, SXSW and others are on the radar as well starting up connections with blog and news sites like TechCrunch, Venture Village, Digital Age, Webrazzi and many more. Local and international.
STAGE-Co is a platform where interaction is key among all the participants so our work will never be finished as it is a living organism so to say. The 3 C’s are therefor very important, Coworking, Cocreation and Collaboration. If you feel attracted by this initiative just contact us, as mentor, investor, or start-up or fan. We need like minds to make this a success. Both for the platform, and for all the participants. A win-win is the game we like to play. And preferably with a good doses of fun. Life is too short to do it otherwise. And we should for sure aim the success of Van Gogh during lifetime.


Patrick Bosteels