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Hey! We’re back to Jean-Pierre telling us all about his work style and what he enjoys in his day-to-day. Read on!

How do you feel about working a lot of your time. Is it sustainable?
Not necessarily. But let’s first step back and define work. “Work”, “Labor” at its root in Latin, didn’t express a joyous activity but one related to the painful exertion of the body. So I don’t really think you’re ever supposed to enjoy work.  Obviously there are tasks you’ll enjoy more, but I don’t think you should expect continuous ecstasy from work. It has ups and downs, and we have preferences with respect to the tasks, but in my experience it’s not a place of constant joy.

So how do you feel about your current tasks?
I enjoy them – Wheeli is a place where I can exercise my creativity. I always thought of creativity in the most obvious sense: painting, playing music or cooking, but after a while I realized that my creativity is different. Building a team, handling a meeting, creating partnerships, understanding the dynamics of a situation – that requires serious skill and creativity to handle. I love challenging myself to see a problem and think about how we can solve it. How to make things happen.

What gets you going?
I like what I do now. I like transactions, I really like dealing with people to find something to agree on. I really enjoy the complexity of building products, relationships, partnerships between parties and understanding how to build bridges between us.

Are you having fun?
Absolutely, no regrets. There’s no such thing as failure. This experience is like a 9 to 5 on steroids. Most people have to work in the corporate world for 10 years before they have access to the lessons I learn on a daily basis. It’s hard to remember that when you’re deep in the grind, but it’s good to step back and be impressed with what we’re doing.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
There was a time when I wanted to be lawyer. Watching movies where they argue and debate, I thought I should be out there litigating. I took a fundamental of business law class through which the professor helped me realize that I like the topic, and would be good at it, but I wouldn’t enjoy the other requirements: writing 100 page contracts and reading long briefs. And he was right. So now I focus on business; I just spend a lot of my free time debating with my friends. I also like politics.

Any extra advice?
You have to define things for yourself rather than seek to mimic someone else’s life. How someone else succeeds is unlikely to resemble your success We all come to this life with different tools, backgrounds, experiences and it’s up to us to define what works for each of us on our own. Define what success means for you (not for others and/or society) and pursue it.

Want to find out more? Check our Jean-Pierre at these links:
Twitter: @jpsourou

Thanks for chatting with us and hurray for your newest venture!

Recently I was able to sit down with someone who I greatly respect and have a quick chat about what gets them going in their day to day. We strolled over to the nearby pier to talk while being surrounded by children playing soccer. Introducing Jean-Pierre:

Tell me about where it started:
My freshman year of school my father lost his job so I came home that summer not knowing my next move. I started working odd jobs fulltime and I realized I wasn’t at my full potential. I had several friends who had gone to culinary school and I reached out asking if they’d like to start a catering business. It took us a year to get our first client, but it was a pragmatic decision, it didn’t require any capital to start. A few years later, a friend approached me asking for funding to support a movie he was making, which I did, but then went a step further to start a production company and host a film festival. Between working fulltime and starting two companies I had enough cash to also go back to school. It was a busy time.

Let’s hear about what you’re working on today:
Wheeli (www.wheeli.us) was an idea that came out of my traveling through Europe. I was headed there on vacation and a friend sent me a website for carpooling instead of the europass. He said it would make it really affordable but that’s not why I kept using it throughout Europe. I kept hitchhiking (digitally)  because it was a social way to travel. I’m still friends with some of those people today, and I thought, this is an experience that Americans could really appreciate. Especially college students who are isolated from major hubs of transportation. This way, they can connect with new people to travel where they need to be.

What is balance to you?
Balance is about understanding your limits and defining your goals, realistic ones. It’s hard to explain because I’m a dreamer, and with my cofounders I say we’re not trying to repeat something, we’re trying to create something that’s never been done. So you should still go for the impossible, but you also have to be real with yourself, listen to your needs. Understanding when I want to go see friends or when I want to spend seven days straight in the office is something I have to define for myself.

How much of your time is spent on Wheeli?
Most of it. Back when I was working full-time, holding down two companies and going back to school, I noticed that I’m really good at having an idea in my head and breaking down the steps required to make it real. Grouping together the tools and people or skills that I need to complete it. I think that if I had been able to funnel all my energy into one of those projects I could have done something incredible. So this time around I wanted to give it 100% of my focus and see if my previous success was luck, or if I really understand the process of starting companies.

Join us next week to learn what Jean-Pierre enjoys about his work and how he feels about the concept of failing.  

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