Great ideas don’t come in a board room. When you grow a startup, you need to get away from the office to get great ideas. You need to take breaks and enjoy life to fullest to be productive.

During the pilots of our residency program - 10 days of working and living in a house with selected startups in a surf town in Morocco - we’ve had all kind of people: burned-out survivors, nomads, grinders, people working from home, all-nighter addicts, and people who took the whole healthy creative workstyle to another level.

Robin Balser and Florian Wenzel don’t really look the part. The two hipster-looking Dutch fellows behind Darpdecade, a clothing items swapping platform, love football and yoga, talk about energy, shanti (peace in sanskrit) and being in symbioses with one-another. They might be into something.

Letting steam off

Many successful entrepreneurs swear by meditation, but meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting with your eyes shut. For Robin, fishing does the trick. “Going fishing means being engulfed in the nature, being with your soul at that moment, hearing all the sound. It’s the most relaxing thing."

Florian’s technique is probably better suited to city life. “When you run, you get into this zone, where you don’t realize you’re running anymore. It’s a really repetitive action that gets you in this kind of meditative state where you can get ideas, get inspiration.”

Jonathan Doornenbal, Florian Wenzel and Robin Balser at The Blue House

Jonathan Doornenbal, Florian Wenzel and Robin Balser at The Blue House

Taking meetings outside the office

Running is not just about relaxing, it’s also about brainstorming and clarifying ideas. The two friends go for a run together three times a week.

“We sit all day in the workspace, and then we say let’s go running,” Robin says. “It’s like team meetings outside. We reflect on the day, what kind of ideas are swimming in our heads, what we want to be done tomorrow."

“If you’re on the move, it makes you more creative,” Florian adds. “It gives you energy.”

They get so many ideas while running that, sometimes, Robin has to write them on his arm, he explains with a laugh.

“It’s difficult to say this idea came from running, this idea came from something else,” Florian continues. “But [running] definitely helps to refresh and reboot.”

When they want to go deeper into certain topics, the duo go on “inspirational sessions,” which means breaking the routine by going cycling or climbing.

Living together

This is hardly the only thing they do together. The two friends have moved together from October 2014 to May 2015.

“We shared 14m2 between the two of us,” explains Robin.

“Of course, it has lots of advantages and disadvantages,” adds Florian.

It saved money - approximately 2,000€ - and got them to better understand the sharing life they promote.

Complete transparency

For the two, being close is vital to building a company together, and avoiding frustration, disagreements or bad expectations.

“We have this open conversation about cofounder things regularly,” explains Florian. “We don’t feel awkward [talking] about it because we’re honest and we know each other so well.”

If you’d like to share your experience trying new innovative work styles, or if you’d like to take a step back and find what works for you, join us at The Blue House for a weekend or 10 days!

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