Marc Garneau is a proud Canadian, retired astronaut turned politician. He was the first Canadian in space and during his career with NASA he trekked to the outer limits on three occasions, and circled around the earth 450 times. Garneau certainly knows what it takes to rise above. At the Startup Festival in Montreal, Garneau gave some valuable insight for aspiring entrepreneurs, specifically about working together to a common goal.
Garneau noted that upon his arrival at the International Space Station is when he first met some of his companions face-to-face. Sure there were the random telephone calls, but imagine building a relationship at that magnitude with nowhere to hide.
“There’s one thing at the back of your mind when you meet people that you work with up there is that you depend on them for your life. If you and I are on a flight together, I’m going to trust you so much that I’m never going to look over your shoulder. I’m never going to second guess you because I trust you. I trust you. You are my crew member. So there’s a very strong bond that develops between crews. It has to and is build up over long periods of time, even with the families of the crew members. It has to be that way because we cannot all be experts and all be doing everything. Everybody has their job and everyone implicitly trusts the other person. That can be a tough challenge when you’re together for six months, but you really do have to learn how to work with people. I would suggest it’s the same on earth.”
The trust factor is true when building your startup. No hidden agendas and all employees – regardless of the size of operation – must strictly focus on their role, which will eventually accomplish the larger vision.
“I’m looking at the audience here. You’re all young enough to be my children and what I’m saying to you, wether you realize it or not, is that you’re probably at your most creative period of your life. You are at the peak of your creativity and we need to be helping you… You’re the people who are eventually not only going to create successful commercial products or services, but you’re going to employ people if you grow. You are a critical resource and we need to be doing more to help you.”