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This article was published on May 15, 2017

    What’s hidden in the negative space?

    What’s hidden in the negative space?
    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    Founder & board member, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    When I was six months old my parents moved to France, and we lived there for a couple of years. When we moved back to the Netherlands, we brought the old refrigerator with us and dented the door in the process. My parents were poor, so they covered the dent with a sticker. Voila! Fixed.

    As the years went by, we added sticker after sticker. There must have been hundreds of stickers on that stinky old fridge.

    Every morning during breakfast I would eat and stare at that fridge. Right in the middle was a big sticker for Carrefour. The logo is a funky red triangle and a weird blue blob. At least, that’s what I thought as a kid. Because after staring at that fridge for 10 years, I finally realized that hidden in the negative space was the letter C. I remember the exact moment I saw it; and once you see it, it cannot be unseen.

    Later this week at our conference, I’ll prepare dinner for our speakers… all 100+ of them. Luckily I have a lot of help from the amazing people at ZOKU assisting me with everything.

    Last week we did a trial run where I prepared dinner for my family, the founder and CEO of ZOKU, and their chef. I was nervous as hell because it’s one thing to cook for friends and family, but a completely different thing to prepare dinner in a professional kitchen with professionals watching every step. I felt like there were a 100 unwritten rules that I was breaking. While nobody said anything, and they were super kind and helpful, I still felt very intimidated by everything I assumed I didn’t know.

    I think these things scare me the most – the things you don’t see but are obvious afterwards. What don’t I know that I’m not even aware I don’t know? What meaning is hiding in plain sight right there in the negative space? What connections am I missing?

    That’s what keeps me and my team awake at night, with less than a week left until our event.


    This is my introduction text for last week’s issue of our TNW Weekly update. You can read the whole newsletter here, or sign up to receive your own copy.