Fabian Pfortmüller on Finding Personal Best by Connecting Others

In Chapter 2 of 15 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, community builder and entrepreneur Fabian Pfortmüller answers "When Are You At Your Best?"  Pfortmüller shares how connecting others by networking and listening has helped him flourish and build young leader communities all over the world.  Pfortmüller is co-founder of the young leader accelerator, Sandbox Network, and HOLSTEE, an apparel and design firm that sells meaningful products to mindful shoppers.  Pfortmüller graduated from Columbia University and its school of General Studies. 


Erik Michielsen: When are you at your best?

Fabian Pfortmüller: The moment I feel most alive is when I'm surrounded by people and -- we just hosted a big conference in Lisbon with 200 people from all over the world. We had Sandboxes from all kinds of countries there for a super intense 4 days experience, that’s when I feel truly alive and I feel -- I love to bring people together. I love to connect them, I love to help them grow, I love to find out what they’re looking for and that really makes me alive.

Erik Michielsen: How are you learning to better connect people and help them grow?

Fabian Pfortmüller: I would say by building communities and just by being an entrepreneur I’ve learned a lot about building relationships and about connecting people and one thing that really has helped me a lot is just listening.

You know, it’s very simple but actually really, truly listen to what people have to say is something I had to learn and we live in such a high paced environment and you have the possibility to meet 200 people in one night that when you have a conversation, really truly listen to them has helped me then also to really support them better because I could dig deeper and truly understand what they were looking for, maybe.

And probably over time you see a certain pattern that comes up again and again and once you see more of those patterns it’s just easier to help those people because you realize, oh, that person might be looking for a CTO or that person might be looking for feedback or that person might be just looking for some inspiration and just some motivation and those things I think I start to recognize faster and quicker.