Hello, I'm Bilel Kouider.
Passion for startups, social good, and happiness.
I'm thrilled by new business models and how new technology can drive meaningful impact on resolving people's pain point while lifting up customer loyalty and increase revenue. I lead with empathy and positive approach to deliver change, growth and retention.
I consider myself a citizen of the world 🌍🌎🌏 and currently based in Barcelona 📍
As a creative soul, I seek innovation and inspiration in everyday life to enrich my perspective and level up my approach. I am passionate about how emerging technologies transform our lives at scale and as part of my master thesis, I spent 18 months studying the crowdsourcing model and how it can be a key partner of innovation for any organization.
I like to build experience on the internet that makes people's life easier. I created 1 start-up, 3 side-projects and brainstormed countless ideas. A portion of my portfolio has crypto-currencies investment because I believe that blockchain technology will democratize financial products across the globe. Another portion of my portfolio is in non-profit organizations because I believe that the way we use our money, defines the world we want to live in.
I am fluent in French, English and understand Arabic and Spanish, I lived in 5 different countries, visited more than 20 countries, and currently working in an international tech company which has strengthened my empathy for people and influenced me on how we engage with diverse Customers, Partners, and Employees.
I realized very early on that your personal life is very closely linked to your professional life and having a variety of experiences gives you insight and capabilities, which define who you are and what you want to be.
To keep up with the pace of changes and unlock my creativity, here's what I usually do:
• I like to go for a walk or run outside. My lifetime goal? Running one marathon per year.
• Fasting is one of my favorite ways to reboot my energy level and clear up my mind.
• I like to read a good thriller or a book on how ordinary people succeeded in impacting people's life.
• I love to cook for my family and friends, it is a way to share a good time and connect with people.
• Travelling is one of the best ways for me to understand different cultures, meet new people, and gain new perspectives.
OK, I have already spoken a lot, so now it's your turn. What's on your mind? I am always happy to hear different perspectives, so reach out if you like to share your story or discuss your projects or ideas.
I am an avid reader. I enjoy learning how others see the world. It gives me a different perspective on my life. These are my favorites books:
#1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
#2. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
#3. Mandela Long life to freedom by Nelson Mandela
#4. How to win friends and influence people by Dan Carnegie
#5. Atomic Habits by James Clear
#6. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
#7. The Brain by David Eagleman
#8. Zero to one by Peter Thiel
#9. Eat & Run by Scott Jurek
#10. Rich dad Poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki
And you, what are your favorite books that have transformed your life? Send me a note, I would be happy to get inspired 😃
I find my inspiration in books, movies, or even Twitter - Yes, I like Twitter it's actually the only social-media that I use. These are my favorites quotes which have had a deep impact on me:
#1. Happiness is not what you get but what you become.
#2. Stop shopping and stick to the plan.
#3. People care about your opinion only once it's backed by results.
#4. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.
#5. Failure is a part of life. The people who never fail are the people who fail to live.
#6. When you have a clear goal in mind, the world becomes literally your library to help you to become better at your craft
#7. Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.
#8. As you vibrate higher you attract more genuine people who vibrate higher too.
#9. The true method of knowledge is experiment.
#10. When you fail to see the necessary leadership around you, be the leader you wish you had.
And you, what are the favorite quotes that have inspired you? Shoot me a note, I would love to know them.
Few equations have profoundly impacted my thinking. I have mainly been inspired by The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness:
Desire = SufferingHappiness = Skill you developHappiness = Health + Wealth + Good RelationshipsHealth = Exercise + Diet + Sleep + meditationExercise = High Intensity training + Sports + RestDiet = Natural foods + Intermittent fasting + PlantsSleep = No Alarms + 7/8 hours + circadian rhythmsWealth = Income + Wealth * (return of investment)Income = Accountability + Leverage + specific knowledgeAccountability = Personal Branding + Personal Platform + Taking riskLeverage = Capital + People + Intellectual PropertySpecific Knowledge = Knowing how to do something society cannot yet easily train other people to doReturn on Investment = 'buy and hold' + valuation + margin of safety
The measure of wealth is freedom.The measure of health is lightness.The measure of intellect is judgment.The measure of wisdom is silence.The measure of love is peace.
Eloquence = habit of writingKnowledge = habit of readingHappiness = habit of gratitudeGrowth = habit of self-reflectionCalmness = habit of mindfulnessLove, friendship = habit of listeningWealth = habits of investing, buildingHealth = habits of nutrition, working out, sleep
I like to write about topics in which I am interested. It's my way to self-reflect on my journey. Here, I share my learnings and thoughts on things that I experience along the way.
The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovations.
Today marks 5 years of living the HP Way. Do you want to know why I stayed in this company?
Well, let's start with this statement: When I joined @HP 5 years ago, I never thought I would stay that long in this +80 years old company for somebody who is passionate about the startup ecosystem.
One thing that kept me through these years is the HP Way. It's the biggest innovation that Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard have created back in 1939.
At the time, these business principles have been radical - revolutionary even. They established the importance of respect for the individual, the value of leadership, the importance of diversity, integrity, the power of teamwork, and the need for adaptability.
Before joining HP, I bought the book written by the co-founders and started to understand the ins and outs of this culture. Considered as a “millennial”, I was astonished by the “startup culture” and the level of obsessiveness to put the employee at the center of the business.
5 years later, I am so grateful to live and breathe the HP Way. Being exposed and constantly practicing this mindset has skyrocketed my entrepreneurship mindset along the way.
The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovations. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products. And given the power of the HP Way, I am not surprised that HP is one of the best tech companies to work for. This spirit of invention has been nurtured for 82 years. The results? In 2021, we are ranked #19 of the top innovative company and have been part of the list since BCG ranking has been created in 1963. In my opinion, this is amazing proof of success.
How can I define the HP Way? For me, it’s simply a shared way of doing something with passion. The employees are making the HP Way LIVE by maintaining this level of expectation. A culture is a thousand things, a thousand times. It’s living the core values when you hire, when you write an email, when you are working on a project, when you connect on zoom. A culture is the power of a good community – people who can help, listen to ideas and provide alternative views.
As my mentor — Alex Stoll — once told me, ask anyone and you will get an answer. This is the HP Family. This is the HP Way.
Having such great culture helps me grow my skills, connect with diverse and talented people, resolve complex and various business challenges and — above all — maintain work-life balance flexibility. No hours defined, no desk fixed — the company provides such flexibility as long as you achieve your goals. No micromanagement you are managed by objectives.
It sounds like a startup isn’t it? Well, these are the reasons I stayed in this company.
We all know that culture is critical to a business. I learned with the HP Way that the stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous. They can be entrepreneurial.
Ever notice how families or tribes don’t require much process? That is because there is such a strong trust and culture that it supersedes any process. In organizations (or even in a society) where culture is weak, you need an abundance of heavy, precise rules and processes.
We are experiencing significant macroeconomic changes, uncertainty, disruption, and stress and HP is — constantly — going through massive transformations to reinvent how we operate and adapt to the new employees and customers need; With the HP Way at the center of the culture, I am convinced the company will overcome any headwinds.
Living the HP Way has transformed who I am as I — constantly — need to reinvent and scale-up how I think personally and professionally to thrive in this new world. I am blessed for these 5 years. Thank you HP family.
It’s the number of iterations that drive the learning curve
Back in 2017, I attended a conference in Houston and the lecturer emphasized the importance of creating a life plan and how to strengthen it through your journey. The way he articulated his thoughts made me realized how passionate he was about this subject and he concluded his conference with the following: “Stop shopping and stick to the plan”. This specific quote resonated a lot with me. It became a mantra and one of my favorite quotes that I live by.
The reason it was so clear for me is that I have been in this race of jumping from one opportunity to another simply by curiosity and the desire to learn new things to maximize my thoughts process. There’s nothing wrong with that because I am convinced that the more you learn, the more you train your internal software to become a better-assisted process for making better judgments and therefore better decisions.
It is critical to stay open to new ideas but the importance of mastering your craft and building on top is equally important, if not more. In this world of constant changes, constant flow of new information, it’s becoming a critical skill to stay focused through the noise and create what matters for you, your life, and what society needs.
Once I set my goal and develop my plan for the year, I constantly reevaluate them and question how am I progressing. Once it’s written, it’s becoming a contract between myself and this goal to ensure I don’t waste my time shopping for something else. It would become a waste of time and energy if I deviate from that.
Consistency became a key driver of my mindset. Consistency in my plan. Consistency in my values and relationships. Consistency in my willingness to learn and being curious. Consistency to become healthier. Consistency to become a better social and human being.
Consistency is hard. This is not an easy thing to do in the long run. But I realized that this is what makes the difference between the amateur and professional world. Between good and great people. People who are overwhelmed by their emotions vs people in control of their plan. People who are changing plans constantly by the frustration of not seeing quick results vs people who stick to the plan knowing that results will come later. Regardless of any headwinds, they stay relentlessly focused on the end goal. The consistency through the journey.
• It’s easy to wake up whenever you “feel like it”.
• It’s hard to stick to a routine of getting up at 6AM.
• It’s easy to pivot from side project to side project, focusing on the new shiny object of the month.
• It’s hard to stick with a side project for years, many of which may not be profitable for a long while.
• It’s easy to give up on someone when you hit a roadblock or the next potential partner becomes available.
• It’s hard to be faithful and invest in a relationship for decades.
People underestimate the power of repetition. Consistent practice is the only way to get great at anything. I stopped worrying about the people who are more talented, smarter, or better connected because I’m willing to put in the work & play the long game to keep leveling up.
It took me years of exploration, practices, and failures to connect the dots. Looking backward, the drive of learning and development was my therapy similar to the daily water our plants need to grow. Shifting my mindset towards consistency is the choice that I made with myself to become better at my craft. For things to change, you have to change. But don’t get confused, the learning curve is across iterations and not only with repetitions. If you do what you always do, over and over, you’re always going to get the same results.
Let’s say I have a website selling shoes and my goal is to increase my revenue. I’m putting in thousands of hours to increase my deals, but they are thousands of hours doing the same thing. Whereas if I was putting in thousands of iterations, that would be different.
So, flexibility and exploring new areas are fundamentals when they are part of your plan. For instance, if I was trying new sales experiments on my website all the time, I was constantly changing up the user experience, the onboarding, the messaging, the survey-after sales, and I would talk to other website owners and figure out how they run their businesses. So, the more iterations I can have, the more shots on goal I can have, the faster I am going to learn. It’s not just about the hours put in. It’s the number of iterations that drive the learning curve.
Now, I don’t wish for fewer challenges, I wish for more wisdom to overcome these challenges. For me, wisdom which means making good judgments is powered by consistency. My routine changed over time; my approach didn’t. If you are not consistent with who you are and who you want to be, you become a slave of your emotions and therefore you ain’t stopping shopping.
So, create your plan, stop shopping and stick to the plan.
All journeys begin by leaving one place to venture to another.
Two years and eight months ago I joined the HP Inc company to co-coordinate the move from SFDC to Microsoft Dynamics. The goal of the program was to reinvent the sales experience by building a new sales eco-system that is seamlessly integrated with the tools that our sales use every day – Office 365 package (MS Dynamics CRM online, Outlook, Mobile, Power BI, MS teams etc). We were driven by the conviction that our sales force must spend more time in front of the customers and less time doing administrative work.
Over twenty releases of MS Dynamics, we have been able to achieve amazing results by delivering a powerful sales collaboration platform, customized and designed for the new HP. But how has this been possible?
• Firstly, we created a trusted partnership with our users and our panel. This allowed them to feel part of the development team. As they saw we were really listening to them and incorporating their feedback into the platform, the more they trusted us.
• Secondly, we created a very data-driven development mode. We regularly collected, analyzed, and exploited the information we received. This approach has helped us separate the great feedback from the noise allowing the mix of focus and speed.
• Thirdly, we were very disciplined and structured in the way we plan our releases. This allowed us to increase our chances of success by managing our constraints – scope, cost, schedule, resources, quality.
It was not an easy path, as the first release did not fully meet our users’ expectations. But this 3-step approach has been very effective to help us deliver strong results. As amazing as this may sound, we were able to deliver business results, increase sales effectiveness, drive sales satisfaction and we have now reached the optimal development cycle which means continuous improvement is built into the development capabilities.
Being in the tech industry requires constant reinvention as technology keeps changing rapidly. One of the biggest challenges is staying on top of the constant changes to predict “what’s coming next” that could potentially disrupt the market. Partnering with Microsoft accelerates HP’s digital transformation as the company is a major player of the tech eco-system by deeply transforming the way we collaborate with our customers and colleagues through Office 365 solutions.
In fact, having the opportunity to connect external business applications thru the MS App Source store (i.e Pros OD AI, Chatbot AI, Aprimo, Apptus, LinkedIn etc) allows greatest growth opportunity to the infrastructure, and ultimately generates more sales for HP. I’m confident that we have the right partnership, the right technology, the right teams engaged, and the right processes in place to continue this amazing business transformation journey.
As part of my personal growth, I also wanted to learn a new aspect of HP's business and be more business-oriented. As part of the Go-to-Market strategy, HP is moving to a more customer-centric approach in all the things that we do. And being part of such an amazing company, where the growth mindset is at the center of our culture, I had a unique opportunity to join the Customer Support Organization.
Therefore, on April 1st, I’m leaving the Sales Strategy Operations (SSO) org to join the CS org and drive the Print Warranty Transformation Program. I’m very excited about this opportunity as the Warranty business will help me achieve my personal growth by focusing my time on the customers, understanding why we fail; as this part of the business generate a lot of feedback on our products and services.
It’s been such a privilege to have been a part of the sales transformation journey over the past three years; a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Along the way, I’ve had the great fortune to meet, collaborate and engage with so many talented and driven people, all that have shared the common goal of doing their part to provide the best platforms to our sales and partner community. I’m most grateful to all of those that have helped me. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done – both directly and indirectly – to support and contribute to my personal and professional development. I would like to personally thank Alexandra Mandis for being the best manager during this experience and has giving me her knowledge.
To all my SSO, HP IT, MS and PROS colleagues, I wish you all the best. I look forward to staying in touch with you, continuing to watch your accomplishments. Collectively, you have been the best team anyone could be fortunate enough to have known and worked with.
And now, it’s time to move on with the new chapter in my career because all journeys begin by leaving one place to venture to another.
In school, we lose points for our mistakes. In the real world, we learn from our mistakes.
It’s been more than 1 year since my son, Adam, is born, and I learned so much about his growth process. My wife and I read every book, blog, tweet, or piece of news on how to approach these precious steps to educate ourselves and give him the best chances.
Through this educational process, we found out a web application that aggregates each step of the development of a newborn from a brain and physical standpoint. The app was built with doctors, scientists, and the pediatrician's community to give meaningful insights into the baby’s development.
As our son grew up, we started to rely on those insights to understand the different phases of his evolutions. The app is organized by week and provides milestones for each upgrade. We learned a lot about the learning process and what skills our son is learning through the cycle.
Week-1: upgrade 1: Know to rely on you, still can't understand wordsWeek-2: upgrade 2: Building eyes muscles and tracking skillsWeek-7: upgrade 3: Start understanding senses and also becoming partial to colorWeek-27: upgrade 27: Start dropping things on the floor; understand cause and effect
Surprisingly, it was 95% accurate with the state of our son. Needless to say, this experience was mind-blowing. We were able to better understand the emotional states (joy, cries, anger, sadness, fear, surprise) of his development, and these states were a great signal of the learning process. For instance, they taught me that walking alone in a short distance required a lot of failures and therefore created a lot of frustration along the way. But with a relentless and persistent mindset, they drive joy and self-satisfaction.
We can argue and debate about the pros and cons of such apps– but technology and data can drive more inclusion. This was a great example to remind me how we become more empathic with the right information. For our baby, I feel like we have taken into consideration his emotion and therefore better treat him as a human being. We were more prepared for all the upgrades. I am not saying, it was easy and we could stop all the cries. But we were just mentally and emotionally more prepared with the ups and downs.
The experience also reminded me that we are wired for growth, regardless of how many times we fall. For me, all the upgrades were a great way to realize how important learning and development in our life are vital. To live mentally and physically accomplished, we have to upgrade our internal system. As we become adults and more autonomous, we can decide the pace of our evolution, but we must become comfortable with the uncomfortable to accomplish ourselves.
So, when I hear this: you can fail once but not twice. I am not aligned. This statement is not accurate anymore. We are not a machine. We are humans with emotion, sensibility and we are not programmed like software where the error logs are managed without feeling. As human beings, we have to deal with a lot of factors — internal and external — which impact our evolution, our growth. It takes a village to change our neuroplasticity.
For me, you can fail once, twice, 10X, what matters is to come back with new learning. What didn’t work this time? How can I become more focused?
If we provide more explanation, more flavors through the thought-process than just “you can fail once but not twice”, I am sure we can get better insights into our behavior and ultimately better guide our destiny. If I have said to my son: you can fail once but not twice when he tried to walk alone, believe me, the experience would have been catastrophic and unproductive. (I know, in this situation, it'd have been worthless given that he'd have not understood a word!)
So, with humility, let me try to re-word it with my thinking: “you have to fail multiple times, and you have to always learn something”.
Because failing is one more step toward success. By saying you can’t miss it twice, you instinctively reduce the number of iterations of learning which reduces the chance to succeed. If we stop moving, we stop the process towards success. We discourage people to move forward. We paralyze people by not being curious and therefore missing a chance to learn something new and pushing the limits.
I am going to take another personal example. The first time, I ran my marathon in Geneva I failed completely because I didn’t prepare for it. I did not train enough, I did not eat well, I did not stretch well, I didn’t do any visualization or goal-setting plan. Well, in retrospect, it was a recipe for failures but at that time I was like ‘I think I am good'. What happened? I hit the wall at 33KM and completed the marathon in 5 hours. I was disappointed and emotionally drained. For me, it was a failure.
Let’s say, I would have started my self-reflection with “You can fail once but not twice”. If I kept this straight in my mind, I would have been stressed out and not invited to identify what did not work through the training. I would have been paralyzed or discouraged.
But by starting with “You have to fail multiple times, and you have to always learn something”, I was wired to succeed. So, for my second marathon in Barcelona, I took a different approach. My training plan was worked and tested for months with a data-driven approach through the cycle: from running, stretching, breathing, eating, resting, reading, as well as goal & visualization setting. I finished the 42KM in 3h30mn and it was 1h30 better than the first time. I was happy because it was a success in my definition of success.
Let me tell you the truth. I failed badly so many times in my training plan but I was empowered to fail multiple times with a prerequisite of learning something new. I embraced the failure process as a chance to learn something new. In school, we lose points for our mistakes. In the real world, we learn from our mistakes.
Now, If I fail and learn something new then I believe I am on the right path to get to my point.