16 Nov The Hunt for Treasure – A Q&A with Alan Weisleder, Director of International Operations at Springshot
In The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho details the journey of Santiago, a Spanish shepherd who, after having a vision about hidden treasure, sells his flock of sheep to pursue that treasure in foreign lands. After a journey that is wrought with wealth, love, and loss, he finds himself back home, under the same tree where the vision took place, only to discover that his treasure was there, with him, all along. Just like Santiago, we’re all looking to find treasure, and often that treasure isn’t the tangible riches and wealth that we’ve all imagined. The treasure is the journey, and that journey is shaped by the combination of self-discovery and circumstance. For Alan Weisleder, the quest for treasure was inevitable, and he, too has followed a path that was equal parts timing and experience, and it’s this journey that would ultimately lead him to contentment.
As the Director of International Operations at Springshot, Alan has a diverse background that serves him well in this role. Born in San Jose, Costa Rica to an American father and Costa Rican-Jewish mother, he left home at age 16 where he pursued an education in Minnesota before moving to San Diego to work in gemology. Later, Alan moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work in finance. When he left finance, he worked for his family’s real estate business in Costa Rica, and then opted to pursue a Master’s degree from Columbia University. Ultimately, he moved back to San Francisco where he had a not-so-chance encounter with Springshot CEO, Doug Kreuzkamp It was then that Alan’s life journey shifted, with that shift, came the knowledge and confidence that treasure isn’t simply an object to find; that treasure is found in the everyday journey of life.
How did you come to work at Springshot?
I met Doug nearly five years ago when he had rented part-time desk space at The Hatchery in San Francisco. Springshot was in the incubation stages. I remember that Doug showed me his 70-page manifesto about the company and I read every word. I knew I needed to be a part of the company, but the timing wasn’t right, so I started as an investor and helped raise capital during the initial stages. It was the beginning of a great relationship, and Doug and I started speaking every few weeks. We’ve been in constant communication for the past few years and, in November 2015, I officially joined the team. It’s been such a wild, crazy, and fun ride and there is a magic happening here that I can’t really explain.
What does your job look like on a day-to-day basis?
My territory spans Asia, Europe, and Latin America, and I am building out a team that oversees and expands markets. To say I travel a lot is an understatement. I’m constantly exhausted, but it’s such an incredible experience because it doesn’t feel like work. I travel regularly with our directors and we are seeing so many positive things in the field. The moment we started working with Avianca, the flagship airline of Colombia, everything changed. Now, we’re looking at ten airlines and we are seeing more success on an international level. I’m excited to see the expansion into hotels and other verticals because I’ve seen how Springshot is changing aviation and the lives of those who work at airports. The opportunities are endless because we’re improving how people work.
What are the things that you enjoy the most about being part of the Springshot team?
I’ve always had a lot of energy, and I’m the person who doodles when I get distracted and desk jobs aren’t a great fit for me. I had moved from place to place, hoping to find the thing that would make me feel settled, but what I was really doing was preparing for this role, even though I didn’t know it. Now, with Springshot, I finally feel like I’m channeling that energy into something amazing and exciting, and there’s a certain level of comfort and confidence that comes with stepping onto the right path.
Before Doug, no one had really figured out how to harness and direct my energy, but he knows how to validate people, which makes them perform at their best. It’s not only his mission to do that with his own team, the platform is also built on the premise that everyone needs validation, and it’s changing the lives of unseen workers around the world. I talk to Doug at the beginning and the end of each day, so I hear everything when it’s fresh each morning and I also hear all of the ups and downs every night. The thing that’s constant is that Doug simply wants to make things better.
How did your past life and career experiences shape your path?
I’ve had a number of jobs and experiences prior to Springshot, and every single one has been critical in bringing me to this point. Whether it’s things I’ve learned about myself or contacts I’ve met along the way, each part of the journey has been so important. For example, many of the people I met during my Master’s program at Columbia University have been key to my success here. As I’ve looked back at all of these experiences, I realized that my mentality and outlook has changed, and I’m much more about the journey than the prize at the end. To give you an idea, I initially started as an investor with Springshot because I thought that it could bring me wealth, but through this entire process I’ve learned that the journey is the treasure I’ve been looking for.
There’s a piece of Santiago inside all of us; the restless searcher who is wandering and discovering the unique path to wealth and contentment. As we come to realize that treasure is the experiences we gather along the journey, we’ll finally be able to breathe in this newfound contentment and rest in the fact that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be. For Alan, his journey has been a perfect example of finding treasure where he least expected it, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.