Polar explorer Ben Saunders on leadership, entrepreneurship and enduring extremity

In 2004 polar explorer Ben Saunders – aged 26 – became the youngest person to ski solo to the North Pole, carrying a 180kg sled over 1,420 miles through arctic conditions. Between October 2013 and February 2014, alongside Tarka L’Herpiniere, he made another record-breaking expedition, completing the first ever return journey to the South Pole from Ross Island. In November 2017 he faces his next daunting challenge: the first solo and unsupported crossing of Antarctica.

What lessons can we take from from Ben’s expeditions — 11 so far — for entrepreneurs? There are resemblances to the founder’s journey in terms of fundraising processes, preparation for operational complexities, enduring extremity, and the management of teams. “I wasn’t only the CEO – I was the product, the thing we were shipping at the end of it,” he says.

Speaking to Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Ben discusses lessons learnt from his expeditions and the entrepreneurial parallels. “Self belief is something like a muscle – it kind of responds to being challenged”, he argues.

If the above player doesn’t work for you, you can also listen directly from our Soundcloud page.

Listen to similar episodes like this:

View all podcasts

Subscribe to our newsletter